Archive for January, 2019

Adoption Conversation Starters: Resources to Use When Talking About Adoption with Your Child

Talking about adoption is an important element of being an adoptive parent. Just like nurturing a child with the repetition of the phrase “I love you” is pivotal, being lovingly open and positive about adoption is a crucial part of caring for your son or daughter. Adoption is an essential part of your family’s story, and must be talked about repeatedly, positively, and compassionately.

Many parents do not know how to begin the adoption conversation with their little one. This is completely normal. Some worry it might affect their relationship with their child. Others fear it will make their child confused, or worse – feel like he or she does not belong. The bottom line is, the child whose parents are open and honest about their adoption story is a happier one. Open adoption conversations lead to more answers, more confidence, and a more complete sense-of-self.

Bringing up  the adoption conversation early and often can help lay down the groundwork for more evolved conversations as your child grows. Adoptions With Love has been guiding adoptive families for more than 32 years now, and it is truly remarkable for us to see how children flourish and relationships between parent and child strengthen because of this level of honesty.

There are many tools and tricks of the parenting trade for talking about adoption with young children. We have discussed many of these in our recent eBook, “Explaining Adoption to Your Child: A Guide for Adoptive Parents.” Below, we outline some additional resources parents can use to help guide adoption conversations.

Story-Telling:

Children love to hear about themselves, especially in story-book form. Your child will be excited to hear about how your family came together (and will probably ask you to repeat the story time and time again!). This is a sacred story that is deeply personal and only for them. It makes your child feel special. It is meaningful. Most of all, it helps your child understand more about adoption, even at a young age.

Creating a story for your child will come naturally. You can explain that, once upon a time, your child was born to a beautiful, brave woman who loved him/her with all her heart. However, , she was not able to take care of the baby (for adult reasons). So, she chose a nice family to love and raise her child. They became her forever family. Use real names if you have them, to associate positive language and tone with your child’s birth parents.

Photo Books:

Much like the photo book you created early in the adoption process, adoptive parents may choose to make a special adoption photo book to share with their child. This is commonly called an Adoption Lifebook and holds the small details of your family’s adoption story. It may begin with photos of Mom and Dad just getting started with the adoption process – such as filling out paper work. It may also include photos of the birth parents, if available, or photos from the delivery room. Everything from nursery prep to the first days of school are also great moments to include. Be sure to write special captions to describe your feelings of excitement. Include specific stories, like dad’s reaction to the phone call confirming a match. This can drum up positive vibes and great conversations about the adoption. You can look at this together as a family, when talking about adoption. This will help you tell the story and allow your child to have visuals as you do.

Mementos:

In addition to photos, there are many other items from the adoption journey that can encourage conversations with your child. Ultrasounds, your child’s hand or foot prints from the hospital, or a special gift from his/her birth mom, are just some tangible examples. If your child has a special blanket from the hospital or infancy, this can be used to bring up the adoption conversation, as well. You may say something like, “I remember when we first laid our eyes on you, you were wrapped up in this blanket. Sweet as can be. We drove as fast as we could for hours to reach the hospital where you were. We could not wait to hold you.”

Children’s Books About Adoption:

Many parents turn to adoption books to help broach the adoption discussion with young children. These books can help your child understand adoption. Children’s books about adoption can also normalize the concept for your child. They can give him/her something to relate to, allowing your child to see that there are other families out there that were formed just like yours. This an important distinction at a young age – that adoption is a normal way to create and grow a family.

Of course, no children’s book story will be exactly the same as your child’s adoption story. That is because your child’s adoption story is unique. Adoptive parents often use children’s books about adoption as ice breakers, to introduce the concept repetitively, without being too intrusive. Some popular adoption books for kids, as recommended by Parents Magazine, are:

  • Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born – Jamie Lee Curtis
  • A Mother for Choco – Keiko Kasza
  • The Day We Met You – Phoebe Koehler

Adoptive Parent Groups:

It can also be extremely helpful to join adoptive parenting groups for additional resources and support. Like-minded individuals can share stories that help spark ideas for having continuous and positive discussions about adoption with your child.

Of course, there are going to be many moments throughout your child’s life that present natural, organic opportunities to talk about adoption. For example, when rehearsing for a school play, you could ask your child, “Do you think you got the acting bug from your birth mother? Or maybe your birth father?” This will give your child the reassurance that it is okay to think about things like this – and it will also give your child freedom to ask more questions about his or her background.

Adoptions With Love wants all adoptive parents and children to feel comfortable discussing adoption. Our caring staff is here to help support you through this parenting journey. Download our free guides below for more information about starting the adoption conversation or email us at info@awlonline.org. We are here to help start and continue these conversations for stronger and healthier relationships between adoptive parent and child.


Adoption Requirements in Massachusetts: What to Know

Adoption is an incredibly rewarding way to grow a family. It is a path taken with much consideration and compassion, and probably one of the most momentous decisions you will make in your lifetime. When you make the decision to adopt, you are making the beautiful choice to open your heart and home to a child, whom you will love endlessly. You are also taking steps to fulfill your dream of becoming a parent.

Of course, we realize that choosing adoption (especially for those who have experienced infertility) can also be overwhelming. As a prospective adoptive parent, you likely have a million questions surrounding the adoption process. One that may be most pressing, however, may be around adoption requirements. Who can adopt a baby? What do I need to have, or do, in order to grow my family through adoption?

If you are a Massachusetts resident, Adoptions With Love can help. We are a non-profit, private, domestic adoption agency that provides this very special service to hopeful parents across the Bay State. It is our mission to help you through the MA adoption process and ensure that it is a positive, joyous journey for your family. We work tirelessly to find the best possible home for each child, and to find that home right here in Massachusetts with you. To help you get started, we have outlined the fundamental adoption requirements in Massachusetts below.

Massachusetts’ Adoption Requirements

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires all prospective adoptive parents to complete a thorough application process, which includes a several-month-long home study, FBI background checks, as well as submitting any required documentation, such as health records.

In order to adopt, Massachusetts state law also requires the following. Private adoption agencies may also have their own set guidelines and requirements for prospective adoptive parents.

  • You are an adult over 21 years of age.
  • You either rent or own a home
  • Your home has adequate privacy, safety, and space for all family members, including your soon-to-be child (children of the same gender may share a bedroom)
  • You attend a training course that prepares you for adoption and parenthood
  • You to provide personal letters of recommendation, in addition an adoption application
  • You complete a home study before being approved to adopt

Adoptions With Love is very involved in the home study process, in which one of our MA-licensed adoption social workers will visit you in your home and conduct a series of interviews to get to know you, your family, and your hopes for the adoption. You can learn more about the adoption home study (and how to prepare) here.

While documentation may vary agency to agency, Massachusetts adoption requirements note that families should submit current health records as part of their home study (to ensure your mentally and physically fit to raise a baby), as well as current financial records (to ensure you are financially stable enough to raise a child). You do not need to be wealthy to adopt a baby in MA, but you do need to be able to meet your family’s basic needs.

An adult that is stable and healthy, that is financially, emotionally, and physically fit to raise a baby, and that can fully provide safety and security for their child, can adopt in Massachusetts. Same-gender and LGBT couples, single parents, and married couples all have an equal opportunity to adopt in MA, though requirements can vary by agency. Adoptions With Love welcomes all aspiring adoptive parents in Massachusetts to complete an application.

Upon submitting an adoption application, including all supporting documents, Adoptions With Love will contact you within two weeks. You will then be assigned a social worker from our staff, and we will schedule the first meeting of the home study process. You will also enroll in baby care training sessions to prepare for parenthood (if you are a first-time parent, per Massachusetts law) in addition to group sessions at Adoptions With Love. These serve as a great opportunity to meet other waiting parents and to learn more about the adoption process and all that adoption involves.

If and when you are ready to adopt in Massachusetts, the caring and knowledgeable staff at Adoptions With Love is here to help. We offer private consultations, free-of-charge, to go over the preliminary application process and Massachusetts adoption requirements. During this initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to ask us questions, learn about us as an agency, and decide whether you would like to move forward with adoption. We can help you decide if adoption is the right path for you and your family. We will help prepare you to embark on this beautiful journey of becoming a parent. Please contact us anytime to learn more about the adoption requirements in Massachusetts by calling 617-964-4357. You may also download our free guide, ‘The Massachusetts Adoption Process’ below.