I totally don't understand so much about this process. I am totally going to need every bit of the next three or four years to figure out stupid little things like "choosing an agency." I'm one of those kinds of people who will have to be incredibly comfortable with that decision, because I will be freaking out every step of the way, anyway. But then, I have a knack for having epically poor luck when it comes to choosing service providers (see: endocrinologists), so maybe I should just pull a name out of a hat and go from there.
Either way, a few years ago, I came across Rainbow Kids, an informational site about international adoption. It's actually a pretty fantastic resource for several things. I spent a few hours the other night going through their special needs section, as it lists a lot of the common issues that fall under that special needs heading. If you read my last overly-neurotic adoption blog, you'd see that I was struggling with whether I felt capable of taking on a special needs child. After reading through the very brief information Rainbow Kids had on each issue, I was better able to understand what we would be taking on... But more on that later. They also have a section that lists adoption agencies by the country from which you wish to adopt.
As I mentioned before, I fell in love with the idea of adopting from Ukraine several years ago. My husband thinks it's important to adopt a child that "looks" like we do; he says it is hard enough growing up adopted without having to add having a different racial/ethnic background from one's parents. Not being adopted, I really don't have a leg to stand on in that argument, and if it's something he believes so strongly, then that's the direction in which we will go. So, when I began researching, I kept it to the Eastern European countries. At the time, Russia and Ukraine were the biggies, with a few adoptions taking place every year from some of the other former USSR countries. I wouldn't count out any of those countries, but I just never felt very comfortable with Russia's program. They didn't seem to exude the care and concern for the welfare of their orphans that Ukraine did. Ukraine really seems to have the best interests of their children in mind, and I can appreciate that.
So, I took a look at the agencies listings on Rainbow Kids and read through their mission statements, services, breakdowns of cost, etc. There were a handful that work with not only Ukraine, but also some of the other program like Hungary, Latvia, Bulgaria, etc. I think I would like to have the option to work with an agency who has multiple relationships in that part of the world in the event that Ukraine doesn't work out or doesn't feel like the right fit for us, anymore. I'll probably go back and read through them all again, but at the moment, I think I have narrowed it down to four: About a Child, Adoption Ark, Kids to Adopt, and Children's House International (in that order).
About A Child works with military families, and that is evident just by reading their cover page. I get a good feeling from their page, and when it's time to request information, I will be looking into them. Adoption Ark was an agency I looked into a few years ago. I think I even requested information, but I have no idea what happened to the packet they sent. Kids to Adopt seemed to be fairly honest about the Ukrainian program, and that puts me a little at ease. And CHI has been around since the 70s, so they have a lot of experience, but I do kind of worry that they would be so big, they wouldn't have as personal a touch.
So, now I'm wondering: when is the right time to realistically request information? I know it's just information, but I don't want to jump the gun like I did the last time around. Three years is a long time and a lot can change between now and then... Or maybe I should just do it so I can really get to researching?
Pfft, I'll just nerd out with some spread sheets and call it an evening.