November is National Adoption Month so I thought I would write a few posts on the subject just in case people have questions about it. I have "borrowed" this idea from a fellow blogger and I hope she doesn't mind. You can find her blog here...
So, for my next 8 posts, I will take a letter in ADOPTION and write about it.
Do's and Don'ts
Open or Closed
I'm Not in Control
Next Steps for Us
So first topic up is our Agency. We used American Adoptions and had a great experience. There are lots of options out there to adopt children. You can go domestic or international. You can go through Foster Care or a private adoption. You can go through an agency or a lawyer. You can go with a small agency or a national one. There are pros and cons to each option and it really all depends your needs on which is best for you.
There are a few reasons why I liked American Adoptions from the get-go...they have a presence here in Arkansas. They actually have an office in the neighboring town so I felt like if I ever needed anything I could just go there. I also loved that our money was safe because they have a guarantee if an adoption is disrupted. This did happen to us (detailed more in another post) and I believe that we got back every bit of our money except $150. It was a great security blanket knowing that our money was safe.
Some of the pros of a national agency: they can place lots of babies in a year with adopting families, your money is safe, they are experts in the field and they can facilitate adoptions all over the country. Adoption laws vary in each state and they have experts (or use expert adoption lawyers) in every state.
If you want a more personal touch, small agencies would be the best for you. I am not saying that we didn't have a good experience with American Adoptions, but since they facilitate so many adoptions a year and they are all over the United States, they are not present during the birth and your stay at the hospital. They will work with the social worker at the hospital to be your point of contact - but your experience will vary based on the expertise at the hospital. In our case, we had a terrible experience (detailed in a later post) and a great one. One hospital was experienced in adoptions and the other one had never dealt with one. With some small agencies, they will be there at your meeting with the birth mom and they will be there at the birth. Some cons of these types of agencies is the number of birth moms that come to them and they can't take on a long list of potential adopting parents. They are also usually only licensed in a few states so if you live in a state where they aren't licensed, you can't use them because of the adoption law.
Going through a lawyer might be a bit cheaper than using an agency, but the average wait time may increase and if you have a disrupted adoption, your money may not be refunded. We didn't research this option too much as we had some friends that had gone this route and had a terrible experience.
The cheapest option (but potentially the hardest emotional option) is Foster to Adopt. I don't know if we could do this or not. Years ago, Tony and I did go to a meeting about becoming a Foster Parents, but we didn't get a good vibe so we didn't pursue that route. We did learn that you can specify what ages of children you would take and how many children you would want to foster at a time. I just don't think I could have the heart to give a child back to its parents that may or may not be fitting to parent a child. To me, there is just too much sadness that I couldn't take.
Overall, we had a great experience with our agency and we would certainly use them again.
Here is a pic of Harper and our social worker with American Adoptions at our last post-placement visit last November.