Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Choosing an Agency

Posted by Angie at 12:20 PM
As I mentioned in this post, we have some adoption news!  We have officially put in an application for an agency in Taiwan!  As I said here, we weren't planning to do this until May (when we have more $$$ saved up), but we feel so led to this country and this agency that we refuse to let fear guide us.  We are praying God will provide!  I don't want to say which agency we have applied to until we hear if we have been accepted, but we are SO excited.  We should hear back in about a month.  I am trying not to check my e-mails too frequently.  Did I mention that we are so excited?!?!

I get a lot of e-mails from people asking "How do you find the right agency?"  For those of you that are interested, here are some websites and tips that we have found useful.  Buckle up--here we go!

1. I cannot stress HOW IMPORTANT it is to choose an ethical agency.  We have all heard horror stories about corrupt adoption agencies (like this one).  It is your job to do your homework!  This is not the time to save money by going with the cheapest agency.  How do you know if a beautiful website = a beautiful heart?  Here are some tips:
  • Check out this website: Ethica: An Independent Voice for an Ethical Adoption
  • Don't trust an agency just because they have "christian" in their title.  Sad, but true.
  • Look for bad reviews.  For every agency we considered, I scoured the internet not only for the good, but for the bad.  For example, if we were looking at an agency hypothetically called Baby Adoption, I would type in "Baby Adoption bad," "Do not use Baby Adoption," "Baby Adoption corrupt," and other phrases like that into a google search to see if anything popped up.  Also, review websites like this are helpful.
2. Once your agency has passed the ethics test, talk to some other families who have used them.  While the agency likely has a list of families they would be more than happy for you to talk with, I would encourage you to find families not on their list.  The way that I did this was by searching for blogs.  To use our example from above, type in "Baby Adoption blogs" or "We are adopting with Baby Adoption."  Then, ask those families about their experience with the agency!  Some questions might include:
  • Would you work with them again?
  • What is their biggest strength?
  • What are some of their weaknesses? (ALL agencies have them!  Best to know now so you can weigh the pros and the cons)
  • Were there any surprises along the way in your adoption?  How did the agency handle them?
Those should get the conversation started and you can always ask more questions from there.  I have found that people who LOVE their agencies send long, sparkling reviews about them, which is great!

3. Talk to the agency itself!  Ask questions!  Get a feel for them.  How fast do they answer your questions?  What is the tone of the e-mails?  Do you feel comfortable?  The agency you choose is going to be so important to you in the coming months/years, you want to make sure it is someone that you like.  Someone professional.

****Important!  Ask the agency how many families they work with at a time.  If possible, you should ONLY work with agencies that have a set number.  For example, the agency we have applied with only works with 20 families at a time.  We know that should they accept us, we will not be sitting on an endless/foggy/nebulous waiting list, but only have 19 families ahead of us.  It is better to sit on a waiting list for an application than to be accepted with an agency that has no cap on the number of families they work with!  That situation often leads to heartbreak as you wait and wait and wait on a child in an overwhelmed agency.  I was told this time and time again from seasoned adoption mamas.  So I am telling you!

4.  Are you interested in adopting from Taiwan?  Look at the right hand of this website for a list of agencies/orphanages to start your research.

{Probably a baaaaad idea. source}
Gosh, I feel like there is so much more, but this is probably enough of a start for now.  This advice is what worked for us, but something different might work better for you!  Good luck as you embark on your adoption journey and find the perfect agency for your family.

Other adopting mamas...what advice would you give to families looking for an agency?

Much love,
Future Mama


SassyAgapi on March 30, 2011 at 3:08 PM said...

i would be checking my email every 10 minutes! lol

Christy said...

Congratulations! Great info to share too. I think perhaps asking how many families that they work with at a time is sound advice. I don't believe our agency has a set number and now many people are waiting longer than originally anticipated (us included). But I also know that ultimately God is in control and it will all happen in His perfect timing!

Sarah said...

I guess I would just add one little bit to your very sage advice. The family cap that some agencies have does not necessarily ensure lower wait times. Wait often has more to do with the number of beds in their transition home (depending on the country.) To me, the more important issue is actually related to the way the agency operates in country. Do they 'baby shop" or do they only work with children in house. If you don't know what this means, find out! Because it greatly impacts the ethical nature of the adoption. I would rather wait longer and work with an agency that doesn't "baby shop" for their families. So often the length of the waitlist has nothing to do with actual wait times. Anyhow I am just dropping in my two cents! Congrats on getting your application in!

Future Mama on April 1, 2011 at 11:20 PM said...

Ooh, really good point I forgot to mention! You are exactly right Sarah. I completely agree and that was something we looked for. On a related note, the agency we applied for provides a lot of support to mothers contemplating adoption and first and foremost works to give them the support they need to keep their baby, if that is their desire. For Taiwan specifically, that is an important quality...

Megan Carr on April 2, 2011 at 1:42 PM said...

So happy for you! Sometimes I feel like we will wait forever...*smile*

Now, when you hear back from will be what, 6-9 months-ish until baby time??

Future Mama on April 2, 2011 at 1:51 PM said...

A bit longer than that! They don't actually just "go down a list" but pray about each baby and their pool of families. It is a really small orphanage, but with great reviews and a reputation for putting birth mothers first, which I love, even though that means a longer wait for adopting parents. They have a preference for couples without children (us!) and infertile couples (not us!). If they accept us, we will sit on their list until they believe we are within a year of bringing the baby home, at which point they will tell us to do our homestudy. So...I am telling myself spring 2013 for when we bring the baby home, but it may very well be earlier than that ;-)

Joseph Rydholm on April 2, 2011 at 10:12 PM said...

Congrats on your next step in the process!!

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