I feel like I should preface with the fact that I'm no expert in all of this since we're still new to the process, but this is what I know and understand to be true and accurate. If there's still something you're wondering, feel free to leave a comment or email (address on my contact page) me. I'd love to try and help!
What consultancy agency (for the record, I could've made that term up) are you using?
We're using Faithful Adoption Consultants (I'll usually refer to it as FAC) for our domestic adoption process, and while we're just in the beginning of stages, I'd absolutely recommend them to anyone. We've been so impressed with Courtney and have spoken to many people who have loved working with FAC. Plus, all of the families behind FAC are adoptive families that truly understand the process and the emotional tole it can take. I think that's so necessary in a process like adoption.
How is placement so quick with a consultancy agency?
So, here's my limited knowledge and understanding. When you're working with a single domestic adoption agency, there are only so many birth moms the agency typically handles at a time. Thus, if you're looking to adopt an infant, your options and chances of being chose are limited to the number of birth moms currently with the agency. A consultancy agency works with adoption agency all across the country, so, instead of being limited to say fifty birth moms in one agency, you have the opportunity to present and be chosen by hundreds of birth moms from the combined agencies. For those wondering, FAC's average time for placement is around four and a half months.
Did you have to start over from scratch?
Yes, pretty much. The paperwork involved in an international adoption and domestic adoption is completely different. Plus, many of the things that are the "same" (e.g.: need of certified copies of birth certificates and marriage certificate) you still have to reorder since those were originally sent to a foreign country. There were some steps we had to take in the international process that we won't use at all in our domestic process. But, keep in mind, that a lot of adoption documents, specifically the home study for us, expire after a year and have to be redone even if you stay in a specific type of adoption.
Did you have to choose an agency in your state?
Nope, you certainly don't have to. Again, our consultancy agency is based out of Georgia and many of the adoption agencies they work with are based outside of Texas. Of course, if you are looking at agencies outside of the state, be prepared to travel to pick up your child. I think adopting locally is great! Texas is a state that FAC works in, so I'd love for our baby to be from Texas, but you're not required to work within your home state.
Are the costs different?
In our experience, yes. Of course, many things will vary from agency to agency. For us, our estimated domestic costs are around $5,000-$8,000 dollars less; but, keep in mind, a lot of that is travel costs that we would have paid to get to Africa and back home. Also, domestic adoptions don't require any sort of international clearances, visas, passports, etc. Although the fees on those aren't normally HUGE, every little bit adds up. So, in our experience, the main variation you see in costs is in travel and the lack of international clearances needed.
Has it been difficult making "the switch?"
This is kind of tough for me to answer, but I guess simply put, the answer is "yes." But it's difficult for many reasons. First, we were past A LOT of the paperwork stage in our international adoption. Sure, there was still more to come, but we had compiled our dossier and were 100% up-to-date on everything needed by our agency and Congo. Now, we find ourselves in the midst of the pile of paperwork again. It's been difficult to get back into the "fill out this form, and this form, and this form" stage again. Second, there has been a learning curve in adjusting to domestic adoption. We were by no means experts in the international adoption realm, but we'd been in it for a year+, so we definitely knew the lingo and expectations. Domestic adoption is a whole new, sometimes scary and intimidating world to us! Third, I wrote openly about the grief my heart has felt. You can read that post right here. The emotional transition has certainly been difficult for me.
And just a general update on our situation -- I'm doing my best to plow through all of the steps necessary to get us ready to "present" to birth moms. We would covet any prayers you'd like to lift up that all the things we still need (home study update, profile creation, etc.) done will be done quickly.
So grateful for your love and support.