Private Adoption 101: Everything You Need to Know

You've made the decision to adopt -- but now what? From hiring a lawyer to finding a birth mom, here's what you need to know about the private adoption process (10 Photos)

Lambeth Hochwald on May 24, 2011 at 2:09PM

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How do I know if private adoption is right for me?

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a Lambeth Hochwald on May 3, 2011 at 12:47AM

If you’re considering private adoption (sometimes referred to as identified adoption), in which you use the Internet or place an ad in the newspaper to adopt directly from a biological mother or parents, there are lots of steps to navigate. Here, nine questions (and answers) about private adoption that will help make the process easier.

The pros: With private adoption, you’re likely to experience less red tape than if you use an agency. It can also help speed up the adoption process and help you locate a newborn baby, since you’re doing all the legwork yourself. The cons: Private adoptions are generally more costly than agency adoptions because there’s a greater likelihood of complications. Plus, prospective adoptive parents may not be aware of what’s appropriate – or even legal -- to fund for an expectant mother. And then there’s dealing with the birth mother: “With an agency adoption, there’s someone to help you who knows how to interview a potential birth mother,” says Deborah D. Gray, LCSW, a clinical social worker and author of Attaching in Adoption. “Social workers are trained to ask the right questions and in the right manner. They see patterns of behavior that lead them to inquire about health conditions of the prospective baby.” But if you’re doing it on your own, she adds, you may not know the right questions to ask or may feel too awkward to ask them.

Despite this, experts agree that one of the biggest advantages to private adoption is that you get to really know the birth mother, since you’re the one doing all the connecting. “The birth parents can become a member of your extended family,” Gray says.

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