Choosing an adoption agency
Selecting the Right Adoption Agency for Your Family
Once you have made the decision to adopt, choosing an adoption agency can seem like a hurdle that you need to clear as quickly as possible in order to achieve your true goal. New Jersey adoption lawyers caution against rushing the decision and warn that many people who end up dissatisfied with their adoption process regret the organization that they chose. Your agency will serve as your guide, and your connection with that team will be as much a personal relationship as it is a business exchange.
The Initial Phase
Area adoption experts recommend hiring a New Jersey adoption lawyer early in the process because your attorney can help you avoid the many legal and practical pitfalls associated with agency adoption. With representation secured, the next step is to finalize some important decisions about how you want to adopt. You may want to consider:
- International vs. domestic adoption
- Local vs. national adoption agencies
- Size of the adoption agency
- Pre- and post-adoption resources
- Birthmother support and humanitarian aid
The Interview Phase
After considering those topics and deciding what is important to you, you will have a set of criteria through which you can determine if an agency is worthwhile exploring further. New Jersey adoption lawyers and other adoption experts tend to advise against email interviews, which are impersonal. Interview in person if possible or at least by phone. Historically, one of the disadvantages of national adoption agencies was the lack of personal touch, but video conferencing has largely overcome that downside.
Have a series of questions prepared beforehand that you ask the representative of each agency you are considering. Facts like average wait time and the number of adoptions completed annually are important, but adoption specialists encourage you to look beyond the numbers to whether you like this agency and trust them to help you achieve your goal of creating or expanding your family. This is an important relationship, and there is nothing wrong with moving on from an agency because of a gut feeling.
Avoid any quick decisions. After an interview is complete, take some time to digest it. You can then evaluate how you feel. Ask yourself questions, such as:
- Did you feel rushed?
- Was the communication comfortable?
- Did you feel like the representative understood your concerns?
- How clear and concise was the information?
- Was there a prompt turnaround on sending you additional materials?
The Selection Phase
At this point, you have one or more agencies that you feel good about. The goal now is to ensure that everything is as good as it seems.
The reason to save adoption agency vetting until now is to avoid getting bogged down earlier in the process. It is much easier to vet a handful of agencies than the dozens you may initially consider. That said, if you have hired a New Jersey adoption lawyer early in the process, then your attorney will have likely handled much of the vetting as it unfolded.
Begin with state licensing. While licensing standards are not necessarily rigid, an agency that is not licensed or in good standing is a major red flag. Accreditation by the Council of Accreditation is a mark in favor of not only international but domestic adoption agencies. If adopting internationally, you’ll want to consider Hague accreditation and likely move on from agencies that were denied it.
Assistance Choosing an Adoption Agency
If you want to adopt and are considering doing it through an adoption agency, Cofsky & Zeidman is here to help. We are a law firm with extensive agency adoption experience and can assist you in navigating this process, including selecting your agency. To schedule an initial consultation with an adoption lawyer in New Jersey, call our Haddonfield office at (856) 429-5005 or our Woodbury office at (856) 845-2555. We also have an office in Philadelphia to better serve our Pennsylvania clients.