How to Select a China Adoption Agency, Part I

 January 16, 2012

 Step One: Know the Program in Advance

Choosing the right agency can mean the difference between waiting months or waiting years to receive a referral from the China special needs program. 

 Beyond the referral phase a good agency will allow for a smooth process with the smallest possible administrative paperwork burden placed on the family and an efficient operational system based on concurrent processing.

Clear, timely, and accurate communication is a must.  Compassionate, highly personal communication is ideal. 

During travel to China the best agencies have in country offices, experienced English speaking guides  who remain with you every day you are in country, a well-planned itinerary (tailored to the age and needs of your adopted child(ren), maximum travel/accommodation flexibility and transparent, itemized pricing. 

The truly exceptional agencies provide proactive follow up and offer meaningful post adoption support services to their families to make sure they are adjusting well.

As you start to explore agency options you will find a wide spectrum of (not so)  “standard” services provided as well as substantial variances in fees charged for these services. The other thing you will find is higher fees do NOT necessarily mean a higher level of service. 

Finally there are the intangibles related to the unique corporate culture of each agency, a culture that ideally will match your own personality.


Prospective parents need to learn about the China adoption program and process BEFORE they set about choosing an agency.  There are a number of great resources online that can educate you on the China Special Needs Adoption Program.   

The one I recommend is China Adopt Online 

I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU START HERE!  This is a comprehensive, well laid out and up to the minute site with everything you need to know about the China SN adoption process.  This site will help you to understand the eligibility requirements, industry jargon, program differences and general process necessary to effectively evaluate agencies. 

The next place I would check out is China Adopt Talk the site affectionately referred to as "The Rumor Queen" Head to the forum and spend sometime on the "Special Needs Discussion Board".  There you will find a group of been there done that got the t shirt adoptive moms.  The know the ins and outs of the China SN program and odds are have the answer to any question you can come up with.  There is one caveat, the forum rules prohibit users to discuss specific agencies but if you ask for information you will get plenty of answers via private message.

Let me say it again start with building a solid working knowledge of the China adoption process before you call the first agency.

Once you have the basics under your belt it’s finally time to find the agency that can make it all happen for you.

(to be continued...)

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