I have had a handful of people mention recently that they are interested in adopting but don’t know where to begin. This excited the tarnations out of me, and I encourage you to NOT let that feeling fade into the business of life. I believe God put that thought in your mind for a reason.
I wanted to write something up that could be a resource for those who don’t know where in the world to turn other than google.
There are SO many avenues to begin, some avenues are just as valuable as the next, however there are some that I have learned to be not as valuable. So here it is…..From our 3 years in the adoption world, I’m going to break down what I have learned. These steps are from my experiences with PRIVATE ADOPTIONS and don’t mean that I am always right in my opinion, but what I have seen and learned.
First, are you adoptioning International or Domestic?
If you say International, you will need to work directly with an Agency. BEFORE you send them ANY MONEY, make sure you are aware of the program you are going in. Do YOU Fit the criteria for that Program and does that country and agency have a reputable LONG TERM relationship. Bottom line, you will need to use an agency for almost any International Adoption.
Did you know that there are MANY babies available for adoption in FLORIDA? It is SUCH a common misconception that there is a long wait list and that just isn’t true. Josh and I have seen countless cases brought to us, all different race backgrounds. Of course there are also older children to adopt, and typically that is adoption through the state. For the purpose of this article I am speaking specifically about PRIVATE adoptions.
You basically have 2 options with domestic adoptions and it is VERY IMPORTANT that you know what you are getting into. What you “don’t know you don’t know” could really disappoint you if other options present themselves later.
Option 1: Sign on with an adoption agency. There are some really great agencies out there. I recently have had the privilege or working with North American Adoptions and they are a stellar organization. I was blown away by their reliability, birth mother support, and adoptive parent counseling.
With any agency you sign on with you have to realize that THAT is the avenue your kid is going to come from. And that is okay. You will see me expand on this a bit later. I want to mention that Josh and I never signed on with an agency with Ereylah. We specifically chose not to. She was a 5 week turn around (yes, 5 weeks from the time we got the call about her, to the time she was born and in our home). It was our social worker that called us about a baby that was to be born and had not been matched yet. That most likely would not have happened if we had signed on with a major agency because there would have been hundreds of other waiting parents and she would have gone to the next in line waiting.
I do have some friends that were starting the local adoption process the same time we were with a massive and reputable Christian Adoption Agency. These friends were quoted 18 months wait time. Josh and I had to fight our instinct not to let our jaw drop to the ground when they told us. We were quoted anywhere from 3-6 months and we had the exact same “criteria” as this couple, which was healthy baby, or with minor special needs, and any race.
Agencies do offer a lot that Option 2 below does not. Typically agencies have a lot of counseling for the birth mom and also for the adoption parents. They are more hands on and can deflate some bad interactions from occurring. Sometimes the lack of support when and agency is not used can make and adoption process very difficult. Ereylah actually came through a very small agency and we had never heard . They allowed us to read her case and we moved forward then began working with the agency at that point. This small agency had already provided a ton of counseling to the Birth Mom and they were there for her physically and emotionally when Ereylah was born. So Josh and I really did get to reap some huge benefits of having a connection to this agency even though we did not initially sign with them.
Option 2: Be A Free Agent J That is a Katie term. This is what we did.
- Find a licensed social worker to talk to and start a home study.
- This social worker does NOT need to be tied into an agency.
- There are SO many avenues a child can come through and when someone does sign on with an agency they are limit to only that avenue. Again, this is not always a bad thing, but something I want any parent to know going into the process.
- Get on adoption attorneys and agencies “list serves.” This is so that you will be able to see various cases from various area around Florida that come in verses just waiting in line at an agency for placement while hundreds of other families are ahead of you and if an outside case pops up you have cemented your feet to that agency. Sometimes it is free to get on the list, other times the cost is up to $750, which is actually worth it. Your social worker should be able to direct you to these contacts. Typically if you see a case that comes across your email that you feel is for YOU, you do need to have your home study completed.
I hope this helps with the initial first steps and makes them less overwhelming. If you have any questions big or small don’t hesitate to ask.