Getting to Know American Adoptions Co-Founder Scott Mars
Scott Mars has always been a man with a plan. An adoptee himself, Mars founded his first business, a nonprofit adoption agency, in his parents’ basement in 1991. He turned his own story and passion for bringing families together into American Adoptions, a company that is now franchised with multiple child-placing licenses and offices across the United States and has helped countless children find safe, loving homes with families of every background.
For Mars, adoption is a personal venture, as well as a business one. Mars was adopted by his parents, Susan and Ted, when he was only 10 days old. His parents had spent years trying to naturally conceive before they finally turned to private domestic infant adoption to grow their family. Before they knew it, little Scott was now a member of their family.
Scott Mars grew up in a happy, adoption-positive household. Although his adoption was closed, his parents celebrated his birth parents’ decision throughout his childhood. He knew from an early age that he had been placed for adoption out of love and to have a better chance at life with his adoptive parents.
“Every day I realize how important I am to my parents,” Scott Mars says. “The fact that I was adopted doesn’t matter. It is simply another way to become a parent.”
At the same time, his parents provided foster care services to more than 140 infants during his formative years. His experience being a foster sibling started him thinking about what more he could give back to adoption.
“It was really hard on all of us when our first placement was adopted,” he said. “My parents came to me and asked if I wanted to keep doing it, and I said absolutely. Because we got to be a small part of these children’s life. They may not remember it, but I do.”
As he got older, Scott Mars realized that he had an affinity for business. He decided to pursue this in college and, after graduating from the University of Kansas in 1991 with a psychology degree, decided to embark on a whole new adoption adventure with his parents. His parents had discussed starting their own adoption agency before his graduation, and he told them to wait to begin until after his education was complete — so they could make it a family affair.
And, thus, American Adoptions was born. More than 25 years later, the private domestic infant agency is involved in hundreds of adoptions each year. With an emphasis on counseling and support, open adoption relationships and lifelong connections, American Adoptions has transformed from a small, family-run operation to one of the largest, most successful private domestic infant adoption agencies in the country — helping build thousands of families since its inception.
Along the way, Scott Mars helped found several new companies designed to make the adoption process a little easier for all involved: Show Pro Media, which aids adoptive parents in creating detailed videos for their adoptive family profiles; Indikon Media, which creates a network of informational websites to educate about adoption and other family-building methods; and more.
But, for Mars, adoption wasn’t the only way to make a difference in the world. Looking into other family-building methods, Mars and his team at American Adoptions decided to create a sister agency: surrogacy agency American Surrogacy. Since its inception in 2013, American Surrogacy and its team has helped many parents add to their family with a biological child — assisted by the same attention to detail, care and support that Mars requires from all his organizations.
“The reality in life is the toughest journeys allow us to appreciate things more fully. Nothing significant in life is ever gained from cutting corners,” Mars advises hopeful parents. “In the end, all your pain and doubt will wash away the first moment your baby snuggles in your arms. It will not matter how you became parents — it will only matter that you did.”
With American Adoptions and American Surrogacy, Mars and his team aim to provide knowledge of several types of family-building processes to those hoping to become parents — an all-around knowledge that few other professionals can provide.
Currently, Scott Mars maintains his status as the President of the American Adoptions Board. In the meantime, he has returned to his roots in the restaurant industry, where he — like many students — worked during both high school and college. Today, he is the owner of a popular Kansas City sports lounge and a fine dining concept at Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza.
In his free time, Mars enjoys spending time with his family, including his daughter and his son. He loves to golf, attend University of Kansas sporting events and travel.
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