Questions to ask during first agency meeting

We have informational meetings set up with four adoption agencies we are considering working with.  What questions should we be asking to help us decide which agency to work with?  Here's what I've come up with so far...

- Walk me through the process from start to finish

- Do you do domestic adoptions, international, or both?  How many of each did you do last year?  What are the pros / cons of each? 

- How much do adoptions cost with your agency, and why is this more / less than other agencies in our area?

- What are some options for financing the adoption?   

- What is the average wait time for placement?

- What counseling / services do you provide for birth mothers?

- Once a match has been made between a birth mother and adoptive parents, what percentage of these agreements fall through? 

- What sets your agency apart?  

 Thanks in advance! 

Re: Questions to ask during first agency meeting

  • These are all great questions. If you want to know more questions to ask, Adoption for Dummies book has a list of questions to ask your agency on the very first page as soon as you open the cover. You already have lots of the same questions. :)
  • Personally, I think you won't get much of an answer to the pros and cons of international vs domestic, since it's different for different people, and most people have settled on one option or another before the meet with an agency. Just my 2c. Other questions to consider:

    Explain the homestudy process

    What is the fee schedule and breakdown (if it's not already available on their website)?

    Are there lower fees for certain programs (eg, AA/biracial vs Caucasian)?

    Are there age or marriage requirements for PAPs?

    What is the ratio of placements to waiting families? [We were told this was a better question than number of placements. If they're placing 10 kids per year with 100 waiting families, that's a problem. If they're placing 10 kids per year with 12 waiting families, that's good]

    Do you perform the homestudy or do you contract out to someone else?

    When was your license last updated?

    What is the process if an adoption is disrupted? Are we placed back in the pool or do we get preference for showing to other BMs? [our agency, for example, puts PAPs with disruptions at the top of the show list]

    Once the contract is signed, do we have to re-sign after a certain time period or is the contract (and associated fees) set?

    How does the state and the agency handle birthmother and medical expenses?

    What are your openness requirements for domestic adoptions?

    And ultimately, it may come down to who makes you feel most comfortable.


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  • Great additions from Dr L.

    A few more to add:

    On average, how many profiles are presented to a birth mom at one time?  (I was surprised to learn our original agency might show up to 50!  I'd strive to connect with an agency that shows ten or fewer per showing.) 

    If we exceed your average wait time, are there any strategies that may help move us closer to adoption?  (Our original agency chooses to show families that are waiting for two plus year to situations where the birth mom doesn't contact them until labor or delivery.)

    What is the average wait time for couples like us that want to adopt ___________ (fill in the blank with your filters for ethnicity, drug, and alcohol exposure)?  This is much more meaningful than general averages.  If you are seeking a Caucasian baby boy that has not had any drug exposure but you are compared to a pool of people open to all races and drug and alcohol exposure, your wait time may not correlate their wait times.)

    image Best friends and sisters... 24 months and 16 months
  • Wow, great suggestions.  Thanks everyone!
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