Applying for adoption through an agency takes a bit more than an application and a home study these days.
Adoption agencies are for- or nonprofit companies licensed by the state to conduct home studies. Agencies may also take care of child placement and provide adoption services to potential adoptive parents that have independently selected a birth mother.
Adoption isn't cheap and working with an agency can reduce unnecessary costs accrued by an inexperienced couple trying to adopt independently. Applying for placement with an agency may not have a fee, although expenses may range between $2,500 and $30,000. Choosing to adopt from a public agency or one with a religious affiliation may yield lower fees.
There are two types of agencies: public and private.
Public agencies usually place older children from the U.S. foster care system. Depending on the state, certain adoption expenses may be reimbursed and federal and state aid can also be given in special needs cases if discussed before finalizing the adoption. Public agencies are government-run and can take up to a year to place a child. Public agency adoptions are ideal for those who do not want to be placed with an infant or may not be able to afford the adoption expenses for infant adoption. Nontraditional adopters may also have an easier time being placed with a child through a public agency than a private one.
Private agencies are a bit more hands-on than a public agency and primarily place infants and facilitate those placements with birth mothers. Most agencies require adopters to pay for expenses that include counseling birth parents, child birth fees and post-adoption supervision. Private adoption agencies will also have an attorney on hand that may charge hourly service fees.