Tag Archives: Domestic Adoption

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.

Reasons To Choose Or Not To Choose Adoption

Deciding whether to parent or make an adoption plan can be a difficult decision. There are many factors that play into finding the right fit for your situation. Am I financially ready to parent? Will my family & friends support my decision? Better yet, does my partner support the idea of adoption? These are all very important questions to consider. Although it can be overwhelming, take your time to research and weigh all of options. Down below are reasons to choose or not to choose adoption.

 

  • I’m not emotionally ready.

Like all new experiences adoption may seem scary at first. This is a normal feeling to have and you will overcome with time. The best thing to do at this point is get all the research you can. The internet is a great source of information. Read adoption blogs by expectant/birth parents. Research the advantages of open adoption. You will discover that open adoption can be a happy journey. Most adoptive parents respect their birth mothers enough to view them as additional family members. Both adoptive & birth parents join together in the best interest of the child.

  • The belief of taking responsibility for your own actions.

Fact of the matter is making an adoption plan takes great responsibility. By setting aside your own needs and wants to consider what is best for your child is taking full responsibility. You may have already considered your financial status, your educational future (if deciding to further your education), and support from your partner or family. These things factor into whether you should choose an adoption plan. The next big step is choosing a family that will give your child a loving, safe, & secure environment. Not to mention choosing a family that aligns with what you would like to provide your child. Completing these tasks mean that you love your child and that you are taking responsibility for their care & happiness.

  • My partner doesn’t like the idea of making an adoption plan.

Your partner may not feel comfortable making an adoption plan. If at any point he doesn’t feel ready to parent or able to financially/emotionally support the child, adoption may be an option. Discuss the concerns that may arise. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an adoption agency to go over your options, rights, and questions.

  • I was raised that if I get pregnant I keep the baby.

Family values can either persuade or dissuade your decision on adoption. It is important to remember that this is your choice to make. What works for one person may not work for others. Everyone’s situation is unique in its own way.

 

  • Wanting someone to love you.

There is nothing that can compare to a child’s love. However, having a child that will love you isn’t always in the best interest of the child. You have to prioritize the child’s needs over your own. Placing them with a secure and stable family is the most important aspect.

 

Consider these aspects when deciding if adoption is right for you or not. Make sure to do your research on adoption and other options that may be available to you. Talk them over with your partner and/or someone that you trust. If you choose open adoption, be aware that you are not leaving your child, but expanding your family. Find an adoption agency that best fits you and talk to a social worker about any concerns.

 

 

Secret Revealed: What Women are Looking for in Adoption Profiles

What women are looking for in adoption profilesOnce families are far enough along in their adoption process to begin working on their adoption profile, the number one question asked is, “What are women really looking for?” The adoption profile can range in length however includes photos and details about a family to help give expecting parents a view into their lives to see if they might be the right family for them. There are lots of articles and blog posts out there about what to and not to do when creating your profile. One of the best we have seen which includes lots of information and helpful guidelines is How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeline Melchner. Agencies offer classes going over the specific information that should be included in profiles and many different companies have sprouted up offering professional profile design services which some families may feel they want to utilize.

Even a long time adoption professional who has seen thousands of profiles over the years found herself stumbling when it was time for her and her husband to put pen to the paper to create their own profile. Even though 10 pages seem like a lot, it’s hard to capture who you are as a family in that limited space. How you met, why adoption, information about your professions, community, families, and what makes you different than the many other profiles he or she may also be looking at.

Truth be told, there is only one answer to the question “What are women looking for?” and that is…drum roll please…it could be ANYTHING! Ok, that may seem like a cop out but it’s so true. Over the past 30 years, Adoptions From The Heart social workers have seen families chosen for so many different reasons. Behind each and every reason is that it made a deeper connection.

One social worker even said that often when she is preparing profiles for expecting parents to review, she will guess the family that the expecting parents will choose however 9 out of 10 times she is wrong. “Even if I’ve been working with her for month and think I know her really well, so often she will find something about a family that I never noticed or will connect on a level that I have overlooked.”

Take a look at this very real list of why families’ profiles have been selected. And it’s probably not why you think.

  • The expecting mother noticed in the background of a family photo that their refrigerator was full of their child’s artwork. The fact that they took such pride in her creations was enough to show her they were the right family for her.
  • Recently a family was selected because they included a Ron Burgundy quote from a Will Ferrell movie. When the family had asked for feedback from social workers about their profile as they were getting ready to update it, it was one of things suggested the family might consider removing from their profile. However the family decided it was important to keep it in because it really captured who they were and in the end it actually became the reason they were picked!
  • The way the couple interacted in the video. It wasn’t forced, they made eye contact and smiled at each other and you could see their love. You’d be surprised how many couples don’t even look at each other during the video.
  • The expecting parents noticed a picture of the prospective father making cookies in the kitchen with kids from the neighborhood and loved how involved the couple was with children in general.
  • The couple showed goofy photos of themselves and she loved it! She knew they would bring so much laughter to her child’s life.
  • We have seen families picked because of their pets. Whether it was the type of animal they grew up with or even the pet they had wanted and never had when they were little.
  • A women chose a family because she noticed a photo with the father wearing a kilt at the Renaissance Faire. She had gone to the Faire each year and even suggested they host their visits there.
  • The family liked Mexican food and so does she.
  • The moment she heard the prospective adoptive father’s voice on the video, he reminded her of her dad and immediately she knew they were the right family for her.
  • The couple went blueberry picking and that was something the expecting mother had done with her family as a child.
  • The prospective adoptive mother was so put together, makeup and jewelry, in many her photos but this one photo she was holding a giant fish on a fishing pole. The woman thought it was awesome that she was a girly girl who wasn’t afraid of getting a bit dirty.
  • They were fans of the same sports team.
  • The woman who would classify herself as Gothic saw a photo of the prospective adoptive mother in her younger years dressed in Goth.
  • The prospective adoptive father’s mother, who would become her child’s grandmother, resembled her own grandmother.
  • The family lives in the state the expecting parent looking at profiles grew up in or visited and had special childhood memories from.
  • After seeing their Halloween-themed wedding, she knew they were the ones because that was her favorite holiday.
  • The family rode horses and the expecting mother had ridden when she was little and really wanted a family who would take her child riding.
  • She loved the beach and chose a family that vacationed at the shore each year.
  • The expecting parent played piano and when she saw a piano in the couple’s profile and found out the mother was a pianist, it made an instant connection.
  • She chose a single female who was a college professor for two reasons. One was that she was well educated and that was important. And two, because during her video she was so nervous her voice shook terribly the entire time and the expecting mother found it funny that she was so nervous even though she was a college professor.
  • The couple loved the outdoors and they were also very athletic which mirrored the expecting mother’s passion for both.
  • Names can often be a reason a connection is made. The prospective adoptive father’s name was the same as her father’s name who unfortunately has passed away and in another situation the prospective adoptive mother’s name was the birth grandmother’s name.
  • Sometimes a family is chosen because they already have children, especially if they had another child brought into the family through transracial adoption.
  • A same-sex male couple was once selected because it was the expecting mother really wanted to feel like she was her child’s only mother.
  • They were a military family and the expecting mother was in the military and it made an immediate connection between the two.

So you can see that it can really be anything big or small that makes a connection between the two families. It’s not to say that those men and women are choosing families for their children on a whim or without giving it much thought. It’s more about looking for signs and making a connection. Honestly, when making the extremely difficult decision to place your baby into another family’s home, 100 pages isn’t even enough explanation of the family one is choosing to entrust their child with.  It’s much deeper than that. It’s taking a leap of faith based on a gut feeling to choose to place a precious piece of yourself with another family and trust that the promises will be kept and that their profile was as real representation of who they are in real life.

So take Dr. Seuss’ advice:

SUESS1And just be YOU. You are not a PR person who is trying to make a pitch. The best adoption matches come from genuine connections. And you can never predict what it will be that makes that special connection and leads to the phone call that you’ve been waiting for.

If you want some more inspiration, take a look at lots of different varieties of profiles here.

If you are a birthparent, we would love to hear what it was about the family’s profile that created a connection for you?

November Book Reviews

All books purchased by clicking the link in our review or going to our bookstore (see tab above) will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  

Planning Parenthood: Strategies for Success in Fertility Assistance, Adoption, and Surrogacy by Rebecca Clark, Gloria Richard-Davis, Jill Hayes, Michelle Murphy & Katherine Pucheu Theall – This is a great book that offers all the latest insights on everything from adoption to fertility assistance, legal and medical risks, personal issues prospective parents need to consider, and more. Personal stories of parents’ experiences blend with insights to make for a powerful informative book on parenting options.  amazon.com price $14.78

On the Outskirts of Normal by Debra Monroe – Monroe, twice divorced wanted to create a loving family of her own. She fixes up her cabin in a small Texas town and adopts an African-American baby girl.  If being a white professional in this small town didn’t make her strange enough, being the single mother of a black infant certainly made her stand out.  Monroe’s biography of raising her daughter while battling prejudice, and a busy demanding work schedule is an engaging and poignant read. amazon.com price $11.21

Unmarried with Children: The Complete Guide for Unmarried Families by Brette McWhorter Sember – Unmarried parents are not as unusual as they once were.  Many heterosexual couples are choosing to remain unmarried but live as a family and there are more and more LGBT families that are unable to marry.  This book is a great resource for the legal rights of mothers, fathers and children. Including inheritance, custody, second parent adoption, assisted reproduction, how to obtain birth certificates, parenting as unmarried partners, co-parenting when you are no longer romantic partners, dealing with schools and medical professionals and so much more.  I have never seen so much information in one place.  A great resource for single and unmarried partners. amazon.com price $12.95

October Book Reviews

All books purchased by clicking the link in our review or going to our bookstore (see tab above) will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  

This is US: The New All-American Family by David Marin – David Marin is funny, insightful, passionate and persistent. As a single, man he adopted three young, bi-cultural children, it should have been simple for him to provide a home for this trust-hungry trio. It was anything but.  This is US, recounts the crazy-making bureaucracy he waded through, a mean-spirited boss, a society that does not view men as nurturing parents and a and prejudiced society. This is and amazing and funny book and a great addition to anyone’s reading list.  amazon.com price $13.22

Honor Thy Daughters: A Father’s Story of a China Adoption by Carlos Pineda – Carlos Pineda tells the story of adopting his daughter from China from his point of view.  It deals with his feelings before and after deciding to adopt and all the emotions that came up while in China and experiencing meeting his daughter for the first time.  A beautiful story and one of the few told from a man’s perspective.  amazon.com price $13.99

Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoptionby Julie Gumm – This is a great resource for anyone needing help funding an adoption. Julie tells her personal story of how her family climbed out of debt and then adopted internationally without going into debt at all. She shares many easy fundraising ideas fundraising ideas that anyone could do as well as information on grants and loans. Finances tend to be a main reason many never actually pursue an adoption, but this book will help take that burden away! amazon.com price $11.99

Broken Spirits ~ Lost Souls: Loving Children with Attachment and Bonding Difficulties by Jane E Ryan. –  This is a very comprehensive and informative book that can help parents of children with RAD. There are many stories in these pages that are heart wrenching and will speak to so many parents who are dealing with similar issue! This book provides strategies, therapies and hope that things can get better.  amazon.com $21.24

What Do Birth Parents See As Important When Choosing Adoptive Parents?

Social workers are often asked “what is the most common reason a birthmother chooses a particular adoptive parent or couple?” The answer to that question is as wide-ranging as the women working with AFTH. It may be based on professions or hobbies, where they live, how they spoke about open adoption in their profile, the place they vacation each year, or simply because of a connection the birthparents felt to the family.

One birthmother told us she choose an adoptive parent because she loved the fact that he plays Scrabble every week with his neighbors. Another woman says she chose an older couple because she hoped their life    experiences gave them the wisdom she said she did not yet have with her youth. A third birthmother says she picked a same-sex couple because she knew their options for having a family were limited and once she met them she knew they would love her child just as much as she does.

The Early Growth and Development Study is a national ongoing study of birthparents and adoptive parents and provides insight into birthparent’s choices and the things that influences those decisions.

When choosing a particular family to adopt the child, it was “pretty important” or “very important” that:

94% There were educational opportunities for the child
93% They had a close marital relationship
91% They were financially secure
72% They had the type of family you would have liked when you were growing up
51% One of the adoptive parents would stay at home with the child
41% They had a nice house
36% There were children in the neighborhood
34% The adoptive family was unable to have biological children
33% They had the type of family you grew up in
32% They liked to do activities that you would have liked to do
27% They had the same religious background as you
19% They liked to do the same activities as you
17% They had physical characteristics that were similar to your own
14%They had a playground or swing set

When birthparents were deciding to make an adoption plan, it was “pretty important” or “very important” that:

95% Ability to see and select the adoptive parents
84% Able to talk with or email or meet potential adoptive parents before the birth
60% Access to post-adoption services like counseling, support groups, and updates from adoptive parents
47% Receiving Counseling
26% Able to talk with other people who had made an adoption plan
22% The agency or adoptive family paid for medical care

SOURCE: Early Growth and Development Study, grant R01 HD042608, NICHD and NIDA, NIH, U.S. PHS.

October Book Reviews

All books purchased by clicking the link in our review will give AFTH a small donation from Amazon.com.  If you are interested in purchasing one of the books in our review please consider buying it through our link to amazon.com.

Why I’m So Special: A Book About Surrogacy by Carla Louis Long – Why I’m So Special focuses on a Mom and Dad who want a baby. After much trying they head for a doctor who tells them about surrogacy. Once the Mom and Dad meet their gestational surrogate, Bonnie, the baby ‘is put into Bonnie’s tummy’ and it starts to grow. With simple language and great illustrations, any toddler will come away with the feeling that he or she was already planned and Mom and Dad were able to make their dream come true. $17.95 on Amazon.com

My New Family: A First Look at Adoption by Pat Thomas This book is great,  it talks about the birth mother and how she might not be able to care for a baby. It also talks about foster parents. I like the fact that is shows adults and children both having sad moments. Some books are so sugary sweet that they paint an unrealistic portrait of what adopted children feel. $6.99 on Amazon.com

In Search of a Family: A Story of an International Adoption by Kevin and Ginger Carlisle –  This was a great book about Ukraine adoption.  It really showed the beauty of the country and all the ups and downs of international adoption.  Easy to read this book takes you on a journey with this family as they go through the adoption process to adopt siblings from Ukraine.  It was uplifting to read about how this  family adapted to the changing situations, the sometimes less than hospitable living conditions, the strangeness of the food, and just roll with the punches, making their time in Ukraine a positive adventure filled with humor. $15.56 on amazon.com

Child of Many Colors: Stories of Transracial Adoption by Shannon Guymon  -author Shannon Guyman has compiled an inspiring collection of stories depicting the drama, excitement, pangs of anxiety and guidance of faith that accompany building a family. Drawing on her own experiences as an adoptive mother, Shannon presents the true-to-life realities of transracial adoption.  $9.99 on Amazon.com