Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A New Approach to Adoption: A [Mini] Tutorial

A lot of people assume the hardest decision in adoption is whether or not to take the plunge. It often takes an act of God (and it should) to get a husband and wife on the same page at the same time and ready to dive in to the journey of adoption.

But one of the next biggest questions is how? What agency will we use? How can we trust the agency to serve us and the birth family well? What are the adoption laws? How do we find trustworthy professionals to guide us through the process? And the list goes on.

Traditionally, if a family is interested in adoption, they find a local agency, hope that they provide good service, and stay with them from start to finish. The same agency completes a family's home study, matches them with a birth family, and completes the required post-placement supervision.  

Here's the hang up: most of these agencies only serve a limited amount of birth families.  Many of them serve significantly more adoptive families than they know they can match. AND many require a significant non-refundable fee up front for their adoption costs.

The end result with this traditional approach is that many adoptive families end up waiting for long periods of time to be matched with birth parents and a baby. This seems crazy when there are many babies available in the United States for adoption. So many that some even end up in the foster care system since an adoptive family isn't identified at birth.

Picture this: you're an adoptive family in Michigan. You're with a fantastic agency but they're on the small side and you've been home study approved now for 18 months. A baby is born in Arizona that needs a family. Or a baby in Kansas. Or a baby in Florida. But you're unable to adopt simply because there's no connect point.

A new approach to adoption is by using multiple agencies. This multi-agency approach simply increasing the connect points for an adoptive family. By applying to many agencies across the US, their profile has the ability to be viewed in other states (like Kansas or Florida) while still being active at their beginning agency in Michigan.  

Here's the break-down:
  1. An adoptive family completes their home study through a local agency
  2. They apply to multiple different agenices that don't require significant fees up front
  3. They are matched to a situation and only then are adoption expenses paid
  4. Their post-placement visits are completed by the same agency that completed their home study

This multi-agency approach has several benefits:
More exposure - adoptive families who are active with multiple agencies have the chance for their profile to be viewed and chosen by many more birth families
Ability to adopt from adoptive friendly states - applying to agencies in states where adoption law is clear is crucial to a successful adoption 
Cuts down on wait time - connecting with more agencies significantly reduces the wait time for an adoptive family 
Cuts down on costs - some agencies require a minimal application/administrative fee to be shown to prospective birth parents (or none at all) and no adoption fees are due until a family is matched with their baby
Here's one huge caution to the multi-agency approach. Simply applying to multiple agencies isn't the key. The key to a successful adoption is finding quality, ethical, and solid adoption agencies that will provide excellent service to both an adoptive family and birth family. Aside from the recommendation of trusted friends and family, it's beyond difficult to ensure. I just Googled "adoption agencies" and came up with 8,970,000 results. It's overwhelming to try to choose a good agency from those numbers.

This is where help from an Adoption Consultant can come in. At Christian Adoption Consultants, we've narrowed that mind-boggling number down. Down to a handful of agencies that we work closely with, trust, and have had multiple clients adopt from successfully. Our clients apply to these agencies in adoption-friendly states where the consent for adoption is generally signed within 12-72 hours after the baby's birth and is irrevocable. The agencies we work with either have low application fees or have waived them for our clients. CAC is becoming known across the nation by agencies, social workers, and attorneys as having excellent and educated adoptive parents who are ready to step into an adoption at a moments notice. Because of this, we not only network with those agencies but other adoption professionals who contact us frequently about potential situations and requesting adoptive families.  

Adoption requires a lot of work. And it usually requires much more homework. What agencies to apply to, what attorney to hire, deciding on levels of openness, financing an adoption, transracial adoption issues... the list goes on. Why not connect with someone who's already done the homework and can help you navigate the questions?

For more information, search the "adoption" tab on this blog, check out Christian Adoption Consultants, or email me.

Want more adoption [mini] tutorials? Click here for more resources!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the guide on adoption in Hamilton, OH. I'll keep it in mind in the coming months where my friend is bound to want to adopt a child. Thanks again!


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