However, she suggested that we consider applying to some other agencies as well. Apparently at our agency, the list for a domestic adoption is long, and the list of expectant parents is short. Basically, it's a small program and they have many more people waiting than they will have babies to place. She said we could wait up to 3 years, and that if the timing of a placement is important to us (are there many people for whom the timing of an adoption is not important?) that one of the things that we could do to expand our chances while reducing wait time is to apply to some agencies in other states.
We basically have 3 choices now - we can stay with our current agency exclusively and just wait for as long as it takes, we can stay with our agency and expand to other agencies and put ourselves out there on multiple lists, or we could leave our agency altogether and just go to a completely different agency.
The social worker said that obviously, we're welcome to stay with our agency if we want. The problem is this "up to 3 years" business. Up to 3 years includes now, so it's possible that we'd be matched quickly, even long before 3 years. Possibly this year. (I know, I'm delusional, but I have to have something to hold onto...)
The hard part of this up and down adoption roller coaster is that I really have no idea what to do. Everything is different for every family in every situation. There's no "official next step." There's no crystal ball to look into and say that this is the fastest possible solution. Or even that the fastest possible solution is the right one.
The thing that makes me the most frustrated about picking a new agency is that it puts us back to where we were last fall. Last fall was spent listening to adoption slideshows online and making phone calls and sifting through information packets. I felt great when we selected our agency, when we mailed in the registration fee and the application packet. That was one thing off the checklist. Now we're possibly back to square one. At least we're closer to being home study ready at this point. But geez, square one. Again?!
And I'm not going to lie. In my fantasy view of the world, we will be completing an adoption in 3 years. But not for our first child! I'm not sure I can handle waiting 3 more years. Especially if I have nothing to show for it.