Adorable baby girl swaddled for a photo shootAs you start looking into adopting a baby, you may realize that you will need help from an adoption professional because the domestic adoption process can be complicated.
There are many aspects, like completing paperwork for your home study, creating an adoption profile, hiring an adoption lawyer, and more. While some choose to do all of this themselves, most hopeful adoptive parents hire an adoption agency.
It’s important to work with the right adoption agency because you risk experiencing a reclaim, fall-through, or adoption scam if your adoption isn’t handled correctly. The best adoption agency may not be the small one that has an office located close to you. It might not be the agency you heard about from your cousin’s wife. Plenty of hopeful adoptive parents lose money, time, and peace of mind by selecting an adoption agency that doesn’t meet their needs. With a bit of preparation, you can avoid this. You deserve better adoption services.
You may wonder how to choose the right adoption agency. Besides doing your research and asking for recommendations from other people, you will want to contact each adoption agency and ask them questions.
These 15 questions will help you gauge your adoption agency’s level of commitment and engagement with the adoption process. Let’s take a look at the questions you might ask:

  1. Are you licensed in my state?
    One of the first things you should know before you sign on to work with an adoption agency is whether they’re licensed in your state or any other state. It’s actually a legal requirement in most states, and every state has its own guidelines about licensing. Working with a licensed adoption agency protects you and the birth mother during the adoption.
  2. What type of support do you provide for adoptive parents?
    One of the primary services an adoption agency should provide you support for the adoptive parents. The best agencies are those that provide an Adoption Coordinator who is assigned to you as well as the birth mother so that no one slips through the cracks during the process. Some of the support adoptive families need during adoption includes:

    • Guidance throughout the home study process
    • Help with their profile and video
    • Emotional encouragement
    • Suggestions related to open adoption
    • Checking up on them after the adoption to see how they’re doing
    • Educational opportunities such as articles, blogs, and adoption webinars
  3. How do you help with an open adoption?
    Open adoptions are more common today than closed adoptions. Open adoption allows the birth mother to have some form of contact with the adoptive family and their child after placement.

    Your adoption agency should help you navigate your relationship with the birth mother. Their goal is to help the adoptive parents and birth parents make their decisions with the child in mind. No matter how wonderful your relationship is with your child’s birth mother, it’s always important to have a post-contact agreement written up to avoid misunderstandings.

  4. How do you find adoption opportunities for adoptive parents?
    They should have an up-to-date website that is easy to navigate since most birth mothers look online for adoptive families. The agency should reach out to birth mothers in a variety of ways.

    Do they have online advertising nationwide? Do they perform networking services to reach potential birth mothers? If they’re doing these things, it can give you more adoption opportunities.

  5. What is included in the cost of adoption?
    It’s important to understand how much the adoption will cost and what is included in these fees. Your adoption agency should be very up-front about the cost. You can ask the agency for their fixed fees for a best-case scenario. Fees may include:

    • Agency fees
    • Medical expenses for the birth mother, if applicable
    • Living expenses, if applicable
    • Legal fees
    • Advertising fees

    Ask for a specific list of where your money is going. There should be no hesitation on their part to share this information with you.

Other Questions to Ask Adoption Agencies

The more questions you ask, the better so you can understand what you’re getting into before you sign with an adoption agency. Some other questions you could include:

  1. How long is the average wait time?
  2. How many adoptions did you have last year, and what is your average number per year?
  3. What is your reclaim rate?
  4. How do you present profiles to birth parents?
  5. Do you offer a fixed fee for your adoption services?
  6. How much money could I potentially lose in living and medical expenses if a birth mother changes her mind?
  7. What is your agency’s belief system?
  8. Can I interact directly with the birth mother or give her my contact information?
  9. Are you available 24/7 for adoptive parents and birth parents?
  10. Will you handle the entire adoption process?
    There are many adoption agencies to choose from, and each one will want you to work with them. In the end, only you know which adoption agency is best for you. Besides doing your research and asking for recommendations from others who have adopted, be sure to ask questions before you sign on with them.
    At Lifetime Adoption, we work hard to answer adoptive parent’s questions with total honesty and transparency. Our goal is to help connect adoptive families and birth parents for the sake of the children.

    We know that finding the right adoption agency can be challenging, so let us make it easy. Call Lifetime Adoption at (727) 493-0933, or request free information online to connect with an adoption professional.
    We’re here to answer your questions and provide you the adoption help you need!

    Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

    Written by Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P.

    Founder of Lifetime Adoption, adoptive mom, adoption expert, and Certified Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P).

    Since 1986, adoption expert Mardie Caldwell has been dedicated to bringing couples and birth parents together in order to fulfill their dreams.

    “Many years ago, I was also searching for a child to adopt. We didn’t know where or how to get started. Through research, determination, and a prayer, our dream of a family became reality. I started with a plan, a notebook, assistance from a caring adoption consultant and a lot of hard work; this was my family I was building. We had a few heartaches along the way, but the pain of not having children was worse!

    Within weeks we had three different birth mothers choose us. We were overwhelmed and delighted. Many unsettling events would take place before our adoption would be finalized, many months later. Little did I know that God was training and aligning me for the adoption work I now do today. It is my goal to share with our families the methods and plans which succeed and do not succeed. I believe adoption should be affordable and can be a wonderful “pregnancy” for the adoptive couple.

    I have also been on both sides of infertility with the loss of seven pregnancies and then conceiving by new technology, giving birth to a healthy daughter. I have experienced first-hand the emotional pain of infertility and believe my experience allows me to serve your needs better.

    It is my hope that for you, the prospective parents, your desire for a child will be fulfilled soon.”

    Read More About Mardie Caldwell