Tag Archives: adoption

Bonding With Your Newly Adopted Infant

Baby Bond (1)

When you finally receive the call and it’s time for your baby to come home, a nonstop train of thoughts could be encompassing your mind. If creating a connection with your baby is something that you’re worried about, here are a few tips to help build that mother-baby bond.

Schedule daily face time:

Your baby wants to see your face and make eye contact. Try to schedule face-to-face time with them. This won’t just strengthen the bond, but it will also help develop the baby’s sensory skills.

While trying to make eye contact, keep in mind that babies are near-sighted, only able to see about eight to fifteen inches away from their face. Try to hold them close to your face and body, and they will soon associate you with feelings of safety and love.

Take advantage of feeding times:

baby blog

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



Snuggle Time:

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



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





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

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





10 Tips for Blending Adoptees and Biological Children Through Adoption

Many parents use various methods to grow their families which include birth, surrogacy, IVF, IUI, and adoption. Sometimes parents use a mixture of these methods, especially using a combination of birth and adoption. Families with both adopted and biological children face a distinctive set of challenges and some parents may feel pressured to make sure their children all feel like they are being treated equally. It is important to keep in mind that it would be nearly impossible to treat all children equally BUT you must treat them all fairly and according to their needs.

If your family is planning to adopt a second child or more children, there are some things you should keep in mind to prepare both your adopted children and biological children for the process. Here are some tips for making sure all your children don’t get feelings of jealousy and all feel safe, loved, and accepted into your family and home.

  1. Gather as much information as you can about your adopted child’s history. Make sure to share as much of it as you can with your child or children already living in your home.


  1. Educate your children about adoption. If you have young children in your home it may be difficult for them to understand the adoption process but if you have older children, teach them about adoption and use the appropriate terminology. Make sure to use love language when explaining the process and encourage your child to do the same. Let your kids ask questions and understand they might be curious as to why their sibling’s birth mother decided to place them for adoption and share as many details as you can about this with them but emphasize the importance of keeping these family details private.


  1. Prepare the existing children in your home for the new sibling they are about to have. If they are having feelings of anxiety or insecurity about this new addition, assure them everything will work out and your love for them won’t change.


  1. Include your existing children in the process and make them feel like they are involved in this new change. You can do fun activities with your existing children to help welcome their new sibling like painting or drawing pictures or posters for their new siblings or going to the toy store to get them a small welcoming gift.


  1. Avoid favoritism and treat your children fairly. Some parents may not even notice that they may be giving special treatment to either their biological children or adopted children but be aware of your actions and make sure you are being consistent in the way that you are treating your kids.


  1. Confront ethnic differences if you are adopting transracially as well as physical differences. Explain these differences to your children and stress to them that diversity is beautiful. If you’re adopting a child of a different race, incorporate their cultural traditions into your family.


  1. Acknowledge birth order. If you’re adopting out of birth order of the children already present in your home, take into consideration that older or younger children may feel removed from their role within the family. Take their feelings about this change into consideration before deciding to adopt out of chronological birth order.


  1. Let your kids have a chance to get to know each other. Remember it’s okay for your kids to take it slow as this process takes time. Don’t make your kids feel like they must rush this transition.


  1. Incorporate regular family meetings to give everyone a chance to feel heard. It makes for a healthy and happy family when you keep the channels of communication open with everyone in your home and can make all the difference during a big transition like this. Make sure you are taking the time out to listen to your children individually.


  1. Talk to a social worker, family counselor, or adoption specialist if your family is having difficulties with this new transition. You don’t have to go through this alone and if your children especially are having a tough time adjusting and are acting out, it might be a promising idea to ask a professional for help.


If a new child is entering your family, be honest and fair with all your children. This will ensure a solid foundation for your blended family. When all is said and done, a positive attitude goes a long way and your responses as a parent should reassure all your children that they are all simply your children – whether adopted or biological. Celebrate your blended family and if you follow the tips above, you will be on your way to having a blend that happens genuinely.







Guiding You Through the Home Study Process











For many expectant adoptive parents, the mention of a home study could be confusing and intimidating at first. If you are a prospective adoptive parent and are feeling anxious about the home study process, getting all of the information you need will ease your worries and ensure a smooth, well-prepared home study.

1.What is a home study?


To start off, a home study is simply the process of making sure you can become an adoptive parent and live in a stable environment to raise a child. It requires a full criminal background check, a look at your finances, family background, and a review of your personal relationships. It is encouraged for prospective adoptive parents to start the home study process as soon as possible because it is the longest step that needs to be completed before connecting a family with a child or pregnant birth mother.

2. What is a home visit?


During this process you will meet with a social worker and certified Home Study Provider who will visit your home to review and verify that is a safe environment to raise a child. Don’t worry, your house does not have to be perfect — simple cleanliness and safety are most important. You want to make sure you:

  • Store chemicals, cleaning supplies, and medicine out of reach
  • Cover electric outlets
  • Install gates and safety railings for stairways and fences around pools
  • Inspect window screens and locks on windows and doors
  • Check smoke and carbon detectors to make sure they’re fully functioning
  • Examine any tall and heavy furniture bolted to the wall\

3. How to prepare for your interview.


Your social worker will meet with you or any member of your family who may be living in the same household as the adoptive child (family members exclude any young child who is not able to understand the adoption process) to conduct an interview. The interview will take place with each family member together and individually so that the social worker can learn more about your family history, personalities, goals for adoption, and knowledge on adoption.

Here is a list of sample interview that may come up during your home study interview:

  • Biographical/Family Background
    • How was your family as a child?
    • Share your best childhood memories.
    • Share your worst childhood memories.
    • Do you have any other children?
    • Are you married? If so, for how long?
    • How do you feel about child discipline?
    • Why have you decided to adopt?
    • What are your wishes for the future?
  • Community
    • How would you rate the safety of your community?
    • Describe the school system.
    • What school would your child attend?
    • What activities are available for your child?
  • Health
    • Do you have any health issues? If so, how are you handling them?
    • Will your family history cause you to potentially develop any health issues?
    • What is your plan in case of any health emergencies?
  • Criminal
    • Have you ever been arrested? If so, what were you arrested for?
    • Have you ever been convicted of a crime? Is so, what were you convicted for?
  • Finances
    • What is your annual income?
    • What is your educational background?
    • What is your profession?
    • Are you prepared for any unexpected expenses that may arise?
    • Are you able to provide for what a child will need?

You should become familiar with these questions to better prepare yourself for the interview. During your interview remember to be honest, relax, and be yourself!

4. What you’ll need.


Getting your appropriate documents in order will ensure a smooth home study and allow it to move quickly. Here is a checklist of the documents you will need:

  • Autobiographical statement
  • Parenting plan statement
  • Driver’s license(s)
  • Birth certificate(s) of everyone who lives in your home
  • Social security card
  • Marriage certificate if applicable
  • Divorce decree(s) if applicable
  • Military discharge(s) if applicable
  • Past adoption decree(s) if applicable
  • Green card(s) if applicable
  • Financial information
  • Latest income tax return and tax returns for the last 2-3 years
  • Verification of employment (most recent pay stub, letter from your employer, or a statement stating that you are not working)
  • Proof of insurance: (home, health, life, auto)
  • Medical statement(s) of health status for applicants and everyone living in the home
  • Immunization records
  • Passport(s) if adopting internationally
  • Pet vaccination records if applicable

5. Who to choose as a reference. 


It will be important to prepare a list of references for your social worker to contact. You will want to make sure you ask your references beforehand if it is okay to use them as a reference. You should choose people who are close to you, know your personality, and who are supportive of your decision to adopt.

The home study process may seem overwhelming but keep in mind that it is a necessary step in the adoption process and is not as scary as it might seem! It may feel invasive but keep in mind it is just to ensure a child will be placed in a safe home with a loving family. Remember you are not alone! If you have any concerns along the way reach out to family, friends, other parents who have been through the adoption process, or your social worker for support along the way. Relax, be genuine and when all is said and done, it will all be worth it. Good luck!

“He who can reach a child’s heart can reach the world’s heart.” -Rudyard Kipling












Easy-To-Do Fundraisers to Help With Adoption Costs

If you are like any of the thousands of families considering adoption, you may have one of the same overwhelming fears – the costs. Let it be known – you are not alone in this thought process. It can seem daunting. So, what is the next step? How can you help mitigate that fear? Here is a list of some easy-to-do fundraisers that can help you lessen the costs, and calm those nerves.

Online Fundraiser – Crowdfunding (GoFundMe)


This is a hugely popular option. With so many people scrolling through their social media feeds in a day, it would be hard to pass by a personal fundraiser through GoFundMe. The key is – share as much as you can! Get the word out there on all social media platforms. Let your story be heard. Friends, family, and coworkers alike will donate. And this is a wonderful way to spread awareness about the unknown costs associated with adoption.

Host a Meal

Dinner Party

Who doesn’t love to eat a delicious meal? Host a spaghetti dinner, a pancake breakfast, or even a breakfast for dinner. Invite your family, friends and co-workers and enjoy a night of good food and good company. Charge a few dollars for attendees, and leave a donation jar on the counter for those who want to donate a little bit more. Every little bit counts!

Kickball or Dodgeball Tournament

Dodgeball tournament.jpg

Want to get more active with your fundraiser? You’re in luck! There are a lot of ways to do so. If it’s cold out, find a local gym and utilize their basketball court for a night of dodgeball. Have people form teams, and sign up for a fee. Everyone loves some healthy competition. If it’s on the warmer side, head outside for a game of kickball. Find a baseball field, and you are set. Have local groups come out form a team for a fee. Like the dodgeball tournament, this is a fabulous way to get the community involved.

Karaoke Night


For all you singers out there, this is a spectacular way to steal the show. Host a karaoke night at a local bar, or even in the comfort of your own home. Charge people individual or couple fees (for all those who love duets). Leave a little donation jar at the stage with a write-up of your story. Have fun singing your hearts out while raising funds for your adoption journey!


Affording adoption can seem difficult, but with these few fundraising ideas, you are on the way to helping your costs! Of course, there are other ideas to consider (whatever fits your lifestyle most!). Visit http://fundyouradoption.tv/101-adoption-fundraising-ideas/ to navigate 101 Adoption Fundraiser Ideas. There will surely be one that suits you.

Two Very Different Adoption Journeys

As an adoptive mother, I know that one of the most exciting moment of my life was when we got “the call” as a waiting prospective adoptive family. Much of the conversation with our social worker is now a blur except I definitely know “holy sh$t” slipped out repeatedly from shock that it was actually happening. This was not a drill, it was happening and we had 18 hours before we had to be at the hospital. In a daze and flurry of excitement, my husband and I rushed around preparing for our early morning departure. It was about midnight that evening when another type of feeling emerged. It was a heavy weight when the chaos in my mind began to settle. The reality was in that exact moment at a hospital in another state, a women rested after labor with her newborn in her arms as she contemplated the biggest decision of her life. It was a deep reminder that there are two very different experience to this journey. A reminder that changed my mindset and served me well over the next few days and honestly would for years to come.

Our journeys may have begun with a similar level of devastation. Ours was when we discovered our diagnosis of infertility. Her devastation, we later found out, hit when she saw the two lines appear on the pregnancy test when she was already 4 months along. After we both asked ourselves “what now?” our experiences which eventually brought us together would take two very different paths.

As we began explore our options and settling on adoption, our excitement began to grow. For us, beginning the adoption process the real question about becoming parents was now a “when” and no longer an “if”. Don’t get me wrong, the process was intense. The paperwork was pretty daunting at times. Then you add on the education classes, creating a profile, meeting with social workers, having a homestudy and eventually filling out a profile key…it was beyond overwhelming. But truth be told, we were seeing a light at the end of our tunnel. We know we would soon be in the books and awaiting “the call.”

One state away, the was an expecting mother was making appointments at her local clinic, buying baggy clothes so she wouldn’t have to tell her family her secret, and talking with her close friend who faced a pregnancy scare a while back. One day, she built up the courage to call Adoptions From The Heart and while she made it clear to the counselor she was just gathering information, she couldn’t help but realize in the deepest place in her heart that adoption was the path she would choose. When it came out to her family that she was not only pregnant but considering adoption, the opposition began to pile on. “You made your bed lay in it!” “I will not have my first grandchild given away.” “If you choose adoption, you will have to leave our house.” And even though her friend was being supportive in many ways, when she said “I could never do that, I’d love my baby too much” it became clear that if she decided on adoption, she would not have much support.

As we progressed through the process on our end charging to get “into the books” as fast as we could, we felt like the light at the end of the tunnel was getting closer. But for the woman who we would later know as our child’s mother, each step she took forward in the process had very different emotions. Even though she was sure about adoption, it was overwhelming and she felt as though a countdown had begun. Only two months left for her to feel her little one in her belly. Only one more childbirth class. Only 2 days in the hospital with her little one before saying goodbye. Even though she was sure of her decision, it felt overwhelming. As we began to prepare for one of the most joyous events in our life, she braced herself for one of her hardest.

Adoptee Speaks Out About Her Adoption Story!

Q&A with Maddie O’Brien who we had the pleasure of speaking with about her journey through finding out she was adopted. Maddie is a nursing student at Desales University.

How long have you known you were adopted?

I have known for as long as I can remember. I don’t remember being told a certain day or at a certain age— it’s just something that I’ve always known.

Do you remember how you were told?

My mom used to read this book to my brother and I when we were little called How I Was Adopted. She also used to tell us bedtime stories repeatedly pertaining to our adoptions. My story always was that I came home through the PHL airport, and every single person in my family who met me there ALL got sick— fever, chills and profuse vomiting. My dad, who is a teacher, had a surprise baby shower for me the next day and there was a “beautiful cake that said Welcome Maggie” (my name is Maddie haha) and the sight of that cake made my dad throw up even more.

Maddie and her father.

Maddie and her mother.

Were you adopted as an infant?

I was adopted at six months old through Pearl Buck. I was born on March 26th and my Gotcha day is October 1st.


Do you have other siblings that were adopted?

I have an older brother who is from Korea and was also adopted at six months old through Pearl Buck. We are not blood related even though everyone swears we look alike. We are 18 months apart and we are best friends.

Maddie and older brother Jerry.

Have you met your birth mother or father?

I have not met my birth mother or father although I wouldn’t be opposed to it. I unfortunately had a closed adoption so it’s very hard to find your parents in that case. My friend, who was always so intrigued about my culture and my birth parents, would constantly do research about Korean adoptees and eventually found this group I could be a part of through Facebook called Korean Adoptees of America. This is a closed and private Facebook group where people can share their stories about their adoption and our culture. Through this group, you can be sent a DNA kit in hopes to find your birth parents in Korea. Supposedly there is a huge desire in South Korea where parents who gave their children up for adoption are yearning to find their birth children. Parents who are in that situation were given free DNA kits, as well as Korean American adoptees in hopes that they will be connected. I requested a DNA kit and it’s actually sitting on my desk right now. I am very apprehensive to take it. Although it would be cool to see if I could find my birth parents or any other siblings I may have, it’s not super important to me because I love my parents and brother here. Those people are my family and DNA is the least of what makes someone family. My friend and I have tentative plans to visit South Korea next summer.


What is your adopted family like?

They are amazing. They have given me a life I couldn’t have ever dreamt of. My mom and dad are both teachers and my brother is a business finance student at LaSalle University. My Irish Catholic parents have raised my brother and I to have great morals and have blessed us with an amazing house, education, amazing vacations and best of all, their endless love.

Mom, dad, Jerry and maddie

Any advice or words of wisdom you live by? comments

I read this quote one time that said, “if the world was blind, who would you impress”. That quote stuck with me ever since because something I am a huge believer in is good character. Also, it is crazy because I didn’t think that answering these questions would bring back so many emotions and thoughts I haven’t even thought of. I still have my bag that I came home from Korea with- it has two outfits, a bottle and a blanket. And I looked at my birth certificate and it said that I was 2.3 pounds when I was born which is so crazy.

Maddie and Jerry today.



Prospective Adoptive Couple Opening Themselves Up to Being “Catfished”

There was recently a news article out of North Dakota featuring an adoptive couple who fell victim to an adoption scam. The family decided to pursue an identified adoption which means they themselves are responsible for finding an expecting mother who is considering adoption. Families often do this by way of social media. The problem is that this route to adoption also opens up emotionally vulnerable prospective adoptive parents to scammers. This couple in particular were contacted by a pregnant woman reaching out about placing her child only to find that the ultrasound photos she had sent to confirming pregnancy was pulled from a Google search. Unfortunately, it’s not a new story. This particular couple discovered the scam before they offered financial assistance and lost money in the process.

Prospective adoptive parents may steer towards an independent adoption first and foremost based on the lower costs associated with the process. Unfortunately, the cost gap isn’t the only difference and a higher risk of being scammed isn’t the only pitfall. Even those couples who choose to work with a facilitator should do their due diligence and know some of the downfalls of working solely with a facilitator as outlined here.

The National Council For Adoption insists that both expectant parents considering an adoption plan and prospective parents hoping to adopt to work only with licensed nonprofit adoption agencies and attorneys.

From Our Experience (those using facilitators):

It is disheartening when couples contact AFTH in a state of emergency looking for an agency to complete their adoption already in process because after receiving a match through a facilitator they have now learned the expecting mother’s state makes it illegal to use facilitators. 15 different states have such laws. Unfortunately, the adoptive family is now in a position of needing to hire an adoption agency on top of the fees they have already paid the facilitator making the process more expensive instead of less than working with an agency from beginning to end. Not to mention, if the adoption falls through, facilitators and matching services often do not extend credit towards another match. Typically their fees are deemed earned when the match occurs no matter the outcome.

Pitfalls for Expecting Parents too:

The prospective adoptive parents are not the only ones who are at risk of getting a raw deal when choosing to work without an agency. More often than not, expecting parents do not receive any sort of professional counseling. This is one of the most important decisions of someone’s life yet they don’t have the opportunity to have a counselor who is there is advocate for their needs to walk them through every step of the process. Not having counseling is a huge downside for expecting parents and also puts the prospective adoptive parents at a higher risk of a disappointment or disruption as well.


Recently, AFTH has been contacted by several families to assist them with situations they have been matched for and need an agency to continue with the process. On more than one occasion, when working with both the prospective adoptive parents and excepting parents our social workers have discovered that they are not as close as a match as they had been lead to believe. Differences in desired openness or drug/alcohol usage, mental health backgrounds etc. created gaps between expectations and realities. One party is then put in the awkward position of having to decide to walk away or continue even though it’s not good match.

Anytime prospective adoptive parents seek to connect directly with expecting parents without the help of an agency, they can sometimes give into the temptation of the carrot dangling before them without fully vetting the situation. Meaning they can be contacted by someone who isn’t a strong match for what they were open to but because there is the light at the end of the tunnel of waiting they might be tempted to quickly say yes even if it is outside of their comfort zone. When working with an agency, they act as the intermediary to make sure matches are a good fit for everyone involved.

State Regulations:

There is a reason that adoption agencies undergo licensing and are required to adhere to strict state adoption regulations. Organizations that solely serve as a matching vessel are able to skirt around those requirements while unfortunately putting both the expecting and prospective adoptive parents at risk.

Finding What’s Best for Your Family:

Each family needs to find what best fits their own needs. If you are considering a matching service, facilitator or going it completely on your own and foregoing an adoption agency or attorney, please be sure to do your research so you are aware of the potential risks you may be exposed to. The adoption process is complicated and riddled with many unknowns. An adoption agency is there to advocate for and protect all parties involved in the adoption. Don’t be caught off-guard by being underinformed about the entire process from start to finish.

If you would like to contact one of our adoption social workers to talk more about your situation, call 800.355.5500