Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adoption Agencies We Use

I thought it was high time I sing the praises of the folks who helped us get our kids home.  For an agency to under take us, is not for the faint of heart.  Especially, after this past set of adoptions.  Phew.  Now, I guess I should go back quite a few years.  Our first 4 adoptions, we used Frank Adoption Center out of NC.  They are under Frank Foundation who's been in business for years.  Now, being that we were literally just home w/ Yana and Alex, FAC advised against us doing another immediate adoption.  I understood.  However, I also had this gut feeling that Bojan belonged here.  Yep, went w/ the gut and found another agency to do the homestudy.  See, Bojan was listed w/ Life Adoptions out of CA.  We were next to the LAST family to do Serbian adoptions through a US agency before it went to independent facilitator.  Anyhow, used Mandala in NC.  They are now out of business.  Great agency but just on a very small scale and economy went and more people went to a bigger agency anyways.  We absolutely loved working with them and had them do our PPR's for many years to come on some of our kids.  That brings us to our now current agencies.

Years ago, I helped do advocacy work for a group called Until All Have Homes.  I found info on Alyona and well, long story short, the rest is history.  I contacted the agency about her info and then received more info.  After signing proper disclosure forms.  BTW, newbies, you should almost always have to sign these papers before receiving info from an agency on a child.  It is to protect the child.  Back to the story. This agency who had Alyona's info was Kids to Adopt.  I am going to write quite a bit about this agency & our current homestudy/ PPR agency since KTA is from another state than we're in.  First, I guess I should write about Carolina Adoption Services.

Carolina Adoption Services(CAS) also had Bojan's records from when Mandala shut its doors so that was nice.  Anyhow, we were able to get a fantastic social worker named Marybeth.  To say she is understanding of Chaos Manor is an understatement.  I still will never, ever forget  me explaining to the kids (5 at the time) NOT to do anything stupid while she was here.  Please boys not one blasted thing.  Please.  Pretty please.  Do you know what happened?  On the way of walking her out the doors, I saw the boys at the top of the hill.  I wanted to scream.  It's too late to stop them.  There they went.  Down the hill, in a giant metal gardening cart, navigating around trees and barreling straight for the cars (social woker's included!). They somehow manage to miss the cars.  When they got out, I was mortified and Marybeth just laughed & remarked that that is something her and her siblings would have done when they were younger.  I knew then, she could handle this crazy family.  Still did not stop me from wanting to scream politely tell the boys I told them not to do that earlier.  Oh well.  She knew boys would be boys.  And, they are still to this day doing stunts like that.  Today, Nik taught Summer how to ride down in the mini version of the garden cart.  Smaller gardening cart.  Same effect...down the hill.  Summer was giggling all the way.  After 10 kids, you no longer worry.  You just let kids be kids.

Back to the story, we were approved for Bojan and went to Serbia.  CAS was doing our PPR's too.  So, we adopted in 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2011.  See a pattern here?  5 years between 1st & 2nd set of adoptions, 3 consecutive years, and another 5 between those and this recent set of adoptions.  CAS has done our homestudies for 2005, 2006, and 2011.  And, PPR's in between.  They have always been understanding, prompt, kind and informative.  I can not speak more highly of them.  They worked very well w/ KTA.  CAS looked up all the legal things we had to do when we had the CPS situation last year.  They were reassuring, not accusatory, and took time to listen to everything.  Simply amazing to say the least.  They wrote to immigration.  They asked the questions, they helped to calm my nerves when I thought our adoption would be destroyed.  They were there like you would expect an agency to be.  BUT, they went above and beyond the call of duty.  They followed through and helped us to the very end.  Checked up on us.  You could not ask an agency to do more.  Those local, Carolina Adoption Services for your homestudy.  Those not in this state, wonderful agency to use for your adoptions as well. 

Now, Kids to Adopt holds a very special place in our heart.  5 of our kids are through them.  2 from Russia & 3 from Bulgaria.  When I say these people are committed to the very end of your adoption, I am NOT lying!  Just like CAS, these folks go above and beyond the call of duty.  For Alyona and Nik, they were helping seek out grants.  With the newest three, they were there for me to call them in the middle of the night from Bulgaria.  They were there w/ very, very scary dx's of our kids the few days before we were ready to leave.  (yes, I will write about this at some point).  They were there for us no matter what.  I called them when CPS was here asking what to do next. I was terrified, shaken, and angered all at once.  They were there to help talk me down, help reassure me, and most of all, to put things in perspective.  They were there to offer hope.  Now, KTA is no nonsense and I like that.  They will tell you honestly what is happening in your situation.  This is important in countries like Russia where rules change like the direction of the wind.  KTA is on top of everything.  In country teams are phenominal.  They know their stuff.  The list could go on but it would take me pages to tell you the half of what they have done for us.  Besides creating a family, they have created lasting friendships w/ many of their clients.  They are there for us during the AFTER part of adoption just as much as the before.  Those new, this is vital in an adoption.  They checked on us while in Bulgaria.  Checked on us when we got home.  Making sure just this past week we knew when our post placements would be.  They knew what kids might be a good match for our family.  They were patient w/ us.  And when I say patient people, I mean super duper patient.  We had more roadblocks than a freeway during construction.  Crazy. 

I really have the utmost admiration  and respect for the staff at Kids to Adopt and at Carolina Adoption Services.  I do hope they don't mind me talking about them.  I just feel that if someone does such a remarkable awesome job, they should be recognized.  The staff at KTA and CAS have it right.  That got what it takes in adoption.  They ask the right questions.  They don't hesitate giving you their opinions.  They are honest, helpful, and kind.  The caring nature of these organizations is simply amazing.  I wish I could give them the proper recognition they deserve.  They deserve way more than a simple blog post.  But, that's all I have.  If you need an agency to facilitate your international adoption, Kids to Adopt and Carolina Adoption Services are your answer.  Just wanted to say job well done.  It was nothing shy of a miracle that these three children were able to come home to their forever family.  It is a tale yet to fully be told.  Just know, these two agencies go above and beyond.  They know the laws, they know the rules and abide by them fully both internationally and locally.  In other words, very trustworthy.  You need that in an agency folks.  People you can trust and rely on.  Now that's an adoption agency!  These are our adoption agencies.  If we were to do this again, these would be the agencies we'd work with.  Right now, Warren is biting his tongue on that last comment.  LOL.  Just kidding dear.  Remember, when you choose an agency, know you are connected for longer than the term of the adoption.  You have committed to post placement reports as well.  Just wanted to share b/c I have been asked before.  BTW, we found them via recommendations.  That says a lot right there. 


  1. I'd like to ask about Kids to Adopt - the one we are looking into using is in Washington. Is that the one you used? The person I have been emailing is Caitlin Steckler.

  2. Cheers for a very good post. You have given me satisfaction to every post i read here. Hope you keep on sharing relevant information to all your readers.