Definition - National adoption agencies are licensed adoption agencies that work across all 50 states. In many cases, national agencies are licensed in multiple states. A state license means the government of that state helps regulate, review and monitor the national adoption agency’s compliance with state laws and regulations. This helps ensure the organization is following proper procedures and providing good services to their clients.
Advantages of National Adoption Agencies:
- National adoption agencies have shorter waiting times than most adoption professionals because of broader outreach to pregnant women through large advertising and networking contacts.
- National exposure allows national adoption agencies to maintain total adoption numbers and insulate themselves from state or regional downturns. When Florida passed new adoption laws in 2001, adoptions dropped 50 percent in the state, causing many local agencies to cease operations. National agencies were largely unaffected.
- A large, qualified and trained social service department with vast adoption experience allows for better evaluation, education and guidance of birth mothers. This typically results in better matches between the adoptive family and the birth parents.
- National adoption agencies are not as susceptible to disastrous effects of staff turnover. Smaller agencies employ one or two staff members, and if one leaves, the agency may suffer significantly from a loss of expertise.
- There is usually less financial risk on adoptions where birth mothers change their minds.
- Adoption agency files are reviewed by state governments to ensure legal and regulatory compliance, providing greater reliability and safety for the clients they serve.
- National adoption agencies submit their documentation through all 50 Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) offices, which also reviews case files for necessary documentation and provides another check and balance for the agency.
- Most national adoption agencies coordinate and/or are involved in all parts of the adoption process from beginning to end, which ensures better service for their clients.
- Because national adoptions agencies complete a large number of adoptions, their fee estimates are more accurate than most organizations.
- Clients can count on after-hour and weekend coverage 24/7.
- Larger agencies tend to have great resources, networking connections and marketing capabilities.
- A larger staff allows for a team to work on your adoption plan, thus leading to more efficient workloads and faster turnaround on projects.
Disadvantages of National Adoption Agencies:
- Upfront fees can be higher due to advertising efforts on the family’s behalf and overhead costs.
- Total fees can be higher than other professionals due to better and more comprehensive services and the reduction of a family’s financial losses on adoptions that don’t work out. A few national agencies even help to cover this financial loss.
- Families must be open to adopting from all 50 states.
- Families typically don’t meet national adoption agencies face-to-face, unless they travel to various office locations across the U.S.
- Families must usually travel across the United State on short notice to adopt their baby.
Clients who adopt through national adoption agencies:
- Families who want to adopt in a timely manner.
- Families who have a slightly higher adoption budget but don’t want to risk money on adoptions that don’t work out.
- Families who want the dependability of a large and carefully monitored organization.
- Families who want the broad range of choices a national organization offers during the process.
- Families who want the flexibility to choose international adoption if, after learning about the domestic process, they want to switch.
- Families who want their adoption in the hands of some of the most respected adoption organizations in America.
- Families who want an organization with a proven track record that invests their finances and efforts into areas essential to a reliable adoption process.
- Families who would like quick turnaround for their questions or concerns.
How do you find a good national adoption agency?
Marketing information, case files, personnel files and financials of national adoption agencies are typically reviewed by the states in which they are licensed, which is a huge adoption agency advantage. The more states an agency is licensed in, the more times their information is reviewed, giving you more assurance that the agency you consider is operating properly and with success.
When deciding how to choose an adoption agency, adoptive families should still ask probing questions and may wish to see agency policies in writing. Read Questions to Ask an Adoption Professional to learn what to ask a national adoption agency or other adoption professional.