Adoption can be a complicated process, but fortunately, there are many professionals who provide a variety of valuable adoption services for women considering adoption and families hoping to adopt.
These adoption services range from financial, to emotional, to logistical, and it’s up to you to decide which services, and hence which adoption professional, you need during your adoption process.
Below are some of the most common adoption services and where they can be found.
Matching refers to the process by which a birth mother chooses an adoptive family to raise her child. While matches can be made through personal connections or networking, adoption professionals provide matching services to birth parents and families who need help finding an adoption opportunity.
Where to find this adoption service: Adoption agencies, facilitators, and some adoption attorneys can help match families and birth parents. Because agencies regularly work with birth mothers and prospective parents, they are often the most prepared and most reputable for providing this adoption service.
2. Financial Support
Financial support is a broad term that simply means that an adoption professional should do its best to ensure their client’s financial needs are met and protected. This may come in the form of living expenses for birth mothers or adoption disruption insurance for adoptive families. With the right financial support, expecting women can focus on having a healthy pregnancy, and adoptive parents can focus on the dream of growing their family.
Where to find this adoption service: For birth mothers, an adoption agency or attorney will ensure they pay nothing for the adoption and receive as much living expenses as they are allowed; for adoptive families, adoption professionals handle financial protection differently, so it’s important to research several to decide which is best for you.
3. Legal Aid
All adoptions require an attorney to legalize the process. Attorneys will help to make sure the birth parents’ rights are properly terminated, guide the adoptive family through placement and post-placement, provide legal advice, and legally finalize the adoption.
Where to find this service: Any attorney specializing in adoption will be able to legally complete the adoption. If you choose to work with an adoption agency, they will likely provide you with one of their trusted adoption attorneys.
4. Counseling and Support
Adoption is undoubtedly an emotional time for everyone involved, and while the support of family and friends is crucial, adoption professionals are specifically equipped to guide people through the experiences unique to adoption.
Where to find this service: An adoption agency’s adoption specialists are often trained to provide counseling and support. Adoption attorneys may provide this as well, but they often provide it through an unlicensed paralegal or outsource it to a counselor.
5. Pre-Placement and Post-Placement Contact
One reason birth parents and adoptive families may be matched are based on they type of adoption relationship they are seeking and how much contact they prefer to share with one another during and after the adoption.
An adoption professional can facilitate much of this contact, particularly in a semi-open (mediated) adoption.
Where to find this service: Adoption agencies are often used to mediate contact between birth parents and adoptive parents, maintain the agreed-upon amount of contact, and nurture a good relationship between them.
6. Marketing, Advertising and Networking
Marketing, advertising and networking is an important an often overlooked adoption service that directly influences the number of adoption opportunities an adoption professional may provide.
Where to find this service: National adoption agencies often reach the widest audience due to their larger advertising budgets, limitless networking opportunities, and the fact they are able to work with clients from across the country. Adoption attorneys may not always advertise as much as adoption agencies, but they are often connected with many different adoption professionals and can find adoption opportunities for their clients when necessary.