Making decisions in the middle of a crisis is very difficult. You need a solid foundation to decide what to do and where to go next. You also need to surround yourself with good people with wisdom and experience who can provide a little insight and to give some objective advice. If making decisions in normal crises is difficult, how much more difficult will it be when that crisis happens to be an unplanned pregnancy?

An unplanned pregnancy brings its own unique set of circumstances and raises a lot of questions. Are you having a boy or a girl? With whom will you live? How will you raise your child? Will you keep your child at all? If you choose to place your child for adoption, one of the main decisions you need to make is what adoption agencies are there available for you to work with?

Why should I work with adoption agencies?

Adoption agencies prevent adoption fraud. Yes, adoption fraud is a real thing. Adoption fraud is when one or two parties conduct a financial transaction under the pretenses that an adoption will occur. Adoption fraud is the crime of either stealing people’s money and giving them the impression that you will give that couple a child or facilitating an adoption of a child under a false pretense that a child is an orphan. Adoption agencies also prevent human trafficking. Adoption agencies protects young moms and their children against human trafficking by obeying the legal system, performing background checks, and performing detailed home studies on all adoptive applicants. An adoption agency is your safety net.

Adoption agencies contain a vast array of resources that you may not know about otherwise. 

What do adoption agencies offer? 

Adoption agencies offer legal assistance, caseworkers, parent profiles, and counselors. These are all essential services needed throughout the adoption process. 

There is no way around it. You will have to work with an attorney if you want a legal adoption. Attorneys will guide you through the legal process—especially of relinquishment of parental rights. They will assist you with legal documents including a post-adoption communication agreement. They will also represent you in court. Often, an adoption agency will have attorneys on hand that will walk you through the legalities of finalization. After an expectant parent has relinquished their rights, their participation in the adoption process (legally) is complete. 

Relinquishing your parental rights, also known as terminating your parental rights, is often the last step of the adoption for a birth parent. This can be very emotional and mentally difficult. You don’t have to be alone when going through this process. Termination of parental rights is permanent and, depending on the state, can only be reversed in a certain window of time.

A post-adoption communication agreement helps determine how open an adoption will be post-placement. An open adoption gives the biological parents an opportunity to stay active in the life of the child they placed for adoption. It is an agreement between the adoptive and biological parents on how, where, and when contact with the child will occur. It can be anywhere from one photo per year sent in the mail to weekly Sunday dinners at your home. In many states, open adoptions are enforceable. In other states, they are not. The bottom line is that contact needs to be conducted according to what is in the best interest of the child.

In cases of foster adoption, if parental rights are being involuntarily terminated due to allegations of abuse, neglect, or abandonment, your child, most likely is in foster care or kinship care. In that case, you will have an attorney appointed to you. You have the right to object to severance and adoption if you choose to raise the child yourself. You need to honestly consult with your attorney as to what is best for you and your child. 

Adoption social workers, or case workers, are often assigned to you at an adoption agency. This professional will help to meet the needs of you and your child.

One of the best ways for you to find an adoptive family for your child is to find an adoption agency that utilizes adoption profiles. An adoption profile containing photos and information on appropriate adoptive families may be the perfect fit for your precious little one. In these profiles, you will find what the family looks like, what their values are, what their lifestyle is like, and what type of child they can best care for.

From birth mom counselors, to birth dad counselors; from foster care social workers to adoption counselors; from social workers to behavioral health counselors, adoption agencies have an array of professionals to help you. Even if they don’t have these types of counselors on staff, they can refer you to an agency that does.

What do I look for in adoption agencies?

Comparing adoption agencies and narrowing it down to one can be very time consuming, but it is well worth it. What should you look for in an adoption agency?

First, you want to choose an adoption agency that shares your values. Are you pro-life? Look for an agency that is pro-life. Are you a biological father looking for support and resources? Look for an agency that serves men as well as women. Are you a Christian? Look for a faith-based agency. It is very important that you and the agency are both on the same page. 

You cannot complete an adoption without an attorney. Adoption agencies often have a listing of many adoption attorneys at their disposal. Get a recommendation for the best adoption attorney.

Finding an adoption agency that has been around awhile is of the utmost importance. You need to ask pertinent questions. How long has this agency been in existence? When was it founded? Who were its founders? What was its original mission?

Finding an agency with experienced, well-trained social workers is also important. When shopping for an adoption agency, ask how long their social workers have been working in the adoption community. Ask how many children they have placed in families and how many of those have resulted in successfully finalized adoptions. 

How do adoption agencies differ from one another?

Faith Based Adoption Agencies

Many faith-based adoption agencies will serve young moms and their babies regardless of their faith. It’s just good to know that if you are a person of faith, a faith-based adoption agency will be on the same page as you. They will pray with you, care about your needs, respect your beliefs, and they will look for an adoptive family with similar beliefs as you. This way, you can have peace that your child will be raised in the same faith as you are.

Developmental Disabilities

If your child has a disability which you are unable to care for, there are many adoption agencies that specialize in that area. From autism to Down Syndrome, from Cerebral Palsy to Muscular Dystrophy, there are adoption agencies who are trained on how to care for children with these special needs. They can also find adoptive parents who are trained and experienced in these areas. In many states, these adoptive parents receive training and must pass rigorous background checks, home inspections, and physicals in order to qualify to care for a child with a developmental disability. Your child deserves it and you deserve the peace of mind.

The Gladney Center for Adoption

The Gladney Center for Adoption is located in Texas but has locations around the country. It was originally founded as a home for orphaned children in 1887 by a Methodist minister as the Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society. For pregnant mothers, Gladney offers counseling, respite, medical care, financial support, and legal advising among other services. The Gladney website also contains adoption profiles of families approved to adopt. In addition to the Gladney website, Gladney also has a podcast, a blog, and can be found on many social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Are you considering adoption and want to give your child the best life possible? Let us help you find an adoptive family that you love. Visit Adoption.org or call 1-800-ADOPT-98.