Adoption is a loving, responsible plan made by birth parents for the legal transfer of their children to adoptive couples who want to provide a child with a loving, enduring family relationship. Catholic Charities is committed to finding the best possible adoptive families for infants whose birth parents have chosen adoption. Counseling is available for adoptees, birth mothers, and families.
Catholic Charities provides a range of adoption-related services upon request:
• Agency infant placement.
• Court ordered or self-referred home studies: relative, infant, interstate, or stepparent adoption.
• Finalization services, including post-placement supervision and court reports.
• Counseling for adoption-related issues.
• Private Home Studies
• Counseling for adoption-related issues
• Search and reunion for adoptees and birth mothers.
• Adoption case-management services.
BUILDING A FAMILY
The agency offers a number of services to people planning to build their families through the adoption process. The philosophy of the agency’s Infant Adoption Program is one of openness, which allows birth parents to play a major role in the selection of the adoptive family and promotes ongoing contact with the adoptive family if all agree and participate as agreed.
Prospective adoptive parents are screened, participate in adoption education training, and undergo a family assessment (home study) to become approved through Catholic Charities. Supervision continues for several months following placement until the adoption is legally finalized. In addition to offering adoption services to clients of the agency, Catholic Charities also assists stepparents, couples involved in private adoptions, and relative adoptions referred by the court.
Catholic Charities offers services to everyone involved in the adoption process: adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Post-finalization services are provided to those seeking help in finding information or desiring a reunion between an adoptee and birth parents. All services are offered in compliance with current state law and regulations. In addition to providing this service to former clients of Catholic Charities, the agency has records from two community agencies that no longer provide adoption services.
Catholic Charities does not receive funding from any source for its services. Therefore, we charge fees for our adoption services. A fee schedule will be provided upon request.
SEARCH AND REUNION
Indiana Adoption History Registry
Indiana law requires that an adoptee be 21 years of age to initiate any information exchange about an adoption placement. Prior to requesting search and reunion services from Catholic Charities, persons must register with the Indiana Adoption History Registry and receive a response from the Indiana Adoption History.
Information regarding the registry is at this link.
Forms may be obtained from this website under the section called Adoption here.
The forms that may interest you are the following:
• Application for Search of Medical History Information for Adoptee—State Form 47261
• Identifying Information Indiana Adoption History Registration—State Form 47896 (R3/6-05)
• Non-identifying Information Indiana Adoption History Registration—State Form 47897 (R3/6-05)
The registry itself is a free matching service and will match birth parents and adoptees if both have registered. The registry does not actually search for any person. We cannot speak for the registry as to how long it takes for it to respond, its processes, or what information it may have.
Catholic Charities Search and Reunion Services
Catholic Charities can assist an adoptee or birth parent seeking identifying information. Catholic Charities does not do searches for medical history only, nor do we provide non-identifying information. This should be obtained from the Indiana Adoption History Registry. We cannot assist individuals who placed or were placed privately through an attorney, or who were placed through international adoption.
We can assist you if the adoptive placement occurred through one of the following agencies:
• Catholic Charities in Fort Wayne or South Bend (formerly known as Catholic Social Services)
• Family and Children’s Services (the private agency)
• Woodhaven Maternity Home (also known as the Fort Wayne Children’s Home)
Search attempts may or may not bring the desired results. Indiana law does not require an adoptee or birth parent being sought to give consent to open records. If the person being sought does not consent to open records, Catholic Charities cannot force the person to consent and cannot and will not proceed with future contact if the person does not want to participate.
Because Catholic Charities doesn’t receive funding from any other source for these services, we charge a nonrefundable fee for search and reunion services. While it is our hope that the person initiating a search achieves the desired outcome, there is no guarantee that the person sought will be found, and if found, that the person will respond as desired.
Requests for information over the phone will not be honored. If you wish to proceed with a search after you’ve received a written response from the registry, you may request a search request form from Catholic Charities via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES ADOPTION PROGRAM INFORMATION
Families interested in the services can schedule an intake appointment.
Please email or contact:
Barbara Burlingham in South Bend at (574) 234-3111, ext. 31
Tosha Gearhart in Fort Wayne at (260) 422-5625, ext. 258