Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

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.

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.

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

Open Adoption: Changes Over the Years

Adoption has moved from closed to increasing openness. The “Today Show” has been featuring a week long series on “Choosing Adoption.”  The show featured Dr. Nancy Snyderman and her adopted daughter’s journey to meet her birth mother for the very first time now that she is 27 years old.  

When I began working at Adoptions With Love in October of 1986, unless an adoptive family met the birth mother of their child, they only referred to each other as “birth mother” and “your child’s adoptive parents.”  This is how people were instructed to refer to themselves in letters to each other.   Today, we have more open adoptions with birth parents and adoptive families exchanging phone numbers, email addresses and last names.  Some families are meeting each other yearly or twice yearly.  They are texting each other pictures and sharing important events in their child’s life.  Families are also communicating via “Face Time” and “Skype.”
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Recently, I made flight arrangements for an expectant mom to come to the Boston area to meet the prospective adoptive parents.  It is important for her to see the home in which her child will be raised.  Why not?  She will be entrusting her child’s life to strangers whom she selected from a photo album and letters.  She trusts AWL to vet the adoptive parents to raise their child.  I am in awe of the courage and the trust the expectant/birth parents put in AWL and the adoptive parents they select.  I am surprised that more women do not ask more frequently to meet people in their homes.  What I say to prospective adoptive parents is, if you do not take this emotional risk, you will end up with nothing.

This week we had three placements.  In each of these the expectant/birth parents and adoptive families have met one another several times and in all cases met members of extended families.  What a gift for these children.  They will be raised with the awareness of the loving and thoughtful decision their birth parents made in making an adoption plan.  The development of these relationships helps give birth/expectant parents peace in making the most difficult decision of their lives.

The result of an open adoption, in the majority of situations, is very positive.  Parents have a vast amount of information to share with their child when they have questions about adoption.  Most importantly, the expectant/birth parents can have peace with their decision.  These are not the adoptions of 40 or 50 years ago.

The relationships between birth and adoptive families are complicated and will change over time.  We at AWL are here to aid you in navigating this journey.

Amy S. Cohen, LICSW

Executive Director


Who Will Adopt My Baby?

Who Will Adopt My Baby?

When faced with an untimely and unplanned pregnancy, you have many choices.  This may be a time of shock, worry and a road you did not plan on traveling down.  One option is adoption, which can be a very positive choice.

You may be wondering how to go about making an adoption plan and asking yourself, “who will adopt my baby?”  The best answer is to work with a reputable adoption agency whose primary focus is on YOU and helping you navigate the adoption process with compassion and care.

Adoptions With Love is a private non-profit adoption agency that prides itself on taking care of our birthmothers’ needs.  Everyone is an individual and no two people are alike.  Your needs and desires will be different from someone else.  This adoption plan is YOUR plan; it should focus on you.

When you think, “who will adopt my baby,”you may wonder:Contact Button

  • Do I have the ability to choose the best family for my baby?  That answer is definitely yes.
  • How will I be able to view the family?  Adoptions With Love will provide you with a great deal of information about the adoptive family through photo albums and letters.
  • Can I meet the family in person?  Of course you can.  It is very understandable that you may want this important opportunity.
  • Can this adoption be an “open adoption”?  Yes, but this means different things to different people so we want to be very clear what “open adoption” means to you.  Letters and pictures over 18 years?  A face to face meeting over the years?  Ongoing emails?  You decide.
  • What if I don’t wish to choose the family or meet them in person?  This is fine too.  Again, you are the one with many choices.  Meeting the adoptive family is not for everyone.  Some people like their privacy and  choose the option of closed adoption.
  • Can I write a letter to my child and/or send a gift?  Definitely!  Over the 27 years that Adoptions With Love has been working in adoptions, many young people have come back to see if their birthparents would be interested in knowing more about them.  They have commented how nice it has been to have a letter from their birthparent and how they treasure that.

When you consider adoption as a positive choice for an unplanned pregnancy, you can be in charge of who will adopt your baby.  This is YOUR adoption plan.  You make it with the guidance of a skilled adoption professional that has your best interest in mind.  At Adoptions With Love, we are here for you with care, compassion and professionalism.  Adoption is a journey through life and we are here for you now and in the future.

How to choose the best adoptive family for your baby

If you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, you’re not alone. Unintended pregnancies happen all the time. Many women are in a similar situation as you. You have many options available, but since you’re on our blog, we’ll assume that you’re considering an adoption plan for your baby.

Of course, your number one priority is to give your child the best life possible. Reasons for considering adoption can vary, but all are equally valid. No matter your reason, chances are, you feel that you’re not in a position to raise a baby at this exact time in your life.

Just because you did not plan to have a baby, you can plan for your baby’s life. The decisions you make now can help give your baby the life you wish you could provide.

By choosing adoption, you can make sure your baby is raised by the type of family you want. The perfect family for your baby may be a married couple who have not been able to have children due to infertility problems. Or perhaps you may choose a single person who does not have a partner but has a huge amount of love to share with a child. Maybe you’re considering a same sex couple because they are not able to produce a biological child but will be fantastic parents.

We recommend to women that we work with that they make a list of wishes for their child.  To help answer the question “how do I find a family for my baby?” we first recommend you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What education goals do I have for my child?
  • Is attending college a priority?
  • Would I prefer a family for my baby that does not have any children or a family that already has a child?
  • Does one parent stay at home with the child?
  • Are I looking for a couple or single parent?
  • What opportunities do I envision for my child?
  • What are the family’s activities or interests?
  • What is the extended family like?

By making a list of the most important qualities you are looking for in a family, it will help you narrow down your idea of the perfect family for your baby.

The families that we work with at Adoptions With Love put together extensive photo albums and write you letters telling you about themselves. Choosing a family for your baby and getting to know the adoptive parents helps build trust and will give you comfort when you start to feel your grief. We encourage you to meet the family you choose in person. Trusting the family you have chosen for your child, and trusting your gut decision will give you strength as you go through the adoption process. Remember, you are the one in control of the adoption process, and you create the adoption plan that’s right for you.

Deciding Between Open Adoption and Closed Adoption

Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy begin to consider their options, including adoption. However, they often come across terms that are unfamiliar to them, making the process seem more confusing than it needs to be. Here at Adoptions With Love, one of the most common questions we hear is, “What exactly is OPEN adoption?”

The confusion surrounding this term is understandable since “open adoption” can mean different things to different people. Open adoption is a process that involves more contact between birth parents, adoptive parents and the child. It allows the birth parent to choose the right family for the baby and introduces the option for post-adoption contact between the birth parent and the adopted child. Each open adoption is unique, and a very special relationship, so birth parents and families can determine what level or what kinds of contact are best for them and when that contact will occur.

Closed adoptions may or may not involve the birth parent choosing the family. Sometimes the birth parent may want the adoption agency to choose an appropriate, loving family that they have approved for adoption to become the parents. However, in some cases, the birth parents may wish to choose the family for the baby, but not have any further contact in the future.

When birth parents wish to choose the perfect family for their baby, open adoption or semi-open adoption can provide them this wonderful opportunity. They look at profiles of prospective families who hope to become the child’s parents. These profiles describe their family life, their home, careers, hobbies, special interests, extended family members and in some cases, what they have gone through regarding their infertility. They usually contain lots of photos to help show their personalities.

Birth parents can learn a tremendous amount of information about the families looking to adopt by reading their profiles and browsing their pictures online, but some parents create an album that includes many more pictures and additional information about themselves. Most birth parents look for some kind of connection or a common interest with the prospective parents.

In addition to learning about and selecting the family they feel most comfortable with, open adoption also provides birth parents with the opportunity to meet the family in person and get to know them on a more intimate level. In some cases, the birth parent has even asked the chosen parents to participate in the birth of the baby.

Choosing open adoption also affects what takes place after the adoption, but there are different degrees of “openness.” It typically means that birth parents can have some kind of contact with the adopted child, but each situation is unique. Each adoptive family and birth parent determine what they are most comfortable with.

Perhaps everyone agrees that the birth parent will receive letters and pictures of the child as he or she grows and develops. Letters and photos can be delivered through the adoption agency or sent directly from the chosen adoptive parents. Some families and the birth parents may have annual in-person meetings. Perhaps phone numbers and full names are exchanged, but not necessarily. At Adoptions With Love, birth parents have the ability to design their adoption plan. Each open adoption is unique and creates a very special relationship between all parties in the adoption.

Some birth parents do not want to choose the parents. They want to put the decision in the hands of the adoption agency to choose an appropriate, loving family that they have approved for adoption to become the parents of their baby. In those cases, closed adoption is the right fit.

Ultimately, the choice is up to the birth parent to determine if they want an open, semi-open or closed adoption, and here at Adoptions With Love, we will help make sure the process goes as smoothly as possible for everyone, regardless of what they choose.

Introducing the Adoptions With Love Blog

This is the first of what we hope to be many blog entries. Every one of our adoptions is unique, so we’re looking forward to sharing our knowledge and some of our experiences in an effort to help those that are still learning about the adoption process. We hope that you’ll return to read more!

In January 2012, we updated our website and added new pages and features to help expectant/birth parents as well as adoptive parents to learn about who we are and the services that we provide. Our meet our adoptive families pages now include more information and photos of each family.

We even added an area dedicated to adopted children since our first adoption was 25 years ago and our children are now young adults.

Generally speaking, adoptions have changed over the 25 years that we’ve been creating families. Most of the changes are for the better, but as the internet has become one of, if not the most important source of information for birth parents and adopting families alike, we felt it was important to take a more active role and discuss these topics in a more candid way through our blog.

Of course, nothing can take the place of face to face communication (or even a phone call). However, we hope that our blog entries provide us with the opportunity to reach more women and families with a positive message about adoption. We hope you find our entries helpful and we encourage you to interact by submitting comments and sharing your views.