So, you just found out your pregnant and you are now considering adoption. First, take a deep breath. You can do hard things. I’ve been in your shoes and I’m going to share some things with you that can help in this really hard time. Second, find an agency that is ready to advocate for YOU!
My first suggestion in searching for an agency is for you to sit down and make a list of what you want in your adoption.
Do you want an open adoption? Do you want a secular family? Questions like this can definitely narrow down your search for the right agency. Many agencies specialize in certain criteria that you may be looking for.
Here are some key items to think about when talking to agencies:
Find an agency that puts the interest of expectant and birth families as a top priority.
Many agencies will feature information only for hopeful couples. Although they can still be good agencies, they are not always focusing on YOUR needs.
Find an agency that offers pre- and post-placement mentoring and counseling.
These mentoring programs began a few years ago by birth moms who wanted to help because they didn’t have the help they deserved and needed when they were making the adoption decision. These birth mother mentors have been a priceless addition to the agencies that use them. These birth mothers/fathers can talk you through hard times and answer personal questions that a great social worker might not be able to answer because they have not personally been through placement. They can meet with you and hold your hand through hard times. They understand your struggle.
Post-placement counseling is also very much necessary for all birth families. The importance of finding an agency that will offer these services to you cannot be overstated.
Look for recommendations from birth families and adoptive couples.
Word-of-mouth discussions about agency experiences is huge. These personal stories can help you navigate through questions on their practices, ethics, and how they handle various situations. It can also keep you from choosing an agency that isn’t right for you or your wants.
Find an agency that is in your area.
If it is a multi-state agency, make sure they have a facilitator or someone who can meet with you and assist you when needed. It feels more personal to be able to sit with someone over lunch and talk about what you’re looking for vs. talking to someone by text or phone. This is a very pivotal time in your life. Having someone there to hold your hand is important.
Trust your instincts.
If you have begun working with an agency and you find a couple through word of mouth, social media, or any other outlet and you would like to consider a match with them, tell your agency. The couples on their roster are not the only families you have to choose from. This is about your baby and your future. You are this child’s only advocate and you want nothing but the best for them. Finding an agency that agrees with that statement will help you along your journey.
To connect with an adoption professional who has your best interests at heart, click here.