How to Choose an Adoption Consultant 101
As adoption consultants, we receive many calls inquiring about what we do. Most of the questions relate to pricing, success rates, services, etc. All of those questions are of course important, but there are other questions that should be asked as well. To avoid losing large amounts of money with nothing to show for it and to avoid consultants who makes promises without delivering, consider the importance of the following:
Is your consultant an adopted parent? Choose a consultant who has personally adopted themselves. They will have the greatest insight, professionally and personally!
Legitimate Business – Does the consultant have a legitimate business? This is an essential question. Be diligent here and do a little investigating:
Are you writing your check to the business or to the owner? Why would someone have a business and then insist the check only be made payable to themselves individually?
Is the business registered with the Secretary of State? How to know? Visit the Secretary of State website for the state the business is located in. Type in the name. You will automatically have the answer. Do you really want to work someone that the state is not aware of?
Does your consultant have a business license? This is not a deal breaker as it depends on where your consultant is located. Depending on what county and/or city the consultant is located in, depends whether or not a business license is required. However, if the consultant is required to have one, they should be able to provide you with that. To check and see if a business license is required for your consultant, you can call the county government office where the business is located and they should be able to provide you with the answers you need.
Did your consultant provide you with a receipt after you paid them for their services? Just as if you went to the hair salon or the dentist, where they are providing you with a service and a receipt for services rendered, so should your consultant. You should not have to ask them for a receipt, they should automatically provide you with one.
Communication – How often does your consultant contact you? Your consultant should be calling you regularly to “check in” and see if you have any questions or updates for them. They should also be emailing you frequently- not only share new situations with you, but also just to check on you. While texting is very popular these days, this shouldn’t be the main point of contact. Maybe we are “old school,” but we feel that talking to our clients is more professional. Let’s be real- this process is stressful and emotional enough; your consultant should call you to provide a listening ear and provide positive, helpful tips to support you through your journey. The consultant who only sends the situations is only interested in money, not helping you build your family.
Attention to Detail- How well does your consultant know you? Does your consultant know what state you live in or if you have children, biological or adopted? Is your consultant sending you situations that don’t pertain to YOU? For example, you receive an email that says the situation is only open to clients in certain states; let’s say Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. However, you live in Ohio. You say to yourself, “why was I sent this email when I live in Ohio?” Well, you should be saying that to your consultant! An adoption consultant should know the details of each of their clients. Perhaps the consultant has too many clients (even though you have been told otherwise) and hasn’t taken the time to get to know you.
Connected – Is your consultant truly connected? To make an adoption match happen quickly, a consultant must have many connections and sources across the U.S. How do you know if they do or not? Quick question, does your consultant say that things are slow right now? In our world, things are most definitely not slow, so you should question this and then your response to your consultant should be, “So what are you doing to fix it?”
State Adoption Laws - Does your consultant know the adoption laws in each state? Some states have much shorter revocation laws than others? Also, depending on the state you live in, there could be limitations on who you can adopt with. For example, some states prohibit adoptions through adoption facilitators/advertisers. Did your consultant tell you that?
Due diligence - Does your consultant practice due diligence with every potential situation? A good consultant who has their clients’ best interest will always carefully evaluate each situation they receive before forwarding on to their clients. They will look for “red flags” and provide personal insight for every situation and best advise their clients. Making a quick match that will likely fail will only lead to heartbreak and lack of trust in the consultant.
Resources from your consultant- Does your consultant provide you with information to help guide you through your adoption journey. Is the information up-to-date and accurate? For example, we provide our clients with a resource binder full of important information. One such item is information on drug and alcohol use as well as information on a variety of diseases that can affect an unborn child. Our information has been reviewed by a medical professional to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information to our clients. We can provide the name and number of the medical professional upon client request. Can your consultant say the same?
Business hours - Is your consultant there for you all day, every day? On a personal note, my first consultant’s hours were 10-4. My first child, however, was born at 10 PM. I called our consultant, but because it was after hours she did not answer. This was unacceptable. First adoption, first child, first experience – needed help! She wasn’t there for us as she promised she would be. Babies come on their own time and business hours unfortunately don’t always fit their schedules. Does your consultant respond.... always?
Adoption can be a stressful, emotional process. When personally adopting, both times, I wanted someone to hold my hand, be watchful of things that I might not notice because of my heightened emotions, and to help me build my family quickly. That’s exactly what we strive to do for our clients. Can your consultant prove the same?