Archive for March, 2017

Adoption Information for Clinical Professionals [Infographic]

professional adoption information

Nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, and approximately one-third of women facing an unplanned pregnancy wants to learn more about adoption as an option for their baby.

Every day, clinical professionals find themselves face-to-face with unintended pregnancy and adoption situations. Yet all too often, they do not have adoption resources in hand, agency referrals on call, or even the neutral, factual adoption information needed to help patients make a fully informed decision.

According to a recent survey of social workers and counselors, 95 percent of respondents indicated that learning about adoption is very important in their field. Surprisingly, however, 90 percent of these surveyed professionals received less than five hours of adoption training in the past year.

Whether you are a physician, social worker, counselor, therapist, or other clinical professional, basic adoption training and education can be valuable assets in your career. Not only will it help you understand more about the adoption process, but it will also be beneficial to your patients who want to learn more about this positive choice.

If you have a patient who is pregnant and considering adoption, it is up to you to help her (and potentially her partner) during this time of need—whether that means educating her on her options or referring her to an all-options adoption resource like Adoptions With Love. It is your role to offer her unbiased, accurate, and empathetic adoption information so that she can make the best possible choice for herself and her child.

Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, licensed, domestic adoption agency with over 30 years of experience. We work with social workers, adoption attorneys, and clinical professionals nationwide in efforts to provide free-of-pressure, free-of-cost services to expectant/birth parents considering adoption throughout the United States. If you are looking for unplanned pregnancy or adoption help for your patient, you can always call on us. Our reputable and compassionate staff is available 24/7 to speak with you and your patient about her possible options.

If you are here simply to learn more about adoption, we can also help. Adoptions With Love has compiled the above infographic to offer both you and your patients free and truthful unplanned pregnancy and adoption information. We hope you find this infographic helpful as you assist and care for women facing an unintended pregnancy. We hope that the knowledge learned here can be brought to your patients who want to learn more about making an adoption plan.

We understand that in order to guide patients fully through this decision, clinical professionals must stay up to date with all the necessary adoption information, from counseling ethics to adoption laws in their state. As a clinical professional, you must also remain empathetic towards your patients, no matter their age, background, or economic situation.  It is also important to use appropriate adoption language when speaking about your patient’s options. Adoption is a selfless act of love that requires a lot of an expectant/birth parent – remember that she is not “giving up” her baby; she is giving her child the life that he or she deserves. For this, she deserves the utmost respect.

For more adoption information, please stay tuned for Adoptions With Love’s “Clinician’s Guide to Adoption.” If you or your patient would like to speak with Adoptions With Love about making an adoption plan, please do not hesitate to call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731. Remember, it is never too late to make an adoption plan. Whether your patient has recently discovered she is pregnant, is in her 3rd trimester, or has just given birth, she has the option to choose adoption for her baby.


Adopting a Child? Here is What You Should Know

Are you considering adopting a child? Right now, you are likely very excited, hopeful, and a bit nervous about beginning your adoption journey. You are going to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent at last. You are going to provide a child – your child – with a loving, forever home.

Adoption is an incredible journey of love, patience, and at times, paperwork. From the very beginnings of your adoption application, fast-forward to helping your child apply for college years down the road, you are bound to encounter many meaningful and joyous experiences along the way. If you are a family in Massachusetts, we welcome you start this journey with us!

Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, licensed, domestic, infant adoption agency helping Massachusetts families grow through adoption. Before you dive into the adoption process, we can also help you. Here are seven things we want you to know before adopting a child.

1. You do not need to be a “traditional” family to adopt a child.

You do not have to be a husband-wife household in order to adopt a child. The American family is changing. Today, less than half of all children in the United States live in a traditional family with a heterosexual mother and father in their first marriage. Some children today have single parents. Some have same-sex parents. No matter your family makeup, know that you have the right to adopt a child in Massachusetts.

2. Adoptive families are REAL families.

Families are no longer defined by DNA. Nowadays, family bonds transcend biology. As a prospective adoptive parent, it is important for you to know that families-by-adoption are as real as families-by-birth. It is not biology that will connect you with your child, but rather your unconditional love, devotion, and protection that will truly make you a parent.

3. Adoption is a courageous choice of love for a child’s well-being.

Adoption is not a matter of “giving up a baby.” Rather, it is expectant/birth parents choosing to give their baby a life beyond what they can provide at the time. It is a choice made with love, a love so big that the expectant/birth parents choose to put their child’s needs before their own. Adoption is a very difficult decision. All expectant/birth parents, no matter their background or reasons for placing their child, deserve to be respected.

4. Open adoption is the most common form of domestic adoption today.

Today, about 95 percent of domestic adoption plans are open, meaning that the majority of adoptive families have some extent of ongoing contact with their child’s biological family. Open adoption plans are often made in the best interest of the child: In an open adoption, a child does not have to fantasize about who his or her birth parents are. The child can ask questions about his or her history and maintain a stronger sense of identity having the answers he or she needs. In an open adoption, there are less insecurities carried by the child.

Open adoption is also positive for the parents involved. On one end, birth parents have the comfort of knowing their child is growing in a safe and loving home. This promotes better healing. On the other end, adoptive parents can benefit from having a good relationship with their child’s birth family and know important information like their child’s medical history. Adoptions With Love promotes open adoptions  meaning that all of our waiting adoptive families have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption.

5. Adoption is a lifelong commitment.

Adoption does not simply mean adopting a newborn baby, or raising a child in need. Adopting a child means becoming a forever family. It means taking on an indescribable responsibility, one that can be both rewarding and challenging, as you raise your child for the next 18 years and beyond. Like any parent, you will need to provide for your child financially, emotionally, and physically in all aspects of life. You will also need to take on several different roles as a parent, from being a nurse at times to being a shoulder to cry on, from playing a storyteller to acting as a protector. Before you begin the adoption process, take some time to think about how parenthood will impact your life long-term. Ask yourself why you want to adopt, how you see adoption affecting your family, and if you are truly financially and emotionally prepared to support a child for life.

6. Pre-adoption counseling is a key pre-requisite to adopting a child.

Many adoption agencies will require prospective adoptive parents to participate in therapy or group sessions prior to adopting a child. These sessions are designed to prepare waiting families like you for parenthood, and allow you to interact with families who have already navigated the adoption process. By connecting and meeting with other adoptive families, you can gain insight into the process and share your personal feelings about adoption. At Adoptions With Love, prospective adoptive parents join two group sessions, where they can find pre-adoption support through other waiting families as well as our trained adoption counselors.

7. Finding a reputable, trustworthy adoption professional is crucial.

Adoption does not end after a child is placed into an adoptive home. This placement is just the beginning of a long journey for an adoptive family. The adoption agency you choose, therefore, should stand by your side throughout the entire process—not just before the adoption takes place, but also as the years go on. Your adoption agency professional should be a dedicated, reliable resource for your family as well as educated on the adoption process. Your agency should be available to answer your calls and make you feel comfortable at every step of the way.

At Adoptions With Love, we offer prospective family services before, at the time, and long after an adoption takes place. We guide you in  designing your Adoptive Parent Profile and writing letters to the expectant/birth parents. We match you with expectant/birth parents and our agency attorney will finalize the adoption in court. Adoptions With Love has ongoing adoptive parent services and an active search and reunion program; we are here for you now and in the future.

To begin your adoption journey with Adoptions With Love, please call us at 617-964-4357. For specific steps on the adoption process in your area, please visit our article, How to Adopt a Child in Massachusetts.


State by State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Texas

If you are pregnant and considering adoption, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available to you.  You know that you want to provide the best possible home for your child, but simply do not know where to begin.  Perhaps the most important thing to know as an expectant mother in Texas is that you do not have to walk this journey alone.  There are supportive, knowledgeable adoption professionals in Texas who can help you research all your unplanned pregnancy options and guide you in making an adoption plan for your baby.

The decision to place your baby for adoption is ultimately your choice to make.  It is one of the most loving and long-term decisions you can make for your child, and should always be well-informed.  Before choosing to make an adoption plan, it is important to do your research.  Ask questions.  Prepare.  Learn about the steps you need to take to place your baby for adoption in Texas.  As a licensed adoption agency serving Texas, Adoptions With Love can help.  We are here to listen and answer questions, educate you on adoption in Texas, and help you make the most positive, informed decision 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.

For over 30 years, Adoptions With Love has been building relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Texas, know that you can always contact us.  We partner with experienced counselors, trusted Texas adoption agencies and attorneys that can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design a plan that is tailored to your needs.

To help guide your adoption journey, here are the steps you must take to place your baby for adoption in Texas:

1. Choose and Meet with an Adoption Agency You Trust

Every adoption journey starts by choosing the right professional support to guide you through the process.  There are hundreds of adoption professionals in Texas who can help you, but it is important to find an agency that you trust, one that is reputable and will listen to your needs.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss your options with you, adoption and beyond, and that will respect any choice you make.  The right adoption agency will stand by your side throughout the entire adoption experience – as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and throughout your life in the years ahead.  Select an adoption agency that will be accessible to you any time of day, any day of the week, to answer your questions and help you design the perfect adoption plan.

2. Decide on the Adoption Plan that is Right for You

If you choose to work with an open adoption agency serving Texas, you will have complete say in your adoption plan, from choosing an adoptive family to deciding the amount of contact you want with your child’s family over the years.  At Adoptions With love, we can help you personally design the type of adoption plan that fits your wants and needs: you can choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan.  An adoption counselor will explain each option to you and, if you would like, will help you create an adoption plan that will last for years to come.  You can also select and meet an adoptive family for your baby, if you wish.

3. Select a Loving Adoptive Family

After creating your adoption plan, you will have the option to choose an adoptive family to raise your child.  If you would like to make this loving choice, your open adoption agency can share with you a selection of prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles.  These family profiles, consisting of letters and photos, will help you get to know each waiting family and choose the best match for your baby.  At Adoptions With Love, we will listen carefully to your wishes and show you the families that can meet all you envision for your child.

No matter which adoptive family you choose, know that your child will be safe and secure.  All potential adoptive families must be thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  This includes a home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure each family is fit to raise a child.  Adoption agencies such as Adoptions With Love are here to make sure your baby is placed in a loving, safe, and stable home.

4. Understand the Adoption Laws in Texas

Adoption laws and statutes vary state to state.  In Texas, no mother can sign legal adoption documents until at least 48 hours after the baby is born.  This gives birth mothers a chance to spend time with their baby and to think about their choice.  Once an adoption is finalized in Texas, you cannot change your mind.  For this reason, we encourage you to take time before making this decision.  Adoption is a lifelong choice, and we want you to be comfortable and confident that it is the best one for you and your child.

In making an adoption plan, it is important to find an adoption agency that is knowledgeable, experienced, and specifically trained in the laws of your area.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with our attorney partners who are experts in Texas adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal adoption process.

Adoptions With Love’s legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, there is never a cost for expectant or birth parent services at our agency.  We can provide financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and up to six weeks 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

5. Pursue Ongoing Adoption Support

Adoption is a lifelong journey full of new, sensitive emotions and relationships.  Adoptions With Love can help you navigate these feelings and manage any adoption relationships or communication for years to come.  As part of your post-adoption plan, we offer free ongoing, confidential counseling services.  We can also help you create a post-adoption contract with the adoptive family, and mediate any contact you wish to have with his or her family down the road.

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know how brave you are for making this selfless choice.  Know that we are always here for you.  Whether you are pregnant or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start your adoption in Texas.  Call us at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

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.


Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption: Which is Right for You?

Unplanned pregnancy often brings about a whirlwind of emotions and many big decisions that follow.  If you are here, you may have already made the courageous choice to place your baby for adoption.  Or perhaps you are still considering adoption as an option for you and your baby.  Before you make a decision, however, you first want to understand the difference between an open adoption and closed adoption plan.  You want to know which type of adoption plan is right for you and your child.

The open vs. closed adoption conversation is an important one to have with your adoption counselor.  On one hand, you can talk about your situation, your hopes, and your needs in a safe and confidential environment.  Then together, you can talk about the best possible options for ongoing communication.  Your adoption counselor should listen to you closely and guide you in choosing the type of relationship you wish to have with your child and his or her adoptive family long-term.  If you know you want to be a part of your child’s life, but are not emotionally prepared at the moment, your adoption counselor can help you design an adoption plan that you are comfortable with at every step of the way.

Closed Adoption:

A closed adoption plan means that there is no contact between the birth and adoptive families after an adoption takes place.  In many cases, no contact takes place prior to the adoption, either.  In a closed adoption, no identifying information about either family is revealed.  Only non-identifying information, such as the birth parents’ ages, medical histories, and reasons for adoption, is shared before the placement is finalized.  Depending on local law, these non-identifying records may become available to the adopted child when he or she reaches 21 years old.  However, the process and extent of this access can be limited and will vary state to state.

Adoption is undoubtedly an emotional, sensitive experience.  At Adoptions With Love, we understand that many expectant/birth parents are not ready to choose an adoptive family for their baby or meet prospective parents in person.  We understand that these connections may be too overwhelming at the time.  For this reason, we extend the option of ‘closed adoption’ plans.  Here, your closed adoption plan will be placed in the hands of an experienced, trustworthy, and licensed adoption professional.

If you choose to make a closed adoption plan at Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to adjust your plan later down the road.  Right now, you may feel you do not want to receive letters or pictures from your child’s adoptive family.  In a year or two, however, you may want to check in to see how your child has grown.  Through our letter and picture program, we will keep these updates of your child on file, so that you can access them if and when you are ready.

Closed adoption was once the norm.  In the past, the majority of adopted children did not know who their birth parents were or what they looked like.  Adoptees did not have many clues into their backgrounds, culture, or medical histories, and could not contact their birth parents for answers.  There were a lot of unknowns in adoption and in the identities of many adoptees.

Today, only about 5 percent of adoptions are completely closed.  This is because many birth parents want their children to have access to important, self-identifying information.  In many cases, birth parents also want to remain a part of their child’s life in some way.  About 90 percent of expectant/birth mothers considering adoption desire some level of contact with their child’s adoptive family.

Open Adoption:

There is no single, universal definition of open adoption.  This is because “open adoption” means something different to everyone touched by it.  For some expectant/birth parents, open adoption may mean selecting an adoptive family for their child and speaking with them before the adoption takes place.  Many women who have established an open relationship with the adoptive family will also invite them to be at the hospital or in the birthing room.  On the other hand, some birth parents will desire an open adoption plan that involves more ongoing communication over the years.  Sometimes this contact between families will involve phone calls or emails, texting or Skype.  Sometimes it will involve letters through an adoption agency.  Now and then, it can mean in-person visits.

Generally speaking, there are a few main components that describe an open adoption plan:

  • An exchange of identifying information (such as last names, phone numbers, and email addresses) between families
  • Pre-placement contact with an adoptive family. If you would like to meet the adoptive family in person, they will travel to you, wherever you are, before your baby is born.
  • Post-placement contact arrangements for ongoing communication. Open adoption agreements outline the type of communication you are comfortable with (phone calls, letters, emails, visits), as well as how much communication you desire (regularly, every month, once a year).

There is no right or wrong way to make an adoption plan.  At Adoptions With Love, YOU can decide how open or closed your adoption plan will be.  You may choose to get together with the adoptive family every year.  Or, you may decide to exchange letters and pictures with the adoptive family, but never meet in person.  Perhaps you would only like the adoptive family to reach you through a private, anonymous email account.  Maybe you desire open, ongoing communication, but wish to keep the adoption relationship off social media.  All this can be arranged in an open or semi-open plan.

Today, about 55 percent of adoptions are completely open and about 40 percent are semi-open.  Ultimately, the plan you choose will come down to two considerations: your own individual wants and needs as a birth parent, and the very best interests of your child.  Which adoption plan will you be most comfortable with down the road?  Which plan will be most beneficial for your child as he or she grows?

Many expectant/birth parents find great peace of mind in open adoption arrangements.  If you choose to have some level of ongoing contact with the adoptive family, you will have the comfort of knowing your child is loved and safe.  Through letters and pictures, you will constantly be reminded of the wonderful life you chose for your baby.  Your child will also benefit.  By having contact with you, your child will have a better sense of who he or she is.  Your child will not have to carry burning questions about where he or she came from, or fantasize about who you are.

Open vs. closed adoption, there is no one-size-fits-all plan.  At Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to define your adoption plan, whether open or closed, and adjust it as the years go on.  If you desire to make an open adoption plan with us, rest assured that all the waiting families at Adoptions With Love are open to some “openness” with the birth family.

To learn more about making an adoption plan, you may call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.  We are available 24/7 to answer your call.  If you would like more information about open vs. closed adoption, please download our free Guide to Open Adoption.