When I chose my adoption professional, I was honestly seeking transparency in a relationship. I wanted to work with an organization and an agent who wouldn’t keep things from me, or make me feel like they were trying to protect me by keeping the reality of the process from me. I also wanted to make sure that my wishes for my son and the process were respected. I knew how I saw the process happening, and I wasn’t about to make compromises when it came to the well-being of my son. I wasn’t a Christian at the time that I choose my adoption professional, but that didn’t mean that I was going to rebel against spiritual individuals raising my child. There were certain aspects of choosing an adoption professional that were more important to me than other aspects.
Quality, Not Quantity
I was very interested in making sure that above all, my son ended up with the family he was meant to be with. I had no idea who I was going to place him with when I picked my adoption professional. Yet, when I explained what I was looking for: an open adoption with a younger couple; that’s exactly what they connected me with. My adoption professional made sure that she was realistic with me about the expectations of the process, and worked with me the whole time with openness herself, just like what I wanted in my adoption choice. My adoption professional only showed me four profiles of families, and I chose one profile. It turns out, being honest about what I was looking for, and my adoption agent honoring that, was exactly what I needed in order to get my son where he needed to be.
Adoption profiles are not about quantity; they are about quality. I spent some time with those four profiles. I looked at their pictures, read their stories, and stared at their smiles. I didn’t choose a family like I would with car insurance; shopping around. I knew what I wanted and my professional respected that by offering only the profiles that fit what I knew was best for my son.
Some questions I asked my adoption professional before choosing them:
- What does the adoption process look like?
- How long does the process take?
- In my case and unique situation, we didn’t have nine months to get my son into his home. Therefore, an agency being able to expedite the process was crucial for me. For the birth mother who is pregnant and has more time, there is not such a rush as a factor.
- What are the laws regarding the biological father and how will that apply to my situation?
- For example, in the state I was living in, if the birth father contested the adoption and it was accepted, then I would not have been able to place my child for adoption.
- What are the levels of openness that you offer with your families and how will that apply to me?
- How many profiles are you going to show me and how will I know who to choose?
- What does your home study look like for potential adoptive families and what factors do you look at before accepting them to become adoptive parents with your organization?
Some things I seriously considered before I made the phone calls to choose an agency:
- In what time frame do I want my child with his adoptive family?
- What type of family do I want him to be with? Race? Marital status? Other children in the home? Religion? Age?
- When it came down to it, I knew that I wanted my child with a morally, financially, and spiritually secure household. The answers to those demographic questions fell into place as soon as I met my son’s mother.
- I needed an adoption agent who I could contact and communicate with me whenever I needed to, within reason. I was in need of clear communication and I wanted to be highly involved in the entire process.
- I considered how involved I wanted to be in the process and how much control I wanted to have over what happened.
I do not believe that adoption is a decision that should be made lightly. It takes serious consideration, thought, maturity, and wisdom. Some women may have an entire pregnancy to make these decisions, while others may be on a much tighter time schedule and deadline. However, no matter the time frame that a woman has to make this decision, it doesn’t change how crucial and difficult this decision can be. In my experience though, once you are absolutely settled in your heart in peace of that decision, everything else will fall into place.
Please don’t go into choosing an adoption agency without seriously considering the above suggestions. There are no right or wrong answers, and there is always a learning process in which we may have to re-think our plan and reset our expectations. There is nothing wrong with making adjustments along the way. My suggestions are there to be helpful in choosing an adoption professional.
Lindsay is a guest blogger for Considering Adoption. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.