You might be thinking…“why do I have to be educated before signing up with an agency? I thought the whole point was for them to educate us.”
Here’s your answer. Agencies don’t always have a ton of people working for them—it’s usually just a few. Those few are also working with birth mamas, who need a lot of love, support, and handholding. So if an agency doesn’t have to worry about both their expectant moms and YOU, they absolutely love that.
If agencies know that you are getting that same love, support, and guidance from somewhere else (like a consultant), then that’s just icing on the cake! It doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to be there for you…it just means they’re happy that they don’t have to spend hours educating you and getting you up to speed on all things adoption.
What does it mean to be “up to speed” when it comes to adoption?
Well before you begin, you should have an understanding of each step in the adoption process. There is a clear order of things and knowing at least a little about each step will give you an advantage.
Here’s a high-level overview of each step of the process:
1. Home Study
2. Adoption Profile
3. Signing up with an Agency or Agencies
4. Being Presented Adoption Situations
5. The Match
6. The Adoption
Once you understand how each moving piece works, then it’s important that you start talking about adoption.
Talk to other people who have adopted to learn about their experience. Ask them about what they have learned—maybe how they felt when they started and what surprised them the most.
But it’s just as important to learn from all parts of the adoption triad. Attend a birth mother and adoptee panel if at all possible. There may also be opportunities to gain their perspectives online through blogs and other adoption websites.
You can also turn to social media to learn more and educate yourself, but be careful. The adoption world on social can feel volatile at times. Mostly, when you read negative comments surrounding adoption, it’s because when someone has had a particularly difficult experience, no matter who they are in the triad, they often need an outlet for their feelings and as such, like to give you advice about how you should be thinking and what you should doing. So, take it with a grain of salt.
However, social media is great for learning what each member of the triad has to say. Even if it is negative, there are opportunities to learn and see things in a new light. You can also get great information from social media by joining adoption groups like this one and this one.
Whichever way you decide to become educated, whether it’s with a consultant, through social media or an online course, it is so important to do your due diligence before signing up with an agency because your relationship with them will be that much better.