Our Family History
La Vida, (Spanish for "the life"), is a non-profit, non-sectarian, private adoption agency. We have been licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 1988. The agency was founded by adoptive parents who have personally shared the pain of infertility and the joys of adoption, and adoptive parents continue to direct the agency’s services. We work in partnership each year with hundreds of families, both couples and singles, to achieve each of their dreams of building a family.
Our Mission and Commitment
We believe that every child deserves a loving family and it is this belief that guides our work. Together we work with families to help one child at a time. Our philosophy is simple . . . to understand your needs by listening and to provide you with competent, compassionate, and caring services.
Our foremost commitment is to serve children and families with respect, care, compassion and excellence. Our knowledgeable staff, who will work in partnership with you to reach your dream, delivers that excellence to you. We take pride in working diligently every day to make the adoption process more understandable and manageable for each of our clients. La Vida’s goal is to walk hand in hand with you every step of the way. Additionally, we will be there for you after the adoption, whether to provide support or to celebrate a joyous milestone in your child’s life.
La Vida has a staff of approximately 15 individuals who guide families through the adoption process every step of the way. These include our founders, adoptive parents of five children, our director, an adoptive parent of four children from China, administrative staff, and social workers. Our staff and the social workers who assist have over 150 years of adoption experience and everyone works diligently each and every day to assist families from the point of initial inquiry about adoption through planning and implementing your trip to adopt your child.
La Vida’s primary focus is on international adoption, the adoption of children born and residing in a country other than the U.S. For a variety of excellent reasons today more and more couples and singles are choosing the international path to build their families. We offer programs in countries where children are in need, programs are stable, regulations are consistent, and where the overall health and developmental outcomes for children have been positive.
Currently, our largest international program is with the People’s Republic of China. La Vida has been placing children from China since early 1992 and unites children with families throughout the entire United States. We were one of the first U.S. agencies to be approved by the Chinese government to place children from China. Since that time, the China adoption program has grown and thrived. The success of the program lies in the cooperative attitude of the Chinese government, the overall stability and consistency of the China adoption program, and the general good health of the children who need families.
We also have a complimentary program in Colombia and in October of 2013 we will be launching a new South African program.
Services We Offer:
Detailed Description of Services We Offer
La Vida is a full service adoption and child-placing agency assisting families throughout the United States. All families are guaranteed access to services without regard to race, sexual orientation, religion, age or socio-economic status. We provide comprehensive and flexible services to meet your needs through each step of the adoption process. We are pleased to offer the following services as we assist families to reach their goal of adoption.
Community Outreach and Education
We believe that every child deserves a family and in response we reach out to individuals and couples to share the news of adoption. We do this by holding information meetings, presenting at professional conferences and workshops, and maintaining a web site and literature packages with a strong educational component for those who wish to learn about adoption. Additionally, we offer free individual in-person or telephone conferences. We also place a high value on the importance of education and preparation of adoptive parents. In addition to provision of Hague Convention compliant training, each family with whom we work is provided with comprehensive educational literature designed to provide an expanded understanding of issues relevant to international adoption.
Full Service Document Processing for Your Adoption
We will provide you with forms and instructions for making application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). Additionally, we review, file, and monitor the USCIS review process and ensure that you are always in compliance with U.S. government regulations.
We provide you with the necessary country specific paperwork for your adoption along with samples to guide you in completion. We then carefully review your documents to ensure that they will meet the country’s requirements. We do as much of it for you as we can and carefully walk you through the paperwork that requires your direct attention.
Complete Dossier Certification and Authentication Service
For each of our adoption programs, we offer a unique and very convenient service. Each document that you prepare must go through a process of certification and authentication. This is a very intensive process which involves writing letters, including payment, and shipping documents through multiple steps and to many different agencies in order to obtain appropriate stamps, seals and approvals for your documents. Many families find that overseeing their documents through this process is very frustrating and confusing. We have solved that problem by taking on the responsibility to do it ourselves so that you won’t have to worry about mastering this process.
La Vida can conduct your home study if you are a Pennsylvania resident. From the time we receive the paperwork associated with your home study, we can generally complete the home visits and report within 30 to 45 days. If you are not a resident of Pennsylvania, we can assist you to locate a local Hague Accredited home study agency and once selected, we can assist the agency in understanding any information specifically required by the country from where you are adopting.
Support During Your Wait for A Child
Over and over again families tell us that while the initial paperwork for adoption felt challenging, when they had completed it, they wished that they had more paperwork to do! Why…because, at times, the wait for your child to come can feel very long. Sometimes, having something to do helps pass the time and ease the wait.
One of our greatest strengths is overall support during the adoption process. This includes providing emotional support during both the good times as well as times you may find challenging! While you wait for your child you will always feel informed and supported through telephone contact, individual correspondence, regular program updates, and special mailings. We are available whenever you have questions or just want to talk.
Through international adoption programs and strong relationships with overseas officials, we offer programs for child placement for families in all 50 states and overseas.
Comprehensive Travel Preparation and Planning
La Vida provides each family with a complete travel preparation portfolio designed to prepare you for such things as what to pack, what will happen during your trip, meeting your child for the first time and many other topics.
Trips are accomplished in small groups of families or on fully guided individual trips. La Vida arranges for guides, translators, facilitators, sightseeing activities, transportation, and coordination of all staff and professionals knowledgeable and experienced in each of the necessary steps for completing your adoption. Each adoption trip is carefully planned to offer the best services, great accommodations, a wonderful travel experience, and the successful completion of your adoption.
Affordable post-adoption legal services are available for re-adoption of your child, whether required or desired. We can also assist you in obtaining a passport, applying for a naturalization certificate, registering with the Social Security Administration, or creating a will and naming a guardian.
Post-placement Supervision & Counseling
After you return home with your child your home study agency will conduct post placement visits to your home. The purpose of these visits is: 1) to collect some basic health and adjustment information for a report that is forwarded to your child’s country; 2.) to provide support to your family if you feel the need; and 3.) to share in the joy of finally seeing that your child has arrived and your family has grown. For families who reside in Pennsylvania, La Vida will usually conduct these visits and write the necessary reports. For those living outside of Pennsylvania, your local home study agency can conduct these visits. As with the home study, La Vida can assist your supervising agency in understanding the supervision and reporting requirements of your child’s country.
Families receive a "Welcome Back" package that includes information about Citizenship and obtaining a Social Security number, and U.S. passport for your child. You will also receive a summary of your adoption expenses so that you may take advantage of any tax or employer benefits to which you may be entitled.
Support After Adoption
After your adoption and as your family grows and develops, we will be readily available for support and referral if needed.
How We Work With Families Throughout the U.S.
While we are based in Pennsylvania, we can work with families throughout the entire U.S. We do this by utilizing today’s technology including e-mail, telephone, fax, and express mailing services and developing a system that allows for, but does not require, in-person contacts with our families. We have developed excellent documentation that is easy to follow, accurate, and full of examples and instructions. While visits to our office are always welcome, the system we have established works for everyone and we have it down to an art!
What Makes Us Different?
Choosing a qualified agency that will meet your needs is not always an easy task. There are many differences between agencies, from the services that are offered to the philosophy that guides their work. We believe you will be very happy that you have chosen La Vida because of our:
How Can I Learn More?
Our staff is always available to share additional information with you and answer all of your questions. We are in the process of arranging Webinars for online meetings. Additionally, we offer private consultation by telephone or in-person in our office during the day and evenings.
How To Get Started
If you would like to begin the adoption process please visit the country pages on our site. There you will find specific information and materials to begin the process. After review and confirmation of your eligibility for the country program you have chosen, we will promptly forward everything you need for the next step. This will include an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and information about the country dossier and home study. Additionally, at this time you will be provided with a complete educational package of adoption preparation materials.
China adoption / China adoption