Category Archives: Parenting

What Expecting Parents Search For In Potential Adoptive Family Profiles

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

 Charm

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

Stability

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

Daily Life

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

Home and Parenting

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

 

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

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Adoption Myths

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

Myth: Birth mothers are always teenagers

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

Myth: Adoption takes many years

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

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

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

Myth: Only those who can’t have children adopt

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

 

Myth: There are no newborns to adopt in America

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

Myth: Single parents can’t adopt

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

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

 

https://www.angeladoptioninc.com/blog/8-adoption-myths-busted/

https://www.americanadoptions.com/blog/12-adoption-myths-everyone-is-sick-of/

https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/how-to-adopt/myths-about-adoption/

https://www.today.com/parents/6-common-adoption-myths-dispelled-wbna18557471

 

Adopting as a Single Parent

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

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

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

Stay Positive

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

Build a Support System

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

Consider Your Job

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

Manage Your Finances

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

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

Resources

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

Single Parent Resource:

228 East 45th Street, 5th Floor

New York, NY  10017

Telephone: 212-951-7030

Fax: 212-951-7037

Email: rdackerman@sprcnyc.org

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

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

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

What to Expect After Adopting a Newborn Baby

A Few Things to Expect After Adopting a Newborn

You’ve may have seen the movies, read the books, heard the stories, and know that parenting a newborn is no piece of cake. Adopting a newborn is something you might have waited awhile for, and finally receiving the call is exciting. But sometimes things don’t go as expected, and that’s okay. Here are a few things to expect when adopting a newborn:

Prepare for the questions

People are naturally inquisitive, and will love to hear about your baby. Prepare for the basic questions like:

  • “How is life with a baby?”
  • “Do they sleep well?”
  • “Are they fussy?”

But also prepare for questions pertaining specifically to your baby, as people don’t understand that some questions can be sensitive. Aside from the basic baby questions, when adopting a baby, get ready for personal discussion like:

  • “Where are they from?”
  • “Do you talk to the birth parents?”
  • “Will you tell them they’re adopted?”

After adoption, people tend to get curious about the process. The questions that may come your way are endless, but remember you’re not obligated to answer anything that makes you uncomfortable. Have a response prepared if you’re uncomfortable getting personal. When it comes to your child’s information, think about how you would feel if someone shared something sensitive about you, if you think it will embarrass or hurt them down the road, consider not telling people.

Expect Visitors

It’s normal for people to visit when you have a baby. With adopted babies, it can become even more intense, often with plenty of the above questions to follow. Having a newborn can be time consuming, and having constant visitors may seem inconvenient, but it can also be helpful.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and in some cases, that can be true. It can be helpful to welcome visitors, as you may need help. When people ask to visit, they will often ask to help as well, keep that in mind before you turn them down.

If you aren’t feeling up to it, or just plain do not want to, don’t force it. You don’t have to accept visitors every day, and you likely won’t. Having a newborn is tiring and you may often find yourself ready to relax.

Post-Adoption Depression is Possible.

Just like postpartum depression, post-adoption depression is possible. If having a newborn is not what you expected, or you’re anxious about the baby, consider seeing a doctor. Feeling depressed after adopting is not uncommon, and is likely due to stress. It does not at all reflect on an individual’s ability or desire to be a great parent.

Some signs you are experiencing post-adoption depression are:

  • Irritability
  • Excessive amounts of guilt
  • Indecisiveness
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Feeling hopeless
  • So many more

If you’re feeling any of these symptoms, here are a few things that may help:

  • Self-care – Take time out of your day to be yourself. Having a newborn can be consuming, but don’t be scared to ask for help. Your mental health is important when raising a baby, and can be beneficial for you both.
  • Don’t rush a bond with your baby – Bonding with your baby can be stressful, and it takes time for some families, it’s important to be patient.
  • Connect – Find a group of people going through the same experience, the power of conversation can be powerful.
  • See a doctor – Professionals can help. If you don’t want to go to a specialist, friends and family are your best bet. People often want to help, take advantage of that.

You know yourself better than anyone, and if you think you’re experiencing post-adoption depression, that could be the case. Get help if you need it, and know that you’re not alone as post-adoption depression is estimated to impact around 65% of adoptive mothers.

Enjoy your time with your newborn, because it will go fast. But don’t forget about your own health as well. Being a parent is a learning experience that almost never ends. Remember to prepare a response ahead of time for questions that may be uncomfortable, welcome visitors only when you want, seek help if you think post-adoption depression is something you’re experiencing, and spend quality time with your baby whenever possible.

 

https://www.adoptionstogether.org/blog/2013/01/07/why-arent-i-happy-recognizing-post-adoption-depression-syndrome/

http://www.canadaadopts.com/10-things-to-expect-after-adopting-a-newborn/

https://www.angeladoptioninc.com/blog/what-to-expect-after-adopting-a-newborn/

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

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

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

What is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder (FASD)?

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

What Causes FASD?

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

What are the Symptoms and Defects?

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

Physical Defects:

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

Brain and Nervous System Defects:

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

Behavioral Problems:

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

FAS Resources and Organizations

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

  1. National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

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

  1. FASDs – Center for Excellence

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

  1. Families Moving Forward Program

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

What You Can Do as an Adoptive Parent

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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

https://www.nofas.org/

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

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

Five-Minute Activities to Bond with Your Adoptive Child

Five Minute Parent and Child Bonding Activities

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

 

Brushing Hair

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

Story Time

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

Sing Songs

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

Bed Time Routine

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

Clapping Games and Rhymes

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

 

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

Bonding With Your Newly Adopted Infant

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:

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

 

 

Snuggle Time:

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

Conversation:

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

 

 

 

Share:

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

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

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

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

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