Wednesday, April 1, 2009

AGENCY OR FACILITATOR

I've been reading quite a few blogs where many of you are working with a facilitator verses an adoption agency. After hearing the anguish that some of you are going through waiting on your facilitators to just return your phone calls, never mind the long wait to find a child for you, I have been tempted to tell you to find a someone different. In fact, I would tell anyone wanting to go through or in the middle of an adoption, that if you don't feel a connection to your facilitator or agency and you have issues with them just returning your phone calls, it's time to find a new one. I know there is a lot of money, time and emotion keeping you there, but they are suppose to be working for you.

I'm not trying to cause a debate, and maybe our case is unique, but it seems like those of you working with a facilitator are having to jump through an awful lot more hoops and wait a very long time. I wish I could make all of your cases go as smoothly and quickly as our adoption has gone.

When we originally started this process, we started researching on-line and called a few facilitators, but found them to be very expensive and not very welcoming. Being that they weren't local, I didn't feel like I would have a connection to the caseworker I'd be dealing with and being that they did so many adoptions a year, I felt like I'd just be number and dollar signs to them. It didn't matter to me that they had access to more birth-moms all over the country, I wanted something more personal.

I then researched local adoption agencies and decided to call a few. The first one I found was the first one listed, being that it started with "A," Adoption Assistance Agency. I called and spoke with Lisa and found her to be very welcoming, so I set up an appointment and right after our meeting with her, I felt I had a connection and I just knew this was the place God meant for us.

What I liked about them:
* they are local. I wanted a face I knew and place to go if I had issues
* they are Christian based
* they do about 22 adoptions a year
* they were fairly reasonable money wise
* they have been in business for 12 years
* they are small, only 5 women and 2 clerks work there

The more we worked with them, over the next year, we found them to be very friendly, closely involved in both the birth families and adoptive families lives, on call whenever we needed them and genuinely concerned about my husband and I.

For the birth families they offer phone and in-person counseling (until the baby is 18 years old), assistance with basics (towels, food, apartment), helping them to choose a family, establishing a hospital plan and guiding them through the paperwork and the emotions. The caseworkers will be as involved as they are requested to be.

For the adoptive families they are very honest about the potential wait, 18 months is their longest. They have an open door policy and are fine with you calling them at any time, to work through all your feelings. We were asked to make one presentation booklet, which they show to potential birth moms, and when you are chosen the birth mom then keeps the book. We were also given a list of lawyers to call and lots of information to read about the tax laws, waiting periods, child development, fee schedule, time tables and what to expect over the coming months. I also loved the parenting classes they required. At first, I thought I wouldn't get much out of them, but after the first class I realized that it was wonderful information, I felt connected to other couples going through the same thing I was and it made me feel like we were really moving forward.

We found our agency in January, completed all the paperwork by May, became active at the beginning of July and 6 weeks later were chosen by "K." Then on December 8th our son, Samuel was born and on the 10th we brought him home to stay. We have been so blessed.

Please know that I keep each of you, still waiting for your child to come home, in my prayers. God Bless!

5 comments:

Jessica said...

I couldn't agree more! And your experience sounds so familiar to ours.

We found our agency (and selected them for all the same reasons you did) in February, seminar and paperwork completed by June, active by August and exactly 6 weeks later we were matched with Colt's birthmom. And then, December 16th Colt was born into our family!

I would recommend the agency route as well, simply because of the connection to birthmoms and to the adoptive families. Even though our agency had a similar placement rate (around 20 babies per year)I love our agency and wouldn't trade it for the world!

RB said...

Tracey- Your adoption experience sounds wonderful. I'm so glad that you were able to have such a swift match and for it to turn out so beautifully. Samuel is a doll :)

Unfortunately, some facilitators aren't that great at all, and that's why they aren't legal in some states. There are some great ones though too. The bottom line is that you have to feel comfortable and you definitely have to feel a connection to whichever adoption agency or facilitator you sign with...just like you said. :)

Great post!

littlezen said...

We did do the agency route the first time. I had the same opinion. I wanted someone close and accessible. I wanted face-to-face contact. Unforunately, not all agencies are ethical. This particular one has been shut down and is currently being investigated by the attorney generals office in 2 states. Soooo, next go round we chose to go with a Christian adoption consultant group. Through the group we've applied to 4 agencies (the 5th has a lot of paperwork and I'm just finishing it up). I will say, I feel much more in control of everthing this way. They've been wonderful, resposive, and helpful. For example, I know that my profile is going out to expantant mothers whereas with the adoption agency I didn't. I was a nuisance and called them each week. I had the same opinion. I was paying them and they were "employed" by me so I had no problem being a pain. Another adoptive mother I know called it the agency blanketing strategy. We haven't been successful yet, but I've only asked our profile to go out to one expectant mother so far and it's only been about a month that I've been actively signed up with the first agency. The other ones probably will recieve our applications Wed or Thurs of this week. Since all of this is so expensive we can only do it once and I want to be matched with the "right" situation. I admit since we've been badly burned I'm pretty picky now.

Doripink said...

Thanks for the post Tracey! I've followed your blog, but never posted. I used a facilitator (or matching service) and my experience was amazing! We were matched with our BM in 26 days. My relationship with my BM was and still is amazing. I think the thing about using a Fac., is they are not very hand-holding and for first time adoptive parents, you need that (I needed that when we adopted out daughter in 2005), but as a 2nd timer :) I was little more at ease since I knew what to expect. I agree with you 100%...you MUST feel 100% comfortable with whomever you chose and if you're not comfy, move on.
Thanks for the post!

P.S. Samuel is SOO cute!
Dori

Bird, Frizzy and Yaya said...

My husband and I are researching Adoption agencies again. We too feel it's important to be close to our agency both in vicinity and availibility. It's hard enough putting trust in others I can't imagine doing it if I never saw their face or had my calls returned. NO WAY It's TOO BIG OF A DEAL TO feel frustrated and/or all the time. (more than usual that is.)