Questions To Ask Your Prospective Agency


I do many consultations with families who are looking to adopt and trying to choose an agency. For many, the same question is asked at the end of our conversation, “Is there anything I didn’t ask that I should have?” Families new to the adoption world are navigating a sea of agencies, legalities and processes they do not understand. Below is a list of questions many times not asked that should be asked to a prospective agency. I’ve also included the answers to these questions as related to our DRC program.

  • How long has the agency worked in that country?

MLJ Adoptions, Inc. was the first agency to work in DRC. We opened the program in 2009 and began bringing children home in August 2010.

  • How many children has the agency successfully brought home?

MLJ has brought home 101 children from DRC to date.

  • Is the agency bonded? Licensed? Hague Accredited/Approved?

MLJ is bonded, licensed in the state of Indiana and Hague Approved.

  • Have the Executive Director and Program Director visited the country?

Our Executive Director and Program Director have both traveled to DRC as well as many of our other domestic staff.

The program director travels to DRC once or twice a year.

  • How does the agency receive their referrals?

MLJ receives referrals from Social Services in DRC, after an investigation to ensure the child is an orphan. MLJ does not operate their own orphanages nor do we work directly with the orphanages.

  • Does the agency use foster care or do the children remain in the orphanage?

In a country such as DRC where children are at risk if they remain in the orphanage, it is vitally important for the wellbeing of the child to be moved to a foster care home where they can receive one on one care, proper nutrition, and medical care, and live in a family environment rather than institutional care.

  • Is there in country staff that can assist adoptive families while in country?

MLJ provides in country staff from the moment your plane lands in DRC. Our staff drives you to each locale that you need to go to or want to go to. In fact, we insist you go nowhere alone while staying in DRC and only leave your hotel compound when accompanied by one of our drivers and/or in country staff.

  • How quickly does the agency respond to your emails and phone calls?

Communication with our clients is of vital importance. MLJ realizes that we are your only link to your process and your referred child. We know you have many questions and make it a priority to communicate with our families and answer your questions promptly.

  • Has the agency ever represented a family whose orphan visa was denied?

This is a key indication of how well versed their foreign staff is in US immigration law. MLJ has to date not received a denial of an orphan visa.

Lastly, your best indicator is how quickly the prospective agency responds to your initial request for information!

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.