Category Archives: adoptive parents

What Expecting Parents Search For In Potential Adoptive Family Profiles

Adoption is a beautiful and rewarding experience for birth mothers and adoptive parents. Finding the most suitable family for the child can be an extensive process, but all expecting mothers want the same thing for their child – a loving and caring adoptive family. You, an adoptive parent, may be asking yourself, “How do expecting mothers choose which family?” Or, “How do they know they are picking the right family?” For potential adoptive parents, first impression is truly everything. Consider these key points in your profile to stand out from the rest!

 Charm

As mentioned before, first impression is everything. It’s not always easy to present yourself through a profile, therefore a balance between photos and words will assist in expressing who you are as an individual. Find words that are less cliché such as, “fun, outgoing, nice” and more expressive adjectives being “supportive, motivated, responsible”. Expecting parents want to see your authentic self and how others perceive you.

Stability

For couples hoping to adopt, embracing the strong relationship you have is a great point to highlight in your profile. Talk about the history of your life together, how you met, how long you’ve been together, how you spend your free time and how the decision of adopting became a reality. Expecting parents want to see that they are placing their child with trusted individuals who will maintain a stable lifestyle for the years to come. In this part of your profile, it is highly suggested to talk about what having a child would mean for your relationship as well.

Daily Life

With a new child in the picture, expecting mothers want to know about your everyday life and how their child will be incorporated into it. They’re eager to know how you, as the adoptive parent, will fulfill their child’s life. Photos are a great addition to this section of your profile, displaying the adventures and activities you partake in already.

Home and Parenting

What are your thoughts on parenting? What abilities and values do you plan on imprinting on their child to give them the best life possible? These are very important questions birth parents tend to ask. Ultimately, knowing their baby will be raised in a great neighborhood and loving home is what will make this process a lot easier on them in the end. Adding visuals and descriptions of the home and community results in an easier decision made.

 

The smallest details can make the largest impact on a birth parent when choosing the right family for their child. Every experience throughout the adoption process is unique and equally important to both parties, so finding that meaningful connection with each other through mutual desires for the child enhances your chances of being selected. Your profile should always be authentic and true to you, while also demonstrating why you would be the best fit to raise their child.

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Adopting as a Single Parent

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Adopting as a single parent wasn’t always widely accepted. Years ago, adoption agencies in some states might have even turned you away. However, over the last 20 years there has been a steady rise in the number of single-parent adoptions. According to a 2014 report done by the Children’s Bureau, 29 percent of children adopted through a public adoption agency were placed into single parent households. Women made up twenty-three percent of single parents who adopted while men made up three percent.

Given the current home environments, one-parents household are more common than they used to be. This could be due to many different circumstances, such as divorce and single mothers raising children on their own. With so many children living in single-parent households, adoption agencies have become more open minded about considering single men and women to be prospective adoptive parents. Research has also shown that adopted children raised in a single parent household do just as well as children raised in a two-parent household.

Being a parent is not easy and when you’re doing it alone it can be even more challenging. If you are a single parent looking to adopt, don’t be discouraged. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your adoption journey.

Stay Positive

As a single parent you will likely face some hurdles and even discouragement from family and friends who may be wondering why you would want to take on this responsibility alone. Try to be positive in situations like this and not let others bring you down when you are confident in your decision. Let them know that the desire to be a parent and grow your family is not a feeling exclusively felt by unmarried and married couples; single men and women share these same feelings too!

Build a Support System

Like any parent, you should always have a support system. There is a feeling of security knowing you have family or friends to lean on when you might need help or a break from parenting. As a single parent who will be working full time, you will need some help relieving yourself from your constant role as a parent. You should ask yourself who could help you pick up your child from school when you can’t, help you when your child is sick, and provide you with help at a moment’s notice. It takes a village as they say. If you’re ever in need of assistance when something unexpected comes up, it will be comforting to know that you have a support system in place. It will also put less pressure on yourself because you won’t be doing this alone.

Consider Your Job

As a single-parent, you want to make sure that your work schedule doesn’t get too overwhelming. For your current job and future career goals, make sure you are setting realistic expectations and balancing your work and family life. Ask yourself if your job is family friendly and willing to be flexible. It’s also good to consider the medical benefits they offer to see if they are sufficient enough to support you and your family.

Manage Your Finances

Raising a child is expensive and as a single-parent you need to be realistic about how you will financially manage supporting your family. According to a 2011 survey done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, single-parents with one child under 18 spend between $10,000 and $12,000 a year in child expenses.

Make sure you are thinking past the initial cost it will be to adopt a child and envision the cost you will be spending after the adoption is finalized. Ask yourself if you can live comfortably while still being able to afford child care, after school care, medical care, your child’s education, and/or extracurricular activities. As a single-parent you don’t have another person to fall back on in case of a job loss, which can cause stressful conditions. This is not to say you must be rich to raise a family, but you need to be practical.

Resources

Here is an organization that helps support single-parents who have adopted or are looking to adopt:

Single Parent Resource:

228 East 45th Street, 5th Floor

New York, NY  10017

Telephone: 212-951-7030

Fax: 212-951-7037

Email: rdackerman@sprcnyc.org

You should also reach out to your local adoption agency to find out what resources and support they offer for single parents.

Parenting is hard work but following these tips will help guide you through the challenges you may face along the way. Don’t be discouraged and remember that in the end it is all worth it to become a parent and experience one of life’s greatest joys!

Sources:

https://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/cb/afcarsreport22.pdf

https://www.cnpp.usda.gov/sites/default/files/expenditures_on_children_by_families/CRC2010.pdf

https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/single_parent.pdf

https://www.parents.com/parenting/adoption/facts/can-a-single-person-adopt/

https://www.angeladoptioninc.com/single-parent-adoption/

What You Need to Know When Adopting a Baby with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)

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It is not uncommon for a baby to be exposed to alcohol before birth. According to the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) over 40,000 babies are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) every year. Parents looking to adopt a child may or may not know if a baby or child was exposed to alcohol in utero, depending on whether or not adoption records of the birth mother documents this information.

As a prospective adoptive parent, knowing if your baby’s biological mother drank while she was pregnant can prepare you to take care of any developmental issues your baby may have. It’s best to educate yourself on FASD as much as you can to be able to care for your child’s needs. It’s important to not to let a baby being exposed to alcohol in the womb discourage you from giving him or her a loving home. Dr. Phil Fisher, a psychologist at the University of Oregon who studies adopted and foster children, said that some children who have had prenatal exposure to alcohol are resilient and do okay. You should also recognize that not all adopted children are bound to face challenges but if some do, you should take appropriate action to treat disorders like FASD. Here is a guide to what you need to know about FASD and how to help your adopted child through their problems.

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD)?

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) also known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD) is a condition a child develops when they are exposed to alcohol during their mother’s pregnancy. It causes a series of developmental and behavioral problems, all of which may vary between each child. The defects from FASD can’t be reversed and is a lifelong condition that needs to be treated much like a chronic disease.

What Causes FASD?

When a woman drinks during her pregnancy, the alcohol she consumes travels from the placenta straight to the fetus. A developing baby in their mother’s womb can’t break down alcohol the same way an adult’s liver can so the alcohol levels are much more concentrated. This high concentration of alcohol and a fetus’s inability to break it down stops the proper amount of nutrition and oxygen from reaching the baby’s critical organs. Drinking during the first few weeks of pregnancy can cause a baby to develop FASD and many studies show it is most harmful when babies are exposed to alcohol during the first three months of gestation but consuming alcohol at any time while pregnant can cause damage.

What are the Symptoms and Defects?

Symptoms: Symptoms for FASD may vary in severity from child to child. Some signs and symptoms your child has FASD can be a blend of physical or mental defects, developmental issues, and difficulty interacting and operating in day to day activities.

Physical Defects:

  • Abnormal facial features – A small head, small and wide-set eyes, extremely thin upper lip, and a short upturned nose.
  • Deformed joints, limbs, and fingers.
  • Vision and hearing issues.
  • Heart problems and problems with functioning kidneys.

Brain and Nervous System Defects:

  • Small brain size
  • Poor coordination
  • Memory problems
  • Delayed growth and learning development like speech and social skills.
  • Poor focus
  • Hyperactivity

Behavioral Problems:

  • Difficulty getting along with other people.
  • Lack of social skills.
  • Problems learning in school.

FAS Resources and Organizations

Here are three non-profit organizations who provide resources and support for families who need help treating a child with FASD:

  1. National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

The National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) is dedicated to educating and bringing awareness to FASD. Their vision is a world where children are born without being exposed to alcohol or drugs. Their site offers parents and caregivers with tools to treat FASD.

  1. FASDs – Center for Excellence

This Center for Excellence for FASD is a Federal initiative committed to preventing and treating this disorder in children and adults.

  1. Families Moving Forward Program

The Families Moving Forward (FMF) program is devoted to assisting children with FASD and their families.

What You Can Do as an Adoptive Parent

As an adoptive parent its best to go into the adoption process with an open mind and knowledge of the problems that may come up with your baby potentially having FASD in order to help them in whatever capacity they may need. It’s also important to remember that researching and gaining knowledge on the condition before adopting a child with FASD can only help you so much. Many people say that you don’t fully understand what it’s like until you’ve experienced parenting a child with this disorder.

If you are thinking about adopting a baby with FASD you must ask yourself some tough questions and think about whether or not you can handle what this child will need throughout his or her life. You will also have to be ready to ignore or filter out any criticisms towards you or your child. Don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s doctor, other health care professionals, or support groups to help you deal with the challenges you and your child may face. Working with a team can ensure the best outcome for giving your child the most healthy and happy life they can get.

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fetal-alcohol-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20352901

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fetal-alcohol-disorders/fetal-alcohol-disorders-common-in-adopted-foster-kids-idUSBRE98804I20130909

https://adoption.com/baby-with-fetal-alcohol-syndrome

https://www.nofas.org/

https://www.samhsa.gov/fetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorders-fasd-center

http://depts.washington.edu/fmffasd/

Five-Minute Activities to Bond with Your Adoptive Child

Five Minute Parent and Child Bonding Activities

As you are trying to strengthen the bond between you and your adoptive child, it is important to take time out of each day to plan little activities that, over time, can help solidify your relationship. These five-minute activities are a wonderful way to generate small talk, and possibly get closer to your child. As noted before, the process of bonding takes time. Try a variety of different activities, or get in a routine, whichever you and your child prefer.

 

Brushing Hair

After a long shower, this could be a fabulous way to spend time with your child. Who doesn’t love to have their hair brushed out? You can even engage in small talk while doing it. Plus, studies show that physical touch is crucial when creating a bond with your child.

Story Time

Every one loves story time right before bed as a child. Whether it’s a Disney classic, or Harry Potter, kids love to hear their parents’ voices while they read one of their favorite stories. In addition to building up that special bond, you are building up their vocabulary and other literacy skills in the process. That’s a win, win situation.

Sing Songs

Grab your hairbrush because it’s about to be a show stopping evening. Turn on some background music to sing to, or start your own melody, and you are set for your house’s headline performance. Whether it’s Old McDonald or Hakuna Matata, you cannot go wrong. Singing with your child not only creates lasting memories, but it allows you to channel all that energy into song.

Bed Time Routine

Everyone has their unique bedtime ritual – being tucked in, getting a cold class of water, saying a little prayer, receiving a hug. The list is endless. Start a nightly bedtime routine with your child. This helps create a schedule, and gives them something to look forward to before falling asleep.

Clapping Games and Rhymes

Remember Miss Mary Mack? Or Concentration? As an elementary school child, these games ruled the playground. Start one of these clapping games with your child. They’ll love getting to laugh, sing, and rhyme along with you. If you’re feeling creative, try to come up with one of your own. Most likely, it will be something your child remembers for the rest of their lives.

 

Building the bond between you and your adoptive child is important. By utilizing some quick, five-minute activities in your daily routine, you will strengthen your relationship while having fun. Kids love quirky, light-hearted things. Keep in mind – a little thing can go a long way.

Bonding With Your Newly Adopted Infant

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When you finally receive the call and it’s time for your baby to come home, a nonstop train of thoughts could be encompassing your mind. If creating a connection with your baby is something that you’re worried about, here are a few tips to help build that mother-baby bond.

Schedule daily face time:

Your baby wants to see your face and make eye contact. Try to schedule face-to-face time with them. This won’t just strengthen the bond, but it will also help develop the baby’s sensory skills.

While trying to make eye contact, keep in mind that babies are near-sighted, only able to see about eight to fifteen inches away from their face. Try to hold them close to your face and body, and they will soon associate you with feelings of safety and love.

Take advantage of feeding times:

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The process of feeding your baby happens every two hours or so, and it’s a really great time to bond. Hold them close to your body, around the breast area, because it’s no coincidence that they can see your face from right around there. Even while bottle feeding, it’s important to hold them close to your warm body and take advantage of eye contact.

 

 

Snuggle Time:

Lay on your back with them on your chest, skin-to-skin if possible. This snuggle time lets them relax to your heartbeat and smell, making it the perfect bonding exercise, and a great addition to any bedtime routine.

Conversation:

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Believe it or not, your baby is listening. Conversation is imperative for their language development. The sound of your soothing voice will comfort them and further their trust and your amazing bond.

 

 

 

Share:

It’s important that the baby shares a special bond with their parents. But it’s also important to help your baby socialize and trust other family members. Try not to keep them in your arms forever, make sure to let them connect with their new family as well.

Your baby is going to share a special bond with you as their caregiver. Just be the best parent possible and that connection will naturally form.

http://blog.lifetimeadoption.com/adoptivefamilies/bonding-with-baby-after-infant-adoption

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/adoptive-families/parenting-bonds/4-ways-to-bond-with-an-adopted-newborn

http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/healthy-start-bonding-your-adopted-baby

10 Tips for Blending Adoptees and Biological Children Through Adoption

Many parents use various methods to grow their families which include birth, surrogacy, IVF, IUI, and adoption. Sometimes parents use a mixture of these methods, especially using a combination of birth and adoption. Families with both adopted and biological children face a distinctive set of challenges and some parents may feel pressured to make sure their children all feel like they are being treated equally. It is important to keep in mind that it would be nearly impossible to treat all children equally BUT you must treat them all fairly and according to their needs.

If your family is planning to adopt a second child or more children, there are some things you should keep in mind to prepare both your adopted children and biological children for the process. Here are some tips for making sure all your children don’t get feelings of jealousy and all feel safe, loved, and accepted into your family and home.

  1. Gather as much information as you can about your adopted child’s history. Make sure to share as much of it as you can with your child or children already living in your home.

 

  1. Educate your children about adoption. If you have young children in your home it may be difficult for them to understand the adoption process but if you have older children, teach them about adoption and use the appropriate terminology. Make sure to use love language when explaining the process and encourage your child to do the same. Let your kids ask questions and understand they might be curious as to why their sibling’s birth mother decided to place them for adoption and share as many details as you can about this with them but emphasize the importance of keeping these family details private.

 

  1. Prepare the existing children in your home for the new sibling they are about to have. If they are having feelings of anxiety or insecurity about this new addition, assure them everything will work out and your love for them won’t change.

 

  1. Include your existing children in the process and make them feel like they are involved in this new change. You can do fun activities with your existing children to help welcome their new sibling like painting or drawing pictures or posters for their new siblings or going to the toy store to get them a small welcoming gift.

 

  1. Avoid favoritism and treat your children fairly. Some parents may not even notice that they may be giving special treatment to either their biological children or adopted children but be aware of your actions and make sure you are being consistent in the way that you are treating your kids.

 

  1. Confront ethnic differences if you are adopting transracially as well as physical differences. Explain these differences to your children and stress to them that diversity is beautiful. If you’re adopting a child of a different race, incorporate their cultural traditions into your family.

 

  1. Acknowledge birth order. If you’re adopting out of birth order of the children already present in your home, take into consideration that older or younger children may feel removed from their role within the family. Take their feelings about this change into consideration before deciding to adopt out of chronological birth order.

 

  1. Let your kids have a chance to get to know each other. Remember it’s okay for your kids to take it slow as this process takes time. Don’t make your kids feel like they must rush this transition.

 

  1. Incorporate regular family meetings to give everyone a chance to feel heard. It makes for a healthy and happy family when you keep the channels of communication open with everyone in your home and can make all the difference during a big transition like this. Make sure you are taking the time out to listen to your children individually.

 

  1. Talk to a social worker, family counselor, or adoption specialist if your family is having difficulties with this new transition. You don’t have to go through this alone and if your children especially are having a tough time adjusting and are acting out, it might be a promising idea to ask a professional for help.

 

If a new child is entering your family, be honest and fair with all your children. This will ensure a solid foundation for your blended family. When all is said and done, a positive attitude goes a long way and your responses as a parent should reassure all your children that they are all simply your children – whether adopted or biological. Celebrate your blended family and if you follow the tips above, you will be on your way to having a blend that happens genuinely.

 

Sources:

https://adoption-beyond.org/the-blended-family/

https://www.popsugar.com/moms/5-Tips-Blending-Two-Families-One-Home-27334568

https://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/top-ten-tips-for-blending-children-by-birth-and-adoption/

http://www.americanadoptions.com/adopt/raising_adopted_and_biological_children

Guiding You Through the Home Study Process

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For many expectant adoptive parents, the mention of a home study could be confusing and intimidating at first. If you are a prospective adoptive parent and are feeling anxious about the home study process, getting all of the information you need will ease your worries and ensure a smooth, well-prepared home study.

1.What is a home study?

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To start off, a home study is simply the process of making sure you can become an adoptive parent and live in a stable environment to raise a child. It requires a full criminal background check, a look at your finances, family background, and a review of your personal relationships. It is encouraged for prospective adoptive parents to start the home study process as soon as possible because it is the longest step that needs to be completed before connecting a family with a child or pregnant birth mother.

2. What is a home visit?

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During this process you will meet with a social worker and certified Home Study Provider who will visit your home to review and verify that is a safe environment to raise a child. Don’t worry, your house does not have to be perfect — simple cleanliness and safety are most important. You want to make sure you:

  • Store chemicals, cleaning supplies, and medicine out of reach
  • Cover electric outlets
  • Install gates and safety railings for stairways and fences around pools
  • Inspect window screens and locks on windows and doors
  • Check smoke and carbon detectors to make sure they’re fully functioning
  • Examine any tall and heavy furniture bolted to the wall\

3. How to prepare for your interview.

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Your social worker will meet with you or any member of your family who may be living in the same household as the adoptive child (family members exclude any young child who is not able to understand the adoption process) to conduct an interview. The interview will take place with each family member together and individually so that the social worker can learn more about your family history, personalities, goals for adoption, and knowledge on adoption.

Here is a list of sample interview that may come up during your home study interview:

  • Biographical/Family Background
    • How was your family as a child?
    • Share your best childhood memories.
    • Share your worst childhood memories.
    • Do you have any other children?
    • Are you married? If so, for how long?
    • How do you feel about child discipline?
    • Why have you decided to adopt?
    • What are your wishes for the future?
  • Community
    • How would you rate the safety of your community?
    • Describe the school system.
    • What school would your child attend?
    • What activities are available for your child?
  • Health
    • Do you have any health issues? If so, how are you handling them?
    • Will your family history cause you to potentially develop any health issues?
    • What is your plan in case of any health emergencies?
  • Criminal
    • Have you ever been arrested? If so, what were you arrested for?
    • Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Is so, what were you convicted for?
  • Finances
    • What is your annual income?
    • What is your educational background?
    • What is your profession?
    • Are you prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise?
    • Are you able to provide for what a child will need?

You should become familiar with these questions to better prepare yourself for the interview. During your interview remember to be honest, relax, and be yourself!

4. What you’ll need.

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Getting your appropriate documents in order will ensure a smooth home study and allow it to move quickly. Here is a checklist of the documents you will need:

  • Autobiographical statement
  • Parenting plan statement
  • Driver’s license(s)
  • Birth certificate(s) of everyone who lives in your home
  • Social security card
  • Marriage certificate if applicable
  • Divorce decree(s) if applicable
  • Military discharge(s) if applicable
  • Past adoption decree(s) if applicable
  • Green card(s) if applicable
  • Financial information
  • Latest income tax return and tax returns for the last 2-3 years
  • Verification of employment (most recent pay stub, letter from your employer, or a statement stating that you are not working)
  • Proof of insurance: (home, health, life, auto)
  • Medical statement(s) of health status for applicants and everyone living in the home
  • Immunization records
  • Passport(s) if adopting internationally
  • Pet vaccination records if applicable

5. Who to choose as a reference. 

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It will be important to prepare a list of references for your social worker to contact. You will want to make sure you ask your references beforehand if it is okay to use them as a reference. You should choose people who are close to you, know your personality, and who are supportive of your decision to adopt.

The home study process may seem overwhelming but keep in mind that it is a necessary step in the adoption process and is not as scary as it might seem! It may feel invasive but keep in mind it is just to ensure a child will be placed in a safe home with a loving family. Remember you are not alone! If you have any concerns along the way reach out to family, friends, other parents who have been through the adoption process, or your social worker for support along the way. Relax, be genuine and when all is said and done, it will all be worth it. Good luck!

“He who can reach a child’s heart can reach the world’s heart.” -Rudyard Kipling

Sources:

https://adoption.org/10-things-need-know-youre-preparing-home-study

 

https://binti.com/home-study/adoption-home-study-process/

 

https://binti.com/home-study/what-is-a-home-study/

 

https://binti.com/home-study/adoption-home-study-checklist/

 

https://consideringadoption.com/adopting/adoption-101/all-things-adoption-home-study-questions-tips-checklist

https://adoptionnetwork.com/a-complete-list-of-expected-adoption-home-study-questions