Caryn: Why We Chose to Go With an Agency
When my husband and I started down the adoption trail, we had no clue where to turn. We knew of many different options available to us, but we were nervous, excited, and scared. We had spoken to a few people who had pursued adoption, and they all recommended working with an agency. We met with a couple of local agencies, and it was quite clear which agency we wanted to work with.
One of the most important considerations we had was having someone hold our hands though this entire process. Going through adoption for the first time is a real out-of-body experience. There is just SO MUCH to do. So many forms, so many classes to take (MN requires 10 hours of continuing educations credits to be homestudy approved), so many trips to the police station to get finger printed. And there are adoption physicals and trips to the county office to get notarized copies of birth certificates and your marriage license. I cannot begin to tell you how confused and exasperated I was when learning about all the steps in the process. But each step along the way, we had our trusty case worker guiding us, reminding us when things were due, inviting us to classes, and keeping our spirits up. And most importantly, she kept us on track so we did not miss any deadlines or hurdles along the way to our homestudy.
Once we were homestudy approved, our agency worked with their network of agencies all over the United States to disperse our profile to as many birth families as possible. Our case worker counseled us on potential situations, giving us feedback on concerns we might have, and keeping our expectations and concerns in check (that was hugely important). She was the one to call me and tell me that we had been matched with a baby boy due in January 2011. She cried with me on the phone, because she wanted this for us almost as much as we did. She also took care of all the administrative and logistical work with the placing agency so we could take care of getting our lives ready for a baby.
Once we had our son in our arms, or agency took care of all the logistics of getting us back to Minnesota, and all the post-placement meetings and paperwork. Their hard efforts let us focus on our sweet boy and adjusting to life as a family of three. We also had a unique situation in Minnesota that happened the summer that we were trying to finalize the adoption. The State of Minnesota shut down in July. Our agency worked tirelessly to push our court documents though so we would not get caught in the shutdown.
Quite simply put, we could not have done this without them. Working with an agency is a significant financial investment, but the peace of mind and precious time with our son it afforded us was worth every penny.
Suzy: Why We Chose to Work Independently
When Ike and I started seriously looking into adoption earlier this year we were a little overwhelmed. There are so many options. Domestic, international, independent, or fostering to adopt. Because I was so overwhelmed I sought out some help. I began working with an adoption therapist to sort out the direction we wanted to go. One thing we knew from the beginning was that we wanted to pursue domestic adoption.
We began looking into local agencies. One local agency has an age restriction of 42. Another agency is a national agency but several people have had very negative experiences with them. The third local agency we really liked. We have friends who were matched quickly with them. After going one of their informational meetings, we put them at the top of our list to consider.
But we hit a snag. The agency was only accepting five families for their fall group and it filled up fast. They would not be accepting families until the spring of 2013 and possibly not until the summer of 2013. One thing Ike and I agreed on is that we definitely did NOT want to wait that long to do our home study or wait to have our profile shown.
We decided to pursue an independant home study with the agency we liked. Even though we may or may not use them in the future. We just started the home study process with them this week. While we are in the home study process we have decided to pursue the possibility of an independent adoption through an attorney.
Why? A couple of reasons. I will be 42 in two months and next week Ike will turn 47. That whole age restriction thing comes into play. So many agencies have an age restriction of 42 or a median age of 43 or 44. This is an issue for obvious reasons. This makes independent adoption look more appealing to us. There are no age restrictions when going through an attorney.
Is this scary? Yep. We will not have an agency working for us once our home study is finished. I could probabbly call the social worker for some advice, that I would have to pay for, and I'm sure she could would give me some. It is scary because we will be putting our future child in the hands of an attorney we may or may not meet until they call us with a match. It will take work on my part to stay in touch with them.
Fortunately we aren't completely alone. We do have one person on our team, my adoption therapist. She has been wonderful in helping me find resources or connections that we may need in the future.
We are taking an alternate path, but we are hopeful that this path will lead us to our future child.