How to Select an Adoption Agency?
Choosing the adoption agency that is right for you is a critical step in the process and can significantly affect the adoption a child. Some adoption agencies are public such as your state and county child welfare agencies. They are mostly involved with foster care adoption. Other agencies are private for-profit or non-profit child adoption agencies. Then there are agencies that only deal with international child adoption, domestic child adoption, or both of these. You need to pick an agency that will meet your needs.
Whatever agency you select, you should always check to see if they have a current license to practice as an adoption (not facilitator) agency and you should stay away from the unlicensed adoption facilitators and unlicensed child adoption agencies.
To see if an agency is licensed, just ask for their license number and the phone number of their licensing authority. Then call the licensing authority and verify that the agency is licensed and is in good standing. If the agency will not give you the license number or the phone number of their licensing authority we advise you to run, not walk, away from that "agency".
What to Consider in Choosing an Adoption Agency?
Next you need to see if the agency fits with your needs and desires. We suggest you consider some of the following questions and issues in evaluating the agency:
- When are they available to help you? Do they operate 7-days a week or just "normal business hours"? What happens if a birth mother delivers on a weekend or holiday?
- What kind of adoptions do they do? Closed, open, interstate, international?
- What restrictions do they place on their families? Are there age, marriage, religious, etc. restrictions? And when they do place a child do they use foster care or do they place directly with you?
- Can you select the age, health, race and other factors about the child that are important to you?
- Do they conduct home studies and if so, for what states, how long does it take, how many meetings does it entail, and what are the qualifications of the person who will be gathering all this information about you?
- Ask about the costs and other financial aspects of the adoption. What are the fees involved, when are the fees paid, are fees paid recoverable? How are the birth mother and baby medical bills handled? What about living and incidental expenses incurred by the birth mother?
- Ask yourself how easy was it to get information from the initial phone contact? Did they seem knowledgeable and accessible? The accessibility is very important since you will be working with this adoption agency for quite a period of time.
Make sure that the agency goes over all your options and not just the ones they would prefer you choose. If anyone pressures you or wants you to do something quickly, make sure to slow yourself down and re-evaluate.
We suggest you call any agency or agencies you are considering. Then get the one or two you like the best to send you their information packet. We have found from experience that if a family gets information packets form every place they contact, they often find themselves more confused than when they started since, in practice, it is very hard to compare adoption services.
Where Can I Find Additional Sources of Information?
We, at Adoption Services, have extensive experience with both intrastate and interstate adoption. We are here to help you determine the best choice for you and then to help implement your choices in a way that will eliminate problems and concerns. We are able to help you with an adoption regardless of the state in which you reside.
You can also find a list of adoption agencies in your state and neighboring states at the link Domestic Adoption Agencies.
Please visit our home page to read about our commitment to assist adoptive parents like you as well as pregnant women and birth parents.