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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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Adoptions From The Heart to Host 2nd Annual Zumbathon with Miss Pennsylvania, Kayla Repasky

#StrongHeartedWomen Will Make Their Way to the Greater York Center for Dance Education on Sunday, August 26th with Miss Pennsylvania, Kayla Repasky

Love Zumba? You’re in luck! Adoptions From The Heart will be hosting its 2nd Annual Find Her Footing Zumbathon on Sunday, August 26th from 1-3 pm at the Greater York Center for Dance Education. We are excited to utilize this space again and devote the two hours to Zumba work-out. With the help of six of Central Pennsylvania’s finest Zumba instructors, we will join together to raise funds for #StrongHeartedWomen.

Last year, we were fortunate to host Miss Pennsylvania, Katie Shreckengast, who was on her journey to Miss America with platform: “Building Beautiful Families Through Adoption.” As an adoptee herself, we were excited to welcome her and her family to the event.

This year, we are pleased to announce the Miss Pennsylvania 2018, Kayla Repasky will be attending our event to support! We are so happy to have Miss Pennsylvania at our event two years running. Kayla is utilizing the platform “Think First America,” a non-profit she founded. She has created various education programs to promote anti-bullying and to educate K-12 students on how to use technology responsibly in an effort to fight against cyber-bullying.

Kayla is a senior at the University of Alabama pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, ultimately hoping to become a Nurse Anesthetist. She is also an avid dancer, which is perfect for our Zumba dance-filled day.

Sponsoring our event again this year is Lancaster’s own In White LLC, a bridal and dress boutique in the heart of Lancaster County. Their charitable donation last year and this year have helped us achieve our fundraising goals. We are also excited to announce that we will be holding two kick-off fundraisers at Isaac’s in both Lancaster and Harrisburg on Thursday, August 2nd all day! 25% of proceeds will benefit AFTH’s Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund, which will ultimately kick off our Zumbathon.

For the whole month of July, the first thirty registrants will be entered in a drawing to win an 8 day/7 night timeshare ($89 booking fee). This is an amazing opportunity to support a great cause, and get a chance to win a free vacation! In addition to this contest, any person who makes a “No-Sweat” Donation of $30 or more will also be entered to win the timeshare.  Two great opportunities to win!

We hope to see you on August 26th breaking a sweat with us! If you can’t make it, consider donating. Any amount is truly appreciated! And remember to tag your social media posts as #StrongHeartedWomen to promote our event. See you there.

To register, follow this link: Zumbathon Registration

To make a No-Sweat Donation, follow this link: No-Sweat Donations

Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Growing Up As An Adoptee: What They Want You To Know

Open adoption has changed the platform for adoptees by giving them answers, both about their backgrounds and their birth parents’ background. As an adoptee grows older in age, questions begin to surface and adoptive parents’ primary job shifts to educate their child about their own adoption. The idea of open adoption is a beneficial experience for children to comprehend their adoption stories, while gaining the chance to meet the parents they originated from. Although the roles of a birth mother and adoptive parent look different, they are equally important.


Girl, Father, Portrait, Eyes, Outdoor, People, Cute

Open adoption is so special and should be celebrated

What adoptees want others to know is that they are grateful for the family they have been given – both adoptive and birth families. In the beginning, when gaining information about their adoption, it can be emotional. Adoption is another avenue of creating a forever family and a home. Juliana Whitney, author of What Growing Up In An Open Adoption Has Taught Me, discusses what open adoption means to her. “It is having the ability to ask your birth parents the questions that adoptees in closed adoptions rarely get answered. It means being able to develop a thorough understanding of how and why you wound up somewhere other than in a home with your biological parents. It’s been an unforgettable experience. (Whitney)”

Balls, Balloon, Balloons, Rubber, Plastic, Fly, Helium

All adoptees have their own personal feelings towards adoption

Whether these feelings begin with questions such as, “why didn’t my parents keep me?” or curiosity stems about their backgrounds, every child experiences their adoption story differently. As confusion and possible sadness begins to run through the veins of adoptees, the most important concept to remind them of is that there was a never a moment in time they were unwanted or unloved. Reassurance towards these fragile emotions help the process become easier and less overwhelming.

Daisy, Heart, Daisy Heart, Love, Heart Shaped, Romantic

I am adopted or I was adopted?

After the adoptee was given a new beginning, they want you to know they WERE adopted. That title is a part of them but it’s not how adoptees want to be recognized. They have and are creating a life of their own, while understanding the roots they came from. This helps them in defining their own identity.

I, Self-Esteem, Self Liberation, Self-Reflection

Final advice from adoptees

  • “Answer any questions that your adoptee has. The earlier you tell them about their adoption process, the more time they have to understand it and the more time you have as the parent to help them understand. (Whitney)”
  • If an adoptee wants further information about their birth family, don’t take it too personally. This process does not mean the adoptee doesn’t love the family they were given. It’s a route adoptees choose to take to help fill some blanks they could be experiencing emotionally.
  • Read about adoption. Not just blogs or books, but do research about adoption. Adopted children are at a higher risk for certain behaviors such as moodiness, stress and uncertainty. It’s important to become familiar with their emotions so an adoptive parent is prepared to take the steps to either prevent them from happening or help their adoptee identify and resolve the issue.

Board, School, Self Confidence, Continue, Discourage

Sources:

http://www.americaadopts.com/what-growing-up-in-an-open-adoption-has-taught-me/

Adoptions From The Heart’s 30th Annual Family Picnic

Adoptions From The Heart Celebrates Their 30th Annual Family Picnic

This Sunday, Adoptions From The Heart held their 30th Annual Family Picnic, celebrating families brought together by adoption. Despite the gloomy weather forecast, families still made their way out to Fort Washington State Park to eat delicious food, play games, listen to music, get their faces painted, make crafts, and bid on their favorite raffles. Pet Valu’s Ardmore and Flourtown Store came out with kids’ games, dog treats, and raffle prizes for the whole family. In total, we were able to raise close to $700 for the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund.

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We welcomed back the Barker Brothers again this year (previously known as Under This Fire). They provided Picnic-goers with their indie-rock sound. We were also pleased to have Ryan Bonner Photography take over the family portraits once again. For food, we had wonderful donations from Herr’s Potato Chips, Wawa, One Potato Two Potato, J&J Snack Foods, Giant Food Stores and Ambler Pizza. Attendees had a wide variety of selection to complement their picnic lunch.

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Our raffles were also a huge hit! From the Family Fun basket, to the Tour of Philly, raffle bidders swarmed the tables bidding on their favorite one. Some prizes included a free season at Soccer Shots, tickets to the Philadelphia Phillies, Sesame Place, Six Flags, and The Crayola Factory, various restaurant gift cards, two pet baskets from Pet Valu, and two timeshares to a choice of 160 locations!

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A special thank you and shout-out to our fabulous sponsors this year. Without them, this event would truly not be possible: Cofsky & Ziedman, LLC (Gold Heart), Kling & Deibler, LLP (Gold Heart), Bob’s Red Trucks (Silver Heart), Petrelli, Previtera, & Schimmel Family Law (Friends & Supporters), Goldfish Swim School (Friends & Supporters), and Key Business Solutions (Friends & Supporters). Thank you again for your continued support of Adoptions From The Heart and the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund.

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30 years of fun and family, and we are onto another picnic! Thank you to everyone for coming out, and we will see you next year!

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 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/

How to Know You’re Ready for a Transracial Adoption

How to Know You_re Ready for a Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption can be an exciting process for families who are educated about the different needs for a child of a different race. As excited as you may be, it’s important to be informed of the process and requirements for your baby to be happy and healthy.

Make sure you’re open to conversation with friends and family, because that’s the first step to ensuring the surroundings are safe and comfortable for your baby. To be positive you’re going to excel in your adoption and beyond, reach out to others who have been through the same process. This could help you realize aspects you’ve never considered, and educate you on the different needs for your child.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re ready to adopt a child of another race:

Be comfortable talking about race.

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If you struggle with the idea of discussing race or race relations, then it may be difficult for you to protect your child from any hurtful or harmful remarks. If your child is a minority, she may encounter situations of discrimination, racism, etc. – as their parent you will have to prepare your child for any circumstance that may arise, and safeguard them from damaging environments. Racism still exists, so be willing to distance yourself from ANYONE (including family and friends) who is not supportive, positive or healthy for you and your child.

Consider the community you live in.

It’s important that the area you live in will be safe and enjoyable before you start the adoption process. But it’s also important that it’s diverse so your child doesn’t question themselves or feel like they don’t fit in. Consider the school district they would attend, and any clubs or organizations your child could join. Are there other children that live nearby for the child to play with?

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Be open to conversation with other transracial adoptive parents.

Establishing a support system of other families who have adopted a child of another race can create a great space to learn and prepare. Try reaching out to other families who have done this process before. You never know what you may learn from people’s experiences, and it can help build up your supportive community.

Educate yourself in Health, Skin, and Haircare.

When adopting a child of another race, the parent must know the different health conditions your child may be susceptible to, how to protect and take care of different skin tones, and the best way to take care of different textured hair. It’s a great idea to find a class that teaches these necessities.  Make sure you know proper care techniques so you can pass them down as the child grows.

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If you are not educated in these topics, or unwilling to learn, then you may want to reconsider adopting a child from a different race.

Transracial adoption can be scary, but it is also beautiful and rewarding, if you’re prepared.  Make sure to do your research before jumping into something, and to always keep an open mind, because that can benefit not only you, but your future baby as well. If you’re okay with discussing race, creating a safe environment for your baby, talking to other families who went through the process, and educating yourself on different needs of the child, then you should feel like you have a good start for your journey.

 

Sources:

https://www.thespruce.com/considering-interracial-adoption-27326

https://www.adoptuskids.org/adoption-and-foster-care/how-to-adopt-and-foster/envisioning-your-family/transracial-adoption

http://www.mashupamericans.com/family/10-tips-for-a-successful-transracial-adoption/