Seeking an Adoption Agency

Parent Q&A

Can you recommend a great adoption agency? Sep 18, 2019 (4 responses below)
Families 4 children experience? Jun 3, 2019 (2 responses below)
Seeking an Adoption Agency Nov 16, 2017 (2 responses below)
  • Can you recommend a great adoption agency?

    (4 replies)

    My husband and I are starting to look into adoption. We are not sure if we are interested in domestic or international. Does anyone have experience using an adoption agency here in the East Bay and if so who and why did you like them or not like them? Any other advice on how we should start this process would be greatly appreciated! 

    Try Dawn Davenport's website   We adopted internationally in 2007, and our agency is closed.  I know international adoption has changed a lot.  But we started with a class at Adoption Connection in SF about intl vs domestic--I checked just now and it is not being offered now.  One of my friends is involved with PACT - a transracial adoption group - and they are reputable if you are thinking of that (we did not adopt transracially and I am not in PACT).  Gathering info before signing on with one agency is a good idea.  Best wishes.

    I recommend Heartsent Adoptions in Orinda. The have domestic and international programs. I adopted from China in 2009 and every detail of the process was expertly and lovingly managed by Heartsent. They offer classes for prospective, waiting and new parents about parenting, attachment & bonding, cultural awareness. They guided me every step of the way. Good luck on your journey! 

    We used Across the World Adoptions in Pleasant Hill for some post placement paperwork after we moved to California from another state. They were great and recommended by a friend who adopted internationally four times. 

    When my husband and I were starting the process we went to several information nights at various places, which we found helpful to assess the agency and the process. If you are considering an international adoption, call around to different places and ask about their programs. They don’t need to be located in California, but they’ll need to get a home study that’s been approved in California. Often agency websites have general info on basic requirements of the parents (age, marital status, length of marriage, number of children in the home, age range of kids typically available, setting of kids [foster care, orphanage], and travel requirements). It’s a good way to narrow it down. 

    Also, I am 90% sure the only way to get an infant is to adopt domestically and even that is not a guarantee. One key decision point is whether you prefer an infant. There are more options if you are open to toddlers or kids but that’s a big decision.

    finally, I found it helpful to talk with a friend who had adopted about her experience, warts and all. It helped me be more realistic about expectations. 

    Best wishes on this special journey!

  • Families 4 children experience?

    (2 replies)

     We are looking into public adoption, and one name we encountered was families for children. We have not been able to find anything about them on the Internet. Anyone have direct or secondary experience with them in order to foster to adopt? 

    We have had experience with Families For Children. Like most agencies, expect them to point you toward sibling groups or older children, especially preteens and teens. I don't know if it's better or worse than other agencies, but I would keep in mind that social workers are under great pressure to find forever homes for these kids. They will hustle you through the process once they have identified a child for you and minimize any issues (which are likely to be highly significant). When problems arise, they will push therapy as if it is a panacea. Individual therapy, couples therapy, family therapy ... and if that doesn't work, a different therapist. 

    The social workers' jobs are to advocate for that child and to get them in a home. I would recommend that you advocate for yourself and your existing family. If a child seems like it may be a poor fit, don't hesitate to tell the social worker that you did not feel it was a good match. Once the child is in your home, it is very difficult to send them away -- even if they are creating untold havoc and misery for everyone. 

    I work in the field and I would recommend Family Builders by Adoption

  • Seeking an Adoption Agency

    (2 replies)

    Hello, my husband and I were hoping to adopt a child and are unsure of which agency to go with. Does anyone here have experiences (good, bad, ugly) with adoption agencies?

    Thanks so much! 

    RE: Seeking an Adoption Agency ()

    Hi, I have had a lot of experience with Adoption Connection in San Francisco.  They are very professional and caring.  Start by going to an orientation and see how you feel.

    RE: Seeking an Adoption Agency ()

    I would highly recommend both Adoption Connection in San Francisco, and PACT in Oakland.  I adopted my daughter through Adoption Connection, but joined PACT and attended their excellent workshops as well.  Adoption Connect is very supportive to both the Birth Mother and the adoptive parent.  They worked with me through the "Dear Birthmother' letter as well as each step of the adoption.  Check out their website to get more information!

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Adopt International, Adoption Connection, or Ind. Adoption Center?

May 2012

My husband and I have been checking out adoption agencies in the Bay Area. Of the ones we've checked out (Adopt International, Adoption Connection, and Independent Adoption Center), the IAC seems the best in terms of its outreach to birthmothers and the support given to adoptive families, which I really appreciate. Their orientation left us with such a great feeling about adoption and the agency. The others were much more business-like. Is the IAC that wonderful? Just wondering if there is anything we should know about before we commit to them. Advice from adoptive parents who chose the IAC and opted for others would be much appreciated!

Congratulations as you begin your journey to parenthood through adoption. Everyone's expectations and experience are different. You want to find the professionals that best fit your needs as you will be working with them for almost two years from application, homestudy, matching, birth, post-placement and finalization. We live in an area with many professionals with integrity working in the adoption field both as agencies, lawyers and facilitators.

Each of the many agencies in the SF Bay area offer FREE information nights. It is suggested you attend them to get a feel for the people who work there and to see if their philosophies fit with yours.

We have two daughters through domestic open adoption and I would be happy to speak with you about our experiences.

First, congratulations on your decision to adopt! We adopted twice through the IAC and had great experiences both times. Although not typical, our first adoption took 6 weeks... our second took 6 months.

Adoption really is the height of human relationships, and as such it can be stressful even if all of the players are acting in good faith. So you really want an agency you can work with and who's expertise you can count on. With the IAC, much of the fees you pay provide support services to birth families. This was a key factor for us. We wanted our B-Moms to have the counseling and support they needed to make a clear decision they could live with. The IAC's process is great. They address all the match/birth/adoption/ openness issues before the birth so that everyone is clear on what is going to happen, who will be where, and how they feel about it. They resolve the difficult questions that people may be feeling, but are afraid to speak of. It's one of the reasons their reclaim rate is so low. Also, birthparent counseling is available for life, which is more important than you may think. Often, birthmothers reach out for counseling again during subsequent pregnancies, or other life-changing events. Knowing there is someone they can turn to is hugely comforting for us.

I was so changed by the experience that I have spent the last 12 years serving prospective adoptive parents as an unofficial adoption mentor. Please feel free to contact me if you'd like to discuss adoption or the IAC in further detail. I'll give you a real picture of what it's like and what you might expect. Best, Carolyn

A few years ago, we went through the same process as you are going through now picking an agency. We chose the Independent Adoption Center , and now we have two wonderful little boys (one is five years old and the other will be three soon). We felt the IAC did a great job educating us and helping us with the process; both of our sons' birthmothers found us through the IAC.

I've talked to other adoptive families who used Adoption Connection. It sounds like the process was similar to what we did with the IAC, and they had good experiences. It came down to choosing between the two agencies, IAC's intro session and follow up made us feel it was the right choice for us. I haven't talked to anyone who has used Adopt International. If you would like to talk more or have questions (about the IAC or adoption in general), please feel free to contact me.

At IAC they are very personable and competent but have no babies. Ask for stats. They have a boatload of parents and very very few babies to adopt. Our experience was a nightmare and ended up going elsewhere and wasting 2 years. ended fine but not with IAC

My husband and I used Adoption Connection in 2010 and felt that while many times people were very helpful, overall several large errors were made, especially by our Adoption Coordinator (Lynn). Given that this was the person who was our main link to the agency the errors started to become extremely frustrating. We both decided not to use them again when we adopt another child next year. Good luck, it's a roller coaster ride! -Anon

Adoption Agencies in Los Angeles County?

March 2012

Hello BPN'ers, We have friends who are living in Glendale and are beginning the adoption process. They are feeling overwhelmed and not sure about how to begin the process. They recently signed up with the county to adopt through the foster care program but are also interested in looking at private adoption agencies similar to Family Builders or Adoption Connection in the Bay Area. I offered to ask this group since we have benefited so much from the wisdom of others. Do you know of any good adoption agencies in LA County with which you or friends have good experiences? We would greatly appreciate your insight and suggestions. These folks are amazing human beings and would make a wonderful family. Thanks!

Hi. There is a great organization in Southern California called Resolve. They are a wonderful resource for education and support for adoption and other family building options. Here is the link to their website: We are parents through adoption and started our journey working with the resources here in Northern California Resolve. Wishing your friends much luck on their journey to parenthood. mommysquared

We had a succesful experience working with the Independent Adoption Center , which has offices in Pleasant Hill and Los Angeles, as well as several other states. They pioneered in open adoption and offer great support to both adoptive parents and birth parents in the process of adoption. See for more information. sally

Looking in to adoption - can you recommend an agency?

Nov 2010

ME and my husband have been traying to get pregnant and we have done 3 IVF. Now we are looking into adoption and we dont really know how to start with. Could any one recomend an adgency? WE ARE READY AND CANT WAIT TO GROW OUR FAMILY!!!

If you are interested in international adoption, I highly recommend Bay Area Adoption Service ,, 650-964-3800. Proud mom of a now-19 yr old daughter

We adopted our two sons (1 and 3 years old) through domestic open adoption. We used the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill and had great experiences both time. Their website is Adoptive Mom

We used adopt international and adopted from Ethiopia. I highly recommend you look into adopting from Ethiopia! Good luck blessed with infertility

Hi there - we also used Adopt International - however we adopted domestically. They are a fantastic agency. We worked with Lisa Clark as our facilitator - she made the process so memorable. We used their service for both our daughters (who we adopted as newborns) and are thinking about using them again. and phone: (415) 934-0300. Best of luck to you! Happy Adoptive Parent

Social Worker in Bay Area for international adoption

August 2010


We used Adoption Connection in San Francisco to do our homestudy for our Chinese adoption. They are part of Jewish Family and Children's services and we thought they were wonderful:

Note that they do not do international placement-- just homestudies-- and it was great having their perspective as objective professionals as we went through the process with our other agency. Good luck! China Mommy

Seeking a domestic adoption agency

August 2010

We are interested in adopting a baby domestically, and would be very grateful for recommendations of (or warnings about) adoption agencies and facilitators. Thank you!

I highly recommend the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill. We worked with them to adopt both of our sons. They are a non-profit, and they do a lot with what they have - advertising, education, etc. They specialize in open adoption which has been wonderful for us. Feel free to email me if you'd like to discuss them in further detail. Their website is Christine

I knew that I wanted to adopt through the foster system and had an excellent experience with Family Builders , which has an Oakland office. I also highly recommend Pact (also in Oakland). Again, they did not do our adoption but are an excellent resource. I wish you the best!

Need feedback about adopting a child

May 2009

I am interested to get any feedback about adopting a child either locally (California/East Bay), domestically or internationally. Has anyone gone through the process, and if so, can you give me some advice. Also has anyone used Nancy Hurwitz Kors? An adoption facilitator based in Walnut Creek? If so, do you recommend her services? anon

Call Family Formation in Lafayette! They are fantastic!!! 925-945-1880 AdoptMom

We adopted twice through Adoption Network ( based in Southern Cal. Our experience with them was generally very good; we were matched with wonderful birth parents.. We were matched almost immediately after signing up both times. In our first adoption, our birthmom lived in their housing for the last 2 months of her pregnancy which was great because it gave us a chance to get to know her, and it meant that it would be an in state adoption which is much simpler and more affordable.. The 2nd adoption was much more complicated and costly because our daughter was born in WA state and we got stuck up there for almost a month before we were cleared to bring her back to CA, and because Adoption Network referred us to an awful agency up there in WA (A Child's Dream, in Poulsbo). So, i'd recommend doing what you can to make sure that your baby is born here in CA.. We did meet with Nancy in Walnut Creek, and liked her, but felt that the larger Adoption Network would work better for us. Best of luck! Dan H.

We adopted internationally through Heartsent Adoptions, Inc, We had a great experience and recommend them highly. Adoption is a very personal process. Please feel free to contact me if you would like more info. julia

Please check out a wonderful organization Open Path The Fertility & Adoption Resource of Northern California. They have monthly information nites on adoption with discussions on the many different types of adoption and sharing referrals on professionals in the area.

This organization was formerly known as Resolve. We started with this organization and found a lot of information for ourselves on the process. a mom through adoption

When doing my adoption research, I met with that adoption facilitator in Walnut Creek. I was disturbed by a couple of things she did and said during our interview. Afterwards I called around to get advice, and that's when I learned of her reputation in the professional community. I moved on.

I had fantastic results with the facilitators at The Best Gift Adoptions ( They were recommended to me by friends. I brought my newborn home just nine months after turning in the last of my paperwork.

To help understand the complications of local or domestic adoption, I recommend two websites which show you ''what's out there right now'': and anon

What adoption agency did you use? Were you happy?

April 2009

My husband and I are considering adoption. We are focusing on domestic adoption right now, but we're willing to consider international as well. If you've gone through the process, what agency (or which lawyer) did you use, and how did you choose that agency? Were you happy with that choice? Are there any websites or books you would recommend? Thanks for your advice, Hopefull

We attended an orientation by Adoption Connection in SF. They seemed very good at domestic. We did IA using a country-specific agency, however. Adoption Connection has a website. Also, might be a useful site. Best of luck in adding to your family. anon

I wish you the very best in figuring out about adoption! My headline is that I have a wonderful, lovely kid and the fears with which I entered the process are falling away as the daily life of raising a child takes over. I knew that I wanted to adopt a child through the foster system and went through Family Builders , and I could not be happier about the training and support they provided all the way through the process. My social worker was outstanding and I feel tremendously grateful to have met people at every step along the way who are working with immense integrity in California's decidedly imperfect child welfare system. The San Francisco Chronicle just published an article about Family Builders's Director, Jill Jacobs, last week--look it up online. I wish you the best!

How exciting to be starting the journey to parenthood. There is a GREAT organization based in San Francisco - Open Path The Fertility & Adoption Resource that is a great starting point. They offer free monthly workshops on information for adoption ''A Look At Adoption'' that gives a general overview of this family-building option including how to pick a professional, etc. and they also offer a 7 week group ''Exploring Adoption'' that gives a more indepth view of becoming a family thru adoption with topics on transracial/transcultural, myth vs reality, etc. The website is They also have a directory available online with professionals for all family-building options in the bay area. All of the professionals go through a thorough screening process. We have adopted twice domestically and would be happy to share our experience. landt

For our international adoption, we went with Heartsent Adoption, Inc. in Orinda. (They do domestic also.) We visited only 2 agencies and after talking with Val Free, the founder of Heartsent, it was clear that we wanted to go with her agency. Besides making the process very open and clear, Heartsent goes further offering many classes for pre and post-adoptive parents covering a huge range of issues. Excellent. Adoption is an extremely personal process, different for everyone. Best thing we ever did! I would be happy to talk to you about it. julia

I completed my private domestic adoption a few years ago. For the home study I used Adoption Connection, but did not use their outreach program. For the outreach I used the Law Offices of Adams and Romer (Susan Romer). Both have web pages you can consult for more information. I was very pleased with both agencies, especially Susan Romer. Stefan

If you want to explore international adoption, I highly recommend Bay Area Adoption Services (650-964-3800 or Our adoption was completed 17 years ago, and this organization is only getting stronger. BAAS received accreditation for adoption from Hague countries and also recently was licensed to extend their service area. They are caring and supportive all the way through the process, and never fail in their encouragement of waiting parents to ''keep your eye on the goal.'' Jody

An organization that can help you get started is ''Open Path''(formerly Resolve of Northern California). They have workshops, support groups, and reference information available: A great online reference source is Adoptive Families Magazine's free adoption guide: The magazine itself is fabulous and worth a subscription. In addition to adoption ''how-tos,'' it also has articles about all stages of parenting and great family stories. As for agencies, there are many options. I can personally recommend Adoption Connection, whom we used for the homestudy for our international adoption but they also have a domestic program. They are wonderful: A friend of mine had a great experience with AASK (Adopt a Special Kid), which was a fost-adopt program( Good luck in your journey. AdoptiveMom