What’s the difference between an adoption agency and a facilitator?

If you’re looking to adopt for the first time, you may not be aware that there are different types of professionals who can help you achieve your dream of having a family.

In addition to traditional adoption agencies, you can also choose from adoption attorneys, consultants and facilitators. They should all help you achieve your goal, but not by taking the same path. There are some very big differences to be aware of, especially with between the two most common professionals, adoption agencies and facilitators.  Attorneys are skilled at the legal side, but have a lower rate of seeing through birth mother to actually giving up the right to the baby (it’s common for the birth mother to change her mind).

Adoption agencies are the most conventional way for prospective parents to connect with a birth mother. This time-honored method has been around for decades because it is a safe, tried-and-true way to adopt a child. Adoption facilitators are somewhat new to the adoption scene and play a very different role. Let’s take a look at a few of their differences:


  • Adoption agencies are licensed by their state and must adhere to strict rules and regulations in order to maintain their license
  • Adoption facilitators have no licensing requirement and as a result, are not held to any legal type of ethical standards

Scope of Work

  • Adoption agencies strive to find the right match for both parents-to-be and birth mothers. They work with both sides and continue to follow their progress and offer assistance throughout the remainder of the pregnancy
  • Adoption facilitators act like an intermediary. Their job is to locate a baby for their client through advertising and once that task is complete, both prospective parents and birth mothers are typically referred to an adoption attorney. The facilitator steps away from the process and is no longer involved in the pregnancy

Counseling and Support

  • Adoption agencies generally provide counseling with a licensed social worker or therapist throughout the process. These professionals help birth mothers decide if adoption is the right decision for them and provide emotional support after the birth
  • Adoption facilitators are not counselors and generally do not have any on staff. These are independent contractors whose sole job is to secure a baby

Emotional Connection

  • Adoption agencies are invested in the needs of their clients. They are there to open doors for prospective parents and mothers-to-be, not only to make a connection, but often to also prepare both families for relationships after birth through closed, semi-open or open arrangements. They make sure everyone is comfortable and happy with the decisions made
  • Adoption facilitators bow out of the adoption process after finding a birth mother for their client. Many clients report feeling like a number instead of a person. They pass the responsibility of making further arrangements to other professionals

Depth of knowledge

  • Adoption agencies are well-versed in their state’s adoption laws and while they cannot provide legal advice, they can offer proper guidance
  • Adoption facilitators may not possess this knowledge and as a result, the match could fall through after payment is made

Considering adoption? We would love to speak with you! Reach out to our Director today through the chat button, email info@openarmsadoptionagency.com or call (206) 492-4196.


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