In this form
letter, Louise Wise Services Executive Director Florence Brown clarified
something about adoption that has been as easy to see as it has
been uncomfortable to admit: supply and demand shape the “market”
for children and parents alike. Her agency, like most others, had
different requirements for Jewish couples wishing to adopt healthy
infants, for those willing to consider older children with special
needs, and for “Negro” families interested in African-American
children. Brown’s mention of native children in need of
adoption was a reference to the Indian
We have your inquiry expressing your interest in adoption. We appreciate
how much this means to you and hope we may be able to help you.
Since the number of young Jewish children in need of adoptive homes
is so small compared to the number of couples applying, it has been
necessary for us to set up certain eligibility requirements for
adoptive applicants. Infants, as well as the occasional pre-school
age child, are placed only with childless Jewish couples where the
wife is under thirty-five and the husband over forty years of age,
who live in any of the five boroughs of New York, Westchester, Nassau
and Suffolk Counties, and in a small area of New Jersey close to
Manhattan. . . . Since it is required that couples
be married at least three years and that they be citizens of the
United States, we suggest that those who do not presently meet these
requirements should write us again when they have been fulfilled.
If you do meet the requirements outlined above, we will appreciate
your filling out and returning the enclosed form. You will hear
from us as soon as we are able to invite you to a group meeting.
This is the first step in our application procedures. . . .
Exceptions to our eligibility requirements are made for families
applying for children of school age (6 to 14); for those who may
be ready to consider a child with a physical disability; and for
families interested in children of interracial background. Included
in the latter are a group of American Indian children who have been
referred to us through a special program of the Child Welfare League
of America and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
In addition to helping Jewish families interested in adoption,
the Louise Wise Services also places children for adoption with
Negro families. Here, again, the eligibility requirements with respect
to age, childlessness, residence, as well as the procedures outlined
above, do not apply and we are able to offer immediate appointments.
We do hope that we can be of help to you.
(Mrs.) Florence G. Brown