Choosing which adoption agency you will work with can be one of the most stressful and most important decisions you will make in your adoption journey. It is important not to just go with the cheapest adoption agency because there are many other factors at play. You will want one who is not only budget conscious but is efficient and ethical. You will also need to find an agency that will represent you to the best of their ability and advocate for you in the adoption process. Seeking agencies with a good reputation and who are known for their honesty and trustworthiness is a must. Here are a few questions that are essential to ask to guide you in your adoption agency decision.
What is your average timeline from application to finalization?
The timeline of any adoption can vary based on different factors. However, some of these factors will be the speed of the agency to process certain documents, and also the number of birth families they typically work with per year in relation to the number of adoptive families they accept. Asking for an average timeline may give you an idea of what kind of wait time you might expect, though your specifications and other factors also play into this timeline.
Do you provide representation for birth mothers?
This question is important to see the heart of an adoption agency and their view on the rights of birth parents. All birth parents should have an unbiased party representing them to ensure that there is no coercion, an ethically conducted adoption, and the birth parent is completely aware of their rights. Essentially, having someone there whose bottom line is not affected if the birth parent chooses to parent is essential to the ethical practice of adoption.
What is the financial loss if we experience a failed match?
Failed matches are unfortunate but sometimes a common reality for many adoptive parents. Aside from the heartbreak, the financial impact suffered in the event of one can potentially end an adoption journey before an adoption can occur. Some agencies have a sort of safety net in place that allows adoptive parents to “roll over” certain fees in the event of a failed match. Some of these fees might include a match fee. See if an agency has any sort of relief for you in the event that an adoption fails to proceed so that the financial impact is not as great of a blow.
What kind of support do you provide after finalization?
After the post-placement visits are complete, many adoption agencies can go radio silent. After the adoption of our son finalized, we did not hear from our agency again until our home study was about to expire. While this was not a huge deal on our part, it is nice to work with an agency that reaches out after to see if there are any further questions or adoption-related issues that arise. Some agencies do a great job at providing support and a community for both birth parents and adoptive parents well after the adoption finalized. This ongoing support and communication are also vital in an open adoption situation, in the event that the help of a third party might be useful.
Lita Jordan is a master of all things “home.” A work-from-home, stay-at-home, homeschooling mother of five. She has a BA in Youth Ministry from Spring Arbor University. She is married to the “other Michael Jordan” and lives on coffee and its unrealistic promises of productivity. Lita enjoys playing guitar and long trips to Target. Follow her on www.facebook.com/halfemptymom/.