The adoption process and how to adopt a child


How does the Pact adoption process work?

To learn all about how we work with pre-adoptive parents, please see placement services.

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Who are the children Pact places?

At least 95% are healthy newborns. 78% are African American and 40% of those who are African American are multiracial; 12% are Latino and 10% are Asian or Native American.

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Who are the expectant parents Pact works with?

Twenty percent of the expectant parents we work with are teens; 80% are under the age of 30; 90% are experiencing economic stress. Many feel isolated and unsupported. Sometimes, Pact is their sole source of emotional support.

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Who are the adoptive parents Pact works with?

You may be...

  • married, divorced, or single.
  • a parent to other children.
  • a working mom or dad.
  • a tenant or a home owner.
  • living on a modest income, as long as you can support a child.
  • over 40 as long as at least one parent is under 50 at the time of placement.
  • LGBT-identified.

You can see profiles of some of the families currently working with Pact in Families Looking to Adopt.

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What is a typical expectant mother's situation when she connects with an adoptive family?

  1. She is in the last trimester of pregnancy.
  2. She may be living anywhere in the United States.
  3. She is most often in good health.
  4. She has had some prenatal care.
  5. She most likely does not use drugs or alcohol.
  6. She does not test positive for HIV.
  7. She is probably between 20 and 30 years of age.
  8. She often is parenting at least one child already.
  9. She is usually under financial or emotional stress.
  10. She is afraid her child will hate her if she chooses adoption.
  11. She is terrified at the thought of foster care for her baby.
  12. Her goal is to find a family to love her baby forever.

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How long does a Pact adoption take?

If you are ready to adopt an African American infant and you and/or your partner is also African American, expect to become a parent within six months to a year. If you are seeking a Latino or Asian child exclusively, you can expect the process to take longer. White parents looking to adopt across racial lines get placements more slowly than parents of color.

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Will any birth parents choose us?

Every family will appeal to someone. If you work to pursue adoption, you will become parents. Waiting for the right placement can take longer if:
  • you already have many children;
  • you are active in a religion which is not mainstream;
  • you have an extremely limited adoption budget;
  • you will be a single parent;
  • you have a non-traditional lifestyle.

None of these factors will rule you out. They will simply make the adoption process take longer.

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What is an open adoption?

Open adoption means there is direct contact between the adopting family and the birth family. This terms includes a range of variations. The birth and adoptive families may speak only once before the placement of the child and have no further contact or they may engage in extensive contact throughout their lifetime and the lifetime of the adopted child. “Contact” can range from an annual exchange of letters and pictures to regular phone calls or in-person visits.

For more details: Openness in Adoption (56KB | )

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Is the typical adoption open or closed?

A full disclosure of identifying information is almost always provided. Birth and adoptive parent(s) are in charge of their own decisions. Most parties want to speak by phone and meet at least once before the birth. Typically, arrangements are made for planned written contact over time, with many families hoping for ongoing visits and others choosing none. Pact believes that adopted people have a right to know their own birth history and family. We work to ensure that connections to birth family are maintained and that access to birth information is available to adopted individuals. Open adoption is NOT co-parenting. It does allow adopted people to have access to their personal history and family information.

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How much will it cost to adopt?

The Pact placement process begins with individualized consultation, either face-to-face or by telephone. Content is tailored to the client's particular needs. The fee for a general pre-adoptive consultation is $350, and the fee for a transracial pre-adoptive consultation (Building Connections Across Cultures) is $500. Families who are accepted as clients in Pact's placement program pay fees on a sliding scale based on income. Fees range from $1,000 to $10,000 and are paid in two installments, 1/3 when a family is accepted as a placement client and 2/3 when they bring their child home.

Adoptive parents pay fees to professionals working with the birth parents (which can range for $6,000 to $20,000), and in some states they may also assist the birth parents with specific expenses related to the pregnancy, such as counseling, medical costs, legal costs, transportation, and living expenses. We work with adoptive parents to set their own adoption budget depending on what they can afford. All Pact's services are free to birth parents.

For more details: Understanding Pact Fees (110KB | )

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What happens to my fees if the adoption doesn't go through?

If a birth parent introduced by Pact to the pre-adoptive parent client chooses not to go forward with the plan, Pact will apply any fees already paid by the client to the next adoption. Direct costs incurred by Pact up until the point of disruption will remain the responsibility of the adoptive parent(s).

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How will my fees be used?

Fees help keep the doors open at Pact. Pact is a non-profit organization that strives to keep adoption affordable for families at all income levels. The fees Pact collects cover part — but not all — of the cost of the services we provide each year on a steep sliding scale to hundreds of adopted children of color and their adoptive and birth families. We rely on generous donations from Pact community members to cover the gap between the fees we collect and the full cost of the services we provide.

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