Archive for April, 2018

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

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption in Tennessee? Right now, you may be feeling especially scared or overwhelmed. You want the best possible life for your baby, but also feel that you are not ready to raise a child at this time. You are not alone. Adoptions With Love is here to listen to you, to answer your questions, and to help you make the most positive, long-term decision for you and your baby – no matter what it might be.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children. Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your third trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you.

If you are still exploring your unplanned pregnancy options, know that Adoptions With Love is always available to educate and guide you through this important decision. If you know you would like to place your baby for adoption in Tennessee, we can help you navigate the entire adoption process, from beginning to end. Our trusted Tennessee adoption agency partner will meet you, wherever you are, to help you understand the adoption laws in your area and make the perfect plan for your baby.

In this short guide, we will walk you through some of the steps you must take to make an adoption plan in Tennessee.

Choose a reputable adoption agency.

Your first step in the adoption process will be to choose the right adoption agency to guide you. There are many adoption professionals out there today, but it is important to find someone you truly trust to be there throughout this unexpected journey – not only during your pregnancy and the adoption, but also throughout your life. Choose an adoption agency that will discuss all your options with you, listen to your wishes, and respect any choice you make. You should never feel pressured to make an adoption plan, and any decision you make should be well-informed. That is why it is so important to select an adoption agency that knows about adoptions in your state, and that will provide you the support you need and deserve. Adoptions With Love has trained adoption professionals nationwide, and extends a range of free services to expectant/birth mothers in need of help.

Meet with a dedicated adoption counselor to begin your plan.

After choosing an adoption agency, you will begin working with a dedicated, licensed adoption social worker. She will be the person helping you design an adoption plan, and the person you can call if you ever want to chat. You can reach out to your adoption counselor with any questions or concerns. You should also schedule times to meet regularly with your counselor, to talk about your decision, about open vs. closed adoption, and about any feelings you might be experiencing throughout this journey. At Adoptions With Love, we feel this is a crucial part of the adoption process. We want to make sure you have the opportunity to learn about all of your options, all of your birth mother rights, and know exactly what to expect before, during, and after an adoption takes place.

Understand the adoption laws in Tennessee.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Tennessee, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until the 72 hours after the baby is born. This gives birth mothers time to spend with their babies, and think about their choice. Adoption is a lifelong decision. That is why, at Adoptions With Love, we want you to be completely certain you are making the best possible choice for your child.

There are many other laws regarding the financial aid you may receive, your rights and responsibilities as an expectant/birth mother, as well as the rights of your baby’s biological father.  For this reason, it is crucial to work with an adoption agency that has attorneys specifically trained in the state of Tennessee.

Adoptions With Love works with a team of compassionate and knowledgeable adoption attorneys who understand the laws of adoption in Tennessee. 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 Adoptions With Love.

Choose an Adoptive Family

If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you will have the opportunity to choose an adoptive family for your baby.  After listening to your wishes and vision of the perfect family, we will send you detailed photo albums and personal profiles of the waiting families that best meet your needs. Once you choose a family, you can speak to them through email, phone, or meet them in-person. This is up to you.

No matter which family you choose, rest assured that you will be placing your baby in a safe and secure home. All of the families at Adoptions With Love have gone through an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

Make a Post-Placement Plan

At Adoptions With Love, you will also have the option to establish a plan for ongoing communication with your child’s adoptive family, following the adoption. This level of contact (if you would like any at all) is completely up to you. Whether you choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption plan, our trained social workers will help you think through your options for post-adoption contact with your child, his or her adoptive family, and our adoption agency professionals.

Remember that adoption does not end with the placement of your baby. As a birth mother choosing adoption, it is important to seek out ongoing support. Adoptions With Love offers confidential counseling services at no cost to you. We can help you navigate emotions, communication, and relationships after the adoption takes place. We will always be here for you.

Contact Amy, Nancy, Claudia, Nellie, or Amelia today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Tennessee. You may also 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.


National Infertility Awareness Week is Here

National Infertility Awareness Week is here, starting April 22nd through April 28th, 2018. This week is a time to bring awareness to a very sensitive and emotional topic for many Americans – the inability to have children biologically. This nationally-recognized movement was started by RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, in 1989. In addition to raising awareness, RESOLVE set out to remove the stigma of infertility, to empower those that are impacted by it, and to encourage the public to better understand their reproductive health.

There are currently 7.3 million people in the United States struggling with infertility – and approximately 1 in 8 couples. It is not just a concern for women of a certain age. Infertility does not discriminate; it can impact anyone – no matter the gender, nationality or economic background. National Infertility Awareness Week is meant to shed light on this sometimes-taboo subject for the millions of families impacted by it – and to highlight some of their positive, alternative options for growing a family.

Right now, you may be wondering, what is infertility? Or, how does it affect families? If you are currently struggling with infertility, you may be asking, how can Adoptions With Love help you grow your family? In this article, we will answer these questions as well as share some helpful information for prospective parents looking to add a precious baby into their world.

What is Infertility?

Infertility is the inability to become pregnant or carry a pregnancy to full term. There are many causes of infertility, some of which medical intervention can treat. Both men and women can be infertile. If you are facing infertility, it is important to know that you are not alone.

Infertility can cause great emotional pain. Many couples want nothing more than to become parents, but due to this diagnosis, are not able to conceive a child. Those trying to get pregnant often go through years of failed attempts, heartache, and counseling. They may also go through several expensive and stress-filled rounds of fertility treatments, such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and other procedures. This process can take a serious toll on one’s health, both physically and emotionally.

At Adoptions With Love, we understand the struggle that infertility can cause. We are here for you. This National Infertility Awareness Week, we want to remind you that you can still grow your family and fulfill your dream of becoming parents. Adoption is a very positive option for those facing infertility.

What is Adoption?

Adoption is a word that holds many meanings. For those facing infertility, it is a choice that enables you to welcome a child into your lives and to begin the lifelong journey called parenthood. For aspiring adoptive parents, it is the legal process of officially becoming a “mom” or “dad.” Adoption makes hopeful adults who are not able to become pregnant, parents. It also gives a baby a forever family.

When you choose to grow your family through adoption, you choose to bring a baby, who is not biologically related to you, into your life forever. This means that you will not be genetically connected to your baby, but rather, your baby will be conceived and carried by his or her birth mom.

Adoption often starts with an unplanned pregnancy. Usually, the expectant mother is not in a safe or stable enough situation to raise a child and wishes for her child the best possible life. By choosing an adoptive family, she gives her child loving parents, a secure home, and the opportunities that he or she deserves. After the birth of a child, the biological parents sign legal papers allowing the adoption. Adopted children have all the emotional, social, legal, and familial benefits that biological children do.

If you are considering adoption, it is important to know that families by adoption are as real, as devoted, and as strong, as families by birth.

Who Adopts?

Adoptions With Love works with families who have faced infertility for many years — adults who long for the joy of parenthood and who dream of raising a child with all the love and care they can possibly give. For most of our families, parenting would otherwise be impossible without adoption. Adoption serves as a beautiful and fulfilling way to complete their families. Part of the mission of Adoptions With Love is to realize the dream of parenthood for families who cannot conceive or give birth.

Adoptions With Love is a full-service, domestic adoption agency providing services to hopeful parents, expectant and birth parents, as well as adoptees. If you live in Massachusetts and are looking to adopt, our compassionate, clinical workers will sit down with you for an informational meeting, free-of-charge, to talk about the process. We will walk you through the application and requirements, as well as our agency’s comprehensive adoptive parent services. Those services include:

  • Complete home study services
  • Comprehensive advertising and matching with expectant/birth parents
  • Legal adoption processes such as ICPC, for out-of-state adoptions
  • Finalization of the adoption in court
  • Continuous post-placement services, such as counseling and our Search & Reunion program

Adoptions With Love is a private, non-profit adoption agency who works with expectant/birth mothers nationwide. Each year, we receive many private hospital referrals as well as over 5,000 telephone and internet inquiries from expectant/birth parents throughout the United States. Because of the stretch of our services, adoptive parents can expect to bring their babies home within 6 to 18 months of completing a home study. The adoption home study process typically takes 2-3 months.

In addition to the above services, we also offer pre-adoptive educational group seminars to help prepare for baby’s arrival. We want you to be ready for all that is ahead. Adoption is a lifelong journey that enables people to become parents and begins beautiful, forever families.

If you are facing infertility and looking to grow your family through adoption, or if you would like to learn more about the adoption process, know that we are here for you. Adoptions With Love can guide you through adoption process and fulfill your dream of parenthood. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us at 1-617-964-4357 or email info@awlonline.org.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Announcing Your Plans to Adopt: How to Tell Friends and Family You Are Adopting

Choosing to adopt a baby is one of the most exciting, momentous decisions you will ever make in your lifetime. We congratulate you for taking this incredible step. You are on your way to becoming a parent, to fulfilling your dreams, and to completing your family. More than likely, you are also very eager to share this big news with family and friends.

Whether you have just decided to adopt, recently finished your adoption home study, or have just been matched with an expectant/birth mother, you might be wondering: How (and when) do we announce our plans to adopt?

The decision of if (and when) to share your adoption journey will depend on your family and your comfort level. Some hopeful parents tell their families, friends, and co-workers right away, out of uncontainable excitement. Others tell only a select few loved ones at first, to field any pressing questions such as, “When is the baby coming?” “When will you have updates?” and “What if the birth mom changes her mind?” When you inform your family and friends of your adoption plans, the fact of the matter is, most are going to have some questions. They will not know how adoption works today, or about the emotional aspects of adopting a child. This leads us to our first tip on announcing your plans to adopt:

  1. Be prepared to educate others about adoption.

Adoption has changed significantly over the years. In the past, most domestic adoptions were closed. Adoptive parents and birth parents were often in the dark about one another. Adopted children had little to no knowledge of their family history. Many adoptions were also kept secret, kept even from children. So, when your parents (the soon-to-be grandparents) and older relatives think about adoption, they may think of the way it used to be.

Today, 99 percent of adopted children know they were adopted. About 95 percent of domestic, private adoptions involve some level of openness, meaning the birth mother and adoptive parents know one another and have a relationship to some extent. This is very beneficial for everyone involved, but especially the child, who can have access to their genetic background, family history, and important medical information. In fact, studies show that children in open adoption arrangements are generally happier than those with closed adoption plans.

Before announcing your plans to adopt, take time to learn about adoption and be prepared to educate your loved ones on the journey. Set the record straight about certain issues and debunk any myths surrounding adoption. Be prepared to also answer impersonal questions like, “Why don’t you have ‘your own’ child?” and “Where are the child’s ‘real’ parents?” Try not to take these questions to heart. Use them instead as an opportunity to teach friends and family about positive adoption language and the positive aspects of adoption today.

  1. Think about who you are going to tell, and who you will tell first.

Before announcing your big news to the world, it is very important to tell your closest family first – those who will be directly affected by the adoption – your immediate family, for example. For those of you that are already parents, this means telling your children about your adoption plans first. Talk to your children before sharing the news with others, so that they do not find out through anyone else. Be as honest as possible with your children, and try to avoid making promises or estimates about when the baby will be home. If your child is preschool-aged and still learning the concept of time, try waiting until you have been matched with an expectant/birth mother or until you are ready to bring the baby home. Show your child a picture and make it a more tangible experience. Give your child a “big brother” or “big sister” t-shirt or books, to get them excited about welcoming a new baby into their life.

  1. Decide on the right time to tell everyone else.

Unlike with pregnancy, there is not always a set “due date” for waiting adoptive families. Your loved ones are not going to know when you are expecting. Adoption always comes with some level of uncertainty, and can feel like a long process for eager parents. Having the support of family and friends can be especially comforting along the way. That is why some waiting families will tell their friends and relatives about adoption plans early in the process. However, many prefer to wait until they are further along – for example, after they are officially approved to adopt (after the paperwork and home study is complete), after they have confirmed a match, or simply as the expectant mother’s due date approaches and they are more certain of the outcome. There is no right or wrong time to announce your adoption plans, only the time that is right for you.

  1. Be patient and give your family time to adjust.

You know that your siblings will make great aunts and uncles. You know that your mom and dad will make wonderful grandparents. They have talked about it for years! Still, you might be nervous about how they will react to your adoption plans. Most likely, they pictured you getting pregnant, continuing the family lineage, and sharing little pieces of themselves with your little one. While they may be one-hundred percent supportive of adoption, they may also need some time to adjust to the idea of loving a child who does not look like them. Chances are, your family wants to embrace your decision to adopt — they may just need more time and information before doing so. Stay patient and positive.

  1. Include your family in your adoption plans.

Adoption is an exciting journey. More than likely, it is one your family would love to be a part of in some way. Whether your family is supportive of your adoption plans or just coming around to the idea, ask if they would like to help you prepare for your baby’s arrival. Make their wait as “normal” as possible – like how they would help you prepare during a pregnancy. They can help you plan out the nursery, shop for gender-neutral baby clothes, and start a family photo album for when your little one arrives.

If you have family members who less enthusiastic about your adoption plans, know that you can still get them involved by talking to them about adoption. Have ongoing conversations about their concerns, and try to put their unknowns or uncertainties into perspective. Share positive adoption stories. Share your excitement. Get them excited, too.

Learn more about telling family and friends your adoption plans! Simply download our free “Massachusetts Adoption Process” guide below. If you are a Massachusetts family hoping to adopt, know that you can start your journey with Adoptions With Love. Call us at 617-964-4357 today or visit http://adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Common Open Adoption Challenges & How to Handle Them

When many women first come to Adoptions With Love, they are considering open adoption for their babies. They know the positive outcomes of open adoption, however, often worry that openness (or contact) with an adoptive family might also be too overwhelming. They are unsure which level of open adoption will be most comfortable, or how much communication they should commit to at the time. Similarly, we frequently hear from hopeful parents that are hesitant to commit to an open adoption relationship. They worry that having contact with biological parents might be too confusing for their future child. They are unsure if they should consider openness as an option for their family.

These are common concerns among both waiting adoptive parents and newly expectant/birth parents. They know the benefits that open adoption can bring to a child, but also fear the complicated relationships and conflicting conversations that openness can create. If you are considering open adoption, but are worried about problems arising after placement, you are not alone.

As an open adoption agency with over 32 years of experience, Adoptions With Love is very familiar with the challenges that can arise post-adoption. We have helped many expectant mothers, birth parents, and adoptive parents navigate sensitive adoption conversations, hard-to-meet expectations, and other open adoption concerns. We have also helped families shape very successful, healthy open adoption relationships by working through those challenges together. We can also help you.

Below are some common open adoption concerns among expectant, birth, and adoptive parents:

Challenge: Openness is “too much” –

Many expectant/birth parents will initially choose a fully open adoption for their baby, knowing that they want to stay in touch over the years. Sometimes, however, that level of openness can be overwhelming at first. Choosing adoption is a very emotional journey, one that involves both grief and loss. For some birth mothers, it may unexpectedly become too difficult to receive updates from the adoptive family. Other birth parents may decide that ongoing visits, phone calls, and emails are too overwhelming, and need space to move forward with their lives. Sometimes, adoptive parents may also need space in the beginning to bond with their new baby.

Resolution: A successful open adoption involves honesty. Be honest with your feelings and your comfort level. If anything changes, let the other family and/or your adoption counselor know. At Adoptions With Love, open adoption plans remain open for renegotiation as needs and feelings change. You may also consider a mediated or semi-open adoption through Adoptions With Love. Adoptive families send us letters and pictures, and we send these to the biological parents if and when they wish. In a semi-open adoption, “too much” is not much of a problem at all.

Challenge: Lack of privacy –

Open adoption involves an exchange of information between the birth parents and an adoptive family: names, phone numbers, emails, and sometimes photos of one another. When boundaries are not defined in open adoption agreements, this sharing of information can lead to overstepping. For example, a birth parent might share a photo of the baby online, with which the adoptive parents are not comfortable.

Resolution: When making an open adoption plan, it is absolutely essential to set boundaries, limitations and expectations. If you are an expectant/birth parent, make sure you are comfortable with everything outlined in your open adoption agreement. Ensure that the adoptive family understands and respects your needs and privacy. If you are an adoptive parent, you should also set boundaries in the best interest of your child. Adoptions With Love recommends keeping open adoption conversations offline or limited to a private, confidential platform. This will ensure that no personal information is lost to the vast World Wide Web. Read our eBook, “The Role of Social Media Among the Adoption Triad” for more tips on setting boundaries for social media.

Challenge: Undefined Roles –

Many families considering open adoption have concerns about the role of the birth parents: Will having a “birth mother” be confusing for the child? Will the adoptive parents have to share parental roles with the biological parents? In a successful open adoption, the answer is usually “no.” Children in open adoptions typically have a clear understanding of who each parent is and what role they play in the family. Sometimes, however, openness can create confusion for the parents without preliminary discussion. They may not know how to refer to the birth parents, or how much to involve them in caring for the baby or in important family decisions.

Resolution: Along with establishing boundaries, it is important to have preliminary discussions about roles and expectations in an open adoption. Understand that the adoptive parents are the daily caregivers, the nurturers, and that the birth parents are an important part of the child’s biology and roots. In the beginning, decide on names together – not for the child, but for the birth family. Does the birth mother want the child to call her “birth mom,” by her name, or something else? This will also help alleviate any confusion for the child.

Challenge: Unfulfilled Promises –

Unfilled promises are something that both birth parents and adoptive parents fear in open adoption situations. They worry about being cut-off or getting more/less contact than originally discussed. Many adoptive parents worry about getting their child’s hopes up, only to disappoint them if communication falls through.

Resolution: Do not make promises you know you cannot keep. Never commit to an openness level that you cannot maintain. Most of all think about your child and his or her best interests. How will your child feel if a promise is broken? How would that affect your long-term relationship with your child? Always keep respect, honesty, compromise, empathy, and commitment at the heart of your open adoption plan. An open adoption agreement and the involvement of an adoption agency can also help prevent unfulfilled promises and expectations.

To some people, open adoption sounds complicated and confusing. To others, it sounds like a very positive and bonding experience. If the open adoption is approached with care and respect, it can be an amazing gift to everyone involved.  The best interests of the child are paramount in making an open adoption plan. You can learn more about creating healthy open adoption relationships, and how to prevent open adoption problems, in our new eBook, “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption.”

If at any point you need help in your open adoption, whether it is starting a plan or navigating a difficult conversation, know that Adoptions With Love is here for you. Call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to speak with one of our compassionate adoption counselors.