Beginning the adoption process can be overwhelming. Many pre-adoptive parents don’t know where to start or who to trust. Plus, there are so many decisions to make upfront. And even upon making those initial decisions, such as selecting domestic infant adoption, hopeful adoptive parents often don’t know where to turn next – to an agency, attorney, consultant or facilitator? For a lot of families, it’s paralyzing to make those decisions when they don’t even fully understand the role of each of those parties in the adoption process. In fact, some pre-adoptive parents may not have even heard of consultants or facilitators and often get their roles confused. The distinction has important legal and procedural implications and is critical to understand.
What is an adoption facilitator?
A facilitator’s main job is to match adoptive parents with potential birth parents. Facilitators make contact with expectant moms primarily by advertising on behalf of the adoptive parents.
Although an adoption facilitator can be a helpful advocate on your behalf, there are some red flags to watch out for. Most importantly, if you are considering using an adoption facilitator, you need to check your state laws. Although facilitators are highly regulated and reputable in some states, they are completely illegal in other states. The onus is on you to know whether or not you are allowed to work with one. Also, as adoption facilitators are illegal in some states, the pool of potential birth moms that you can be presented to is reduced, even if you work with a facilitator legally in your state.
What is an adoption consultant?
The role of an adoption consultant is completely different. Consultants never directly work or interact with expectant moms or birth moms in any capacity. Adoption consultants do not match hopeful adoptive parents with potential birth moms but work solely with and for the pre-adoptive parents. A consultant serves as an unbiased advocate for the pre-adoptive parent, providing resources, support, and guidance every step of the way. A good consultant will also provide a lot of education to help you learn about and try to understand the birth mother experience. Although matching is a critical step in the adoption process, all the prior steps are also vitally important for a quick and successful adoption.
A simple way to grasp the role of adoption consultants is to think of them as similar to ‘wedding planners’ for adoption. A reputable and experienced one will hold your hand step-by-step throughout the entire process so that you can adopt safely, legally, and quickly with as little stress as possible!
Bio: Nicole Witt is the owner of The Adoption Consultancy (www.TheAdoptionConsultancy.com), an unbiased resource serving pre-adoptive families by providing them with the education, information and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within three to 12 months.
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