Adopted people and foster care alums are the foremost experts on their own experience.

Pact’s mission is to serve adopted children of color. We welcome all adopted people of color as collaborators in Pact's mission to serve children. Too often in the adoption field, the adoptee perspective is subordinated to that of the adoptive parent. We believe that adult adoptees are the truest experts on their own experience. We welcome adoptee voices and support them as part of our mission. Most of our services for adoptees focus on those who are under 18 years old and still living with their adoptive parents. We invite adult adoptees of color to serve as mentors to the youth with whom we work; we also seek adult adoptees of color to serve as educators for the adoptive parents who work with Pact, to help them better understand and support their children. We believe adopted people deserve to know their full heritage and should have access to all of their records and birth history. We believe it is a violation of adopted people's civil rights that most states carry laws, which make them the only group of adults prevented from having direct access to their original birth certificates. We support open records.

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Birth parents (first parents) deserve respect.

Not one of our beloved adopted children would exist without their birth parents. Yet birth parents are surely the least understood and most often villified members of the adoption triad. Outsiders to the experience of adoption will often recommend that it is best to ignore or forget them, so that children will not have to face the challenging circumstances that led to their placement for adoption. But in fact, adopted people have to process the complex experience that is adoption, and they do best when both sets of parents are available to help them do so. If the process of navigating feelings about birth/first parents frightens adoptive parents, then the danger is that their children can become frightened of their own feelings. Children are rarely confused if the adults around them are clear and confident. If they are given reassuring messages that the adults who care about them are confident that all is fine, then all in fact is fine for them.

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Adoptive parents of color are underserved in adoption.

For too long it has been assumed that adoptive parents are primarily white. Research has demonstrated that financial constraints and assumptions about families of color looking to adopt have created barriers to these families accessing adoption placement services. A quick perusal of the internet demonstrates that white families adopting children of color are far more visible in the world of adoption; recruitment language is often formulated towards those “willing to consider” the adoption of a child of color, something clearly applicable to white people as opposed to people of color who would of course consider a child who is the same race as they are as a first choice. Pact works to make adoption ethical and accessible by ensuring that placement services are available to all qualified parents, including low- and middle-income families. We believe same-race adoptions are easier for children; therefore, active recruitment of adoptive parents of color is a principal priority. Currently, more than 90% of Pact’s placements involve children placed with families where one or more parent is the same race as the child. We are working to raise the visibility of adoptive parents of color through our “Yes, We Do Adopt!” campaign, and to build community through our Adoptive Parents of Color Circle.

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Transracial adoptive parents need support and education to serve their children’s needs.

No child can afford to wait for a loving family. Individuals who wish to adopt across racial lines can be wonderful parents to children of color if they are willing and capable of supporting their child’s heritage. It is essential for families to have strategies that ensure that their lifestyle does not result in racial or cultural isolation for their child. While the majority of our placement clients are adoptive parents of color, Pact does works with white families who are adopting or have adopted children of color, providing pre-placement preparation and ongoing post-placement education for the journey of transracial adoption. Pact Camp is just one piece of Pact’s year-round educational programming on the intersection of adoption and race.

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LGBTQ-headed families and individuals face a heterosexist society.

We know, and research has demonstrated, that same-sex parents are effective and successful parents to adopted children. We support the need of children to feel confident in families that are not always supported by the society around them. In this context, we applaud the Supreme Court in their decision to strike down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act), ending discrimination by the federal government against same-sex couples; when we all can share in the freedom to marry, it makes families stronger, which makes children stronger. Pact’s adoption placement services are available to LGBTQ parents without any restriction. Recognizing that we live in a homophobic world, we support adults and children as they explore their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) and work to make Pact an ally to all who identify outside of societal SOGIE “norms.”

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Single adoptive parents deserve respect and support in the struggle with isolation.

Many Pact clients are single parents, and every year we welcome many single parents to Pact Family Camp with their children. We are happy to see that research supports our own experience that children in single-parent households grow up strong and healthy. While at Camp we encourage adults with partners on-site to assist those single parents who want to participate in evening activities for which there is no childcare available. Please consider being an ally to a single parent by offering to provide temporary supervision of their child if you are able.


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