Monday, June 2, 2008

Blog Buzz

RLC has started a new cool thing. It's called Blog Buzz and every week we'll ask 3 new questions and give bloggers the chance to write their answers! The cool thing is that it gives you some ideas for blogging that will also help others! Then, after you write your post, just tag it with the right blog buzz badge (found HERE) and your answers will be fed to the RLC site. This way, we can compile this info for others to read your answers and for you to read theirs!

This week's questions are:
1. Adoption General
What advice would you give someone choosing an agency? What questions would you advise they ask? What resources or organizations would you suggest they reference?

2. Adoption -Specific / Ethiopia
Why did you decide to adopt from Ethiopia? What are the pros and cons of adopting from this county?

3. Red Letters Topics: Creative Writing ~
Put yourself in the place of a person who lives in extreme poverty. Write your feelings, fears and daily life struggles


Choose one, write your answer, tag it with the right badge (found here), label it and be a part of something cool! Can't wait to read more!

I'm starting with question 1 (I think I'll do the creative writing one later this week too1!)

Looking for an agency is such a hard process. There is not a TON of information out there to help and every agency is different. You are also, likely, questioning a Christian agency whose business is to take care of orphans. . it just feels weird to question them! However, this is a huge decision that needs to be made carefully. Here are some suggestions. . .

For your heart. . .remember, this is an emotional decision. You are likely on a high and have your "rose colored glasses" on! Just know that about yourself. The truth is that there are a ton of agencies. . many good, but a lot of bad ones too. As sad as it is to even write, you have to do your homework! Just because they are a "Christian" agency, does not mean that they are completely ethical or the best agency ever. Make a list of what is important to you in an agency. Do you like adventure and can handle change well? Consider a pilot program. Do you want lots of communication? Check that with the references. There are pros and cons to small vs. large agencies. There are a lot of "mom and pop" type agencies. . some of them run well, some getting in over their heads. There are a lot of HUGE agencies as well. . some well run, some having lost focus. The point is. . put on your analytical self and carefully do your research! Here are some ideas of quesitons to ask. . .

1. Check the embassy website for info or tips, Check guidestar.com for info on Non-profits. Check AdoptionAgencyRatings.com, Google them and look through numbers of sites to see what you find. Join all the yahoogroups you can find. Privately email specific people you find on the group for more candid information.

2. Look for a licensed agency. Not all countries require the agency to be licensed here in the US. However, if they are not. . you have very little recourse if things do not go well. Just know what you are getting into if you choose not to go this route. . some even suggest using Hague accredited agencies whenever possible (even if it isn't required) just to have another level of accountability.

3. Check their refund policy / read contract carefully. I am a part of a yahoogroup that researches agencies from across the country. I can not even describe some of the stories I have heard. Most contracts are written to protect the agency, more than the parent. Ask what happens if the country program falls through, you pull out of the program, or for some other reason do not come home with a child. What is refunded? Also look for when the money is due. Some agencies either do not have you pay until the adoption is done or hold your money in an account, only to be used when certain steps are completed. Also, it is the advice of other adoption professionals to NEVER sign a contract that leaves you unable to file complaints or anything with a gag clause. Have your attorney read your contract.

4. References. 2 things. 1. Ask your agency for a list of references. however, know that, of course, they are going to give you their happiest clients! hence, #2, find your own references for the agency. Go to google.com and enter google blog search. In this site, enter your country + adoption and check out these blogs. Also, check RLC and their adoption bloggers. You want to find parents who have been through the process within the last 2 years. Also, when looking at references information: don't discount good stories, but don't discount bad ones either. All agencies will have both. . what you are looking for is totality of character. You are looking for bad situations and how the agency handled them. ASK people lots of questions. . direct ones. Would you recommend this agency? What are the best / worst things? Did you see anything unethical? How was your child cared for? Was pricing changed? What was the communication like? How was your travel experience? etc. . the deal is, you can ask the agency all the questions you want. . but, that's just not good consumer reports. They are paid to represent themselves. . .you need to ask their clients!

Ok, I think that's enough for now! Make sure to check the RLC feed in the next few days to read more. If you are looking at agencies. . I know it feels hard. .but this is the best research you'll ever do! Remember, you are entrusting this agency with one of the most important aspects of your life! I'd say, Good luck. . but, I don't believe in luck! So. . God Speed!



**note: These questions come not only from my own experience, but from my conversations with many adoptive parents adopting from various countries with various agencies. Feel free to email me if you'd like info on the adoption research yahoogroup. That is a great resource.

8 comments:

Jess said...

I love what they are doing, I hope they change the questions often it would be helpful to see all the answers.

Donna Barber said...

You did a great job covering this. I dont have anything to add except dont believe what they put on their websites either. Anyone can say anything on websites but it doesnt make it true. I like what you added about agency being "Christian" and are not necessarily better than non- Christian ones.

Now if we were talking humanitarians well that is another subject in itself.

Misi said...

Hey Brandi,
I gave you some "linky love". Come to my site and then follow from there!

Jess said...

don't you think it's time for a new post??? You must have a lot of people that love you to maintain readership.

Lauren said...

Thanks so much for your advice on choosing an agency, we have our application all filled out and I'm picking up pictures to send with it tomorrow. I'm planning on sending it in on Monday. I never even thought to ask about their refund policy. Good idea.
This is the first time I've read your blog and I'm really enjoying it. I've got 3 kids 4 and under and I thought I was busy:)

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