Adoption agencies are designed to make the whole complicated process of adoption a smooth ride, but with so many to choose from how do you know which is is right for you? How do you know what to ask before picking one? Adopting a child is not as easy as selecting your next pair of heels from your favorite store. It is a big decision that takes a lot of thinking, planning and processing.
According to American adoption statistics, there are 116,432 domestic and 19, 569 international adoptions for the year 2012 and is increasing yearly. 69% out of the total count of adoptive parents are married couples who either want more children or cannot bear children of their own.
It also takes a lot of money, resources and time which are things most people do not have the complete luxury of spending. Most of us don’t know where to start when we finally decide it’s time to give a child a new home and a loving family.
Thank heavens there are agencies to help through the process. But, what do you need to know before you start?
Here some of the most important questions you need to ask adoption agencies first and foremost.
Adoption Agencies – Placement Statistics
First of all, you need to know the success rate of the adoption agencies you’re looking into. This will help you feel assured that you can adopt without fear of losing the placement fees you pay. Let them know what you’re looking for and your current situation.
Questions for adoption agencies:
- How many children did they place in the past year?
- For how long have they been working with the countries you’d like to adopt from?
- How many children have they placed for same-sex couples?
- How many single parents have successfully adopted through them?
- Which and how many programs are they connected through?
These things will set the pace and the foundation of the likeliness of you successfully adopting. If these questions are not answered and you’re unsatisfied with their answers, it would be wise to think twice and consider other agencies. Don’t be swayed by how cheap their placement fees are compared to others.
Adoption agencies – Costs
As it was established, the adoption process can cost you a limb to get through. It’s expensive but worth it in the end. Still, money is no simple matter. You have to be very careful on where you spend it or risk it. Going through an adoption process is a risk with no 100% assurance of grant.
Which is why you need to ask these cost-related questions from Adoptive Families:
- What will be the total cost of adopting through each program? Do you supply a breakdown of fees in writing as well as a schedule of when payments are due?
- Does the fee cover the home study, all post-placement visits, fees to the placing agency (international or in-country), international processing, transportation and miscellaneous fees (visa, dossier preparation, notarization, medical exams, document translation, exit tax)?
- Do you have an annual report that demonstrates fiscal accountability? How does the agency spend leftover funds? What percentage of the funds is spent on administration?
Adoption Agencies – Communication
In a rigorous and long adoption process, staying informed and updated is a must. There’s nothing more worrisome than a silent line of communication.
Open a clear communication with these questions:
- If you only have one person handling my application, who do I talk to when he/she is on leave, sick, absent or retiring?
- How often will your lines be open for questions? What are your office hours?
- If you only have one person handling my application, how many other applications is he/she handling?
- What communication can we expect from you during the waiting time? Will you let us know every time you show our profiles to a prospect organization?
- Do you have a support group for adopting parents who are waiting to find a match?
- Do we ever get in contact with the birth mother? If so, will future contact after the adoption process be required?
Adoption Agencies – Timing
As we all know, the waiting game is never fun. As humans, we prefer to have a timeline or an end date to anticipate. Consequently, we do not like the unknown. When it comes to waiting, an estimate can easily put our minds at ease. And, it’s nothing different with going through an adoption process.
You don’t have an exact date as to when you’re going to see your child or even finding a match. If you hate the waiting game as much as most humans do, make sure to ask the adoption agencies these questions:
- Is there a waiting list to register with the agency? How long is it?
- How long does your usual process take?
- What is the average time frame for completing a Homestudy from the first session to completing the written report?
- How soon will the Homestudy be done after the application?
- When do I know if I have been approved?
- How long will it take from home study approval to child referral?
Adoption Agencies – Other Questions
Almost certain, you will probably have a million questions you want to ask you agent before, during and after the adoption process.
Let’s narrow down some other important questions you need to ask:
- How will your agency work with birth and adoptive parents after the adoption?
- Does your client get a copy of their rights, application form, placement agreement and contract?
- How does your agency work matches between adoptive parents, child and birth parents?
- What kind of support can you offer pre and post adoption?
- How do you get medical information on the children?
- Do I have quality assurance policy during the process?
- What happens if the adoption doesn’t work out?
Top 5 Adoption Agencies in the United States
Ranked by the website BestCompany, these adoption agencies have made it to the top 5 in all of the United States based on their placement success rates.
Holt International was founded in 1956 and is a private adoption agency They currently have three major programs that help millions of orphans around the world: family strengthening, orphan & vulnerable children care and adoption services.
Located in Washington state, World Association for Children and Parents, also known as WACAP, have successfully placed 11,000 orphans in adoptive families since 1976. Furthermore, WACAP has been working to provide food, medical care and education to over 200,000 orphans worldwide.
American Adoptions offer various kinds of services: from transracial adoptions to helping with unplanned pregancy to 24/7 support for adoptive families. Also, since their founding in 1991, American Adoptions serve all 50 states and places about 300 orphans yearly.
Kathy Kunkel is the CEO and founder of Act of Love Adoptions which is a domestic adoption agency. A mother of ten children as well as an adoptive parent, Kunkel is woman who surely has a heart for adopting. After all, out of her ten children, eight were adopted!
Based in Utah, Heart to Heart specializes in domestic infant adoptions and, occasionally, older children. In addition, their placement rates are also fairly affordable, making adoption possible for adoptive families with lower financial statuses to adopt.
Of course, there will be more questions along the run but, these questions will help you get started with sufficient knowledge to make sure you have a clear grasp of how it will course out.
Adoption is a big move. Before anything else, being emotionally, mentally and financially prepared is what you must be. Once you’ve conquered the first step – which is deciding to adopt – you will need to prepare logistically.
Therefore, do your research and make sure you and, if you have one, your partner are both 100% on board the entire process. It can get emotional and you’d need as much support as you can get.
Thinking of any questions for adoption agencies you think should be on this list? Let us know with a comment below!