If you’re considering adoption, it’s crucial to know which questions to ask an adoption professional before hiring them. Working with the right adoption professional offers the expertise, guidance, and information you need to ensure your family is protected and supported throughout the adoption process. But working with the wrong person or organization will negatively impact your adoption experience in significant ways.
So, how do you know who to hire? It’s not easy. Most adoption professionals make similar promises to hopeful adoptive parents – they’ll “be with you through every step of the adoption process,” will “help you achieve your dreams of parenthood,” and are “available 24/7.” Most adoption websites proudly display photos of impossibly cute babies, joyous adoptive parents, and selfless, contented birth mothers. What could possibly go wrong? A lot.
When choosing an adoption professional, start by asking the following questions:
WHO ARE YOU?
- What is your name and the name of your organization/company?
- What is your legal address?
- Which websites do you operate?
WHAT ARE YOU?
- What kind of adoption professional are you (adoption agency, attorney, adoption
facilitator, advertiser, consultant)?
- Are you licensed to do what you do? If yes, in which states?
- If you are not licensed, do the laws in my state allow you to operate here?
- If you are a licensed adoption agency, are you a non-profit or for-profit organization?
HOW DO YOU MATCH?
- Do you work directly with expectant mothers? If so, how do you decide which adoptive family profiles to present to her?
- What information will we receive about the expectant parents prior to having our profile presented?
- If you are an unlicensed intermediary, will we have a chance to speak with the expectant parents before paying your fee? How about an in-person meeting?
- Which other agencies, consultants, facilitators, or advertisers do you work and what made you decide to work with them?
- Do you pay or receive any fees from any of these professionals when a match happens?
HOW MUCH DO YOU CHARGE?
- For licensed adoption agencies: What is your fee? Do you charge only for the services you provide, or is it a non-refundable “flat fee”?
- For unlicensed intermediaries: How much do you charge adoptive parents (or their adoption professionals) after they are “matched” with an expectant mother? What is your refund policy?
- If the expectant mother needs help with living expenses, will those expenses be paid directly (e.g. to the landlord, utility company, etc)
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
- Do you make sure an expectant mother is offered separate legal representation at no cost to her?
- If we have an open adoption, will we use a written agreement?
- For licensed agencies: What adoptive parent services does your fee include (e.g., adoption education, home study, counseling, relinquishment process, assistance with adoption subsidy, post-adoption services, etc.)?
- What other adoption professionals will we need to hire during the adoption process?
- Do you require your clients to sign anything which prevents them from posting a negative review about you online or elsewhere?
Click here to learn more about how AdoptMatch helps connect expectant parents considering adoption with ethical and compassionate adoptive parents, agencies, and attorneys.