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Families Thru International Adoption ( FTIA ) celebrates ten years successfully connecting children to families nationwide.

FTIA has found homes in the United States for more than 2,000 children from China, Guatemala, Russia, Brazil, India and Vietnam. In ten short years, Keith Wallace, an Evansville attorney, has turned a single file folder into one of the nation’s leading accredited and highly respected international adoption agencies.

Wallace handled many domestic adoptions before he took an opportunity in 1990 to teach law for a year at Peking University in China. Upon returning to Evansville to reestablish his law practice, Wallace wondered how he could tie his experience overseas with what he was doing in Southern Indiana. By 1995, Wallace began facilitating adoptions from China, and has grown FTIA to 35 staff members in the United States and established global offices in Beijing, Moscow, Guatemala City, and Hanoi. This dedicated team assists families before, during and after the adoption process.

For families considering international adoption, finding a legitimate agency with proper accreditation and integrity is key. Wallace has seen a significant percentage of adoptive parents often begin the adoption process wounded or hurt because biological children are not an option. These hopeful parents become easy targets.

“Do your homework,” he says. “Talk to as many families as you can. Do not start emotionally, get your facts straight and understand that adoption has a business side. You need to engage an agency with qualified people who travel extensively to these countries and know the laws.”

Costs for international adoption are often misunderstood. International adoptions through FTIA range from $15,000 to $30,000 depending on the country - every country has a different procedure and amount of work involved. But, the good news is that there is a $10,000 federal adoption tax credit, making the net cost between $5,000 and $20,000– which is often comparable to the costs associated with pregnancy and delivery. Additionally, many employers provide adoption assistance benefits.

Word of mouth has helped spread the news about FTIA to interested families in Evansville and beyond. Because Wallace and his staff conduct regular informational seminars in Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and parts of New York and New Jersey ( log onto: www.FTIA.org for a complete upcoming schedule ), they routinely answer questions from prospective parents and introduce them to families who have recently adopted. It’s a grassroots marketing approach that has created a network of thousands of families.

“I don’t think adoption solves every problem for every child – but I do think that adoption, when parents are properly prepared and educated about cross-cultural issues, is 99% of the time a great thing for everyone involved,” Wallace concludes.


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