I am asked quite often " Who should we pick for an agency/ attorney etc?" "What do you think about fostering to adopt?" " What worked for your family?"
All legitimate questions and guess what- the ANSWER is different for each person and family!
|Gavin at 5 days old after placement|
Here's a few Tid Bits on things to be aware of/ Advice when choosing an agency/attorney:
~ Pick with your HEAD and your HEART- do not be swayed by a Lower cost option if you heart is calling you somewhere else. God and the Universe will line up the funds for you to bring the right child home and to support the Expectant parents. Use effort in obtaining these funds and be strict in your spending as you are on the saving path but, don't let $$$$$ steer you away if you feel RIGHT about an attorney or agency.
|one of our favorite books about adoption|
LISTEN to their complaints. See if they are Selfish or Legit. Selfish complaints are things like " All you care about is birth moms not adoptive couples!" -which is untrue most times but, you have to consider your source. A disgruntled person who had a failed match or placement may want to scream out how this agency is so bad when, it's actually the Emoms choice to place or not to place. You can't be MAD at caseworkers for Her decision. And for that Matter- its HER choice- not the couples choice to make.
"They only want your money at ____ Agency!" guess what? That's usually wrong too. Legit agencies are focusing on CARE for all involved and that requires a lot of TIME and often funds to support birth parents/expectant parents pre and post placement. Research before you spout off things. And LISTEN if MANY say that a particular agency is being unethical/ extorting couples- promising one set of fees and then sticking you with more bills post placement- LISTEN to your voice of reason and use caution. Generally speaking- most GOOD agencies will have many happy clients and families but, will always have a few whose experiences were not what they had hoped for. maybe it wasn't the right fit or right timing or they truly weren't meant to be placed with that agency. Sometimes an agency is just the one doing your home study and sometimes they match you in a few weeks- it's contrasting for everyone.
~FIND Agencies who only ASK for an APP fee UPFRONT and no other $$$$$ until MATCH ( if your home study and training are already completed that is and if it feels right). Check them all out and see if one speaks to you.
Reputable APP only Agencies are
: Adoption Choices of Colorado, Premier Adoptions, Thurman Law Group, and some who work with Legally free children like the Adoption Exchange.
IF and ONLY IF this route feels right- go forward. I'm a huge proponent of this style of agency but, it's not right for everyone. Steer clear of facilitators if you are already with an agency as well. Often times you are paying 5-18k on top of agencies fees to make you a match- if you can afford it, it feels right and it's legal in your state- go for it. But, be on your guard with Facilitators. Also, your agency should DISCOUNT your costs with them if they did not make the match. so, you should have some savings there too.
~INTERVIEW AGENCIES/Attorney- call them all, meet them all if you wish and chat with REAL people to get a sense of what they are like. Not all shoes fit all people. Same with Agencies. Be candid- do not put on a front with them and ponder on what Direction you should take.
~ UPFRONT COST AGENCIES you can TRUST- Many Agencies require 5-10k or more upfront or post adoption training. It's not because they are greedy or anything like that, It's because they advertise a lot and actually pay their staff. Happy employees work better when a consistent check can be made out to them. Can you imagine only getting paid when a placement happens and what that would look like? It would change the face of adoption into a HUNT for expectant moms in dire circumstances- this would be Horrible b/c no one wishes an unplanned pregnancy on anyone- ever. it's Hard enough as is. ASK for a list of costs and where funds are going and how payments can be spread out if a quick placement happens. Often, they will be happy to work out an arrangement. Our first placement happen in 10 days so we spaced out our agency fees over 4 or 5 months. ETHICAL agencies will disclose all costs and give you an expected number of costs for birth parents needs on a case by case basis. DO NOT proceed if they won't disclose it as well. And in my Opinion- placement fees should not exceed 35/38k EVER!!! That's just bogus but, sometimes they do and some people are happy to pay 40-60k in adoption costs. Likely the majority of that ( 20-30k) is lining the pocket of a greedy attorney/agency. and likely the other 20 is actually for birth parent expenses and overhead/staff/advertising.
Also ask about wait times/ stats on how many placements per year, what form of advertising they do and if they have socials for their adoptive families and support systems in place.
|Laura & Jerad are hoping to Adopt|
GREAT FULL COST AGENCIES that ask for HALF upfront do this to make that Big number a bit more attainable. It's hard for most to write a HUGE check all at once and then sit and wait to me matched.
REPUTABLE FULL AGENCIES ARE : Adoption Options, Adoptions By Heart, Colorado Christian Services, Lutheran Family Services, Creative Adoptions and Lifetime Adoptions. MOST of these agencies can just do you home study as well and you can independently apply to other out of state agencies but, you must know they are vested in the clients that they serve and who have done training and such with them so, don't expect them to bend over backwards if you are just there to get your home study done. These agencies have reputations to uphold and DO put Expectant Parents FIRST - as all should do, and educate these women about options and choice- not pushing adoption as the only choice on them. Adoption can not happen with our Emoms and Dads so, cut them slack and put yourself in the caseworkers shoes or the Emoms shoes for a minute before you get all Huffed up. If a HAP is calling to get an answer to a simple question that is bugging her and the caseworker is on the line with an Emom who is struggling to pay rent or get evicted- who should she take care of FIRST? Feel my drift?
THE Emom and the BABY COME FIRST and Please check with your agency and make sure that Post placement services are in order for Her after care. Support, resources, counseling and the like are beyond necessary.
ALL IN ALL- there's no Adoption Cookie Cutter- GO WITH YOUR GUT and FOLLOW YOUR HEART!