National adoption agencies work with adoptive families and pregnant mothers across all 50 states. They are licensed and regulated by state authorities, often in multiple states, which helps ensure that these organizations are complying with all state laws and are providing good services to their clients.
National adoption agencies often have larger staffs and access to more resources than other adoption professionals, allowing them to provide a wide variety of services to adoptive families, including:
- screening and matching services
- counseling and support
- coordination of legal services with adoption attorney
- adoption plan development
- post-placement correspondence
- and more
Working with an adoption professional that can provide all necessary services and resources from start to finish can be advantageous when you are navigating the adoption process. If you have already identified a birth mother independently and have begun the adoption process on your own, this is known as an identified adoption. You may still work with an adoption agency for services like screening, support, correspondence after the adoption and more.
Why work with a national adoption agency?
There are several reasons to consider working with a national agency throughout the adoption process, as well as some disadvantages to take into account. Here are some of the top pros and cons to consider before choosing to work with a national adoption agency:
- They are licensed and regulated, meaning the agency is annually reviewed in compliance with state adoption laws. State governments help review and monitor national adoption agencies’ compliance with state laws and regulations, so you can trust that all requirements are being met throughout the adoption process. Because these agencies have large teams that are experienced in completing adoptions throughout the United States, they are able to stay up-to-date on adoption laws throughout the country, making them less likely to be negatively affected by changes in state adoption laws than local or regional agencies.
- They provide access to birth mothers in all 50 states. This means that your adoptive family profile can be shown to more prospective birth mothers, increasing your chances of finding a perfect match and decreasing your wait time. These agencies also often have higher advertising budgets to work with, further lowering your adoption wait time. Because they work with a larger pool of prospective birth parents, national adoption agencies are often better able to present you with adoption opportunities that meet your needs, and they can offer more accurate wait time and cost estimates.
- They complete adoptions from beginning to end and offer all necessary adoption services, from matching and screening to legal services and more. National adoption agencies can legally complete adoptions from start to finish, and qualified staff members will be available through every step of the adoption process to offer help and guidance. National agencies often offer the most services to adoptive families of any adoption professional.
- They have more resources than other adoption professionals and are better able to protect and support adoptive families throughout the process. National adoption agencies evaluate, educate and support prospective birth mothers prior to and during a match with an adoptive family to assess their commitment level to the adoption, decreasing the chances of the adoption ending in a disruption. In the event that an adoption does disrupt, some national agencies offer financial assistance to the adoptive family. National agencies often employ a large social services staff and may even be able to provide support on nights and weekends. They can help mediate contact between adoptive families and birth parents when necessary, and may stay involved even after the adoption is completed to continue facilitating any necessary correspondence between you and your child’s birth family.
- They could have higher fees than other adoption professionals. National adoption agencies often provide all services necessary throughout the adoption process from start to finish. As a result, the total adoption cost could be somewhat higher than with other adoption professionals.
- They may not meet with you or with prospective birth mothers face to face. Because you may not live near your adoption agency’s offices, you might not ever meet your adoption social worker in person. The agency will also not likely meet and screen prospective birth parents face to face.
- They might require more of adoptive families. Adoptive families might have to meet certain agency requirements, such as being open to contact with the birth parents. National adoption agencies also often require the family to travel, depending on the states in which the birth mother and adoptive family live.
Who adopts through national agencies?
Adoptive families each have their own reasons for deciding to work with their chosen adoption professional. Clients who choose to work with national adoption agencies:
- want to adopt in a timely manner
- have a slightly higher adoption budget but don’t want to risk money on adoptions that don’t work out
- want the dependability of a large and carefully monitored organization
- want the freedom of choices a national organization offers
- want a reliable organization with a proven track record that invests their savings in essential areas to provide a successful adoption experience
Choosing a national adoption agency
If you have decided that working with a national adoption agency is the best choice for your family, there are several questions you may want to ask the national adoption agencies you are considering before making your final decision:
- What states are you licensed in?
- What are your average adoption wait times?
- On average, how much does an adoption with your agency cost?
- What factors could increase or decrease wait times and cost?
- Are there any hidden fees that are not included in the estimate of fees?
- How do you advertise for prospective birth mothers?
- What adoption services are performed by your agency, and which services are outsourced?
- How do you try to protect adoptive families from adoption disruptions?
- When will we have access to our adoption specialist?
- Are there any requirements an adoptive family must meet to join your agency?
When pursuing an agency adoption, national adoption agencies are usually the best choice for adoptive families because they offer the most adoption services, including matching services, counseling and support, and much more. In addition, these agencies are well-established, qualified and heavily regulated by state authorities, ensuring they are completing adoptions legally and ethically.