There are hundreds of thousands of children who need parents. When choosing an agency to help you in this life-changing decision, be sure to have your bases covered.
- Step 1: Ask as many questions as you can think of when you meet the agent. Ask about: fees, birth parent policies, professional affiliations, waiting lists, number of adoptions they complete in a year, credentials, monetary risks, and whether outside agencies and/or services will be needed.
- Step 2: Join a parent group or a group for those considering adoption. RESOLVE is a national infertility association and has groups all over the country; visit resolve.org for information.
- Step 3: Watch for red flags that may indicate a troublesome adoption process. These can include promises of a child before a family assessment; agencies telling clients that the birth parents will relinquish a baby before birth; and requiring no home-study fee. Be careful and wise and your chances of a happy addition to your family will be very good.
- FACT: The most recent statistics show an estimated 510,000 children were in foster care in the United States in 2006.
- TIP: Pay attention to how you are treated by everyone at the agency, including how long it takes for them to return your calls.
- Step 4: Call each agency and inform them that you are interested in adoption. Attend open informational meetings that agencies often hold, or schedule a time to meet with an agent.
- TIP: The National Foster Care and Adoption Directory Search can help you locate adoption agencies as well as provide valuable information about the process. Visit them online at childwelfare.gov.
- Step 5: Contact your State Licensing Specialist. They can give you information like the number of complaints filed against the agency and license information.
- Step 6: Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against your agencies. To find your local office, visit bbb.org.
- Step 7: Contact the Attorney General's office in the agency's state. They will be able to give you information about any past or pending legal action taken against the agency.
- Step 8: Perform a general search and select a handful of licensed agencies. Consider the type of adoptions the agencies specialize in, their locations, whether they specialize in domestic or international adoptions, and fees.