Adoption References

In my part of the world when you adopt you are required to give a certain number of references, no more and no less. This is literally the first step in the application process.

We must provide their name, their spouses name, a phone number, their address and the number of children they have.

When choosing our references we were told only the following:

  • It’s preferable that all your references have seen you with children frequently.
  • Only one can be related to you, the rest must be friends.
  • They will talk to whomever answers the phone, so long as its an adult.
  • This is typically the biggest delay in the process – references are known not to be timely in responding or returning phone calls.
  • We, the perspective adoptive parents, are not allowed to know the questions they are asked.  And we are not allowed to read what they write or know what they say.
  • First, they will be sent a letter and a questionnaire to fill out and sign. Nothing can proceed until this is completed by all of them.
  • Second, they may (or may not) receive a phone call to discuss things further.

At first we were a bit stumped.  Recurrent Pregnancy Loss meant that we had distanced ourselves from almost everyone who was having kids as a coping mechanism and to distance ourselves from being let down.  Ops.

In the end we chose to ask:

  • One of my very best friends for years.  We don’t see each other nearly as frequently as we should, but she’s been there for me the best she could through it all.  She knew about each one of our pregnancies and each one of our losses, even though she had two successful pregnancies during the same time period.  She gave me space when I needed and understood when I had to take time away.
  • One of Mr. MPB’s best friends.  He had been great to us through everything.  He gave us space to meet his baby when we were ready to – he was 6 months old by the time we were ready to.  We still sent gifts, the guys still saw each other, but I didn’t attend the baby shower and we kept our distance.
  • One family member.  We struggled with the selection of the family member, but we did choose my parents as they have seen us with my younger step-siblings and our nephews.

(Later on in the process we also had to give the name and phone number of the individual we intend to name as our child(ren’s) guardian should we both die.  For us, they were not someone we had used as a reference, so they were also called.  But I’ll talk about that another day.)

When we asked them we told them the “rules” and we indicated how important it is for them to respond to everything quickly.  Our friends texted me once they mailed back their written reference – everyone did it super quick and caused no delays.  (Clearly our friends know how big of a deal this is to us).

Once we were in the process we were informed that they actually always phone references because sometimes people are not comfortable saying everything in writing so they just double check.  Our social worker told us which number she phones from and when she anticipated calling.  We told her our preference for who she spoke to (my friend not her husband, as she’s the one who knows us best), but we also let her know she could talk to the spouse as well.  This made sense to her, and wasn’t a problem. So, I called/texted everyone as soon as she left and gave them the heads up.  Each one answered the call from her as soon as they received it and our friends were kind enough to let me know since I really wanted to make sure things were moving forward. (Clearly our friends also realize that I love to control everything, so they helped me out).

We never knew what they said, but assumed that since we are approved to adopt they must have said nice things.

But then, one day, we were given a copy of the package that was sent to the USA agency for our records.  In that package was a photocopy of the written references from all of our reference.

So, what did I do?  Clearly I read them.  How could I not? It’s not often we get to read exactly what our friends think about us.

Needless to say, I had happy tears running down my cheeks.  Our friends, as we anticipated, had only good things to say.  Our friends, love us dearly. Our friends, want us to be parents.  Our friends, are some pretty amazing people.  We are pretty fortunate to have these people in our lives, and our child(ren) will be equally fortunate to be surrounded by such amazing love.

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44 Comments on “Adoption References

  1. That must have been so moving to read. So glad you have that support around you.

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  2. How lovely! And also lovely for your little one when he/she is older… to know how much they were wanted and to read the nice things friends said about mum and dad!

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      • As a child I loved to look through old photos of my parents and be told the story of how they met, and what their life was like before me. Also about being picked up and how I came to be theirs. I think all kids like that sort of thing!

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      • I always love hearing your perspective, you give me such great ideas about things I should start doing right away for our child to have once they are a bit older. 🙂
        Clearly our child is going to be photographed constantly so there will be no shortage of photos! But I’ll keep letters and stuff like that too now, which I typically wouldn’t.

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      • Aw shucks! I think maybe it was just me (though my siblings also loved to do it!). I’m not sure if being adopted means that I tried to be even more tied to my family, if that makes sense? Like we had and have such a strong family mythology and identity, and we are all a part of it (bio and non bio – like washing powders, haha). I think as a child I sought reassurance that I was very important in my parents’ lives, and finding out all about them before they had us was a part of that. We would often all four of us kids sit by the bookcase and look at the photo albums and baby books. I think as more and more stuff is online now, the actual physical artefacts will become more precious. I feel like when your child is older, maybe a teenager, he / she will perhaps need more reassurance (as all teens do but especially those who were adopted) and it will be nice for them to see the physical evidence of how much they were loved and wanted. I was conscious as a child that I hadn’t grown in my mum’s tummy but I know that a lot of effort and wanting went into them getting me. I’m sure your child will love to know about that. X

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      • Now that you mentioned it I remember flipping through photo albums with my sister when we were little (I don’t recall my brother doing the same thing, but maybe?) So maybe it’s just a kid thing?
        But either way, I think you make a great point about saving this stuff for out child. I’m not a pack-rat of any sort so saving things is almost a foreign concept to me. But, I think it’s going to be a good idea to save some of the meaningful stuff for our child so that as they grow up they too can see just how much they were wanted and loved and how hard everyone worked to bring them into our family.

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  3. That is absolutely lovely! What a keepsake! I wrote an adoption reference letter for good friends of mine a couple of years ago. I was so happy and touched that they asked me to do something so important to them! Of course I gushed. 🙂

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  4. The way you built the anticipation, I was so worried that you were going to say that someone said something bad! But of course they wouldn’t! Why would they? How could they? They would have known that it would have shattered your dreams. Plus, you guys are amazing, and I’m sure there was plenty of good stuff to say! It’s nice to know though, exactly what people think about you…especially if it’s all wonderful things!

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  5. That’s wonderful ❤ It's going to be so nice for you child to know just how much everyone knew that you were the perfect match for him/her and just how much you wanted him/her, that even your friends could tell. ❤

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  6. This is so sweet. I have tears in my eyes. Obviously you have good taste in friends, and your friends have good taste too. 🙂 I am not surprised that they had wonderful things to say, but I’m so glad that you got to have that moving experience of reading their letters. ❤

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  7. As I was reading I thought ”she beyter have read them!”. I’m so glad this was a good experience for you. It feels wonderful to know you have such loving, supportive friends.

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    • I totally read them! Seriously, once I realized they were in the package, I read them in the car before I even left the agencies parking lot!
      And you are absolutely right, it’s wonderful to know that we are supported by our friends and even they want our child to enter our lives (and their lives too)! 🙂

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  8. Thanks for sharing. So glad that your family and friends came through for you! The people we selected as reference were allowed to share the information with us (if they choose to do so) a couple of them did and I too was touched by what they said. I still wonder about the others (not worried just curious more than anything). It’s so great you were able to read all the touching things they said. Enjoy those happy tears!

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    • Like you, I wasn’t worried since we chose them and were approved, but I was so curious! I’m glad you at least had a few share with you so that you could have the opportunity to read their kind words! It’s just so touching! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The reference process was similar here as well. But we have to give 5 references total; 2 could be family and the other 3 could not be. Also they were sent letters and no one to date has received a call. We still don’t know what they wrote but I am sure it would be something great about it. Still waiting for our home study date, should be scheduling in the next few weeks!

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    • Thanks for sharing your process! I just love hearing how every agency seems to do things slightly difference.
      I am 100% confident that your references also sad nice things! :). And have fun with your home study, ours really wasn’t that scary once we got into it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anytime, It’s great to have someone who is going thru/has been thru this process because it seems different for everyone 🙂

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  10. I’m so glad you got to see what they said! We don’t have as many rules as you did. Basically, we had to list 5 references. 1 family member, 3 un-related to us, and 1 Pastoral (if we didn’t have a Pastor we could put another friend). We used my oldest Sister because we’re around her kids the most and she’s a fantastic writer. Then we used the couple that I nannied for, one of J’s best friends from hs and his wife, and the couple that leads our small group since they’re the people that led us to our agency and also the people that met us when we were already a couple. We used J’s Pastor from Childhood because he married us and did our pre-marriage sessions with us so he also knew us best as a couple. The letters just got sent out to our references last week and I fb’d them all to let them know to please get their letters in asap. 🙂 Hopefully, they will all be back by the 13th when we have our home study. I’ll make my Sister work on hers when we’re in Dallas next week for the YL conference, lol.

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    • It sounds like you guys put as much thought into the references as we did – I didn’t write about it, but deciding who to use was a really big decision for us. First, we literally had to decide which friends/family we trusted and wanted to include in the earliest moments of our adoption, when we were still so nervous about our decision. Second, we had to think through all our friends very logically, not emotionally.
      I am so excited for you to be so close to your home study!!! And I know we stayed on top of our references and they all did it really quickly for us. I hope yours are the same. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. As I was reading this post at the beginning I immediately thought that it would be difficult for us as well to have a reference that has seen us with children frequently. As much as I love kids and the kids of my friends, I have like you pulled away at times from them when it’s been too difficult. It sounds like you have some great friends, and how lovely that you got to read the nice things they said about you two!

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  12. I’m so happy you had a chance to read the responses. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of why we would be great parents when life seldom does this for us. I’m not surprised that you two got rave reviews. You two are so wonderful and deserving of being parents.

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  13. That’s a really hard thing to choose, especially when it means so much. I am so glad you have such amazing people in your life that love you and know how wonderful you are 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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