While we grieved our miscarriage and faced the obvious involuntary childlessness before us, we also were getting through the heartbreak of transitioning care of our first foster child who was very sick. We decided in October 2018 that no matter the financial costs (we knew private adoption was expensive), we wanted a baby. We deserved a baby. So we turned to adoption.
We researched adoption: domestic vs. international; independent vs. agency; adoption facilitator vs. adoption agency. There are so many things to figure out.
First, we decided on domestic adoption. International adoptions tend to be more expensive and such a huge time investment. Andrew and I could not afford to be out of work months at a time to be in a foreign country while we wait on paperwork. Also, there is the LARGE amount of paperwork with international adoptions which is daunting. I hate to say we took the easy way out, but in some ways, we did.
Next, we decided to go with an agency for our adoption. While going through an agency can be more expensive than the do-it-yourself route, we thought it best for our family. With independent adoptions, the prospective adoptive family is responsible for outreach and finding the birth mother – this is a HUGE portion of the process. While there is a lot of information out there on how to do it, we didn’t want to spend months trying to figure out how to do it right.
Secondly, we knew there were women out there looking to scam people and we had been through enough without adding con artists in our life. While not full-proof, we knew that agencies have the experience to sift through the cons and the red flags. Lastly, we wanted to go through the process where the birth parents received the counseling and support they needed. Most agencies have this as a standard part of their process and this was important to us.
Our next choice was whether to use a facilitator or an agency. Facilitators are responsible for the outreach and finding the birth mother. Agencies, on the other hand, may offer additional services like doing the home study, legal services during and after the birth, and post-placement evaluations.
Facilitators, unfortunately, do not have any government oversight unlike agencies with social workers and/or lawyers. The other drawback is that you still have to find someone to do your home study, a lawyer for the legal services, a third party lawyer for the birth mother, a third party social worker for the birth mother. There would be a lot of people to keep track of instead of one entity taking care of it all.
We couldn’t find one agency who took care of the social work and the legal aspects of the adoption but we found 2 agencies that work with each other to take care of the whole thing. Both agencies have been great. The social worker who did our home study really helped us with some fears we were having about the process. She also gave us ideas on how to handle the inevitable rude comments in the future. (She will also do our post-placement evaluations when the time comes.)
The agency we chose for outreach also is a law office so they handle everything other than our home study and post-placement evaluations. They even will find the third party services we will need to hire for the birth mother. There is so much that needs to be done but they not only handle it, they also explain in detail what’s going on along the way.