Private Adoption – Adopting a Baby With or Without an Agency

As a hopeful parent beginning the adoption process in South Carolina, you will make many important decisions throughout your adoption journey. One of the first decisions you will likely make is whether you want to pursue an independent or agency adoption.

The primary difference between agency and independent adoption is the professional you will work with, and the services you will receive:

  • Agency Adoption: Adoptive families work closely with a licensed child-placing agency through each step of the process. These professionals are often “one-stop shops,” offering all the adoption services you need, from matching and screening to referral to an attorney for finalization services.
  • Independent Adoption: Families work directly with an adoption attorney as their primary professional and complete the adoption without an agency’s services. In certain scenarios, an attorney may be the only professional needed to complete the adoption process.

Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, an attorney is always required to finalize the adoption and ensure the process is completed safely and legally.

Rick Corley provides private adoption services to families adopting independently or with an agency. Here, learn more about agency vs. independent adoption and the legal services he provides for each.

Independent Adoption with an Adoption Attorney

If you choose independent adoption, Rick will be your primary adoption professional throughout the process. His independent adoption services include:

  • An initial meeting with you to talk about your adoption options and explain how to get started with the independent adoption process
  • Advice for finding an adoption opportunity on your own or referral to an agency that provides matching services, if you have not already found a prospective birth mother to adopt from
  • Legal services, including obtaining consents, filing the adoption petition, ICPC compliance (if applicable), the finalization hearing, and more
  • Application for a new birth certificate following finalization
  • General case management and legal advice throughout the adoption process
  • Referral to other adoption professionals, such as home study providers or independent adoption counselors, for any other necessary services

Families commonly choose independent adoption when:

  • they already know a prospective birth mother: Because adoption attorneys typically do not provide matching or screening services, many adoptive families choose independent adoption when they have already located a potential adoption opportunity.
  • they want control of the adoption process: Families who choose independent adoption often play a more active role in the process, searching for and evaluating expectant mothers on their own, choosing which adoption services they would like to use from different professionals, and getting to know prospective birth mothers without agency involvement.
  • they are trying to save money on the adoption process: Adoption agencies often charge “agency fees” to cover their support, counseling, case management and other services. Because independent adoption attorneys do not provide many of these services, the overall adoption cost is lower on average for independent adoptions.

If you have already found a prospective birth mother or want to search for an adoption opportunity on your own, independent adoption may be a good choice for you. In these circumstances, an adoption attorney like Rick may be the only professional you need to successfully reach your adoption goals.

Private Adoption with a Licensed Child-Placing Agency

If you choose agency adoption, you will primarily work with your adoption agency to complete most of the process. However, you will still need an adoption attorney’s services to legally finalize the adoption. When a family works with Rick to finalize their agency adoption, he can provide the following services:

  • An initial consultation to gather the information he needs from you to begin the legal adoption process
  • Interstate adoption services, if you are adopting from another state
  • Legal services necessary to complete the adoption, including obtaining consents, filing the legal paperwork with the court, and representation at the final adoption hearing
  • Application for a new birth certificate following finalization
  • General case management and legal advice throughout the adoption process

Families commonly choose agency adoption when:

  • they need help finding an adoption opportunity: Adoption agencies provide advertising, matching and screening services to help adoptive parents and prospective birth parents find each other.
  • they want additional counseling and support services: Agencies employ licensed social workers who provide adoption counseling services to expectant mothers, which can help reduce the risk of an adoption disruption. They can also offer contact mediation to help birth parents and adoptive families get to know one another and keep in touch after the adoption.
  • they have a slightly higher adoption budget: Because agencies are often a “one-stop shop” for adoption services, they charge static agency fees to cover these costs; however, some agencies also offer financial protection and other programs to help adoptive parents save money.

If you need a variety of services throughout the adoption process, or if you are not comfortable navigating the adoption process on your own, agency adoption may be the right choice for your family. If you have additional questions about agency adoption, or if you need help finding a reputable child-placing agency that can meet your needs, contact Rick for suggestions.

Choosing Between Agency vs. Independent Adoption

Independent and agency adoptions both have their own pros and cons. It is up to each adoptive family to determine what adoption services and support they want to have throughout the process, and to choose the adoption professional that can best meet their needs.

To learn more about Rick’s adoption services or agency vs. independent adoption in South Carolina, contact him today to schedule a consultation.