If you’re thinking about adopting through a local or national licensed adoption agency, you may be wondering what exactly that means. Adoption agencies — both local and national — are the only type of adoption professional that must be both licensed and periodically reviewed by the government.
Being licensed, or certified, means that an adoption professional can perform adoption services in the state in which they are licensed. For a local adoption agency, then, that means they’ll be able to help you perform an adoption if it occurs in the same state they’re located in. If the adoption occurs across state lines, you’ll have to work with, at the minimum, an attorney who practices in the same state as the birth mother.
A national adoption agency works with pregnant women and potential adoptive families in all 50 states, which means they can help to facilitate adoptions nationwide. Since national adoption agencies can work with pregnant women across the country rather than just in one state, this translates to reduced wait times for adopting. National adoption agencies can also often provide additional services, such as the adoption home study, in states where they are licensed. Most national agencies are licensed in multiple states.
Each year, the government reviews both types of licensed adoption agencies. For a local agency, the state comes to review files and audits and ensure that the agency is complying with state laws and adoption regulations. When an agency is licensed in many states, they get reviewed multiple times per year by each state’s government. Since adoption regulations vary by state, that agency is then held to more restrictions and guidelines. Essentially, this creates an extra layer of safety and dependability for clients.
By using a licensed adoption agency, whether local or national, to complete your adoption, you are choosing to use the safest, most regulated type of adoption organization. To learn more about the reputation of an agency you’re considering, follow these steps provided by the Child Welfare Information Gateway.