Friday, March 26, 2010

Tips for Effective Networking

I know that there is a lot of paperwork and preparation involved in getting your file ready to work with one agency that to think of networking or possibly pursuing other programs can seem very overwhelming. The amount of "extra" paperwork depends greatly on the agency. One of the best recommendations that I can give to a family that is potentially looking to network their profile is to ask questions BEFORE making any kind of financial commitment to another agency. It is often best to ask questions via email so you have recorded responses to refer back to later and can share accurate information with your spouse as you talk about if and how to proceed. Here are some key tips for effective networking:

  1. Make sure that you have a clear understanding of whether the networking contact is an attorney, a licensed agency, an adoption facilitator, etc. If the agency is a licensed agency and you have not heard of them, I highly recommend that you ask them to fax you a copy of the license or verify it in some other way).
  2. Ensure that the agency that you are currently working with is aware that you are pursuing networking opportunities and be sure to inform them of any new developments with other agencies.
  3. Ask what paperwork you will be required to submit prior to being considered for an adoption placement and any additional paperwork that may be required before a placement occurs.
  4. Gain a clear understanding of the adoption fees and make sure that you understand if there are additional fees relating to legal fees, living expenses, medical expenses, etc.
  5. Ask how parental rights are terminated and if they would be terminated at the time of placement with an adoptive family.
  6. Create an extra photo profile that can be sent by mail or electronically to other agencies if the need arises.
  7. Follow your intuition and don't continue in the process if something doesn't seem right.
Here are a couple of organizations that are involved in matching home studied adoptive families with potential birth parent situations that you may want to visit: Christian Adoption Consultants and Special Link. Does anyone have additional tips to share for prospective adoptive families who are looking at possibly networking with other agencies?

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