To adopt a child is to one of the biggest decisions you could make for your family. Figuring out the first step is hard. Let us help you get started by connecting you with the adoption agency that best suits the needs of your family.
Here is a list of state and private adoption agencies in Tennessee. All agencies listed adhere to the guidelines and criteria designated by the Department of Children’s Services.
Children who lack both a safe home and/or relatives who can care for them often come into DCS custody. DCS’s first goal is to safely return the child to their family; however, sometimes returning the child to their family is not realistic or in the child’s best interest. When this happens, DCS makes the child available for adoption.
Please note that Tennessee foster parents are dually approved to adopt when they foster a child and are given the first option of adopting the child they have fostered once they are eligible.
To adopt from DCS you:
- Can be married, single or divorced.
- May or may not have children.
- Can own a home or rent – but you must have stable housing.
- Can work full time or not – but must be able to pay your bills.
- Must be 21 years of age.
- Must be a resident of Tennessee.
All prospective adoptive parents from DCS will need to undergo a formal “home study” by a licensed child placing agency and submit their home study for a specific child.
Additionally, selected parents will be required to complete the Tennessee KEY training program, which explores communication styles and strategies that support a child’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.
DCS offers a post-adoption support system through their Adoption Support and Preservation Program which includes:
- In-home care.
- Crisis intervention.
- Support groups.
- Relief-team building.
- Adoption preparation classes.
- Community education for mental healthcare professionals.
DCS is an especially good choice for you if you need money after the adoption to take care of a child with special needs. DCS provides monetary assistance to parents adopting children with special needs. Adoption assistance is contingent on a three-part test established by section 473(c) of the Social Security Act that states that DCS must determine that the child is legally available for adoption, that DCS must make a reasonable effort to place the child in a home without adoption assistance or Title XIX medical assistance, and that DCS must have determined that the child possesses needs that render adoption without financial assistance unworkable.
For more information on adopting from DCS click here or call (877) DCS-KIDS.
Youth Villages is a private nonprofit organization that helps special needs children get adopted, including children with siblings who need to be adopted together, victims of severe abuse, children that exhibit physical, emotional or behavior difficulties, and children who are HIV positive. In Tennessee, Youth Villages works with DCS to find permanent homes for the children under their care. To work with Youth Villages, you must have the same qualifications and meet the same requirements as working directly with DCS.
Youth Villages is a good choice for you if you want free foster parent training as well as monthly reimbursements to aid with the costs of adding a child to your household. Youth Villages currently offers both virtual and in-person training sessions for prospective foster parents. Additionally, ongoing 24-hour support is available.
Click here to learn more about adoptions through Youth Villages or call (901) 251-5000.
The Omni Family of Services is a private agency serving families in Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina that utilizes the foster-to-adopt process. With the foster-to-adopt process, prospective parents must foster the child or children for a certain amount of time before an adoption can be finalized.
To adopt from Omni, you:
- Can be married, single or divorced.
- May have other children.
- Can rent or own your home.
- Must be 25, or if a second parent, at least one must be 25.
- Can be employed or retired.
- Must be a U.S. Citizen.
- All applicants in the home must be able to attend agency training.
- Must have a valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.
- Must have a physical completed by a physician.
- Must pass all background checks and a drug screening.
- Must provide a home with a bed for the child.
All applicants in the prospective home must be able to attend agency training.
The Omni Family of Services is a good choice for you if you need such as:
- Foster parent training.
- Trauma-informed training.
- Parenting classes and foster family support groups.
- Monthly financial assistance to offset cost associated with fostering children.
- Medical support for foster children.
- Behavioral health support and referrals.
- Ongoing 24-hour support.
- Quarterly community-building events for foster parents and children.
For more information on adoptions through The Omni Family of Services, click here or call (615) 726-3603.
The Harmony Family Center provides assistances to parents who want to adopt a child as well as those who are interested in gaining legal permanency for a child already in their home. At Harmony, potential parents are assigned an adoption specialist who guides them through the adoption process. This includes help with developing a family profile, paperwork and research required to complete an adoption.
Additionally, Harmony facilitates embryo adoptions. Embryo adoption is a form assisted reproduction where an embryo is donated by genetic parents to an adoptive mother. This allows the adoptive mother to experience pregnancy and childbirth, even though she and child would not be genetically related. Please note that embryo adoption is not a legally recognized form of adoption.
All prospective parents will need to schedule a “home study” with a Harmony adoption specialist or through an approved agency.
Harmony is a good choice if you need post-placement services, such as regular visits from an adoption specialist to help manage the adoption experience. They also offer monthly support groups through their FUSE program led by master’s level therapists and guest speakers, which explores one key psycho-educational or adoption/guardianship topic per month.
To learn more about Harmony Family Center’s adoption services, click here or call (865) 982-5225.
Bethany Christian Services is a private agency that facilitates adoption placements for foster children, infants and children from around the globe.
Call (615) 242-0909 or visit Bethany online to determine if you qualify.
All prospective adoptive parents are required to attend an informational meeting and must undergo an adoptive “home study” performed by an approved agency.
Bethany is a good choice if you need support such as:
- Communication strategies for navigating an open adoption relationship.
- Consulting, coaching and counseling.
- Assistance with acquiring documentation for international adoptees.
- Assistance supporting children who have experienced trauma, neglect or abuse.
- Assistance with behavioral issues.
Bethany also hosts informational webinars on their website, which can be found here.
To learn more about adopting through Bethany Christian Services, click here or call (615) 242-0909.
Camelot is a private agency that facilitates foster-to-adopt placements for children of all ages and backgrounds throughout the state of Tennessee. Camelot works with DCS to identify the needs of each child and match them with a licensed home based on compatibility.
To begin the foster-to-adopt program through Camelot, you must comply with DCS requirements and be at least 25 years old with reliable transportation.
To join the foster-to-adopt program at Camelot, you:
- Must complete the “home study” process, which includes PATH (Parents as Tender Healers) training through DCS.
- Must pass all background checks and home visits.
Specialists at Camelot offer their clients free on-going training, in-home case management services and 24/7 crisis support to all foster parents. Additionally, Camelot offers monetary reimbursements to aid in the added cost of adding a child or children to your household.
To learn more about Camelot’s foster-to-adopt program, click here or call (865) 481-3972.
Holston Home for Children provides foster-to-adopt services with support from DCS, as well as domestic and international adoption services for children already in full guardianship of the state throughout East Tennessee.
To determine if you are eligible to adopt through Holston, fill out a contact form on their website or call (423) 638-4171
To learn about necessary processes to adopt through Holston, visit their website or call (423) 638-4171.
For more information on adopting through Holston United Methodist Home for Children, click here or call (423) 638-4171.