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How do I Arrange a Private Adoption?

An adoption arranged without an adoption agency is called an independent or private adoption. It is legal in all States except Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, and Minnesota. With a private adoption, you need to find an attorney to represent you. Look for an attorney who will not charge you a fee if you decide not to place your baby for adoption. You also need to find adoptive parents. Here's how you find both of these.

To Find an Attorney

Legal Aid—This is a service available in most communities for people who cannot afford a private attorney. Sometimes it is located at a university law school. NOTE: Some States allow the adopting parents to pay your legal fees, so going to Legal Aid may not be necessary.

State Attorney Association or the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys—These groups can refer you to an attorney who handles adoptions in your area. You can contact the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys at P.O. Box 33053, Washington, DC 20033-0053.

To Find Adoptive Parents

Personal Ads—Some newspapers carry personal ads from people seeking to adopt. You call the number in the ad and get to know each other over the telephone. If you think you want to work with the couple, have your attorney call their attorney. The attorneys will work out all the arrangements according to what you and the adoptive parents want and the laws of your State.

Your Doctor—He or she may know about couples who are seeking a child, and be able to help arrange the adoption.

Adoptive Parent Support Groups—Parents who have already adopted may know other people seeking to adopt.

National Matching Services—These services help birth parents and adoptive parents find one another.

Of course, personal referrals are always good. Ask friends and family if they know any attorneys or possible adoptive parents.

Resource: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse.