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Adoption Program

The Adoption Process Takes Time and includes these 6 Steps

After your initial contact with our agency, our Adoption Services Director will determine if you meet the preliminary requirements of The Mary Kendall Adoption Program. After approval, a formal application packet will be mailed to you. After all significant information (completed application with applicable fees, background checks, physicals and reference letters) has been received and the evaluation results are positive, an approval will be issued for continuation of the home study process.

However, acceptance of your formal application and participation in the home study process does not guarantee that you will be recommended by our agency for placement of a child. If, during the course of the homestudy, we feel we cannot positively recommend your family for placement, we will inform you as soon as possible. If this were to occur, we would explore with you other available options. It is possible that an extended period of time could be required and a positive recommendation could be made at a later date. Fees for services provided up to the point of such notification are non-refundable.

We are prepared to assist you through every step of the adoption process while also providing adoption education, dossier guidance, Citizenship/Immigration assistance, and final court report of adoption. Some families choose to use an outside placing agency to assist them in their placement. In this instance, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program works as a "networking agency" or liaison. We provide support to families during the waiting period, rejoice with them at placement and offer guidance through the first few months/years of placement.


The Home Study

The laws of every state require all prospective adoptive parents (no matter how they intend to adopt) participate in a home study. This process has three purposes: to educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption, to gather information about the prospective parents that will help a social worker match the family with a child whose needs they can meet, and to evaluate the fitness of the adoptive family.

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Written Home Study

Home study steps culminate in the writing of a home study report that reflects the case worker's findings: Family background, Education/Employment, Relationships, Daily life, Parenting, Neighborhood, Religion, Feelings about adoption, Approval/Recommendation

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Waiting Period

Depending on a variety of factors, a family may wait for a referral on a child as little as a few months, or as long as a few years. If a family is utilizing an outside placing agency our agency will remain in contact with them during this time. For international adoption, if eighteen months passes without a referral, an updated homestudy will be required. If waiting for a domestic placement, the homestudy must be updated every twelve months. This is per state and federal regulations. Renewal of supporting documents (physicals, references, criminal checks) is also required. A greatly reduced fee is charged for completing an updated homestudy. Please note: CIS requires a re-application after eighteen months as well.

Domestic vs International

Child Referral

Your adoption caseworker will contact you directly with information on a waiting child, unless your are utilizing an outside placing agency, then either the placing agency or our agency will be the one to contact you depending on the placing agencies policies. The amount of available medical and social information on the child varies from agency to agency and from country to country. Your verbal acceptance of the child will begin the process of legally placing the child with your family. Visa clearance and other paperwork must be obtained and CIS clearance secured before the child is placed with your family. Time frame from referral to placement can be as little as two months or as long as eight months.


Post Placement Visit

Once a child has been placed in your home, usually three (although some agencies and countries require more) post placement visits are required. Two of these three visits will take place in our office and one visit will be in your home. Both parents must be present for two of the three visits. A report of each visit is written and forwarded to the placing agency. Time frame for post placement visits is usually one to twelve months, but can be longer for certain countries.


Court Report

Once a petition for adoption is received, our agency prepares the required court report. It is the family's responsibility to obtain proper legal assistance in petitioning for the legal adoption of the child. After we have received a copy of the Final Judgment of Adoption, our file is then closed. Court reports are only required for domestic adoptions and certain international adoptions. Your case worker will discuss with you if your adoption requires a court report.

Public Comment Oppurtunity

The Council on Accreditation (COA), a national accrediting entity designated by the US Department of State to provide Hague Accreditation and Approval, invites the public to provide comment on intercountry adoption service providers seeking Hague Accreditation, Approval or Renewal. You are invited to provide comments through COA’s website

Contact Adoption

Jeannie Howard, MAE, LPCC
Adoption Services Director
(270) 683-3723