Spence-Chapin is proud to have been in the forefront of
African-American adoption since 1946 when the agency challenged the
then-popular notion that African-Americans were not interested in
adoption, and developed the highly respected program that flourishes
In 1953, Mrs. Jackie Robinson, wife of the famous Brooklyn Dodgers
baseball player, was elected to Spence-Chapin’s Board of
Directors and served as a spokesperson to help the agency recruit
families. Throughout the 1950s, other illustrious African-Americans
who helped to recruit families included Mrs. Ralph Bunche, Marian
Anderson and Mrs. Hubert Delany.
In support of the agency's outreach efforts, Eleanor Roosevelt was the
featured speaker for a Spence-Chapin conference in 1954. Mrs.
Roosevelt was quoted in The New York Times as saying, “No matter
what the color of their skin, all our children must be looked at as
the future rich heritage of the country.”
African-American adoption services are still a cornerstone of
Spence-Chapin’s Domestic Adoption Program. Over the past twenty
years, we’ve placed almost 700 African-American babies, whose
average age at placement was eight weeks. Free information meetings
are conducted for prospective adoptive parents, who may be single
adults or couples. Skilled adoption specialists guide parents through
the home study process and on to adoptive parenthood.
African-American women facing an unplanned pregnancy, who turn to
Spence-Chapin, receive counseling from caring professionals about all
of their available options so that they can plan the best future for
their child. Today, open adoptions, which take place through an
exchange of letters, photographs and in-person meetings, are actively
Currently, our domestic adoption program is at capacity with families ready for a placement/waiting for a match, and families waiting to begin their home study process. To ensure that we always have sufficient options for all expectant parents, and families for every child entrusted to our care, Spence-Chapin's Finding Families for Children initiative welcomes:
- Prospective adoptive parents who are applying to adopt an at-risk child, specifically related to alcohol or drug exposure;
- Prospective adoptive parents who are applying to adopt an at-risk child, specifically related to mental health concerns;
- African-American or multi-racial African-American prospective adoptive parents.
Interested families can request more information
or call Spence-Chapin at 212-400-8150 to discuss their options. The domestic adoption program, including the Finding Families for Children initiative, is only open to families living within the Spence-Chapin service area; within 100 miles of New York City including New Jersey and Long Island.
For prospective adoptive families who are interested in working with an attorney for a private domestic adoption we offer our high-quality parent preparation and home study services offered through our Partnership Program. If choosing an attorney, we recommend starting your search through the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (www.adoptionattorneys.org).
Prospective adoptive families interested in considering International Adoption
, we welcome you to register for an upcoming information meeting
In 1991, the agency formed the Spence-Chapin African-American Parents
Advisory Committee. The Committee, known as AAPAC, is a sounding board
for the agency, providing input on matters concerning African-American
adoption and bringing families together for social networking. AAPAC
has also been instrumental in developing ideas on recruitment
initiatives and program administration; and raising funds to assist
families with adoption costs. All families who adopt through the
African-American program are invited to participate.
AAPAC members meet monthly in the evenings via teleconference and
quarterly at one another’s homes to conduct business and plan
activities. They also get together regularly to enjoy family
activities ranging from apple picking and pool parties to outing at
the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. One of the unforeseen and
extremely positive outcomes has been the close ties formed by members
and by their children. At first, the children reacted with surprise at
meeting other African-American adopted children. Now, members share
many accounts of how their children have benefited from knowing other
adopted children, parents and regularly being part of the majority.
Family Day, first hosted by AAPAC in 1991, is an annual summer gathering
for adoptive families. Filled with entertainment, games and plenty of food, the event
draws a large group of adults and children (infants to teenagers), where new and
experienced adoptive families alike have an opportunity to meet old
friends and make new ones. The sense of community that prevails in
this African-American adoption program is strong and unique.