Friday, June 19, 2009

Selecting a Home Study Agency

So our adoption consultant Karen called yesterday to let me know that she’d gotten our packet in the mail and they’d start working on our website. The next step is for us to start/complete a Home Study.. So she gave me the names and contact info of four home study agencies for me to choose from. Apparently the fee schedule and completion time-table can vary from one to another. So like any good mom-to-be, I decided to do a little research on each on and “shop around” for the best deal. What can I say, I like ‘em FAST and CHEAP!

I googled the first one and pulled up the company’s website. LOTS of information about the adoption process in general, the home study process, their staff, resources, an up-front fee schedule (always a good sign), and all the paperwork I need to get started. Their standard home study takes 8-11 weeks, but we can expedite the process for not that much more (compared to what I had expected) and get it done in two. Nice.

I googled the second one and found their website. They are a Christian company that handles home studies as well as full adoption services to birthmothers and adopting parents. Sounds good on the surface, but I have concerns. First, they only work with parents who have been married for at least three years. That’s great for the most part. James and I have been legally married for almost 3.5 years, but we won’t celebrate the third anniversary of our marriage by the church until September. I don’t know how much of a difference that will make. Then there’s a requirement that we fully agree with their “Statement of Faith” which cannot be found anywhere on the website. I imagine that it probably would be something we could agree to without any problems. But unfortunately, not all Christians believe the same thing and I don’t want to make this process any more complicated than it already is. Then there’s the kicker. We have to “plan to provide full-maternal care once a placement is made.” I’m planning to stay home for the first year or so, but then I’ll be in medical school after that. So this company just isn’t going to work.

The third company can’t be found online anywhere and the fourth can be found in search engines, but doesn’t have it’s own website. Call me a snob, but that just doesn’t work for me either. It is 2009 people. Get with the program.

So we’ll be going with the first agency. Their fees are MUCH less expensive than what we’d expected and they do home studies exclusively. Based on the information available to me, I think they’d be a better fit for James and I. So I’ve downloaded all of the initial forms and will be filling them out as soon as this blog is posted. I want to get them put in the mail (or faxed) today so they can be processed while we’re on vacation.

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