Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, National Council For Adoption’s mission is to meet the diverse needs of children, birth parents, adopted individuals, adoptive families, and all those touched by adoption through global advocacy, education, research, legislative action, and collaboration.
VisionOur vision is a world in which all children everywhere have nurturing, permanent families.
NCFA's priorities and efforts are guided by 10 value statements compiled by our executive staff and Board of Directors.
- Every child everywhere has the basic human right to a safe, permanent, nurturing family – by birth or adoption.
- The individual child’s best interest should be at the center of every decision, law, program, and social service related to adoption and foster care.
- Adoption can be a viable and positive option for children who need families, expectant parents searching for stable, caring homes for their children, and individuals who want to provide nurturing, permanent families for children.
- There is no “right to adopt” – only the right of a child to be loved, nurtured, and cared for within a competent and qualified family.
- A child welfare continuum should prioritize [in order]: family preservation, adoption by relatives, domestic adoption, and intercountry adoption – all before a child is relegated to institutional or long-term foster care.
- Ethnic and cultural identity, while extremely important considerations, should not prevent a child from finding a permanent, nurturing family through adoption.
- Cultural and racial identity and birth history are important to adopted individuals, and every effort should be made to respect and preserve this information so the adopted individual may retain his or her history and heritage.
- Adoption should remain a non-partisan, non-political child welfare issue.
- Strategic partnerships and collaborations with other groups, individuals, and stakeholders are essential to the fulfillment of NCFA’s mission.
- All funds received from donors and supporters should be managed, used, and reported in accordance with the highest standards of good stewardship.
NCFA began in 1980 as a project with a specific mission: to educate America about the downsides of a draft 'Model State Adoption Act' that had been produced by an Advisory Panel of the US Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). Dr. William L. Pierce, who continued as NFCA’s president for the next 20 years, and Ruby Lee Piester, executive director of what is now the Gladney Center for Adoption, founded NCFA to oppose the "Model Act" which would have dramatically changed the nature of adoption in the US by recommending a number of changes in state adoption policy and practice. Some of the Model Act's most controversial elements included:
- Confidential, sealed adoption records would have been opened retroactively.
- Pre-placement home studies, ensuring children are placed in safe homes, would not have been required for all adoptions.
- The minimum time for babies to wait in "limbo" before their mothers could sign adoption papers would be stretched out to two weeks against the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW)—now the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—published the Draft Model State Adoption Act in February 15, 1980, in the Federal Register for comments. Despite strong opposition from the public, the Model Act was still positioned to push through- which is when NCFA formally came into being.
Many adoption agencies and national organizations felt unable and unwilling to take on the adoption controversies presented by the draft Model Act. Subsequently, a group of concerned adoption agency representatives and individuals met at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport and voted to charter the National Committee For Adoption (later changed to Council). With a shoestring budget, NCFA was launched. NCFA worked closely with HHS to ensure the revised Model Act would truly advance the cause of finding families for children with special needs. Since that time, NCFA has continued to advocate for children, birth parents, and families as America's top authority on adoption issues.
We are a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization which helps create and support sound ethical adoption policies and services. As part of our education efforts, we work to increase public understanding of adoption and present a positive image of adoption as a loving way to build nurturing, permanent families.
Over the course of our history, we have been repeatedly called on by policy makers to help craft adoption policies that benefit children and families. We support efforts that encourage and facilitate adoption, monitor federal and state legislation, and address policies and laws that form barriers to children finding the nurturing, permanent families they deserve.
We partner with community-based agencies, national groups and individuals, and child welfare authorities worldwide to find families for children. Our focus includes domestic infant adoption, international adoption, and adoption out of foster care. We fight for adoption regardless of a child's age, health, or nationality. We collaborate with our member adoption agencies across the country to serve the best interests of children and advance adoption policies and practices that promote the best interest of children everywhere.
Thanks to the hard work of our dedicated staff, our network of member adoption agencies, the generous support of our donors, and the efforts of thousands of volunteers, NCFA continues to make a positive impact in the world of adoption.
Click here to learn how NCFA has been a leader in adoption policy at the federal level.
We have been instrumental in raising public awareness of the positive option of adoption. Nearly 30 years ago, we launched our first ad campaign, Adoption Hotline, a resource for women with unplanned pregnancies. Since then, we have been successful in spreading the message of adoption to hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Click here to learn more about NCFA's public awareness campaigns, featuring celebrities like actress Meryl Streep and country singer Rodney Atkins.
We are a resource for the media. If you represent a media outlet interested in covering adoption in an upcoming news story, please visit our Media Center for more information. NCFA has been cited in many notable media outlets, including:
- Electronic Media:
ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, Post-Newsweek Television, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN International, Larry King Live, National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Company, Sonya Live, Geraldo, Sally Jesse Raphael, 60 Minutes, Fox Morning News, NewsTalk Television, Black Entertainment Television, Good Morning America, Today Show, MSNBC, C-SPAN, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and many others;
- Print Media:
New Yorker, Associated Press, Time, Newsweek, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Reuters, Washington Post, Woman's World, Ladies Home Journal, World Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Cincinnati Enquirer, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Philadelphia Inquirer, Miami Herald, Des Moines Register, National Review, New Republic, Weekly Standard, Dallas Morning News, Des Moines Register, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Boston Globe, People Magazine, Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Town and Country, and many others.
White House Resource
We were the only adoption policy organization invited to advise President George H.W. Bush in preparation for the 1990 World Summit on Children at the United Nations. In 1997, we worked with the White House, First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the Department of Health and Human Services on a presidential initiative to double the number of adoptions of children from foster care and in 2002, we briefed President George W. Bush at the White House on our adoption policy priorities along with adoption leaders from across the country, thanking him for his leadership and compassion in helping needy children in America and around the world through adoption. In 2010, President Barack Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships requested a meeting with NCFA to discuss our Infant Adoption Training Initiative, the adoption crisis in Haiti, and any other pertinent adoption issues.