Congratulations…you’ve made the decision to adopt a child; it’s one of the best, most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make in life. There are so many things to consider next that it’s hard to know where to begin. But one of the first things you’ll need to do is find the right counselor for you and your family. Finding our perfect counselor was the reason we chose our adoption agency and the beginning of our journey.
It is true that adoption counselors aren’t garden fairies with magical wings and pixie dust, though it would make the entire process a bit more entertaining if they were. Instead, they are just people, like you or I, and when you find the perfect match, like we did, it may seem like that perfect fairy tale moment where the heavens open and angelic songs ring through the land. Finding the right counselor won’t just happen for you by accident…or maybe it will; ours did…it literally took a car accident to lead us to our perfect counselor.
Our adoption fairy came to us at the unsolicited advice of a receptionist who got to know us after my husband had a very serious car accident. Over the course of several months, she got to know about us and learned we had decided to adopt. At that pivotal moment, she handed us what in essence was our magic card: it was the business card of our soon-to-be adoption counselor.
We had been researching and interviewing a good number of agencies and they were all the same; they just wanted our mailing address to ship a package…there wasn’t any time for questions. Our adoption fairy was completely different than all the rest…she was like finding your perfect wedding dress (ladies), or buying your dream car (gentlemen)…it was a natural, easy, magical connection instantly; we both just KNEW.
Regardless if I had a question–or my husband, my mother, or my mother-in-law–she provided us with an answer. We might not have always liked the answer; it wasn’t always the one we wanted or hoped to hear, but we knew it was always truthful and straightforward…and that was important to us.
1. Research is always key in anything you do in life, and with technology and the ease of finding anything you want to find on the computer, it is an essential first step.
2. Talk to people you know and trust, people who know you at your core and what makes you, you. Solicit their advice on their experiences. Heaven knows how many people I sent along to our own magical counselor.
3. Make sure you have a list of questions to ask about the important things you’re looking to find out about your counselor, the agency, and how business is conducted. It’s okay not to know where to start, but once you interview one or two, you should get an idea of what is truly important to you.
4. Go in and have a face-to-face meeting with the counselor; we did this several times. It’s amazing how a face-to-face interaction with you, your partner, and the potential counselor makes or breaks the deal.
5. And finally, go with your heart. If the angelic music is playing, the butterflies are lifting for flight in your stomach, and the heavens open up and smile upon you…odds are you’ve found the right match. Nobody can tell you what counselor will be best for you other than you.
Adoption is an emotional journey; there are so many highs and lows, unexpected questions, twists and turns. If you have done your due diligence and followed your heart, though, the right adoption counselor will be right beside you at every turn, and he/she will feel like they are your own personal adoption counselor.
After all these years, we still consider our counselor one of our very dearest friends.