Private Adoption


Private adoption is the process of building a family without using an adoption agency for placement. In private adoption, it usually involves a family wanting to adopt a newborn.

In most cases, the prospective birthmother chooses the adoptive parents with whom she will place her child. She will then relinquish parental rights directly to the adoptive parents, instead of an agency.

As with all adoptions in the U.S., hopeful adoptive families are required to complete a home study by a licensed adoption professional. The purpose of the home study is to educate, prepare and evaluate the adoptive family to make sure there is a good match between a child’s needs and the family’s ability to meet those needs.

How many private adoptions take place each year?

Since there is no government office or central place where the number of private adoptions must be reported, it is difficult to know the exact number of babies adopted each year in the US. The best estimate is about 18,000 babies are adopted each year, and about 50% of those are through private adoption.

Hopeful adoptive families will need to complete their own search for an expectant woman who is considering adoption.

Private adoption will still require involvement of adoption professionals, such as an adoption attorney. There are facilitators and consultants who can also help a family through the process of finding and connecting with a prospective birthmom.

If adoptive parents choose to adopt across state lines, they must comply with the laws in both states. This requires the involvement of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which is a legally binding agreement between states regulating the placement of children across state lines.

What are the advantages?

One advantage of a private adoption can include a shorter wait time for placement because adoptive families can spend more time and money on their search for a prospective birthmother.

Another advantage of private adoption is that it allows a newborn baby to bypass foster care, so adoptive parents have the ability to begin bonding immediately with the child as placement generally occurs shortly after birth.

Private adoption allows all parties involved to make choices about what openness (or ongoing contact between birth family and adoptive family) will look like after placement. It is important to involve the counsel of an adoption professional (such as a licensed social worker) to help come up with a mutual agreement between the birth family and the adoptive family.

What does a private adoption cost?

The cost for private adoption can range from $10,000 to $30,000+, depending on many variables, such as attorney fees, costs to advertising (finding a match with an expectant mother), travel to another state, home study fees, etc.

Additional information about private adoption can be found at: