Archive for June, 2018

How to Answer Others’ Questions About Adoption

The adoption journey is one that is both emotional and beautiful. Whether you are an adoptive parent or birth parent, you probably understand these feelings firsthand. As emotional and life-changing adoption was for you, it was one of the most positive decisions you have ever made. More than likely, you want to talk about it. You may be happy to answer others’ questions about adoption when they are truly curious about your experience. Sometimes, however, people ask tough questions that can be hard to answer.

Anyone closely involved with adoption may understand it is an incredibly sensitive process, but others on the outside – even relatives – may not. Even when intentions are good, feelings may get hurt because of the seemingly ignorant questions asked or comments made by others.

At Adoptions With Love, we want our adoptive parents and birth parents to feel confident in their decisions, and to be able to comfortably address the many adoption questions that will arise throughout theirs’ and their child’s life. We also see these questions as opportunities to help educate others about adoption and all its positive aspects. Here, we will address some of those adoption questions that may not be so easy to answer.

Adoption Questions & Answers for Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents make the decision to adopt for numerous reasons. You may have struggled with infertility, been influenced by another adoption, or simply are not in a relationship that enables you to conceive a child. These are all personal and private matters that are your business first and foremost. When someone bluntly asks, “Why did you adopt?” Do not be afraid to say that that information is personal and private. There is no more explanation necessary unless you truly desire to share. Some people may try to empathize with you, having responses such as, “Too bad you could not have children of your own.” Try not to take this personally. Instead, explain that they mean you could not have a child biologically but that your child is very much your own. By law, you are his/her parent(s).

Another common adoption question adoptive parents get all the time is, “What happened to your child’s real parents?” This one may be best handled with a bit of humor. You could reply, “Oh, dear, do I not look real again?” Or, to better drive home the point, “Last I checked, I am a very real parent. I am the one changing the diapers and staying up all hours of the night.” People who do not understand adoption often confuse the word “real” for “biological.” You may also respond with, “Do you mean his biological parents? If so, we have lots of great information about them but we are keeping that private for now.”

The topic of adoption fees can be a focus of fascination for some outsiders. Relatives, friends, or even strangers may just be curious about the expense or may be considering adopting themselves and looking for an inside point of view. Questions as bold as, “How much did he cost?” may pop up. This can, of course, take a parent by surprise. Think about your response carefully.

For example, you may explain, “We did not pay for our child. With adoption, you pay for legal, social work, and medical fees.” If a person is truly curious about costs, you may choose to share some general information while keeping your expenses private: “The average cost of adoption today is between $20- and $30,000, however grants, credits, and reimbursements can help with the costs.” You can also answer their question with a question: “Are you interested in adopting a child?”

Many people do not realize that most domestic adoptions today are open adoptions. Therefore, many adoption questions may be related to your child’s birth parents. You may be asked questions like, “Are you worried about his birth mother coming back for him?” or “Are you going to tell him about his birth parents?” These are those moments we mentioned earlier, which present great opportunity for you – the adoptive parent – to drop some knowledge and spread awareness about adoption. You can explain:

  • Your child is your child by law. Therefore, no one can take him/her away.
  • Your child already knows he/she is adopted. You talk about adoption openly and regularly with your child and will continue to do so as he/she grows. Therefore, it is not some big, bad secret that you will reveal someday (like what is sometimes seen on TV). If you have an open adoption, you may also take this time to explain that you maintain contact with your child’s birth parent(s), and that your child has/will have opportunities to meet her (or them) someday.

No matter the approach from others’ adoption questions, it is important to remind yourself that, unfortunately, many people are unaware and uneducated when it comes to adoption language. This will help you keep your cool and handle these adoption questions with grace and positivity – which will influence the way your child someday answers questions like these, too.

Adoption Questions & Answers for Birth Parents

As if making an adoption plan for your child was not hard enough, you may sometimes face some harsh and hurtful questions from others about your decision to place. It is important, however, to keep in mind where your original decision stemmed from: Love. Your selfless decision to create a plan for your child’s life – to choose a loving family and a stable home for your child to grow – was perhaps the most thoughtful and courageous choice you could have ever made for your child. Still, there will be adoption questions from those who do not quite understand the emotion and consideration that went into your adoption plan. Here is how to tackle some of their questions about adoption:

A very common question birth mothers are asked is, “Why did you give up your child?” In fact, it is very common to hear people say, “give up” and “put up” for adoption. These phrases are wrong and hearing them is a good opportunity for you to explain why. You may say something like, “I did not ‘give her up’, I chose to make an adoption plan for her. I looked through families and chose the perfect one to raise her, who could give her a stable home, financial support, and the best life possible. I planned for her/him. I gave him/her opportunity.

A common set of follow-up questions may sound something like, How come you didn’t want her? or “Don’t you love your baby?” Again, these are inaccurate remarks. You came to your decision to make an adoption plan out of love, and it is fair-game to say this: “Actually, I love her so much that I decided to carry her to term and give her a life better than what I could provide at the time.”

One of the birth mothers that chose adoption through Adoptions With Love suggests the same sort of response:

“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… You make that choice for your child, not for you, BECAUSE you love them so much.” (Read her full interview about adoption language here.)

Making an adoption plan for your child is something you should be proud of. So, when someone asks, “Do you regret your decision?” Just answer confidently, explaining how you brought this incredible person into the world, and this child brought more joy and love to her adoptive parents than they could have ever imagined. She made them the parents they have always wanted to be, and they can provide her with the life and opportunity she deserves. How could a person regret an incredible, life-changing move like that?

Some people may ask you if you ever think about your child or whether you want to see him/her again someday. Since most private adoptions in the U.S. are open adoptions, it is not the cut-off situation they are imagining. More than likely, you think about your child all the time, and you hope and plan to see him/her again someday. When you do, you will remind your child that he/she is loved very much. He/she will already know that, since you placed your child with such a loving adoptive family, who kept you and your family background an ongoing part of the discussion.

Reaching Out for More Guidance

No matter your position, adoption is a beautiful journey that requires time, patience, and plenty of heart. The staff at Adoptions With Love wants to help guide you through that process as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Reach out to us any time of day at 1-800-722-7731, or text us at 617-777-0072, for more advice on answering questions about adoption. Or, you may download our free “Guide to Talking About Adoption” below.


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

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy? One of the most important things to know as an expectant parent in Colorado is that you have options. No matter the circumstance, Adoptions With Love wants you to know that you do not have to make this decision alone. For more than 30 years, we have been matching expectant and birth parents with loving and devoted adoptive families. Our licensed, private adoption agency specializes in providing adoption services throughout the state of Colorado. If you are pregnant and hoping to learn more about adoption, we can help. Our caring staff is here to help you research your options, educate you about adoption in Colorado, and help you make the best possible decision for you and your baby – free-of-pressure and free-of-cost. We are available 24/7 to give you confidential and compassionate support, throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

To help get you started, Adoptions With Love has created this short guide to show you some of the steps you can take if you decide to make an adoption plan in Colorado:

  1. Choose an adoption agency.

As you begin to explore your options and make an adoption plan, your first step will be to choose the right adoption agency. There are countless adoption professionals to choose from, but it is important to find someone you feel completely comfortable with – professionals you can trust. We recommend choosing an adoption agency that is fully willing to discuss your options, listen to your hopes and needs, and respect any choice that you make. Your adoption agency should also know and inform you on adoption laws in Colorado and provide you the guidance you need and deserve.

  1. Meet with an adoption counselor.

After choosing an adoption agency that works in Colorado, you should begin meeting with a licensed adoption social worker. At Adoptions With Love, we believe this is an essential part of the journey. This is the person who will walk you through your pregnancy and adoption options, and who help you make an adoption plan that is unique to you. She will also be there to answer your questions, to answer the phone whenever you call, and to help you navigate any emotions along the way. At Adoptions With Love, we believe an informed decision is the best decision, and that you should be given the opportunity to consider your options, learn about your birth mother rights, and understand exactly what to expect before, during, and after the adoption process. Only then will you know if adoption is right for you.

  1. Understand the adoption laws in Colorado.

Adoption laws vary by state. In Colorado, no parent can sign any legal adoption documents until after the baby is born. This gives birth mothers a chance to meet their baby and additional time to think about their choice. At Adoptions With Love, we encourage you to take this time to ensure you are comfortable with your decision.

There are many other laws about financial aid you may receive, your rights as an expectant parent, as well as the rights of your baby’s biological father. That is why, if you choose to make an adoption plan in Colorado, it is important to work with an agency that is experienced in the state. Adoptions With Love, for example, works with knowledgeable adoption attorneys who are specifically trained in Colorado adoptions.  We can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal process. Rest assured that our legal services, along with other birth parent services, are free of charge.

  1. Choose an adoptive family.

At Adoptions With Love, you will have the opportunity to choose the perfect adoptive family for your baby. Your adoption counselor will listen to your wishes and vision for the ideal family, and send you detailed profiles and photo albums from the many families hoping to adopt. Once you have chosen the right family, you will have the option to meet or speak with them – over the phone, email, or in-person – if you would like. This is completely up to you! No matter which family you choose, you can rest assured your baby will be welcomed into a safe, secure, and loving home. All families at Adoptions With Love undergo a thorough screening process, which includes background checks, interviews, and a series of in-person visits to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

  1. Make a post-placement plan.

At Adoptions With Love, expectant/birth parents can choose to keep in touch with their child’s adoptive family even after the adoption takes place. This is available through an open adoption plan. Open adoption means birth parents and adoptive parents stay in contact over the years. This level of contact, as well as the frequency contact, is defined by you. You may also decide you do not want contact right away, and opt for a closed adoption plan. You can always open this up down the road, with the help of your adoption counselor. All of the families at Adoptions With Love have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption, meaning we will have letters and photos of your child if and when you are ready.

Whether you choose an open adoption, semi-adoption, or closed adoption, our trained social workers will always be here for you, now and for years to come. Adoption is a lifelong journey. After placing your baby for adoption in Colorado, we encourage you to pursue counseling and support. Adoptions With Love offers ongoing, confidential counseling services at no cost to birth parents who chose adoption. We can help you navigate your emotions, as well as any post-placement communication and relationships.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth to your baby, it is not too late to start an adoption plan. Contact Amy, Nancy, Nellie, Claudia, or Amelia today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Colorado.

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.

 


A Father’s Day Message to All the Fathers Touched by Adoption

Father’s Day is a special time for us to honor all the men in our lives who helped to make us who we are today – those who raised us and those who gave us life. There is no single definition of a father; no single word that buckets all fathers together. Every father (and father-to-be) has a story. Whether you are father by birth or by adoption, or even just setting out on your adoption journey to become a dad, you deserve some recognition and love on this special occasion.

Here at Adoptions With Love, we recognize the work, care, and sacrifice needed to become a great dad. Well, Dad, this one is for you. Here, we will acknowledge the many different roles that men take on when it comes to helping create or raise a family.

For the Adoptive Fathers: You are the Real Deal!

Dads are men who parent and raise a child, no matter the biological connection. DNA does not factor into the complex and joyous role that is being a true “dad.” Adoptive fathers (or simply, fathers) make the profound decision to care for a child and love him/her with every resource possible. From the financial commitment to emotional support and guidance, adoptive fathers help their children grow into incredible adults. Father’s Day is certainly a day for you, adoptive dad. You are part of the reason your child is so happy, so engaged, and so spirited.

Adoptions With Love has the rare opportunity to meet with prospective adoptive families much like yours, and to discuss the hopes and dreams of the parents looking to adopt. We often hear from waiting adoptive dads who look forward to playing ball in the backyard, taking the family on road trips, and making memories to last a lifetime.

In fact, Adoptions With Love recently heard from one father who adopted an infant son through our agency. In an open letter to his son, Ben, he shared:

“Your Mom and I often lay in bed at night and talk about how lucky we are. Of course, we did not plan to have years of struggle starting a family.  We did our best to stay positive, optimistic and committed to our family plan. I will never forget the day we received the call and the day we first met. These are memories I will treasure forever. You have enriched our lives in ways that neither your Mom nor I could have ever imagined.”

It is clear to see that the love this father has for Ben is real, and that he is just as much as father as anyone else raising a child. You can read his full letter here.

For the Dads Waiting to Adopt: Let the Journey Begin!

For the men who are amid the adoption process and/or awaiting your child to be matched with you: Your job has already begun. You will soon become a role model to this growing person who will forever look up to you for guidance and support. Adoption is a beautiful, yet often long and winding journey, full of peaks and valleys. You deserve to be celebrated on Father’s Day as much as those men already playing the part.

“If there’s anyone out there who is trying and they’re just losing hope…just hang in there. Try every avenue; try anything you can do, because you’ll get there. You’ll end up with a family, and it’s so worth it. It is the most ‘worth it’ thing.” – Jimmy Fallon.

For those hopeful fathers just starting the adoption journey, Adoptions With Love can help guide you through the adoption process. Our caring staff will sit down with you to get to know your family, and to talk about your hopes and needs as well as Massachusetts’ adoption requirements. We will help you navigate everything from the home study and application process to the adoption finalization in court. We also provide post-adoption counseling for adoptive families, and have a dedicated eBook about the Massachusetts adoption process.

For the Fathers Who Helped Make an Adoption Plan

While Birth Father’s Day is not an official day, you should know that you are irreplaceable in your child’s life. You are an inherent piece of your child. You helped bring a beautiful child into this world – and provided him/her the opportunity to be raised by an amazing family with an abundance of love to give. The fact of the matter is simple: You lovingly made an adoption plan to ensure your child has the best possible life, even if it was not with you and his/her birth mother. Making an adoption plan is one of the most courageous and selfless acts a father can do for his child.  The profound importance of this impacts your   child and his or her adoptive parents. The adoptive parents are eternally grateful for your role in completing their family. You deserve recognition and celebration on this Father’s Day, for helping to make a family come together.

Father’s Day for All the Dads

Great dads of all walks of life – no matter their role – should be celebrated on Father’s Day. Whether you are an adoptive father, a prospective adoptive father, or a birth father who made an adoption plan – you are a hero! You play an important role in a child’s life and help shape who they will become as an adult. Be proud of your position in this incredible journey.

Adoptions With Love supports all fathers looking to adopt or make an adoption plan. Please reach out to our caring staff any time at 1-800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072, or email us at info@awlonline.org.


11 Famous Men Who Have Been Touched by Adoption

Adoption is a part of life that many people have experienced in one way or another – either by adopting a child, being adopted, or lovingly choosing an adoption plan for his/her own child. It is something that affects people of all walks of life. Even celebrities!

While many of us may think of famous women like Madonna or Hoda Kotb when we hear “celebrity” and “adoption” in the same breath, there are also many famous men out there who have been touched by this loving act. In light of Father’s Day this month, Adoptions With Love has put together a list of some famous men who have an adoption story to share – some who have adopted, some who were adopted, and some whose biological child was placed. Check it out!

  1. Hugh Jackman (Adoptive Father)hugh jackman children adopted

We first mentioned superhero and super-dad Hugh Jackman in our blog about Famous Adoptive Fathers. The actor and his wife, Deborra (is this spelled correctly?)-Lee Furness, have openly and proudly discussed the adoption of their mixed-race children, Oscar and Ava. The actor has been quoted as saying, “Adoption is about taking a baby into your home — and your heart. [It is] the best thing [we have] ever done.”

  1. Ewan McGregor (Adoptive Father)

Before taking on the Dark Side in “Star Wars,” the Scottish actor started a family. He has two biological children and two adopted children. The actor welcomed Jamiyan from Mongolia in 2008 and Annouk in 2011. He is notoriously private when it comes to his family, but has stated that he spends as much time with his children as possible:

“I’ve tried to make sure that my daughters felt that they were each very special to me, and that I’d always make time for them – I think that’s one of the most important things to do as a dad. You need to pay attention.”

  1. Tom Cruise (Adoptive Father)

After reaching fame from hit films such as “Risky Business” and “A Few Good Men,” Tom Cruise adopted his daughter, Isabella, with then-wife Nicole Kidman. Two years later, the celebrity couple welcomed their adopted son, Connor, to their family. In discussing his family make-up, comprised of both adopted and biological children, this famous father said:

“My adopted children are my own children. There is no separation in that for me whatsoever. There’s no way there is any difference and anyone who has adopted would say the same. I’ve been up in the middle of the night changing diapers, there’s no question in terms of me being the father; that bond couldn’t be any stronger.”

  1. Ty Burrell (Adoptive Father)

The “Modern Family” star and his wife, Holly, married in 2000 and have built quite the “modern family” since. The two announced the adoption of their first daughter, Frances, in March 2010. Two years later, they welcomed their second adopted daughter home. In an interview about his work on Disney’s “Finding Dory,” Burrell once explained that one of the best unplanned things to ever happen to him were adopting his children:

“In a in a weird way, it wasn’t planned, it’s a weird thing how adoptions can sometimes be as irrational as regular birth,” the actor said of their decision to adopt. “My wife Holly and I were on an airplane on a flight from LA to New York and when we got on the flight, we had intended to never have kids… When we got off in New York, we were crying that we were going to have a kid, so it was unplanned. And then, when we did it again, it was similarly irrational.”

  1. Scott Hamilton (Adopted Person & Adoptive Father)scott hamilton children

Long before the Olympic gold medal champion skater was dazzling the world with his triple axels and backflips on ice, he was adopted at six-weeks-old by Dorothy and Ernest Hamilton. Ernest was a professor of biology at Bowling Green State University and Dorothy was a grade school teacher who later became an associate professor at Bowling Green. Scott Hamilton has an older sister, Susan, who was the family’s firstborn biological child, as well as a younger brother, who is also adopted.

Fast-forward a few decades, and Scott Hamilton’s adoption story continues. In 2010, he and his wife, Tracie, decided to adopt two children from Haiti after the massive earthquake hit. After two years of the international adoption process, they welcomed their two children Jean Paul and Evelyne home.

  1. Jamie Foxx (Adopted Person)

Image result for jamie foxx

The Oscar-winning actor and talented singer is a second-generation adoptee — his mother was adopted, as well. His maternal grandmother adopted him when he was just seven-months-old. In September of 2017, he opened up about his adoption story on his hit game show, “Beat Shazam,” telling the audience:

“You know what’s amazing? I was adopted at seven months and I’m going to tell you what that means. My grandmother? That’s not actually my biological grandmother. That’s somebody who said, ‘I see something in that little boy that’s very special’… And she made sure I had every tool that I needed to grow and expand.”

  1. Ray Liotta (Adopted Person)

This Emmy-winning “Goodfella” was born in New Jersey and adopted by Mary and Alfred Liotta when he was just six-months-old. Since he was a child, he knew he was adopted – he even did a show-and tell-report on his adoption story when he was in kindergarten. Liotta met his birth parents and siblings when he was in his 40s. In an interview with Larry King, Liotta once said:

“I used to wear being adopted on my sleeve… And I realized when I met [my birth mother], there were really valid reasons, and that almost 99 percent of kids that are put up for adoption are always for the betterment of the kid. The household, the situation, the age just dictates that that’s the best thing to do for the child.”

  1. Marcus Samuelsson (Adopted Person)

You may recognize Marcus Samuelsson from his appearances on Chopped, Iron Chef, Top Chef, and Beat Bobby Flay, among many other Food Network favorites. What many do not know, however, is that this famed chef was also adopted. He was born in Ethiopia, adopted and raised by a white couple in Sweden. A few years ago, Samuelsson wrote about his adoption journey, and about trans-racial adoption, in the Huffington Post:

Related image“The journey into adoption started for my parents, as it does with so many families: my mother and father desperately wanted to have kids, but they couldn’t. I came into this environment where there was so much love, so much positive energy. I never heard my parents say, “We have adopted kids.” The minute my sister Linda and I landed in Sweden, we were their kids,” Samuelsson begins.

Samuelsson continues to recognize his adoptive parents, and their differences, throughout his article: “We knew we had different skin colors and were from different countries, but that never stopped my parents from doing the hard work of parenting. My parents were there: in front of me, behind me, in the middle of my life at all times: reprimanding me, giving me confidence, teaching me valuable lessons, to help make me the man I am today.”

  1. Steve Jobs (Adopted Person)

Steve Jobs is a household name in the tech world. He is the founder of Apple computers, the mind behind the Mac, and the innovator behind your iPhone. Did you know that Steve Jobs was also adopted as an infant?

Steve Jobs was raised in a stable, lower middle-class home by two loving adoptive parents. He believed that his interest in computers stemmed from his adoptive father, Paul, a machinist who spent his spare time fixing old cars. Growing up, Jobs adored his father and called him “a genius with his hands.” His father taught him the basics of electronics and the two would spend weekends together looking for spare parts. According to sources, Jobs’ parents were warm, loving, and made him feel special, saying they had “picked him out.” They also carried out their promise to Jobs’ birth mother to send him to college, though he dropped out after one year. It is believed that, if Steve Jobs had been raised by his birth parents (who led very nomadic lives), he would not have fostered the same passion for technology.

  1. Andy Kaufman (Birth Father)

Before becoming a famed comedian, Andy Kaufman and his high school girlfriend made an adoption plan for their infant daughter in 1969. Two decades later, after a search for her birth mother, Maria Bellu-Colonna learned she was Kaufman’s birth daughter. She then reunited with her birth mother, paternal grandfather, uncle, and aunt, but due to his passing, never met Andy himself.

Maria Bellu says her adoption experience was generally positive. “I was always told, ‘You’re adopted, and that’s why you’re so special to us,’” she explains. “But I always felt I was different from the people who were bringing me up,” which is what encouraged her adoption search.

  1. Rod Stewart (Birth Father)

Image result for rod stewart and sarah streeter

Before the fame and fortune, Rod Stewart was just a teenager with a heart full of love and passion, but not a penny in his pocket. When he was 17 or 18-years-old, Stewart and his then-girlfriend, Sue Boffey, got pregnant. “I was stone broke,” the rock star now recalls, and could not afford to raise a child. The romance came to an end and the young couple chose to make an adoption plan for their baby girl.

Rod Stewart’s first biological daughter, Sarah Streeter, is now 55-years-old and the two are in touch. She found him when she turned 18, but it took time for the birth father and daughter to build a relationship. It has been a process, they both admit, but getting to know each other has been both delicate and rewarding.

“There’s no anger there,” Streeter has said of her feelings on adoption and her birth parents’ choice. “I never was angry about what happened really, just sad. But now I’m older I see things differently and realize that it has been as difficult for him over the years as it has been for me. Now we’re at the start of a new chapter, and that’s wonderful.”

As evidenced by this list, it is clear that adoption touches all kinds of people, even celebrities. In addition to the 11 famous men listed here, Adoptions With Love also recognizes Nelson Mandela, George Lopez, John Lennon, Michael Bay, Babe Ruth, Jesse Jackson, Albert Einstein, Dave Thomas, famous athletes, and the millions of other men – famous or not – affected by adoption. Do you know of any other famous men touched by adoption? Share their stories here!

If you would like to grow your family through 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 do not hesitate to reach out by calling Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731. We are here for you.