HOPING TO ADOPT

Learn more about growing your family through adoption.

OUR ADOPTION SERVICES

We know it can be difficult to make the decision to adopt and then find an agency you feel at home with. At Heart to Heart Adoptions you will find a partner with compassion and experience. We will provide you with advice and assistance through every step of the adoption process.

Orientation

adoption orientation

Orientation

We know that the adoption process can be an intimidating and overwhelming experience.

If you are new to adoption, or if you just need a refresher course, we suggest you take our orientation.  It can answer many of the questions you may be having, and give you the knowledge you need to be empowered on your adoption journey.

Home Study

adoption home study

Home Study

The Adoptive Pre-Placement Evaluation, generally called a “Home Study”, is to help prepare you for adoption and ensure that you meet agency and state requirements.

If you already have a current home study, we will assure that it is in compliance with Heart to Heart standards.

We accept completed adoptive home studies from other sources that adhere to similar professional adoption standards as Heart To Heart Adoptions.

Placement

adoption placement

Placement

We know that the goal of any adoptive family is to add a child to their family as quickly and easily as possible. While adoption is sometimes unpredictable, our goal at Heart to Heart Adoptions is to help you realize your dream of adding to your family.

Throughout the entire process we will make sure your needs are being met and the entire situation is getting you closer to the family you always dreamed of having.

Support

adoption support

Support

Our agency is completely aware of the challenges involved in this complicated procedure, but we are dedicated in helping both the birth parents and the adoptive parents through this complex process.

Our adoptive family department will serve as your advocate and guide throughout your application, matching, and placement. We are always ready to offer assistance and make this process easier. Many members of our staff have adopted children themselves, and have worked in the adoption field for many years.

We will support you through the psychological, emotional, and financial aspects of adoption.  We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you have with our team of knowledgeable staff.

Post Placement

adoption post placement

Post-Placement

Heart to Heart is committed to providing continuing support to birth parents and adoptive families after placement.

Heart to Heart has a Post Placement Department that handles communication between birth parents and adoptive families. This includes forwarding packages, pictures, and letters to the birthmother from the adoptive family and vice versa.  It can also include setting up and supporting conference calls between birth parents and adoptive families and facilitating visits.

Our staff can answer questions, and facilitate communication for as long as you desire.

ANSWERS TO YOUR COMMON QUESTIONS

How much does it cost to adopt?

Our agency is unique because there is a minimal application fee of only $350 and we encourage families to apply with multiple agencies.

We also have a low risk policy.  If you have a failed placement, only 10% of your adoption fees are at risk. There are no add–ons or surprise fees at the end.

There are three types of expenses that are associated with our adoptions.

The first is the ADOPTION FEE. This is the fees that you pay to the agency. These fees cover all the birth mother expenses and the agency expenses. All of these fees are low risk. The full fee for all situations $30-40,000. There is a range because we offer a subsidy for families with limited financial resources. Additionally, on specific special needs situations the fee will be lowered.   

The second expense is MEDICAL EXPENSES.  Some of our birth mothers do not have medical insurance. The adoptive family assumes all of the medical expenses that are not otherwise covered.  This includes doctor visits, emergency room visits, hospital costs, and pediatrician costs. The medical expenses can vary by state and hospital. Most families will pay between $3,000 – $10,000 for a full medical situation.

The third fee is the LEGAL FEES. Babies born in the state of Utah will not normally have legal fees other than the cost to finalize the adoption and if we need to hire an attorney for an extra legal proceeding. For babies born in other states, Heart to Heart is required to pay additional fees to facilitate the execution of legal documents. Those fees average $6,000 but could go higher when additional legal proceedings are required.

Almost all babies that have Native American heritage require additional legal work. The birth mother is required to go before a judge and state she understands the laws regarding the Indian Child Welfare Act and that she is choosing to place her child outside of the tribe. This is usually an additional cost of $4,500. The fee for a  Home Study in Utah is $750.

We will discuss your adoption budget with you before you become active with our agency, and you will be able to tell us the level of fees you are comfortable with.

We will discuss all fees associated with each particular situation with you before we show your profile to any potential match situations.

How long will we have to wait before we get our baby?

Wait times vary with each situation. We don’t know in advance who will be calling to place their baby for adoption. The more restrictions a family has the more their wait time will increase. We find that couples waiting for African American babies don’t wait more than 6-9 months. Couples waiting for a Caucasian baby don’t wait more than 12-18 months. Perspective adoptive families will wait a little longer if they fall into one or more of the following categories.

  • Want a specific gender
  • Cannot pay for medical costs
  • Are single
  • Are older
  • Have many biological children
  • Live in a state that has laws that are difficult to work with

We have even had families get matched and have a placement within days of becoming active. The important thing to remember is that the baby that is right for your family will come in his or her own time.

What is a home study?

The Adoptive Pre-Placement Evaluation, generally called a “Home Study”, is to help prepare you for adoption and ensure that you meet agency and state requirements.

If you already have a current home study, we will assure that it is in compliance with Heart to Heart standards.

The Home Study consists of one or more interviews as well as written information provided by you and others. You may ask your social worker questions at any time during the Home Study process. The written material includes medical background, information about your marriage and family, parenting styles, and finances. Reference letters will also be requested from 3 references, including 1 related and 2 non-related references.

We accept completed adoptive home studies from other sources that adhere to similar professional adoption standards as Heart To Heart Adoptions. In addition, if we complete an adoptive home study for you, we are happy to forward it on to other adoption agencies with which you may be working.

Do you place with single parents?

Yes, we do place with single parents.  However, most of our birth families are looking for a two parent family. This creates a much longer wait time for single parents hoping to adopt.

What is the difference between private, open, and semi-open adoptions?

Open adoption usually involves contact between adoptive and birth parents over the phone or in person before the adoption and after the adoption. It may include a third party to keep personal information private or you may choose to share information with each other and make your own arrangements.

In a closed adoption, the birth family and adoptive family do not have any direct contact. There is a myth that closed adoptions are safer. In actuality closed adoptions are based on fear and control.

Most adoptions fall somewhere in between open and closed. This is called a semi-open adoption. In this situation, neither the adoptive family or the birth parent has the other’s direct contact information.  In these situations, Heart to Heart acts as a facilitator, by receiving information from one party, and forwarding it on to the other. Common ways to stay in touch include pictures, letters, e-mails, blogs, or conference calls with a third party.

As with all relationships, they evolve and change. Some adoptions that start off one way may turn out totally differently. The child that you love will have questions, characteristics, and a history that they will want to know about. The more open the relationship is, the better for all parties.

How do you match an adoptive family with an expectant mother?

Although we will do all we can to place a child with your family, we cannot guarantee placement. Many factors influence the selection process including the number of approved applicants, the number of children available for adoption, the birth parents, and your preferences.

However, we will present your profile as often as we can to birth parents that match your criteria. Obviously the broader your criteria the more often you will be presented.

We will ask permission and let you know each time we present your profile. Once your profile is selected by a birth mother, we generally arrange for a conference call between you and the birth parents. If you both are pleased with each other, we consider you matched.

When you are matched you begin to share the financial responsibility for the birth mother with the agency. At that time, you will work with our financial department to fully understand all financial obligations associated with that situation. We generally charge half the overall fee at match, and the other half at the time of placement.

Where do you find the women who place their babies for adoption?

We primarily advertise our adoption services to potential birth mothers on the internet. We also have great deal of expectant mothers that are referred to us from  previous clients.

Tell me about the expectant mothers that come to your agency.

We work with a very large variety of women. They range in age from 14 to 44 years old. We work with women of all different races and backgrounds. Each woman has a unique personality. One thing they have in common is the love they have for their child and courage to try to give their baby the best future possible.

The average age of our expectant mothers is about 26-28 years old. Many of them have other children that they parent. Some have had their children removed from their home. A good portion of the expectant mothers are coming to us in a crisis. Many are homeless, abused, have unsupportive families, are using drugs, or have some mental health problems.

Many perspective adoptive families want to know what the mother is going to do and when. We don’t know because our expectant mothers don’t know. Most have never done this before. They don’t know how they will feel or how they will react to those feelings. It is key for everyone to remember that we need to be flexible and accept things as they happen.

What should I expect at the hospital when the birth mom is in labor?

The hospital time is a time of great stress for the birth mother and she needs great flexibility. We talk with each birth mother beforehand about her desires for the hospital. This includes:

  • Who does she want in the room during labor?
  • Who does she want in the room during delivery?
  • Does she want to hold the baby right after birth?
  • Who will get the second hospital band? (The band that allows admittance into the nursery. The birth mother will get the first.)
  • How much time does she want to spend with the baby in the hospital?
  • How much does she want to visit with the adoptive family in the hospital?

We will tell you the birth mother's wishes before you go to the hospital.  However, it is very important to remember that the birth mother's wishes will probably change once she enters the hospital.  It is important to be flexible. Remember, most birth mothers have never done this before.  It is impossible for your birth mother to predict how she will feel or react to any given situation. Your case manager will be in contact with you and guide you throughout this process.

What do we say to the expectant mother when we first talk or meet?

It is good to hear from the staff member that has been working with your birth mother to find out what topics might be good or bad to discuss.

It is good to start with questions about their pregnancy and how they are feeling. Asking about their interests, their future plans, and friends and family are generally safe topics.

It is important for the birth mother to know that you care about her, not just the baby.

Topics such as other children or the birth father may be tougher topics. It is good to share your interests with her as well. Try to find common ground.

What is an appropriate gift or way to say thank you to the birth parents?

Prior to placement only very small tokens of appreciation or greeting should be given. After placement a more sentimental gift and card can be given. It is never appropriate to give a large or expensive gift that may appear as coercion.

What is finalization and who handles that?

This is an exciting time and can take place after a successful supervisory period. The supervisory period is generally 6 months in Utah and most other states.  Some states vary. After finalization, the adoption agency will no longer be the legal guardian of your child.

You are responsible for any legal fees associated with finalization. You are free to select independent counsel for all necessary adoption proceedings. We encourage you to find the attorney or agency that will handle your finalization within 30 days of your placement. In some areas we can make recommendations.

Are we done with the adoption once we finalize?

Adoption is a lifelong process. After finalization, you are done with the legal aspects of adoption. You will still need to maintain your relationship with the birth family and address the many issues that come up as your child grows and develops.

How do we answer the questions our child asks as they grow?

It is our philosophy that the adoption should never be kept from the child. We encourage families to talk about the adoption and the child's birth family from infancy on. As the child gets older it will be a topic that is natural to discuss.

Each child and each family are different. We encourage you to be open and honest but speak at a level the child understands. There are adoptive family social media groups where families share their experiences. There are several books available on that topic. If you have any specific concerns or questions, please feel free to contact us.

How do we go from infertility to adoption?

A good portion of the families that come to us to adopt have some type of fertility issue. Couples who have tried to have a biological child unsuccessfully, or know they will be unable to have children, go through a major loss in their lives. As with all loss it should be addressed. Infertility is a loss that is often not discussed or recognized which can make it that much harder.

Adoption is a great option for those who cannot have children biologically. However, it should not be pursued until the loss of biological children has been addressed. Adoption is available to build a family not to replace a desired child. Adoption is also an emotional and stressful process. We encourage families not to continue fertility treatment or pregnancy while pursuing adoption.

As you move from infertility to adoption you will probably experience some or all of the stages of grief and loss. They are listed here. As a couple you should address each of these and see where you feel you are in the process.

  • Stage 1 – Denial
  • Stage 2 – Anger
  • Stage 3 – Bargaining
  • Stage 4 – Sadness
  • Stage 5 – Acceptance

It is important to have both partners discuss this openly with each other. It is also important to realize that each person moves through grief and loss at different stages. Both parents must be ready to move forward. No one should ever adopt because it will make their spouse happy. If you are unsure about your feelings you can join an infertility group, talk to other couples, talk to a counselor, or read books on the topic.

This is our 3rd adoption with Heart to Heart and we have loved everyone.  Anyone we talk to or deal with has been very helpful and understanding.  Any concerns were dealt with quickly and professionally, yet lovingly.  We have recommended many friends and acquaintances to Heart to Heart because of our wonderful experiences.

Scott and Jessica

We have worked with 2 other agencies and hands down, Heart to Heart was the best to work with.  Everyone we dealt with was great.  We have always been treated with respect and our questions were answered in a timely manner.

James and Catherine

We are forever grateful for Heart to Heart and all who work there!  Without you, we would not have our sweet boy.  Thank you for all your hard work, understanding and generosity.  We hold you dear in our hearts.  We especially appreciate your sensitivity to birth mothers' needs.

Kole and Rachel

From start to finish, Heart to Heart has been simply amazing.  Having an adoption fall through earlier in the year, we know fist hand how much difference having a quality agency presence means.  From Linda, Julie and other Heart to Heart reps, to everyone at the hospital, we could not be any happier with our experience.  Heart to Heart is more expensive than other agencies we have seen, but the benefit of having such a strong support system behind you is priceless.  Heart to Heart is simply the best.

David and Kimberly

We had a great experience and would recommend the agency to others.  In fact, two of our neighbors have already been referred.

Mark and Elizabeth

We were with another agency before Heart to Heart and they were not nearly as supportive to the adoptive couple as Heart to Heart was.  Very helpful and supportive.

Tina and Chad

So fun to visit Heart to Heart in Utah after (our daughter) was born.  All staff was so genuinely supportive and excited for us.

Dave and Lisa

We have really appreciated your support.  The placement and finalization both went smoothly.  We couldn't be happier!  Thank you for taking such good care of all.

Amity and Craig

...Heart to Heart was the right agency for our family for our adoption of our sweet daughter.  Your history with our birth mom is why she felt comfortable calling and placing with you a third time.  We praise God for the comfort our birth mother has with you.  She knows you are safe and will not judge.

Chris and Crystal

You are doing wonderful!  Thank you for our special children!

Jordache and Amanda

We have adopted 3 times with you guys!  We love it and tell people about it all the time.  We love you guys!

Kenzie and Brad

We had a long road with several agencies and failed adoptions.  Heart to Heart was an answer to prayers.  Our son is perfect and we are so lucky.  Truly grateful to Heart to Heart!

Casey and Thomas

Thank you all for your genuine concern for all parties involved.  You all have a kind, warm way about you.  Your agency makes the whole process of adoption that much more wonderful.

Mark and Mary

Excellent experience for us.  Very happy we chose Heart to Heart!

Debbie and Dave

Love you guys.  If we chose to adopt again, no doubt it would be Heart to Heart again.

Niki

The staff was amazing at the hospital.  From the time we had our match, which was unexpected and very fast, to bringing him back home, everyone was amazing.  Overall, we had a great experience, and would recommend the agency.  Linda was especially great during our lunch with our birth mom.  Thank you!

Jeff and Amy

RESOURCES FOR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES

Learn more about the various aspects of preparing your home & family for adoption.

OPEN ADOPTION

The thought of an open adoption can seem scary to an adoptive family. However there are many benefits of an Open adoption to everyone involved.

Benefits for the Birth Family: The ability to choose the adoptive family, less guilt and pain, help in dealing with pain and loss, comfort in knowing the child's well-being, potential to develop a loving relationship.

Benefits for the Adoptive Family: More empathy for the birth parents, less fear of the birth family, more access to the child's history, an authentic relationship with the birth family, doing what is best for the child.

Benefits for the Adoptee: Lessens fantasies about their birth family, questions about their identity can be answered, exposure to racial and ethnic background, eases feelings of abandonment, lessens loyalty conflict, increases circle of supportive adults, preserves the connection to the extended birth family.

A child can never be loved too much. Be open and honest. Build a relationship between your families.

ADOPTION WEBSITES

There are many websites with helpful information and tips for the entire adoption process.

Some of our favorites are:

Adoption.com

Adoption.org

AdoptionInformation.com

AdoptionBlogs.com

TapestryBooks.com

SUGGESTED READING

Raising Adopted Children; A Manual for Adoptive Parents by Lois Ruskai Melina.  This is a parents' guide to rearing children in an adoptive family.

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew  by Sherrie Eldridge.  This collection of essays offers insight into 20 common, unspoken concerns that often affect adopted children and their parents, and offers pragmatic advice for overcoming these challenges together.

Real Parents, Real Children: Parenting the Adopted Child by Holly Van Gulden and Lisa M. Bartels-Rabb. Practical advice for parents on issues their children may face, offering insight into how adopted children commonly think and feel about being adopted.

Lifegivers: Framing the Birthparent Experience in Open Adoptions by James L. Gritter.  This book should be required reading for all adoptive parents.  The author does an excellent job empathizing with adoptive parents so they know that birth parents are regular people, just like them.

Some of our favorite books written for children

Did My First Mother Love Me? by Kathryn Ann Miller

Families Are Different by Nina Pellegrini

Happy Adoption Day  by John McCutcheon

Horace by Holly Keller

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

You are Special by Joanna Erlan and Mary Fox Prather

The Colors of Us by Karent Katz

ONLINE LEARNING