This is probably the most important step of all. Your RESEARCH, make sure you are not getting biased information. Many of you have asked about chat rooms, etc., I found them to be absolete and only a few agencies control what it posted. Do not go on web postings, but pick up the phone and speak to the people. Also MEET your home study and placing agency (ASP) FACE to FACE. Do not rely on the phone or the Internet, this was my mistake. Also if the Executive Director never meets clients this is a red flag, you are about to enter into a business contract with someone when you sign the paperwork....know who it is.
A) The BBB isn't a great way to research, although after the fact I found 3 complaints against a particular agency. The complaints stay and are rotated every 36months, and the BBB does NOTHING except is a reporting agency. Check all over the country and in the county where your agency is in. http://www.bbb.org
B) The JCICS is better now than they were but they are still a trade organization that is supported by dues of adoption agencies. (Joint Council of International Children Services) http://www.jcics.org
JCICS is hurting big time, they have had to disolve 1/2 their staff and moved to smaller quarters. Most Adoption Agencies are moving away from the JCICS to religious based support organizations and foundations.
C) Ethica is a good orgnization http://www.ethicanet.org/
D) PEAR- Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform http://www.pear-now.org IS EXCELLENT, I was 1 of the orignial people that put up the money for this group. It is a group of adoptive parents most of who have law degrees that are here to bring the rights of the birth mother and child back into the equation. PEAR is on top of legislation and supporting the rights of the child and families. David Smolin is a law professor and has written several articles about International Adoption. He and his wife Desiree had a terrible situation happen with their 2 beautiful daughters from India. The girls were stolen from their birth mother. Barbara McArtney is also another fantastic adoption attorney. We started just 3 years ago at the October 2007 Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference in Washington DC.
E) Adoption Agency Checklist http://www.adoptionagencychecklist.com
F) Joni Fixel Law offices, can do a background check on your agency for a small fee, she is the attorney that has represented adoptive parents in class action lawsuits vs. Main Street, Waiting Angels and more.http://www.fixellawoffices.com/adoption-law.html
Speaking with attorneys is a great idea, but there are a few that are "co-mingling" and have an adoption service for profit as well as Non-profit business as well. We find it is a conflict of interest. You may not get the best fair balance of information from those that have a financial interest.
ORGANIZATIONS IN ARMENIA FOR CHILDREN
FAR - Foundation for Armenian Relief -Excellent with offices in Armenia
COAF Children of Armenia Fund
Started by my buddy Dr. Garo Armen without a doubt one of the most successful for the children. We have just started COAF NEXT GENERATIONwhich is young professionals dedicated to helping children in Armenia. We have a Masquerade Ball on 10/29/10 and the HUGE Star studded Gala ball in NYC in December 2010. Last year comedian Martin Short stepped up to MC, his sister in law (ex now) is Armenian Comedian Andrea Martin who is a doll. here is the Masquerade Ball invite and online donation, even if you cannot make it please donate via paypal https://www.coafkids.org/involve/masquerade.php
ARS - Armenian Relief Society
(the oldest 100 years and WORLDWIDE)
SOAR - Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief
World Vision (Excellent program) WV has an Active Armenian office that works closely with the governmental offices in Armenia for Child, family issues.Sponsor an Armenian Child!!
Taiwan World Vision just sent relief for 2,000 Armenian Children http://focustaiwan.tw/ShowNews/WebNews_Detail.aspx?Type=aSOC&ID=201010140050
AYF - Armenian Youth Federation
ARM-Armenian Relief Mission-
EXCELLENT started over 12 years ago by physician Dr. Steve Kashian, they have done many improvements in the orphanages they are about improving the life of the children not about band aids.
Peace Corps Armenia has MANY youth programs.
Here are some blogs and Journals of PC workers in Armenia
Over the Years I have met many dedicated people that are non-Armenian who have shown us through their actions how they care. Jack Garvey from Sacramento, CA just finished his assignment in Armenia. I sent him many educational supplies for Diljan. Jack was also responsible for finding a back room of young adults hidden because they had disabilities. Bravo Peace Corps.
Friends of Armenia
Works closely with the peace corp in country, many good children's programs.
UNICEF of Armenia
PROBABLY THE MOST IMPORTANT FUND OF THEM ALL, WHICH HAS REGULAR FLIGHTS TO ARMENIA IS UNITED ARMENIAN FUND. THEY ARE A GOD SEND