8 Things to Consider When Choosing an Adoption Agency
Making the decision to adopt is not a light decision. Many different factors can lead families to adopt… infertility, other medical conditions, a desire to give a child a permanent home, a life calling… but deciding to adopt is just the very beginning of a long journey.
My husband and I knew from the time we got married that we wanted to adopt. But when it was time for us to start the process it was overwhelming to figure out how and which adoption agency to choose.
Here are 8 things to consider once you’re ready to make the next step in starting your adoption journey and choosing an agency.
1.Do you want to adopt domestically, internationally, or through foster care?
When you’re to the point of needing to select an agency to work with, it’s important to know what route you’d like to pursue.
This will help guide your search process and narrow the results. Not all agencies do International adoptions, some only do foster care, others offer multiple services.
2.Does the agency offer a program option you’re interested in?
All adoption agencies are different. Knowing what you are interested in (domestic, international, specific countries, etc. …) can help guide you in the agency selection process.
We had narrowed down a couple specific countries we hoped to adopt from. Knowing specific countries of interest helped as we searched because many agencies did not have active or open programs in the countries we wanted.
3. Is the adoption agency accredited?
Accreditation is extremely important! The U.S. Department of State has a great resource for searching adoption agencies that are accredited.
Visit their website here
The Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Maintenance Entity (IAAME) is the actual accrediting agency. Visit their website here
This specific link provides lists of current accredited adoption agencies as well as lists of adoption agencies that have complaints or adverse action reports again them.
My husband and I failed to adequately perform this step and our first adoption process ended due to corruption that involved the adoption agency.
*** I Cannot Express How Important This Step Is!!!***
4. Is the adoption agency in your same state? If not, are they willing to work with local agencies for your home study?
It is possible to work with agencies outside of your state, however for any form of adoption you will have to have a home study done.
A home study involves multiple visits from a social worker who will interview you and your family and assess the safety of your home.
If the agency you work with is out of state, they obviously cannot provide this service so you will have to find a second agency willing to do the home study and work with the out of state agency.
It may seem like an overwhelming component of the process, but it really isn’t that bad to work with an out of state agency. Our home study agency was from a city two hours away and our adoption agency was out of state. It all worked out well for us!
5. Has the agency previously had successful adoptions within your program of interest?
It should raise a red flag if the agency does not have any previous successful adoptions, especially in the international realm… Make sure to ask good questions and really look into details of the program you’re interested in.
Even if they’ve had one or two successful adoptions it would be wise to continue asking questions and ensure the program is legitimate.
6. What are the agency fees?
It is important to be informed of all agency fees upfront and have the option to compare, as agency fees can vary quite a bit.
7. How is the program set up fee schedule? average length? travel requirements?
When selecting a specific route, you want to be sure the details of the program and all it entails will be a good fit for you and your family. Make sure to ask about their refund policy. Multiple trips overseas or extended stays may be totally fine for some families and not an option for others.
Just know what you’re getting in to… (while also knowing it could all change regardless because that’s how adoptions tend to work… )
8. Is the agency willing to connect you with previous and current clients to hear their experience of working with the agency?
Hearing other people’s experience working with the agency you are considering can be very insightful.
If an agency is unwilling to provide you with previous AND current clients who are willing to talk with you that should raise a red flag.