Choosing the Best Adoption Professional
When Making an Adoption Plan For Your Baby
If you've considered all your pregnancy options and decided that adoption is the right choice for you and your baby, your next step is to carefully select an adoption professional. Working with the right adoption agency and attorney will make a big difference in your adoption experience. A good agency or attorney will provide expert guidance and ensure you get the help and support needed before, during, and after the adoption.
Not All "Adoption Professionals"Are the Same
If you've been looking for adoption information online, you know there are literally hundreds of adoption websites offering help. Since many more families are hoping to adopt than there are babies available for adoption, there's a whole lot of competition for your attention on the internet.
- The Good: There are many honest, experienced, and reputable adoption professionals where you live who are available to help you throughout the adoption process.
- The Bad: There are also lots of fake, unlicensed, and profit-driven "adoption professionals" who place ads online, disguised as legitimate adoption professionals. These are the ones you should stay away from when looking for help with adoption.
So, how can you tell the difference between trustworthy adoption professionals and those you should avoid? First, you need information. And to get that information, you first have to know which questions to ask. Here's a straightforward graphic to make things a little easier (because don't you have enough going on at the moment?).
The Five Most Important Questions to Ask Any Adoption Professional Before Deciding
If you're an expectant mother making an adoption plan for your child, you need to know which questions to ask and the sort of answers you should expect to receive. Start with these five questions:
This seems like an obvious question, but it's not always easy to figure out the true identity of an adoption professional, especially when it comes to the ones you find online. Before agreeing to work with anyone or complete their paperwork, you first need to get some basic information such as their first and last name, their location, and the full name of their company or organization.
It can also be hard to determine what kind of "adoption professional" you're dealing with. You need to know whether they're a licensed adoption agency or an attorney or an unlicensed baby broker (sometimes called "marketer," "facilitator," or advertiser"). Thankfully, baby brokers are actually illegal in states but they are unfortunately still all over the internet, trolling for expectant mothers who need help with adoption. As we explain more fully below, when choosing an adoption professional, make sure you choose a licensed adoption agency or attorney who is located and licensed in your state.
This is an especially important question when it comes to lawyers. An expectant mother making an adoption plan should have her own lawyer (at no cost to her) from the very beginning of the adoption - not just when it comes time to sign consent paperwork. Because adoption is such an important legal process, if you're placing a child for adoption, you should be fully informed by your own attorney about your legal rights and responsibilities before signing any adoption paperwork.
A word of caution: Don’t take legal advice from your social worker. As knowledgeable and caring as your social worker may be, she's not a lawyer and isn't qualified (or even allowed) to give you legal advice.
Likewise, the adoptive parents’ lawyer is also not the right person to give you legal advice. He or she is required to always put the adoptive parents' interests above yours. Make sure you consult with your own lawyer who will guide you through the adoption process and answer all of your questions in a confidential setting.
This question is important because it will help you determine whether you're talking to a legitimate adoption agency, attorney, OR an unlicensed baby broker. Since baby brokers are not legally allowed to provide adoption services, they only focus on matching you up with a family who's looking for a baby to adopt. So, what's the difference between providing adoption services and matching you with a family? A lot!
Here’s how it usually works: You search online for something like "giving baby up for adoption" or "how to put my baby up for adoption." You click on a few ads and read through some of the adoption websites before contacting a baby broker through one of the websites you found. Since most adoption websites look and sound alike, you may not know that you're actually contacting a baby broker and not a licensed adoption agency or attorney.
The broker has you fill out some paperwork and then sends you profiles of families hoping to adopt. Each profile describes the adoptive parents' community, jobs, extended family, hobbies, etc. It usually includes lots of photos and talks about the family's reasons for wanting to adopt a child.
Next, the baby broker asks you to choose an adoptive family from one of the profiles and then collects a hefty fee from the adoptive parents (usually between $15,000 and $25,000). Once she matches you with the adoptive family, the baby broker hands you off to others to arrange for the adoption and complete all of the paperwork with you.
Hold on, sister! This is NOT the way adoptions are supposed to work. You need and deserve to receive support from expertly trained and licensed adoption professionals from the very beginning of your adoption journey.
Be Wise, Adoption is a legally complicated and emotionally traumatic experience for a birth mother. To protect yourself and your child from being treated as commodities, you must work with ethical and licensed adoption professionals who will first connect you with options counseling and then with support services, including counseling, medical care, your own adoption lawyer, a written open adoption agreement, reasonable financial assistance, and post-adoption counseling and support.
You may feel awkward asking questions about money, but you deserve to know who’s charging what for your child’s adoption. You can tell a lot about an adoption professional by whether they’re willing to be open and honest about their fees. Adoption is a complicated process that requires lots of paperwork, making it expensive for adoptive parents. But it’s no secret that some adoption professionals (even licensed agencies and attorneys) take advantage of adoptive parents by charging them unreasonably high fees for the work they do. Professionals who overcharge for their time, especially in adoptions, aren't trustworthy and don't deserve to be involved with your adoption.
The Bottom Line When Choosing an Adoption Agency
Here's the minimum of what you should expect from an ethical adoption agency:
- An agency that is licensed and in your state
- Offer for you to have own separate lawyer (provided free of charge)
- A large selection of curated adoptive families to choose from
- Free support services including medical care, housing, etc.*
- A written open adoption contact agreement between you and the adoptive parents
- Counseling with an experienced adoption therapist - before and after the adoption.
* Your lawyer and social worker will also talk to you about getting help with living expenses during and after your pregnancy, as needed.
AdoptMatch connects you with trustworthy adoption professionals + loving, home-studied families waiting to adopt.
We educate expectant mothers about their adoption choices, connect them with ethical, experienced, and compassionate adoption professionals, and introduce them to some of the most amazing adoptive families in the world.
When you're ready to connect, please reach out to us via phone, text, or email.