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Non-Agency Adoptions FAQ

Answers to common questions about independent adoptions.

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What should I keep in mind when deciding whether to pursue an independent adoption?

Birth and adoptive parents are sometimes attracted to independent adoptions because they allow control over the entire adoption process. Rather than relying on an agency as a go-between, the birthparent and adoptive parents can meet, get to know each other and decide for themselves whether the adoption should take place. Independent adoptions also avoid the long waiting lists and restrictive qualifying criteria that are often involved in agency adoptions. And independent adoptions usually happen much faster than agency adoptions, often within a year of beginning the search for a child.

One major drawback to independent adoptions is that they are illegal in a few states, currently Connecticut, Delaware and Massachusetts. States that do allow independent adoptions sometimes regulate them in other ways -- for example by prohibiting adoptive parents from advertising for birthmothers. Be sure to check your state's laws before you proceed.

Another concern is that birthparents might not receive adequate counseling during the adoption process. This may leave your agreement more vulnerable to unraveling. Furthermore, some states extend the period in which birthparents may revoke their consent for independent adoptions -- and this places your agreement at additional risk.

Finally, independent adoptions are a lot of work. Adoptive parents often spend enormous amounts of time -- and money -- just finding a birthmother, not to mention the efforts required to follow through and bring the adoption to a close. Some parents decide afterwards that the energy and expense needed to adopt independently is just too much, and they hire an agency to do the work for their next adoption.

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