Signing on with an adoption agency can be a difficult decision, but it’s an important one.

Here are 20 questions to ask before choosing an adoption agency:

1. How does the agency support expectant families who are considering an adoption plan? What does their support look like?

2. How does the agency support birth families post-placement? What type of counseling and/or services are available for birth families?

3. What happens if the expectant parents change their mind? Will any fees paid be rolled over to a new match?

4. How does the agency support adoptive families pre-placement?

5. How does the adoption agency support adoptive families post-placement?

6. What is the average wait time for adoptive families to be matched?

7. What are the average fees, and where does the money go?

8. Do fees vary based on the race, ethnicity, or gender of the child?

9. What are the application fees (if any), and what do those fees go to?

10. Will I own the rights to my home study? Can I use my home study at another adoption agency if I choose to present to a situation outside of the agency?

11. How many social workers and staff does the agency have?

12. What is the preferred method of communication with employees at the agency?

13. What materials and books does the agency recommend for prospective adoptive parents?

14. Can the agency provide references from families (and birth families) who have adopted through them?

15. If the adoption agency is outside of your home state, what laws should you know about regarding termination of parental rights (TPR), the ICPC process, and the window for biological families to change their mind?

16. How quickly does the agency respond to questions?

17. How does the agency facilitate communication between expectant or birth and adoptive families before, during, and after placement?

18. How many placements did the agency complete last year?

19. Will I know when my profile is being shown to an expectant parent? How often can I expect communication from a social worker or agency employee?

20. How long has the adoption agency been around?

Are you ready to pursue a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a compassionate, experienced adoption professional who can help get you started on the journey of a lifetime.

Shelley is a former award-winning television journalist who traded in suit coats and red lipstick for a messy bun and yoga pants. She’s a freelance writer who stays at home with her three daughters who are all ((gasp)) under the age of three and came to her via adoption and birth. She’s the woman behind the blog Shelley Writes, and she can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.