Re: First-time adoption - which agency? which attorney?
We used Holt International Children's Services in Oregon (they're national and have a California office). They are one of the oldest, largest and most reputable adoption agencies in the U.S. We adopted two children from southeast asia and have been VERY happy with Holt. The process is long (2 years+), paper-intensive and it's very hard to wait once you've been matched with a child. But it SHOULD take a long time - we were reassured to know Holt tries first to reunite families with birth children, then tries to place the child with a permanent family in their homeland, THEN the child becomes available for international adoption. We received a lot of information about our child's birthparent, each child lived with a loving foster family during the year+ between their birth and our adoption, and we got quarterly updates about the child's development, immunizations and regular health check-ups. Holt has a local social worker who helped us every step of the way, including helping us adjust once we suddenly were a ''family'' with a toddler. We all had major adjustment issues! I highly recommend Holt, and I wish you success, patience and joy as you build your family thru adoption! Happy Mom of Two
Re: Adopting a child from Thailand
We have been home for four months now with our beautiful 18 month old Thai son, adopted via Holt International Children's Services in Oregon. I recommend without reservation both our agency Holt, and adopting from Thailand. It takes 2 to 2 1/2 years from start to finish, but it's worth it. Holt is fantastic, and our 2 week trip to Thailand was wonderful. The Thai people were welcoming and supportive of our adoption, and now we are becoming part of the wonderful Thai community here in the East Bay. Holt works with Thailand Social Services to place the children in foster care instead of orphanages, so the level of individual attention and health care each child receives is excellent. Once you get matched with a Thai child via Holt, you get progress reports with a photo every 3 months - this helps during your wait to bring home your child. This is our first child, and while the adjustment to becoming parents of a toddler has been very challenging, our son is beautiful, well-tempered, and a joy. He is teaching us Thai words and we are teaching him English! Also I studied Thai for 3 months before we went over, and this helped with our son's transition and ours. We are so pleased we picked Thailand, and we are extremely lucky to be the proud parents of our son. Please contact me if you'd like to know more.
Re: Adopting an Asian Child
I highly recommend Holt International Children's Services for adopting an Asian child. Holt has been doing international adoptions for forty years. The adoption of our Korean infant daughter through Holt was relatively quick, inexpensive and hassle-free. I like the fact that Holt is a non-profit and its first priority is the welfare of the children in its care. See their website at www.holtinternational.org. betsy
I really must respond to much of the information I've seen posted. There are many fine agencies in the Bay Area and around the country that are doing marvelous work facilitating permanancy placement for children in need. But on behalf of the world's children I take grave insult at all the talk and intimation about how great it is to have children join your family when they are so young, and how some agencies are able to get better or younger children. Stop and think about this. As the mother of two children from Southeast Asia who joined our family at the ages of 4 and 3, I think how my incredible life would have been different had I stuck to some preconceived notion of what a baby is. My children were adopted through Holt International Children's Services, the people who pioneered international adoption back in the 1950's when Bertha and Harry Holt had to get a congressional bill passed in order to bring home eight Amerasian children after the Korean War. Holt is a children's services organization with the first priority of assisting birth families to stay together. Their next goal is in-country adoption, and lastly, inter-country adoption. In 1998 they served 15,000 children with nutritional, medical, and family counseling assistance. Of the 3,849 children involved in permanancy placement in 1998, 1,002 were able to remain with their birth families, 717 were able to return to their birth families, 912 were domestically adopted, 953 were placed with US families and 293 were placed in other foreign countries. I know that the necessary fees I had to pay (which in 1993 was half of most other international agencies) went to serve the needs of ALL these children and that every effort was made on behalf of my own children to do what was best for them. I'm not saying people shouldn't adopt babies and it is certainly in the best interest of the child not to prolongate the actions that will result in finding them a secure place in the world. All I'm saying is that 1) there is nothing better about babies than older children; and 2) think about where your money is going and what types of organizations and services you want to support. Information about Holt can be found on the web at www.holtintl.org -- Anonymous