Whether you are currently pregnant and considering adoption for your baby, or you are considering adoption to grow your family, you are likely aware that there is a lot of information to consider when choosing adoption agency to work with. There are many ways that agencies differ, from the simplest ways such as location, to very specific differences in how they assist their Birth and Adoptive Parents. In order to understand which type of adoption agency you might want to work with, having a list of questions to ask would be helpful. Therefore, we have put a list together of the best questions to ask an adoption agency.
Questions for Expectant Parents to Ask
Where are you located?
Working with a local adoption agency might be a high priority factor in your decision. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you ask adoption agencies where they are located when you reach out to them. Some adoption agencies are national, but may not actually have any adoption counselors where you are located. In that situation, you would not be able to have in-person support during this process.
When working with a local adoption agency however, you will have the opportunity to meet with a LOCAL adoption counselor who can support you through the adoption process, accompany you to prenatal visits, support you in the hospital, and be there to help you when it’s time to go home. Additionally, if you work with a local agency such as Open Arms Adoption, the Adoptive Families will be local as well. This way, you can meet the Adoptive Family if you wish, and get together with them a few times a year, as they will be within driving distance of you ensuring an Open Adoption if this is what you ultimately prefer.
What kinds of adoptions do you offer?
Adoption Agencies tend to have different philosophies around the types of adoptions they offer. Some agencies allow the Adoptive Family to choose which type of adoption they have with their child’s Birth Family. With Open Arms though, you, the Birth Parent are in the driver’s seat. You get to choose if you prefer an Open Adoption, a Semi-Open Adoption or a Confidential or Closed Adoption. If you aren’t sure, that’s completely fine- and very normal! Your Counselor will walk you through the each type of adoption so that you can decide what you feel most comfortable with. And, even after you decide which type of adoption you want, you can always change your mind about the type of adoption that you want in the future. For instance, very often women prefer a Confidential Adoption in the beginning, as the idea of contact with the family feels too emotional. Then, later on, they tend to change their minds and want to have some sort of relationship with the adoptive family. With Open Arms Adoption, not only can you choose whichever type of adoption that YOU prefer, but you can ask for help with openness in the future. We are always here to support you.
What types of Families do you work with?
One question you may be wondering is who is going to adopt your baby. The adoption agency that you choose to work with will impact that answer. For instance, some agencies only work with certain types of families. Meanwhile, Open Arms Adoption Network works with all sorts of families. We work with heterosexual couples, same-sex couples, transgender couples, singles and more. Some of our families are religious—Christian, Jewish, Muslim or another religion. Some of our waiting adoptive families are not religious at all. Some of our waiting families are currently parenting children, and some are hoping to adopt so that they can parent their first child. Our families live in diverse areas, they live in cities, suburbs… everywhere! To learn more about our waiting families, visit openarmsadoption.net and you can view a large selection of our current waiting adoptive families.
Do you offer counseling?
This is the most important question of all. If you are considering adoption, you are contemplating a big decision, one that should not be taken lightly. It is so important that you get supportive, non-biased counseling to make sure that you feel comfortable and confident about your decision. A Counselor can help you understand all of your options—not just adoption—and work with you to see if another option is actually what you want. Having a trained Counselor providing this support is so important, and you should make sure that any agency that you ultimately decide to work with will give you this crucial need.
Should you decide to move forward with adoption, your Counselor will to continue to support you even after your baby is with the adoptive family. Open Arms will support you with free counseling for the life of your adoption—forever.
Questions for Prospective Adoptive Parents to Ask
Hopeful adoptive parents have many questions about the adoption process for the adoption agencies: from the process itself, to the philosophy of the adoption agency, to the level of support that they will be offered. We have outlined the most important ones below. While you likely have more specific questions that you would like to ask, these are a few to help you begin your process when you start your adoption journey.
What are the agency fees and how are they spread throughout the process?
You will find that as much as adoption agencies range in their philosophies and services, they also range in cost. While some agencies have one set fee, others, such as Open Arms, offer a sliding scale based on your household income. Some agencies will tend to give you the “best case scenario” fee without factoring in potential hidden fees. Others might not factor in the birth mother’s expenses into the items that your fees cover and that may be an added on top of the cost of your adoption.
While some agencies require you to pay a large portion of the adoption fee in advance, others break it up into installments. For instance, there may be an application fee, a homestudy fee, outreach fee and a placement fee. This way, a large percentage of the adoption cost is not actually due until after the entire adoption process.
What is the Average Wait Time?
Another incredibly important question to ask the adoption professionals that you talk with is about wait times. The question on every hopeful adoptive family’s mind is “how long is it going to take to adopt a baby?” The answer to that will vary, as you will find. A good adoption agency will be honest with you, and the answer will likely be that it varies by each family. There is no exact way to determine how long you will be waiting to adopt, however, there are some indications of whether you will be waiting longer than average or not, simply by your level of openness to race, drugs, alcohol and mental health diagnoses. Hopefully, an agency will be able to give you a sense of the best-case scenario and share some of their typical statistics so that you feel like you get a sense of what your wait time might be.
Who You Should Work With
In the end, it is important that you choose to work with the agency that you feel comfortable with. Hopefully, by asking some of the questions above, you can make an informed decision about which agency to work with, as you now know about the level of agency support, you have cost estimates, a sense of wait times and just the overall feel of how they work.
If you are pregnant or have recently given birth and have additional questions about adoption, reach out to us anytime at 1-888-OPENARMS. Our staff members are available to help you 24/7 and we have many resources that we can connect you with as well.
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