Some adoptive parents-in-waiting decide to respond to an adoption situation that is posted online as accepting profiles from home study-ready couples. This may, at times, seem easier or less stressful than doing your own outreach and advertising. However, it comes with its own set of risks and cautions that families should be aware of. Here are a few good questions to ask when responding to learn more about these professional situations:
What is your role in the adoption?
It is good to ask the “adoption professional” what their role is so you are crystal clear. Are they an attorney representing the birth parents? A facilitator? An agency? A friend? This is important so you know who you are dealing with and if it is even legal for you to be considering this in your state. For instance, some states (such as New York) do not allow residents to work with adoption facilitators. Additionally, most states do not let someone receive a finder’s fee for adoption, such as a friend. Just knowing who you are working with will get that info out in the open.
What is the fee for this adoption and what does it include?
Asking this question and getting it in writing is vital. Too often, we try to rely on our interpretation and it gets us into trouble financially and emotionally. Ask the fee, get it in writing, and learn specifically what it includes.
What happens if the adoption doesn’t happen for us?
Don’t limit this question by just asking what happens if the birth mother changes her mind. You should ask a broader question than that. Many things could happen – stillbirth, state intervention, family intervention, birth father refusal, birth mother choosing another family last minute, and much more. Specifically, ask to learn what will happen to your investment (fees you’ve paid) if the adoption doesn’t happen for your family.
What do you think?
This is the most important question, and you should ask it to your Adoption For Life coordinator. Gather the information and run it by her. She can weigh in on the situation, and also on the adoption professional. She can also help you evaluate the risks. For instance, if there is no refund of fees if the adoption doesn’t go through, she can advise you to ask if fees could roll over for another situation and if the professional gets enough situations to make this a possibility. Similarly, she can check the scam database to see if there are others out there marketing the same situation or one similar enough to raise eyebrows.
If you are evaluating professional situations, it’s great to also revisit our section on common adoption scams. This was one of the main adoption scams from “professionals” in the 1980’s, and it wasn’t a scam all of the time, but a great way to get quick cash flow. It’s always better to ask frank questions than to assume that everyone you are speaking with are ethical adoption professionals. Best to remember this adage: keep your eyes open and your hand on your wallet.