The long awaited compilation of in-depth surveys conducted by the National Council for Adoption has compared public agency adoptions, private agency adoptions and independent or private adoptions over the years.

In the 1950s, when adoption was becoming socially accepted, only about 20% of adoptions were facilitated by public agencies. The number has grown at a regular rate over the decades, until at last count, 68% of all domestic adoptions are through public agencies.

Private agency adoptions now account for only about 24% of all domestic adoptions. A significant decrease since the early 1960s when 40% of domestic adoptions were handled by private agencies.

What of the rest of domestic adoptions? In the 1950s when the numbers were first being tracked, half of the adoptions were done independent of any agency. That number consistently dropped through the years, bringing it to 33% in the 1980s and then dropping again in 2014 to just 9%.

While the reasons for these changes are not scientifically proven, it can be assumed that more and more families are adopting through foster care. Additionally, it may be accepted that using private agencies for infant adoptions is more convenient, and some feel it is safer as agencies package all requirements together and carefully guide the adoptive parents through the process. Another factor may be that birth parents are more comfortable working through agencies who ensure all their needs are met. For a good comparison between agency vs private adoption, take a look at this article.