For the same reasons you wouldn’t hire a barber to deliver a baby, finding the right professional for your adoption is important. Depending on your state of residence, you may have more options than you realize.

In some states all adoptions must go through agencies. In others, adoption attorneys and/or facilitators are allowed to fill some of the functions of an agency. Whichever route you chose– and you may chose more than one–you will need to be certain that you’ve chosen the best professional possible for your adoption and your family.

Your adoption journey is bound to last a while, so it’s vital you find someone you get along with, someone who makes you comfortable, and someone you will gladly place your trust, hope, and future with.

Although you will want to trust your gut instinct in your process (much of what makes a relationship work well has a lot to do with feeling), start out by getting the right answers to important questions.

Remember, although you will not be the expert, you are the client and that means you are the person who must be satisfied, so prepare to interview your possibles thoroughly and carefully.

Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Find out if others have been happy with your potential choice.  This can save some time in the decision process. Get referrals from former clients and ask opinions of others in the field.  Establish how long they have been in business, how many adoptions they have completed in that time, and how many have failed.

2. Read the literature that’s provided and ask questions about anything that may be unclear.

3. Find out what the professional’s criteria for clients, such as minimum or maximum age, marital status, baseline income, acceptable health issues, etc.

4. Ask how long adoptions they handle normally take. Get a feel for attitudes toward potential birth parents and find out how involved they are to be in the process if you decide to go with this professional. Ask about the policy on potential birth parent rights and open adoption.

5. Find out exactly what services are provided, pre- and post-adoption, to all parties participating in the adoption. Find out the qualifications of those who will be providing services.

6. Review the contract you will be asked to sign and get a detailed itemization and timetable of all costs and fees you will be expected to pay.