So, while we are in a little bit of a waiting period with regards to our adoption, I decided I would take a little bit of time to answer some of the process questions that I get asked on a regular basis. A few disclaimers first, though…
1) I am five months into the process of our first adoption…so I am FAR from an expert. I can only share what I have learned over the last year with regards to research and our process so far.
2) Some people may disagree with my thoughts on this topic. That’s OKAY!
3) There is no such thing as a perfect adoption or a perfect agency. Every experience is different!
4) My husband and I only researched international adoption…specifically from Central America and Asia…so that’s what I know, and that’s what I’m going to share.
Okay, that’s out of the way. 😉
I’ve had quite a few emails and messages lately that basically are all asking the same thing…where in the world do you start when you’ve decided to adopt but don’t know which agency to use?
1) My best advice for you if you are in that boat is to start with people who have adopted. I contacted and spoke with SEVERAL friends who had been through the international adoption process from a huge variety of countries, and my first stop was to research the agencies they used and recommended. My friends had adopted from Ethiopia, South Korea, China, and Uganda, so I got lots of information and suggestions from them.
2) The second step is to get on the websites of the agencies and see if they offer a program in your country of choice. We narrowed countries down pretty quickly to either South Korea or China, so if an agency didn’t offer a program from one of those places, it was off the list. If the agency DOES offer a program in your country of choice, read through the typical timeline, financial obligations, and the basic profile of children who are adopted from there. If everything seems reasonable to you, the next step is…
3) SET UP A PHONE CALL WITH THE AGENCY. This is my absolute best piece of advice I can give you. I learned pretty quickly that choosing an agency is kind of like dating…there is a right fit for everyone, but everyone looks for different qualities in their agency. I had phone interviews with six agencies, and I was able to eliminate certain agencies based on the feel I got from the program director.
Side note: This is just my two cents, but if a prospective agency doesn’t want to take the time to speak with you on the phone, consider that in your decision. Adopting is a deeply personal, life-changing decision, and if they don’t want take the time to address your questions on the phone before you apply, think about how that impersonal approach might translate once you are in process…
4) Trust your gut. Several times, I just felt very strongly that this agency wasn’t the right fit for us. There was nothing inherently wrong with it…it just wasn’t the right fit. And when I did have my phone interview with the agency we ended up choosing, I knew within minutes of my conversation with the adoption counselor that we were in the right place. It just clicked.
5) If you aren’t feeling confident, WAIT AND PRAY. I set up an Orientation call after tentatively selecting an agency, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t right. I postponed the call, interviewed two more agencies, and thankfully, found the right fit on the last call. Do NOT start the adoption process without being 100% confident that you are with the right agency. Pray for clarity, continue doing your research, and wait. God’s timing is always perfect, and He will guide you to the place you are meant to be at the right time.
If you have found yourself here because you are following our family’s adoption journey, I would LOVE to answer any other questions you have about the early stages of the process! Feel free to leave me a comment or shoot me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and I will address it in another post.
Happy Hump day!!!