FAQ About Private Adoption

FAQ About Private Adoption Faith Along the Way

When we started on our adoption journey, I had no idea what to expect and had a ton of questions, with no one to answer.  At that time, the only adoption I was somewhat familiar with was through an agency, and the whole term ‘private adoption’ intimidated me a great deal.

**While we have completed two private adoptions, I am far from an expert, and this post is NOT intended to serve as legal advice. This post is designed to help you understand the private adoption process a little more, but please consult a lawyer for official legal help. Also, please note that adoptions and laws vary from state to state and processes are subject to change.**

1. What is a private adoption?

A private adoption is where an adoption is completed without the use of an agency  Our facilitator for our private adoption was our lawyer, an adoption attorney, who handled all of the legalities. We also had a mutual friend act as a liaison between the birth parents and us, so the two couples did not have direct access to each other.

2. How did you find your birth parents?

Since we were not with an agency, we were on our own to locate birth parents who were considering adoption for their child.  We were connected with the birth parents through a mutual friend, who knew they were searching for a family for their unborn baby girl. Our friend arranged a meeting between us, where the birth parents decided that we were the couple they wanted to raise the baby.  Visit Our Miracle Adoption Story and Another Miracle Adoption Story for all of the details surrounding our two private adoptions and how God led us to the birth parents.

3. If I would like to find a family considering private adoptions, where should I start?

Be creative in where you start searching for parents considering adoption. First, spread the word to family and friends that you are considering adoption and would like to find a child without an agency.  You may want to consider starting a blog or Facebook page about your adoption and spread the word via social media.  I have seen stories where a baby was united with their forever family through social media!

Also, consider contacting local churches, pregnancy centers and hospitals about your story and create a relationship with them.  Building a bond with those agencies can help you in case they come in contact with a birth parent looking for an adoptive home.  Consider writing a “Meet our Family” sheet that tells your story, a little about yourself and contact information.  A blog or website could also be a handy place for potential birth parents to get to know your heart.

4. If I am ready to proceed with a private adoption, where do I start?

Find an excellent adoption attorney.  We found a list of attorneys in our area through a Google search and started calling those close to home and the hospital where the birth would take place.  I was able to schedule a no-cost meeting with our attorney before I signed on the dotted line to hire him, and he was patient to answer my MANY questions. Usually to secure legal services and have him/her officially represent you, you will have to pay a non-refundable retainer.  Be sure to do your research and hire a lawyer you feel comfortable with, have read reviews about and that you believe will be honest with you.  Ours was honest about all of the fees, what services were standard and even outlined situations in which the estimated cost would be more than anticipated.

5. How much does it cost?

In my case and in the state of GA, the lawyer fees for a basic private adoption with no complications range from $2,000-$5,000. The cost will rise if complications come up, such the paternity being questioned or if a biological relative decided to pursue custody. {Our lawyer was reasonably priced; not the cheapest, and not the most expensive.  There were definitely more expensive and even a few cheaper attorneys out there.  Don’t be afraid to shop around!}

Adoption Quote by Faith Along the Way


6. What does the process look like from start to finish?

* Find and secure the services of an adoption attorney.

* Once the baby is born, the attorney will deliver the paper work to the birth parents, usually while still in the hospital.

* With a witness beside the attorney, the birth parents will sign the Surrender of Parental Rights and Agreement of Temporary Custodianship, Guardianship and Child Care Authorization.  These papers will allow the child to be placed in your care immediately and have access to health care for the child.

* The next day after the Surrenders are signed, the biological parents have a ‘waiting period’, in which the are able to revoke the termination of parental rights without question.  In short, the birth parents are able to have the child back without question during this time period and you would have to comply.  This period varies by state, and some waiting periods are very short, a mere 48 hours, while others are 6 months.  It is CRUCIAL that you check your state’s laws on the waiting period!

* We were able to take our sweet bundle of joy home from the hospital and never missed an important first moment!

* Once the waiting period is over, the adoption paper work begins.  You will need to have FBI fingerprints, a home study, a physical, a drug test, an Adoption Investigation, proof of financial stability, proof of insurance, and so on.  The list is daunting, but with a great lawyer, this process will be easy.

* After all of the paper work is in place, you will be given a court date for the final adoption.

* Once the adoption is finalized, you will be able to get a new birth certificate with YOUR name as the parents (woohoo!) and legally change your child’s name.  It is a moment of pure joy!

7. How long does the whole process take?

The length of time depends on the case, how quickly you get your paper work in, how quickly they can schedule your court case and if there are any stumbling blocks with the birth family.  Joy was born in June and her adoption was final at the end of December.  Bubs was born in February and his adoption was final in July.  It could take longer than both of those situations, but it could also be shorter.

8. Should I expect to pay for the doctors visits, living arrangements and gifts for the birth mother?

NO!!!!!! In the case of private adoption, you CAN NOT by the birth mother {or father} anything, even a stick of gum.  It is considered “baby buying” if you compensate him/ her in any way.

9. How do you stay sane through this process?

I was a nervous wreck during each phase of this journey!  I was sick to my stomach, I couldn’t sleep and overall was a mess.  BUT, I knew that I served a God big enough to handle even the tiniest of details and if this was the child he had for us, he would make a way when I only saw chaos!

10. My biggest piece of advice to those considering private adoption is…..

PRAY!  Pray for your heart not too get too attached, pray for God’s will, pray for the birth parents, pray for a healthy baby, pray for your spouse and pray for your family.  Trust that God does not make mistakes and longs to be your peace in an anxious time.

RESEARCH! Research the state where the adoption will be held and get to know the laws.  I was especially interested in the laws about the length of the ‘waiting period’. Personally I was counting the days and minutes until our waiting period was over!

ENJOY!  Adoption is not for the faint of heart. As adoptive parents, we experience our own “birthing pains” while we wait for this journey to be complete.  Focus on God alone so you can enjoy the baby that you are holding in your arms and getting to know.  God is in the process of writing a love story between parents and child, and don’t blink so you can cherish every moment!


How has adoption impacted your life or the life of a loved one?  I love to hear stores of God uniting parents in waiting to their forever children, so leave a comment below to share yours!

This post was shared with Juana Mikels, Coffee for Your Heart, Moms Morning Coffee, Essential Fridays Still Saturdays Blessing Counters Mommy Moments Motivation Monday Titus 2 Tuesday Make a Difference Monday



  1. This is such great information! So wish I would have had this serveral years ago when we were looking considering adoption.

    1. Crystal,

      It’s so hard to find answers at your fingertips about adoption! I hope your journey went well!

  2. Wow! 🙂 I knew that it was intense and that there were many difficulties involved, but I am blessed by your heart and your desire to bring love into the lives of your children. What a treasure to be able to reveal that to them as they grow. I love your comment about birth pains of an adoptive parent, precious truth. Though I don’t know the road you walked to get there, I am so glad you shared it.

  3. Thank you for this information! Very useful. I’m hoping I have my own child first, but even once I do, I still want to adopt. I actually had no idea you could adopt this way and you could only go through agency. Thank you for the detailed information.

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