Considering adoption can be really overwhelming at first. There are many different types of adoption and even more adoption agencies to choose from. Choosing the right one can save you time and money in the long run, as well as a lot of heartbreak.
Here are some tips to help you find the best adoption agencies.[toc]
1. Find Out About Agency Fees.
Ask about fees right away. Make sure that you are aware of any hidden fees too.
Agencies charge for different expenses. Make sure that you are paying for what you want to be paying for. For example, you ought to find an adoption agency that does not require you to pay for the mother’s expenses.
You also want to ask the agency if they want the money upfront. If they do, this can make it hard to network with other agencies.
Networking with several agencies at once allows you to have several open applications, which can lead to a match faster. Then, you pay the fees to the corresponding agency after you accept the match.
International agencies require you to pay as you go. This means that there is more of a financial burden for you if you are not quickly matched.
Domestic Adoptions have more options. For most domestic agencies, however, if you want a caucasian baby, you might have to pay an upfront fee. But if you are adopting a baby of color, there usually is not an upfront fee. You might not even have to pay the application fee until after you are matched.
Find an adoption agency which allows fees to roll over to another adoption. This protects you just in case the mother changes her mind after you are already matched (it happens).
2. Look For Excellent Service.
Look for agencies whose services have a good reputation with their clients.
This will take a bit of research. Read reviews and go on forums to read of success stories or failed adoptions.
You also want to find an agency that has a good match rate and placements that are in a reasonable amount of time. If people are complaining about not being matched after many months or that it took a long time for the baby to be placed with the adoptive family, you might want to look elsewhere.
Find an adoption agency that communicates well. You can search for them through reviews and forums.
Get in contact with them yourself. Start by sending an email with some basic questions. How long does it take them to respond? Then, call them. How do they speak with you? In a caring and friendly manner?
Lastly, follow up with an in-person visit. Do you feel welcomed and does the staff seem to genuinely care and want to help you with your adoption?
Ask a lot of questions! Make a list of the most important questions that you have for the agency. How do they respond to a long line of questions? The best adoption agencies won’t make you feel like you’re being a burden and will answer your questions professionally.
3. Look For Reputable Agencies
Overall reputation is the most important thing that you want to be sure of before choosing an agency.
This Government fact sheet is really helpful for finding reputable agencies.
Don’t just look at their website’s reviews and forums either. Check on Facebook and other social media. Google them!
You can also find general forums where people discuss adoptions and ask if anyone has any information about the agency which you are considering.
Think about joining an adoption support group where you can learn first-hand from other parents about what agencies they are using or have used. Learn of as many personal experiences as you possibly can to get the full picture.
While researching your agency, beware of those who seem to have too many problems. This would be stories of overcharging, hidden fees, additional fees or ethical problems.
Watch out for agencies that start right off the bat talking about money. This shows that they are more money focused than actually family focused.
Stay up to date with the reputation of an agency. Reputation can change over a period of just a few months.
Do not allow yourself to get sucked in if there are a lot of “red flags.” Trust your judgment.
A reputable agency will make the process pleasant and smooth.
4.Avoid Extra & Unnecessary Rules!
Some agencies make up their own rules that go beyond the requirements of the government.
You want to watch out for this because it can cause feelings of invasion, as well as the fear that the agency might find that you are a “bad parent.”
You need to know what each agency’s rules are beforehand and decide for yourself if they are something that you want to deal with.
Some extra agency rules or questionnaires might include:
- Invasive questions regarding your past.
- Meddling questions regarding your relationship and intimacies as a couple.
- Investigating your extended family, including your parents, siblings and their families. They might even go as far as looking into their education & careers.
- Requiring a mental health evaluation.
- Detailed financial information. They might want to dig deep into your finances.
- Unnecessary background information, going beyond a standard background check.
- Requiring a lot of references. Beyond what other agencies will ask for.
- Complete medical checks and medical backgrounds on all the family members.
- Having age limits.
- Putting limits on family size.
- Requiring you to be religious, or practice a particular religion, & be able to prove it.
In conclusion, be proactive! Make sure you are 100% comfortable with the agency that you choose. Do your research and network, network, network!