We arrived way early, much earlier than I thought we would be since we had to go about 50 miles in rush hour traffic. Luckily there were two of us so we could carpool-lane it most of the way.
We sat around a horseshoe-shaped conference table and briefly introduced ourselves. Well, some of us were brief. Others rambled on a bit, but for the most part really great questions were asked. I was so nervous for my dh. He's very shy, and I don't even know if knew what he was doing there. So the whole time while I was listening to others speak I was silently wondering what my dh would say. But then I introduced myself, said a couple of words, and then it was my dh's turn... and the coordinator just moved on to the rest of the orientation. So all my worry was for nothing, but, um , why was he skipped? I think the others had just taken up so much time, and I had mentioned his name in my introduction and waved toward his direction when introducing ourselves, so it must have just seemed like I was doing the talking for both of us. Which I wasn't. Really.
Most of the information was already on their website (which I've read every single page), so it was probably a better orientation for my dh to attend than me, but I got quite a bit out of it. I feel a real connection to this agency, and I'm pretty sure that if this is the route we'll take, then this is the agency for us.
Somethings I liked:
-They have been in business for over 20 years and are part of a larger faith-based service organization (Jewish) which serves a lot of different facets of the community.
-Unless you do some digging, you would not know that they are part of a faith-based organization. This is very important to us because neither of us are religious at all. So many other agencies I saw were so heavy-handed with their religion that I felt intimidated and turned-off. I feared that potential birthparents would only be looking for people with similar religious beliefs, and we would not be the right family. Plus, we're a mixed ethnicity couple, and honestly, I don't feel that we fit in with the other agencies. With this one, I feel like we bring something unique, yet we're not so glaringly "wrong" that we would not find a match.
(I want to make mention that I am in no way make a comment about other people who are religious. The majority, if not 100%, of the adoption blogs I read are written with faith as a main factor in their search & in their lives. I love the support that faith gives to those that have it.)
-The directors are social workers themselves, and have seem to have everyone's best interests in mind. They are supportive of a potential birthmom's decision to parent or to not parent, or even terminate, and will find her services to help her. There doesn't appear to be any coercion, or guilt, and that's really important to me.
-They support open adoption.
-They appear professional, but warm.
There are a ton more reasons that I like them, but those are some of the important ones. Also, their fees seem pretty low. The homestudy fee is a little higher than I've seen (it's in the $2,000.00 range), but their outreach/advertising fee is lower ($3,500.00). When I add up all the fixed costs (homestudy,advertising,placement,finalization) the amount comes to about $12,000.00. What I don't know about is how much counseling or other expenses the birthmom will need, or what legal fees will be, if any.
Again, I want to stress that we haven't decided that we are definitely going to adopt, we still need to talk quite a bit more about it, but it feels great getting all this info. My dh really gets the process now, and I'm so glad, because I have a really hard time explaining things to him (he's analytical & I'm ... um... a bit more scattered).
I'll send anyone the link to the organization if you want. Just send me a comment with your e-mail address (comments are moderated, so I'll remove your e-mail if I publish the comment!)
Ok, back to work!