While you’re exploring placing your child with an adoptive family, you’ll work with a myriad of adoption professionals. But sometimes finding the right adoption professional can be a little tricky. However, once you know the basics, it shouldn’t be too difficult to find exactly who you’re looking for. Here’s where you should start your search for the right adoption professional:

Referrals: Ask your friends, family, and acquaintances for referrals. They may have someone with whom they’ve worked while placing their own child, adopting a child, or working with the adoption community. Getting personal referrals from those you trust is one of the best ways to find the right adoption professional. They can tell you the positives and negatives of each professional. They can also give you pointers and advice as you continue your journey.

Support Group: It may be a good idea to join and actively participate in a local support group. Not only will you build, increase, and strengthen your support system, you may be able to get contact information for honest adoption professionals. Many of the people you will meet in your support group have been exactly where you are now. They have the experience and know-how you can use to start the placement process. Asking for help when you need it takes strength and courage. It doesn’t make you weak, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. If you need help finding a professional, simply ask.

Directory: Adoption.com offers a fantastic Adoption Directory—a directory through which you can find the appropriate adoption professional for your specific situation. You can search by state or type of adoption professional. This is a great resource that is updated consistently with new adoption professionals. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, check back often.

Online Search: You can also search online for listings or websites of available adoption professionals. You can be as specific as you need with your search. Include the area for which you’re looking and the type of professional you need.

Remember that these are just a few ways to find the right adoption professional for your circumstances. There are many more ways. Sometimes you’ll just need to get creative. Explore these options and others so that you’ll be prepared to begin or continue your adoption journey.