AdoptionPlanningFindingaMatchEmotionalAdjustmentsLegalStepsForms&ResourceGuide

The fields marked with (*) are required fields.

*

SOMETHING must be entered for each question;
otherwise, nothing will be submitted.
Enter "unknown," "none," or "N/A" to avoid blank answers.

Your Name / Phone / E-Mail /
Address / City / State / ZIP
and WHO REFERRED YOU TO US

Read about Our Services before sending data here
 


Child (or Adult) to Be Adopted:

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Type of Adoption for This Child

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1. Child's Current Full Name,
2. Full Name at Birth, and
3. Desired Full Name after Adoption

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Gender of This Child

Female
Male

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Child's Date of Birth (m/d/yyyy) & Time of Birth (h:mm am/pm)

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Child's Birth Certificate Number (usually in upper right corner)

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Child's Place of Birth:
City / County / State

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Reasons, Circumstances, and Date of Child's Placement for Adoption (Include Names / Contact Info for All Agencies Involved)

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Significant Property Owned by Child (real estate, stocks, trust account, etc.)

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Child's Current Address /
City / State / ZIP / County

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Full Name(s) of Guardians for Child (not parents, someone appointed by a court; with addresses and phones if not given elsewhere)

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Amend Child's Birth Certificate to Show New Name / Parents? (recommended)
Yes
No

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Number of Amended Birth Certificates Desired (Additional originals ordered at the same time are much less expensive)

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Amend State's Confidential Birth Records to Show Adoptive Parents as "Birth Parents"? (not recommended)
No
Yes
 


Current (or deceased) Mother of Child:

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Full and Maiden Names of Child's Current (or deceased) Mother

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Will Current Mother Sign Her Consent to the Adoption? // Did She Give Birth to the Child, or Adopt the Child Herself?

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Current Mother's Phone(s) / E-Mail /
Address(es) / City / State / ZIP / County /
(now, and as shown on birth certificate)

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Current Mother's Date of Birth (m/d/yyyy) and Social Security Number (###-##-####)

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Current Mother's Birth Place:
City / County / State

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If Current Mother Is a Native American (Indian) Tribe Member, which one?
 


Current (or deceased) Father of Child:
(and all others who may have claims as fathers)

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Full Name of Child's Current (or deceased) Father (and all others who may have claims as fathers)

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Will Current Father Sign His Consent to the Adoption? // Is He the Child's Birthfather or Adoptive Father?

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Is Current Father the "Legal" Father (Married to Mother Any Time Since Conception; Under Child Support Order; etc.)?

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Current Father's Phone(s) / E-Mail /
Address(es) / City / State / ZIP / County

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Current Father's Date of Birth (m/d/yyyy) and Social Security Number (###-##-####)

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Current Father's Birth Place:
City / County / State

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If Current Father Is a Native American (Indian) Tribe Member, which one?

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If Current Father Is on Active Military Duty, List the Branch and Current Mailing Address
 


Adoptive Mother:
(Stepfather adoption: Enter current mother's data)

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Adoptive Mother's Full and Maiden Names
Work & Home Phones / E-Mail

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Adoptive Mother's Date of Birth (m/d/yyyy) and Social Security Number (###-##-####)

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Adoptive Mother's Birth Place:
City / County / State

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Adoptive Mother's Citizenship

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This is tricky: Adoptive Mother's full address on the date Adoptee Child was born (Stepfather adoption: current mother's address on that date)
 


Adoptive Father:
(Stepmother adoption: Enter current father's data)

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Adoptive Father's Full Name
Work & Home Phones / E-Mail

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Adoptive Father's Date of Birth (m/d/yyyy) and Social Security Number (###-##-####)

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Adoptive Father's Birth Place:
City / County / State

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Adoptive Father's Citizenship
 


Adoptive Parents:

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Marital Status of Adoptive Parent(s) / Date of Marriage

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Adoptive Parents' Address /
City / State / ZIP / County

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Adoptive Parents Eligible to File Affidavit of Poverty to Waive Court Costs (not usually)
No
Yes
 


Our Meeting:

*

Date and Time of Any Appointment We Have
(or the Appointment You Want)
(include driving directions for us if needed)


The information on this site is general information only, not formal legal advice. Neither this site, nor submission of information through this site, forms a lawyer/client relationship. See other Limitations here. All contents Copyright Birney Bull, 2003 -- 2017.

     
     
 

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Instructions for The WebForm Above:

The Web-Based Form above may seem like the easiest way to send us your legal data, but downloading your own copy of the Legal Steps Form below is better. The form above is unsecured, while the Downloadable Legal Steps Form is safer, more secure, and more accurate. It puts your data into a better format for us, you don't have to stay on the website to complete it all at one time, its questions don't call for multiple types of information, and it will help you organize the legal steps of your adoption plan with a list of documents you will need to copy, and instructions on preparing for the final hearing.

If you can't use the Downloadable Legal Steps Form and must use the Web-Based Form above,

FIRST UNDERSTAND EACH OF THESE:

1. Our Services. Also, please send in your data at least 2 days before we meet, send a separate form for each child to be adopted, and please double check all the dates and spellings.

2. SOMETHING Must Be Entered For Each Question or it will send you back to this page with an error message. Enter "unknown," "none," or "N/A" to avoid blank answers. Many call for SEVERAL things. (For example: Address / City / State / County / Phone / E-Mail Address) Please be sure you give all the data requested in each question.

3. Be ready to PRINT OUT the page that appears after you send this! (Or File:Save As.) It will have information you need, it will show the data you have sent in, and you won't be able to get it back later.


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<<<<>>>>

To help you take charge of your adoption plan as described in the How to Start Your Adoption Plan section on our Adoption Planning page, here are some categorized links to resources that may be helpful both directly, and in searching further on your own.

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GENERAL RESOURCES:
Legal Info
Books

BIRTH PARENTS:
Help for birth parents,
before and after adoption.

ADOPTEES / REUNION:
Search and reunion resources,
and an adoptee activist group.

PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS:
Agencies:
Domestic: Private / Public
International
Adoption "Networkers"
Facilitation Services
Photo Listings
Financial Help / Taxes / SS
Military Financial Help
Home Studies
Embryo Adoption

 


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GENERAL RESOURCES:

We try here at AdoptNeed.com to give you a good overview of adoption, but getting started learning about adoption also doesn't get much better than ShaohannahsHope.Org (now simply called "Show Hope"), the adoption-assistance powerhouse anchored by singer Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, who adopted Shaohannah Hope from China in 2000. If the resources and links available there don't encourage and inspire you, maybe you're barking up the wrong tree!

(And speaking of changing URL's ... there are LOTS of links below, many of which were discovered YEARS ago, and by the time you click them, they may be defunct or inaccurate. Sorry, but we just don't have the personnel to keep these things consistently updated. If some of them are "broken," or no longer accurate, there are copious e-mail links to let us know that. Please use them.)

Adopting.com is an extensive compilation of various adoption resources and service providers for both domestic and international adoptions, including a (mostly international) photo listing.

Adoption 101.com is a good place to get general summaries and beginning overviews of several of the facets of adoption.

Adoption.com is like an adoption-related flea market on the Internet. Whatever you're looking for, it's probably there somewhere. But the volume of everything else there can be overwhelming.

AdoptionForums.com --- part of Adoption.com's megaplex of interconnected websites. On this comprehensive forum board you can post questions for people who've "been there and done that," or browse existing discussions. An excellent source of independent advice (though subjective). It also has many more good adoption links. The free registration is worth it.

The Adoption Guide is a membership site (free registration) that has a forum area for consumer complaints (and compliments!) about adoption agencies, along with a lot of other helpful info.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption: That's right --- the lovable, late CEO of Wendy's, good ol' Dave Thomas was an adoptee, and an enthusiastic proponent of adoption. The Get Informed page on that site collects a lot of good resources and perspectives in one place. The site's resources include help on financing too.

The Child Welfare Information Gateway is a federally-run site with a massive amount of very helpful information on almost every aspect of adoption, including the summary of adoption laws linked to below.

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GENERAL RESOURCES: Legal Info

The federally-run Child Welfare Information Gateway provides a catalog of federal laws applicable to adoption, and also a searchable index of State Adoption Laws: A good, searchable summary of key points of state and federal adoption law.

Federal Laws on International Adoption: This Department of State site digests federal laws and procedures on international adoption. The fuller article appears >here, and the printable (and most legible) version is here.

For Georgia law (aside from AdoptNeed.com, of course!), click over to the Georgia Adoption Law Blog. It is maintained by the Georgia law firm of Stephen Worrall, who was a classmate of Mr. Bull's at the University of Georgia Law School. As blogs will do, it reprints or links to a huge number of articles and information about adoption. For a law firm that does not focus exclusively on adoption (its major focus is divorce/family law), their blog has a lot of good info. Like the Adoption.com megaplex (from which some of its articles come), it can become an endless string of links to links to more links, but you can find much that is worthwhile. In addition to the firm's home page, he also maintains these blogs: The Georgia Family Law Blog, the Georgia Wills and Probate Law Blog, and the Tablet PC Lawyer Blog. What a techno-dude!

Another source of general legal information appears on the Georgia Legal Aid info page on adoption, accessible through the national LawHelp Interactive form-finder site. The Georgia Legal Aid site includes some (possibly) helpful do-it-yourself forms, but it will probably only take a few clicks around there to see how quickly the legal processes of adoption can get complicated and confusing!

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GENERAL RESOURCES: Books

Adopting for Good, by Jorie Kincaid, is the best Christian overview of adoption that we have run across. Adoption has both rabid fans and rabid critics --- the kind who love or hate adoption so much that they can't talk about the other point of view fairly. Ms. Kincaid obviously loves adoption --- several of her nine children are adopted, she founded and runs an international adoption agency called Orphans Overseas, and she makes a compelling case for how good adoption can be. But her book also acknowledges very fairly how difficult adoption can be in the more extreme cases. There are other Christian books on adoption out there, but we haven't found any showing as much balance, accuracy, and experience as this one does.

The Family of Adoption, by Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao is a fantastic look into the emotional dynamics of adoption. This is the book quoted near the top of our Emotional Adjustments page. Dr. Pavao is an adoptee herself, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, and a giant in the adoption community since the 1960's. She has an active psychiatric practice treating triad members, she has founded several organizations to assist triad members with adoption's issues, and she has long been a popular speaker for adoption-related gatherings. Her book's format is engaging too: brief, topical essays that set the stage for many illustrative stories from her years of adoption-related experience. It leans a little to the politically correct side in places, but overall, this is as good as emotional insight into adoption gets.

Fast Track Adoption, by Susan Burns, is one of the most informative books available on independent adoption. Widely available in both book stores and through its website, this book is the quickest way to get "up to speed" on how the third-party adoption process works. Even for pre-adoptive parents deciding to go with a full-service agency, this will make you a better, more informed consumer of its services. The book's advocacy of self-advertising won't be much help to Georgians --- such advertising is a crime in Georgia --- but even so, the advice and perspective are excellent. Also, it doesn't fully address the issues discussed on our Emotional Adjustments page (though most of its advice need not be inconsistent with those issues). But keep that in mind.

Tapestry Books is unquestionably the Amazon.com of adoption books.

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BIRTH PARENTS:

Besides what IS below as of 4/19/13, we USED to have FOUR other links to support sites for birth mothers and birth parents. As far as we can see, birth parents are woefully underappreciated and frequently virtually abandoned emotionally. The bravest, most self-sacrificing players in the adoption drama deserve to be recognized, appreciated, and understood far better nationwide. And yet, what happened to the 4 sites we used to link to? Out of business. Which is our point. We'll see if we can find some others to offer here.

Agencies --- If you want to place your child for adoption and cannot do it within your family or with a family you have met on your own, you may want to work with an agency. If you are a Georgia birth parent needing financial help prior to adoptive placement, you will probably want to work with one of the agencies listed in the Pre-Adoptive Parents section below, or another licensed agency, since they can legally offer that kind of help, and pre-adoptive parents who live in Georgia cannot.

Adoption "Networkers" --- Or, for the same reasons, you might also want to consider the Adoption "Networkers" listed in the Pre-Adoptive Parents section below. This would allow you the possibility of connecting with waiting couples anywhere in the country, regardless of what agency they may be working with.

Savannah resident Molly McGoldrick, at 912-508-2303, is a wonderful counseling resource for area birth parents. She has a great deal of knowledge, experience, and wisdom to offer birth parents who are considering adoption.

The Adoption Network Law Center. (See the cautionary note below under PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Facilitation Services. It's something birth parents should be aware of too.) The focus of this nation-wide, Internet-based service is on birth parents and pre-adoptive parents choosing each other according to each's designated preferences. With the Internet being what it is, and open adoption becoming more and more popular, the way this service operates may soon be the most common way for adoptions to get started.

Parent Profiles is another place to browse for pre-adoptive parents for your child. It is part of the Adoption.com megaplex of interconnected websites too.

To search for children placed for adoption, start with the official Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry for adoptions that occurred in Georgia. More search resources are listed in the Adoptees / Reunion section below.

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ADOPTEES / REUNION:

To search for birth family members separated by a Georgia adoption, the official Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry is the place to start. The Registry was formed in 1990, but it can help locate available information well before then. (Because it is state-sanctioned, its procedures --- and fees --- are regulated, and it honors mutual consent of triad members. Official state reunion registries may not be able to unearth information available through private search efforts, but they usually reduce the potential for traumatic surprises --- good or bad --- both from the cost of searching, or from unexpected contacts by triad members. Searches by private investigators can be more costly, more unpredictable, more risky --- both legally and emotionally, and ... more successful.) Peggy Rothschild, LCSW, is the Georgia Reunion Registry Coordinator, and she is a very compassionate and helpful lady! Tell her Birney Bull sent you! The physical address and phone numbers for the Registry are:

Georgia Adoption Reunion Registry
Families First / Office of Adoptions
2 Peachtree St., N.W., Suite 8-407
Atlanta, GA 30303-3143
(404) 657-3555
1-888-328-0055


The International Soundex Reunion Registry is perhaps the most comprehensive place to start a reunion search for a birth parent or a child placed for adoption.

The Volunteer Search Network is the web home of volunteers who help each other on an "at cost" basis to search for their triad members. Good information and links to search resources.

Pamela Slaton's website looks like a good place to start if you want to look into "the private route" (since we implied above that state-operated registries can be less effective in searching than "the private route.") Ms. Slaton is a New Jersey genealogist who has "been there and done that" in adoption reunions many times over. We have no personal experience with Ms. Slaton, but from her website, she seems to "get it," and if you can be helped with an adoption search, she can probably do it. (To investigate a past adoption, you want someone familiar with adoption's peculiar ... "issues." Most of your "run of the mill" private investigators don't know the "ins and outs" that can lurk in past adoptions, and paying them to get up to speed on those could get pricey.)

The American Adoption Congress is the web home of the biggest, most active, and perhaps most aggressive, group for adoptees in the country. If you think the issues addressed on our Emotional Adjustments page are overblown or exaggerated, you should hear how angry some of these adoptees are with a system that has hidden their true past from them. Having said that, it is still the best starting place if searching past a prior adoption is your goal. Websites for Adoptee Support are too numerous to be well-represented here, but the American Adoption Congress is certainly one of the places you should check.

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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS:

Adoptive Families Magazine --- A great source of information for both hopeful and existing adoptive parents. The articles canvas all aspects of the adoption process, and each issue includes a wealth of advertising on agencies and other support services.

Fast Track Adoption deserves mention here too, though also listed in the Books section. This is the quickest, most comprehensive book to get you "up to speed" on independent adoption. It will give you the full picture of what it means to "take control of your adoption plan." (The Fast Track Adoption website has some info, including the chance to hire the author to consult on your adoption plan, but is mainly a way to sell the book.) (Oddly, it gives little attention to the issues discussed on our Emotional Adjustments page --- though most of its advice need not be inconsistent with those issues. But keep that in mind.)


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Agencies: Domestic: Private

Open Door Adoption Agency is an excellent Georgia adoption agency based in Thomasville, Georgia. Open Door has counselors working in the Savannah area and handles both Georgia adoptions and international adoptions from several countries.

Covenant Care Services is another excellent Georgia adoption agency based in Macon, with a commitment to placing children in homes with two actively Christian parents --- a requirement they enforce rigorously.

Bethany Christian Services is the only major agency (i.e., nationwide, not just Georgia) that has an actual Savannah office (just recently opened, so they'll be trying hard!). Their Savannah contact is Dr. Kim D. Grant-Albright, PhD, Regional Social Work, Bethany-Savannah, P. O. Box 22421, Savannah, Georgia 31403, 912-414-8130. Bethany's national website has the Savannah contact info, and you can also e-mail Dr. Grant-Albright.

Cradle of Love is an Atlanta agency, represented in Savannah by Trisha Barrett, who can best be reached at 912-220-9779. Their toll-free (outside Atlanta) number is 800-219-8254.

Hope for Children is a well-established, Christian adoption agency based in Atlanta, handling both domestic and international adoptions.

The Independent Adoption Center is dedicated to open adoption. It has some of the advantages of the Internet-based facilitators listed above, but it is a fully licensed agency, providing a more comprehensive range of services.

Lutheran Services of Georgia is very active in adoption, with programs providing private and public domestic adoption, and home study services for international adoption placements through other agencies as well. The Savannah location is: 6555 Abercorn Street, Suite 117, Savannah, Georgia 31405, Phone: 912-353-8875, Fax: 912-356-5057.


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Agencies: Domestic: Public

The Adopting in Georgia page (maintained by the Division of Family and Children Services of Georgia's Department of Human Resources) is a good place to start learning about public agency adoption opportunities in Georgia. Its FAQ page, though sometimes slow to load, has answers to a lot of questions you will have about public adoption in Georgia. Remember too that all of the costs of these adoptions are usually covered by federal or state adoption assistance, and a monthly support check may be provided as well. One of the best sites around to explain this hideously complex benefit is maintained by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. They have a great summary of the Georgia procedure on their Georgia profile page.

The Office of Adoptions (part of Georgia's Department of Human Resources) page also collects a lot of valuable references on public adoption in Georgia. [Most of the information on this page is good as far as it goes, but be aware that it has not be updated recently, and aspects of it are out-of-date. For example, it refers to the Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (MAPP) training for foster and adoptive parents. MAPP has been replaced by a program called "IMPACT" --- (I) Initial Interest, (M) Mutual selection, (P) Pre-service training, (A) Assessment, (C) Continuing develoment, (T) Teamwork.]

Georgia's former First Lady, Mary Perdue, is very interested in children's issues (the Perdues have served as foster parents), and Georgia's official web site includes the First Lady's Our Children Campaign site, which links to many sources of information about public adoption in Georgia.

Lutheran Services of Georgia's programs that partner with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) offer a good option for public domestic adoption. As with DFCS adoptions, the costs and fees of adopting through these LSG programs will often be covered by federal adoption assistance benefits. The Savannah location is: 6555 Abercorn Street, Suite 117, Savannah, Georgia 31405, Phone: 912-353-8875, Fax: 912-356-5057.

Since 1981, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati's Adoption Awareness Program has helped with domestic adoption of children with Down syndrome (close to Mr. Bull's heart --- he and his wife have a "home-grown" daughter with Down syndrome!). Roughly 90% of children diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome are aborted, but this one site has some 200 families on their waiting list with completed home studies waiting to adopt children with Down syndrome. They help genetic counselors, social workers, birth families, and families interested in adoption. They are at 644 Linn Street, Suite 1128, Cincinnati OH 45203-1734, 513-761-5400, Toll Free: 1-888-796-5504, fax: 513-761-5401. Their general e-mail address is dsagc@dsagc.com, or e-mail Robin for specific info on Down syndrome adoption at: rsteele@zoomtown.com.

Reece's Rainbow is another great resource that helps with international adoption of children with Down syndrome. This Georgia ministry offers a great deal of financial and other assistance on an area of great need.


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Agencies: International

This newish federal site (launched 11/17/08) has oodles of info on international adoption. (It doesn't work well with all browsers, but it seems to be the best site around for international adoption --- a subject that can get very confusing very quickly.) To see whether a country is a member of the Hague Convention, go here. (The Hague Convention is another topic that can be endlessly confusing, but this site seems to offer much-needed help in this area.)

AdoptAChild.org is a great place to research a large number of international adoption agencies. Their Inter-Country Adoption Registry and Message Board allow adoptive parents to post their actual experiences with international adoption.

America World Adoption Association is a nationwide Christian agency handling international adoptions whose home page features an endorsement from Stephen Curtis Chapman, a well-known champion of adoption.

Alliance for Children has a strong focus on international adoption, though it handles domestic as well. They have an office in Charleston, SC.

Children's Hope International is a well-established name in international adoption.

Holt International is one of the oldest and most reputable international adoption agencies, dating back to the 1950's and grounded in Christian commitment.

Intercountry Adoption Center, Inc. is a Florida agency that handles Guatemalan adoptions for residents anywhere in the U.S. (They work with several other countries, but they only serve Florida residents as to those countries.) We have had clients who were very pleased with Intercountry's willingness to go the extra mile on their Guatemalan adoption.


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Adoption "Networkers"

Adoption Information Services, Inc. A number of our clients have found it worth the extra fee to use a "networker" to help them find an available child, either directly or with an agency that fits their preferences. (This is over and above any agency fee, but it avoids being "locked in" with any one agency.) They have adoption-related connections nationwide (and sometimes internationally), and they also help "market" pre-adoptive parents to agencies and birth parents. Ms. Marcia Barker, 770-339-7236, the Executive Director of AIS, has many years of experience working in the field. E-mail Ms. Barker at AISMarcia@comcast.net.

Adoption Advice and Guidance is another adoption networker we have gotten good client recommendations on. Contact Gloria Hawk at 770-638-0350. Her e-mail address is AAGGloria@aol.com.

Adoption Advisors is based in South Carolina, but helps people all over, including special expertise with helping Canadian families. Adoption networker Jeanna Smith, 864-439-8879, can be e-mailed at jeanna@adoptionadvisors.org. Ms. Smith is a former associate of Marcia Barker's, now working in Spartanburg. Tell her we said "Hello"! Ms. Smith's husband, Michael, also helps hopeful adoptive parents with their adoption profiles via his Crossroad Designs website.

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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Facilitation Services

[Note: "Facilitation" really just means 'helping you do-it-yourself' --- "self service" instead of "full service." Not a bad thing --- if you know enough about what you're doing. Facilitators are not usually governmentally regulated, there's no guarantee you'll get your money's worth from them, and in the past, many have been disreputable. And even good, honest facilitators may use practices that are common in other states, but illegal in states like Georgia. In Georgia, facilitators cannot advertise. So Georgians working with facilitators will probably be involved in interstate adoptions. If they want to finalize their adoption in Georgia, it is a crime for them to pay a birth mother's living expenses. And yet in states where this practice is common, facilitators may have promised such payments to their birth mothers.

Having said all that, in our experience the ones linked below do a very good job of putting birth parents in contact with pre-adoptive parents so otherwise independent adoptions can occur, and they do help arrange the additional services that are or may be required. But be sure to get knowledgeable legal advice in both states.

There are also some true agencies that are able to work in a similar fashion. For example, the Independent Adoption Center is an adoption agency, fully licensed in Georgia and other states, that provides more comprehensive service than the Internet-based facilitators listed below, while still emphasizing birth and pre-adoptive parents choosing each other.

These kinds of "choose each other" services are probably the wave of the future. With the Internet being what it is, and open adoption becoming more and more prevalent, nation-wide, Internet-based matching of birth parents and pre-adoptive parents --- allowing them to choose each other according to each's designated preferences --- will sooner or later be the most common way for adoptions to get started.]


The Adoption Network Law Center is a large, Internet meeting place for those seeking matches, catering to all sorts of preferences. It also has a great website with a lot of helpful information.

The Lifetime Adoption Facilitation Center is also a large online meeting place for seeking matches that tends more toward Christian preferences. Their site is great too, with bushels of help and info, and their front page shows some impressive endorsements.

Our Adoption Profile is a low-budget, do-it-yourself site offering a way for hopeful adoptive parents to make their own profiles. It SEEMS to allow you to generate a PDF (or some kind of multi-media computer file) that can then be downloaded, printed out, and e-mailed. In our experience, impressive profiles, especially with pictures, CAN make a difference. Birth mothers want to know as much as they can about who will parent their children.

Parent Profiles is another place offering this type of service. We don't have much personal experience with this site, but it is part of the Adoption.com megaplex of interconnected websites too, so it is well-known.

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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Photo Listings

AdoptUSKids.org: Another federal site with an extensive photo listing of waiting children, most of whom have some special need (which, in the world of adoption, could just mean that they are minorities, over the age of two, or sibling groups, but it also includes physical, mental, or emotional problems).

Adopting.com's listing is mostly international kids.

Adoption.com's listing and search page.

The National Adoption Center has this page of links to a number of photo listings.

Precious In His Sight has an extensive photolisting, again mainly international, but some domestic kids. There's a listing for AdoptNeed.com there too!


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Financial Help / Taxes / Social Security

FINANCIAL HELP:

Here too, there's no better starting point in looking for financial help than ShaohannahsHope.Org (now simply called "Show Hope"), the adoption-assistance foundation and website started by singer Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. This site, and the resources it links to, contain an abundance of helpful, adoption-related advice and assistance that will help you adopt much more easily than you would have thought possible --- financially, emotionally, and spiritually. It is outstanding.

These things start to overlap quickly (and if there is any more frustrating Internet search topic than "adoption," it is "adoption financing"), but another good roundup of financial help sources is included on the web page for the North Carolina adoption agency, Christian Adoption Services.

The ABBA fund offers interest-free loans for adoption, and helps churches start their own adoption funds as well. If you want to walk the walk, there are people willing to help!

Worth mentioning again is the Lutheran Services of Georgia Heritage Adoption Program (scroll down to see it). This involves working with Georgia's Department of Family and Children Services, which can be irksome for some, but there is often little or no out-of-pocket cost. And a great deal of grant assistance with international adoption of children with Down syndrome is available at Reece's Rainbow, and especially in adopting older such children from abroad: Older Child Grant - Down Syndrome. They have a similar grant option for children with other challenges: Older Child Grant - Other Angels

Adopting a child through Georgia's DFCS (Department of Family and Children Services) system is usually fully reimbursed by federal adoption assistance. See DFCS's Adopting in Georgia page for general information, and the adoption assistance page to learn how the costs of DFCS adoptions are usually covered by federal or state benefits, and the monthly support check that may be provided for those children as well.

Another comprehensive explanation of the hideously complex Title IV-e federal adoption assistance benefit is given by the North American Council on Adoptable Children. They have a great summary of the Georgia procedure on their Georgia profile page. And if you are (or should be) a lawyer, dig into this manual provided by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), a subdivision of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. If you can't find the answer to your question in one of those places, there probably isn't an answer to it! (With a federal government program, this is entirely possible. Also, if you phone a bureaucrat to ask your question, you'll probably get a different answer each time you call. That's been my experience, anyway!)

The Cradle of Hope adoption agency also has a good listing of financing options.

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is one of many foundations offering grants for adoption. You know, the (now deceased, RIP) Wendy's guy? He was adopted.

Another excellent compilation of financial assistance available on the Internet is also found at the Creating a Family site. We can't recommend ALL of the content of the site, but it DOES provide links to many, many adoption-related resources that you may find helpful.

And then there's good ol' Uncle Sam. The official Social Security site has details on federal adoption assistance. It's heavy stuff, and it may not give you anything more than a good night's sleep. Federal adoption assistance is federal money that is administered by the individual states, and in Georgia at least, that task is further decentralized to the county level. If you live in a rural Georgia county, and you can stay awake long enough to read this page, it will likely make you better informed on it than anyone in your county's DFCS office.

MILITARY FINANCIAL HELP:

Military families have significant additional adoption-related financial benefits.

Military family benefits are summarized on the
National Military Family Association website.

The DFAS website also explains what benefits are available. We have a hard time keeping up with their ever-changing URL's, but their ADOPTION REIMBURSEMENT page describes the available benefits, and the necessary procedures for getting them. Ever had trouble dealing with bureaucracy? Yeah, that will happen here too.

TAX BENEFITS:

IRS Form 8839 on Qualified Adoption Expenses is a downloadable PDF form for claiming the tax benefits available to adoptive parents. The instructions for the form are also available. For most cases (not stepparent adoptions), there is a dollar-for-dollar tax CREDIT, not just a deduction, for adoption expenses up to over $12,000.

Currently, there is a website with a downloadable "free" "course" on how to qualify for the tax credit, but we don't know how good it is, or how much help it would really be. It may be great, or it may be little more than an Internet "on-ramp" for the agency that set it up.

IRS Form W-7A is a relatively recent tax provision to apply for an Adoption Tax Identification Number ("ATIN"). This is for the small number of families who will need to claim the adopted child as a dependent, but the child has no Social Security number, and the family cannot get one soon enough after the adoption to claim the child as a dependent. (Instructions come with the downloadable form.) The instructions for the Form indicate that only children placed by a licensed adoption agency are elgible for this, but our office can assist you even with an independent adoption.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

The Application for a Social Security Card is downloadable, and comes with instructions on what they need to issue a new Social Security number or amend existing records. It frequently says they "MAY" accept certain things for an adopted child, so it's best to call ahead and make an appointment with a specific person before going to the office. The trouble is that adoption is an unusual case for the Social Security office, but they don't like admitting that. We used to have a reliable contact at the Savannah office, but she now claims that "everyone" in the office is equally knowledgeable and able to help. Our clients have NOT found that to be the case. Your best bet is to call and make an appointment with someone truly familiar with adoption. The Savannah office, 912-353-7059, is at 430 Mall Boulevard, Savannah, Georgia 31406, just east of Hodgson-Memorial Drive. The online Social Security office locator is here, and this purports to be the "New Rules For Getting A Social Security Number And Card". (These "Rules" seem to suggest that you have to get the amended birth certificate before you can get a new social security card. Some of our clients have had to wait for the amended birth certificate, others have not. In other words, the answers to your questions may depend on which bureaucrat you're talking to.)


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Home Studies

Locally in Savannah and the surrounding counties, Trisha Barrett has long been one of the busiest home study providers. She has lots of experience and knowledge in the field. If you need a home study as part of your independent or international adoption plan, Ms. Barrett has done many of those. She can best be reached at 912-220-9779. Ms. Barrett is affiliated with several adoption agencies, and if you work with her, your home study will actually be issued under the license of one of those agencies. Among others, she works for Cradle of Love adoption agency, based in Atlanta, 800-219-8254 [e-mail Cradle of Love]; and Options 4 Adoption, 770-928-1871 [e-mail Options 4 Adoption]. Ms. Barrett is also a Family Support Specialist for the neonatal intensive care unit ("NICU") at Memorial hospital; her number there is 912-350-7186.

Also providing home studies in the Savannah area is Julia Stevens, of A Adoption Advocates of Georgia, Inc. Her phone number (cell) is 770-315-7646. Ms. Stevens has a lot of experience as well. Her e-mail address is jstevens69@live.com.

Another possibility in the Savannah area is contacting Families First. They are based in Atlanta, but they operate statewide and can arrange for a worker to do a home study for you. Call them at 404-853-2800, or e-mail the helpful Ruth Neill there! Their Savannah home study contract worker is Holly Wade, 912-657-9746, or 912-819-6170.

Adoption.com's internet megaplex also provides a home study referral service at Homestudies.com.

Other than these, home study providers in the Savannah area have come and gone quickly in recent years, but our office tries to keep up with the local possibilities.


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PRE-ADOPTIVE PARENTS: Embryo Adoption

Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. Here's something a little different that you may want to consider: Adopting a frozen embryo for your own implantation and gestation. There are thousands of orphaned frozen embryos in this country. Some clinics offer them to couples whose infertility does not preclude gestation, but this California-based program wisely treats the matter as more like an adoption than an infertility treatment. President George W. Bush voiced support for Snowflakes' work in this area. Definitely worth a look for those who are eligible and interested.

The National Embryo Donation Center is another Christian site for adoption of frozen embryos, endorsed by the Christian Medical Association.

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Give a Child the Opportunity of a Lifetime!


DOWNLOADS --- There are two types of files downloadable below:

1. For the Entire Adoption --- The Legal Steps Form text file. Downloading the Legal Steps Form text file below is better and more secure in many ways than the Web-Based Form above. It is a plain text file --- you can open it in any word processor. When you are done filling in your answers, save it and send it to us as an e-mail attachment. (You can even encrypt it if you want, just make sure you call us with the password or send it in a separate e-mail). But before doing anything, make sure you understand how
Our Services work.

2. For Birth Parents --- The Background Information Form. Also below are three formats of the Background Information Form for birth parents (DHR Form 413), which collects information a doctor might need later for the adopted child. This form should be filled in before we meet if possible. These include a copy of O.C.G.A. 19-8-23 for them to keep [the Georgia law on confidentiality of adoption records and birth parent / adoptee reunion rights].

To Download: "Right-Click" the Link >> "Save Target As..." >> Save to your computer.

For the Entire Adoption:
(plain text, open in any word processor)

Legal Steps Form

   

For Birth Parents
(PDF Format):


Free PDF Reader


Form 413

For Birth Parents
(MS Word):





Form 413

For Birth Parents (WordPerfect):


Form 413 (Sorry! Must UnZip After Download!)