Archive for January, 2018

How to Prepare for Your Adoption Home Study

All prospective adoptive parents are required to complete a “home study” before they can be approved to adopt in Massachusetts. An adoption home study is a two- to three-month long process that allows your adoption agency to better get to know you, your family, and your home. It is also a great opportunity for you to get to know your counselor and ask questions about the adoption process.

A home study can only be carried out by a social worker that is licensed in Massachusetts, such as the ones at Adoptions With Love. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, we will first meet you in our Massachusetts office. We will walk you through the initial adoption requirements, and then schedule a series of interviews and visits to your home. During these planned visits, we will become acquainted with your family members, your household, and your community.

After a series of interviews, planned visits, and background checks, we will determine if you meet all the Massachusetts adoption requirements, and if you can provide a safe, stable, and loving home for a child.

While this may sound intimidating, the goal of an adoption home study is to educate you about parenting through adoption, the adoption process, and to ensure you are ready to provide that child with the best possible home. We will educate you on adoption, parenthood, and what to expect upon welcoming your baby home.

In this blog, we provide ten tips on how to get ready for your family’s adoption home study.

  1. Be prepared to complete any necessary paperwork. Gather all the required documents beforehand if you can. Your adoption agency will have a list of required documents you will need to submit as part of the application process. These documents might include letters of recommendation, birth certificates, family medical histories, financial documents, and more. Ask your adoption counselor which documents you can prepare ahead of time, to help move the process along.
  2. Ensure your home meets the safety regulations required to adopt a baby. Your adoption counselor is there to ensure you can provide a safe home for your child. This means having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level, an accessible fire extinguisher, and adequate space for the child to stay and sleep. Note that you do not have to have a nursery set up at the time of your home visit, you simply need to show that there will be space once the baby arrives.
  3. Know that your home does not need to be “perfect.” At Adoptions With Love, we often hear from waiting families who are nervous about the home visits. We know that no one is perfect, and we want you to know that your home does not have to be, either. As a hopeful family, know that your adoption counselor is not there to see if you have the best possible home in the world. Rather, she is there to make sure everything is safe, stable, and ready to bring in a child.
  4. You do not have to be wealthy to adopt. One part of the adoption home study will evaluate your family’s financial stability, it is also important to know that you do not need to be rich to adopt a baby. You just need to be financially, emotionally, and physically able to meet your child’s basic needs.
  5. Think about your parenting philosophies. Before the home study visits begin, it is important to think about the type of parent you hope to be, and how you plan to parent your child. If you have a spouse, start having these conversations now. Ask one another about your beliefs. Think about what challenges you might encounter as a parent, and how you hope to handle them. As part of your adoption home study, we will talk about your parenting philosophies, your parenting style, and your hopes for raising your child.
  6. Think about your motivation to adopt. Why do you want to grow your family through adoption? Why do you want to become a parent? During your home study, your adoption counselor will ask about your reasons for wanting to adopt. If you have experienced infertility, your social worker will explore with you what you have been through and why you have chosen adoption to build your family. She will also ask about your feelings regarding  adopting a child.
  7. Consider your long-term adoption plan – What kind of relationship do you hope to have with your child’s birth parents? Before your adoption home study, try to think into the future. Think about your hopes for the adoption overall. Will your child have a relationship with his or her birth parents? Are you in touch with the birth mother, to ask any questions about your child’s medical or family history? Do you hope to send updates of your child to the birth family from time-to-time? At Adoptions With Love  all adoptive parents agree to at least a semi-open adoption (which involves sending letters and pictures).
  8. If you have other children, expect that they will also be involved in the adoption home study. In Massachusetts, the home study process includes you (the adoptive parents) as well as any household member. If you have other children, we will take some time to get to know them and to get a sense of the family compatibility and relationships in your home.
  9. Come up with a list of your own questions. Not only does the adoption home study allow us to get to know you, it also provides a great opportunity for you to get to know us. During the home visits and interview stages, we encourage you to ask us questions about the adoption process.
  10. Participate in pre-adoption group sessions. As part of the home study process at Adoptions With Love, all prospective adoptive parents are required to participate in a two-session pre-adoptive group. In this group we explore why expectant/birth parents choose adoption, as well as explaining adoption to your child and friends and family. If you have not parented a child from birth, you will also be required to attend a baby care class taught by a nurse.

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to succeed in growing your family through adoption. We hope to find the best possible home for each child, and also want to ensure that you find the best possible fit for your family. If you are a hopeful Massachusetts parent and ready to start the adoption process, know that we are here for you. Contact us at 617-964-4357 to learn more.

If you’d like to learn more about the Massachusetts adoption process, please download our free guide below!



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

Are you pregnant and considering adoption? Discovering an unplanned pregnancy is an emotional, overwhelming time for many women. Right now, you may not know where you can go for help or who to call for support. You know that you want to provide a loving home for your child, but are unsure how to start the adoption process. You are not alone. If you are an expectant mother living in Maine, know that Adoptions With Love is here for 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 relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in Maine. If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Maine, you can always contact us. Our trusted Maine adoption agency partner and attorney can help you explore your options, understand the laws in your area, and make an adoption plan that is tailored to your wishes and needs.

Before starting your adoption plan, however, we recommend doing your research. Adoption is one of the most loving and long-term decisions you can make for your child, and should always be well-informed. Ask questions.  Learn about the steps you need to take to place your baby for adoption in Maine. Prepare for what is ahead. As a reputable adoption agency serving Maine, Adoptions With Love can help you navigate the adoption process. We will listen to you, answer your questions, educate you on adoption in Maine, 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. To help get you started, we have created this mini guide to making an adoption plan in Maine:

1. Choose an adoption agency that you trust.

Every adoption journey starts by choosing the right agency to guide you through the process. There are many  adoption professionals in Maine who can help you, but it is important to find a licensed, reputable agency that you trust. How will you know you are choosing the right adoption agency?

The right adoption agency will have staff who listen to your wants and needs, who are willing to discuss all your options with you, and who promise to respect any choice that you make. Look for an agency that will stand by your side and support you throughout the entire adoption experience – not only as you prepare for the adoption, but also throughout your life. Your adoption agency should also be accessible to you at any time of day, any day of the week, to answer your questions and help you design the perfect adoption plan.

2. Decide the type of adoption you would like your child to have.

If you choose to work with an open adoption agency serving Maine, you will have the option to create an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan. With an open adoption, you can:

  • Choose an adoptive family for your baby
  • Meet and get to know the family for your baby
  • Keep in touch with your child’s family over the years
  • Receive letters and pictures of your child as he or she grows

Many expectant/birth mothers choose to create an adoption plan with some level of openness, because it gives them peace of mind to see and know that their child is doing well. If you would like to make an open or semi-open adoption plan, you can decide the amount of contact you would like with your child’s family, if any at all.  At Adoptions With love, we will help you personally design the type of adoption plan that best fits your wants and needs: you can choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan. One of our adoption counselors will explain each option and, if you would like, help you create your ideal adoption plan.

3. Select a loving adoptive family.

Whether you create a fully open adoption plan or a more private adoption plan with no contact, you will always have the option to select a family for your baby at Adoptions With Love. If you would like to make this loving choice, we will send 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 requests and show you the families that best meet your wishes for your child. Once you choose an adoptive family, you will have the option to speak with them through email, phone, or meet them in-person. This is completely up to you.

No matter which adoptive family you choose, you can rest assured that your child will be placed in a loving, safe, and secure home. All our waiting families have been thoroughly screened and interviewed by a licensed social worker, have undergone a series of federal background checks, and are fully able and ready to raise a child for life.

4. Understand the adoption laws in Maine.

Adoption laws vary state to state. That is why it is so important to work with an agency who has adoption attorneys specifically trained in your home state. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with our attorney partners who are experts in Maine 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. You can rest assured that there is never a cost for the expectant or birth parent services at our agency. In Maine, licensed, private adoption agencies like us are permitted to provide financial assistance for some pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and for weeks after your baby’s adoption, such as:

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

5. Receive ongoing adoption support.

Adoption is a lifelong journey full of new, sensitive relationships and emotions. Remember that Adoptions With Love is for you, even after your baby is placed. We can help you navigate any feelings, adoption relationships, or open communication over the years. As part of your post-adoption services, we extend free ongoing, confidential counseling services. We can also help you create an open adoption agreement with the adoptive family, and mediate any contact you might have with your child’s family down the road.

Whether you are pregnant or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start your adoption in Maine.  Call us at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to learn more.

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

10 Famous Women Touched by Adoption: Adoptive Mothers, Birth Mothers, and Celebrities Who Are Adoptees

Adoption is never an easy decision, but it is one of the most loving decisions a woman can make for her child when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. It is also a beautiful way to grow a family for those who cannot have children. Maybe adoption has touched your life in some way. It has also touched the lives of many different female celebrities who we know and love.

When most people think of celebrity adoptions, they think of the Jolie-Pitt clan. But Angelina is not the only adoptive mama in Hollywood. Adoptions With Love has put together a list of some other famous women who have an adoption story to share – some who have adopted, some who were adopted, and some who lovingly chose an adoption plan for their babies. Take a look!

  1. Kristin Davis (Adoptive Mother)Image result for kristin davis daughter

Most of us know Charlotte from Sex and the City as the character who constantly dreamed of getting married and having children – before, of course, adopting a daughter from China. Kristin Davis, like her role as Charlotte on the hit TV series, also chose to grow her family through adoption. Davis is a single mother to five-year-old daughter, Gemma Rose, who was adopted in 2011 through a domestic adoption agency, and is also a spokesperson for interracial adoption. On her own adoption story, the actress says:

“Adoption is a huge leap of faith for everyone involved. It has been a profound experience for me.”

  1. Sandra Bullock (Adoptive Mother)

You may know this Oscar-winning actress as “Miss Congeniality,” or Leigh Anne Tuohy on The Blind Side, but behind-the-screens, she is simply known as “mom.” Sandra Bullock is the mother of two children, Louis and Laila, who she adopted from foster care in Louisiana. Word has it that she is in the process of adopting a third child, who she will welcome home before the holidays this year. “My family is blended and diverse, nutty, and loving and understanding,” she said in a 2015 PEOPLE interview. “That’s a family.”

  1. Nicole Kidman (Adoptive Mother)

Nicole Kidman is well-known for many roles, but her most recent work really struck a chord with us (and with her) – In early 2017, we watched Kidman star as the adoptive mother of Saroo Brierly in the heart-wrenching film, LION (which Adoptions With Love covered here!). The actress confesses that she was drawn to this role specifically because she is an adoptive mother – she adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, in the early 90’s with ex-husband Tom Cruise. LION, she says, is a “love letter” to them.

On adoption and being a mother, she says, “It’s not about anything else other than ‘I wanted you.’ It’s that deep and personal, and whatever your journey is, I’m here to love and support you.”

  1. Madonna (Adoptive Mother)

This pop-star is also the mama of six children, four of whom were adopted from Malawi, Africa – 11-year-olds David Banda and Mercy James and four-year-old twins Esther and Stella. Madonna has a continued relationship with her children’s native country. In 2006, the singer founded Raising Malawi, a charity that supports orphans in Malawi through health, educational, and community support.

  1. Katherine Heigl (Adoptive Mother)

Image result for katherine heigl childrenEven before she became an award-winning actress, Katherine Heigl knew that she wanted to adopt children. When Katherine was just three-years-old, her mother adopted her sister Meg from Korea. Katherine Heigl explains that she wanted a family that resembled the family in which she was raised, and adopted her daughter Naleigh from Korea in 2009. A few years after, Heigl and her husband adopted newborn Adalaide from Louisiana. In December 2016, the couple welcomed biological son, Josh, into the world, and may even continue to grow their family down the road. “I’d get pregnant again, and I still am very inspired by adoption,” Heigl shares. “I also have been thinking a lot about fostering.”

In an interview with Parent & Child Magazine, Heigl shared, “Anyone who doesn’t have experience with adoption wonders, does love for a child come through DNA? I knew it didn’t. My mother had biological children and an adopted child and said it made absolutely no difference. They’re yours.”

  1. Faith Hill (Adopted Person)

Faith Hill is one of the most successful country artists of all time, and is also an advocate for adoption. This is largely due to the success of her own. Faith Hill was adopted in 1967 by Ted and Edna Perry. The Perry’s had two biological sons and long wished for a daughter, but were told they could not have any more children biologically. “I was adopted into this incredible home, a loving, positive environment,” Hill boasts. But growing up, she also felt a void. “I had this yearning, this kind of darkness that was also inside me.” Hill desired to find her birth parents. Hill met her biological mother and brother in her 20s, and was fulfilled in finally finding someone that looked like her. She says of her birth mother’s choice:

“I have a lot of respect for my birth mother and no feeling of anger or any of that. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.”

  1. Snooki (Adopted Person)

Despite her “Guido” style and love for Italian culture, many fans might be shocked to know that Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is actually of Chilean heritage. The Jersey Shore star was adopted from Santiago, Chile at six-months-old. She was raised in both New York and New Jersey by Italian-American parents, Helen and Andy Polizzi. In a recent interview, Snooki revealed that she has researched her birth family, but has no interest in meeting them currently. She considers her adoptive family her “real” parents and that it may be too touchy a subject for her children at this time.

  1. Kristin Chenoweth (Adopted Person)

Famed Broadway actress Kristen Chenoweth has always known she was adopted, and is very open about sharing her adoption story – as well as her remarkably positive perspective of adoption – with others. While the star recognizes that adoption is not always easy, she encourages the world to see adoption as a “full-circle blessing.” She explains in her National Adoption Day blog post:

“First of all, it’s a blessing (and a huge sacrifice) for a birth parent to make the decision to give his/her baby a better life. Sometimes people can’t take care of that baby just yet… But what a gift they are giving to both that child and the family who wants to adopt.

Next, if you’re thinking about adopting a child, remember that it’s a gift you’re getting and it comes with just as much responsibility as if you had your child biologically. On top of that, it’s a beautiful blessing that you were chosen to take care of this child and become his or her parent.

And then lastly, as an adopted child, I encourage other adoptees to remember what blessed lives we have. We weren’t abandoned; we were chosen. We were given a chance. I’m not saying it’s not hard or that it’s easy for people to understand. But it really isn’t for the world to understand; it’s for the people who are involved.”

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  1. Joni Mitchell (Birth Mother)

Joni Mitchell was not always a Grammy-winning folksinger with platinum albums. At age 20, when she was still struggling to make it into the music scene, Joni found herself penniless and pregnant. She was not married at the time and was afraid to tell her parents about the baby. The biological father was not in the picture and, unable to provide for the baby on her own, Joni Mitchell chose to make an adoption plan. “I kept trying to find some kind of circumstance where I could stay with her,” she told the Los Angeles Times, but ultimately made a choice in the best interest of her daughter. Joni Mitchell and her biological daughter, now 52 years old, reunited in 1997 and have a continued relationship.

  1. Kate Mulgrew (Birth Mother)

You may know Kate Mulgrew as “Red” on the very popular TV series, Orange is the New Black, but did you know that she is also a birth mother who chose adoption? Mulgrew was a working actress in 1977 when she found herself faced with an unplanned pregnancy. She explains, “I was single, alone and flooded with terror. But I knew I would have that baby.” The biological father suggested abortion, but that was not an option for Mulgrew, who felt that adoption was the only choice she could make. It was best for her baby.

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Adoption touches all types of families, even those with big Hollywood names. Among these ten brave, compassionate, and selfless women, we also recognize celebrities like Hoda Kotb, Sheryl Crow, Jenna Ushkowitz, Roseanne Barr, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the millions of other women affected by adoption. Do you know of any other famous women touched by adoption? Share their stories here!

If you would like to grow your family through adoption, please visit If you are pregnant and would like to learn more about this choice, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731.

Catelynn and Tyler’s Adoption Story: From 16 and Pregnant to Teen Mom OG

If you are watching the current season of MTV’s Teen Mom OG, you may know and love the Lowell-Baltierra adoption story. So do we! In this blog, Adoptions With Love reflects on Catelynn and Tyler’s decision to make an adoption plan, as well as their open adoption experience so far.

When we first met Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra back in 2009, they were just a mere 16-years-old – and they were already facing one of the biggest, most difficult decisions of their lives. The couple accidentally became pregnant in high school. Despite how much they loved their daughter-to-be, they did not feel ready to raise a child. They were not emotionally or financially prepared and did not know what to do.

One thing was for certain, though: they did want the best possible life for their daughter. They wanted her to have a safe and stable home, as well as a loving family who could support her emotionally, physically, and financially. So, with great thought, courage, and selflessness, Catelynn and Tyler decided to make an adoption plan. They placed Carly with a devoted couple, Brandon and Teresa, who could not have biological children.. Together, the couples decided it was in Carly’s best interest to have an open adoption, where everyone would stay in touch over the years.

teen mom catelynn adoptionMTV first aired Catelynn and Tyler’s story on the popular 16 and Pregnant, where we were able to follow Catelynn’s unplanned pregnancy to Carly’s birth. MTV continued to follow the couple on Teen Mom, and most recently, on Teen Mom OG, where we can now see the couple’s life after adoption.

Catelynn has said that, by sharing her experiences on MTV, she has been able to share a true adoption story with the world. Despite the trials she goes through on and off the show, she has also shown the world that adoption can also be a positive experience. Many teenagers today do not know that adoption is an option for them. Many do not know that they can have an open relationship with their child’s family after the adoption. Before Teen Mom, many only knew of the stigmas and myths surrounding adoption. Catelynn and Tyler hoped to share an accurate vision of adoption today. Catelynn explains:

“Placing Carly in the beginning was important for me to share with the world, just because I felt like there wasn’t a ‘true’ vision of what adoption was really like. MTV really did it with my episode of 16 & Pregnant because it just showed the reality of adoption and it kind of ended some of the stigmas. It was scary to do [the show] also, because I mean, me myself, I was learning about adoption through that process, as I was going through it.”

By sharing their story, MTV has allowed us to watch, grow, and learn alongside this once teen couple as they worked through the adoption process. They have truly come a long way in the last eight years. Catelynn and Tyler are now 25-years-old, married, and have been blessed with a second daughter, Novalee (who they parent). The couple still has a very open adoption, and is in regular contact with Brandon, Teresa, and their daughter, Carly.

In fact, in a recent episode of Teen Mom OG, we got another glimpse into their open adoption: Catelynn and Tyler reunited with their birth daughter, Carly, and her parents for the first time in two years. The couple, along with their second daughter, Novalee, piled in the car to go meet Carly and her adoptive parents for a day at the beach. MTV cameras were not allowed at the visit itself, in respect of Brandon, Teresa, and Carly’s privacy.

The first time Catelynn and Tyler visited with Carly, she was a baby. Catelynn says, “When Ty and I saw Carly for the first time, a year after we placed her, I was just super excited to spend time with her and see how Brandon & Teresa interacted with her. That was really important to us, watching them as parents, because it just made us feel good about who she was with.”

When Catelynn and Tyler originally made an open adoption agreement with their adoption counselor, they asked to receive photos of Carly over the years. This has helped them cope with their decision and brings them peace of mind in knowing that Carly is doing well. At the time, the teen couple also asked for ongoing, in-person visits. Brandon and Teresa agreed to visits that are made in Carly’s best interest.

While in-person visits still happen, Brandon and Teresa have started to shield Carly from MTV’s spotlight now that she has grown. This is something we see Catelynn and Tyler struggle with on Teen Mom OG, as they desire to share photos and updates of Carly with their fans. Overall, however, the adoption is still open. Catelynn said her relationship with Brandon and Teresa is “really good,” and revealed to E! Online, “We talk, we get to see her, we get pictures, I text her all the time… so it’s definitely still very open.”

Catelynn and Tyler feel completely “blessed” to have an open adoption, where they can see and speak to Carly. Still, they do have their hard days. As a birth mother, Catelynn has days that she grieves and misses Carly, days that she wonders about the “what ifs.” She explains to her fans:

“Grief comes in all different ways and it comes at random times with adoption… You’re fighting with your internal instinct – you have to constantly, 24/7 talk to yourself about the reasons why you’re doing it [making an adoption plan]. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life but, I have way more happy days than I do sad days. There’s a rare day that I have a sad day and I think that’s just because I know I made the right decision for her.

What do you think of Catelynn and Tyler’s adoption story on Teen Mom OG? Let us know in the comments below! If you would like to learn more about teen pregnancy and options for young, expectant parents, please download our free “Guide to Teen Pregnancy.” You may also contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 to learn about making an adoption plan.