When you decide to adopt a child, one of the first steps of the process is selecting an adoption agency. This decision is a crucial one, and it shouldn't be made in haste. Taking the time to research your options will ensure that you choose an agency that best fits your family's needs. Let's look at some of the key factors to consider when you're looking for a good adoption agency.
Think like a Consumer
Imagine you were buying a new car: You wouldn't make a move until you had done some comparison shopping and investigated your options. The same type of consumer research can help lead you to an agency . Gather as much information as you can about each agency, and don't rule out any of your options until you've done a thorough investigation. Many adoption agencies offer monthly informational meetings; attending one of these is a good way to get more information and evaluate a prospective agency.
Certain questions can help you gain a clearer picture of an adoption agency's experience and specializations. Be sure to ask a prospective agency about any support services it provides to adoptive parents. Does the agency help prepare parents for the challenges of adopting a child from a different cultural or racial background? Are any services available for families who may experience difficulties after placement? If an adoption takes place in another state, will a local agency be sure that you meet the requirements of the Interstate Compact? Take careful notes when you ask these questions, and you'll quickly find that certain agencies are better suited to your case than others.
Use Your Networking Skills
The information and support you can get from other adoptive parents is invaluable. You can connect with other adoptive parents in local or online support groups; they may be able to provide some honest feedback about the agencies you're considering. Talking to previous clients is a good way to find out what it's like to work with a particular agency.
Watch for Red Flags
There's always a chance that your adoption process may hit a few bumps in the road, but you can prevent many problems by watching out for certain red flags. If an agency's promises seem too good to be true, they probably are. Take the time to investigate agencies thoroughly: They should be licensed and staffed with experienced, licensed social workers. An agency should be able to tell you how many children it's placed in the last few years and name its professional affiliations. If you need further information, you can always check the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against an agency.
It's clear that selecting a quality adoption agency requires a bit of effort and research. Making a careful and informed decision at the beginning of your adoption journey can save you significant stress and heartbreak down the line. Your choice of agency is one of the most critical decisions you'll make during the adoption process, so it's important to get it right.