Many people worry that they will not make the right choice when deciding what agency to work with on their adoption. This is an understandable concern but if you follow a few guidelines, you will make the right choice.
First, to narrow down your options make sure the agency has a license from the Dept. of Social Services or the equivalent state agency in your state. Ask what states and counties they have a license to operate. Some agencies may only work in one or a few counties of the state(s) where they are licensed. The Independent Adoption Center (IAC) is a full-service agency with a license to operate in every county in California, Texas, Georgia, Indiana, and North Carolina. We also have limited licenses to operate in New York and Connecticut.
The best alternative is to work with a full-service agency licensed throughout the state where you live, but this is not always possible. If you cannot find a full-service agency in your state, you can work with a licensed agency in another state and have an agency in your state complete your home study and post placement supervision. IAC works with families in 37 states.
The next step is to contact the agency. Have them email, or mail you a packet of information. If you live near by go to the information session. If not, see if you can set up a conference call to get your questions answered. Some of the questions you should ask include: how long is the average waiting period for a placement? What are the agency’s fees, and what additional costs can I expect to pay? What is the refund policy? What are the credentials of the counselors on staff?
Also, ask about the philosophy of the agency. For example, the IAC is a counseling-based agency committed to fully open adoptions, and does not have any exclusionary policies for adoptive parents based on sexual orientation, religion, martial status, race, national origin or any other reason. It is also important to find out how long the agency has been in business. A long history indicates that the agency is both stable and successful. The IAC has successfully operated for 28 years.
The final step is to talk with as many reputable agencies as you can, and to attend a minimum of two or three information sessions or conference calls. This will allow you get a feel for each agency. Every licensed, well-established agency is a good agency, but each is good for different families. At this point, you can trust your gut. You have done your homework, and you can make your decision based on which agency feels like the best fit for your family.