Regardless of what type of adoption you’re pursuing, you’re going to be working with at least one adoption professional. They may be in charge of your entire adoption process, or just finalization, but either way, they’re going to be a big part of your life for better or for worse. Here are some qualities that hopeful adoptive parents should look for when interviewing adoption professionals.

1) They should speak well of expectant and birth parents. My husband and I were interviewing one professional who made the casual comment, “We don’t like birth fathers,” and then went on to stereotype them. NOT okay! Adoption professionals should love and respect the expectant parents they work with.

2) They should be responsive. Things are going to come up during the adoption process that need prompt attention. You need to be able to trust that when you truly need your adoption professional, you’ll be able to hear back from them.

3) They should be forthcoming. For example, they should be willing to provide reasonable statistics. I asked each agency we interviewed how many adoptions they did in the last year. Several agencies wouldn’t tell me. If they weren’t forthcoming about something simple like that, what else might they not want to tell me?

4) They should be honest. And not just honest with you, but honest with the expectant and birth parents that they work with. One way to determine this is to read both the hopeful adoptive parent and expectant parent sections of their website (if they have one) and make sure the same things aren’t promised both parties. If the agency promises both groups that they’re completely in control of the openness of the adoption, for example, someone is not getting the truth.

5) They should know the laws of the state you’re working in. This is especially important if you’re pursuing a private adoption. Your adoption professional should be able to guide you through laws about advertising, gifts, and ICPC.

6) Finally, it’s always nice if they’re empathetic. Adoption is an emotional process. Working with someone who is understanding of that makes it easier.

Are there qualities that you would add to this list?