So, you’ve decided that domestic adoption is the route you’ll go as a family. Great decision—for so many reasons! But, you’re stymied when you pull up your web browser and stare at the screen. There are so many adoption agencies in Pennsylvania! You’re probably wondering, “How in the world will I choose the one that’s right for us?” Look no further. We’ve selected 5 great agencies in this state, based on input from various Adoption.com adoptive parents, writers, and staff members. They are presented in no particular order of preference because all of them are excellent and are highly rated among members of the adoption community.
Adoptions From the Heart (Harrisburg, PA)
Since 1985, this centrally located adoption agency has helped more than 6,000 parents create families through adoption. Headquartered in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia), this agency also has physical offices in Allentown, central Pennsylvania (Lancaster/Harrisburg region) and the Pittsburgh area (Greensburg). Says AFTH on its homepage, “Whether you are pregnant and assessing your options, would like to build your own beautiful family, or are a family member seeking information on adoptions and our other services, there is a wealth of information at your fingertips.” A great way to get information is to join support groups for adoptive families and make friends with fellow adoptive parents and waiting parents! Check out AFTH’s current calendar of events!
Bethany Christian Services (Lancaster, PA)
Online Contact Form: https://www.bethany.org/contact-us
Although it’s headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Bethany Christian Services has offices in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and in 34 other states besides Michigan and Pennsylvania! And, let’s face it: Experience matters. This agency has been operating since 1944. They’ve been handling adoptions for more than 50 years—and that’s one of the reasons they continue to be ranked highly among the adoption community. Bethany Christian Services is a global nonprofit that “brings families together and keeps families together.” Services include adoption, foster care, and pregnancy counseling—and other forms of counseling such as assisting refugees and helping immigrants to resettle in the United States. Want to learn more about Bethany Christian Services? Attend an informational meeting! And, check out the upcoming events at the Lancaster office.
A Baby Step Adoption (Reading, PA)
Online Contact Form: http://ababystepadoption.com/contact-us-general
Say what? An “adoption finance coach”? If you choose A Baby Step as your adoption agency, that’s exactly what you’ll get—and, it’s free! How cool is that? This agency’s credo around “the money conversation” (which, like it or not, is a conversation that most of us have had at one time or another during our adoption process) is this: “Helping you solve the money problem is an important part of your adoption!” They go on to say, “Adoption can be expensive [so] . . . we provide this exciting, innovative adoption finance coaching service to help you.” This agency has been around for 30 years—plenty of time to hone their craft and sharpen their expertise. We especially like the adoption-friendly language they use in their mission statement when talking to birth mothers: “You are not ‘giving up your baby’ or ‘putting up your baby.’ You are making an adoption plan.” Check out the upcoming events that you can choose to attend in order to gather more information. In-person adoption info sessions. Virtual info sessions. Webinars. There’s a lot to choose from!
Adoption Connection PA (Beaver, PA)
Online Contact Form: http://www.adoptionagencybeaver.com/contactus/
Located in northwestern Pennsylvania (outside of Pittsburgh), this agency offers foster care and adoption services as well as pregnancy counseling and birth mother services. Adoption Connection PA (ACPA), on their “Looking to Adopt” web page, says, “Adoption is a process—one that doesn’t necessarily end with the completion of your home study or the placement of a child into your home. ACPA considers you family and is someone you can trust as you learn what to expect once you choose to start your adoption journey.” Check out this touching video about the open adoption story of Madeline (her parents speak of the adoption process and the forming of their family). And their gallery of photos (where they captured in pictures the fun family get-togethers and adoption events/fundraisers) will make you smile: Look at all those happy families and smiling faces!
Families United Network (Muncy, PA)
With offices throughout the state, this agency emphasizes that “It takes a special person and/or family to make the commitment [to adopt]. The most important step in deciding to become an adoptive family is first realizing that it must be a family decision.” Families United Network (how FUN is this acronym?) offers domestic placement services and the full adoption process, home study services (for families working with an agency out of state or adopting internationally), and foster-to-adopt services. They also offer post-adoption services—an important aspect of adoption that parents new to the adoption process may not know about. FUN also has offices in Erie, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Mechanicsburg, Mount Joy, Muncy, Pittsburgh, and York.
Ready, Set, GO!
So, now you get to take a deep breath and dive in. Contact these agencies— at least some of them, maybe even all of them! Attend an informational meeting (or five). Join a support group and talk to families who are already waiting or who have already brought their children home. Develop your network and educate yourself. Compare the agencies against one another and then select the agency that speaks the most to YOU and YOUR family. The info is here, at your fingertips. Ready, set, GO! Find your forever family by taking this first (and most important) step. And, go with your gut: If it feels like the right match, then, it probably is.