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Hello Everyone...

My two cents...Apparently the "Adoptive Dad" has his reasons to feel ill will toward Abrazo. However, his manner of dealing with them is not what I would consider to be constructive.

I think it is time we as forum members move past it! Every agency has it's upside and downside. We come to this forum to share information about adoption...and share our stories of how adoption has touched (or transformed) our lives. I would not be a mom without Abrazo...I thank God every day for that.

As for adopting from other agencies...this is a "free forum". Anyone should truly be welcome as long as their intentions are honorable! Not always is it to sing praises...but it should also not be "bashing" sessions either. Abrazo was gracious enough to put their reputation "out there" on the web. We, as forum members, should be cognizant of that!

By the way, back to what this session is about. What were your expectations of an adoption agency? I mentioned mine above. This may truly help prospective adoptive parents know what to ask the agencies they are "interviewing".

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I know I may get slammed for saying this, but...there ARE two sides to every story, as Lisa pointed out. But Lisa, I don't think the poster is necessarily talking about problems that would cause Abrazo to lose its license - maybe it just fell down in its people skills or something like that would cause some misunderstandings and lead to an unhappy client situation. And unhappy clients should have the right to voice their opinion - but not abuse other adoptive parents, as Adoptive Dad did.

I need to say that there was a time that I was not as happy with Abrazo as I am today. Fortunately, everything was worked out and it all turned out just fine. As someone pointed out in a previous post, Elizabeth will tell you in orientation that there are days you'll love the agency, and days you'll hate it (and the same goes for how they feel about us clients!) But if this is truly a support group, people should have the right to ask hard questions and voice concerns without being attacked by others in the group.

Before coming to Abrazo, we actually decided against another agency because we learned that in their contract was a "gag order" preventing adoptive parents from ever saying anything bad about the agency. Talk about red flags! We were glad to learn that Abrazo had no such rule, making us comfortable that MOST of the feedback from past clients would probably be positive!

I would rather know the good and the bad about an agency (I'm sorry, but there is no such thing as a perfect agency, just as there are no perfect clients) and be able to make up my own mind about where to go. We chose Abrazo based on a careful assessment of the pros and cons of multiple agencies, not because we were surrounded by nothing but happy people like here on the forum.

Perhaps there should be an area on the forum where people can make constructive suggestions on how their Abrazo experience could have been improved? Maybe they could use the "Tears, Fears..." board for expressing their pain over a difficult route to adoption? Or post in "Professionals Corner" where agency practices are discussed?

You are right, Melissa and Lisa, that the forum should not be used for abuse of innocent parties or for angry posts from someone "with an axe to grind". But let's also not be a place where people aren't comfortable being honest (while still being polite and respectful) or it will lose its purpose of being an online support group.

To those of you reading this who aren't clients of Abrazo, yes, you will hear good and bad about ANY agency if you talk to enough people - all of their experiences are going to be unique to their own personal situations. The reality is that the adoption process is truly a roller coaster, and oftentimes our emotions run high, causing us to overreact to situations and/or act differently than we would in other circumstances. Also keep in mind that while some agency practices may be just fine for some people, they're not for others. That's why we have choices in agencies. The majority of people on this forum are very happy with their decision to adopt through Abrazo, and while all of our experiences may not have been "perfect", I think all of us can say that God used this agency to bless us with the perfect children for our families. And for that, we are grateful, so we choose to continue in a relationship with Abrazo and the other families it has made. If you would like to join us in supporting each other in the journey of adoption and the joys (and challenges) of parenting, you are welcome to participate in the forum. That is why it is here.

Respectfully,

Linda

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Just want to clarify one of my points - when someone uses the term "horror" stories - I think that's pretty harsh language and not something to do with Abrazo's people skills. I guess what bugs me is how people are so quick to say something negative but not too interested in sharing exactly what it was that was bad and how they & Abrazo worked to resolve it (or didn't resolve it). There just seem to be so much secrecy behind these negative posts and unpleasant experiences. I agree, if someone encountered something they weren't expecting along the way, by all means - share it with others - and I agree, Tears, Fears, & Keeping the Faith are good places for that.

I guess I'm just so skeptical these days of who is posting something negative that I always suspect it's Adoptive Dad posting under one of his many assumed names (especially when the people who post keep their email addresses private and don't provide any info under the bio - again, the secrets).

All I know is I have been so active on this forum for a little over 2 years - I've gained a great deal from it and hopefully have helped others. But I find it to be a not-so-happy place these days and I just want it to get back to what it was before all the complaints and cryptic posts. I'm just tired of all the secrets and such, trying to read between the lines and figure out what someone is talking about. It's ridiculous!

-Lisa

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Did lamamma1 join this forum so she can do her "public service" for the day by warning all prospective parents of the dangers of Abrazo????

It seems likely. Two new users, "lamamma" and "lamamma1" registered consecutively today, using two similarly-named Hotmail accounts. Evidently something didn't work with the first Hotmail account, used to register "Lamamma," so he/she created a new Hotmail account and was registered "Lamamma1."

It also appears (from resolving IP addresses) that this "new" user hails from the same region as Adoptive Dad, and it's likely that it's either our old friend using another computer, or someone doing him/her a favor.

Sadly, we may need to switch to a registered-user only format, with administrator review required before new users' accounts become active. I'm reluctant to do so, but it may be necessary to protect the civil, respectful community that the Abrazo Forum has been for four years now. We'll wait to see whether this nonsense continues.

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Adoption is not guaranteed to flow smoothly from start to finish. In fact, there are no guarantees in life except death. There are many things that are out of the agency's hands. There are statutes and requirements. I had a bad experience, I guess you could say, with another agency. This agency and Abrazo, too, are careful to tell families that any money expended are funds that are "at risk". The agency I referred to talked about the fact that adoptive families used to be able to buy insurance to cover the funds in case of disruption. The insurance companies have stopped offering the coverage because of having such a high percentage of pay out. My former husband and I lost a large amount of our escrow due to supporting a birthmother for 5 months and her deciding to parent. My ex was very bitter and angry with the birthmother. (I believe that this distructive outlook took its toll on us as a couple and contributed to the demise of our marriage) I was disappointed that the counselor at the agency hadn't been more perceptive about her but in reality if the birthmother wasn't sure about her own feelings/or in denial, then how in the world would the counselor be able to know. I never had any bad feelings about the birthmom. I called her about 6 weeks after the disruption and told her that. I honestly don't think I could relinquish a child and so who am I to fault anyone else for the same thing. What would be the point in badmouthing the agency for the way our case went? I know there are happy adoptive parents out there who had twists and turns with Abrazo that at the time caused them much anxiety and a bit of anger, too. I know happy adoptive parents who had their feelings hurt when they were told bluntly and honestly how the cow eats cabbage. But in the end, they have the child/children they were meant to have and would not had it not been for Abrazo. It just seems that nothing in life is PERFECT and it is a waste of time and energy to madmouth others when things don't go your way. And as several have already stated, we don't know the whole story. Kudos to the Abrazo staff for maintaining their confidentiality, and integrity by not responding in kind.

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Adoption is a journey in the window of our lives. It is not healthy to stay stuck. You must move on even if you are not able to be thankful for the people that helped you on your way. (It's okay.) If anger is so overwhelming in your life then it would be prudent to seek counseling. I say that not because you cannot voice your anger here on the forum ( because of course you can ) but because we are now held to a higher standard as parents. We need to be the best parents we can be and set the example, be the best role models we can be for our precious children, there is no room for hostility and anger.

My kids always know when I am upset or angry and if I do not let it go (quick enough) somehow they always think I am angry at them. How it gets turned around, I do not know. But the point is I see how my anger affects them.

Our behavior very much affects the people around us including those we love the most, try not to lose sight of what is important. The rest, as they say is history.

Here's wishing for the brightest of tomorrow for everyone.

Karen

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Webmaster,

I hope you do not have to limit access to this forum because of a few negative comments. While I do not post often - I do find the information helpful and informative and I enjoy being able to read what others have to say. We do not have an AbrazoBabe (I'm not sure if we ever will, I'm not ruling it out, but it's just not the right thing for us right now), but I would be saddened if I could no longer access the forum b/c I didn't have a child placed throught Abrazo. My husband and I are still praying that one day soon we too will have an adopted child and reading what others go through in all stages of the adoptive process (pre and post placement) is very helpful. Please think very seriously before you limit that because I am sure there are others out there like me.

Thanks,

Sammy

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Sammy,

Rest assured, access to the forum will never be limited to a private group of clients. If it becomes necessary to protect the community from malicious individuals, we might need to restrict the ability of anonymous guests to post (many [perhaps most?] bulletin boards don't permit unregistered guests to post as a matter of policy), but you, as a registered user, will continue to enjoy all the privileges and access you've already been enjoying.

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Thank you Webmaster for all your hard work once again! I for one am very glad that Adoptive Dad is gone. I hope that we now can go back to a peaceful and informative forum.

Jill

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If you're trying to locate an agency through which to adopt, one thing you want to make sure of is that the agency has a valid/verified child placing license in the state where they're located. Just because they do, doesn't necessarily mean they're a top-notch agency or the right agency for you, but it's a start in the right direction (i.e. if they don't have a license, you don't want to waste your time)

Here's a link to the government dept that has a listing for each state (the link I've included is specific to Texas but you can select another state from the drop-down list if you're looking for agencies in a state other than Texas).

It's called the National Adoption Directory Search Results (for Texas)

According to this site, the state of Texas has 49 licensed Child Placing agencies - and this is how the describe those agencies in their list:

Licensed Private Adoption Agencies for Domestic Adoptions

Agencies included on this list have a verified child placing license in the State in which the agency is physically located at the time of addition to the Directory. Inclusion on this list does not represent an endorsement or recommendation by the Child Welfare Information Gateway or the Children's Bureau.

And for the record - yes - Abrazo is in the list!

Lisa

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Here's a link to ETHICA, a website committed to adoption ethics, where they offer some sage advice on the differences between adoptions done by attorneys and agencies, with pointers on how to be sure you're using the service that's right for you: How To Know Where To Go.

Be sure to also check out the reading on Ethica's site, written by an attorney who's also a social worker, which explains her perspective on Why Attorneys Shouldn't Do Adoptions. Very interesting!

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I had such a good feeling today I had to share. I am a hopeful "againer". My son was not adopted through Abrazo but I am hoping to find my next baby with thier help! :) I have been trying to get my homestudy from my previous agency for some time now. It finally came in the mail yesturday!!! YEAH!!

Then this morning I was watching "Adoption Stories" on the Discovery channel and Abrazo was featured!! What was even better was the family was "againers" also!! It was enough to start my day off right! We are now just waiting for Abrazo to accept applications for "againers" so we can send ours in! I can not wait to start our next adoption journey! :)

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Then this morning I was watching "Adoption Stories" on the Discovery channel and Abrazo was featured!! What was even better was the family was "againers" also!! It was enough to start my day off right! We are now just waiting for Abrazo to accept applications for "againers" so we can send ours in! I can not wait to start our next adoption journey! :)

I missed it :lol:

Hoping you get your invite soon :) We'd love to follow your journey :D

Cathy

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Then this morning I was watching "Adoption Stories" on the Discovery channel and Abrazo was featured!! What was even better was the family was "againers" also!! It was enough to start my day off right! We are now just waiting for Abrazo to accept applications for "againers" so we can send ours in! I can not wait to start our next adoption journey! :)

Those againers are none other than our very own forum members, Doug and Jennifer.

I am keeping fingers crossed for you. :)

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I wish I would have known we were on today. I need more copies. The cool thing is Amanda was her this morning and we could have watched it together if only I would have known. Oh well next time.

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hey, I have my DVR set to tape all episodes of Adoption Stories. I will definitely be watching that one tonight!

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I had such a good feeling today I had to share. I am a hopeful "againer". My son was not adopted through Abrazo but I am hoping to find my next baby with thier help! :) I have been trying to get my homestudy from my previous agency for some time now. It finally came in the mail yesturday!!! YEAH!!

Then this morning I was watching "Adoption Stories" on the Discovery channel and Abrazo was featured!! What was even better was the family was "againers" also!! It was enough to start my day off right! We are now just waiting for Abrazo to accept applications for "againers" so we can send ours in! I can not wait to start our next adoption journey! :)

We had our full application from Abrazo waiting to be filled out. What we were waiting for, I don't know. Then one night I had a dream that woke me up abruptly; I jumped out of bed and started filling out the app. I turned on the t.v. and guess what was on :P That very same episode of Adoption Stories! We had the app out in just a few days and and two months later our precious baby girl was in our arms! Best of luck!

Wow Jennifer! See how inspiring you guys are :D

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Thank you everyone for your well wishes and inspiration!! I was so excited today I read the rest of Jennifer and Doug's exciting journey. When I told my husband 4 kids he said I needed to focus on one child at a time :) I cann't help it though I am inspired and excited!! I am glad to know I am not the only one who watches the show! ;)

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Reviving this old thread. I have to assume a lot of prospective adoptive parents (and maybe expectant/birth parents?) take a look at this thread when considering Abrazo or when considering whether or not working with an agency that supports open adoptions is right for their family. I noticed a Guest was on here today checking out this thread, so I thought the topic deserved a refresh. There is also a newer thread, specific to clients who chose Abrazo, called: What Made You Pick Abrazo?

There are also a few threads here on the forum for expectant/birth familes considering open adoption, though none consolidate referrals from birth parents who worked with Abrazo. Reading these threads and seeing the information offered by Abrazo staff and birthmothers might help those considering Abrazo as their agency: Finding an Agency, Looking for the Right Parents for Your Baby?, Selecting the right family for your baby, Resources for Dealing with an Unplanned Pregnancy, and What is Open Adoption?.

While being "perfect" is impossible, my biggest concerns were addressed with Abrazo. There were a few top things on my list that we considered as we researched agencies. We ultimately chose Abrazo.

* I wanted an agency that was ethical (in numerous ways, including the legality of their practices, but also how expectant/birth parents were treated and how all members of the triad were counseled).

* I was looking for a community that helped me network with other adoptive families so that my son could grow up with friends who had similar stories, which I definitely found here.

* I also wanted an agency that always kept the child of the adoption in mind first. While adoptive parents may think "we're the client, we're paying money," none of that matters. It's what's in the best interest of the child who's in need. I think, along the way, parents-in-waiting may get their egos a little bruised. There is a steep learning curve in open adoption and I think you get a few bumps and bruises along the way. All I can say is that I'm a better mother for those bumps and bruises and I'm a MUCH better friend to our son's birthmama. I wouldn't have it any other way.

* Most of all... I wanted an agency that 100% believed in why OPEN adoptions were important and would help us honor our promises.

From our son's birthmama's perspective, she appreciated the genuine friendship Abrazo provided (and still provides) to her. It's very obvious that they're not going to persuade an expectant/birth mother to do anything she isn't comfortable with. There is a huge peace that comes with knowing that the agency we used supported our son's birthmama no matter what decision she made and allowed her to make her own decision about what was best for her son, without any coersion or manipulations.

I do think it's fake to get onto any rating site or this forum and say that everything was perfect. I don't think anyone's journey with any agency is. And if it is, I have to say that would be the red flag for me. Because if the ride is totally smooth and you don't feel a little wounded along the way, then something went wrong and it's either your child or your child's birth family who took the brunt. Open adoption is a rollercoaster and it's not for the weak of heart or character. But if the most important things to you are some of what I listed above, I'd say you've found a good agency for you.

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