Since 1985 Adoptions From The Heart has helped place thousands of children in loving homes through domestic adoption. We pride ourselves on being one of the first agencies in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware area to place children by open adoption.
Choosing to adopt a child is a huge decision. But it’s actually only the first in a long line of big decisions.
What Is Open Adoption ?
Open domestic adoption is now the most widely practiced form of adoption in the USA. In this type of adoption pregnant women select and meet prospective adoptive parents. Contact levels in open adoptions can vary. An exchange of first names, and letters and pictures through a third party is the minimum level of contact for most open adoptions.
For some prospective parents, the idea of open adoption is scary. But openness helps to enrich compassion and understanding. We believe fully in open adoption. Here are two reasons you may want to consider domestic adoption.
- Getting to know the biological parents. This can help you answer your child’s questions as they get older. Through openness, your child’s adoption won’t remain a “secret” buried in the past. In many open adoptions your child also may get to meet or get to know their birth parents as they grow up.
- Questions pile up. Many adoptive parents working through a closed adoption find themselves fearing what they don’t know. What is my child’s medical background? What do their biological parents look like? Why did they choose adoption? Open adoption can relieve many of these fears, simply since the answers are there.
At first, open adoption was widely stigmatized because women who choose adoption were stigmatized. Allowing these people back into the lives of their biological children was seen as a source of risk, or worse. There’s no evidence to back it up this claim and all the evidence in the world to prove it false.
Want to Learn More?
Eligibility Requirements for Applicants to our program
- Single applicants
- Married couples
- LGBT families or singles welcome.
- Unmarried partners adopting jointly, where the law allows.
- Families with or without children may apply.
- Applicants may choose the gender of the child they want to adopt.
- Applicants in states we are licensed should have their home study done by AFTH.
- Prospective adoptive parents should be in the age range of 23-50 years to adopt an infant. The older member of the couple must be no older than 50 at the time of the application. The majority of our placements are infants and we feel that this is in the best interest of the children, applicants over our age range may be approved to adopt a child over 1 year of age.
- Families should be citizens of the United States or Permanent Residents (Green Card holders)
- You do not need to own your own home.
- A past arrest history does not automatically disqualify you from adopting. You will need to discuss the incident with one of our social workers.
- No minimum income requirement. However, you must be able to provide for a child without state aid.
- Even though not all women want an open adoption we ask all families to make the following minimum commitment:
- An exchange of first names, letters and photos through the agency.
- At least 1 visit per year (which can be held at one of our annual picnics) as your child grows.
Testimonials From Adoptive Families
“From our very first experience with Adoptions From The Heart in 1997 through the adoption of our third child in 2004, we have been touched by how Adoptions From The Heart works with us and for us to find the children that have made our house a home. Our experience has been a very good one. The agency had provided both guidance and support that has helped our adoptions go smoothly. Adoptions From The Heart not only works to the benefit of the Adoptive Family, but they make every effort to work with the Birth Family to provide both parties a comfort level and peace about the decisions that are being made.” – Ed and Tammi B.
“The people who showed us such wonderful compassion and caring as we journeyed to bring our precious daughter home will always be remembered in our hearts as our “Dear friends” For us there is no other adoption agency. We would use them again in a heartbeat” – David and Georgeanna F.
“Our entire experience with AFTH has been a pleasure and we would recommend your agency to anyone whom so desires to adopt.” – Frank and Christina P.
“When we began exploring adoption as a way for us to grow our family, we spoke with several agencies and private attorneys. When we met with the social workers at Adoptions From The Heart, we knew instantly that this agency was different. We knew that the question wasn’t “if ” we would be placed with a child, but rather “when” we would be placed with a child. We never felt alone in the process. We were always informed of what was next, what to expect and guided along the way. Today we have two beautiful, healthy, happy children. Every day we look at our family and realize that we are truly blessed. Adoptions From The Heart helped us in every aspect of this journey. They believed in us and were there for us every step of the way. We are eternally grateful.” – Kim G. and Jodi C.
Want to Learn More?
1. Contact Us
We know you have questions. Our adoption agency staff are standing by to listen to you and give you all the information you need about adoption. Submit a form for more information.
2. Learn About The Process
Our experienced counselors will listen to your concerns, answer your questions, and outline what the entire process looks like during our initial consultation.
3. Get Your Clearances
This involves applying for police and child abuse clearances in the state where you reside. You will also need to permit a home inspection in order to move to the next step of the adoption process.
If you choose to build a family through adoption
Here are the next steps >>
4. Create Your Family Profile
Here you will prepare a written profile with photos and a video introducing you and your adoptive family to birth moms so they can select a family for their baby.
5. Selection and Completing the Process
Upon receiving news of selection, we will work with you through the rest of the process and provide post-adoption resources for you and your new family.
FAQ For Adoptive Families
1. I’m adopting privately. Can you do my home study?
Yes, as long as you are within our service area (please refer to our offices page to find an AFTH office near you.) Adoptions From The Heart is fully licensed to perform home studies for adoption in PA, NJ, DE, VA, NY, CT. Download a list of available private adoption services.
2. How many placements do you do per year?
Placements vary year to year, here is a copy of our yearly statistics.
3. I’m having trouble viewing your forms online. How can I get the information I want?
Our forms are available for viewing through Adobe Acrobat Reader. If your computer does not have this program you may have to download it from the Adobe site. If you have tried this and you are still having no luck please e-mail us and tell us your name, mailing address and programs you are interested in and we will have an information packet mailed out to you.
4. I want to use your agency but I don’t live in any of the states you are licensed in. Can I still work with you?
Our domestic program is open to families residing in any of the states we are licensed (PA, NJ, DE, VA, CT, NY) as well as Washington DC & Maryland, if you live in a state outside of these we are currently taking applications for families interested in adopting children of African-American descent. If you are interested in this adoption program please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to work with you. We won’t be able to do your home study since you are not in our service area but you can check 800-homestudy for an agency near you.
5. We want to adopt domestically but we only want a girl. Is this possible?
We just started allowing families to choose the sex assigned at birth in our domestic adoption programs. However, since women who contact us are usually still pregnant there is no way of knowing for certain what sex child they are having. If the child is already born or if the woman has had an ultrasound that determined the sex the child will be assigned at birth you will be shown for those situations. We do not force women to have ultrasounds and will not force them to wait to choose a family until after the child is born, so the wait time for this type of selection may be longer.
6. I’ve been told to get a home study done even before I decide what agency/attorney I want to use to adopt. Is this correct?
No! It is very important that you first decide if you wish to pursue adoption through an agency or privately. Then you must also decide what type of adoption you wish to pursue, international or domestic. The home study process and your completed home study will reflect not only the type of child you are hoping to adopt, but also your feelings on adoption. If you are using a licensed agency to pursue adoption that agency should provide the home study. Your social worker and the agency are your advocates, often representing you to numerous birth parent situations. They come to know you through the home study process and can act in your best interest. Also in some states agencies do not accept home studies from other agencies for many of these same reasons.
7. We are still involved in infertility treatments. Can we start the adoption process anyway?
In order to apply to our domestic adoption program you must be finished with your infertility testing. We believe that in order for a successful adoption placement to occur, each family must go through a “mourning process”; mourning the loss of the dream of conceiving and having a biological child. It is important that families deal candidly with their feelings regarding their infertility before they go forward with an adoption. If you don’t mourn the loss you feel over not having a biological child, an adopted child may always feel like a substitute, which is not fair to the biological parents or the child.
8. We have wonderful biological children and want to adopt in order to give a child a home.
AFTH does not have any restrictions for prospective adoptive families in regard to infertility. Some other agencies may have this restriction.
9. We live in the U.S. but aren’t citizens. Can we adopt through your domestic adoption program? What if we are permanent residents?
AFTH accepts applications from prospective adoptive families in which one or both spouses/partners are Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) of the United States, or in which a single prospective adoptive parent is an LPR of the U.S. LPRs and other non-citizen spouses/partners will need to provide AFTH with a photocopy of their LPR (ie. “Green”) Card or other documentation verifying their immigration status.
10. We are an LGBT family. Will you work with us?
AFTH welcomes LGBT families, however families should be aware that adoption laws are decided independently by each state and international countries also have their own laws regarding whether or not LGBT families can adopt. AFTH and their clients must abide by the adoption laws in the state where the family resides or the international country they are adopting from. Families in NJ, PA, DE, NY, and CT can adopt domestically as a couple, many other states have 2nd parents adoptions laws. Current laws in Virginina prohibit co-habitating unwed couples from adopting in or from their state but single parents and legally wed lgbt families can adopt.
11. I’m single. Can I still adopt?
Yes! AFTH accepts male and female applicants from anywhere in the USA who are single. You don’t need to be married or in a relationship to adopt through us.
12. Why should I use an adoption agency instead of an attorney or a facilitator?
Adoption agencies can be public or private. They are regulated by state law and are overseen by a licensing department that ensures that they follow the laws of the state. Some states even require adoption agencies be involved in adoption procedures regardless of an attorney or facilitator being used. Using an adoption agency cuts out the middle man. Facilitators are normally people who are not licensed or regulated to do adoptions. Facilitators act as intermediaries between prospective adoptive parents and expecting parents, they must outsource the Home Study and use an attorney to finalize the adoption, which often results in high fees. Using facilitators in many states is illegal. Attorneys also must outsource their home study services and many do not provide counseling to expectant parents. Attorney’s fees can be unknown since they usually charge an hourly rate as opposed to a fee for service like most agencies. Using attorneys to facilitate adoptions is also illegal in many states.
13. What are your fees?
Adoptions From The Heart believes in transparency and has posted all of our fees on our downloadable forms, as well as estimated fees for such things as legal and inter-state costs. When looking into adoption, comparing costs of different agencies or other adoption professionals is common. Unfortunately not all agencies or adoption professionals present their fees in the same way, and many do not give all possible fees making it even harder to compare complete costs.
Learning Center for Adoptive Parents
The adoption process is sure to raise many questions. Adoption education and training is essential for parents interested in getting the most out of the overall adoption experience. Listed below are a number of resources to support adoptive parents.
Need More Information?
If you meet the eligibility requirements and would like to have more information….
Download a program outline with fees and costs:
Want materials sent to you in the mail?
Complete our online request form
Attend a Meeting
Attend a free, online informational meeting
Can’t make an in person meeting? Attend a Webinar!
Check our Calendar for our next webinar
Have questions? Call Us!
Contact your Adoptions From The Heart local office.