How do I get connected to an adoption agency?
ACI’s Ask A Question About Adoption
Thinking about adoption can be overwhelming by itself. How do you find an agency to trust during one of the biggest moments of your life? It can be a frightening first step to pick up the phone to make that initial call, but you are NEVER committed to moving forward with the adoption process just by making the initial contact.
Our goal, as an adoption agency is to provide you with information and answer any questions. With that information, you are empowered to make the best decision for you and your child. When considering adoption, you should never feel pressure to move forward with placing your child for adoption.
How do I find an adoption agency to learn more? There are many ways you can find a reputable adoption agency near you. Google, like many things, is the easiest way to search for agencies in your state. Agencies will have their own website with information about their philosophy, approach to adoption, and their process. We suggest you contact more than one agency to find one that you connect with and feel most supported by.
However, if doing online research feels overwhelming, you can also request to speak to the hospital’s maternity social worker. They will have resources and brochures with contact information for agencies in your area. Local Crisis Pregnancy Centers or Health Departments should also have this information available to anyone who calls or comes in.
This being said, it’s still good to have an idea of what to look for in a reputable agency so we’ve prepared some tips.
7 tips to help you find an agency that is right for you:
- Is the agency licensed? In Illinois, all adoption agencies must be licensed by the state. A copy of the license should be located on their website. A licensed agency is monitored to ensure all state laws are being followed and that all practices are ethical to the population they serve. NOTE: If the agency is not licensed in your state – please note – that they will eventually need to get you connected to someone who is.
- Does the licensed adoption agency cover your area? While some agencies are licensed in many states, they may not have offices/social workers in your state that you can meet with. Having an agency that has counselors in your state and that can travel to your area provides you with more support opportunities. Your counselor will be able to meet you in person, be present when you meet with a prospective adoptive family, and be there to advocate for you at the hospital. You should never have to travel to meet with an adoption counselor.
- When are the adoption counselors available? It’s important that you are able to connect with your counselor anytime for support, someone to talk to, hear any concerns, answer all your questions. If your counselor does have hours that they can not be reached, is there an on call counselor or emergency contact?
- What kind of counseling support is available before and after placing a child for adoption? Does the agency provide, refer and pay for therapy with an adoption competent therapist in addition to being connected to the agency adoption counselor? Is this support offered after placement for years to come if and when you ever feel you might need it?
- What is that agency’s philosophy, values, beliefs? Do you share these same beliefs and hopes for your adoption? All feelings and beliefs are valid, it’s important you work with an agency that validates you every step of the way.
- All agencies should immediately provide you with copies of your state’s adoption laws and your rights as someone considering adoption. In the state of Illinois, all agencies are required to provide as soon as practical the Birth Parent Rights and Responsibilities.
- How did you feel talking with the counselor? You should feel you have the ability to ask any question at any time. There should never be a time in creating your plan where you question if you’re “allowed” to do something or ask additional questions. Your counselor should always have time to answer all your questions or just be there to listen. It’s important to be comfortable and trust the agency and counselor you are working with.
Don’t hesitate to reach out and learn more about the option of adoption. Become empowered by learning more in order to make the best decisions for you and your child. If you are considering placing a child for adoption Contact Us