Archived Q&A and Reviews
We've been doing the fost/adopt process for awhile - completed our certification and homestudy and been in matching for a few months now (no children placed with us yet). We are thinking about switching from our current fost/adopt agency to a new one, for various reasons. So, I'm wondering if anyone else has switched their agency after they've completed their certification and homestudy with the old one? How was the switching process for you? Were you able to re-use any of the certification items with the new place? Also, if anyone has a recommendation for using either a local agency or the county for fost/adopt, I'd like to hear about it. I'm not sure how the county differs since we've been with an agency thus far. Thanks, in advance, for your response.
I was able to use my previous homestudy when I switched from a previous agency and went directly through the county. But you may have to take their specific training. If you are lucky enough to live in contra costa county I recommend going directly with them. good luck!
I am so sorry you are unhappy with your fost-adopt agency. I do want to REALLY encourage you to speak with the agency worker or director about your concerns rather than just jumping ship. Fost-adopt can be a difficult process that is very relational between you and your agency worker and the process itself has a lot of points that can bring up difficult feelings and issues that can be projected onto the agency-sometimes these are true problems and you should switch and sometimes they are resolvable or you see them in a different light if you talk them out. Also, fost- adopt takes a long time and matching is where you can really wait and wait. Going to another agency is only going to extend the process longer. You can't use a lot of the same paperwork and if you are with a fost-adopt that has not charged you any fees, it is because they receive some compensation only after you finalize your adoption so they may require you to pay them for the home study or other work if you are leaving them.
Anyway-best of luck, but I'd at least give them a good chance to help you work out whatever is happening. We were really successful with Adopt a Special Kid (AASK) in Oakland, but the process can be hard on you. Remember you will end up with a great kid or kids in the end if you can stick it out! Happy family that stuck it out
I've never really understood why people who want to fost/adopt don't start with the county. Any child who enters the system starts there and it's usually the more difficult cases that end up in the private agencies. I adopted my beautiful daughter through Contra Costa County almost 10 years ago. I was lucky and placed with her within 6 months (not usual) and she was officially adopted about a year later. I know MANY other families who have also had success through the county system. Good luck! anon
We used Alameda County when we fost/adopted our 2 wonderful boys. We just celebrated our 7th anniversary with our 13-year-old, and our 8-year-old has been with us for 5 1/2 years. The County can be a real headache because you need to advocate for yourself and your kids a lot. We ended up going in once a month to look at pictures and handle our own matching, since the County wasn't doing much. We also went to a great Matching party at the Oakland Zoo where we met our older son, along with his social worker. In our experience, the child's social worker is the one who really gets things moving in the process. We went to a Matching luncheon for adoptive families and social workers, saw a picture and read a profile about out younger son, and then met his social worker. The County doesn't really advertise these events, but adoptive families working with the County directly are eligible to attend. If you are unsatisfied with your agency, I would recommend contacting the County. It can be frustrating, but the County gives you an opportunity to meet and talk to the child's social worker through events like Matching parties and these luncheons. Good luck in this exciting, exhausting process. Once your children join your family, it will all be worthwhile. Anne in Oakland
My husband and I have recently begun our foster adoption process in Alameda County, ideally adopting a younger sibling to our family of 3 which includes our biological son. We have interviewed 3 private nonprofit agencies -- Adopt a Special Kid, A Better Way and Family Builders. I have also attended the County's orientation session. We are leaning towards Family Builders based on some positive feedback from BPN postings and a more detailed referral from a friend who has worked with them. We also found their orientation presentation to be the most appealing and professional. But we would like to get more current feedback from others who have worked with these agencies and what your experiences have been.
Our one hesitation about Family Builders is that they do not assign a Social Worker until we are at the matching process stage which could easily be 4-5 months from now. Our initial 2 hour intake interview with FB was with a contract employee vs. with AASK, our intake interview was with a Social Worker who would likely be our ongoing contact person and Social Worker, though they cannot guarantee that she would be able to stay with us throughout the whole process, which we completely understand. But at least we would know early on who it would likely be and can determine whether it will be easy relationship or a more difficult or forced one.
I was completely turned off and disturbed after attending the County's February orientation session. The presenter said clearly that family building was not their agency's objective, but placing children is. So to the extent a prospective family makes it difficult for a Social Worker to quickly place a child, ie. asks lots of questions, is cautious about matching, wants to meet the child first etc., the Social Worker's will not call upon that family again very quickly the next time. She even joked that if you have a hyphenated last name, that the staff may overlook you in favor of others. Not exactly sure what she was getting at but I can guess, and my guess left me very offended. Thank you in advance for your feedback! Alameda mom
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
My partner and I worked with AASK to adopt our daughter four years ago. We were very pleased with them, though I've heard good things about Family Builders, too.
You're right to pay attention to how you feel about the processes of each agency, since they vary. I'd also recommend asking about what kinds of support they offer after they place the child(ren) with you, and if they offer any post-adoption services.
We liked that AASK had long-standing relationships with child welfare workers in many counties, which is helpful in the ''matching'' phase. They also link every family with a buddy family, who's adopted their kids through AASK. I can't remember when in the process that happened, but it was one of the most useful things the agency did. While people probably have varying experiences with their buddy families, ours was wonderful. It helped to make the whole thing real during the phase when it seemed to be all about paperwork. Best of luck! Sarah
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