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National vs. Local Adoption Agencies

Deciding between adoption agencies can be complicated. National or local? Understanding the differences is the first step in pursuing your dream of becoming a mom and dad. We’re here to help.

“We chose American Adoption in large part because of the insurance policy and then, secondarily, the number of placements. We were looking at agencies that were smaller and closer to us… but the fact that we could get a placement potentially between three and nine months — and it ended up being less than that — those were definitely motivating factors.” – Adoptive parent, Cathy.

When you choose to adopt through our agency, you benefit from:

  • Honest wait times.

  • A 100% success rate when you remain active.

  • Financial protection for our families

This gives you the adoption experience you deserve and sets you up for success.

We know comparing adoption agencies can seem daunting. Adoptive families often have questions about what an agency can provide, such as wait times and adoption costs. Before deciding, it’s important to know the differences between national and local agencies.

Our experienced staff is ready to help you make the right decision for your journey, and you can speak with a specialist today by calling 1-800-ADOPTION or completing this free online form.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at the differences between agencies.

National Adoption Agencies

American Adoptions is a national agency with local resources in various states. Our national footprint means we work with hundreds of women considering adoption who are seeking a brighter future for themselves and their child.

Here’s what that means for you:

Shorter Adoption Wait Times

You don't deserve to wait forever to become a mom or a dad. Our average adoption wait time is an average of 12 months. Because we are a fully licensed adoption agency, this wait time is independently verified by state authorities — giving you confidence in your adoption journey.

As a national agency with more than 30 years of experience building more than 13,000 families, we offer services and support to complete every step of the adoption process. 

Did You Know?

Unlicensed agencies can lie about their costs and fees, wait time estimates, and much more.


No licensing or regulation puts you at risk of falling victim to adoption scams, causing you to lose time and money.

Financial Security

You can also benefit from our financial protection program, which ensures your adoption budget is never at risk.

Most other agencies and professionals can’t provide the same level of protection, meaning in the event of a disruption, you’ll be forced to repay fees to pursue a new opportunity.

That means an adoption disruption could drain your adoption budget. While the hope is always that a family will not experience a disruption, national research shows that they do happen 10-25% of the time.

If your finances are not protected, it will dramatically increase your wait time while you come up with the additional funds for a new opportunity.

You never have to repay fees when you work with us and remain active. If a disruption occurs, you can pursue a new opportunity without breaking the bank.

We’re ready to give you more information on how to start the adoption process. You can complete our online form to schedule a free consultation with one of our Adoption Coordinators.

Local Adoption Agencies

Many adoptive families look naturally to local agencies for adoption help.

While these local agencies often have licensed professionals who can safely complete an adoption, they don’t have the same kind of resources. Often, local agencies have very small staffs and work with fewer women considering adoption.

Often, the adoption wait time is the most important factor for adoptive families. Because local adoption agencies are smaller, your wait times can increase significantly. With a smaller staff and limited resources, slower response times may cause the adoption to take longer to complete.

As it relates to cost, you might find that local agencies are less expensive, but that is correlated with a drop-off in services — like less effective advertising that results in longer wait times.

Some examples of families who choose a local adoption agency include:

  • Families who don’t want to travel to another state

  • Families who are flexible on wait times

  • Families who are more risk-tolerant financially

If this is you, a local adoption agency might provide what you need. However, it's important to consider the limitations of local agency resources and understand the risk of drastically increasing your wait time by working with a local professional.

Avoid Adoption Scams

When choosing a professional, you’ll want to ask plenty of questions to ensure the agency you’re working with has your best interests in mind. You also want to know if they can provide the required services to complete the adoption process.

Whether a professional is national or local, you should always verify that they are a fully licensed adoption agency. This is the best way to ensure your adoption will be completed ethically and successfully. The bottom line is if an agency or professional isn't licensed, they aren't verified and held to the highest standards. This puts you at risk of facing adoption scams that will only bring emotional and financial distress.

Transparency is crucial. If a professional can’t or won’t answer your questions or provide certain information about their operations, it’s a serious red flag.

We encourage you to check out this guide on how to avoid adoption scams.

Make the Right Decision for Your Family

You don’t have to wait any longer to be a mom and dad. We’re ready to help your dreams become a reality with low average wait times, transparency of adoption costs, financial protection and comprehensive support. 

Our fully licensed agency and staff are ready to help you in your pursuit of building your family through adoption.

You can complete this online form today to schedule a free consultation with an Adoption Coordinator.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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