Choosing an adoption agency: Mom-to-mom advice

WomanCheck out this great woman-to-woman advice from other iVillagers:

Be proactive in your adoption.... Don't just wait for the agency or lawyer to find you a child. Go out and help to make it happen. It's very empowering after feeling powerless dealing with infertility.--dana1956

When the right situation comes ... it will move along. Watch for red flags, consult with professionals, but listen to your heart. The majority of adoptions have some bumpy spots, but you'll get through them if this is the right child.--donnach

Understand your limitations.... and don't let anyone talk you into anything you are not comfortable with (although you should keep an open mind!)--emmacarolinesmom

Reach out for support during tough times.... Our first adoption took a long time. During the midst of it, I got really down and avoided the support groups that we had been going to during the initial phases. In hindsight, I think that was a big mistake, and I would have been better off mentally if I had not withdrawn.--pbj mom

Be prepared for a loooooonnnnnngg wait.... That way, if it's shorter you'll be pleasantly surprised!--jlosburn

We live in Brooklyn, New York, but we used an agency in Seattle, Washington. We were very happy with this setup. If you use an out-of-state agency, you will need to get a home study done either through a licensed social worker or a locally based agency. This isn't necessarily more expensive.

Shop around for agencies; the fees differ wildly, and for different things. Make sure you understand what they are providing and that there are no hidden costs. Alsomake sure they are people you feel comfortable with. This can be a tense process, and you want to feel you can talk to these people.

See if any agencies are giving adoption workshops or informational meetings. It's good to meet the agency personnel face to face. Ask for references, and call them. Make sure any agency you use has a long track record.... Many new agencies have sprung up recently, and you want people who really know the ropes.

From personal experience: Anything can go wrong in international adoption and probably will. We waited a year for an adoption from Ecuador that never happened. It helped that we went with a large agency that was able to transfer our paperwork from Ecuador to China very easily. --Lisajane44

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