Private Agency Adoption

A private agency adoption occurs when a prospective birth mother contacts an adoption agency and voluntarily places her baby for adoption. This is different than public agency adoptions (foster care adoptions), where in many situations, a child is removed from the birth family involuntarily due to allegations of abuse or neglect.

Even when an adoptive family chooses to work with an agency rather than pursuing an independent adoption.  The family will still need the guidance of an adoption attorney to complete the legal steps of the adoption process. Jennifer and Catelyn have helped many adoptive parents decide between independent and private agency adoption, and they can provide all of the legal services you will need to complete either adoption process.

To begin your adoption journey, contact us now. To learn more about private agency adoption, read the overview below:

How Does an Agency Adoption Work?

In a private agency adoption, the birth parents usually choose to remain involved in the adoption process and personally select the adoptive parents they feel are perfect for their baby. In today’s infant adoptions, most birth parents choose to have an open adoption so they can remain in contact with their child and the adoptive parents after the adoption. The agency acts as a professional mediator to connect birth and adoptive parents.

If prospective birth parents or adoptive parents need assistance in locating one another, a private adoption agency can get involved to match the parents. Typically, the agency provides adoption services, such as counseling and financial support (if allowed by state law), to the birth parents. The prospective birth parents often choose the adoptive family by reviewing profiles of interested parents, which include non-identifying information and photos of the prospective adoptive family.

Adoption agencies also mediate pre-placement contact between prospective birth and adoptive families, so they can get to know each other better and build a solid relationship foundation prior to the adoption. This relationship can continue throughout the adoption process and beyond in the form of an open or semi-open adoption, should the birth parents choose this level of openness. Adoption agencies are experienced at helping birth and adoptive families communicate with one another to help establish trust and good rapport between the two parties, with the hope that they can continue to communicate on their own comfortably and freely in the future.

After the adoptive parents have been chosen and after the child is born, each birth parent may give consent to guardianship of the child in favor of the agency. This consent gives the agency the right to place the child for adoption. In Maryland, the birth parents have 30 days after signing to revoke their consent. Meanwhile, the adoption agency files a petition in the appropriate circuit court to obtain legal guardianship of the child. Once the revocation period expires, the court will grant legal guardianship to the agency and terminate the parental rights of the birth parents. While the guardianship proceeding is pending, the child will be placed with the prospective adoptive parents, if the parents are willing to assume the risk of placement before the parental rights are terminated. The child will then be placed with the adoptive family. 

In both Virginia and the District of Columbia, the agency obtains the right to consent based on the consents signed by the birth parents, and a court order is not required to terminate the birth parents’ rights.  In this instance, the birth parents’ rights are terminated in accordance with the relevant statute.  

Following a required post-placement supervision period, the agency gives its consent to the adoption to the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents proceed to finalize their adoption by filing a petition for adoption in the circuit court in the county where they reside.

Who Chooses a Private Agency Adoption?

You may wish to pursue a private domestic agency adoption if:

  • You would like to adopt an infant.
  • You want someone to help you find potential birth parents who are a good fit for you.
  • You would like the possibility of having a more open adoption relationship with your child’s birth parents.
  • You want someone to screen potential birth parents for you.
  • You want to receive adoption services, like emotional counseling and health care for the birth mother.

For some, alternatives to agency adoptions do exist. For example, families who know that they want to adopt an infant in the U.S., but aren’t sure that they need to work with an agency, may consider an independent adoption. Families who are interested in adopting an older child might consider a public agency (foster care) adoption.

If you’re unsure if a private agency adoption is the right family-building option for you, or if you would like to receive recommendations about private adoption agencies, contact us now. Jennifer or Catelyn can walk you through the process and help you decide what the right fit is for you. No matter what type of adoption you choose, We can provide you with the legal services you need to complete your adoption process.

What is a home study?

State law dictates whether an individual social worker, a private licensed child placing agency, or a public social service agency may perform the home study. The process is designed to evaluate the adoptive parents to assure that there is nothing in their homes or backgrounds which would be contrary to the best interests of the child.  It is an independent investigation to verify your suitability as adoptive parents.  It includes criminal and child abuse clearances and is valid for one year and can be updated annually. 

Agency Adoption

Agency Adoptions are adoptions that are handled by a licensed child placing agency in the State where the adoption is occurring. Agency Adoptions are conducted through either public or private agencies. Residents of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia may work with public and private agencies located anywhere in the United States.  In Agency Adoptions, the birth parents are placing the child with the Agency which assumes guardianship of the child.  The Agency then places the child with the adoptive couple.  

Revocation Period

In Maryland, a birth parent has 30 calendar days to revoke their consent to an adoption whether private or agency.  In D.C., consent is irrevocable upon execution for a private adoption & a birth parent has 14 days to revoke their consent to adoption if the baby is placed through an agency. In Virginia, a birth mother consents in Court in front of Judge 3 days or more after the baby is born & has seven days to revoke.  In a Virginia agency case, the birth mother signs a relinquishment to the agency & does not appear in court.   

“I believe in working with each of my clients—in support of their family dynamic—to make the dreams of parenthood a reality. Whether you are single or married; or gay; a step-parent, a surrogate or intended parent or a child of adoption, it is my mission to serve as your advocate. With a dedication to the ethical and sensitive nature of each situation, I will help you understand the laws within Maryland or Washington, DC for adoption or surrogacy, and pledge to be your partner throughout the journey.” - Jennifer Fairfax