I have asked Bmom why she chose our adoption agency and she said, “because it was closest”. Simple answers like this are very common amongst both adoptive and birth parents. But I RESEARCHED our agency. I stopped EVERY transracial family (because we are a conspicuous bunch) and asked them which agency they used. Now, when time came to really hunt for agencies I called EVERY lead I had. My friend had an old co worker that adopted, I called him. My cousin’s wife’s sister adopted, I called her. My MIL knew someone that adopted, I called them. I can’t remember how many people/ families I talked to about their adoption story and their agency. It was A LOT! I ruled out agency’s because they were rude to me on the phone and I thought, if they are rude to me how will they treat our birthmom? RULED OUT! I ruled out agencies because they charged differently based on your income or the child’s race. So, as I talked with bmom she told me I should write a blog post about searching for an adoption agency as a birthparent.
*First things first, what kind of adoption do you want?
If you want openness choose a local agency. If you THINK you just want letters and yearly visits, allow yourself the possibility to have a very open adoption. I promise your adoptive family will fall in love with you and want you in their lives. And your yearly visit just got a whole lot easier when you only have to drive 20 minutes instead of 15 hours.
You don’t know what will happen in the future. You may plan on going out to see your baby but are unable to come up with the funds if they live out of town. If you are afraid of bumping into your adoptive couple at the store, it won’t happen. I have never bumped into either bmom or bdad.
If you want a closed adoption, choose a national agency. That eliminates almost all possibility of running into them.
* Call around to different agencies and pretend you are an adoptive parent.
Most agencies will roll out the red carpet for birth parents. But if you’re an adoptive couple… you can wait. There are a few good things that would come from this call. You see the agencies true colors. Are they trying to rush you off the phone? Do they charge different amounts based on race or income levels? You will most likely just speak with the secretary, while if you are a birth parent you will go straight to a social worker. But at every company, the secretary is the “face” of the company. So you can get a sense of what the company values when speaking with the secretary
* What services do they provide for birth parents?
I chose our agency because they offer free LIFETIME counseling to anyone involved with the adoption. 20 years down the road, if Bear has some issue he needs to discuss, he can call them. That goes for me, The Hubs, Honey, Pumpkin, Bear, Koala, Bmom and Bdad. If at any point we need help, we can call them. That was HUGE for me!!! Most agencies I called offered NO or minimal counseling for the birth parents. I wasn’t concerned about getting counseling for us, but I was concerned for the birth parents. Some birth parents need that support throughout life.
I had ruled out other agencies because the agency was not there when they needed support. While giving birth, etc
* There is a huge support online for birthparents, join them
Joining birth parent support groups does not mean you actually have to place. You can change your mind at any time.
But joining a group gives you the behind the scene look at what other birth parents have gone through. Would they use their agency again? And if so, why?
(warning, bmom said it’s hard to find a positive support group, so you may have to hunt. If any birthmoms comment with groups I will update this post)
*If you are choosing an open adoption, let people know
This one can be a little bit sticky. While, if someone I knew said they were placing a child for adoption, they would get nothing but support from our family. But I know that’s not the case for many birthparents, and lack of support being one of the reasons they chose adoption. But, if you have a great support system, let people know you are considering adoption. I guarantee you that a “good friend” has an “aunt” that is trying to adopt. *****As long as they are licensed with an agency, that may be a path you want to go down. I knew of LOTS of people who knew someone who was considering or placing their baby for adoption. I got very excited in the beginning, and then realized most of those leads were dead ends. But that could be an amazing path for you. On the negative side of that. If you decide to parent you would hurt the adoptive couple, therefore hurt your friend and could lose a friendship over it. There are pluses and minuses to opening it up for people to give you leads on LICENSED adoptive parents.
*Lastly, trust your instincts.
Just because you called an agency doesn’t mean you have to stick with them. If at any point you don’t like your agency, for whatever reason, you can switch. If you haven’t met and fallen in love with your adoptive couple, you have nothing to lose. (as an adoptive parent, I would warn against switching agencies after you met with them because that would be a whole lot of heartache. Hopefully you would know how you feel about the agency before it got to that point)