In this episode of the Infant Adoption Guide Podcast, we talk about how to select the right adoption agency.
— 6 reasons why you need to choose a good adoption professional.
— 6 websites that will help you find a good adoption professional.
— 12 questions you should ask an adoption professional.
Once you make the decision to grow your family through domestic adoption, you’ll need to find a good adoption agency and attorney. You may even want more than one to help you on your journey.
This may be the most important decision you will make. There are hundreds to choose from and it can take hours, days, even weeks to get the information you need to make a good decision for your family.
The 6 reasons why you need to choose a good adoption professional – and the right one for you and your situation:
1. Homestudy: Every adoptive couple needs this done before you can have a child placed with you.
2. Support (for birthmothers): This critical in my opinion. After going through two newborn adoptions, I see how important it is for birthmothers to get support. They are in crisis and they need all the counseling and support they can get.
3. Support (for you): Everyone has differing level of needs on their adoption journey, but we all need some support on how it works. You need caring professionals that take the time to explain things to you – and help answer questions you have along the way.
4. Finding and screening birthmothers: Let’s face it – none of us want to wait a long time to start a family only to get scammed. In my opinion, you should let a trained adoption professional handle birthmother screening. They have the experience to know what to look for, how to talk to potential birthmothers, what to ask them, and the right documentation to get so you can avoid adoption scams.
5. Avoiding adoption scams: working with experienced professionals will help because they are trained to spot scams. They deal with a lot of situations so they are better equipped to avoid adoption fraud.
6. Legal Help: You’ll have to get help from an adoption attorney for placement, ICPC, and finalization. Some agencies have attorneys on staff so you don’t have to hire one – but if you need one go to the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys at AdoptionAttorneys.org.
6 websites that will help you find an adoption agency or attorney:
1. ChildWelfare.gov : Search by professional type – such as adoption attorney, public agency, private agency, social worker, etc. You can search by state and they’ll show you the professional’s name, contact info, services they provide, the states in which they are licensed, and the states where they can work with adoptive couples.
2. Adoptive Families Magazine : The popular magazine provides a map of the U.S. where you can click on your state to find an adoption agency or attorney that is close to where you live.
3. AdoptionAgencyReviews.com : Search for adoption agencies by name and location. They also allow you to compare multiple agencies. Another cool feature shows their top reviewed agencies.
4. MyAdoptionAgencies.com : Shows almost 500 domestic adoption agencies. You can search by state and each listing shows the agency description, location, contact info, and rating.
5. AdoptionAgencyRatings.com : They list over 1200 adoption agencies that are rated by adoptive parents, birthparents, and adoptees. They list agencies by zip code, by map location, by the top 20 agencies, and more.
6. AdoptionAttorneys.org: The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
12 Questions to ask adoption professionals:
1. How long have you been helping adoptive families?
2. Which states are you licensed in?
3. How many infants have you placed in each of the past 3 years?
4. What is the average wait time to match with a birthmother or place a child?
5. What is your reclaim rate-how often birthmothers change their mind?
6. What are your fees, and what are they for?
7. How do you find birthmothers?
8. What support do you give birthmothers, before and after placement?
9. Have you completed interstate adoptions?
10. How many adoptive couples are you currently working with?
11. Can you provide a list of references of former clients?
12. What type of support, education and preparation is offered to us?
To download and print out these questions, click the link below:
I also have a set of three blog posts that go into the questions in more detail.
I agree with Dawn Davenport, of CreatingaFamily.org who says that selecting an adoption agency should be a 3 step process:
1. Do online research to narrow down choices to those you can interview.
2. Narrow down your choices even more by interviewing agencies.
3. Perform extensive background checks on 2-3 agencies, which means looking into reviews and ratings, talking with others who have worked with the agency,
I’ve found 3 domestic adoption agencies that have little or no upfront fees. I invite you to go check out that article.