Adoption & Foster Care
Agape is blessed to serve Memphis-area families with services related to fostering and adopting. Whether you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption as an option for your child or are considering opening your home to a child, we are here for you to provide love, encouragement and hope – without judgment.
At Agape, we support families throughout the pre-adoptive and post-adoptive process. From consultation to counseling, our services mirror our mission to support and provide healthy homes for children and families in Memphis. If you have questions or need information, we can help you acquire the knowledge you need to assist you in making informed decisions.
Regardless of where you are in your consideration of the adoptive process, please feel free to contact us.
All inquiries about adoption, foster care, and counseling can be directed to Bailey Fuqua:
Seeking: Adoptive Families
We welcome applications for adoptive families. We always strive to honor the wishes of our maternity clients to the highest degree possible. It has been the trend of late for our maternity clients to specifically request homes of African-American ethnicity for their child’s permanent placement. To that end, we are gratefully accepting applications and we have staff standing by to assist all families by walking through this process with them. We encourage interested families to email Bailey Fuqua or call 901-323-3600.
Agape’s trauma-informed behavioral health program, Memphis Family Connection Center, is designed to support and serve anyone touched by adoption.
Located in Cordova, TN, MFCC provides connection-based, trauma-informed care to the Shelby County, TN adoptive, foster care, and special needs community. Holistic attachment-centered counseling, occupational therapy, calming techniques, nutrition plans, sensory care, resources, and educational support are all provided through the TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) model.
Whether you are an adult adoptee, a birth parent, or an adoptive family, if you are struggling through bonding or other post-adoptive issues, we would be honored to help you and your family heal.
- Applicants must be residents of Tennessee, Mississippi or Arkansas.
- Applicants must be at least 21 years old or older.
- If married, applicants must have been married for at least one year.
- Applicants must be willing to sign a statement of affirmation regarding their faith.
- Applicants must provide a letter from their church leadership addressing their spiritual life and marriage.
- Applicants must participate in an adoption preparation and training program.
We would love to hear from you. It’s simple! Just call us at 901.323.3600 or complete the Agape Adoption Application.
Agape works with individuals, other private agencies, and the child welfare system to find permanent homes for children who need families. Most of the children voluntarily placed for adoption with Agape are newborns. Older children are sometimes voluntarily placed into Agape’s foster care program, and occasionally those children do become available for adoption. For families who are specifically looking to adopt rather than foster older children, Agape works with the nation’s child welfare system to identify children whose needs can be met by our adoptive families. Families search through online profiles of adoptable children to find children who might be a good fit for their family. Once children are identified, the Agape social worker communicates with the child’s case manager to find out more information and begin advocating for the adoptive family as a placement option for the child.
The first step in the process to become a foster or adoptive parent through Agape is a 10-week training course called Parents As Tender Healers (PATH). PATH is scheduled at Agape as needed. After completing PATH training, a Home Study Assessment is conducted. The Home Study consists of multiple interviews with family members, a home fire & safety inspection, and an evaluation of the family’s capability to effectively parent foster care or adoptive children. The Home Study and approval process generally takes about 3 months. Once a family is approved, the length of time to place a child in the home depends on many factors. An Agape staff member can discuss these factors with you as they relate to your specific situation.
Agape has an adoption fee policy that is based on a percentage of a family’s income and ranges from $6,500 to $14,000 for non-special needs youth. The fees for adopting special-needs children may be reduced or waived completely depending on the child’s circumstances. The agency will discuss utilizing any available adoption tax credits to help offset adoption expenses. For more information about the tax credit, visit the North American Council of Adoptable Children.
That is up to you. During the training to become an adoptive family, you will assess your level of openness as it relates to the child’s birth family. There are three kinds of adoptions:
- Closed adoption: Only non-identifying information is exchanged between the birth and adoptive families. The information sharing usually occurs before or immediately after the placement. No ongoing information is exchanged.
- Semi-open adoption: No identifying information will be shared, but non-identifying information may be shared on an ongoing basis. An agency staff member usually facilitates the exchange of information to ensure that the identities of both parties remain confidential. The ongoing information that is shared might include updates on the child’s developmental milestones and pictures of the child on birthdays or holidays. The birth parent might also choose to send pictures or letters to the child and the adoptive parents use their judgment to decide when to share that information with the child.
- Fully-open adoption: Identifying information is exchanged between the birth and adoptive families, and the relationship between the two is not facilitated by an agency staff member. The staff member can assist in developing an open adoption agreement between the birth and adoptive families, which would describe the type of contact and frequency of contact agreed upon by both parties. However, the open adoption agreement is a moral agreement and is not legally enforceable in Tennessee, Mississippi, or Arkansas. The adoptive parents, being the legal parents after the adoption is finalized, have the right to modify the open adoption agreement or discontinue the relationship altogether.
Yes. Many pregnant women come to Agape each year seeking information about their pregnancy options. A small percentage of these women choose adoption. Some of these women have received excellent prenatal care, while some have received none at all. Agape is upfront with adoptive families about all known medical risk factors for each child prior to adoptive placement.
Yes. We provide adoptive families with available non-identifying birth family information. We do not disclose last names, addresses, or phone numbers of the birth family, but we do share available information about their background (education, physical characteristics, interests, etc.) and medical history. Often, information about one of the child’s parents is very limited or completely unknown. When possible, Agape obtains copies of the birth mother and child’s hospital charts to provide to pediatricians.
Meetings between birth and adoptive families most frequently occur prior to the placement of a child in non-open adoptions. Birth mothers have the right to choose the adoptive family for their children, and sometimes they wish to interview families face-to-face during that decision-making process. Those interviews take place in a safe and neutral location (such as the Agape offices) with a staff member present, and all individuals are introduced using first names only. The staff member facilitates the interview and helps to ensure that each party’s identity remains confidential. The face-to-face interview is not a required part of the selection process, and either party can refuse to take part.
Occasionally in semi-open adoptions, both parties may wish to have a face-to-face meeting after the placement of the child. Those meetings are conducted in much the same manner as a pre-placement interview. They are held in a safe and neutral location, and no identifying information is shared. This type of meeting can be very meaningful for both birth and adoptive families and may help the adoptive family be better able to answer an adopted child’s questions about the circumstances of his or her placement. We can offer you support and services well after adoption. In addition, we offer support services for anyone touched by adoption through the Memphis Family Connection Center.
Agape Child & Family Services offers foster care services to both families seeking to place a child (or children) in temporary foster care (private voluntary placement), and parents who are interested in becoming foster parents.
Agape can help you with whichever situation you are experiencing. Our staff is ready to answer your questions and help you through the process. Below you will find links to information for parents who may need our foster care placement services and parents interested in becoming foster parents.
Temporary or Emergency Care
Agape Child & Family Services offers private services to parents and families seeking foster care services. Sometimes, parents may find themselves in circumstances that cause them to be temporarily unable to provide for their children and they may need to place a child in temporary foster care (private voluntary placement). These situations may be financial distress, severe illness, temporary homelessness, sudden loss of job, addiction issues, etc.
Some parents choose temporary foster care because they know that their children will receive excellent care provided by a loving and supportive foster family until they are able to get back on their feet. The foster care case worker and biological family work together to develop a care plan and achieve goals that will lead to timely reunification of the family. If you or someone you know might benefit from these services, help is available through Agape’s private Foster Care program.