Tag Archives: Birth mothers

I thought I couldn’t either…

If you are a birth mother that’s involved in a post placement, hopefully you are beginning to make peace with your decision. If you’re in involved in an open adoption, you realized the family you chose was a great a fit for your child. For some birth moms they gain more family through the adoptive parents. This can make your decision feel worthwhile as time goes on. Getting updates, letters, and pictures help tremendously on keeping you involved in your child’s life. Let’s not forget about the chat with the adoptive mother about the characteristics you and your child share. I am four years post placement and I must admit I am not the same person I was when I placed. I am different in the best of ways. I have matured and always keep an open mind. I love speaking to my son’s adoptive mother about all the crazy, cute things he does.

Unfortunately, from the outside looking in people don’t see the bright side of your story. Most people still have the negative misconception of adoption. The belief of all birth mothers are on drugs, homeless, or worse is untrue, unfair and yet people still believe it. The belief that you “gave up your child” because you didn’t want to be a parent is another common misconception. It cuts deeper when it comes from close friends & family that share the same misconceptions. What hurts worse is hearing the all-time line “I could never do that”. Once upon a time, we didn’t think that we could “do that” either. Fortunately, us birthparents thought with our heads instead of our hearts, so our child could have more opportunities in life. The further you get through post placement you begin to figure out good ways to dodge certain questions and even better ways to respond to them. I have chosen to discuss the two best ways to respond to people regarding your decision to use adoption.

  • Silence!

There is no better way to combat negativity or ignorance than with good, old silence. Especially with the statement I mentioned before the “I could never do that” line. I have heard this time after time and I always respond with silence. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about anything. Keep in mind, that most people that say this have never been in the circumstances you have experienced. Also, this statement implies they are solely speaking with their hearts rather than their head. Placing your child because you wanted him/her to have a better life, both parents, or a loving & compassionate home is a great thing. It means that you are thinking past your own feelings and emotions for the good of your child. So, if your boyfriend’s sister wants to mention something about your adoption, ignore her to the high heavens. Some people may never truly understand.

 

  • Think about it, smile, & be kind when you speak.

I have had a few instances where some people weren’t being negative at all. They are generally surprised by our courage and call us brave. They are eager to learn more about your situation with adoption rather than shunning you. I have encountered people that wanted to hear about the brighter side of adoption rather than the side they are accustomed to. It’s okay to answer the questions you are comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to set the record straight and dispel the misconceptions. These conversations can be very therapeutic and make you feel empowered. You will be shocked at how some people look at birthparents as heroes. Your child is a blessing that made someone’s family whole.

 

 

Coping with post placement isn’t about struggling with your own emotions regarding your decision. It mainly consists of learning to deal with people who think you should feel a certain way. People have told me that I should be ashamed of myself, but I’m not ashamed. People have told me I will regret my decision in the long run, but I don’t. After all this time, I couldn’t imagine being without the adoptive parents I chose for my son. I wouldn’t change that for the world. Embrace your strength as a birthparent and everything negative will become a breeze in the wind.

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

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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

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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!

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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

Pregnant? What to Expect at the Hospital if you are making an adoption plan

Know_Your_Rights_ImageLabor and delivery and the hospital stay are probably the biggest causes of worry among some expectant mothers who are making adoption plans. They worry if they will have time with the baby, how they will feel, how they will be treated by the hospital staff, if they should include the adoptive parents, and many other things.

Thinking about and preparing for the hospital stay before it happens can help reduce anxiety and calm some of the fears that you may be experiencing. Think about how you would like to handle things before it occurs. Let your wishes be known to all those involved.

Questions to Ask Yourself Regarding Your Hospital Experience

  • Who do you want to visit you? Who do you want to visit the baby?
  • Do you want the prospective adoptive parents at the hospital? Do you want them in the actual delivery room or just in the waiting area?*
  • How much time do you want to spend with your baby? Do you want to hold or feed your baby? Do you want your baby to be in the room with you?
  • Will you name your baby or will you just give your baby the name the adoptive parents intend to use? You will be asked to give the baby a name.  You may already have a name selected or you may know the name that the adoptive parents have chosen and give that name for the original birth certificate.  Sometimes now in the more open adoptions, moms who intend to place and the adoptive families may choose a name together.+
  • What mementos from the hospital do you wish to bring home with you and what do you wish to pass on to the adoptive family? Many birthmothers treasure their baby’s hospital bracelets, the cards that were on the crib, and the tiny caps placed on their heads minutes after birth. It is your choice to keep these or pass them on to the adoptive parents.  Many hospitals are more than willing to accommodate adoption situations by providing 2 sets of these keepsake items if asked.
  • How do you wish to leave the hospital? Many birthmoms have later commented how hard it was to leave their baby behind in the hospital and wish their baby had left first. Others may want to actually place their baby in the adoptive parent’s arms.
  • When would you like to sign relinquishment papers? This is something to think about so it doesn’t sneak up on you.  The laws vary in each state, so you should ask your adoption agency or attorney for more specifics.

Birth Mom Buds has a fill in the blank hospital action plan so your wishes can be in writing.  Email birthmombuds@gmail.com to request a hospital action plan form.

*Adoptive Parents

Some women feel they have to go out of their way to please the adoptive parents during the hospital stay.  This is not true.  This is a highly emotional time for you and you have to do what feels right for you.

Many adoptive parents would like to be there during the labor and delivery since this is something some of them have not experienced before and the only way they will experience it is second-hand. That being said , it is your choice,  if you don’t feel comfortable you have a right to say no.

+Hospital Staff

You have every right to name your baby even if you are placing him/her for adoption.  Don’t let anyone tell you different.  The adoptive family may not keep the name your chose or you can have that conversation with them before the birth.

Many birthmoms have reported being mistreated by hospital staff. A woman who is going to place her child for adoption should not be treated any differently than any other new mother unless she requests it. Some birthmoms have reported that nurses and doctors have treated them rudely or tried to talk them out of adoption. This is unacceptable! It is your decision to place and you should not have to justify that to hospital staff.

If you feel you are not being treated right tell someone! Tell your social worker or attorney who can then speak with the hospital administrators and advocate on your behalf.  If you feel comfortable doing this yourself you are also welcome to advocate on your own behalf.

 

Send Me Back to My Birthmom

angry-girl-467x267The words every adoptive parent dreads to hear but will probably encounter at some point in their parenting lifetime.  Carrie Goldman, an adoptive mother wrote a great article about this on adoption.net.  She talks about how it made her feel, how she handled those dreaded words that tear at your soul and what other people said to her when she expressed what happened on facebook.  Here are a few snippets of the article, you can find a link to the full article at the bottom of the snippet.

“I want to leave this stupid family. Send me back to my birthmom.”

My ten-year-old threw that statement out last week when I told her that I wouldn’t make pancakes for breakfast. I knew she would be getting a doughnut later in the morning, so I made eggs and fruit to prevent a sugar overload. My girl tends to be a big grouch when her blood sugar is low, and her response to my suggestion that she start off the day with something healthy was met with extreme hostility.

Have you had mornings like this? Or what about afternoons or evenings.  Read how this mom dealt with it…Send Me Back to My Birthmom by Carrie Goldman

Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue: Families Through Adoption On Valentine’s Day

It’s February, hImageearts and love literally seem to be everywhere. We all know that Valentine’s day is a time to celebrate love-all types of love.  Romantic love, puppy love, love for friends, parents, grandparents, and children.

Have you ever thought about the love adoption brings? Adoption is a unique kind of love triangle. An adopted child has two families, for life, he or she will always be loved by both of them. There is no changing that. This unique love needs not be forgotten. In fact, just like every other type of love, it should be celebrated.

Holidays can be difficult for birth parents.  A day dedicated to love… of course it can be emotional. Birth parents may be sad, sentimental, and nostalgic during this time. Sure a lot of people argue that Valentine’s Day is a silly made up “Hallmark Holiday” but nonetheless it serves as an extra reminder about people you love-children included. Undoubtedly your child’s birth parents will be thinking of their child when February 14th comes around. If your child is old enough he or she may also think about his or her birth parents too.

Use this Valentine’s Day to celebrate the unique love in your family, both adoptive and birth families. A little “I’m thinking of you and I love you” go a long way. Handmade cards and gifts are worth so much more than any keepsake you can buy in stores. Get crafty, either yourself or with the kids. Below are links to get some inspiration going. Have fun and keep in mind that whether you are touched by adoption or not, even Valentine’s Day can be a reminder of both happiness and loss.

…Feel free to use some of the quotes for your Valentine crafts and cards!

Valentine Ideas for Kids- FamilyFun.com

Valentine Crafts and Ideas- Martha Stewart

“Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.”– John Lennon

“For love within a family, love that’s lived in
But not looked at, love within the light of which
All else is seen, the love within which
All other love finds speech.
This love is silent.”–
T.S. Eliot

“Children and mothers never truly part –
Bound in the beating of each other’s heart
.” — Charlotte Gray

“All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother”– Abraham Lincoln

“Love is the master key that opens the gates of happiness.”– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Gift Card Drive

There is no greater way to honor National Adoption Month and the upcoming time of thanks this November than by giving back to those less fortunate. AFTH is often asked by community organizations and AFTH families “what is something we can do to really help birth mothers and pregnant women in need?” This question is very hard to answer because each woman has very different needs.

Each year just before the holiday season, AFTH makes a donation of gift cards to birth mothers who have placed through the agency and have been identified by social workers as needing some extra financial assistance – many of whom are parenting other children. Last year, AFTH donated a total of $10,325 to 31 women and one man who were parenting between 2-3 children each and who had placed through AFTH’s domestic program.

The gift cards help the women to purchase groceries, clothing and toys for their children during the holidays. Each year, heartfelt thanks you letters remind us that the gift cards are often the only way for some of the women to afford to do anything special for their children during the holidays.

AFTH Gift Card Drive…
AFTH will graciously be accepting TargetAcmeWalmart and Visa gift cards in denominations ranging from $25-$200 (please indicate gift card amount because some cards don’t say and we will need to know). The gift cards will be given to birthmothers with children at home in need of a little extra help during the upcoming holiday season.

You can buy gift cards at almost any supermarket or pharmacy at their gift card kiosk.  You don’t have to make a separate trip to a specific store, making it easy to pick one up when you’re out running errands.

Gift cards can be sent to the AFTH main office at 30-31Hampstead Circle, Wynnewood, PA 19096 – Attention:Gift Card Drive. Please send gift card donations to arrive by November 25th -Thanksgiving.

If you would like to become even more involved, AFTH can provide a flyer to help you spread the word at your church, work, or other group organization. Contact KristyG@afth.org for more information on this year’s AFTH Gift Card Drive benefiting birth mothers and fathers in need.

Standing Tall

This was reposted with permission from the author Lacy from the Birthmom Buds Blog

When I was about eight years old I went with my mom to visit my uncle. I loved visiting my uncle. He worked on a railroad and he always had great stories about all of his many adventures. This particular visit to his house he had a video for my mom and I to watch. It was a video of a vacant building being imploded. For whatever reason, he was invited by a friend of his to watch (and record) this spectacle. I was captivated. I sat and watched the camera zoom into the structure. I waited patiently for the crowning moment. I listened intently to the hustle and bustle of the workers as they prepared to detonate the structure. Then just like that, it was done. What was once a tall building was now a pile of dust and rubble.

Looking back I can’t help but wonder why I was so captivated by such an event. Maybe I was just a little kid who wanted to see something blow up, or maybe it’s just human nature to enjoy watching things fall. Either way, I can’t help but wonder. What purpose did that building serve? I was never told what it was actually used for. Even if it was just a warehouse used to store items, surely someone somewhere had fond memories of it. What about the people who built it? How would they feel if they knew I took such pleasure in watching the fruits of their labor crumble to the ground?

As birth parents we face unique challenges that other parents do not. While other parents are watching their children take their first steps, we will watch this moment from a distance and some of us won’t watch at all. We also face spectators who want to see us fall. People who are so put off by the idea of adoption what they write us off as dead beat parents, lazy, or just plain heartless. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that we’re the only group of people out there who face these spectators. From my experience, however, it certainly seems that these people are allowed to stand a little bit closer to the front lines.

As I move through life as a birth mother, I look for reasons to stand tall every day. One look at the photo of my son that sits on my desk can turn an otherwise crappy day into the day I decide to live life like it’s my last day on earth. The thought that one day my son will possibly be proud of me can give me the burst of energy needed to pull myself through the week, month, or even the year. Most recently, I’ve decided to think of the spectators. That ugly little group of people who stand on the sidelines, waiting for me to fall. I will never let those spectators see me fall.

Besides, whenever a building of some significance is scheduled to be demolished, there is always a whole other group of people fighting to preserve it.

Cheers!

-Lacy