That’s right. We finally submit all of our paperwork, put together our dear birthmother letter, and get all of our photos into our profile, and the agency closes its doors. Imagine our shock when at 5:42 AM, we received an email stating that the agency which just accepted us as clients was no longer in business. This happens from time to time, because adoption agencies are fairly small. When a court case arises, they often can’t afford to continue. In this instance, an issue with a Congo adoption four years ago caused the Hague accreditation committee to suspend their continuing accreditation, against a Federal judge’s recommendation.
This wasn’t fraud. It’s just really bad luck. I sent an email that was answered right away, requesting the direct contact information for the agency representing the child we were hoping would be a match for us. The agency got back to me within the hour. I spoke to the agency representing the young woman we were hoping to speak to, and they were as shocked as I was about the agency shutting down. They been doing business with One World for years and never expected such an established agency to close it’s doors. Unfortunately for us, but fortunately for her, the potential birth mom had already chosen another family.
We got lucky in that we had only paid a consulting fee and not full adoption fees. I’ve heard so many stories over the years, particularly pertaining to international adoption, where this happens to families who’ve been waiting and are about to bring home a child from overseas. It just never occurred to me it could happen to us in domestic adoption.
We may get our money back, and we may not. All funds and contracts are now in the hands of the lawyers. The worst to us? This means choosing an agency all over again. Our final three included two traditional agencies and the referral agency. We really feel comfortable going the referral agency route, as it means we get to look at more birthmother cases and we got to find the right fit, whether it’s a big agency or small-town lawyer. So back to the computer we went. We’ve been researching agencies, doing background checks, cross-checking with the Better Business Bureau and the adoption agency ratings websites. We’re reading reviews, looking for recommendations, and crossing many, many names off of our list.
This isn’t our first adoption, and we don’t feel like it will be a millennium before we’re selected as parents. I point this out because in our first adoption, we would’ve felt an enormous sense of desperation, had this occurred. We know how lucky we are to have two children already. Still, it’s unsettling to be moving forward, finalizing our homestudy, and know that whatever agency we end up working with may have requirements that we don’t even know about. Because each agency has their own list of requirements for your homestudy, for your profile, and for your birthmother letter. Let’s take the profile, for example. Some agencies have a page limit, and some agencies want your letter and profile to be a novel. Some want your letter and profile separately. Some want them together in a single document.
To be honest, after the initial shock, our reaction was exhaustion. We just did all of this – we filled out all of the paperwork, adjusted our homestudy, we wrote our profile and birthmother letter. We were looking forward to having the homework done. That’s when you get to daydream about who your next child will be, who’s going to enter your home. You wonder if the next phone call will be that magical match. Even though you know in all likelihood that’s not the case, and that it takes many many phone calls before the right match comes along, the daydreams come welcome or not. But no – it’s back to the drawing board. Profiles to be developed, a new agency to be selected, and a lot more paperwork. My heart goes out to the families who were about to solidify an international adoption through this agency. They promised to do their best to line everybody up with another agency that can help them keep moving forward, and yet I know that means timeline adjustments and paperwork and additional expense. This is why people think adoption is so hard; it’s the little details that overwhelm you.