So many children need a home for life. So many people want a child to love. Bringing the two together is a thing of pure joy! Harmony Family Center’s Adoption Specialists are here to help answer the many questions that you may have related to adoption. From beginning the adoption process to exploring the various types of adoptions and learning what to expect along the way, Harmony staff are available to answer all your questions and assist with each unique situation.
Founded in 1996 by Pamela Wolf, an adoptive mother, Harmony has a long-standing history and passion for helping prospective parents achieve their goal of growing their family through adoption. As Tennessee’s premier adoption agency, Harmony Family Center provides services for families interested in adopting a child as well as those who are looking to provide legal permanency for a child that is already in their home.
Families aren’t just case number or file at Harmony Family Center. Families deserve individual treatment when it comes to personal hopes and dreams. Harmony Family Center staff will provide families with the information and support needed to successfully complete an adoption. Please contact us at 865.982.5225 to schedule a consultation with an Adoption Specialist.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the first steps to a domestic adoption?
The first step to completing an adoption is to determine what type of adoption is right for you. Some of the options available include: infant and older child adoption and private or agency adoption. Embryo adoption is another option for families considering adoption. Our caring staff are here to guide you and provide information about the various options. Please call 865.982.5225 to request an adoption packet.
What are the first steps in completing an adoptive home study assessment?
The first step to completing a home study is to review and complete an adoption home study application packet. This packet includes an application, release forms, a home study contract, medical statements, and questionnaires. Please call 865.982.5225 to request an adoption packet. After contacting Harmony, parents are assigned an Adoption Specialist. The Adoption Specialist is available to guide parents through the complexities of the adoption process. These experts will help develop a family profile and assist with the paperwork and research required to successfully finalize an adoption. The Adoption Specialist also remains available to support the new family after an adoption plan is made.
Do you help facilitate adoptions outside of Tennessee?
Yes. While Harmony is an adoption agency licensed in Tennessee and based in Knoxville in the eastern part of the state, the organization has a broad network of attorneys, adoption agencies, and hospitals across the country who are prepared to support an adoption - whether in Tennessee or another state.
What happens after a child is placed in our home?
Harmony’s post-placement services are an important part of the adoption process. The Adoption Specialist will make regular visits with your family to discuss the adjustments related to the adoption experience.
How much does it cost to adopt a child?
The cost of a domestic adoption varies depending on the adoptive situation. At Harmony Family Center, adoptive parents pay a reasonable agency fee and are responsible for the actual expenses incurred by the birth parent(s). By arranging the fee structure in this manner, adoptive families are only responsible for actual costs – there is no company overhead. Harmony Family Center’s goal is to provide high quality services at the lowest financial cost possible.
What is embryo adoption?
Embryo adoption is a form of assisted reproduction where a recipient adoptive mother receives an embryo or embryos donated by genetic parents. These are embryos that were created as a result of an in vitro fertilization process. The recipient adoptive mother is able to experience pregnancy and childbirth of a child that is not genetically related to her. Although embryo adoption is not a legal form of adoption, many organizations who match genetic and recipient couples, require that the receiving couples or individuals have an approved adoptive home study assessment.
Domestic Adoption Resources
101 Doane Lane
Strawberry Plains, TN 37871-1510
STEWART M. CRANE
9111 Cross Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923
Esbaugh, Waters, Strange-Boston & Kern
800 South Gay Street, Suite 1600
Knoxville, TN 37929
JASON H. LONG
London & Amburn, P.C.
607 Market Street, Suite 900
Knoxville, Tennessee 37902
1990 Highway 394 Ste C
Blountville, TN, 37617-4789
Phone: (423) 574-0000
DAVID ROBERTS, JR.
119 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 315
P.O. Box 2564
Knoxville, TN 37901-2564
ELIZABETH MAXEY LONG
Shepherd and Associates, P.C.
200 E. Broadway Avenue, Suite 410
Maryville, TN 37804
KEVIN W. SHEPHERD
Shepherd and Associates, P.C.
200 E. Broadway Avenue, Suite 410
Maryville, TN 37804
101 W Broadway Ave
Maryville, TN 37801
LISA L. COLLINS
4501 Charlotte Avenue, #90744 (Federal Express address only)
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
Resources for Expectant Parents
Any pregnancy, planned or unplanned, generates a great deal of emotions, concerns, and questions. Joy at one moment can be followed quickly by fear or uncertainty. This is completely normal and expected. Each pregnancy story is unique and there are commonly asked questions shared by many. Harmony Family Center helps pregnant women understand the adoption process and will support what a birth mother believes is best for her. Should a pregnant woman decide that adoption is right for her, Harmony Family Center staff will walk the journey with her from birth, to placement, to healing. Harmony is a Knoxville based agency who works with local expectant mothers and birth parents. We will be there with you through the entire process. If a birth mother decides to parent her baby, Harmony Family Center staff will provide referrals for all the resources needed to be successful. Adoption Specialists are available to discuss your questions and concerns. Please call 865.982.5225 to begin the conversation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does adoption work?
The process usually starts by gathering information and talking to professionals. Some pregnant women and couples search the internet for information. Others read books and brochures. Some people will start the process by gathering general information from a doctor, nurse, social worker or a counselor. After gathering basic information about adoption, many people will seek out an adoption professional. There are basically two types of adoption professionals – adoption agencies and adoption attorneys. There is a third type of adoption professional known as an adoption facilitator. Non-licensed adoption facilitators operate in many states. However, in most states it is actually illegal for adopting parents to pay fees to non-licensed facilitators. In the State of Tennessee, it is illegal for an adoptive parent to pay fees to anyone other than a licensed adoption agency to match them with a child or prospective birth family. It is important for expectant parents going through the adoption process to work with an adoption professional that provides local, responsive support.
To make an adoption plan or not -this is a question that only you can answer. It is a highly personal decision. It is one that should never be taken lightly. It is also important to remember that considering adoption does not mean you are a bad person or that you are committed to following through with an adoption plan. Parents should feel free to talk with professionals, gather information, and take their time in making a decision. Talking to an adoption professional does not mean that you are going to pursue an adoption plan. If after talking to an adoption professional you feel that you are being pressured about adoption, please consider talking to another professional. Adoption is a highly important decision that will affect you, your child, and possibly your extended family and as such warrants a thorough, thoughtful decision-making process. Individuals or couples considering adoption should ask themselves a series of questions as listed below.
What are my financial resources? What is my level of income?
What are my emotional resources? Who will support me during this pregnancy?
Who will emotionally support me if I parent my child?
Where will I live if I choose to parent my child?
Do I have room in my home if I choose to parent my child?
What income level will I need to pay for rent, formula, diapers, day care, and baby supplies?
Who can help me financially? Parents, spouse, partner, government assistance?
What are my long term goals?
How does this pregnancy affect those goals?
How does parenting a child affect those goals?
What are my goals for this child?
What is my concept of being a good parent to a child?
What options have I considered?
What are the immediate consequences of those options?
What are the long term consequences of those options?
What are the potential gains for me if I choose adoption?
What are the potential losses for me if I choose adoption?
What types of adoptions are available?
Primarily, adoptions are categorized in two ways:
Agency Adoption – the birth parent(s) works with an adoption agency
Independent Adoption – the birth parent(s) work with an attorney
In most agency adoptions, the birth parent(s) surrender their parental rights to the adoption agency. The agency then places the child with the adoptive family that the birth parent(s) choose.
In an independent adoption, the birth parent(s) surrender their parental rights directly to an adopting family. The adopting family may be a family previously identified and selected by the birth parent or it may be a family identified by the attorney.
Harmony Family Center primarily facilitates Agency Assisted Independent Adoptions which provides the same benefits of an agency adoption but allows the birth parent(s) the opportunity to surrender their rights directly to the adoptive family that they have chosen.
Will I be able to maintain contact with my child?
Another part of making an adoption plan is deciding the level of openness or the level of contact that the birth parent(s) prefer. You may have heard the terms open adoption or closed adoption. Today, adoption professionals often use the term disclosed adoption to describe an open adoption and confidential adoption to describe a closed adoption. You have the option to choose either a confidential or disclosed adoption.
A confidential or closed adoption means a very limited amount of information is shared between the adoptive and birth families. In this type of adoption, the information shared is non-identifying so the families will not be able to contact one another at any time. Non-identifying health and social information specific to the birth mother and birth father are provided for the benefit of the child.
A disclosed or open adoption refers to the sharing of information and/or contacts between the adoptive family and the biological family of the child, before and/or after the placement of the child. This type of relationship may evolve over time, as any relationship does. Adoption can be fully disclosed prior to the placement of the child, for a set period of time after placement or for the duration of the child’s life. Your choice of either an open or closed adoption should be made through the course of comprehensive adoption counseling. It is important to think about how the level of openness in the adoption will affect you now and in the future. It is also important to think about how the level of openness will affect the child and the adoptive family currently and in the future.
What questions should I ask an adoption agency?
If you decide to speak to an adoption agency, be sure all of your questions are answered before you make a final decision. You have the right to make an informed decision and to feel confident about any decision that you make for yourself and your pregnancy. If an agency is unwilling or unable to answer your questions or you feel that you are being pushed into a decision, it would be wise to find another agency who is better equipped to meet your needs. The questions below are an example of questions to ask when meeting with an adoption agency.
What options will you talk with me about?
What services do you provide if I decide to parent my child?
What if I decide to place my child for adoption after I take him/her home?
If I start the adoption process, can I change my mind? How much time will I have to change my mind?
If I am under the age of 18, will my parents have to be involved if I place my child for adoption?
Will the father of the child have to be involved if I place my child for adoption?
What will you need to know about me and the child’s father and why?
What information will be confidential and what will be shared with the child and/or adoptive parents?
If my baby has special needs, is adoption still possible?
Can I choose the people who will adopt my child?
How much information is known about the people who will adopt my child?
Can I see my child after he/she is born?
Can I have contact with my child after the adoption?
What kinds of arrangements are possible?
Can I be sure that the adoptive parent will let me continue to have contact with my child after they adopt him/her?
What do most birth mothers feel after they place their child for adoption? What services will be available to help me after I place my child for adoption?
Can I have contact with my child after he/she is an adult?
Do you have a support group for birth parent(s) who have placed their child for adoption?
Is there someone who has used your services that I can talk with before making a decision?
Will I have to pay for services?