Finding the right adoption professional to work with can increase your changes of having a positive adoption experience. Here are five important steps to help you choose the right one.
Whether you’re working with an adoption agency, an adoption attorney, or an adoption facilitator, finding the right professional to work with is vital to avoiding the disruptions, scams, and other risks of adoption, along the way. There are thousands of adoption agencies in the United States alone; here are five steps you can use to guide you to choosing the right one:
- Research. A good place to start looking at your options is online. Be discriminating, and remember that depending on whether you decide to adopt domestically, through foster care, or internationally, different adoption professionals will have the expertise that you need. Be diligent, start making phone calls, and call around until you find the right one to work with. Use your gut instincts; often the first impression you get is the correct one. Ask yourself these questions: Did they answer the phone? Did they call you back right away? Were they friendly? Did they offer you more information right away?
- Know yourself. Prepare yourself for your adoption interviews. Some adoption professionals may ask questions about your education, your finances, career, health, lifestyle, and personal history, if you are single, particularly religious, 40 and older, or LGBT. You may not feel comfortable disclosing so much information, but remember it is part of the adoption process. The better you know yourself, and what your values are, the easier it will be to find the right adoption professional.
- Ask questions. Get the essentials: How much will it cost? When are the fees due? How long will it likely take to get matched? What are the adoptive parent eligibility requirements? What will the home study be like? Do they have references—examples of adoptive parents in your circumstances who have had successful adoptions—to show you? If you are adopting internationally, which countries does the adoption professional work with? What age range is typical? If you are adopting through foster care, what considerations need to be made in regards to sibling groups, older children, and special needs children?
- Find positive proof. Start digging for reputable reviews of successful (or unsuccessful) adoptions, and other third party validation regarding the adoption professional you’re considering working with. Do your due diligence, as they say. Join a local adoptive parent support group to find previous clients of the agencies you are looking into. Check the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been logged against the organization or company you are thinking of working with.
- Warning signs. Does what they’re offering sound too good to be true? Do they lack affiliations with other reputable organizations? Did they ask for all the fees to be paid up front? Did they refuse to provide you with an itemized list of fees and expenses, or otherwise lack transparency? Are they accredited/licensed?
Now that you have the right tools, you can start your search with confidence! Have a look at our Adoption.NET professional service directory to browse our extensive list of adoption professionals and get one step closer to a successful adoption.