Adopting is a personal journey. It only makes sense that the process of choosing the type of adoption and the type of agency is intensely personal as well. In the process of adopting, we moved several times. Not the easiest way to go about things, but it did give us several experiences to share with others.
When we started the journey many years ago, we started by making a list of things that were important to us. In our case, we were not able to have biological children, so it was important to us to have an experience most like birthing a child—and because I had no idea how to parent, let alone parent a toddler. We chose to adopt through domestic infant adoption. In the area we were in, we didn’t have much of a choice in terms of agency. However, we were fortunate that they were a fantastic agency and our social worker was a wonderful help throughout the entire process.
These days, and in most areas, there is a plethora of agencies to choose from. You’ll want an agency that supports what matters most to you. Dig deep, because this process will rub you raw emotionally. You will want and need an agency that supports you at your highest and lowest. Find people in your area who have adopted and ask them. Ask their friends. Adoption touches every family, so you’ll likely find someone with a wonderful, or not wonderful, experience who can recommend an agency to you.
Public vs. private often lies in whether you’re choosing to do foster care or adopt domestically. There are positives and negatives to both processes. When you’re working with a public agency, you have fewer choices and less control. That’s harder for some of us than others. However, adopting children in need of a safe, stable home and family is great. We chose to have an outside agency represent us in the process of foster adoption. That also means that we chose to foster children who would most likely be headed toward termination and adoption. It removed some of the risk for us. We didn’t have a lifestyle at the time that supported a traditional foster experience. In our second placement, our daughter ended up being reunited with her biological mother for a short period of time.
Our social worker with our agency has been a life saver in communicating what we need and what our child needs and helping us navigate the system and the numerous bumps along the way. For us, it was the right choice. If you enjoy the process of traditional foster care and all the highs and lows, you’ll fare well in the public setting as well. Both exist for a reason. It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation.
Karla King is a passionate open adoption advocate, adoptive mom, foster mom, wife, reader, avid creator of food, stay-at-home mom, and Christian. She loves taking care of her family, supporting others on the adoption journey, and watching the world through her children’s eyes.