Adopting a Child

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

“We chose Pact because of the organization’s commitment to dismantling racism in the world of adoption, and because we wanted expectant and birth parents to be treated with respect and dignity. Pact’s compassionate and truthful guidance was so important for us and our child’s birth parents. They advocated for the well-being of everybody involved while helping us through a long and complex process. We learned so much from Pact about the ethics of adoption, and those lessons are now a core part of who we are as a family.”

Michael & Brandon

Adoptive Family

Pact is a non-profit, full-service adoption agency, licensed in California, serving children of color and their families. Pact’s placement program is for couples and individuals who specifically want to adopt Black, Latino, Asian or multiracial babies born in the United States. The majority of prospective adopters we work with are people of color, and committed to an open adoption. Our services are offered on a steep sliding scale to make adoption more accessible to families of all income levels.

Pact is seeking families for children, not children for families. Meeting the needs of the child is always at the center of our work. The prospective adopters who work with us are looking for an agency that is both expert and ethical. Our approach to placement is not for everyone, and that’s okay.

Building your family through adoption takes more than love —
it takes careful thought and preparation.

When parents take the time to learn about and reflect on the complexity of adoption, they are better-prepared to meet their adopted children’s needs.

To learn more about adopting a child with Pact:

First Steps

Have more questions?

First, complete the first steps above. Then, please feel free to contact us:

Adopting through Pact – Next Steps

1. Consultation:

Each prospective adoptive family, including those who have adopted before, begins by meeting with a Pact pre-placement specialist (see chart above). In this in-depth consultation, you will get answers to your questions, reflect on who you are and what adoption will mean to you and to your child, and talk about some of the complexities and challenges on the lifelong journey of adoption. Register below.

2. Assessment:

After your consultation, Pact will provide you with feedback on your observed strengths and areas for growth as a prospective adoptive parent. You’ll be provided with follow-up reading and reflection exercises that can help you build the skills and knowledge you’ll need to meet an adopted child’s needs.

3. Contract:

If, after steps #1 and #2, you decide you want to adopt through Pact, and Pact is ready to accept you into our pool of families ready to adopt, you’ll complete client paperwork and submit payment according to our income-based sliding scale.

4. Home Study:

As a prospective adopter, you must have a home study conducted by a licensed agency. Pact conducts home studies for all clients residing within Pact’s service area. Clients residing elsewhere work with a licensed agency in their jurisdiction to complete their home study.

 

5. Education:

While you wait to adopt, you’ll deepen your knowledge of the complex intersections of adoption, race, and family by taking advantage of Pact’s cutting-edge education programs and resources, so you can be as prepared as possible.

6. Support:

Pact staff will help you create your Dear Expectant Parent(s) profile, as a way to introduce yourself to expectant parents considering placing their baby for adoption. Pact staff will be available and personally involved throughout your waiting and decision-making process, offering advice and support.

“We chose Pact because we appreciate Pact’s unapologetic focus on the needs of expectant parents. Also, the ongoing commitment to providing community for adopted people – at all ages – is so rare to find. Through Pact, we heard stories of lived experience about what worked and what didn’t, we will never forget these stories, and they inspire us to follow through on ethical, open adoption.”

Black pre-adoptive parents

Placement Program Fees

 

Pre-Placement Consultation: $400

Income
Under $99,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$1,800
Case Management for all clients
$4,300
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$1,500
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$600
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$2,500
Income
$100-119,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$2,100
Case Management for all clients
$5,200
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$1,800
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$700
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$2,800
Income
$120-149,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$2,400
Case Management for all clients
$6,000
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$2,000
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$800
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$3,200
Income
$150-199,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$3,000
Case Management for all clients
$7,400
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$2,500
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$1,000
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$3,500
Income
$200-249,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$3,500
Case Management for all clients
$8,500
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$2,900
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$1,200
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$4,200
Income
$250-300,000
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$3,900
Case Management for all clients
$9,500
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$3,300
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$1,300
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$4,900
Income
More than $300K
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$4,500
Case Management for all clients
$11,000
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$3,800
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$1,500
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$5,600

Needed Families Program

In order to ensure that our fee structure does not make it overly burdensome for families to adopt through Pact, we have created our “Needed Families” program. Eligibility for the program is strictly a function of the kind of families that are needed for the children with whom Pact is working. For families, whose incomes are below $100,000 and who fit the profile of needed or in-demand parents to adopt the children we place, the following scale may be employed.

Income
Under $24,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$700
Case Management for all clients
$1,000
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$600
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$200
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$400
Income
$25-49,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$900
Case Management for all clients
$1,500
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$700
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$300
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$500
Income
$50-74,999
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$1,200
Case Management for all clients
$2,400
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$1,000
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$400
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$700
Income
$75-100,000
Home Study for CA Residents only, if applicable
$1,500
Case Management for all clients
$3,300
Advisement / Relinquishment if applicable
$1,300
Interstate Placement (ICPC) if applicable
$500
Post-Placement Visits and Finalization if applicable
$900

“We were referred to Pact by a friend who was an adoptive parent and had taken a few classes with Pact. When we started we didn’t know much about the process, but the staff never judged us. We were supported on our journey and educated on everything from why open adoption is so important to the many scenarios we could expect while going through the entire process. Our son’s birth mother was also well supported and we were educated on the ways we could be respectful and considerate of her journey as well. We are incredibly grateful for the support and guidance of Pact and they will always be an important part of our family.”

Leah & Stephen

Adoptive Family

The Beliefs that Guide Pact’s Adoption Practices

“During our orientation process we were really happy to see other Latino families preparing to adopt. It’s not often spoken about in our community and it felt nice to not be ‘the only.’ Growing our family through open adoption was the right choice for us.”

Latinx Adoptive Family

  • Every child has a right to a family.
  • Family preservation should be explored and encouraged.
  • Adoption is not a one-time event; it is a lifetime journey.
  • Not everyone should adopt.
  • Adoption matters.
  • An open adoption with direct contact between families serves adopted children best.
  • Race matters.
  • Racism affects all of us.
  • Same-race placements are less complicated for children than transracial placements.
  • It is not true that “love is enough” — adoptive parents need knowledge, understanding, and commitment to support their child’s identity.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most frequently from prospective adopters!
Does Pact provide adoption services to prospective adopters of all ages?

No. To best serve children’s long-term needs, Pact will only place children with families in which at least one parent is under the age of 49 and, in the case of couples, the older parent is under the age of 55.

Does Pact work with white prospective adopters?

Yes—but we have learned that white parents adopting transracially take much longer to be chosen by the expectant/birth parents we support than the families led by at least one parent of color (BIPOC couples, BIPOC individuals, and inter-racial couples) who make up the bulk of our clients and placements. White prospective adopters who are not participating in Pact’s placement program can still register for our highly-regarded transracial adoption preparation consultations.

Can I select the sex of the child I want to adopt through Pact?

No. Pact does not work with prospective adoptive parents who only wish to adopt a child of a specific sex; you must be open to adopting a child of any sex in order to enter Pact’s placement program.

If we are not eligible for or accepted into Pact’s placement program, or choose to pursue adoption elsewhere, can we still work with Pact for other services?

Yes! Placement is only a small part of what Pact has to offer. Parents who adopt or foster children of color outside of Pact are welcome to become members of Pact and participate in our consultations, support groups, Center for Race & Adoption Focused Therapy, webinars, conferences, regional gatherings, Youth Clubs and Pact Family Camp. We are here to serve children of color and their families on the lifelong journey of adoption.

Does Pact work with prospective adoptive families who live outside California?

Yes, Pact’s placement services are open to prospective adopters across the United States, except New York; California residency is not required.

Placement Staff

Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander

Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander

Agency & Clinical Director, First/Birth Family Advocate

Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander (she/her), LMFT, is a Latina first mother, transracial domestic adoptee, and licensed psychotherapist who specializes in the adoption and foster care triads, providing treatment and consultations since 2009. When Pact became a licensed full-service adoption agency in 2017, Susan was appointed its founding Agency & Clinical Director, launching Pact’s Center for Race and Adoption Focused Therapy in 2021. She is on the ongoing complex journey of reunion with her first families and the daughter she placed for adoption.

Katie Wynen

Katie Wynen

Pact’s Adoption Social Worker & LGBTQ Advocate

Katie Wynen (she/her), MSW, is a transracial, international Colombian adoptee, with a Masters in Social Work. Katie has worked with members of the adoption triad since 2006. She studied under Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao in Boston before moving to Oakland and joining the Pact staff in 2012. Katie works in adoption placement, leads the adult adoptee support groups, and provides adoption education nationwide. Katie is an Angels in Adoption 2019 Recipient from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Pre-placement Specialist

Lisa Moore (she/her), is an adoptive mother who works as a social work educator and practitioner. She resides in Chicago, Illinois with her two school-age sons. She holds a master’s degree in social work and a PhD in social and cultural anthropology. Lisa is professionally engaged in work that addresses the experiences of Black families, and is passionate about holding space for Black adoptive parents and Black parents involved with the foster care system.

Alice Taylor

Alice Taylor

Pre-placement Specialist

Alice Taylor (she/her), LCSW, is a same-race adoptee; she was adopted at the age of eight after being in foster care for two years. She identifies as a Black female. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Alice works with adults. She approaches her work with the adoption community through the lens of her adoptee experience. She is dedicated to speaking her truth and supporting all people affected by adoption.

Takai Tyler

Takai Tyler

Pre-Placement Specialist

Takai Tyler, (she/her) ,MSW, has over 20 years of experience in non-profit management and is passionate about working with youth and families in the areas of trauma healing and empowerment through an equity lens. As a Black adoptive mother, she holds a special commitment to supporting families of color created through adoption. She currently serves on the Advisory Council for Pact’s Adoptive Parents of Color Collaborative and is the co-founder of The Village, an adoptive parent of color peer support group.

Laura Anderson

Laura Anderson

Transracial Adoption Consultant

Laura Anderson (she/her) has been a licensed clinical psychologist working with children, adolescents and families for more than 20 years. She has provided support to foster youth, foster parents, and foster care agencies. Dr. Anderson has worked with adopted youth and their families in various settings; she has spent countless hours in classrooms helping children learn. Dr. Anderson is also an adoptive parent.  She is currently based in Hawaii, and she provides national and international training on a variety of child psychology topics.

Beth Wheeler, CSW

Beth Wheeler, CSW

Transracial Adoption Consultant

Beth Wheeler (she/her) is a psychotherapist, educator, networker and advocate who works to promote equity and inclusion with diverse populations in all of her work.  A clinical social worker also trained in bodywork, Beth’s understanding of trauma and resilience inform both her private practice with adults and her diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging work in organizations.  Beth identifies as a white, cis-gender, queer/lesbian, middle-class, able-bodied woman.  She is co-raising her two domestically adopted black sons with her ex-wife.