With or without an identified birth mother, you may choose to proceed with the assistance of an adoption attorney. In many states, an attorney (sometimes known as an "intermediary") may advertise for birth parents either on behalf of a group of adoptive parents or a single adoptive parent/couple. The attorney may not restrict adoptive applicants based upon age, number of children already in the home, etc. Some adoptive parents choose to work with an attorney because their foremost concern is that the legalities of the adoption be resolved as early in the process as possible, or because they feel that working with an attorney individually allows them direct access and advice.
An adoption attorney may work with a small group of potential adoptive families, thereby reducing the wait time to be matched with an adoptive situation (birth mother and child). In many states, an attorney may place a child directly in the home of the adoptive family immediately upon the signing of the surrender documents, provided that a licensed home study of the adoptive family has been completed. In these cases, the need for foster care is obviated. Attorneys typically charge their fees by the hour but may cap fees and/or costs so as to give an adoptive family the ability to budget their adoption expenses. Some attorneys defer a portion of their legal fees until an adoption is finalized.