There are many different ways in which you can create a family, adoption being one of them. If you are considering adoption, we would like to share with you what Full Circle Adoptions can offer you. Full Circle Adoptions has been helping prospective adoptive couples adopt since 1996 and we would love the opportunity to help you become an adoptive parent. We know that aspects of adoption can be confusing, so we’ve created this page as a way for you to learn more about the process. Just click on the six links below to learn about our services and the adoption process in general.
If you’re in the preliminary stages of exploring adoption as an option for building your family, feel free to contact us. We would love the opportunity to sit down and meet with you for an orientation where we can help you learn more about the adoption process.learn more
Full Circle specializes in domestic adoptions. We can work with prospective adoptive couples/singles anywhere in the United States as well as place children born in any state. We offer individual services, as needed, or complete domestic adoption services.learn more
Have you already decided that adoption is right for you? Or are you considering adoption and want to learn what goes into the process? We offer comprehensive information about what a home study is and what goes into the home study process.learn more
The road to a successful adoption may be challenging at times. We offer counseling to expectant/biological parents to help talk through these challenges and the complicated feelings that can come up regarding adoption and the adoption process.learn more
Are you curious about the child placement and adoption finalization? Learn what happens during and after the birth of the baby, finalization and legalization process, the agency's practice for interrupted adoption, and other topics.learn more
Are you considering an international adoption? Whether you are considering adopting a child from a Hague country or adopting a relative from another country in a familial adoption, Full Circle can help you.learn more
After much soul searching (and telephone book searching and internet searching), we contacted Marla Allisan at Full Circle Adoptions. We found Marla to be attentive and informative. She is a compassionate individual and a “straight shooting” professional – qualities that reassured us. From our first phone call and to this very day, Marla has shown a continued commitment to our family.
With this note we would like to say thanks to you and your team, for your wonderful work. Your professionalism, knowledge and patience were terrific and especially your warm guidance was marvelous.
We didn't want today to pass without taking a moment to remember all of your work on our behalf to make what is now a very, very happy family of three possible. There were certainly major highs and lows throughout our journey, and you were there for all of them. It felt right to be sitting next to you this morning, as everything did indeed come "full circle." We spent much of the day waiting to meet K under an ancient ginkgo tree way back in October. That we were able to travel back to that tree today for a family photo was incredibly special. In many ways, you have been as solid as that tree for us--steady when high winds hit, sheltering in moments of grief, joyful when our dreams finally grew into reality. We wish you the very best and sincerely hope that we remain in touch.
Full Circle Adoptions is a fully licensed non-profit adoption agency. We specialize in domestic adoption. We also provide homestudies and post- placement supervision for Massachusetts residents pursuing international adoption. We provide services to birth parents who live throughout the country. We help adoptive families who live throughout the country and internationally as well.
The agency offers comprehensive adoption services: Agency social workers provide adoptive families with a homestudy or a “limited assessment” if they have a homestudy from another agency. You write the text for your “Dear Birthmother letter” or “profile” and we provide assistance with editing. Your fee includes a professional photographer taking a picture of you and your home and the work of the agency’s graphic designer who prepares a visually pleasing layout for your letter and photos. The finished profiles are later shared with birthparents. We help families understand and anticipate the needs of birthparents. Recommendations are offered with regard to ways you can educate yourself about the range of options open to you for post placement communication (e.g. closed, semi- open and open adoptions). We don’t take a dogmatic position about the choices you make, but, rather, aim to give you sufficient opportunities for education that enable you to decide what is best for you and your family.
The team at Full Circle assists you with pre-placement advising and coordination of legal, medical, and clinical aspects of in-state and inter-state adoption plans. We have a foster care license and can provide (usually short-term) foster care with a loving family, if requested by birthparents. The agency completes placements in Massachusetts and prepares the “Interstate Compact” packet so that you can receive official authorization to return with the baby to your home state. For families who receive a placement in another state, Full Circle is active in case management reviewing such matters as on-going medical records, Native American heritage, clinical/social aspects to the case and compliance with the applicable laws. We complete adoption finalizations for families finalizing (as non-residents or as residents) in Massachusetts. The agency offers post-placement consultations as well.
We are comfortable working with families who are working with more than one adoption professional at a given time so long as the adoptive family is not matching with more than one birthmother at the same point in time. Birthparents need to be able to trust that, if they choose a family, that family has made a commitment to her and is not continuing to hold themselves open to other birthparents.
The agency’s birthparent services include assistance with housing, assistance with pregnancy related living expenses, and a birthparent buddy program. We offer a weekly support group and free counseling (before, during and after a pregnancy/delivery). The agency has a separate Birthparent’s Center for birthparents. When delivering in this area, the Birthparent’s Center is a place where birthparents can come to socialize, watch tv and relax away from their residence. It also serves as a meeting place for groups. There is a separate entrance and facilities that are separate from the offices where adoptive parents are provided services.
We offer a monthly seminar series called, “Family Building Through Adoption.” Each month we focus on a different issue of interest to birthparents, adoptive families, adopted children and professionals. Our social workers have MSW (Masters of Social Work) degrees, extensive general clinical experience and experience in the field of adoption. Our clinicians are available for counseling and consultation with birth and adoptive families as well as with children over the years.
Full Circle takes the time to offer free, individual orientations because we’ve found that adoptive families have very personal questions that are best answered individually. Please feel free to call to schedule an orientation. We realize that families who live in other states may need particular flexibility in the scheduling of the orientation. We want to work with you easily and we make every effort to accommodate your schedule.
Adoption may be a new subject for you. It’s important to ask a lot of questions, including, “What questions should I be asking?” The most frequently asked questions about adoption are: How long? How much does adoption cost? How safe? How long do the birthparents have to change their minds? Can the birthparents ask for the child back?
In addition, your personal questions may include these: Are we too old? Are there Caucasian newborns to adopt? Are there newborns of African American heritage, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American heritage to adopt? Can we adopt if we are single, lesbian/gay, have disabilities or a background with certain medical, legal or fiscal difficulties? Will we have a harder time being chosen if we already have one or more children? Will we be chosen if we are of a particular religious faith (Jewish, Catholic, Agnostic etc.)? Full Circle offers free individual orientations so that you may discuss your personal questions with us.
Adoption professionals, generally, encourage you to ask yourself some questions as well: What preparation (reading, workshops, talking with other adoptive parents etc.) have you undertaken to learn more about adoption? How clear are you about your adoption goals (e.g. what age child are you hoping to adopt, what ethnicities are you open to, with which medical histories are you comfortable and with which medical histories are you not comfortable? What degree of legal risk (e.g. single “surrender” placement) are you comfortable with? How willing are you to be active in your own adoption process? What are the most effective ways you’ve found to manage stress in a process so deeply personal to you?
Other questions tend to be: Do we need a separate attorney? What can protect us from fraudulent “birthmothers”? What can protect us from ineffective adoption professionals? How can we prevent our costs from soaring out of control?
Here are some answers. There is always more to say on these subjects, but we begin this discussion with you below.
Full Circle provides adoption related services for birth and adoptive parents. If you are a prospective adoptive parent, it may be comforting to know that we gladly work with singles and couples, both heterosexual and gay/lesbian. A married or committed couple can have a marriage/relationship of any length; there is no minimum number of years required. We don’t discriminate on the basis of age, religion, race/national origin, sexual orientation or family form.
If you have suffered infertility, we ask about this as part of our usual review of medical history, but there is no requirement that an adoptive family have demonstrated infertility nor any requirement that you have submitted to any degree of infertility treatment. Families without a child as well as families who already have children are welcome to request our services. In general, we see our role as that of serving families and feel strongly about making these services available to everyone who can reasonably benefit from these services.
A homestudy is the first step in the adoption process and generally takes 1-2 months to complete depending, in large part, upon when you and the social worker schedule your meetings. Full Circle has home study social workers throughout Massachusetts who can come to you. You need not live near the agency to conveniently receive our services. We also work with families who have homestudies through other agencies licensed in this state and other states. We describe the homestudy process later in this outline.
Toward the end of the homestudy process, families prepare a “dear birthmother letter,” also referred to as a profile, usually with the agency’s guidance. An agency photographer comes to your home and helps with the family photograph as well as a photo of your home. If you live very far away, you’ll make arrangements with a photographer close to you. An agency graphic designer helps with the graphic design of the profile. These services are included in your fee. You write the text and we offer suggestions for topics that birthparents are customarily interested in. The profile takes about a month to complete and may overlap with the last part of the homestudy process.
The final “Dear Birthmother Letter” or “profile” includes color photographs interwoven with text. Multiple color copies are produced to easily share copies of the profile with birthparents. The profiles on our web site are a simplified version of what birthparents receive in their hands. The version on the agency’s web site includes the full letter and one photograph of the adoptive family (for ease of downloading). The hard copy is 4-5 pages in length and includes many more photographs than the web site version.
Birthmothers (and fathers) review the profiles and may select one or two families to talk to by phone or to meet in person, or they may feel strongly about one family. If the birthmother would like to have a phone conversation with the adoptive family, she can arrange with the agency to set up a pre-arranged time to call them, toll free on the family’s “800” number, or to receive a call from them. In this way, the first connections are made.
Full Circle measures the “waiting period” as that period between the day your “Dear Birthmother Letter” is ready to be shared with birthparents and the time when the family is selected by a birthmother. It is prudent to estimate a wide range of time, even when it may often take a shorter time, because no agency can see perfectly into the future. We’d rather be conservative in our estimates and hopefully have you feel pleased later. The agency estimates that families without children achieve a match with a birthmother between 6-18 months after the profile is ready to share and we estimate 9-18 months for families with one or more children. Often the matches occur sooner, but it is better to be cautious in estimates.
Why does the presence of a child or children make a difference? Many birthparents wish to place their child with a family who does not yet have a child because they are trying to work some “justice” in the world. They want to give a chance to families who have not had the experience of parenting. On the other hand, families with children have been chosen easily. Some birthmothers have stated, for example, that they grew up with sisters and brothers. The best way they can make sure their child will also have sisters and brothers is to choose a family who already has a child or more than one child. While generally we predict that families who already have a child or children may take a little longer to match, families with a child or children have been easily matched with good timing and can feel confident pursuing domestic adoption.
The other factor that is important to take into consideration is the agency’s breadth of outreach and advertising. You want one birthmother to choose you, not ten. Thus, you want to work with an agency, which, like Full Circle, advertises widely enough to generate interest from birthmothers seeking and open to a wide variety of families.
Most adoptive families worry about whether they will be chosen. Some also feel uncomfortable about having their plans to be parents dependent on the choices of someone they don’t know. We understand these feelings. At the same time, it can be useful to realize that birthparents have similar worries about whether adoptive parents will like them. Just as adoptive parents may worry about being chosen, the birthmother and birthfather, too, are often worried about rejection. The birthmother may worry that you may think less of her because of her situation. Usually when a personal connection is made between birth and adoptive parents, adoptive parents and birthparents find that there are many feelings that are shared. A sense of a mutual planning develops and these concerns are often replaced by genuine respect and compassion for the path that you have each taken to the point of meeting.
Many families are concerned about age. Birthparents are generally interested in a family’s “vitality” rather than just chronological age. They want to know whether you will be able to provide the child with love and to play with them. We offer a free initial orientation to all prospective adoptive families during which we encourage you to bring some photos that you might consider including later in your profile. We will provide our honest impressions concerning whether we think that age or any other factors are likely to affect the time it takes for you to be chosen by birthparents.
Other families are concerned that other factors might affect the timing of their adoption – e.g. being a single parent, being gay or lesbian parents, and being parents with an on-going medical concern or serious medical or other history. Feel free to raise these questions in a conversation or at the time of the orientation. Often there are other factors that are very attractive to birthparents (greater comfort with post placement openness, a stay at home full time parent, a particularly interesting life-style or home setting etc.) that may counter-balance a factor that may, in the general view, be seen as lengthening the time it would customarily take to achieve a connection with birthparents. We will share our views about what factors, in our opinion, might affect the timing for your family and we will discuss various options and perspectives with regard to your family’s plans.
It bears mentioning that almost every prospective adoptive family harbors a fear that they’ll be the “one family” who isn’t chosen. In fact, both birth and adoptive parents share an almost reciprocal fear of being rejected at some point in the process. It may sound simplistic to say that “everyone’s human,” but there is so much truth to this in the adoption process. We encourage both adoptive and birthparents to be gracious with themselves and each other. There is a lot of warmth and good connection to be experienced in domestic adoption. However, it’s hard to imagine until that sense of connection is your personal experience.
At times the disappointments involved in infertility have fostered a nagging worry that “maybe nothing will go right”. The process is hard enough without adding to it with undue pessimism. Be gentle with yourselves. It’s a process. It’s good to do what you can to reduce stress, bolster confidence and encourage patience with the process. We, at Full Circle, are here to accompany you on the path and we understand that many different feelings arise during the journey.
Full Circle Adoptions is a fully licensed, non-profit social service agency. We have a regular domestic adoption fee schedule and a fee schedule for families of modest income open to special needs or otherwise harder-to-place children. The fee schedules offer a menu-style listing of services. We have found that, if we can have a conversation with you about what services your family needs, we can give you the most accurate projection of the likely costs for your adoption process. Domestic adoption is expensive and, for this reason, we also like to discuss the range of options that families have considered for affording the professional services, including resources for loans and employer reimbursement benefits.
From time to time, we add a service to the fee schedule and, since it can take some time to change documents on a web site (and we always want to be accurate with you), we prefer to provide the fee schedule to you, at no charge, with a current request. Feel free to email or call us to request a free “welcoming packet” including a fee schedule and we will be happy to provide this to you. You may also call us (413) 587-0007. Please feel free to explain your family’s particular adoption plans and we can discuss your likely costs this way as well.
Adoptive parents often speak of a fear that the birthparents will “come back” and wish to reclaim the child in years to come. There are several important perspectives on the issue of safety:
It’s important to achieve a realistic understanding of birthparent motivations and feelings:
Some of this is “projection.” – You may already feel love for a child who you can’t even see. You presume that the birthparents must feel even greater attachment if they are bearing the child. You project your own intense longings onto others and think that birthparents must have your same feelings or feel them more intensely.
In fact, as birthparents contemplate an adoption plan, many speak of separating emotionally as they prepare for a plan they feel is best for their child and for their own lives. Some spontaneously report feeling as though they are bearing the child for the adoptive family or talk about their planned adoption in other phrases that suggest that, for them, the adoption plan feels “meant to be”. Birthparents love their children, but they may be in a different place in their lives than the adoptive parents are. Rather than wishing to reclaim the child, most birthparents are hoping that the bonding between their child and the adoptive parents will be strong.
Birthparents often spontaneously talk about not wanting to be experienced as interfering with the connection between the adoptive family and child. They want to promote the healthful development and growth of their child. They sometimes wish to be reachable to answer questions for a child. They usually have an interest in knowing that their child is doing well over the years. Adoptive families provide photos and letters to the agency or directly to the birthparents at a frequency agreed upon between the birth and adoptive parents. Birthparents feel love for their child, but this is not the same thing as having a wish to reclaim.
There is a lot for birthparents to do in making a voluntary adoption plan. Birthparents who make a voluntary, well thought-out plan are in a different emotional “place” than birthparents whose children may have been removed involuntarily by the state.
We have observed over 60% of the birthmothers who’ve made adoption plans with Full Circle families are already mothers. They are very loving and appropriate mothers. They know about bonding and often want to send the adoptive family ultrasound pictures so that they can share the excitement of the impending birth. It is hard to imagine the courageous process whereby a woman and man separate emotionally from a child for the sake of what they feel is best for the child, for themselves and perhaps for their other children. They may feel overwhelmed with their other responsibilities and grateful to you for caring for and loving their child. The birthparents love the child but this love for the child’s well-being means that they want the child to do well with the adoptive family.
There is often a legal risk period, but honesty and good counseling are the best protections against disappointments during this period.
Most prospective adoptive families have heard a story from a friend or through the media suggesting that domestic infant adoption is unsafe. It is frustrating for those of us who practice domestic adoption because, from our perspective, the media has given very disproportionate attention to a few national cases that have been, arguably, handled improperly. If domestic adoption was as unsafe as the media has suggested in some of these stories, we adoption professionals would not find our work as satisfying nor feel drawn to spend our lives helping families grow through domestic adoption.
The most important area of safety has to do with honesty. Those exceedingly rare cases where birthparents “have come back” have tended to be situations where the birthmother has not been honest about the identity of the birthfather. This has, understandably, upset the birthfather when he has learned later of an adoption placement. Full Circle takes great care in its work with birthmothers and birthfathers and, by offering free and early counseling, hopes to involve everyone in a thoughtful and safe process. Whenever possible, we ask birthfathers to consider participating in paternity testing (which now, with the “buccal swab” test, does not have to involve a blood test) so that everyone can feel confident that the adoption is legally safe and that accurate medical information has been received.
The other related area of safety has to do with “changes of heart”. Each of the states has a different set of procedures by which birthparents may make an adoption plan. The general protocol is that some period of time after the child’s birth (e.g. in Massachusetts, this period is four calendar days), the birthparents can complete paperwork by which they make an adoption plan for the child. In some states, this paperwork is final and “irrevocable” upon signing (e.g. Massachusetts, Florida). In other states, there is a “revocation” period; for example, in several states, the surrenders can be signed approximately 72 hrs after birth and then there is a ten day revocation period during which time the birthparents can change their mind.
Who cares for the child during this time? Newborns are generally discharged from the hospital sooner than the time when birthparents may sign adoption paperwork. In almost all cases the birthparents ask the adoptive parents to care for the child from the moment of discharge from the hospital; they want the adoptive parents to bond. Most birthparents are vigorous in their request that professionals avoid foster care, even when foster care is offered by a loving and well-established private family. As a result, most adoptive parents are asked by the birthmother to take a legal risk placement for those few days between the baby’s discharge from the hospital and the day when the signatures on the adoption papers are considered final and irrevocable.
In the vast majority of cases, this legal risk time period passes without event. Sometimes birth and adoptive families get together for a meal and to admire the baby. Sometimes each family is spending time alone adjusting to the birth and their feelings afterwards. There is the chance that birthparents will decide to parent during this time. Usually there’s been enough counseling beforehand and this has helped birthparents clarify for themselves what their wishes and feelings are.
If a birthmother or father changes their mind, this can be sad and upsetting for the adoptive family. Sometimes, because the birth and adoptive families have come to know each other, the adoptive family, in those relatively rare instances where a “change of heart” occurs after birth, feels understanding and “at peace” with the birthparents’ change of heart because they know them. Most birthparents are already very good and loving parents. Most children placed in voluntary domestic placements will thrive whether in the arms of their birth or adoptive parents.
If there is a “change of heart” during the legal risk period, an adoptive family may understandably feel discouraged. That is one of the reasons it’s very important to work with a licensed agency that is comfortable helping birth and adoptive parents navigate both the procedural and emotional path of domestic adoption. The staff at Full Circle is always available to talk about the course of your adoption plan, whether things are going well, or whether there are bumps in the road or disappointments.
Are there disappointments short of a post-birth change of heart? How many “fall throughs” do families generally have before the match that results in a placement? It is not uncommon for a family to have several situations which seem promising in the moment, but which, on closer evaluation, are not right for them. The agency is very careful about evaluating potential adoptive matches, directly, and with the help of our allied colleagues in other states. We listen for important information regarding the mother/child’s health, presence/absence of drug/alcohol use, risk factors (social, medical, and legal) and other factors. As a result, you may decline one or more offered matches. You are not judged for this. We believe this is your life and you need to make choices that are right for you and your family. In the other direction, a birthmother may decide to parent shortly after reaching out to the agency. This can be disappointing but may not be overwhelming for the adoptive family since a short time is involved. While domestic adoption has “ups and downs”, the joy of the work is in witnessing the connections that result when adoptive and birthfamilies persevere and have faith.
Our fees are “flat fees” so the agency bears the risk of disappointment with regard to our professional time; you do not pay the flat service fees to Full Circle more than once. What you have paid already continues to cover our time during a subsequent match. Depending upon the birthparents’ comfort level with counseling, early counseling is recommended to help the birthparents sort through a variety of natural feelings that may include both wishes to parent and wishes to make an adoption plan. The goal of counseling is to help the birthparents figure out what’s important for them and what, in their opinion, is important for their child.
In the vast majority of cases, post-birth changes of heart do not occur. Birthparents are aware of adoptive families’ fears. They know you are worried until the procedural part is final. You are surprised to hear the birthmother taking care to reassure you of her steadfastness to the plan and how grateful she is to you for your loving her child. The hospital nursing staff refreshes you on aspects of newborn care and loads you up with formula as you leave the hospital for your hotel room. You and the birthmother stay in touch by phone and you reassure her about how the baby is doing. This is often a time when your heart has the difficult task of loving a child and holding back a little until the birthmother and birthfather’s paperwork is final. Usually while you’re diapering the baby, she’s on the phone talking about how she’s doing, sharing genuine reassurances that she’s firm about her plan and happy that the child is blessed with you as parents.
As you proceed in a domestic adoption match, our staff will share their expertise in evaluating the match with regard to a range of risk factors. We hope to empower you to make decisions about whether the match feels strong and safe. The matches that seem to warrant the greatest confidence are those where there is a genuinely warm connection between the birth and adoptive families. There tends to be a shared sense of planning for the welfare of a child for whom everyone wants the best. Sometimes the conversation turns to names that everyone likes. The birthmother expresses her wishes as to whether she’d like you present in the delivery room. There is talk about when the first photos and letters might arrive. Our professionals can provide you with our best impression of how things are going. When they are going well, you often have a strong sense for yourself as well.
Many adoptive parents want a less open adoption at the beginning. Over the months and years ahead, the adoptive family often longs for more information or for more connection than the birthparents are available for. The birthparents may have gone off in new directions in their lives. As a result, we see one of our primary functions as educating both birth and adoptive families about the range of options they have with regards to whether or not to have communication before and/or after placement and about some of the typical patterns.
Generally, we think it can be very helpful for children to know about their birthparents, and, where it is comfortable, for the children to have photos of them. Anything that helps reduce the “mystery” and that can help them have a firm sense of their full heritage and history usually contributes to developing a strong sense of self-esteem. We also honor that an adoption placement is a very emotional process. Birth and adoptive parents have a wide range of comfort levels with regard to meeting in-person and exchanging information. Some birthparents feel it may be too painful to meet with the family who will know the joys of raising their child. It may just be “too hard.” We honor birth and adoptive family’s comfort levels and try to help you harmonize your needs with each other.
Birthparents vary in the degree to which they want to share information or meet. At the time of an adoption placement, they may feel less confident of themselves and feel awkward about what might be shared with a child. We respect birthparents’ wishes for privacy and also respond to their wishes for connection by finding families who feel responsive and open to the desired level of connection or wish for privacy.
The agency does not have a dogmatic “position” on openness. We see our role as one of educating birth and adoptive families about what is known about the various degrees of openness, and helping birth and adoptive families explore their own comfort level and wishes. The agency has cooperated with “closed” adoptions; these are usually closed at the request of the birthparents. Most birthparents, these days, wish to meet pre-placement and want to receive regular photo and letter updates to know how the child is doing or to have these saved at the agency in case they later wish to see them.
Many adoptions are “semi-open” – birth and adoptive families meet, know each other’s first names, but they may not exchange full names or addresses. In these cases, photos and letters and other communications generally flow through the agency following placement.
When adoption professionals speak of “open” adoptions, we think there are actually two types. There are adoptions that are “open in fact” and adoptions that are “open emotionally”. For example, birthparents in California and Nevada sign their adoption paperwork on a form that indicates clearly the names and addresses of the adoptive parents. Sometimes, regardless of the state of the birthparents’ residence, the birthparents express an interest in knowing the last name or address of the adoptive family and an interest in communicating directly following placement. The adoptive parents are informed of this ahead of time and certainly have the option to decline the match if this is not comfortable for them. In these cases, the birthparents have the reassurance of knowing where and with whom their child lives. This does not necessarily mean that the birth and adoptive families get together for Sunday brunch or have other in-person post-placement contact. We refer to these as adoptions that are “open in fact”, but which may not be open emotionally. We have noticed that birthparents who make a subsequent adoption plan speak proudly of the fact that their first child was placed with the first adoptive family who is described with their name. They may have only intermittent contact with the family but they feel proud to share that the first adoptive family trusted them enough to share their full names and address.
Some birth and adoptive families agree that they would like to create the possibility of an adoption plan that is more “open emotionally”. They may agree to spend some time together after the adoption is finalized. Most adoptive parents, at the beginning of their process, find this hard to imagine. And yet, often when they come to know the birthparents, they are grateful for the connection. I remember one adoptive mother commenting that, as her son sprouted his first tooth, she couldn’t wait to develop two sets of photos because she knew who else would be as excited as she was – the birthmother. When this feeling flows naturally and comfortably, it can be a wonderful part of the foundation for the child in years to come.
Yes. We follow the comfort level of birth and adoptive parents. In domestic adoption, we do find that birthmothers (and sometimes fathers as well) increasingly want to meet pre-birth. This is something to anticipate regardless of which agency or adoption professional with whom you choose to work.
Birth and adoptive families can agree to an adoption plan that meets their needs with respect to post-placement communication, if they wish this. All families are expected to share photo and letter updates, through the agency, post birth. Some birth and adoptive families agree to more than this or to communicate directly with each other. The agency’s role is to help the families achieve a plan that feels comfortable for them.
If you would like to pursue domestic adoption with Full Circle, what would your first steps be?
1. Schedule a free individual, orientation with the Agency Director by calling (413) 587-0007. After your questions are answered and when you’re ready, you may make an application for services to the agency. A copy of our application can be found on this web site. You would review and sign acknowledgement of the agency’s policies. Due to length, we provide a copy of the agency’s policies at the time of orientation or upon request. You can request our full adoption services or just the services you desire e.g. a homestudy.
2. Request a homestudy from Full Circle or another licensed agency. If you have a homestudy from another agency, you would sign a release so that we can receive a copy of this homestudy and copies of the supporting documents. Our regulations require us to verify the elements of a homestudy when completed by a different agency and this is called a “limited assessment.” We charge a small fee to cover the professional time in the “limited assessment” but work efficiently so that this regulatory requirement is not a barrier to families’ easy access to our services.
3. The agency and you will work together to help you prepare a “Dear Birthmother” letter or profile. The profile the birthmother receives is about 5 pages in length and has a combination of photographs and text. The profiles on our web site have the complete text, but, include only the cover photograph, not the many on the hard copy version, for ease of downloading.
4. The agency then provides assistance connecting you with birthparents. The agency provides assistance with the clinical, medical, legal, fiscal and other aspects of a domestic adoption plan. We are particularly thorough in gathering helpful medical records and medical background as well as other information used by you in evaluating the strength of a potential match.
5. Following placement and finalization, we hope you will continue to enjoy Full Circle’s educational programs. Please plan, if convenient for you, to come to our yearly picnic held in June!
Group Orientations are offered in the Boston area on a regular schedule, and in Western Massachusetts by appointment.