With any life‐changing event, it’s essential to ask the right questions before you make any big decisions. The adoption agency you choose will significantly impact your adoption experience. Even though you might be ready to start the adoption process, it’s important to slow down and consider all of your options.
If you’re in the initial stages of searching for someone to assist you with adoption, it’s important to interview adoption professionals. You can interview them over the phone, in an email exchange, or even by live chat. Here are 10 questions to ask an adoption professional before hiring them:
- How long have you been in the adoption profession?
- What services do you provide, both for adoptive parents and for birth parents?
- What are your fees? When are they due?
- What is your particular area of expertise?
- Do you have a formal contract?
- What is your success rate, and in what time frame can the average family expect to adopt?
- Do you have an open-door policy? Can we tour your facility?
- How many adoptions do you complete a year?
- What are your security procedures for data, both digital and hard copy?
- What are your hours? Can you be reached after hours and on weekends or holidays?
The best tools you will use while conducting your adoption research are the notes and files you will keep during your search. Keep hard copies or electronic files. Your files should include all the information, resources, and notes you have obtained on the professional you are considering. Keep a list of dates and the names of the people you speak to.
Also, I suggest that you write down how the phone conversation went. Did they answer the phone with a live person, or did you have to leave a message during regular hours? Was their website informative, updated, and helpful? Did it have broken links or old information? What type of track record do they have in adoption success? Did you feel valued and encouraged when you hung up?
What to Find Out Before Hiring an Adoption Agency
Make sure to find out what kind of support the agency offers. It goes without saying that the adoption process will be full of emotional ups and downs. But that doesn’t mean you have to handle them on your own. A reputable, experienced adoption agency will be with you during every step of the adoption process. They are also able to offer resources, education, and guidance to answer all of your tough questions.
Also, find out what their availability is like. With adoption, some situations and questions can’t wait until the next business day. At Lifetime Adoption Agency, we work around the clock with both adoptive families and prospective birth parents across the country. Through the internet, email, instant message, live chat, 24-hour phone lines, Skype, mail, and in-person meetings, our staff truly meets clients where they are. Communication is one of the main keys to adoption success. This is the time to do your research, ask questions, and consider an adoption professional from all sides as you make your selection.
Choosing the Right Adoption Professional
When you work with an adoption professional to bring your child home, you are placing a great deal of trust in that organization. Not only are you making a substantial financial investment with the professional, but you are also investing your hopes and dreams of building your family with them. Choosing the right adoption agency is so important for successful adoption.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 31, 2014, and has since been updated.
Linda Rotz, CWCM-S, CWCM-Trainer, ACC, is the Director of Adoption Services at Lifetime. Linda has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years within the child welfare/foster care system in Florida. She has degrees in Mass Communications and Human Development, and completed graduate studies in social work.
Due to her extensive expertise, Linda was called upon to write adoption procedures and training materials in Florida. She is certified as an Adoption Specialist, Child Welfare Case Manager Supervisor and Child Welfare Trainer in the state of Florida.