Adoptive Parents: Questions to Ask Your Adoption Agency
Adopting comes with an infinite amount of questions, especially at the beginning. There is so much you want to know that it can be difficult to keep track of what you’ve asked and what the most necessary questions are. From learning about different types of adoption to what a home study is, you may feel overwhelmed with the overload of information. But keep in mind that these questions are essential to beginning your adoption journey.
When you’ve decided to adopt, your first step will be to find which adoption agency you want to use. While there are universal standards, practices, and general ideas shared among all agencies, agencies can differ in how they operate. Having questions prepared when searching can help you prioritize what is important to you.
To get started, here are some questions to keep in mind when meeting with an agency:
Before diving head in, there are some basic questions that need to be answered. For example, you’re going to want to know the kinds of adoption each agency helps with, what their success rate is, and what their staff looks like.
- What kinds of adoption do you offer? Do you do closed, open, and/or semi-open adoptions? Out of state adoptions? International adoptions?
- Do you have an attorney on staff that is licensed by the State Bar?
- Is there a person from the Department of Social Services on staff? What is your organization’s relationship with the Department of Social Services?
- How many adoptive parents are you working with on average at one time?
- What is your “failed match” rate?
- How many placements do you have a year?
- How long has your organization been working with adoptive families?
Fees and Costs
Adoption is expensive. When thinking up questions to ask an adoption agency, be sure to include ones that inquire after the cost. Specifically, where your money is going and whether there will be any hidden or additional fees.
- How much will the entire process cost? Do you pay all at once or can it be done in increments?
- How much on average are the birth mother’s expenses? Are all expenses included for the birth mother?
- Is there a fee for the home study?
- Are rates based on income or is it a flat rate?
- Are there any additional fees I need to know about?
- Will you provide a breakdown of all fees and expenses before engagement?
Emotions and stress are not uncommon during the adoption process. So, counseling, during and after adoption, is essential for the well-being of both adoptive and birth parents. This will help the overall journey be a positive experience for all involved.
- What kinds of support services do you offer before, during, and after placement?
- Do you offer support services for the birth mother (and/or father)?
- What are the qualifications of your available counselor?
Process (Including Placement and Post Placement)
You will likely have a lot of questions in this area because of the complex nature of adoption. These questions, even though they will be answered along the way, are important to ask up front so that you can better prepare yourself for the upcoming journey. Likewise, the answers to these questions can help you determine whether an agency is right for you.
- What is a home study? How does it work?
- What do I need to have a successful home study?
- What happens if I am not approved for the home study?
- What does the waiting list look like?
- How do you determine a match?
- What do I need to do to get a successful match?
- How long does it take to get a match on average?
- What happens if the match fails?
- What happens if we find our own birth mother?
- What is the process for placement? How long must I wait before being allowed to travel with my child?
- Do you provide a contract that dictates my responsibilities as well as yours toward the adoption?
Good communication between adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoption agents will lead to a more positive and successful adoption. Make sure to always be on the same page as your adoption team.
- How often can we expect communication with the birth parents?
- What are the preferred means of communication?
- How often are you available for communication?
- Will the same social worker be working with me and the birth mom?
- Should we expect regular check-ins from our social worker?
- What resources are available to adoptive and birth parents for support and education?
Before deciding on an agency, you will want to know that you qualify under their standards. For example, some agencies will not accept couples that are unmarried. In order to save yourself the trouble, be sure to ask these basic questions:
- What do you look for in determining eligibility?
- Socioeconomic status?
- Status as a newly married couple (less than 2 years)?
- Status as a single parent?
- Status as partnered but not married?
- Health status?
- Religious identity?
- Military status?
- Sexual orientation?
Questions to Ask Your Adoption Agency
The questions listed here are general things to keep in mind while you are starting your journey. It can be overwhelming when walking into an agency interview and hard to remember all that you wanted to ask. As a helpful tip, try writing down your most important questions and bringing them with you. When new questions come up, go ahead and ask, but this way you can make sure you don’t forget the most necessary questions you had.
The truth is, there are too many questions to list in one place. Many questions will come up along the way with every new situation that arises. The important thing to keep in mind is to always be open and honest with your agency. Their job is to help you through this journey, even if it means answering what feels like a million questions.
Adoption Choices of Nevada
If you are currently in the process of adopting a baby and have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact, Adoption Choices of Nevada. You may visit the website here or contact us by 775-825-4673 (Reno Office) or 702-474-4673 (Las Vegas Office). Our hours are Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm PST.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Devon Thornton is a graduate of the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing. She has recently moved from Orlando, FL to Clarksville, TN, and is pursuing her writing career with Adoption Choices and also writing personal essays in her free time. Devon is an avid reader and a big Harry Potter fan.
When she’s not curled up reading a book, you can find her somewhere on a hike or a camping trip. She loves her cat, Minerva, and considers herself a true animal lover. She hopes one day to publish a book of essays and to maybe meet J.K. Rowling.
“Questions to Ask Adoption Agencies Before Beginning.” Adoptive Families, 14 Mar. 2017, www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/questions-to-ask-adoption-agencies/.
“Questions To Ask An Adoption Agency / Professional.” Adoption Network, Adoption Network Law Center – Safer Than Adoption Agencies, adoptionnetwork.com/questions-to-ask-an-adoption-professional.