If you’re pursuing adoption, finding a reputable agency is among the most crucial steps in establishing the foundation for a successful experience from start to finish. While choosing a strong adoption agency may appear daunting with the number of existing agencies around the world, here’s a guide to help you choose a reputable agency that’s right for you.

What Makes a Strong Adoption Agency?

When searching for the right adoption agency, it’s crucial that you choose agencies that are appropriately licensed. A licensed agency will have met standard criteria for staff education and training requirements, as well as child placement. While licensing requirements may vary depending on the state, to assess the reputation of licensed adoption agencies, you can contact the State Licensing Specialist in the state the agency is located and the specialist will be able to inform you about the agency’s current standing.

Reputable agencies operating out of multiple countries will be Hague-Accredited, meaning they have met the standards of the Intercountry Adoption Act. Look for agencies that have this accreditation.

How to Ensure You’re Choosing a Reputable Agency

Ask for References
In addition to checking licensing, when meeting with an agency, request client references. Asking agencies for references from families who have gone through adoption will provide you a better idea of how the agency handles the process. You will also have the opportunity to ask the family if there were concerns or conflicts with the agency prior to, during, or after the process.

Do Your Research
It’s important to exercise your due diligence to ensure the ideal outcome. Make sure the agencies you are looking at are licensed, ethical, and professionally competent. Utilize resources such as Council on Accreditation to gather information on accredited adoption service provides, call State Licensing Specialists, and reach out to families who have already gone through the adoption process with the agencies you’re considering.

Ask Questions
How long has the agency been licensed? What is the educational and professional background of agency staff? What will the adoption process be like and what is the agency’s role during it? How much will it cost?

Keep an Eye out for Red Flags
Does an agency refuse to provide references? Does it skirt around questions or provide inconsistent answers? Has the agency made promises that appear too good to be true? Does the agency lack transparency? Does it appear unprofessional? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you might want to consider looking into other adoption agencies.

Trust Your Gut
Does an agency leave you feeling unsettled? If your gut is telling you to be wary, it might be best to listen and steer clear. 

While searching for the right adoption agency may be daunting, with the right resources and preparation, you can begin working toward a successful adoption.