What to Consider
As you begin investigating which agency you want to select, here are some questions to ask and issues to consider:
What is the average time for placement?
Time for placement remains one of the most unpredictable aspects of adoption. Some families wait only a few months, while others spend years waiting to bring their child home. Waiting is one of the most difficult parts of the process. Domestic adoptions have a higher potential of having a shorter placement time, but this does not always hold true.
What is the cost?
The cost of adoption will vary based on the type of adoption you choose, the state you live in, where you adopt from, etc. No adoption program is without risk as governmental policies and mandates are continuously shifting. Your agency can serve as a key advocate in helping you determining the reliability of each program they offer as well as the general wait time to referral and placement.
Public Agency (Foster Care) Adoption $0 – $2,500
Licensed Private Agency Adoptions $5,000 – $40,000+
Independent Adoptions $8,000 – $40,000+
Facilitated/Unlicensed Adoptions $5,000 – $40,000+
Inter-country Adoptions $15,000 – $30,000 (I think the top end of this is higher)
In many cases, tax credits, subsidies, employer benefits, and loans or grants can help with adoption costs. Do not let financial obstacles hold you back from bringing your child home. There are numerous options for financial aid.
What are the fees? Hidden fees?
Universal adoption expenses are home study fees and legal fees, as all adoption must be finalized in either the U.S. court or the child’s country of origin’s court.
Each agency you work with, country you choose to adopt from and state you live in has its own set of fees. These vary greatly with different options. Ask your agency for a list of fees involved (included hidden fees).
What Education Credits Are Required?
Education credits required vary depending on the adoption agency that you choose. These credits may include learning opportunities you seek, classes you attend, workshops or videos you watch online, books you read or adoptive parent mentors you speak with. All of these activities help you prepare for your adoption journey and the needs of your future child. Many organizations run on a system of honesty. This means that they are not watching you gain all of your credits, the agency trusts that you are using their resources wisely as learning tools.
Licensed vs. Unlicensed Agency
Choosing to work with an unlicensed placing agency poses a greater risk than working with one that has taken the time to be licensed. Choose the agency that feels most reassuring and supportive to you and your family.
If I am of a specific faith, should I use a secular agency or one affiliated with my faith?
Neither option is necessarily better than the other as all agencies must adhere to the same state requirements and governmental policies. Reach out to friends and family to hear about their experiences with different adoption agencies. Personal recommendations can be very essential in your agency decision.