Independent Adoption Center is fully licensed in California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, New York, North Carolina, and Texas. The agency can work with birthparents and adoptive families in almost every other state in the U.S. when working in tangent with a cooperative agency in that state. The agency has been operating for over 34 years, has placed over 4,300 newborns since that time.
IAC Headquartersadopt-a-baby iacindependent adoption center reviews

The Good

Income-Based Fee Structure

IAC is unique in that it offers fees on a sliding scale correlated to income. The average fees paid to the agency range from $11,350-25,065. The following fee breakdown includes the range from the lowest income bracket to the highest bracket (visit the agency’s website to see detailed charts).

Rank Chart
Waiting Time
Our Score
2-3 Years
$5k - 30k
Up to 2 years
$26k - 50k
1-12 Months
$30k - 37k
12-36 mnths
  • Application fee: $250
  • Initial join fee: $8,350-17,785
  • Birthparent services: $1,500-3,640
  • Fee due at birth: $1,500-3,640
  • Total agency Fees: $11,350-25,065
  • (average: $18,208)

Additional expenses include medical expenses, pregnancy-related birthmother expenses (such as housing, food, and clothing), travel expenses and legal fees. The average total for these additional fees is $12,050 for instate (where IAC is specifically licensed – CA, CT, FL, GA, IN, NC, NY, TX) and $18,800 for out of state.

Total average fees, agency+ third-party: $30,258 for instate, $37,008 for out of state.

Despite the standard fee amounts listed, the agency gives clients the rights to establish financial limits. Expenses are generally spread out over a 9-18 month period, but a 6 month payment plan is also available. The client pays $2,000-3,500 at contract, then 5 monthly payments of $1,270-2,587. IAC alumni have a separate fee structure.

LGBTQ Inclusive

IAC is welcoming to all types of adoptive families. There are no exclusions regarding race, ethnicity, age, religion, marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity. They make a special effort to embrace LGBTQ individuals and couples. The agency includes LGBTQ parenting terminology in their Google advertising campaign, provides a lifetime membership to their online support group, and sends all LGBTQ family profiles to birthparents unless they are specifically asked not to.

IAC does not use a waiting list, so adoptive families are eligible to match as soon as they are approved.

Wait Time Statistics by Family Type

IAC provides statistics about different wait times based on family type and racial/cultural background, as well as overall mean and median wait times. These wait times are defined as the date family is “live” on the website to placement. Wait time averages vary slightly by family type adopting, as well as ethnic and racial backgrounds of the adoptive family. While not definitive or indicative of a particular family’s expected wait time, these numbers can be helpful nonetheless.

Wait times based on family type:

  • Families with children: 14.5 months
  • Single parent families: 15 months
  • Heterosexual couple families: 16.5 months
  • Gay male couple families: 17 months
  • Lesbian couple families: 18 months
Post-Adoption Support

IAC offers lifetime support for birth families and unlimited support for adoptive families for one year after placement. Adopted children can receive up to two counseling sessions per year until they are 18 years old. The agency also offers online support groups, available indefinitely.

The Bad

Open Adoptions Only

IAC only does open adoptions. They believe it is the “healthiest form of adoption for everyone involved” because it removes the secrecy surrounding adoption and creates an accepting and loving alternative to anonymity. The extent of openness of the relationship and future contact is discussed and agreed to prior to the birth of the child. Regardless of what may or may not be best for an adopted child, there are birthparents and adoptive parents alike who prefer a closed adoption, which rules out this agency.

Wait Time

While IAC is certainly not the only agency to expect this from, clients should be aware that wait times can be substantial despite what the company advertises. The agency lists several different wait times (12 months, 15 months, and 16.5 months as “the average wait time”) on various parts of their website and packet information materials, so consistency is a concern. The most precise wait time statistics are as follows:

Average wait time: 16.5 months
Median wait time: 14 months
42% of families place within 12 months
93% of families place within 36 months

However, many families wait much longer, up to three years or more. Though the agency placed 135 children in 2015 and consistently places about 150 children each year, there are over 500 families currently waiting in the system.

The Bottom Line

Independent Adoption Center is unique in that it charges fees according to what adoptive families can reasonably pay, making adoption feasible for parents who cannot afford to adopt through another agency. IAC is all about helping parents know what to expect in specific terms, whether it’s their fee breakdown or wait time statistics by family type. While many agencies specialize in one or two states, IAC provides full adoption services in 8 states, with various services throughout the country. Their post-adoption support is excellent and they are as inclusive as an agency can get as far as eligibility requirements. However, with inclusivity comes a large pool of waiting families, increasing average wait times overall.

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7 Independent Adoption Center Reviews

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    July 6th, 2016 TX

    I was in the queue over 2 years without one single birthmother contact and finally dropped out. They take all your money up front and could care less if you, as an individual, actually adopt. As for their stats, the numbers speak for themselves. If they have 500 waiting families and do 135 placements a year, well that wait is longer than 36 months.

    I eventually signed with a local agency and was matched within weeks. I would never recommend IAC.

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    July 5th, 2016 Roswell, GA

    This place in essence is just after your hard earned money. There are many ways for your contract to be terminated. I belive simply their system is designed for you to fail. Do not use this agency. Go any where but here.

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    July 5th, 2016 Tucker, GA

    They will take your money and will not produce. This agency is a total scam.

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    June 27th, 2016 Oakland, CA

    After over 2 years, and thousands (15K dollars-much more for dual income and higher income families, about 4K doing my own self-promotion), I have left without a child. Not once in this time did I receive notification from the agency of a potential child. When I finally called for support and was told “Just focus on the positive- buy a book and imagine reading it to your baby”, and my favorite “What kind of support do you need?” I thought they were the experts. I should also say, I think the staff are professional. I don’t think they are evil people. And contractually, after 30 years of business, they know what they are doing, they know how to speak a certain way. Hire a lawyer to review the contract. Have them add a segment that says that if, you choose to leave, childless, they refund you 50% of fees. Or whatever works for you.

    I asked for a refund andwas given certain steps by my social worker to follow. Even got input from her. Then I was told I had to follow the grievance process. I submitted a grievance (which is not really a formal process. Staff all have a different understanding) stating my beliefs about the agency not really offering much for the fees charged and not being an advocate, they kept coming back to the contract we signed at the beginning. The contract when you have expectations that says all the money you give is theirs after a year. No sense of compassion about the humanity of this experience. The final message on my grievance was that they provided me a workshop for my fees, and that I understood my contract. I don’t believe anyone fully understands a contractual agreement, until you live through it.And these fees are all for “Preplacement” services. Basically a workshop, allowing you to be live on their website, and them being a fulfillment center. Mailing out your birthparent letter. You pay more after matching with a potential birth mother, more after the birth.

    In Jan 2016, IAC had 543 “live” profiles on their website. in 2015, about 500, the year I went live about 450. In 2015, 147 families/people got placed with babies for adoption.I guess about 50% of folks leave the agency, after attrition, childless. You do the math. All the fees that people who leave, childless, paid, is operating funds for the agency. And there is not indication that they have hired more staff to address the needs of having more families/clients.

    I am biased, I admit, leaving this pursuit childless. And perhaps you have deeper pockets and more patience. Really ask questions, and remember to keep asking the “right” question, if you believe it isn’t being answered directly. In a posting on the Better Business Bureau’s website, IAC’s response to a similar complaint: ” We believe this is a misunderstanding of the services offered by the Independent Adoption Center (IAC). No adoption agency, including IAC, provides babies to clients in return for fees. Clients pay IAC for adoption services including a home study, development of outreach materials and birthparent outreach services.” Please note, they do not help place potential adoptive families with children in their own words. They have favorable statistics from birth mothers, but by their own statistics, about 90% of women that they intake don’t follow through with them.

    There is currently an investigation going on in the State of California. I just learned about this through exploring options with my grievance process. Apparantly, I am not the only one who has figured out that things just don’t make sense. The numbers don’t add up. You can contact them:

    Vaishali Singh-Sood
    Children’s Residential
    Licensing Program Analyst
    2580 North First Street, Suite 350
    San Jose, CA 95131
    Office: (408) 324-2112
    Direct: (408) 314-1046

    The organization is unstable financially, and now I would say, ethically. They know exactly what they are doing. They know exactly the status of their organization. My recommendation would be to take another path. Best of luck to you on this journey.

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    March 21st, 2016 San Francisco, CA

    IAC Is fantastic. We did end up waiting a little more than the average, but at the end of the day it was all worth it.

    They helped us understand open adoption, our counselors were always super helpful, and our sons birthmother got a lot of really critical assistance from IAC during her pregnancy.

    I just can’t say enough good things about IAC. I think the other people posting here will cange their opinion after their adoptions are done. It really is a hard process and afterwards you look back and think “gosh I was really angry at times, really sad at times, but it was all worth it.”

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    March 16th, 2016 High Point, NC

    We are not satisfied with the services provided by The Independent Adoption Center (IAC). We do not recommend them to prospective adoptive parents that are considering signing a contract with them.

    The services provided by IAC have not ended in a successful placement of a child in our home through adoption. Our family has been waiting to adopt through their process for over 4 years.

    When adoptive parents sign a contract for adoption services with IAC, over 75% of the adoption fees are due in the first 6 months of signing the contract. This has left our family financially unable to leave IAC and find another adoption agency to help us successfully complete an adoption. Many families do in fact seek out other adoption professionals to successfully adopt and lose out on the fees paid to IAC.

    The advertised average wait time when we joined IAC was 15 months and we have been waiting for 50 months. When we signed our client contract with them 5 years ago, IAC had hundreds less of waiting families on the list and an increasing number of adoptions. Today, the number of waiting adoptive families has ballooned to almost 600 and the number of adoptions is decreasing each year to 135. IAC continually adds new clients or waiting adoptive families to the list, thus increasing wait times.

    The Independent Adoption Center has a large number of waiting families in relation to the number of adoptions completed each year. The number of adoptive families waiting for placement of a child on their website is 592 families. The number of adoptive placements completed by IAC in 2015 was 135. (If you divide the number of families waiting by the number of adoptions completed last year 592/135 = 4.39, at this rate, it would take over 4 years to successfully complete adoptions for the current waiting families.)

    Unfortunately, it seems that IAC is a scam and that they take on more “paying” adoptive families than they can support.

    Here are some questions to ask this agency if you are a prospective adoptive parent:
    • How many families are waiting?
    • How many placements happen per year for your waiting adoptive families that are a result of IAC’s marketing and birthparent intake efforts?
    • How many placements happen per year for your waiting adoptive families that are a result of the adoptive families own personal marketing efforts and/or hiring of an outside agency to find a match?
    • How many families, per year, leave IAC without successfully adopting?
    • Are any of the fees refundable if the waiting family does not adopt?

    I also encourage any families that are considering signing a contract with IAC to email some families on their wait list page and ask about their experiences and wait time. The families may have valuable information to help you make a thoroughly informed decision.

    My family is thoroughly beyond discouraged and disappointed in IAC.

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    March 8th, 2016 South Bend, IN

    It has been over a year for my daughter and soninlaw. I dont understand why they charge so much money, okay maybe I do, but they take on too many clients. There is not a mathematical possibility they can help their clients. It is a scam! Its crap.

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