I'm a not-quite-BTDT mom.
Dh and I are done with all the paperwork and homestudy steps, but we're still waiting for a referral of a little girl from Korea. So all I can really advise on are the beginning steps....
1. Hang out here for a while. You'll get a certain picture of adoption (all kinds--foster/adopt, international, domestic), and you'll get plenty of links to track down other types of conversation on adoption. Some forums are more critical of adoption, some are less. You need to look at all of it, but try to come to your own determination of what adoption means (a tricky process for sure...I'm in the midst of it right now
2. Do a little research, or ask moms about the different types of adoption. Then step back and search your heart about where you want to focus. Try to avoid the pressure of "which programs are moving fastest?" and "how can I get the youngest babies?" and ask other questions that will mean more to you and your future child....is there a culture you feel drawn to? A country or a ethnicity you feel you could embrace and incorporate into your family? Do you feel drawn to the foster care system? etc. etc. I believe it's very important to follow your gut and your heart...
3. Start reading a few books. Start with the general overviews of the type of adoption you pick, or books about rasing adopted children (Actually, there's a good overview called _Raising Adopted Children_). After you feel you have a good base of knowledge, start branching out into the nitty gritty books.... books from BTDT parents who have raised a child of a different race, books written by adult adoptees, and books about the complex emotions that can be related to being adopted. My experience would say....start out easy on this stuff. If you go straight to the "potential problem" literature, you'll scare yourself so much you might doubt going ahead. Whereas if you search out more of a balance, you'll get an awareness without getting bogged down.
4. While you're reading the books, or even well beforehand (if you're anxious to get started, like I was), you can call agencies. Get their information packets, and start figuring out "what's normal" when it comes to fee arrangements, wait times, social worker support, etc. Information packets can be followed with calls to the agency (a good agency will be happy to talk with you, and feel
good...feel upfront, honest, and open). Agency talks can be followed by calling families from that agency that have recently adopted. Making the reference calls is key....for one, they're incredibly good for getting you up to speed on "the process," and two, they'll give you a behind-the-scenes look at how the agency treats their adoptive families.
5. After that, it's decision time! You'll choose an agency, apply, and get started on your homestudy. From there on the process changes a lot, depending on if you go domestic, foster/adopt, or international.
Good luck, and btw, the BTDT moms on this board are great!