What Country and Child-Specific Information Does MLJ Provide to Families?


Communication is always key to developing relationships. In adoption, we’ve found that whenever we can share information specifically regarding a family’s country program or about their referred child, that is the most helpful and appreciated communication. For this reason, we are always working to provide more and better country specific and child specific information. This week was a great example of our effort and commitment to continuous innovation and improvement.

Our Bulgaria adoption program has become very popular and successful due to the stability of the Hague Convention program and reasonable time frames. We have begun to implement monthly conference calls that are available to our Bulgaria families. These calls are well attended during the lunch hour. Families have the opportunity to ask questions to our Eastern European Program Director, Lydia Tarr, as well as have the benefit of sharing experiences with the group. These calls are recorded and available to MLJ families who are unable to attend live. This month we even had one of our Bulgarian team members on the call available to answer questions for families. This is one new method of communication we have recently added and we have been thrilled to receive such positive feedback.

In all of our country programs, MLJ provides country specific newsletters in additional to our general newsletter. These newsletters include pertinent information related to the country at the time. These newsletters have new information contained in them each month. There is a section related to social services that provides resources and tips for families. Some of the country specific topics families may read about may include, but would not be limited to the following:

  • Current timelines for families waiting for matches with children
  • Trends in the characteristics of children being matched (age, gender, special needs, etc.)
  • Recent matches of children
  • Political changes in the country
  • Relevant country-specific news or proposed legislation
  • Any potential upcoming changes in procedures, requirements, etc.
  • Up to date statistics related to adoption

These newsletters supplement the country specific guidebooks families receive that introduce them to the program, provide instruction on compiling the dossier and traveling to the country. This is one of the ways we make sure that our families have the most current information.

At MLJ we are also proud of the child-specific information and support that we are able to provide to families at or near the time of referral as part of our adoption education. Each referral is reviewed by our Director of Social Services, Karlene Edgemon. She then prepares an analysis of the social support that might benefit that particular child and their family. This information is intended to supplement the medical review that families will do with a physician.  Karlene will send the family an extremely detailed communication that is specific to the family, the child and the family’s location. Each communication will be different, but they are all valuable and can work as a resources long after the child is home. Some of the information contained in the communication may include the following:

  • Local post-adoption services
  • Local international adoption clinic
  • Local educational resources
  • Local medical facilities with specialization in child’s specific need
  • Tips and additional resources based on the child’s age
  • Online and/or local support groups
  • Discussion of how the child may attach or struggles the family may face based on the child’s unique social history
  • Additional books, webinars or other resources related to the specific needs of the child

This information and communication is to supplement the family’s Individualized Education Plan that the family would have received and completed during the home study phase based on the characteristics of the child the family was seeking to adopt at that time.

We feel we have developed a strong system for sharing country specific and child specific information with our families. Our families often comment that this is appreciated. We are also always open to ideas for modification and improvement! We are grateful to maintain a size where we can continue to take feedback and make changes and improvements quickly to serve children and families as best we can.

Nicole Skellenger works as MLJ Adoptions’ Chief Executive Officer and Adoption Attorney. Nicole has spent time in orphanages with children who have nothing and are desperate for affection and has committed herself to using her skills to create better futures for these deserving children.