With every life‐changing opportunity, it’s important to ask the right questions before you make any big decisions. The adoption agency that you choose will have a tremendous impact on your adoption experience, so even though you might be ready to get the ball rolling, it’s important to slow down and consider all of your options.
Below, you’ll find an outline of common questions to ask an adoption agency. While we’ve done our best to compile a list of common questions that you might find yourself asking, it’s likely that there will be some that didn’t make it on this list. If you have any additional questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to an adoption professional.
What Everyone Should Know Before Working with an Adoption Agency
Whether you are a prospective adoptive parent or a woman considering an adoption plan for her child, there are some questions that will be on everyone’s mind. Below are a few things that everyone should ask an adoption agency before getting started.
- What kind of support does your agency offer?: It goes without saying that whether you are a prospective adoptive parent or a woman considering adoption, the adoption process will be full of emotional ups and downs. But that doesn’t mean you have to deal with them on your own. A great adoption agency will be with you through every step of the process and can offer educational resources and guidance to answer all of your tough questions.
- What is your availability like? During an adoption, there are some situations and questions that can’t wait until the next business day. One sign of a good adoption agency is that they offer 24/7 support and guidance for prospective birth parents and will be available to adoptive families during critical moments that may take place outside of regular business hours, like the hospital stay.
Important Questions that Potential Birth Parents Should Ask
Choosing adoption for your baby may be the most difficult thing you ever do, and you deserve to feel fully supported through every step of the process. That’s why choosing an adoption agency as a prospective birth mother is so important; your choice can make or break your adoption experience.
Here are a few important questions to ask as you consider potential adoption professionals:
- Does this adoption agency support open adoption? Placing a child for adoption doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship with your child. If you’re hoping to stay in contact with your baby after the adoption, look for an agency that encourages open adoption and prioritizes their post‐placement services, like coordination of pictures and letters, in addition to counseling and support after the adoption is over.
- Is counseling free for potential birth parents? This is one of the most helpful questions to ask an adoption agency. If you’re a prospective birth mother, you’ll never have to worry about cost when it comes to making an adoption plan, including any counseling that you receive. In fact, in most states, expectant birth parents can also receive financial assistance during their adoption with help from the adoptive family and the adoption agency. Once an adoption specialist has assessed your financial situation, they will work as quickly as possible to provide the support that you need.
- How long do I have to make my adoption decision? Legally, you are able to change your mind about the adoption process at any point in your journey. The only instance in which you won’t be able to change your mind is once you have signed your consent to the adoption and the revocation period (if applicable in your state) has passed. At this point, it will be near impossible to reinstate your parental rights. A good adoption agency understands that situations like this can and do happen, and they will never pressure you into continuing to make an adoption plan that’s not right for you.The right agency will make it clear that you’re not obligated to continue the adoption process, and they will support all of your decisions — even if they don’t end in adoption.
- Will I have support after the adoption? Moving forward after placing your baby for adoption won’t be easy, but a great adoption agency can help. Before making any decisions, it’s important to ask what services they have in place to support you after the adoption is over. This can include offering plenty of education on grief and loss, suggestions for how to cope after placing a baby for adoption, referrals to local adoption counselors and more. Remember — a good adoption specialist will always be there to support you long after you place your baby up for adoption.
- How are adoptive parents screened? Ensuring that the baby will be raised in a safe, loving home is the biggest concern for many pregnant women considering adoption. Any adoption agency that you consider should have a thorough screening process to ensure the families they work with are safe and can provide the life you’ve always wanted your baby to have.
- What choices will I get to make during the process? With a good adoption agency, the needs of prospective birth parents always come first. With that being said, you may be wondering what exactly you get to decide when it comes to your adoption plan. The right adoption agency will put you in charge of choosing:
- Exactly what you’re looking for in an adoptive family, from where they live to the types of pets that they have
- How you’d like your hospital stay to go
- What kind of relationship you’d like to have with the adoptive family and your child
- And more
With the help of an adoption specialist, you can make an adoption plan that’s perfect for you.
Important Questions that Hopeful Adoptive Parents Should Ask
When you work with an adoption agency to bring your child home, you are placing a great deal of trust in that organization. Not only are you making a significant financial investment with this professional, but you are also investing your hopes and dreams of completing your family with them. Choosing the right adoption agency, then, is so important for a successful adoption process.
As you consider your choices, make sure to ask:
- How long is the average wait time? This answer will likely depend on what type of agency you’re adopting from. The largest adoption agencies, also known as national adoption agencies, typically have shorter wait times for their adoptive families because they work with more prospective birth mothers all across the country. If you’re hoping to build your family as quickly as possible, a larger adoption agency can be extremely beneficial.
- What is your policy on adoption disruptions? An adoption disruption can be devastating — emotionally and, with some agencies, financially. To help ease adoptive parent’s fears, some adoption agencies have programs in place in the event than a disruption occurs. If you’re worried about the next steps after a disruption, you should look into an agency with a risk‐sharing program.
- How does your agency help prospective parents find a match? Ideally, you should work with an adoption agency that has robust advertising and matching services. The best types of agencies for this service are national adoption agencies, which have large advertising budgets to help them find prospective birth parents all over the U.S.
- What does an average adoption cost with your agency, and what fees are included? The best type of agency to work with is one that is honest, transparent and upfront about their costs. However, not every agency is like this. Watch out for agencies that charge recurring or hidden fees that are different from the price you were initially quoted. Also, keep in mind that agencies that advertise low costs to entice hopeful adoptive families on a strict budget are probably cutting out necessary services (like 24/7 counseling for potential birth parents.) Other agencies will quote a “best-case-scenario” number that doesn’t take into account potential scenarios like adoption disruptions or legal complications with the birth father, meaning a family could end up paying even more to make their adoption dreams come true. Don’t settle for the adoption agency that quotes the lowest costs; do some research and compare the services included in each agency’s fees for an accurate idea of what you’ll end up paying with that professional.
- How is your agency licensed? It’s incredibly important to make sure that you’re working with a licensed adoption agency. Without proper licensing and regulation, you can’t be sure that your adoption meets all of the legal and ethical standards for a successful adoption. For families that want even more protection — consider a national adoption agency that’s licensed in multiple states. This means that they are reviewed by several states annually, ensuring that they are held to a higher standard.
- What are the requirements for adoptive families to join your agency? If you meet the specific requirements to adopt in the state you live in, then you’re off to a great start. But you should also make sure that you meet the requirements of the agency you’d like to adopt from. For instance, some adoption agencies have specific age and marriage requirements for potential families. If you don’t meet the requirements of a particular agency, don’t hesitate to ask if they have an exception policy.
Questions to Ask Other Adoption Professionals
While adoption agencies are a great resource, they aren’t the only adoption professional out there. Below are some more questions to ask an adoption attorney and other adoption professionals during your research.
- Do you provide counseling and support for your clients?
- When you’re away from the office, is there anyone else I could speak to? What if I have questions or need support when you’re not available?
- If you are an adoption attorney, are you member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys?
- Are your adoption fees fixed, or do you charge an hourly rate for your services? How much can we expect to spend?
- Are you able to handle the adoption process from start to finish? If not, how will we get the additional adoption services we need?
- How do you handle adoption disruptions? Will our fees be at risk if a potential birth mother changes her mind?
Speak with an Adoption Agency Today
The wait will be hard, but holding out for the right adoption agency or other professional that meets all of your standards will make all the difference. This decision will have the greatest impact on your overall adoption experience, so it’s important to get the right answers to all of your questions. To learn more, speak with an adoption professional today about your decision.