close menu

Get Free Info

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

When pursuing adoption for your family, it’s helpful to be aware of common mistakes adoptive families make in the early stages. We’re here to help by explaining some of those unfortunate mistakes and how to choose an adoption agency that ensures you avoid them.

Here are two important things to remember as you read through this information:

  • American Adoptions offers complete financial protection to our adoptive families so that you never have to worry about repaying fees or expiring contracts.
  • Families who remain active experience a 100% success rate. 

For most families, time and cost are the two most important factors when pursuing adoption. So, when researching adoption agencies and professionals to take you through the process, low wait times and low costs are appealing. But how do you know the advertised low wait time and costs are accurate?

We’re here to help you learn how to avoid the common mistake of committing to an adoption professional that won't give you the best chance to successfully complete your adoption.

In addition to this guide on how to choose an adoption agency and avoid common mistakes, you can call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete our free online form to connect with a specialist today.

In the meantime, let’s dive into common mistakes adoptive families make when choosing an agency.

Common Mistakes

There’s nothing more important than the future of your family. Unfortunately, some adoption professionals do not provide the best support when you choose a brighter future through adoption.

Here are three common ways that families find themselves in frustrating, unsuccessful and unsafe adoption situations:

1. False Low Wait Times

Low wait times are one of the most enticing benefits an adoption professional can offer. If you’re looking at two adoption agencies, one offering a wait time of nine months and the other 14 months, which are you more likely to choose?

Here’s the problem: Their wait times are often inaccurate or intentionally misleading.

To get accurate wait times yourself, there are three critical pieces of information you need to know:

  1. How many women considering adoption they reach through advertising

  2. How many families are on their waiting list

  3. How many adoptions they complete each year

Once you have this information, you can better understand the professional’s actual wait time. For example, if the advertised wait time is nine months, but there are currently 50 waiting families, and they only completed 10 adoptions per year, then the actual wait time could be close to five years.

2. Expiring Contracts

Expiring contracts can put you in a bad situation. Unfortunately, many adoption professionals use them.

If you sign a contract with an expiration date and you have not successfully adopted by that time, you’ll likely be forced to repay most (if not all) of their fees. Additionally, in the event of a disruption, your original investment isn’t protected, meaning you would need to repay fees to pursue another adoption opportunity.

The common mistake of signing with a professional that uses expiring contracts can be emotionally and financially devastating for families. In many cases, the financial loss prohibits you from pursuing another opportunity.

3. Choosing Unlicensed Professionals

Did You Know?

Unlicensed agencies can lie about their costs and fees, wait time estimates, and much more.


No licensing or regulation puts you at risk of falling victim to adoption scams, causing you to lose time and money.

Working with an unlicensed professional is a common mistake that puts families in a riskier situation with a lower chance of success for their adoption.

Without oversight and licensing, these professionals can operate with false promises. They also lack the professional resources and services needed to complete your adoption. In most cases, unlicensed professionals specialize in advertising and cannot address the other essential steps of the adoption process.

This can be tricky for families because these professionals will often advertise as if they are an adoption agency that can complete the whole process. There’s a simple way you can find out the truth.

Ask: Are you a licensed adoption agency?

Look for a quick, unequivocal yes

How to Avoid Common Mistakes

We want you to be protected and experience a safe, ethical, successful adoption process. Many of our staff have a deeply personal connection with adoption, either as an adoptive parent, birth mother or adoptee. We have a unique understanding of what an adoption journey should entail.

Even for adoptive families that aren’t yet working with us, it’s our responsibility to explain how to avoid falling into a bad adoption situation.

So, here are some steps you can take to avoid common mistakes:

Step 1: Research and Reviews

Researching multiple agencies and reading reviews from those who have worked with them can be helpful. While reviews can be skewed with a negativity bias, a large number of positive or negative reviews can give you a pretty good indication of whether an agency is right for you.

"To set aside that amount of money with the potential of a disruption eating away at your budget and then to start over, it would be a deal breaker for a lot of families."

- Adoptive parents Andie and Danny

Step 2: Ask Questions

When considering a particular professional, talk to a staff member and ask questions like:

  • How many families are on your waitlist?

  • How many birth mothers are waiting to place a child?

  • How many adoptions do you complete each year?

  • What services do you offer to complete the process?

  • What’s your fee structure and schedule?

  • Does your contract expire?

  • Are you a licensed adoption agency?

Those are just a few questions you can ask to understand better whether a professional can help you successfully adopt.

Step 3: Contact a Reputable Agency

In the end, working with an agency like American Adoptions, with a track record for completing adoptions, accurate wait times, clear cost estimates, and comprehensive support, will put your family in the best situation.

American Adoptions Can Be the Agency for You

With more than 30 years of experience completing adoptions, we’ve helped build 13,000 families. We would love to help create yours, too.

We want you to experience the best version of the adoption process. That’s why we:

  • Give you extensive advertising for a short adoption wait.

  • Protect your financial investment and overall adoption budget through a protection program that has saved families more than $4 million.

  • Provide support and services throughout the entire process.

  • Never let our contracts expire. You will adopt a baby if you remain active on our waiting list.

You don’t deserve to wait forever to become a mom and dad. We’re ready to help you get started today. By calling 1-800-ADOPTION or filling out this online form, you can connect with a specialist who will provide the information you need to begin your journey.


Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

Request Free Information

Join Us Now
Adoption Home Study

Adoption Home Study Process

Learn what a home study is and why you need one to adopt a child.

Read More

Home Study Questions and Answers

While adoption home studies vary slightly from agency to agency and state to state, there are several key elements that are almost always included in every home study.

Read More

Home Studies: State by State

Find a qualified professional in your state to complete your home study.

Read More
Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

Additional Resources

Adoption Newsletter

Did you know that American Adoptions offers a free bi-weekly e-newsletter? Sign up today to keep up-to-date on the latest in adoption news and information.

Sign Up

Famous Adoptions

Learn which famous Hollywood actors, sports stars, politicians and other icons have been touched by adoption.

Read More

Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

Read More