The world of adoption can be a confusing one for hopeful Adoptive Parents. Adoption is a legal process, but the emotions (and finances) involved and the inability to control almost every aspect can make it terrifying. Who can you trust? When you decide to take that step, to commit to the process that will build your family, the idea of someone being there for you who knows the vocabulary and legalities and the ins and outs is very alluring!
So what is an adoption consultant?
Adoption Consultants are individuals or companies that help guide you through the adoption process. They generally have years of experience in the field and share their knowledge and expertise with their clients. With an Adoption Consultant, you will receive adoption education as well as advice on the home study process, and many also offer advice as you put together your adoption profile. They are there to answer questions for you throughout the process; however, they are not lawyers, social workers or agencies and work strictly as advisors; they network with agencies and/or law firms to advocate for their clients.
Consultants are not regulated or licensed, and they do not work with Birth Mothers. Their emphasis is on education and support for prospective Adopting Parents. They also review adoption opportunities and offer advice on any possible red flags, although as they are not lawyers they cannot offer legal advice.
What are the benefits of an Adoption Consultant?
Adoption Consultants offer a shoulder to lean on during the process. They will answer your questions in an educated, unbiased manner. They will also advise you on the creation of your adoption profile. This is the marketing piece that will be given to prospective Birth Mothers so they can get to know you home and, hopefully, pick you to raise their child. Finally, while Adoption Consultants don’t provide studies, they often suggest where to go, and will offer advice and suggestions to help you through this process as well.
What don’t they do?
Adoption Consultants are not lawyers and cannot offer legal advice or counsel. You will need to hire and work with a lawyer to manage the legal pathway and finalize your adoption. Adoption Consultants don’t work with Birth Mothers. They will send your profiles to other adoption entities in the hopes of finding a Birth Mother for you. You have no control over these other entities. You won’t know if the entity that finds your Birth Mother will offer you any financial protection in the event of a disruption, or even how they find or handle prospective Birth Mothers. After you’ve been matched with a Birth Mother, that’s when all the pieces need to be fit together. Ask if your Adoption Consultant has a network of professionals they can refer to you for all the different phases and aspects of your journey and if they will continue to oversee the process after you’ve been matched with a Birth Mother.
Overall, Adoption Consultants can lead you through a very challenging time and offer support, education and guidance. But it’s important to understand what they will and won’t do for you so you know what you will need to handle on your own.