Building your family by adopting takes more than love it takes careful thought and preparation.
Since 1991, Pact has facilitated over a thousand adoptions. We have the experience and expertise to walk you through the emotional, logistical, and legal steps of what can seem at times an overwhelming adoption process. You can trust us to work with you in an honest, ethical manner, to treat birth parents fairly and respectfully, and to always place the child's interests first.
Pact helps pre-adoptive parents yearning to adopt African American, Latino, Asian, Native American and multiracial children born anywhere in the United States. Most of our placements involve at least one adoptive parent who shares the racial or ethnic heritage of their child. Families of color, in particular African American adoptive parents, are underserved in adoption. Pact works to make adoption ethical and accessible to all qualified parents, including low- and middle-income families. We are currently working with expectant mothers/parents who are looking for adoptive families for their African American babies, where at least one parent is the same race as their baby.
When we work with white parents (or others) who want to adopt across racial lines, we begin with an educational process that provides a strong grounding in the way race and adoption intersect. All transracial adopters who wish to use Pact's placement services are required to participate in Building Community Across Cultures (BCAC), a program that gives parents strategies that ensure that their lifestyle does not result in racial or cultural isolation for their child, before submitting an application to become a placement client. Prospective transracial adopters are welcome to participate in BCAC even if they choose not to use Pact's placement services.
Where do I begin?
Most pre-adoptive parents come to Pact with a lot of questions. Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions and how we answer them.
After you've read the FAQs, please feel free to give us a call at (510) 243-9460 or contact us by email:
The placement process begins with a Pre-Placement Consultation, in person or by phone. Prospective adoptive parents of color (including inter-racial couples) begin the consultation process by completing the Getting to Know You Forms. Those considering adoption across racial lines begin by completing the Building Community Across Cultures Forms. Once we receive your forms we can set up the consultation appropriate to your family and your needs.
After your consultation, if you like the Pact approach, you can be considered as a pre-adoptive placement candidate. Our placement program is actively recruiting adoptive parents of color who will share their child's racial heritage, particularly families with one or more parent of African descent. Our placement program is also available to parents who wish to adopt across racial lines and have completed the BCAC program. We never take on more clients than we anticipate will be required to meet the needs of available children over the next 18 months, which means that sometimes potential clients are placed on a waiting list prior to being accepted. Families are welcome to inquire on the rate of turnover of families currently participating in Pact's placement program, and the current length of the waiting list.
What should I expect?
We will explain who we are (see Our Staff), what we believe (see Overview & Mission), and how we work (see The Role of an Adoption Facilitator in Resources). You can expect us to treat you as we would wish to be treated with respect and honesty. In return, we will expect you to be genuinely honest with yourself about the changes that adoption will cause in your life and family.
What happens next?
To facilitate means "to make things easier, to counsel, to advise." As an adoption facilitator, this is what Pact will do for you before, during, and after placement. We will work closely and continuously with you throughout the adoption process, as well as with the expectant parents and other adoption professionals involved in the process.
- Creating A Plan: Together, we will explore what you will be comfortable with and, most importantly, what is best for children who are adopted. Who is the child that you hope to adopt? What kind of contact will you want after placement? What kind of budget can you afford for adoption expenses? We will work to meet your individual desires while helping you begin the transition from putting your own needs first to focusing on those of the child you hope to parent.
- Putting Your Plan in Motion: The steps of the placement process will vary somewhat depending on whether it is an Agency-Assisted Adoption or an Independent Adoption (for definitions of these terms, see Resources). You will need to complete a home-study in your home state. We will help you decide who to work with (see Selecting an Adoption Professional to Work With in Resources).
- Preparing for Success: As you await the day when a beautiful child of color becomes part of your family, you will attend Pact workshops for (pre-)adoptive parents, or equivalent classes in your region, and complete selected readings. You will continue to have individualized consultations with Pact staff, primarily by phone. Often, unexpected feelings arise as you begin to understand the lifelong journey on which you are embarking by building your family through adoption. We'll be there to support you, and provide access to other families who have adopted.
- Creating Your Profile: You will create a personal profile which we will use to introduce you to expectant parents who are considering placement for their child. With your permission, we will add your profile to a secure online site where expectant parents and adoption professionals can view our waiting families (see Families Looking To Adopt). You can also use our networking techniques to do your own outreach to expectant parents.
- Connecting with Expectant Parents: Every day, from every state, women facing untimely pregnancies call on us for help. Adoption professionals also call Pact regularly to maximize choices available to women bearing children of color. Expectant parents can express interest in specific families after viewing the online profiles, or they may ask us to select some profiles for them to review. In either case, the goal is to find families that match their stated hopes and needs. If they rank you as their first choice, we then give you all the information we have about the expectant parents, so you can decide if you want to proceed in making an adoption plan with them. Together we evaluate the situation. What worries you? What feels good? What do you still want to know? What can you do to get ready for your first telephone conversation? How can you manage your fears that they might change their mind, while being emotionally ready to welcome the new baby into your family if they proceed?
Adoptions work best when everyone thinks of the other person first, particularly about the baby. Things are not always what they seem. Why are the expectant/birth parent(s) doing what they are doing? What is reasonable? Can you imagine yourself considering placement of a child to whom you gave birth? Can you imagine how you would be feeling at this time if you were the one letting go?
- Completing Your Plan: When a "match" is made between you and expectant parents, it can often happen very quickly and very close to or even after a child's birth. Pact will be there to help you manage this sometimes overwhelming experience. We will work to clarify issues as they come to the surface, including all the legal and logistical decisions to be made, and we will facilitate and coordinate communication between you, the expectant parents, and other service providers.
- After Placement: We will remain in close contact with you and your child's birth family after the placement to ensure that the legal steps necessary to complete the adoption are done in a timely way. We will also be available to help you negotiate the early steps of attachment as well as contact with your child's birth family members.
- After Finalization: Adoption is a lifelong journey. As your children move through different ages and stages, Pact will be available to you, offering parenting workshops, support groups, "parenting tune-up" consultations, and our annual Pact Family Camp.
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