Adoption can be full of unexpected questions and decisions. You should not have to go through this process alone. You deserve to have personal support from someone trained in everything from your unplanned pregnancy options to how to navigate the years after you place your baby for adoption. So is an attorney or an adoption agency the best option for you? Here is a quick glance at what both offer to help you decide:
Adoption Attorney vs. Adoption Agency
Attorneys only focus on the legal side of the adoption process. While an adoption attorney may make sense in some scenarios, it is important to keep in mind that an adoption attorney is being paid for by the adopting family. This can actually prevent an expecting parent from getting the legal services and personal support that they need.
An adoption agency focuses on providing support and help in navigating the entire adoption process. Working with an agency allows you to get the support you need and connect with legal counsel. Adoption agencies may also often separate support for each party. An agency can also provide a buffer between you and the adoptive family so that you have breathing room to make decisions at a pace that you choose, even if you feel you need a fast adoption.
How to Choose Which Adoption Resource is Right for You
As you consider which entity to use for your adoption plan, consider asking the following questions:
- Will I have an advocate/spokesperson that is committed to me and my desires, or will the same person also represent the adoptive family?
- Will that advocate be a local person that I can meet with face-to-face, or someone in another state that I can only talk to on the phone?
- Who will be the unbiased party to walk with me through adoption paperwork to make sure I am fully informed?
- Have the adoptive parents received training to understand and have compassion for me and my emotions, or do they just care about the baby?
- Will we sign an openness agreement together? Will anyone help hold the adoptive family accountable for the level of openness we agree on? If I desire visits with the family, who will be there for me for those first visits?
- What happens if I change my mind at some point during the process? Will there be any money that I have to pay back to the agency or attorney?
- Who is paying for the services I receive? If your only advocate is also the family’s advocate and they are the ones paying, this is a red flag!
- If I need and/or desire grief support before or after the adoption, is it available to me free of charge?
Additional Resources to Consider
In most circumstances, an adoption agency is going to have the birthmom’s best interest in mind. An adoption agency can also help you know how to communicate your desires for things like post-adoption communication (like what level of open adoption you prefer). A good adoption agency will also ensure that a family is educated and equipped to care for you and your baby, which helps as you choose from couples waiting to adopt. An agency can also make sure you get connected to your own legal representation if you have questions about your rights!