I'm seeking experience from people who have adopted young children through a foster to adopt program, or through a private agency.
My wife and I are in the process of starting the long process of adoption/foster certification. Because we have no kids, we would prefer an infant-1.5 year old (for the first one). We started with DFPS and at our orientation they said that the best way to adopt an infant is through a private agency who will often work with a State case-worker.
In looking at private agencies, it seems like some charge a pretty high fee, and some charge no fee at all. We were also in the process of registereing for the State training PRIDE classes, which are no small time investment. We are interested in the kids that are "hard to place", whether it be from fetal alcohol, mild health complications, or minority classification. It's hard to believe that ones race can qualify them as hard to adopt, so we have our hearts completely open to a child of any skin color. We are not the family that is looking to have a perfect health white-washed adopted baby. We want the unwanted. I think that makes our situation a little more unique than most adoption processes, which is why I'm reaching out for help.
My questions are as follows:
-Do all private agencies work with DFPS, or just the ones that don't charge a fee?
-Do agencies that work with the State require applicants to take the State PRIDE courses, or a different one that is facilitated by the agency?
-How did YOU pick the agency that you ended up sticking with? What was the attribute that set them apart from others? Did they charge a fee over $10k?
-Given the information about our preferences, would it be best to just stick with the DFPS certification and hope to foster to adopt or do legal risk with a younger child already in the system?
Any help would be phenomenal.