The following was excerpted from Lifetime Founder Mardie Caldwell’s most recent adoption book, Called to Adoption:
Since the 1980s, adoption facilitators have played an important role in bringing together birth and adoptive parents. They often accomplish the task much more quickly than private or public agencies. Regulation and licensing of adoption facilitators varies from state to state. Ask the individual organizations about their qualifications. It’s best to use licensed, registered, and established adoption facilitators.
Birth mothers often prefer working through adoption facilitators because they are able to complete private adoptions, where they relinquish their parental rights directly to the adoptive family, rather than to an organization. They are able to make more decisions about their adoption, their child, and the type of ongoing contact they desire. They are able to complete a more personalized adoption, while still taking advantage of the services available through an adoption professional without any cost to them. It’s simply easier to have a customized adoption plan.
One of the biggest differences between adoption agencies and facilitators is their focus. Agencies tend to be more local and adoptive-family focused since they provide a full-service type package, including the adoption home study to the adoptive family. Adoption facilitators tend to be more birth mother focused and are able to work nationwide. This is often a key to success because the time is spent in caring for women considering adoption, rather than time spent in the field providing home studies for adoptive families.
Adoption facilitators also typically have well-developed referrals they can provide to you for home study and legal services. Because of the differences in focus, facilitators tend to complete more adoptions than agencies and typically work with far more potential birth mothers.
In 2008, Caldwell worked diligently to help establish the licensing requirements for adoption facilitators in California. After working for so many years and helping thousands of families adopt, this opportunity was priceless. She was the only adoption professional asked to speak before the state legislature about the need for the requirements. What a thrill it was when Governor Schwarzenegger signed the bill into law later that year!