You wouldn’t consider a major purchase like a new car or house without doing your research and exploring your options. Choosing an adoption agency or lawyer is a major decision that requires the same diligence. Choosing the right adoption professional can increase your chances of having a positive adoption experience.
How to Choose Your Adoption Agency
Gather as much information as possible about the types of adoption, agencies, and state requirements. A good place to start is online. Be discriminating, different adoption professionals will have the expertise that you need. Don’t hurry your research. It’s important you choose the right organization and adoption profession who is the best fit for your circumstances.
Adoption Agency Research Tips:
- Get referrals from friends or others that have adopted or have placed their child for adoption
- Ask how long the attorney or agency has been working in adoption
- Find out what services they provide before and after the adoption
- Find out the full extent of your financial obligations and costs of adoption
- If relevant, ask if the agency places minority or biracial children
- Ask the adoption agency for a list of referrals
- Determine if the adoption professional works with an open or closed adoption and the attorney’s views and experience with both types
- Inquire about the availability and credibility of counseling
- Learn about the adoption plan, contract, and decrees
- An adoption agency should be licensed, and the workers should be professional licensed social workers, preferably with master’s degrees in social work and experience in adoption.
- Ask how long the agency has operated and how many children it has placed in recent years.
- Ask the agency about its professional affiliations; for example, is it a member of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and/or the Council on Accreditation?
Prepare for your adoption interviews
Some adoption professionals may ask questions about your age, education, your finances, career, health, lifestyle, and personal history, if you are single or have a family, and if you’re religious. You may not feel comfortable disclosing so much information, but remember it is part of the adoption process. The better you know yourself, and what your values are, the easier it will be to find the right adoption professional.
Look for Red Flags
There is no way to guarantee smooth sailing through the adoption process, but there are some red flags that may signal potential problems. Be wary of agencies that promise a child before a family assessment; agencies that tell clients that the birth parents will relinquish a baby before birth; and agencies that require no home study fee.
If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Call the attorney general’s office and the Better Business Bureau in the state where the agency is licensed to check whether any complaints have been filed against the agency.
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