Lifetime Adoption is pleased to announce a brand-new blog series we're launching today, "Your Adoption Checklist." And we're starting with a checklist for the very beginning of how to start the adoption process: interviewing and choosing the adoption professional you'll hire. There are crucial questions to ask before you commit to an adoption professional, no matter what their specialty is.
Checklists are beneficial because they can cut down on some of the stress surrounding the adoption process. Also, studies have shown that checklists are valuable tools for avoiding human error. Those in high-stakes careers use checklists for exactly this reason. For example, surgeons who use checklists see a 38% reduction in post-surgery complications.*
So without further ado, here's a checklist of 20 important questions to ask adoption professionals:
- What state or states are you licensed to provide services in?
- What are the business hours of your office, and can we reach you after hours?
- Can you share some of your background, including how long you've been in business?
- How many adoptions were completed through your company in the last year?
- Can you please outline your fees, and fee schedule? (if applicable)
- How many waiting adoptive families are you currently working for?
- Can you give me the average wait for families with similar marital status, race, age, and adoption preferences as us?
- How do pregnant women and mothers considering adoption find your company?
- Can you please outline the services you provide, both for adoptive families and for birth mothers?
- How do you provide birth parents with info and education about open adoption?
- Do you offer counseling to birth mothers, and if so, what type of counseling is it?
- If counseling is offered to birth mothers, is it provided free of charge?
- Do you have a formal adoption contract?
- How much experience do you have with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children?
- How often and through what method does your company communicate with adopting parents?
- If we have questions once we're your client, who should we reach out to?
- Can you provide the expected wait time for a response to our emails or voicemails?
- Can you please share your policy should our match fail after we've paid fees/expenses?
- Who incurs the cost of the birth mother's living expenses and medical costs?
- How do you support and guide clients in open adoptions?
You may want to save this list to your phone, Internet favorites, or simply print it out. We encourage you to take notes when you're talking to an adoption professional, including the date and person you spoke with. It's wise to create a file folder for each adoption professional you speak to. Then, you can place the info and notes about them in the appropriate file, helping you stay organized during your search for the right adoption professional.
Also, consider how the conversation went: did you feel rushed? Were they courteous? Did you have to leave a voicemail when calling during business hours? Also, consider their website: was the information there helpful in answering preliminary questions? Was the professional prompt in returning your phone calls and/or emails?
The professional you select will become your primary partner in building your family through adoption. By doing this research now, you're saving yourself not just money but time as well. You're on the path towards adoption success!