Should You Opt for an Agency Adoption or a Private Adoption?

When it comes to adoption, your highest priority is making the process simple and beneficial for all involved-especially for your future child. However, it’s not always clear whether an adoption performed with the help of an agency or an independent private adoption offers the better path.

While each situation is different, understanding how these two options compare can give you a starting place. In this blog, we summarize the process of each.

Agency Adoption

When you adopt through an agency, that agency serves as the connection between you and prospective birth mothers. The agency provides birth mothers with counseling and the profiles of interested families. The agency provides you with a guide through the process.

You have the option to choose between a private agency or a public agency. Private agencies often handle both domestic and international adoptions, while your public agency may only work with local children.


Generally, an agency adoption provides more oversight and structure than a private adoption. This type of adoption has the following advantages:

  • Extensive parent training-When you work with an adoption agency, you typically receive 10 or more hours of training about the adoption process. This training is intended to prepare you to raise a child of a different race than yours, identify and address any health issues caused by unhealthy pregnancies, and so on.
  • High safety standards-Agencies work hard to protect the rights, interests, and safety of all involved parties. As an adoptive family, you will likely need to be fingerprinted, have a background check performed, and be approved before you can take custody of your adopted child.
  • Option to close the adoption-If you choose to do so, you can close your adoption. This option means that you do not have to disclose your name or meet the birth family.

If you’re ready to be matched directly to a child, find an agency that fits your needs to get started.

Private Adoption

During a private adoption, your attorney works directly with birth mothers or birth families to find the right fit. When allowed by state law, your attorney advertises to birth families and may use networking to match you with a child. Your attorney can also guide you through the process of finding a birth mother on your own.

In addition to your attorney, you may also work with a social worker of your choosing or a facilitator.
Private adoptions tend to be local, but they are can also include children in other states.


Where an agency adoption gives you more structure, a private adoption gives you more control. Private adoption has the following advantages:

  • Fewer rigid requirements-In a private adoption, the requirements depend on your desires and your attorney’s recommendations. For example, a basic background check is required, but an extensive background check is not. You may choose to provide the birth family with more information at your discretion and your attorney’s advisement.
  • Less time spent waiting-Unlike agency adoptions, private adoptions do not generally involve waiting lists. Instead, your profile can be shown to families as soon as it’s fully prepared.
  • Possibility of relationship with birth mother-In a private adoption, you decide how much of a relationship you want to have with your child’s birth mother and, by extension, how much of a relationship your child will have with her.

If you want to pursue a private adoption, start by finding an experienced attorney.


Whether you choose an agency adoption or a private one, it’s wise to retain an attorney to help with the process. Your attorney can navigate the agency’s process or facilitate meetings with prospective birth mothers. Additionally, your attorney helps ensure that your adoption complies with all local, state, and federal laws so there aren’t any complications later on.

Use this comparison to decide how you can best connect with your future child.

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