Category Archives: Birth Parents

Saying Things You Think Are Helpful, But Actually Hurt

worried-girl-413690_1920              Adoption can be a difficult road to navigate. For birth parents, this can be a rocky road with highs that we appreciate and lows that can reach the deepest valley. Some of us are lucky enough to have a support system that is set in place. Other birth parents either make their own support system or have learned better ways to cope with the grieving process. I am a birth mother that is 4 years post-placement. You never truly “move on”, but you can “move forward”. As I look back on my adoption journey, there were times I thought I was coping well. You know, when you miss your child, but it doesn’t paralyze you or depress you. You miss your child in a healthy way and want nothing but the best for them like any other parent would. Adoption is mentioned in a conversation and today you feel confident enough to mention you had an adoption placement. Then someone says this thinking they are being supportive, “You will have more kids later in life.”

            Before I continue, most comments I heard during my pregnancy & after my adoption placement were from people with good intentions. These comments were from close friends and family who thought I needed encouragement. When they said these things, I had to remind myself that they didn’t mean any harm, but it doesn’t stop these statements from being painful. I’m going to list some statements and explain why they hurt. I’m also going to give an expecting parent’s point of view with a comical twist. As time goes on, you learn to forgive people and laugh.

“Why are you upset, you’re doing a good thing?”

Response: “Gosh, let me stop moping around. All this good I’m doing is the prescription I needed.”

We are upset, because who truly wakes up and says “I’m going to give my child to a stranger today.” Trust me, no one in their right mind says that. We love our children so much that we trust the adoptive parents to provide a better life for our children. We are filled with joy to complete a family that once thought having a child was a distant dream. However, it doesn’t stop our mind, body, and soul from missing and loving our child.

“You know it’s going to be hard, right? You’ll end up regretting it.”

Response: “Really?! That never crossed my mind. I almost thought it was going to be easy. Thanks for the advice.”

A nurse said this to me during one of many third trimester check-ups. She knew about my adoption plan and worked with other expectant parents choosing adoption. I was truly shocked when she made this statement. I wasn’t shocked by what she said, but by who it was coming from. As expecting parents, some of us don’t have the best support system and that’s if we have one. My doctor was supportive and kind. He told me about support groups he thought would be great for me. He confirmed that the agency I chose was not only a credible agency, but a good agency in general to work with. For once I was feeling good about my decision. It is a shame that one comment made by the nurse could fill my mind with so much anxiety. She made me feel like I didn’t understand what I was planning to do. When in reality, I had already weighed my options and adoption was the best decision for my child to live a better life.

“You’re stronger than I am. I could never do that!”

Response: “I would have never guessed with the three kids standing behind you.”

This statement carries a powerful sting. For most birth parents, if our circumstances were different we wouldn’t do “that” either. Adoption isn’t for everyone the same way as abortion isn’t for everyone. When people say, “I could never do that” it makes you feel like you did the unthinkable. I spoke with other birth mothers who mentioned this made them feel sub-human and unworthy. We are worthy and very human, which is why it is painful to hear.

“So you don’t want your child?”

Response: (Blank stare)…..Really?!

Naturally as parents we want our children. We want to raise them, care for them, and provide for them. Even after adoption, birth parents feel the same way, but we understand that we can’t. Every birth parent comes with a unique story that leads to adoption for one reason or another. It doesn’t mean we are bad people. It does mean that we are selfless enough to think past our emotions to provide what our child needs, which is a good family.

When someone finds out you did an adoption and the room falls silent with uncomfortable stares.

In my head: Maybe they’re waiting for the punch line.

I think this is the worst reaction. As quiet as silence can be, it speaks volumes. Silence and stares can feel like a guilty brick being thrown in your direction. And let’s be honest, who wants to catch a brick. Most people who don’t say anything, typically don’t know what to say. It’s like the old saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all.” This is true, but people tend to ignore what was said and move on to the next topic, so they don’t feel uncomfortable. If anything, at least converse with the birth parent. Talking about our adoption is a form of therapy. It is us accepting our situation and being able to live with it.

Time Heals, People Change, and Forgiveness Allows Understanding

As cliché as it sounds, time does heal all wounds. Some days are harder than others, but you learn to cope with the hard days. The biggest piece of advice I ever heard was to allow myself grieve. On my sad days, I allow myself to cry, scream, yell, etc. Once upon time, I would bottle it up believing if I cried I was slipping backwards. In turn, when I did cry I was a neurotic mess that could barely get out of bed. We must grieve in order to live a healthy life. Allow yourself to feel the emotions you feel. It’s okay and it’s normal. We must learn to forgive ourselves in order to live a healthy & happy life. I even forgave the people who said these things to me. This too came with time. To anyone that has or had an adoption, life does get better. The situation you are in makes you stronger. After a while, comments like these will roll off your back and make you laugh. Joy and laughter are key components in the grieving process. Without them life is just bland no matter how you look at it.

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide for the Birth Parents in Your Life

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                The season of giving is officially upon us. While many adults devote their next few weeks to holiday shopping for their children, parents, siblings, aunts, and uncles, there are other individuals who deserve recognition. Many adoptive parents grow contemplative over the holidays,wondering what they can offer to their child’s birth parents. What gift can you give someone that can possibly convey how much you appreciate them and how thankful you are for the ultimate gift they’ve given you? Holiday shopping for birth parents can be difficult, but as we all know, sometimes the simplest gifts are the ones that matter most. Here are some ideas for heartfelt holiday presents for your child’s birth parents.


Symbolic Teddy Bear

                Teddy bears are often synonymous with young children. Why, you ask, are we recommending a teddy bear for an adult? Because it’s possible to create a bear that birth parents will not only love, but cherish forever. If your child is a toddler who no longer uses their baby blanket, it is the perfect time for this gift. Use your child’s blanket to create a teddy bear to give to their birth parents. Another possibility? Ask your hospital for your infant’s baby blanket prior to discharge. Use this infant blanket from the hospital to create a bear. Trust us, there won’t be a dry eye in the room when this gift is opened.

Handprint Calendar

Calendars are a useful tool for everyone. Create a calendar template on your computer for the upcoming year. Place paint on your child’s hand and decorate each month with their hand prints in a unique way. Create an American flag handprint for the month of July, a turkey handprint for November, or snowflake handprints for January. Bypass creating the template and purchase a handprint-ready calendar here.

Homemade Photo Magnets

Think again before you begin throwing out your bottle caps and drink lids. Save these items to make custom, homemade magnets with your child. Paint caps and lids before adding an adhesive magnetic strip to the back. Cut out photos of your child and glue them to the front of the caps. This unique present will be sure to warm some hearts. Visit a tutorial here.

Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets are a childhood favorite that even adults can appreciate. Buy some string from a local craft store and help your child make matching bracelets for themselves and their birth parents. This present is one that birth parents can take with them anywhere as a reminder of their child’s love.

Send a Hug

Sometimes, we aren’t able to be with our loved ones during the holidays. In this case, children have the opportunity to send “hugs.” This easy craft allows children to make hugs to send in the mail. This gift is perfect not only for the holidays, but also as a “just because” present as well. It’s never a bad idea to show someone how much you love them and wish you could be spending time with them. For a tutorial on this easy craft, click here.

Matching Holiday Ornaments

For many families, it is a tradition to let children pick out a new holiday ornament each year. When you take your child to pick out their new ornament, buy multiples of the same ornament and give the others to your child’s birth parents. This gift allows birth parents and children to have a special item that connects them each holiday season.


Holiday shopping for birth parents can be a difficult, but with these unique and heartfelt gifts, you can have fun while knowing you will make someone else so incredibly happy.  As Winnie the Pooh once said, “sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

 

Guest Post: It Was My Choice to Make and I Chose Adoption

Today’s post is from a guest blogger from PregnancyAdoptionOptions.com. When facing an unplanned pregnancy, she chose an adoption plan for her baby. She offers advice for other women facing unplanned pregnancies and shares some of the common questions she receives about adoption.

pregnant-1290403_1920Every adoption story is unique. There is not one right choice when facing an unplanned pregnancy. Adoption was the right path for me. Here are some of the most common questions I hear about adoption. I hope that my answers can help provide some comfort or relief as you make this difficult decision. Remember to be honest with yourself and don’t let anyone pressure you to parent or to place if that’s not really what you think it best. This is my story. It was my choice to make and I choose adoption.

How could you do that? I could never do that!

It’s often something that I hear when I tell people I was pregnant and choose adoption. Hearing those words brings back pain. Then I remind myself of the real question…How could I not? The truth is, making the decision to place my little girl for adoption was easy. It wasn’t painless and it wasn’t simple in any way but the decision itself to place her was easy. I looked at where I was in life and what I thought my daughter deserved and I knew I wasn’t in a place financially or emotionally to give her those things.

Why Open Adoption? Doesn’t That Hurt More?

Many people outside of open adoptions are quick to question the benefits that are proven by research. Our minds battle the facts. Many people worry that a child would be confused or that it would be more painful for a birthparent to get photos and letters. Yes, open adoption is hard and can be challenging to make the relationships work. However, not knowing how my daughter was or seeing her growing up would have been so much worse. I didn’t want to have any doubts that she was safe and loved and growing into the beautiful little girl I knew she would. When I get the package of photos I don’t hesitate to open it. I know I’ll be seeing her beautiful smile and bright eyes. The updates do also bring sadness. I miss her. I love her so much. But it doesn’t make me regret my decision. I’m so glad open adoption exists and that I found a family for my daughter who is committed to making it work. I get the chance to see her several times a year. They send me her artwork and videos of her running at the playground and dancing to her favorite tv show. I haven’t been cut out of her life. She knows who I am. And I don’t have to rely on her parents telling her how much I love her, though I know they do. I get to wrap my arms around her during our visits and tell her myself. Yes, in the future there will be those tough questions I’m sure she will ask. I will be just like any other tough questions a child will have. I’ll be my best to be open and honest with her. It gets easier over time. The pain doesn’t completely go away and some days are worse than others but in my heart I know I made the right decision and if I had to go back and do it all again I hope that I would have the strength to make the same choice.

What Does the Adoptive Family Call You?

During our very first visit just a few months after placement, they actually asked me what I wanted to be called. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to say. I hadn’t really thought of it much. They asked if I would be comfortable with something like Mommy or Momma Jess. I almost jumped out of my seat, yes, yes, yes! I was honored that they wanted to acknowledge me as her mom not just in conversations but in my title and I loved it. When we are together, they use my first name. And when they talk about me to my daughter they call me Momma Jess. When I’m talking about them and my daughter to other people I refer to myself as her birthmother. The term is not something to be ashamed of. I’m her birthmother. She has two mothers who play different roles but are both very much a part of her life and who she is and who she is becoming. They say it takes two, well in this case it took four. Four different parents who each have given her something different. I love to see glimpses of me in her. The way she sings, that stubborn look she give her mother when she doesn’t want to do something, the way she laughed from the deepest parts of her belly, the fact that she’s very much a daddy’s girl…all parts of me I see in her.

Shouldn’t the Agency Just Have Helped You Parent Instead?

People often talk about how agencies and the community should be more supporting to pregnant women by offering them financial assistance and services to help them parent. The truth is being ready to be a parent isn’t always a financial decision. For those who are parents out there, you know parenting is so much more than just financial. The agency I worked with was happy to help me find services such as WIC, Medicaid and Daycare Subsidies however that wouldn’t have solved the whole problem. The place I was at in my life wouldn’t have allowed me to give my daughter the life I wanted her to have. I would have been working two jobs to make ends meet and my daughter would have spent so much time in daycare. It wasn’t what I wanted for her. I wanted to find her a family that was the type of parents I would have hoped to be. Now my daughter has even more people who love her and will give up everything for her.

Why Advice Would You Give Other Women Facing an Unplanned Pregnancy

Often times, when people discover that I made an adoption plan for a child, they rush to me looking for advice about what they should do. The truth is…I don’t know. When you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, it’s scary and a lot of the time you feel alone. Each woman needs to look at her own situation (housing, financials, support, job, etc.) and dive into the really tough questions to decide what is best for her baby. It may be to parent or it may be to place. Not I nor anyone else can tell you what the best decision for you is, only you can make that choice.

Do You Ever Regret Your Decision?

No, I don’t. I do however look back and wish that I had been in a different situation at the time. I wish I had been more careful the night I got pregnant. Not that I regret getting pregnant because then I would have my sweet little angel in this world. But I do look back and think, what if it had happened just a few years later. I think it may have been a different story.

I also think about what it would be like now having her with me. I wonder what it would be like being the one to send her off on her first day of school or running to her to kiss her boo boo when she takes a spill on her bike. I’m the kind of person that can drive myself nuts with “what if” questions and scenarios. The truth is, when faced with the biggest decision of my life, I explored all of my options and took every piece of information into account and made the best decision I could have at that time.

Don’t You Miss Her?

Of course. I think about her every day. My love for her hasn’t changed a bit since the moment I heard her cry and held her in my arms.

 What Do You Want For Your Future?

I want my daughter to look back and understand why I made the heart wrenching decision I did. My love for her did not allow me to make any other decision. I know I would have done my best to be a great mom and that would have been fine. I didn’t want fine or good enough for my daughter. I wanted the best for her. It was hard to admit that I might not have been the best thing but when I looked into her eyes that first moment, I knew that I was making the right decision.

I hope that we can continue to have an open adoption and the visits. I want her to always know I’m there, even when I’m not. When she is older, maybe the age I was when I found out I was pregnant, or when she has her own children, I hope she is able to understand my decision on an even deeper level.

 If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering adoption, make sure not to leave any stone unturned. Consider all of your options. Think about the life you want your baby to have and then think about if that is something you can provide now, in a few months, in several years. If you are certain about adoption, really explore open adoption. Even if you aren’t sure you want an open adoption, leave the door open because you may change your mind later and really want updates and visits. Most importantly, don’t let anyone pressure you. Not your family, not your friends and not your counselor. I’ve heard many women who said they were talked out of adoption from their parents or grandparents who promised to help but later the responsibility fell back on them. Parenting is so much more than diapers and daycare. Only you can make the right decision for you and your baby. Talk with other women who have chosen adoption, talk with other young women who have chosen to parent. Get all your information and dive into those really tough questions. You may come to the realization, like I did, that you would be a fine mother but that you want the best for your child. Adoption is painful but my decision to give my baby everything I could was easy!

 

 

October 2016 Book Reviews

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All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to amazon.com.

thicker-than-bloodThicker Thank Blood: Adoptive Parenting in the Modern World by Marion Crook – Author Marion Crook is an adoptive parent to two sons, using her experiences this book gets to the heart  of parenting in today’s world.  While there are other books out there that are similar its always good to have reinforcement of some of these tips, feelings and experiences.  While much of this book relates to adoption of older children there are some things that are still the same such as fear of birth parents, and addressing issues of abandonment with children.

Ms. Crook is from Canada so many of the organizations and agencies she refers to are not relevant to the US, the US may have something similar but the names are not the same. I did feel that some of her advice was a little judgmental or skewed when it came to birth parents. Overall however this is a good book that has some great advice and a well researched information.  Amazon.com price $18.15 (pb) $17.24 (kindle)

images (98)99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Choosing Adoption by Robert & Jeffrey Kasky – This is a quick read with some good information about legal risk, termination of parental rights and what expenses you can and can’t pay for with regard to potential birth parents. There is information on special needs adoptions, future contact agreements, and surrogacy as well.  While much of the legal information varies from state to state and these authors are in Florida its a good starting point.  You may want to check with your agency or attorney to see what the regulations and laws are in your state. Amazon.com price $14.97 (pb) $2.99 (kindle)

99-dos-and-donts99 Adoption Do’s and Don’ts by Russell Elkins – This is a short book packed with a lot of great advice. In fact we liked it so much that we at Adoptions From The Heart have started giving this book out to our clients! This book is really geared toward adopting infants through open adoption directly from the hospital.  The advice is easy to read, and the book is only about 50 pages long.  These are things we really want all prospective adoptive parents to know. Great book Amazon.com price $5.99 (pb) $2.99 (kindle)

Things Adoption Social Workers Want Expecting Parents to Know

SpringSometimes, the decision to place your baby for adoption can feel lonely. Even if you have friends and family who are supportive of your decision, it still may be hard for them to truly understand what you are going through. We asked our social workers what are some of the most important things they want expecting parents who are considering adoption to know during the different steps of the adoption process.

  • When Considering Adoption

You social worker is your advocate. They are there to help you make the decision you think is best, not to force your decision in any way.

Find the person in your life to lean on who will support you no matter what decision you make. This person may be a family member, best friend, therapist, coworker, or something else. You may need to “float” the idea of adoption first to determine their level of support about adoption before disclosing your plan but it is important to find support during this difficult time.

This is not a decision that you will enter into lightly. It is a life changing decision not only for your baby but also for you.

We know this is the hardest decision you will ever make.

You can be a part of your child’s life through open adoption. There are even some states that have enacted laws to make future contact agreements legally enforceable.

Our services to you cost nothing. We are here to help you any way we can.

No matter what you decide, whether it be to parent or to place for adoption, we understand and support your decision.

This is entirely your decision, don’t ever feel pressures in your decision by anyone. We are here to help and support you any way we can.

This will be such a bittersweet decision for you as the pain of letting go and the comfort in knowing your child has all you hoped for battle against one another.

Openness is a way to stay in touch with your child, see how they are growing up and even visit with them and make a connection throughout their childhood.

Putting your child’s needs before yours makes you selfless, not selfish.

Establish openness expectations if you are ready for that. That way a social worker can show you families that have similar openness hopes.

You can call us when you are 3 months pregnant, 8 months pregnant, at the hospital after delivering your baby, or even weeks or months later when you are thinking that adoption might be the best option.

We really do care about you and want to help you when you are struggling.

  • Time of Placement

Take it one minute, one hour, one day at a time. Each day will get just a little bit easier, but some days might feel especially difficult. During those times, rely on your support system and your social worker.

You control the hospital experience. This is your time to be with your baby. Your child won’t be taken from your arms as soon as you deliver. Feel free to spend all the time you want with your child.

You will find that you are often much stronger than you think and have much more courage than you will ever know until you are faced with a tremendously difficult decision.

Adoptive parents are filled with love, gratitude and ultimate respect for you.

It does get easier. Lean on us, that’s what we are here for.

Ask your social worker for resources to be able to connect with other birthmothers. They are the only ones who truly know and fully understand what you are going through and their support can be invaluable.

You have just made the ultimate sacrifice for the love of your child.

Even if you made a hospital plan, emotions and circumstances change and that’s ok. If you need time alone or more time with your baby or more or less time with the prospective adoptive family, just let us know. We are here to advocate for you and what you want.

Your child will always know that you wanted what was best for them.

It is ok if you change your mind and decide to parent. You are the only person who can decide what is best for you and the baby. Talk with your social worker. And although you may be worried about hurting the prospective adoptive parent’s feelings, you need to make this life-long decision for yourself. Their social worker will be there for them too. You don’t want to have regrets for not speaking up.

  •  Many Years After Placement

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your child and his or her adoptive parents even if it has been a long time since you’ve last reached out. It is never too late to reach out!

We are always available. We can’t help you if you don’t reach out.

It is ok to be sad, it doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision it means you miss your child and that’s perfectly normal. The pain will often never disappear but does get better over time. There will be more and more “good” days as time passes but you will still have “bad” days too. Find your release (journaling, talking with friends, going through photos and updates) to help you get through them.

We still think of you. We are so proud of you as you grow and continue to reach your goals in life.

We are here for you to help you even years after placement. Anytime you want to know how your child is doing or would like to have pictures that the agency has held for you, just call us.

Write letters to your child telling him or her how you feel and how much you love them. It is important for your child to hear from you that you love them and think about them all the time and not just having their adoptive parents tell them that you do. Also send us any photos of you and other family members so that we can share them with your child.

Keep in contact with us and send us any updated contact information (phone and address) so that we can continue to update you about your child.

If now years later you have decided that you would like to receive pictures and updates, don’t hesitate to reach out to your social worker.

If you are struggling in any way in your open adoption relationship, contact us. We want to help you.

Birthfathers’ Rights in the Adoption Process: Know Your Options, Know Your Rights

Birthfathers’ Rights in the Adoption Process

Birthfathers’ Rights in the Adoption Process: Know Your Options, Know Your Rights

There is a common misconception in today’s society that a child’s birthfather has less rights than birthmothers do and that they are unable to make choices regarding their baby. Did you know that the birthfather starts out with the same legal rights as birthmothers? Birthfathers have a right to parent their child and a right to object to an adoption of their child even though statistically, many adoptions take place listing unknown birthfathers or birthfathers who choose to be uninvolved in the process after being notified and some men who voluntarily relinquish their rights and choose to be involved in some level of an open adoption. As a birthfather, it’s important to be aware that you do have a choice and there are laws to protect your rights and even more important is knowing what those laws are and how they affect you.Birthfathers’ Rights in the Adoption Process (1)

Notifying the Father of the Adoption

Whether an expecting mother is working with an attorney or an adoption agency, the representation for the adoption will do whatever possible to make sure that the father is aware and decides either to consent or contest the mother’s decision to make an adoption plan regardless if both parents are in a relationship or even speaking terms or not. This is done in advance to avoid a situation in which an absent or uninvolved birthfather steps back into the picture and challenges the adoption. With that said, there are occasional situations when a birthfather reaching out to the agency to contest the adoption after the child is already placed in the home with an adoptive family and this is called a disruption. However, if the birthfather knows about the adoption and his rights, receives counseling, is made aware of all his options, and feels adoption is the right choice for his child, chances of disruption are significantly lowered. Adoption is less likely to be disrupted or challenged if the child’s birthfather participates in the planning and is fully aware of his rights along the way. Adoptions From The Heart welcomes the father’s presence and participation in making the adoption plan. Whether or not the child’s mother wants an open adoption, the father is able to decide the level of openness he would like as well as the number of visits each year. Even if the father isn’t in agreement with the adoption, he still needs to be kept well informed of the events and be very much aware of his rights.

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Laws of Birthfathers’ Rights Vary by State

Every U.S. state and territory has a statute providing for the termination, surrender, or relinquishment of the parental rights of the birth mother and birth father. What termination means is that the parental rights end the biological parent-child relationship. Each state has its own requirements that must be met regarding making this decision. Only when this relationship has been ended, the child is legally free to be adopted. Even though these laws differ in all US states, please find a few highlights of child adoption laws for the states where we are licensed in below.

To check the laws of the state in any of the other states, feel free to check out www.childadoptionlaws.com.

Pennsylvania

“…(d) Putative father.–If a putative father will not file a petition to voluntarily relinquish his parental rights pursuant to section 2501 (relating to relinquishment to agency) or 2502 (relating to relinquishment to adult intending to adopt child), has been given notice of the hearing being held pursuant to this section and fails to either appear at that hearing for the purpose of objecting to termination of his parental rights or file a written objection to such termination with the court prior to the hearing and has not filed an acknowledgment of paternity or claim of paternity pursuant to section 5103, the court may enter a decree terminating the parental rights of the putative father pursuant to subsection (c).”

New York

“…(d) Of the father, whether adult or infant, of a child born out-of-wedlock and placed with the adoptive parents more than six months after birth, but only if such father shall have maintained substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child as manifested by: (i) the payment by the father toward the support of the child of a fair and reasonable sum, according to the father’s means, and either (ii) the father’s visiting the child at least monthly when physically and financially able to do so and not prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child, or (iii) the father’s regular communication with the child or with the person or agency having the care or custody of the child, when physically and financially unable to visit the child or prevented from doing so by the person or authorized agency having lawful custody of the child. The subjective intent of the father, whether expressed or otherwise, unsupported by evidence of acts specified in this paragraph manifesting such intent, shall not preclude a determination that the father failed to maintain substantial and continuous or repeated contact with the child. In making such a determination, the court shall not require a showing of diligent efforts by any person or agency to encourage the father to perform the acts specified in this paragraph.”

New Jersey

“…(b) The birth parent, except one who cannot be identified or located prior to the placement of the child for adoption, shall be offered counseling as to his or her options other than placement of the child for adoption. Such counseling shall be made available by or through an approved licensed agency in New Jersey or in the birth parent’s state or country of residence. The fact that counseling has been made available, and the name, address and telephone number of the agency through which the counseling is available, shall be confirmed in a written document signed by the birth parent and acknowledged in this State pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1991, c.308 (R.S.46:14-2.1) or acknowledged in another state or country pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1991, c.308 (R.S.46:14-6.1) a copy of which shall be provided to the birth parent and the agency conducting the adoption complaint investigation pursuant to section 12 of P.L.1977, c.367 (C.9:3-48) and shall be filed with compliance.

Delaware

“…(2) The biological father and any presumed father of a child; provided, however, that the consent of the alleged biological father or presumed father need not contain an admission that he is the father. In the event that the named biological or presumed father disclaims paternity, an affidavit signed by him to that effect shall be attached to the petition in lieu of a consent from the natural or presumed father. It is further provided that in the event of a petition containing statements described in § 906(7)b.(ii), (iii) or (iv) of this title, after a hearing in which it is established on the record that the mother and father of the child are not living together as husband and wife openly and that they have not done so nor married since the birth of the child, the Court may, following consideration of the social report, dispense with the requirement of the father’s consent in compliance.”

Connecticut

“…(b) A petition for termination of parental rights shall be entitled “In the interest of …. (Name of child), a person under the age of eighteen years”, and shall set forth with specificity: (1) The name, sex, date and place of birth, and present address of the child; (2) the name and address of the petitioner, and the nature of the relationship between the petitioner and the child; (3) the names, dates of birth and addresses of the parents of the child, if known, including the name of any putative father named by the mother, and the tribe and reservation of an American Indian parent; (4) if the parent of the child is a minor, the names and addresses of the parents or guardian of the person of such minor; (5) the names and addresses of: (A) The guardian of the person of the child; (B) any guardians ad litem appointed in a prior proceeding; (C) the tribe and reservation of an American Indian child; and (D) the child-placing agency which placed the child in his current placement; (6) the facts upon which termination is sought, the legal grounds authorizing termination, the effects of a termination decree and the basis for the jurisdiction of the court; (7) the name of the persons or agencies which have agreed to accept custody or guardianship of the child’s person upon disposition.”

Virginia

“…B. No consent shall be required of a birth father if he denies under oath and in writing the paternity of the child. Such denial of paternity may be withdrawn no more than 10 days after it is executed. Once the child is 10 days old, any executed denial of paternity is final and constitutes a waiver of all rights with respect to the adoption of the child and cannot be withdrawn.”

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Have Courage and Be Strong

Now that we have researched the specific laws in our state, we are now confident and capable of exercising our rights. Although each state differs in law, the rights of the birthfather are clearly stated in all 50 states. Birthfathers start out with the same legal rights as birthmothers and have a right to parent their child and a right to object to an adoption of their child. Adoption law has a processes for establishing and terminating a birth father’s parenting rights, but the law does not eliminate all uncertainly.

One problem that birthfathers face is that everyone around them assumes that they don’t care and often times, birthfather pay a price for not exercising their rights says Mary Martin Mason, the Minneapolis-based author of Out of the Shadows: Birthfathers’ Stories. “They were incredibly guilty and incredibly guilty to have lost their children” according to Mason. “This had affected their adult lives-their marriages, their jobs, their relationships.” They weren’t able to move on. It can take a lot of courage for a birthfather to walk through the doors of an adoption agency and we understand that and recognize the immense strength of the brave birthfathers who do take that step.

Adoptions From The Heart wants to personally become more birthfather friendly and cater to their specific needs since much of what is out there focuses on adoptive parents and birthmother needs. We believe by implementing birthfather focused literature, support groups, creating a “Birthfather Friday” marketing campaign, and encouraging general, open communication we can help empower the often forgotten birthparent. If you are an expecting mother struggling to find the courage to tell the father that you are pregnant, realize that you are not alone. Often times than not, your social worker can help you. If you are a birthfather, we hope this article helped you and shed some light on your very real and legal rights in the adoption process. Yes, it may put you out of your comfort zone at first but we assure you, the benefits of knowing all of your rights and exercising your ability to help create an adoption plan for your child if you choose is well worth being as involved as possible. It’s important not become the forgotten half of the story. Your voices is just as important and needs to be heard.

For help or advice please contact us today at 610-642-7200. If you are a birthfather and would like to share your story with us or participate in our “Birthfather Friday” series, please call us or email us Adoption@AFTH.org.

Top 10 Inspirational Birthparent Quotes

Placing a baby for an adoption takes someone extremely strong with a lot of love and courage. If you are an expectant parent and trying to make a decision on which way to go, please read some of these inspirational quotes that came from experienced birthparents. Whatever you decide to do, we hope these words of real life experience can give you comfort and peace. What are your favorite birthparent inspirational adoption quotes? Share with us!

Red Thread

 

 

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break.Ancient Chinese Belief

Entrust to Us

 

 

 

 

All things parents do, our child’s birthmother is giving us to experience with her child as our child. The weight of that can make it hard to breath but it also makes me want to be a better person, a better momma, a better wife, daughter, sister and friend. For someone to entrust so much to us…there are no words.– Kristy, AFTH Adoptive Mother

Adoption isn't a birthmother's rejection

Adoption isn’t a birthmother’s rejection but an unconditional love that inspires her to put herself last and do all can for her baby.– Mary Hines, BM

 

 

 

2 different kinds of strength

 

“There are two different kinds of strength. There’s the strength to make a parenting plan and then there’s the strength to give that plan to another.”

world quote

 

Having a child means a piece of your heart is walking around in the world.

“Like any good mother, I chose a path for you. It was a path that would give you the best shot at reaching your%

Like any good mother, I chose a path for you. It was a path that would give you the best shot at reaching your goals, even if it meant someone else would be walking the path with you.”Quote.jpg

“No one else will ever know the strength of my LOVE for YOU. After all, you’re the ONLY ONE who knows what my heart sounds like from the inside.”

_ He is mine in a way that he will never be hers , yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, a

He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood. -Desha Woodall

 

eonardo da vinci.jpg

“In adoption, a child not GIVEN UP. A birthmother GIVES life, a child a family, unconditional love. She GIVES a part of her heart that will never feel whole. She GIVES another mother a part of her heart that was always missing. An adoptive mother GIVES life and a family to this child. She GIVES unconditional love. She GIVES a part of her heart to another mother. You GIVE a lot-just never GIVE UP.”
-Terra Cooper

roots & wings

 “Children need two things. One is roots and the other is wings.”- Unknown