Category Archives: Adoptees

The College Fund: How to start saving for your child’s future

The thought of saving for your child’s education can be overwhelming. Maybe your child isn’t even talking yet. How can you begin to imagine them going off to college? Or perhaps your child is rapidly approaching college age, and you have no idea where to even begin the planning process. In cases of adoption, your situation may feel different than the “normal” experience. Maybe you adopted your child at an older age and have not had as much time to begin saving. Don’t let that scare you! Did you know that there are scholarships available specifically for students were adopted? Wherever you may be on the college preparation timeline, there are endless resources available that can help you and your child reach their education goals. Listed below are some different options to help you along the journey of saving for college.

529 Savings Plan

A 529 plan is an educational savings plan that provides tax and financial aid benefits. These plans are sponsored by state and allow your investment to grow free of federal tax. Additionally, some states offer tax deductions for contributions made to your plan. 529 savings plans vary by state – check out the  options available to you based on your state here.

Coverdell Educational Savings Account

A Coverdell Educational Savings Account is a trust account used to fund educational expenses. While the ESA has some similarities to the 529 plan, such as the fact that it is tax-free, it has many distinguishing factors as well. Earnings from the ESA can be used for a multitude of educational expenses for grades K-12, in addition to college expenses. Contributions to an ESA have a maximum limit of $2,000 per year and may be made up until the beneficiary turns 18. Here is some more information on Coverdell Educational Savings Accounts.

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Savings plans are a great way to begin preparing to pay for college, but they are not the only way. Scholarships can also be incredibly beneficial tools for affording college, and there are a lot more of them out there than you may think. While most schools will offer scholarships to accepted students based on sports or academic achievements, there are also endless opportunities to apply for scholarships that are not specific to one school. For example, there are scholarship opportunities for students who have a learning disability, such as ADHD or dyslexia, students who hope to pursue a specific area of study, students who are adopted, and so much more. Below are some of the scholarship opportunities available to students who are adopted or have been in foster care.

Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship

“Also-Known-As is establishing a scholarship program to acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of young dynamic adoptees attending college in the coming academic year. The Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship is a $1,000 scholarship for an outstanding graduating high school senior or undergraduate student who was adopted to the United States from another country.” Read more about the scholarship and how to apply here.

Casey Family Scholars Program“Foster Care to Success (FC2S) has provided scholarships to deserving foster youth since 1987. Casey Family Programs provides funding for students in community colleges, public and private universities, and technical/career programs in all 50 states. FC2S provides the encouragement, mentoring and practical support these students need to do well not only in school but in their personal lives.” Find more information about the application process and requirements here.

 

 

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The savings plans and scholarship opportunities listed above are only a few examples of the different ways you can begin planning for your child’s education. For more options and information, check out the resources listed below.

Scholarships for Adoptees and Foster Children:

25 Great Scholarships for Adopted Students

Scholarships for Adopted and Foster Children

Top Scholarships For Adopted Children

Scholarship Finders:

CollegeData

CareerOneStop

College Board

Helpful Guides:

How to Cover College Expenses For Your Child Adopted From Foster Care

How and When to Start a College Fund For Your Child

 

 

 

4 Crafty Activities To Show the Love to Your Adoptee

Winter time can be dreary. The dark days and low temperatures make it hard to recall what a warm, sunny day even feels like. Thankfully, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! As February ends, we can expect March to offer us at least a small taste of spring. While you wait for the official arrival of spring and playing-outside-weather, try passing the time with some good old fashioned arts and crafts!  These four spring themed crafts are a great way to show your adoptee just how much you love them.

  1. Plastic Spoon Flowers

Nothing says spring like flowers! As spring symbolizes growth and new beginnings, so does the adoption process! Use this craft as a fun way to discuss growth and blooming.

What you will need:

  • 3 colorful plastic spoons
  • Green tape
  • 1 green pipe cleaner
  • 1 yellow pipe cleaner
  • 1 clear cup
  • Brown paper
  • Hot glue gun

Click here for the full set of instructions!

  1. Handprint Sun

What’s spring without the sun? If anything, the long winter has reminded us all of how grateful we are to have the sun in our lives. Use this fun craft to remind your adoptee how incredible your life is with them in it!

What you will need:

  • 1 yellow paper plate
  • Yellow construction paper
  • Black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A pen or pencil
  • For extra fun, use some pattered yellow paper too

Click here for the instruction!

  1. Family Tree

While family trees are important to any family, they can be an especially powerful and meaningful tool for a family which has been touched by adoption. Use this craft to celebrate the branches of family, as well as the trees which are sure to begin sprouting new leaves any day now! This can be a great opportunity to begin or continue discussing your child’s family history, on both the biological and adoptive sides.

What you will need:

  • Green construction paper (try a few different shades for more fun!)
  • Brown construction paper
  • Glue
  • Pen/Pencil/Marker
  • Pictures if you want to add them to the tree

Here are the full instructions!

  1. Heart Sun Catchers

What better way is there to say I love you than with hearts? As the sun starts to make more frequent appearances, you will want to savor as much of it as you can! Just like the sun, adoption has brought new light into your home. Try this fun sun catcher craft as a way to remind your adoptee of the love that they bring into your home every single day.

What you will need:

  • Pink tissue paper
  • Red tissue paper
  • White tissue paper
  • Pink or red construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape (Scotch or masking)

Click here for the full instructions!

 

Be sure to check out  Adoptions From The Heart on Pinterest for more fun crafts, quotes, and adoption info!

Why Open Adoption is Beneficial to Adoptees

Why Open Adoption is Beneficial to Adoptees

The definition of open adoption, according the dictionary, is “a form of adoption in which the biological parents participate in the process of placing the child with an adoptive family and may continue to have contact thereafter.” With most adoptions in the past being closed (no contact), there have been studies conducted on open vs. closed adoptions. What are the benefits? Why should a birth mother consider this option? When looking at adoptees and discovering themselves, open adoption has many benefits. Below is a list:

It will give your child a sense of identity

With closed adoptions, adoptees and adoptive families have no contact with the birth parents. This often leaves adoptees with questions of identity. Open adoption opens that line communication wherein the adoptee can develop a sense of self. Knowing who you look like and why you may possess certain qualities will deepen their understanding.

It will give your child more understanding of their medical background

It’s no secret that adoptees may develop the same allergies, ailments, and predispositions as their birth parents. Knowing this background before is helpful for the adoptee – when an unexpected condition arises that may be genetic, they can examine the birth parents’ medical history. Open adoption can open those medical records as a valuable tool for understanding.

It will give your child understanding of the adoption placement

Adoptees oftentimes struggle with understanding why they were placed for adoption. In addition to blaming themselves for their placement, adoptees also create make-believe worlds about their birth parents, Open adoption eliminates this possibility – they will have the truth.

It will eliminate the “finding out” they are adopted

Adoptees who are a part of a closed adoption often are not told they are adopted until later in life. This presents possibilities of trauma and emotional disarray. It is more common in open adoptions that children know they are adopted because it is never abruptly brought to their attention. It becomes a part of their story.

It will give your child a connection with birth siblings and family

Open adoption opens the door to birth parents’ children, parents, siblings, etc. As an adoptee, they will be able to form a relationship with these family members (if they would like). This will make them feel connected.

If you are contemplating open vs. closed adoption, consider the pros and cons of both. Open adoption provides many benefits for the adoptee. However, in the end, adoption is another way to build a beautiful family and it is your choice!

 

Sources:

https://adoption.com/7-reasons-open-adoption-is-beneficial-to-adoptees

www.dictionary.com

 

New Year, New Language

In the new year, we all strive to make resolutions in hopes to transform our outlooks on life. We may want to exercise more to become stronger or reach out more frequently to friends and loved ones. Awareness is one of the most popular resolutions with which we want to utilize to our advantage, whether it be cultural, political, or social. With 1 in 25 American households with children have at least one adopted child, adoption is a topic of which so many want to become more aware. What many of us do not know is that the common language and phrasing associated with adoption is not only insensitive to all involved parties, but it also conveys the long-rooted ignorance towards the subject.

  1. “Real” or “biological” vs. “birth” parent

Individuals who have not yet experienced adoption often misconceive that birth parents are lazy and do not want to raise their children. This cannot be further from the truth. Everyone’s familial situation is unique, and we cannot judge books by their covers. Just became a child does not share the same genetics as his or her parents does not make him or her any less of that parents’ child.

  1. “Give up” vs. “place”

The phrase “give up” is one of the most commonly misused phrases when discussing adoption. A birth parent does not simply give up his or her child out of convenience; the adoption process takes up to several months of careful thought and planning. The birth parents also have much more of a say when selecting the family with whom they want to place their children.

  1. “Adoptive” parent vs. “parent”

Each family’s dynamic is different and special in its own way, whether built through adoption or biologically. The phrase “adoptive parent” not only invalidates the parent’s status; it additionally isolates that person in terms of his or her ability to raise a child. A parent is a parent, regardless of how he or she built a family.

Sibling Bond: Welcoming the Adoptee

One of parents’ biggest fears involved in adopting a child is the unknown relationship your other children will share with the newest member of the family. Through that concern, it’s important to remember that new relationships always have an adjustment period and it’s no different with children. Adoptive siblings are no different than biological siblings in the sense that they won’t always get along. Ultimately, they are siblings and that bond will be formed no matter how it happened. Here are a few ways that you can help siblings bond with their new adoptive sibling.


Be Open And Honest

Before the change begins, have a discussion with your children about changes in their life. Just like you would if you were pregnant, let them know that there is a sibling joining the crew that is eager to meet them. It’s important to be transparent about all forms of adoption, especially bi-racial adoption. Children are very inquisitive individuals and they’re going to notice changes. Have the talk, be open to any and all questions your children may already have. Preparing them for a sibling through adoption will profit the outcome.

Play Your Role As The Mediator

Every person involved in the growing family is going to have their own complex set of emotions through the process, especially the children. As adults, it’s crucial to be all ears for your children on any questions or concerns they have. All feelings need to be taken into consideration for a smooth transition to take place in your home. Children may surprise you with how vocal and honest they can be about their concerns . Conflict is easily avoided with an appropriate amount of listening and learning.

Enforce One On One Sibling Time Together

I know what you’re probably thinking… this is a given. All children need to spend time together in order to get to know each other, but the key is knowing what they both enjoy and can do together. Finding common ground and interests with others at any age is the first step to forming a connection and will certainly assist in the bonding process of new siblings. Whether the bonding is presented with direct contact or within the same vicinity, the experience of the time together will help. Your children being happy and comfortable together will always end in acceptance and relationships.


Sibling bonding will happen in all sorts of ways, all very different. With that being said, every experience will be unique to the child and their needs will be too. Don’t overthink the situation, every child loves siblings and a forever friend to play with. Keep the process light, loving, fun and embrace every minute of adoption!

Searching for my Heritage

In my previous blog I mentioned not knowing anything about my birth family.  Not having much information about them has left me with questions, specifically about my genetic heritage. It’s something my parents and I have been curious about for the past 28 years.  Yes, we have our guesses and yes, I know I’m Mexican and American, but I would love to know where my ancestors are from.  Today websites like 23andMe and Ancestry.com advertise genetic testing that will give you an idea of your genetic makeup.  I am curious about these sites but still feel conflicted as to whether I will utilize them.

Several years ago, before genetic testing was popular, I heard a report that research and testing was being done to see if it was possible to pinpoint where people were from based on their DNA. I was absolutely fascinated! I could finally have the answers I wanted. The only problem was that it was just a study. I talked to my parents about it, and we thought it would be cool to find out where I was from. So, we started asking doctors to see if they had any suggestions or recommendations on how to proceed. That didn’t get me very far. I was told time after time that they didn’t know or that it was a very expensive thing to do. Money wasn’t the problem, my parents told me that if I wanted to go ahead with the testing, we would figure out a way to make it happen.

Finding out my heritage and genetic make-up is something I will always be searching for. It’s been a little over 10 years since I heard about genetic testing and I don’t feel like I’m any closer to finding out where I’m from. I plan on waiting until I can find a genetic test that I’m 100% confident will protect my identity. I just want to be able to share my heritage with my family.

By no means am I discouraging anyone else from using these sites or other methods of finding out your genetic information. Just be aware of the fine print and make sure you are ready for anything.

 

We Might Not Look Alike, But We Look Like We Belong Together

Backstory:

My mom met my dad while he was finishing up his doctorate and my mom was working for the Health Department in Pittsburgh. They dated for a while, got married and moved to Mexico after my dad received his Doctorate. I should mention that my dad was born and raised in Mexico and my mom is from the USA. They moved to Mexico because my dad received a scholarship from the Government and to pay it back he had to return to Mexico and work at a state school.

My parents always wanted to have kids, but there was one thing that was holding them back from kids of their own. My adoptive mom is a carrier of a rare genetic disorder that can be passed on to biological children. She decided that she didn’t want to take the risk of passing it on to her children. That’s when the idea of adoption came into the picture. They started their adoption journey a few years later.

 

My Adoption:

I was born in a hospital in Puebla, Mexico. I would love to give more details but I don’t know that information. To be honest I have little to no information about my first days. All anyone knew was my birthday and blood type. From the hospital, I went to an orphanage where my primary care takers were nuns. I was there for two weeks before I was matched with my parents. While the paper work got started, my parents came to visit me every day during feeding times. After 6 weeks of daily visits my parents got a surprise call saying that they had received custody of me and they were finally able to take me home! The next part I don’t remember at all but to this day I still hear about it.

My parents were not prepared for my arrival. They didn’t buy much baby stuff because they didn’t want to jinx it. The day they got the call to bring me home they scrambled to get the necessities and call the family to let them know the wonderful news. My aunts and uncles came to visit as soon as they could. After they got off the phone with my parents, my aunts pulled my cousins out of school, went shopping and headed right over meet me.

My adoption was finalized several months later.

My Life:

My parents never kept my adoption a secret. I was about 3 when I first asked my mom about it. One of my mom’s good friends was pregnant at the time and I turned to my mom and asked, “I came from your belly too, right mommy?” That is where our conversations about my adoption started. They always said “We might not look alike, but we look like we belong together!” and answered every question I had as honestly as they could, but they also didn’t have much information.

To this day if I ask my mom why she thinks I was placed for adoption, she will say “I have a feeling your birth mom was too young and couldn’t provide the life she wanted for you. But I do know she loved you very much”. I’ll probably never know the real reason why, but with the answers from my parents I have all the answers I’ll ever need.