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In private (independent) adoptions, an individual or couple adopts directly from the biological mother (or biological parents if paternity has been established). One advantage is that private adoptions can reduce adoption red tape but they are generally more costly than agency adoptions. Like agency adoptions, private domestic and international adoptions are governed by the laws in both the baby’s birth state/country and the adoptive parent’s home state/country. Gays and straights can use the private adoption route.
Generally, private adoptions are facilitated by an attorney and sometimes a private adoption consultant who may:
- Identify a biological mother seeking to relinquish her baby,
- Arrange and mediate contact between both parties, thus setting boundaries, maintaining clear communication, and reducing possible pressure from both parties, and
- Lay out the legal steps and assist both parties complete them.
Some states prohibit attorneys from "finding" or "matching" parents and are limited to the legal procedures after matches are made.
Some prospective parents seek out birthmothers independently by casting a wide net across their networks, and placing ads in newspapers and the Internet. Some adoptive parents pay thousands of dollars in advertising. Once a birthmother is located, an adoption attorney should be brought in immediately to facilitate the legal process. In fact, you should line up and consult with an adoption attorney before you identify a biological mother.
Adoptive parents generally pay a biological mother’s medical expenses and certain pregnancy, insurance, legal, and living costs, but can not pay the biological mother to relinquish her child. The courts consider this child trafficking — a crime in the U.S. and most nations.
In domestic private adoptions, attorneys should be familiar with adoption laws and procedures in the adoptive parents’ home state and the child’s birth state. In international private adoptions, domestic attorneys usually work with an attorney in the child’s birth country to ensure that all legal procedures are followed.