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Some adoptive parents choose to work independently and engage in direct outreach to expectant parents, hoping to become adoptive parents of a child whose parents choose adoption for their child.

This outreach may include making their adoption hopes known to extended family members, to friends in other areas of the country, to home town physicians, and to others who might be in a position to know someone considering placing her child for adoption. Some choose to create websites or social media campaigns or even place ads. There are also online portals that are geared specifically toward introducing birth parents to prospective adoptive parents. And still other adoptive parents hire a local adoption attorney to represent their interests and use the attorney’s outreach efforts to locate birth parents.

Parents who pursue this path in adoption are generally comfortable talking about their personal adoption plans and promoting their own journey. They speak directly to expectant parents and decide whether a match is mutually beneficial to the child. In all cases though, the adoptive family retains an attorney to represent its legal interests and to guide them through the specific state regulations involved in private adoption.

The Process

Like all Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C.--based families working with The Barker Adoption Foundation, those choosing to work independently still participate in a general information session, a clinical intake or application interview meeting, all required parent trainings, and a home study. They also receive the support of Barker staff from application to adoption finalization. In addition, they may seek support from Barker’s Domestic Infant Adoption Family Specialist when considering a possible relationship with expectant parents considering placing their child for adoption or when preparing for their first meeting with expectant parents. And as with all Barker families, a social worker works with them during the home study and the post-placement supervision period.

The primary difference in this program from Barker’s other options  is that prospective adoptive parents work independently to engage with expectant parents directly and retain an attorney earlier in the process to represent them. When an expectant parent match occurs, often the adoptive family travels to visit and meet them before the birth. When the baby is born, the adoptive family travels to take custody and returns home after any local waiting period requirements are met. Barker provides post-placement supervision and support.