This extensive questionnaire for choosing a domestic adoption agency is broken into two sections of questions: Agency Specific and Services Offered, plus a list of documents to request that they send to you and a place to evaluate the feel you get from them.
- Do not e-mail this list to agencies you are considering. It is the conversation where you will pick up on the personality and philosophy of the agency.
- These interviews take time, and it is only fair that you make an appointment so the agency can have the right person speak with you and that the person will have allocated enough time.
- When you interview an agency, take notes and label them according to the question you are asking.
- When you have finished the interview, take the time right then to analyze if you would enjoy working with this agency. What was their attitude and how helpful were they?
- What state or states are you licensed in?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many full time staff do you have? How many part time staff or subcontractors?
- How long has the staff been with the agency? How long has my caseworker been with the agency?
- If it is a very small organization, what are the plans if one of the key personnel is unavailable for a period of time?
- How many adoptions were made last year? How many matches were made to families that look like mine in terms of marital status, age, race, sexual orientation, and risk factors and race we are open to?
- How many adoptive parent profiles are you trying to match right now?
- What was the average wait for the last two years for families that look like mine in terms of marital status, age, race, sexual orientation, and risk factors and race we are open to?
- How do you find expectant mothers that may be considering an adoption plan for their child?
- How many of your adoption in the last two year were open?
- What is your opinion on open adoptions?
- What type of education do you provide to expectant parents and birth parents about open adoption?
- What type of counseling is offered to expectant mothers and fathers?
- Is all pre and post adoption counseling to expectant or birth parents free of charge to them?
- How many of your expectant parents utilize counseling?
- What type of post adoption counseling is available to birth parents?
- How long is post adoption counseling offered to first parents free of charge?
- If we adopt from a state that has a longer revocation time for birth mothers, do you recommend fostering for the child. If so, do you provide the foster family?
- Do you facilitate compliance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children if we adopt a child from another state? How much experience do you have with this Interstate Compact?
- How do you communicate with prospective adoptive parents?
- What are your office hours?
- Who would we contact when we have questions? Will one person be assigned to us? How many cases/clients does this person handle?
- Do you have a policy to return phone calls or emails within a set period of time? How long should I expect to wait for a reply from an email or phone message?
- Do you have restrictions on age, marital status, gender selection, religion, or family size for adoptive families?
- Do you ask clients to sign an Internet Confidentiality Agreement?
- What is your refund policy at different stages in the process?
- What happens if a match falls through after we have paid fees or expenses?
- Who is responsible for the expectant mother’s medical costs?
- Who is responsible for the expectant mother’s living expenses? Is there a limit on these costs?
- What is your policy on continuing infertility treatments while pursuing an adoption? (If applicable.)
- Have you ever been disciplined or sanctioned by a government or legal entity?
- Do you have pre-adoption and post adoption support groups for parents either in person or online?
- How many hours of parental education do you require? How is it offered? Do I have to attend classes in person? (Remember, you want an agency that wants to educate you.)
- Are all legal expenses included within our adoption fees? If not, what are the average legal fees we can expect to finalize our adoption?
- What post adoption services do you offer? Counseling for adoption related issues? Baby care classes? Reunions? Parenting classes?
- How do you facilitate open adoptions?
- What type of support do you offer for families in the first six months home?
- An itemized list of all costs, fees or expenses and when they are due. Make sure to include estimates for costs that are paid to others outside the agency (e.g. home study, document preparation, etc).
- The latest audited financial statements and the internal financial report for the last year. (You are looking for financial stability since you do not want to choose an agency in precarious financial health.)
- Contracts, liability waivers, confidentiality agreements, or other paperwork that we will need to sign.
- References (name, telephone number and email address) of families that closely resemble ours and were open to similar risk factors.
Evaluation of Feel:
- How thorough and honest were their answers?
- How easy was it to talk with the agency contact?
- Did I feel rushed?
- Did I speak with the person I will primarily be working with?
- How knowledgeable did they seem about adoption?
- Did it seem like they were more interested in my understanding what to expect or were they trying to sell me by glossing over potential problems?
- How clear was information on cost and waiting times? Did I have to dig to get this information?
- How courteous was all the staff I spoke with?
- How promptly was material mailed and phone calls returned?
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