If you are new to adoption, you may be wondering why this question even needs to be answered. Adoption is typically a wonderful and beautiful experience. However, like all good things, there are some people who take advantage of others and turn a great thing into something entirely different. Adoption is no exception to this rule. While many Florida agencies are ethical, some are not. It’s important for you to know the difference. It’s also helpful to know what to watch for to make sure you, the birth mother, and the agency are not crossing any ethical lines.
It is crucial to know what is considered coercion so you can avoid it. It is natural to form a bond with the birth mother, and want to help her. However, gifts or monetary support that is not given directly through the agency or attorney may be considered coercion. You don’t want the birth mother to feel guilty if she decides to parent or feel as if she doesn’t have that choice. Additionally, make sure your agency and attorney do not use coercive language.
Switch Agencies if Necessary
While it may be costly and time-consuming, if you find your adoption professional acting in improper ways, don’t be afraid to find another agency. The potential legal and life-altering consequences of an illegal or unethical adoption are simply not worth it.
Before you commit to any particular adoption specialist, look into them. If there are ethical concerns, someone has likely posted about it online. A quick search will pull up this type of information. If possible, speak to others who have worked with the agency and listen to their experience. When you speak with the agency, trust your instincts and ask questions. Some common inquiries you want to make include:
- What types of adoptions do you facilitate? Do they do domestic infant adoptions or adopting from foster care?
- Which states do you serve? Does the agency operate in one certain state, or multiple states? Most importantly, do they work in your state?
- Do you perform your own home studies or are we required to complete one elsewhere?
- Do you do open and/or closed adoptions?
- Do you have an attorney for your hopeful adoptive parents to work with?
- What services do you provide for birth parents before and after placement?
- What are your fees and what do they go toward? Be sure to ask about any additional fees that you should be aware of.
- Do you charge a match fee or placement fee? If it’s a match fee, can that roll over to another match, or is it refundable?
- How do you handle birth parent expenses? Are bills paid directly or are the parents given a monthly stipend?
- How many hopeful adoptive families are you currently working with?
- How many placements did you have in the past year?
- What is your average wait time?
- Will the birth parents work with the same social worker who works with my family?
- How are adoptive family profiles presented to expectant parents?
- What type of communication will we have with you during the wait period? Will we be notified when someone views our profile or when a birth mother requests to meet with us?
- What type of support or counseling do you offer before and after placement for adoptive families?
Remember it’s your responsibility to do your due diligence when selecting an adoption agency. Take your time with this decision. Our Florida adoption specialists are here to answer your questions. Contact us today.
Author: Destiny Adoption Services
Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.