Adoption Reference Letter

How can a social worker understand what an adoptive couple is like? Making a decision to send a child to a new family is a serious responsibility that takes multiple legal matters to settle. One of such matters is finding out what future parents are like. Who are these people? What do their friends and colleagues say about them? Are these people trustworthy? Will they make good parents?

Of course, a social worker cannot predict the destiny of an adopted child, but they can do their best to learn as much about the adoptive couple as necessary. In that matter, a reference letter for adoptions is the best way of getting to know the adoptive parents better.

In this guide, we will delve into the main aspects of reference letters for adoption:

  • Who can write such letters
  • What such letters must include
  • How to write a letter of recommendation for adoption
  • What should not be included in the letter

We will also give two examples of adoption recommendation letters and share a few valuable tips on them. To learn more about letters of recommendation, check our full article:

Create a free high-quality Adoption Reference Letter online now!

Build Your Document

Answer a few simple questions to make your document in minutes

Save and Print

Save progress and finish on any device, download and print anytime

Sign and Use

Your valid, lawyer-approved document is ready

Create a free high-quality Adoption Reference Letter online now!

Who Can Write A Recommendation Letter for Adoption

If you are a soon-to-be adoptive parent, aside from other legal procedures for adoption, you will also need to provide three to five reference letters from non-family members of yours. An agency would provide a reference letter form to be completed by your referees or ask for a written letter.

The contents of those letters will affect the social agency’s decision, so your reference letters for adoption must positively portray you. That means you will have to choose your referees wisely.

Who should you ask to write an adoption reference letter?

  • First of all, you may address your long-time and best friends. Think of people you have known for a long time, say, for five years and more. That is plain logic—your long-time friends know you the best and will generally be eager to help you. For the best results, you may choose friends who have their way with words and expressing their thoughts.
  • Ask someone that you spend the most time with, especially someone with kids.
  • You may also ask some of your co-workers. If you have a close and trustful relationship with some of your colleagues, don’t hesitate to ask them for a favor.
  • If you get on well with your neighbors, you can ask them to write an adoption reference letter for you.
  • If you are people of faith, ask some of the local church members where you and your partner attend.
  • You may also ask your pastor or clergy.
This is very important: You cannot ask your family members or other close relatives to write and send reference letters to the social agency. Letters written by such referees are deemed invalid since people who write them are considered biased; therefore, they cannot be objective.

What a Reference Letter for Adoption Must Include

When asking a close friend, a co-worker, etc., to write an adoption reference recommendation for you, it is best to provide them with a list of what should be included in the letter. This will make the task much easier, and the letter will contain all the necessary information.

A general reference letter for adoption must include:

  • Information on how the referee knows you and how long they have known you.
  • Details about your character, your best qualities, and strongest sides.
  • Information about your marriage.
  • Why the referee thinks that you will make good parents.
  • Information on each person in your couple.
  • Information on whether you have any parenting experience or how well you get along with children.
  • Does a referee recommend your couple as adoptive parents?

Writing a Letter of Recommendation for Adoptive Parents

The following section is for those who have been asked to write a reference letter for adoption. These are step-by-step instructions on how to write a good adoption reference letter to help your friends become parents and make a happy family.

1. Describe your relationship with the couple

Start your letter by specifying your relation to the couple in question. In the first part of your letter, include a short history of your acquaintance. When did you first meet? How long have you known each other? Do you see the aspiring adoptive couple often, or maybe you are a co-worker of one of the partners?

2. Describe each person’s character

In the next section of your reference letter, try to give some information on the couple’s characters. This is one of the most critical parts of the letter since, in this part, you get the chance to show the best qualities of the potential parents. Think of what you like the most about these people. Try to include their best character traits, especially in terms of raising children. When describing the couple, accentuate the strengths of each partner.

Further in this part, you will need to provide information about their marriage. Do these people get along well with each other? Do they have frequent fights, or do they find compromises easily? These bits of information will be extremely useful for the social worker in making an adoption decision.

3. Give your recommendation

When finishing your letter, describe how the couple in question gets along with children or whether both potential parents (or one of them) has had any parenting experience in the past. In conclusion, give your recommendation whether you see the couple as suitable for adoption. In this part, you must be as honest as possible to avoid making the social worker’s job harder.

Another thing to remember is that you’re writing the reference letter not to please your friends or make them look much better than they really are. Instead, you are providing a third-party recommendation that will be used in an adoption procedure that is not entirely about your friends but more about a child they wish to adopt.           

So your best option in finishing your adoption reference letter is to give an honest and down-to-earth conclusion on whether you think that your friends are suitable for raising a child.

4. Reread and check your letter

When you have finished, don’t send your letter right away. First, make sure that you have not made any spelling mistakes. Reread your letter. Make sure that you’ve said everything you wanted to. Also, make sure that your letter has your full name, a date, your phone number, and your full address. The latter is needed because a social worker may want to contact you to ask you additional questions about what you have written in the letter.

When you’re all set, print the letter and sign it. You can then send the letter via fax or scan it and send it via email. But you will also have to provide the original to the social service.

Things to Avoid While Writing An Adoption Reference Letter

When writing a recommendation reference for adoption, try to avoid the following:

  • Spelling mistakes
  • Being unobjective
  • Any information that is immaterial to the subject matter
  • Being dishonest

Adoption Reference Questionnaire

Sometimes, a social agency may require a referee to fill in an adoption reference questionnaire. This form lists some questions that a referee has to answer, creating an image of a potential parenting couple.

Such questionnaires include questions about:

  • The living conditions
  • The couple’s ability to taking care of a child
  • The stability of the couple’s relationships
  • Whether the couple have any alcohol- or drug-related issues
  • Criminal background
  • Medical/psychological problems

At the conclusion, the referee may be required to give additional comments about the couple.

Adoption Reference Letter: Samples

a) An adoption recommendation letter for a family member

Note: Usually, social agencies do not allow a couple to ask their family members to write reference letters. However, some agencies will accept recommendations from members of the family and close relatives. To know for sure, contact your social agency for consultation and guidelines.




(a referee’s full name and address)

To whom it may concern,

This is the reference letter to recommend my sister _____________ (#1 potential adoptive parent’s name) and her husband _____________ (#2 potential adoptive parent’s name) as adoptive parents. My little sister has chosen me to write this recommendation because she spent a lot of time looking after my two kids. Thus, I can say that _____________(#1 potential adoptive parent’s name) has amazing parenting skills and loves children with all her heart. Becoming a mother has been my sister’s desire since her childhood. And if anything, writing this reference is the least of what I can do to make her dream come true.

_____________(#1 potential adoptive parent’s name) is a loving and caring person. Her ability to interact with children is unbelievable. Children love her, and she always finds a way to make them laugh.

As for her husband,  _____________ (#2 potential adoptive parent’s name), I have never seen a man more reasonable and kind.  _____________ (#2 potential adoptive parent’s name) is a loving husband and will make a great father.

Writing this letter, I have absolutely no doubt that my sister and her husband will become perfect parents creating a loving environment for an adopted child.



(a referee’s full name and signature)


(the current date)


Phone number:_________________

b) An adoption recommendation letter for a neighbor




(a referee’s full name and address)

“To whom it may concern,

I have known ______________ (potential parents’ full names) for six years now, ever since they moved to our neighborhood. Because the couple lives just next door from my place, we interact every day. During these past six years, I’ve gotten to know ______________ (potential parents’ full names) very well.

______________ (#1 potential adoptive parent’s name) is a cheerful and optimistic person. She and my wife have become good friends over the past few years. ______________ (#1 potential adoptive parent’s name) has even babysat our kids a few times, and from that experience, I can say that there is nothing more inspiring for her than taking care of children. I am sure that ______________ (#1 potential adoptive parent’s name)  will make a great mother.

_____________ (#2 potential adoptive parent’s name), her husband, is a kind man and a good neighbor that will always come for help any time of day and night. I have frequent interactions with him. I can tell that he loves his wife and wants so badly to become a parent.  _____________ (#2 potential adoptive parent’s name) is intelligent, caring, responsible, and self-disciplined.

My recommendation is that ______________ (potential parents’ full names) deserve the right to become adoptive parents.

With best regards,


(a referee’s full name and signature)


(the current date)


Phone number:_________________

Tips on Writing an Adoption Reference Letter

Let’s do a quick recap on what your adoption letter must look like and what it must include:

  • Usually, an adoption recommendation reference is a three-part letter. The first part is about how long and how closely you know the couple in question. The second part is dedicated to their character traits. The third and final part is the conclusion, where you must give your recommendations on whether you think the couple deserves the right to adopt a child.
  • When writing a reference letter, be honest. You’re doing it not to please your friends or relatives but to help a social worker make the right decision.
  • Describe what morals the couple has.
  • Don’t forget to mention the couple’s parenting experience, if there is any.
  • Give examples of the couple’s interaction with children.
  • Proofread your letter for spelling mistakes.
  • Don’t forget to add your full name, phone number, and address.
  • Make sure you got the agency’s address right.
Published: Jun 22, 2022