Hi! I’m Joy and I’m writing about adoption for 31 days. Why, you ask? Start here.
So, I started talking earlier this week about different ways to adopt. The first option I talked about was through the foster care system. You can read that post here.
Today, I’m going to talk about adopting through a private agency. Remember, I am no authority on this. I am just writing to you like I would be explaining these options to a friend based on my own experiences. We have used two different adoption agencies. And I’m referring to adopting domestically (I hope to have a friend discuss international adoption later this month). Most private agency domestic adoptions are for infants, however, sometimes an agency will facilitate adoptions of older children (meaning, not babies) in special circumstances.
When you decide to adopt through a private agency, you need to have some idea what you are looking for. Agencies can vary greatly and their requirements and services vary, too. Plus, the cost varies.
So, some things you might want to compare between agencies:
-Do you want a secular or Christian agency?
-the cost (typically between $20,000 to $40,000) and when fees are due (during the whole process? only when you are matched?)
-the waiting period (I’ve heard anywhere from 6 months-18 months)
-the training requirements (attend a conference, read a book, take a class, etc… ) With one agency, we had to read a great book called The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family
and fill out a workbook along with it. Then, we did a couple of calls with a counselor working with the agency to discuss the book. With the other agency, we had a Saturday of training, mostly on open adoptions and honoring the birth parents. Some agencies will let you do training long distance, others require you to be there…that can make a difference in whether you choose a local agency or one further away.
-the friendliness (Are these folks going to keep you informed? Are they going to walk beside you? Are they open about the process? Will they be praying for your family?)
-the size and activity of the agency (Are they in one city, several states? Are they actively pursuing birth mothers? How?) When I asked one of our agencies how they are pursuing birth mothers, I was told they are hiring a new birth mother liaison. When I asked the other agency, the told me how they are building relationships with several crisis pregnancy centers and with the local women’s jail, they registered with the local fire department and police station to take in babies when they are dropped off at those locations. Which one sounds more active to you?
******update–I just realized I did not write anything about the actual process ….so this post will get a part 2 coming soon!*******
Any experienced adoptive families have anything to add?
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments.