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

 

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How To Make A Great Adoption Profile

You have completed the background checks, education classes, and homestudy  process not to mention tons of paperwork and now you are ready for the next step…your profile. This is one of the more important parts of the process as it’s a way to give an expecting parent a glimpse into your life and what it would be like for their child to live in your home. The weight of the importance of the profile along with the fear that comes with staring at a blank canvas can sometimes cause families to freeze up.

Whether or not you have a creative bone in your body, you can create the perfect profile because you are an expert on the subject of, well, you!

What IS a Perfect Profile?

The perfect profile is one that really showcases the personality and uniqueness of your family in a real way. It isn’t about presenting what you think an expecting parent is looking for in a perfect family, because perfect families don’t exist. It’s about an expectant parent choosing the family that is perfect for her. Each prospective adoptive family has unique qualities that will draw the right match.

Many birthmothers have said they just “had a feeling” and “knew they were the one” when they found the family to raise their child.

It’s important to remember that while your mind may be focused on a child-to-be as an infant, expecting parents who will see your profile are trying to find a family they can picture their child with, not

Avoid Common Mistakes

  1. Wording Matters

Remember that the men and women who are looking at your profile are not yet birth parents. They are either expecting or if the baby is already born, they are parents. Starting off the profile with “Dear Birthmother” is not only incorrect but can be offensive.

  1. Address But Don’t Dwell on Hardships

If a long road of infertility led you to adoption, it’s ok to include it briefly as a reason that you are pursuing adoption however it would be inappropriate to include an entire page solely focused on your struggle.

  1. Be Sensitive To Cultural Differences

Our social workers have heard it time and time again. An expecting mother is looking through profiles of families open to transracial adoption yet nowhere in their profile do they address the topic. It then becomes the elephant in the room and the expecting mother will often ask the social worker, “Do they know my baby will be black?” Love is not all that is needed for transracial adoption and so it’s important to include the topic of transracial adoption in your profile if you are open to those situations. Expecting parents often want to see how you plan on incorporating cultural differences in your everyday life. Show the diversity in your family, neighborhood, school or church and discuss the support system you have in place so your child will have racial mirrors in their lives.

Pictures ARE Worth 1,000 Words

This by far is the most important part of your profile…your pictures! Pictures are what draw an expecting parent into your profile to read more about your family. They show your family’s personality. Here are some tips specific to your use of pictures in your profile:

  1. Pictures should be clear and not distorted.
  2. Wedding photos aren’t really of much interest to expecting parents so it’s ok to have one included when you are telling your story but not to have them take up significant space in your profile.
  3. Crop photos to eliminate unimportant backgrounds.
  4. Use bold titles and captions for your photos and be sure to mention anyone who is in the photo with you, by name or just by relation to you. For example, if you have a photo of you holding your niece and don’t have a caption, it may be confusing. The person viewing the profile may believe that it’s your daughter, and find it strange that there’s no mention that you have a child in your profile.
  5. Use photos that also show your community. Do you have a pool that you go to every summer? Is there a playground at the end of your block?

Backgrounds & Fonts

Backgrounds and fonts can pull each page of the profile together to make it cohesive. Be sure to pick a background that isn’t too busy. You don’t want it to take away from your photos. The font you choose should be easy to read. Families may choose a font because it resembles handwriting however it’s important to also consider the easy of reading the words too. If it doesn’t flow easily, fonts can be cumbersome to your reader.

It can sometimes be difficult to find a balance in the wording –too much or not enough. The best advice we can give you is to do a combination of paragraphs and bullets while bolding any words or phrases you find important to draw the reader’s eyes to. You want to make the most important information stand out to someone who may be quickly flipping through pages.

Get An Outside Opinion

Finally, when you are finished with your profile, send it to friends or family to review. They can help make sure that your personality shines through and catch any thing that you might overlook, like a missing caption, typo or difficult to understand phrasing.

Most Importantly, Be Yourself

Our number one advice for people creating adoption profiles is be honest! The best matches are made when personalities of families shine through profiles. Your profile will be picked by expecting parents who connect with the real you, not a perfectly polished image of you.

The person who chooses your profile is your perfect match and if your profile is passed over, it doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with your family, it just means it wasn’t meant to be. Keep in mind when they do pick your family that means they passed by other families and yours is the one that personally stood out to them. Don’t lose hope, when you have your child in your arms, you will look back and realize what is meant to be will be.

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/

6th Annual Find Her Footing 5k’s SUPER Success!

Soaring, Flying, Running for a Great Cause: The 6th Annual Find Her Footing 5k’s SUPER Fun-Filled Day

Adoptions From The Heart’s 6th Annual Find Her Footing 5k was held on Sunday, April 15th at Delaware County Community College.The race benefitted Adoptions From The Heart’s Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund, which provides financial assistance to birth mothers both during and after pregnancy. Birth mothers in the past have received help with rent costs, transportation costs, and much more. We are happy to announce that we raised over $3,500 this year.

Last year, we incorporated the superhero theme into our 5k, using the slogan, “Superman was also adopted.” It was no surprise that many showed up in their superhero attire. Starting with the Kids’ Dash, children were draped in superhero capes, masks and clothing. Although the weather was a bit chilly and rainy, we still welcomed over 50 runners and walkers of all ages. We also welcomed back our wonderful volunteers from Villanova University’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega and Marple Newtown High School’s Interact Club.

Once again, our raffle baskets were full of fabulous prizes. Some prizes included a signed hockey puck from the Philadelphia Flyers, a signed photo from the Philadelphia Eagles, various restaurant gift cards, free trainings from various gyms in the area, free parties from the Flyer’s Skate Zone and Wynnewood Lanes, and two time shares to a choice of over 160 locations.

We would also like to thank all our sponsors this year: Banville Law (Justice League Sponsor), The Law Offices of Deborah E. Spivack (Superman Sponsor), Arthur Hall Insurance (Kids’ Dash Sponsor), and Republic Bank. One runner brought in over $700 with her individual fundraising efforts. A few others brought in donations as well. Additionally, we received over twenty dozen bagels from Original Bagels, 300 bananas from Trader Joe’s, and water from Wegman’s. They have continually supported our events throughout the years, and we are very grateful for their contributions.

Thank to everyone who came out and supported this year. We look forward to seeing you next year!

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/

Which is Correct? Is Adopted or Was Adopted

As a parent of a child who came to your home by means of adoption, more often than not over time you forget how you became a family and instead focus on being a family. As a waiting family, all you do is live and breathe adoption. Even afterwards, while you are introducing your little one to the world, much of your time and discussions revolve around adoption.

I’ve heard adoptive parents say that adoption was a one-time thing and so they always make a point to say that their child was adopted when it pertains to the discussions.

But then, from listening to the voices of adoptees I would guess that the majority of adoptees feel as though adoption has impacted their lives forever and so thinking of themselves as an adoptee and not someone who was once adopted may feel more accurate.

Different terms are appropriate for different purposes.

As a mother, I don’t want my child to feel as though his whole identity is solely centered on adoption. But as a parent, I need to understand how my son may feel now and as he grows older as adoption as a part of his story. I don’t want to chalk everything in his life up to the fact that he was adopted but I also don’t want to assume that none of his struggles are adoption related either.

So what’s the right answer?

Well, it’s a balance. Just like marriage begins one day marked by a wedding, it’s also a lifestyle and commitment to someone else’s needs as well as your own? So is adoption. The act of adoption has several specific days associated with the process however being adopted or being an adoptee is lifelong and becomes a part of one’s identity. It’s a part, a piece, of who someone is.

I believe one of the most important and maybe hardest parts of parenting an adoptee is allowing space for ALL his or her feelings surrounding adoption. The good and the bad. Adoption is tough and unless we are adoptees’ ourselves, we cannot fully understand what our children are feeling. However, we can create an environment of open dialogue. Where our children feel ok sharing their feelings without worrying about how their own feelings might impact us.

The last thing I want is for my son to hold back his true feelings because he is worried about how I might feel about his feelings. He needs to know that my love for him is stronger than any uncomfortable conversation. That, to me, his feelings are just as important as my own.

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/