What is the legal difference between an agency adoption and an independent adoption?

Independent adoptions are arranged through attorneys, facilitators, physicians, counseling centers, etc. The birthmother gives physical custody to the adopting couple, while retaining legal guardianship until the adoption is finalized in court.  In independent adoptions, a birth mother typically has 30 days until her relinquishment is final.  Most independent adoptions offer limited openness counseling and therapy for all members of the adoption triad (adoptee, birth parents, and adopted parents).

Agency Adoptions are handled through licensed agencies, like IPAS, that are regulated by the State of California. We are legally allowed to accept a birthmother’s relinquishment and we become the child’s guardian until the adoption is finalized.  In agency adoptions, a birth mother has approximately 10 days until her relinquishment is final.  Once the relinquishment is acknowledged by the State, it becomes final as to the mother. In addition, reputable adoption agencies will offer lifelong (affordable or free) openness counseling and therapy for all members of the adoption triad.

Are there other differences?

While adoptions can be arranged independently, only a licensed agency such as IPAS can provide all of the services required before, during, and after an adoption – for birth parents, adoptees, and adopting parents.

IPAS is dedicated to “being there” for you and your child with education and counseling that far surpasses any legal requirements.

For more information about our history as a non-profit licensed adoption agency and our tradition of service, please call our office at (559) 437-7777 or 1 (800) 994-2367.