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Next to actually choosing to place your child for adoption, choosing which adoption agency to work with is perhaps the second most important decision of your life. Choosing the right adoption agency ensures that your child is placed in a healthy, loving home; it also guarantees that you will get the best of care throughout your pregnancy and that all agreements regarding open adoption and similar matters are adhered to. Unfortunately, while there is a lot of information available for adoptive families regarding what to look for in an agency, there is rather a dearth of information to help birth parents. If you are trying to make the difficult decision about which adoption agency to use, read on for warning signs. If you see any of these red flags, you should be suspicious and should probably seek another organization.
1. The agency aims it services towards potential adoptive families. Take a good look at their website. If everything is geared towards adoptive parents, there is a good chance their personal services are aimed towards them, as well. Also, look for anything on their website that indicates they would pressure you into choosing adoption.
2. The agency is not selective in choosing adoptive parents. Ask how rigorous their screening process is, and check how what they tell you compares with what they tell adoptive parents.
3. The agency does not allow you to change your mind about open adoption. Changing your mind is perfectly permissible, and a good agency will allow you to reconsider after the baby is born.
4. The agency has been in business for less than 10 years. You dont want to choose an agency that will close its doors and leave you with no way to contact the adoptive family.
5. The agency says they will house you thousands of miles away from home. A good agency will encourage you to stay in contact with family and friends. An offer like this indicates that they will do anything to keep you from changing your mind.
6. They are not equipped to handle babies with special needs. Ask them about their policy regarding special needs children and if they have ever turned away a mother because her child had health issues.
7. The agency is not licensed. Choosing an unlicensed agency means there is no one monitoring the agency, and you have nowhere to go to file a complaint if needed.
8. The agency asks you for your personal information immediately. This is a sign that they are screening you, seeing how desirable you and your baby will be.
9. The agency tells adoptive families that they may leave the state immediately after the adoption.
10. There has been a complaint against the agency lodged with the Attorney Generals office or the Better Business Bureau.
If you see any of these signs, run! There are plenty of valid agencies out there staffed with compassionate, loving adoption counselors and attorneys who specialize in adoption who are ready to help you and your unborn child. There is no reason to be stuck with an agency that does not respect you or treat you with compassion. Just as you had options when you found out you were pregnant, you have options now, as well.
About the Author:
Jeffrey A. Kasky, Esq. is a Florida adoption lawyer and Vice President of One World Adoption Services, Inc., a Florida-licensed not-for-profit child placing agency. Jeffs diverse career experiences include co-authoring the book, 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Choosing Adoption with Robert A. Kasky, Florida-certified law enforcement officer, and involvement in the autism community, including a TV show focused on helping families with legal issues related to autism called Spectrum at Law on The Autism Channel. A practicing attorney since 1995, he has worked on more than one thousand adoption cases.