Re: Seeking a domestic adoption agency
I knew that I wanted to adopt through the foster system and had an excellent experience with Family Builders, which has an Oakland office. I also highly recommend Pact (also in Oakland). Again, they did not do our adoption but are an excellent resource. I wish you the best!
Re: Adoption through Alameda County
We have adopted two children in Alameda County. Our first was through the county. The process, even though the workers were wonderful, was isolating and long. Our second child was adopted with the help of Family Builders in Oakland. The process for our second child's adoption was much easier, less stressful, and quicker. Our home study took months instead of two years for our first daughter. Once our second child was in our home, we did foster/adoption, our social worker visited our family frequently... she returned calls promptly... she also was knowledgeable. Family Builders made a great effort to support new and returning families. I would highly recommend them. anonymous
Re: What adoption agency did you use? Were you happy?
I wish you the very best in figuring out about adoption! My headline is that I have a wonderful, lovely kid and the fears with which I entered the process are falling away as the daily life of raising a child takes over. I knew that I wanted to adopt a child through the foster system and went through Family Builders, and I could not be happier about the training and support they provided all the way through the process. My social worker was outstanding and I feel tremendously grateful to have met people at every step along the way who are working with immense integrity in California's decidedly imperfect child welfare system. The San Francisco Chronicle just published an article about Family Builders's Director, Jill Jacobs, last week--look it up online. I wish you the best!
Re: Foster adoption agencies for Alameda County
We just finalized the adoption of our son through Family Builders, and I can't say enough good things about this organization. We had one social worker do our intake, then were without a social worker until after the MAPP training (when we met several of the agency's workers and were impressed with all of them). At that point, we were assigned a social worker who did our home study - she came to our home once a week for two months, I think, and asked us incredibly personal questions; I imagine personalities can really make or break this process. We really clicked with her, and were disappointed when we found out she wouldn't be our placement social worker, given the relationship we'd forged.
However, we discovered that Family Builders just seems to attract great people, and we ended up working with someone through the placement process who we all came to really care about. Now that our adoption has finalized, we are thrilled to be free of ''social workers,'' but have to admit that we miss visits from our placement worker now that they've finally come to an end (and our son still talks about our social worker, though he never mentions his own county worker).
I understand your concerns about not having that resource up front as you navigate the larger process, but we found that even though there were times we had to play advocate with the agency to keep things moving (until we got to placement), the combination of wonderful social workers, and a truly open attitude about what makes a family provided us with the consistent resources we needed from the agency - and indeed continues as we attend classes and support groups they provide.
Best of luck! It's a daunting and ultimately very worthwhile experience. Finally a Family
We had a bad experience with Family Builders. We did everything they asked us to as quickly as possible and waited and waited for a social worker to be assigned to us. The person who did the home visit was rude (even laughed at the size of our kitchen) and we were generally given the impression that we were not being taken seriously. It could be because we are a lesbian couple, however Family Builders actively recruits gay families. When talking to a friend about our problems and she asked who we were working with she said, ''Say no more..'' She had a single gay male friend who got strung along as well. This was four years ago, so maybe something has changed. By the way, we were willing to adopt an older child but gave up and had our own. anon
I hear wonderful things about going through the county for adoption. I have several friends who used them and are very happy with the children that were placed in their families. They received support, timely placements and beautiful children. I have not been happy with the service or support that I have received from Family Builders and will be switching to the County. FB does a lot of advertising but I would not recommend them. Adoptive Mom