Let’s Get Serious
I mentioned last week that I had some meets to share regarding our Adoption journey, and I’m here today to spill the beans.
It isn’t really the kind of “beans” that I’d like to be spilling, but beans are beans, people. And beaners can’t be choosers.
Nevermind. Sometimes I get carried away with a common saying and just can’t disengage.
Studly and I took a huge first step a few weeks ago, and actually started contacting several organizations regarding adoption (organizations being an all-inclusive term to refer to facilitators, law centers, and agencies). Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but for us… it absolutely IS a big deal. It’s as though we’re finally putting our money where our mouth is.
To be clear, though… we’re not putting money anywhere just yet. (See? Another saying and now I’m just confusing people again. *smack! Get it together, Hope!)
We contacted several different organizations we had begun to identify by scouring website after website after website… I think you get the picture. Basically, thanks to the internets (thank you Al Gore!), there are a lot of resources on adoption.
Honestly, (and this may sound crazy, but its true) we were able to rule out a bunch rather quickly after only briefly visiting their website. For us, a cheaply created or poorly maintained website indicated come less-than-desirable qualities for an organization to which we’d be paying tens of thousands of dollars to help us grow our family. So if they can’t even build or maintain what I imagine to be the primary means of getting business in this day and age, then I’m not sure we are interested in digging any further.
Although we plan to do much more research before submitting any applications, we did find about 3 good organizations as our starting point.
After contacting them, we found that 1 was not licensed in our state even though their website initially said that they did (maybe this was more recent?), 1 sent us a good-sized packet of information through e-mail, and 1 shipped us an information kit through the mail.
Out of the 2 that actually sent us information, only 1 asked us our income right off the bat. This may not be a big deal, but it is a bit annoying. Quite a few agencies charge fees based on your income, and I find that to be a bunch of crap. Call me crazy, but that shouldn’t be an initial question. Should it be part of your home study and overall assessment as to whether or not you can provide for the child? 100%. Absolutely. No question. Should it be what you use to determine your fee schedule? Heck no! Mostly because you don’t know the entire situation just based off of a single number on a piece of paper. Sorry – already jumping up onto a soap box. *jumps down… *deep breaths…
Where was I?!
Oh right. The 1 that asked our income information right off of the bat was more local, and also happened to be the one that sent us some information through e-mail. I’m fine with the fact that it came through e-mail, but there’s something to be said about snail mail that just seems more personal. Regardless, the conversation I had with the local organization was pretty short and not very helpful. She kept making statements to indicate that all of our questions would be answered… and they’d be more than happy to talk with us… etc etc, but I was already asking questions and those weren’t actual answers. I did try to get down to the reasoning and just asked if they needed to set up some kind of meeting with me and Studly, thinking that maybe this was why she wasn’t being as helpful, and then the truth came out – “all we needed to do” to have this conversation was to submit our application.
I’m not going to pay to apply with you before I even have information regarding your organization, what it provides, it’s process and average timeline, etc. Who would do that? Well, there must be some people who would do it because it seemed to be their standing policy. Umm… no thanks.
As I’m sure you can already see from the story so far, it isn’t all that hard to weed out the non-contenders. And though the list of what’s acceptable would absolutely change from family to family, there’s already going to be something that is identified as a non-negotiable and you’ll find that these things can really help to thin the crowd of options pretty quickly.
So that brings me to the final organization that we contacted – the one that mailed us an information kit. One of the perks of this organization is that they are nationally licensed, meaning they can work with adoptions in any of the 50 states. And that translates to more placements each year – averaging around 300. I’m not sure if you’ve done any research on these numbers, but that’s a really high number of placements for one organization. We reviewed the information kit that they sent us, which included: a DVD, additional information on their organization, an example of the packet that’s given to potential birth mothers in the selection process, an application, a wall calendar, and a personal letter from the lady that I spoke with on the phone during my initial contact with them. It was full of helpful stuff.
During my initial phone conversation, and before we got the information packet, they also set us up with an appointment to video-chat with our adoption consultant. They were so well organized, very informative, and they took me seriously from the first moment we spoke – which was very nice.
One would think that having taken the step to contact an adoption organization to begin would indicate to them that we were serious about getting information. It’s pretty sad that only 1 of the many phone calls that I made left me with the impression that this was the case and I wasn’t just another blank face on the other end of the millionth phone call they’d had that day.
Anywho…. fast forward to Monday evening when we had our video-chat consultation.
It. Was. Sooo helpful.
We both felt pretty comfortable with her and she was very patient with our ridiculous amount of questions (correction: MY ridiculous amount of questions). Studly and I both answered some of her questions and after it was over (over an hour later), we both felt as though it really helped to answer our lingering questions and put things into perspective for us.
Surprisingly, we hadn’t had to submit any forms or pay a single penny to just have a full conversation with someone.
And I was starting to think that’d be difficult to find!
Between the information that we gathered from this consultation, and the research we have conducted over the past several months (though to be honest, adoption is something we’ve been familiar with for many years, due to my work in the pregnancy clinic a few years before we moved)… it all adds up to a long list of things to think through and consider.
We’re still digesting it all, really, and have already had at least 2 lengthy conversations about everything just since Monday’s meeting.
I have a lot to share with you, but this post is already getting a little long, so I’ll leave you with this for now.
Lessons learned so far in this stage:
- Each adoption organization is not created equally.
- Also, there is so much to think about and consider that a lot of the time… it feels more like a business deal than it does adopting a child. And that’s tough. So much of our heart and emotion is in this, but we haven’t even made it to the point, yet, where that really comes into play.
- You need money. No question. BUT there are a ton of resources (grants, low-interest and even interest free loans, tax credits, employer contributions, etc) to help you get all of that money together.
- There’s still a lot to do before we can submit an application anywhere.
That last bullet may be the hardest to swallow, but it’s really important. We’re not doing anyone any favors by “just” submitting the application.
The biggest lesson so far is this: You need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re ready.
But that’s definitely another post for another day.
I look forward to sharing more of this piece of our lives with y’all soon! And in the meantime, any other adoptive families out there with some pointers? We’ll take all the help we can get, for sure.