Category Archives: adoptive parents

Bonding With Your Newly Adopted Infant

Baby Bond (1)

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:

baby blog

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.



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.





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.


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.



Guiding You Through the Home Study Process











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?


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?


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.


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.


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. 


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


Easy-To-Do Fundraisers to Help With Adoption Costs

If you are like any of the thousands of families considering adoption, you may have one of the same overwhelming fears – the costs. Let it be known – you are not alone in this thought process. It can seem daunting. So, what is the next step? How can you help mitigate that fear? Here is a list of some easy-to-do fundraisers that can help you lessen the costs, and calm those nerves.

Online Fundraiser – Crowdfunding (GoFundMe)


This is a hugely popular option. With so many people scrolling through their social media feeds in a day, it would be hard to pass by a personal fundraiser through GoFundMe. The key is – share as much as you can! Get the word out there on all social media platforms. Let your story be heard. Friends, family, and coworkers alike will donate. And this is a wonderful way to spread awareness about the unknown costs associated with adoption.

Host a Meal

Dinner Party

Who doesn’t love to eat a delicious meal? Host a spaghetti dinner, a pancake breakfast, or even a breakfast for dinner. Invite your family, friends and co-workers and enjoy a night of good food and good company. Charge a few dollars for attendees, and leave a donation jar on the counter for those who want to donate a little bit more. Every little bit counts!

Kickball or Dodgeball Tournament

Dodgeball tournament.jpg

Want to get more active with your fundraiser? You’re in luck! There are a lot of ways to do so. If it’s cold out, find a local gym and utilize their basketball court for a night of dodgeball. Have people form teams, and sign up for a fee. Everyone loves some healthy competition. If it’s on the warmer side, head outside for a game of kickball. Find a baseball field, and you are set. Have local groups come out form a team for a fee. Like the dodgeball tournament, this is a fabulous way to get the community involved.

Karaoke Night


For all you singers out there, this is a spectacular way to steal the show. Host a karaoke night at a local bar, or even in the comfort of your own home. Charge people individual or couple fees (for all those who love duets). Leave a little donation jar at the stage with a write-up of your story. Have fun singing your hearts out while raising funds for your adoption journey!


Affording adoption can seem difficult, but with these few fundraising ideas, you are on the way to helping your costs! Of course, there are other ideas to consider (whatever fits your lifestyle most!). Visit to navigate 101 Adoption Fundraiser Ideas. There will surely be one that suits you.

Adoptive Families and the Holidays

The holidays are a stressful time of year, especially with the busy schedules, financial stress, and all-around holiday chaos. As charming and wonderful as the holidays are, they bring upon these feelings of anxiety. However, holidays are also the time of tradition– incorporating the oldest family rituals into each holiday festivity. This is what makes it so unique. With the addition of your adoptive child, it is paramount to involve them in these traditions from their infant stages. As malleable as babies are, they are constantly learning and growing from their environment and family interaction. Make them feel a part of something wonderful.

Holiday Cover Photo

Start the Traditions Young

Being involved from the beginning is crucial. As a baby, they are experiencing the world through emotion and physical interaction. As children, they will thrive on family rituals and routines that add extra meaning and emotion to the holiday season. By starting early, you are ensuring that he/she is a part of something special. Whether it’s making custom-made ornaments every year, preparing the holiday meal, or baking a batch of their favorite holiday cookies, children will find joy in these festive activities.


Let Them Play a Role

Adoptive children can sometimes feel a sense of estrangement, especially around the holidays. Add a unique touch to your holiday traditions. If their birth culture is different from yours, incorporate new dimensions into your celebration. You may also choose to add a ritual in recognition of his/her birth parents. By incorporating this part of their life into your new traditions, it will give them a better sense of identity.


Make it Personal

Make them a photo album, or a memory book of their adoption journey. Tell them their adoption story repeatedly to verbalize the unique way they became a part of the family. It also might be nice to schedule a meal with their birth parents – schedule a date at their favorite restaurant. It is good to nurture this relationship with your adoptive child and their birth parents this time of year, especially if you were involved in an open adoption. It adds an element to them understanding their identity.


The holidays are a fabulous time of year – food, family, and friends. With your recent adoption, make them feel wanted and special in this new family tree. Add them into traditions, make them feel a part of a close-knit unit, and tell them stories of their journey. As fabulous as they can be, holidays can also add some stress and anxiety to adoptive families. By incorporating these little, but meaningful gestures, the holiday season will be something to look forward to all year long for you and your child.


Happy Holidays!



Two Very Different Adoption Journeys

As an adoptive mother, I know that one of the most exciting moment of my life was when we got “the call” as a waiting prospective adoptive family. Much of the conversation with our social worker is now a blur except I definitely know “holy sh$t” slipped out repeatedly from shock that it was actually happening. This was not a drill, it was happening and we had 18 hours before we had to be at the hospital. In a daze and flurry of excitement, my husband and I rushed around preparing for our early morning departure. It was about midnight that evening when another type of feeling emerged. It was a heavy weight when the chaos in my mind began to settle. The reality was in that exact moment at a hospital in another state, a women rested after labor with her newborn in her arms as she contemplated the biggest decision of her life. It was a deep reminder that there are two very different experience to this journey. A reminder that changed my mindset and served me well over the next few days and honestly would for years to come.

Our journeys may have begun with a similar level of devastation. Ours was when we discovered our diagnosis of infertility. Her devastation, we later found out, hit when she saw the two lines appear on the pregnancy test when she was already 4 months along. After we both asked ourselves “what now?” our experiences which eventually brought us together would take two very different paths.

As we began explore our options and settling on adoption, our excitement began to grow. For us, beginning the adoption process the real question about becoming parents was now a “when” and no longer an “if”. Don’t get me wrong, the process was intense. The paperwork was pretty daunting at times. Then you add on the education classes, creating a profile, meeting with social workers, having a homestudy and eventually filling out a profile key…it was beyond overwhelming. But truth be told, we were seeing a light at the end of our tunnel. We know we would soon be in the books and awaiting “the call.”

One state away, the was an expecting mother was making appointments at her local clinic, buying baggy clothes so she wouldn’t have to tell her family her secret, and talking with her close friend who faced a pregnancy scare a while back. One day, she built up the courage to call Adoptions From The Heart and while she made it clear to the counselor she was just gathering information, she couldn’t help but realize in the deepest place in her heart that adoption was the path she would choose. When it came out to her family that she was not only pregnant but considering adoption, the opposition began to pile on. “You made your bed lay in it!” “I will not have my first grandchild given away.” “If you choose adoption, you will have to leave our house.” And even though her friend was being supportive in many ways, when she said “I could never do that, I’d love my baby too much” it became clear that if she decided on adoption, she would not have much support.

As we progressed through the process on our end charging to get “into the books” as fast as we could, we felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was getting closer. But for the woman who we would later know as our child’s mother, each step she took forward in the process had very different emotions. Even though she was sure about adoption, it was overwhelming and she felt as though a countdown had begun. Only two months left for her to feel her little one in her belly. Only one more childbirth class. Only 2 days in the hospital with her little one before saying goodbye. Even though she was sure of her decision, it felt overwhelming. As we began to prepare for one of the most joyous events in our life, she braced herself for one of her hardest.


The Pain that Comes While Waiting During the Holiday Season


The holidays are upon us. In the past I have loved every moment of the family focused season from decorating the house to tons of gatherings with family and friends. This year it feels a bit different. I’m still excited for most things but as this is the first year that we will be experiencing the holidays as a waiting adoptive family, I’m already feeling an aching of sorts in my heart.

My husband and I experience things differently and so he isn’t worried about how to survive the holidays this year like I am. And that’s ok. I feel guilty many times when I confront this deep feeling inside. It’s the holidays, I should be happy. Someday I will get to experience them as a Mom. But honestly those thoughts don’t stop my feelings of sadness or anxiety. We have been waiting in the books for close to a year and while I know people who have been waiting much longer and also those who got picked just a few months after going in the books, it’s very personal for me. I experienced a similar feeling this past summer when I attended a dear friend’s baby shower. They were so excited and she was glowing and while I was I was absolutely thrilled for her and her husband, I was so sad for myself.

That’s when it really hit me that for many, there is a duality in most big events. For those who have lost family members, the holidays can be extremely hard. For women who have chosen adoption, Mother’s Day as well as many other holidays can be really rough. It’s not that there must be only one or the other. Both happiness and sadness can live in the same moment.

So, I made my very own survival guide for this year:

Counting my blessings in a unique way

I have come up with a list of things that I can do easily this holiday season that would be harder to do if I had a little one. For example, I can join my other crazy friends who will be waiting outside Best Buy at 3am this year to snag that really awesome gift I’m going to surprising my husband with. Another thing on my list is all the traveling we do for a few days right before and after Christmas. While driving from my in-laws house to my parents, we take a 2 hour detour to hit up a town saturated with antique shops. I’m not sure I’ll want to be on the road as much once we have a little one joining our road trips. It may seem silly to some but celebrating these little things as if they could be my last have eased some of my anxiety. I also add one thing I’m glad not to have to do yet – that darn Elf on the Shelf. I see parents posting bloopers about times they forgot to move the elf and the excuses they gave their children for it being in the same place. It’s something I’d like to do when I have a child who might have fun with the idea but for now I’m happy only have to remember to lock the door and shut off the lights before going to bed.

Knowing My Triggers & Being Honest about My Feelings

As the invites to special gatherings pour in, I’m choosing to be honest with myself about my triggers and what may or may not be good to commit too. I don’t want to bring anyone else down but I do want to protect myself in some ways. This year, I’m choosing to decline a friend’s invite for a party the weekend after Thanksgiving to welcome home their newborn son. I just know that it might be too hard for me this year as many of the strangers will be asking how I know my friend and if my husband and I have children as well. However, I have already made plans to stop by their house myself earlier in the week with food to greet their newest addition. The point is not to have a woe-is-me attitude but to identify things that might really be painful this year and navigate around them.

Find Support in Other Waiting Families

Throughout the adoption process, I have become close to a few other couples and singles who are pursing adoption. I reached out to them with a simple two-line email letting them know that I’m not sure if they are dreading the holidays in the same way I am but that I’d love to come together in support with anyone who is. I immediately got a response from two of them and the three of us have created a text thread so when we are feeling blah, we send each other a message.

The other day I got an email about an event our church was hosting for new families during the holidays. I texted my friends with a screen shot of the flyer followed by Bah Humbug. One of the women replied with humor reminding me that being Scrooge isn’t all bad as he often spent his nights swimming in a pool of gold. The other friend said that unlike the millionaire duck, her money would only fill a baby pool and so it’s a good thing she is only 5’2”. The joke continued for most of the day easing my original feelings of sadness and later that night we actually met at the YMCA to go for a “support swim.” Of course, I don’t feel down all the time. It just hits me sometimes but I’ve found humor is a great way to get the feelings out while also connecting with those who truly “get” it.

 Seeing the Future Joy of Celebrating the Holidays Together as a Family

Ultimately, I’m choosing to look into the future with excitement. There will be a Thanksgiving in the future when I’m holding a little one in my arms while trying to devour turkey and stuffing while it’s still warm. Someday I will have a third stocking added to our mantel on Christmas Eve. When I am finally a mother, I will love seeing my child play with their cousins at my parent’s house. I know there is so much in store for our future and when the time is right it will happen. Until then I have bundled up for the cold and have prepared as best I can for the highs and lows this year may bring.

My ultimate wish for all those having a tough time during the holidays – whether it’s a birthparent who is missing their child, someone who has lost a loved or family members who are estranged – is for peace, love, and laughter even if it’s when we are laughing at ourselves.