A little foresight can save you a lot of money sometimes. I think that concept is pretty true for most things, actually. In many ways, I feel I subscribe to this belief. I scour ads to compare big ticket items (as long as they’re on sale, that is); I try to think of realistic value for every dollar spent. In adoption, I don’t believe in the exact same principles. Sure, we compared agencies, but I didn’t let the bottom dollar amount dictate our decision. Adoption can be, at times, quite costly. We wound up making a mistake in the process of adopting our third child that I’d like to share in hope that it will prevent others from doing the same.
We were pretty steadfast in our decision to adopt from Ethiopia. We used a great social work agency for our home study (it was, in fact, the same agency we used when we went through the process of adopting Beauty). We even had the same social worker (she was great). So we paid our fee (which came to, roughly, several thousand dollars), completed all the necessary steps, and received a favorable home study. We were ready for the next step.
Before we even took said step, we felt a strong urge to change our plans to adopt through the foster care system. We naturally assumed it was as simple as “breaking up” with our adoption agency; after all, we had a current, valid home study ready to go. When we called our social worker, we were met with some surprising (well, at least to us) news.
The home study–which had been completed approximately four months prior–was completely useless. Why was this the case? The social work agency is affiliated with the adoption agency we used to during Beauty’s adoption process; in short, they “don’t do” domestic adoptions.
I was rendered speechless by this. I’d like to say I just naturally assumed that all social work agencies were applicably used for both domestic and international adoptions, but I suppose I never really thought about it before that very moment.
Long story short, we ended up signing with a new social work agency and paying the same amount for another home study a few months after obtaining one for our potential international adoption. This was a costly mistake–something we had never considered–so I urge you to contemplate your adoption plans very carefully. If you set on the path of an international adoption and for whatever reason your dream is derailed (be it the closing of a country’s program, etc.), make sure you have a back up plan in place if your ultimate goal is to add to your family through adoption. Have a second choice country (most agencies offer “fall back” programs) in mind, but if there’s any question you might consider a domestic adoption, make sure your social work agency stretches from domestic to international. We hadn’t considered the implications; it never occurred to us to even think of the possibility of a domestic adoption. Had we gone through an agency that focused on both, we would’ve saved not only money, but quite a bit of time as well.