When hopeful parents are considering their best options for adoption, they must choose between two primary alternatives. One way to potentially adopt a child is through an agency. Another way is with the help of an adoption lawyer who can help facilitate a connection with the birth mother. Adoption agencies will tell you that they are the best option and can be more effective than a family law attorney. On the other hand, attorneys will explain that adoption agencies may not provide you with the highest level of services they’re charging you for. In addition, adoption agencies will charge hefty fees that families may not be able to afford.
What Adoption Agencies Do During The Adoption Process
An adoption agency essentially serves as a middleman in the adoption. When hopeful parents go to an adoption agency, they do not have to do the work to locate and make contact with the birth mother. The adoption agency would have already been in contact with the birth mother, as she likely sought the agency out in the first place. The agency would create and develop the connection between the prospective parents and the birth mother. Going through an agency could save prospective parents from the difficult and often frustrating work of having to make contact with a birth mother on their own.
There are two types of adoption agencies:
- Private adoption agencies charge hopeful parents a fee in exchange for the introduction to the birth mother and the support services the agency provides
- Public adoption agencies do not charge a fee; they place children who have been taken from their own biological parents by the state with adoptive parents
Adoption Agencies Can Charge High Fees
Adoption agency fees can be high. Some of these agencies are for-profit businesses. In addition, you never quite know the quality of service an adoption agency provides until you actually try to engage it to help with the adoption process. It is common for these agencies to charge hopeful parents at least $25,000 for their services. This amount does not include legal costs and expenses for the birth mother that the prospective parents would pay. In some cases, there is financial assistance available for hopeful parents. In other cases, parents must pay all of the adoption fees out of their own pockets.
In exchange for its fees, an adoption agency would provide support during the adoption process. It would help with the necessary paperwork for adopting a child. In addition, it would help educate hopeful parents about the process. Many of the functions that the agency would perform could also be performed by an adoption lawyer.
A Private Adoption Does Not Mean that You Need to Do Everything Yourself
A private adoption is often called a “DIY adoption” by adoption agencies. However, you are not expected to know all the details of the legal process and the steps that need to be taken to assume legal parent status. Nonetheless, the DIY part refers to locating the child for adoption. An adoption attorney will be the one responsible for helping you finalize the adoption.
In a private adoption, the parties would be responsible for doing their due diligence on each other. Prospective parents would need to research the birth mother and vice versa. When you pay an adoption agency its fees, it assumes responsibility for investigating all parties to the adoption.
Private Adoptions Are Allowed in Texas
Texas is one of the states that allows private adoptions. In a private adoption, the prospective parents are working directly with the birth mother. There is no party operating as a conduit between the prospective parents and the birth mother.
In a private adoption, the birth mother would decide to put the child up for adoption. They may then connect with hopeful parents through their personal or professional networks. There are numerous ways that a birth mother can make contact with prospective parents, including advertising and informing her doctor that she intends to put the baby up for adoption. Hopeful parents may be able to find potential adoption opportunities by contacting local obstetricians.
Because there is no intermediary between the birth mother and the hopeful parents in a private adoption, one of them would need to create the connection and develop it. An adoption attorney could help with both. Your lawyer would also look out for you and your interests because private adoptions may not always be straightforward.
Private Adoptions Are Regulated in Texas
Still, Texas has several laws that regulate private adoptions. It is against the law to pay the birth mother money to adopt her child. However, it is legal to contribute to the medical expenses related to the childbirth. You should consult with an attorney about what is allowed and what is prohibited under Texas law. In general, you should err on the side of being careful, and you should not give money directly to the mother.
In a private adoption, you would be doing much of the work on your own that an adoption agency would ordinarily do for you. But you don’t need an agency to help you complete paperwork. You could work with an adoption attorney and achieve the same result.
If you pursue a private adoption, you may end up saving tens of thousands of dollars compared to what an agency adoption would have cost. Essentially, you are paying attorneys’ fees and court fees, but you are not paying an agency’s fees, which are generally much higher.
Private Adoptions Are Becoming More Common in the Age of the Internet
It is becoming more common for hopeful parents and birth mothers to find each other online. Although adoption agencies still perform a valuable role, their services are no longer as critical as they were in the past. If private adoption is available to you, there is every reason for you to consider this option and not go through an adoption agency. Working directly with an adoption lawyer in Texas, you may be able to become a parent to a child without having to deplete your savings or borrow money.
Choose the Adoption Option that Works Best for You
Ultimately, it is up to you to choose the most effective option for a prospective adoption. You should work with an experienced adoption attorney to evaluate potential courses of action. Your overall goal is to become a parent, but you must also consider finances and the services that you receive for the money you pay. In addition, you should be certain of the reputation of the adoption agency that you are paying. It is not always easy to know ahead of time what you are getting. In the meantime, you may have signed a contract that obligates you to pay a large fee with no guarantee of success.
Adoption agencies are not always heavily regulated, and some of them may use questionable practices in their business. Of course, the majority of adoption agencies are legitimate, care deeply about the work they do, and have helped many parents achieve their dreams of adopting a child. Still, you must go into the process with your eyes open, and that is not always easy. Many hopeful parents are more than willing to spend a great deal of money without knowing exactly what they are getting in return.
Contact a Brazoria County Adoption Attorney Today
To learn more about the adoption process and your options, you can contact the adoption attorneys at Terry & Roberts. We will give you objective advice about what is best for you and how the legal process may work. If you choose to engage us in a private adoption, we will provide you with responsive and comprehensive client service during what may be a lengthy and emotionally trying process. Adoption is not always easy, but it is well worth the effort when you have realized your dreams of becoming a parent.