Some of us choose the country we want to adopt from and then find an agency that works with that country. Others of us find an agency through word of mouth or have a local agency close by and they decide to adopt from a country that agency works in. Ether way is fine, the most important thing is to find an agency you work well with and is ethical! I cannot stress this enough.
I remember requesting information from several agencies and being surprised at how different agencies function. One agency sent me a HUGE envelope filled with papers, articles and copies of things. It was all out of order and then they requested money to cover the expense of sending the package to me. This turned me off immediately. It was overwhelming to get so much information at the same time, and seeing how out of order it was made me leary of their organization skills.
Another packet of information sent to me was so vague and didn’t have the price list I had requested for the different countries they worked in. Their website was very dated and not user friendly. I enjoy communicating over email and the internet, and I didn’t get the same vibe from this particular agency.
Once you settle on two or three agencies I would call them during office hours and set up an interview via phone or in person if the agency is close. You will get a lot of information by doing this and learn more about how the agency works. If there are any red flags that you may not work well together I would trust your instincts. Again, the important thing is to work well together. There are no perfect agencies out there. There will always be circumstances when both you and your agency miss communicate or drop the ball on something. How you work things out is key.
I would also ask for references from people who had recently adopted through this agency. Join a web group or to to get the general feel of how the agency is respected. There may be a few unsatisfied adoptive parents with any agency, but if multiple people voice the same complaint I would take that to heart.
Before sending in your application you also want to find out the agencies time line for your adoption, how they communicate things like court dates and paper work. Also make sure both you and the agency are on the same page with the adoption you are planning on. If you want to go out of birth order with your biological children or are a single parent adopting, make sure your agency supports those choices.
Will they allow you to choose the sex of the child? Do they have any religious requirements? What type of follow up assistance do they offer? Offer counseling? Heritage camps or get togethers? Does the agency do humanitarian work in the countries they work in as well as adoption placement? Lots of important questions that can easily be over looked.
Deciding on an agency is very important. They will be in your lives for the next year or more, if not for the rest of your life! We had a wonderful experience with our agency and continue to support there varias projects in our children’s country. I will not endorse any agencies on my blog for obvious reasons. I will however, encourage you to go with an agency that has worked with your chosen country for a while unless you love being a trailblazer!
Adoption.com has a directory of agencies that work with International Adoptions.
Rainbowkids.com also has a directory of agencies.
Do you have any suggestions for finding an agency? I would love to hear from others on this subject.