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The "Why" Behind the Adopt-BAAS Merger

The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of logistical gymnastics getting everything finalized for our Adopt-BAAS merger. My head has been filled with reporting to IAAME, sending by-laws to the attorneys, securing an India license for Adopt, and getting all of our active BAAS families transferred and settled. It's been a big to do list (possibly the understatement of my year).

With all of this urgently pushing us forward, I sometimes need a reminder of the "why". Why are we going through all of this? Why am I going through all this?

Running two agencies while having two small kids at home hasn't been easy. And when this all started I definitely didn't think through the reality of going through an extra accreditation! Seriously - what was I thinking?! That alone was enough to question my own sanity.

But one of the amazing parts of this merger has been that even in the toughest times, when I ask myself "Why?" I always came up with the same answer - because it's the thing our community needs.

Recently I realized that if we - who have been in the thick of this day after day and have committed our professional time and energy (and honestly, our personal time as well) wholeheartedly to making this work - if I don't always remember to focus on the "why" then maybe our families and community members could use a reminder too.

So here we go -

First the basics - the histories of our two agencies are similar, which is a great starting point, but more importantly, our vision for the future has always been similar too.

We want a strong organization that is inclusive, that cares about our families and about our kids, that champions women's rights, and always upholds the rights of LGBTQ+ folks' to form a family.

We want to be an agency with strong ethics, that believes in openness, and knows that adoption is a forever journey - one that we'll be there for right alongside our kids and families.

We want to be a place where - as corny as it sounds - everyone knows your name.

The landscape of adoption has changed. The big agencies are eating up the small agencies at an alarming rate. Staff becomes disposable; families are treated like customers instead of what they are - individuals with unique histories and dreams for their future families. These mega-agencies are controlled by huge boards and even larger organizations with bigger boards and other agendas. 

I, and our combined boards and staffs, didn't want that for Adopt or BAAS - or more importantly, for our families and the women we work with. We recognized that we would be stronger, together. 

That we need to stay true to ourselves and our personal values - and continue creating this space for families.

One of Adopt International's long-time Board Members always says that they chose our agency because we care. I used to think that was so basic - isn't there something more than that. But now I realize that it's enough. Isn't caring the core of what we need, as families, and as humans? 

Maybe it is that simple after all.

So why did I go through the gut punch of two accreditations in four years? Why have I and our board members been staying up late worrying about putting our values into legalese for attorneys? Why has our staff been spending hours organizing and moving and manning a garage sale on a rainy Saturday (thanks Aly and Aki!)?

Why are we doing all of this to merge two agencies?

Because we care.

And now I understand that is truly the best answer I can ever give when I - or anyone else - ask "why?"

With all the love in the world for you and for this community,

Lisa Clark

Executive Director

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