The following is an overview of some main factors that adoptive couples should consider before choosing a private or state adoption.
Private Adoption – 3 to 12 months at American Adoptions, on average
State Adoption – Over two years for termination of birth parents’ rights1
Shorter wait times are more important to some people than others. For example, adoptive couples in their late 30s or early 40s may feel their “golden years” of becoming parents are slipping away, so time is valuable to them. These hopeful parents often decide that the cost of a private adoption is worth it because they will likely receive a baby within a matter of months rather than a matter of years.
Adopting through the state can be a lengthy process for foster parents, simply because of the amount of time it requires to adopt. In the foster care system, birth parents are given ample opportunities to become quality parents, barring their children from being eligible for adoption for at least two years.1
If birth parents are rehabilitated, their child will usually be removed from the foster home and placed back with their birth family. However, if their parental rights are ultimately terminated, the child will then be available for adoption.
The termination of birth parents’ rights and the adoption process itself is much quicker in a private adoption.
Adoptive families need to balance their priorities and goals for adoption costs and wait times. Doing so will ensure that the adoptive family makes the right choice for their situation.
Private Adoption – Medium
State Adoption – High
There is some degree of uncertainty no matter which type of adoption the adoptive family chooses, but the source of the uncertainty is different for each.
American Adoptions has a success rate of nearly 85 percent of completed adoptions once a match has been made between the birth mother and adoptive family. All precautions are taken to avoid “disruptions,” but they can and sometimes do happen.
Adoptive families pursuing a private adoption will often feel some uncertainty because their futures are tied to a birth mother’s final decision of completing her adoption plan.
State adoptions, on the other hand, have a very high uncertainty rate because foster parents have little control in the proceedings of the adoption.
For example, a couple may sign up to become foster parents in hopes of adopting a child. They receive a foster child and quickly bond with him or her as if their own. A year later, the child’s birth parents clean up their lifestyles, and the child is then reintegrated into his or her birth family, leaving the foster parents childless after an entire year of bonding. The foster parents will then have to move on and repeat the process with another foster child.
This scenario happens frequently in the state adoption foster care system. In fact, only 19 percent of children who exited foster care in 2008 were adopted, while 60 percent of the children were either reintegrated with their birth parents or with a relative.1
Private Adoption – Newborn baby
State Adoption – Less than 1 year old to 18 years old
The adopted child’s preferred age is yet another factor to discuss before determining which type of adoption is best for the adoptive family.
More than 99 percent of American Adoptions’ placements are of newborn babies.
With state adoption, foster children of all ages need homes. In 2008, 28 percent of adopted foster children were two years old or younger; only 2 percent of them were younger than 1 year old. Also, 63 percent of all adopted foster children