Choosing an Agency Part 2

Whew~ There. I think I’m all settled in. I’ll continue to tweak a few things for the rest of the week, but I think I’ve got it where I want it for now. Thanks for your patience!

Now…Where were we?

Now that we’ve covered the details that go into choosing what type of agency you’d like, you need to be made aware of some of the sneaky secrets that can aid you in your quest for the right agency for you.

Sneaky Secret 1:

The first listing in the phone book does not mean that is where you should call.

Thanks to lessons taught by Big Bird, we all know that the first listing in the phone book made it there because of alphabetical order, but for some agencies there are sneakier tactics at play to snag that top listing in the yellow pages. Some sneaky agencies will break all codes of proper grammar and name their agency something like “A Angel of Hope Agency.” This puts them in the top slot of phone books and makes English majors of the world shudder. Why? It isn’t to draw in prospective adoptive parents necessarily…it’s to draw in prospective birth moms. They’re confused, scared, some may be very alone…They pick up the phone book and call the first listing they see. Sneaky, huh? I’m not suggesting it’s unethical necessarily…It’s one of those tricks that make you go, “Hm?” Keep in mind, just because it’s the first listing does not mean it’s the one you should go with. Compare and call as many as you can.

Sneaky Secret 2:

Agencies are geared towards birth mothers.

Some agencies are on your side, and want to help you…But not all. This entry isn’t meant to throw all agencies under the bus. Some, however, are geared towards drawing in as many birth mothers as they possibly can. Sometimes they aren’t fair in the promises they make to these expectant mothers, and ultimately they feel misled or disillusioned. I would never want to adopt a child from a birth mother who felt coerced or misled or pressured into her decision by any outside party. Do your research. Google the name of the agency you’re interested in. Ask to speak with past adoptive families who worked with that agency. Check the BBB online (as I mentioned previously). Look up agencies at Adoption Ratings. Join an adoption forum online that may have adoptive families who have used your agency. Caveat: Do not trust everything you read online, and take personal opinions with a grain of salt.

Sneaky Secret 3:

The agencies that pop up in search engine results are the largest agencies in the state/nation.

Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Unless it’s cake. Big cake is good cake. But, in adoption, bigger can sometimes mean you get the brush off when you call to ask about a detail regarding your homestudy or your profile. Sometimes it means that you’ll have to travel more than you want to in order to find your baby. Sometimes it means you are treated more like a number than a family with feelings. But it almost always means higher expenses. I don’t know why, but usually the larger agencies (unless they specialize in special-needs children) are the most expensive agencies I’ve ever seen. These are the ones that will pop up first when you start searching for adoption agencies. Be careful.

Sneaky Secret 4:

Finding the smaller, possibly less expensive and more personable agencies is no picnic.

You can join an adoption forum online to ask others where they have gone and found success. If you’d like to know the adoption forum I belong to (and LOVE), please feel free to email me . Or, you could take the obsessive Kat approach and pull up a map of your state online and pull up the yellow pages online and search vaguely for “adoption agencies” in every city with a population of 20,000 or more. Yes. I did this. I did this for every city in Texas (from Amarillo to Brownsville) and every city in Florida. I found nearly 90 agencies. I called every one. Obsessive? Definitely. Strange? Maybe. But do I ever wonder if there is another home study agency that might be giving me better service or a better price? Not even a little bit.

Sneaky Secret 5:

Some agencies work off of a “sliding scale” for fees.

A sliding scale fee is fantastic for families who don’t make a lot of money and can’t afford a $25,000 adoption. It is based off of a percentage of your Annual Gross Income from your most recent tax refund. For instance, one agency I talked to this afternoon bases their fees off of 20% of your most recent AGI on your tax refund with a minimum of $12,500, and a maximum of $22,000. In other words, the least a family will pay is $12,500, and the most any family will pay is $22,000. The cap of their scale is still $3,000 less than the average American private adoption. There aren’t many agencies that work this way, but they are out there. I’ve never seen a large agency that used this fee scale. That doesn’t mean they aren’t out there, though.

My hope with this entry is that you might feel empowered to look in places you haven’t before to find that agency that fits your family perfectly. The point is, in order to find an agency that meets your needs emotionally and financially, you’ll have to put the effort in to hunt. This is a relationship you don’t want to take lightly. You’ll never regret having done your homework on this, I promise.

If you have any questions that I didn’t answer in my entries on this topic, please feel free to ask. For those of you who have adopted, can you think of anything I might have missed or didn’t cover well enough? Please let me know what you think of the new look!

Thanks for stopping by šŸ™‚

Kat

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5 Comments

Filed under Adoption Agencies, Adoption General

5 responses to “Choosing an Agency Part 2

  1. Mom

    I love the new look!

  2. LOVE the new look. Also it was a great post to anyone looking at agencies. If I were doing domestic infant newborn I’d definately pick your brain.

    I went with my passion and what I know best….there’s something about working the public school system that already had me “in the know” with how CPS social services would possibly work. Good for you for finding out secrets of the trade!

    • Thanks, Dannie. And I think it’s great that you went the route you did. Obviously that is where God led you to your little girl! To me, the system route feels foreign and scary, but that’s just because I haven’t read much into it. I think that’s one misconception people may have- all forms of adoption are VERY different from each other (older child vs. newborn, foreign vs. domestic, private vs. state, etc.) You just sort of learn as you go. You were so smart to go with what you felt comfortable with!

  3. Dannie, I’ve thought about going to state route, but I always only see older children and special needs children, and I’m not sure we are equipped to handle that (my son has some delays and I don’t know if I can “volunteer” so to speak to take on that kind of challenge-although if presented I’m sure I could handle it) anyway I am digressing.
    Did you find what I said to be the case in going the state Route?

    I really loved this post, because We have contacted some agencies and some are even sort of aggressive in their approach and it has scared me off to the idea of adopting a bit, because I’m afraid the agency/facilitator that we are using is a little to much in the “business” of adoption. They call me once a week, and they are very expensive and I don’t have all the money to put DOWN right now. But this post is encouraging and I will continue to do the homework and research needed, if it turns out that this is what we are called to.

    • That’s so great. I’m glad you’re gonna explore other options. I’m really anti-facilitator. Basically they don’t do much for you other than post your profile in various locations (such as their website, magazine, other agencies, whatever). I found that when I even inquired from a large agency that works on a national level, they contacted me more than I would have liked too. And I wasn’t remotely signed on with them or anything…they just had my number and wanted my business. They were also more than $40,000. No thanks. If you need any help locating a good agency, or just want to bounce any questions or concerns off of someone who has absolutely nothing to gain from your adoption, please feel free to email me. Thank you for stopping by.

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