Starting Your Family? How to Find the Right Adoption Agency

Choosing to adopt a child is a wonderful way to start your family, but you'll want to make sure you choose the right licensed adoption agency before you begin the process. Here are a few helpful things to consider as you begin your journey to start a family.

Network with Other Adoptive Parents

Parents who have successfully adopted a child through an agency can provide you with lots of great information, both about the agency they chose and the process in general. Consider joining support groups for families looking to adopt, as some parents who have adopted one will go on to adopt another. You can also find groups on social networking sites that share information and tips, and these groups can also be a great source of support as you go through the process.

Look for a Licensed Agency

Some prospective parents may be so desperate to adopt that they are willing to go through unofficial channels, but using a licensed adoption agency is best for both you and the child. Licensed agencies typically employ social workers who look out for the welfare of the children being adopted, and they are required to follow state rules and regulations regarding adoptions. You can contact your state's department of human services or similar department to obtain a list of licensed agencies in your state.

Ask About Matches

It's important that you find an agency that understands what you are looking for. You may be seeking only an infant, or you may be willing to take a wonderful child who is a bit older. Ask the agency about their typical placements, and discuss your expectations for your new child. You may find that your agency can place a child with you more quickly if you are willing to compromise on age, gender, or race. Going into the adoption process with an understanding of what types of placements the agency typically makes can better help you to prepare for the end result.

Understand the Adoption Fees

Adoption can sometimes be an expensive process, so it's important to understand the fees upfront. You may be charged an application fee and a fee for the home study to determine your suitability. After you've made it through the beginning steps of the process, you may be asked to sign a fee agreement for the remainder of the adoption process. Be sure to look over the agreement with an attorney to protect your rights and to understand what you are paying for.

Doing your research is an important part of the adoption process. Once you are comfortable you've found the right agency, you can begin to take the first steps toward parenthood.