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Your Guide to the Adoption Reference Letter

As you begin your life-changing journey through the adoption process, you will have many loved ones and professionals by your side to help you every step of the way.

During the early stages of the process, a trusted adoption social worker will conduct a home study where they will ask for adoption reference letters.

Adoption reference letters are important for a safe, smooth adoption. When you’re ready to get started on your adoption journey, give us a call at 1-800-ADOPTION for more free adoption information.

What Is a Letter of Recommendation for Adoption?

As a hopeful adoptive parent, you want adoption professionals and prospective birth mothers to know you are prepared for raising a child.

Part of that is choosing a few honest, reliable people you know to write an adoption reference letter on your behalf.

These are people whom you share a personal relationship with and — depending on the state and professional you work with — are not related to you. The agency you work with will usually ask you to provide between three and five adoption reference letters.

Similar to reference letters for a college or job, the letter of recommendation for adoption is to help your adoption specialist better understand who you are.

Whom Should I Ask to Write an Adoption Reference Letter?

The words of affirmation from your peers can go a long way. When choosing your references, select a variety of people who reflect all your relationships. Here is a brief list of people you might ask:

  • Co-workers

  • Bosses

  • Close friends

  • Neighbors

  • Members from your place of worship

  • Pastor

  • Friends with children

The right person will be eager to help you through this step of your adoption process.

What Should Be Included in an Adoption Reference Letter?

When you ask people to write you a letter of reference for adoption, be sure to provide an idea of what your agency wants. First, the following are required for the adoption reference letter:

  • A date

  • Printed and signed name

  • Faxed or scanned to the home study provider and mailed for filing

Let’s take a deeper look at these requirements for your references:

Writing a Professional Letter — Dating and signing the document is vital for a reputable adoption reference letter. Using proper formatting for a reference letter and checking for correct grammar and spelling also help deliver a clear picture of your family.

Providing the Correct Agency Information The agency's name, address and phone number should all be spelled correctly to prevent any delays. Make sure you provide this information to your reference ahead of time.

Also, a good adoption reference letter should include information such as:

  • Your parenting skills

  • How long your reference has known you

  • Information about your marriage or relationship

  • Any information about your character

  • Your strengths

Giving your references a sample letter or providing them with the hints and tips listed above will help them with the letter-writing process.

Sample Adoption Reference Letter

To better understand what a reference letter might look like, below is a sample adoption recommendation letter:


[Agency Information]

To whom it may concern,

I have known John and Diane Smith for 12 years. I first met John and Diane when we were in college, and we have been friends ever since. We live in the same community and are both involved with our neighborhood parks committee where we have worked together to keep our parks safe and clean for the children in our neighborhood.

John and Diane have watched my three children (ages 3, 5 and 7) on several occasions. I trust them completely with their care and well-being. John and Diane have shown great kindness and patience when caring for my children. They are quick to play a game with them or read them a bedtime story.

I have observed John and Diane with the neighborhood kids as they worked at the parks, and they are always compassionate and generous with their time and resources. From observing the way they interact with my children and the children in our neighborhood, I know that they would both be excellent parents. They have a solid marriage and are committed to each other. They are financially able to provide a wonderful life for a child, too.

John is a kind, genuine and reliable person who is always there to lend a helping hand. He is trustworthy and hardworking. He’s the type of person you can count on to be there for you when you need him.

Diane is a quiet and gentle person who loves to help others. She is a volunteer at the local children’s center and is very patient with the kids there. Diane sets a wonderful example for the children she interacts with; she is always ready to help them with their homework or just listen to their concerns.

I don't know of anything in their character or history that should prevent them from being successful adoptive parents. I wholeheartedly give my recommendation of John and Diane to adopt a child.


[Reference Name Signed and Printed]”


To get more free information about the home study or other stages of the adoption process, fill out our online contact form or give us a call at 1-800-ADOPTION. We’d love to help you get started today.

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do we need to retain our own attorney?

No, American Adoptions has established relationships with some of the best adoption attorneys in the nation. Because adoption laws vary from state to state and between counties, it is important to utilize the services of an adoption attorney who specializes in the state where the adoption will finalize, which is unknown until you match with an expectant mother. You have the right to retain your own attorney, but doing so may be an additional, unnecessary expense.

Can we choose the gender of our baby?

American Adoptions does not allow gender specificity in adoption. Any family who wishes to be gender-specific in their adoption should contact us at 1-800-ADOPTION and ask about the possibility of an exception waiver before taking any other steps toward adoption with our agency. Any families who do receive an exception to be gender-specific may also incur an additional fee, which helps cover the additional advertising costs of such a request.

Please note that gender specificity will likely increase your wait time significantly.

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