USE OF FACILITATORS OR CONSULTANTS IN THE STATE OF GA
An adoption facilitator or consultant is someone who is not licensed as a child-placing agency who offers to help match you with a birth parent, match you with an agency in another state, or “walk you through the process of adoption”. Facilitators and consultants are not licensed by the State of Georgia. If you work with someone who is not licensed, you have no recourse against them if something goes wrong since they are not licensed by the state, as are adoption agencies and attorneys for example. If you choose to work with a facilitator or consultant, you are not violating the law necessarily, but they are.
Georgia law (OCGA § 19-8-24(a)) prohibits advertising by anyone not licensed by the State as a child-placing agency that they will either "adopt children" or "will arrange for or cause children to be adopted or placed for adoption”. Please note: while it is perfectly fine to discuss your adoption plans with friends, co-workers, pastor, etc. and to discuss potential placement situations with them privately, it is not legal to advertise that you are seeking to adopt. No one should charge you money to assist you in this particular part of the process unless they are a licensed child-placing agency. There is one exception to this prohibition – a biological parent can seek to place their own child (“acting on their own behalf”) for adoption in a private situation or with an agency.
It is also illegal in the State of Georgia to offer any monetary assistance to a birth parent (other than legal or medical expenses) unless you are a licensed child-placing agency.
There are very few facilitators or consultants that actually receive a child for placement for adoption as does a licensed agency. They are charging you to match or arranging/causing a child to be placed for adoption, and as such they are violating Georgia law.
If a person or an entity actually receives a surrender of parental rights to a child for purposes of placing the child for adoption, the person or entity is acting as a "child-placing agency" and the Code requires that a license be issued to that entity.
If the facilitator or consultant simply directs their "client" to an out-of-state agency who will charge an excessive amount of money, then the out-of-state agency is operating in Georgia in violation of Georgia law because it is serving a Georgia resident without complying with the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 49-5-12 (p) "Any child welfare agency that shall operate without a license or commission issued by the department shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00 for each such offense. Each day of operation without a license or commission shall constitute a separate offense."
See also the following regulation: Rule 290-9-2-.02 "Applicability of These Rules “
No person, institution, society, agency, corporation or facility shall engage in child placement activities in Georgia unless a license has first been obtained from the Department. (emphasis added)
Child-Placing Agencies licensed in other states and wishing to engage in placement activities in Georgia shall also be licensed in Georgia or shall have a written agreement approved by the Department with a Child-Placing Agency licensed within the state to cooperate in and to supervise the placement.
This is an emotionally charged time in your life, and, sadly, there are unscrupulous folks who will take advantage of your desire to adopt. Please discuss any prospective dealings with a facilitator or consultant with your attorney or your adoption agency prior to paying any money for these types of services. Your attorney or licensed child-placing agency should be able to answer your questions about the adoption process, and you should not have to pay a separate individual or company for this service.