The decision to adopt led Nancy and I on a journey to choose the "right" adoption agency. Foremost on our minds was the welfare of the children and families involved in the country that we would eventually choose for our adoption. We wanted to avoid any kind of corruption, human trafficking, or servitude. Popular media abounds with stories of young women in impoverished regions of the world serving as surrogates for western couples willing to pay thousands for their children. Although there may be legitimate agencies that perform these kinds of services, neither Nancy nor I could ever be sure that any surrogate we choose would have been doing so of her own free will, free from familial or societal pressures. As a result,we chose to adopt a child from an orphanage who may not have otherwise had a chance at finding her forever home.
Upon doing some research on the internet, we narrowed our search down to a few agencies. Brian had done some preliminary research while he was living in Korea in 2007. We were interested in the prospects of adopting a girl from one of the many orphanages in the Seoul area. Unfortunately, Korean law requires foreign couples to be married for at least five years before they can be considered for adoption. As we had only been married for four years at that time, we decided to hold off and look into the adoption process upon Brian's return home in July of that year.
After a few months of trying for our own baby, we finally decided to move the adoption process from the "let's think about it" phase to the "mission execution phase." The information provided by Holt International out of Eugene, Oregon really seemed to fall into line with what we were trying to accomplish. The agency was born after the Korean War. A couple from Sweethome, Oregon started Holt after they worked to bring back orphans from the many Korean orphanages overflowing with children following the bloody Korean War. Both Nancy and I were drawn to Holt's child centered approach to adoption. You can read more about Holt at their website (http://www.holtinternational.org/). We were convinced that we made the right choice after our friends told us that they had used Holt to adopt their beautiful little girl.