Deciding On An Adoption Agency

Note:  This is a post that I placed on the Adoption Avenues Yahoo Group.  I am placing it on my blog as well because I feel that it is important.


International adoption is not for the faint of heart.  Choosing an agency that you feel is ethical and fulfills your own requirements is a daunting task.  My advice to you is remember that we live in a society where sensationalism is the norm and not the exception.

In my limited time on the big Ethiopian adoption board I have seen many agencies accused of many different things.  I believe all of us want ethical adoptions where everything is clear cut and defined but that is not reality.  Ethiopia is a developing country where much of the populace is uneducated (unable to read or write) and I believe that some of the “confusion” stems from this.  Also, think about the 80 or so different languages that are spoken in Ethiopia–could this cause difficulty?  Finally, consider that some of the children pass through multiple orphanages before being adopted–yet another opportunity for things to become confused.

I believe that most adoption agency directors try to steer through these obstacles the best that they can.  They end up being responsible for the actions of people who are a continent away from them.  Is this a daunting task?  To me it is.  I believe that the majority of the people who are in the adoption “business” are there because they have a desire to help.  Do I think that child trafficking exists–of course.  However, I believe that it is usually the exception to the rule (and no I am not a cheery optimist by nature.)

I was not aware of any rule regarding saying only positive things when I joined this group and it has never influenced my posts.  In my experiences Radu is a quick but brief communicator.  He often replies to my email within an hour.  His paperwork process could be a little more organized and give more instructions–but if you have questions he responds.  These are my experiences so far.  I read other Adoption Avenues blogs before committing and some of them felt that there was a breakdown in communication when you reached Ethiopia.  If you are interested in reading these look through the blogs listed under links.  In my opinion these are forgivable flaws.

If you have not read There Is No Me Without You by Melissa Fay Greene I would highly recommend it.  Part of the book talks about how the actions of the orphanage director became misconstrued and the topic of many an adoption board.  We only hear part of the story and make a judgment about the piece we hear about.  The majority of us on this board are here because we believe that Adoption Avenues is the right agency for us.  Is it the right fit for you?  Do your research and check your facts but in the end it is a leap of faith.

Waiting for Immigration Approval


5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jenna Zimmer
    Apr 07, 2009 @ 14:46:47

    Great post! I appreciated it on the AA boards. So, I am happy to see it here as well.

  2. Amyadoptee
    Apr 08, 2009 @ 20:47:44

    As an adoptee who has researched adoption for the last three years, I recommend going even further than what have you suggested. Secretary of State business filings with each state are available for an adoptive parent to peruse. Most often it is free. I would recommend finding out who the board of directors are for the adoption agency. I would then go to or The Foundation Center and check on the tax records of these adoption agencies. If they are a for profit adoption agency, they will not be here. Check both sites as one might have the documents that the other does not. Find out how they spend their money. Check and see if the board of directors listed on each of these forms matches the secretary of state business filings. There is another wonderful little search tool that adoptees use in their own searches. It is called Use this site to check out the board of directors of your agency. Use this site to check out the people who will be working for you. Also Google and yahoo search engines are valuable tools. Don’t stop at the first couple of pages. Go deeper. At least ten to 15 pages deep. That is where the good stuff is.

    Many states also have state licensing boards that are online. Check out if they are licensed social workers. Find out all the complaints. Another excellent source of information is the court systems themselves. You can find if an adoption agency has been involved in a lawsuit. It takes a day or two of good hard work on your part. Most prospective adoptive parents are forced to pay an adoption agency $200 plus dollars to sign a contract so that an adoption agency can check you out. Since you are forking over money, shouldn’t you be able to check out an adoption agency yourself? If an adoptive parent has sued an adoption agency, do not dismiss the person as angry. There is usually good reason why these agencies are now being sued.

  3. laura
    Feb 07, 2011 @ 06:33:11


    Now that your adoption process is almost completed, would you recommend Adoption Avenues? I am looking at Tree of Life, who partners directly with AA. Do you have any advice on the process or fund raising? I am just starting the long adoption journey, and I figure the more advice I can get… the better!

    Thank you very much,

  4. Michele
    Oct 01, 2012 @ 22:08:59

    Please run as far away as possible from Adoption Avenues in Oregon. They took my money and I never adopted!!! Incompetent, rude, crooked !! etc. etc. Radu is a thief. Over 6 years he ran me ragged with do overs on 3 dossiers. He is so greedy and left me hanging because he had many other adoptions that were in the works. He was a member of Amrex, the Atlanta group that stole millions from people that never completed their adoptions. Look it up.!

  5. Johnf553
    May 08, 2014 @ 20:51:08

    I have to agree with your statement with this issue and dkgdckkgfkeb

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