Chances are, this is the first time you are hearing of an adoption consultant and for obvious reasons you may be wondering why someone would choose to use a consultant and why there is a need for one. Twenty, or even ten years ago, if you had asked me to help you find an adoption agency, I would have directed you to a large, reputable adoption agency. You would have worked with that agency through the home study process, possibly taken classes through them, and then been placed on a long waiting list, and 2 or more years later, you would have welcomed a child into your home.
But more recently, the option of an adoption consultant has come along. There are two analogies we like to use in explaining why someone would choose to work with a consultant during the adoption journey. The first is the analogy of the wedding planner and the second is the process of applying for a job. Neither analogy is an exact representation of the adoption consultant but each will help you better understand what we do.
When you are planning a wedding, you can do all of the work for yourself as many brides do. Since it is something you are doing once (hopefully), you have no prior experience so in looking for cake decorators, venues, meal choices, and decorations, you are spending a lot of time, money, and stress. When a bride hires a wedding planner, she is hiring someone who has done this same thing many times. She has experience with venues and can narrow down your choices to the ones she believes best fit you and your spouse as well as your budget. She has networked and researched and done all of the work that you could do on your own but which you are now placing in the hands of someone who has been there many times before you. In the same way, an adoption consultant has been down this road before. The consultant has networked and researched. The consultant offers you expertise that you could find on your own but which will take much time, money, and stress to get to the same place.
To be most effective in applying for a job, most people will submit their resume to multiple businesses and job openings. If you choose to apply to just one location, you might get a job right away but chances are that it would take multiple submissions over a period of time and in the end, you might never get a job at that workplace. While a consultant will walk with you through every aspect of adoption from the initial questions to finding resources, explaining adoption lingo and birth parents situations, one of the most significant advantages of using a consultant is that he has networked with many agencies. The consultant herself does not place children or work with birth families but will refer you to numerous agencies and attorneys who do. You can then choose to apply to several or all of the suggested agencies. In many cases (but not all), these agencies and attorneys will waive or reduce their application fees to work with families through the consultant because they know that the consultant will be the one to answer most of the family’s questions, thereby reducing time needed for the agency to do so. Just as your job search will result in a job much quicker if you have applied to multiple locations, your adoption wait is usually greatly reduced by applying to multiple agencies and attorneys.
If you are feeling the call to begin your adoption process, we would love to talk to you. Contact us to find out more about what an adoption consultant is and does.