Archive for February, 2019

Adoption FAQ: What Will My Child Think of Me?

While considering adoption, you may find yourself overwhelmed with many thoughts, feelings, and questions – Some of the most pressing being, “how will adoption affect my child?” and “what will my child think of me when he or she grows up?”

As hard as it may be in this moment, making an adoption plan can have a very positive impact on your child’s future. And despite what you may have heard or seen, choosing adoption does not mean giving up or hurting your relationship with your child. Rather, it means making a plan for your child’s life, and giving him or her a safe and loving place to grow. Adoption is a decision made with great love and thoughtfulness, and your child will come to understand this in time. You may even get the chance to explain this choice to your child yourself.

You see, adoption today is no longer the taboo or secretive subject that it once was. An estimated 99 percent of adopted children ages five and older know that they were adopted. Most adoptions today are open adoptions, meaning the birth mother has some relationship with her child’s adoptive family. It is, overall, considered a positive experience. An estimated 90 percent of those children have positive feelings about their adoption situation.

Choosing adoption is a special way of showing love to your child. It means taking the time to put your child’s needs above your own, to give him or her the best possible life you can give at this time. Your child will be reminded of this as he or she grows. You will never be forgotten. Adoptions With Love constantly hears from our adoptees, now young adults, who have told us how thankful they are that their birthparents gave them the opportunity for a wonderful life.

Research has found that the majority of adopted children experience full and happy lives with their adoptive families. They are more likely to be read to, sung to, and told stories to every single day. They are also more likely to participate in extracurricular activities, and eat dinners with their families each night. Most adopted children are in very good health, and live in safe neighborhoods with two loving parents. This leads to many other positive effects on children.

If you are concerned about the safety or well-being of your child, rest assured that when you work with a licensed adoption agency, all adoptive parents are thoroughly screened and vetted. They go through a series of FBI background checks and interviews to ensure they are ready to raise a baby. Who are adoptive families, exactly? Many of those looking to adopt are not able to conceive children biologically. Some have experienced infertility. Their biggest dream is to become a parent.

Making an adoption plan does not mean that you would not make a great parent. It does not mean that you do not love your child. It actually means the opposite. Adoption means you love your child so much that you want him or her to have the best possible life. It is a selfless decision that puts your child’s basic needs – safety, stability, nutrition, health, permanence – above your own. It means giving your child the gift of a forever family, and a life full of opportunity. Your child will grow up knowing this. The adoptive parents will always show you respect and talk about your loving decision.

If you choose to make an open adoption plan, you can also stay involved in your child’s life in some way. Your child can grow up knowing who you are, and the loving choice that you made. Your child will also have answers to many questions that arise in adoption. For this reason, most birth parents maintain some form of contact with the adoptive families over the years.

Adoptions With Love is an open adoption agency, meaning every adoptive family agrees to at least a semi-open adoption, in which they send letters and photos to the agency on a regular basis. Birth parents can access these if and when they are ready. In more open adoption arrangements, adoptive families may choose to send letters and pictures directly to the birth parents. Most adoptive families at Adoptions With Love are open to some direct ongoing communication with the birth parents throughout the years. In some situations, the adoptive families grow close with the birth mother of their child, and keep in touch as though she is a part of their family. In this modern-day world, driven by technology, adoption communication is likely to evolve over time – turning into emails, video chats, and more. Birth parents can take comfort in knowing how their child is growing and developing. All the while, adoptive parents can enjoy sharing their pride in their child.

The staff at Adoptions With Love can help you choose the best type of adoption plan for your needs, whether that is open or closed, or somewhere in between. We write contracts that are legal and binding, but also leave room for renegotiation over the years. This is an important factor and in the best interest of the child. As your child grows, his or her emotional needs will change. When the adoptive child becomes a teen or young adult, he or she may decide on the kind of relationship to have with the birth parents. Adoptions With Love is always here to help guide everyone through this process. We have a very active search and reunion program that continues to grow. We are committed to helping birth and adoptive families maintain respectful relationships over the years.

Adoption is not an easy decision, nor an “easy way out.” As an expectant/birth mother, you are putting tons of love, thought, and time into making an adoption plan. You are planning for your baby’s life! You are providing a permanent family, a safe place to grow, and emotional and financial support with ready parents that have always dreamed of raising a child. This will all be explained to your child as he or she grows. Your child will always love and respect you for this.

If you have any more questions about how adoption will affect your child, or how your child will remember you after the adoption takes place, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Call us toll-free at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072. You may also get more information on commonly asked birth mother questions in our free eBook, “Adoption FAQ for Birth Mothers,” which you can download below.

Talking the Talk: Age-Appropriate Adoption Conversations

Talking to Your Child About Adoption

Many parents feel nervous about approaching the “adoption talk” with their child. However, it is important to remember that adoption is not a one-time “talk.” Adoption is a lifelong conversation. As your child grows, the conversations you have together will evolve. By keeping adoption an open topic in your home, your child will grow comfortable asking questions and learning more about his or her adoption story. You – as a parent – will also grow more comfortable answering questions over time.

Adoptions With Love has compiled sample Questions and Answers in the above infographic, so that adoptive parents like you can know what to say (and how to say it!) as their children grow.

When talking about adoption with your child, an important factor to keep in mind is age-appropriate adoption language. The discussions had with an infant about adoption should be different than the ones you would have with a preschooler or ten-year-old. As seen in the above infographic, timing and language play such a critical role in your child’s sense of self. Below we share some additional advice on how to have positive, age-appropriate conversations with your child.

From the first day you welcome your child into your lives, you can begin sharing his or her adoption story. It is never too early to start using the word “adoption,” whether it is during a bottle feeding or bath time. Your baby may not grasp what you are saying in those first several weeks, but the practice can help you gain more comfort and confidence with the “right” words to say.

Adoption is something that you will continually discussing, intermittently, throughout your baby’s childhood. Getting comfortable with the “talk” will greatly benefit both parent and child down the road.

Just as parents need to understand what age-appropriate conversations sound like for each developing age of a child’s life – for example, “Where do babies come from?” from a preschooler can be answered with a simple, “Every baby comes from a man and a woman.” – the level of discussion for adoption should be tailored to each specific age.

The Infant Phase (0-2)

During bath time with an infant, for example, simple messages such as: “Daddy and I are so happy we got to adopt you. We love you more than anything in this world!”

Early Childhood Years (3-5)

As your child grows, the conversation will grow, as well. In the preschool phase, the discussion will evolve into: “Mommy and Daddy were so happy to adopt you! Your birth mom had you in her belly, and she wanted to make sure you had the best life. She found us and asked us to become your mommy and daddy when you were born. We adopted you, and you have been our sweet baby from the start.”

The inevitable “why” questions come into play at the toddler and preschool phase, as well, but young children are often pleased with simple answers such as “because we knew you were meant to be ours!” This will help your little one feel loved and at home where he or she belongs.

Keep in mind that, at the toddler and preschool age, you must be very careful over which words you choose to use when discussing adoption. Avoid negative phrases such as, “gave up for adoption.” Young children are sponges and will repeat (and later process) this negative adoption language, which could affect their self-esteem.

School-Aged Kids (6-11)

Speaking with your child in the elementary school years becomes a bit more complicated. Your child will likely have more specific questions regarding his/her birth parents, especially if there has not been much contact between your two families. Kids in school often do projects about their ethnic backgrounds and family history. Be prepared to answer your child’s questions as openly and honestly as possible. You do not want to give your child any feelings of insecurity or mistrust because of an uncomfortable topic. Your child’s questions are normal and healthy and should be faced head-on.

Adolescence (12-17)

This age can be a very delicate one, bringing more emotions and feelings into the adoption discussion. Your teen may start to have negative feelings or feel a deeper urge to learn more about his or her birth parents. This is completely normal and should be handled with empathy and care. Be supportive and willing to share more details about birth parents, if you have them. Share photos with your child, and letters that you may have. If you are in touch with your adoption counselor or the birth parents, arrange a time to meet.

Do not be offended when your child asks questions or expresses feelings about his or her biological parents. Accept that your child may want to contact the birth parents or know more about his or her background. This does not reflect you as a parent. It does present an opportunity for you to strengthen your relationship, by being a trusted source of information and guidance through this phase of life!

Learn more about talking to your child about adoption, at each phase of his or her life. Learn how to answer the tougher and more delicate questions about adoption. Download our free eBook, “A Guide to Explaining Adoption to Your Child” below.