Bringing Home the Orphans

A Child's Desire

How to Interview an Agency

You can find agencies listed in magazines and on the internet. You can join list-serves related to adoption and get references from adoptive parents. Pick out several agencies to contact, because many of them are slow in responding. You can rule these out first.

Compare Cost

  • What types of expenses are normally incurred for an adoption?
  • What is the general total cost?
  • What are the fees for the following? And are they covered in the program costs?
  • Registration Fee: __________
  • Agency Fee: __________
  • International Program Fees:_________ (facilitator or escort services, orphanage fee/donation)
  • Travel Costs: __________ (transportation to and from the airport, lodging overseas)
  • Home Study: ___________
  • Document translation/certification: ___________
  • Post Adoption Administrative Fees: ____________
  • Child's Visa / Passport: ________________
  • Will there be any additional expenses that will be billed later in the process. If so, how much?
  • Is it a 501 c (3) non-profit agency? Are your agency fees covering real expenses or turning a business profitable?
  • Get a breakdown of the cost of each part of the process and find out when the money is due.
  • Is any of the money refundable if an adoption is not completed?

Compare Services and Credentials

  • How long has the agency been licensed? In what state(s)?
  • How many adoptions has the agency completed?
  • If you are interested in a specific country, ask the number of completed adoptions for that specific country and the number of years experience there? How many recent adoptions has the agency completed in the country. How often are the regulations changing in that country? Does that country have a stable political environment?
  • Who cares for the babies/children while they wait to be adopted?
  • How does the facilitator locate babies/children available for adoption?
  • What medical tests are performed on the babies/children before they are referred to families?
  • Can the facilitator provide data about the reliability of their testing?
  • Are there any health issues to be aware of?
  • Can you choose the gender and age of the child you want to adopt? How likely is a child of this gender and age to be available?
  • Can they provide a parent referral list that includes telephone numbers?
  • How often does the staff travel to the children's birth countries to evaluate a program's effectiveness and meet with adoption officials?
  • Does the agency have U.S. staff fluent in the languages of the countries in which you work?
  • Who is the facilitator the agency works with in the country you will be adopting from? It is important to know about both organizations before you begin your adoption.
  • What parts of the process does the agency perform and what is the role of the facilitator?
  • How long has the agency worked with the facilitator?
  • How does the agency communicate with the facilitator (telephone, e-mail, fax)? How often? How responsive is the facilitator when you or the agency have questions?
  • Does the agency set restrictions based on age, gender, religion, weight, family size, marital status, family structure or anything else that may disqualify you?
  • Does the agency assist the birth country with humanitarian aid?
  • What type of parent education and support services does the agency provide?
  • What type of post adoption support does the agency offer?
  • What type of assistance is offered to clients when they travel to the birth country?
  • Are transportation and translators made available?
  • How do you communicate with adopting families?
  • What are your hours? When are you available? How responsive are you when families have questions?
  • How long does the entire process to take?
  • What is the breakdown of the time each step of the process is likely to take?
  • How much does the agency assist with compiling the required paperwork?
  • What is the overall philosophy of the agency?
  • Which professional organizations is the agency a member of?
  • Is the agency accredited with the Council On Accreditation (COA) or currently seeking accreditation.
  • Is the agency a member of the Joint Council on International Children's Services or the National Council for Adoption?

When you get the references call as many as you like especially those that adopted children in the same age bracket you are interested in. Don’t be disappointed if you hear things that are discouraging. Be glad you didn’t find out the hard way. There are lots of agencies and hundreds of children waiting to be adopted. This is going to be a major emotional and financial expense and you have already done the preliminary work to make this a smooth adoption process. Don’t settle. Find out if the agency contracts out any of their programs to another agency. You should get references from both agencies. Also, find out if you will be billed separately by the other agency. Look for internet list-serves you can join concerning adoption and seek out some references that are not on the list handed to you be the agency.




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