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How to Write a Letter of Reference for Adoption

Updated April 07, 2017

Reputable adoption agencies require that anyone who applies to adopt a baby or child be recommended in writing by a close friend or spiritual adviser who can vouch for the prospective parent in good faith. If you have been asked to recommend someone in writing as an ideal candidate for adopting a new family member, take your time in composing a thoughtful and persuasive letter. Your letter could help the applicant immensely in building a case for their fitness as a parent.

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  1. Address the following key questions in your letter: How long have you known the person applying to adopt? What is the nature of your relationship? What do you know about the applicant's marriage or relationship status (if there will be a co-parent)? When have you witnessed the applicant in a setting with babies or small children, and what did you notice about their interaction? What do you know about the applicant that contributes to their ability to be an ideal parent?

  2. Write in first person from your own subjective experience. This is a particularly personal type of reference, in contrast to professional and scholarly recommendations from teachers, bosses or colleagues. Write an emotional letter and reveal personal details about the applicant's desire to become a parent. Convey a deep personal knowledge of the situation.

  3. Be honest and forthright in your reference letter. Instead of excessive and exaggerated praise for your loved one, include personal anecdotes and specific observations you've made. Talk about the times you have observed the applicant interacting with children or displaying a nurturing nature. Talk about your own relationship to the prospective parent rather than speculate without enough evidential support.

  4. Edit your letter for length and proper format. Keep your appeal readable and compelling by editing your words down to the essential details and stories. Add anything you may have left out to ensure that the narrative flows smoothly from beginning to end. Personally address the reader by name, using "Dear Mr." or "Dear Ms." as a salutation.

  5. Close your letter with an invitation to contact you for additional comments; leave space at the bottom for a signature and make sure to include your personal contact information.

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About the Author

Lauren Tyree started writing professionally in 2010 as a staff writer for Poptimal. She has penned articles and essays since childhood. Tyree earned her Bachelor of Arts in sociology at Vassar College and her Master of Arts in communication at Regent University.

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