Understanding the Adoption Process
It is important to understand that there are differences in the way legal adoptions are accomplished in every state. Generally, there are two types of adoptions involving infants born domestically:
Agency-Assisted AdoptionAgency- assisted adoptions are defined as placements where legal authority and responsibility for the child’s welfare are overseen by a licensed home study agency. Pact is a full service licensed agency. Pre-adoptive families must have a home study conducted by an agency in their home state; Pact is licensed in California. (When Pact provides placement services to a pre-adoptive family who lives in another state, the home study is conducted by another agency). When a child is born in a different state than the one in which the adoptive parents (or parent) reside, there must be designated licensed agencies in both states to oversee the placement until the adoption is finalized.
The vast majority of Pact adoptions are Identified Agency-Assisted placements.
Independent AdoptionIndependent (or private) adoption is a procedure in which the expectant parent(s) select the pre-adoptive parent(s) and place the child directly with them. Custody is transferred directly between the parents, rather than through an agency. Independent adoption is not legal in some states. Professionals such as attorneys, facilitators, psychotherapists, social workers and others may help make the process easier, but the principals are in charge of the decision-making aspect of the process. Generally speaking, the state in which the families reside oversee the process.
Role of Adoption AgenciesFull service adoption agencies like Pact generally provide the following services:
If you are looking for an ethical agency with which to pursue adoption, you should inquire whether they, at a minimum, offer all the services listed above. Be wary of organizations or individuals who place little emphasis on counseling, education, or preparation, seem to “sell” the speed with which they can deliver a placement, or demonstrate a disrespectful or coercive attitude towards expectant/birth parents. Ethical adoption should be a careful process that is always focused on the best interests of the child.
Home Study ProcessA home study is required for every adoption, whether it is an international or domestic, but the type of home study and requirements are mandated by individual states AND the type of adoption. This study requires information about all relevant aspects of a pre-adoptive parent’s life, including criminal record, finances, health, personal relationships, and readiness to adopt. The goal is to ensure a safe and loving home for every child placed for adoption.
Generally Pact recommends that families get a home study through a licensed agency because: