pact - adoption organization

About Pact

interracial couple and child in purple circle

Pact is a different kind of adoption organization—
honest, child-centered, and anti-racist.

a group of interracial children on a tree

Since 1991, Pact’s mission has always been to serve adopted children of color. In every case, the child is always our primary client. In order to best serve children’s needs, we provide not only adoptive placement but lifelong education, support, and community. Our goal is for every child to feel wanted, honored and loved, a cherished member of their communities with proud connections to their cultural heritage. We advocate for honesty and authenticity in matters of race and adoption.

Our approach to adoption is shaped by the following beliefs:

  • Racism and “adoptism” exist and must be actively combated.
  • Every child deserves to grow up in a stable, nurturing home.
  • Adoption is an experience rooted in loss and complexity.
  • Expectant parents deserve the opportunity to consider all available options, including parenting their own children.
  • When adoption is necessary, same-race adoption is easier for children.
  • Transracial adoption can work if parents are serious about confronting their own racism and helping their children build a positive racial identity.
  • Adopted children and adults deserve as much information about and connection to their birth heritage as possible.
  • Adopted people should have access to all of their records and birth history.
  • Children thrive when they have the opportunity and support to explore all aspects of their identity.

Scroll down to read more about the values that inform everything we do at Pact.

We are a multicultural organization from top to bottom. Our staff and board of directors are racially diverse and reflect all positions of the adoption triad.

Pact is a values-driven organization

Everything we do is guided by our values

At Pact, our practices reflect these deeply-held beliefs:

Racism is embedded in all aspects of our society, including adoption, and must be actively resisted.

Pact is an anti-racist organization. We recognize that expectant parents of color are often considering adoption because of situations created by systemic racism and white supremacy. We reject the prevalent racist practices of pressuring expectant parents of color to relinquish their children; of not providing support to adoptive parents of color; of offering lower placement fees for children of color, as if they have lower value; of pursuing a “color blind” or “love is enough” approach to transracial adoption; of allowing adopted children of color to grow up in racial isolation; of prioritizing the desires or desirability of white adoptive parents, or considering them “saviors”; of claiming that no adoptive parents of color are available; and of stigmatizing birth/first parents of color.

Adopted people and former foster youth are the foremost experts on their own experience.

Too often in the adoption field, the adoptee or foster youth perspective is subordinated to that of the adoptive parent/adults, so that parents can avoid confronting uncomfortable truths. We fight against the stigmatization of adoption, but at the same time we never claim that adoption is pain- or trauma-free. We recognize that adoption is an experience rooted in loss and complexity. Pact prioritizes the expertise of adoptees and former foster youth of color, and supports them into adulthood, because we recognize that adoption is a lifelong journey. We believe adopted people deserve to know their full heritage and should have access to all of their records and birth history. Adoptees are valued members of our Pact community, and at the heart of all that we do.

Birth/first parents deserve respect and support.

Respect begins with giving expectant parents the opportunity to explore all their options, without being pressured to choose adoption. For those who choose to pursue adoption, it means listening to them and connecting them with prospective adopters who will best serve their children’s needs. It means recognizing an expectant parent’s right to pursue adoption and then choose to parent instead (they don’t “owe” anyone else a child). If an adoption happens, it means maintaining open channels of communication between adoptive and birth families whenever possible. It means providing post-placement support to birth/first parents to process their traumatic loss, and educating adoptive parents (and their extended family) about how important birth/first family are to their children. It means never making adopted children feel they must disguise or suppress their curiosity or longing for their family of origin. Respect for birth/first family means rejecting the social stigma associated with relinquishing a child, and replacing it with empathy, compassion, and love. Birth/first parents are valued members of our Pact community.

Adoptive parents of color are underserved in adoption.

For too long it has been assumed that adoptive parents are primarily white, and the adoption field has revolved around meeting their needs. Parents of color are sending a clear message: Yes, We Do Adopt! Through its Adoptive Parents of Color Collaborative (APCC), Pact is one of the only organizations in the country providing trauma-informed and liberatory education, community, and support specifically designed to meet the needs of adoptive parents of color and their families. APCC is raising the visibility of adoptive parents of color and changing the narrative about what adoption looks like. Pact believes that same-race adoptions are easier for children; recruitment of adoptive parents of color is the principal priority of our placement program. Currently, almost all of Pact’s placements involve children placed with families where one or more parent is the same race as the child. Adoptive parents of color are valued and central members of the Pact community.

Transracial adoptive parents need support and education to serve their children’s needs.

While our placement clients are primarily adoptive parents of color, Pact does work with white families who are adopting or have adopted children of color, providing pre-placement preparation and ongoing post-placement education. Parents who are adopting across racial lines must commit to making changes in their own lives in order to support their children. This includes examining white privilege and racial biases, becoming an anti-racist individual/family, bringing more diversity into personal and community circles, nurturing a positive racial identity for adopted children of color, and working to recognize the racism children of color face. Transracial adoptive parents are valued members of the Pact community.

Parents and children of all sexualities and gender identities are equally deserving of support.

We know, and research has shown, that LGBTQ+ parents are effective and successful parents to adopted children. Pact’s adoption placement services, and all our other programs, are available to LGBTQ+ parents without any restriction. We applaud the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act; when we all share in the freedom to marry, it makes families stronger. Recognizing that we live in a heteronormative world, Pact supports adults and children as they explore their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), and we work to ensure that our programs and services are inclusive and not heterosexist or transphobic. Pact is proud to be recognized for its inclusivity by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s All Children-All Families Program. LGBTQ+ parents and children are valued members of our Pact community.

Single adoptive parents deserve respect and support in the struggle with isolation.

Research supports our own experience that adopted children in single-parent households grow up strong and healthy. Pact’s adoption placement services, and all our other programs, are available to single parents without any restriction. Single parents are valued members of our Pact community.