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Written by Nancy S
on August 25, 2023

What are Reference Letters or Reference Forms for Adoption?



You have been asked to write a reference for someone who is planning to adopt and you don't know what to expect. Here are some tips for writing reference letters and completing reference forms.

What should you included?

  • Explain how you know the person or family and how long you have known them
  • Talk about their character and your experiences with them
  • Describe the strengths of the person or family
  • If you recommend that they adopt
  • Write about the qualities that would make them good adoptive parents or good at parenting a child
  • Discuss your impression of their marriage/relationship, things you have experienced when spending time with them
  • Describe each person's character, judgement, reputation and habits
  • Current parenting skills if applicable
  • Ability to manage financial resources
  • Be sincere and not too brief

What must be included:

  • The letter or form must be dated
  • Print and sign your name
  • A letter or form can be faxed or scanned to the home study provider but you must also mail the original to the home study provider for their file.



During the home study process you will be asked to send the agency several documents such as birth certificates, marriage license, financial forms.  You will also be asked to supply contact information for reference providers.  Some agencies will have a form that your reference writers can complete and some will request a written letter. The number of references depends on the requirements of your state of residence and your agency. Here are some tips for selecting reference providers.


Who should I ask?

  • A family member or close relative (if allowed, some agencies or states will not allow family members or close relatives)
  • Close friends that you have known for a long time, at least five years.
  • Neighbors that you know well
  • Church members where you attend church
  • Your Pastor or Clergy
  • Co-workers that you are close with and have known for a significant amount of time
  • Those that you spend time with, especially those who may have children or have experienced you interacting with children.
  • People who have trusted you to babysit their children

Be sure to let the reference providers know

  • Provide an idea of what your agency wants, what the process is, whether it is a letter or a form
  • Tell them to who and where the letter or form should be sent
  • Provide them with contact information for the agency in case they have any questions


Family Connections, Inc. is an authorized New York State not-for-profit child placing agency who has achieved Hague Accreditation.  We would be honored to support your family's adoption plan.  Please contact us at 607-756-6574 or info@adoptfamilyconnections.org to learn more about your adoption options and the agency's adoption services.  The agency provides services to families throughout New York State. Click on the link below to request a free, no obligation consultation with an adoption professional to explore all the options available to you.Consultation With An Adoption Professional



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