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June 27, 2007

New Agency Rating Site

A new website has been launched which allows families to rate adoption service providers. The URL is http://www.adoptionagencyratings.com/.

This agency ratings site is not affiliated with Guatadopt.com. We do support the effort being made in creating such a tool.

Posted by Kevin at June 27, 2007 03:49 PM
Comments

Great idea..... I typed in a bunch of agency names that have programs in Guat -- and not one can back with a review, so it looks like folks need to get the word out so that families can add their reviews to this data base.
Regards,
gloria
mom to 5 Guatemalan blessings

Posted by: gloria at June 28, 2007 12:27 AM

I wonder how long it will be up before it is shut down due to threats of litigation like all the other agency ratings sites?
Bad agencies are funny about trying to shut such sites down...

Posted by: Anonymous at June 28, 2007 09:59 AM

If you don't type anything into the search fields (leave them all blank), you will get a list of all the adoption agencies that have been reviewed.

I would have loved to have had this resource when we were starting out so, please, everyone, add your review!

Posted by: Sarah at June 28, 2007 11:36 AM

Kevin,

Can you share any more information with us about the person(s)/organization responsible for this site? The "About Us" section of the site is pretty sparse. On the one hand, it says the site was created by an "adoptive parent", but then everywhere else refers to the site contact, etc. in the plural. The fact that someone refers to themselves (or anyone) as an "adoptive" parent is a red flag to me, as most persons I know who've adopted refer to the adoption in the past tense, and do not use "adoptive" as an adjective to describe their relationship(s) with their child(ren) or to describe themselves. Maybe just a snafu? The Terms of Agreement indicate the site falls under the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of VA, specifically Arlington. Any insight you can provide would be helpful. While this sounds like a good idea, and GuatAdopt's endorsement carries some weight, I wonder at the creation of ANOTHER site for assessing agencies, and why there are not links to the other sources of agency information, particularly the Yahoo Group . . . which IMHO provides for a more comprehensive discussion of agencies. Thanks!

Boni

Posted by: Boni at June 28, 2007 04:26 PM

The creator of the site is reading this, so I will let her speak to who she is. I don't know the person but also have no reason not to believe that it is nothing more than someone seeing the need out there for such a site and having the cajones to launch one.

I know that I refer to my self as an adoptive parent because that is someting permanent the way I see it.

I assume te site is legit because I can't see any reason it couldn't be. If we start to receive reports of comments either pro or con about some agencies not being posted and stuff like that, maybe you'll find something more to it. Though even with that I would add that the person running this site may need to be a little cautious posting some comments if they are too severe because of the fear of litigation.

As with any site, you cna never know who the people posting their experiences are. I am sure some agencies wil add reviews about how wonderful they were, pretending to be adoptive parents. And I am sure some families wil post things ten times under te different names to get even with teh agency that screwed them.

Kevin
Guatadopt

Posted by: Kevin at June 28, 2007 05:50 PM

Yeah id be happy to know who the owner is too.

Funny thing is I was talking to 2 people about this idea in Guatemala a week ago. One has contacted me about someone stealing my idea and the other I didn’t know. I had someone creating a legitimate forum for us that would allow folks to speak their peace about their adoption experiences. I know whomever this is definitely got the idea from me because the domain name is exact. They even paid the extra money to hide the name of the owner of the domain. The only reason I haven’t purchased the domain name is I just got home from visiting my daughter in Guatemala a day ago. We already purchased the forum software and was building the site. I guess you need to be careful who you become friendly with in casual conversation.

Nice Idea...wonder where you got it?

Posted by: ORIGINAL IDEA at June 28, 2007 07:53 PM

Once again, Guatadopt doesn't know the creator of this site and has no involvement with it. But as a person who spends countless personal time in the e-adoption world for no pay, I'd like to comment a bit.

I don't know how the origins of this site began. Bu the URL is fairly straightforward and the idea for it is not a new one, and is one that I know MANY people have pondered.

There have been a few other sites to do this sort of thing and they have all ultimately not survived. Exactly why I am not sure though I could speculate.

But it is important for everyone to realize that there is no money to be made on this. And if the person who created it thinks there is, they are mistaken. Revenues that come from advertising are slim at best. basically the only option is pay-per-click such as that on Guatadopt. What this means is that an ad goes up on the site, but we only get paid if someone clicks on it. We don't control who those ads are for, it is handled by Google. Our advertisers are often agencies and theya re really the only relevant businesses interested in reaching adoptive parents. Because of the nature of this ratings site, they'd be fools for advertising on it. If you get good reviews on the site, then your advertising is free. If you get bad reviews, then what's the purpose of the ad - no one in their right mind would click on your ad.

The only way to make money would be to charge to view the site and I just don't think that is going to happen. There was the LAPA? board for this and I think it is gone now. In addition, the way thigns for ICA are heading from a regulation perspective, we are almost undoubtedly going to see a significant reduction in the number of agencies and thus consumer choices.

So long story short, hopefully no one stole someone else's idea. but on the same note, here is a site with a great purpose and I don't think, IMHO, that it is fair to jump on the person who had the guts to put it together.

I know that there are times when I wonder why I do this adoption stuff because of attacks I've faced. It should not be painful to try to Do Good and we need to support and encourage all efforts made to protect families and have a trasnaprent way for people to do thier research on agencies.

Kevin
Guatadopt

Posted by: Kevin at June 29, 2007 01:00 PM

Ok, I guess I should comment.

I am the creator of adoptionagencyratings.com I also got a message on the site from the person who posted above, who thinks the site is a stolen idea. While the need, I am sure, has lead many of us to think of the idea, I want to say and be clear that I came up with the idea on my own last year when we adopted our daughter.

Since then I have learned that others tried similar and shut down or stopped. I hope to not have to do that, but we'll see.

I have been working on the site since last summer. Originally registered the current domain name in Nov, added a host server in Jan 07, and finally got the site working well enough to launch the beginning of June (see whois.net, for reg info). I have whois guard on the site because I am doing the site outside my day job from home and don't like the idea of having my home address up with the site registration.

I posted when I launched the site on some yahoo groups May 31 and June 1, but then got the idea that some people thought I was spamming so stopped trying to get the word out that way.

I sometimes use "we" on the site because I do have an outside hired company helping with the database and my husband helps provide ideas for the site and I guess it makes me feel better to say "we".

I haven't finished the other resources section yet and am definitely open to sites to post there. I'll go back to the suggestions from the above post and see if I can get them in. Sometimes I do take a while to change things because I am doing it in "spare time".

Don't want to step on anyone's toes. Want to have a useful site, but not the only useful site out there. Kevin's comments about the reviews being submitted comments, nothing more or less and take them for what that is worth is true. I am trying to keep the site clean "no personal attacks" and as much as possible try to look for inappropriate comments. Don't want to bash adoption agency personnel or cause them to be angry but thought/think it will be good to have a place where people can honestly post about their experiences.

Kevin is right. As far as I can tell from my experience so far, sites like these are a labor of love and don't bring in tons of revenue. Really do think adoption and adoption community is wonderful , but sometimes the process can be better and hoping to help with that and not cause myself or others too much trouble in the process.

Didn't know that some people stop referring to themselves as "adoptive" parent after adoption is complete. My daughter is my daughter and I am her mother no question and no need for adjectives but also don't mind being adoptive family.

Any errors, omissions etc on the site are due to my lack of time, ability and/or knowledge, not anything else.

Thanks for the comments. Any comments, help, suggestions for the site are welcome.

Thanks to those who have posted so far.

JAN FERRIGAN
Adoption Agency Ratings
www.adoptionagencyratings.com

Posted by: Jan at June 29, 2007 02:31 PM

I for one think it is a great idea for a site. I hope it is successful, and I've already posted my ratings on it. I wish a place like this would have existed when I chose my agency. Thank you to you, and thank you to the guatadopt staff for being willing to help adoptive families ( I will ALWAYS be one by the way b/c my childrn will never cease to BE adopted).

Posted by: mommy at June 29, 2007 03:33 PM

Jan,

Thank you so much for introducing yourself, AND for taking the time to put the site together. It's wonderful to have more resources, and folks who are willing to put out the "labor of love". I did not see my agency listed, so I'll post a review today. Thanks again.

Boni

Posted by: Boni at June 30, 2007 02:52 PM

Ratings are often akin to samples: a rating may be biased because they are not an accurate reflection of the population, i.e. the adoption agency performance in general.

I did not bother to register with the site, but I wonder if they will use a standardized form that one can fill out, so that all aspects of the adoption process can be rated. For example: 1) Was the social worker knowledgable? On time? Certified? etc.; 2) Was someone at the adoption agency always available to answer questions? Were question answered in a reasonable amount of time, and adequately?; etc., etc.,

I think there should be some educated guidance, not only to allow one to reflect on all aspects of the adoption process, but also - and importantly - to allow the reader to rate the rater. In other words, a detailed, complete critique reflecting knowledge and experience will rate more highly, and carry more weight, than a review that essentially reflects bad feelings or a biased, personal opinion.

Finally, will the rated adoption agency also be allowed space to respond?

Posted by: ebina2 at June 30, 2007 06:55 PM

Darn!! Wanted to rate my former agency, but they went and "got" themselves shutdown!!

Couldn't resist! 8)

Troy
guatadopt

Posted by: Troy at July 1, 2007 02:06 AM

I really appreciate the efforts of Jan opening this site. I too have thought this would be a good idea but by no means think it was stolen from me. I wanted a site like this for people to be able to avoid a bad experience like we had that almost stopped our adoption journey. There is so much emotion when going through this process the last thing you want is a bad experience. I know for a fact that Jan screens the posts as she erased the initials of the person I referred to before approving my post. I thought that was great to be proofed. We are now going throught this process with a wonderful agency and are very pleased. We will be bringing home 3 beautiful children from Guatemala very soon. I too refer to us as an adoptive family and am proud of it, that is how we have built or family!

Posted by: margo engberg at July 1, 2007 09:46 PM

"Finally, will the rated adoption agency also be allowed space to respond?"

So...you own which agency?

Posted by: anonymous at July 1, 2007 11:35 PM

Does anyone know if there is a website or process for checking up on specific attorneys in Guatemala?

Posted by: Anonymous at July 2, 2007 06:27 PM

To Original Idea & others....

I don't know Jan, but I did check the registration and it was last year in November(not just a few weeks ago). Besides that, I would be REALLY impressed if someone was able to throw a site together with a pretty nice database in less than a week.

As for "original ideas"...even Kevin, Troy and I talked about it off and on for the last few years as well as readers REQUESTING it (we feel our contribution is better served elsewhere). So, I suspect that there are hundreds if not thousands who have thought about this...ie ditto what Kevin has said.

...and hey, if anyone wants to donate several thousands to try and prove that sites like ours has some financial gain...we'll take it! :-) Although...if we won the donation lottery, you can bet our gang would be setting up some orphanages ourselves ;-)

Good luck Jan....we'll be pulling for success with the site...not to displace others with the idea...but provide PAPs another tool for their research.

Posted by: Kelly (guatadopt.com) at July 4, 2007 11:22 PM

If only now we could get a site for legitimate facilitators and attorneys, we'd be in pretty good shape...

Posted by: Erik at July 5, 2007 05:06 PM

I completed my review last week; While I did not have a great overall experience with our agency, I tried to back up my ratings with comments that gave evidence to why I rated something a particular way.

I tried to include both good and bad experiences we had so the agency or anyone else looking at it would know we weren't just trying to slam them.

I believe we told the complete truth about our experience, and if they don't agree, they either were incredibly lucky, or had their heads in the sand.

Posted by: mary at July 9, 2007 01:13 AM

>>"Finally, will the rated adoption agency also be allowed space to respond?"
So...you own which agency?"<<

I do not own any agency. My wife and I are going through our adoption (the agency that is aiding our adoption is non-profit), and, having just gotten out of PGN, and our daughter having gotten her passport, will hopefully have our visa appointment with US Embassy within a few weeks.

My comments reflect more my concern that an opinions of an agency should reflect many people's experiences, and that when someone who comes across the web site and reads a rating, they should get a fairly accurate reflection of that agency's competence, good or bad. Allowing an adoption agency to respond, and have reviewers respond in kind, I think may give one important information about that agency. Anyway, it was just a suggestion.

Posted by: ebina2 at July 12, 2007 01:06 PM

Not to be off topic but I am new to the site. Are there posts or imformation i can read about legal rights of adoptive parents who have been lied too from particular agency. We have emails stating situations that never occurred. We didnt find out we were being lied too until we hired a adoption supervisor agency. Any info would be appreciated.

Posted by: New Adoptive Parents at July 18, 2007 09:39 PM

To New Adoptive Parent,
You may want to try contacting the Attorney General in the state of your agency and/or the Department of Human Resources. I guess, too, it would depend on how grievous the lie was and whether it was worth the trouble. I have found that lying is not as big of a deal in some other cultures (my husband is from South America and he's explained that being 100% honest is just not as strong of a value there as it is here), and we have experienced some lying from our attorney here and there (none that would impact our case permanently, more lies around when something got done etc). It's possible the attorney even lied to your agency and they passed that lie on to you not knowing it was a lie. I think you have to pick your battles wisely.

Posted by: Mary at July 21, 2007 11:19 AM

In some ways, I think this site is good, but I also think it can give some agencies bad press for unwarranted reasons. Our social worker that doesn't work for our agency said to me.... "The communication from attorneys to agencies in some cases is very poor." a lot of problems are totally out of the agencies hands." "If an agency doesn't answer all questions, sometimes it's simply that they are so busy and they just don't have the answer." I think that most people that are going to post reviews, were unhappy. I also think that unless you own your own business, you just can't see the other side. Some people are just totally unreasonable and unrealistic. I also think that MOST people that post bad reviews probably had troubled situations from the beginning. I'm not saying ALL of them. Lets face it, this whole process is such a LEAP OF FAITH! I do think though, that MOST agencies really do have the best interest of the children at heart. Thanks for letting me share my opinion.

Posted by: Mommy2VandM at July 21, 2007 06:55 PM

Mommy2VandM

Even if MOST agencies have the best interest of the children at heart, it doesn't negate the fact that some agencies do not...and it has nothing to do with attorneys. If, when I asked for information, I was told they were waiting for the atty to get back to them, I am smart enough to know the problem is with the attorney. If I am never gotten back to, it doesn't matter if it is because the atty didn't get back to them, or they just don't want to deal with me, ignoring me is never a proper response.....if you sit down and read the reviews on that site, for the most part, you will see agencies top heavy one way or another....and oddly enough, my sad excuse for an agency has nothing but 5 negative reviews....seems to me if people were dying to defend them, there's the place to go.

"If an agency doesn't answer all questions, sometimes it's simply that they are so busy and they just don't have the answer."
--well, my 2 cents on this matter is, after paying the agency 5 grand, they should never be so busy that they can't, at least with 24 hours, write a quick, "I'm working on that, give me until Friday." message. And it has NEVER been professional....in any avenue, to ignore people when you don't know something.

I work for my dad, who owns his own business, and there are lots of crappy things about owning your own business....but the first thing to remember is your customers are who keep you in business. If people are unwilling to cater to customers, owning a business, including an adoption agency, is the wrong line of work for them. Being an owner, is not an excuse to be rude, ignore people, lie, manipulate, or be dishonest.

While I agree that some people are completely unrealistic and unreasonable.....I believe many many people know what they are getting into and that it is a leap of faith...which is why we are so completely floored when the stateside agency with all our money can not even email back a response to valid questions.

I once could not get my agency to answer me regarding an updated medical for my child. I had only received ONE, when she was born. At 6 months old, I had not managed to get another. My calls were not answered, my messages were not returned, my emails were not returned, for a week, all I needed was an "I'm working on it," and I said that.....but they couldn't say that, b/c they weren't. I emailed from a friend's account fake inquiring about a baby, and I had a response in minutes! They are not too busy to take money, just too busy to do their jobs.

Again, maybe, just MAYBE "most" agencies are not like this...but many many are. And when you say "alot" of the problems are out of their hands, you invalidate the experience of many adoptive parents and empower agencies that refuse to do their job.

Posted by: mommy at August 10, 2007 07:51 PM

MOMMY,

I'm sorry you had such a bad situation with your agency. Obviously, you're very upset and for that, it's good you have this site to post your review.


Posted by: Mommy2VandM at August 11, 2007 02:04 PM
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