Adopting a child can be a long process. Finding the right agency for your family is an important first step on your journey to becoming a parent through adoption.
- Determine the type of adoption you wish to pursue--international or domestic. While you don't need to be absolutely certain at this stage, many agencies specialize in one or the other.
- Research agencies. Online search engines are a great place to begin. Some key words that would start you on the right path would be "international adoption" or "adoption agencies."
- Decide if you are more comfortable working with a large or small agency. There are pros and cons to both.
- Is the agency located in-state or out-of-state? If regular, face-to-face contact isn't critical to you, don't rule out agencies who are located outside of your geographic area. If you use an agency that is out-of-state, however, you will be required to find an agency in your home state to conduct your home study. This isn't as difficult as it sounds! Most out-of-state agencies will be able to recommend local agencies with whom they have worked in the past.
- Take a look at specific agency requirements. For example, some agencies will only work with couples or members of a particular faith.
- Contact agencies for more information about their program. Focus on those who may be a fit. Virtually all reputable agencies will have website and telephone contact information readily available. Pay attention to the clues an agency offers at this stage! Were they responsive? Did they answer your specific questions? This is the first step of the "interview" process!
- Go to a local informational meeting if it's offered in your area. This is a great opportunity to meet firsthand with a representative from the agency. Often, local families who have adopted from the agency will also attend with their children.
- Check references! Adoption is not inexpensive--from an emotional or financial standpoint. Starting down the road with an agency that is not a good fit for your family could be costly.
In the end, go with your heart. Only you and your family know what's best for you.