Ask the Adoption Coach: Working with Multiple Agencies

working with multiple adoption agencies
Reader: Do most people work with multiple agencies at the the same time?
Adoption Coach:
Dear Reader:
Thank you for your question. You asked if “most” people work with multiple agencies at once. And the answer is that there really isn’t much data to verify an answer.
First, some agencies do not allow prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) to use more than one agency. However, if it is allowed, the issue many run into is that doing so can be costly. Most agencies have application fees, their own requirements (which may cost adoptive families additional money), and “get on the waiting list” fees. Sometimes agencies have different requirements as far as adoptive parent profiles (if adopting domestically), requiring adoptive families to completely revise their original profile to fit the guidelines of the secondary agencies.
The main benefit to waiting with more than one agency is that the PAP has greater exposure, and, some believe, increasing their chances of a placement. However, waiting with more than one agency can be complicated. For one, each agency determines when (or if) they notify PAPs of profile showings or considerations. There’s the risk that you would be selected by multiple social workers or expectant parents at one time. Depending on the agency you use and laws/guidelines, you may not be able to accept more than one placement within a stipulated time period, leaving you to turn down one of the matches. Then you have to decide which match to turn down. And of course, a match isn’t a guaranteed placement. Adoption, I should note, is risky no matter what, but working with multiple agencies can add additional risks and rewards.
Ultimately, I advise those seeking to adopt to carefully decide which agency (or agencies) to work with. There are many things to consider including: how biological parents and their rights are treated, fees, the staff at the agency (experience, reliability, education), the agency’s policies, the state’s laws, how adoptee are treated and supported, how adoptive parents are supported, how much education the agency provides for all triad members, post-placement support and education, and much more.
Make a list of questions, as well as a list of priorities and deal-breakers, before you begin contacting agencies. You will also want to browse the agency’s website to get a sense of their philosophy, ethics, and attitudes toward triad members. And keep in mind that just because a website isn’t pristine and flashy, it doesn’t mean that the agency isn’t worth considering. Some agencies are small and have very few spare dollars for marketing and advertising.
Working with more than one agency has its benefits; however, there are also some potential downfalls. Whatever adoption route you choose, and the number of agencies you work with, should be approached with education and discretion.
Best wishes on your adoption journey!