Some of these agencies, like the one i used, do not generally do private/direct placement adoptions, but other agencies such as Catholic Social Services, Bethany, Lutheran Adoption Services, and many others do both (and often international as well)...its my understanding that if you start out in the "free homestudy" program you can simply "purchase" your homestudy to adopt privately. In fact i know someone who is going to be fostering and was told by the agency that if they foster for a period of time (one year i think) the agency will then allow them to use the homestudy (recently streamlined here to allow for one homestudy for both foster care and adoption i think) to adopt privately if they wish(without paying an additional homestudy fee. )
See, this what I love about message boards. I was driving around doing all my errands today, thinking "how could that work? how could foster-adoption and public adoption and private adoption consolidate their waiting families for informational purposes, without further burdening the public system?" and I come home and find out that in Michigan they have found a way. Or at least the start of a way. Streamlined homestudies, wow. Even though my first homestudy was done by state, my second homestudy starts from scratch and is also done by that state. I'll be pleasantly surprised if they can even get my fingerprints from one department to the other ;-) And the "earn your homestudy through fostering" model would be such a godsend to so many people I know here, who are either pursuing private adoptions they can't really afford or fostering infants long past the point that they would have stopped if it were not their only path to parenthood.
While i totally get the argument that a bmom should be able to keep her child out of "the system" and pick new parents of her choosing, i admit i'd be pretty well devastated (for myself AND my children) if a sibling was born and adopted out to another family instead of to us when we are ready, willing, and able to welcome that family member into our home. And my gut instinct is to say "yknow what...you burned your first child, abandoned the one i adopted (in the case of one of my kids) or you neglected your oldest for years resulting in a host of emotional problems (in the case of my other two) so no, you dont get to decide the fate of a new baby." i can TOTALLY see the opposing argument but its still i how *feel.*
And I feel with you. I don't know what the right answer is there, when a mom has hurt previous kids and had them taken into care. I can see the argument on both sides.
But I feel strongly that a woman who has never had any contact with CPS/DSS/DHS/whatever they call it in your neck of the woods does not deserve to be on their radar just because she's pregnant and making an adoption plan. I think there's a place for private adoption in this country, and probably always will be. But even a private-adoption database that totally left the public sector out of it would be a huge gain over the current system.