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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Next Steps

I was sitting on the couch this evening and Micah came up to me out of the blue and said "Mommy, I want a sister".  (In his mumbly 2 yr old talk)  And if he only knew how much I would love to give him one right now!!!

Patience is NOT one of my best characteristics.  I tend to want everything now and when there's a goal in site I tend to beat it to death.  So perhaps this process will be good for me.

So people have asked me what the next step is from here and the point of this blog is to be informative on the process so here we go!  I have spoken with/interviewed three seperate adoption agencies.  Each has it's pro's and con's and operate very differently. 

Christian World Adoption (CWA) is an agency a friend of mine went through to get their precious son and the  agency seems to have a very strong foundation and invest a lot into the outreach programs in the different cities.  They've even built places for the adoptive families to stay in the village while they are there.  CWA was NOT one of the agencies that Loving Shepherds Ministries recommended for various reasons.  I spoke with one of their office case workers at length about their organization and she set me straight on a lot of rumors that I had heard.  It's hard to know what and who to believe. They seem like they are on the up and up, have been around for a good long while and have a solid Ethiopian program in place.
The second organization I spoke with was Celebrate Children International (CCI).  Again, this agency was not on the list provided by Loving Shepherds Ministries.  They actually have an "F" rating on the Better Business Bureau but after talking with a friend, she highly recommended them.  So I emailed the Director because she was in Congo at the time.  She got back to me each day with a few questions which I was very impressed with but I was extremely concerned about all the negative feedback online in regards to  how the agency has dealt with situations.

The third organization I spoke with was All God's Children International (AGCI).  I have heard a lot of positives about this agency and they were one of the organizations recommended by Loving Shepherds Ministries.  They are also the same agency that the founder of our coffee website used for one of his adoptions.  I filled out their pre-adoption assessment last week and got a call on Friday from one of their representatives.  She answered all of my questions and I really believe in cases like this that you get what you pay for.  Although the average cost for almost all the agencies is $30,000.

Most agencies require a $250-$300 application fee and most apps can be completed online and you have an answer within 24 hours.  CWA and AGCI already said that we would be contracted as clients upon completion of the applications.  CWA's agency fee is $5000 and requires half that fee right away.  Once half the agency fee is paid then you have to complete some continued education they require and then complete a homestudy with another company.  The homestudy is approximately $2000.  So right away we are looking at needing about $5000.

AGCI, on the other hand, requires the whole agency fee up front which is $7000.  Then after their required continued education a homestudy is required.  So not including the application fee, we have to come up with $9000.  When things are broken down on a fee schedule, as they are with these agencies, it really puts things in perspective as to how expensive all this really is.

Needless to say, I still have more research to do...and more fundraising!!  T-shirt anyone?  LOL

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