Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

The Benefits of Adoption for Adopted Children [Infographic]

impact of adoption on children

Are you pregnant and considering adoption?  Right now, you may be scared and overwhelmed.  You already have so much love for your baby.  You want to choose the life that is best for your child, but you do not know what life that is.  You are worried you cannot give your baby the life that he or she deserves.  If you choose adoption, you may worry that your child will not understand your choice.

Many birth parents fear that their child will never understand their adoption decision.  Some are scared that their child will grow up angry, lonely, or hurt because of it.  While adoptees do have many different emotions and thoughts about their adoption, 9 out of 10 adopted children express “positive” or “mostly positive” feelings overall.

In the past, adoption was kept secret.  The majority of adopted children did not know they were adopted and for this reason, did not grow up understanding their birth mother’s decision.  They were not able to learn information about their birthparents or ever meet their birth mothers.  Today, over 97 percent of children know they are adopted.  From an early age, these children are able to ask questions, appreciate, and be proud of their adoption.

Adoptions With Love designed this infographic to show you the positive effects of adoption and the benefits it can bring to your child as he or she grows.  By reading these facts, we hope you will find comfort in knowing the healthy, enriching experiences adopted children can have.

If you choose to make an adoption plan for your child, rest assured that your child will thrive in a safe and loving home.  Your child will likely come to understand that you gave him or her the best life that you could possibly give.  At Adoptions With Love, remember that you, as an expectant or birth mother, always have the option to be a part of that life.

To learn more about the benefits of adoption for children or to begin your adoption plan, contact Amy, Nancy, Amelia, or Claudia at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.

 

 


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

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy?  Perhaps the most important thing to know as an expectant mother in Kentucky is that you have options.  No matter what you decide for your baby, know that the choice is always yours to make.  At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know that you will never have to make this choice alone.  We are here to listen and answer questions, to educate you on adoption in Kentucky, and to help you make the most positive, long-term decision for you and your baby.

If you are contemplating making an adoption plan, you have come to the right place.  Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency who helps expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.  In the state of Kentucky, there are specific steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption.  You do not have to go through this on your own.  As a reputable adoption agency serving Kentucky for over 30 years, we can help guide you through this journey.  We are here to ensure that you understand the adoption process and are comfortable with each decision made along the way.

We have created this short guide to show you some of the steps you can take if you decide to make an adoption plan in the state of Kentucky:

1. Choose an adoption agency.

As you begin your adoption plan, your first step will be to choose the right adoption support.  There are many adoption professionals who can help you, but it is important to find someone that you truly trust throughout this unexpected journey.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss your options with you, listen to your wishes, and respect any choice you make.  Select an adoption agency that will also educate you on the adoption laws of your area, and provide you the assistance you need and deserve.

2. Meet with an adoption counselor.

As you begin your adoption plan, you should meet regularly with a licensed, compassionate adoption social worker.  At Adoptions With Love, we feel this is a crucial part of the adoption process.  We want to make sure that you have the opportunity to consider all of your choices, learn about all of your birth mother rights, and understand exactly what to expect before, during, and after an adoption takes place.

3. Understand the adoption laws in Kentucky.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Kentucky, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until at least 72 hours after the baby is born.  Adoptions With Love recommends that you take time to rest after your baby’s birth before making this decision.

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

4. Choose an Adoptive Family

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

No matter what family you choose, rest assured you will be placing your baby in a loving, safe and secure home.  In Kentucky, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened by a licensed adoption agency.  All families at Adoptions With Love have gone through an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

5. Make a Post-Placement Plan

If you choose to design an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, you will have the option of meeting your child’s adoptive family and establishing a plan for communication following your baby’s adoption.  Whether you choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption plan, our trained social workers will help you as you consider all of your options for post-adoption contact with your child, his or her adoptive family, and our adoption agency professionals.

If you choose adoption for your baby, we encourage you to pursue counseling and support services after your baby is placed.  Adoptions With Love offers ongoing, confidential counseling services that are available at no cost to you.  We can help you navigate emotions, communication, and a relationship after the adoption takes place.  We will always be here for you.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start an adoption plan. Contact Amy, Nancy, Claudia, or Amelia today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Kentucky.

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.


Is Your Baby at Risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome?

As the opioid epidemic rises in our society, we are meeting its youngest victims: babies born with NAS.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS, is a drug withdrawal syndrome that affects newborns.  It happens when a baby is exposed to drugs while in the womb.  When a pregnant woman takes drugs, the substance passes through her bloodstream, through the placenta, and directly to the fetus.  Once the baby is born, he or she will experience severe drug withdrawal and in many cases, the pain that is associated with it.

You may be wondering; “Why should I care about NAS?” or “What drugs can cause NAS?”  Perhaps you are here because you believe your baby may be at risk.  Whether you have a history of drug use or have been prescribed pain medication by your doctor, it is important to know the risks that drugs can pose for your baby.

NAS is most often caused by opioid use during pregnancy.  Opioids are painkillers commonly used to relieve pain.  They come in the form of morphine, oxycodone, and codeine.  Opioid drugs can range from legal, regulated prescriptions such as Vicodin all the way to illicit street drugs like Heroin.  When an expectant mother takes these kinds of drugs, she puts her baby at risk for many health problems including low birth weight, respiratory problems, birth defects, and seizures.  Examples of substances that can cause NAS are listed below.

Prescription Drugs that Can Cause Withdrawal Symptoms in Babies Include (but are not limited to):

  • Vicodin
  • Kadian
  • Avinza
  • OxyContin
  • Percocet
  • Sleeping pills (Xanax)
  • Antidepressants

Recreational Substances that Can Cause Withdrawal Symptoms in Babies Include (but are not limited to):

  • Amphetamines (Cocaine)
  • Alcohol
  • Heroin
  • Methadone

There has been a five-fold increase in opioid use among pregnant women since the year 2000.  Many women are prescribed pain relievers during pregnancies.  Others take drugs before knowing they are pregnant.  Unfortunately, this drug use has led to the birth of many NAS babies.  From 2000 to 2012, an estimated 21,732 infants were born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome.  This means that approximately every 25 minutes, one baby suffering from opioid withdrawal was born to this world.

Babies born with NAS are difficult to comfort.  They cry excessively, have trouble eating and sleeping, and are often feverish or nauseous for days after birth.  For these reasons, NAS babies are required to stay in the hospital much longer than the average newborn.  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome typically keeps babies in the hospital for 17 days, compared to the average two days for healthy newborns.  This extended hospital stay can become costly for many families.  When a child is born with NAS, it is reported to the Department of Children and Families. As a result, many NAS babies are placed in the DCF foster care system.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can happen to any baby that is exposed to drugs, from mothers of all walks of life.  Even if you take a legal opioid exactly as your provider tells you to do, there is still a risk for NAS in your baby.  Do not blame yourself.  As you continue your pregnancy, know that there is still an opportunity to make your situation a positive one.  There are resources to make a better life for you and your baby.

If you are pregnant and have used any of the drugs that can cause NAS, talk to your health care provider right away.  Keep your doctor informed about any substances or prescription medications that you take.  If you are experiencing any health problems, make sure your doctor knows that you are pregnant, to ensure each prescription issued is safe for your baby.  If you are pregnant and addicted to drugs, talk to your doctor about a regulated drug treatment plan.  Do not be afraid to consult your doctor.  He or she is there to help you and your baby, without judgment. Remember, all doctors have a patient confidentiality policy.  What you tell your doctor is classified information and will be kept safe.

If you do not have a health care provider at this time, do not worry.  There are drop-in health clinics and walk-in centers available to care for you and your baby.  If you believe your baby is at risk for NAS and are not able to give your child the life or healthcare that he or she needs, you may consider making an adoption plan.  Choosing adoption will allow you to give your baby the stable environment that he or she deserves to heal and grow.  Adoptions With Love can help you find a reputable doctor who understands both your emotional and physical needs.  We will also cover any uninsured medical expenses once you complete the adoption.

Our mission at Adoptions With Love is to find the best home for each and every child.  If you are at all concerned for your baby or your baby’s future, adoption may prove to be the best choice for you.  Your baby can go from the hospital to a waiting adoptive family and avoid foster care.  We can help you find a loving, stable adoptive family that is  ready to raise your child.  With a private, open adoption, you will always know that your child is thriving and that you made the best decision for your child at this moment in time.

If you have any questions regarding Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or if you or someone you know is pregnant and suffering from opioid addiction, please do not hesitate to call us confidentially at 1-800-722-7731 or text us at 1-617-777-0072.  Adoptions With Love is available 24/7 to listen, discuss your options, and help you make a positive plan for you and your baby.


How a Private Adoption Agency Can Be Involved with Your Adoption Plan

Adoption is a courageous, selfless decision.  It is a choice that requires great love and resolution, and a decision that only a mother can make.  You do not have to make this decision alone.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of your next step.  You may not know where you can turn for support.  Whether you are considering your options or simply looking for information on your various unplanned pregnancy options, a compassionate, private adoption agency can help.  Trained social workers can sit down with you to discuss your options, educate you on the process, and if you choose, help you design a perfect adoption plan for your baby.

As an expectant mother, you may be hesitant to work with an adoption agency.  You may know exactly what you want for your baby, but worry that an adoption professional will not fulfill your wishes.

At Adoptions With Love, we believe that your adoption plan should be just that—completely yours.  You deserve to feel comfortable and confident with every decision made and every step taken throughout the adoption process.  You deserve to make your decisions free of pressure.  You deserve to be respected for every decision you make.  You deserve to know that your adoption plan is secure and will be followed by everyone involved.

The right private adoption agency will not only guide you throughout the adoption process but also ensure that your wishes for your baby are met.  When choosing an adoption agency, ask about their involvement with your adoption plan.

Adoptions With Love will guide you through the process.  You can count on us to:

  • Educate you on your many options. Our respectful, unbiased social workers will walk you through each of your unplanned pregnancy options to ensure that you are making the best decision for you and your baby.
  • Explain the adoption process. If you choose to make an adoption plan, our trained staff will educate you regarding each step of the adoption process. From pregnancy care to telling the father, legal considerations to your hospital plan. We will prepare you for the entire adoption journey.
  • Listen to your wishes. We invite you to tell us all about the type of family you want for your baby. Your wishes are important to us and will always be respected. This is your adoption plan. Our role as an adoption agency is only to help guide you through the process, and ensure that you make the best possible decisions for you and your baby.
  • Show you waiting adoptive families. At our private adoption agency, we require all potential adoptive families to complete a thorough home screening process.  This assures us that they are safe, stable, and ready to raise a child.  Once we approve a family, we ask them to create personal Profile Books.  These Profile Books contain personal information, photo albums, and letters written to expectant mothers like you.  At your request, we will mail you a careful selection of Profile Books based on the type of family you want for your baby.
  • Design an adoption plan. At Adoptions With Love, you always have the choice to make an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan for your baby. We will counsel you on your many adoption plan options.
  • Create legal, binding contracts. Every decision you make for your baby should be respected, and our goal is to give you  peace of mind.  That is why Adoptions With Love writes legal, binding contracts regarding post-adoption contact.  If you want to receive letters and pictures from your child’s adoptive family, we want to make sure they respect that wish.
  • Always be here for you. After the placement of your baby, we will continue to extend a loving hand to you. We offer free counseling services for birth parents in the weeks following their baby’s adoption.  You can always call us or visit us for adoption support.  In fact, we welcome you to stay in touch.  Women who have placed their child thirty years ago are still able to contact Adoptions With Love.  We will always be here for you.

As an expectant mother, you have every say in who will raise your baby and how your adoption plan will work.  You have the right to keep in touch with your baby’s adoptive family, as well as receive letters and photos of your child over the years.  These are all decisions that you can make when designing your adoption plan.

Adoptions With Love, as a private, non-profit adoption agency, can help guide you along the way.  Download our free guide, How to Choose an Adoption Agency, or contact us today.

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Celebrating a Mother’s Love on Mother’s Day: A Birth Mother Story

My name is Erica, and I am not your traditional “mom”.  I am a single 23-year-old who lives and works in downtown Boston, but I am what some would call a “birthmother”.  On this Mothers Day I am going to get out of bed and stand tall with my shoulders back.  I am going to have a smile on my face with a heart full of love, and be just as proud of my son and my family as any other mother out there, because this is a day to celebrate. birth mother’s day

I have always shared a special bond with my mother.  Even as a 23-year-old adult, all my friends and family will tell you that the relationship I share with my mom is extraordinary.

When my mom was only 17 years-old her mother died of breast cancer.  My mom grew up looking up to her older sister as a mother figure to be there for her when her mother was not able to be.  Throughout her major milestones of her college graduation, engagement, wedding, birth of my two brothers and myself, my mom found her mother figure in her older sister and friends.  From her nontraditional maternal role models throughout her years, she managed to fully grasp what it meant to truly be a mother when it was her turn.

Now, I am not your traditional “mom”.  I am a single 23-year-old who lives and works in downtown Boston, but I am what some would call a “birthmother”.  I placed my son with his adoptive parents five days after his birth last summer; July of 2015.  During those five days of taking care of my son in the hospital, I experienced the truest of miracles: a mother’s love.

When I discovered I was pregnant it was a complete shock.  My life drastically flipped and the next three months my 24/7 turned into planning out the rest of my son’s and my life. I needed the support of my parents throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, which made me hit the pause button on my life, pack up out of the city, and move back into my childhood home with my parents.

I will never forget seven months into my pregnancy when I found myself waking up on Mother’s Day morning feeling sad and confused about my own identity.  I was leaning towards adoption, and had already met the couple who would ultimately be my son’s future mom and dad.  I was 99% sure that I was going through with this adoption, but I had not made the official announcement yet.  Everyone seemed to have an idea that adoption was going to be my decision, as I was continuing to build a relationship with my son’s future parents.  I had even made plans for them to come to my parents’ house for a barbecue the following weekend with one of my brothers.

It was a Sunday morning and my parents were at church.  I went downstairs to my parents’ kitchen and put on a pot of decaf coffee.  I planned to surprise my mom when she got home from church with a special homemade Mother’s Day breakfast.  I finished cooking and sat down with tears in my eyes writing my mom her Mother’s Day card. Writing has always been my ‘thing’.  I put a lot of thought into every card I pick out and what exactly I want to write in it.  It became custom that every time I wrote a card to my parents I somehow manage to get a little choked up, however, this time it was different.  I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for all of my mother’s love and support through this difficult time.  I thought to myself—how amazingly lucky am I?  I have parents who are incredibly accepting of adversity, and a mother who will literally hold my hand through everything when I need her.

I wiped a tear from under my eye and smiled at the thought of how ridiculous my mom had been since the day I found out I was pregnant.

On days where I found it hard to smile, my mom would dedicate her whole entire day to trying to make me laugh.  I would be sitting at the kitchen table working, only to be quickly interrupted by the whole house shaking to the surround sound system blaring “Caught Up” by Usher.  “It’s time to dance!  Get up. We haven’t had a dance party in a while.”  And there she was—singing her heart out and dancing around the living room.  She would not stop until my face was lit with a smile and I was out there dancing right next to her.

When I could not sleep at night and needed to talk, my mom would be right there with me.  She would stay up until one in the morning listening to me repeat the same feelings, worries, and concerns over and over to her; yet, somehow she would continue to come up with something new to say to help ease my mind. On nights where I had nothing to say, but still could not sleep, she would lay in my bed and stare up at the ceiling with me until my eyelids got too heavy to keep open.

There was even one time I had a doctor’s appointment and on our way down to Boston she pulled over to our local farm stand to get our favorite ice cream.  On our way home from the appointment I began to cry about how scared I was for all this change that would be taking place in my life in only a few short weeks.  She got off the exit in our town and made a right turn.  “Where are you going?  You missed the turn” I said.  “I know, we’re going to get some more ice cream… we need it tonight.”

As I was writing her card, I felt so blessed for my mother.  Despite the gratitude I was feeling for my mom, I was still confused about my own identity and what exactly I should be feeling on this day.

“We’re home!” I hear my mom say, I signed my name at the end of her card and turned around to see my mom and dad walking into the kitchen with huge smiles on their faces.  “Happy Mother’s Day” I said, as I walked over to give my mom a hug.  “Thank you!” My mom leaned in and kissed me.  “Happy Mother’s Day to you, Erica.”  She pulled her hands out from behind her back and gave me a bouquet of flowers and my favorite candies. “I’m your mom, and you are Aiden’s* mom.  This will always be our day from now on— welcome to the club!”

There are many things I have learned from my mother throughout my 23 years.  How to tame my crazy curls.  How to apply makeup and do the perfect cat eye with my gel eyeliner.  How to jam out in the car to Stevie Wonder after a bad day. How to be optimistic when something does not seem to be going your way.  How to trust in God and keep faith in times where you feel alone.  How to be thoughtful and think of others before yourself.  How to keep a list of all the things I am grateful for and pull it out to read when I am feeling down.  How to be kind.  How to love unconditionally.  I can go on and on, but the most important thing my mom has ever taught me, through no lesson at all, is: how to be a mother.

When I made my final decision on adoption, my mom told me this year would be a year of firsts.  My new role as a Mère would take time to get used to.  Some days will be harder than others, but most days will be so beautiful that they will make up for the hard days.

She is right.  There are many occasions where my mind wanders to all of the moments that have and will take place during this year of ‘Aiden’s firsts’. It is an unexplainable feeling knowing most of these events I will not traditionally be a part of. Memories like Aiden’s first bath at home, his first laugh, first holidays, the first time he can sit up on his own, his first tooth growing in, the first time he crawls, the first time he tries solid foods, the first time he reaches up on his own to be held and embraced.  These are all things your typical mother is there for; for me it is a little different.  Sometimes it can be sad, because I wish I could know all the details of every little thing that goes on in Aiden’s every day.

On these days I dig deep to find the strength to remind myself of how blessed I am to be a part of Mia*, Nate*, and Aiden’s lives.  I remember how lucky I am that Mia and Nate make me and my family feel just as important and special to them as their own families.  I know I can pull out my phone and send a quick text to Mia, knowing she will respond with a beautiful picture of Aiden and tell me how excited they are to get together again soon.

I watch my son with his mother and it is impossible not to notice his natural connection with her.  The way his big brown eyes look up at her with love.  The way he laughs when he catches her smile, and the way his body relaxes when she picks him up and holds him close to her chest.  The bond they share is breath taking.  There has not been a time where I have been around my son and his mom where I do not notice myself getting choked up.  It does not happen because I am sad, or jealous.  I get choked up, because I am able to share this maternal connection with such an amazing woman who encourages my relationship with my son.  I get choked up at the thought that God chose me to bring together this family, and be a part of such a beautiful story of love.

As Mother’s Day gets closer I know I am going to have family members, friends, and coworkers who might not know how to approach me on this special day.  I know they will wonder whether or not they should wish me a happy Mother’s Day, not knowing if it would upset me, because I do not raise Aiden.

On this Mother’s Day I am going to get out of bed and stand tall with my shoulders back.  I am going to have a smile on my face with a heart full of love, and be just as proud of my son and my family as any other mother out there, because this is a day to celebrate.

I will celebrate my Grandmother in heaven who looks down and watches over her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I will celebrate my Memere who just became a great grandmother through the birth of Aiden. I will celebrate my aunts who have made sacrifices for their families throughout the years. I will celebrate my cousins who I have looked up to my whole life and have enjoyed watching become mothers.  I will celebrate my mom who has been my rock, role model, and best friend for the past 23 years.  I will celebrate my son’s mother, Mia, who has taught me that there is no such thing as too much love.  Who has given me the security and identity I was always looking for, by acknowledging my maternal love for Aiden and suggesting for me the title of, Mère.

Although I am not your traditional mother, this day is just as much mine as it is any other mother’s out there.  One thing I have learned about being a mother from all of these amazing women in my life, and the most important thing that we all have in common, is: a mother’s love.

It is selfless and pure.  We love genuinely, emotionally, and unconditionally.  We love so deeply that we do not hesitate to make sacrifices for our children in order to give them the best life possible.

So, if you happen to see me on this special day, do not be afraid to wish me a Happy Mother’s Day, because I will be celebrating.  I will be celebrating for myself, and for all the other mothers and ‘birthmothers’ out there who share a mother’s love.

Happy Mother’s Day to you, Mia.  You are Aiden’s mom, and I am Aiden’s Mère. This will always be our day from now on— welcome to the club!


The Importance of the Adoptive Family Screening Process

There are many details to consider when choosing an adoption agency. As you begin the adoption journey, you will want to find professionals who are licensed, trustworthy, and committed to you at every step of the way. You want to choose an agency that is also fully committed to finding the best possible home for your child. How will you know that your child will be placed in a safe, loving, and supportive family? Which adoption agency can ensure the stability and security for your child?

The safety, security, and happiness of your child are very important to us. That is why, at Adoptions With Love, we prescreen and assess all of our adoptive families through a comprehensive series of home visits, interviews, background checks, medical checks, income evaluations, and more. This thorough screening process is known as a ‘home study,’ and is a crucial component of the adoption process.

In most states today, only a licensed adoption agency or licensed adoption social worker can complete a home study. Before you select an adoption agency, ask their staff about the typical screening process for adoptive families. Do they have professionals trained to conduct home studies? If so, how long is the home study process? What are the requirements for that process?

If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, we want you to rest assured that your baby will be supported and cherished in his or her adoptive home. To ensure that we match your child with the best adoptive family, we conduct a two-to-three-month long home study. Over these initial months, we get to know each prospective family to confirm they are emotionally, physically, and financially prepared to raise a child. During the initial stages of our home study process, we:

  • Conduct a series of criminal background checks including an FBI check, a sex offender registry search, a review of state criminal records, and a search of child abuse/neglect reports.
  • Evaluate the waiting family’s medical history to ensure that family members are all in good health and fit to raise a child to adulthood.
  • Confirm a family’s financial stability by carefully reviewing their income statements and tax return forms. Adoption is a lifelong commitment, and it is important to ensure that they are financially prepared to provide for a child for at least 18 years.
  • Require personal letters of reference to gain an outside perspective on the family and understand how others believe they will succeed as parents.

After this initial review, a trained social worker at Adoptions With Love schedules a series of personal interviews in the office and visits to the home of a prospective family. Through this ‘home study,’ we are able to see each family in their natural environment, and judge how prepared they are to bring a child into their lives. We make certain that their home is a safe and warm environment in which to raise a child. During these visits, we check the home to make sure it meets safety standards, and also review the neighborhood to assess the community, its security, and the educational opportunities for a child in the area.

The extensive interviews allow us to get to know each potential adoptive family. In these interviews, a licensed agency social worker meets with the prospective parents, with the family as a whole, and with each family member one-on-one. These meetings tell us a great deal about the family and their reasons behind adopting. We gain a sense of the stability of relationships within their home, the family’s parenting philosophies and experience, and their plans once they do become parents. We also aim to get a sense of their motivation to adopt a child, as well as their feelings surrounding openness in adoption.

As part of the home study process, each prospective family is required to attend a pre-adoptive group at the agency.  This group is facilitated by a licensed social worker.  In this group the families discuss all aspects of adoption including meeting their child’s biological parents, maintaining a relationship over the years, talking to their child about adoption as well as a multitude of adoption-related topics.  If a family has not raised a child from infancy, they are required to attend a baby care class.  This class is taught by a nurse.  They are taught everything from changing diapers to safety issues.

The in-home visits do not end once the adoption takes place. Over the six months following the adoption, Adoptions With Love conducts regular post-placement visits to ensure that a child and family are all comfortable with their new situation.

As you consider potential adoption agencies, ask them about their relationships with their adoptive families. How well do they know each waiting family? How much time have they spent with the family? Do they speak on a regular basis? It is very important to find an adoption agency that builds and maintains relationships with each and every one of their adoptive families.

As a licensed, not-for-profit adoption agency, Adoptions With Love takes great time in getting to know each prospective family over a several-month period. By doing so, we can ensure that each baby is matched with a family who can meet his or her needs in a loving, healthy, and safe environment. If you would like, you can Meet our Families, too!

To learn more about our home study process, or to get started on an adoption plan for your baby, call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731. If you are still researching adoption agencies, download our free guide below to learn what you will need to consider throughout the process.

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Signs to Look for When Choosing the Best Adoption Agency for You

The adoption process is full of choices.  Today, you can choose an adoptive family for your baby.  You can also choose to meet that family.  You even have the option to keep in touch with your child and his or her adoptive family over the years.  These are all choices made in your adoption plan.

As an expectant/birth parent, you also have the right to choose an adoption agency that can help you design your perfect adoption plan.  The right adoption agency will educate you on your many options, prepare you for the adoption process, and help you make informed decisions each step of the way.  The right adoption agency will be there to support you now and in the future.

How will you find the best adoption agency for you?  Look for the following positive signs of a reputable adoption agency.

  • They provide you with more than one option. A good adoption agency will encourage you to explore all of your unplanned pregnancy options before making a final decision. They will take the time to educate you about each one of these options so that you are fully confident in your choice.  Not only this, but the right adoption agency will also continuously remind you that it is okay to change your mind at any moment during your pregnancy.
  • They advise you regarding all of your legal rights. As an expectant/birth parent, you have the right to make all decisions regarding your child up until the adoption takes place.  Look for an adoption agency that works with adoption attorneys who can advise you on all of your   rights as well as the specific laws in your area. For example, they should be able to help you understand the exact period of time you have to make a decision and how long you have to change your mind.
  • They offer many types of adoption plans. The right adoption agency will give you more than one choice when it comes to making your adoption plan.  You should always have the option to design a closed, semi-open, or open adoption
  • They prepare you for the ups and downs of the adoption process. Adoption is a very positive choice for women facing an unplanned pregnancy, but it can also be a complex and deeply emotional decision. The adoption agency you choose should help you understand what to expect before, during, and after the adoption takes place.  They should be open and honest every step of the way. The right adoption agency will help you understand and cope with your emotions.
  • They express a lifelong commitment to you and your baby. How will the adoption agency support you after you place your baby for adoption?  Do they offer ongoing counseling services following the birth of your baby?  Do they have support groups?  Can they help put you in touch with your child down the road?  The right adoption agency will commit to you for years to come.
  • They are not-for-profit. Many adoption agencies today are in the business to facilitate adoptions and to profit from those adoptions.  A non-profit adoption agency, however, is not looking to make money.  Rather, they are looking to find the best possible home for your child.  Non-profit agencies are often the best adoption agencies to pursue.

If a prospective adoption agency exhibits any of the following, it is likely they do not have you or your child’s best interest in mind.  When choosing an adoption agency, consider these warning signs:

  • They give off a sense of urgency. If the adoption agency you are considering wants you to make a decision quickly, you may want to reevaluate their intentions. Some adoption professionals will want you to “make a decision by tomorrow” without fully educating you about your options or the adoption process.
  • They advertise “big budgets” and luxurious accommodations to recruit pregnant women. If the adoption agency is advertising big bucks and hotel suites to expectant parents, take it as a red flag.  Adoption agencies that attempt to recruit pregnant women are likely to pressure you into a decision later on or make you feel unable to change your mind.  This may also indicate they are only concerned with big profits, not you or your baby’s best interests.
  • They only show you glowing reviews and testimonials. Adoption agencies that only share glowing reviews or testimonials from other birth mothers may be ones to question.  This type of adoption agency may not give you the most accurate view of adoption.  They may only provide you with adoption’s fairy tale endings.  They may glamorize adoption to be the perfect solution, even when adoption may not be right for you and your baby.
  • They are not a licensed adoption agency. Ask the potential adoption agency for their license and a phone number to call to check their legitimacy and authority. If they cannot provide you with that certification, they are not a licensed adoption agency.

At Adoptions With Love, we truly believe that the more informed you are about adoption, the more positive you will feel about each choice you make throughout the process.  The best adoption agency for you will be open and honest as you consider the positive choice of adoption.

For questions to ask a potential adoption agency, download our free eBook, the Guide to Choosing an Adoption Agency.

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Adoption Facilitators, Lawyers, and Agencies: Which is Best for You?

As an expectant mother, you are the only person who truly knows what is best for you and your baby.  You are the only one who can make a decision regarding your baby’s future. While you have the most control in creating your personal adoption plan, you do not have to go through it alone.  There are many knowledgeable, compassionate adoption professionals who can help you navigate this journey.

When facing an unplanned pregnancy, it can be difficult to know where you can and should turn for support.  There are thousands of different professionals who can walk you through the adoption process.  As an expectant mother choosing adoption, how will you decide upon the most reliable, professional support?  How will you know you are making the right choice?

In this blog, you will learn about three common types of adoption professionals available to you: adoption attorneys, adoption facilitators, and private adoption agencies.  Each professional varies in terms of the services it offers, the certifications it possesses, and its involvement with you and your baby.  Who will best ensure that all of your needs are met?  Who will give you the consistent support you deserve?  Let us take a deeper look.

Adoption Facilitators

Adoption facilitators are professionals who assist in connecting prospective adoptive families with expectant/birth mothers considering adoption.  They offer general matching services and advertising for families in exchange for a fee.  In most cases, though, that is the extent of their offerings.  Once an expectant/birth mother selects an adoptive family for her baby, the facilitator steps out of the equation.  He or she is not certified to complete the adoption process or continue support for anyone involved.

The benefit of adoption facilitators is that they work with many different waiting families and will likely have a variety of options available to you and your baby.  However, adoption facilitators provide less than one-fourth of the services that licensed adoption agencies offer. They do not have resources in place to guide you through the adoption journey.  They are not qualified to offer  counseling on your many unplanned pregnancy options or help you decide whether adoption is truly right for you.  They are also not able to offer you any financial, housing, medical, or legal assistance.

Typically, adoption facilitators are companies or individuals who are unlicensed and unregulated by the government.  For this reason, their services are illegal in many states throughout the country.  If you are considering working with an adoption facilitator, it is crucial to consult with someone about your state adoption laws.  The unlawful use of an adoption facilitator can impact the legal standing of your baby’s adoption.

Adoption Attorneys

Some attorneys specialize in the field of adoption.  They are the professionals who are able to legalize and finalize the adoption process.  For this reason, all adoptions in the United States require the work of an adoption attorney.  But not all attorneys specialize in adoption and know all the adoption laws.

Many adoption agencies work closely with adoption attorneys and offer legal services as part of their service offerings.  If you choose to make an adoption plan with a full-service agency, you will likely get free legal counsel from an adoption attorney specific to your area.  In this case, you will not need to hire an adoption attorney on your own.

Some women, however, choose to work independently with an adoption attorney.  This is particularly common for expectant/birth mothers who already have found an adoptive family.  If you choose to work with an adoption lawyer on your own, you will be required to take on a more independent role throughout the adoption process.  You will need to seek additional support through other resources, such as an adoption social worker.

While adoption attorneys do comply with state adoption laws, they do not always offer binding post-placement contracts.  In a lawyer-facilitated adoption, there may be no option for regulated, ongoing contact between you and your child’s adoptive family.

Private Adoption Agencies

Private adoption agencies are social service agencies that work with expectant/birth parents and waiting adoptive families to find the best possible home for each and every child.  They are made up of well-trained, well-established, and highly qualified professionals.  Private adoption agencies are regulated and licensed by the state to provide extensive services to pregnant women, birth parents, and adoptive families at each stage of the adoption process.

If you choose to work with a private adoption agency, you will always have someone to turn to for help.  Unlike adoption facilitators and attorneys, an adoption agency professional will be there for you during your pregnancy, and after the adoption takes place.  They will arrange for someone to support you while you are in the hospital. They will help you design your perfect adoption plan, and offer resources and guidance to you at each stage of the process.

Today, most private adoption agencies offer free services for birth mothers, such as matching services, legal representation, one-to-one counseling, and financial assistance.  They also screen all of their adoptive families to ensure they are fit to adopt a baby.  Not only this, but most private adoption agencies offer legal, binding contracts so that birth parents can maintain longer-term contact with their child and his or her adoptive family.

As a pregnant mother considering adoption, you are entitled to these valuable services, at no cost to you.  Yet choosing an adoption facilitator or adoption attorney as your primary support may limit or exclude you from the extensive support you deserve.

To learn more about where to seek adoption help, please download our free Guide to Choosing an Adoption Agency. You may also call Adoptions With Love any time of day at 1-800-722-7731.

 

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State by State: How to Place Your Child for Adoption in Massachusetts

Are you pregnant and considering adoption for your baby?  The decision to make an adoption plan for your child is never easy.  It is one of the biggest, most emotional and difficult decisions you will ever have to make, but in time you will find it is also one of the most loving choices you can make for your child.

If you feel ready to consider an adoption plan for your baby, but do not know where to start, you have come to the right place.  Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency that helps expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible home for their children.

If you are currently living in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, there are specific steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption.  You do not have to go through this on your own.  Our Massachusetts Adoption Agency will help guide you through this journey.  We are here to ensure that you understand the adoption process, and that you are comfortable and confident with each decision made along the way.

We have created this short guide to show you some of the steps you can take if you decide to make an adoption plan in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

1.) Choose an Adoption Agency

Choosing the right adoption agency is an important first step of the adoption process.  The adoption agency you choose should be by your side throughout the entire adoption experience—as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and throughout your life.  Your agency professionals should always listen to your wishes, respect your choices, and use those to help you design the perfect adoption plan.

In order to make a legal, secure adoption plan in Massachusetts, you will be required to work with a non-profit agency licensed by the Commonwealth.

2.) Understand the Adoption Laws of Your Area

Adoption laws and regulations differ depending on the state.  It is important to find an adoption agency who is specifically trained in and knowledgeable about the laws in your area.

In Massachusetts, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until four days after the baby’s birth.  This ensures that birth parents are one hundred percent confident in their decision.  Once the legal documents are signed in Massachusetts, the birth parents cannot change their minds.  That is why, at Adoptions With Love, we want you to be completely certain that you are making the best possible decision for your child.

3.) Discuss an Adoption Plan

With a Massachusetts open adoption agency, you will have the option to design the type of adoption plan you want: an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan.  You can also select the family of your child, if you wish.

4.) Choose an Adoptive Family

If you would like to choose an adoptive family for your baby, your adoption agency can show you various waiting families who may be a match for your child.  You can take as much time as you need in choosing the perfect adoptive family for your baby.  You can also meet them in person.

In Massachusetts, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  We go to their homes to ensure the environment is safe and secure. They have gone through an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure the safety and stability of their home.  We want to make sure your baby is placed in a loving, safe, and stable home.

5.) Create an Open Adoption Agreement

An Open Adoption Agreement is a legal and binding agreement offered by licensed adoption agencies in Massachusetts.  This agreement is signed by the birth parents and adoptive parents.  It is entered into court at the time of finalization.  In this plan, you can determine if you want contact with your child and his or her adoptive family, as well as how much contact you would like.  You can choose to have ongoing face-to-face meetings with your adoptive family, communicate with them through email or phone, solely maintain contact through the agency, or have no contact at all.  The choices are yours.

Just as every woman is unique, every adoption plan is unique.  When you work with Adoptions With Love, know that your post-adoption plan will be completely tailored to meet the needs of you, your child, and your child’s adoptive family.

6.) Pursue Ongoing Adoption Support

After your baby’s adoption, it is important to seek ongoing support.  Through a reputable Massachusetts adoption agency, you can participate in support groups or meet one on one with licensed counselors.  At Adoptions With Love, we promise you will have our support and ongoing counseling after the adoption.

Adoptions With Love is a full-service adoption agency.  We provide the following free services to expectant/birth mothers considering adoption in the state of Massachusetts:

  • Complete counseling
  • Help designing your adoption plan
  • Assistance finding quality medical care
  • Housing assistance 
  • Financial assistance
  • Legal assistance
  • Ongoing Contact

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 View of Openness: Peggy’s Adoption Story

The beauty of adoption is that it can come in many different forms, and blossoms in many different ways.  Every adoption story is unique.  This is one birth mother’s story.birth mother story

Peggy came to Adoptions With Love nearly thirty years ago, confronted with an unplanned pregnancy.  She wanted to give her daughter a normal life and loving adoptive family, but could not find an adoption agency that fully supported her wishes.

When Peggy first came to us, she wanted a semi-open adoption plan.  She knew that she wanted to choose the family for her baby, but she also desired a normal life for her daughter.  She thought being a part of that life would only complicate things.  Sixteen years later, that all changed.  She realized that what her daughter truly needed the most was to meet her birth mother.

Read Peggy’s inspirational story as she takes us on an emotional journey through her open adoption experience.  Learn how meeting Margot transformed her life forever.

Meeting Margot

It has been nearly 29 years since I was a freshman in college.  Yet I remember it as though it was yesterday, lying on that hard, plastic, dorm room mattress and realizing that there was something between me and the bed.

What do you do when you are a freshman in college with your whole life ahead of you and a baby growing inside you?  I did not know at the time.  I did know, however, that abortion was not for me.  I knew that the baby’s father should have some say in my decision.  I knew that I had to tell my parents.

Chris, the father and my ex-boyfriend at the time, was out of the parenting equation.  My parents were, too.  “If you keep the baby,” they told me, “we will help you and support your decision, but you will be the parent.”  They already had five children to raise.  They could not parent another.

The responsibility, the decision, came down to just me.  I considered single parenthood but remember asking, ‘What would my life be without my father?’  Growing up, I had the comfort of a mother, a father, and siblings.  I wanted that for my child, as well.  That is when I knew.  I was determined to find a family for my baby.

I first went to my university health center for adoption support.  They offered me abortion pamphlets and directed me to abortion clinics.  When I asked specifically about adoption services, they told me to “look in the Yellow Pages under A.”

I then visited a local adoption agency hoping they could help, only to find that Open Adoption did not exist in Rhode Island.  They told me that I would never meet the adoptive parents of my child.  They told me that I could not talk to potential families or choose the parents for my baby.

I was disheartened at first.  I wanted my child to have a sibling.  I wanted my child to be raised Catholic.  I wanted to find an agency that would help me find a couple who met those wishes.  I wanted an adoption agency that would offer me the counseling I knew I would need, one that would guide me through the process without telling me what to do.

I started to extend my search for an adoption agency outside my home state.  It was 1987 and I was seven months pregnant at the time.  Adoption had only started to evolve. Open adoption was not the norm, and as a result, only two agencies offered me the option of meeting prospective adoptive parents.  My mother and I visited both of these agencies.  The first agency made my mom wait outside the door while I went inside to discuss an adoption plan.  They asked personal details regarding the birth father and my medical history right from the get go, which was a bit unnerving.  But I remember them showing me photos of a waiting family who had a son.  I remember thinking, “This could be the family for my baby.”  Still, we moved on.

The second agency we visited was Adoptions With Love.  My mother and I felt welcomed, supported, understood from the minute we entered their doors— Everything about the agency felt right.  After that initial visit, the director of Adoptions With Love drove hundreds of miles, twice a week, to meet with me and my family.  She counseled me on my pregnancy options and prepared me for the entire adoption process—before, during, and after the birth of my baby.

I vividly remember looking at prospective families with Adoptions With Love.  They told me I could request letters and photos from the adoptive parents regularly after the adoption placement, too, and respected me when I declined.  Of course, I wanted to know that my baby was doing well, but I feared that sending the photos and letters would be too painful for the adoptive parents.  I decided that what was most important was for my child and his/her family to be “normal”.  Having to send photos to me could make the parents not feel that they were a “regular” family.

What was important to me was meeting the adoptive family.  I picked a family that seemed to be the perfect fit, only to learn that they could not go ahead with adoption due to a death in their family.  Adoptions With Love offered me two other couples, a Protestant couple with a child and a childless Catholic couple that planned to have more children.  I knew I needed to stick to my guns and find the family that I believed was right for my daughter. I gave birth the day after I had made this decision.  I was scared.  I had a baby girl but no parents to entrust her to.

I spent three days in the hospital with my daughter.  Those are three days I will never forget, even 29 years later.  I remember them vividly, both crying when she was in the nursery and trying not to cry when she was in my arms.  I remember the sound of her bassinet as it came rolling down the hospital halls.  I remember the day my friend, a priest, came in to bless my daughter.

Two days after my daughter’s birth, the director at Adoptions With Love came to visit. With her she brought a folder that contained a photo of a waiting Massachusetts family.  They had a son.  I was overwhelmed with happiness, with surprise, with tears.  It was the same family I had liked at the first agency.  It was the same family I wanted for my baby.

My daughter soon became Margot, named, by the adoptive parents, after me (Margaret).  I was ecstatic.  At last, I felt like I had done my job.  I found the right parents for my daughter.

I will not deny there were times of sadness.  The day I was discharged from the hospital, the day I bottle fed Margo for the last time, the day I left the hospital with empty arms, was the day I cried the most.  But I remember thinking that it was okay to cry. I had been strong when I needed to be strong.

When we first met, Margot’s adoptive parents suggested another meeting down the road. I thought this would only be confusing for Margot.  So when I said goodbye to my baby, I truly thought I would never see her again.  I prepared myself for this.  I kept my contact information updated in my file with Adoptions With Love, so that Margot could contact me one day, if and when she was ready.  I believed that if we were meant to see each other, we would.

I went back to school, finished my degree, and began my career as an oncology nurse.  I eventually married my husband, Tom, and twelve years after Margot’s birth, we had our daughter Helena.

I have always valued sibling relationships.  They were important for me to give to Margot, and important for me to give to Helena.  Tom and I continued to try and get pregnant. I conceived seven times after Helena’s birth and had seven early miscarriages.  On the eighth try, we conceived our second child, Allison.

Weeks into our pregnancy, Adoptions With Love called.  The director explained that Margo, now 16, was doing well and wanted to meet her birth mother.  She added that Margo’s family fully supported this meeting and that Margot had received counseling.

I received letters and phone calls from Margot up until our meeting.  I remember them vividly: a tracing of Margot’s hand, to show me that one finger was bent.  She asked if anyone in my family had a finger like hers.  She asked where she got her interest in tennis.

We met for the first time on Valentine’s Day.  I was already six months pregnant with Allison and never so nervous in my entire life.  Margot quickly eased my nerves with her overwhelming joy.

Margot has always been my priority.  I have always let her make the rules when it comes to our adoption plan.  From the beginning, I told her adoptive parents that whatever Margot wanted was fine with me.  When she wanted to continue these reunions, we did.  She met my parents, my brothers and sisters, and eventually my aunts, uncles, and cousins as well.  Our meetings became more regular.  One weekend a month Margot would come and visit my family.  She even got to meet Chris, her birth father, a visit which Adoptions With Love mediated nearly three decades later.

In the months following Margot’s birth, I told people that I did not have children.  Now I tell everyone I have three beautiful daughters.  My three daughters are sisters, through and through.  I could not be more proud.