I have a list of—I kid you not—80 questions for adoption professionals.
Clearly, no one wants to call or email adoption agency personnel and ask them 80 questions. Therefore, I narrowed the list down to a lucky 13. If the answers to these 13 questions were right, then I’d go on to contact the agency and ask the 80 questions.
What do I mean by “right”?
Well, that will vary, depending on who you are, what type of adoption you’re doing, what you can afford, and several other factors. These 13 questions should be a good starting point. I recommend keeping a file on your computer. Copy and paste these 13 questions onto the first page of the document. When you find an agency online, start a new page and copy and paste the questions. Answer all of the questions you can using the agency’s web site. Create a new page of the 13 questions for each agency. If you choose to contact the agency, put the contact information on the page, and note what day you called or emailed the agency. You can also add other notes, such as recommendations from other adoptive parents, or information you find on agency review web sites.
1. Do you provide international adoptions, domestic adoptions, or both?
2. If you do international adoptions, in which countries? Of those countries, for which are you currently accepting applications? Are you Hague accredited? Do you have programs for adopting waiting children or children with special needs?
3. If you do domestic adoptions, do you have programs for those adopting children who aren’t Caucasian? Children with special needs? Waiting children? Foster children?
8. Do you have any other requirements for adoptive parents? (For example, age limits, length of marriage, proven infertility, number of children in the home, limits regarding previous divorces, disability, and so on.)
9. Which services do you provide? Home studies? Matching with birth parents? Expectant mother counseling? Adoptive parent counseling? Legal services? Post adoption support? Training? Culture camps? Support groups?
10. Do you require adoptive parents to take training or classes?
11. Do you allow adoptive parents to specify gender?
12. Do you allow all adoptive parents to adopt a child of any race? Do you require any additional training for adoptive parents adopting transracially?
13. Please provide a range of the fees you charge. Do you charge fees based on the race of the child? Do you charge on a sliding scale based on income?
* You may ask yourself: If I am not gay or lesbian, why am I asking if the agency serves gay or lesbian people? My husband and I did not want to work with an agency who would not work with our friends or family members who are in the LGBT community. We felt that by doing so we would be approving of this type of discrimination. You may not have the same convictions, so this question may not be one you would ask.