I came across an article on “ how to pick an agency” and one of the main questions asked by future adopters is, what questions to ask adoption agencies? I tell familes in our information meetings to ask the hard questions when checking agencies. I created a soild list of important questions for you to use when interviewing agencies for your adoption. I also included Bright Star's answers to each question.
Important Questions for Adoption Agencies
• How do you treat expectant parents before and after placement?
Bright Star Adoptions Care for their birth mothers with the utmost respect. Each is assigned a BSW or MSW social worker, not a case aide without a degree. This way, all questions can be answered, and all issues can be addressed in a therapeutic way. During pregnancy, our birth parents are offered counseling, and assistance in what ever they need. After placement, the social worker continues to stay and work with the birth mother until she no longer wishes for our assistance. We set up an aftercare plan with our therapist and provide needed referrals to her. She is also welcome to come back for additional counseling and emotional support anytime.
• Do you celebrate an expectant parents decision to parent? What ways do you support that decision in the long term?
At the time of intake we talk about adoption and we also talk about her parenting. If she decides to parent, yes we celebrate her decision. Adoptive parents are a resource for birth parents and they need to be perpared to support her choose to parent if she chooses. We offer county resources for her so that she will be successful in her parenting journey.
• What type of counseling is offered pre-placement and post placement? What percentage of your parents utilize these services?
All of our birth parents are offered relinquishment counseling, which covers their rights as birth parents, also they are offered mental health counseling that covers their how to cope with grief and loss. Additional needs may come up, in these cases treatment plans are added to their care plan. If a birth mother needs additional counseling referrals are made. All of our birth mothers participate in the relinquishment and mental health counseling prior to birth. A very low percentage choose to continue with counseling after birth but many do attend birth mother support groups.
• When in a mother’s pregnancy do you involve an adoptive family?
After we have competed our intake and have a social and medical history for her, we then offer her adoptive family profiles to go through. This can happen anywhere from the forth month of pregnancy and beyond.
• Do you provide separate third party legal counsel to expectant families?
No we do not. But, families can hire their own counsel should they wish to.
• Do you require adoptive parents to pay birth mother expenses? If so, how much finanical assistance is provided? Does your agency utilize community resources to offset these costs?
We require them to apply for Medicaid and state assistance which includes food stamps. Pregnancy related bills not covered by state aide or her job will be put on her living expense budget. Birth mother is not required to pay back gifted expenses in the event of her choosing to parent.
• Do you fully support birth father rights? If so, how?
If a birth father is participating in the adoption, yes, he is offered the same counseling and assistance as the birth mother. If he is not, he is located and the states rules and regulations are followed by the agency’s attorney for notification prior to relinquishing his parental rights. He has the right to fight for custody at his cost.
•Are you in habit of moving mothers across state lines in preference of easier adoption laws and “homing” them during their pregnancy?
No, we work with Arizona birth mothers only.
•What are your fees and do you give a breakdown of where these fees are going to directly? Does your fee structure differ for racially diverse babies?
Please ask for our fee schedule. Our fees don't differ for racially diverse babies.
•What fees are “at risk?”
Birth mother living expenses and earned case work or legal work completed by the attorney or social workers. We don't have a failure fee with our agency.
You may have more questions for agency interviews. Write down what you would like to ask before you meet with or talk with an agency over the phone. Contact Bright Star Adoptions if you have any more question or would like to request more information. We are happy to answer any questions you may have!