Finding a baby to adopt without an agency is increasingly becoming an option for hopeful parents today.
The tree main reasons include:
- they can’t afford an adoption agency’s $40,000 in fees
- they want to take more control over their adoption journey
- they’re creative and resourceful and enjoy the challenge of doing things themselves.
Not too many years ago, if you wanted to adopt there was really only one option: an agency.
Today, adoption agencies still complete a large share of placements and the majority of them do a great job. But they’re no longer the only show in town.
Thanks to the internet, social media, and developments like self-matching and independent adoption, waiting parents have the ability to find a baby to adopt on their own without the assistance of an agency.
From surfing the web to explore their options to creating websites and social media accounts, hopeful parents are taking their search and networking into their own hands and connecting directly with expectant parents. But while there are many advantages to finding an adoption match on your own, without working with an agency, there are also many disadvantages.
Let’s start with the advantages for waiting parents.
Adopting Without An agency Can Save You Money
Adopting a baby is expensive. But remember you’re not paying for the baby or for the expectant parents to give it to you. You’re paying for all of the adoption professionals involved in making sure the process goes smoothly and ethically.
Many agencies are fully-serviced, meaning they offer help from the beginning of the process until the end. That’s a lot of work involving a lot of people: from receptions and counsellors to lawyers and marketing experts. Plus, they have overhead. Financially, that adds up.
Adopting on your own, however, is kind of like DIY. There are ways to cut corners and do things more cheaply. For instance, if you’re interested you can create your profile yourself instead of having someone at an agency do it for you in-house. Similarly, if you want to post your profile on social media for free rather than spend a fortune on Google Adwords, you have the option to do that too. Saving a little and a little there can eventually go a long way.
Not Hiring An Agency Can Save You Time
Ever notice when you want something done and you have the choice of getting someone to do it for you or do it yourself you usually get it done faster if you do it yourself—provided, of course, you know what you’re doing!
The same idea applies to working with an agency, or anyone for that matter. An agency may have more expertise and greater resources at their disposal, but they also have a lot more clients to service. As a result, their efforts are spread out over 10, 20, 50 or more other waiting parents. And just like you, those other 50 waiting parents want results–pronto!
You, on the other hand, only have one client: You. That more or less guarantees that you’ll do the best job you can because you want to keep your client (and your client’s spouse) happy! If you can knockoff writing your profile in two days instead of a six, you’ll do it in two, even if it means giving up part of your weekend or not watching your favorite basketball team.
Going Without An Agency Can Give You More Control
Putting yourself in charge of your adoption journey shifts the balance of power from an agency to you. You’re responsible for everything, from finding and hiring your professionals to building your networking campaign. You decide how much time to put into your search, and how and when to do it.
If you want to work 10 days straight you can. If you want to take the weekend off to drive around in the country it’s your call. You control your schedule and what you want to do, setting the parameters and the pace.
Some waiting parents have a hard time adjusting to an agency’s “holier than thou” tone and approach. They don’t like the way that even though the agency says they can call at any time, every time they do call they’re treated like children or feel like they’ve just interrupted something important. When you’re working on your own, you’re beholden to nobody but yourself.
Given how unpredictable the adoption process is and how much is at stake, many hopeful parents want to be involved in the decision-making process as much as they can. Not because they want to get involved in making difficult decisions—that’s why they hired the agency. instead, they just want to know that things are moving along smoothly.
Now for the cons about adopting a baby without an agency. You didn’t think we forgot them, right?!
Finding A Baby To Adopt On Your Own Is More Risky
Having control of every aspect of your adoption journey is one of the biggest benefits of adopting a baby on your own. It’s also one of the biggest drawbacks.
As the person in charge, you get all the credit for the good things that happen. Problem is, adoption is rarely predictable. Things don’t move in a straight line. S*** happens . And when it does, you have to wear it (figuratively speaking, of course).
At an agency, support and guidance would be part of its prix fix menu of services. When you’re on your own and something goes wrong, you have to reach into your own pocket.
Connecting With An Expectant Mother Could Be Harder And More Expensive
Adopting on your own can be cheaper…or not. If everything goes perfectly, you can save a lot of money. But when was the last time everything went perfectly? There are always going to be unexpected bumps along the road—the home study took longer than you thought; the website you created crashed so you had to create another one; or the Instagram Ads that were supposed to connect you to an expectant parents brought scammers instead.
Taking a shortcut here or there isn’t usually a problem, as long it doesn’t involve big issues. But if you decide to save money by not giving the expectant parents all the counselling they need, one day months into your relationship you could wake up to a text messsage from the expectant parents saying they backed out.
And then there’s the financial and emotional repercussions of dealing with scammers. When you putting yourself out there online, they will always be part of equation. If you’re working with an agency, at least you know they’re screen all of your responses for you so you won’t have to worry about people exploiting your vulnerability for money or attention.
Finding An Adoption Match By Yourself Could Take Longer And Be More Stressful
Taking your search for a baby into your own hands was supposed to jumpstart your adoption journey. But six months in, despite spending hours of your day networking and hundreds of dollars on ads, you still have nothing to show for your efforts (maybe it’s time you joined our adoption profile service!).
If you get to the point where you’re completely broken down or overwhelmed by all of the things you need to do you could think about hiring a consultant. Consultants are often described as “wedding consultants–for adoption.” They will hold your hand and navigate you through every stage of the process. They can be pricy but less pricy than an agency. And just as with agencies, there are good consultants and not-so-good consultants. So, in the interests of saving time and money, try to find yourself a good one.
In closing, adopting a baby on your own through self-matching or independent adoption can save you time, money and give you more control over the process. But if it’s not done right or you run into complications it could end up taking longer, cost more, and create additional problems that you may not have experienced if you had handed over everything to an agency at the beginning.