If you are considering adopting a child, you are already keenly aware of all the uncertainties and unknowns. You have probably asked all these questions and more:
Will the birthmother change her mind? How do I know the status of the child? How long will the adoption process take? What are the required legal processes and how can I check that I have completed them all? What will the total costs be?
If you have decided to use an adoption agency to facilitate the new addition to your family, they should be happy to help answer all your questions, and there are some questions that they should be made to answer no matter what. Here are three broad questions that you should ask of an adoption agency. They will help you to verify whether they are a qualified provider of adoption services.
Adoption laws are in fact quite complicated. They can change depending on which state you live in, and based on the state that your prospective child lives in. There are forms and contracts to complete, submit, and track; you may also need to work with various authorities in the courts. An adoption agency that is on top of the necessary adoption services will be able to provide answers and education about your role in all of these processes.
It will also be important to have an idea of what legal services are not covered by the adoption agency. If you visit your state’s official website, you can learn more about the laws in your area. With this information, ask your adoption agency if they have familiarity navigating the laws, and what their success and failures have been in meeting them.
What do your fees include (and leave out)?
As with legal processes, there are many different costs associated with the adoption process. When you speak with an adoption agency, they should offer resources and guidance about all of the costs – even those beyond the fees that they charge.
This will also be a good time to discuss grants and financial assistance. Adoption agencies may already be working with grant providers and other funders, and they may be able to assist you with an application for financial aid immediately.
On another note, never be afraid to ask about the details of a program you are expected to pay for. If they charge a placement fee, ask about the rigor of their process and the method for matching families. If they charge annually for a home study, inquire into the average amount of years it takes for them complete an adoption. When you support an adoption agency with your money, it is your right to know the extent and success rate of the services that they provide.
What support services do you offer?
Some families have had the experience of looking forward to having a new child, and even supporting a birthmother emotionally, only to experience loss when the birthmother opts out of the adoption. With such a difficult decision, and so much at stake, you cannot blame anyone for struggling to make the best decision.
However, truly good adoption agencies that care about the process will be sure to incorporate everyone directly affected by the adoption. This ranges from the birthmother, to the child or baby, and also to the adoptive family. Everyone plays a different role in the process, and each person has valid needs. As you consider an adoption agency, ask about how they provide support to each person, each of whom is vulnerable. Seek an agency that provides education, counseling, and support so that each person involved can make the best decision.