International Adoptions: Agency and Independent
In the U.S., those hoping to adopt have two basic options, when adopting from another country:
Through licensed private agencies (permissible in many foreign countries).
Using adoption facilitators (allowed in some foreign countries);
Doing the work yourself (permitted for some international adoptions) with the aid of in-country assistance.
For international adoptions, your state laws, laws and regulations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS, formerly INS), the U.S. State Department, and the laws of the specific country will apply.
In weighing your options, you should evaluate your ability to tolerate risk. Of the options outlined above.
Agency adoptions provide the greatest assurance of monitoring and oversight since agencies are required to adhere to licensing and procedural standards.
Independent adoptions put the burden of the work on your shoulders;
Adoptive placements by facilitators offer the least amount of supervision and oversight. This does not mean that there are not ethical professionals with good standards of practice; it simply means there are few or no oversight mechanisms in place at this time.
In addition to factors above, other considerations in selecting the type of adoption you pursue can include:
Your age, marital status, sexual orientation, etc.
It should be noted that adopting parents (one in the case of a married couple) must be a U.S. citizen in order to adopt internationally and obtain a visa to bring the child back into the U.S. as an immediate relative.