Archive for May, 2018

5 Questions to Ask When Starting the Adoption Process

Adoption is an incredible way to grow a family. It is also a very big decision for a family to make. There are numerous questions that go into the decision-making process, and many ingredients that go into a successful adoption experience. So, where do you, as a hopeful adoptive parent, begin?

Starting the adoption process means asking questions: questions about your readiness to adopt, your hopes and dreams for the adoption, and about the path you will take towards adopting a child in MA. In this blog, Adoptions With Love will walk you through some of the questions you should be asking (and answering) before starting the adoption process.

  1. Why do you want to adopt?

This is perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before moving forward in the adoption process. It is also something you will be asked during your adoption home study.

Right now, you might be thinking that the answer is quite simple: you want to add to (or complete) your family. Before you start the adoption process, however, try digging a bit deeper. Do you want to adopt simply to fulfill your dreams of parenthood? Or is your real desire to love and care for a child, through good times and bad, and throughout their life? Are you considering adoption because you feel there is no other option left, or is your heart fully immersed in this loving act? If you have experienced infertility, it is important to grieve that loss before adopting a child. If you consider adoption “second best” to having a biological child, think about how that attitude might reflect on your child, and work through it. Finally, ask yourself if you feel pressured by anyone, such as your spouse or even society, to adopt.

Choosing to adopt should be a decision made with love and compassion – your number one desire should be to love a child, regardless of their history and nurture them to adulthood. If this is true, congratulations! You are ready to start the adoption process.

  1. Are you prepared to adopt and raise a child – financially, physically, and emotionally?

Before starting the adoption process, it is also vital to make sure you can fully provide for a child. Ask yourself if you can meet your child’s basic needs, such as proper nutrition and healthcare. Most of all, remember that parenting is more than a financial investment. While buying clothes and saving for college are very important, you must also be prepared to give your child unconditional love, support, and commitment. You must be able to provide a safe, stable, and loving home environment for your child as he or she grows and matures . Be honest as you ask this question. Do you have the funds, the time, and the aptitude to raise a child throughout his or her life? Remember, you do not have to be wealthy to adopt a child. You simply need to be emotionally, financially, and physically stable to meet his or her needs.

  1. Do you want to adopt domestically or internationally?

There are many avenues you can take towards adoption. One major question you must ask before starting the process is whether you will pursue a domestic adoption or an international one. International adoption means adopting a child overseas, and will have different requirements, costs, and wait times than adopting domestically. If you choose to adopt internationally, you will need to work with a Hague Accredited intercountry adoption agency.

While there are many orphans overseas, there are also thousands of children in the United States looking for stable, permanent homes. If you choose to adopt a child domestically, you can either work with a private adoption agency that is licensed in Massachusetts, or go through the foster care system.

  1. If domestic, do you want to adopt privately, or though foster care?

If you decide that domestic adoption is right for your family, you must then consider whether you would like to adopt a child from foster care, or through a private adoption agency. About 25% of children in foster care are eligible for adoption – they have been removed from their homes or parents’ care, and need a permanent family. Many of these children are older, have siblings, or have additional needs. In contrast, most babies adopted through private, domestic adoption agencies are newborns. Adoptive parents who work with private adoption agencies often meet and are in touch with the expectant mother before the baby is born. Some meet their baby for the first time right in the delivery room.

To make this important decision, it is important to think about your family and which child will best fit in – Are you open to adopting a child that is older, or is it important for you to adopt a newborn? Are you open to adopting a child and his or her sibling(s)? Are you hoping to adopt a child of a certain race, background, or gender? Or are you open any child needing a safe, loving and permanent home? Do you want to have some relationship with your child’s birth parent(s) over the years? Open adoptions, in which a relationship between the birth mother and adoptive parents exist, is very beneficial for children. Do you desire an ongoing relationship with your adoption agency counselor? There are all important questions to ask in deciding if private or foster care adoption is right for you.

  1. Do you want to have a relationship with your child’s birth parents?

Your answer to this question will indicate whether you would like an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan. It is also a tough one for many prospective adoptive parents. Many hopeful parents who are just starting the adoption process feel apprehensive about open adoption and having a relationship with their child’s biological parents. In time, however, they find that this is most beneficial for their child. Open adoption allows adoptive parents and birth parents to get to know one another. It gives adoptive parents the ability to connect with their child’s birth mother as questions arise. It also gives the child an important connection to his or her biology, which is important in building an identity.

Ask yourself if you would like to know about the birth parents’ family background and medical history? Would you like to speak with them during their pregnancy, or be at the hospital for the birth? Would you like to maintain a relationship with them after placement? This will also depend on the birth parents’ wishes, but it is important to think about before starting the adoption process.

At Adoptions With Love, all adoptive parents agree to at least a semi-open adoption. This means that, if the birth mother requests, they are willing to speak with her or meet her in person before the adoption takes place. This typically brings peace of mind for everyone involved. Our waiting families are also all willing to send the birth parents letters and pictures over the years, to let them know how the child is doing. Of course, if you and the birth parents agree, you can choose to have a more or open plan.

Adoption is a journey of love and patience, one that requires great thought, consideration, and a helping hand to guide you along the way. If you are a family in Massachusetts, we welcome you start this journey with us! Call us at 617-964-4357 to learn how to adopt a child in Massachusetts. You may also download our free guide, “The Massachusetts Adoption Process,” below.


The All-Around Benefits of an Open Adoption

An unplanned pregnancy can stir many emotions for expectant/birth mothers: feelings of love, fear, grief, and hope are all common. It also comes with many life-changing choices. When it comes to making an adoption plan, for example, there are several decisions to be made. Second to choosing an adoptive family for your baby, you must decide whether you would like an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.

Many expectant/birth mothers today find peace of mind in making an open adoption plan for their baby. Open adoption allows them to stay in touch with their child and his or her family over the years. It also gives adoptive families and children the chance to ask any questions that arise along the way.

That is why today, most private, domestic adoptions are open in some form. In nine out of 10 infant adoptions, for example, the adoptive and expectant/birth parents meet each other. 68 percent of privately adopted children have had some contact with their birth families after the adoption took place.

There are many benefits of open adoption. Research shows that open adoption is generally positive for everyone involved: the expectant/birth parents, the child, and his or her adoptive parents. According to Adoptions With Love’s open adoption infographic, children are most satisfied in fully open adoptions, where they know their birth families.

While there are many benefits of open adoption, it may not be right for everyone. Before making this important decision, Adoptions With Love wants you to understand all of your adoption options and feel comfortable with any choice you make. Let us explore the many benefits of open adoption for those interested in making an adoption plan.

Benefits of Open Adoption for the Child

Each year, there are 14,000 domestic adoptions in the U.S. An estimated 62 percent of those adopted children are lovingly placed with a family as newborns.

With so much happening physically and emotionally during pregnancy, it can be difficult for many expectant/birth mothers to imagine the benefits of adoption for their baby. It can be comforting to know that an open adoption is often the best choice for a child.

Ninety percent of adopted children over age five have positive or mostly positive feelings about their adoption. Adopted children who meet in person with their birth mothers have been found to express the highest levels of satisfaction when compared to those who never met or eventually stopped contact. Over 80 percent of adopted children have a warm and close relationship with their adoptive parents.

In open arrangements, children often know more about their adoption stories: who they are, where they came from, what their birth parents look like, why their birth parents made this choice. They are comforted in having this access and this information, and usually have less problems and “missing pieces” as they grow. Adopted children in an open adoption have a better understanding of their:

  • Self and Identity
  • Family History
  • Genealogy
  • Birth mother’s choice – In an open adoption, children hold some empathy for their birth mother, who they know made a courageous and selfless decision to give them a better life

Adopted children can also enjoy a wider circle of support with an open adoption. They have a well-established relationship and bond with their adoptive parents, who raise and love them wholeheartedly. They also understand their roots and background, knowing they are loved by both families.

Benefits of Open Adoption for You

An obvious benefit of open adoption is having the option to select an adoptive family for your baby and get to know them. This choice often brings peace of mind for expectant/birth mothers who can rest assured they hand-picked a loving, stable, devoted family for their baby. You can get to know hopeful adoptive families by looking at their adoptive family profile, which Adoptions With Love can share with you if you are ready to make this choice.

The continued, post-adoption contact with adoptive families is another great benefit of open adoption. Birth mothers can get updates and be reassured that her child is doing well and is happy with his or her adoptive family.

The chance to talk about your adoption story with your child is another benefit of a fully open adoption. If and when your child asks questions such as, “What is my biological father like?” or “Why was I placed for adoption?” you will have the opportunity to share and explain from the heart. You can know that your child will learn about his/her adoption story and understand that the choice was made with love.

Open adoption can take on different meanings to different people. Some expectant/birth parents consider contact with the adoptive family before birth to be the main component of openness. Others believe open adoption includes contact before and after the adoption takes place. Ongoing, post-adoption contact can consist of a range of contact, such as email updates, phone conversations, or even in-person visits, depending on the birth mother’s comfort level.

As an open adoption agency, every prospective adoptive family at Adoptions With Love agrees to a semi-open adoption, and most families are now open to some direct, ongoing communication with the birth parents over the years. We want to help you make an adoption plan that works best for you – and help you feel confident and happy with your loving decision. We understand that making an adoption plan is a big decision, and we have caring social workers who can help with all your questions and concerns.

To learn more about the benefits of open adoption, call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.  We are available around the clock to answer your questions. If you would like more information about open adoption, please download our free Guide to Open Adoption.


Need Someone to Adopt Your Baby? How to Find the Perfect Family for Your Child

Adoption today offers more choices than ever before. Expectant/birth parents considering adoption may feel overwhelmed with all the thoughts, feelings, and questions that come up in the process: How do you go about making an adoption plan for your baby? How can you ensure he/she will go to a safe and loving home? How do you know you are choosing the right adoptive family?

At Adoptions With Love, there is a lengthy process that prospective adoptive parents must go through before getting approved to adopt. For each family, our trained staff completes a thorough screening process that involves background checks, multiple interviews, and home visits (called a home study). At our agency, every single expectant/birth mother can be as involved as she wants to be throughout the adoption process – even down to selecting the very family who will adopt her baby. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and thinking, ‘I need someone to adopt my baby,’ then read on for advice on how to find the perfect match.

Thanks to the modern world we live in, information can be shared in an instant over the Internet. However, this can also bring some risks. Expectant/birth parents who take to the World Wide Web to search or post “looking for someone to adopt my baby” put both themselves and their baby at risk for unwanted results – the families that show up or respond to your search may not have been screened, background checked, or legally approved to adopt. That is why we recommend working with a licensed, well-trusted adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, to help ensure your child is placed with a safe, loving, and prepared adoptive family. Our organization is fully committed to placing every child in the best, most caring and secure homes possible.

Choosing the best adoption agency for you is an important part of this process. Adoptions With Love is a full-service, private, non-profit organization that offers comprehensive, free-of-cost services for expectant/birth mothers nationwide. Our trained social workers will work with you to make an adoption plan that best suits your wishes and needs. We will help you find adoptive parents that meet your expectations, and that can provide the type of home you want for your child. We will guide you 100-percent of the way, both now and after the adoption takes place.

If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, we will:

  • Educate you on your many options
  • Explain the adoption process and help you decide if adoption is right for you
  • Listen to your wishes and hopes for your child
  • Show you waiting adoptive families that meet your wishes
  • Design an adoption plan tailored to your needs
  • Walk you through the adoption laws in your state
  • Always be here for you

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to feel supported and guided throughout this emotional journey. Together, we will go over all your adoption options, including how open or closed you would like the adoption to be, and give you profiles of the waiting families looking to adopt. You can take time to look through their profiles, read their personal letters to you, and choose the family that feels “right.” If you wish, you may even meet and get to know a prospective family. These decisions are entirely up to you.

In finding the perfect family for your baby, we will ask you questions such as:

  • What kind of qualities do you hope your child’s adoptive parents will have?
  • What kind of home do you want your baby to have?
  • What kind of childhood do you envision your child enjoying?
  • Are there any specific values you hope the parents will instill in him/her?

These are some of the many questions to consider when deciding on an adoptive family. You may also think about whether you want your child to have siblings, or pets, or parents of a certain race or religion. Thanks to the comprehensive profiles and photo books made by prospective parents, Adoptions With Love can share all this information with you. We will take the time to discuss your vision, to help you find the perfect fit. After hand-picking the right family, you may also choose to talk with them over the phone, or meet them in person, to get a better sense of who they are.

Though you may not have planned this pregnancy, you can plan for your baby’s life.  You have the incredible opportunity to choose an adoptive family for your baby. In selecting the adoptive parents, you can provide your child with an amazing gift: a life of opportunity, stability, and love. Knowing you have personally selected the perfect family for your child will likely bring great peace-of-mind for your decision and courageous leap. Click here for more information on choosing a family for your baby.

Before you take to Google or social media to search for “parents to adopt my baby,” consider the safe and secure alternative of working with a licensed agency like Adoptions With Love. We will never let your concerns or desires go unheard. We want you to feel confident in both your adoption plan and the adoptive family that you choose for your child.

Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth and are considering adoption, please reach out to us for more information. We can help guide you through this journey and provide the support you deserve. You should never feel alone in this process. Our loving staff is always here for you 24/7. Just call 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to get started. Or, to learn more about choosing a family for your baby, you may download our free guide below:


Is an Open Adoption Agency for You?

An unplanned pregnancy can bring about a range of emotions and life-changing decisions. If you are not ready to become a parent just yet, you may be considering adoption for your baby. Making an adoption plan requires both courage and commitment. It is also one of the most loving and selfless sacrifices you can make for your child at this time. Rest assured you have options. If you are considering adoption for your baby, you may have heard about the possibility to make an open adoption plan. What is an open adoption, exactly, and is it right for you? As an open adoption agency offering all types of adoption plans, Adoptions With Love wants to help you understand your options and help you decide whether open adoption is the best path for you and your baby.

What is an Open Adoption?

An open adoption can take on different meanings to different people. For some expectant/birth mothers, it simply means meeting and having contact with the adoptive parents before the baby’s birth. For others, it involves keeping in touch for many years after the adoption is complete. Many women establish a relationship with the adoptive parents before the baby is born and invite them to attend the birth. Sometimes, an open adoption involves contact through letters and pictures, phone calls, emails, or Skype. In some cases, the birth mother will have in-person visits with the families after the birth.

In general, the main components that describe an open adoption include:

  • Swapping basic contact information – In a fully open adoption, you and your child’s family will have one another’s last names, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  • Pre-placement contact with adoptive family. Should you decide to meet your baby’s adoptive family before the birth, they will come meet you at your convenience, wherever is comfortable for you. Or, if you prefer, you can set up some time to talk to them on the phone and get to know one another.
  • Post-placement contact arrangements for ongoing communication. Many open adoptions involve ongoing, post-adoption contact between the birth and adoptive family. As an expectant/birth mother, this is your choice. In your open adoption agreement, you may wish to exchange letters and pictures only, or have ongoing phone calls, emails, and in-person visits.

There is no right or wrong way to determine which option is best for you. It is your choice to decide how much or how little you would like to communicate with the adoptive parents. At Adoptions With Love, an experienced and caring social worker can help you decide which path is right for you.

The Perks of an Open Adoption

If you are considering an open adoption, it can be helpful to know the benefits of an open adoption plan. Some expectant/birth mothers find comfort in open adoption. While it can be an emotional process, just knowing there is an option for post-placement contact (the chance to see/speak to her child again) can help a mother come to terms with this decision. For many birth mothers, open adoption brings peace of mind just knowing how their child is growing and developing. Open adoption can also serve as a reminder of the incredible gift that you have given to your child – a supportive, dedicated family and a life of opportunity. Open adoption can also be a great choice for the child. Research shows that open adoption has a positive impact on a child throughout his or her life.

While there are many perks to choosing an open adoption, not everyone finds it to be the best choice. This is why, as an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love offers a range of contact options, including semi-open and closed adoption plans.

Making a Plan That Works for You

Adoption With Love is a non-profit, open adoption agency that offers open adoptions, closed adoptions, and everything in between. As an expectant/birth mother, you can enjoy this flexibility because it means making a choice that caters to your own life and wishes. While some birth mothers feel a strong desire to maintain an open or semi-open adoption, others may not. Some birth mothers feel more equipped for a closed adoption. There is no right or wrong answer. This is your choice. Just like no two people are alike, no two adoptions are exactly the same. At Adoptions With Love, we take the time to sit with you to discuss your wishes, needs, and adoption plan. We can help you determine which plan is best for you and your baby. We will also set up any desired communication in the most comfortable way possible.

Post-Placement Care

After the adoption process is complete, Adoptions With Love will keep in contact with you. Whether you choose an open adoption, a semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan, we will always be here for you. Adoptions With Love offers free, ongoing counseling and emotional support for birth mothers who courageously made an adoption plan. Adoption is an emotional journey that can be a lifelong process. We want to ensure you have the best experience possible, and that you get the care that you need.

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 ‘round the clock to answer your questions and educate you on your options.  If you would like more information about open adoption, please download our free Guide to Open Adoption.


Kaleb Lee’s Adoption Story: As Seen on ‘The Voice’

If you follow NBC’s popular series, “The Voice,” you may know the name Kaleb Lee quite well. You may remember him by his incredible rendition of Zac Brown Band’s “Free” (which Kelly Clarkson loved so much, she stole him for her team), for his passionate, home-hitting, country sound, or for his touching adoption story that he shared with “The Voice” audience earlier this season.

The star singer – now in the top 12 of Voice finalists – has a very personal connection with adoption. Not only was Kaleb Lee adopted as a young boy, but he and his wife also adopted their son from Nicaragua. Earlier in the season, the Kentucky native introduced his beautiful family – three children and his wife – to “The Voice” judges and viewers. He credited them as the most inspirational people in his life.

At Adoptions With Love, we admire people like Kaleb, who use their platform to share their stories and spread awareness of adoption. His story is one that is special. Read on to learn more about Kaleb and his adoption story!

Kaleb Lee never met his biological father. He was born to an 18-year-old single mom, who later married when Kaleb was a little older. His mother’s husband adopted him when he was a toddler. Kaleb says he has always turned to music as a hobby and an emotional outlet. His parents bought him a guitar when he was eight-years-old, and he grew up mastering his art. He performed at local-level shows throughout high school and college.

While studying at Emory College, he met the love of his life: Meagan. The two got married and started a family, and settled in Ormond Beach, Florida. After the wedding, Kaleb’s music career was put on hold to financially support his growing family. Kaleb and Meagan gave birth to two daughters, Graelynn and Lilly, now ages seven and eight.

From the beginning, the couple had talked about adopting a child. For Kaleb, it was an overwhelming feeling he had to act on- every child deserves to have a father, he explained. Kaleb’s wife, Meagan, was very involved in her local church and had gone on mission trips to Nicaragua. She and Kaleb spent their honeymoon in the country. These trips are eventually what led them to their son, Johander. From the minute Kaleb and his wife received the call, they knew that Johander was their son.

kaleb lee sonAs with many international adoptions, Kaleb, Meagan, and their daughters moved to the Central American country for three months to foster Johander before they could bring him back to Florida, his new forever home. Kaleb and Meagan’s son, Johander, is now four-years-old.

Prior to “The Voice” Season 14, Kaleb Lee’s family traveled to Los Angeles to make a video recording, which would introduce Kaleb Lee to fans of the show. When he got the opportunity to blind audition on stage in front of the judges, he and Meagan knew it was an opportunity that could not be passed up. He impressed the judges and soon after brought his family on stage, before choosing a coach.

Kaleb said, “They had been a huge support and encouragement to me…It was important to me for them to be a part of that moment.”

Kelly Clarkson and Blake Shelton battled to get Kaleb on their teams, and Kaleb Lee ultimately chose Team Blake. Later in the singing competition series, Kaleb lost a singing battle with another contestant Shelton was coaching. Kelly Clarkson was able to snag him for her team, explaining she had been a fan of his since that memorable blind audition.

Each week, Kaleb’s family faithfully watches the competition. The three children ask for each episode to be replayed dozens of times.

Kaleb Lee is one of many famous men who have been touched by adoption. He and his family would not be complete were it not for the positive act of adoption. Through adoption, Kaleb and Meagan became the parents of a son and through adoption, Johander gained a family forever. As Kaleb Lee’s story shows us, adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family.

If you would like to learn more about the adoption process, contact Adoptions With Love today. We offer counseling and support around the clock, for Massachusetts adoptive families and expectant/birth parents nationwide. Call us at 1-800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072, or email info@awlonline.org. Adoption is a lifelong journey, full of beautiful relationships along the way.

 


Talking About Adoption: A Birth Mother’s Perspective

Years ago, Adoptions With Love met a courageous young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy; she knew she could not provide for a baby at the time, and wanted her daughter to have the best possible life. With great love and consideration, she created an open adoption plan and chose the right family to raise her daughter.

While this birth mother does not go sharing her adoption story from rooftops, she does take the time to help others understand adoption when the opportunity arises. When hearing negative comments about adoption, she takes time to educate others on talking about it positively or helps them to think about it from a different angle. In this interview, C shares her thoughts on adoption language and provides advice for others on how to talk about adoption the “right” way.

A lot of people don’t fully understand the emotional implications of adoption, and will ask things like, “Why didn’t you keep your baby?” or say, “I could never give my baby away to strangers.” Do you get (what seem like insensitive) questions or comments like this?

I really haven’t gotten comments like this from people who know about my daughter; I tend to hear them from people who don’t know I’m a birth mother. Adoption is certainly a subject that most people feel they have a right to comment on, which is sometimes frustrating because they haven’t experienced it, and don’t always have an accurate perception of what adoption is.

I try to point out, in those moments, that you never have any idea what you’d do in a situation like that until you’re in it, so it’s wrong to judge other people for the impossible decisions they make in those moments.

I didn’t raise my daughter because I was not the best mother for her. I wasn’t prepared. I wanted her to have the best life, and I was not the best option for that. I chose adoption for her.

I didn’t give my baby to strangers. I spent hours reading stories of parents who would love my daughter, found a family that felt right, and personally placed my daughter into her mother’s arms. You don’t give a baby away. She isn’t a gift or an object. She is the most important person in my world.

How do those make you feel?

Usually frustrated, to be honest. It’s hard to go through such an emotional process, to make a beautiful and life-changing decision, just to have someone reduce it to an apathetic sentence or two. It can make me angry or sad when adoption is misrepresented that way, because I’ve had such a positive experience with it. That’s why I think it’s so important to challenge those assumptions and hopefully shift the way people think of adoption.

I think the important thing to hold on to, in a lot of these conversations, is that people form opinions based on what they know and have experienced themselves. So if you, as a birth mom, are comfortable with talking about your own experience, it can educate others and give them another point of view on the subject. I’m usually not comfortable telling my own story, simply because of my own situation, but I do usually try to play devil’s advocate in those situations as best I can. I try to make sure that I offer another perspective.

What is your typical response to people who use words like “give up” and “put up” for adoption? (I know you had several thoughts in your blog here.)

I have a pretty visceral reaction to hearing people say birth mothers “gave up” their baby or that they “put up” their baby for adoption. I try to remember that most people don’t mean any harm by it, but I definitely take the time to change the language of people who know about my daughter.

“Give up” sounds to me like a bad habit, like my beautiful daughter was a mistake I needed to get rid of and adoption was the easy way out. It offends me to think that my daughter is anything but the smart, curious, amazing, funny girl she is. She’s the best thing that ever happened to me, and I’m so proud of who she is, and saying I gave her up implies that her existence was a problem that I needed adoption to fix. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Put up for adoption” is another phrase I hate, because it sounds impersonal and transactional. Like I posted an ad on Craigslist for newborn baby — free to a good home. As I mentioned, babies are not gifts or commodities. They are the most precious parts of ourselves and as birth mothers, we love our children more than I can possibly express.

I much prefer saying that I chose adoption, or that I placed my daughter with a family. I think that captures the feeling much better – that I chose her parents, that I was involved the whole way through, that it was a decision I made out of love, that I took my time to make the choice. Most of all, that I took the time to choose the right people – I didn’t just accept whoever came along first.

Do you have any advice for other birth moms, adoptive parents, or even children who don’t know how to respond to language such as this?:

My responses usually go something like this, when these topics come up:

  • “Keep your baby”
    • I chose not to raise my daughter — I wanted her to have a loving family, and I thought she deserved better than an unprepared single mother who wasn’t ready to be a parent. So I chose a stable, happy, healthy family for her.
  • “Unwanted pregnancy”
    • It wasn’t unwanted. It was unplanned. There is a massive, and important, difference.
  • “Give up” or “give away”
    • I didn’t give her away. She isn’t an object. I chose parents who were better prepared than I was, people who were emotionally and financially prepared for a child.
  • “Real parents”
    • I am real, and my daughter’s parents are real. She’s my daughter because I gave birth to her, and she’s their daughter because they are raising her. To imply that any of us are not real is to diminish what we’ve all gone through in this process, and I don’t accept that.
  • “Adopted child”
    • She’s their child. She knows she’s adopted and they are raising her to know that it’s simply part of her story, part of who she is. There is no shame whatsoever in being adopted — it just means you have extra people who love you.

Do you have any advice – for people in general – on talking about adoption?

ASK QUESTIONS! We have no idea what you’re curious about, unless you ask. We have no idea what your objections are, until you discuss them (I emphasize “discuss” and not lecture, impose, or judge). We have no idea what you’re interested in hearing, until you bring it up. I am always willing to clarify or explain or talk about my story. I think people avoid asking questions about adoption because they assume it’s a difficult topic, but even when it is (occasionally it is, yes), I’m usually just so glad that they came out and asked. Then I know what they’re wondering about, and I can give them information.

As birth mothers, we don’t get to brag about our kids as much as most mothers do, so most of us love the opportunity to talk about adoption and our children and their families. Ask questions, get clarification. Ask us about our experience with adoption, why we chose it, what the process was like, how we feel about it. Don’t be afraid to talk to us about it. It’s a huge part of our lives and we think about it all the time, so sometimes it’s nice knowing that someone else is too.

When people ask things like “don’t you love your baby?” or “don’t you want to see your baby again?”, or even call the adoptive parents “strangers,” it makes it sound like birth mothers don’t have a ton of say in the process. They may not know that birth mothers today do. That’s why we prefer to say “make an adoption plan” at AWL – because you have the option to plan for your baby’s life, including choosing the parents. What are your thoughts on this?

“Don’t you love your baby?” That one’s easy: yes. More than the earth. More than you can imagine. Imagine what it takes to go through pregnancy, go through childbirth, hold your beautiful baby in your arms and accept that you cannot provide the life you think your child deserves. It’s impossible. It’s an impossible choice and it hurts. It’s the hardest choice I’ve ever made in my entire life, no contest. But the love you have for your child outweighs everything. The love is more important than the doubts, the fears, the deliberation.

At the end of the day, you make the choice – whether to raise your child, or to place them with a family – out of love. You make that choice for your child, not for you, BECAUSE you love them so much.

“Don’t you want to see your baby again?” Well… it’s complicated. Yes, of course I want to see her. I have seen her, and I always want to see her again. I think about it all the time. But I also understand the birth mothers who don’t see their children. It is impossible to explain the conflicting emotions. You want to see your baby – of course you do. But it’s another one of those choices that has a lot to do with emotion, and what you ultimately think is best for your child. Some birth moms think it’s better if they stay away entirely, to let their child grow up with his or her family without influence from their birth parents. Some birth moms want to be involved all the time, on every level, as much as possible. Most of us, though, fall somewhere in between. I love seeing my daughter, but I also do my best not to intrude on their lives too often. It depends entirely on your situation, on your child’s family, on how everyone feels about it. There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s complicated. The emotions are complicated.

Is there anything else you want people to know about adoption, or about your experience?

I think there’s a misconception that adoption is this quick, simple thing – like you just fill out a form, hand your baby off to stranger, and move on with your life. That doesn’t even resemble my actual experience. Adoption has been (and sometimes still is) an emotional roller coaster, and you have these moments of unbearable sadness and intense joy, and you have all of these incredible experiences you never imagined possible.

I think of adoption as such an amazing and loving and beautiful thing, and I wish people knew that it is emotional, but it can also be wonderful.

I have held my daughter and talked to her, have had conversations with her parents, have seen pictures of my daughter on almost every holiday. I plan to be a part of her life, and I have by no means “moved on” from the experience. It’s a part of me and my life, of who I am, and that’s never going to change.

If you are a birth parent or adoptive parent looking to learn more about adoption language, please download Adoption With Love’s free “Guide to Talking About Adoption” below. For more information on adoption in general, you may call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mother’s Day & Adoption: Celebrating All Moms This Mother’s Day

There is a famous quote that goes, “Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” No matter how a woman became a mother, and no matter when she did, there is something to be said about her love for her children. A mother’s love is unconditional, understanding, and unending— wherever she or her children might be.

birth mothers day

This Mother’s Day, we would like to celebrate all the women who carry a mother’s love. All the women who we carry within our hearts. We would like to honor the strength, the courage, and the selflessness that goes into being a mother, whether by birth or by adoption.

The second Sunday in May marks Mother’s Day. On May 13, 2018, many of us will take time to recognize our mothers and the mother-like figures in our lives. This year, Adoptions With Love would like to remind you that every mother has a different story. There is not one single thing that defines a mother, and there are many types of mothers out there. We would like to celebrate them all. This Mother’s Day, we will be honoring:

  • The women who became mothers through adoption
  • The women who became mothers through birth
  • The women who selflessly made an adoption plan, to give their children the best possible lives
  • The women who are praying and waiting to become mothers for the first time
  • The women who have experienced the loss of a child
  • The women who are guardians, teachers, and mentors for children
  • The women who lovingly helped raise children in foster care
  • The women who parented their grandchildren or other family members
  • The women who have financially sponsored children

This holiday, we would like to especially acknowledge those women who made motherhood possible for adoptive families all over the country; the women who made careful, thought-out, and loving adoption plans in the best interests of their children; the women who we often refer to as “birth mothers.”

 “They are not kidding when they say that mothers are strong women. We need to be strong in more ways than our children will ever know.” — M.B. ANTEVASIN

Adoption is the most difficult sacrifices a mother can make for her baby. It requires great strength and consideration. It is often one of the best choices she can make for her child’s future. If you are considering adoption or have recently placed your baby for adoption, know that you are not alone.

One birth mother who placed through Adoptions With Love shares, “Whoever is thinking about making an adoption plan, it will no doubt be the hardest decision in your life, you’ll have your good days along with your bad, but when it comes down to it, it’s the greatest thing I have ever done in my life. Knowing I helped complete someone’s family and also gained a family of my own is the best feeling.”

This time of year can be bittersweet for many birth moms, whether they have recently made an adoption plan or placed twenty-so years ago. Along with love, Mother’s Day can stir feelings of loss. If you made the choice of adoption and are experiencing difficult emotions, here is advice from some birth mothers who have walked in similar shoes:

“I think the most helpful thing I ever heard or said on the subject was that no matter what choice you make – whether you raise your child yourself or choose adoption – you still gave birth to them, and that makes you a mother. Being a birth mother doesn’t make you less of a mother than a woman who raises her own child, or less of a mother than a woman who adopts. You are all mothers, and being different kinds of mothers is okay.” – Chloe

“The best advice I think I could give to other birth mothers is try to think of the positives on this day. I know for some it can be very emotional, but just think to yourself how you and the child will always share a special bond and be a part of each other. The day shouldn’t be about grieving your decision, but knowing you did what was right for your child and that, even though you aren’t their mother figure, you are a special person to them in more ways than one.” – Brittney

“My advice to you dealing with all the emotions during this time is to just remember most importantly, it’s okay to have these feelings. And for me, this year is my second Mother’s Day and I don’t have all of the sad ‘what if’ feelings anymore. It takes time and every person deals with things in their own way. When I was feeling down around this time last year, I asked for pictures of my daughter and just had a conversation with my adoptive mom asking if anything new has happened, how their weekend was… little things to put a smile on my face!” – Kaelyn

Recognizing Birth Mothers This Mother’s Day, and Everyday

Women who chose adoption for their babies are often called “birth mothers.” Some women feel this is the most accurate term, while others do not feel the title is as intimate as their role. This is a deeply personal opinion. Many birth mothers choose to take on special names as their adoption plans evolve. For example, one woman who made an open adoption plan at Adoptions With Love gained a very special title after the birth of her son: Mère, which means “mother” in French. In the hospital, she was struggling with the question of who she would become to her baby. What would he call her as he grows up? It was soon after her mom received a text message from his adoptive mom:

“We were talking about names for Erica, so she has a title to Aiden too. We thought of “Mom” in a foreign language, like French, since it is part of their heritage. We thought he could say “Mère” or something similar. It’s just an idea, and we are open to anything, but we wanted to make sure that there is a title special just for Erica.”

As soon as Erica heard this title, she knew who she was and who she would be in her son’s life. You can read her full story, “Becoming Mère,” here. Here are what some other birth moms at AWL said of their identity and role as a “birth mom”:

 “[Birth mother] is the easiest explanation, the simplest term. I think of my daughter as my daughter, but I hardly ever think of myself as her mother. The parents I chose for her are her mother and father. When my daughter cries for Mom, it isn’t me she’s asking for. And that’s okay. ‘Birth mother’ is an easy way to separate that; that she’s my daughter, but she is also someone else’s daughter.” – Chloe

“I do identify with the term ‘birth mother.’ One thing I don’t want, though, is for my daughter to go by that when recognizing me – meaning she calls her dad “dad,” nana “nana,” her mom “momma.” I don’t want to be called “birth mom” or by my first name. It’s important to me to be something special to identify me.” – Kaelyn

Some birth moms and adoptive families will even celebrate “Birth Mother’s Day,” which falls on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. Others prefer to celebrate as mothers together on Sunday. This varies depending on the adoption arrangement – open or closed – and personal feelings. Here are what some birth moms had to say about the idea of “Birth Mother’s Day”:

“I do think that birth mothers are mothers, and that we need to educate people and help them understand that we’re mothers, even though we aren’t raising our children.” – Chloe

I think that although my child isn’t living with me and I’m not actually raising her, it doesn’t make me less of a mother to be recognized on a separate day than others.” – Brittney

“I think [Birth Mother’s Day] is a great way to recognize us and the decision we made. I like that it is separate from Mother’s Day because the way I look at it is, we are separate from the role our mother’s play and from the role the adoptive mother of our child plays.” – Bianca

“I believe it’s very important for all moms to celebrate, regardless of being a birth mom, adoptive mom, etc. We are all mothers and, depending on each individual’s situation, some birth mothers with closed adoptions don’t get the opportunity to receive a phone call from their adoptive family saying, “Happy Mother’s Day.” Many people don’t recognize the sacrifice we make as birth mothers, so I definitely believe we deserve a day for us.” – Kaelyn

On the subject of Mother’s Day, they also revealed:

“It’s still hard for me to relate to Mother’s Day since I don’t do all the normal motherly duties. With that being said, I feel like I almost take it as any other day but, celebrating my mom of course and thinking of my son a little extra. The day itself does not make me sad; it reminds of the place I hold in my son’s life and how we will always be a part of each other.” – Bianca

“I would like to be recognized just by a simple “happy Mother’s Day.” I don’t need gifts or anything fancy because I couldn’t ask for anything else. I do hope that when my daughter is older she’ll send a handmade card just like I did when I was younger for my mother!” – Kaelyn

A Mother’s Love

Famous actress Sophia Loren once said, “When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” This statement could not be truer. No matter what kind of mother you are, no matter where you are in relation to your child, he or she is a piece of you. You never truly stop thinking about your child, and that makes you a mom. As one birth mother told Adoptions With Love:

I think that as mothers, we think about our babies all the time. My daughter crosses my mind every single day. Sometimes as a quick passing reference, sometimes in deep thought. But she’s there somewhere every day. So I really wish that adoption and being a birth mother weren’t such taboo subjects, because it’s so much healthier and easier when we can talk about all the conflicting emotions that come with being birth moms!”

Adoption is a sacrifice that requires a mother’s strength, bravery, and most of all, love. Adoption creates families. Whether you are a birth mom who needs someone to talk to, are considering adoption for your baby, or would like to adopt, please contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731.

*For the purpose of anonymity, all names have been changed

 

 


May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month: Information & Help for Pregnant Teens

Each May, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recognizes Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month as a time to spread awareness about the number of adolescents facing an unplanned pregnancy, and ask ourselves what we can do to help. This May, Adoptions With Love would like to shed light not just on the topic of teen pregnancy, but on the positive options and resources available to pregnant teens during this difficult time.

In a recent infographic, we showed that nearly 1,700 teens give birth each week. In the United States, there are over 550,000 teen pregnancies each year. On average, about 1 in 4 young women will give birth before their 20th birthday. If you are facing a teen pregnancy, know that you are not alone.

As a young woman, you may be feeling nervous and unsure of your unplanned pregnancy options. Do you have to parent your child? Do you have to tell your parents? What if you are not ready to become a mom? Is adoption an option for teens? What about the baby’s father- does he have to play a part in your decision? It is important that women – and women of all ages – understand their rights and choices, particularly when it comes to adoption.

We understand that there is a lot of teen pregnancy information circulating on the Internet, and much of it can be unclear or overwhelming. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and want help weighing all your options, we are here for you. Adoptions With Love is an excellent resource for those looking for some guidance and teen pregnancy help.

You Are Not Alone

You may have felt very scared and alone after getting that positive test result. Right now, you may feel like the world is on your shoulders, and that no adult can possibly understand the stress and pressure on you. You want to make the best possible decision, but do not know where to start or who to turn to for support. No matter the situation at home – parents’ disapproval, lack of support from the baby’s father, or an unstable home life – there is always help available. You are not alone.

The caring staff at Adoptions With Love is here to ensure that you have the support and guidance you deserve throughout this emotional journey. We will discuss all your options with you, teach you more about adoption, and provide neutral teen pregnancy help — all free of pressure and free of cost.

As a teen, you may not have considered adoption for your baby before. Many teens do not know that adoption is an option for them. Many only know of the kind of adoptions in the movies, those surrounded by secrecy. Some think of adoption as an act of “giving up.” The truth is, adoption is a positive act of love that allows you to give your baby a life full of love, family, nourishment, opportunity, stability, and safety. Today, adoptions are also very open.

When making an adoption plan today, you can choose the perfect family to raise your baby and meet them in-person. You may also have the option to stay in touch with them, and your child, over the years.

Adoption is certainly not easy, but it is one of the most loving decisions you can make for your baby. You did not plan to get pregnant, but you can make a thoughtful plan for your baby’s life. The social workers at Adoptions With Love understand that this is an emotionally-trying experience, and will take the time to listen to your hopes and needs, and help you create the best possible adoption plan for you.

Choosing Your Perfect Adoption Plan

When seeking teen pregnancy help, you may have many questions or worries about the adoption process. You may feel nervous about giving birth. You may wonder if you will be able to part ways with your baby once he or she is born. These are all common concerns. Rest assured you have many options when it comes to adoption. You do not have to commit to an all-or-nothing plan, where the baby goes with the adoptive family and that is the end of contact. Today, you can choose to have an open adoption, meaning you can maintain communication with your child’s family over the years (via letters and pictures, phone calls, video chats, back-and-forth emails, or even in-person contact) if you would like. Children in open adoption arrangements are generally happier than those in closed adoptions.

Of course, open adoption is not right for everyone. Perhaps you prefer to remain anonymous, keep your information private, and feel that closed adoption is the best option for you. We understand completely, and this is an option for you at Adoptions With Love. If making an adoption plan becomes too emotional, you can leave the big decisions (like choosing the family) up to our trained social workers.

When it comes to adoption, there is no hard-and-fast rule, no one-size-fits-all plan. You choose the adoption plan that best suits you and your baby’s best interests. Adoptions With Love will help guide you through this process to design your perfect adoption plan.

The Future Looks Bright

Many teens facing unplanned pregnancies also worry about their education. If you are in high school or college, you may be wondering how you will complete your education and reach your goals. This is an understandable concern. An estimated 60 percent of teenage mothers do not finish high school. Of the thousands of young women who have children in college, 61 percent do not complete their degree. Your pregnancy does not have to put an end to your education. When you choose adoption, you can still pursue your goals and give your baby a wonderful life. To offer some guidance on this topic, Adoptions With Love has answered some common questions about pregnancy and education.

No matter your age or situation, Adoptions With Love wants you to know that there are plenty of options and teen pregnancy resources available. As a full-service, non-profit adoption agency, Adoptions With Love can give that very support to you. If you are considering adoption, we are here to give you professional and supportive counseling, legal guidance, and financial assistance at no cost to you.

If you or someone you know is facing an unplanned pregnancy, please do not hesitate to call Adoptions With Love toll free and confidentially at 1-800-722-7731. You may also text us 24/7 at 1-617-777-0072. For more teen pregnancy information, please download our free guide below.