When you are starting the adoption process you are probably heavily influenced by your desire to start a family or to have a child that you can call your own. Going forward with an adoption is complicated because of the associated emotions that get involved in the process. To make the right choices you have to be prepared to distance yourself a little.

Adoption can be likened to a large purchase because for one it does involve some financial investment, but there’s also an emotional investment to consider – one that impacts not only your family but any potential child you may choose to adopt.

Picking an agency is perhaps one of the most important components of the process as well. So how does one accomplish this monumental task? Break it down into smaller, more approachable steps. You’ll stay organized and also not feel as overwhelmed.

Use these points as a guideline for your search

  • Do your research – we’re lucky to live in the digital age, information on agencies, adoption and other professionals can be found via a few clicks of the mouse. Researching agencies online can help identify those close to you and help narrow down those that appeal to you.
  • Make a list of agencies that appeal to you – first impressions are important, if something speaks to you about an agency, write it down but be sure to follow up on your gut with some solid legwork into the company. Narrowing down agencies can also help focus your research, you can give more attention to the few vs. the many. And keep it in perspective, while online research can be helpful always keep in mind the nature of online reviews, people can be overwhelmingly negative in the anonymous sphere of the internet. So branch out, talk to people who have used the agency and make some phone calls.
  • The best agencies are focused on children – adoption agencies are in the business of placing children in a family that will love them, they are interesting in finding actual homes for the children in their care. Common traits among these agencies will be:
    • Pre-adoption information and education, stressing education to prospective adopters, some of these agencies will even host education sessions on their own
    • Counseling for both potential adopters and birth mothers
    • Stress the importance of a lifelong relationship between you, the adopter, and themselves, the agency
    • Stresses welfare rather than numbers of children placed
  • Talk to people who have used the agency – the internet can also assist with this process, find an online group or message board and inquire about the agencies you’re leaning towards. The agency itself may also provide references to families who they’ve worked with in the past. Talking to people who have gone through the process with the exact company you’re looking at is key.
  • Review the fees – be sure to ask the agency for their fee structure, understand what you will be charged for, when those charges will occur and when they will be due for payment. These fees will pay for the adoption agency’s services and the do not imply a guarantee that a suitable match will be found for your adoption. As with any large expenditure be wary if payment is demanding in full and ask your legal counsel to look over any documentation before you sign it.

Remember, any agency should withstand your scrutiny, if you follow your instincts and use the common-sense tips above you’ll be well on your way to selecting an agency that will work for you. Once you find the agency that meets your needs you are one step closer to building your family!