An adoption assistant is any professional who aids you with an adoption but who is not necessarily a licensed adoption placement professional. This means, essentially, that he or she can help you with almost all aspects of preparing to adopt but cannot legally serve as the agent who connects you with a birthmother and oversees the legal aspects of the adoption. Adoption assistants can go by many names: consultant, coordinator, mentor, etc. In some states, an adoption facilitator can legally serve as the placement agent for an adoption. Make sure to check your state’s laws if you wish to work with a facilitator.

There are many other aspects of your adoption that an assistant could help with: deciding which adoption professionals, such as lawyers or agencies, you wish to use; helping you decide how to finance your adoption, including directing you to grants and loans; helping you with your profile and outreach marketing materials; and serving as a source of support through what can be an emotional process. Many adoption assistants also provide post-placement support for adoptive families and help them locate adoption support groups and other resources in their area. Many adoption assistants are adoptive parents or people who previously worked in the adoption industry, so they are knowledgeable, well-connected, and empathetic toward the stress associated with the adoption process.

If you are new to adoption, just starting the process, or feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information about adopting and the number of choices you need to make as a prospective adoptive parent, hiring an adoption assistant could be the right move. If you are in the process of adopting and have not had success or have experienced a long wait or disruptions, an adoption assistant can help you regroup, assess your current strategy, and suggest ideas to help make a successful adoption happen for you. While hiring an adoption assistant is an additional cost, and adoption itself can often be costly, if you want to make sure you are making the best choices for your family’s unique needs, it may be worth the price. Most adoption assistants have a range of price points for different service packages, so you don’t need to pay for services you don’t need. Some also work on a sliding scale or provide discounts based on financial need.

Julianna Mendelsohn lives in sunny South Florida where, odds are, it is hot enough right now that she’s sweating just a little, no matter what she’s doing. She is the brains, brawn, blood, sweat, and tears behind The Adoption Mentor and is thrilled to be able to help others build their families through adoption. She is a former elementary school teacher, current MS in school counseling student, Sephora junkie, and the momma via domestic adoption to one lovely daughter.