Archive for November, 2016

State-by-State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Georgia

Are you considering adoption for your baby?  Adoption is one of the most loving decisions you can make for your child.  It is also one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make.  At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know that you do not have to make this decision alone.  You do not have to walk this journey alone.  We are here to answer your questions, to educate you on adoption in Georgia, and to help you make the most positive, informed choice for you and your baby.  Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, we extend our support to you.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.  For over 30 years, we have been building life-long relationships with young women like you.  For the last three decades, Adoptions With Love has also been building relationships with expert adoption counselors licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Georgia, know that you can always contact us.  Our trusted Georgia adoption agency partner and attorney can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs.

To get you started, here are four steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption in Georgia.

1. Choose and meet with an adoption agency that you trust.

Choosing the right agency support is crucial to your adoption journey.  There are so many adoption professionals out there today that it can be hard to know if you are making the right choice.  We recommend, above all, that you find an adoption agency you can trust.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss all your options with you, listen to your needs, and respect any decision you make.

Your adoption agency should be available every hour of the day and every step of the way, offering the support you deserve.  Choose an adoption agency with expert, compassionate counselors who can meet with you regularly (at your convenience) to guide you through this unexpected journey.

2. Understand the adoption laws in Georgia.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Georgia, no mother can sign legal adoption documents until at least 24 hours after the baby is born.  This gives birth mothers a chance to meet their baby and additional time to think about their choice.  A birth father is allowed to sign legal papers prior to the baby’s birth.  At Adoptions With Love, we encourage you to take time to consider all of your options.  Adoption is a lifelong decision, and we want you to be comfortable and confident that the decision you make is the best one for your child.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, it is important that you also take time to understand the adoption process in your area.  An experienced agency can help with this.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with knowledgeable adoption attorneys who are specifically trained in Georgia adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal process.

Rest assured that our legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, there is never any cost for expectant or birth parent services at our agency.  Georgia law allows licensed adoption agencies to provide financial assistance for any pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and after your baby’s adoption, such as:

  • Complete counseling
  • Help designing your adoption plan
  • Assistance finding quality medical care
  • Housing assistance 
  • Financial assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Ongoing Contact

3. Select a loving adoptive family.

As an expectant/birth parent in Georgia, you will be given the option to choose a family for your baby.  This choice is yours to make.  Adoptions With Love will listen to your wants and needs to understand what qualities you are looking for in an adoptive family.  We will then show you several waiting families who may be a match for your child.

All of the families at Adoptions With Love have written letters and put together photo albums so that you can get to know them.  You can take as much time as you need in looking through these albums to find the perfect adoptive family.  If you would like, you can also meet them in person.

In Georgia, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  At Adoptions With Love, we especially want to ensure your baby is placed in a loving family and stable home.  All our families, therefore, have gone through an extensive home study process and completed a series of background checks to ensure they are ready to raise a child.

4. Create a post-adoption plan.

Adoption is a lifelong experience.  It does not end after your child has been placed, and it surely does not have to end your relationship with your child.  If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to design an open adoption plan.  This means that you can keep in touch with your child’s adoptive family and your child as the years go on.  We will establish this plan for contact in a post-adoption agreement and can facilitate any communication with your child and his or her family down the road.  If you are not comfortable with openness, you can always choose a semi-open or closed adoption plan.  Our trained counselors will help you as you explore all the potential options for post-adoption contact.

Because adoption is lifelong decision, we want you to know that we will also always be here for you – to help you navigate emotions or if you simply want to talk.  We encourage you to pursue our ongoing counseling and support services after your baby is placed.  These services are 100% confidential and available at no cost to you.

Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, know that it is never too late to make an adoption plan.  Contact us today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Georgia.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


Pregnancy Support for Teens & Young Women Considering Adoption

Facing an unplanned pregnancy is one of the most difficult and confusing times of any expectant parent’s life, especially when it happens at a young age.  Perhaps that is why you are reading this.

You may be here because you recently discovered you are pregnant.  Or, you may have been hiding your pregnancy for some time and are now looking for help.  No matter your situation, you likely have a million and one questions running through your head at this time: What am I going to do? Why did this happen to me?  You probably feel like the only teenager or young woman in the world who is in this situation.

We want you to know that you are not alone.  If you are pregnant and are unsure if you are ready to become a parent, know that there is help for you.  You will never have to handle this all on your own.  Whether you are age 15 or age 23, you deserve every ounce of teen pregnancy support available.

As a full-service, non-profit adoption agency, Adoptions With Love can give that very support to you.  Over the last thirty years, we have worked with many teenagers confronted with an unplanned pregnancy.  We have witnessed and guided expectant teens through the challenges that are a part of the journey.  We understand just what you are going through, and that you may need someone to lean on or talk to about your options.  We are here to give you professional and supportive counseling, legal guidance, medical care, and financial assistance AT NO COST TO YOU.

Adoptions With Love provides the following confidential, free services to pregnant teens and young women considering adoption:

  • Complete Counseling Services – Unintended pregnancies can cause many emotions and questions to build up.  Whether you are feeling sad, scared, confused, or alone – know that these are all normal feelings to have, and it can help to sort through them with someone you trust.  As a teen considering your options, you deserve guidance, answers, and education free of pressure.  Adoptions With Love’s team of compassionate and experienced professionals can listen and guide you through this time.  If you are considering adoption, know that we will extend a hand to you long after your baby is placed in a loving adoptive home.  We do not disappear.  You can always stay in touch with us.
  • Housing Assistance – At this time, you may be living with your parents and are scared to tell them the truth about your pregnancy.  Or, you may be living in a college dorm and do not have a secure home to raise a child at this time.  Perhaps you recently moved out of your family or ex’s home and do not have a stable place to live.  No matter your situation, you can always call Adoptions With Love.  We want to ensure you and your baby are comfortable and safe throughout your pregnancy, and can pay a deposit and several months of rent if you need.
  • Financial Assistance – At your age, it can be tough to find a well-paying job, let alone balance a part-time job with school and other priorities.  If you are considering adoption and need help with pregnancy-related expenses, Adoptions With Love can help.  We can pay for your phone bill, utilities, maternity clothing, transportation to appointments, and more as it is needed.
  • Quality Medical Care – As soon as you find out you are pregnant, it is important to visit your doctor or a healthcare clinic.  A medical provider can confirm your pregnancy and make sure that you receive proper prenatal care.  Prenatal care will help keep you and your baby healthy while you think about your options.  If you do not already have a doctor, Adoptions With Love can help you find a quality doctor who understands your emotional and physical needs.  We will also cover any uninsured medical expenses if and when you complete an adoption.
  • Legal Assistance – You may have been wondering what your rights are as a pregnant minor. You may not know the legal considerations involved with your pregnancy, your choice, or even your baby’s father.  Adoptions With Love works with a team of compassionate, experienced lawyers who specialize in adoption laws and birth mother rights.  If you would like, they can guide you through the adoption process at absolutely no cost to you.
  • Designing Your Adoption Plan — After talking to us about your options and deciding on the best choice for you and your baby, you will have the option to make an adoption plan.  If you would like, we can help you design and personalize an adoption plan that meets all of your wishes and needs.  At Adoptions With Love, you will always have the option to select and meet an adoptive family for your child.  If you choose adoption, you will also have the option to keep in touch with your child and his or her adoptive family over the years – through letters, pictures, email, phone calls, or even in-person visits.  This is called an open adoption.  These choices are yours – we will be here to offer guidance and support as you make them.

Our goal at Adoptions With Love is to help you navigate your unplanned pregnancy and design an adoption plan that will give you peace of mind.  Our caring and compassionate staff are always available to offer you full and completely confidential teen pregnancy support.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

You may call us at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.  For more guidance on young and unplanned pregnancy, download our free “Guide to Teen Pregnancy” below.


Talking the Truth: Erica on Talking to Her Child About His Adoption Story

adoption story

 

In light of National Adoption Month, one birth mother contemplates the day her son will come to her and ask about his adoption story.  She wonders how she will stir up the strength to explain to him her choice.  What will she say?  She trusts that the truth will guide her.  She trusts that honesty will be the key to giving her son what he needs.  This is what Erica believes.

I often think of the day Aiden* comes to me and wants to hear his story…  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to choose adoption for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  Why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.

I have had thousands of conversations with my mom asking for advice to prepare for this day, and she always says the same thing.

“You will tell him the truth. Trust yourself that will know the right thing to say.”

The difference from me and probably a lot of other people is that I want/need to know

E V E R Y T H I N G.  I always need all the details to feel like I have a solid understanding of my surroundings in life.  Part of my adjustment after this adoption is that for one of the first times in my life I actually do not know everything.  It has been a process for me; the biggest lesson I have been learning throughout this journey is how to accept the unknown and trust more in God’s plan than in my own.

A perfect example of my ‘sometimes’ unnecessary need to know everything is when my little brother comes back up north for the holidays, or visits for a long weekend and I bombard him with questions.

“How’s work?”

“Have you made any good friends at work?”

“Cool… What are their names?”

“You guys ever hang on the weekends?”

“Are you eating enough?”

“Okay good, but what do you make for dinner?”

“I don’t know- Erica!  Things are good. I’m good, and I’m eating. Why do you ask so many questions?”

That is a conversation I have had a million times with both my brothers.  Well, the truth is, I ask so many questions because I care.  I care so much and need to know that all the people I love are okay and doing well; I need to know that everyone is happy and if they are not then I am going to do whatever little, or big thing I can to change that.

With even an open adoption it is tough… there is SO much unknown.  Aside from the little things like,

“What are Aiden’s favorite foods?”

“What was his face like when he tried a lemon?”

“Does he like to sleep more on his back, or his belly?”

“Who are Aiden’s friends at daycare?”

“Is he towering over all the other little kids his age?”

…(clearly I can go on and on)

However, the biggest unknowns are in my future.  When my day ends and I am alone in my own thoughts and when all starts to settle down around me– this is when the unknowns of the future start to flood my head.

The biggest strength in myself I have come to find on my journey of this adoption has been my ability to take a step back and trust; to be honest and trust myself that maybe I do not always know all the little details, but I do know the bigger picture.  To trust that just like with my little brother, God is working his plan on all our lives and keeping Aiden happy, healthy, and in a good place– exactly where I always have known he is and exactly where I always know he will be.

I have nothing but the purest form of love for Aiden.  I know in our future there will be some difficult conversations and there will be some difficult questions he will ask me.

I want Aiden to always be happy.  I never want him to hurt and I, ESPECIALLY, do not want to be the reason he ever hurts.

When the day comes and Aiden wants to hear his story.  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to make an adoption plan for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  When he wants to know why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.  If he wants/needs to know E V E R Y T H I N G.  If he needs all the details in order to feel like he has a solid understanding of all his surroundings in life…  I trust myself that I will know exactly what to say, and that I will tell him the truth.


The Effects of Teenage Pregnancy & Young Motherhood

Becoming pregnant as a teenager or young woman, no matter your age, can be overwhelming – especially if you were not planning for it.  Maybe you had other plans– to finish high school or to go to college, to get married, to establish a career.  What will happen now?  Will you have to change your plans or make new ones?  How will having a baby, or becoming a parent, affect your life?

As scared or confused as you may feel in this moment, know that an unplanned pregnancy is not an end-all.  Having a baby will in fact change your life, but you can always make these changes positive ones.  Adoptions With Love can help.  If you are not ready to become a parent, and still want to make a positive plan for your baby, you can always call us for unplanned pregnancy or adoption support.

If you are unsure if you would like to parent your baby or make an adoption plan, we can also help you evaluate your options and make an informed decision for you and your child, free of pressure.

Part of the process in evaluating your options is considering how each one will impact your life.  If you choose to raise your child, how will it affect your education or your financial situation?  If you choose to become a single parent, what effect will that have on your child?  If you choose to make an adoption plan, how will a closed or open adoption affect your child?  Considering all potential effects of teenage pregnancy and parenthood can help you make the most conscious decision for you and your baby.

As a private adoption agency that has 30 years of experience, Adoptions With Love has helped many young women in situations such as yours.  While you may feel like the only teen in the world right now carrying a baby, know that you are not alone.  In fact, nearly 1 in 4 young women get pregnant before their 20th birthday.

We also have seen and come to understand that pregnancy affects a young woman in all aspects of life – mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, and socially.  Before you make a decision regarding your baby, we hope you will consider the effects and outcome that your decision may bring.  To help, we have outlined some of the main effects of teenage pregnancy below.

Health Effects

Even though you are young, you can have a normal, safe pregnancy if you take the right steps to ensure your baby’s health.  This means keeping healthy before you become pregnant, going to the doctor for prenatal visits, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and eating healthy food.

If you have been hiding your pregnancy or delaying finding proper care, however, you may be putting your baby at risk.  This is very common among pregnant teens.  One-third of expectant teenagers do not receive prenatal care during their first trimester, putting their babies at great risk of low birth weight and health problems such as anemia, high blood pressure, and even death.  A lack of prenatal care can also cause complications in labor.

Effects on Education

Most teen mothers drop out of school to raise their children.  If you choose to raise your child, you may be left putting your education or career goals on hold.  Your plans of going to college may have to wait until your child is grown.  Working a full-time job will need to be balanced with being a full-time parent.

Only 40 percent of teen moms who parent their children end up finishing high school.  Over 60 percent of young women who have children in college do not complete their degree.

Your Relationships

Right now, you may be in a relationship where the father of your baby is supportive of your pregnancy.  On the other hand, you may be in a situation where you are not in a relationship with the father.  Every situation is different, but in many cases today, teenage parents do not marry after having children. Only 2 in 10 teen fathers eventually marry the mothers of their children. Those that do, often divorce within ten years.

Financial Impact

Not only are teen fathers usually absent in their baby’s life, but they also typically pay less than $800.00 annually in child support (if they pay child support at all).  This lack of financial support is one more thing to consider when thinking about the effects of teenage pregnancy.

Most teenage parents today are poor.  Two-thirds of young, unmarried mothers live below the poverty line.  Most receive some sort of public assistance (such as food stamps) during the first year of their child’s life.

The problem is, the cost of raising a child is high.  Diapers alone can cost up to $1,000 a year, and food stamps do not cover diapers.  A year of full-time daycare can cost over $11,000.  If you are going to school or working, who will take care of your child?  Some teens get help from their families; some do not.  You may have someone you love who is willing to contribute.  If so, ask yourself and your loved one how long this support will last.

The most important aspect of all to consider is: how will your decision affect your child?  How will being a teen parent affect your child?  How will being a single mother affect your child?  How will adoption affect your child?

If you are considering parenthood, ask yourself where your child will live and if he or she will be safe and secure in that environment.  Ask yourself if you can offer your child a good education.  Ask yourself if you are willing to be fully flexible and make sacrifices for your child.

If you truly believe you can love, care for, and fulfill the needs of your child, then you may be ready to become a parent.  Remember that parenthood is a permanent choice; it means choosing to raise a child for the next 18+ years of your and your child’s life.  If you feel that you are not ready for the challenges or the effects that parenthood can bring, then you may consider alternative options such as adoption, which has shown to have positive effects on children over time.

Only you can make this decision, but we can help you along the way.  To learn more about the effects of teenage pregnancy or making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or confidentially text us at 617-777-0072.


This National Adoption Month, We’re Celebrating You

November is often thought of as a time of thanks. It is a time in which many of us take a step back and consider all that we are grateful for in life – friendships, family, the warmth of a loving home. In all our gratitude, in all our indulgences, we become aware of the things in life that matter most to us.

Just this year, Adoptions With Love celebrated our 30th anniversary as a licensed, Massachusetts adoption agency. This November, we are celebrating another big thirty: 30 days of love, gratitude, and adoption awareness. For those who do not know, November is also National Adoption Awareness Month.

The history of National Adoption Month started over two decades ago and continues to evolve each year. This year, National Adoption Month is all about family, permanency, and lifelong relationships. In fact, the Children’s Bureau named this year’s theme, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.” Throughout the month of November, communities, organizations, and individuals around the country will be celebrating adoption as a positive way to build permanent families for children. They will be focusing on the value of lifelong homes for children and youth nationwide – especially those in foster care who are still waiting for a forever family. Making a private adoption plan is one way to prevent children from entering foster care.

On the first day of November, we at Adoptions With Love have some particular thoughts resonating in our minds and hearts. We are thinking of all the courageous young women and men who have come to us over the last three decades to make an adoption plan for their child. We are thinking of all the incredible families built through adoption. We are also thinking of all the fervent adopted children who were placed through our agency, from thirty years ago to yesterday. Because November is a time of gratitude, we want to take a moment to thank all of you – all who have come to Adoptions With Love – for choosing adoption as a positive option for your family.

If you are a birth parent, we thank you for being brave. We thank you for being selfless and for finding the power to make such a loving and thoughtful choice. We acknowledge that your decision was made with overwhelming love, that you gave your child a life beyond what you felt you could provide. Making an adoption plan for your child is not easy. It is a deep sacrifice that very few can understand. There are so many fears and emotions that can arise during the adoption process. We know that it takes great strength for a loving parent like you to overcome them. This strength is truly incomparable, and it amazes us every single day. We thank you for putting your trust in us. We are honored to be a part of your adoption journey. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptive parent, we thank you for being open-minded and open-hearted. There is no doubt that adoption is a challenging process, and we thank you for being such a devoted and compassionate support. We thank you for providing such a loving, stable and secure life for your child. We celebrate you for taking pride in your child’s adoption story and for empathizing with the selfless decision your child’s birth parents made. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptee, we especially celebrate you. We thank you for filling our hearts and the hearts of your family members. We thank you for sharing your stories with us over the years and for spreading awareness on adoption. We know that adoption has impacted your life and identity in many ways. We want you to know that you can always reach out to us, whether to chat or to learn about our search and reunion program.

If you are considering adoption for your baby, we thank you for exploring your options and for thinking of your child’s best interest. Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you. It is never too late to make an adoption plan.

If you are a waiting family hoping to grow your family through adoption, we thank you for your perseverance. Your determination and devotion are truly admirable as you wait for your time to enjoy all that goes with being a parent. We are excited to see what is in store for your family and are always here to help you through the adoption process.

Let us celebrate these 30 days of love together.

This November, we invite you to celebrate adoption and all those who have been touched by adoption in some way. We ask you to celebrate the families who were created through this choice as well as honor the women who found the courage to make this inspirational choice. We ask you to embrace the love inherent in each aspect of adoption. We invite you to celebrate all the lifelong connections that have been made through open adoption.

National Adoption Awareness Month is a time to celebrate adoption as well as educate others on the adoption journey. It is about increasing awareness on the positive aspects of adoption. This month, we ask you to join us by sharing your own experience. We invite you to share your thoughts and stories in efforts to help others see the benefits of the adoption.

If you would like more information on National Adoption Awareness Month or how you can get involved, contact us directly at 1-800-722-7731, text us at 617-777-0072, or email our team at info@awlonline.org.

adoption awareness month 2016