Among the many decisions a couple must make when considering adoption, is whether it would be best to hire an adoption attorney or an adoption agency to help make their adoption dreams come true. The answer to this question is dependent upon what the couple feels is right for them.

In short, an attorney will focus on the legal aspects of adoption. This includes termination of parental rights and finalization of the adoption. An adoption agency, such as Lutheran Family Service, focuses on finding birthmothers, counseling them on their options, and if they should choose to place for adoption, the matching of the birthmother with the adoptive parents and the creation of a placement plan. The counseling is continued for both the birthmother and the adoptive parents throughout the pregnancy, through labor and delivery and after placement of the child. Attorneys are used by agencies in the process for the same legal aspects of termination of parental rights and finalization of the adoption.

It is important to know and understand everything that either an adoption agency or an attorney will provide for you and then think through what the gaps in service might be, so you have the best opportunity to reach your adoption dreams. It is recommended that you research and speak with various attorneys or agencies and choose the one that feels right to you.

Lutheran Family Service is a licensed adoption agency that focuses on the wholistic needs of all parties involved in an adoption, the birthmother and the adoptive parents, and use attorneys to accomplish parts of the adoption process. In order to be a licensed agency in good standing, our work is reviewed by the Department of Inspections and Appeals on an annual basis.

In Iowa, it is legal to work through the adoption process with an attorney rather than an agency. However, there is one very big reason to consider an adoption agency; attorneys are not necessarily seeking out pregnant women, nor or they all equipped to provide her with the counseling necessary to make a plan for her child.

Lutheran Family Service has a pregnancy counseling program dedicated to traveling all over Iowa, eastern Nebraska and parts of Illinois working with any pregnant woman who seeks help. Additionally, Lutheran Family Service works closely with multiple Crisis Pregnancy Clinics throughout Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois so we can be responsive when one of their clients seeks adoption information. Pregnancy Counseling is provided at no cost to women who work with Lutheran Family Service.

At Lutheran Family Service, our pregnancy counselors offer to be present at the hospital and help the client through every step of her adoption plan which includes supporting her through labor and delivery and communicating with the hospital staff about her adoption plans and what her wishes are.  Most attorneys will not be present at the hospital, leaving pre-adoptive parents and birthmothers to navigate the situation on their own.

Lutheran Family Service does use attorneys in the process of adoption for the termination of parental rights and for the finalization of adoption. For the termination of parental rights, we pay an attorney to represent the birthmother and her rights which helps ensure that all rights of potential birth parents are legally terminated, leaving the child open for adoption. During adoption finalization, the pre-adoptive family will hire an attorney to represent themselves during the process and Lutheran Family Service will provide that attorney with all the necessary documents. After labor and delivery, Lutheran Family Service continues to offer counseling to the birthmother and to the adoptive parents as needed.

If you choose Lutheran Family Service as your partner in the adoption journey, you can expect to work with a team of experienced professionals that provide support to both the birthmother and you as adoptive parents. Our well-established, no-cost pregnancy counseling program regularly brings women to our agency should they choose placing their baby for adoption. Lutheran Family Service has excellent relationships with crisis pregnancy centers throughout Iowa, eastern Nebraska and Illinois making us first on their call list should a woman need information about adoption. Additionally, since Lutheran Family Service has been a leader in child placing services since 1901 with a reputation for excellent service, doctors and hospitals turn to us when women they are serving need adoption information and placement services.

If you are considering adoption, please contact Lutheran Family Service with any questions you may have. We will be happy to help and walk with you on your family-building journey through adoption!

Kim Laube, Life Ministries Director


[email protected]

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