Adoption

Happy Mixed Race Parents and Baby Boy Taking Self Portraits at the Park.
Playful African American Man, Woman and Child Isolated on a White Background.
Young Family
Girl on bike

With the belief and conviction that every child deserves a family, AGAPE is here to help find that home for newborn infants as well as older children. A “forever family” is AGAPE’s goal for each of them. While some of the children are adopted at birth, others are adopted at a later age. Some of our children in foster care are eventually adopted because they are unable to return to their natural family. The end result of adoption is these children find the love and support that comes through a family.

There are very few infants available for adoption who fit this description. The AGAPE Board of Directors sets requirements that applicants must meet for adoption of these children when they are available.

Applicants must be:

  • residents of Middle Tennessee
  • between the ages of 25 and 45
  • married at least three years
  • medically infertile or have a medical condition which would prohibit conception
  • childless
  • priority is given to members of a church of Christ

Special Children Need Special Parents

AGAPE’s special needs adoption services provide opportunities for children whose backgrounds and needs may call for special recruitment to locate adoptive parents.  These children are:

• Children in the foster care system who are school age
• Sibling Groups
• Youth in foster care who have resolved their issues and are ready to be part of a family
• Children who have handicapping conditions, which may be medical, psychological, or emotional/behavioral in nature

Toddlers represent a group of children who are not generally readily available for adoption as most are adopted by foster parents who have cared for and bonded with them during the time that decisions were made related to termination of rights of biological parents. Most of the children in AGAPE’s foster homes, whose goal changes from reunification with parent to adoption, are adopted by their foster parents.

AGAPE currently is in need of prospective adoptive parents who will consider teens who have expressed a desire to be connected with a forever family who will guide them through the transition into adulthood with support that will last a lifetime.

AGAPE encourages families who wish to adopt children from the foster care system to search the web sites that feature profiles of children who are waiting. Those are: www.adoptuskids.org;www.adoption.com; and www.parentachild.org. To qualify for one of the over 9,000 children who are waiting across the United States, prospective parents must complete PATH (Parents As Tender Healers) training along with Medication Administration, and CPR/First Aid, and be approved through the home study process. AGAPE offers PATH training, and home studies, assistance in submitting match requests, and post placement assistance for interested families. Contact us for more information on this service.

How do we find out about these children?

You will find pictures and profiles of children who are available for adoption on this web site. There is always a need for approved families who will adopt African American and bi-racial infants, most of whom have no known medical problems. AGAPE works with children who are in custody of the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

What do we need to do?

Contact the caseworker whose name appears with the profile or Judy Rister, Director of Social Services. Information will be given that will enable you to decide if you want to continue the process. Training information will be provided.

What about home studies?

Application packets are provided during training. When the application is submitted, references are sent. Physical exams (including TB tests), financial statements, criminal background checks, references, and questionaires are required. Individual interviews and a home visit are scheduled before the home study is completed. The process generally takes 8 weeks.

How do we get a child?

The home study process assists you in identifying the type of child (age, sex, siblings, range of problems) desired. If the family identifies a child on a web site, the AGAPE case worker will assist in contacting the case worker of the child. If the child desired is an infant, birth parents may be involved in choosing the adoptive couple.

What are the costs?

Fees for the placement of any child who is in the guardianship of AGAPE are established by the Board of Directors. Consult an AGAPE case worker for the most current fees. You can expect to pay a fee for the home study, for the placement services, and for an attorney. An Adoption Tax Credit is available to offset those qualifying adoption expenses.

Is financial help available?

Children who meet the federal guidelines for special needs may qualify for a federal and state funded Adoption Assistance Program. The case worker will let you know if the child you are interested in qualifies for Adoption Assistance and will explain the application process.

What help is available after we adopt?

The AGAPE case worker provides supervision through the finalization of the adoption. In most cases, counseling and other supportive services will have been identified and a long term plan discussed before the adoption finalizes.

Tennessee State Law requires that anyone who adopts a child have an approved adoptive home study.

NON-AGENCY ADOPTIONS
When birth mothers and adoptive parents work together in privately arranged adoptions, the adoptive home study must be presented to the court so that the adoptive couple can be named as guardian of the child when surrenders of parental rights are completed.

INTER-STATE ADOPTIONS
Adoptive couples may work with an agency in another state or country to facilitate an adoptive placement. Tennessee law requires that an adoptive home study be completed and be approved by the Interstate Compact for Placement of Children. The ICPC is federally mandated to approve all placements of children across state lines. In these situations, adoptive couples may contract with AGAPE to provide the home study service and to provide the six months of post-placement supervision.

POST PLACEMENT SUPERVISION
Post placement supervision is required by law for all adoptions. It involves regular home visits to assist the adoptive couple with adjustment and to document the child’s growth and development. Reports are provided to the adoption court as well as to any other agencies that may be involved, including Interstate Compact For Placement of Children in the state where the child was born and the state where the adoptive couple resides.

AGAPE is authorized through its Child Placing License to provide adoptive home studies and post placement supervision. Its case workers are trained to facilitate Interstate Compact approval. Fees are based on the services provided.