• Parenting

Considering private adoption? Here's where to start . . .


In this article, you’ll find answers to questions like:

1. What are typical questions about private adoption?
2. Who manages the private adoption process?
3. What do adoptive parents recommend?

Brandy and Terry Truex of Boca Raton opened their minds to adoption after several attempts to have a biological child. Years of unsuccessful intervention, including rounds of expensive in-vitro fertilization, left them searching for other ways to have a family. Their research led them to a private adoption agency, where they could ask the difficult questions.


“We wanted to know can we pick the gender or ethnicity of the child we wanted? Could we pick the age? What could we know about the mother, and how much did we have to share with our child after the adoption,” Brandy Truex says. “We weren’t even sure we were allowed to ask these types of questions, but we learned those were pretty typical.”

Working with the agency, they were selected by a mother who gave birth to a baby girl with Brandy right there in the birthing suite.

Almost three years later, the same agency contacted them about a little boy who would become their son. Unanticipated, but welcomed, was the arrival of their son's brother. The Truex family encountered a very unusual set of circumstances that resulted in three adoptions in four and a half years.


Unlike adopting children who are in the state’s care, which is called public adoption, private adoptions are managed by state-licensed agencies and private adoption attorneys.

Robert C. Lamarche, executive director of Advocates for Children and Families Adoptions based in North Miami Beach, says the first questions he's usually asked are, “How long is it going to take?”, “How much is it going to cost?” and “Is the adoption open or closed?”

Other frequently asked questions address whether the child is substance-exposed, the demographics of the mother and the legal processes of private adoption.

On the private agency's website, the adoption process includes how the birth mothers are matched with prospective couples, the adoption home study process (including costs and fees), adopting a child from another state or country and the required 12-hour adoptive parent training course. The agency also allows visitors to download the application packet with fee schedule and to listen to testimonials.

“The length of the wait and exact cost of the adoption are harder to pinpoint,” Lamarche says. “The wait is largely determined by the preferences of the adoptive family, as well as the likelihood of them being selected by a birth mother. While the agency fee is set, the additional costs per case can vary based on the expectant mother’s needs.”


Brandy Truex gleaned useful information from other adoptive parents in Palm Beach County, eventually becoming a resource herself. In fact, she was featured in a local podcast and welcomes people to ask questions about her experience through her Facebook page.

She also recommends reading “The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole,” by Lori Holden with Crystal Haas, and “Twenty Things Adopted Children Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew” by Sherrie Elridge.

Lamarche, who also is an adoptive parent, advises people to educate themselves on laws in the state from which they intend to adopt, as adoption laws can vary significantly. If they are considering an intercountry adoption, they should seek advice from a Hague-accredited agency.

It's important to remain flexible and open-minded to the birth mother’s situation, he says. Contrary to the myth that many birth mothers are young women with an unplanned pregnancy, the typical birth mother often is in her 20s to 30s, parenting other children and poverty-stricken with little to no support. Some may suffer from substance abuse or trauma and may not practice self-care, even while pregnant, Lamarche says.

“I have tremendous respect for the women who decide to do this because there is stigma attached to giving up your baby,” Lamarche says. “The birth mothers are often dealing with very difficult circumstances, so the adoptive parents should be realistic and patient.”


• Robert Lamarche, executive director and attorney, Advocates for Children and Families

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