Adopting a child is probably one of the biggest decisions your family will ever have to make. This is clearly a life-changing decision and you need to make sure you do a lot of research and invest a lot of time before choosing the best adoption services for your family.
It is vital to choose an adoption agency that best fits your circumstances, so you can avoid various risks, disruptions or even scams. Whether you want to work with an adoption agency, an adoption facilitator or an adoption attorney, you need to make sure you follow at least these steps to benefit from positive adoption services.
1. Do your research – online and offline
Having the proper information about the adoption services from the very beginning of the process will save you a lot of time and help you avoid disappointment. You can always start your research online, but if you have family or friends who have used adoption services, don’t hesitate to contact them and get referrals. They can tell you about their own experience and guide you through the adoption process. If this is not the case, do your research online. Find more about their reputation, read reviews from other clients and get in touch with every adoption agency you’re considering.
2. Ask the right questions about the adoption services
Always ask a lot of questions! We’re talking about adopting a child! It’s important to ask the right questions like:
- What are their fees and how much will it cost?
- How long will it take for them to find a baby for you?
- What are their adoption programs? Do they provide training for each type of adoption?
- Will you be able to adopt internationally?
- Do they have programs that provide support to parents who adopt children of a different racial/cultural background?
- What other support services you can have access to if you collaborate with them?
- Do they provide post-placement support?
- If you’re planning to adopt from another state, will they comply with the requirements imposed by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC)?
And the list can continue. Do your homework and don’t hesitate to bombard them with questions about their adoption services. See how they respond, if they are friendly and open or not, if they call you back promptly, or if they are eager to help. All these will help you make an idea about the adoption agency.
3. Always work with a licensed adoption agency
There are no shortcuts when it comes to adoption services. You should only collaborate with a licensed and reputable adoption agency. Each state has its own requirements. Start doing your research and see if the adoption agency you’re planning to use meets all the legal requirements. Your state has a licensing division that oversees all adoptions. They can help you get access to the set of minimum standards that an adoption agency needs to meet. These vary from educational qualifications and training requirements to regulations related to the administrate staff and storage of records. If the adoption services are offered in other countries too, the adoption agency also needs to be accredited by Hague.
You need to analyze everything related to the adoption agency you’re planning to hire. Check their staff and training and degrees – preferably master’s degree in social work – as well as the years of experience in the field, reputation, and affiliations. You need to know how long have they worked in adoption, the services they provide before and after the adoption, as well as if they work with open or closed adoptions. Find more about their adoption plans and contracts, and check out the procedures that adoptive parents need to follow in order to attest their health and stability.
4. Check for red flags
You should pay attention to every single thing the adoption agency does and tells you to do. Make sure everything is legal and according to the state requirements. If what they’re offering sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, don’t work with an adoption agency that promises a child before making a family assessment. Don’t trust adoption agencies that don’t ask for a homestudy fee or that allow families to leave the state without ICPC approval. You can always check the adoption agency at the Better Business Bureau. Or you can even check them at the attorney general’s office. This way you will find out if they’re licensed or if they’ve had complaints filed against them.