TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL)- The overturning of Roe v. Wade has brought thoughts like adoption to the forefront of mothers’ minds.

“If there is an influx of babies needing to be adopted, then I think we are prepared for it,” said Gina Mello, the executive director for Appalachian Family Outreach. “We’ve had many families for a while.”

Appalachian Family Outreach in Bluff City is a private, Christian, non-profit agency that assists with adoptions, child placement and crisis situations. Some families have to wait years for placement after being approved.

“Every week, I get calls from families who are interested in adopting, and I have to have honest conversations with them that it could be years to wait if they’re wanting to adopt babies,” Mello said.

There are two different types of adoption: open and closed.

“A lot of adoptive families want to kind of have an open adoption. They want for the birth parents to be a part of things,” she said. “It looks a lot different than I think it did 50 years ago.”

You can also adopt privately or through an agency.

“Self-match versus agency match makes a big difference in the cost,” Mello said. “I know some of the numbers I’ve seen for agency adoptions go from $25,000 to $60,000.”

That money goes towards various needs like background checks, legal fees and care for the mother.

“We want to know everything you’ve done since you were born until now,” said Courtney Mauk, the Foster Parent Recruiter and Trainer for Frontier Health. “What that looks like is gathering information on your childhood, current relationships and employment history.”

Frontier Health provides home studies that can be used for adoption or foster care. It’s one of the first steps in the process.

“You need to have a fire extinguisher on every level of your home, smoke detectors on every level of the home, CO2 detectors, then we have like small things like outlet covers,” Mauk said. “Medications are kept secure so children don’t have access to them. Cleaning supplies are secured so children don’t have access to them, so really basic child safety measures.”

Along with background checks, the study includes interviews and can take three to four months.

“We have time because what I’m going to have to do is interview everyone in the family,” Mauk said.

In November, Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services said there were about 400 children in the state’s full guardianship looking to be adopted. The majority were older teenagers.

Tennessee is a foster-to-adopt state, meaning one must foster for at least six months before proceeding with an adoption.

Appalachian Family Outreach also provides services to the mother and tries to meet their needs if adoption is not their first choice.

The Department of Children’s Services says 630 children in foster care were adopted in the 2021 federal fiscal year, a slight increase from the year before.