When starting an adoption journey, one of the biggest -and most important- decisions you can make is choosing which agency you will go through. This will inevitably affect every step of your adventure, and it is important that you get this one right. It took us HOURS upon HOURS of research to find just the right one… and we are so in love with All God’s Children International that we cannot help but share why. Perhaps it will help some of you guys, as you’re responding to the initial tugs on your heart.
Faith: Okay, so I know I may be extreme… but any time I move to a new place, the first thing I do is start searching for doctors that use their practice to honor the Lord. For example, before I pick a gynecologist I always spend time searching to see if they are pro-life. When I was having serious GI problems in college, I drove all the way from downtown Chicago to Skokie to see a Jewish doctor known for his Biblical ethics. I want to know that NO MATTER WHAT happens, I’m in the hands of people who don’t compromise in their service to God. So here we go again. When choosing a group of people that would be handling the well-being of my children, I wanted the VERY best.
All God’s Children International was the only agency that just absolutely littered their website with scripture. Yes, I found other agencies that proved to be faith-based, but AGCI was dramatically different, from a first impressions perspective. There was no doubt in my mind that their services were for the will of the Lord.
Ethics: As my research continued, my heart absolutely melted when I discovered that AGCI specialized not just in “adoption care,” but also prioritized “orphan care.” AGCI places their OWN orphanage in each country that we could adopt from (as opposed to using international, governmental agencies). This means that they can 110% keep tabs on treatment of your child. These orphanages are called “Hannah’s Hope.” Something that I ADORED about these Hannah’s Hope facilities is that, for every few children, there is a different “mommy” that takes care of them… For example, you may have the SAME “mom” taking care of the SAME 5 children until you bring them home to their Forever Families. This mother is the same one to bathe them, put them to bed, feed them, read them bedtime stories…. all things that allow that child to bond and develop various interpersonal skills that are so important. Each orphanage also keeps up with the latest US parenting trends like “Tummy Time,” touch therapy, etc. SOOO if they can’t be in my arms, how much better do I feel knowing that my kiddos are in theirs?!
All God’s Children International also has missions trips available to maintain the upkeep of each orphanage. I LOVE THIS. When you walk into these orphanages you see bright paint and murals on the walls, all things important for the development and mental health of your child. These facilities are by no means “American,” but far exceed any expectation of international orphanages that I’ve EVER had. The monthly need to upkeep these orphanages is $18,500 (for “the medical, nutritional and developmental care that every child deserves.” -AGCI). These are costs that are not added into OUR expenses… these are bills that AGCI funds out of their response of obedience towards God.
[Other Hannah’s Hope expenses include monthly education costs of $2,500, Orphan prevention classes of $2,500, and the list goes on & on…]
Hannah’s Hope Ethiopia
Business: When Jordan and I attended an AGCI seminar last year, they opened the event with the statement, “Let there be no mistake… we are NOT in the business of buying and selling children. We do NOT do this for profit. We do what we do BECAUSE we are called to it.” Wow. I love that. AGCI clearly articulated to us what they make for coming into work each day, and I can tell you… they are on a ministry B.U.D.G.E.T. They funnel almost all of our funds back towards the adoption process -and- are transparent with their fees to reinforce that commitment. AGCI is a faith-based, non-profit organization that truly relies on the good of “outside” donations for their cause. I can’t wait to teach my children how to tithe to AGCI, especially since they will be able to tangibly conceptualize how it all works.
Size: All God’s Children International is a SMALL agency. This makes our experience more personal and hands-on. People REMEMBER us when we call! To be on a first name basis with your agency is an incredible feeling. You don’t have to give back-stories, they’re praying and journeying with you, and they truly become your friends. They rejoice with you in the milestones and hold you up when you feel like caving. You just can’t trade that.
During our time at Dallas Theological Seminary, Jordan and I were invited over to a professor’s house for dinner. There were a few other couples attending, and we all had a great time! Eventually the subject of adoption came to surface, as we knew that Jordan’s professor had served in Ethiopia and had adopted from there, himself. As we started revealing our VERY NEW plans to adopt a sibling set through AGCI, one of the other couples spoke up. They had 3 adopted children, each from a different country and agency. All were wonderful experiences, but the last one was not comparable to the other two– They had gone through AGCI with their Chinese adoption. Because of this, they were planning on adopting their fourth and would MOST DEFINITELY be going back to AGCI. After speaking with them and hearing the intimate details of their experiences, it became clear that God had, indeed, lead us in the right direction (as if He wouldn’t, right?!). The wife of Jordan’s classmate was telling me that she would have some crazy thought and just call one of her friends at the agency…. and she was always greeted with, “Hey Michele! What’s going on?” THEN after talking through her fears, they would remind her of things they had prayed over in the past… how the Lord had always provided… and consequently reassure her that AGCI was on it, with God as their watchman. Now that is an agency that I want to be a part of!!