Is a Domestic Adoption Agency Right for You?

daughter balancing on dad's shoulders with arms stretched out to the sides
Nov 11, 2021 | Sara Khaki

Things to Know before You Commit

Happy National Adoption Awareness Month! November was given that designation in 1995 to raise awareness about adoption, especially for kids in the foster care system. But the idea actually dates all the way back to 1976. That year, Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis got the ball rolling by declaring our country’s first National Adoption Week.

In 2021, adoption remains one of the most life-changing decisions a person can make. If you’re considering adopting a child, congratulations! There’s an exciting and difficult road ahead. Perhaps the most important choice you’ll make early in this process is deciding how to adopt. Should you choose private domestic adoption, domestic agency adoption, or international adoption? Should you foster to adopt or work with an adoption consultant? There’s no “right” answer, but adopting through a domestic agency is one of the most popular options.

Consider these three things when deciding if it’s right for you:

  1. Agency adoptions are very expensive. Adoption agencies have higher fees than private domestic adoption ($5,000–$10,000) or fostering to adopt (as little as $2,000). Usually, they range from $18,000 to $35,000 or more. Some agencies have a sliding scale for their fees based on your income, or offer more affordable adoptions for African American children.
  2. You may be asked to cover costs for the birth mother. Some agencies ask adoptive parents to pay for expenses for the birth mother like transportation, clothing, medical expenses, and even rent.
  3. Adopting with an agency usually takes a year or more. Your typical wait time with an agency will be between 12–18 months. This is faster than an international adoption, but more than twice as time consuming as working with an adoption consultant, who may find a match in just 3–6 months.

If a domestic agency doesn’t sound like a good fit for you, explore the other options listed above! You can learn more about all of them on our website, or by scheduling a consultation with our team. We’ll help you understand the process and explain the laws that apply to your specific situation so you can make the best decision for your family.

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