Can I Adopt?
We Have No Exclusionary Policies
The IAC offers birthparents the right to choose a family for their child. The IAC has no racial/ethnic, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression restrictions for prospective adoptive parents.
Adoptive Parent FAQ
- What is open adoption?
By definition, adoption is the legal act of permanently placing a child with someone other than the child's biological parents. Open adoption includes the birthparents and adoptive parents meeting one another, sharing full identifying information, and having direct access to ongoing contact over the years.
- What are the benefits of open adoption?
The birthparents feel at peace knowing they have created the adoption. Ongoing contact through the years enables birthparents to get closure and confirm that they made the best decision for their child. The adoptive parents feel chosen—entitled to parent their child. In addition, because they know the birthparents, they do not fear an unknown figure. The child benefits most of all because they know where they came from and where they belong. They also have access to information about their birthparents including cultural and medical history.
- Does IAC only do open adoption?
Yes, we believe that open adoption is the healthiest form of adoption for everyone involved in the adoption process. Open adoption removes the secrecy surrounding adoption, and creates a more accepting and loving alternative.
- Do you have any restrictions on adoptive parents?
Since we do open adoption, where the birthparents choose the adoptive parents, we have no restrictions on age, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, or whether or not you have children.
- Do you have a waiting list?
No the IAC does not utilize a waiting list. The birth families get to choose the adoptive families, and this means that adoptive families match with birthparents when it feels right for both of them; so waiting times can vary.
- What services can Independent Adoption Center provide for my family?
The IAC offers:
- Professional counseling and support groups for adoptive parents during all phases of the open adoption process.
- Professional counseling and support groups for birthparents during the open adoption process and after placement—including grief and loss counseling.
- Adoptive parent home studies and updates.
- Birthparents relinquishments.
- Post-placement supervision.
- Interstate compact work for out-of-state birthparents.
- Finalization reports six months after the birth of the child.
- National, regional and local community outreach and advertising, directed towards birthparents, social service professionals, and other referral sources.
- Where are you licensed to work with adoptive parents?
We are fully licensed in the states of California, Indiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Texas, New York, and Connecticut. In addition, IAC is authorized to place children for adoption in Connecticut.
- Does Independent Adoption Center facilitate out-of-state adoptions?
Yes, the IAC works with birth families throughout the United States. Many of the adoptions we complete are with birthparents living and giving birth throughout the country. If an adoptive family is working with birthparents in a state in which the IAC is not licensed, then we will work with you to hire a cooperative agency to work with the birthparents and you to complete the adoption in that state.
- How long do clients wait to bring a baby home from the hospital?
The average wait for placement is 15 months. for more detailed information see: http://www.adoptionhelp.org/open-adoption/statistics
- How many adoptions does the IAC complete each year?
The IAC has made between 140 and 182 placements each year since 2009. See:
- What kind of women choose to place a child in an open adoption?
Birthparents choosing open adoption are normally people with considerable maturity and courage. Such characteristics place most of these birthparents in a normal state of life and health. Unlike closed adoption practices, the release of information, including health history, is a routine and mandatory part of the process that counselors initiate to help ensure the success of the match for all parties.
- Do I need an attorney if I work with Independent Adoption Center?
Each state has their own specific adoption laws regarding terminations of the birthparent's rights and the finalization of the adoption. IAC will help you with current information for your state.
- How is the adoptive family chosen?
In an open adoption the birthparents choose the adoptive parents, usually by reading the adoptive parents' "Dear Birthmother" letter and/or visiting their website.
- What is a "Dear Birthmother" letter and how do I write one?
A "Dear Birthmother" letter is a document that uses words and photographs to create a picture of you and your relationships, families, work and what is important to you. A staff member at IAC will help you write your letter and offer support in choosing photographs and content. Your letter will then be shown to prospective birthparents who contact the IAC.
- How will I know what kind of contact my birthparents will want?
The extent of relationships and future contacts between birthparents and adoptive parents are discussed and agreed to prior to the birth of the child with the assistance of your open adoption counselor.
- Will the child be confused about who his "real" parents are if birthparents are involved in his life?
The adoptive parents are mom and dad. The birthparents understand and respect that. The reason they are making an adoption plan is because they are unable to parent at this time; they understand that they are permanently giving up the parenting role. They do not interfere with discipline or other child raising issues.
- If my child's birthparents see how cute and happy he is, won't they want him back?
No, when birthparents see how happy the child is, it reinforces that they made the right decision.
- How long do birthmothers have after signing to change her mind and take the baby back?
The length of time that birthparents have to change their mind depends on the state in which they reside. When you are chosen by a birthmother, our counselors will advise you of the laws in the relevant state.
- What if we have the baby a few years and a birthfather shows up and tries to get the baby back?
Every state has laws that allow us to terminate a birthfather's rights before birth or shortly after birth (usually within weeks), even if he cannot be located. Once the termination of the birthfather's rights has occurred, he is not able to overturn the adoption.
- Can we choose the gender of our baby?
In open adoption, birthparents choose the adoptive parents. Most often, when birthparents are choosing parents for their baby they do not know the gender of the child they are carrying. Therefore, adoptive parents must be open to either a boy or a girl.
- Does the IAC only place newborns?
Almost all of our placements are newborns placed directly from the hospital. Older children placements are rare through the IAC.
- What is my first step in becoming a client of Independent Adoption Center?
To get started, schedule to attend one of our Adoption Information Seminars, which will introduce you to openness in adoption and IAC's open adoption program. These sessions are informal, and there is plenty of time for questions. There is no obligation, though you will have the option to sign up for the IAC's services once the seminar is complete. At our Adoption Information Seminars we will fully explain how to join our agency.
- How much does adoption cost?
At the Independent Adoption Center, experience has taught us that the more you understand about the types and possible range of expenses, the better equipped you will be to develop a realistic budget and appropriate plans. IAC and its staff are here to guide you through the process - and while it may be difficult for some people to discuss money - we are here to ensure that you are well informed and well prepared.
IAC offers fees on a sliding scale. IAC's average fees range from $10,750 - $25,500 depending on your income. See: http://www.adoptionhelp.org/adoption-fees
Additional expenses exist that exist whether adopting through IAC or anyone else. These expenses include such items as medical expenses, pregnancy-related birthmother expenses, travel, and legal expenses. These expenses can range from $7,100 (for in-state) to more than $15,100 (for out-of-state). While there is quite a range of possible expenses, IAC's clients have the right to establish financial limits with IAC as part of its agreement. IAC supports everyone's right to set financial limits.
Expenses are typically spread out over a 9 - 18 month period, depending on when the adoptive parent(s) are matched and when the child is born.
- What financial aid is available?
IAC's fees can be paid through an interest-free monthly installment plan or in a single payment - whichever is most convenient. The most significant
financial aid, however, is a direct reimbursement of up to $12,970 (in 2013) per child by the IRS--The Federal Adoption Tax Credit. This reimbursement was designed by the federal government to cover documented adoption expenses including IAC fees. (If one's modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is more than $194,580 the credit is reduced. If one's modified AGI is $234,580 or more, one cannot take the credit). Using the Federal Adoption Tax Credit, the typical adoptive family can reclaim the vast majority of their adoption related expenses. It's important to us at IAC to keep you well informed and your adoption safe and affordable.
Additional financial aid options include accessing a home equity loan (the interest is tax deductible) or a personal loan, either of which could be paid off when your Federal Adoption Tax Credit refund arrives. Further, if eligible, approximately 20% of all fees are tax deductible as allowed by law because IAC is a nonprofit.
For more options visit our page on adoption financial aid.
IAC strongly recommends that you consult with your tax advisor regarding all tax issues and how they may or may not relate to you.
- What is a home study?
Adoption laws in every state require prospective adoptive parents to complete a pre-placement study usually called a home study. The home study consists of education and training for the adoptive parents, interviews, and various forms of paperwork, background checks and a home visit. We can do your home study if you live in the states of California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. We can still help you if you don't live in one of these states. Give us a call at 1-800-877-OPEN to find out more.
- How long does the home study take to complete?
On average the home study process takes 2 to 3 months to complete. You can help the process by completing all required paperwork, fingerprinting, etc. on a timely basis to ensure your home study is completed as quickly as possible. We will provide you with all of the needed documentation for you to complete and assist you with any questions to help you in your home study process.
Although the home study process is a source of anxiety for some prospective adoptive parents, there should be no reason to worry about not being "approved." We make our home study process as straight forward as possible to help you become a family as soon as possible.
- What information is needed for a home study?
Home studies require medical, employment and personal information as part of the home study, plus personal references and autobiographical statements, and scheduled in-person interviews and a planned visit to your home. IAC will supply you with a complete packet with instructions to begin your home study. Once your home study is completed, you will receive a copy of it for your own records.
- What is the purpose of a home study?
There are 3 main objectives in a home study:
- To educate you and prepare you for adoption.
- To gather information about you.
- To evaluate your stability as the adoptive family.
- What's involved in a home study?
The home study requires you to complete autobiographical questionnaires, have a medical, complete background checks, individual interviews with a social worker and have a home visit. You will also be requested to read some material on open adoption and complete an educational adoption workshop.
- Is there anything to do to prepare for the home visit?
The purpose of the planned home visit is to get a sense of you within your own personal surroundings and evaluate any possible safety issues (this will all be discussed prior to the visit). You can be assured this is just part of the home study process and occurs after all other information and documentation has been received from you.
- How do birthparents find out about Independent Adoption Center?
IAC develops and runs extensive outreach and marketing programs to reach as many potential birthparents as possible. Examples of some of our programs include:
- Online advertising through Google and other networks
- Developing and maintaining highly ranked websites with up-to-date information on adoption.
- Blogs that discuss the latest news in adoption and other relevant topics.
- Social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, among others.
- Traditional advertising in print media, radio, and television.
- Outreach to social workers and staff at clinics and regional hospitals.
- What is included in Independent Adoption Center's outreach program?
As a client of the IAC, all of our advertising, marketing and outreach to birthparents is included in our full service open adoption program. All clients benefit from our extensive and carefully developed demographic advertising, marketing and outreach programs.
- Can we do an international and domestic adoption simultaneously?
International adoption is an option many couples consider. Adopting a child from another country can be a successful way to form a loving family. However, domestic adoption with a licensed agency like the Independent Adoption Center is often the preferred choice for people who:
- Want to adopt a newborn or infant. They want to form loving bonds with their child from the start. In international adoptions, parents are rarely able to adopt a child younger than 6 to 18 months old.
- Want an affordable adoption with predictable costs; international adoptions are often considerably more expensive.
- Want reliable, accurate medical information about the child they are adopting. Details about the medical condition of their child are not always available to parents in international adoptions.
- Want to have detailed medical, cultural and biological information to answer their children's questions throughout the years. A child adopted from a country thousands of miles away will want to know specific information about his/her biological heritage, not just general cultural information.
- Prefer the comparatively simple adoption process with a reputable domestic agency to the sometimes-difficult maze of working with a foreign government's bureaucrats, often in an unfamiliar language.