Adoption Agency Adoption agencies act as the link between couples / families seeking to adopt a child and families / couples seeking to place a child. Adoption agencies are important entities for these 2 categories of people since it covers in a nutshell the entire process of do’s and don’ts and not to mention the legal complexities involved in both placements and adoptions. Adoption agencies may work in 2 ways. The first category emphasizes on finding babies for the adoptive family, and second are those who concentrate on finding suitable adoptive families for the babies. Therefore those seeking the services of an adoption agency should take the above two categories into consideration depending on the purpose. There are also two categories of Adoption Agencies. First is the increasingly common Open Adoption Agencies and second which is less popular is the Traditional Adoption Agencies. The former category of agency is where the parents / caretaker of the child gets to meet, interact and discuss with the intended adoptive parents regarding the child hence paving the pathway for the 2 families to get to know each other better for a healthy transition of the child. The latter category describes the conventional procedure, where information of the placement family and the adoptive family are kept confidential from each other. This has become less common practice in the US. It is better to work in hand with a licensed adoption agency not only because of the hassle and the legal complexities but also because we can be assured to, a certain extend that they are reliable and trustworthy due to the criteria and stringent rules and regulations that each agency had to fulfill prior to being granted with a license to operate. There are several other reasons for seeking the services of an adoption agency such as: They cannot wash their hands of your case after a placement since they carry the risk of being found and held liable legally for dishonest and unethical practices. As a licensed agency they must meet minimum standards from the state, with whom you can file a complaint if you are in any way mistreated. They should have a well qualified, trained and experienced adoption staff from which you can benefit. If there are problems after placement, you can go back to an agency for help, usually at no extra cost They will have a greater selection of families / children from which you may select with the resulting greater possibility of a good match International Adoption Agency (IAA) After the Korean War, it has become increasingly popular for American families or couples to adopt children outside from the US. There have been several reasons for the increase in international adoption the main reason being failure to meet the criteria of the domestic adoption agency and also the cost and time involved to adopt children outside of the US is more predictable and less nerve wrecking. One of the major legal international adoptions is the agency initiated adoptions. International adoptions are normally handled by non profit adoption organizations or private agencies that provide full information on adoption guidelines and regulations related to each different international country such as Vietnam, China, Bulgaria Kazakhstan, Russia etc. In this option, prospective parents work with a US based international adoption agency (IAA) who will handle all the necessary paperwork and communications and organizes a child to a client through a child placing contract with the selected foreign base. The IAA will then present all documents to the adoptive parents and organize for the entire adoption trip once everything is finalized by the adoptive parents. The IAA’s task does not end there. They will also assist in obtaining the final adoption decree as well as the child’s passport and exit visas. They will also provide the documents required for the orphan visa by the American Consulate. It is not the work of IAA to just fulfill prospective adoptive parents wish to expedite the process of adopting a foreign child but it also seeks as an information centre that provides full pros and cons of the entire procedure. It is also the aim of IAA’s to provide a good home and future for millions of children across the continent that are homeless or come from families who can no longer provide for them. Couples who seek the services of an IAA will be advised on the cost, eligibility of adoption, financial aids, available programs, international adoption processes, time frame as well as the implications of adopting a foreign child such as health related issues, trans-racial issues, culture, lifestyle and possible racism issues which might affect not only the quality of the child’s development but also on the entire family harmony. IAA has the tremendous task of overcoming domestic issues of each country which in some cases may delay the process of the adoption or put a halt in the entire process. Therefore it is advisable for those seeking international adoptions that they should be aware that there are certain things that are beyond the hands of the IAA such as political climate, changes in adoption procedures, economic situations, language barriers and other setbacks unique to the individual country in question. The safest way to adopt an international child is to go through an IAA since many foreign countries only allow adoptions through IAA. According to the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse, the risks of IAA is lesser because it is free from involvement in the black market; loss of confidentiality; infringements upon the child's privacy; inadequate medical information; the possibility of outright fraud; and the lack of proper documentation of the child's status as an orphan. Christian Adoption Agency In normal circumstances adoption agencies are not linked to any specific religious groups or faiths. However there are certain agencies that have an affiliation to a particular faith such as Christianity. Christian Adoption Agencies do the same as any other adoption agencies in fact they also conduct adoption procedures for those who are not religiously affiliated however they will be the agency to look for if the placing and adopting parents specifically wish the adoption to be conducted under the auspices of their faith or who have a religious preference for the placing family or for the adopting family. There are 2 general Christian Adoption Agencies - Denomination-specific and Christian with no denominational affiliation. Denomination specific refers to Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Methodist Homes, LDS, etc. Non-denominational Christian adoption agencies include Bethany Christian Services, All God's Children, and others. Starting an Adoption Agency The following are some basic guidelines for setting up your own Adoption Agency. Though not exhaustive, it helps to give an idea for those who are contemplating in setting up their own agencies. These guidelines are 1. Develop a business plan and budget for the first two years of business operation. This should include: the nature of child placement / adoption facilitation services you or your agency will provide marketing plan staffing needs such as training source of income and expected expenses market niche that your agency is planning to occupy the difference between your agency and other agencies existing in your area. 2. Find out relevant State laws and regulations governing the placement of children for adoption in your state since these laws vary greatly from state to state. This information can be obtained from the State Licensing Specialists. If you decide to become a licensed agency, you must obtain an agency licensing application packet from the State Licensing Specialist. Also become informed on Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children (ICPC) regulations, ICAMA (Interstate Compact on Adoption Medical Assistance) provisions of the ICPC, and regulations operative in other states for out-of-state agencies. 3. If you wish to incorporate your agency under the laws of your State and the regulations of the Federal IRS Code, you should check State laws and adoption policy regulations to see if there are any regulations or restrictions on the type of incorporation agencies in your State must have in order to obtain an adoption license. 4. Most states require that the agency casework supervisor hold a Masters degree in Social Work (M.S.W.) or equivalent degree in a related field such as psychology or counseling. You also be updated on current best practices, research, and information in the fields of family assessment, post-placement supervision, and post-adoption service resources. 5. If you are new the adoption field, it would be extremely helpful to get your hands on the following publications to enrich your knowledge and to get first hand information on what you need to know from the experts themselves: Child Welfare, Child Welfare League of America Social Work, National Association of Social Workers Roundtable, National Resource Center for Special Needs Adoption Children & Youth Services Review, Pergamon Press Adoption Quarterly, Adoption Studies Institute Adoptalk, North American Council on Adoptable Children Adoptive Families; Adoptive Families of America. 6. Other useful reading tips will be on: predictable issues for adopted children and their families at different ages and stages of development cross-cultural issues family dynamics in adoptive families effects of early environmental deprivation health issues for adopted children-- recommended health and developmental screenings for internationally adopted children. 7. Enhance your knowledge on staffing requirements and available training programs either locally or nationally. 8. Check out training opportunities that are available at adoption conferences such as: North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) puts on the largest adoption training conference in North America every August. Call NACAC to receive the NACAC newsletter and a conference brochure. The Joint Council for International Children's Services (JCICS), a membership organization for agencies working in intercountry adoption, has a conference each April in Washington, D.C. 9. Contact directors of other local child placement agencies to interview them regarding their views on critical success factors for start-up agencies. The State Licensing Specialist can also recommend agencies to contact. In some areas of the country, private agencies meet to discuss topics of mutual interest periodically. 10. Another crucial source of information on standards for adoption services can be obtained from the Child Welfare League of America. For more information on agency licensing, you can contact the State Adoption Specialist or State Licensing Specialist in your State. The contact information can be obtained from the National Adoption Directory.
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