NightLight Christian Adoptions! :) We had a great meeting with Bethany Christian Services on Friday, and left feeling pretty confident that we would be happy with either agency. They have the same philosophy and values, including birthmother care which is important to Ryan and I. So it really just came down to smaller issues of preference.
1) Ratio of birthmothers to adoptive couples - Bethany is a little bit larger than Nightlight, and the social worker said that they typically work with 23-25 birthmothers, and 35 adoptive couples annually. Nightlight works with an average of 15 birthmothers and 17 adoptive couples. Because there are not as many birthmothers to go around at Bethany, their estimated wait time was about a year longer than at NightLight.
2) Financial incentives - NightLight has their fee structure set up so that a portion of the cost is considered a donation, which will be tax deductible. NightLight will also lower the cost of the adoption by $6,000 if we are able to find a birthmother outside of the agency. Bethany does not offer either of these incentives.
3) Availability - I know that some of the availability issues we had with Bethany were circumstantial. She was on vacation, then she was sick, she is not in the office on Thursdays which is a good day for us, etc. Still, having to wait three weeks to meet with someone was not ideal, and it concerned us that the rest of the process might be similar. We showed up at the NightLight meeting at the wrong time, and they called someone to come out to see us on a Saturday when they were closed. She then called me the next day to apologize for the impromptu setting and asked if we had all of our questions answered. The director has also responded to my emails within a couple hours. She has definitely scored some points on the availability scale.
I spoke with Victory, the NightLight director, today and she was thrilled to have us on board. :) Next step is the official application and then we can move on to our home study!