4 Tips on Writing a Reference Letter for Your Friend Who Is Adopting

If you have a friend who is adopting a child, they will need several reference letters attesting to their character and lifestyle. If you are the person adopting a child, you might be stressed with the task of finding people to ask for the reference letter. Make sure you ask someone you can trust and who has your best interest in mind. You will probably have to ask between three and five friends for reference letters. Letters from family members are not typically accepted due to bias. If you are the friend writing the letter, you might be wondering what to include and who you should send it to. 

This guide will go over all the ins and outs of writing a good letter for your friend that includes all the information that the adoption agency needs. You can also use an adoption reference letter template to help you understand what to include and structure the letter in a logical and easy-to-read format.

Being Asked to Write a Reference Letter is a Big Deal 

If someone asks you to write a reference letter, it means you are a big part of their life. Adopting a child is a long process and a meaningful part of life. Writing a reference letter is a considerable task that should be taken seriously. 

It would be better to tell your friend the truth if you feel uncomfortable writing a reference letter. You probably won’t want to write a reference letter if you don’t think you can. If you are comfortable writing a letter, make sure that you dedicate time to writing the letter. If you don’t have time to write a well-thought-out letter, it’s better to offer the opportunity to another person than rush the process.  

Reference letters are some of the most significant deciding factors in the adoption process. This is why you need to take your time writing the letter and ensure it has all the details needed. The letter should also be written without any spelling or grammar mistakes. You might want to have someone proofread it before you submit it. 

Writing a reference letter means that your friend trusts you and values your opinion. It’s an honor to write a reference letter for a friend. Usually, people who need to provide a reference letter for an adoption ask one of the following:

  • Close or long-term friends that they have known for at least a year
  • Friends that have seen them interact with children 
  • Neighbors 
  • People who attend the same church
  • Pastors or clergy members 
  • Co-workers

Usually, reference letters are not accepted from family members or relatives. The home providers and agency will request your relationship to the person who writes the letter. 

1. Write about your friend. 

While it’s crucial to include how you know the person and your relationship, this should not be the focus of the letter. It should only take up about a paragraph. The rest of the letter needs to focus on your friend. Mention their morals, values, characteristics, and personality traits that will make them excellent parents. You don’t need to talk about their job or education. All of this is already in their file, and the home care providers or the agency will probably be less concerned with these facts since they can get them from the file. The letter should highlight things the agency can’t gather from the hopeful adoptive parents themselves. For example, mention their greatest attributes and everyday habits. 

A portion of the letter also needs to be about the spouse, even if you don’t know them well—talk about your interactions with them and mention how the couple works together and individually.

2. Mention interactions with children.

Your friends might already be parents. You can mention this in the letter and discuss how they are already amazing parents and now want to add another member to the family through adoption. 

If your friends don’t have any kids, you might want to talk about their other interactions with children. For example, you can discuss how you work together in the church nursery, or you can mention that you’ve seen them take care of neighbors’ children. If you have kids and your friends have watched them for you, definitely mention this. The agency may want to ensure that the couple has had plenty of interactions with children before approving them to adopt. This could be a huge part of the letter and discussed in detail. 

3. Research the adoption agency. 

Learn the name of the agency your friends are working with and do a little research. You should research the agency values and make sure to mention how your friends meet these criteria in the letter. 

If they are going through a Christian agency and you know them as friends from church, you might want to mention their relationship with God and how you have seen them grow in faith.

4. Don’t forget about structure.

Some elements need to be included in your reference letter. You should always start the letter by introducing yourself and stating how you know the people you write about. You should also include information on how you met and how long you have known them. 

Write in detail about their character; describe their best qualities and how their personality makes them excellent parents. You should also dedicate some space in the letter to talk about their strengths.

You are expected to discuss the potential parents as a couple after you have talked about them individually. Even if you don’t know the other spouse well enough, try to describe your observations of their relationship and what makes their union special. Make sure you discuss how they can create a healthy environment for children. 

You also need to sign and date the letter so the agency knows it’s official. Make sure to include your contact information in case someone from the office wants to talk to you or has additional questions for you. Ask your friends how they want the letter submitted.  Usually, you need to mail the original or deliver a faxed or scanned copy.

Writing a reference letter for a friend who is adopting a child should be taken seriously. It’s an honor to be asked to write such a letter for someone. Make sure you take the time to sit down and prepare a comprehensive letter. Following the tips above, you will be able to write an accurate reference letter for your friend.