Whether you’re a first parent considering adoption or a potential adoptive parent, choosing an adoption agency can be challenging. When you begin to look for adoption agencies, you will find a wide range of variations between agency services, costs, and adoption philosophies. There are several things you should consider when deciding which agency is right for you.
Adoption Agency Services and Areas of Operation
First, it’s important to know the differences between the types of adoption services available. These include:
● International adoption, which is any adoption involving someone living outside of the United States.
● Domestic adoption, which is an adoption where everyone involved in the adoption lives within the United States.
● Public adoption, which involves working within the state foster care system.
● Private adoption, which is any voluntary adoption placement that does not involve the state foster care system.
Many large adoption agencies don’t necessarily specialize in just one type of adoption. For instance, they may have a domestic adoption program, a foster care program, and an international adoption program. You should make sure that whichever agency you choose is well-versed in the type of adoption that you are seeking. Any agency that attempts to persuade you to choose another type of adoption may not have adequate resources in a particular area, or they may be attempting to fill gaps in their programs rather than providing the type of adoption that is the best fit for you.
Additionally, not all agencies can provide services in all regions. Most international agencies complete adoptions only in certain countries at certain times depending on political climates and relevant laws. Many domestic adoption agencies are limited to providing services only in their state, and cannot process out-of-state adoptions. This is important when considering an agency because you want an agency that can meet the needs of first parents and adoptive parents living in different areas.
Amount of Contact
Another major difference between agencies is the amount of contact between first parents and adoptive families that is offered after placement. Options include:
● Closed adoptions: First parents and adoptive families do not have any information about each other.
● Semi-open adoptions: All communications between first parents and adoptive parents go through the agency.
● Open adoptions: Everyone communicates openly, honestly and freely without the agency’s intervention.
As research on adoption has progressed over the years, it has become clear that open adoption is the healthiest form of adoption for everyone involved. Still, some agencies offer closed and semi-open adoptions as part of their program. With these agencies, a first parent interested in only an open adoption would limit their choices of available families because many of them may only be interested in a closed or semi-open adoption.
When this is combined with other limiting criteria, such as trying to find a family that is a cultural match or trying to find a family that is close to their home, a first parent's choices can become very limited. Thus, if a first parent is interested in openness, it is best to find an agency that specializes in open adoption.
Why Choose an Open Adoption With Professional Adoption & Family Services?
To find an agency committed to openness, be sure to ask questions regarding how communication between birth families and adoptive families is handled. A fully open adoption agency like Professional Adoption & Family Services will allow first parents considering adoption to choose the family for their baby. They will be encouraged to create a relationship with the adopting family in whatever capacity is comfortable for them. Most of our families maintain contact with each other and first parents receive pictures, letters, phone calls and in-person visits throughout the child’s lifetime. First parents wanting an open adoption should look for agencies that are comfortable with open adoption and do not have policies that limit their communications with their adoptive family.
At Professional Adoption & Family Services, we specialize in open adoption. We always ensure that first parents have access to the adoptive family’s last names, as well as phone numbers and email addresses where families can be contacted directly.
At Professional Adoption & Family Services, all of our families are listed on our website. When a first parent creates an adoption plan through our agency, they receive information on all the families that are available to them. Further, we ensure that all of our families are welcoming of an open adoption so a first parent's choice to pursue an open adoption will not limit her choice of adoptive families.
Adoption Agency Policies
When considering an adoption agency, another factor is ascertaining how the agency obtains adoptive families. Many agencies have exclusionary policies that limit what types of families can adopt through the agency. For instance, some agencies place limits on who they will accept into their program based on age, religion, marital status, or sexual orientation. In addition, the fee structure at some agencies can limit adoptive families to only the very wealthy.
At Professional Adoption & Family Services, we do not have any exclusionary policies, and we offer services at prices that are affordable, fair, and individualized for each situation and budget. We welcome all families regardless of their background. Thus, our first parents have the option of choosing whatever type of family they feel is the best fit for them. We believe that offering first parents choices is key to empowering them to create an adoption plan that best meets their needs.
Adoption Support Resources
Finally, when considering an adoption agency, make sure to choose a licensed agency that offers ample support for everyone involved. Adoption is a big decision, and first parents should be offered emotional support and counseling to assist them throughout the adoption process.
Be wary of adoption providers that charge big fees for matching but do not provide adequate services to the first parents they serve. Adoptive parents also need professional, caring staff to assist with the paperwork, legal process and emotions associated with adoption. A qualified social worker is paramount to the success of an adoption placement, so be sure to find someone who is knowledgeable and can provide support for problems or questions that may arise.
At Professional Adoption & Family Services, we use qualified professionals to assist in processing our adoptions. Our staff will guide both birth families and adopting families through each stage of the process to create an adoption plan that is the right fit for everyone.