Deciding to adopt a child is a big step in life, and choosing an adoption agency is one of the first parts of that step. Your first decision will be to decide between a public and a private adoption agency.
Public Adoption Agency
Public adoption agencies are publically funded by local, state and federal sources. The major difference between public and private agencies is that public agencies are more often looking to place children that are in the foster care system, which often means the children are older or have special needs.
Public adoption agencies are also significantly cheaper than private agencies. An adoption through a public agency can range from completely free to around $2,500, which is still significantly cheaper than even the starting cost of a private adoption agency.
Private Adoption Agency
Private adoption agencies are funded by the cost that adoptive parents pay for the agencies services, which is why they cost significantly more than using a public adoption agency. With a private agency, children are typically new-borns or very young, but they can in some cases be any age up to 17.
If you choose to use a private adoption agency, you should expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $30,000+ depending on the agency and attorney you choose. To get a better idea on costs and ways to reduce the cost, see our article on understanding the cost of adoption.
Tips for Choosing an Agency
During the adoption process, you’ll likely to be eager to get through the process as quick as possible, but we recommend taking your time here, and finding an agency that really is best for you. Don’t just give the first agency you see the benefit of the doubt; you need to do extensive research. Here are our tips on what to look out for when choosing an agency.
Ensuring you choose a reputable agency that is fully licensed is a great first step. Each state has separate licensing requirements, all of which ensure adoption agencies meet the minimum standards for child placement. We recommend prospective parents don’t work with any agencies that don’t have a proper license issued by the state.
When a state is deciding whether to provide an adoption agency with a licence, they ensure the agency meets the following criteria for staff:
- Educational qualifications
- Training requirements
- Office/admin staff training requirements
- Storage of records regulations
Ask Potential Agencies The Right Questions:
We recommend asking any potential agencies a set of questions that will help you to determine if they are right for you. Asking questions will likely provide you with information on how they operate that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Here are some questions that we recommend asking:
- What does the agency look for in potential adoptive parents?
- What is the most convenient and quickest way to contact a member of your team?
- Does the agency provide any pre-adoption education?
- Does the agency provide and post-adoption support?
- Can the agency provide some references of adoptive parents that have used their service?
- What is the agency’s record of success with placing children?
Research The Agency:
Research of an agency can be done mostly online; if you’ve found a potential agency it’s a good idea to search them on Google to look at reviews. Here it is important to look at all review scores, it is often the reviews that are rated in the middle that provide the best insight.
You’ll also be able to find communities and forums of adoptive parents. Here you can find adoptive parents that used the service you are looking into and ask for their honest opinion on how the process played out.
In conclusion, take your time with the process of finding the right adoption agency. Rushing the process could hurt your chances of a successful adoption in the long run.