My husband and I have been comparing and contrasting foster care & agency adoptions.
We complied our research to post on our blog.
1. Foster Care Adoption
Foster care adoption involves the adoption of children who are living in the U.S. foster care system. These adoptions are usually handled through local and regional public agencies; however some States contract with licensed private agencies to recruit, train, conduct home studies and license adoptive parents for these children. In some States prospective parents will be dually licensed as both foster and an adoptive parents.
While most children who are adopted from foster care are adopted by their foster parents and other children are adopted by their relatives, nationwide there are still many thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system waiting for permanent families (See the Trends in Foster Care Adoption from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System on the Children's Bureau website for the most recent years' numbers of children waiting: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends.htm. Child welfare professionals must recruit potential adoptive families for these children who are waiting for adoption.
2. Adoption through Adoption Agencies
There are two basic types of adoption agencies: public and private.
Public agencies are usually supported by public funding, are run by counties or states, and generally assist in the adoption of children in the foster care system.
Private agencies are usually licensed by the state but run privately and can assist in most types of adoption.
Adoption agencies often provide more support services than in a private adoption, such as pre-adoption education, counseling, homestudies, and post-adoption services and/or referrals. An agency usually does all of the "finding" of possible adoption opportunities for you. With increased services, costs are often higher than a private adoption.
Agency adoptions through the local public agency (also known as foster care, child welfare, social services); through licensed private agencies (permissible in most states and many foreign countries).
Agency adoptions can involve a wide range of adoptable children, depending on the focus of the agency. Some agencies specialize in the placement of international children, bi-racial children, special needs children, or children of a particular ethnic group. Other agencies may be involved entirely in adoptions involving infants. Some adoption agencies are selective in the type of adoptive couples with whom they will work.