When you first start the international adoption process, you may find the information to be seemingly limitless and therefore overwhelming. In fact, many families struggle to figure out which program and agency is the ideal fit for them because of the sheer volume of information out there. If this sounds familiar to you, keep in mind that you are certainly not alone!
While some information you encounter online is helpful, other information may not be necessary or important now at your current stage in the process. Use the tips below to help guide your international adoption agency search by allowing you to focus on the information that is truly necessary to know right now.
Get Some Background Information
Many agencies that perform international adoptions offer free informational meetings in person or online. Attend these meetings to get a better idea of what the process entails and how an agency works. Even if you are not particularly interested in an agency’s program online, the presentations will give you an idea of what you will need to consider before you select a program and what questions you may want to ask other agencies for comparison purposes. You will also get the chance to hear the answers to questions from other families considering adoption. Not only can you learn more this way, but this can be helpful if you’re not entirely sure what questions you want to ask yet.
Sometimes, accounts from families who have adopted recently are included, and you may have the chance to ask and listen to a question-and-answer session with these families. This can be very helpful as well, especially if you don’t know anyone who has adopted personally.
Look Into the Agencies a Little Deeper
Once you’ve attended some informational meetings, you may have a shortlist of potential agency candidates based on what you saw, read, and heard. Look a little deeper into those agencies to narrow your selection down. Online adoption discussion forums, for example, may feature first-hand accounts of the families who used an agency you are thinking about working with. You may find blogs chronicling a family’s adoption process with a particular agency and even agency reviews. Take the time needed to really dive into all of this data so you have a fairly clear idea of what it is like to work with a particular agency.
At this stage, you may discover an agency that is a perfect fit, and now you have to look for a program within that agency that is ideal for you. Or, you may find that you need to look to a different agency with a similar feel because you need a different program than the ones offered by your first choice agency. Overall, you need a program that is a match for you, so keep in mind that it may take some time to find the right agency with a program that meets your criteria.
Explore the Larger Framework
Now that you have some context, you can take a look at international adoption from a broader perspective. The U.S. Department of State has adoption statistics online that you can review, or you can start to explore countries that you have a connection to and may want to adopt in.
Speak to an Attorney
An attorney experienced in international adoption is likely going to be one of your greatest assets during the adoption process. They will explain things to you in detail, answer your questions and help guide you. There are many legal considerations in this type of adoption, including the Hague Convention, so it’s wise to have legal assistance on your side.