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Approaching an adoption agency as a birth mom can be a daunting task. Everyone has different circumstances, so it is important to choose an adoption agency that is the right fit for you. To know if an agency is a comfortable and safe fit, you’ll want to talk to adoption agency representatives in person.

As you interview agencies, here are five tips to keep in mind.

1. The Agency Should Make You Feel Comfortable

It’s important to find an agency that respects your well-being and wishes. If you don’t feel like your concerns are being heard, or if you feel disrespected or disregarded, get out. Good adoption agencies make it their mission to let you know that your feelings, decisions and short- and long-term care and support are important.

You should never feel pressured to place your child for adoption. If you change your mind and decide you want to keep your baby, you have the right to do so. Again, a quality adoption agency is there to support you, not the other way around.

2. Education is Key

The adoption agency you work with should never assume which path you intend to take when it comes to placing your child for adoption. Instead, they should educate you about the adoption options available as well as parenting options, should you choose to keep your child.

Adoption comes in many forms, and being informed about your options is a critical first step to making a decision. If an adoption agency doesn’t offer any information about your choices or only provides information about a single option, walk away.

3. Legal Assistance

Adoption is a legal process, and it’s important to have an attorney to make sure the rights of both parties are being observed. A good adoption agency will help you or your family find an adoption attorney to represent you during the process.

4. Emotional Support

Placing a child for adoption is an emotional decision, and you may need help processing those emotions. Your chosen adoption agency should provide counseling services and emotional support for you. This comes back to feeling comfortable — if you don’t feel supported at your adoption agency, it may be time to look elsewhere.

5. Communication

Above everything else, communication is critical. You should always know where you stand with your adoption agency. This includes your rights, your options, your timeline and more. The agency should be available to answer your questions, and they should be open and transparent.

Finding the right adoption agency is a process, but it is an important one. If the first agency you contact doesn’t feel right to you, keep looking.

As a birth mother, you have a big choice to make, and it can feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders. The right adoption agency will help you lift that weight and support you on your journey.