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Choosing an Agency

687 Views 5 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  EFmom

My husband and I just decided to adopt. We have 2 biological kids, one 3 and one 1 year. We now are trying to figure out how to pick and agency. What do you look for? How do you decided? Do you have to use someone local, or can they be anywhere? Which ones are the best and are reasonably priced? We know we want to do this, we have the resources to do so, and most importantly we have the love and committment to raising another kid, but we are lost at where to start.

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When we decided to adopt from Ethiopia, it was after hearing a radio program about Ethiopian adoption that mentioned the (at the time) two agencies doing Ethio adoptions. So our choice was pretty easy: option A or option B. We got info from both agencies and went with the agency that "felt right."

Are you planning to adopt domestically or internationally? If international, my first suggestion would be to get on the Yahoo group for the country you want to adopt from. Ask people to tell you which agency they used and how satisfied they were with the experience.

Get info from several agencies and see whether any of them "feel right" to you.

I have seen it written a few places that it's important that the agency be close enough so that you can visit and get to know the people handling your adoption, and that it matters whether you feel like you "click" with those people. From our two adoption experiences, my viewpoint is that it doesn't matter at all whether you ever get to meet the people doing your adoption, and "clicking" with the people or not doesn't affect your adoption experience.

You don't have to use a local agency. You can go with any agency that licensed in your state, even if they are in another state. Most big agencies are licensed nationwide.

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We chose a larger agnecy in a different state, for us it wasn't important to see the people working on our case but like someone else said we clicked on the phone. Plus we were very limited with which agency would accept us. Asking on line is a great way to start. See if people were impressed or would have done differently. My number one must have was that I needed an agency where someone could help me at any time of the day or night. And if I left them a message I wanted to hear back right away. So pick whats important to you but then just follow your instincts.
Agencies in our area often have adoption seminars, where you can go learn more about them and the process... we did that and it actually helped seal the deal with our agency. We decided we didn't want to deal with an out of state agency, so we made a spreadsheet of all the agencies in our state, then we did a chart comparing what they said their costs were, what countries they do, whether they were very religious...
Congratulations on your decision to adopt. There are about 12 different types of adoption. So many ways to add to your family! Before looking for an agency, you need to decide which type of adoption (international, domestic, fost/adopt, etc.). My husband and I just adopted a newborn biracial boy domestically.
Here are some of the books I found useful in our research:
1. The Essential Adoption Handbook, by Colleen Alexander-Roberts: A
great overview of the processes
2. Is Adoption for You : The Information You Need to Make the Right
Choice, by Christine Adamec: Even if you know you want to adopt, I
think this book really focuses on the emotions involved with
adoption, and takes you more in depth regarding your feelings
3. Adopting in America: How to Adopt Within One Year, by Randall
Hicks: I just finished this, and wish I had it earlier. This is a
book that has all of the state agency and some attorney
information in it. It covers the legal processes very well.
4. The Adoption Resource Book, by Lois Gilman: This one I found to be
a great source of questions to ask other people, including
adoption professionals.
5. The Complete Adoption Book, by Laura Beauvais-Godwin, Raymond
Godwin: This one is, I think, biased towards US domestic
independent adoption, but it does have a lot of pro/con
information about different types of situations.

I also have an extensive list of links to adoption resources. PM me if I can be of any help!

Good luck and God bless,
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First, I would do a reasonable amount of background reading about adoption in general to decide what kind of adoption you want to do. If it is an international adoption, you need to decide what country or countries are right for you. I highly recommend the Report on Intercountry Adoption It is the only resource I know of that allows you compare agencies side by side.

For me, like dharmamama, it was not at all important to have a local agency. We worked with one on the opposite coast, and they were fine. What was important for us was that the agency have other programs for which we were qualified, in case our country of first choice closed down or altered their requirements, as sometimes happens in IA. Other people want agencies that only serve one country.

I agree with dharmamama that yahoo groups and other internet resources for people currently and recently in the process are great. Check references, but don't just limit yourself to the ones the agencies provide.
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