Like any other professional you seek out, the first adoption agency or professional you choose to work with may not be the right fit for your family. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to determine if you and your agency are a good fit for each other:
“Do our values align with the values of the agency?”
If your religious values are very important to you on this journey, you might want to consider using a religion-based adoption agency. If you are uncomfortable using an agency with no religious affiliation, there are many adoption agencies out there that cater specifically to Christian, Jewish, or Muslim adoptive families.
Maybe it isn’t the religious aspects that are important to you, but you do value the philanthropic aspects of an adoption agency. In this case you would want to find a non-profit agency or one that participates in other philanthropic endeavors like birth parent scholarships or 24-hour counseling services. If your core values clash with those of the agency or professional, you may begin to lose faith in your agency, which can make the adoption journey that much more difficult.
“Are we willing to adjust our preferences to shorten our wait time?”
Every adoptive family that chooses to work with American Adoptions fills out an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, or APQ. The APQ lists all your preferences for your adoption from your budget to the desired race of your child. Those with less flexibility on their APQ tend to experience longer wait times while those with more flexibility tend to experience shorter wait times. We don’t want any of our families to wait any longer than necessary, so we encourage families to be more flexible in their APQ preferences.
Things that can shorten your wait time include: opening up to more races, expanding your medical history preferences, and increasing your overall adoption budget. If you are unwilling to make any changes to shorten your wait time, you may want to consider a different adoption professional or another type of adoption.
“What level of contact do we want to have with our agency?”
Depending on the size and location of your agency, it may not be feasible for you to have a sit-down meeting with your adoption specialist, so you may instead do your communicating via phone or email. Because American Adoptions is a national adoption agency that works with families across the country it is not often possible for our families to visit the office. Our adoption specialists communicate with families mainly via phone and email. If it is important for you to meet your adoption professional face-to-face, a smaller, local agency will probably be a better fit for you.
Are You Uncomfortable with Your Adoption Professional or Are You Uncomfortable with an Aspect of Adoption?
At the end of the day, you should feel as though you and your adoption professional “click.”
You should also feel comfortable with the aspects of the type of adoption that you’re pursuing, otherwise you might want to reconsider your family-building options. Prospective adoptive parents should feel comfortable with the idea of having a relationship with their child’s birth family if the expectant parents request an open adoption, as most do. Adoption requires adoptive parents to become comfortable with their child not looking like them, and to forego many of the traditional experiences of pregnancy and childbirth.
Is there something about the adoption professional that doesn’t feel right to you? Is there something about adoption that you haven’t quite been able to make peace with?
Deciding whether or not to pursue adoption or a particular adoption professional is a major decision and demands introspection and honesty.
Is adoption right for you?
Are you and this adoption professional a good fit for each other?