With an overwhelming number of options available, many hopeful families struggle to find the right adoption professional to meet their needs. The good news is that you’re not alone — and there are professionals that can help put you on the right path.
Every choice you make, from the agency you choose to the home study professional you work with, will make a big impact on your entire adoption experience. With so much to think about, some families turn to an adoption consultant for help. But, is this the right choice for your family? Keep reading to learn more about this type of adoption professional before moving forward.
What are Adoption Consultants?
An adoption consultant is an individual or an organization that can advise a family throughout the adoption process. They can make suggestions for home study professionals, how to improve your adoption profile, networking with various agencies and more. They often have personal experience in adoption, and will make suggestions to their clients based on that.
Although an adoption consultant can be useful, they can’t actually provide any of the necessary services for an adoption like an agency can. Their main goal is to provide education and support for hopeful adoptive parents. Essentially, they are there to coach prospective adoptive families though difficult decisions. As their services are intended for potential adoptive families, this means that they usually do not work with prospective birth parents. They should be considered if you’re looking for helpful suggestions in addition to the agency that you’re already working with or if you’re considering an independent adoption.
Advantages of an Adoption Consultant
Although adoption consultants won’t be able to provide the services you actually need for an adoption, they do have some advantages. Below are a few that adoptive families should consider:
- A shoulder to lean on: Adoption consultants can provide emotional support as you’re searching for the right answers. A good consultant will provide unbiased information, so you’ll never feel pressured into making a decision that you’re not comfortable with. However, keep in mind that anyone can be an adoption consultant; you do not have to be a licensed social worker or counselor to call yourself a consultant. Therefore, the counseling and support offered by an adoption consultant will not match those services offered by a licensed adoption agency.
- Help with an adoption profile: A great adoptive family profile can be the key to finding the perfect adoption opportunity. To make sure that yours stands out, an adoption consultant can review and offer advice on your profile. Again, this is another service a good adoption agency will be able to help you with, but a consultant can be useful for this step if you’re pursuing an independent adoption and advertising yourself on your own.
- More exposure: Adoption consultants often network with multiple agencies to help expose their adoptive families to more potential birth mothers. This method could help decrease the wait time for a potential family to find a match, but it can also be incredibly expensive to work with multiple adoption agencies at once.
Disadvantages of Adoption Consultants
Although adoption consultants can be a good choice for families that are overwhelmed, in reality there are a few reasons for why you might want to reconsider. Below are a few reasons for why an adoption consultant might not be the best option.
- No legal representation: Adoption consultants are not attorneys, and they won’t be able to provide any legal advice or counseling. To find legal representation and to finalize your adoption, you’ll have to find an adoption lawyer either through your adoption agency or on your own.
- Lack of other adoption services: Not only will an adoption consultant be unable to provide legal representation, but you’ll also need to find another professional who can complete other necessary services such as your home study and post‐placement services. An adoption agency can provide all of these services and more, so looking for an adoption consultant in addition to your agency is often unnecessary.
- No regulation or oversight: Unlike adoption agencies, adoption consultants are not regulated or licensed in any way. This means that there is no objective third party reviewing a consultant’s work to ensure it is legal, ethical and legitimate, and families will have to mainly rely on adoption consultants’ reviews to make an informed decision.
- Additional costs: Working with an adoption consultant means that you’ll be paying for their services in addition to fees from other professionals. This can make adoption consultants an extra expense that you might not really need.
Find the Right Professional for You
Adoption consultants aren’t a bad resource by any means, but an adoption agency could be a better option for families who are on the fence. With an adoption agency, you’ll have the same accessibility to consultation and adoption education, but with the added benefit of 24/7 support and counseling, post‐placement supervision, legal representation and more. This eliminates the need to use multiple professionals for services that you could find from just one organization.
If you do plan to use the services of an adoption consultant, it might be better to use their services as an addition to your adoption agency instead. But, it’s important to do plenty of your own research before working with an adoption consultant. If you’re interested in learning more about how adoption agencies can guide families through the adoption process from start to finish, reach out to an adoption specialist today to help answer any questions.