Licensed agency or private attorney?June 22, 2020
Meet a Birth Mom Named JocelynAugust 17, 2020
Welcoming a child into your home through adoption is a life-changing, joy-filled decision. But like most adoptive families, you may not know where to begin the process — or even what to ask an adoption agency to make sure they’re the right fit.
In this post, Rachael Rush (our Adoptive Family Coordinator) shares questions you should ask when you’re interviewing the agency before starting the adoption process.
As an Adoptive Family Coordinator, I often receive phone calls from families beginning to navigate the deep seas of private domestic adoption. These phone calls take me back to the days of sitting in the “hot seat” answering those nerve-racking interview questions, trying to land a job. But during these phone calls, I’m not nervous at all! I proudly answer these questions and try to share additional information about our agency with the families.
Whether you’re an adoptive family or an expecting mom looking to create an adoption plan, it’s important to take the time to research any adoption agency you’re thinking about working with. Here’s a list of questions to ask when interviewing the agency.
Are you a licensed child-placing agency?
Most people don’t think to ask this because they assume all agencies are licensed. But there are some “adoption agencies” that are not licensed child-placing agencies, but rather adoption facilitators and adoption attorneys.
What types of adoptions do you help with?
Knowing the types of adoptions an agency facilitates will help you make sure they line up with what you are looking for. Does the agency help with domestic infant adoption, older child adoption, international adoption, or state adoptions? And does the agency require closed, open, or semi-open adoptions? Or can an expecting mother choose the adoption path for her child (closed, open, or semi-open)?
What does your fee schedule look like?
The cost of adoption is one of the biggest concerns for most adoptive families. That’s why our agency has a clear, comprehensive breakdown of the typical costs associated with adoptions.
Unfortunately, not all agencies are honest about their pricing. Make sure to get your adoption fee structure up front. Look for cost estimates that include all the agency fees, living expenses, medical expenses, legal fees, and any other non-refundable costs. You’ll also want to make sure you know when all the fees are due. Don’t be afraid to ask where your money will be going.
How is our investment protected?
Adoption agencies handle events like disrupted placements in different ways. It’s important to know ahead of time what will happen to any money you have paid in an event like this. Are you going to get your money back? Will you only receive a small portion back, or is the money locked in and rolled over for another adoption attempt? Make sure you understand the financial risks that may be involved.
How many hopeful adoptive families do you have waiting, how many placements do you complete each year, and how long is your wait?
These questions (and the answers you receive) will help you understand the big picture of the agency. If an agency has hundreds of waiting families but only completes a handful of placements a year, that’s a red flag. You will probably receive less support and a longer wait time.
On the other hand, if the agency only offers a few placements a year and has a low number of waiting families, you will probably get more “hands-on” support and guidance throughout the process. Wait times often vary, but it’s always worth asking to get an idea.
What type of support do you provide for adoptive families AND expecting moms, pre- and post-placement?
Adoptive families and expecting moms need logistical, emotional, professional, legal, and medical support throughout this journey. Some agencies are considered “full service” and are equipped to provide support in all of these areas. Other agencies are only able to offer support in one or two of the areas.
The best agencies will have professional employees working for the adoptive family and for the expecting mom(s) to ensure each party is supported through the entire process. Full support for the expecting moms is essential; it not only prepares them for the tough, loving choice of adoption, but it also reduces risk.
What type of education do you require and/or provide to hopeful adoptive parents?
If you find an agency that does not require any training, chances are they are not offering adoptions for the right reasons. If you, as a hopeful adoptive parent, do not want to complete any adoption training, chances are you are not ready to adopt. It’s essential to understand adoption and all the complexities associated with the process before you become an adoptive parent.
Make sure you educate yourself any way you can before adopting a child. The agencies you want to work with will be the agencies that provide you with opportunities for education and have additional resources available for you.
There are many adoption agencies and organizations out there. You may find one better than another based on your unique situation. Asking these questions while interviewing the agency is a great place to start.
Don’t forget to:
- Be bold when asking your questions.
- Read agency reviews and ask people you know for recommendations.
- Choose an agency that will fully support adoptive parents, expecting mothers, and adopted children.
We can help you navigate the joys, challenges, and emotions of adoption.
Gifts of Grace Adoption Support Center has worked with expecting moms, adoptive families, and children in the Lafayette, Indiana community since 2013. We believe that quality, affordable, Christ-centered adoption services empower pregnant moms and dads, create thriving adoptive families, and help all children be placed in a loving home.