You've made the decision to adopt. But with so many agencies to choose from, how can you decide which one is best for you?
The Spence-Chapin adoption agency in New York City suggests you consider the following points:
Make sure the agency is reputable and licensed.
Inquire about the number of children the agency has placed and the length of time it’s been involved in adoption. “Look for an agency that’s been operating for years and has a track record,” says Sigal Shapiro, director of international adoption at Spence-Chapin.
Ask the agency for references from previous clients. The agency should be willing to give these to you without hesitation.
Does the agency seem responsive to your needs? This is probably the most important factor of all. Trust your gut on this one.
Ask how the agency finds birth mothers. “At Spence-Chapin, most of the birth mothers come to us on their own,” says Sabra Larkin, the agency’s communication director. What’s the average ratio of adoptive couples to birth mothers?
Inquire about services and counseling offered for pregnant women who are considering adoption. Women who explore all their options are in a better position to make a well-thought out decision and less likely to have regrets afterwards.
Find out what kind of information the agency will provide on a child. You’re entitled to full disclosure of medical and other background information that the agency has acquired.
If you prefer a newborn, ask if the agency can meet your request. “In our domestic program, most of the children we place are infants to a couple of months old,” says Larkin.
Learn how the selection process works: Does the birth mother choose the adoptive parents, or does the agency do the matching? Will the adoption be open, semi-open, or closed?
If you're adopting internationally, check out the agency's experience in that area. How many children has it placed? How long has the program operated? Does the agency have representatives in the country and will they travel with families and help them complete the adoption? What kind of information about the child will be made available to you?
Check into the home-study process. Does it include education on adoption and preparation for your future role as parent?
What paperwork will you need to provide? Financial and employment documents? Medical records and personal/family background?
In the case of an international adoption, will you have access to other families who have adopted from the same country?
Does the agency provide ongoing post-adoption services, information and get-togethers with other parents? These can help make the experience, even after you’ve brought your child home, easier and more positive.
For more information on selecting an agency, log on to the web site of the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse: www.naic.acf.hhs.gov.
Related Topics: Adoption