Guest Author - Karen Ledbetter
Independent adoptions, also called private adoptions, are usually arranged directly between the birth parent(s) and adoptive parents. A third party, such as a friend or adoption facilitator, may introduce the birth parent(s) and adoptive parents; or they may find each other through advertising or some other form of networking. An attorney is usually required to assure that the adoption is legal. Chances are adoptive family and birth family will exchange identifying information and maintain contact in an independent adoption
A parent who has completed three different types of adoptions stated that her best experience was using a facilitator. Another mom stated that despite the stress and emotional aspects of two failed independent adoptions before successfully adopting, it turned out to be a great experience; and she’s an advocate of independent adoption.
Remember that independent adoptions, adoption facilitators, and adoption advertising are not legal in all states. Also keep in mind that not all birth mothers receive adequate pre- and post-adoption counseling in independent adoptions.
Occasionally a private or public agency will place an older infant in an adoptive home. A baby may be removed from the home of his/her birth parent(s) due to neglect and/or abuse. Sometimes a birth parent attempts parenting, only to discover that adoption would be in the baby's best interest. A baby may simply spend some time in foster care while his/her birth parents decide whether to make an adoption plan or to parent. These types of adoption may be open or closed, and there may or may not be legal risks involved.
Nowadays public adoption agencies usually place children from the foster care system. A big advantage to adopting from the foster care system is the cost efficiency. If there are any fees, they are usually minimal. However, many times the children in foster care have been removed from their birth families due to neglect, abuse, or other problems. It’s possible for a child to spend several years in and out of foster care before being legally cleared for adoption, and the child may have experienced many moves in the process. A child may carry emotional baggage resulting from the abuse or neglect he or she has experienced, or from the time spent in the foster care system. A child in the foster care system may have other special needs, too, ranging from mild to severe. At least two adoptive parents interviewed stated that dealing with a system and workers who made major errors and failed to provide pertinent information about a child was quite difficult and stressful.
Remember, the adoption situation that's best for one family may not be best for another family. Adoptions arranged through the foster care system can be successful, especially if the social workers provide the prospective adoptive families with all the information they need to make informed decisions. If you decide to adopt a child from the foster care system, don't be afraid to ask questions, and lots of them.