Adoption Information and Resources

Resources for Adoptive Families

So many children need a home for life. So many people want a child to love. Bringing the two together is a work of joy., Harmony Family Center staff are here to help answer the many questions related to adoption

From beginning the adoption process, to learning the types of adoptions that are available, learning what to expect along the way, or any of the other thousands of questions that are – to come up, Harmony Staff are available to help find the answers for each unique situation.  As Tennessee’s premier adoption agency, Harmony Family Center provides services for families seeking domestic adoption, international adoption or adopting through foster care.

Families aren’t just case numbers at Harmony Family Center. Families deserve individual treatment with respect for to personal hopes and dreams. Harmony Family Center staff will provide families with the information needed to successfully complete an adoption. Harmony Staff is here to answer questions and prepare families for the process.  Please contact us at 865.982.5225 to schedule a visit with an adoption specialist.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. While Harmony is an adoption agency based near Knoxville in East Tennessee, the organization has a broad network of attorneys, adoption agencies and hospitals that are prepared to open the door to possibility for adoption in Tennessee and across the country.

The first step to a domestic adoption is to review and complete an adoption packet. This packet includes an application, release forms, a home study contract, medical and immunization 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 complexity of the adoption process. These experts will help develop a family profile and assist with the paperwork and research required to successfully adopt. The adoption specialist also remains available to support the new family after an adoption is made.

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 parents. By arranging the fee structure this way, adoptive families pay only actual costs and no company overhead. Harmony Family Center’s goal is to provide quality services at the lowest financial risk for our clients.

Harmony’s post-placement services are an important part of the adoption process. The adoption specialist will make regular visits with families to discuss the adjustments related to the adoption experience.

Domestic Adoption Resources

Adoption Attorneys

Dawn Coppock

101 Doane Lane
Strawberry Plains, TN 37871-1510
Phone: 865.933.8173
Fax: 865.933.3272

Stewart M. Crane

9111 Cross Park Drive
Knoxville, TN 37923
Phone: 865.539.8282

Ted Kern

Esbaugh, Waters, Strange-Boston & Kern
800 South Gay Street, Suite 1600
Knoxville, TN 37929
Phone: 865.637.3900
Fax: 865.637.7001

Jason H. Long

Lowe, Yeager & Brown PLLC
900 S. Gay Street
Suite 2102
Knoxville, TN 37902
Phone: 865.643.8591
Fax: 865.637.0540

David Roberts, Jr.

119 W. Summit Hill Drive, Suite 315
P.O. Box 2564
Knoxville, TN 37901-2564
Phone: 865.566.0538
Fax: 865.566.0541

Elizabeth Maxey Long

Shepherd and Associates, P.C.
200 E. Broadway Avenue, Suite 410
Maryville, TN 37804
Phone: 865.982.8060
Fax: 865.982.0138

Kevin W. Shepherd

Shepherd and Associates, P.C.
200 E. Broadway Avenue, Suite 410
Maryville, TN 37804
Phone: 865.982.8060
Fax: 865.982.0138

Julia Spannaus

101 W Broadway Ave
Maryville, TN 37801
Phone: 865.984.1923 

I’m Pregnant – What’s next?

Any pregnancy, planned or unplanned, generates many emotions, concerns, and questions. Joy at one moment can be followed quickly by fear or uncertainty. This is a normal reaction.

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 any decisions.  Should a pregnant woman decide that adoption is right for her, Harmony Family Center staff will walk the journey with women, from birth, to placement, to healing.  If parenting is thedecision, Harmony Family Center staff will provide referrals for all the resources needed to be successful.

Adoption Specialists are available to discuss y questions and concerns. Please call 865-982-5225 to begin the conversation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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 will start the process by gathering general information from a doctor, nurse, social worker or a counselor. After gathering basic information about adoption, many 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 many 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.

This is a question that only you can answer for yourself. It is a highly personal decision. It is one that is not 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, in talking to an adoption professional, you feel that you are being pressured or given a guilt trip about adoption, please consider talking to another professional. Adoption is a highly personal decision that will affect you, your child and possibly your extended family, so it is important that it is a well-thought-out process. Individuals or couples considering adoption should ask themselves a series of questions. Hopefully, these will help clarify your plan.

  • 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 would 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 for myself?
  • 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 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 are the potential gains for others if I choose adoption?
  • How will I approve of myself if I make an adoption plan?
  • How will I disapprove of myself if I make an adoption plan?
  • How will others approve or disapprove of me if I make an adoption plan?
  • How much will I consider the opinion of others in making this decision?

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.

Another part of making an adoption plan is deciding the level of openness or the level of contact that the birth parent(s) prefer. Most of us 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 on 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 your child’s life. Your choice of either an open or closed adoption should be made in 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.

If you decide to take the step of talking with an adoption agency, you should have all of your questions 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, then you need to find another agency that will 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?