Most of the questions that I get in emails are about one of two things, travel or agencies.
Today’s post is to discuss agencies. Other than sheer prayer for your adoption, choosing an agency is the most important part of the process. It is also the most difficult. I distinctly remember on one of our calls to an agency reference they told us that the most difficult part of the entire process was selecting an agency. It was. There are so many to choose between and how do you really know. Of course they will give you the names of people who had positive experiences, but how can you really find out?
The how can be hard, but it cannot be overlooked.
When we first looked into agencies we picked one that we read about on A blog (singular). I thought geesh, if she recommends them they have to be good. We had contracts printed and ready to be signed. We were traveling home in a couple of days and thought we would share this vital step with our families. Then a quick Google search for a phone number turned our plans upside down. Sure, the director answered the phone and so sweetly answered all of our questions, but there was so much more under the surface. Ugly, ugly stuff under the surface. To this day, I thank God for allowing me to stumble upon the truth. Every agency has a truth. They won’t tell you the truth, but you need to find it. No matter what it takes.
We were so very confused about what to do. We called our home study agency and asked if they would share the names of agencies they have worked with for Congo adoptions. When we began the process a year ago, there wasn’t too much information out there. Most agencies were only in the pilot program stage and Congo adoption blogs were hard to find. I got a name from our home study agency and also asked on the Congo Adopt Yahoo board. The boards really try to discourage agency discussion, but through private email we got suggestions from others. One name kept coming up.
We did some internet digging, talked to a couple of families who had brought their children home already, prayed, and asked questions directly to them. We asked what we thought were important. Cost. Wait time. Process. Wow, do you learn so much going through the process. These are not the important factors. These are not the only questions you should ask.
I am always honest on here. That is all we asked about. We didn’t ask the tough questions. We didn’t know what they were. We also didn’t want to annoy, offend, or turn off the people who held our family’s future in their hands.
That is a so very wrong mindset.
Ask the tough questions.
It is so important.
Not only will it save time, hardship, and disappointment, but you owe it to your child. Do you want to know your child’s history? Do you want to know beyond a shadow of doubt that your child is not wanted and able to be cared for by a family member? Do you want to be able to answer your child when they ask about their past? Do you want to do everything in your power to ensure that your child is safe while he/she is waiting for you? Do you want to know that you are not enabling corruption, sexual abuse, and child trafficking?
We love our agency. We think that God led us to a great one. We can’t take credit for the selection. As I said, we didn’t dig deep. We didn’t press. We signed on the line and crossed our fingers. We lucked out. Having gone completely through the process, I have no regrets in our agency choice. They are great. They care. They are honest. They are doing wonderful things in Congo. Are they perfect? No. But no agency is. Do we recommend them? Yes.
You will find many people who are simply happy their child(ren) are home and they don’t put much thought into what took place to make that happen. They thank their agency for giving them their son or daughter and move on. We are not those people. Thankfully, more and more people are coming forward and sharing their cautions and concerns about their agency. There are some very scary and very wrong things happening with some agencies. We can’t be silent about it. We can’t worry about threats of litigation. Childrens’ lives are at stake. If we don’t blow the whistle, no one will.
I beg of you to educate yourself. International adoption is about so much more than “saving a child”, “having the baby you’ve dreamed of”, or “a closed adoption opportunity”. International adoption is serious business. Sadly, it truly is a business for most. Do not go into it with rose-colored glasses. Do not go into it naïvely. Do not go into it looking for the fastest, easiest, or most pretty website.
This blog isn’t about name dropping or name bashing. You won’t see the names of any agency in this post. The agency that we used, and recommend, can easily be found on our blog. I don’t want to tell you which agency to use or which not to use. I can’t even tell you which questions to ask. I will help you out by saying, ask all those questions that linger in the back of your mind. The ones you keep pushing aside. Ask the ones that you think you don’t want to really know the answers to. The questions that matter most are the ones that you are uncomfortable with. If you think, “no, not them”, or “it won’t happen to me”, or “surely, that’s not true”, ask anyway. Listen for hesitations. Listen for contradictions. I don’t even want you to choose our agency just because I said I recommend them. We are one family who adopted one child. We only know what our experience is like. Yes, my too late research and discussions with many other adoptive families from lots of agencies, have confirmed my confidence, but don’t just take my word for it.
Lastly, if you find yourself in a situation with an agency that you are no longer comfortable with, you have to trust your gut. Walking away from the money will be very difficult, but the peace you will have by standing strong will make up for any amount of lost money.
Stepping off my soapbox…
Feel free to email if you have any questions for me.