Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

State-by-State: How to Place Your Baby for Adoption in Georgia

Are you considering adoption for your baby?  Adoption is one of the most loving decisions you can make for your child.  It is also one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make.  At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know that you do not have to make this decision alone.  You do not have to walk this journey alone.  We are here to answer your questions, to educate you on adoption in Georgia, and to help you make the most positive, informed choice for you and your baby.  Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, we extend our support to you.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.  For over 30 years, we have been building life-long relationships with young women like you.  For the last three decades, Adoptions With Love has also been building relationships with expert adoption counselors licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Georgia, know that you can always contact us.  Our trusted Georgia adoption agency partner and attorney can help you explore your options, understand the adoption laws in your area, and design an adoption plan that is tailored to your needs.

To get you started, here are four steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption in Georgia.

1. Choose and meet with an adoption agency that you trust.

Choosing the right agency support is crucial to your adoption journey.  There are so many adoption professionals out there today that it can be hard to know if you are making the right choice.  We recommend, above all, that you find an adoption agency you can trust.  Choose an adoption agency that will discuss all your options with you, listen to your needs, and respect any decision you make.

Your adoption agency should be available every hour of the day and every step of the way, offering the support you deserve.  Choose an adoption agency with expert, compassionate counselors who can meet with you regularly (at your convenience) to guide you through this unexpected journey.

2. Understand the adoption laws in Georgia.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Georgia, no mother can sign legal adoption documents until at least 24 hours after the baby is born.  This gives birth mothers a chance to meet their baby and additional time to think about their choice.  A birth father is allowed to sign legal papers prior to the baby’s birth.  At Adoptions With Love, we encourage you to take time to consider all of your options.  Adoption is a lifelong decision, and we want you to be comfortable and confident that the decision you make is the best one for your child.

If you choose to make an adoption plan, it is important that you also take time to understand the adoption process in your area.  An experienced agency can help with this.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with knowledgeable adoption attorneys who are specifically trained in Georgia adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal process.

Rest assured that our legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, there is never any cost for expectant or birth parent services at our agency.  Georgia law allows licensed adoption agencies to provide financial assistance for any pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and after your baby’s adoption, such as:

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

3. Select a loving adoptive family.

As an expectant/birth parent in Georgia, you will be given the option to choose a family for your baby.  This choice is yours to make.  Adoptions With Love will listen to your wants and needs to understand what qualities you are looking for in an adoptive family.  We will then show you several waiting families who may be a match for your child.

All of the families at Adoptions With Love have written letters and put together photo albums so that you can get to know them.  You can take as much time as you need in looking through these albums to find the perfect adoptive family.  If you would like, you can also meet them in person.

In Georgia, it is required that all potential adoptive families are thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  At Adoptions With Love, we especially want to ensure your baby is placed in a loving family and stable home.  All our families, therefore, have gone through an extensive home study process and completed a series of background checks to ensure they are ready to raise a child.

4. Create a post-adoption plan.

Adoption is a lifelong experience.  It does not end after your child has been placed, and it surely does not have to end your relationship with your child.  If you choose to make an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to design an open adoption plan.  This means that you can keep in touch with your child’s adoptive family and your child as the years go on.  We will establish this plan for contact in a post-adoption agreement and can facilitate any communication with your child and his or her family down the road.  If you are not comfortable with openness, you can always choose a semi-open or closed adoption plan.  Our trained counselors will help you as you explore all the potential options for post-adoption contact.

Because adoption is lifelong decision, we want you to know that we will also always be here for you – to help you navigate emotions or if you simply want to talk.  We encourage you to pursue our ongoing counseling and support services after your baby is placed.  These services are 100% confidential and available at no cost to you.

Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, know that it is never too late to make an adoption plan.  Contact us today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Georgia.

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.


Talking the Truth: Erica on Talking to Her Child About His Adoption Story

adoption story

 

In light of National Adoption Month, one birth mother contemplates the day her son will come to her and ask about his adoption story.  She wonders how she will stir up the strength to explain to him her choice.  What will she say?  She trusts that the truth will guide her.  She trusts that honesty will be the key to giving her son what he needs.  This is what Erica believes.

I often think of the day Aiden* comes to me and wants to hear his story…  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to choose adoption for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  Why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.

I have had thousands of conversations with my mom asking for advice to prepare for this day, and she always says the same thing.

“You will tell him the truth. Trust yourself that will know the right thing to say.”

The difference from me and probably a lot of other people is that I want/need to know

E V E R Y T H I N G.  I always need all the details to feel like I have a solid understanding of my surroundings in life.  Part of my adjustment after this adoption is that for one of the first times in my life I actually do not know everything.  It has been a process for me; the biggest lesson I have been learning throughout this journey is how to accept the unknown and trust more in God’s plan than in my own.

A perfect example of my ‘sometimes’ unnecessary need to know everything is when my little brother comes back up north for the holidays, or visits for a long weekend and I bombard him with questions.

“How’s work?”

“Have you made any good friends at work?”

“Cool… What are their names?”

“You guys ever hang on the weekends?”

“Are you eating enough?”

“Okay good, but what do you make for dinner?”

“I don’t know- Erica!  Things are good. I’m good, and I’m eating. Why do you ask so many questions?”

That is a conversation I have had a million times with both my brothers.  Well, the truth is, I ask so many questions because I care.  I care so much and need to know that all the people I love are okay and doing well; I need to know that everyone is happy and if they are not then I am going to do whatever little, or big thing I can to change that.

With even an open adoption it is tough… there is SO much unknown.  Aside from the little things like,

“What are Aiden’s favorite foods?”

“What was his face like when he tried a lemon?”

“Does he like to sleep more on his back, or his belly?”

“Who are Aiden’s friends at daycare?”

“Is he towering over all the other little kids his age?”

…(clearly I can go on and on)

However, the biggest unknowns are in my future.  When my day ends and I am alone in my own thoughts and when all starts to settle down around me– this is when the unknowns of the future start to flood my head.

The biggest strength in myself I have come to find on my journey of this adoption has been my ability to take a step back and trust; to be honest and trust myself that maybe I do not always know all the little details, but I do know the bigger picture.  To trust that just like with my little brother, God is working his plan on all our lives and keeping Aiden happy, healthy, and in a good place– exactly where I always have known he is and exactly where I always know he will be.

I have nothing but the purest form of love for Aiden.  I know in our future there will be some difficult conversations and there will be some difficult questions he will ask me.

I want Aiden to always be happy.  I never want him to hurt and I, ESPECIALLY, do not want to be the reason he ever hurts.

When the day comes and Aiden wants to hear his story.  When he wants to know exactly why I made the decision to make an adoption plan for him, and not raise him myself.  When he wants to know who his birthfather is and what our story together was.  When he wants to know why things ended they way they did, and why his birthfather chose not to be involved in any of our lives.  If he wants/needs to know E V E R Y T H I N G.  If he needs all the details in order to feel like he has a solid understanding of all his surroundings in life…  I trust myself that I will know exactly what to say, and that I will tell him the truth.


This National Adoption Month, We’re Celebrating You

November is often thought of as a time of thanks. It is a time in which many of us take a step back and consider all that we are grateful for in life – friendships, family, the warmth of a loving home. In all our gratitude, in all our indulgences, we become aware of the things in life that matter most to us.

Just this year, Adoptions With Love celebrated our 30th anniversary as a licensed, Massachusetts adoption agency. This November, we are celebrating another big thirty: 30 days of love, gratitude, and adoption awareness. For those who do not know, November is also National Adoption Awareness Month.

The history of National Adoption Month started over two decades ago and continues to evolve each year. This year, National Adoption Month is all about family, permanency, and lifelong relationships. In fact, the Children’s Bureau named this year’s theme, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family.” Throughout the month of November, communities, organizations, and individuals around the country will be celebrating adoption as a positive way to build permanent families for children. They will be focusing on the value of lifelong homes for children and youth nationwide – especially those in foster care who are still waiting for a forever family. Making a private adoption plan is one way to prevent children from entering foster care.

On the first day of November, we at Adoptions With Love have some particular thoughts resonating in our minds and hearts. We are thinking of all the courageous young women and men who have come to us over the last three decades to make an adoption plan for their child. We are thinking of all the incredible families built through adoption. We are also thinking of all the fervent adopted children who were placed through our agency, from thirty years ago to yesterday. Because November is a time of gratitude, we want to take a moment to thank all of you – all who have come to Adoptions With Love – for choosing adoption as a positive option for your family.

If you are a birth parent, we thank you for being brave. We thank you for being selfless and for finding the power to make such a loving and thoughtful choice. We acknowledge that your decision was made with overwhelming love, that you gave your child a life beyond what you felt you could provide. Making an adoption plan for your child is not easy. It is a deep sacrifice that very few can understand. There are so many fears and emotions that can arise during the adoption process. We know that it takes great strength for a loving parent like you to overcome them. This strength is truly incomparable, and it amazes us every single day. We thank you for putting your trust in us. We are honored to be a part of your adoption journey. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptive parent, we thank you for being open-minded and open-hearted. There is no doubt that adoption is a challenging process, and we thank you for being such a devoted and compassionate support. We thank you for providing such a loving, stable and secure life for your child. We celebrate you for taking pride in your child’s adoption story and for empathizing with the selfless decision your child’s birth parents made. We thank you for choosing Adoptions With Love.

If you are an adoptee, we especially celebrate you. We thank you for filling our hearts and the hearts of your family members. We thank you for sharing your stories with us over the years and for spreading awareness on adoption. We know that adoption has impacted your life and identity in many ways. We want you to know that you can always reach out to us, whether to chat or to learn about our search and reunion program.

If you are considering adoption for your baby, we thank you for exploring your options and for thinking of your child’s best interest. Whether you just discovered you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you. It is never too late to make an adoption plan.

If you are a waiting family hoping to grow your family through adoption, we thank you for your perseverance. Your determination and devotion are truly admirable as you wait for your time to enjoy all that goes with being a parent. We are excited to see what is in store for your family and are always here to help you through the adoption process.

Let us celebrate these 30 days of love together.

This November, we invite you to celebrate adoption and all those who have been touched by adoption in some way. We ask you to celebrate the families who were created through this choice as well as honor the women who found the courage to make this inspirational choice. We ask you to embrace the love inherent in each aspect of adoption. We invite you to celebrate all the lifelong connections that have been made through open adoption.

National Adoption Awareness Month is a time to celebrate adoption as well as educate others on the adoption journey. It is about increasing awareness on the positive aspects of adoption. This month, we ask you to join us by sharing your own experience. We invite you to share your thoughts and stories in efforts to help others see the benefits of the adoption.

If you would like more information on National Adoption Awareness Month or how you can get involved, contact us directly at 1-800-722-7731, text us at 617-777-0072, or email our team at info@awlonline.org.

adoption awareness month 2016


Carlie’s Teen Pregnancy Story

It was fall of 2015 when Carlie, a sophomore in high school at the time, realized something was off. She had been feeling sick, gaining weight, and was unsure of the cause. She thought, maybe it is her birth control. Maybe it will go away. Months later, at fifteen-years-old, Carlie learned that she was pregnant.

Now seventeen and a senior in high school, Carlie is blessed with a beautiful daughter named Kayla, who has a loving and devoted adoptive family in Massachusetts. All the while, baby Kayla is growing and blessed by both the love from her forever family as well as the endless love from Carlie, her forever birth mom.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Carlie about her experience: from pregnancy to adoption to where she is today. This is Carlie’s story.

teen mom adoption

It has been a couple of years now since you discovered you were pregnant with Kayla. Thinking back, do you remember what your reaction was when you first found out? What did you do in that very moment?

I think I was just really shocked. See, I was on birth control at the time and I even had used a condom. Never did I expect to get pregnant. Over the months, there were times I thought, “Could I be?” but that thought was always immediately shut down with a “No way.” It didn’t feel possible.

It happened in September 2015 and as the months passed, I started getting really sick. That’s when my mom said, “Let’s go to the doctor; it could be your birth control.” I didn’t really say anything to her about the possibility of pregnancy at the time, because I really and truly did not think it could be that.

We went to the doctors. They told us it couldn’t be the birth control, did a blood test, and said they would call me with my results.

What did you do next? Did you confide in anyone about it?

I went over to talk to my aunt about it. She immediately said, “I think you are pregnant.” I was like, “No I am not.” She said again, “I think you are. Carlie, you even look like you got a little bit of weight, too.” And still I said, “I know I’m not pregnant.”

She called my mom; she picked up pregnancy tests; I tried them. The first test wasn’t showing any results. So I used the second one –

Pregnant. I thought, This can’t be true. I’m just a fifteen-year-old in high school. This can’t be true.

That was in March of 2015.

So that really confirmed it for you.

Well my mom went out that night to pick up some more tests. She said she wanted to confirm the results. She got a package with two tests in it, but I was sleeping by the time she came home.

I woke up in the middle of the night and decided, I might as well just use them now. I went to bathroom and they both came out the same – positive. I thought,

“This can’t be happening. This CAN’T be happening.”

I tried to go back to sleep and when the next morning came, my mom said, “Carlie, you have to go to school.” I was like, “I don’t want to go.” I just gazed at her and she knew. She said I could stay home.

How did you tell Kayla’s biological father?

I told him instantly. I said right out, “I’m pregnant.” He automatically knew it was his baby. His dad tried to have him to deny it completely, but he knew.

Was he supportive? Was he involved at all in your pregnancy or your decision?

No, he wasn’t supportive. As soon as I told him, he was like, “I’m out. No. No way.”

He was 19 at the time, and it was kind of my fault too, but it was more under peer pressure that this all came about. I really just wanted to hang out with him as friends. He would come pick me up from my house to go to his and hang out, and was my only ride to and from. One night he asked, and, under pressure, I just said, “Okay, I guess.”

I say I was under peer pressure because I thought it would be awkward if he just took me home after him asking and me refusing. I didn’t know what the outcome would be.

Did the pregnancy impact your social life at all?

No – I mean, everyone was shocked. They were surprised that it was me of all people that this would happen to. Because, I’m usually the quiet type at school. I always kept to myself, which is why everyone was just so shocked by it. No one treated me wrong, everyone was just genuinely worried about me.

How did your pregnancy affect being in high school at the time?

Well, it wasn’t noticeable at first that I was pregnant, because it was right before spring break that I found out. I told my counselors, superintendent, and principal first. Then I let the staff members know.

It wasn’t like I could hide it from anybody, though I only told my friends at first.

The way that everyone found out was in school, I was talking to my health teacher about it one day before class and she just kept talking about it as everyone started to come into the classroom. That’s when everyone was like, “What? What’s going on?” And then as soon as the class found out, it traveled through the whole school. But again, it wasn’t like anyone talked bad about me. They were just genuinely shocked.

When did you start thinking about adoption?

Instantly. My mom said from the beginning, you have three options. She said, you can keep the baby – I said, “There’s no way I can do that while I’m still in high school. I don’t have a job; there is barely any room in this house. We can hardly even feed ourselves. There’s just no possible way.”

She then gave me my other two options. She said, “Okay, well you can either get an abortion or you can go through adoption.” And in my mind I was just like, I can’t see myself giving this child away, but I can’t see myself keeping a baby, either. So I thought abortion could bring the best outcome, I guess.

I was going to get an abortion, but as soon as we pulled up to the building, I broke down crying. I thought, I can’t do this, there is no way I can do this. I couldn’t go through with it so I thought I might as well go with adoption. My mom started looking through adoption agencies and that’s how she found Adoptions With Love – because they work nationwide.

Did you feel like you were making the right choice, making an adoption plan?

Yes, I mean, if I was to keep the baby, I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle it. I wouldn’t be miserable, but I knew that we wouldn’t have had enough money. We would have been so behind. I was not ready for that.

My mom kept saying, “Carlie, we can keep the baby. I can take days off and watch her and if you want to do stuff on the weekends, I’ll take weekends off too so that you can still be a teenager.” That’s when I had to say,

“Mom, if I keep her and bring her home, there is no being a teenager anymore.”

Do you feel like you had a lot of say in making your adoption plan? Do you feel like your wishes were heard and met, and that you could provide the life you wanted to for Kayla?

Yeah. Adoptions With Love asked me what kind of family I wanted for my daughter and I wasn’t sure at first. They said it wasn’t a problem and sent me books of families to look at. They sent me people who were adopting, couples who weren’t able to have kids, families who already had kids. I really felt most comfortable choosing a family who couldn’t have children. It made me feel good to be able to give someone something that they weren’t able to do or couldn’t have on their own.

Do you feel like adoption has also allowed you to pursue the life you want for yourself?

That’s my thing, I didn’t want to be a single mom struggling for money. I didn’t want to be trying to pursue my own goals while caring for a child at the same time. It would have been hard and I didn’t want her to go through that with me – to have a struggling mom who didn’t have money.

Because I know what that’s like. I know exactly what that is like. I’ve experienced that my whole life and that’s why I said I didn’t want her to go through what I had to go through.

I wanted her to have parents who she could be proud of and I wanted to grow up so that she could also be proud of me.

Did you end up choosing an adoptive family for Kayla?

Yes – I picked Paul and Gretchen after coming across their book. Just reading it felt right. It felt like we had a lot in common and like they were already a part of the family. I can’t really put it into words but when I read their profile it just felt right.

Did you meet them in person, before the adoption?

Yeah, Adoptions With Love told them I was considering them as a potential family and asked me if I would be comfortable having a phone conversation. So we talked on the phone at first. And then when I met them, it just automatically felt right.

Where did you end up meeting them?

They came here. I showed them around my town and my home. My mom and I met with them in the morning at a local café, and we had breakfast there. After that, I just spent some time alone with them. We went to the Abe Lincoln Museum because they told me how much they like history. We walked around and saw our old Capitol Building had some sort of Civil War reenactment going on. Then we went out for lunch. When they left I remember saying, “This is them. This is them.”

Were they in the hospital with you the day your daughter was born?

Yes, they were in the hospital and the birthing room that day. I would spend time with Kayla and them in the mornings. There were also times where I would spend time by myself or I would let them spend time with Kayla alone. At night, I wanted her to go to their room to sleep.

You are in an open adoption plan right now, yes? What’s that look like for you?

Yes. I actually just went and visited Kayla and her adoptive family last March for my spring break. I was sixteen and a junior at the time.

And you all still keep in touch?

Yes, they send me pictures; I FaceTime them; I text them. It’s a very open plan.

Are you happy with how things are going?

Oh yes. I feel like the best thing I could’ve done was to have an open adoption. If I had kept my adoption closed, I would have been miserable not knowing what was going on with Kayla.

Is there anything you wish you had done differently?

I feel like this was the best route I could go. I’m still happy with it and I’m not ashamed of it. Everyone I talk to about it, they always say, “This was the right decision and I’m proud of you.” But I know that.

I know this was the right decision for me and for my daughter.

Is there any advice you’d give to other young women facing an unplanned pregnancy?

I would just say that adoption is often the best way to go. If you’re not comfortable keeping it open or uncomfortable seeing your baby, even if you’re scared to be a part of her life, that’s ok. You can have a closed adoption plan. But I feel like having an open adoption was the best decision.

What if you could go back to the fall of 2015 and give your younger self some advice?

I would say that it gets better and you’ll be happy with what you did.

It was definitely hard at first. My mom said it was going to be hard at first no matter what. You’re not going to go through this and be like, “Everything is fine.” No, it’s going to be hard. You’re going to have a hard time and you’re going to be upset about it some days.

My mom thought I was going to need counseling. The adoption worker had given me information on counseling and I kept it, but I don’t think I’ll need it – I know what’s going to happen and I’m not going to get super depressed about it.

The reason my mom was worried about it was because, when I was junior high, I was severely bullied. I went through a lot and it gave me depression. So she thought it might happen again.

But I knew this wasn’t the last time I was going to see my daughter. I would tell myself, I know it’s going to be hard, I know I’m going to be sad, but it’s going to be fine. I know I’m going to get to see her, I know I’m going to talk to her adoptive family, I know I’m going to get pictures – So there’s no reason to beat myself up about it.

Do you keep in touch with Adoptions With Love still?

Sometimes – But they did tell me, if you need anything, contact us. If you need counseling, contact us. Or even if you just need to talk. But like I said, I was prepared for what could happen after the adoption and I wasn’t going to be too worried about it. I knew I could always keep in touch.

If you or someone you love is facing a teen pregnancy, know that adoption can be a very positive option for those not ready to raise a child. If you would like to hear more teen pregnancy stories or get unplanned pregnancy support, you may call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or contact us here. If you would like to learn more about your teen pregnancy options, please download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy

teen pregnancy help


How to Tell Your Parents You Are Pregnant

Discovering you are pregnant at a young age can be overwhelming.  You want all of the help and support you can get, but may not know where to start or who to talk to first.  You may feel like you want to tell your mom or dad about this pregnancy, but are afraid of their reaction.  On the other hand, you may not want to tell your parents you are pregnant, but know that you will probably have to at one point or another.

No matter how close you are with your parents, the pregnancy conversation can be intimidating.  You do not know how they will react, if they will be supportive of your pregnancy, or what they will advise you to do next.  Even though it feels scary right now, talking to your parents can actually be very helpful.  Chances are, they love you and want to help.  By knowing about your pregnancy, your parents can:

  • Talk to you more about your options and offer guidance
  • Ensure you get the health and prenatal care you need
  • Help you sort through any feelings, decisions, or challenges that arise during your pregnancy
  • Help you talk to others (teachers, friends, family members) about your pregnancy
  • Give you the unconditional love and support you deserve

If you feel safe telling your parents you are pregnant, we encourage you to do so.  At Adoptions With Love, we understand that this conversation is not always easy.  It can be hard to find the words to say and the best time to say them.  While there is no right or wrong way of telling your parents you are pregnant, there are steps you can take to make a productive, open, and honest conversation.  We are here to help you through it.

  1. Prepare for any reaction

Every situation is different, and there are many factors that can play into your parents’ reaction.  If your parents did not know you were having sex, for example, they may be particularly shocked by the news.  If your parents do not allow you to date or hold certain beliefs about sex, they may be disappointed.  Their feelings about your partner (the father of your baby) and your age may also have an impact on their reaction to your pregnancy.

The best thing you can do now is to prepare for any and every possible reaction.  While many parents are understanding, there is always the possibility yours will react poorly, yell, or cry.  Try not to take any hurtful words personally.  Your parents have not had time to process the news, and may not know how to feel in the moment.

  1. Do your research and think about your options beforehand

Before approaching the conversation, try to gather as much information about unplanned pregnancy as you can: learn about your many unplanned pregnancy options, the effects of each, and what next steps you should take. Doing so will show your parents that you are handling this like an adult, and they will feel more inclined to treat you as such.  This can help encourage a productive conversation and help you avoid a negative response.

You may also want to have a purpose or goal in mind for this conversation.  Do you think you want to continue your pregnancy?  Are you going to your parents for help with how to do so?  Or, do you need their help making a decision?  Knowing what you need from your parents can help you steer the conversation.

  1. Talk with an experienced professional

After discovering you are pregnant, you will need to visit your doctor or a health clinic as soon as possible.  In doing this, you should also consider talking to someone who is an expert in an unplanned pregnancy (a counselor, doctor, nurse, or adoption agency).  Any of these professionals can help you understand your options and offer more information regarding an unplanned pregnancy.  They can also help you think through how to reveal the news.  An Adoptions With Love social worker can even be in the room with you while you tell your parents, if you wish.

  1. Choose the right time and place

It is important to find a good day, time, and place to deliver this news.  Pick somewhere that is free of distractions, at a time when your parents are not stressed or rushing out the door.  Your parents will need plenty of time to process their feelings and the news, and you should devote enough time to this conversation.

It may help to ask your parents, “When is a good time to talk?”  But make sure you consider your own feelings, too.  Choose a time that you are not overly exhausted from school, stressed about an upcoming exam, or rushing off to be somewhere yourself.

  1. Find the words and keep calm

Throughout the conversation, try to be as open and honest as possible with your parents.  Calmly remind them that you trust them and that you truly need their help.  If you can, tell them how far along you think you are, who you think the father may be, and who you have told so far.  In doing this, you will establish trust and a calm, open environment.  Your parents may respond without getting mad.  If your parents do get upset, they may just need a bit of time to calm down.

Frame your words so that your parents have some time to absorb the news.  Try to be direct and stay strong in how you tell them.  You may start by saying, “I have something difficult to tell you. I just found out I am pregnant,” then wait calmly for their reaction and be prepared for it.  Sometimes, it helps to think ahead about what they might do or say so that you can act appropriately.

  1. Tell them how you are feeling

Telling your parents your feelings can help them better understand the situation.  If you know they are disappointed, tell them: “I am really sorry, I know I disappointed you.” If you are scared and unsure what to do next, do not hesitate to say that out loud, too.  Putting your feelings into words is not an easy thing to do.  They may not come out perfectly or as you had planned, but they will be honest and true.  Your parents will see that, and will likely empathize with you.

  1. Listen to their opinions and advice, but remember, this is your choice

Your parents will likely have many complicated feelings and opinions about your pregnancy.  At first, they may only focus on the negative ones.  This does not mean they do not love you, it just means that they need to let this information settle in.  Try to put yourself in their shoes and listen closely to what they have to say.  Answer their questions the best that you can.  If they are quiet, ask them how they feel.

There is a chance your parents may try to pressure you into something you do not want to do; they may want to discuss abortion with you.  They might feel that raising your baby is the only choice. They may not know very much about adoption. In the end, remember that it is your body and your choice.  As an expectant mother, only you know what is right for you and your baby.

Though you may not believe it right now, difficult situations often bring people closer together. At Adoptions With Love, we have seen unexpected pregnancies strengthen bonds and love between families. We know you can do this.  If you need any more help or advice on how to tell your parents you are pregnant, please call us today at 1-800-722-7731 or download our free Guide to Teen Pregnancy below.

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Pregnant? Must-Know Teen Pregnancy Facts

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You recently discovered you are pregnant.  As a teenager, you likely have a thousand questions running through your head:  Am I ready for this responsibility?  Do I want to be a mother right now? How will I tell my parents?  How will the father of my baby react?  Do I have the emotional or financial support I need?  What about school, my friends, my life?

Take a deep breath.  You are not alone in this.  There are hundreds of thousands of teen pregnancies each year, most of which are unplanned.  Whether you are 15-years-old or going off to college this year, know that there are resources and knowledgeable professionals to help you along the way.

Right now, you may be unsure if you are ready to parent a child.  You may not know how having a baby can or will affect your life.  You may not know about your other options as a teenager.  50 percent of teens today do not think about pregnancy or parenthood at all.

At Adoptions With Love, we believe that being informed is the best thing you can do for both you and your child.  We have created this infographic to show you the teen pregnancy facts and outcomes you should consider before making a decision regarding your child. We can also help you talk to your family.

One of the first things to consider after discovering an unplanned pregnancy is how a baby will affect your life.  Ask yourself if parenting is realistic at your age.  Ask yourself if you have the finances and support you need to raise a child.  Ask the father if he wants to be involved.  Today, most teen fathers do not end up marrying the mother of their child.  They also typically pay less than $800 a year in child support.

Next, take time to explore your options.  Despite being young, you still have the right to parent your child or make an adoption plan.  If you are unsure or simply not ready for the responsibilities that come with parenthood, know that adoption is a positive option for you and your baby.

When you work with Adoptions With Love, you can make an informed decision free of pressure.  Know that we are here for you and will respect any decision you make.  Only you know what is right for you and your baby.  We are simply here to help guide, educate, and make you feel comfortable at every step of the way.  Please do not hesitate to call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 for more information on our free services or your adoption options as a teen. To learn more about teenage pregnancy, download our free guide below.

 

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

Are you considering adoption 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 helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children.

If you are currently living in Florida, there are specific steps you will need to take to place your baby for adoption.  You do not have to go through this process alone.  Our trusted adoption agency serving Florida is here to help.  It is our aim to help you understand the adoption process and ensure that you are comfortable with each decision made along the way.

For over 30 years, Adoptions With Love has made good relationships with expert adoption attorneys and counselors licensed in the state of Florida.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption, they can meet you wherever is convenient for you to guide you through the process.

Whether you just discovered your pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, know that it is never “too late” to make an adoption plan in Florida.  This short guide will show you how to begin the process should you choose adoption for your baby.

1.) Choose an Adoption Agency

Your first step in making an adoption plan will be choosing the right adoption agency to guide you.  Your adoption agency will be by your side for advice, support, financial assistance, and counseling throughout the entirety of this journey— as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and throughout your life.  For this reason, it is important to choose an adoption agency that listens to your wishes, respects your choices, and uses those to help you design the perfect adoption plan.

2.) Understand Florida Adoption Laws

Adoption laws and regulations vary state to state.  It is crucial to find an experienced agency who works with knowledgeable attorneys trained in the adoption laws of Florida.

In Florida, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until 48 hours after the baby’s birth or at the time of discharge from the hospital, whichever comes first.  This ensures that birth parents are one hundred percent confident in their decision.  Once the legal documents are signed in Florida, birth parents cannot change their minds.  For this reason, we recommend you take time to consider all of your options.  Be completely certain that your decision is the most positive one for your child.

If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, our adoption attorneys in Florida can help guide you through the legal process.  There is never any charge for our attorneys, counselors, or any other expectant/birth mother services at our agency.  In fact, we can help you with your expenses!

Florida law allows assistance with pregnancy-related expenses to birth mothers before, during, and after the child’s adoption.  For example, the right agency can help you pay for:

  • Rent/mortgage
  • Food
  • Transportation
  • Utility bills
  • Maternity clothing
  • General living expenses

3.) Choose an Adoptive Family

In Florida, every expectant/birth mother has the right to choose an adoptive family to raise her child.  If you would like to select an adoptive family for your baby, your adoption agency can show you the many waiting families who may be a match for your child.  You can take as much time as you need in choosing the right adoptive family for your baby.  You can also meet them in person.

Rest assured that no matter which adoptive family you choose for your child, your child will be safe and secure.  All potential adoptive families must be thoroughly screened and evaluated by a licensed adoption agency.  This includes an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure that waiting families are fit to raise a child.  Adoption agencies such as Adoptions With Love are here to make sure your baby is placed in a loving, safe, and stable home.

4.) Discuss an Adoption Plan

If you choose to work with an open adoption agency serving Florida, you will have the option to personally design the type of adoption plan you want: an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan.  Your adoption counselor will explain all of these options to you and, if you would like, will help you create a plan that meets all of your individual hopes and needs.

5.) Pursue Adoption Support

After your baby’s adoption, it is important to seek ongoing support.  Through a reputable adoption agency serving Florida, you can participate in adoption support groups, speak with other birth mothers who have placed, and meet one-on-one with licensed counselors.

Adoptions With Love is a full-service adoption agency that aims to protect the health and well-being of expectant/birth parents and their children.  For this reason, we offer the following free services to expectant/birth mothers considering adoption:

  • 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.


What Expectant/Birth Parents Should Know About Adoption Search & Reunion

Whether you are a birth parent or are pregnant and considering adoption for your baby, you are likely thinking of your future – Will you have a relationship with your child?  Will your child try to contact you down the road?  Will you want to meet your child once he or she is grown?

Perhaps you are here because you have already started your search, or your child has already tried to get in contact with you.  Search and reunion is an exciting, yet often complicated journey.  For the searcher, this journey takes time, patience, and understanding.  If you are hoping to get in contact with your child, it is important to check the adoption laws in your state.  Talk to experienced professionals at a reputable, open adoption agency that can help you navigate this journey.

For the one who is being searched for, search and reunion most often comes as a surprise.  If you have recently been found by your child, try to keep an open mind throughout this process.  Consider both your child’s feelings and your own readiness.  If and when you are ready, your adoption agency counselors can help prepare you for your adoption reunion.

Even if you are pregnant and anticipating a search in the future, it can help to know what to expect and how to handle search and reunion should it arise. Here are a few things you should know:

Why do Adopted Children Search for their Birth Parents?

As an expectant/birth parent, you may be wondering about the most common reasons a child may search for his or her biological family.  In the majority of cases, it is not because a child is unhappy in an adoptive family.  Rather, it is out of curiosity, belonging, and an inherent need to know more about their identity.  Below are some of the reasons your child may search for you as he or she grows up:

  • Family information – Many children want to know the names of their biological relatives, where they live, what they are like, and if they have birth siblings.
  • Family traits – Many adoptees want to know what their birth parents look and act like, and see if they share any similar physical or personality traits.
  • Medical history – As adoptees grow and have their own children, it becomes crucial for them to know about any genetic diseases or conditions that may run in their family. In the past, adoption records did not always provide this detailed information.
  • Reasons for adoption –Many adoptees search out their birth families to get a better sense of why they were placed for adoption and how the decision was made.
  • Need for a connection – Once adopted children are old enough to maintain a relationship on their own, they may feel the need to reach out to their birth parents. Many feel that meeting their birth parents will help them gain a better sense of self.

Adoption reunions not only help a child find peace of mind, but also help birth parents see and know that their child is doing well.  No matter where you are in the process, it is important to know that adoption reunions are also very emotional experiences.  You may feel overjoyed, relieved, nervous, confused, or all of the above.  Before you reunite with your child, take time to consider your thoughts and feelings.  Sit down with your social worker and decide what this experience will mean to you.  Below is adoption reunion advice from our expert adoption social workers that may help you during this journey:

If you are “found”:

  • Before you connect with your child, prepare mentally and emotionally for what may and may not happen. Talk with others or join a support group of other birth mothers who have gone through this experience.  Know both what to expect and how to set minimal expectations.
  • Do not rush the relationship with your child. While this is a very exciting time for you and your child, try to pace communication.  Research has found that the most successful birthparent-child relationships gave plenty of time between initial contact and the actual adoption reunion, involving only letters and phone calls in the interim.

If you are searching:

  • Use social media cautiously. Social networks such as Facebook have made it much easier for adoption search and reunion to take place.  While searching through these platforms may be tempting, it is not recommended.  Contacting a birth relative for the first-time via social media is most often unsuccessful and can stir many negative emotions for everyone involved.
  • Make sure your child’s adoptive family supports your reunion. Acceptance by his or her family members will be most beneficial to your relationship.
  • Be respectful. Always be mindful of your child, his or her family, and of your own feelings.

As adoption has grown and changed over the years, so have the children who were placed years ago.  Adoptions With Love—a private, open adoption agency— has experienced this growth first-hand.  We have had adoptees that were placed with us years ago come to us at 29 or 30 years old in search of their birth family.  We have seen adoption plans move from closed to open.  Over the last three decades, we have assisted many adoption reunions and fostered many relationships between adoptive parents, adopted children, and birth parents. We are respectful of all parties involved.

At Adoptions With Love, you have the option of establishing contact with your child and his or her adoptive family from the very beginning.  Through open adoption, you can have greater control over when your child will contact you or how often that communication will occur.  You will also have the comfort of knowing your child is healthy and happy.  All the while, your child will have the opportunity to learn about his or her personal history and build a stronger identity because of it.

Adoptions With Love has a special Search and Reunion group to guide children, families, and birth parents like you through this journey.  To find about our counseling and search services, call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072.


What Challenges Will my Child Face After Adoption?

Are you pregnant and considering adoption for your baby? In your heart, you may feel that adoption is the most positive option for your baby. This choice will allow your child to grow and thrive in a loving, devoted adoptive family. You may know that, through adoption, your child will encounter greater opportunities and experiences than you can offer at this time.

As an expectant/birth mother, you want what is best for your child. Still, you are worried about your child’s happiness and wonder how he or she will feel years down the road. You may worry that adoption will bring your child more problems than it will positivity as he or she grows. So you are asking, “What problems will my child face after the adoption takes place?”

For over 30 years, Adoptions With Love has seen adoptions unfold. We have watched our adopted children grow up to be successful, joyful adults. We have celebrated the good times and worked with them through challenges life brings. We have helped many adoptees find and contact their birth parents. We have witnessed beautiful relationships stem from those reunions.

We want to assure you that, if you choose adoption, your child will have countless positive experiences. In our most recent infographic, we discussed the benefits of adoption and the positive outcomes that adoption can bring to children. We found that adopted children typically lead lives no different from their non-adopted peers. Sometimes, they even have better experiences than the general population.

While they often have positive experiences overall, many adopted children will encounter challenges at different points in their lives. They have experiences that are unique to being adopted, which can then have an impact on their feelings and behaviors growing up. While every child has a different adoption experience, these are three common challenges that adopted children face as they grow.

Feelings of Loss or Grief:

As adopted children mature and try to understand their adoption, many will develop feelings of loss, grief, anger, or anxiety. They may feel as though they lost their birth parents, siblings, language, or culture. This grief may also stir feelings of uncertainty. Adopted children may wonder “What is wrong with me?” or “Will my adoptive parents leave me, too?

Constant communication is essential for adopted children to overcome their anxieties. When adoptive parents acknowledge their child’s emotions and provide an outlet for self-expression, adopted children typically fare well. Those who feel especially secure in their adoptive family or have an open adoption arrangement are also better able to manage their uncertainties.

Issues with Identity Formation:

Identity development begins in childhood and becomes increasingly prominent through the teenage years. Adolescence is when children start to understand and explore who they are, where they came from, and their purpose in life. For adopted children, filling in the blanks can create an extra challenge. Adoptees in closed adoptions may wonder why they were placed for adoption, what became of their biological parents, if they have siblings, and whether they look like their birth family.For adopted children, genetics often hold a particularly special place.

Adoptees often want to know if they resemble their biological family in personality or physical traits. We have heard stories from adoptees who, as children, always looked for their birth families on the streets. Adoptees also want to know their medical backgrounds. Having access to their genetic history allows children to know about any diseases or conditions that may run in their family. For these reasons, open adoption is especially beneficial for adopted children. It gives them tangible answers to important questions.

Self-Esteem:

As they grow, adopted children may face issues with self-esteem. They may view themselves as different, out-of-place, or unwelcome in social circles. At times, they may feel as though they do not fit in with others. This lack of self-confidence usually arises in those who feel embarrassed or ashamed of their adoption.

When adopted children are raised to see their adoption in a positive light, they are more likely to have a better sense-of-self growing up. When adoptees have good relationships with their adoptive and  birth families, they also tend to have higher self-esteem and self-worth.

Through experience and research, we have found that open adoption often brings the most positive outcomes to adopted children. Open adoption gives adoptees a sense of wholeness and helps them overcome any challenges growing up. They can understand who their birth parents really are, rather than fantasizing. Children in open adoptions do not have to question where they came from, what their biological parents look like, or wonder why they were placed for adoption. Instead, they can carry the pride of knowing that both their adoptive and biological families love them unconditionally.

Choosing an open adoption means giving your child an invaluable gift: a sense of self. It means giving your child the opportunity to communicate with you and put all of his or her puzzle pieces together. It means giving your child the chance to get to know you.

While we find open adoption to be very positive, we know that it is not right for everyone. At Adoptions With Love, we also offer semi-open and closed adoption plans to any expectant/birth parents considering adoption. If you would like to discuss your options or learn more about adoption, please call us at 1-800-722-7731.

To learn more about the effects of adoption on children, please download our free eBook by clicking below.

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Navigating Life After Adoption: 9 Tips for Birth Parents

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Adoption is a lifelong journey, one that brings many emotions, challenges, and precious moments along the way.  If you have recently placed your baby for adoption or are considering making an adoption plan, know that this decision may change your life, your child’s life, and an adoptive family’s life forever.  But by being open, honest, and staying true to yourself, you can make this lifelong journey a positive one.

Read about one woman’s experience after adoption, as she lights the way for expectant/birth parents who are trying to find their “new normal” once again.

How To Find Your New “Normal”

Navigating through life and finding your new “normal” after you place your baby with their adoptive parents is not easy. There will be days you find it hard to get out of bed and times where you feel alone.  I will never forget when I came home from the hospital without Aiden*.  All I could think about was how I am forever changed.  How will I ever be happy again?  How could I ever ‘“go back to life”’ after my maternity leave and feel “normal”.

This is still new to me and I am still finding my way.  That being said, there are a few important lessons I have learned these past 11 months; through my own experiences and through talking to other birth mothers who have gone through and are going through the same thing as me.  Here are a few lessons you need to know in order to find the strength to keep moving forward, and to navigate through this new “normal”.

1. Have Confidence In Yourself and Your Decision

This is the most important rule.  In order to get up out of bed in the morning you need to have confidence in yourself, and the decision you made in order to give your child the best life possible.  I have found that the reason I have more better days than not, is from my confidence.

When you make the hardest decision of your life: adoption for your child, what a lot of people do not realize is all that goes into making that decision.  I did not place Aiden with his adoptive parents because I did not love him, or thought I could not be a great mother to him.  I made a decision to put my son before myself and do what I felt would give him the best life at the time.

I knew from the second I found out I was pregnant, that I would never feel a stronger bond and would never feel more love in my life than I do for my son.  I also knew that I would be an amazing mother.

I could have easily raised Aiden (I say that with hesitation, because I know raising a child is a difficult job, but you get the point).  I had to think realistically about how Aiden would grow up between two biological parents who have no chance of ever getting back together, and between two very different families.  I did not want Aiden to have a lifetime of disappointments from his biological father.  Then— not to mention my biggest fear, custody battles, that could have taken place in his future.  I had to trust myself that I knew what was best for Aiden, and I went with my gut.

I have confidence in the parents I chose to raise Aiden, confidence in the open adoption plan Aiden’s parents and I agreed on, and confidence in the beautiful life Aiden will have with his adoptive family.  The most important thing I have confidence in, is my relationship with Aiden.  I know that Aiden will grow up always knowing me, knowing where he came from, and NEVER questioning that I did not love him from the second I knew he existed.

I am able to get out of bed and find joy in everyday, because I am confident that I did the right thing for my son, and that the decision I made for him came from the deepest place of love you could ever feel for someone or something.

2. Allow Yourself To Cry When You Need To

Not all adoption plans are the same; every plan is special and unique to the child and their families.  When I met my son’s adoptive parents, I made it clear that I needed a very open adoption where I would see Aiden often, and be involved throughout his life.  Luckily, I am beyond blessed with an effortless relationship with Aiden’s parents.  We have blended our families in such a special and unique way, that I know there is no possible way for Aiden to not constantly feel my love.  We have spent holidays together, met for Sunday brunches, weekend barbecues, and even the occasional random night for pizza after work.

Although there is nothing I would change in my decision for Aiden and the relationship I share with my son and his adoptive family, there are still times I find myself struggling to get through the day.  It is important to let yourself feel your feelings.  We are human.  Not every day is going to be easy.  On multiple occasions I have been overwhelmed with my feelings; especially when I go to bed at night and am alone with my thoughts.

Just because you have confidence in your adoption, does not mean you are not allowed to let yourself feel any emotion that might come your way.  When I catch myself getting emotional, it is never for my son, because I know he is exactly where he needs to be.  To be completely honest, I pity cry for myself. And guess what: THAT IS OKAY TOO!

No one ever dreams of having their first child, or any child for that matter, and then placing them with an adoptive couple; not raising them yourself.  I’ll find myself crying missing the little things that I am not a part of in Aiden’s every day.  I’ll find myself crying from a flash back of my pregnancy and feeling so alone.  I’ll find myself crying because I miss Aiden, and I wish I could kiss him up and play with him all day every day.

Then there are the times I sit and let myself have a good selfish cry that I never got to experience the complete happiness and joy that comes with pregnancy; planning out your child’s nursery, having someone throw you a baby shower, indulging in your pregnancy cravings with your partner and eating a whole pizza with bags of sour patch for dinner while watching Fresh Prince of Bel-Air marathons.

There are a million reasons where I find myself crying, and a million more reasons that will come in my future where I will need to have myself a good cry too.  My advice to you is: cry when you need to.  Let yourself feel your emotions, no matter what they are, and do not ever feel silly about it.  Take them as they come and know that there will be a time where you will find peace with your adoption, and that peace will eventually trump the sadness and pain you might be feeling now.

3. Keep Your Faith: Everything Happens For a Reason

I am a true believer that everything happens for a reason.  You were meant to bring this child into this world; God chose you.  I would not have been able to get through my pregnancy, and I would not be able to continue living my life if I did not believe that.

Some days are hard and I have to remind myself to keep faith.  I have to remind myself that this all plays into a bigger plan, and that God’s plan for me and my son are greater and more beautiful than anything I could ever imagine.  I grew up in a home where my parents would constantly tell me and my brothers that our lives are like tapestries.  We look at them through the bottom and see all these random strings and colors that do not make any sense to us.  While we look up and cannot figure out the picture, God is looking at it from the other side and sees a beautiful masterpiece all complete and perfect.  I am convinced that one of the most beautiful pieces in my finished tapestry will be the part where Aiden came into this world.

This is the life you and I were given; it is important to accept and embrace it.  Feel special knowing that you are a part of such a beautiful miracle and story.  Your life does not end here.  You think God spent all this time bringing your baby into this world to then just leave you and end your story?? No way— he’s still working… keep the faith.

4. Weed Out The Negative Relationships in Your Life

This is a hard lesson to learn, and sometimes comes with heartbreak.  Sadly, you need to be prepared for the ‘haters’.  Not everyone is going to understand your decision of adoption.  Some people will come out of the woodwork and feel the need to give you their opinions,

“But, you will be an amazing mother!”

“Well, let me play devil’s advocate…”

“But, have you thought of what would happen if…..”

Again, back to rule number one: Have Confidence In Yourself and The Decision You Made.  OF COURSE you have thought of the “what ifs”, and that you very well could be/will be/ and are an amazing mother.  You have been drowning in your own thoughts of how to make this work in your child’s best interest since the day you discovered you were pregnant.  You need to wrap your head around the fact that you and only YOU are going to know what is best.  You might lose some people along the way of this journey that you expected to be holding your hand through all of it, and I am not going to lie, it hurts.

You will have your few haters, but you will also be surprised to see the people who have your back and stand in your corner.  You will be amazed at how much stronger your friendships will grow, and how close your family can become.

I lost, what I thought were, some crucial relationships during my pregnancy.  However, in return I gained the most beautiful relationships I never even knew existed, or were possible.  My group of girlfriends paused their lives in order to be a support system for me.  I had family that I was not as close with before my pregnancy wrap their arms around me, stand up, and fill those crucial roles I felt I had lost.

You have already gone through what will most likely be the hardest decision of your life.  You have experienced what it feels like to truly love someone, and put their needs and best interests 100% before your own.  You really cannot explain these kinds of feelings to anyone in hopes that they will ever understand what it meant for you to make the decision of adoption for your child.

However, if you have family and friends who are willing to try to understand, willing to be there for you to listen if you need to talk, or willing to throw their arms around you and give you a hug when there might not be any words: those are the people you need in your corner.

Surround yourself with as much love as possible.  I mean come on; you made the most selfless decision ever.  Why would you want to waste your time with people who are not like minded? Everyone else who is not there to support you, your child, and the decision that you made in your child’s best interest… BYE!  It’s that simple.

5. Let Go of Grudges

This is not an easy one to do.  Luckily for me, I had a lot of support from my friends and family throughout my pregnancy and after I placed my son with his parents.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant I got in touch with the biological father to let him know.  We met up to talk about every option we had in order to give our baby the best life possible.  After a few initial conversations and talking through our options, the biological father made it clear he wanted no role in this pregnancy, decision of adoption/raising a child, or in a future relationship with my son.

That broke my heart.  Not for me, but for Aiden.  How could ANYONE deny him; this sweet, innocent, beautiful boy.  After that conversation I never heard from him again.  He never reached out to ask how I was, or more importantly, never reached out after the birth of Aiden to know anything about him or if he was healthy.  That moment gave me the clarity I needed to know that I made the best decision of adoption for my son.

This is still new for me, so I am not going to sit here and pretend that the grudge I have for Aiden’s biological father is gone; it is not, but I am working on it.  I am working on letting that grudge go.  I know he is not a part of our adoption story for a reason and he ultimately has nothing to do with me, Aiden, or our family.  I know holding a grudge will only make it harder for me to live a completely full and happy life; embracing this miracle of our special family.

6. Find a New Hobby

This is so important because after you place your baby with their adoptive parents you are going to have a lot of downtime to think on your maternity leave.  This can be a good thing, or a bad thing, but it is important to make plans and stay busy.

It does not mean you are not thinking about your child or you are dismissing what happened, it just means you need to give yourself a break.  You need to find something that makes you happy and can give you joy while keeping busy.  You already did the hardest part; you made the biggest decision for your baby; a lifetime of happiness and security. Now it’s time to do something for YOU!

It can be a cooking class, an art class, riding a bike, going to therapy to talk out your feelings, writing in a journal, joining a kickball team, planning a vacation etc.  For me, I picked up boxing.  I have always been an athlete and sports have always served as some sort of therapy for me.  After Aiden was born I wanted to try something new.  I wanted to do something to help get me back in shape, and get back to my pre-baby body.  I also thought that this would be a good thing to learn in case I never fully got over my own rule of “Let The Grudges Go”, and ran into the biological father…. just kidding 🙂

7. Meet New People

Put yourself out there!  This goes hand in hand with rule number 6: Finding a New Hobby.  After my maternity leave when I moved back into my apartment in the city, I made a huge effort to put myself out there.  I joined the neighborhood volleyball open gym, a boxing club, and a few Social Boston Sports teams.  You could say I gave myself no time to sit and self pity.  That was the best thing I could have done for myself because through all of this I made a new close friend.

We met at one of the open gyms and completely hit it off.  We realized we enjoyed the same type of workouts and together joined the boxing gym, and Social Boston Sports Volleyball and KickBall teams.  I made a new friend that knew nothing of my past and what I had just gone through literally three months before meeting her.  Every night after work we would meet up in our neighborhood and go do a new workout.  After a few months of our friendship I decided I was ready to share my story with her.

Although I wanted her to know my story, I had built up all this stress as she would be the first person I would tell my story to after Aiden was born; she was the first person who was new in my “new normal”.  One night on our way back from boxing, I told her the whole story and all about Aiden.  It was the biggest relief.  In that moment it felt like I never needed to work out again, because I lost all of my pregnancy weight I had been carrying (Ha- I didn’t, but it was that big of a relief to share my story with a new friend)!

It could not have gone better.  She threw her arms around me gave me a huge hug.  She was supportive and amazed at my relationship with Aiden, his parents, and what I had just gone through.  Better yet, I have a new friend who has been added to the list of All The People Who Love Aiden.

8. Be Open To Love

Dating again and being open to finding love has been my biggest fear for myself.  How will I ever meet someone who will understand and want to be a part of my unique family?  How and when in the relationship do I share my story?  I am afraid to be vulnerable, and I am afraid to open up my heart and take the chance that I can get hurt again.  These are all things I do not know, but what I do know is I need to put my fears aside and be open to love because I deserve it.

9. Do You

After going through this adoption experience you are left with a whole new outlook on life.  You just spent all of your energy focusing everything on your child and their future; but remember your own future is just as important.

Give yourself the chance to reevaluate your own life.  Ask yourself what your dreams are.  Ask yourself where you want your life to go.  Ask yourself what is going to make you happy, and then go out there and make the change to do so.

If you can survive the adoption of your child, you can conquer anything else you are afraid of!  This is your time to live.  Drop the guilt, drop the embarrassment, drop the sadness, and drop your fears.  Drop whatever it is that is holding you back, and get back out there and live.  Live for your child, and more importantly, live and love yourself.