Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most important choices you and your loved ones will ever make. When you are ready to move forward, choosing an adoption agency is an equally important decision.

Consider these factors when selecting a North Carolina adoption agency to help expand your family:

Does the agency have state licensing and accreditation?

North Carolina requires adoption agencies to obtain a license from the state Department of Health and Human Services. To get a license, agencies must first earn accreditation through one of four national organizations. Many agencies have a license to operate in multiple states, which may expand your adoption opportunities.

What services does the agency provide?

Typically, an adoption agency offers these services to adoptive parents:

  • Providing orientation, education and counseling
  • Conducting home studies to certify a safe and healthy environment
  • Matching the parents with prospective adoptive children
  • Facilitation of the adoption process
  • Managing communication with birth parents in an open adoption

Make sure the agency you choose has extensive experience in the relevant type of adoption. Some agencies specialize in one or just a few areas, such as private adoptions, foster care adoptions, domestic adoptions, international adoptions, same-sex family adoptions, or adoption of older children or kids with special needs.

Does the agency philosophy meet your needs?

Your family should make sure the adoption agency provides a cultural fit. Questions to consider in this area include:

  • Does the agency provide financial assistance to qualified families?
  • Do they have age restrictions for adoptive parents?
  • Do they limit the size of your family through adoption?
  • Do you have to provide a statement of your religious beliefs?
  • Can you work with more than one agency, or do they have an exclusivity clause?

Does the agency display any red flags?

Some telltale signs indicate that you should steer clear of an adoption agency. Be wary of agencies that do not offer birth families both preadoption and postadoption counseling. For international adoptions, make sure the agency has a commitment to humanitarian outreach in the countries where they facilitate adoption.