You’re paying someone to guide you through the process. “If you adopt via an agency, you'll be walked through each step of the process, and you'll have a whole team of professionals you can go to with questions,” says Eve Gilman, managing editor of Adoptive Families magazine. “When you adopt privately, you do more of the legwork yourself. Prospective private, domestic adoptive parents will have to consider if they’re comfortable advertising or networking to find a prospective birthmother.”
If you’re thinking of adopting internationally, you’ll most likely want to use an agency to help you get through the red tape. In fact, many countries only allow international adoptions through accredited agencies.