Who Should I Choose to Write My Adoption Reference Letters?

Things are happily humming along with your home study: fingerprints, doctor's visit, essays. Then you hit the adoption references section. What now?

Maren Lee April 22, 2016
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Adoption lays it all out on the table. Every last bit of your life has been exposed. Finances, health, family relationships, intimacy, background, etc, etc. If you’re like my husband and me and gone through the various infertility tests, you’ve started to get used to this whole concept of everyone knowing a whole lot about you. More people have seen you in a gown or in the dreaded stirrups than you thought possible for someone unable to conceive. After all those times of being exposed and giving up control piece by piece, it can be hard to yet again leave even more control in another person’s hands . . . or pen, in this case.

When choosing your references, select a variety of people to write them for you. Choose people who reflect the variety of relationships you have. Here is a short list of people you might ask:

  • Co-workers/Bosses
  • Close friends
  • Friends from church, if you attend one
  • Neighbors
  • Friends with children that you have interacted with

For our adoption references, we chose the following people:

  • My close friend that had seen me at my “worst” and witnessed the person I’ve become and the relationship I have with Tyson.
  • One of Tyson’s close friends that he’d known since high school and we’d gone on double dates with.
  • One of Tyson’s former bosses that became a close friend
  • My sister, because I had spent plenty of time with my nephew and have a strong relationship with him.
  • Our bishop from church (this was mandatory, as we adopted through LDSFS).

Some agencies do not want a family member to write the reference letter, so pay close attention to their guidelines. It will help save time and energy.

Above anything else, you want to select people who are honest. Even if they say things that aren’t necessarily what you’d consider glowing, it is important that everything is accurate and true. If nothing else, the agency can use that to help you become better parents.

Give your references a heads up about are the things that should be included in a good reference letter, like:

  • How long they have known you.
  • Any/all information about your character.
  • Your strengths.
  • Information about your marriage.
  • Parenting skills.

A great idea is to look online to gather some sample reference letters in order to help them write the best letter possible. As a bonus, this might help them get the letter done in a timely manner.

After you have selected your references, you can relax a little bit. When our references were selected and contacted, we breathed a huge sigh of relief. Not only because we checked one more thing off the list but because we knew we had chosen wonderful people to write the letters. I think one of our references had offered to show us what they had sent, but we declined. We had total peace in their ability to express their feelings about us as potential parents in a way that would help our caseworker.

Are you serious about pursuing a domestic infant adoption? Click here to connect with a competent, trained professional who is excited to help you get started on your adoption journey. 

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Maren Lee

Maren Lee is wife to Ty and mom to an adorable little boy they nicknamed "LT." She will forever have a passion for doing hair, despite having left the salon years ago. Her "free time" is spent with family and friends staying active. Running is a major part of her life, and luckily, LT enjoys his jogging stroller. Maren is an infertility survivor and a mom due to the awesomeness of adoption.


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