If you are considering adoption for your baby, you likely have a lot of questions — from the basic adoption process to the type of relationship you will have with your child and his or her adoptive family after placement.
Contacting an adoption expert is often the best way to get the information you need, but choosing an adoption professional to work with can be overwhelming in itself. Here are some questions to ask potential adoption professionals to help you make important decisions about your adoption plan:
- How much control will I have over the process? As an expectant mother, you should have the right to control nearly every part of the adoption process. Ask potential adoption professionals whether you’ll be able to choose your baby’s adoptive family, determine the level of contact you’d like to have with the family throughout the adoption process and following placement, and any other parts of the adoption plan you want to control.
- What services do you offer? Are you talking to a full-service agency, or will you be responsible for finding additional professionals on your own to help with legal work, insurance issues, matching or other necessary adoption services? Get a full list of the services each adoption professional will provide, and carefully consider the type of support and resources you will need throughout the process.
- What kind of support will be available to me? Adoption is an emotional journey, and you will likely experience a range of emotions throughout the process. It is important to have support available as you process your feelings and make big decisions for yourself and your baby. Ask potential adoption professionals whether their support staff will be available to you throughout the entire adoption process, on evenings and weekends and following the adoption. It’s important that you choose an adoption professional that has your best interest at heart and can help prepare you for what to expect at every point in the process.
- Do you support open adoption? Adoptions are increasingly open, meaning birth parents have more opportunities than ever to maintain a relationship with their child and the child’s adoptive family for years after the child is placed for adoption. If you are interested in keeping in regular contact with your baby and his or her adoptive family, ask about your opportunities to continue communication through pictures, letters, phone calls and visits. Find out whether you will get to choose the level of openness you’d like with your child’s adoptive family.
- What kinds of adoptive families do you work with? Choosing an adoptive family is one of the most important steps in the adoption process. Ask about the process adoptive families must go through to work with your adoption professional. How are they screened? What requirements do they have to meet? Find out if the adoption professional works with families that can provide the type of life you envision for your baby. Ask how you will be matched with families and how your relationship with these families will develop — will the adoption professional mediate contact if needed? Will you be able to meet the family yourself? If you need help determining what qualities you’re looking for in an adoptive family, ask if the adoption professional can work with you to help you better understand the life you want for your child.
- Who can I contact for a reference? Sometimes, the best way to understand the experience you will get with a particular adoption professional is to talk to other women who have used their services. Ask if there are birth mothers who have previously worked with the agency or attorney and would be willing to talk to you.
As you begin the adoption process, it’s important to make sure you choose a professional that you are comfortable with and that can meet your individual needs. Working with the right adoption professional can help ensure all of your wishes are met and your child is given the life you want him or her to have.