How do you know an adoption program or professional is reputable? Here are three easy tools to help you decide if you can trust the adoption professional you are considering. There are bound to be unhappy campers with just about any organization, so you want to be sure and gather ALL of your information, and assess your research as a whole. You are looking for a trend of bad reports outweighing positive reports.
- Check the Better Business Bureau rating: In just a few clicks you can learn where the company operates from, what year the organization first began, and if there have been any complaints filed against the company and how or if those were resolved. An organization is graded on their performance based on how long they’ve been operating, how many complaints have been filed, and how those issues were resolved. You should be hoping for an A Plus rating for any adoption professional you are planning to trust with your precious time and resources.
- Reach out to adoptive families who have used their services: Most adoption professionals will be willing to share contact information of other families who have used their services. You want to be sure to request this information, contact the families, and hear back from the families before entering into any contract or submitting any fees. Many times, prior clients can share very useful information that may not have been volunteered by the adoption professional. You can also seek out adoptive family references online through support groups or chat rooms. You want to be wary of any negative reviews, as there are always going to be spoilsports who don’t follow a program and don’t get the desired results – you want to look at both sides of the story. Be sure and ask any family if they would use the organization again, or if there’s anything they would do differently.
- Observe the personal interaction and service you receive from the organization. Do you have to wait days or weeks for a response to a phone call or email? Do they seem to lack basic phone etiquette or customer service skills? Do they follow through with sending over any documents or resources they’ve promised (such as adoptive family references)? Do you feel they sincerely care about families and birthmothers? Are they willing to listen to you and address your concerns, or do they always rush you off the phone (this may signal that they are short staffed or have made recent cutbacks to staff)? Are they willing to learn more about your adoption needs and see if you’re a good fit for their program BEFORE fees are involved?
In the end, your gut feeling and spiritual discernment will lead you in the direction that is best for your family. Take your time, and when you’ve decided on the perfect adoption professional for you, move forward and don’t let anything stand in your way!