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Agency adoptions are those that public or private agencies carry out. Most agencies have staff social workers and other professionals that guide you through the adoption process.
People generally choose to adopt through an agency for several reasons:
- Most agencies facilitate the adoption steps — from the home study to the paperwork required by state/province courts, and the government agencies in both countries in international adoptions
- The costs are set and generally lower than private adoptions
- The process is predictable, the waiting period explicit
- Most international adoption agencies work in various countries, offering options and fallbacks in case a country unexpectedly halts adoptions due to political pressure
- Most adoption agencies work with prospective parents across the country and can help arrange home studies in your state
- State/county/province (public) governmental agencies offer several options such as foster care-to-adopt and are the least expensive route
Do Your Homework
Most major cities have several adoption agencies from which to choose. Be discerning. Attend their open houses, meet with staff, talk to adoptive parents who’ve used the agency. Bar no questions. Ask yourself:
- Are the staff friendly, open?
- Do they have clearly written brochures and a web site including costs and requirements such as adoptive parents’ age, income, sexual orientation?
- Do they outline the adoption process steps?
- Are they licensed by your state?
- How long have they been operating?
- What’s the average wait time from application to adoption?
The U.S. State Department’s Intercountry Adoption website lists international adoption agencies (by state) that are accredited or have been denied accreditation: http://adoption.state.gov/hague/accreditation/agencies.html. The State Department’s main web page on adoption, http://adoption.state.gov/about/what.html, provides a wealth of information on international adoptions.
Each U.S. state has accreditation standards for adoption agencies; check with your state’s department of children’s services or social services to find accredited agencies in your area.