Tuesday, November 16, 2010

WWG and Whether or Not to Use an Agency

Walk with Gratitude Day 16

Today I am grateful for being a spoiled brat. I am so ignorant of my blessings, I can't even count them all. Seriously. Carpet. Food. Good food. Money in the bank. Fat jeans vs. skinny jeans. The things I complain about and consider challenges would probably make most people in the world laugh.

Today's Formspring question is Do you feel like an agency ensures you an adoption quicker?

While this is a yes or no question, I can't really give a yes or no answer. Like many things with adoption, my official answer is "it depends."

There are some definite benefits to an adoption agency. They do a lot of marketing and promotion - from buying ads in phone books and online to doing assemblies at school at networking with doctors, family planning clinics, and law firms. Because they have this kind of established network, local professionals will often recommend potential birth moms to a reputable agency. They have a brick-and-mortar physical presence.

Agencies offer services to birth parents such as counseling and education course...and some even provide housing, clothing, meals, medical care, etc., depending on the agency and the laws of the state. These kinds of benefits may attract birth moms. Agencies also offer benefits to the adoptive couple, such as educational courses, counseling, and even facilitating communication in open and semi open adoptions.

The cons of using an agency is that the fees are generally quite expensive and there is no guarantee that you will get selected. Back in the day, adoption wait lists were processed on a first come/first serve basis. Now most agencies allow the birth parents to select the adoptive parents no matter how long or little the adoptive parents have been waiting (as it should be).

People who choose not to go through an agency are responsible for their own self-promotion. Maybe they are lucky and somehow came across a situation with a birth mom and they don't need an outside source to advertise and match them. In that case, they go straight to the lawyer. But if not, if they just want to save money, the hopeful adoptive couple needs to get the word out themselves. Blogs, websites, pass along cards, letters to schools, hospitals, family planning clinics, and law offices are some of the ways they do so. (on a side note, even those who do not list through an agency still need a state approved home study performed by a licensed social worker).

A self-promoting couple can spend as little or as much as they want - however greater exposure often leads to shorter wait times. So with self-promotion, you can save money, but there is no guarantee you will get selected.

There's no guarantee for either route. Whether or not someone uses an agency is a big, personal decision.

Our amazing caseworker Claire meeting Jocelyn for the first time 

Personally, I think using an agency is a good thing. I think it cuts down on stress and they really know what they are doing. They have important contacts. In the case of our adoption, I don't know exactly how our birth parents chose the agency we used, but I do know that they knocked on the door of the agency on the day they decided to make an adoption plan. Had that building not been physically there, they may have just moved on to the next one. Sometimes, it is just random luck.

I will use an agency again. But I am the type of person who will probably always use a real estate agent rather than sell a house on my own. I would rather pay a little extra for the peace of mind of having a professional take care of the details for me and do their thing.

I've had several questions on agencies, so this "discussion" will definitely continue tomorrow. :) Do check back, because I am going to post my first give away soon. I hope it's a success. I would be really bummed out if I did my first give away and no one entered.

Again, feel free to submit any questions in the Formspring box on the right!

P.S. So the National Adoption button isn't all that great, so Mrs. R of the R House hosted a design contest for a new button. Hop over there and vote on your fav!

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