Archive for February, 2018

Happy President’s Day! Famous Presidents Touched by Adoption (& Their Inspiring Words)

President’s Day is right around the corner. On February 19, 2018, we will honor the many great leaders of our great nation. This year, Adoptions With Love would like to celebrate some of the nation’s former leaders, by sharing the stories of famous presidents who have been touched by adoption.

It is important to note that not all these presidents were personally involved in the adoption process. Not all these leaders knew adoption the same way we know it today. Adoption was very different decades ago. One thing is for certain, though: these figures held their families – and families nationwide, no matter their make-up – very close to their hearts.

President Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln was just a young boy when his mother passed away. When he was ten-years-old, his biological father re-married to a woman named Sarah Bush Johnston. She and Abraham quickly formed a very strong bond. Sarah encouraged Abraham to read, write, and practice public speaking. She also encouraged his love of critical thinking, and the two would spend hours together in deep conversation. Lincoln used all of that brain power to grow up and become the 16th President of the United States. He attributed much of his success to his stepmother, Sarah, who raised him and whom he called “mother.”

Lincoln has been famously quoted – in speaking of his stepmother: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

President Gerald Ford

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The 38th President Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in 1913. His parents divorced when he was two years old. After his mother remarried, he was adopted by his stepfather, Gerald R. Ford, although his name was not legally changed until 1935. When he was 17 years old, his parents sat him down to explain his circumstances surrounding his birth. He met his birth father the same year, but the two never formed a relationship.

When speaking of his parents, those who raised him, Ford has said: “My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn’t have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing.”

 

President Ronald Reagan

Image result for president ronald reaganWe recently wrote about President Reagan in our article about famous adoptive fathers. Because long before the presidential election, Ronald Reagan and his wife, actress Jane Wyman, became parents. They had their birth daughter, Maureen, in 1941 and just a few years later, adopted their son, Michael.

On his adoption, Michael Reagan has said: “My parents, Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman never referred to me as adopted. I was always their son.”

President Reagan wholeheartedly believed in adoption as a beautiful way to grow a family. He also knew that it was an incredible, loving, and selfless sacrifice for women facing unplanned pregnancy. President Reagan was so passionate about adoption, he declared the first National Adoption Awareness Week in 1984.

In a 1988 proclamation, Reagan wrote:

“Belonging to a family is a natural and vital component of life, and every child deserves to be a member of a loving and nurturing family. For many children, this becomes possible through life in an adoptive family.”

President Bill Clinton

The former president was born William Jefferson Blythe III in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946. His father passed away in an accident just three months before his birth, and his mother was unable to financially provide for her baby. She chose to go to school to become a nurse. While his mother was studying in New Orleans, Bill was raised by his grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy. His mother returned to Arkansas four years later. She married Roger Clinton, Sr., who officially adopted Bill as his son.

On the topic of adoption, President Clinton said: “We must work tirelessly to make sure that every boy and girl in America who is up for adoption has a family waiting to reach him or her. This is a season of miracles, and perhaps there is no greater miracle than finding a loving home for a child who needs one.”

President Clinton was so touched by adoption that, in 1995, he expanded National Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November. A few years later, Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the use of the Internet as a tool for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

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Other Presidential Quotes on Adoption:

“As an unselfish, life-affirming, lifelong commitment, adoption is rooted in the virtues that define and strengthen a family and that, in turn, enrich the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.”
– President George H. Bush, November 10th, 1992

“Through adoption, Americans can forever change not only a child’s life but also their own.”
– President George W. Bush, November 1st, 2002

An excerpt from President Barack Obama’s National Adoption Month Proclamation in 2011:

“The decision to adopt a child has brought profound joy and meaning into the lives of Americans across our Image result for president obamacountry.  Parents are moved to adopt for reasons as unique and varied as the children they embrace, but they are unified by the remarkable grace of their acts.  Adoptive families come in all forms…

“As parents and as family members, it is our task to do all we can to give our children the very best.  In caring for our youth and putting them before ourselves, we make a lasting investment not only in their future, but also in the prosperity and strength of our Nation in the years to come.  This month and throughout the year, let us recommit to ensuring every child is given the sustaining love of family, the assurance of a permanent home, and the supportive upbringing they deserve.”

No matter the circumstance, adoption has played a role in the lives of many great influencers in our country. As we celebrate our nation’s presidents, let us also honor those parents who helped raise and shape these inspiring leaders. All of the famous names listed above grew up to become incredible Americans with passion, integrity, and the motivation to achieve great success. Whether they were touched by adoption or simply adoption advocates, let their stories serve as great examples of the American Dream this President’s Day.

If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in adoption, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents. If you know or love someone who is pregnant and would like to learn more about this choice, please call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731. We are here for you.


What is an Open Adoption Agreement?

Whether you are an expectant/birth mother who has just selected a family for her baby, or a waiting adoptive parent who is considering open adoption, the topic of an “open adoption agreement” is sure to arise as you make your adoption plan.

An open adoption agreement is a formal, post-adoption contract that outlines expectations and boundaries for ongoing contact between birth parents and an adoptive family. In other words, it is a detailed guide stating if, how, and how much the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child will stay in touch after the adoption takes place. This agreement is typically developed by the birth parents and adoptive parents together, but written by a licensed adoption agency. It begins when the adoption is finalized, and lasts until the child turns 18. At that point, the child (as a young adult) can make decisions independently regarding the amount of contact he or she would like with the birth family.

Many adoption agencies today offer open adoption agreements because of the benefits they bring. Open adoption agreements can ease many anxieties that arise during the adoption process, such as: What if the adoptive parents want to meet in-person, but I am not ready for that? Or, what if I want more (or less) contact with my child’s birth family? What if the other party changes their phone number or address? What happens then? Open adoption contracts can also ensure that everyone stays happy, and that promises are kept.

In an open adoption agreement, there are less unknowns. This is because the birth parents and adoptive parents have come together to make a plan. They have discussed, whether directly or through an agency, the amount of communication they are comfortable having with one another post-placement. They share a mutual, unconditional love for their child and understand that, above all, the open adoption agreement was made in the best interest of their baby.

Like every adoption plan, every open adoption agreement is unique. They are based on the needs and wishes of each family involved. Some open adoption agreements, for example, will require letters and pictures to be sent to the birth mother once a year or more often. Other open adoption agreements will involve more intimate interactions, whether through phone calls, emails, texting, video chats, or in-person visits.

If you are an expectant/birth mother considering open adoption, know that this level of contact (and its frequency) are choices that you can make. Your open adoption plan and post-adoption contract will be completely based on your needs and comfort level. There is no minimum or maximum amount of contact you must have: Adoptions With Love can help you define the perfect amount of “openness” in your adoption plan. Rest assured that all our families have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption, meaning you can receive letters and pictures from the family through our adoption agency, if and when you wish.

An open adoption agreement gives both birth and adoptive families the opportunity to share their wishes, set clear boundaries, and establish expectations for the future: what form of contact they will have, how much contact they will have, how frequently they will be in touch, how the child will be involved, and also if that contact will be mediated by an adoption agency. Having this plan in place, and understanding it on both sides, will help ensure that communication and relationships stay consistent over the years.

It is important to note that open adoption agreements are usually written in accordance with the laws of each state. In many states, these post-adoption contracts are legal and binding. However, some leave room for renegotiation over the years. Open adoptions agreements usually include language that all parties take into consideration the best interests of the child throughout the longevity of the agreement.  At Adoptions With Love, for example, you will always have the opportunity to adjust the amount of openness in your contract as your family’s needs change. Please do not hesitate to contact Adoptions With Love to find out more about open adoption laws in your area.

Whether you are pregnant, have just given birth, or are an adoptive family considering open adoption, Adoptions With Love can help you create an open adoption agreement that works for everyone involved. Please call us at 800-722-7731 or visit adoptionswithlove.org/contact-us to learn more.