Sorry to have taken so long to enter the next step...Life happened and here it is a month later!
So you've decided adoption is the way for you to build your family, now what?! Hopefully, you've done your research and talked with your close family to discuss how adoption will be accepted and how it will change your family composition (See Step 1...If you need help with research, please ask. I'm happy to recommend some other info sources.). I recommend that you now begin the networking/agency finding process. TALK ABOUT ADOPTION! You don't have to rent a billboard to display your picture and phone number, but, as you start/join conversations about adoption, you will be surprised how quickly word will spread. And that is truly important! Here is what I know, but my knowledge is limited...so do your research and decide on WHAT TYPE OF ADOPTION YOU WILL PURSUE AND WHAT AGENCY, IF ANY, YOU WILL USE. We'll call this Step 2.
TYPES OF ADOPTION - DOMESTIC VS. INTERNATIONAL VS. FOSTER TO ADOPT
Domestic adoption simply means adopting a child(ren) living in the United States.
Obviously...adopting a child(ren) living outside of the United States.
FOSTER TO ADOPT
This option is for those who are interested in adopting a child(ren) who are currently in the U.S. foster care system.
Each type of adoption comes with it's own set of hurdles, costs, advantages, disadvantages, rules, time lines, etc. PLEASE educate yourselves...and PRAY.
Our adoption was domestic and private...Let me explain.
There are different types of domestic adoption. Those types are really defined by how you come to be placed with your child. There are private adoptions...those that require lawyers and a home study. There are agency adoptions...those that use an agency to facilitate the adoptive placement. There are also foster to adopt situations...those that use the foster care system to facilitate placement of children. Each of those types of adoption comes with it's own set of hurdles, costs, advantages, disadvantages, rules, time lines, etc. PLEASE educate yourselves...and PRAY.
There are a whole lot of adoption agencies out there...be picky! More likely than not, you will have to deal with an agency, at the very least for your home study. (Home study - the document that officially confirms you are fit to parent a child(ren) through adoption.) You should work with an agency that you feel very comfortable with and one that has plenty of experience, especially in the type of adoption you are pursuing. The home study has to be prepared by an accredited agency/agent and most agencies provide this service a la carte in case you are matched privately or are pursuing an international adoption. The agency you select should provide you with all the information you need and be willing to answer questions at any time. If you know people who have adopted or placed a child(ren) for adoption, ask them about the agency they used and what their experience was like. DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHOP...This is a critical step in the process. Your agency will become your lifeline to your child(ren) and his/her birth family. Something we realized after we selected our agency was that it really is important to select an agency that will care for your child's birth family. Often, birth families feel forgotten/neglected and it is important to us (will be to you eventually) that doesn't happen to our birth family. The opportunity for counseling is critical on both sides of adoption. You are going to need people who have been there in the trenches and are willing to help you along.
When we started looking for an agency to use, we got online and requested info packets from a few agencies. That information is going to be overwhelming! Pace yourself and maybe mull over each packet separately for a week or a few days. Don't look at them all at once and think that you'll be able to make a decision. Give it some time and PRAY!
Our home study agency for our son's adoption was Adoption Support Center in Indianapolis. We are adopting through their agency this time. They are incredible ladies who work very hard to serve both sides of the adoption equation. We love them and would highly recommend them. However, just because they were a good fit for us doesn't mean they will be a good fit for you. At the beginning of our adoption journey, we also worked with Christian World Adoption. They are an agency that specializes in international adoption. I think they would have been a good fit for us, if we had decided to adopt internationally, but God had a different plan for us. ASC and CWA are both online and both offer information packets via their websites. ASC specializes in domestic infant adoptions, but they also provide home studies for those seeking to adopt privately or internationally.Those are two agencies that we have experienced and would feel comfortable recommending to you for further investigation.
In your decision making, please make prayer a priority. Pray for your child(ren), their birth families, the agency, your family and friends, clarity and peace...God will provide you with the children He has planned for you as you walk in His obedience.