In a private adoption, you know someone and have direct communication regarding the adoption. This can include a kinship adoption or a non-kinship adoption. The prospective parents should work with an attorney to make sure all the requisite steps are taken and the correct paperwork is submitted to the court for a successful adoption. The natural parents may elect to have their own counsel if they so choose. Counseling is available for natural parents considering terminating their rights regardless of the nature of the adoption.
If you are working with an agency, then the agency is an intermediary between parties looking to adopt and parties looking to relinquish their rights as a parent and place a child for adoption. There are numerous requirements and background checks for parties looking to adopt to complete to be eligible as a prospective family. Parties looking to relinquish their rights can often view the profiles of parties looking to adopt to find a good match. There is the potential for disappointment for prospective parents in either method as consents to adoption cannot be signed until after the birth of the child and the natural parents can change their mind.