What is Private Adoption?

Are you ready to adopt but need answers to your questions like, what is a private adoption vs. agency adoption? Find all the information your need to begin a private adoption here.

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Private adoption is a term that is often misunderstood. There are many terms that float around in the adoption world from private adoption to agency adoption to foster to adopt. Understanding the meaning will help you decide which you want to pursue.

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What is Private Adoption?

A private adoption is an adoption wherein prospective adoptive parents adopt a child whom they already know or adopt the child of a birth mother the adoptive parents have previously identified. Private adoption is sometimes referred to as “independent adoption” as it occurs independent of an adoption agency. Private adoption is one of the most common types of adoptions, especially when it comes to that of infant adoption in the United States.

Private adoption is the route most chosen by those who are hoping to adopt an infant. Though adoption through the foster care system is much less expensive, the chances of adopting a healthy infant are much less than those with private adoption. You can read about the pros and cons of the foster care system here.

How much does private adoption cost?

Private adoption is a more expensive option than adoption from foster care. It is also difficult to predict the exact cost of a private adoption. There are many variables that determine the cost such as attorney fees that are different for each attorney and costs of a home study that vary from state to state. It is generally expected that a private adoption will cost somewhere between $5k to $20k depending on the expenses. Possible expenses include but are not limited to:

  • home study
  • living expenses for the birth mother
  • court costs
  • attorney fees for you and the birth mother
  • counseling fees for birth parents
  • birth mother’s medical expenses
  • adoption insurance (optional)

How long does private adoption take?

For a private adoption, prospective parents try to find make an adoption match on their own by identifying a child or a birth mother. This can be someone they already know or someone they have found through advertising or word of mouth. It is common that prospective parents match with someone they know, or a situation involving a friend, or family member. This is often the most lengthy part of the process.

A home study can be completed in under a month with a licensed social worker or approved child placement agency.

Once the initial court date happens, there are often waiting periods for the birth parents to change their minds about the adoption. This can vary from one week to 30 days depending on your state. You adoption attorney will be able to advise you about this waiting period.

Do I have to have a home study for a private adoption?

A home study conducted by a licensed social worker or an approved child placement agency in your state will be required for any type of adoption. You can read other articles concerning the specifics of the home study process and what to expect here:

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