Lighthouse Thoughts

Getting Started with Adoption

Adoptions can be accomplished with a variety of help. Adoption agencies, attorneys who specialize in adoption, even unlicensed facilitators work with adoptive parents around the world. In order to assure the best chance of success and the least number of problems, adoptive parents must have guidance in choosing who they will entrust with helping them to build their family.

There are guides available to benefit parents when making this choice. Should you choose an agency or an attorney? Do you want to try to locate a birth mother on your own? Do you want to hire a facilitator? In order to make the right choice, you really need to figure out if the entity you are considering can accomplish what you want. It won’t help you if you are working with an agency that only processes international adoptions if you want to adopt from the US.

There are some simple questions a prospective parent can ask in order to determine if the agency provides the services that the adoptive parent needs. [See below]. At the end of the day, though, it’s really about whether the adoptive parents feel comfortable with the agency they have chosen, based on what is important to them.

Sample questions:

  1. Do you have a specialty, and if so, what is it?
  2. On average, how many children each year do you place from the program I am interested in?
  3. What are the steps necessary to work with your agency?
  4. Will you be doing my home study? If not, will you assist me in locating an appropriate service provider?
  5. What is the average time to adoption in the program I am interested in, and what are the variables that may affect that time?
  6. Can you provide me with an estimated total cost for the adoption that I am interested in?
  7. What do those fees include? What do they exclude?
  8. Do you have a contract I have to sign? What are its provisions?
  9. For international programs, do you have staff in the country where I will adopt?
  10. What are the travel requirements?

There are adoption guides available with lengthy lists of questions for interviewing agencies and attorneys. Beacon House recommends that you talk at length with the people at the agency to determine if you are comfortable, rather than just conducting an interview.

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