Here’s the deal: I’m going to try to share what I can, when I can, while also keeping a certain level of privacy. The journey of adoption includes unlimited options and combinations of options. No journey is really wrong, it’s just different for everyone. What works for some may not for others and vice versa. Each step includes a very personal decision, and for us, those decisions are carefully prayed over. We will make mistakes along the way, and things that we thought would work probably won’t. That said, I don’t intend to share the names of agencies, home study case workers, etc. on here right now. I’m going to share some of the things I’ve been looking for and have come across. If you want to talk further, DM me on Instagram!
Our Process of Choosing an Adoption Agency
Step 1: Licensed Agencies
The first thing we did was get the list of licensed agencies for our state from our attorney, and then the list of licensed home study caseworkers with whom she has successfully worked. Going through the list, it was quite clear that our state has more home study agencies than adoption agencies. In my research, I learned that the reason is that we are a state where private adoptions are allowed, so there are a lot more of them than agency placements. I thought this was quite interesting. I don’t think this is the case for all states that allow private adoptions, but for us, this seems to be the case.
Step 2: Research, Research, Research
We narrowed down the list, talked to other adoptive families, did some Googling, and filled out some online forms for more info. We looked at the different websites, looked at what information they provide and what they don’t, if they place infants or only older children, etc. This helped us keep or toss out more agencies based on what we need. By this point, we had our selections narrowed down to nine agencies.
Step 3: Get Organized
I set up a spreadsheet to keep track of certain details, such as the home study fees, whether they accept home studies from other agencies, the home study renewal fees, total average costs, number of placements each year, number of waiting families, and whether they promote families. The stats were usually MIA from their websites, so that brings us to the next step.
Step 4: Make Contact
I started emailing each agency we were interested in to ask for their information packets and to talk to someone. Then the phone calls started coming in and this is how we were able to toss out some agencies. This is what put some of them in the NO pile:
- If they had a low number of placements each year (one agency only had 1 placement in all of 2018)
- If they had an outrageous requirement (one agency wouldn’t allow you to sign on with them unless you could prove your infertility and prove that you’ve exhausted your treatment options, which is extremely intrusive and distasteful)
- If they had a very high number of waiting families with a very low number of annual placements (bad ratio)
- If they told me every family signed on with them has to update their home study multiple times, which means a very long wait time
By this point, we had things narrowed down to 3 agencies: one that is more of a home study agency with a huge network (not a facilitator or consultant), and two that are traditional agencies. The network agency specializes in home studies and then connects waiting families to cases from various agencies and attorneys. We certainly like this multi-agency approach. As for the other two, both are expensive but certainly approachable. One is very busy and the other is semi-busy, but mainly needing families who are open to adopting any race (that’s us!).
Step 5: Attend an Event (if applicable)
Only one of the agencies on our list has a free event coming up where we can go and meet some of the people who work there and learn more about their process and the fees. We have registered for the event but after reading a lot of negative things about that agency and being told specifically by certain people that they’re not the best to work with, we may back out. I know we’ll find negative things about everyone, but this particular agency has a lot of negativity floating on the internet and it makes me uncomfortable, especially compared to the glowing reviews some of the other agencies have. I’m going with my gut on this one, but if anyone else has an event, we will attend! I think it’s important.
So this brings us to today. We have the application filled out for the home study/network agency and we feel about 90% certain we’re going to start with them first very soon. From there, it’s possible we’ll sign on with a second agency maybe 6 months in, but we’re not sure just yet. It all depends on how things go with the home study and their network of cases. This process feels like it’s taken forever but I guess it really hasn’t. We’ve been very committed to gathering this info and praying over it so we can make the best decision for our family.
I’ll continue to share more as I can. We already have over half the money we need for the home study so we’re very close to applying! We have so many feelings as we enter into this process but we’re ready and willing. Any tips you have to throw our way, please do! We’re open to any and all suggestions.