September 26, 2021

International Adoption Agencies

Because inter-country adoptions are time consuming and complex, most families seeking to adopt internationally choose to work with an adoption agency. A good agency is an invaluable source to adoptive parents in that it can:

  • Make sure you are eligible to adopt a child from the country you have chosen;
  • Assist you in the tedious task of assembling paperwork;
  • Advise you prior to your home study;
  • Provide information about helpful programs for adoptive parents;
  • Provide support for your family post-adoption.

Should you choose to pursue adoption independent of an agency, you should know that some U.S. states and some countries prohibit adoption without the assistance of an agent.

international adoption agency

In selecting an agency, what is your first step?

The first step in identifying the adoption agency you want to work with is to make sure that the agency is accredited by one of the following entities:

  • the Council on Accreditation;
  • the State of Colorado Department of Human Services.

This is especially important if you are seeking to adopt a child from a country that is a participant in the Hague Adoption Convention, an international agreement to safeguard and establish standards for inter-country adoptions, as this Convention mandates that all agencies participating in such adoptions be accredited.

Note that there are six basic services that are provided by adoption agencies accredited to participate in Hague adoptions. They are as follows:

1) Identify a child for adoption and subsequently arrange the adoption;

2) Coordinate necessary changes in parental rights;

3) Perform a home study, report on the prospective parents, and report on a child;

4) Make certain the prospective home is appropriate for the child;

5) Monitor the family and child after placement and before the adoption is finalized;

6) Hold responsibility for assuming custody and providing appropriate care for the child should it be necessary.

The following link details a list of adoption agencies approved to handle Hague adoptions:

The following link provides a list of adoption agencies that have not been accredited by either one of the above organizations:

What other factors should you take into consideration when choosing an adoption agency?

While it is extremely important to make sure that the agency you have selected is a qualified adoption service provider, there are other factors that you should take into consideration before making a final selection. The following are things to consider:

  • What do others think of the agency? Has your family or friends used their services?
  • Does the agency have positive references? Be sure to check them out for yourself!
  • What does the Better Business Bureau say about the performance of the agency?
  • Is the agency large or small? Would a smaller agency that can offer a more personal experience be preferable to your family?
  • Does the agency take the time to answer your questions thoroughly and comprehensively?
  • Should your situation change, does the agency have a refund policy?

Prior to signing a contract, what should you know about your selected adoption agency?

Note that prior to signing a contract, adoption agencies should be willing to provide you with a list of services and procedures that will be provided during the adoption process. Some of the information that should be revealed to you before you sign includes:

  • A sample of the written services contract;
  • A proposal of the anticipated fees and expenses;
  • Agency policies and procedures, including criteria for eligibility;
  • A list of those independent of the agency that might assist in your adoption and their fees;
  • Copies of any contract signed by your family and the agency.

Where can you file a complaint about an adoption agency?

The Department of State has established a process for filing a complaint against an accredited adoption agency. The first step is to submit your complaint in writing directly to your adoption service provider. If the complaint is not resolved, you may then file the complaint with our internet based Hague Complaint Registry at:
If you are adopting from a non-Hague Adoption Convention country, you can present a complaint about an adoption agency to the U.S. Department of State at the email address

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