The road to adoption is often a long and confusing one, leading adoptive families looking for resources to help them. One resource that is available in some states is adoption facilitators. Below, we cover what an adoption facilitator is and the benefits and drawbacks of using one.
What is an Adoption Facilitator?
Put simply, an adoption facilitator is a person or company who makes the initial connection between a birthmother and an adoptive family. Most facilitators require a fee that will only cover bridging an introduction to a birth family.
Because adoption facilitators usually are not required to be licensed, in many states they are prohibited or limited in what they are legally allowed to do. However, because their only focus is matching families with birthmothers, they often have large networks to enable that, and the good ones know exactly which questions to ask to ensure a good match. They are most often sought out by families that hope to speed their adoption process along.
Adoption Facilitators vs. Adoption Agencies
The two biggest differences between an adoption facilitator and an adoption agency are the range of services they provide and the training and licensing they have. Adoption facilitators are more focused on building social networks to help make adoption connections. Facilitators are not licensed with the state to handle all the legalities of an adoption. After an adoption facilitator has made a match between a birthmother and adoptive family, they will refer their clients to an adoption agency or adoption attorney.
An adoption agency, on the other hand, is equipped to handle an adoption from start to finish. These agencies are licensed by the state and handle everything involving the adoption, including counseling, home studies, and post-placement monitoring and assistance. It’s important to note that in many cases, birthmothers and adoptive families will end up working with an adoption agency after working with a facilitator. However, because adoption agencies have a wider focus, they may not have the matching capabilities that a skilled and experienced facilitator has.
Because adoption facilitators are not licensed through the state, they are not legal in every state. The states that allow adoption facilitators are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington DC, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Washington, Wyoming. Please note that laws are subject to change; contact an adoption attorney before employing an adoption facilitator to ensure it is legal in your state.