Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

Who are Adoptive Families?

“It’s been nearly 4 1/2 years since I first laid eyes on my daughter, and yet, to this day, not a day goes by when I’m not overwhelmed with gratitude that the world aligned itself to bring her into my life and family.” – Ella’s parents

Adoption is the most precious gift in life. It is an inspiring and selfless act in which a birthparent can provide their child with a secure life full of countless opportunities.  You will also be sharing another beautiful part of our world with your baby: love.

As with any other families, adoptive families all differ in their make-up. They uphold different values, faiths, parenting philosophies, and reasons behind their desire to adopt in the first place. Despite these differences, one affinity binds these families. All of their motivations to parent are built on a foundation of love.

Most commonly, families choose adoption in hopes of providing a permanent home for a child. This motivation stems partly from the wish to become a parent, but more deeply from an unconditional love for children. While adoption is certainly a mutual blessing, the primary aim of many adoptive families is to put the child’s well-being before their own. These families strive to provide stability, support, and complete devotion. Most of all, they honor the lifetime commitment of nurturing a child.

The goal of adoptive parents is to build or expand their family, and adoption offers them this opportunity. It presents them with the gift of becoming parents when doing so would otherwise seem impossible. Many prospective parents today are faced with the grief of not being able to conceive a child. In fact, 1 in 6 couples are diagnosed with infertility each year. Some may have had a successful pregnancy in the past, but are unable to conceive again. Some may have never even had a chance at starting a family.  For many, raising a child means fulfillment in life. Adoption unlocks the door of opportunity for families seeking that fulfillment in the heart of a child.

The adoptive families at Adoptions With Love have come to us with open arms, fully ready to commit to a child for life. They are not here because of convenience, and wholly respect that the heartfelt decision of an expectant/birthparent can take time. As a result, we make it a priority to get to know these prospective families individually, over a several month period.

In addition to securing background checks, FBI screenings, examining medical records, abuse and neglect clearances, and confirming financial stability, Adoptions With Love conducts home studies before approving an adoptive family. A home study is an ongoing conversation, or series of meetings, between an agency social worker and the prospective family. An approved home study ensures that the family is ready to parent through adoption, and bring a baby into their home. In addition, these meetings prepare the family for their parenting experience, and answer any questions before their journey begins. Home studies are a huge part of the adoption process: we learn about who these families are, what they are looking for, and how they will care for a child.

As an experienced, private, non-profit adoption agency, we aim to develop relationships with each and every one of our adoptive families. If you wish, you can meet our families. At Adoptions With Love, you have the option of choosing the adoptive parents for your baby. They have prepared extensive profile books, photo albums, and written personal letters to you and for you, so that you can learn about them and their home. If you desire, we can help you arrange continued contact with them and your child long after placement occurs either through our letter and picture program or through other types of ongoing communication or meetings. If you prefer limited contact, you can leave that all to us… It is your choice!

Ultimately, adoption is a gift for everyone who is involved.  By giving someone the joy of parenting, you are offering them hope, and granting yourself the gift of realizing your own personal goals and providing your child with opportunities that you feel you cannot give to him/her at this point in your life. It is a beautiful act; it is an act of love and courage.

Ten Questions to Ask an Adoption Agency

The decision to place your child for adoption requires a great amount of strength, courage, and most of all, love.  If and when you choose adoption as that right next step, feel comforted in knowing that you are giving your child a secure and wondrous future, filled with infinite opportunities. The book is now open, the pages are waiting to be filled, and remember, your child’s story begins with you. Who will help you write the first chapter?

An adoption agency is the binding of this book; we can help you create a plan for your child before, during, and after birth. We work full-time, 24/7, with pregnant women and prospective families in order to find the best possible family for your baby. This will be a family in which your child can grow and thrive.

Choosing an adoption agency is a decision that is as equally as important as choosing a reputable doctor. You should use the best professional to help you with this important decision. There are thousands of potential agencies out there, some local and others at the click of a button.  How do you choose which is the right one for you and your child?  It is a decision that should be made with a lot of trust and research. Asking all of the right questions is important:

Is this adoption agency licensed? If you choose to plan your adoption through an agency, always choose one that is both reputable and licensed. A licensed agency is specifically required to follow state adoption standards (in training, education, and expertise), and will provide an extensive amount of services throughout the entire process of adoption, even after the birth of your baby.

How long have they been in existence? We truly believe that, in choosing an agency, you should look for highly experienced professionals who can provide you with their ethics, their background, and their qualifications.  At Adoptions With Love, we have been assisting families for over 28 years, and have thoughtfully placed over 1,800 children in loving homes. Adoptions With Love works all over the United States.

Is this agency a non-profit organization? There are many adoption agencies out there. Some agencies have a mission of generating profits, while others aim to truly build loving families.  Therefore, it is extremely important to do your research, but to also follow your heart. A non-profit adoption agency is a social service agency, and the right one will fully commit to you and to your child. It is not a decision that should be rushed or impersonal. Keep your own comfort level in mind, and find an agency that truly cares about your own unique situation.

What kind of support will be offered to you as an expectant/ birthparent? An adoption agency should always offer you a variety of support services; up until placement, and long after the adoption has been finalized. Adoptions With Love, for example, offers counseling services with trained professionals, legal assistance with experienced adoption lawyers, medical care, and financial assistance. Most importantly, Adoptions With Love stays in touch with birthparents over the years through their letter and picture program and by helping to facilitate meetings and reunions. The relationship does not end when you place your baby with a loving family.

What kind of financial assistance will this agency provide? When working with an adoption agency, you should never feel as though certain resources are unavailable or out of reach. Whether it is counseling that you need, food, rent and utility payments, medical attention, or maternity clothing, we will do our best to help you.

Does the agency work with attorneys who are knowledgeable of your local adoption laws? It is important to find an adoption agency who understands your rights as an expectant/birth parent upfront. We have always made it a priority to work with experienced lawyers who specialize in adoption and who protect the rights of expectant/birthparents.

How does this agency screen its families? An adoption agency’s goal should be to find the best possible family for your child. Our adoptive families undergo FBI background checks, state criminal records checks, child abuse and neglect checks, sexual offender checks, as well as medical and financial screenings. We require letters of reference, and a detailed home study process to ensure the safety and security of your child. At Adoptions With Love, we take the time to visit each home and get to know our families one-on-one, over a lengthy, several month long process.

Does the agency support both open and closed adoptions? We understand that no two people are alike. Every situation is different and we will support you in whichever path of adoption you wish to choose. If you wish to make the important choice of who the adoptive parents will be, we provide you with extensive profile books and letters written by the prospective adoptive parents so you can learn a lot about them. If you choose an open adoption, we will help you design the adoption plan that works best for you. However, some expectant parents would rather leave the choice of family to the experienced adoption professionals. It is your decision.

Does the agency take a lifelong interest in you and your baby? An adoption agency should be committed to both you and your child for the long run. At Adoptions with Love, we encourage you to contact us at any time, any day, and after the placement has been made. It is a blessing to see the story unfold, and to maintain connections with everyone who is a part of this journey.

Will the agency respect your choices? In the end, the choice is completely yours. As a birthparent, you have the right to raise your child, the right to change your mind at any point prescribed by state law, and the right to consider all other options. You should never feel pressured or misled by an adoption agency, by prospective parents, or by your family or peers. If adoption is ultimately the right option for you and the well-being of your child, you will know. You will know you have made a positive choice.

Adoptions are acts of pure love. You are giving your child the gift of a secure life, and a beautiful future. Therefore, each decision in making an adoption plan should be made with the utmost consideration for both your goals and the ones you carry for your child. It is a difficult choice to make—and it calls for a great deal of courage. That is where we will help. Contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731, or text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072 for more information. We are here for YOU.

#30 Days of Love: National Adoption Awareness Month

Happy National Adoption Month!

This November, let’s celebrate adoption by highlighting the families created through this selfless and inspirational choice and honor the birth parents.  For the thirty days of November, Adoptions With Love will be embracing the love inherent in each aspect of adoption. We ask you to join us in our #30DaysofLove.

Even after 26 years of working in the adoption field, I am still in awe of each of our expectant parents as they make the brave and courageous choice of adoption for their child. This is a deep, personal sacrifice that only very few can fully understand.  This decision is made with such overwhelming love, allowing their child to have the type of life they feel they cannot provide.  Expectant parents never cease to amaze me as I counsel them through their unplanned pregnancies. With a remarkable strength, they are able to make an informed, selfless decision for their baby.

For our adopting parents, adoption is a beautiful way to complete their families. Our adoptive families desperately want to become parents, and the only way to do so is through the adoption process.  Our adoptive parents’ determination, strength and perseverance are truly admirable as they wait and hope for their own bundle of joy.

At the request of one of our children, now 20 years old, I recently found and contacted a birthmother about the prospect of a reunion.  With the support of his family, I reached out to locate his birthmother who was ready and very excited to reconnect. After exchanging a few emails, they finally all met in person just this past week.  The results were more wonderful than we had hoped for!  Her most touching comment will stay with me:  “I cannot thank you enough for finding me… The meeting went fantastically awesomely great!   We met at our designated spot, I knew it was him from the moment I saw him. “

Let’s celebrate each and every day of November to its fullest while educating others about the profound love inherent in adoption. Join us in our #30DaysofLove!

The Child That Was Never Mine

This letter came to Adoptions With Love from a birthmother who placed her baby for adoption.  She describes her thought process in detail and the loving choice of adoption that she knows is the right decision for her.  With her permission, it is being shared.  Names have been changed.

Looking back on my life, I have been faced with my fair share of difficult decisions. I never knew I could impact so many people with a choice until I was faced with an unplanned pregnancy. I had a very serious matter on my hands, but after a short internal struggle I was able to look at the big picture, and my decision was easy.  I was uncertain what to do, but I had to come up with a plan for the future of this child.  I choose adoption because the time was not right for me to have and raise a child alone, my Christian beliefs and it seemed the best option for all involved parties.

I did not know my life would change forever when in October 2013 I met a guy online. We hit it off instantly.  When we were together we were all smiles and we were very happy.  We rode those happy times without a care in the world.  Until I found out I was pregnant.

Winter was approaching.  I began experiencing morning sickness and immediately I knew before the two tests I took, that I had conceived.  I saw my doctor and he confirmed I was in fact with child.  A flood of emotions filled my heart but I did not feel a single bit of happiness.  At twenty nine years old I was the mother of a three year old, twice divorced and pregnant by a near stranger.  When I told him, my sadness deepened when he suggested an abortion.  He also had a three year old and was going through a divorce and he did not want any more children.  He researched abortion and initially convinced me to go ahead with the procedure.  I made arrangements for the following week but I called to cancel my appointment on the morning I was scheduled to go in.

I was raised Christian and although I did not always practice good Christian ways I considered myself of strong faith and morals.  I believe that every life is precious and that the Lord never makes mistakes.  Wanting to be at peace with myself I decided against abortion which solved a moral dilemma while leaving me uncertain about a very real situation.

He understood my issues with abortion and he himself was of Christian faith but remained extremely worried about what he considered to be “a problem.” One day he called and told me that a neighbor of his adopted a child.  I was immediately drawn to the idea.  I contacted Adoptions With Love.  I was now 8 weeks along.

Through the agency, I learned the ins and outs of adoption.  When I was told Adoptions With Love worked with people that could not conceive, my decision to create an adoption plan was made.  I had been blessed with the greatest gift, a blessing some could not experience.  My pregnancy was no longer a mistake.  I felt as if I had been chosen, as if this was my purpose.

The agency began to show me profiles of potential families.  For one reason or another I did not feel any of them were right for this child until I came across Robert and Meredith.  I knew in my heart when I read their biographies that they were the ones.  We shared the same interest, hobbies, values and most important our religious beliefs.  I explained to them later that “it was a mixture of faith and fate that led me to them.”

Months passed and we all planned for the baby’s arrival.  Twelve days before my due date I woke with labor pains.   Off to the hospital I went and with my mother by my side I gave birth to a healthy baby boy at 3:39 in the afternoon.  Naturally I was exhausted so my mother called the social worker at the agency and told her “the eagle has landed!”  He was beautiful.  I held him in my arms and smiled down at him, he was very special.  This tiny baby was truly a blessing, just not intended for his father or me.  I never actually considered myself his mother.  I was his grower. Enlisted with a job, an amazing opportunity, and I was elated to do it. I was responsible for something wonderful and I loved him before I ever met him.

Several hours after he was born his parents arrived.  The four of us sat in my room chatting, sharing stories and getting to know each other.  We formed a remarkable bond that we will share forever.  There was so much love in that room on that hot June afternoon.  I looked at the newly formed family with such pride.  My heart was again filled with so many emotions, but this time I felt no regret or sorrow.  As his birth mother I had the legal right to name him, but I left that honor to his parents.

The day Evan was born he and I drastically changed five lives!  His birth father and I passed our blessing to two truly deserving people.  These two people would raise him with love, kindness and morals.  As a result that little boy was going to do big things.

I signed the adoption papers four days later on my thirtieth birthday.  I shed so many tears that day.  It was and most likely will be the happiest cry I will ever experience.   Although we did not intend to create a child together, Evan is our greatest gift.  When I receive the pictures and updates about him, I know all is as it was meant to be.  My decision to carry a child for nine months for two very special people was the best, easiest choice I have ever made.

Baby Safe Haven and Adoption

The Baby Safe Haven Laws in each state allow parents to anonymously leave their unharmed infant with designated authorities without fear of prosecution.  Since 1999, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted such laws.  The infant may be left at a hospital, fire station, police station or at a religious institution as long as there is a provider that can care for the child, no questions asked.  These laws were enacted to save the lives of children, while protecting the parents from prosecution.  The details of laws in each state vary.

Why would a parent choose to do leave their infant at a Baby Safe Haven facility?  Desperation and being in a state of crisis is one answer.  Lack of support and finances are other reasons.  Fear is another cause why a woman or man would choose to leave their infant with a stranger.

These are also some of the same reasons that parents choose to make an adoption plan for their infant.  Why would parents choose the Baby Safe Haven over making an adoption plan?  One of the answers to this question is lack of information regarding the option of adoption.  Baby Safe Haven gets a lot of press; whereas positive adoption education is lacking in our society.  Those of us who have been touched by adoption need to educate the general public that adoption is a positive, loving choice that biological parents make for their child.  Making an adoption plan is the most difficult decision parents can make for their baby; yet it is one of the bravest and most courageous acts.

Recently we received a call from a hospital about a young woman who was going to leave her baby under the Baby Safe Haven Law.  She had planned to give birth at home and then bring the baby somewhere.  She ended up in the hospital talking to a social worker who encouraged her to explore adoption.  After some very intensive counseling, this young couple decided to make an adoption plan and chose a family for their baby.  They felt good that they now have the option of receiving letters and pictures over the years and opening up the adoption in the future.  In the meantime, they have a picture in their mind of the safe and loving home where their child is being raised.  Their wishes were respected and everything was handled with discretion and in complete privacy. They had not known about the option of adoption prior to meeting with the social worker.

For this child’s sake, there is now a history which will follow him.   This child will grow up knowing that his parents made a loving choice for him; to give him parents who could give him the life he deserves.  This will be the life that his birth parents felt that they could not give him at this point in their lives.  The birth parents will continue to have choices regarding exchange of information and openness.  These options are not available when choosing the Baby Safe Haven Law.

Making an adoption plan, rather than opting for Baby Safe Haven gives the biological parents the opportunity to partake in counseling with a professional that can help them cope with their grief and sadness.  A caseworker/counselor can help the biological parents work on their life circumstances that led them to make the difficult decision regarding adoption or Baby Safe Haven.  Adoption gives the biological parents choices, such as choosing the family for the baby and designing an open adoption, closed adoption or semi-open adoption.

The Baby Safe Haven program has saved children’s lives.  It is a much better choice than leaving a baby in a dumpster.

We need to let couples or individuals who are facing parenthood for which they are unprepared know that adoption is a positive option for them.  Adoptions can be planned in total privacy while respecting the wishes of both birth parents.

4 Keys to a Successful Open Adoption

Open adoption can be a beneficial and positive experience for birthparents, adoptive parents, and most importantly, for the child. Over the years, adoption plans throughout the United States have become increasingly more open.  This “openness” allows for meaningful connections and relationships to be established through ongoing contact between birthparents and the adoptive family.  Most birthparents are drawn to an open adoption plan because it gives them a sense of security and comfort to know how their child is growing and developing.  If you are looking to provide your child with a successful and loving open adoption, there are four key recommendations to keep in mind.

1. Choose the Right Family for Your Baby:

Finding the perfect family to adopt your baby is what will give you peace of mind in this journey.  Most expectant/birthparents say that once they found the family, they were much more at ease with the decision to make an adoption plan for their baby.  The best way to find the right family is to have an experienced adoption professional assist in that process; adoption agencies will meet with the adoptive family multiple times and get to know them very well.  They will go through background checks and the expectant/birthparent can be comforted knowing their child will be raised in a loving, secure home with a family that understands the complexities of adoption.  Choosing the right family that you feel a connection with is an important factor.  Maybe the connection is that there will be an at home parent full time, or maybe they work in a similar profession i.e. nursing, education, etc. The right family will honor your request for the type of communication you would like going forward.  Perhaps that is letters and pictures, phone contact, email contact or a yearly meeting.  YOU will know when you find the perfect family.

2. Establish Trust:

Open adoption is a relationship based upon respect, honesty and trust with each other.  Trust is an issue that can constantly be on an expectant/birthparent’s mind while going through the adoption process. The birthmother should have peace of mind knowing that her baby is in good hands with a family that she has selected.  She should also be able to trust that the family she chooses for her baby will continue to communicate with her over time.  An agency’s involvement will help to ensure that everyone honors the agreements made at the time of placement.

 3. Be Flexible:

In order for open adoption to be successful, both the expectant/birthparent and the new adoptive parents must have a strong sense of flexibility in order to meet each other’s needs.  Of paramount importance in an open adoption agreement is taking the child’s best interest into account.   In order to do this, sometimes changes need to be made to keep the child’s best interests in mind.  Birthparents and adoptive parents need to understand how the other feels and make changes to benefit all parties.  Setting guidelines and boundaries from the beginning that are comfortable for all parties is essential.

 4. Communicate Openly:

Adoptive parents’ empathy for the birthparents’ grief process is essential when communicating following an adoption placement.  Understanding that adoptive parents also have a period of adjustment with new parenting is important for the birthparent to recognize.  Ongoing, open communication in the evolving relationship between birth and adoptive families will help a child to understand and accept his/her adoption story. Whether through letters, telephone calls, email, text, or Skype, communication is a vital component of an open adoption.  Ongoing communication allows for the love and joy of the child to be shared.

Open adoption can alleviate many unsettling feelings that may arise for birthparents throughout the adoption journey.  However, if birthparents choose to proceed with an open adoption, they should keep these four key principles in mind.  Choosing the right family and establishing trust, flexibility, and communication will lead to a happy and comfortable open adoption plan that will ultimately benefit the adoptive parents, birthparents, and child.

Choosing Adoption is Not “Giving Up”

Giving up your baby for adoption is NOT giving up.  It is a common term that is used in casual conversation and in the media.  It is derived from the term: “put up for adoption.” But if we were to really think about it, giving your baby up for adoption is the opposite of giving up.  It is the brave decision to give your baby the type of life that you may not be able to provide at this time in your own life.  By making an adoption plan for your baby, you are planning for their life; you may not have planned to have this baby but you are certainly taking responsibility to make sure they have a life filled with love, education, holiday traditions, extended family support and many opportunities.  This is far from giving up.

Adoptive parents and birth parents can form a very special bond in everyone loving this baby.  Sometimes expectant/birth parents find that special “click” when they find the perfect family to adopt their baby.  When an expectant/birth mother knows she has found the right family who was meant to love her baby, she can feel an indescribable feeling of overwhelming peace.

Adoption can be a beautiful, positive and loving choice for your baby if you are not in the position to raise your baby.  Don’t let society or the media tell you that you are “giving up.” Tell everyone that you are “giving an opportunity” to your baby for the rest of their life.  Feel proud and brave to make a positive choice for the life of your baby.  We think you are remarkable and you should think so too.

Adoptions With Love understands that everyone is an individual and no two people are alike. This adoption plan is YOUR plan.  Some expectant/birth parents want a closed adoption plan.  Others want a semi-open adoption plan where they can choose the family, meet in person and receive letters and pictures over 18 years.  And some expectant/birth parents want a more open adoption plan with on-going yearly meetings.  We have all of those options at Adoptions With Love.

When you consider adoption as a positive choice for an unplanned pregnancy, you are certainly not giving up.  You are in charge.  This is YOUR adoption plan and as skilled adoption professionals, we can assist you and make certain your best interests are the main focus.  At Adoptions With Love, we are here for you with care, compassion and professionalism.  Adoption is a journey through life and we are here all the way and into the future.

For more information please click here. If you would like to talk about your options on the phone, we are available toll-free 24/7 at 1-800-722-7731.  You can also text us 24/7 at 617-777-0072.

Dealing with an Unplanned Pregnancy: Why We Chose Adoption

I have always been very aware and supportive of adoption, myself being adopted and raised with an adopted sibling. Therefore, when I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy during my final semester of college, adoption seemed the natural choice. Though I had only been dating my boyfriend, Adam, for five months, he was incredibly supportive and understanding of the situation. Both of us were, however, extremely nervous about the reactions of our parents. To delay this confrontation, we decided to keep the unplanned pregnancy a secret from all of our friends and family until my graduation, when I was five months along.

Before I could muster the courage to tell my parents, my mother confronted me and asked if I was pregnant. I hesitantly responded with a “yes,” and couldn’t believe how positively she responded. When I explained that I was considering adoption my parents were delighted, and my mother recounted how incredibly happy my adoption had made them. She said that giving a child to an adoptive family was the greatest gift, and that both of my parents would stand by me through the pregnancy. This was a huge relief to both Adam and me, and it started to seem like everything was going to be okay.

A week later Adam and I visited his parents and told them that I was pregnant. Although we had prepared for the worst, we were again surprised by the compassion and understanding they showed us, as they too voiced that they would support whatever decision we made. My older sister and Adam’s younger sister were equally shocked by the news, but were just as supportive as our parents had been about our choice to pursue adoption.

We then began our search for an open adoption agency, and received a recommendation from a family member for Adoptions With Love.  Adam and I knew right away that this was the right agency for us, and were greatly comforted by their accepting and sympathetic mission to help us make the best choice. Before long we were looking at prospective families, and after a few weeks had chosen a couple that we wished to meet. Adam and I agreed early on that we wanted an open adoption, and felt confident in our decision with the love and support from our families and Adoptions With Love. Our first meeting with the adoptive family was easier and more comfortable than I ever could have imagined, and yet another affirmation that we had made the right choice.

Adam and I continued our conversation with the adoptive family through email, and even helped choose our child’s name. Through getting to know our adoptive couple, we truly felt that they were exactly the people we would want to raise our child. Even on the day of Matt’s birth, we knew that he was their child as much as he was our own.

Although the process of giving our child up for adoption was not without affliction, it was an overwhelmingly affirmative experience. With the full support of our families, the consolation of each other, and the reassurance of Adoptions With Love, Adam and I were able to give the best life to our child. We could not have done this alone, and give our unending thanks to all those who encouraged and helped us along the way.


Social Media and Your Adoption

My adoption story has never been a secret. As far back as I can remember, I have always known that I was adopted; whether I truly understood what that meant was a different story. I had been born to a seventeen year old girl, who wanted nothing more than to be a mother but unfortunately she was in no position to be taking care of a child. Left without a choice, she placed me for adoption. I know my story and I know that she made this decision with the utmost respect and love. Yet, I needed to know more. At fifteen years old, I started searching Facebook with the minimal clues I had in finding my birth parents. I spent hours searching through people who had the same first name as my birth mother, obviously that was unsuccessful. It was extremely discouraging, but day after day I logged back in and searched again. Eventually, I became successful in finding both my birth father and birth mother. I began to build a relationship with them through Facebook. We exchanged pictures, stories, exciting news, and I learned so many things that I had missed having not been in contact with them. We became closer, and unanimously decided we wanted to meet in person.

But this was not a single effort on my part; my adoptive parents were there by my side for the entire journey. They respected my desire to learn about and contact my birth parents, and supported me through every step of the way. They helped me to create limits for myself so I wouldn’t become overwhelmed. Without their love and support, I wouldn’t have been able to successfully fulfill my wish of being in contact with my birth parents.

A year passed and we had plans to meet my birth parents in Indiana, where I was born and where my birth mother still lived. Knowing that reunions can have unexpected outcomes, I hoped for the best but expected the worst. Fortunately, my reunion went well, and I felt a bond to my birth parents that I hadn’t felt through social networking. I felt that this allowed me to get to know them; I finally heard their voices rather than imagining what they sounded like, and I was able to experience their presence. An internet relationship doesn’t allow this, so even though it seems convenient and easy, Facebook can be a damaging “go-to.”

Social media, specifically Facebook seemed to slowly harm this relationship because it allowed constant communication. And through this relationship, my birth parents always expected more. They treated me as their daughter, but to me they felt no closer than a distant relative. They always wanted to know how and what I was doing, as if they were my parents. In their mind, they were my parents; but having grown up with such loving adoptive parents, I couldn’t feel the same way. They are very important people in my life, and hold a special place in my heart, but my adoptive parents were the ones to raise and support me during the past eighteen years.

So, I needed time to think, but I also needed time to enjoy life. I couldn’t be a sixteen year girl old glued my computer to be in this constant communication. I had growing up to do and that wouldn’t have happened had I kept my computer by my side. So I told them I needed time; I told them when the time was right and when I was comfortable contacting them, I would. At first they were disappointed, but soon learned that it would only be for the best. They gave me the space I needed to grow up. Now, having graduated high school and having finished my first semester at college, I am in contact with my birth mother again.

This time, I’ve made some changes. I’m no longer using Facebook, rather, I use a private email. I feel that through this short time emailing, I have built a better and stronger relationship with my birth mother than I could through Facebook. There is no pressure to immediately answer each email, rather we send long and meaningful messages. Our relationship means a lot more to me now that I have grown up and come to realize how thankful I truly am for the decision that my birth mother made almost nineteen years ago.

If there is anything that I can recommend and advise for those planning to contact or meet their birth parents, construct boundaries and take your time. There is no reason to force yourself into the situation if you do not feel ready to do so. Do not be afraid to stick to these limits you have set, even if it is not what your birth parents had hoped for. Make sure you are ready to embark on this unknown journey; although no one can plan for the unexpected, you must be emotionally ready for what may or may not happen. In the end, all this will allow you security and comfort in having made the decision to contact or  meet your birth parents.

About the author:  Social Media and Your Adoption was written by Geneva Smith, a college student studying Expressive Arts Therapy with a specialization in Mental Health Counseling, and a dual-minor in Psychology and Music.  Geneva’s family consists of her adoptive mother and father, and her two adoptive brothers.  She was adopted by her parents as an infant.  Her family currently fosters babies prior to their adoptive placements.

November is National Adoption Month

  • 1976 Gov. Dukakis proclaimed an adoption awareness week in Massachusetts.
  • 1984 President Reagan expanded that to a National Adoption Week
  • 1995 President Clinton proclaimed November National Adoption Month, stating: “For many people across the United States, adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families. It places children into loving, permanent homes where they can flourish and grow up to become happy, healthy, productive members of our national community. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.”

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Much of the emphasis of these proclamations and campaigns has been to move children from the foster care system to permanency.  When children enter the foster care system, it is usually because their parents are unable to care for them.  Unfortunately, these children are often the victims of abuse and neglect.  Sometimes children have lasting scars and need families that can provide the love and stability each child deserves.

Private adoption agencies work with expectant and birth parents that make a choice for their child.  These parents make an adoption plan for their child so that their child can have a life that they feel they cannot provide for their child at this time.  Making a private adoption plan can keep children out of the foster care system.  Through work with expectant and birth parents, they are counseled to make appropriate choices for their children.  Many of the women who explore an adoption plan for their child are already single parents, struggling to care for the children that they have at home or trying to work within the child welfare system to regain custody of their children.  By providing counseling and resources, adoption agencies strive to enhance the lives of many children; not only those who have been placed for adoption, but for their siblings also. When parents make a plan to place a child for adoption, it is a courageous and loving choice; one that is made with deep personal sacrifice.

Open adoption can ease many of the conflicting feelings that parents have when making an adoption plan.  Knowing that they can maintain contact with the parents of their child and be aware of the child’s growth, development and that their child is in a loving family can give them peace of mind.

Those not touched by adoption in a personal manner usually have very little understanding of the adoption process and how it is one of the journeys in life that touch so many of us.  National Adoption Month can help educate our society about the positive aspects of adoption.

Amy S. Cohen, LICSW

Executive Director