Paperwork. Home studies. Meetings with expectant parents. Adoption can certainly be a daunting task. So who do you turn to for help navigating the process? Should you work with an adoption agency or opt for an independent adoption through an attorney? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of working with an adoption agency.
A licensed agency is essentially a one-stop resource for all things adoption. Agency workers can help you manage the complex adoption process from the very first meeting all the way through to your post-placement visits and finalization. Reputable adoption agencies are very knowledgeable of adoption laws and know every step that must take place in order for a client to successfully adopt a child.
Some benefits of working with an adoption agency are:
• They thoroughly understand the adoption process and can help navigate your adoption every step of the way.
• They provide proper screening of expectant parents to help prevent scams.
• They offer counseling for expectant moms and birth parents before and after adoption, as well as counseling for adoptive parents.
• They have a network of family service organizations and professionals to help with any issues that arise.
• They often have a library of books on adoption, attachment and parenting or can recommend helpful books and articles for you to read.
• Many offer online profiles for adoptive parents for increased exposure.
• It’s not necessary to hire an additional professional to complete your required home study with a licensed social worker, unlike with an independent adoption.
• They provide foster care licensing, which is sometimes necessary for temporary placement of a child in your home prior to an adoption.
• They can schedule court dates and file all the necessary paperwork on your behalf.
• Many agencies have also received Hague Accreditation, which ensures inter-country adoptions take place ethically and are in the best interests of the child.
Of course, there are also risks and potential pitfalls when you work with an agency. Some cons include:
• Because adoption agencies are businesses, there is no guarantee of how long they will continue to operate. Take, for instance, the recent bankruptcy and closing of the Independent Adoption Center. Although this doesn’t happen often, some agencies do indeed go out of business. And that means waiting adoptive parents can lose precious time and money.
• Agency adoptions can also be time-consuming. Depending on the size and resources of the organization, it may take years to complete your adoption. When we first met with our adoption agency, they told us that the timeframe to adopt was unpredictable. Some couples are matched more quickly; others endure a long wait. One couple at our agency had been waiting four years. Luckily, our adoption was completed in about two years.
• Some adoption agencies can be expensive. For example, larger agencies invest more money in finding potential birth mothers, so they have a larger overhead and, in turn, pass those expenses on to clients. If you want to manage costs, look for a smaller agency or one that offers a sliding fee scale based on your income.
Whatever you decide, be sure to do your homework and thoroughly research any agency or attorney you are considering working with. The professional you choose should be licensed, ethical, and be willing to provide references. Talk to other families who have used their services, and if you don’t feel comfortable with a particular professional, trust your instincts and look elsewhere.
We researched and talked to several adoption agencies before deciding to go with Family Adoption Consultants. Our deciding factors were that they were a smaller more personable agency, rather than a large business. They put a lot of emphasis on the best interests of the child, which is what is most important in every adoption. And, they were not overly focused on money.
Ultimately, you are in charge of your own adoption, so it is up to you to find services that best fit your family’s needs. It’s definitely worth the time and effort. After all, your informed and careful decisions will one day lead to the family you’ve always dreamed of.
For more information on how to research and select an adoption agency, visit: