Choosing the Right Adoption Professional in S.C.

When you’re thinking about adopting a child, one of the first questions you should answer is, “Which kind of adoption professional am I going to use?” Because each adoption is unique, and your adoption needs might be different than others’ based on your individual situation, you should fully research each adoption professional to find out which one is best for you.

In general, there are three different kinds of adoption professionals, each of which offers different services for prospective adoptive parents. For detailed answers about the services we provide at the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, please give us a call at 864-573-5533.

Adoption Attorneys:

No matter what kind of adoption you’re completing, you will need an attorney’s services to legally finalize your adoption. However, some adoption attorneys (like attorney Jim Thompson) do more than just provide the legal services of adoption; they may provide counseling, in-house social workers and even matching services.

If you choose to work with an attorney who is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys for any part of your adoption process, you can be sure that they:

  • Have met certain state legal standards and are regulated by their state bar organizations.
  • Are experienced in their state-specific adoption laws.
  • Can either provide other adoption services or refer to you trusted professionals for assistance (like home studies or matching services).
  • Have your family’s best interest in mind, as they typically do not represent the birth mother or an adoption agency in court (although certain lawyers like Jim Thompson take the extra steps to ensure the birth mother’s best interest as well).

Why work with attorney Jim Thompson?

By working with the Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson, you will not only have the legal counsel of one of the most experienced adoption attorneys in South Carolina, but you will also have the benefits of our in-house social workers and matching program. So, unlike other adoption attorneys, we can provide almost every adoption service you need.

Our extensive services include:

  • Screening potential birth mothers to protect you from potential adoption fraud
  • Matching you with a prospective birth mother that fits your situation perfectly
  • Counseling you and the prospective birth parents through the adoption process with our experienced in-house social workers
  • Completing the entire legal process of your adoption ethically and efficiently and providing mediation/reunion services long after the adoption is complete
  • Referring you to trusted home study professionals
  • And more

Adoption attorney Jim Thompson will make sure that you completely understand all of your adoption rights throughout the adoption process. For more information about your individual situation and what we can do for you, please schedule a consultation by calling 864-573-5533 or contacting us online.

Adoption Agencies:

Like adoption attorneys, adoption agencies are licensed and regulated by state laws. Typically, they provide services for an adoption from the beginning to the end, and, depending on their advertising and outreach, they may work with a large number of prospective birth mothers.

Agencies can operate on a national level (meaning they can be licensed in many states and provide services throughout the country) or a local one (they are licensed in one state and focus on clients only in that state or region).

Some things to keep in mind about adoption agencies:

  • While an adoption agency can provide many of the necessary adoption services, they will have to refer you to an adoption attorney to finalize your adoption. (If you choose to work with an adoption agency, attorney Jim Thompson can help you complete those final steps of your adoption process.)
  • National adoption agencies may have a larger outreach to prospective birth mothers due to their extensive recruitment, screening and matching services across the country.
  • Adoption agencies may charge higher upfront “agency fees” because of the wide range of services they provide.
  • Not all agencies have similar wait times, services, fees, or disruption rates. It’s important you seriously research your agency options before deciding which one is right for you.

If you think an adoption agency might be the right choice for you, we can refer you to reputable local and national adoption agencies. Some agencies to consider are:

Adoption Facilitators:

Adoption facilitators are professionals that focus solely on the matching of prospective birth parents and adoptive parents. Sometimes known as “adoption law centers,” they’re unlicensed, unregulated organizations.

It is illegal for adoption facilitators to charge for their services within the state of South Carolina; it is also unlawful for facilitators or consultants in other states to advertise within the state. Those working with an adoption facilitator should keep the following in mind:

  • Because adoption facilitators are unregulated and unlicensed, you may not be able to confirm the quality (and legality) of their services before you agree to work with them.
  • You will need to hire other adoption professionals to complete your adoption process (finalization, home study, etc.), so it may be best to work with one of those professionals for your matching services as well in order to streamline your adoption process.
  • Facilitators’ fees may be expensive, even though they only cover matching services.

How to Choose an Adoption Professional:

Ultimately, you are the only one who can decide what kind of adoption professional is right for your unique adoption situation. We advise you to strongly consider what your own needs are — and then search out a professional that will be the right fit.

As with every aspect of your adoption process, it’s important that you fully research your options before deciding on an adoption professional. This may include online research as well as meetings with prospective adoption professionals.

During those meetings, some good questions to ask are:

  • How many prospective adoptive families do you have on your wait list?
  • What does your typical wait time look like? Typical costs?
  • What kind of services do you provide? How will you tailor those to our specific adoption situation?
  • How much money could I lose if an adoption match falls through?
  • What services to you offer for birth parents? What is your expectation for prospective adoptive parents regarding interactions with birth parents during the match? What services will you continue to offer after the adoption is complete, if any?

Regardless of the type of adoption professional you choose, we recommend you speak to an experienced South Carolina attorney to better understand the laws regarding adoption in South Carolina. An attorney can provide you additional information about agency licensing requirements and the legal risks of working with certain adoption professionals, so you can make a more informed decision.

We want to help you find out what’s best for you, whether you choose to work with us or not. To learn more about the services we offer and why our law offices may be the best choice for your adoption, please contact us today to learn additional information.