This is one of the hardest questions I get asked. Choosing an adoption agency is like choosing a hairstylist … no, it’s like choosing a baby doctor … no, no, it’s like choosing a church … no, it’s like choosing a marriage counselor.
Okay, I don’t know what it’s like. It’s hard to compare it to anything else. This much I do know: The two most important attributes to consider in choosing and adoption agency are excellence and motivation.
Excellence: The process of adoption is arduous. There are dozens of legal hurdles to overcome. Documents need to be filled out precisely and submitted in a timely fashion. Often times government organizations that oversee the adoption process will give preference to an agency that has a faithful track record of excellence.
Motivation: You want the agency you choose to be as much philosophically on-board with you as you can. For my wife and I, it was very important to us that our agency understand our Christian worldview. We want this perspective to shape everything that we think and do. There is a lot of counsel out there about the psychology of caring for adopted children, but very little from a Christian worldview.
So, that being said, here are six things I recommend guide you in the decision-making process:
1. Pray. I just met with a couple from Montgomery yesterday that expressed the amazing things they saw God do as they began to pray. Pray that God will lead you to an agency that will be like-minded with you in allowing the inspired Word of God to guide your every move.
2. Counsel. If you know someone who has adopted, call them and ask who they used. Ask about their experience and if they would recommend using that agency or another one. If you don’t know someone (or you just want my opinion) call me, and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts: 334-612-3406.
3. Research. Pick out 2 or 3 agencies you like and dig around the internet about them. Look at their mission and values. See what countries they adopt from and what their staff look like.
4. First Impression. These matter. Pick up the phone and call them. Is the person you talk with engaging and excited about the step of faith you are taking. This is not conclusive either way; one may catch someone on a good day or a bad day, but it is at least one indicator.
5. Interview the Agency about the “Why?”. Sit down and meet with the agency. Ask them all your questions about why they do what they do. In my opinion, the “why” of adoption is foundational. If your agency doesn’t get your “why”, then move on to someone who does.
6. Make a decision. Once you have prayed, sought counsel, done your research, and made contact with the agencies you’re interested in, it’s time to make a decision. Just like there is no perfect hairstylist, marriage counselor, or church, there is no perfect adoption agency. Make the best decision you can and trust God that he is sovereignly guiding you.
Here’s a list of agencies to get you started in your research.
Photo by Skånska Matupplevelser.