Adoptions are popular amongst many families that choose to take in a child as their own. Adoptive families assume the legal parental roles and responsibilities that are imposed upon biological parents. The complexity of the adoption process may be based on various situations and the circumstances of their adoption. A private adoption, also known as an independent adoption, is a form of child adoption that follows through without an adoption agency.

In a private adoption, the birth parents choose and arrange the agreement with the adoptive parents. The process is far more direct than going through an agency and often proves a cheaper option. In some states, private adoptions are illegal, but in California, the law ensures the right to private adoption. Here’s what you need to know about the process and facts regarding private adoptions and what to expect when a child is being privately adopted into a new family.

Adoption Overview

Adoption is the process by which an individual assumes the parental legal roles in raising a child. When adoption is enacted, the legal rights and filiations are removed from the biological parents to the adoptive parents permanently. This process can be done through private adoptions or an adoption agency. An agency does not need to be involved for an adoption to take place legally. That general cost of adoptions may vary charge-free to thousands of dollars depending on the circumstances and parental agreements. The four types of adoptions most commonly involve:

  • Foster care adoption
  • Foster-to-adopt
  • Infant adoption
  • Independent adoption

Private Adoptions vs. Agency Adoption

Private Adoption

A private adoption occurs when the child’s birth parents choose the adoptive parents and then work out an agreement in communication and pass the child over to the adoptive family. This process is usually done without an adoptive agency, and the terms may vary depending on the situational agreements between both families. The families have the option of maintaining contact between the biological parents and the adoptive ones. Usually, the terms are established before the child’s birth, and the child is typically handed off at birth.

The process is more direct than an agency adoption because it is based on the parents’ terms. The adoptive parents can opt-out should they realize that the adoptive family is not a good fit prior to the child’s birth. Should birth parents’ change their minds about the placement family after the child’s birth, they and the adoptive family may also sign an Adoption Placement Agreement. Through private adoptions, birth parents give their parental rights up to pass them along to the child’s new family in which they chose. Unlike private adoptions, when a parent goes to an adoption agency, their rights are given up to the agency until a family is selected for the child.

Agency Adoption

An agency adoption is the adoption of a child through a licensed child-placing agency. When birth parents place their child in an adoption agency, they give up their parental rights, and responsibility for their care is placed upon the agency. After the child is placed in the adoptive parents’ home, there is a 180 day waiting period until the adoption is finalized. Within this period, the child’s adaption process is monitored by the agency through home visits to ensure that the child is adjusting to their new environment. Adoption fees through an agency can range from 3,000 to 30,000 dollars, depending on the agency and its costs. Before the child’s placement, a home study is required to determine whether the environment is safe for upbringing a child. The process for agency adoptions can range from at least six months to a year.

What are the Responsibilities Following a Private Adoption?

When adopting a child, the adoptive parents are legally responsible for the health and upbringing of the child. The adoptive family is expected to treat the child as one of their own, generally caring for the child’s best interest and well-being. Responsibilities of adoptive families include:

  • Education of the child
  • The health of the child
  • Discipline
  • Emotional and mental well-being
  • Finances
  • Housing and meals
  • Legal decisions and choices

The process for adoption can vary anywhere from six months to a year, depending on the course of adoption. The most common forms of adoptions are either done through independent adoptions or public agencies, which can considerably impact the cost and time consumption of the adoptive process.

What is an Adoption Service Agreement?

An adoption service agreement is a document signed by both parties involved in the private adoption process. The agreement grants the birth parents the right to change their minds within 30 days of signing the agreement. When this occurs, the adoptive parents would then be required to return the child if requested within this time frame. If the request is filed at any point following 30 days after signing, then the birth parents will not be granted their parental claim of the child.

The initial cost of private adoptions can cost from 0 to 30,000 dollars depending on the agreements between both parties. Typically, it is found that private adoptions are to be slightly cheaper than adoptions through an agency. Benefits of a private adoption include the fact that there are no agency fees required in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are closed adoptions available through private adoptions?

A: The answer is yes. Whether an adoption is closed or not depends on the agreement between the birth parents and the adoptive family. If the family wants to maintain contact with the child, it would be included in the agreement made prior to the finalization of the adoption.

Q: Are there adoption fees in a private adoption?

A: The birth parents have the choice of how much the adoption would cost, but generally, the fees applied at agencies are not applied to private or independent adoptions.

Q: Can birth parents maintain their parental rights even after a private adoption?

A: Birth parents are required to hand their parental rights over to the adoptive family. Once an adoption is finalized, the adoptive parents have all parental rights and obligations established with legal parentage.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one is looking to privately adopt a child, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further inquiries. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.