In a private agency adoption, the birth mother relinquishes, or transfers, her parental rights to the licensed child-placing agency following the birth of her child. Thereafter, the adoption agency places the child with a prospective adoptive family approved through a comprehensive home study process. The private agency is responsible for screening the adoptive family, counseling the birth parents, facilitating and accepting the birth parents’ relinquishment of the child, providing permissible financial assistance to the birth mother, and supervising the placement until finalization. The agency holds legal custody of the child until finalization. Families can apply to New Jersey licensed adoption agencies or to out-of-state licensed adoption agencies that do not operate for profit.
Agency adoptions can be either “direct” or “identified,” depending on how the birth and adoptive parents find one another. When the match is made as through an adoption agency, this is sometimes referred to as a “direct agency adoption.” The birth parents typically select the adoptive family after viewing the family’s adoption profile, consisting of letters, pictures or a video describing their family. Some birth parents, however, do not wish to personally select the adoptive family and allow the agency to make the selection for them.
In cases where the adoptive parents and birth parents locate one another independently, an agency can be brought in to assist with the adoption. This is called an “identified agency adoption.” As in a direct agency adoption, the birth parents will surrender their parental rights to the agency and the child will be placed with the adoptive parents selected by the birth parents. The adoption will follow the laws governing agency adoptions. Agencies are brought in to assist with an adoption for a variety of reasons, both legal and practical. My firm can help you in determining whether an identified agency adoption would be beneficial for your adoption plan.
If you would like to learn more about direct and identified private agency adoptions, please feel free to contact my firm.