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There are two types of adoption agencies: public and private.
Public agencies are usually supported by government funding and tend to assist mostly with the adoption of children in the foster care system. They may provide a greater number of support services including pre- and post-adoption education, counseling and low-cost home studies.
Private agencies are state-licensed, and run privately. Private agencies offer a range of adoption services for both domestic and international adoptions. Agencies will generally perform widespread searches for children to adopt, and may also target specific populations to assist the adoptive parents. Agencies typically offer counseling to birth parents, a vital component in every adoption.
While agency adoption is preferable in many cases, it is important to remember that adoption agencies may work under a guiding mission, which determines the types of adoptions they offer as well as the type of adoptive parents they work with.