If you are adopting internationally, it will be important for you to select the right international adoption agency or professional to assist you through the process.

As of July 14, 2014, under the Universal Accreditation Act of 2012 (UAA), hopeful Adoptive Parents looking to adopt internationally typically must work with an accredited or approved adoption service provider. Intercountry adoptions are divided between "the Convention process" and "the orphan process." The Convention process provides additional protections to children, prospective Adoptive Parents and the Birth Parents.

RESEARCH AND CONTACT ADOPTION AGENCIES

Before you reach out to a specific adoption service provider (ASP), you can do some research to determine if they would be a fit for you. Find out if the ASP has a program with the country you wish to adopt from and check with the state licensing authority to see if there is any history of complaints with the particular ASP.

When you are ready to speak with an adoption agency or professional, find out specific information. When asked, international adoption agencies and professionals must disclose: their policies and practices (including general eligibility criteria and fees); the providers with whom the Adoptive Parents will be expected to work with throughout the process; a sample of their written adoption services contract; the number of adoption placements/year they have done for the prior 3 years, the number of Adoptive Parents who have applied to adopt on a yearly basis (based on past 3 calendar years); and the number of children eligible for adoption and awaiting an adoptive placement.

TALK TO OTHER ADOPTIVE PARENTS

Adoptive Parents who have already adopted internationally can provide a wealth of information and support. They are able to give insight that only those that have experienced the process can provide. Ask them about why they decided to pursue an international adoption and if they had any initial expectations or fears. Listen to their specific journey, including any surprises and struggles they faced. Ask them about their experience with the adoption agency or professional they worked with and if/how they effectively helped them navigate the entire process.

CONCLUSION

Choosing the right adoption service provider will be a critical decision and will affect your entire adoption experience. Make sure you explore your options and delve deeper into the different agency programs. You must make an informed decision and feel confident and comfortable with the provider that is going to help you build your family.