Advice about Adoption Agencies
Archived Q&A and Reviews
My husband and I have been checking out adoption agencies in the Bay Area. Of the ones we've checked out (Adopt International, Adoption Connection, and Independent Adoption Center), the IAC seems the best in terms of its outreach to birthmothers and the support given to adoptive families, which I really appreciate. Their orientation left us with such a great feeling about adoption and the agency. The others were much more business-like. Is the IAC that wonderful? Just wondering if there is anything we should know about before we commit to them. Advice from adoptive parents who chose the IAC and opted for others would be much appreciated!
Congratulations as you begin your journey to parenthood through adoption. Everyone's expectations and experience are different. You want to find the professionals that best fit your needs as you will be working with them for almost two years from application, homestudy, matching, birth, post-placement and finalization. We live in an area with many professionals with integrity working in the adoption field both as agencies, lawyers and facilitators.
Each of the many agencies in the SF Bay area offer FREE information nights. It is suggested you attend them to get a feel for the people who work there and to see if their philosophies fit with yours.
We have two daughters through domestic open adoption and I would be happy to speak with you about our experiences.
First, congratulations on your decision to adopt! We adopted twice through the IAC and had great experiences both times. Although not typical, our first adoption took 6 weeks... our second took 6 months.
Adoption really is the height of human relationships, and as such it can be stressful even if all of the players are acting in good faith. So you really want an agency you can work with and who's expertise you can count on. With the IAC, much of the fees you pay provide support services to birth families. This was a key factor for us. We wanted our B-Moms to have the counseling and support they needed to make a clear decision they could live with. The IAC's process is great. They address all the match/birth/adoption/ openness issues before the birth so that everyone is clear on what is going to happen, who will be where, and how they feel about it. They resolve the difficult questions that people may be feeling, but are afraid to speak of. It's one of the reasons their reclaim rate is so low. Also, birthparent counseling is available for life, which is more important than you may think. Often, birthmothers reach out for counseling again during subsequent pregnancies, or other life-changing events. Knowing there is someone they can turn to is hugely comforting for us.
I was so changed by the experience that I have spent the last 12 years serving prospective adoptive parents as an unofficial adoption mentor. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss adoption or the IAC in further detail. I'll give you a real picture of what it's like and what you might expect. Best, Carolyn
A few years ago, we went through the same process as you are going through now picking an agency. We chose the Independent Adoption Center , and now we have two wonderful little boys (one is five years old and the other will be three soon). We felt the IAC did a great job educating us and helping us with the process; both of our sons' birthmothers found us through the IAC.
I've talked to other adoptive families who used Adoption Connection. It sounds like the process was similar to what we did with the IAC, and they had good experiences. It came down to choosing between the two agencies, IAC's intro session and follow up made us feel it was the right choice for us. I haven't talked to anyone who has used Adopt International. If you would like to talk more or have questions (about the IAC or adoption in general), please feel free to contact me.
At IAC they are very personable and competent but have no babies. Ask for stats. They have a boatload of parents and very very few babies to adopt. Our experience was a nightmare and ended up going elsewhere and wasting 2 years. ended fine but not with IAC
My husband and I used Adoption Connection in 2010 and felt that while many times people were very helpful, overall several large errors were made, especially by our Adoption Coordinator (Lynn). Given that this was the person who was our main link to the agency the errors started to become extremely frustrating. We both decided not to use them again when we adopt another child next year. Good luck, it's a roller coaster ride! -Anon
Hello BPN'ers, We have friends who are living in Glendale and are beginning the adoption process. They are feeling overwhelmed and not sure about how to begin the process. They recently signed up with the county to adopt through the foster care program but are also interested in looking at private adoption agencies similar to Family Builders or Adoption Connection in the Bay Area. I offered to ask this group since we have benefited so much from the wisdom of others. Do you know of any good adoption agencies in LA County with which you or friends have good experiences? We would greatly appreciate your insight and suggestions. These folks are amazing human beings and would make a wonderful family. Thanks!
Hi. There is a great organization in Southern California called Resolve. They are a wonderful resource for education and support for adoption and other family building options. Here is the link to their website: http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/adoption.html We are parents through adoption and started our journey working with the resources here in Northern California Resolve. Wishing your friends much luck on their journey to parenthood. mommysquared
We had a succesful experience working with the Independent Adoption Center , which has offices in Pleasant Hill and Los Angeles, as well as several other states. They pioneered in open adoption and offer great support to both adoptive parents and birth parents in the process of adoption. See www.adoptionhelp.org for more information. sally
ME and my husband have been traying to get pregnant and we have done 3 IVF. Now we are looking into adoption and we dont really know how to start with. Could any one recomend an adgency? WE ARE READY AND CANT WAIT TO GROW OUR FAMILY!!!
If you are interested in international adoption, I highly recommend Bay Area Adoption Service , www.baas.org, 650-964-3800. Proud mom of a now-19 yr old daughter
We adopted our two sons (1 and 3 years old) through domestic open adoption. We used the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill and had great experiences both time. Their website is www.adoptionhelp.org. Adoptive Mom
We used adopt international and adopted from Ethiopia. I highly recommend you look into adopting from Ethiopia! Good luck blessed with infertility
Hi there - we also used Adopt International - however we adopted domestically. They are a fantastic agency. We worked with Lisa Clark as our facilitator - she made the process so memorable. We used their service for both our daughters (who we adopted as newborns) and are thinking about using them again. www.adoptinter.org and phone: (415) 934-0300. Best of luck to you! Happy Adoptive Parent
We used Adoption Connection in San Francisco to do our homestudy for our Chinese adoption. They are part of Jewish Family and Children's services and we thought they were wonderful: http://www.adoptionconnection.org/international_adoption_program.php
Note that they do not do international placement-- just homestudies-- and it was great having their perspective as objective professionals as we went through the process with our other agency. Good luck! China Mommy
We are interested in adopting a baby domestically, and would be very grateful for recommendations of (or warnings about) adoption agencies and facilitators. Thank you!
I highly recommend the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill. We worked with them to adopt both of our sons. They are a non-profit, and they do a lot with what they have - advertising, education, etc. They specialize in open adoption which has been wonderful for us. Feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss them in further detail. Their website is http://www.adoptionhelp.org/. Christine
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!
I am interested to get any feedback about adopting a child either locally (California/East Bay), domestically or internationally. Has anyone gone through the process, and if so, can you give me some advice. Also has anyone used Nancy Hurwitz Kors? An adoption facilitator based in Walnut Creek? If so, do you recommend her services? anon
Call Family Formation in Lafayette! They are fantastic!!! www.familyformation.com 925-945-1880 AdoptMom
We adopted twice through Adoption Network (http://www.adoptionnetwork.com/) based in Southern Cal. Our experience with them was generally very good; we were matched with wonderful birth parents.. We were matched almost immediately after signing up both times. In our first adoption, our birthmom lived in their housing for the last 2 months of her pregnancy which was great because it gave us a chance to get to know her, and it meant that it would be an in state adoption which is much simpler and more affordable.. The 2nd adoption was much more complicated and costly because our daughter was born in WA state and we got stuck up there for almost a month before we were cleared to bring her back to CA, and because Adoption Network referred us to an awful agency up there in WA (A Child's Dream, in Poulsbo). So, i'd recommend doing what you can to make sure that your baby is born here in CA.. We did meet with Nancy in Walnut Creek, and liked her, but felt that the larger Adoption Network would work better for us. Best of luck! Dan H.
We adopted internationally through Heartsent Adoptions, Inc, www.heartsent.org. We had a great experience and recommend them highly. Adoption is a very personal process. Please feel free to contact me if you would like more info. julia
Please check out a wonderful organization Open Path The Fertility & Adoption Resource of Northern California. They have monthly information nites on adoption with discussions on the many different types of adoption and sharing referrals on professionals in the area. http://www.youropenpath.org.
This organization was formerly known as Resolve. We started with this organization and found a lot of information for ourselves on the process. a mom through adoption
When doing my adoption research, I met with that adoption facilitator in Walnut Creek. I was disturbed by a couple of things she did and said during our interview. Afterwards I called around to get advice, and that's when I learned of her reputation in the professional community. I moved on.
I had fantastic results with the facilitators at The Best Gift Adoptions (www.bestgiftadoptions.com). They were recommended to me by friends. I brought my newborn home just nine months after turning in the last of my paperwork.
To help understand the complications of local or domestic adoption, I recommend two websites which show you ''what's out there right now'': www.cakidsconnection.com and www.adoptlink.com. anon
My husband and I are considering adoption. We are focusing on domestic adoption right now, but we're willing to consider international as well. If you've gone through the process, what agency (or which lawyer) did you use, and how did you choose that agency? Were you happy with that choice? Are there any websites or books you would recommend? Thanks for your advice, Hopefull
We attended an orientation by Adoption Connection in SF. They seemed very good at domestic. We did IA using a country-specific agency, however. Adoption Connection has a website. Also, creatingafamily.com might be a useful site. Best of luck in adding to your family. anon
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!
How exciting to be starting the journey to parenthood. There is a GREAT organization based in San Francisco - Open Path The Fertility & Adoption Resource that is a great starting point. They offer free monthly workshops on information for adoption ''A Look At Adoption'' that gives a general overview of this family-building option including how to pick a professional, etc. and they also offer a 7 week group ''Exploring Adoption'' that gives a more indepth view of becoming a family thru adoption with topics on transracial/transcultural, myth vs reality, etc. The website is www.youropenpath.org They also have a directory available online with professionals for all family-building options in the bay area. All of the professionals go through a thorough screening process. We have adopted twice domestically and would be happy to share our experience. landt
For our international adoption, we went with Heartsent Adoption, Inc. in Orinda. (They do domestic also.) We visited only 2 agencies and after talking with Val Free, the founder of Heartsent, it was clear that we wanted to go with her agency. Besides making the process very open and clear, Heartsent goes further offering many classes for pre and post-adoptive parents covering a huge range of issues. Excellent. Adoption is an extremely personal process, different for everyone. Best thing we ever did! I would be happy to talk to you about it. http://www.heartsent.org/index.html julia
I completed my private domestic adoption a few years ago. For the home study I used Adoption Connection, but did not use their outreach program. For the outreach I used the Law Offices of Adams and Romer (Susan Romer). Both have web pages you can consult for more information. I was very pleased with both agencies, especially Susan Romer. Stefan
If you want to explore international adoption, I highly recommend Bay Area Adoption Services (650-964-3800 or www.BAAS.org). Our adoption was completed 17 years ago, and this organization is only getting stronger. BAAS received accreditation for adoption from Hague countries and also recently was licensed to extend their service area. They are caring and supportive all the way through the process, and never fail in their encouragement of waiting parents to ''keep your eye on the goal.'' Jody
An organization that can help you get started is ''Open Path''(formerly Resolve of Northern California). They have workshops, support groups, and reference information available: http://www.fertilityandadoption.com/. A great online reference source is Adoptive Families Magazine's free adoption guide: http://www.theadoptionguide.com/. The magazine itself is fabulous and worth a subscription. In addition to adoption ''how-tos,'' it also has articles about all stages of parenting and great family stories. As for agencies, there are many options. I can personally recommend Adoption Connection, whom we used for the homestudy for our international adoption but they also have a domestic program. They are wonderful: http://www.adoptionconnection.org. A friend of mine had a great experience with AASK (Adopt a Special Kid), which was a fost-adopt program(www.adoptaspecialkid.org). Good luck in your journey. AdoptiveMom