How to Select an Adoption Agency
When seeking to adopt using an adoption agency, it's adviseable to use a reputable agency with experience in the type of adoption you are pursuing. Agencies are regulated by state governments but services and fees can vary widely.
- Ask for referrals from friends, adoptive parent groups, clergy, doctors and adoption attorneys.
- Compile a list of the agencies that appear to meet your basic requirements (type of adoption, domestic, international).
- Verify the license. Call your state adoption agency licensing specialist to make sure the license is current and no complaints have been filed.
- Do a background check. To check for complaints and lawsuits, ask the licensing specialist (above), the Better Business Bureau and/or your state Attorney General's office.
- Ask the agency about adoptive parent requirements concerning marital status, age, income, health, etc.
- Ask about pre-adoption and post-adoption services, and services provided to birth parents.
- Ask about up-front fees. Large amounts of money required before any services are provided should set off alarms and should be thoroughly investigated and compared with other agency fees.
- Request written materials and references from client families. Remember, an agency is not likely to refer you to someone who had a bad experience.
- Ask if the agency offers a free orientation.
- Ask how long the agency has been in business and how many adoptions they have completed. Don't forget to ask about the percentage of adoptions that have failed.
- Ask the length of the average wait.
- Ask for an itemized list of costs and fees, including expenses for the placing parents, and understand clearly what is included and what is not.
- Ask for the agency's professional affiliations and standards of practice.
- Trust your instincts. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Don't work with an agency you haven't personally investigated.
- Stay positive. The road to adoption may be delayed slightly by your attention to detail, but you owe it to your future family to take every reasonable precaution.
© Nancy S Ashe