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Adoption Agency Checklist

Working with an adoption agency during the adoption process has its benefits, but before doing so you may wish to check out the reputation and credentials of the agency before proceeding with an adoption. Below is a handy checklist of things to consider and questions you should ask before an agency adoption:

____Check whether the adoption agency or professional is licensed with the state by contacting the state's Department of Health and Human Services or Department of Social Services, for example.

____Determine what kind of agency services are offered to prospective adoptive parents or birth mothers, such as home study courses and other methods of education, training, and on-going support for adoption.

____Find an adoption agency that is close to the area you live.

____Research the names of agency staff members on Google to find reviews and other information posted by individuals who have had contact with that agency.

____Check whether the agency is listed with the state's Attorney General Office for any criminal complaints or adverse actions.

____For international agencies, check with the foreign country's U.S. consulate for problems known by the country officials.

____Check whether the agency has programs in place to help educate you with a child's medical and background information, such as medical report translations (if foreign adoption) or other data.

____Check adoption laws by state on issues related adoption, such as home residency requirements child's consent and others.

____Ask the agency the following "tough" questions:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you work under the license authority of another agency, facilitator, or attorney? (If so, get the name of the other authority and do independent research on them as well.)
  • May I have a list of references from prior adoption families who have used your services?
  • May I see a recent financial audit report?
  • Are agency members paid for services or on a contingency basis? (You'll ideally want an agency that pays fees for services to avoid adoption incentives to employees for high volume numbers.)
  • Are you a member of the Child Welfare League of America (a coalition of private and public adoption agencies dedicated to positive outcomes, programs, and practices for adoption families?)
  • If you are a prospective birth mother, ask whether the agency offers free support and guidance on adoption child placement. Additionally ask whether you are allowed a say in the parental selection process or ongoing contact with your child?

Read additional questions to ask a caseworker. Also, for more information on adoption in general, take a look at an adoption checklist.

Finally, consider working with a knowledgeable adoption lawyer in your area to discuss your particular financial and legal needs to adoption.

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