Quite simply, an adoption facilitator is someone who makes adoptions happen. Think of a facilitator as a one-person match-making service between a birth mom (or birth parents) and parents who are seeking to adopt. Facilitators are not licensed and do not necessarily have any specific credentials whatsoever. This person may offer their services free of charge if they know a family personally, or they may receive compensation. Most states allow adoption facilitation if the facilitators are volunteering their services.
Adoption facilitators may also be paid. However, this can get tricky because if they require compensation, you must look for credentialed attorneys, agencies, clergy, health professionals, etc, some of whom may have to have a license to facilitate adoptions. Again, this varies by state. Do your homework so as not to jeopardize your adoption further down the line.
What are the pros and cons of using a facilitator versus an agency? A facilitator may be free of charge and, depending on the situation, the most logical choice to match a mother with a prospective adoptive family. However, while this person may be morally accountable for the smooth and timely transitioning of the child from the birth family to the adoptive parents, they would more than likely not be legally accountable. An agency fully licensed by the state would have to satisfy both ethical and legal compliance requirements. Additionally, a quality adoption agency offers support and resources every step of the way. A facilitator may exit the process once they have connected the child to the parents.
While this person may be morally accountable for the smooth and timely transitioning of the child from the birth family to the adoptive parents, they would more than likely not be legally accountable.
One last tip: From personal experience, I strongly advise you to do your research on adoption agencies. Just because they are licensed does not mean that they are “good”—in other words, right for you and your needs as a family. Use the internet, check references, and read reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask the agency for specifics if you have a concern. Remember, you’ll need guidance and support throughout the entire process because adoption means more than placing a child in a home and closing the case file. A good agency should be there for you and the child post-adoption until proper transitioning has taken place. This could be as simple as referring you to suitable resources to assisting you with any issues you or the child may face after the paperwork is signed and you are officially a parent (or parents).
Don’t rely on a facilitator or an agency to completely understand or meet your needs as an adoptive parent. Be your own advocate! Speak up when you have questions, recognize when you need advice or assistance, never be afraid to ask for help, and know that getting a second and even a third opinion is okay, even recommended. This is your life, this is your child’s life. Enjoy your family!
Are you and your partner ready to start the adoption process? Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98 to begin your adoption journey. We have 130+ years of adoption experience and would love to help you.