Category Archives: adoptive parents

Babywearing and Adoption

What is Babywearing?

Simply speaking, babywearing is the act of wearing your baby in some sort of carrier on your body. Babywearing has been around for centuries, and many traditional carriers from other cultures have been updated for current use today.

Why Should I Wear My Baby?

Babywearing has many practical and emotional benefits for babies. Babywearing keeps your baby close and is comforting for your baby. They are close enough to hear your heartbeat and cozy enough to fall right asleep. Skin-to-skin contact, easily facilitated through wearing your baby, has been proven to help babies stabilize their temperature and heartrate, and can help premature babies with weight gain. Babywearing also helps reduce symptoms of colic.

Babywearing Benefits for Adoptive Parents?

Babywearing can help an adoptive parent and child build a bond and attachment. Wearing your baby keeps them close to you and helps you learn their cues more quickly. Worn babies get to know their adoptive parents’ voices, smells, and heartbeats more closely and quickly. The closeness of babywearing causes the release of Oxytocin, the love hormone, in both parent and the child, which helps to build attachment.

One of the biggest benefits of babywearing is having free hands! Wearing your baby will give you the opportunity to prepare a bottle, do the dishes, or scroll through your phone with ease! For new parents struggling to juggle it all, learning to wear their babies can help the transition into parenthood feel much more manageable.

How Do I Get Started?

There are many different types of baby carriers that can be used for babywearing. The “perfect” carrier is like the “perfect” pair of jeans – the definition will be different for everyone. The most commonly used carriers include:

Stretchy Wrap: A stretchy wrap (like the Moby wrap or Solly wrap) is a long piece of stretchy fabric that is tied around the wearer’s body with a “pocket” for the baby. Stretchy wraps are great for newborns, as they allow a close carry that feels comfortable for the baby. Stretchy wraps have a bit of a learning curve, but after a few practice wraps are usually pretty easy to master. They are only safe for front carries, and usually most comfortable for babies 15 pounds and under.

-Moby Wrap

-Solly Wrap

-Baby K’Tan

Ring Slings: Ring slings are made up of a long piece of fabric secured to and strung through two rings. Ring slings are useful for newborns, older babies, and even toddlers! Depending on the fabric type, a ring sling can be used for a child up to 35 pounds. Ring slings allow for easy “ups” but are also comfortable for longer carries, especially with smaller children.

-Maya Wrap

-Sakura Bloom

-Beco

-Lillebaby

Soft-Structured/Buckle Carriers: Soft-structured or buckle carriers (like the Ergobaby) feature a padded waistband and shoulder straps and buckle at the waist and on the back. Soft-structured carriers can be worn on the front or the back, and some also allow for the child to face out. Soft-structured carriers are very easy to use, as they are similar to a backpack. Adjustable carriers allow for use from 7-pounds and up, while others require an additional insert for use with newborns.

-Baby Tula

-Lillebaby

-Ergobaby

-Beco

Safety Concerns – Remember the ABCs

Airway: Keep the baby’s airway open at all times by using upright positioning and keeping the chin off the chest

Body Positioning: the baby’s legs should be in an “M” shape, with the knees higher than the bum and fabric supporting them from knee-to-knee

Comfort: the carrier should be comfortable for the baby and the wearer

*Baby carriers undergo strict testing to ensure that they are safe for use with babies. It is recommended to only buy carriers from reputable brands that have undergone industry testing.

To Learn More

-Check out your local Babywearing group! Many areas have volunteer-run groups where you can get help with the carriers you own and try out new ones!

Natural Parenting Stores often have carriers to try and staff to help

Buy Buy Baby stores have sample carriers to try

Consignment stores and sales often have lightly used carriers available

Babywearing International: While the group is no longer active, their website (www.babywearinginternational.com) has great resources for learning more

Youtube: when all else fails, there are many tutorials for how to use different carriers!

Wrapping up 2018: Top 10 Love Builds Families Blog Posts

As we close out 2018 and begin a new year, we want to look back at the Top 10 Blog Posts our followers enjoyed last year.

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

#2 – Adoption Social Workers: What I See From Behind The Scenes

#3 – From Adoptee to Adoptions From The Heart Founder: Maxine Chalker

#4 – Which is Correct? Is Adopted or Was Adopted

#5 – Eric: My Story as a Birth Father

#6 – Open Adoption – Remembering It’s NOT Just About Me

#7 – The Top 8 Best Books For Adoptive Families

#8 – A Strong-Hearted Birth Mother: Brittany’s Story

#9 – Single Parent Adoption: Not An Opportunity to Be “Othered”

#10 – One of the Biggest Fears Faced By Birth Parents: Adoptive Parents Not Keeping Their Promises

Let us know in the comments if you have topics you’d like us to cover in 2019!

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.

One of the Biggest Fears Faced By Birth Parents: Adoptive Parents Not Keeping Their Promises

One of the biggest fears faced by birth parents in adoption is that adoptive parents will not keep their promises about future contact. Many birth parents have heard horror stories about adoptive parents who promised the world, only to cut off all contact after the placement. In adoption, we are asking birth parents to place their trust in an agency and social worker, perhaps based on reputation or recommendation. From there, we are asking them to place their trust in adoptive parents the agency has approved, who they may have only met once or twice. It is not a surprise that birth parents fear a lack of follow through. The only way to ease that fear is to build trust, and trust takes time and relationship to build.

So what can an adoptive family do to ease that fear and begin building trust?

Discuss your commitment to open adoption in your profile. Don’t make adoption or openness the “elephant in the room” of your profile.

Reiterate your commitment to openness in person when meeting the expectant parents. Don’t be afraid to bring up openness first in this meeting! You can ask the expectant parents what they are hoping for, and share your excitement and commitment again.

Solidify your commitment to openness with a symbol or gift. Prospective adoptive parents often want to give a gift to expectant parents when they meet before the birth or at the hospital, and this is a perfect time to continue showing your commitment to openness. A gift like a memory box, photo album, or scrapbook, with an explanation that you plan to send photos or scrapbook pages to fill it up, is a great start to this conversation.

Offer to sign a legally enforceable future contact agreement. If your state allows for legally enforceable future contact agreements, bring this up with the birth parents. Letting them know that you are willing to put your name to a legal agreement for openness may ease some of their fears.

Don’t make promises you may not be able to keep. It often happens that families get overwhelmed at the hospital and begin offering more openness than they are comfortable with. If you’re asked for something you’re not sure about, let the birth parents know that you want to think about it or talk about it with your partner or social worker before making a commitment. It is always better to say, “I’m not sure” than to say “yes” and then not follow through.

Don’t offer more contact during pregnancy if you don’t intend to continue that level of contact after placement. We understand the appeal – if the expectant mom has your cell phone number, she can just text you updates about doctor appointments instead of having to go through two social workers to get this information. We support you in having this level of openness, but only if you are comfortable continuing to text directly after the baby is born. If you would rather have some separation after the placement, you should keep the agency involved in your contact during pregnancy as well.

Set appropriate expectations. Along the same lines as above, if you intend to have direct contact with the birth parents, set expectations to ensure that everyone is on the same page and no one is disappointed. For example, if you share an email address, you may want to mention how often you’ll check it and how quickly you’ll be able to respond.

Send pictures and letters on time, and whenever possible, share more than the minimum. Think of your yearly updates as a chance to review your year for your child as well as the birth parents. Share all of those tiny moments that no one else will think are quite as exciting as you do – your child’s birth parents will likely revel in them right along with you.

Be creative in sending updates. Keep a running list of fun “firsts” and milestones to include in your yearly letter. Consider including your child’s artwork or schoolwork as well.

Involve your child in sending the update. Ask them to write a note or draw a picture for their birth parents to include.

Offer visits. Often birth parents are ready for a visit, but may be hesitant to ask to set one up. Include an offer of a visit, whenever the birth parents are ready, in each of your yearly letters. This lets birth parents know that the door remains open, but also that you haven’t forgotten.

Accept letters and gifts from the birth parents. Some birth parents love to respond to letters, or to send their own letters to the adoptive parents or the child. Others rarely send letters, but never miss a birthday. Always accept these letters and gifts, and either share them with your child now, or save them for a time when it will be more appropriate to share.

If you make a mistake, admit it and commit to do better. Open adoption is a different type of relationship and it will take time to adjust and get comfortable. It is likely that you and the birth parents will make mistakes and step on each other’s toes as you figure out how to do this delicate dance. Be okay with making mistakes, and quick to apologize and commit to doing better.

What to Do If My Partner & I Don’t Agree During the Adoption Process

The adoption process is often compared to riding a roller coaster with many ups and downs along the way. As you work through the adoption process, you and your partner might uncover some areas of disagreement. Do not panic. Just as disagreements are common in many aspects of relationships, the adoption process is not immune. It’s important to work through these differences while you go through each step along your adoption journey.

Talk with Others

“At first when I brought up the idea of adoption my husband was unsure that he would be able to love a child that came into our family through adoption the same way he would a biological child. Over time, by speaking to other men who became fathers through adoption his fears and worries subsided.” Karen S. an adoptive mother.

By speaking to others who have gone through or are going through the adoption process, it can help bridge the gap in some of the more common differences you and your partner might initially start out with in regards to the adoption process.

Talk with Your Social Worker

Anytime you have questions or concerns, it’s important to be open with your social worker. Talking to your social worker about the differences you and your partner are feeling is important and your social worker may be able to help bridge the gap.

 Times to Compromise and Times NOT To

Compromising is a key ingredient to any strong relationship and it will be important when you undergo the adoption journey together. However, there are times to compromise and times it’s best not to.

When disagreeing on which photos to include or what to write in the profile, working together and making comprises can go a long way. If adopting as a couple, it’s important that the profile reflects BOTH parents so that expecting parents can get to know each of you.

There are time when it’s best NOT to split the difference and meet in the middle. For example, while completing your profile key detailing the placement situations you are open to, you may uncover some differences. Maybe it’s about the level or type of prenatal drug or alcohol exposure, it could be about the level of openness, or possible the racial background of the child. Whatever you disagree about, it’s important to first make sure you are open to truly listening to the other person’s concerns. Now is not a time to dig in and shut down. Figuring out where your partner is coming from is important. This is a huge lifelong decision that should not be taken lightly. Doing research about the things you disagree about can be helpful and will give you factual information to then base your decisions from.

A general rule of thumb for couples when completing their profile key is to select the option in each section that matches the highest common denominator which both people agree on. For example, you may be open to 3 visits with birth parents a year and your partner is only comfortable promising 2 or your partner is open to alcohol use throughout the entire pregnancy, but you are only open up to the first trimester. The recommended selections for your profile key would be 2 visits and alcohol use in the first trimester that way it falls in each of your comfort zones.

You may miss out on some placement opportunities but the focus of the agency is to place a child in the home best suited for them and so being really honest with yourselves about the situation you are ready for is vital. Social workers would not want to place a child in a home where a family quickly says yes to the situation presented without truly thinking it through thoroughly and later find they are both not fully comfortable with the placement.

Different Responses to the Wait Time

The waiting can be one of the hardest part of the adoption process and each prospective adoptive parent handles it differently. Some people want to nest and get ready for baby by buying a few items each month during the wait while others do not want to have that buildup for something there is no set time frame for. Some waiting families want to know about every situation they did and didn’t match for each month while others find having that information makes the wait harder.

Keep in mind, you and your partner may experience the wait differently. You may find that you need to soak up as much time as possible with other waiting families so attending the support groups, education classes, and online communities are a great way to do that. Your partner, on the other hand, may prefer to let the waiting just be while they throw themselves into work until the time comes when you are matched. Your partner may be triggered by things like family celebrations or birth announcements while you become excited thinking that one day that will be you too. Whatever way you manage the wait, keep your lines of communication open with your partner as well as your social worker. Empathy and understanding go a long way.

Just the Beginning….    

The adoption journey is just the beginning of a whole new type of disagreements and compromises that come with being a parent. You will find what works best for you as a couple and for your child and how you navigate those differences as a parent.

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!

Pennsylvania Revocation Period

Adoption laws vary greatly from state to state. It’s best to learn your state’s specific adoption laws. If you end up getting matched with a child outside of your state, you should familiarize yourself with the adoption laws of that state as well. One aspect of adoption law that varies the most is the revocation period. This is how much time a state gives a birth mother or birth father to change their mind after signing consents for adoption. For the purposes of this blog, we are only going to discuss Pennsylvania’s Revocation Period. Down below you’ll find out who can sign consents, when consents can be signed, and what happens after the revocation period.

 

Who Can Sign Consents?

The birth mother and birth father of the child are required to sign consents. It is also possible for the birth father’s right to be involuntarily terminated without his consent. This depends on if he does not live with the child and is not married to the child’s mother. His rights can also be involuntarily terminated if the birth father has not made any effort to contact or provide financial support for 4 months. This is also called the Abandonment Period.

When does this happen?

A birth father can sign his consents before or immediately after birth. However, the birth mother is required to wait 72 hours after birth before signing.

The Revocation Period

Pennsylvania is among the few states that give birth parents 30 days to revoke their consent. Birth parents are given additional time if they have a claim of fraud or duress. The revocation period also cannot be waived in Pennsylvania. Birth parents’ consent is revocable if the court finds any fraud or duress. A petition must be filed within 60 days of the birth or the execution of consents (whichever is later). Or a petition must be filed 30 days after entering an adoption decree (whichever is earlier).

The Court Hearing

A court hearing will be held for the termination of parental rights. Birth parents are not required to attend, but they are required to receive notice of this hearing. The notice is typically sent via mail 10 days prior to the hearing and can also be signed in person.