In a previous post I talked about the pros and cons of using an adoption agency for your beautiful journey. But is this the only way to adopt a child? Actually, no it isn’t.


If using an adoption agency has given you some concerns or if you simply want to be more hands on in the adoption process, another option would be to do an independent adoption.


Deciding to do an independent adoption allows you to work directly with the prospective birth parents to complete all the necessary steps to complete this journey. 

What are Some Pros of an Independent Adoption?


An Independent Adoption differs from agency adoptions in several ways. For instance: 


  • You can avoid long waiting lists and restrictive qualifying criteria.
  • Adoption costs are lower (on average) because fewer professionals are involved in the process.
  • Direct contact between a prospective birth mother and adoptive family.
  • Wait time for finding an adoption opportunity usually happens faster than agency adoptions.
  • Child goes directly into the physical custody of the adoptive parents rather than into temporary foster care.
  • Ideal for kinship adoptions or adoptions between friends.
  • You have the ability to adopt even without meeting some of the arbitrary standards imposed by agencies.
  • There is a type of openness characteristic that can offer psychological benefits to the birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted children. 

But with every pro for a subject, there usually is a con.

What are Some Cons of an Independent Adoption?


While an independent adoption can save you money, it doesn’t come without a price. 


Therefore, you need to make sure to do your research if doing an Independent Adoption. Some disadvantages are:

  • Independent adoptions must be open. In California, both the birth parents and the adoptive parents must exchange personal identifying information which includes full names and addresses.
  • There’s no case manager coordinating the adoption process steps.
  • You must find a match independent of an adoption professional.
  • No screening services prior to finding a match which can lead to an increased risk of adoption fraud.
  • In case of an adoption disruption, there’s no financial protection.
  • It can take longer to find a match, making costs increase quickly.
  • You must pay for legal fees, medical expenses and any living expenses of the prospective birth mother.
  • You will not receive the same pre-adoption education.
  • You’re responsible to find third-party counseling and support.
  • No mediator for closed or semi-open adoption arrangements.
  • No case manager coordinating the steps of the adoption process.
  • Has a longer revocation period, unless the birth mother signs a Waiver of the Right to Revoke.

There are many factors to consider when deciding between an agency and an independent adoption in California. Make sure you do your research to choose what is best for your family’s individual needs and circumstances. 


For more information about independent adoptions, here are some resources for you to research: