How do you figure out which adoption agency is the one you want to work with?
When we were thinking about an international adoption, it seemed pretty straightforward -- we knew a number of people who had successfully adopted children from different countries. Plus, certain agencies specialize in certain countries. Therefore, we just needed to figure out the country we'd be interested in, talk to the people we knew who might have dealt with agencies supporting that country, and then interview a few agencies to decide who we wanted to work with to find a child for our family.
It got a bit more complicated when we shifted our view toward a domestic adoption. We only know one couple who adopted domestically (twice and very successfully) and they spoke very highly of their experience with their agency. However, my call to the agency revealed that we weren't going to be a good fit due to the agency's Board of Directors-mandated mission to place children in Christian households. With a non-practicing Jew and a never-practicing Catholic/Protestant/Unitarian/Episcopalian/who-knows-what making up our loving household, I think we'd have trouble qualifying. But hey, that's cool and no hard feelings. There are plenty of other agencies out there.
And there are. And that's the challenge. Because we simply need a Rhode Island-licensed agency to conduct the home study and help with paper work, we have the option to work with any agency in any state for the actual placement. However, a simple Google search for "domestic adoption agencies" reveals 2,200+ hits. Using one of the general adoption resource sites, we find 399 domestic agencies. How on earth do we choose? Part of me just wants to print out the list and just start throwing darts to see which ones I hit. I've held off on doing this as I'm not very good at darts so I might miss them all, which would bring our adoption journey to a confused halt.
We've started to talk to a few and it's been an eye-opening experience. Jennifer highlighted one such call in a recent "In the present moment mom" blog entry. Eventually we'll figure out which one to work with but while there will hopefully be some level of comfort and confidence in the agency, part of me feels like it will simply be the result of a wild-assed guess. Of course, while WAGs are fine from time to time, it's not exactly my preferred basis for adding a child to our family.