June 2, 2006, Newsletter Issue #52: Selecting an International Adoption Agency

Tip of the Week

Adopting parents should select an adoption professional that they feel comfortable working with. You will be working with this person for many months, so it is important that you get along and also that you feel right about your choice. The international adoption professional will discuss and assess risks of the adopting couple, prepare the homestudy (or refer to an agency that completes homestudies), provide guidance through the paperwork process, assist with the referral of the child and provide post-placement reports. In some cases, agencies may offer parenting classes and post-placement services.

Parents should decide what type of international adoption agency they want to work with. Larger agencies tend to offer a greater number of programs, while smaller agencies offer more personal assistance. Parents want to be sure that the agency is helpful in regards to their questions and concerns. Adopting parents should research the international adoption process and agencies they are interested in working with. They may ask family or friends who have adopted internationally which agencies they have used. They may also look at international adoption agencies in the phonebook or the Internet. Adopting parents may want to call agencies that appeal to them for more information.

Once parents have identified a couple of adoption agencies they like, they should research information about the agency through the state licensing department or the Better Business Bureau to gain information about professional practices and complaints. Parents should also see if the adoption agency is accredited by a national organization, such as NCFA or JCICS, which will ensure services beyond the minimum state requirements.

Parents may want to know how long the agency has been practicing and how familiar they are with international adoption. Finally, adoptive parents who know which country they want to adopt from should investigate the program and relationship the agency has with that particular country. The most popular countries for international adoptions are China, Russia, Guatemala, Korea, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, and Ukraine.

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