There are SO many adoption agencies out there! However, does every one of them fit the needs of every prospective adoptive parent that walks through their door? Probably not depending on what you had in mind when it comes to the adoption process, along with your family’s future when it comes to birth family relationships. Here are some bullet points of what every prospective adoptive parent should look for or ask about.
- It is important for every prospective adoptive parent to do their homework on an agency before they proceed with the adoption process. It is of the utmost importance that the agency you choose to adopt through is both reputable and licensed. Licensing requirements for an adoption agency varies from state to state. The licensing division will make sure an agency’s staff members meet the set criteria of educational qualifications, training requirements and regulations governing the storage of records. In every state there is a list of adoption agencies legally approved to place children with families. Finding a not only renowned, but also licensed agency benefits the adoptive parents and birth parents.
- Choosing an adoption agency that equally extends themselves to support all members of the adoption triad (Adoptive Parent/Birth Parent/Adoptee), is the way to go. This type of adoption agency will make it a point to educate adoptive parents on why it is beneficial for all parties when the birth parents receive support as well.
- Take notice to an adoption agency’s office culture and accessibility. Some adoption agencies are more structured and require clients to schedule appointments ahead of time. There are open adoption agencies out there with more of an “open door” policy. At these “open door” policy adoption agencies, one can feel free to call or stop by at any time within the office hour period to meet with their social worker. The latter adoption agency we described is not necessarily better than the first, it is all just a matter of service preference.
- Be sure to ask how many families they typically work with. Some agencies will work with an endless amount of families, while others have a limit on how many families they service each year. The agencies that do not have a limit on how many placements they make in a year, will be honest with the families that they could be facing a longer waiting. The prospective adoptive parents may face longer waiting periods due to the number of birth parents who are placing through the agency.
- It is critical that every adoption agency is thorough and clear when discussing the financial aspects that go into adopting a child. A financial breakdown on everything that goes into the adoption process will put you at ease and reiterate what services are to be included with the cost.
- Ask to go over the protocol for living expenses that may go to the birth parent. Therefore, it is important to know the adoption laws of every state and the agency you are going through. There are certain states that prohibit any sort monetary assistance.
- When an adoption agency offers different support group programs for birth parent and adoptive parents, this is important to keep in mind. It is always nice to know that there will be someone you can confide in during both before and after the child’s placement. Even if the adoption agency you went through does not have any formal support groups, they may know of others in the area.
- An agency that equally respects both the birth mother and birth father is an important aspect to how that organization operates. There are some agencies out there that will do the bare minimum when it comes to encouraging the birth father to be part of the adoption process. Some agencies out there have a history of not completely explaining to birth fathers their rights, along with the whole play by play of the adoption process.
At the end of the day prospective adoptive parents and expecting parents need to be equally comfortable with not only each other, but with the adoption agency itself. The only way for both parties to feel comfortable is if they see proof that an agency practices what they preach in terms of support.