If you’re considering adoption for your child, it’s crucial to know which questions to ask an adoption professional before deciding to work with them. The right adoption professional will give you expert guidance, support, and the information you need to make sure you and your child are cared for and protected. But working with the wrong organization or person will negatively impact your adoption experience and your child in significant ways.
So, how do you know who to hire? It’s not easy. Many adoption professionals make big promises to expectant mothers – they will “be with you through every step of the adoption process,” “help you find the perfect family for your baby,” and “allow you to decide how your adoption will go.” Most adoption websites proudly display photos of smiling pregnant women; some feature glowing testimonials from birth mothers who say they had terrific adoption experiences. 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? If yes, are you licensed in my state?
- If you are not licensed, do the laws in my state allow you to operate here?
- Are you a non-profit organization or a for-profit company?
WHO DO YOU REPRESENT?
- If you are an attorney, will you represent me or the adoptive parents? If you will be representing me, are you licensed to practice law in my state?
- If you’re the adoptive parents’ attorney, will I get my own separate attorney at no cost to me?
- If yes, will I have a chance to talk to my attorney before accepting the adoptive parents’ financial help?
WHAT ARE YOUR FEES?
- If you are an adoption agency or attorney, how much do you usually charge adoptive parents for your services?
- If you’re my attorney, how much will you charge the adoptive parents or agency for your services?
- If you’re not licensed (e.g., a facilitator, advertiser, consultant), how much will you charge adoptive parents once they are matched with an expectant mother and have agreed to adopt her child?
- What is your refund policy if the adoption doesn’t work out?
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU PROVIDE?
- How many adoptive family profiles will I have to choose from?
- Will I be able to talk to the adoptive parents before I choose? Will I be able to meet the adoptive parents in person before I choose?
- Will I have the opportunity to review a copy of their home study before I choose?
- If I don’t find an adoptive family I like from the profiles you show me, who else should I contact?
- Will you provide counseling for me (during my pregnancy and after the adoption) with a licensed counselor experienced with grief and loss issues after adoption?
- What percentage of the adoptions you handle are considered open adoptions?
- If I want an open adoption, will the adoptive parents and I have a written contact agreement?
- If the adoptive parents agree to send me photos and updates or allow me to have visits with my child, will our agreement be enforceable by a court?
- Will my child’s adoption be finalized in my state or in another state?
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