little girls A Guide To Adoption

November is National Adoption Month, and while arriving at the decision to adopt can be a long and winding path full of milestones and hardships, there are steps you can take to make it easier. Educating yourself about adoption is one of the early steps in a process that will be life changing. First, consider what kind of adoption you would like to pursue. The four basic routes are public agencies, private agencies, international adoptions and independent adoptions. Use this guide as a resource to help you in making By Carolyn Pravda.

General Resources

An amazing online resource from the magazine Adoptive Families, it’s a great jumping off point for reading up on adoption. They have articles that provide many different perspectives on the adoptions process and the options involved. They also have an excellent listing service as you begin your search for an agency or lawyer.

New York State’s Coalition for Children

The coalition unites adoptive and foster parent groups, concerned agencies, and individuals throughout New York State. They represent the citizen’s viewpoint and work to improve and expand the services available to children and families. Their website offers comprehensive information on adopting in the Empire State. Their map features excellent listings on a county by county basis for both agencies and support groups.

Public Agency Adoption

Below are links to the city and state agencies that assist with public adoptions in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services offers a concise overview with 10 Steps to Adoption.

Also see: 

New Jersey’s Department of Children & Families
New York State’s Adoption Services
Connecticut’s Office of Foster & Adoption Services

Private Agency & International Adoption

If you decide to go the agency route, visit to see if they have any specific information on the agency you are interested in. They also have a Top 20 and a Bottom 20 feature which provide an interesting jumping off point to begin exploring agencies. Below find links to some of the highly respected private agencies that are licensed to practice in the New York City tri-state area.

Spence-Chapin Adoption Services
Lutheran Social Services Adoption Services
Wide Horizons for Children

Independent Adoption

This option allows families to work through attorneys to coordinate private adoptions. Attorneys’ services vary but can include helping to connect birth parents with interested adoptive families, advertising in local papers and websites, coordinating home studies, and finally assisting in coordinating all the details of the adoption. Visit the American Academy for Adoption Attorneys for more information on finding an attorney as well as listings in the NYC area. Note: independent adoptions are not allowed in Connecticut.

Support Groups & Forums

Many parents and families find it helpful to visit support groups and online forums – both as way of finding more information on the process and for encouragement in the process of waiting to adopt. New York State’s Coalition for Children NY Services section has excellent listings for support groups on a county by county basis. Check out AdoptionGuide’s local support group listings as well. You can also find active online forums.

More Information

Adoption is a complicated process, but the great news is that there are so many sources of information: books, websites and adoption professionals. Start by attending an orientation session. Both the public and private agencies offer them, and they are full of helpful information that can help you sort through the myriad of options as well as help you to consider your family’s needs and desires.

Carolyn Pravda blogs at Mama Threads (
  1. Bay says:

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.

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