Sometimes agencies get a bad reputation. Some of them come by it of their own accord and others simply get swept into the same unfortunate category thanks to the unethical practices of their cohorts. The truth is that there are some great agencies out there who do work very hard to provide a good experience for expectant parents and adoptive parents alike.
I wish all agencies would open their eyes and realize how much potential for good they have at their fingertips. They have the ability to provide you with everything you need in one quick stop. Some fall short, however, leaving you under-represented legally or under-counseled emotionally.
Good agencies do the following things:
Provide you with a wide array of potential families from which to choose. They won’t limit the number from which you can pick and will actively work to continue the search if no one seems to stick out.
- Provide you with your own legal counsel, one that isn’t representing the adoptive family as well. I find that when adoptive agencies actually do this, it is worth its own weight in gold. I don’t know about you, but when I was expecting my daughter, I didn’t know any lawyers, I didn’t know how to get one and I didn’t have the money with which to get one of my own. An agency that provides one for you saves you a lot of time and money during a very complicated time in your life!
Provide you with unbiased, third party counseling. If the agency actually provides you with counseling from someone who doesn’t work for the agency and doesn’t benefit if you place your child, again they’re doing you a world of good. Understanding the complex emotions of the decision and being presented with a safe place to discuss options and fears is a quality way to make sure you’re getting everything you need.
Some agencies provide you with information on how to find a doctor that accepts your medical coverage. Some will help you fill out the necessary paperwork to get on Medicaid or receive public assistance. These are vital bits of help if you’ve never had to deal with these things before.
And other things!
Really, the fact that you can find all of that in one place is great. It helps the process seem less overwhelming. The trick is, of course, to find one that provides all of those things and that is honest and upfront with you at all times. They should always remind you that you are not required to place your baby if you work with them through any part of your pregnancy.
The truth is that good agencies do exist and, if you find one, you should feel lucky! Best of luck in your search!