Category Archives: prospective adoptive parents

My first birth mothers day (an outsiders perspective)

Let me introduce myself…

My name is Mayra and I am Adoptions From The Heart’s Events and Marketing Coordinator. Although I went to school to be a journalist, event planning has always been a great passion for me. When I had the opportunity to join this amazing agency; I knew that this was the job for me. AFTH has giving me the opportunity of incorporating both my passions into one job.

You might be thinking.. how is your job title relevant to celebrating Birth Mother’s Day… well let me tell you about it.

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to celebrate Birth Mothers Day with the amazing women from our Delaware Birth Mother Support Group.

As part of the marketing team, I don’t typically have the opportunity to interact with birth mothers one on one. I have worked behind the scenes of event planning and fundraising and although I’ve always understood that what I am working for is a very important cause, I never knew how important it really was.

My expectations

As part of the celebration we decided to bring a little pampering for the ladies in the Support Group. When we got the invitation be a part of the celebration I thought that maybe we would just have some fun “girl” time and that was it.

As a person who really enjoys serving other people, I was excited to pamper them and to give something to them! What I was not expecting was everything I learned and received from attending that meeting…

My takeaway

From the moment I got there, I was received with open arms by these women. Even though I have never been through some of the things they go through all the time, I was able to connect with their experience.

They were all so helpful and supportive of each other and that is something I really admired about them. I did not expect to get there and relate to their lives as much as I did.

What I took away the most from this experience was how strong birth mothers are. Unfortunately, this is not the way society paints them and that is something that needs to change. It didn’t take me long after listening to some of their stories and struggles to realize how powerful and selfless they are.

I did not know Birth Mother’s Day was even a holiday a couple of months ago. Now, I know the meaning behind it and how important it is to celebrate Birth Mothers all around the world.

If you haven’t before, I invite you to learn more about Birth Mothers and the importance to celebrate them this Mother’s Day weekend.

Tips For Hopeful Adoptive Parents Just Beginning the Adoption Process

1) Arm Yourself with Information

You can never ask enough questions. Make sure you feel comfortable with the agency you choose. When you think of a question, write it down so you don’t forget to ask later. Dive into any fears or concerns you have as well. It’s important to feel comfortable with the process.

2) Find Support in Others Walking the Same Path

It can be hard to find other people who truly “get it” unless they have traveled a similar path. Get to know other waiting families, join support groups, connect with others adoptive parents online, and lean on your social worker.

3) Make an Effort to Learn About The Other Parts of the Adoption Triad: Adoptees and Birth Parents

Read birth parents’ and adoptees’ adoption experiences. If you are adopting transracially, read not only articles written by adoptive parents in transracial adoptions but also from adoptees brought up in that environment. It’s important to understanding what other members of the triad may be experiencing.

 4) Keep Your Promises

One of expecting parent’s most common fears is “will the adoptive parents keep their promises”. Be genuine in your profile and in your promises. Do not agree to something if you are not ready to back it up with action. It not only will hurt your child’s birth parent but in the end it hurts your child as well.

5) Don’t Hold Back Love

The pre-placement education touches on the importance of protecting yourself emotionally for the possibility of a placement falling through. It isn’t about holding back love. It’s about a way of thinking that reminds adoptive families they have been asked to be the temporary caretakers of a child who may indeed come into their family while his or her parents are ensuring they are making the best and final decision. If a disappointment or disruption happens, allow yourself to grieve but do not turn it into anger towards the child’s parents. They are making a tremendously difficult decision and it is important to respect their wishes.

6) Let Frozen’s Theme Song Be Your Mantra…Let It Go

Release all your expectations and embrace the unknowns in the process as a part of the journey. You will need to be flexible and remember that it isn’t your journey alone.

 7) Most Importantly, Remember Adoption is Bittersweet

Adoption stems from a loss that cannot and should not be ignored. Fully respecting that aspect of the journey and the adoptee and birthparent experience as well is vital.

Ending the “Right Path to Parenthood” Myth

It’s an exciting time when you first decide to begin your family. Whether you are single or a couple, there are several routes you can take to realize your dream of becoming a parent. As you begin to share your desire of parenthood with your family, friends and those around you, be certain there will be lots of advice coming your way. Some advice will be helpful and some you can decide to smile and nod and not give another thought.

You have now just stepped dipped your toe into the world of parenting wars. It begins long before the formula or breast milk, stay at home or working family, to vaccinate or not, private school or public school debates. The truth is, other parents can sometimes be the worst critics when it comes to counseling parents-to-be.

Just some unhelpful comments heard through the grapevine:

To a couple starting IVF – Why would you spend all that money and go through all the trouble when there are already children in this world who needs homes.

To a single prospective adoptive mother – Why are you doing this by yourself, it’s much easier when there are two parents. Why not just wait for Mr. Right?

To a couple who is in process of domestic adoption – Why don’t you just adopt from foster care, it’s free? Why aren’t you considering international adoption where there are so many more children who need homes?

To a couple who is in the process of international adoption – Why would you go overseas when there are children in the U.S. who need homes?

To someone adopting through foster care – Don’t you want an infant? Are you sure you want a child that’s been through foster care?

Can we just please decide right now to end the assumption that there is only one right path to parenthood? Or that the only way to parenthood is the same as your journey?

Even those who choose not to have children are often met with a onslaught of comments. “Well why not” or “in time you will change your mind”.

The bottom line is that we live in a world full of choices and no one path is right for everyone. It’s important for families to consider their own situation, explore all their options and choose the path that is right for them!

 

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.

Ways Adoptive Parents Can Cope through The Holidays

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The adoption process takes quite a while and somehow during the holiday season, the wait for adoptive parents seems to be twice as long. Seeing pictures of families can stir up feelings of incompleteness as you wait for your child to arrive. To avoid feeling discouraged and uneasy, here are some tips for adoptive parents to cope through the holidays.

Firstly, try to use this waiting process as a reason to work towards your adoption goal. This can be done by either adding pictures to your profile or creating a registry for baby showers. Contributing to your goal can help you actively feel that you’re doing something meaningful.

An additional tip is to get involved in some type of charity or fundraising work. Giving back to the community can help you feel like you’re doing something meaningful and a great mechanism to cope with your problems.

Next thing you can do is keep yourself busy with family and friends and know your limits. It’s normal to shy away from the holidays and at the same time knowing what’s comfortable for you. Being around the family or friends can relieve any stress and take your mind off things. With that said, it’s also important to be honest with them on what you do and don’t want to talk about.

You are not alone in this waiting process; many other adoptive parents have gone through this waiting trial just like you. Finding support from other adoptive parents that you can confide in can help you understand your situation and become a little more patient throughout the holidays.

Lastly, try your best to stay positive and think about when you will become parents. It’s normal to feel discouraged and uneasy during the holidays so maintaining a positive mindset will be difficult but worth it.

For more tips on ways adoptive parents can cope through the holidays please watch our AFTH TV Episode:

How to Cope With the Adoption Process During the Holidays

The adoption process is a stressful and emotional one, especially during the holiday season. It is on the mind of prospective adoptive parents and birth parents alike every day. There is a lot of planning surrounding the holidays, including spending time with loved ones; the adoption process is similar in the fashion of scheduling and setting expectations.

However, there are ways through which families can cope with the struggles of the adoption process during the busiest time of the year.

  1. Spend time with friends and loved ones: The adoption process is one which not all families go through and therefore understand. It is important to share your frustrations and thoughts of the process to your friends and family. It is often said that a common reaction to stress is to spend time alone, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Speaking to a loved one can alleviate daily stress and can help provide some outside perception on personal issues.
  2. Involve yourself with charity and the community: The holidays are a time during which many families spend the most money on gifts for loved ones. However, not all families are able to spend a great deal of money due to income and living situations, particularly in urban areas. Giving back to your local community provides a healthy distraction from the stresses of the season while helping those in need. Whether it be monetary donations or spending time at a local food pantry, helping the less fortunate will allow you to connect with others and can help boost mental health.
  3. Maintain traditions: The holiday season is a time during which families gather to celebrate their traditions, from decorating their houses to cooking dinners and lunches. Keeping traditions provides stability and consistency for family members, particularly during a stressful time such as the adoption process. Doing so allows families to bond through various activities and make memories.
  4. Keep communication open at home: The adoption process is an emotional rollercoaster for all those involved. There is much money and time spent throughout the journey in addition to the frustration while waiting for a placement. Ensure that communication is crucial to all in your household so no one family member can express themselves in a healthy and productive manner.

For all those going through the adoption process, have a safe and happy holiday season!

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.