Not all adoption agencies are alike, so you’ll want to choose carefully. Some handle the entire adoption process, helping you throughout. Others expect you to take the initiative to learn about procedures and deadlines. Get a sense of how much control you want over the process and then decide on an approach and agency that fits you best.
You must work with an agency operating in the state where you currently live, and you will have to decide whether to work with a public or private agency. Contact your state adoption unit for available options. Be sure each agency you consider is licensed to provide adoption services in your state.
Find agencies in your area
- Contact your state’s adoption unit for a list of licensed adoption agencies — both public and private.
- If you are interested in adopting a child from foster care, check the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids agencies listed at the back of this guide.
- Look in the phone book or online under “Adoption” or “Social Services” for licensed private adoption agencies. Ask if the agency is licensed.
- Contact adoptive parent support groups or adoptive parents for referrals.
- Check the Child Welfare Information Gateway (a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) at childwelfare.gov.
To find a public or private agency that is a good fit for you, your beliefs, and your situation, compare information from several different agencies by asking:
- What kind of children does the agency place (ages, backgrounds, etc.)?
- How many children has the agency placed in each of the past few years?
- How will the agency conduct a search for me?
- What kind of training is provided for parents?
- Can I be a foster parent and still be considered as an adoptive parent?
- What criteria does the agency use to match children with families?
- What type of adoptive parents does the agency seek?
- How long, on average, must one wait for a child?
- What does the homestudy entail?
- If I learn of a child in another state, will the agency pursue the child?
- How much does a completed adoption cost — in total and each part?
- Can the agency help me locate sources of financial aid, including subsidies?
- What if the adoption doesn’t work out?
- Can the agency provide references from parents who recently adopted?
- What post-adoption resources does the agency provide or connect to parents?