The decision to adopt a child is a very important one. Adoptive parents need to be able to trust and rely on their agency. This summary highlights some things to consider when selecting an adoption agency.
- Choose a licensed adoption agency
Each state has a licensing division that sets, monitors and maintains standards for child-placement. They also oversee staff educational qualifications, training requirements for agency employees and the storage of records. Choosing a licensed agency is of utmost importance.
- If the agency is working internationally, it needs to be Hague-Accredited.
Hague Accreditation refers to standards set by The Hague Convention (that ended in 1993). It was designed to ensure that U.S. adoption agencies perform their duties in an ethical and transparent manner and reflect the principles and values founded in The Hague Adoption Convention. Adoptive families must be concerned with the ethics of placement and should consider that birth parents should receive the respect and support they deserve.
- Decide on a non-profit or for-profit agency.
This decision can be based on the adoptive family’s philosophy or a connection with a particular agency
- Determining an adoption agency can be based on each individual family’s criteria or what is most important to them.
Things to consider may be quality of staff members, the agency’s years of experience, community mindedness, competence, post-adoption support, high-quality pre-adoption training for adoptive parents, level of responsiveness, adoption fees and timeline.
Some questions to consider when selecting an adoption agency:
What requirements does the agency have for adoptive parents?
What is the agency’s experience with the type of adoption you want to pursue?
What is the agency’s response time for requests for information? Is communication handled mainly by phone, email or in-person?
How often will updates be communicated regarding your specific adoption?
What adoption training will you receive?
What does the agency offer in terms of post-adoption support?
How long has the agency existed and how many placements has it made? How many placements does it make in a year? How many waiting families are there?
What fees does the agency charge and what is the timeline for payments?
Can the agency provide references for the type of adoption you are considering?
If you are pursuing intercountry adoption, what kind of support is there in-country?
- Put the time in to educate yourself about various adoption agencies and beware of promises that seem too good to be true.
- Some people choose to work with an adoption attorney. Adopting through an adoption agency does not prevent you from seeking separate legal counsel.
Cited: by Chuck Johnson, CEO of the National Council for Adoption