What is an Adoption Agency?

Differentiating between adoption agency types.

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While you’re progressing through the placement process, you’ll come across many new terms. Sometimes all of these new terms can become confusing and difficult to correctly pair with their correct definitions. Not only that, but it can be difficult to remember each type of adoption professionals’—adoption lawyers and adoption facilitators—specific duties and responsibilities. One of those that you’ll work with as you explore your option of placing your child with an adoptive family is an adoption agency.

To help you fully understand the role that an adoption agency will play in your journey, below is a list of some of the basic questions you should know or consider:

What is a public adoption agency? A public adoption agency is a county or state-owned agency. Keep in mind that they aren’t always called adoption agencies. They can be known by many names, such as “The Department of Human Services”; “The Department of Children and Family Services”; and more. Public adoption agencies are simply controlled and run by the government.

What is a private adoption agency? It is an adoption agency that is not run by the government. These agencies have to be licensed appropriately, and they can either be for-profit agencies or not-for-profit agencies. You’ll find that some private adoption agencies specialize in a certain type of adoption: international, domestic, foster care, or special needs adoption.

What are the duties and responsibilities of an adoption agency? A public adoption agency is responsible for following state and federal laws when placing foster care children with adoptive families. In general, an adoption agency’s duty is to find adoptive parents for birth parents and potential adoptive parents for those considering placing their children with an adoptive family. An adoption agency may also offer adoption or placement counseling and maternity home assistance. Keep in mind that each adoption agency is different. Not all adoption agencies that you’ll come across will offer all of the above. It is important to determine what you need from an adoption agency before you begin.

What are adoption agencies’ fees? Just like any other adoption professional you’ll work with, fees can vary drastically. They can range from a couple of thousand dollars to anything above that. It is all dependent on the adoption agency you choose and your specifications for the right match. If you’re uncomfortable with what one adoption agency is charging or offering, shop around. Don’t feel pressured to use the first adoption agency that you find. There are many out there from which to choose. Explore all your options before you decide.

How do you find an adoption agency? There are many ways to find the right adoption agency. You can start by doing a simple online search or looking in a phone book. Next, try speaking with others who have worked with adoption agencies. Also consider asking other adoption professionals you’re working with for referrals. Here at Adoption.com, we have a great adoption professional directory that you can use. It is a fantastic resource in which you can be specific about the state and the type of professional you’re searching for.

Throughout this process of exploration, discovery, and decision-making, it is important to start with the basics and move forward from there. Doing so will diminish feelings of being overwhelmed or blindsided. It is important that when you make a decision, it is an informed decision. Never be ashamed to ask questions or to keep looking for the right adoption agency for you and your specific situation.

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