Tag Archives: adoptive parents

How To Tell Your Child’s Adoption Story

Explaining a child’s adoption story can be overwhelming for the adoptive parents. Some don’t know when is a good time to tell their child, while others are unclear on how to tell them. For starters, there is no right or wrong way to discuss adoption with your child. However, it is best to start introducing positive adoption language as soon as possible. Your child should be familiar with adoption language because it is a part of their story & their identity. Down below are a few tips to help you tell your child their adoption story.

How & When to Explain

Make sure to take your child’s age and maturity into consideration. The story should be simple and age appropriate. Give them details that you can elaborate on as they get older. The details should be truthful, so that you don’t contradict yourself later. Share the excitement with an upbeat tone. Understand what your child is asking. Let them know that it’s okay to ask questions and talk about their adoption at any time. Don’t be afraid to revisit topics you may have explained at an earlier time. This will happen as your child’s curiosity grows and their understanding develops over time.

Ages 0-4

            This is the best time to start sharing your child’s adoption story. Let’s face it kids love being the center of attention. They’ll be more eager to listen to their own story. Whether it’s the story of their birth or the story of the magnificent time they made your family whole, they want to hear it. The meaning of adoption doesn’t quite sink in yet, so keep the story basic. Let them know they were born the same way everyone else is. They grew in their mother’s tummy, but she couldn’t parent at that time. Explain that you wanted to be a parent very much, so you adopted him/her. Include that their birth and adoption were both awesome events that will never be forgotten.

Ages 5-11

            Within this age group, the concept of adoption and having two sets of parents becomes clear. As your child gets older and mentally develops you may notice them experiencing more complex feelings of loss and feeling different. Make sure to have open dialogue with your child. It is essential to see how they are putting the story together. Your child’s stage of development, emotional & intellectual maturity may determine how they piece the information together. Answer any questions regarding their birth parents appropriate for their age. If any misconceptions of their birth parents form, offer alternative views to address the situation.

 

Ages 12-18

Around this age children in general begin pulling away from their parents to form their own identity. Children who have been adopted may have a difficulty forming an identity if there is any information lacking. Parents can help by understanding the need for this information. Help them attain the information they are searching for. Also, give them the freedom to explore it. As for any age, make sure to keep the line of communication open. It is vital to hear what your child is saying and what they are asking. Allow them to share their feelings with you. Help them with any struggles they may be having regarding their adoption or their birth parents.

 

Time is of The Essence

When talking to your child about their adoption story timing is everything. It’s best to start as early as possible. Don’t let your child’s adoption story be a family secret. If you didn’t tell their story when they were young children, start telling them soon. It is important to let them know that they can come to you with any questions they may have. Always leave an open line of communication regarding their adoption or birth parents. As children get older, their questions may become more complex. Be open and accepting to whatever they may want or need to know.

Surviving The Wait

Bottles? Check. Diapers? Check. Bassinet? Check. Baby? Not so much. Adoption can be a beautiful and rewarding process. In some cases, adoption can be as quick as a few months. Then there are other cases, where the adoption wait can go from months to years. This can be a nerve-racking experience. Adoptive parents go through every inch of red tape by filling out the application and completing the mounds of paperwork. Don’t forget about getting fingerprinted for the required clearances. Finally, the home study is completed, your profile has been created, and you are available to be shown to expecting parents. For many waiting families, this can sometimes be the hardest part of the process.

You may be thinking; we’ve done everything we were asked to do and now we wait. The paperwork, though time consuming was the easy part because it was in our control, but now the unknowns begin, we cannot control how long we wait.

During this stage, many things will go through your head. Should we prepare the nursery? Do we start or continue buying baby supplies/clothes? What do I tell my employer? Will we even be placed with a child? It is normal to feel this way. Sometimes it isn’t just the wait that is out of our control. There can be outside factors that are impacting your wait as well. Most of the time, families are waiting for an expectant mother to pick their family. Then after a family is picked there are still many unknowns to be answered. That leaves families to wonder, “what can we do?” Here are a few tips on surviving the wait!

                    Get Involved

One of the best ways to survive the wait is to get involved. Read adoption articles, magazines, books, & blogs. It’s good to familiarize yourself with what is going on in the adoption world. If you are open to adopting a child of another race, now is the time to begin educating yourself about the complexities of transracial adoption. Read stories about other adoptions, so you know you are not alone in the process. Ask your agency if they offer support groups. These support groups can be very helpful. You can talk to other adoptive parents that are waiting too. It’s healthy to have a place where you can be honest about your feelings and hear what others are going through.

Keep your profile, home study, and clearances current and up to date if you have been waiting for a while.  Now is the time to stay connected with your social worker. Don’t be afraid to call to check in, share what you are struggling with and ask any questions that you may have thought of since your last contact. Your social worker is there for you.

                 Write A Journal

This might sound crazy, but share a journal with your spouse. When your child gets older it will be rewarding to share with him/her your experiences while waiting to be placed. This is a great way to express your feelings and thoughts while going through the adoption process. Let immediate family and friends write an entry as well. Most of the time, it’s not just prospective adoptive parents that are struggling with the wait. Family and friends anticipate the arrival of the child too. Entries from family and friends give the “outside looking in” perspective. These added entries show how much you and your family want and love the child that is being adopted.

Make sure to add in any accomplishments that lead you to the next step in the adoption process, it can help you visualize how far you have come in the process already. Add pictures of you preparing for the nursery/baby room, shopping for baby supplies/items, and family gatherings. Imagine years from now when you and your family look back over these journal entries, videos, and pictures how much love and appreciation will fill the room. You will not only be able to tell your child how much you love them and couldn’t wait for them to get here, but letting them see it in a tangible form. There are some things that words alone cannot describe.

If you are struggling with the wait, writing can be therapeutic. One adoptive mother explains, “I often felt alone during the wait. I mean my husband was waiting too but we handle our emotions differently. It was hard for outsiders to understand my struggle with all the unknowns. When I came across another woman’s blog post about her struggle during the wait, it made me feel connected. She was saying exactly what I was feeling and it felt good to know others were thinking what I was too. It actually sparked me starting my own blog and I cannot tell you how helpful it was to write about my journey while I waited.”

 

Learn About Other Member of the Adoption Triad

Learning about adoptees and birth parents can be both enlightening and beneficial. Your perspective is only one part of the equation on this journey and it is vital to seek out and listen to voices from the other member of the adoption triad.

Read blogs by women who have placed their child for adoption. You’ll find out that there are more myths than facts. Not all birth mothers come from low income, broken families. Not all birth mothers are homeless and addicted to drugs. No, birth mothers are not “giving up” their baby and “taking the easy way out”. Take the time to learn the circumstances of birth parents. For one second, consider the mother that has the onerous task of choosing the family that will adopt her child. It can be a happy and disheartening moment all at once. No one wakes up and says they are going to place their child for an adoption today. The circumstances of life lead both adoptive parents and birth mothers to adoption. Read articles and stories of birth mothers to understand their side of the story that few get to hear.

Additionally, explore the voices of adoptees. You will be raising a child who came into your family through adoption and so it will be helpful to hear from those who have experienced it so you can better understand your child’s point of view. Challenge yourself, even when it may be hard to listen, to truly hear adoptees. The challenges and joys they experience. When you know the common struggles adoptees face, you will be better equipped to parent your child

    Talk to Your Employer/ Travel Options

Nine times out of ten you are going to need time off for your adoption process. Talk to your employer as soon as possible to let them know what’s going on. Let them know you might need 2-3 weeks of time off when your placement occurs. Ask your employer if they offer reimbursement of adoption expenses. Some employers do and some do not, but it never hurts to ask.

Research your travel options. Find the cheapest and easiest way to travel when you are ready to leave. It’s difficult to get exact prices, being as though you don’t know the dates you will be traveling. However, you can get an approximate estimate. Look up hotels and car rentals (if you’ll be needing one). If you choose to fly, research which city is best to fly out of, in the event you are not flying out of your residential city. If you are adopting an infant, check the state laws to find out when a newborn can legally board an aircraft. It varies from state to state and you don’t want to find out the day your family is trying to go home.

                             

                Get Some House Work Done

Do you remember that “To-Do List” that’s been collecting dust on your refrigerator? Well, you might want to put some work in to finish most of it before the baby comes. Get some quotes for that bathroom you have been wanting to remodel. D.I.Y. type of person? Price out the materials and tools you will need to remodel that bathroom. If the spare bedroom needs a fresh coat of paint, now is as good a time as any. Things will change when the baby arrives. Taking care of baby becomes priority #1 and getting sleep will be priority #1.5.

 

                                All of This Goes to Say

Much easier said than done, but enjoy the process. Good things come to those who wait. Use these tips to help keep you busy or get your mind off waiting. One day you will look back and appreciate the time you spent waiting for the new addition that made your family whole!

Feel the Love: How to Bond with Your Adopted Child

Smith & Sons (2)

The best things in life are unseen, that’s why we close our eyes during a kiss, a laugh and a dream and bonding is no exception- you can’t see it, but you can feel it. Bonding with your child is important and becomes almost critical if the child was adopted. Although we know adoption isn’t a birth mothers rejection, oftentime’s to adoptee’s it can feel that way. Is it important to reassure your child that they can depend on you and are safe and loved. Bonding is a process that cannot be rushed. A deep meaningful relationship can only develop through shared experiences, trust, and time. It’s essential for children to feel accepted, cherished, and loved in the purest form- unconditional and true. Remember, a family isn’t made from blood, it’s made from love.

“A family isn’t made from blood, it’s made from love.”

The Science Behind Bonding

Attachment is a strong, affectionate bond we have with special people in our lives that lead us to experience pleasure when we interact with them. We often feel comforted by those we have an attachment to in the times of stress. The beginning stages of bonding starts earlier and simpler than many think. According to famous Psychologist Bowlby, babies are born equipped with behaviors like crying, babbling and smiling to ensure adult attention and adults are actually biologically programmed to respond to infant signals. When a parent performs small steps such as holding their children close, singing sweetly to them, comforting them and rocking them softly to sleep, their child knows that their parent is dependable which creates a secure base for the child to begin exploring the world and feel loved while doing so. These things along with keeping a calm voice, skin-to-skin contact, and carrying your child are the beginning steps to making your adoptive baby feel safe, secure, loved and cherished beyond belief.

Vera Falhberg, pediatrician and specialist in the field of adoption attachments, categorizes the following as long-term effects from positive attachment:

  • Helps a child to sort out perceptions of the world in which he lives
  • Encourages the development of logical thinking
  • Develops social emotions in a child
  • Cultivates the formation of a conscience
  • Helps an individual cope with stress, frustration, worries, and fears
  • Fashions an appropriate balance between dependence and independence
  • Sets the stage for the unfolding of healthy future relationshipsUntitled design

The Importance of Comfort

Making sure your child has comfort is a nurturing, everyday desire all parents have. Comfort increases productivity and boosts self-esteem in children and who doesn’t want that? Contact-Comfort takes it a step further and examines the relationship between physical and emotional comfort with love and security. For example, we’ve all seen the reaction that a crying baby can have due to being picked up by its mother; the child relaxes and stops crying. This is believed to be a result of its first feeling of safety and security derived from this close contact. A famous experiment that is a true testimony of the importance of comfort was conducted by Harry Harlow in 1959. The experiment focused around baby monkeys that were separated from their birth mothers and reared to two mother-like figures; one terry cloth covered doll and one wire meshed doll. The babies held on tightly to the terry cloth covered dolls for security and comfort despite the fact that the wire meshed doll had a bottle attached to it. This experiment demonstrated the importance of a warm and comfortable environment to help a child thrive rather than a cold, uncomforting one.

Building Comfort for your Child

We suggest having an age-appropriate crib or bed, warm sheets and blankets, a few pieces of child size furniture and some toys they might enjoy. You may feel the need to over-indulge with bold prints and glitter, but decorating with too many bright colors may be too overwhelming. Decorating with soft, warm colors will put your child at ease and displaying few attractive toys that are soft and fuzzy will calm your child and help them feel right at home. Another tip we suggest is carrying you child in the front of your body, closest to your heart. The Moby wrap can help you keep your child close and aid in bonding while also freeing your hands.

Untitled design (1)

Ready, Set, Bond!

True bonding is not measured by time spent together or the favors done for each other but by the comfort you find when you realize you have each other. Now that you have some background knowledge on the importance of bonding, let’s put our theories and science to work. Here are some tips we offer to help promote a healthy bond between you and your child.

Be Sensitive and Empathetic

Empathy is all about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with someone else’s heart, and seeing through someone else eyes. Be sensitive to the needs of your child and handle with care and compassion. If your infant is crying, take time to rock them gently and sing to them softly.

Sit and Play

Playfulness decreases any feelings of threat and harm. Sit alongside your child and follow their lead. Find activities that will interest your child and stimulate them emotionally and intellectually. “I see you” is a great game to play that promotes eye contact and helps the child become familiar with your facial features and laugh.

Be Predictable

Keeping rituals and routines help let the child let him know what’s expected of them as well as what they can expect from you. Try to keep feeding times the same; the earlier your child realizes that when they’re hungry you will feed them the better it is for all. As soon as your baby shows signs of hunger, sit in a cozy spot with a drink of water, a nursing pillow and soft music playing. If your baby is easily distracted when feeding, you might try going in a quiet room with the lights low, says Jim Sears, M.D., author of The Baby Book.

Skin-to-Skin Connection

Child or infant massages are a way for you to gently nurture and spend time with your baby. They promote parent – to child interact and are often soothing and calming to your child.

Relax and Enjoy It!

Bonding is not like instant glue which suddenly and irrevocable cements the parent-child relationship together forever. Bonding is a life-long process of parent-child interaction. Take a deep breath and enjoy bonding with you child; not only will this make you feel better, but also help your child relax.

What are some rituals your family does to promote healthy relationships?

 

The Effects of Attachment and Developmental Trauma and Ways to Heal the Adoptee

The Effects of Attachment and

With National Attachment Trauma Awareness Day approaching on June 19th, we thought it would be beneficial to write about the effects of an attachment disorder on an adopted child. Did you know that one out of fifty infants nationwide suffer abuse and/or neglect annually? Often these children are so hurt that it takes more than typical parenting to heal their wounds. Without the proper knowledge of what attachment and developmental trauma actually is, these children could go their whole lives with this unresolved suffering that can continue to increase exponentially with each generation.  With some understanding of attachment theory, the adoptive or pre-adoptive parent can help their child avoid getting an inappropriate label and/or the wrong type of treatment, which can in fact be harmful.

History of the Attachment & Trauma Network

The Attachment and Trauma Network (ATN) is the nation’s oldest parent-led organization that supports families of traumatized children.  This network was actually formed by three mothers who were all adoptive parents that were struggling to raise their children that had attachment disorders.  The ATN has grown internationally in the past 20 years.  The organization provides trainings at regional and national adoption conferences, operates online support groups, maintains database of worldwide therapists and is the premiere network for all families raising traumatized and attachment disordered children. Their mission is to promote healing of families through support, education and advocacy.

To shine light on the millions of children who are diagnosed with this disorder every year, the ATN along with supporters and partners designated June 19th as the second annual National Attachment Trauma Awareness Day.  A few highlights that occur on this special day are as followed.

  • Volunteers will host screenings of award winning films that show the impact of early trauma on children.
  • Volunteers will spread the word through social media with the hash tag, “#NATADAY2015”
  • Volunteers can send a personal letter to an elected official, pastor, school principal or other civic leader to advocate for this cause.
  • They will wear blue ribbons or string around their fingers to symbolize the ties of love and importance of building attachment to help traumatized children become more resilient.

NATA-Logo-header

RAD vs. Attachment Theory

Attachment between a parent and his or her child is the bond formed between them, and the foundation of all future development. If you are the parent of a child with an attachment disorder, you may be exhausted from trying to connect with your child. A child with insecure attachment or an attachment disorder lacks the skills for building meaningful relationships.

RAD

Attachment disorders come in degrees of severity, with the most severe being Reactive Attachment Disorder. Very few children, even those with RAD, have all of the symptoms. Since a number of the major psychiatric disorders have overlapping symptoms, you should take your child to a psychiatrist to get the full diagnosis, The Mayo Clinic best describes RAD as “A rare but serious condition in which infants and young children don’t establish healthy bonds with parents or caregivers. A child with reactive attachment disorder is typically neglected, abused or orphaned. RAD develops because the child’s basic needs for comfort, affection and nurturing aren’t met, and loving, caring attachments with others are never established. This may permanently change the child’s growing brain, hurtling the ability to establish future relationships.”

Attachment Theory

Attachment Theory is focused on the relationships and bonds between people, particularly long-term relationships including those between a parent and child and between romantic partners. John Bolby was the first attachment theorist, describing attachment as a “lasting psychological connectedness between human beings.” The most important tenet of attachment theory is that an infant needs to develop a relationship with at least one primary caregiver for the child’s successful social and emotional development, and in particular for learning how to effectively regulate their feelings.

Signs of Attachment Issues in an Adoptee

Signs of Attachment Issues in an Adoptee

  • Avoids eye contact
  • Doesn’t smile
  • Doesn’t reach out to be picked up
  • Rejects your efforts to calm, soothe, and connect
  • Doesn’t seem to notice or care when you leave them alone
  • Cries inconsolably
  • Doesn’t coo or make sounds
  • Doesn’t follow you with his or her eyes
  • Isn’t interested in playing interactive games or playing with toys
  • Spend a lot of time rocking or comforting themselves
  • An aversion to touch and physical affection
  • Anger problems
  • Difficulty showing genuine care and affection
  • An underdeveloped conscience

This is a great chart created by an adoption training coordinator that outlines overlapping behavioral characteristics of an adoptee.

Therapy for Parenting a Child with a Attachment Disorder

Therapy for Parenting a Child with a

Parenting a child with insecure attachment or reactive attachment disorder can be exhausting and emotionally draining. With concerned effort, time and patience with your child, attachment disorders can be repaired. The key is to remain calm, yet firm as you interact with your child. This will teach your child that he or she is safe and can trust you. The most important thing you can do for your child is show them unconditional LOVE.

There are studies that do show specific healing treatments that will help your child get through the attachment disorder. Below are just a 6 different “needs that you will need to full fill for your child.

  1. They need to know that you are in control of your own feelings and will not, under any circumstances, attack them in any way
  2. They need to know that you are going to keep them safe in the world
  3. They need help managing their anger
  4. They need the opportunity to “tell you” about what happened to them.
  5. They need your reassurance that their body won’t be violated
  6. They need your reassurance that you will not abandon them, no matter what.

Treatment for reactive attachment disorder usually involves a combination of therapy, counseling, and parenting education. While there might be medication to treat depression and anxiety, there is no quick fix for treating attachment disorders like explained in the beginning of this bog. We have found in the research done that there are specific treatment plans that could help your child. See below for our top 5 plans that we believe are the best therapy for your adopted child.

  • Family therapy: Therapy often involves fun and rewarding activities that enhance the attachment bond as well as helping parents and other children in the family understand the symptoms of the disorder and effective interventions.
  • Individual psychological counseling: Therapists may also meet with the child individually or while the parents observe. This is designed to help your child directly with monitoring emotions and behavior.
  • Play therapy: Helps your child learn appropriate skills for interacting with peers and handling other social situations.
  • Special education services: Specifically designed programs within your child’s school can help him or her learn skills required for academic and social success, while addressing behavioral and emotional difficulties.
  • Canine Therapy: Canines are sometimes used as service animals for medical and emotional purposes but they also serve as therapy for adopted adolescents that have an attachment disorder.

Recommended Next Steps to Parenting an Adoptee with an Attachment Disorder

As many as 1.5 million children are diagnosed with an attachment disorder or development trauma each year and it is important to remember that early trauma can lead to a spectrum of conditions with unfortunate consequences for not only the adopted child but the families and society as a whole. Without the proper therapy and support of loved ones, the unresolved trauma of the adoptee can not only affect their emotional well being the rest of their lives but there is a huge physical effect as well. We mentioned in the above excerpts the therapy that we would suggest for your adoptee but there are other ways to help you through what might seem like the most difficult time of your life with your adopted child. Please take a look at this compiled list of attachment and trauma specialist throughout the country.

The Different Adoption Costs and How to Adopt Without Going into Debt

iStock_000011778223XSmall-300x225

As a prospective adoptive parent, you are likely researching various adoption agencies and professionals with one big question in mind: How much will this adoption cost, and will it fall within our budget? Many people say that they would really like to adopt but they automatically think they can’t afford it because the one word that comes along with adoption is EXPENSIVE. The one important piece of advice we urge our readers is to not just choose one specific adoption route because it is less expensive than the path you feel most. There are a lot of other important factors to think about when picking out the right adoption plan for your family. Be very honest with yourself and choose the adoption plan that you feel most comfortable and then focus on the cost associated with that choice. There are so many different ways that you can raise money throughout your adoption journey to help offset the cost and stay out of debt!

Statistics on the Cost of Different Adoption Plans

After making the decision to adopt, your family should understand and anticipate the financial costs associated with the different kinds of adoption. Costs of adoption may be minimal or can total more than $40,000, depending on a number of facts. The wide range of cost is dependent on the type of adoption, type of placement, agency, child’s age and many other different factors. Below are just a few statistics of how much adoption can cost, which are based on the different types of adoption.

  • Licensed private agencies- Fees range from $4,000 to $30,000.
  • Independent adoptions- This type of adoption is not allowed in most states but adoptive parents report spending $8,000 to $30,000. Fun fact, they spend over $5,000 in advertisement alone!
  • Intercountry Adoption Costs- If you’re adopting a child from another country, the range of adoption cost is $15,000 to $40,000+.
  • Foster Care Adoption- If you’re adopting through foster care, which generally involves becoming the parent of an older child, the cost is much lower: zero to $2,500.

Why does Adoption Cost so Much?

So what exactly are you paying for, other than the opportunity to become a parent? Breaking down the total cost into universal expenses and adoption-specific expenses might help you better understand where the costs come from and the best plan to pursue for your family.

1. Universal Expenses: These are the type of expenses that occur for every type of adoption, including the home study and court costs
  • Home Study: A home study must be completed for all prospective parents no matter what type of adoption you pursue. For a public agency adoption a home study may be waived or cost a minimal of $500. With other types of adoption it might cost $1,000-$3,000 for the home study alone.
  • Legal Fees: All domestic adoptions and some intercountry adoptions must be finalized in the court in the US. The cost for court document preparation can range from $500 to $2,000, while the cost for representing adoptive parents in an open adoption can range from $2,500 to $6,000.
2. Adoption-Specific Expenses: In addition to the costs common to every adoption, adoptive parents incur costs to the specific type of adoption that they choose.
  • Public Agency Adoption Costs: Most public agencies focus on placing children from foster care. Up-front fees and expenses for this type of adoption can be as much as $2,500 which includes attorney’s fees and travel expenses.
  • Private Adoption Costs: These costs widely ranges depending on the type of agency used. There is a licensed private adoption agency, an independent adoption agency and a facilitated/unlicensed adoption agency. The cost of private adoption agencies can range from $5,000-40,000 depending on which agency you choose to go with. Working with a private adoption agency definitely comes with a lot of benefits as the fees cover basically everything.
    • Free services provided to the birth parents
    • Educational Courses
    • Advertising and marketing
    • Home studies
    • Post placement support and paperwork
  • Intercountry Adoption Costs: Agencies that provide intercountry adoption services charges fees that ranges from $15,000-$40,000+. These fees generally include immigration; court costs and in some cases a required donation to the foreign orphanage or agency.

Tips on How to Save Money While Adopting

fundingblog

Prospective adoptive parents may be concerned about to costs of adopting a child, as is understandable based on the range that was given in the beginning of the blog. The important thing to understand is that to become a parent in general is rarely free of expenses, as pregnancy and childbirth can be extremely expensive as well. However, with the proper planning and knowledge about the different types of adoptions and available resources, it will be easier to develop a budget and set a plan in motion. A great book that has helped a lot of our hopeful adoptive parents afford adoption is the book Adopt without Debt written by Julie Gumm.

1. Adoption Grants: Adoption grants are basically “free” money for your adoption. But free doesn’t mean they don’t come without work. There are three basic grants that are available for any adoptive parent looking to help with the payment of their adoption.
  • Direct Grant: Direct Grant organizations review applicants and award money outright. The money is never paid directly to families, but is paid to your adoption agency or attorney. These are usually the hardest grants to receive. Resources4Adoption is a great go-to database for adoption grants and loans. Some organizations that reward direct grants are; Gift of a Adoption, Show Hope and a Child Awaits.
  • Fundraising Grant: This gives you an account with a non-profit grant organization to which people can donate. This provides your friends and family with the added benefit of a tax deduction when they give to your adoption fund. Some examples of great fundraising grant are; Lifesong for Orphans and His Kids Too!
  • Matching Grant: basically a combination of direct and fundraising. The grant organization allows you to fundraise and provide the tax benefit to your donors. Then they match a certain dollar amount of donations received.
2. Adoption Loans: Loans may make sense to cover large and immediate expenses that may be reimbursed later by your employer, the military, or the government’s reimbursement of non-recurring adoption expenses. One source of loans is the National Adoption Foundation which can be accessed through nafadopt.org.
3. Fundraisers are a great way to raise money for your adoption while having a great time! Here are just a few ideas we found that helped raised a lot of money, while getting the whole community involved!
  • “Tag The Bag”: Pick out the bag you are going to use for travels and get your family and community together. Put a price on how much you would like to raise and put a specific amount together per signature!
  • “Adoption Fund Garage Sale”: We had an adoptive family hold a garage sale teaming up with their local church and they raised over $5,000. You would be surprised how many people would donate used clothing and toys and even more surprised on how many people would be interested in purchasing used clothing and toys!
  • “Puzzle Piece Fundraiser”: Your family, friends, coworkers, and strangers can sponsor puzzle pieces for $5, $10, or any amount that helps you reach you goal. Then, you can hang your completed puzzle in your child’s room as a constant reminder to all of the people who worked to bring your child home.
4. Employer Benefits: A growing number of companies and government agencies are offering adoption benefits to their employees. Benefits may include:
  • adoption information and referral services
  • legal expenses
  • agency fees
  • medical expenses
  • post adoption counseling
  • paid of unpaid leave time for the adoptive parent
  • financial reimbursement
5. Tax Credit: Adoption federal tax credits may be available to defray some adoption costs. As of 2014 the Adoption Tax Credit is $13,190 per child.  Whether you adopt domestically or internationally you are eligible for a $13,190 tax credit the year you complete your adoption.  The credit amount can depend on a family income, whether the child has “special needs” and any other adoption benefits. Even now several states have enacted state tax credits for families adopting children from the public child welfare system in that state!

taxes2

Putting the Pieces Together

The majority of people work their entire lives to prepare for starting a family one day. Whether you have a baby through traditional means or through adoption, there will always be an expense involved. Don’t let the cost of adopting effect your decision to follow your dreams in creating a family. Like you can see throughout this blog, there are so many resources out there that will help you adopt without emptying your bank accounts

Paper Pregnancy: How Adoptive Parents Can Celebrate Their Time “Expecting”

When a pregnant woman walks into a store, she might get asked “is it a boy or a girl?” “when are you due?” “how are you feeling?” When a couple is experiencing paper pregnancy, in the stage of waiting with an adoption, that questioning doesn’t usually naturally occur. Hopeful adoptive parents are in an exciting stage of life yet cautious at the same time. The dual feelings found in the adoption journey up until placement may be compared to what a couple in their first trimester might experience until they hit the second trimester where there is less risk. Hopeful adoptive parents don’t want to get their hopes up or keep getting asked how much longer will they be waiting, but it is still a very important to be able to celebrate their paper pregnancy as well.

Paper Pregnancy
A Guide to Celebrating Your Upcoming Adoption

Whether you are spending months filling out paper work for government offices or for your adoption agency, your enthusiasm might be dampened from the sheer stress. One adoptive mother was lucky enough to have friends and family plan a nontraditional baby shower to celebrate going into the books.

An Adoption Shower How-To

Finding the right day to have your shower is tricky right off the bat, and it all depends on what you’re comfortable with. Waiting until homestudy is successfully completed, until you receive referrals, or even waiting until after you’ve had your placement, all are fine options. It is important for friends and family who want to host a shower to speak with the waiting adoptive parents first to gauge how they would feel about it – taking their preferences into account is really important.

Theme

Choosing a theme for the shower can be a lot of fun. If you are adopting internationally, consider intertwining the culture of the country you are adopting from, or if you are adopting domestically, state or city culture would make for an out of the box theme. If you are stumped for ideas, classic baby-centric themes can never go wrong!

Invitations

When inviting guests to the adoption shower, it won’t be that different from inviting guests to a more traditional baby shower. Something along the lines of, “Kristy and Dave have completed their paperwork and are in the books to adopt their new son or daughter! Let’s help them get ready for the big day when they get “The Call!” Help fill the nursery with gifts for the new addition to their family!” Designing invitations yourself can be fun, and way more cost effective so give that a try if you are feeling crafty!

Games and Activities

Sometimes at baby showers, or in this case adoption showers, not all of the guests know each other so playing some games can help to break the ice. An adoption trivia game where guests have to list as many famous people who are adoptive parents or who were adopted in a limited about of time, or combine general adoption questions with more personal information (What agency are Kristy and Dave using to adopt their son or daughter?). You can always opt to keep it even simpler and forgo games if that isn’t your style, this is your time to celebrate so you’re the boss!

Gifts

Buying for a newborn is a relatively easy task, but if you are adopting an older baby, toddler, or child your guests might be unsure of what items you need. Consider starting a registry so attendees know they can choose a gift you will actually use or even just pass some suggestions along to the hosts of your shower. Will you have to travel during your adoption? Maybe travel themed gifts would be useful to you or maybe you want to give your child’s birthmother or their orphanage gifts and your guests could help contribute to that.

An adoption shower is an opportunity for friend and family to share in the happiness and joy of the new stage in your life. Having an adoption shower is a great way to commemorate your impending parenthood!

Other Ways to Celebrate Being Paper Pregnant

Having an adoption shower is just one of the ways you can celebrate your upcoming adoption. Here are some other ways that soon to be adoptive parents celebrated and prepared for their new bundle of joy:
• Every couple of weeks to something new, that you’ve always wanted to do. Take that pottery class you have been thinking about taking because it won’t be easy to do after a baby!
• Maybe you don’t want to buy baby clothes because you don’t know the gender of your new baby, so instead every time you get a coupon for diapers purchase some. You can get different sizes because you know they will eventually be used!
Share other ways you have thought of to celebrate in the comments below!

There Are Two Sides to Every Story: The Paper Pregnancy Debate

It might not seem like a controversial topic, but the term “paper pregnancy” has sparked an interesting debate within the adoption community. Whether you agree with the opinions, it is important to know that it is terminology that may be a hot topic for some.

A Birthmother’s Perspective

“To me, a hopeful adoptive parent telling other people they’re “expecting” when they’re hoping to adopt just rubs me the wrong way. To me, it focuses the attention on the hopeful adoptive parents, which is exactly where it should not be. A hopeful adoptive couple is not “expecting.” They are not “paper pregnant.” They are simply hopeful that the right paths with converge and a woman choosing adoption with pick them to adopt her child, or in the case of international adoption, they’re hoping all the people involved will take the steps necessary to make the adoption happen,” – Monika via Expecting

Adoptive Parent Quote

An Adoptive Parent’s Perspective

“We adoptive parents need to be encouraged to see the adoption experience from all sides, so thanks Monika. Monika believes that calling adoptive parents “expectant” or “paper pregnant” could be coercive or at the very least makes it harder for the mother to decide against parenting. I don’t doubt that the fear of disappointing would be adopters influences some women to go through with the adoption plan, but I think this has little to do with the words we call pre-adoptive parents and everything to do with the inherent nature of adoption. No matter whether you call them expectant parents or hopeful parents or maybe someday parents, they are anticipating and expecting the arrival of this child with joy and excitement,” – Dawn via Creating a Family

A Final Thought

Maybe the words you use to describe the journey you took to get to where you are now, waiting for your adoption placement aren’t the same as the ones used by your pregnant friends, but the love and happiness your bundle of joy will bring you, deserves a little celebration!

Here are some other resources you might find helpful:

http://livinglifewithopenarms.blogspot.com/2015/01/whats-too-much-and-whats-too.html

https://www.adoptivefamilies.com/waiting-to-adopt/wanting-joyful-reactions-to-adoption-announcement/?utm_source=eletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Apr15

Another Perspective of Open Adoption: How Birth Grandparents Stay Involved and Build a Relationship

The popular news column, “Dear Abby,” featured a post by a caring grandmother that read:

Dear Abby: My teenage daughter will be giving birth soon, and she has decided to place her baby for adoption. I have told her that whatever she decides, I will support her decision. Here is the difficult part: This will still be my biological grandchild. When this beautiful child is lovingly handed over to the adoptive parents, I will be losing a grandchild. I am already in mourning. Are there other grandparents out there who are going — or have gone — through this and how are they coping? I already see a therapist, but I would still like to know how others are coping. — Un-grandparent in Ohio

Dear Un-grandparent: I wish you had told me more about the kind of adoption your daughter has chosen for her baby. If it is an open adoption in which she will be kept informed about the child’s milestones and progress, ask the adoptive couple if they would welcome you as an “extra” grandparent for the child. If I hear from others who have gone through this process, I will let you know, because I’m sure they will write to help you through your heartache.

This exchange inspired the following blog post about open adoption, adoptive families and birth grandparent’s involvement in life post placement.

Birth Grandparents and Open Adoption

The Early Stages of the Adoption Plan

Answers to Some of the Tough Questions

Learning of your child’s choice to make an adoption plan might leave you wanting to ask a lot of questions, here are some common questions and answers that other people in a similar position had about what adoption meant for them as grandparents.

Will I still be a grandparent if my child creates an adoption plan?

• What does being a grandparent mean to you?
• Does this vision fit with your child and the adoptive family’s vision?
• How do you see yourself being involved in an ongoing relationship with your birth grandchild?

5
Your grandchild will always be a part of your life regardless of whether your child chooses to parent or place the child with an adoptive family and open adoption gives you the option to send updates and be updated on their life.

Can my child handle the emotional strain of making an adoption plan?

• How has your child coped with grief and loss in the past?
• How have you managed loss in your own life?
• Are you in some ways blaming yourself for your child’s current circumstances?
• What family rituals are in place to commemorate losses?

5
The life experiences of your child may be very different from your own. It is important to step back and realize that this will be one of the biggest and most difficult first decisions as a parent that your child will make. They need to decide what the best thing will be for their child.

How can I best demonstrate my love and understanding for my child?

• How can you support your child no matter their decision?
• What can you do to prepare yourself for this life change?
• What role does your child want you to play while they are contemplating their decision?
• What expectations does your child have of you should they choose to parent or plan an adoption?

5
Give yourself permission to grieve the upcoming changes in the life of your child, no matter their choice. Ask for help if you need it and if you don’t know what to say sometimes just being there shows you care. Birth grandparents usually have some kind of influence the birth parents’ decision to parent, abort or place the child for adoption. It is important to not to have your wishes pressure or sway your child during the decision making process. They might be make a different choice than you believe to be right, but in the end it is their decision and having you, the grandparent, as a support system for them is what they need most.

How can I stay involved with my birth grandchild and their adoptive parents after placement?

“We have experienced parenting, so we know what we’ll miss, whereas a young birth mom doesn’t always realize this,” said Janice Widner, whose daughter placed a child for adoption years ago, in a Chicago Tribune article. “So for birth grandparents, adoption can be harder emotionally.” It is not uncommon for birth grandparents to feel less important in the adoption process because the birthparent’s have the final say when it comes to open adoption. Keep in mind that this is your grandchild and that is different than being a parent again, help and support your child make the best decision for their life.

Birth Grandmother with grandchildren
If your child is placing through open adoption, it might be a good idea to have a conversation with your child about your desire to be a part of your grandchild’s life after placement. You and your child could approach the adoptive parents and ask them how they feel about grandparent involvement in the child’s life as well and agree upon something that works for everyone involved. One grateful birth grandmother responded to the Dear Abby post explaining that each summer the adoption agency her daughter and son-in-law placed through sponsors a picnic that is attended by birth and adoptive parents as well as grandparents, other family members and of course the adopted child. Adoptions From The Heart hosts a picnic just like this one in Pennsylvania, Virginia and Connecticut.

5
Other ideas of ways to stay involved and connected from actual adoptive parents who have maintained relationships with their child’s birth grandparents include:
• Crochet a baby blanket, sew a quilt or if you aren’t crafty head to a nearby store and purchase a baby blanket.
• A photo album, collage, or just pictures of the baby’s birth parents as they were growing up. It will be wonderful for your grandchild to see themselves in their birthparent’s at different ages and adoptive parents like to have photos of other members of their child’s birth family!
• A family tree and compete medical history from your perspective would be an invaluable gift because birth parents don’t always know as many ins and outs as you might.
• Write letters. Some adoptive parents keep scrapbooks or binders with letters, cards and items from birth families for their children
• We keep in touch via email and visits; sometimes we meet halfway in between our homes to go to the zoo or aquarium.

Building a Relationship to Last a Lifetime

Having a relationship with a grandchild is a desire for some birth grandparents and building that relationship through honest communication with birth parents and adoptive parents can help make that possible. Whether it is letting the adoptive family know of your love and support through letters and visits, or establishing a valued friendship by going the extra mile, it might just make all the difference.

Similar Building Beautiful Families Blog Posts:

https://afth.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/bith-grandparents-how-can-i-stay-involved

Outside Resources:

http://withlove-birthgrandma.blogspot.com/
http://oliveyouforever2011.blogspot.com/
http://birth-grandma.blogspot.com/