agape means love 2017-09-20T21:59:33+00:00

Adoption as an option

Agape’s Memphis adoption program serves families through the pre- and post-adoptive process. From consultation to counseling, our services to adoptive families and children advance our mission to support and provide healthy families to children and families in the Mid-South.

If  you have questions about the adoptive process, Agape can help you acquire the information and knowledge you need to assist you in making informed decisions.

Whether you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption as an option for your child or are considering opening your home to an adoptive child, Agape is here for you. 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 Linda Oxford:
linda.oxford@agapemeanslove.org

(901) 323-3600
Adoption Application

Adoption

Agape’s Memphis adoption program serves families throughout the pre- and post-adoptive process. From consultation to counseling, our services to adoptive families and children advance our mission to support and provide healthy families to children and families in the Mid-South.

If  you have questions about the adoptive process, Agape can help you acquire the information and knowledge you need to assist you in making informed decisions.

Whether you are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption as an option for your child or are considering opening your home to an adoptive child, Agape is here for you. Regardless of where you are in consideration of the adoptive process, please feel free to contact us.

Seeking: Adoptive Families

Agape is now welcoming applications for additional prospective 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 alongside them. We encourage all interested prospective adoptive families to email Tiffany Rhodes or call 901-323-3600.

Post Adoption

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.

It does not matter if a person is an adult adoptee, a birth parent, or an adoptive family.  If a person is struggling through bonding issues or other post-adoption issues, the person can receive services through MFCC.

Memphis Family Connection Center
8350 Macon Rd
Cordova, TN  38018
info@memphisfamilycc.org
901-614-1902

Adoption FAQs

  • 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. To learn more about infant adoption training, click here.

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.

Foster Care

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.

Becoming a foster care parent

Becoming a Memphis foster care parent is one of the most loving acts a person can perform. Agape recognizes foster care to be both a challenging and rewarding experience.

For foster care, we only accept applications from families that are open to fostering children 12 years and older and sibling groups.  There is also a need for a limited number of “cradle care homes”, homes willing to care for infants for a very short time before moving to their adoptive home. For foster care as well as adoption, there is an ever-increasing need for families who can care for sibling groups (typically of 3 to 4 siblings).

Agape is licensed to provide foster care services in the states of Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi. Referrals for foster care placement may be received from a state agency, juvenile court or directly from the parent or guardian. Once Agape receives a referral for foster care, children are placed based on the availability of homes.

Agape is there to support foster parents and families with:

  • Initial and ongoing training to help you prepare for and understand your responsibilities.
  • Counseling with the child’s birth parents to help them work through their difficulties.
  • Integration of the child into the foster home.
  • Ongoing support to the foster family.
Interested in becoming a Memphis foster care parent?

Email Linda Oxford or call our office: (901) 323-3600.

Counseling

Agape provides Christ-centered counseling services for individuals, couples, families, and groups who are experiencing relationship conflicts, life crises, or other problems in living.  Our counseling services provide support, direction or life-skills training as needed by our clients. Our prevention and intervention services are designed to strengthen relationships and help provide solutions to problems, conflicts and crises. We offer a full-range of resources, programs and services in the areas of marriage and family counseling and relationship education.

At the heart of our mission is our wish to help improve our clients’ lives by focusing on their strengths, helping them create solutions and supporting their successes. Our counselors help individuals through the difficult times and give them the tools to confidently meet challenges that may arise in the future. A safe and confidential setting is assured for individual, couple, family and group counseling.

Agape is there to support foster parents and families with:
  • Initial and ongoing training to help you prepare for and understand your responsibilities.
  • Counseling with the child’s birth parents to help them work through their difficulties.
  • Integration of the child into the foster home.
  • Ongoing support to the foster family.

Required Documentation

To speed delivery of services on the day of the initial appointment, the following counseling forms may be printed, completed by the client or client’s parent or guardian, and given to the Agape receptionist upon arrival at the Agape Counseling Center. Please arrive with the following forms filled out in hard copy (please do NOT submit via email or fax).

Client Intake Packet
HIPAA Notification-Clients
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR CLIENTS PAYING FOR COUNSELING SERVICES THROUGH THEIR HEALTH INSURANCE:

If you wish to pay for counseling services through your health insurance, we ask that, prior to contacting Agape to arrange counseling services, you call the number listed on the back of your insurance card for “mental health” or “behavioral health” benefits. Ask the representative at that number for the following information pertaining to your out-patient mental health benefits:

  1. The name of your “behavioral health organization” (e.g., Magellan/UBH/Value Options, etc.)
  2. Your annual deductible amount and date your benefit year begins
  3. Your co-pay amount

Workshops

In addition to our general counseling services Agape also provides workshops, seminars, support groups, and specialized training and consultation to churches, community organizations and businesses.

Costs

The cost of counseling services is determined by a sliding scale based on the client’s income level. We also accept third party reimbursement (insurance payment) when applicable.

Counseling Center hours of operation:

Mon. -Wed: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM

Thurs: 11:00am – 5:00 PM

Fri: 8:30 AM – 5:00PM

Sat. & Sun: CLOSED

Appointments may be scheduled outside of these hours on an as-needed basis.

For more information, contact Linda Oxford

linda.oxford@agapemeanslove.org

Maternity Services

Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be a scary experience. Agape’s Maternity Services staff is here for you if you or your partner are facing a crisis because of an unplanned pregnancy.  We would love to assist you.

Adoption is an option.

Our Maternity Services staff can work with you to help you develop a good understanding of the adoption process, including your options and rights as the biological parent.  We want to answer your questions and give you the counseling and support you need to get through this time.

You have the right to:
  • be free from pressure or coercion.
  • place your child for adoption through an adoption agency or private adoption.
  • choose the parents who will adopt your child, know their names, religion, etc., and even meet them if you want to.
  • review the adoptive parents’ Home Study Assessment.
  • make a written open adoption agreement, which allows you to share pictures and letters and might allow you to see and talk to the child after the adoption. This is a moral agreement and cannot be enforced in all states.
  • name your child on his or her first birth certificate.  The name can be changed by the adoptive parents on the second birth certificate issued after the finalization of the adoption.
  • be represented by your own attorney.  In most cases, you also can refuse to be represented by an attorney.
  • make a choice for counseling.
  • financial help with certain reasonable and actual expenses.
  • see or not see your child before you place him or her for adoption.
  • change your mind about the adoption at any time before you sign a consent or surrender and complete the revocation period.
  • receive a copy of the surrender form and any other forms you sign.

Please contact us if we can assist you by explaining adoption as an option and help you come to a decision about whether or not it is right for you.  We assure you that you will receive non-judgmental, non-directive support and counseling from our Maternity Services staff.

We are here to educate you about your pregnancy options, offer you free pregnancy testing, answer your questions, and support you as you make difficult decisions regarding your future and that of your child.

Please call Agape today to find out how we can help you through our Maternity Services:
901-323-3600

Have more questions on Agape’s involvement with adoption, foster care, and counseling?

Fill out the form below with your contact information and a staff member will be in touch to  discuss your inquiry.