Selecting an adoption agency to guide you through adopting a child is an important part of your adoption journey. Be sure to research any agency you’re considering, and ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel confident in your ultimate decision. We’re sharing 5 questions we recommend asking adoption agencies you’re thinking about engaging:
1. Who is eligible to adopt?
Some adoption agencies have specific eligibility requirements for individuals and families seeking to adopt. These can include criteria which could be discriminatory against non-traditional families and members of marginalized communities.
Friends in Adoption (FIA) prides itself on promoting inclusive adoption practices and welcomes diversity within the adoption triad. FIA does not discriminate against birth parents or prospective adoptive parents on the basis of race, ethnicity, marital status, age, religion, physical disability, income, sexual orientation, or gender identity, or gender expression. We celebrate and respect the unique attributes of all individuals.
Prospective adoptive parents who successfully complete a required home study and background checks are eligible to adopt a child through Friends in Adoption (FIA).
2. Does your agency promote open adoptions, closed adoptions, or both?
Adoption agencies provide birth parents with options for creating an adoption plan. Adoption plans are customized to the birth parents’ preferences and can be closed or open. Open adoption allows for an ongoing direct relationship between the child and the birth family. Levels of openness within open adoptions vary based on the comfort level of those involved.
“Open adoption is many different things … there’s not a clear-cut definition of open adoption, there are many different levels to it,” explains Patty Smith, Senior Case Manager & Community Outreach Provider with Friends in Adoption (FIA).
Friends in Adoption (FIA) promotes open adoption and believes the foundational principles of open adoption — a shared commitment to the best interests of the child, respect, and goodwill — benefit children who are adopted. FIA typically asks that adoptive families are open to providing updates to birth families a minimum of twice a year, as well as a minimum of two visits a year.
Every adoption is unique, though, and FIA respects and supports the wishes of the individuals and families it serves when it comes to creating an adoption plan that works best for all members of the adoption triad.
3. How do you empower prospective adoptive families to make informed decisions?
When researching adoption agencies, pay attention to their approach to ensuring prospective adoptive families have the information they need to make educated decisions about the adoption process. Adoption agencies facilitate adoptions and should walk alongside adoptive families during their adoption journey. Their role is not to dictate how the adoption process should go, but to provide members of the adoption triad with resources and information that empowers them to make choices that are right for their unique circumstances.
Friends in Adoption (FIA) offers pressure-free guidance on all available options for both birth parents and prospective adoptive parents and prioritizes fostering informed-decision making. Anyone pursuing adoption through FIA is required to attend a “Get Acquainted Workshop” where they hear from adoptive parents who share their experiences working with FIA, birth mothers and/or birth families, and FIA staff, social workers, and other adoption professionals. The “Get Acquainted Workshop” is a valuable educational opportunity for pre-adoptive families, and allows prospective adoptive families to start their adoption process from an informed perspective.
4. What support and resources does your agency offer adoptive families, and for how long?
The adoption journey doesn’t end with the placement of a child, and prospective adoptive parents will want to ask adoption agencies about their post-adoption services. Adoption agencies can vary in both the types of support and resources offered to alumni families, as well as the duration for which post-adoption services are available.
FIA is a lifelong community resource for all members of the adoption triad, whether to be a listening ear, facilitate communication between adoptive families and birth families, or offer ongoing education and other resources. Whether through organizing events, like the Friends in Adoption Annual Picnic, or connecting alumni to counseling or other services as needed, FIA is a trusted resource for its alumni families. You can learn more about the lifelong support offered by FIA here, or by reaching out to an FIA team member.
5. Do you have references from alumni families?
As with any organization you’re considering engaging for services, some of the most helpful input you can get is from people who have worked directly with the adoption agency you’re considering. Always ask an adoption agency you’re looking into if they can provide you with references or testimonials from alumni families.
Friends in Adoption (FIA) is grateful for all of the individuals and families who have chosen us to support them throughout their adoption journeys, and appreciate that many are willing to be open about their experiences.
To learn what others have to say about working with Friends in Adoption (FIA), you can take a look at some of the testimonials and reviews from our alumni families, or check out recent videos of alumni families sharing insights from their adoption stories. And, as mentioned earlier, prospective adoptive families who attend the prerequisite “Get Acquainted Workshop” will have the opportunity to meet alumni families and hear their stories first-hand.
If you have additional questions for Friends in Adoption or are interested in learning more about FIA’s services, contact us at 1-800-982-3678 or firstname.lastname@example.org.