Many people search for “adoption agencies near me” or “adoption agency near me,” but that may not be nearly as important as asking the right questions. The adoption professional or agency you hire will impact your entire adoption experience. Your adoption agency will be your guide through the often-confusing adoption process, so it is worth spending the time to pick the right one for you.
For anybody considering adoption, it is important to understand as much as possible before you adopt a baby. With hundreds of adoption professionals available, asking the right questions can help you designate a clear path for forward movement in the process. You might be tempted to rush through the process of hiring an agency quickly, settling for the one that promises the most, is the fastest, or the cheapest. Spending the time upfront to find the best agency for you and your family is well worth the effort.
You will find that asking questions gives you the assistance you need to understand the process as you seek to choose an “adoption agency near me.” Whether you want to adopt a baby or a child, these questions will prove helpful.
Avoid simply emailing agencies with a list of questions. To decide if you could see yourself trusting the agency to help you bring your child home, you need to actually talk with them. After all, you’re looking for more than just their wait time and how many successful adoptions they have done. You need to also judge if you trust them to help you create your family.
To accomplish this, you’ll need to take careful notes during the interview. Write down not just about the information but also about their attitude. Later, analyze if you would enjoy working with them. Consider their stance on issues important to you, their overall behavior, and how helpful they were. Since these interviews take time, make an appointment so the agency can allocate the right person speak with you. In addition, making an appointment ensure that person will have set aside enough time for the call.
What Kind of Availability Do You Have?
Adoption is a challenging process, and it can be an emotional journey too. Your needs might not fit into a 9-to-5 schedule. If you have questions or need support from your adoption agency, you might want them to be responsive outside business hours. You can develop reasonable expectations when you ask about availability ahead of time and adjust your communication.
As you search for a “private adoption agency near me,” you also need to find out about the adoption agency’s availability in terms of wait times. Is there room for you to be on the roster? When will an agent be able to handle your case, and what does the average caseload look like for agents?
What Kind of Wait Time Should I Expect?
The wait time to adopt a baby can vary from adoption agency to agency and location to location. Each couple is different too, and the wait time can depend on some factors that you choose. For example, couples who want a closed adoption might wait longer than couples who want an open adoption. Couples with very specific requirements regarding race, age, gender, and special needs may also wait longer than those with very few requirements.
Along with that same reasoning, you might want to ask about the agency’s success rate. How many parents end their contract with the agency with a child? If the success rate seems low, you might want to consider why this is.
In many cases, adoption agencies make it easy to peruse profiles of prospective birth mothers considering placing their children. These profiles may give you an idea of how many people are currently looking for adoptive families and how you can adjust your requirements or expectations to lower your wait time potentially.
What Are the Costs?
The costs associated with adopting are a big concern for hopeful parents, with many asking, “how much are adoption fees?” If you want to adopt a baby, you need a realistic idea about the pricing. Are there fixed fees you need to know? What kind of medical expenses are you expected to pay? It would help if you got information about costs and pricing in writing before you sign any contracts or put any money down.
Unfortunately, the adoption process is not always linear. Some people do back out of the process, which can be difficult for anybody to deal with. What happens if the birth parents change their minds? Will you lose your money if a prospective birth mother decides she wants to parent or chooses another couple at the last minute? Nobody wants to think about these types of events, but they do occasionally happen, so it’s smart to plan ahead when you’re wondering, “How much are adoption fees?”
What Support Does the Adoption Agency Offer?
Adoption agencies provide different types of support. Some give only logistical assistance, while others might also offer emotional, medical, and legal care. Ask the adoption professional about the resources available for adoptive parents and birth parents. How will the agency assist you with the transition that follows placement?
If you’re searching for a “private adoption agency near me,” or “adoption agency near me,” keep in mind that going with the adoption agency in your town may not be the best. Your local adoption agency may only help people in your area, so they are only working with a few pregnant women considering adoption at a time. A nationwide adoption agency that helps women across the US will have many more potential birth mothers, giving you more opportunities to be chosen as adoptive parents.
What Are the Steps Involved in the Process?
One of the first steps involved in the adoption process involves screening all adoptive families. What does the screening look like? Which kind of adoptive families are eligible to work with this adoption agency? What will your home study consist of?
You might also want to know at what point you will communicate with potential birth parents. In fact, you should also ask how those considering adoption for their child can find you and what information they might want to know about you.
How Can I Communicate With Potential Birth Parents?
Some adoption agencies act as a middle person for all communication between adoptive parents and potential birth parents. Others are open to providing each party with the other’s direct contact information. You can tell the agency what you are comfortable with.
No matter what kind of adoption you are interested in, you should take care in choosing the agency you hire. Searching for “adoption agencies near me” is a good start, but the agency can significantly impact your entire adoption journey, so do not be shy with your questions.
Evaluate the Adoption Agency
Once you’ve finished interviewing an agency, take the time afterward to examine what it would be like to work with them. You need a helpful adoption professional with the right attitude to help you expand your family. To evaluate and determine how you feel about the agency, consider asking yourself these questions:
- Was it easy to talk with the agency contact?
- How thorough and honest were their answers?
- Did I feel rushed?
- How courteous were all the staff I spoke with?
- How knowledgeable did the person I spoke with seem about adoption?
- Did it seem like they were more interested in my understanding of what to expect? Or did it seem like they trying to “sell” me by glossing over potential problems?
- How clear was the information on waiting times and cost?
- How promptly was material emailed and phone calls returned?
Lifetime Adoption is one of the top domestic adoption agencies in the US, with over 35 years of experience building families through infant adoption. Since 1986, our mission has been to connect adoptive families and birth parents through an open adoption that benefits everyone, especially the child. As a result, we’ve made the dreams of parenthood come true for thousands of families across the nation by focusing on what we do best, newborn open adoption.
I founded Lifetime as a result of my own adoption journey after losing seven pregnancies. I developed Lifetime’s successful adoption program to be exactly what I wanted when adopting my son. Now, over 35 years later, this program guides hopeful parents through each step of the adoption process.
Lifetime Adoption has maintained many paths to finding the right match for every hopeful adoptive couple, resulting in a high success rate. We offer a wide variety of services that other adoption professionals, both adoption agencies and attorneys, cannot. Lifetime provides hopeful parents with a wealth of information about the adoption process, alleviating anxiety and guesswork. In addition to printed materials, online support, and screening of expectant parents, we provide a membership website and monthly webinars exclusively for Lifetime families.
The experienced adoption professionals at Lifetime are here to help you sort through your options, explain the adoption process, and answer any questions you might have. Learn more today by calling Lifetime Adoption at 727-493-0993 or requesting free adoption information.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on April 9, 2020, and has since been updated.
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.”