Local or regional adoption agencies are smaller than national adoption agencies and usually offer adoption services to pregnant mothers in a specific state or region. These agencies are usually involved throughout the entire adoption process and can help coordinate with you every step of the way, offering services such as:
- screening and matching adoptive families
- counseling and support
- financial assistance
- adoption and hospital plan development
The adoption process can be long and difficult at times. Working with one adoption professional from beginning to end can help simplify the process and make the transition smoother for you.
If you have already identified an adoptive family 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.
There are several reasons to consider working with a local or regional 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 local or regional adoption agency:
Pros of Local Adoption Agencies
- You are able to meet the adoption social worker in person to decide if that particular regional adoption agency is best for your adoption plan. When choosing an adoption professional, it can sometimes be helpful to interact with the agency in person. Some local agencies may offer face-to-face adoption counseling services and help provide transportation throughout the adoption process.
- Regional agencies are involved in the adoption process from your first phone call up until finalization of the adoption. Adoption agencies are able to provide a variety of services to pregnant mothers, whereas an adoption attorney or adoption facilitator may not be able to provide some services, such as counseling and support or financial assistance.
- Adoption agencies are annually reviewed by their state government, ensuring they comply with the state’s adoption laws. These agencies have experience completing adoptions in your state or region and are often experts on local adoption laws. Annual reviews ensure these agencies are complying with state adoption laws.
- The adoptive family will usually live in the same state or region as you. Living near your child’s adoptive family can help provide you peace of mind and facilitate pre-placement meetings with the adoptive parents.
Cons of Local Adoption Agencies
- They don’t have as many waiting families as national adoption agencies, meaning it may be more difficult to find the perfect family for your adoption plan. National adoption agencies work with adoptive families from all 50 states, giving expectant mothers a larger pool of families to choose from. Because the number of waiting families will be more limited for local or regional agencies, it could be more difficult for you to find a family that perfectly meets the criteria in your adoption plan.
- These agencies don’t have as many resources, are susceptible to changes in state laws and have a higher chance of going out of business during the adoption process than a national adoption agency. Because local adoption agencies do business in a limited geographical region, they must be able to quickly adapt to changing state laws or risk going out of business. These agencies also have fewer resources and smaller staffs, meaning they may not be able to provide as many resources or offer 24/7 support to pregnant mothers.
- The adoptive family will usually live in the same state or region as you. While this can be beneficial, it can also be challenging. You may have less privacy with a smaller adoption agency than you would have with a national agency, and in some instances, you may have to speak with the family directly instead of with the agency’s mediation.
Choosing a Regional Adoption Agency
If you have decided that working with a local adoption agency is the best choice for you and your baby, there are several questions you may want to ask the regional adoption agencies you are considering before making your final decision:
- On average, how many waiting families do you have?
- In what state or region do most of your adoptive families live?
- When will my adoption social worker be available in person or by phone?
- How are living expenses handled?
- Are you licensed?
- How much control do I have over the adoption?
- What is your agency’s stance on open adoption or pre-placement contact?
- Do you provide free adoption counseling?
Regional adoption agencies are a great choice for prospective birth mothers who want to meet their adoption professional in person and who want to place their baby with a family who lives in their state or region. The right local adoption agency should be able to provide most of the same resources and services as a large national agency.
Links and Resources:
- Adoption Minnesota (Minnesota)
- The Family Network (California)
- Hope’s Promise (Colorado)
- Agape Adoption Agency of Arizona
- Family Connections Christian Adoptions (California)
- Adoption Center of Illinois
- Hillcrest Family Services (Iowa)
- Journeys of the Heart (Oregon)
- Lilyfield (Oklahoma)
- The Cradle (Illinois)
- Wyoming and Colorado Children’s Society