“Let’s Adopt Reform” aims to ignite a national conversation about adoption in the 21st century to encourage change and strengthen all families.

Since 1996, The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) has worked to improve the lives of children and families through research, education and advocacy leading to better perceptions, policies and practices. But even after decades of work by DAI and others, our current system too often treats adoption as a one-time transaction. In response, DAI is embracing a bold new vision centered on strong families.

Over the next several months we will conduct public opinion research, host a four city National Listening Tour and create a digital platform to capture input and experiences directly from the community.

Following the last stop on the Listening Tour, DAI will publish a landmark report that outlines key elements for reform.

Please join us in igniting the conversation.

Dear America,


It’s not a notarized signature on an adoption certificate. Or a raised government seal from the State. It’s not a third installment to an adoption agency. Or a signature of relinquishment from a birth parent. It’s not even a court decree that says “finalized.”

Because adoptions are not transactions.
Adoptions are transformations.
And transformation is a journey.

But, even after decades of lived experience and research from DAI and others, our current system still so often treats adoption as if it’s just a transaction on a piece of paper.

We know family preservation is best practice.
We know openness is a better policy.
We know that the foster care system needs more care and more resources.
We know that pre- and post-adoption services are critical.
We know that gay parents are parents no matter what state they live in.
We know that the definition of a modern family is constantly evolving.
We know that the Internet is changing everything.
We know that a more uniform system which treats adoption as a lifelong transformation, and not a transaction, will lead to better futures and stronger families.

With all that we know, and with all that has changed, we still have more work to do.

Entering our 20th year, DAI is inspired to take the next step. We will lead a conversation with adopted people, parents (birth and adoptive) and professionals designed to accelerate positive change in perceptions and behaviors.

Together, we will make adoption about building strong families instead of just building toward a final court date.

Together, we’ll show the world that adoption is not a mere transaction, but a lifelong transformation.

Let’s ignite conversations.
Let’s strengthen families.
Let’s Adopt Reform!

The Donaldson Adoption Institute