You’ve recently announced your plans to adopt. Family and friends are thrilled for your growing family! You’re experiencing the joy and anticipation of new life. But at the same time, there’s work to do. Friends start asking details about your plans: So how does this work? Are you adopting domestically? Internationally? Do you want a boy or girl? Do you even get to choose? Before you know it, you’re more overwhelmed than excited. You realize how much you have to consider to even begin the process. You have to decide what you are open to as a family (age, race, gender, special needs, etc). You have to consider the birth mother’s relationship. Are you open to foster-to-adopt? Do you want to adopt from another state? Another country? Are you using an adoption agency? How do you select the right one for your family? How do you know which one to trust?
So many things to consider and decisions to make! These decisions are very personal, and only you and your family will know what’s best for your situation. But that doesn’t mean you have to navigate it alone. The adoption community is an incredible resource. After announcing our plans to adopt, I had friends (and friends-of-friends) share how adoption has been a part of their personal story. They expressed support and a desire to give advice and wisdom. I welcomed whatever they wanted to offer! I also reached out to a few people that I didn’t personally know but had read their stories of growing their families through adoption. I asked if they were willing to share any information pertaining to the early phases of the process or if they had an agency to recommend. All of the responses were so helpful, and I was able to use them as a launching pad in selecting our adoption agency.
For us personally, our desire is to grow our family and meet the need that exists for people to adopt. We decided early on to adopt domestically and that we’re open to a baby of any race & gender (and even multiples, which my husband is convinced we are going to get:) So moving forward with that information, I called 5 different local agencies that had all been recommended to me personally. I also talked with an adoption consultant (they work with various agencies nationally). After several phone conversations, there was one agency that seemed a good fit for us. A friend was in the adoption process and recommended this particular agency to me. She loved their emphasis on relationship and their focus on caring for the birth mother…and I did, too! We filled out the initial paperwork, and then a few weeks later, attended an orientation. Orientations are fairly common practice for local adoptions. It gives prospective adoptive families the chance to learn how a particular agency works, what the entire process will be like, their relationship and commitment to birth mothers, and much more. It is also a great opportunity to ask questions and get referrals from other families who have worked with them. After our orientation, we knew that was the agency for us!
Selecting an agency can seem overwhelming. If you’re in that phase of the adoption process, I encourage you to reach out to friends or family members that have adopted or were adopted themselves. Even if they can’t directly help, they may put you in touch with someone who can. You can also reach out to bloggers or others online sharing their adoption stories. More often than not, they have been where you are now; they know this journey can be overwhelming and have a desire to help. Once you have a list of resources, take your time considering your options. Ask a lot of questions and look for red flags. Attend an orientation if you have the option. Compare costs and get a breakdown of where those costs are going. And, remember, you aren’t alone! Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Here are a few resources that may be helpful in selecting an adoption agency:
3-step approach & on keeping perspective
6 big questions to ask
Q & A with another adoptive mama
How to choose the perfect adoption agency
Adoption consultants connect prospective families with a network of several agencies throughout the US. Here are two that I have heard good reviews from personally: Christian Adoption Consultants & Faithful Adoption Consultants
If you are in Houston (or surrounding area), this is our agency. We are really excited to be working with them! I’m happy to answer any questions or put you in touch with families who have already adopted through them. This agency also came highly recommended to us. They work with families in Texas, Louisiana and Missouri.
July 23, 2015