Category Archives: adoption

Adoptions From The Heart to Host 2nd Annual Zumbathon with Miss Pennsylvania, Kayla Repasky

#StrongHeartedWomen Will Make Their Way to the Greater York Center for Dance Education on Sunday, August 26th with Miss Pennsylvania, Kayla Repasky

Love Zumba? You’re in luck! Adoptions From The Heart will be hosting its 2nd Annual Find Her Footing Zumbathon on Sunday, August 26th from 1-3 pm at the Greater York Center for Dance Education. We are excited to utilize this space again and devote the two hours to Zumba work-out. With the help of six of Central Pennsylvania’s finest Zumba instructors, we will join together to raise funds for #StrongHeartedWomen.

Last year, we were fortunate to host Miss Pennsylvania, Katie Shreckengast, who was on her journey to Miss America with platform: “Building Beautiful Families Through Adoption.” As an adoptee herself, we were excited to welcome her and her family to the event.

This year, we are pleased to announce the Miss Pennsylvania 2018, Kayla Repasky will be attending our event to support! We are so happy to have Miss Pennsylvania at our event two years running. Kayla is utilizing the platform “Think First America,” a non-profit she founded. She has created various education programs to promote anti-bullying and to educate K-12 students on how to use technology responsibly in an effort to fight against cyber-bullying.

Kayla is a senior at the University of Alabama pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, ultimately hoping to become a Nurse Anesthetist. She is also an avid dancer, which is perfect for our Zumba dance-filled day.

Sponsoring our event again this year is Lancaster’s own In White LLC, a bridal and dress boutique in the heart of Lancaster County. Their charitable donation last year and this year have helped us achieve our fundraising goals. We are also excited to announce that we will be holding two kick-off fundraisers at Isaac’s in both Lancaster and Harrisburg on Thursday, August 2nd all day! 25% of proceeds will benefit AFTH’s Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund, which will ultimately kick off our Zumbathon.

For the whole month of July, the first thirty registrants will be entered in a drawing to win an 8 day/7 night timeshare ($89 booking fee). This is an amazing opportunity to support a great cause, and get a chance to win a free vacation! In addition to this contest, any person who makes a “No-Sweat” Donation of $30 or more will also be entered to win the timeshare.  Two great opportunities to win!

We hope to see you on August 26th breaking a sweat with us! If you can’t make it, consider donating. Any amount is truly appreciated! And remember to tag your social media posts as #StrongHeartedWomen to promote our event. See you there.

To register, follow this link: Zumbathon Registration

To make a No-Sweat Donation, follow this link: No-Sweat Donations


From Hesitation to Happiness: My Story as a Birth Father

Thank you to Jason for sharing his story.

When the decision came to go through the adoption process, it was so emotional and trying. After meeting with a family we had picked, I just knew it was the right one. The mother had ovarian cancer and couldn’t have her own children. They had one daughter through a medical procedure with her sister and husband, and another son that was adopted.

After the adoption was final, I exchanged phone numbers with the mother. Our numbers were the exact same area code, first three digits, and same last 4 digits, but just reverse order. I remember us saying…how crazy is that!? Since the area codes were the same, it strikes another conversation about where we lived. By the description in the adoption agency files, they lived about an hour from me. I wanted someone close so I could actually be in my son’s life. I was already a single father with 50/50 custody to my 11 year old daughter from my first marriage, and my son was born on the same day 11yrs later!

Another unbelievable event. It turns out the more we communicated, the crazier it got….in a good way! The adoptive mother and I attended the same high school. She was a few years older, so we didn’t know each other. After meeting for dinner one night, she asked me if I went to a certain church for preschool when I was a kid. I attended the church she asked me about. Here, her mom was my preschool teacher! The next meeting her mom came along with a class picture! It was unreal.

Although they were living an hour away, they were looking for a new home since her husband got a new job in the area. They ended up moving 10 mins away from me and it’s absolutely wonderful.

We text all the time and get together often. I’m invited to birthday parties, family get togethers, dinners, or even just a visit and campfire. It really couldn’t be any better, other than me being able to parent him myself of course! My daughter knows of him and is involved every time I see him. They have a special bond for sure. As soon as he sees my daughter, he goes running to her.

It’s so heartwarming how it all turned out. We couldn’t have found a more kind and loving family!”

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


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.



Eric: My Story as a Birth Father

AA ISTOCK - CLIP 9XXXLargeSometimes you never know where life is going to take you. Six years ago, I had no idea that my life was changing in ways I never imagined. When Brittany and I first got together we had no intentions or even fathomed the idea of bringing a child into the world, we were just friends at that time. Eventually, we became closer and soon after we discovered Brittany was pregnant. With me being legally married, the situation got even more complicated. At the time, Brittany nor I knew if I was going to have a change of heart and try to salvage my marriage or not. Regardless, I was willing to go full steam ahead into being a new father again. I had no intentions of abandonment, no matter what my personal situation was. Brittany was not quite as enthusiastic as I was at that time.

Brittany and I were in a very tight situation. The timing couldn’t have been any worse. We were living with a friend because we had both become displaced and being displaced and pregnant wasn’t a good thing. Secondly, we had no steady income to support a child, we could barely support ourselves. So, how were we going to support a child?

As things unfolded, Brittany brought up the idea of adoption and I was totally against it in the beginning. I already have four sons, three from my marriage and one prior to my marriage. I will be the first to admit, I love being a dad. I was in disagreement and even angry about the idea of adoption. However as I was still legally married, I felt like it wasn’t my place or my right to tell Brittany what to do. To be honest, I had no decision-making power regarding what her decision was going to be. She made it very clear and added some valid points on why she came to the decision to choose adoption. We sat down and discussed it for a while. She made her argument and I made mine. The fact that she was making all the decisions didn’t sit well with me in the beginning.

Keep in mind, I am 12 years older than Brittany, so I didn’t have the greatest feeling about this. For a while, I felt like I was forced into choosing adoption. I was “quietly” upset with Brittany and kept that inside for a long time. Eventually, I understood why she came to the decision and I realized how selfless it was.

It was difficult to deal with and sometimes it still is. I take comfort in knowing that our son is well loved and taken care of by his adoptive parents. It’s not easy watching him grow up through photographs but I thank God all the time that I can see him grow.

No one really asks the dads that actually do care how they feel. It’s not easy sometimes and we can have our difficult days. Days of guilt, days of anger, days of feeling like a failure. I even feel sometimes like I cheated Brittany out of the joys of parenthood because of how the situation evolved. It’s not as easy for birth fathers as some people may assume. I hope that one day I will have all my sons in one place at one time in a big generational hug.

For the people who think birth fathers don’t hurt, shed a tear, or have feelings of remorse, we do! We have our sunny days and we have our rainy days, but we do love our children.


Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Open adoption has changed the platform for adoptees by giving them answers, both about their backgrounds and their birth parents’ background. As an adoptee grows older in age, questions begin to surface and adoptive parents’ primary job shifts to educate their child about their own adoption. The idea of open adoption is a beneficial experience for children to comprehend their adoption stories, while gaining the chance to meet the parents they originated from. Although the roles of a birth mother and adoptive parent look different, they are equally important.

Girl, Father, Portrait, Eyes, Outdoor, People, Cute

Open adoption is so special and should be celebrated

What adoptees want others to know is that they are grateful for the family they have been given – both adoptive and birth families. In the beginning, when gaining information about their adoption, it can be emotional. Adoption is another avenue of creating a forever family and a home. Juliana Whitney, author of What Growing Up In An Open Adoption Has Taught Me, discusses what open adoption means to her. “It is having the ability to ask your birth parents the questions that adoptees in closed adoptions rarely get answered. It means being able to develop a thorough understanding of how and why you wound up somewhere other than in a home with your biological parents. It’s been an unforgettable experience. (Whitney)”

Balls, Balloon, Balloons, Rubber, Plastic, Fly, Helium

All adoptees have their own personal feelings towards adoption

Whether these feelings begin with questions such as, “why didn’t my parents keep me?” or curiosity stems about their backgrounds, every child experiences their adoption story differently. As confusion and possible sadness begins to run through the veins of adoptees, the most important concept to remind them of is that there was a never a moment in time they were unwanted or unloved. Reassurance towards these fragile emotions help the process become easier and less overwhelming.

Daisy, Heart, Daisy Heart, Love, Heart Shaped, Romantic

I am adopted or I was adopted?

After the adoptee was given a new beginning, they want you to know they WERE adopted. That title is a part of them but it’s not how adoptees want to be recognized. They have and are creating a life of their own, while understanding the roots they came from. This helps them in defining their own identity.

I, Self-Esteem, Self Liberation, Self-Reflection

Final advice from adoptees

  • “Answer any questions that your adoptee has. The earlier you tell them about their adoption process, the more time they have to understand it and the more time you have as the parent to help them understand. (Whitney)”
  • If an adoptee wants further information about their birth family, don’t take it too personally. This process does not mean the adoptee doesn’t love the family they were given. It’s a route adoptees choose to take to help fill some blanks they could be experiencing emotionally.
  • Read about adoption. Not just blogs or books, but do research about adoption. Adopted children are at a higher risk for certain behaviors such as moodiness, stress and uncertainty. It’s important to become familiar with their emotions so an adoptive parent is prepared to take the steps to either prevent them from happening or help their adoptee identify and resolve the issue.

Board, School, Self Confidence, Continue, Discourage


Adoptions From The Heart’s 30th Annual Family Picnic

Adoptions From The Heart Celebrates Their 30th Annual Family Picnic

This Sunday, Adoptions From The Heart held their 30th Annual Family Picnic, celebrating families brought together by adoption. Despite the gloomy weather forecast, families still made their way out to Fort Washington State Park to eat delicious food, play games, listen to music, get their faces painted, make crafts, and bid on their favorite raffles. Pet Valu’s Ardmore and Flourtown Store came out with kids’ games, dog treats, and raffle prizes for the whole family. In total, we were able to raise close to $700 for the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund.


We welcomed back the Barker Brothers again this year (previously known as Under This Fire). They provided Picnic-goers with their indie-rock sound. We were also pleased to have Ryan Bonner Photography take over the family portraits once again. For food, we had wonderful donations from Herr’s Potato Chips, Wawa, One Potato Two Potato, J&J Snack Foods, Giant Food Stores and Ambler Pizza. Attendees had a wide variety of selection to complement their picnic lunch.


Our raffles were also a huge hit! From the Family Fun basket, to the Tour of Philly, raffle bidders swarmed the tables bidding on their favorite one. Some prizes included a free season at Soccer Shots, tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies, Sesame Place, Six Flags, and The Crayola Factory, various restaurant gift cards, two pet baskets from Pet Valu, and two timeshares to a choice of 160 locations!


A special thank you and shout-out to our fabulous sponsors this year. Without them, this event would truly not be possible: Cofsky & Ziedman, LLC (Gold Heart), Kling & Deibler, LLP (Gold Heart), Bob’s Red Trucks (Silver Heart), Petrelli, Previtera, & Schimmel Family Law (Friends & Supporters), Goldfish Swim School (Friends & Supporters), and Key Business Solutions (Friends & Supporters). Thank you again for your continued support of Adoptions From The Heart and the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund.


30 years of fun and family, and we are onto another picnic! Thank you to everyone for coming out, and we will see you next year!

Adoption Myths

Most people only understand adoption through media portrayal. Unfortunately, sometimes the media doesn’t portray adoption in the most accurate light, and can make some people feel discouraged about the process. Educating yourself on adoption can help not only you, but also the public, as you can stop common myths from spreading. Here are a few of the most common adoption myths, and the truth behind them.

Myth: Birth mothers are always teenagers

Age does not always determine whether a woman will choose adoption. There are many other reasons to decide to place, like finances or emotional reasons. Birth mothers may not be ready for children, or feel that they cannot provide and want a better life for their child. Some studies have shown that majority of birth mothers are in their twenties, and some even have other kids they’re parenting, but feel they cannot take on another.

Myth: Adoption takes many years

The amount of time it takes an adoption to be finalized depends on the family. But many agencies believe that families should expect one to two years. These types of things do not happen overnight, but being as open as you’re comfortable with can help you get matched quicker.

Myth: Open adoption is the same thing as co-parenting

Open adoption means there is a level of communication with the birth parents, not that you’re co-parenting. Open adoption can be a few pictures a year, or an email a week, it all depends on the family. Despite what people think, it does not confuse a child about who their parents are, but can help a child understand why they were adopted, and even gives them a connection to their cultural heritage. Birth parents and adoptive parents do not share custody, making co-parenting a myth.

Myth: Only those who can’t have children adopt

While adoption is a very viable option for couples who cannot have children of their own, there are many reason why people adopt. Some families are even a mix of biological and adopted children, automatically disproving that myth. Race, sexuality, disabled, or anything else does not matter, many people choose adoption for many reasons.


Myth: There are no newborns to adopt in America

This popular myth is very false. One study even shows that out of 70,000 US adoptions, 18,000 of them are American infants. If adopting an American baby is something you’re looking to do, don’t be discouraged by this myth, as there are many agencies to help you find the perfect one for you.

Myth: Single parents can’t adopt

Just about anyone can adopt, whether they are married or not. An impressive statistic is that about 28% of adoptions are completed by single men and women. Adopting is not based on marital status, but is often based on doing what is right for the child.

It’s important to make research the first step in any adventure, including adoption. Now that you know these common myths are false, you can begin to educate the public, and understand more about your personal adoption journey.