Is This Referral a Good Match for Our Family?


In the very beginning stages, when you decided you wanted to adopt a child, you may recall filling out a characteristics checklist that listed the potential medical conditions, special needs, developmental stages, the number of children you want to adopt, the gender of the child you prefer, and the ethnicity of the child. Based on the checklist you completed, your agency reached out to you some time later and provided you with a referral on a child from the country of your choosing which best fit the characteristics you desired. Your may have received emailed or mailed medical, psychological and/or social history reports on the child with whom you were matched. Depending upon the country, you may have even received pictures or videos of the child. Based upon this information you, as the prospective parent, must make a decision regarding whether or not to accept the referral. You have only two weeks to make this all important decision.

little girl with mom and dadOne way to know if a referral is a good match for you and your family is by researching the information provided to you about the child. For example, if you indicate that you will accept a child with Spina Bifida, research Spina Bifida and all that it would mean for you to parent a child with this condition, including what it would mean for your family. First, contact your local physician with whom you have a relationship. He or she will know your family and will likely be able to give you some insight on how adding a child with such special needs will impact your existing family. Additionally, contacting your closest International Adoption Clinic is always a proactive effort to discuss the country’s medical treatment of specific special needs and what to expect when the child comes home. Using the Rainbow Kids Special Needs page is another option for your research. Moreover, you may also want to analyze how well this child’s age and gender would fit within your family structure. A family discussion may also be a good option. Let all of the family members voice their opinions and discuss how they can help. It is also a good idea to look at the medical, developmental, social, educational, and post adoption services available in your area to assure you have the realistic supports to maintain the child and meet his or her needs in the future.

Doing research about a medical condition will ensure that you and your family are prepared to welcome this new addition to your family. Remember that referrals may not occur as quickly in some countries as others. When you reject a referral, it could be some time before you are matched again. Discuss this decision with your agency’s Program Director first as he or she will know how this may affect future referrals. Your Program Director will also want to discuss the reasons with you and address any concerns to better understand your decision. Perhaps there is information that you would like to have clarified, if possible, and your program Director can assist you with that. It is important to assure that you are open with your primary adoption agency regarding any adoption decisions. Your agency should not force you to accept a referral if, after doing extensive research, you intuitively feel the referral is not the right match for you, your family or the prospective child.

Whatever decision you choose to make, our staff at MLJ are always here by your side to help provide you with resources and information that could help you make the best decision for yourself, your family and your prospective child. Feel free to call us at 317-875-0058 if you would like any assistance and access to additional resources.

Tiffany Turner is in a yearlong internship program at MLJ Adoptions as part of her Bachelor’s of Social Work studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Upon graduation in the spring of 2016, Tiffany hopes to work with children in the foster care system.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.