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5 Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency

And Answers to Look for

The adoption professional you choose will have a massive impact on your adoption process. So, how do you know which professional is right for you? To find that answer, you’ll need to ask some more questions.

Below, you can find some examples of questions to ask various adoption professionals, including agencies, attorneys and more.

If you would like to get more free information now, then contact us online today. Our trusted team at American Adoptions would be more than happy to help you. Meanwhile, here are some of the best questions to ask an adoption agency and other professionals.

5 Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency

1. What is your availability?

If an adoption professional is available only during regular business hours, then they likely won’t be as responsive. Or, they could miss your calls altogether. Repeated miss calls from prospective birth mothers could mean they’ll move on to other agencies, meaning your odds of matching are slimmer.

An agency with 24/7 availability, such as American Adoptions, is better suited for everyone’s needs throughout the adoption journey.

2. What is included in your cost?

The cost of adoption is a  concern for many hopeful families. But, not all agencies are honest about pricing. Ask if the agency has fixed fees and if their price estimate is based on a best-case scenario. Some agencies will hide fees and be overly optimistic about the process to quote a low cost.

Look for cost estimates that include:

·         All the agency fees

·         Living expenses

·         Medical expenses

·         Legal fees

·         Any non-refundable advertising fees.

Total transparency is the standard. If they’re being vague about the total cost, then it’s a red flag.

3. How is our investment protected?

Adoption agencies handle events like adoption disruptions in different ways. Although disruptions are rare, they can happen. It’s important to know upfront what happens to your investment if a disruption occurs.

Are you able to get all your money back, or is that money locked in with the adoption agency? Does the agency have a risk-sharing program, like American Adoptions does, to ensure you get 100% of your investment returned to you?

Look out for “roll over” policies, which mean the agency will not refund your money. These types of policies “roll over” funds from a disruption into the next adoption opportunity. But, these funds are eligible only if you stay with that professional.

If you want to work with a different agency, then you’ll lose all that money. Here at American Adoptions, our risk-sharing program guarantees that you’ll get all your money back, and it won’t be in a “roll over” policy.

4. What is your average wait time?

Some agencies and professionals like adoption consultants claim they have low wait times, but that could mean they either don’t track wait times or take hasty shortcuts to keep them low.

For example, an adoption professional may say that the wait time is less than a month for their hopeful adoptive families. But, they might leave out that they often have disruptions, and families are left waiting for months or even years to find a second placement. Look for exact numbers from adoption agencies and ask if wait times account for all types of adoption.

5. How do you find adoption opportunities for hopeful parents?

Adoption agencies advertise to prospective birth mothers in different ways. Because of that, it can be helpful to consider the following questions:

·         Does the agency dedicate substantial resources to online advertising, or is it more of an afterthought?

·         Does the agency have the ability to advertise nationwide, or are they restricted by geography?

·         Does the agency create video profiles that show who you are, or do they only create print profiles?

The answers you receive will determine the number of adoption opportunities available through the agency, which, in turn, will affect your wait time.

Questions to Ask ALL Adoption Professionals:

There are other types of adoption professionals besides adoption agencies. Although these professionals have varying qualifications and services, many families consider working with, for example, only an adoption attorney for the whole process.

Before choosing any professional, ask them lots of questions and demand honest answers. Even consider having them put answers in writing, especially if you’re working with an unregulated professional like an adoption center or facilitator.

With that said, here are some questions to ask adoption attorneys, agencies and other adoption professionals:

·         How many adoptive families do you have on your waiting list?

·         Annually, how many of your adoptions are completed in other states?

·         How many full-time staff members do you have?

·         Do you have a social service department on staff?

·         If you have only one or two staff members, then how do you handle staff turnover?

·         What is the estimated cost to work with your organization or agency?

·         Are your adoption fees fixed?

·         Do your quoted fees include living, medical and legal expenses?

·         How much money can I lose in living and medical expenses if a prospective birth mother changes their mind?

·         Have you ever had a client lose more than $10,000 in failed adoption expenses?

·         Do your up-front advertising fees expire?

·         Are there any other expiring or recurring fees I’ll need to pay?

·         Will I interact directly with the prospective birth mother or provide my contact information?

·         Do you answer your phone 24/7 for potential birth mothers?

·         Do you handle the entire adoption process from start to finish?

·         Why should I work with your organization over any others?

There are many different organizations out there, and you may find one better than the others based on your preferences and needs. These questions to ask an adoption agency or other type of professional are a great place to start with any organization.

We know that many families are already considering a specific type of adoption professional, so we’ve also compiled a list of organization-specific questions to ask below.

Questions to Ask Adoption Facilitators and Law Centers:

·         How many placements did you complete last year?

·         Is your organization certified or licensed?

·         Will you pass us off to a different professional once the birth mother selects our family?

·         If you remove yourself from the process once you refer us to another adoption professional or law firm, then how do you verify the quality of work provided by the other adoption professional?

·         Is there any financial penalty if we decline a particular adoption opportunity?

·         Do you provide any sort of financial protection or refund for your clients?

·         How much money can I lose with your organization if a disruption happens?

·         Are any of your up-front fees at risk?

·         Are you licensed as a facilitator in your state?

·         Is your organization financially stable?

·         How does joining your organization over a licensed adoption agency benefit me?

Questions to Ask Adoption Attorneys and Law Firms:

·         How many attorneys on your staff handle the adoption legal work?

·         If you have other attorneys involved, then can you share their adoption experience?

·         What percentage of your practice is adoption legal work?

·         What is your hourly rate?

·         Does your law firm find prospective birth mothers, or do you have your families advertise on their own?

·         Is your law firm licensed in more than one state?

·         Is there a time when your law firm would not be able to represent us?

·         Who handles our case if you get sick or take a vacation?

·         Will my wait time be shorter with your organization than with a national agency?

·         What is the percentage of birth parents working with your agency who decide to parent?

·         Annually, how many of your adoptions are completed in other states?

Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency:

·         Are your agency fees fixed or charged on an hourly basis?

·         Are any of your agency fees at risk if the prospective birth mother changes their mind?

·         What percentage of your agency's practice is locating birth mothers?

·         How many birth mothers did your agency locate last year?

·         Does your agency find all the potential birth mothers, or do you have your families advertise on their own?

·         Is your agency licensed in more than one state?

·         How many adoptions in which you located the birth mother have you completed in the past five years?

·         In how many adoptions — not home studies — have your social work department evaluated and worked with birth parents?

·         Do you have certain requirements for families joining your agency (i.e. kids in the home, age, religious preference)?

·         Can I work with multiple agencies?

·         What percentage of families adopt within your estimated wait time?

·         Do you charge additional fees for special services such as ICPC or extra counseling?

We know there are a lot of questions listed here. But, this decision is too important to leave any stone unturned.

It’s important to feel 100% confident in your adoption agency. To speak with an adoption professional about this choice and get more free information now, fill out our online contact form at any time.

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

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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.

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