How to choose the right adoption agency
While there are many different types of adoption agencies, public and private are the two major differentiations. A public adoption agency is a social service that matches unwanted infants and children in the foster care system with new homes.
Private adoption agencies do the same, but they are more selective about the type of children they try to match with parents, and they also offer specialized services. If you want an international adoption agency or a Christian adoption agency, for example, you'll be looking in the private sector.
Public versus Private Adoption Agencies
There are advantages and disadvantages with both public and private agencies. One major benefit of public adoption agencies is that they charge low fees or no fees at all. However, their wait times are longer and you have less control over the type of child you are matched with. Public agencies and national adoption centers also have higher concentrations of developmentally disabled, abused and neglected children.
Private agencies, on the other hand, tend to offer parents more control and choice with reduced wait times. They can also pick and choose the children they accept into their placement programs, resulting in lower concentrations of disabled and abused children. However, private adoption agency fees can be very high.
Factors to Consider when Choosing an Adoption Center
Choosing an adoption agency is not all that dissimilar from choosing a building contractor, healthcare provider or other service professional: begin by considering your needs and your budget, do your research, make a short list of agencies and gather referrals and recommendations.
If you have a very specific set of criteria that you strongly prefer in the child you adopt, such as a certain ethnic origin or gender or certain physical characteristics, you are probably better off dealing with a private agency that can address your needs. However, this is only viable if your budget allows – private agencies set their own fees, and you need to figure out how much you can afford to spend, including all the placement fees, parent education costs and home study charges you will have to shoulder.
Then, narrow down the list of agencies that meet your requirements. Contact them and ask if they can provide you with references or referrals to past clients. Get in touch with those references, and ask about their experience with the agency. Did it deliver what it promised? Were there problems that were dealt with in a satisfactory or unsatisfactory way? Would they deal with the adoption center again? Were they satisfied overall?
A good adoption agency can make your experience that much more special, but a bad one can be a nightmare to deal with. While every adoptive parent's experience is unique, consider the information you gather during your research a means of predicting whether or not a given agency can meet your needs and expectations.