Tuesday's Answers: Would You Recommend Your Adoption Agency?

Does your agency deserve a star?

Thank you to everyone who gave invaluable input to this Tuesday Topic:

Which adoption agency did you use, and would you recommend them?

I am sharing small excerpts of your responses here; you can read the full comments in the comments section of today’s post, the original Tuesday Topic post, and in last week’s Tuesday’s Answers. The longer comments are excellent and worth a few extra clicks of the computer. Here is what you all had to say:
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Blogger Staci said…

We are using Dove Adoptions International. www.adoptions.net
We are waiting for our referral and thus far have had a 100% positive experience

…. when I emailed them a follow-up question I got a response in about 2 hours. This was indicative of all our communication wtih them: it is always upfront and timely.

…when I called Dove and told them the same story, why we were looking into adoption,the person on the phone didn’t bat an eye. She didn’t question me, didn’t make me feel like an idiot that an infant was crying in the background while I was telling her we wanted more. I felt safe with these people. They love adoption and love families who want to adopt. Period.

…[they]allow simultaneous adoption of unrelated children.

Blogger Mamita J said…

We used Carolina Hope Christian Adoption Agency to adopt our daughter from Guatemala. They were outstanding. We had major complications in our process. Most agencies would have dropped the referral and given us an “easy” case. They offered that to us, but they were willing to stick it out and follow through to the end. They never asked for more money, even though it dragged on for over two years.

They recently merged with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, which was featured on Focus on the Family for their “snowflakes” embryo adoption program.

Two thumbs up: final answer. 🙂
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Anonymous Anonymous said…

We used Crossroads Adoption Services in Minnesota. I would not recommend them to anyone. We have felt completely alone throughout this whole process and I have had to research adoption laws and figure things out on my own. All they really did was send our forms on to the adoption board in the Philippines for us. I even had to find out from someone else what was suppose to be in our dossier since the agency would never tell me…
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Blogger Matthew and Amanda said…

I have actually been thinking about this question a lot lately. We’ve used two agencies, CHSFS for our son and AAI for our daughter. We had the “unique” experience of having lots of delays with both adoptions. Lucky us! Honestly neither agency was great at communication or follow-through. But for me it boils down to this: Adoption is about finding families for children, not finding children for families. Even with all their faults, AAI lives by that statement, CHSFS does not.
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Blogger VanVoorsts said…

We used Children’s Home Society and Family Services out of Minnesota. We adopted through their waiting child program. Hands down, it has been a “perfect” experience in terms of our expectations and needs being met completely by CHS. They have consistently displayed concern for children above all else and have continued to help our family through their post adoption services.

Blogger Shannon- said…

CHSFS. And it depends. So many varying factors. Each family, state, agency, country is different so the variables are overwhelming. I would not discourage people from using them- but there may be different options more suitable.

Anonymous said…

CHSFS-Yes!
No agency is perfect, but CHSFS does a great job of preserving as much of your child’s history as possible through a video lifebook–interviewing living family members and others who were important to your child’s journey. Video of our son’s family and first home is priceless–and to have them explain on video why they had to relinquish him and the love they have for him is worth the lack of communication that CHSFS being a very large agency is often guilty of.Delete

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Anonymous said…

So on my first adoption, I adopted special needs from China and went through BAAS. They are small. They were (are) fantastic….I do not have a single complaint and would highly recommend them.

My second adoption from Ethiopia has not gone as well. That is why I am replying anonymous. I am still enroute. I hate to say anything negative about an agency, because I feel the burden for the children they have to place (they have their own orphanage house) and maybe my words would turn folks away from being the family for these kids. That said, I went with a small agency, again, one that does just Ethiopia..although there is so much I love about the smallness, the communication: accurate, timely, was horrible…Delete

OpenID lorismusings said…

We used MAPS for our first adoption. They are based in Maine and I am in Oregon, so that was a bit hard not being able to meet them face to face…

…I did have issues with returning calls or getting back to me with information.

… Everything went pretty smoothly – there were only a couple of glitches and I don’t know that they were their fault. Adoption is just like that.

Our current adoption is with Journeys of the Heart.

… They have been great to work with and have returned my calls and given me information or answered questions in a very timely manner.

By the way, the country is India for both adoptions.

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Ann said…

Holt International in Eugene, Oregon. Love them, love them, love them! We adopted all three of our kids through Holt. They are considered the gold standard in ethical adoptions and were pioneers in international adoption starting in the 1950’s. What I like best is their belief in keeping birth families together if at all possible.

… I also love Holt’s postadoption services. When we went to Vietnam to get our son, Holt helped us arrange a visit with our dd foster mother during our layover in Korea. (Our dd had been adopted 10 years before.) On short notice they arranged for a social worker to open the Holt Korea office on a Saturday, arranged for her foster mother to visit, sent us all the info on how to get from the airport to the office, and even took us out to lunch–all FREE of charge and with only a few days notice!

…An adoption might take a little longer and the child might be a little older but it is done with the highest ethical standards and all fees will be exactly as stated–no hidden fees/orphanage donations etc. When we adopt again it will be through Holt.Delete

Blogger Laurel said…

We adopted 3 siblings from an orphanage in Ghana last year, that does “Private Adoptions”. Not only was our 9 month process very difficult, but we now have a crisis on our hands in which we wish we had an agency to support us and to walk us through it.

..Therefore, I would NOT recommend doing an adoption privately, without an agency. The reason some orphana
ges choose not to become a licensed agency is so that they do not have to follow the same rules, and there is no accountability.

I have witnessed too many bribes, payoffs, and blackmail to be able to trust a private adoption again. Bio. families are being paid off. Gov’t agencies are being paid off. Adoptive families are being blackmailed. Adoptive families are being lied to. I’ve seen it all … either in my own adoption, or in the friend’s adoption that I was a part of in Ghana. It can be ugly … very, very ugly.

On the flip side … if you are wanting to adopt from Ghana or Ethiopia … I have heard nothing but wonderful reports from families that have used, or are in the process with, AAI.

Blogger Joy said…

Adoption Avenues – yes I would recommend them and use them again – affordable ($13,000 for 1 – less for HIV), professional, excellent court record (about 9 out of 10 pass the first time, the rest pass the second time) Children are always 100% paper ready before referral and they do not add any rules that ET doesn’t have – ie you can adopt unrelated, you can have a large family, you can be pregnant etc. Also, they work with a large private orphanage that has about 15 or more small satelite orphanages that feed into it, so there are ALWAYS children, babies waiting to come into the main orphanages in Addis to be adopted. On the down side, referrals are taking longer now (+/- 5 months) and the director is to the point, not chatty or warm and fuzzy.

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Blogger Paul and DeeDee said…

We used All God’s Children International and I would recommend them to others. We have had a great experience with them and felt that for the most part they were reliable and kept the communication open and were available to answer our questions. For the most part, everyone I know of also had a great experience but I do know of two families that did not. I would say that every agency will have problems and that you need to make sure you are asking the right questions and not letting anything that seems questionable go without lots of discussion.

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Blogger The Hull’s at #4 said…

Lisa, we used All God’s Children Intl. and we had an incredible experience with them. We plan to go back for #2 this spring and will go through AGCI again.

Blogger neely said…

We used All God’s Children International. We had a really great experience with them and I would definitely recommend them to others.
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Blogger Courtney said…

we are using America World Adoption Association. we are still “in the beginning” (working on our home study) but we have LOVED them so far…loved how they send frequent updates, have conference calls once a month, pray at the beginning of meetings and phone calls…just love how they care for us and the orphans hearts so well!Delete


Anonymous said…

We used Plan Loving Adoptions Now, and no I would not recommend them too highly. Though we did not actually have any problem with our adoption, we have since heard from a very reliable source that none of our letters to our childrens birth mother ever reached her, nor did her letter, that WAS hand delivered to Plan, ever reach us. They have said they never recieved it. We are very sad about this loss for our children and their birth mother, especially since it was an older child adoption and the memories of her are very clear.Delete

Anonymous
Blogger Jennifer said…

We used Christan World Adoption for our first adoption and I would never ever recommmend them to anyone. There has been a lot of bad press on them lately so I don’t really need to elaborate. We are using International Adoption Net for our current adoption and so far are very happy with them.

Kendra the Bow Lady said…

We are using CWA (Christian World Adoption) for our Kyrgyzstan adoption. We chose them because they had the strongest relationship with Kyrgyzstan. We knew God would lead us to a country first, then we would prayfully find the agency we thought would be best for that country. We love CWA! Their integrity has proven invaluable through the delays and issues with Kyrg.

Blogger The Barr Family said…

I used CWA and I would not recommend them..even though you used them after I used them…and think if you had waited just days/weeks you would never have used them and you would not have your boys…so I suppose in the end it was a God thing. I, too, love my boys and am glad they are part of my family- and the best thing CWA gave me aside from my two youngest sons- was a group of incredibly wonderful loving and supportive women…that was a true gift. All CWA families who would never recommend CWA- but whose kids and lives are all interconnected.Delete

Blogger Ajay said…

We used Christian World Adoption for our first infant adoption from Ethiopia and are now beginning our second adoption with Christian World Adoption using their Hope Waiting Child program. Although there were a few bumps in the road concerning paperwork in our situation I would have to say, yes, I’d recommend them…especially in country. We enjoyed them as we share a God-centered heart for adoption,they are a large and well respected agency among Ethiopians. They had great communication with the orphanages they worked with and the children seemed loved and cared for. Con’s to the agency is that I would like to see that they would be open to an HIV+ program, and be open to facilitating meetings between children and their birth family members when available. Please let me know if you have any questions about using this agency. Chadnajay@gmail.com

Anonymous Anonymous said…

We used Faithful Adoption. I don’t know if I’d use them again. I think they are honest. They were inexpensive when one considers the cost of international adoption. But in some ways we got what we payed for as far as service and support were concerned. After 3 years we have our two children home. We’re glad to be through that part of our journey and as I made a photo album for our son this weekend I thought that now, in hindsight, some of it was fun and funny. At the time it was long and grueling! As parenting 7 kids sometimes still is! 😉Delete

Blogger Carmen said…

Hi! I don’t know if this will help many people, but if you live in Arizona and want to adopt domestically, Christian Family Care Services is wonderful and we would definitely recommend them. They helped us adopt two of our children.Delete

Blogger christall said…

We used IAG/WPA and would NEVER, in a million years use them again unless there were no other options… Ever.

I thank God every single day th
at our daughter has been home because not one of them is because of anything that they did.

We were their 1st HIV adoption and we were very understanding and compassionate about the steep learning curve but ultimately we were told that our adoption was “too much work” and we were basically sent on our way…

Blogger Marissa said…

We have used and are currently using Adoption Advocates International. Would I recommend them? Yes, and I always do. That’s not to say they are perfect. They’ve certainly frustrated me on a couple of occations.

I’ve come to realize that when it comes to adoption agencies it’s important to let go of the annoyances and look at the big picture. Ethics is by far the most important issue and AAI is certainly ethical.Delete

Blogger waitingonhim said…

… We are using Children’s Hope International. We have been very happy with them. Although the adoption is not yet complete, I have been very thankful for their prompt response to any questions we have had. They are very professional and have been sensitive to the needs of an adoptive parent. I am sure I will have more to share once our kiddos are home.

Matt sent this comment via email:
We used Celebrate Children International and loved them! Sue Hedberg, the director, is fantastic, as is her office staff.

I would highly recommend looking into her services if you are searching for an agency. We started the Ethiopian program with one of the large, popular, agencies and just weren’t getting the one on one treatment that we have come to expect during such an important process. So we began looking elsewhere and were fortunate enough to be introduced to Sue and CCI.

She is very hands on, and travels to Ethiopia multiple times per year to visit villages that aren’t typically served by adoption agencies. Our oldest son came from a village 14 hours from Addis, and had Sue not been willing to travel to that extremely remote and underserved region, he and many of his friends who have been adopted through the help of CCI would not have been afforded to opportunity to be welcomed into loving homes like ours.

My Answer:

Russ and I have adopted from only one country, Ethiopia, so our experience isn’t as diverse as some of yours. Three years ago we used Christian World Adoption for our first adoption of Eby and Little Man. We met many wonderful Christian families through the online parent support group, but when some families expressed dissatisfaction with CWA, the online group was eliminated. It was very stressful working with them. We also were not impressed with their ethics. CWA does not facilitate or “allow” meetings with birthfamilies, and refuses to place HIV+ children. I would not recommend them , but as one of the Anonymous comment-ers mentioned, I found my boys through CWA and I will always be grateful.

I should also note that there were four comments regarding CWA, two positive and two negative. Clearly different families have different experiences, unique expectations, and needs. This highlights the need to do our research when selecting an agency.

We adopted Dimples and Honeybee in two separate adoptions through Adoption Advocates International and recommend them wholeheartedly. They will not hold your hand, but they provide an online support group that is fantastic. They are also exceedingly ethical and do excellent humanitarian work. Their dossier instructions are clear and simple as are their post-placement report instructions. We have been quite happy with them. They could significantly improve their post-placement services for families in crisis, especially given their emphasis on placing older children.

For families interested in adopting HIV+ children, AAI is leading the way in placing these special children. They are the most experienced agency and have placed the most HIV+ children by far. AAI has a fantastic caseworker devoted solely to these families.

Thank you again for sharing your experiences. I will post this week’s Tuesday Topic in just a moment!

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Chantelle
    October 20, 2009

    Just came across your Tuesday Topic too late, but wish I could have added our experience because I didn't see our agency mentioned. We adopted twice through Dillon International and found them to be a WONDERFUL, warm and compassionate agency and recommend them HIGHLY to anyone!! 🙂

    Reply
  2. Ajay
    October 20, 2009

    In response to Anonymous who used Crossroads Adoption Services of Minnesota. We are just around the corner from choosing our homestudy agency and Crossroads is one of the two agencies that we are deciding between. I just called Crossroads of Minnesota today. I would appreciate hearing more about your experience first hand and why you would not recommend them. Please contact me if you're interested in sharing. Thank you.
    Chadnajay@gmail.com

    Thanks everyone for sharing all of your experiences!

    Reply
  3. darci
    October 20, 2009

    oh dear..we WANTED to use All God's Children, but being in Canada could not…so no, I would NOT recommend our agency, Imagine, which went bankrupt! 🙁

    Reply
  4. Anonymous
    October 20, 2009

    We used International Adoption Guides before/while they were being merged with WPA…before the merge HANDS DOWN we would have said YES YES -use them…afterwards….well, we will be adopting again and it will NOT be with them. That is 100% for sure!

    Reply

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