• SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER


  • How to Choose an Adoption Agency (Hint: It’s Not Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe)

    Dawn Davenport

    7
    Choosing the right adoption agency is one of the biggest - and most difficult - decisions of your life.

    Choosing the right adoption agency is one of the biggest – and most difficult – decisions of your life.

    Picking an adoption agency is hard, confusing and often anxiety provoking.  It doesn’t help when so-called  experts — like me — tell you that it is the second most important decision you’ll make when adopting.  Talk about pressure!  I often get asked if there is a “best agency”.  The answer, of course, is “yes”, but not one best agency for everyone.  I think the enormity of the decision often blinds us to that fact.  So how should you go about picking this all important arbiter of family making?

    A three-step approach

    I favor a systematic three-step approach.  The first step is done mostly online and is design to help you winnow down your choices to a select few.  In the second step you narrow you choices even more by interviewing each agency.  The third step is the all important background check to confirm your selection.  It sounds more daunting than it really is.  The last step is fairly time consuming but at this point, you should only have one or two agencies in the running, which greatly helps to reduce the time.   We include a detailed explanation of this approach, complete with all the online links and list of questions for both international and domestic adoption agencies, at our How to Choose an Adoption Agency page.  We also have a two part video on How to Choose an Adoption Agency, Red Flags to Spot a Questionable Agency, and a list of questions to ask references.

    Keep perspective when reading reviews

    After spending some time on the internet, it’s easy to become convinced that all adoption agencies are corrupt or only in it for the money.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Oh, don’t get me wrong; some scummy adoption agencies are out there, but some wonderful ones are as well.  Not that you’d know it from reading some of the comments on the internet.  I think we hear the worst on the internet for several reasons.  When people are frustrated about their adoption, they need to vent, and the internet provides lots of places to blow off steam.  Satisfied adoptive parents are busy getting on with their lives and have a less burning desire to post glowing reports of their adoption agency.

    Sometimes the venting of angry adoptive parents reveals a real problem with the agency, but sometimes not.  Adoptive parents, as much as it pains me to say, are not always reasonable.  That’s why you don’t overreact to one angry posting about an agency.  Once you start seeing a pattern, however, start paying attention.

    There’s no one right agency, but there are things to look for.

    OK, here’s the truth: the process of adoption is often messy with lots of ups and downs.  Both families involved –birth and adoptive- are making the biggest decision of their life.   What is right for them and for the child is not always clear.  Absolutes are in short supply.  No agency can make this process seamless, nor should they. You can and should expect, however, honesty, transparency, and communication.

    Good agencies are child centered; they are more interested in finding homes for children than children for homes.  Good agencies come in all sizes and flavors, but in my opinion they share the following traits:

    • They stress pre-adoption education.
    • For domestic adoption agencies, they provide pre and post adoption counseling for first mothers, and support her decision either way.
    • For international adoption agencies, they have humanitarian programs in the countries where they work to help the kids that won’t be adopted and help families stay intact.
    • They don’t cherry pick the kids. In other words, they try to find homes for harder to place children.
    • They make a lifetime commitment to you and your child through post adoption services.

    A good adoption agency looks more like a child-welfare agency.  It’s worth the time to find that type of agency.

     

    Image credit:  … marta … maduixaaaa

    01/06/2010 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 7 Comments



    7 Responses to How to Choose an Adoption Agency (Hint: It’s Not Eeny, Meeny, Miney, Moe)

    1. Mariquilla says:

      Choosing an adoption agency is difficult not because of all the frustrated people complaining about minor issues. it is hard because adoption agencies are business – yes, even non-profit and religious ones have salaries and overhead to pay…and as such they are “less regulated than nail salons.” Am I a ‘disgruntled customer/client” saying this? No. I am researcher/author and those words in fact are those of L. Anne Babb, respected author of “Ethics in American Adoption.”
      +1

    2. There are a lot of adoption agencies out there. Finding the right reviews for any given agency can be a matter of where you look. “When people are frustrated about their adoption, they need to vent, and the internet provides lots of places to blow off steam. Satisfied adoptive parents are busy getting on with their lives and have a less burning desire to post glowing reports of their adoption agency.” – We’ve had hundreds of successful placements. Through the adoption process we connect with our families through social media. So we have a lot of great reviews through Facebook. But if you look at the typical places where frustrated people go, like Yelp and Google Places, you’ll find a few rants. So it can definitely depend on where you look.

    3. Renee says:

      I can’t believe your timing. I am so glad you posted this blog and led me to the page on choosing an agency. We are in the midst of doing this and we have been confused and scared. I haven’t found anything as useful as this. We are not going international so I didn’t think of your book. I will check it out from the library also, but don’t think I’m going to need it now that I found your page. THANK YOU!

    4. P. A. S. says:

      Found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it. This blog was really helpful and so was the page on your site on Adoption aGency choosing. We are going to move to adoption soon. I can’t take any more treatment.

    5. Mirah Riben says:

      Choosing an adoption agency is difficult not because of all the frustrated people complaining about minor issues. it is hard because adoption agencies are business – yes, even non-profit and religious ones have salaries and overhead to pay…and as such they are “less regulated than nail salons.” Am I a ‘disgruntled customer/client” saying this? No. I am researcher/author and those words in fact are those of L. Anne Babb, respected author of “Ethics in American Adoption.”

      Adam Pertman, director of the prestigious Evan B. Donaldon Adoption indsitute likewise recognized more than once that “anyone can hang up a shingle and begin arranging adoptions’ indicating the total lack of regulation in the industry.

      No education in child welfare or social work is required. Some adoption practitioners have law degrees, others are former car salesmen or airline attendants – in actual truth not an exaggeration for affect!

      In addition to lack of regulations, and lack of education is the fact that theere is no demarcation between reputable, ethical and gray market agencies. Many every well-meaning, preferential (fertile) adopters have wound up unknowingly adopting children who were stolen or kidnapped. It happened to people such David & Desiree Smolins, the Rollins family, and many others who will not speak about it…and many, many others live wondering, as does Elizabeth Larsen.

      See:

      Duped by Indian adoption agency, US family cautions couples
      http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics/nation/Duped-by-Indian-adoption-agency-US-family-cautions-couples/articleshow/5964751.cms

      http://www.missingindiankids.com/press/others/080901TCT.htm

      motherjones.com/…/did-i-steal-my-daughter-tribulations-global-adoption

      Mirah Riben, author, The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

    6. Theresa says:

      Great information! I’ve been looking for something like this for a while now. There isn’t anything that I’ve found that pulls it all together like this. I appreciate the online links for the first and third steps. I also like the amazing detail in your questionaires to ask adoption agencies. I feel less overwhelmed, although it still doesn’t look easy.

    7. Joan says:

      Thanks for creating this page on choosing an adoption agency. It is thorough and gives enough direction without scaring needlessly. As a therapist, I am frustrated by much of the information the is easily avaialbe. Parents are put off from doing the required research because it seems daunting and overwhelming. This is the perfect blend of practical and honest.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

    Back to Top ↑

    Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.