So what are some things an adoption agency should do for you?
Making the decision to adopt a child can be an overwhelming decision to make but one where the benefits outweigh the doubt and nerves 100 times over. Once you decide to adopt, everyone has a story to share and the wealth of information can be exhausting.
The beginning of our adoption story started when my husband had a very serious auto accident; luckily he wasn’t hurt but it totaled his car. As he would check in with the auto shop once or twice a week as required by our insurance, he started an ongoing conversation with the girl at the reception desk about her own experience when she learned we had just started looking for an adoption agency. During one visit, she handed us what I have since then called our golden ticket: it was the business card of the woman who eventually became our adoption counselor.
We had been to several meetings of various agencies looking for a good fit; we had done a lot of conference calls trying to figure out where to start in our process; we talked to a lot of our friends who had gone through their own search asking what worked for them. For us, finding the right agency came down to developing a true connection with our counselor and sharing our core beliefs with the agency she represented.
Over the course of looking for an agency, we created a list of the things that were important to us in finding the right agency: trust was at the top of that list. As we started looking at different agencies our list evolved to include honesty, sincerity, and support.
As our journey progressed and we became parents, our counselor left the agency within the first year of our daughter’s life. With her departure we lost our core connection to the agency and started to notice little discrepancies from what they had originally told us. At first some of those discrepancies weren’t concerning, but once we started facing bigger issues, it became evident that our own agency, the one we had painstakingly selected, no longer had the same core values as when we started our process.
Looking back on it, as we share our story with others who are just beginning their own, we give them the basics things that we felt important:
- TRUST… The agency should develop a strong relationship with you based on mutual trust.
- SUPPORT… The agency should always have your back. They should always support your decisions regardless of how they may feel about them personally as long as your decision protects the welfare, safety, and security of your child.
- HONESTY… The agency should give you peace of mind by assuring you that they will always be open and honest with you about their policies.
- COMMUNICATION… Communication is key; they should be willing to have an open line of communication with you at all times, day or night. They should be willing to give you the time you feel you need to get the full answers to every question you may have as your story unfolds.
- RESOURCES… The agency should be your number one support team. They should help you by offering or finding the resources and/or tools you need to answer questions, complete research and offer advice when you ask for it.
- UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE… They should support every decision you make for your adopted child when it comes to religious and personal beliefs. They should never try to convince you that you’re making a mistake or try to influence you to change your mind with a decision you and your partner have made.
- CONFIDENTIALITY… They should keep all personal information about you, your child, and your situation strictly confidential. Even with an open adoption there are things that you need to keep confidential.
Finding a good agency can be a difficult and tedious process, but once you find the right one, it can become the lifeline you will cherish as your own story begins.