Today is World Adoption Day – and November is Adoption Month!
Josh and I started the process to adopt back in August. A little over a week ago, after telling our families, we announced our adoption on social media, and we were overwhelmed with the amount of love and support we received from so many of you. I spent that entire day responding to emails, calls, texts, Facebook messages – some from old friends and some from strangers. It was an incredible day and made this whole process feel a little more real. Thank you to to everyone that gave and sent sweet messages. We were so humbled and so thankful. A huge reason why we decided to adopt is because there millions of orphaned and vulnerable children around the world that need a loving family. We grew up with two amazing families and the thought of a child not growing up with that support breaks our heart. World Adoption Day is a day that bring awareness to the millions of little lives around the world that need a family.
Once we decided to adopt some big questions were on the table. Do we do International? Domestic? Foster Care? Are we open to all races and special needs? Do we want a newborn or an older child? Which agency do we use? How much will it cost? So many questions start rolling through your mind when you make the decision to go down the road of adoption. I called my friend Jessa (also an adoptive mom), in one of these “What are we doing” panic moments and I needed to hear her words: “Not many people say, ‘I have so much time and money, I should adopt'” – This was so reassuring and a reminder that people have gone before us and if God is calling us to something God will provide.
But it still can be overwhelming to know where to begin. We spent time reseraching all these questions. Once we decided that we wanted to do domestic adoption, the next question was what agency to use. This was hard. There are so many options, so many horror stories. It’s difficult to know where to begin.
We started with asking friends that had adopted. Then we googled-like-crazy different adoption agencies in our area and read their reviews. Then we called them for interviews. Some great source of information for me were these two domestic adoption Facebook groups (Domestic Adoption Support Group and Domestic Adoption Support Network). I used these groups to get the inside scoop on the different agencies I was looking into. Knowing who other people had used, and following in their footsteps gave me reassurance, and peace of mind.
If you are starting the adoption process here are some main questions to use when researching different agencies.
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Ask about numbers: How many adoptions has the agency completed in the past year? How many adoptive families are they working with and how many expectant mothers are they working with? Ask what the average wait time is. And I would ask how many failed placements they see a year (meaning someone is matched with an expectant mom, and then the expectant mom decides to parent).
- Ask about education: What kind of support and education does the agency give to adoptive families – before, during and after the adoption? And what kind of education, counseling, and support do they give to expectant mother?. Knowing the agency provides support to adoptive and expectant parents was very important to me when I was doing my research.
- Ask about fees: This is big, and can get very complicated. Make sure you get specific numbers and not general numbers. Ask when they are due, and if any of the fees are at “risk”. Also, ask if any of the money is refundable if something goes wrong or if you decide to leave that agency.
- Look at their contract. Read through it carefully!
For the most part a good agency will: Be child centered, they will stress the important of pre-adoption education, they will provide pre and post counseling for the birth mother and support her decision either way. They will be committed to you and your child through post adoption services.
I narrowed my search down to three agencies, all whom were in Illinois, and one consultant agency, Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC), who I kept seeing everywhere and who only had great reviews. In the end, we went with the consultant rather than a single agency. With the consultant we have someone walking through the entire adoption process with us (our consultant is the Leah, she is amazing, and is an adoptive mama and is in the process of adopting again. You can read her blog here). We loved that we would be able to work with multiple agencies all over the US that CAC has great relationships with, instead of just limiting ourselves to one agency (more agencies means more expectant mothers, which hopefully means shorter waiting time). It’s so nice to have someone in your corner, helping you navigate the ups and downs and risks that come with adoption.
Its crazy to think that we will have our third and final home study meeting tomorrow, in our home! Assuming we pass, we are one step closer to being a waiting family, and then a family of 3…plus 1 adorable goldendoodle!