Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Red Letters Campaign...Blog Buzz

What advice would you give someone choosing an agency? What questions would you advise they ask? What resources or organizations would you suggest they reference?

In international adoption the choice of your agency is one of the first and most important steps in the process. We met a couple who had adopted two children from Guatemala through the agency we used for our adoption. We didn't, however, hire them because of this one reference.

We first interviewed the agency and they provided us with references. We made contact with ALL of these families. In addition, I joined three Yahoo groups for Guatemala adoptions. Those that have been there are your best source. These groups were good because we were exposed to many that had "been there" using many different agencies.

In retrospect, those things we were told were weaknesses of our agency were true. We were prepared for this and didn't panic. For example, we were told that we probably wouldn't get updates on a regular basis, and we didn't. We WERE contacted though each time they received an update on our case.

There are many questions to ask. We asked to see a copy of their contract and asked any questions that were not covered there. We had very few as their contract was very specific. The most important advice I can give is to INFORM yourself. Find out all that you can about the process for the country you are adopting from. You will be exposed to so much that will be new to you when you are interviewing your adoption agency. Therefore, if you've done your legwork regarding the country, you will be so much better prepared to ask questions.

We also contacted the Better Business Bureau and checked to make sure our agency was licesed by the state. It is also important to check with the Department of State to make sure the agency is Hague compliant. This was not a consideration for us 3 years ago, but it is now.

Good luck on your journey and if you have any specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly