As an adoption consultant, I am frequently asked which is better, an agency or an attorney? My answer is always the same; it depends on the client, the agency and the attorney. If the goal is to adopt a child from a Hague approved country, one generally needs to work with a Hague approved agency. If one wants to adopt quickly and domestically, an attorney is generally the preferred option.
There are benefits to working with both. There are other adoption agencies that are licensed, accredited and Hague approved but they may not, for example, have social workers to write home studies or educational programs for the prospective parents. These types of agencies are the most common but I generally do not refer clients to them unless they partner with a full service agency. It would be too complicated otherwise.
Just as there are many different kinds of adoption agencies, there are many different kinds of adoption attorneys. Since the Hague Treaty on Adoption, most adoption attorneys do not assist with international adoptions but they do help to facilitate domestic adoptions. Adoption attorneys are experts in the intricacies of adoption laws that vary from state to state and even county to county. Their goal is to make sure that everything is legal and seamless for their clients. Many are able to complete an adoption faster than an agency because they are paid to represent a smaller case load- therefore, they can be more expensive than an agency. Their services generally do not include the home study, which is always a requirement. Most do not offer emotional support or education services around becoming a family through adoption.
There are many options when choosing to adopt via an agency or an attorney. The most important thing is to learn as much as you can. The web is filled with a great deal of information. A lot of it is helpful, a lot is not. It’s also advantageous to speak with people who have adopted. Finally, try to find a confidant; someone with whom you feel comfortable discussing the ups and downs of the adoption process. This person can be a therapist, an independent adoption consultant, a friend, a parent, someone within the adoption community or a co-worker. If you can, find someone who can be objective and willing to listen and make suggestions. A lot will come up for you during every stage of the process. Try to find someone, in addition to your partner (if you are adopting as a couple), with whom you can explore all that comes up for you so that you can feel supported and confident.
If you would like to discuss adoption or have any questions about it, please feel free to contact me. I would like to help you better understand what you need to know in order to have a successful adoption.