If you and your spouse can’t have biological children but still want to experience parenthood, your thoughts may have turned to adoption. Unless you have friends or family members who have gone through the process in Florida though, you might have a narrow view on what adopting a child looks like. You might, for example, believe that adoption starts and ends with contacting an adoption agency.
However, you don’t have to go through an agency. There are plenty of good reasons why people don’t. Instead, they choose independent, or private, adoptions.
Below you’ll find four reasons why people decide to choose independent adoptions instead of going through an agency, as well as the pros and cons of both options.
Why Many Floridians Decide That Independent Adoption Is Right for Them
It’s cheaper. When you work with an adoption agency, you pay to use the resources of that agency. Those resources are typically considerable, but not everybody requires them.
Adopting independently is more of an “a la carte” service where the only people you need to have on your “team” are an adoption lawyer and a home study provider. Because you’re paying for less, it costs less – often by thousands of dollars.
However, the trade-off is that you will have to do more of the work on your own. Something lots of people are just fine with.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this means independent adoptions are cheap though. Beyond paying for your attorney and the home study provider, people adopting independently often offer financial assistance to the birth mother, which can cost thousands in and of itself.
One of the ways you will likely need to offer financial assistance to the birth mother is to pay for her to see a counselor throughout the process. For independent adoptions, this means more than just covering the cost of sessions. You will be responsible for finding the counselor, too.
Also, it is important to note that there are more rules to follow if you pay a birth mother independently. You’ll want to make sure your attorney goes over the specifics of the law before you send any money, or you could end up getting yourself in trouble.
It’s often faster. Why? Simply put, there’s less red tape and bureaucracy to deal with when you choose an independent adoption. This, however, is something that is different for every adoption.
One benefit of using an agency is that they will likely have a large pool of birth mothers or prospective children to choose from. If you are handling the search for a willing birth parent on your own, there are limits to what you can do to find them. For example, in our state, it is illegal to advertise online or in the newspaper that you want to adopt.
Because of this, finding the right person involves lots of networking. It’s may happen quickly or may take some time.
You already have a birth mother picked out. Perhaps the biggest reason to use an adoption agency is their ability to match you with the right child or birth mother. If you already have this part figured out, paying for their services can seem like a waste – especially when an independent adoption allows you to jump right into the legal process once you know who the birth mother is. That can be alluring.
Be careful though. Part of the process of pairing you with a birth mother via an agency involves screening for the woman. The screening process that agencies require of birth mothers allows them to weed out people who may be lying, trying to scam you, hiding specific medical issues, or simply aren’t emotionally prepared to go through with the adoption.
Now it’s possible for you to have the mother screened on your own, but that is yet another expense that you will have to pay for.
You want to be in control of every part of the process. Do people tell you that you have a type A personality? Is it hard for you to delegate?
Independent adoptions enable you to have more control over the process from beginning to end. If this idea gets your engine revving, using an agency may leave you feeling “handled” or like you are being pushed in a particular direction without much say.
One potential deal breaker for independent adoption is that the nature of the process means it is really difficult for it to be a closed adoption. Most likely, you will end up meeting with the birth mother. Most likely, she will know your identity.
If you somehow manage to keep your identity secret throughout the process, it doesn’t end there. A birth mother is allowed to ask for updates about her child after the adoption, which essentially means you sending her photos and letters. To maintain the privacy of your identity, this would likely mean needing to use a third-party mail-forwarding service.
As you can see, there are lots of things to think about when deciding the appropriate adoption method for you. If you’re still unsure, it can be beneficial to set up a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable Florida adoption lawyer to discuss your desires and the specifics of your situation. We have offices all over Florida, so no matter where you live, you can enjoy the convenience of our services.