Category Archives: singlemother

Talking With Your Kids About Adoption

Having that first talk about any subject matter with children is difficult. The “adoption talk” can seem daunting. However, it does not need to be this way. There are certain steps you can take in the adoption journey, especially when explaining it to children. We are here to alleviate some of that stress for you because we know it not an easy subject matter.

Do it Early and Do it Often

Being able to talk about your child’s adoption story early and often is important. By utilizing adoption terminology as early as when they are an infant, they can slowly become accustomed to the words as they grow older. By reverberating their adoption story from a young age, this can help them better understand where they came from.

It’s also important to anticipate – children ask a lot of questions. By being prepared for questions they may ask, you, as parents, can feel better equipped to answer them. If you are in a two-parent family, it’s also good to be consistent with your child’s adoption story. This prevents confusion and miscommunication. Coordination is key.

Keeping all of this in mind, it is also important to realize the developmental aspect of it. In other words, keep the talks “age-appropriate.” One of the most common questions kids start asking is about being in their “mommy’s tummy.” At that age (around three or four), kids are obviously still figuring out the world around them. By utilizing story-telling language to explain their journey to this world, it can aid in the child’s understanding.

It is also seen through developmental and behavioral psychology that repetition for a child is crucial. Certain aspects of life must be explained repeatedly to a child, and that’s okay. That’s normal. Explaining their adoption is no different in that way. It is a complex concept, and sometimes the information is emotionally laden for a child. Talk when they are ready or bring it up.

Be Honest and Let Them Express Their Feelings

Understanding adoption as a parent is hard. Understanding adoption as an adopted child is even harder. It’s important to be honest with them when you need to be. They have a right to know their story, but it’s important to realize that what you tell them when they are six years old is a lot different than when they are thirteen.

As parents, we want to make every boo-boo better, every bad day a good one, and every sad face a smile. Children are little people; they have bad days, sad days and everything in between. Help them express those feelings when beginning to tell them their adoption story. They may feel anger, sadness, betrayal, along with many other negative emotions. It’s always good to find outlets for those feelings – drawing is helpful, as well as writing. As they get older, an adoption journal may be beneficial.

If they ever feel a need to express those emotions, utilize it as a teaching moment. Ask them why they feel that way, and go from there. Give them an opportunity to sort through their thoughts. Of course, every child is different, and we learn from that.

Adoption can be tough to talk about with your child, but there are ways to alleviate that stress building up. By taking a few of these tips, you may find it easier to explain their adoption journey. We love our children, and ultimately want what’s best for them. We learn from them and feel what they feel. Remember, you’re all in this together. Family is family, no matter where or how it started.

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Announcing Your Decision to Adopt

You’ve decided to adopt- that’s wonderful!! Now how do you announce your decision….?

Make a Plan

Do you want to tell everyone at the same time or are there people in your life who you want to know first? Would the news be better in writing or in person? Maybe you want to tell different people in different ways? This is your announcement and you only get to make it once so take the time to plan it out!

Information Overload

Make sure that when you’re making your adoption announcement you make it clear what you are comfortable to talk about- and what you are NOT comfortable to talk about. Not only do you want to share your decision to adopt, but you want to let people know why. This might be a sensitive topic. It’s possible that there were some bumps along the road on your journey to adoption (infertility, miscarriage, even loss). It’s okay to tell people what you don’t want them to ask about.

Hope for the Best – Plan for the Worst

Adoption is bringing new life into your world! A new addition to the family is a reason to celebrate- unfortunately, not everyone may see it that way. Different people in your life may process the news differently- and that’s okay! People will be on board sooner or later but, for some, it may take time.

It’s your decision- not anyone else’s! There will always be people who disagree with your decisions no matter what they may be. Don’t listen to those people! This is your decision- NOT theirs! You chose to adopt for all the right reasons. You’ve put a lot of time and consideration into this choice- A LOT! You’re doing a great thing for your family and for the life of a child. Don’t let anybody let you think differently about that.

Be Prepared to Answer the Tough Questions

By announcing that your adopting, you may now be considered the adoption expert to people in your life who haven’t yet had experiences with adoption. Get ready to be their go to person for all of the questions that they may have about: the process, reasons for adopting, common stereotypes.

Set the Precedent with Adoption Positive Language

Start using the correct terminology from the beginning and make a conscious effort to correct people who use insensitive language. By using terms like adoptive parent, expecting parent, birth parent, ect. From the initial announcement, you will hopefully avoid issues later- like someone asking your child about his or her “real mom”.

Straight Out of Cutesville

Go the Cute Route to announce your adoption! One popular idea is giving loved ones a picture frame with a message saying “picture of your grandchild/niece or nephew/cousin coming soon!”

Check out the photo-shoots that these families had done to announce their choice to adopt. A mass mailing with a picture like one of these will be sure to spread the news with a smile.

http://www.canadaadopts.com/were-adopting-42-fun-ways-to-celebrate-your-adoption-journey/

Create Your Network of Support

Keep your team updated on your journey! Adoption is a process that takes time. To keep the momentum going create a blog, send out an e-mail check-in, or update your Facebook status regularly to let people know where you’re at in the process. This can create a lot of excitement when things are moving along well on your journey. Keeping people in the loop can also be helpful when hardships arise, and help you find others to lean on when times are tough. You don’t want to go through this process alone, and the people who care about you will want to be there for all of the ups and downs along the way.

Remember, LOVE is What Builds a Family

Choosing adoption is an amazing way to create your family. Be proud of who you are, and what you’re doing. Love is all you need.

Helpful Resources

http://forums.thebump.com/discussion/7746352/how-to-tell-your-family-youre-adopting
http://www.parents.com/parenting/adoption/parenting/breaking-the-news-that-you-plan-to-adopt/
https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/adoption-process/announcing-your-adoption-decision/

Birth Parents and Placing a Child for Adoption without Family Support

Deciding to place a child for adoption is not a decision that is made overnight. Birth parents are extremely strong individuals that sacrifice so much for their baby’s future, but just because they are strong it does not mean that they do not need support during the adoption process. Sometimes when a expecting mother shares her adoption plan with family members, she doesn’t receive love and support. This blog post will explore those situations and provide expecting mothers who are choosing adoption with other ways to receive care and support during their adoption placement.

Placing Without Support


 

When Family and Friends Don’t Understand Adoption

Telling your family you are pregnant can be an overwhelming task if you don’t feel you are prepared to parent. Will they support your decision to consider adoption? Will they want you to raise the baby on your own? Will they want to raise the baby? There are a lot of questions rumbling around in your head before having that conversation with your family and it is important to know you are not alone. There are great resources available online like this one that can help you figure out the best way to broach the topic with your family members. They might even benefit from online resources too. Pages like Adoptions From The Heart can provide family members with a wealth of information about adoption and how to be supportive through the process.

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Comments from family and friends like, “I could never give up my child because I love them too much,” are extremely hurtful. It is important to remember the real reason you are considering adoption- you want what is best for your child because of how much you love them.

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Sometimes it is helpful to understand why friends and family might be saying intentionally hurtful things or feeling uncertain with your adoption plan.


Why There Might Be a Lack of Support After Placement

Before and after placement, it can be hard for your family and friends to really relate to your thought process and what you are going through. Kacey Bailey a contributor for Adoption.com, outlined some reasons why they just might not be understanding you in one of her posts. Here is what she gathered from her own experiences:

1. They’re afraid to feel what you are feeling or what you’ve felt.

The first time I attended a group of birth mothers was when I was pregnant. I sat there, staring at these girls, terrified to be where they were in just a few short months. Pain was written in their eyes and I was literally afraid to feel that way. I had no words for them. I yearned to reach out and comfort these precious souls, yet was terrified to open myself up to them as they were doing for me. The reality of what birth moms have done for a child, to willingly allow another person (or persons) to stand in her shoes, is unimaginable. It seems unfair of birth moms to expect their friends and family to attempt empathy, especially when it’s so frightening to be that distressed.

2. You’re an individual.
The story of how I became a birth mom isn’t too exciting, nor is it uncommon. Girl meets boy. Girl and Boy become friends. Girl and Boy have a one night stand. Boy leaves when Girl gets pregnant. While it’s so very basic, it’s also exceptionally complex. Allow me to be selfish while I say that what I experienced was different than what anyone else will ever know. My personality led me to where I needed to be, my thinking process is what guided me to my son’s parents, and my pain was felt in a way that nobody else will feel. I’m an individual. Take anybody else whose story lines up with mine in every manner, and we will have two different experiences. Birth moms should not expect someone who hasn’t experienced a similar situation to try to grasp the amount of hurt that is endured daily.

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3. They wish they could help more.
I had many friends abandon me when I became pregnant. Others stood awkwardly at the sidelines. It’s been 5 years since placement and I know now that most of the reasoning behind it was simple. They wanted to offer me the world. They wanted to offer me food, a job, a place to stay, a way to provide for me. In my pride, I refused it all and they were left not knowing how to help. It’s one thing to tell them “just be there for me” when nobody knows what “there” is. They gave the advice they would have given to themselves and since they couldn’t do it all, some did nothing. Not out of spite, or anger, but rather out of fear. People fear what they don’t know. Let them know that you just need a shoulder to cry on. When that’s all they offer you, be appreciative.

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4. Everyone handles grief in her own way.
Yes, there are the 5 stages of grief that we all experience after a loss. How we work through them are different. There was a fellow birth mom who dived into school just days after placement. I laid in my bed and cry for a few weeks, then stood up one day and went back to my life as well as I could. Some people may start up a new hobby while others will invest themselves into an old one. There are many ways to cope with loss, everybody is unique. Thus, there aren’t any people out there who know how I handled the loss of a child—nor how I’m handling it right now. My friends don’t know that my sudden outbreak of tears is actually a healthy release. It’s certainly not fair for me to expect them to know, that while my tears are a sign of frustration and longing, they’re also a sign that my healing process is an ongoing process.

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5. Sometimes, they think you need to “get over it.”
I have been told to “move on” from this child more times than not. As I stand there, in tears, I see a friend roll her eyes and look away. It’s not as if my pain is interrupting her life. It’s more that her healing process is different from mine, and she doesn’t understand that. While there’s part of me who wants to cut those people out of my social group, there’s a smaller, smarter part of me that uses this as a teaching opportunity. I explain, and while explaining, I heal. Talking has always helped my mind to organize emotions. While she may scoff and respond with, “I just don’t understand why you can’t move on.” I just smile and say, “I don’t want to”. That child is my heart and soul. He is part of me in a way that he will never be part of somebody else. I hold him sacred in my heart and if I were to cut ties with his memories, I would lose part of who I have become.

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A lot of what Kacey felt and still feels is not uncommon for birthparents. If your family or friends don’t understand, it is important to realize that sometimes…they just don’t understand and then to explore options for other types of support during your adoption journey.


Finding an External Support System

Birthmother Quote

When you place through an adoption agency, many will offer some sort of continued support for birth parents before, during and after placement. Taking advantage of these resources might not always feel natural or like something you want to do, but it has proven successful for so many birth parents. In a previous blog  we discussed the importance of support. One AFTH Birthmother remembered the feelings she had surrounding her first support group meeting:

“I didn’t want to go at all, but I knew deep down that I needed to go. I reluctantly RSVP’d. I dreaded it and looked forward to it at the same time, knowing it was out of my comfort zone. My feet and heart were heavy when I walked into my first meeting, which was only 2 months after I placed my daughter. I was a ball of nerves with a pocket full of tissues. I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready to talk, but I thought hearing other stories could be helpful. I teared up as soon as I walked in the room and saw the other women who had done the same thing I did. It made adoption even more real for me, if that’s possible. It helped me realize that it affects many women from all walks of life and that I wasn’t the only one struggling with it.”

Whether you need support before or after placement, there are options for everyone. Use links like this one to find support group meetings or counselors in your area. Birthmombuds  is another great online resource where you may find support. And if you get the courage and are brave enough, share your story. Often times, people don’t know who they can turn to for support and you might find other birthparents or others who have been touched by adoption who will then become your support.

Adopting As a Single Parent by Choice, Making Dreams into Reality!

Mother and Son, Single Parent Adoption

Raising a child as a single parent might be viewed by others as an “unconventional” life choice but to mothers and fathers who choose to do it on their own; they just want to make their dream into reality. Single men and women want to adopt a child for many of the same reasons that couples want to. They want to be a parent, have a child to love, want to give a child a home, pregnancy might not be an option, and the list could go on. There has been an increasing in single adoptive parents over the past few years and whatever the reasons leading them to adoption, their journey is something to be celebrated.

Many people hear the word “single parent” and automatically think that a tragedy or divorce caused their single status but that not always the case. There are many singles who make the choice to enter the world of parenthood.

The past few decades have seen an incredible increase in the number of families headed by single mothers. Unlike the stereotypical images of an un-wed, poverty-stricken, uneducated, and young teen or woman facing parenthood alone, an increasing number of successful, single well-educated professional women in their 30’s and 40’s are arriving at motherhood through adoption by choice. AFTH has quite a few singles, both men and women, who are looking to adopt.

“I am so excited to become a mother-something I knew I wanted from when I was just a little girl. Although having a biological child has not been a possibility for me, I decided that should not stop me from making my dreams into reality of becoming a parent.”-Hopeful single adoptive parent at AFTH

To read more about some of our single’s that are waiting to adopt, check out our website where you can read more into their profile books and learn about their journey and how they ended up deciding to adopt. www.afth.org/meet-our-families

 Statistics of Single Parent Households in the US

Single parenthood is very common in the United States. Even today when 50% of U.S. children will spend some part of their childhoods in a single parent family, there is still contempt for single moms and dads. Did you know that more than 22 million children under the age of 21 are being raised in a single parent household? Here are just a few more appealing statistics. http://singleparents.about.com/od/legalissues/p/portrait.htm

  • About 28% of children worldwide live in a single-parent household.
  • In the United States, 80.6% of single parents are mothers. Among this percentage of single mothers: 45% of single mothers are currently divorced or separated, 1.7% are widowed, and 34% of single mothers never have been married.
  • 76% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed and 85.1% of custodial single fathers are gainfully employed

 Even today when 50% of U.S. children will spend some part of their childhood in a single parent family, there are still often many misperceptions about single parenthood however times are changing and society is beginning to embrace the many different ways a family can be formed.

Adopting as a single father

 Statistics of Single Parent Adoption

Unfortunately years ago, if you had gone to an adoption agency as a single person and applied for a child, you would have been turned down. Now, thousands of children in the United States and other countries are living with single men and women who have chosen to become parents and who have been given the opportunity to provide a loving home for a child. Below are just some statistics about adoption and adopting as a single parent. http://statistics.adoption.com/information/adoption-statistics-single-parents.html

  •  Every state in the country currently allows single adults to adopt children.
  • Approximately 25 percent of adoptions of children with special needs are by single people.
  • In 2011 nearly 1/3 of adoptions from foster care we completed by unmarried individuals. This number includes adoptions from more than 13,000 single women and 1,400 single men.

Controversy of Single Parent Adoption

 Most single parents agree that the joy of bringing a child into your life far outweighs the challenges added as being a single parent. Single parents, whether through adoption or circumstance, do face unique aspects to parenting solely due to the fact that there is one of them as opposed to two. There can also be some benefits of single parenthood such as having less people to coordinate parenting decisions with. One of the biggest obstacles many single parents may face are the opinions and objections society might have. Sadly, there are some people who still believe that singles should not be allowed to adopt children. Here are just some arguments and opinions many single parents by choice have heard along the way.

  • A child needs two parents so that one can fill in for the other when one is too tired, sick, and so on.
  • A child needs to be raised by both a male and female parent
  • If a single parent becomes ill or dies, the child will be orphaned.
  • Due to the need to work to provide for the child, they cannot be an at-home parent and give the child the attention he/or she will need.
  • Single parents often live under poverty line and receive government assistance

 Finding a good support system through the way

With all of the opinions, arguments and judgments you will surely hear along the way during you adoption process as a single parent know that it is important to be strong in the decision you make and know that you can make your dream of parenthood true. To help, it is important to find a good support system, a network of people who care about you and who will be there for you both emotionally and physically when you need it.

We find that many of the prospective adoptive parents working with AFTH say that they often find additional support as they go through the adoption process. Adoption is a thread that can pull many people together throughout the journey. You may find friends and neighbors as well as other hopeful adoptive parents you meet through the agency classes and events that have a connection to adoption that you will gain as resources for support along the way.

Below are just some helpful organizations geared to single parents that can be there for you whether you have a question or just need someone to talk to that can relate to your situation.

One Step at a Time

All you need for a family is love, commitment and a sense of humor!

Whether you are thinking about adopting as a single parent or you know someone that is a single parent, remember that millions of children are growing up healthy and happy in single-parent households. And that single hopeful adoptive parents are just trying to pursue their dream of parenthood just as any other parent. Like all worthwhile journeys, the path of single adoptive parenthood is easiest when taken one step at a time. To read more about single parent households and how less than a quarter of American families fit the old “Leave It To Beaver” model of a married, two-parent, opposite-sex household with children, check out our Families Are Changing post from 2009. https://afth.wordpress.com/2010/09/29/families-are-changing/