When you have the desire to bring home a little bundle of joy, it’s now time to find someone who can help make this happen. You need help from an adoption professional, specifically an adoption agency.
Because just like anything that involves legal and financial requirements, the adoption process can be meticulous—as it should be. If we want to ensure the security and even the wellbeing of everyone during the transition, then we must find someone specialized in it. So, have you decided already on what adoption agency you are going to choose?
What does an adoption agency do?
Foremost, adoption agencies are professionals who act as the intermediary in the adoption process. To put it simply, they’re the middlemanbetween the birth parents/orphanages/group homes and the prospective adoptive parents. Adoption agencies facilitate the adoption paperwork, help with the schedules, and ready you before the life-changing phase.
Types of Adoption Agencies
There are three types of adoption agencies you can choose from. And each will depend according to your needs and preferences:
Local Adoption Agency
Local adoption agencies adoption professionals who focus on placing children with adoptive families within their state. This is where most families go first for in-person adoption advice, as it is very accessible. Often, local adoption agencies that exist have a smaller staff and still seek some expertise from other professionals.
National Adoption Agency
National adoption agenciesstate-licensed adoption professionals who may provide their services across all 50 states. They follow strict state laws and regulations regarding adoption as authorities monitor them closely. They are always available and are most likely well-trained in social work as well.
International Adoption Agency
International adoption agenciesadoption professionals who are skilled in intercountry adoption or the adoption of a child from another country. Hague accreditation is a must.
Guide for Choosing an Adoption Agency
As you plan the adoption, you must find someone who knows the nitty-gritty of it all. Find someone who can give you the desired support and is someone you can trust. Here are some tips on how to choose the best adoption agency or professional for you:
Choose what type of adoption is right for you.
That’s right, there isn’t only one type of adoption. There are many to choose from depending on your preferences. There’s domestic adoption, foster care adoption, international adoption, and embryo adoption. Then, there are other things you’d have to decide alongside it too—age, the future relationship of your future child with his or her birth parents (open or closed adoption), and the child’s special needs.
Do you prefer adopting an infant? Or adopting an older child? Would you be okay with open adoption, perhaps?
If you’re looking to adopt an infant but are reluctant for any future reunification plans of the child with the birth parents, then opt for domestic adoption. Such type of adoption can be inquired easily with a local agency. If you want to adopt a child from another country, then you’d certainly need a Hague-certified international adoption agency.
Identify resources and your capacity for the adoption process.
Before you enter the battlefield, make sure you are armed—in the context of adoption, armed with extreme patience, a brave heart, and last but not the least, some sufficient budget. Planning is indispensable. Here’s what you need to prepare:
- - First off, let every family member make the decisionIt’s best to ask your partner and gauge what the children in the household think about bringing a new member home. At least, after doing this, you know what should be obligatory and what shouldn’t be compromised.
- - What’s your adoption budget? Know what you can allot for this budget. Most of the time, adoption fees include professional services, birth parent expenses, legal expenses, child medical expenses, and so on. An adoption professional should be able to give you an estimated cost for your preferred adoption and even can help you stay within your budget. Beware of adoption agencies who offer you the ‘lowest price’. Make sure other aspects are in check; safety and efficiency should be your aim, not cutting costs.
- - Make some time. Assessing your resources, including your indispensable time, can help you in planning an efficient adoption journey. An adoption process can take many months, sometimes years. If you don’t have days or weeks to meet a child from another country, most likely, international adoption will be problematic for you.
Know what adoption agencies specialize in your choice of adoption.
If you have decided already, what adoption type are you willing to go through, it’s now time to check what adoption agencies are well-reviewed and compliant (internationally, federally, and statewide).
- Check the adoption agency’s licenses and background. There are many ways on how to assess the reputation of the chosen adoption agencies. Here are the authorized individuals and bureaus you must contact:State Licensing Specialist - There’s an assigned licensing specialist per state and they monitor if adoption agencies stay compliant. Check their directory, and connect with your Licensing Specialist.
State’s Attorney General’s Office - The Attorney General’s Office can check if the adoption agency is clear of any legal action taken against them.
Better Business Bureau - Contact the Better Business Bureau to confirm if the adoption agency acts within its stated scope of powers.
- - Read reviews, read forums. Almost everything you need to know about the adoptive agencies is available online. You just need to allow some time to do your research, jot down some notes, and discuss it with your family.
- - Connect with other adoptive parents. You can request references from the adoptive agencies and then ask these parents directly how their adoption process went. Or you could join an adoptive parent support group in your area, or online, and ask about their experience.
Talk with adoption agencies and keep your choices open.
Evaluation of alternatives—the third stage of the consumer buying decision process—is exactly what needs to be done at this point forward. Make sure you do the following:
- Keep a list of what you’re looking for. It’s easy to weed out adoption agencies that aren’t perfect for you if you stay on course with your needs and preferences. Be ready with your questions. The adoption agencies won’t mind all your questions.
- What adoption services do you need? Here are what most adoption agencies offer (if something’s amiss, then time to move on to the next adoption agency):
- Pre- and post-counseling for mothers
- Humanitarian programs in other countries for international adoption agencies
- Be ready; be presentable. Adoption is a two-way process. You want to adopt a child; the birth mother/the adoption professional wants the best home for the child. You have your standards; they have it too. You must also show that you can truly provide a pleasant home for the prospective child.
Gauge which adoptive agency works best for you.
When you’ve done interviewing all your prospect adoption agencies, it’s now time to go back to the planning table with the family. What worked? What didn’t work? We must account for even the very minute detail.
- Pay attention to the response time. Did they respond to your emails, messages, and phone calls promptly? Find an adoption agency that knows the value of your time and someone who would be most of the time to cater to your adoption needs.
- Make the call and set expectations. Be clear about your expectations, your schedules, your desires, and so on. Get to know them also as you lay all your plans on the table.
- Ask more questions with your chosen adoption agency. Being meticulous should not be a problem. We should also consider the adoption process as the transition period for the child, you, and your family. You want to make it hassle-free and smooth as much as possible. Find the best adoption agency for this.
- Listen to your intuition. If you think there’s something off with the best viable choice you have, then continue looking. Go back to the previous steps if you’ve missed something out
Begin the adoption process with your future child.
We hope you find an adoption agency you and your family can trust through your adoption journey. Just take into mind that adoption isn’t perfect and some upheavals will show along the way. Despite it, the joy as soon as you bring home the adopted child, we promise you, will be unmatched! Just keep motivated and remain strong through the process for your adoptive child and your family!