Saturday, August 2, 2014

What is an Adoption Consultant? And why should I use one?

Over the last few months I have had many questions about adoption and the process. The biggest thing I have learned is that there is more than one way to go about it. Every adoptive parent has many options to consider on their route to parenthood. It takes a lot of prayer, research, and really just trusting your instincts and impressions. This is the path I felt inspired to and for good reason, it got me exactly what I was looking for... Our child first and foremost, but also finding him in the fastest least complicated way. These where my priorities. I am aware that money is a VERY driving force in adoption choices. But we had the luxury to not have to worry about this piece of the puzzle. It changed how I chose the path I did. I will address the money a bit more later. 

Let me start by briefly explaining our choices. We chose domestic infant adoption. We researched agencies last year. We found many that we felt comfortable with. We ultimately decided to use Premier Adoption Agency. I understood that choosing one agency would lengthen my wait time. Over the next few weeks, I came across some reviews that talked about adoption consultants. It peeked my interest and I began to research consultants. We changed our course and decided to use a consultant. We spent the next 6 months saving and preparing our home for our home study. I had chosen a consultant but as our home study neared I felt moved to research another consultant I had heard of. I called her. I knew that she was the person I needed to work with. She cost more, she was worth more. I had to trust my impressions. I had prayed the weekend before. I said, "Lord, please guide me to the path of least resistance because I don't think I can do much more heartache." He answered my prayer. 

Our home study was on May 14, 2014
We hired Courtney Lott with Faithful Adoption Consultants on June 4, 2014
We were chosen on July 2, 2014
Surprise! Our baby showed up early! He was born on July 16, 2014
Placement was on July 17, 2014

So now that you have the background, I will answer a few questions. 

What is an Adoption Consultant? 

First, let me be VERY clear. A consultant is NOT a facilitator. Do facilitators call themselves consultants at times? Ya. That is why research is CRUCIAL! Facilitators are illegal in many states. Watch out for this so you don't get yourself in trouble.  

An Adoption Consultant guides you to agencies, social workers, and lawyers who have proven THROUGH THEIR ACTIONS that they are honest and reputable.

An Adoption Consultant is like the cool kid on the block. They know people, people know them. Their job is to connect you to their connections. Their job is to take the guess work out of adoption choices. They know and have worked with the people they refer you to. They already know their reputation. They are your personal networker.  It is for this reason that they take on a multiagency approach. They are the ultimate middle man doing all the work while you spend your time worrying about the important stuff. They can assess risk and warn you of it. They present you options and you chose to pursue them or not. They are your personal advocate.

Over the course of a month Courtney sent me about 10 situations that fit my criteria. She handled all of my paperwork. She talked to me about the financial risk in all the situations we considered. We had numerous conversations about drug exposure in pregnancy. We discussed openness in adoption. She listened to me when I got impatient. She warned me of risky situations. She gave me a pep talk before we talked to our expectant mom for the first time. She handled ALL of my paperwork before and after placement. She called our EM's social worker to help understand the situation better. She guided me during placement and the intense emotions that came that day. She is currently guiding us through post placement. Most of all, she has celebrated with us and has changed our lives! She is now not just my consultant but my friend. I love her. 

The funny thing is that we ultimately we found our son through Premier Adoption Agency. It is funny how things come full circle. 

Why should I choose a consultant?

For the first timer, a consultant is priceless. For the veteran, they just make the whole thing easier. Adoption is so complicated. Paperwork, choices, emotions and waiting and waiting and waiting. Having Courtney helped me worry and focus on the stuff I needed to. For example, the day of placement there was a mix up with our background clearances. So much was going on that day that I wasn't even checking my phone. But it didn't matter, Courtney was handling it for me. I was able to concentrate on our birth mom, who really needed that time with us and the baby that day not me being distracted by paperwork. 

A consultant is worth the money you spend. Although we did not need help raising funds, she did send me all of the funding info. Consultants help you figure out the money. Grants, loans, fundraisers. You will see in adoption that miracles happen and in a big way with finances. The Lord does not guide us to something we are meant to do without providing a way to obtain it. 

1 Nephi 3:7
...I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

I believe this is also true when we are guided by the Lord to pursue a path. 

Most of all, you need an advocate for you! With corruption and greed occurring in adoption, where some people prey off of your desire to grow your family, who is looking out for you? A consultant that's who. Choosing to work with Courtney was one of the best adoption choices we made. 

Just a little note: I do not have experiences with other consultants. The services provided by Courtney could be more than another consultant. Make sure you research what they offer and what services are included in the price before choosing a consultant. Or just choose Courtney :)

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