When it comes time to choose an adoption agency to help with the adoption of your baby, there are many things to consider. You will want to look into adoption agencies as soon as you can, but you also don’t want to rush into a decision. After all, these professionals will be the ones helping you find the parents and life you’re dreaming of for your little one. To help you reach an informed decision in the time frame you need, here are a few tips about what to look for, as well as to look out for, when selecting who to work with:
o Only work with someone who is a licensed or registered professional with a lengthy and strong track record of experience. If possible, choose someone with years of experience. And all adoption services should be offered at no cost to birth parents.
o As the birth mom, you are the one who knows what is best for you and your child. Only work with those who understand and respect this, and who let you design every part of your adoption plan.
o This is especially important when it comes to picking the family that is right for your baby. You should only work with someone who leaves this decision to you, and doesn’t try to force you into a decision you aren’t comfortable with. If you don’t want to make the decision, the agency can help you or choose the adoptive parents for you. But it should always be offered to you.
o In fact, you should look for an adoption coordinator that won’t force or pressure you into any decision. All the choices should be yours!
o Do you need financial or medical help? Maybe assistance with housing, food, or maternity clothes? What about school? Many agencies offer help in some or all of these important areas. Adoption is a choice that should be made when you are feeling stable. If you are without food or housing, or are in another desperate situation, you won’t be able to make a clear-headed decision for you and your baby. Work with someone who understands this and will help you get on your feet so you can make better choices.
o Equally as important is whether the agency offers free counseling to birth moms both before and after adoption, provided by someone who does not work for the agency. This ensures that the counselor is acting in your best interests, not anyone else’s.
o Only work with someone who can offer you support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. After all, pregnancy isn’t something that only happens between 9 and 5, Monday through Friday! You will want all those around you offering a listening ear and supporting hand; choose an agency that takes this role seriously.
This is, of course, a lot of information to find out! To make things easier on you, ask the agencies you call if they can put you in touch with other birth moms they have worked with. This shouldn’t be a problem, and if it is, you will know that is not an agency you want to work with.
Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., is nationally recognized as an expert on open adoption. A Certiﬁed Open Adoption Practitioner (C.O.A.P.), Caldwell is the founder of Lifetime Adoption Center, established in 1986. She has assisted in over 2,000 successful adoptions and was one of the ﬁrst adoption professionals on the Internet.
Caldwell’s life work is dedicated to educating and helping birth parents find the right adoptive parents for their child. She spreads the word about modern adoption through speaking appearances, webinars, online resources, and as a podcast show host.
She has written several award-winning books, including So I Was Thinking About Adoption, the first book of its kind. There are many reasons women choose adoption, and this short book is a comprehensive resource to make the best plan for you and your baby. Caldwell wrote So I Was Thinking About Adoption as a handy guide to the details of the adoption process.
Caldwell has made over 150 media appearances, including ABC News, CBS News, Larry King Live, CNN Headline News, NBC’s The Today Show, CNN’s The Campbell Brown Show, NBC News, KGO Newstalk Radio, CNN’s Black in America II, MSNBC, Fox, PBS, BBC, and Dr. Laura.