Archive for the ‘Adoptive Parents’ Category

How to Prepare for Your Adoption Home Study

All prospective adoptive parents are required to complete a “home study” before they can be approved to adopt in Massachusetts. An adoption home study is a two- to three-month long process that allows your adoption agency to better get to know you, your family, and your home. It is also a great opportunity for you to get to know your counselor and ask questions about the adoption process.

A home study can only be carried out by a social worker that is licensed in Massachusetts, such as the ones at Adoptions With Love. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, we will first meet you in our Massachusetts office. We will walk you through the initial adoption requirements, and then schedule a series of interviews and visits to your home. During these planned visits, we will become acquainted with your family members, your household, and your community.

After a series of interviews, planned visits, and background checks, we will determine if you meet all the Massachusetts adoption requirements, and if you can provide a safe, stable, and loving home for a child.

While this may sound intimidating, the goal of an adoption home study is to educate you about parenting through adoption, the adoption process, and to ensure you are ready to provide that child with the best possible home. We will educate you on adoption, parenthood, and what to expect upon welcoming your baby home.

In this blog, we provide ten tips on how to get ready for your family’s adoption home study.

  1. Be prepared to complete any necessary paperwork. Gather all the required documents beforehand if you can. Your adoption agency will have a list of required documents you will need to submit as part of the application process. These documents might include letters of recommendation, birth certificates, family medical histories, financial documents, and more. Ask your adoption counselor which documents you can prepare ahead of time, to help move the process along.
  2. Ensure your home meets the safety regulations required to adopt a baby. Your adoption counselor is there to ensure you can provide a safe home for your child. This means having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on each level, an accessible fire extinguisher, and adequate space for the child to stay and sleep. Note that you do not have to have a nursery set up at the time of your home visit, you simply need to show that there will be space once the baby arrives.
  3. Know that your home does not need to be “perfect.” At Adoptions With Love, we often hear from waiting families who are nervous about the home visits. We know that no one is perfect, and we want you to know that your home does not have to be, either. As a hopeful family, know that your adoption counselor is not there to see if you have the best possible home in the world. Rather, she is there to make sure everything is safe, stable, and ready to bring in a child.
  4. You do not have to be wealthy to adopt. One part of the adoption home study will evaluate your family’s financial stability, it is also important to know that you do not need to be rich to adopt a baby. You just need to be financially, emotionally, and physically able to meet your child’s basic needs.
  5. Think about your parenting philosophies. Before the home study visits begin, it is important to think about the type of parent you hope to be, and how you plan to parent your child. If you have a spouse, start having these conversations now. Ask one another about your beliefs. Think about what challenges you might encounter as a parent, and how you hope to handle them. As part of your adoption home study, we will talk about your parenting philosophies, your parenting style, and your hopes for raising your child.
  6. Think about your motivation to adopt. Why do you want to grow your family through adoption? Why do you want to become a parent? During your home study, your adoption counselor will ask about your reasons for wanting to adopt. If you have experienced infertility, your social worker will explore with you what you have been through and why you have chosen adoption to build your family. She will also ask about your feelings regarding  adopting a child.
  7. Consider your long-term adoption plan – What kind of relationship do you hope to have with your child’s birth parents? Before your adoption home study, try to think into the future. Think about your hopes for the adoption overall. Will your child have a relationship with his or her birth parents? Are you in touch with the birth mother, to ask any questions about your child’s medical or family history? Do you hope to send updates of your child to the birth family from time-to-time? At Adoptions With Love  all adoptive parents agree to at least a semi-open adoption (which involves sending letters and pictures).
  8. If you have other children, expect that they will also be involved in the adoption home study. In Massachusetts, the home study process includes you (the adoptive parents) as well as any household member. If you have other children, we will take some time to get to know them and to get a sense of the family compatibility and relationships in your home.
  9. Come up with a list of your own questions. Not only does the adoption home study allow us to get to know you, it also provides a great opportunity for you to get to know us. During the home visits and interview stages, we encourage you to ask us questions about the adoption process.
  10. Participate in pre-adoption group sessions. As part of the home study process at Adoptions With Love, all prospective adoptive parents are required to participate in a two-session pre-adoptive group. In this group we explore why expectant/birth parents choose adoption, as well as explaining adoption to your child and friends and family. If you have not parented a child from birth, you will also be required to attend a baby care class taught by a nurse.

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to succeed in growing your family through adoption. We hope to find the best possible home for each child, and also want to ensure that you find the best possible fit for your family. If you are a hopeful Massachusetts parent and ready to start the adoption process, know that we are here for you. Contact us at 617-964-4357 to learn more.

If you’d like to learn more about the Massachusetts adoption process, please download our free guide below!



What to Do (and How to Stay Positive) While You’re Waiting to Adopt

When you started the adoption process, you knew there was going to be a period of waiting involved. You knew that the home study would take several months, that you would need to be approved by an adoption agency, and that you must also wait some time for the right adoption match. You prepared for this moment, but now, with the holidays right around the corner, you are starting to get a bit discouraged. Maybe you pictured your child unwrapping presents under the tree this year. If you have experienced infertility, you might be reflecting on what you feel is missing in your family.

Image result for expectant couple christmas stockings

This is completely normal.

The holiday season is all about family – making memories and either continuing or creating traditions with the ones we love. For hopeful adoptive parents, however, this time of year can be especially tough. You want to enjoy this time with family, but also cannot help but feel like your family is incomplete. If you have started the adoption process and are waiting for a match this season, you are not alone.

Adoptions With Love wants you to know that you can (and will!) get through it. We can help.

Below we share several tips on what to do, how to stay positive, and how to get through the holiday season while you are waiting for adoption.

  1. Take advantage of this time with your loved ones. With the holiday season being such a family-focused time, it is normal to feel many different emotions as you wait for an adoption match. It can be easy to dwell on those feelings rather than focus on the people around you. Remember that this time is one to cherish with your loved ones. Spend time with your partner, extended family, best friends, and your children if you are already a parent. Surround yourself with people who make you smile, and make memories together. This time next year, your family may be even larger, but for now, it is important to focus on your relationships with those closest to you.
  2. Join support groups and meet with other waiting families. Joining a support group will allow you to get to know other families who are in similar shoes as you. Meeting with these families on a regular basis can be a great opportunity to talk through your feelings, ask questions, and get some extra advice and support.
  3. Read everything you can. Gather resources about adoption, raising adopted children, and on how to talk about adoption positively with others and your child. Do not forget to pick up some child care and development books, too, if you are becoming a first-time parent.
  4. Keep a journal. Journals are a great way to document your feelings and excitement throughout the adoption process. Written or video journals can also make great keepsakes for your child. If you are keeping a traditional journal, write down your thoughts, feelings, ideas, hopes and dreams in a way that can one day become a part of your child’s Lifebook. If you would like to keep a video journal, you can use it as an opportunity to talk to your child, tell stories, and express how excited you are for him or her to come home.
  5. Prepare your home. While you do not need to go out and buy a crib just yet, you can start preparing your home for a baby. The waiting period is a great time to tackle your to-do list, which might include some organization or home improvement projects you have been putting off. This might also include preparing your pets, as well, and making any anticipated changes to their routine prior to your baby’s arrival.
  6. Exercise. You will soon be lifting, carrying, bending, and running more than you have in ages, and doing it all while holding a baby. Try to get in-shape pre-parenthood! Exercise can also help enhance your mood and energy levels, especially if you are feeling extra stressed or anxious.
  7. Make self-care a priority. In addition to exercising, it is important that you eat well (and practice cooking nutritious meals), meditate, sing, dance, play, laugh, read, and/or pray. Do what makes you happy and brings a bit of peace to your day-to-day life. These will help you keep a positive attitude as you look forward to all the new adventures ahead.
  8. Do something for yourself. Whether it is spending a day at the spa, traveling to a new place, or taking up a new hobby, be sure to check something off your “someday” list. Once you become a parent, your schedule will get hectic. Do the things you want to do while you have the time now.
  9. Keep a focus on work. As a hopeful parent, you may be considering leaving your full-time job to stay at home with the baby once he or she is born. Until that time, however, we recommend continuing your daily routine and working as you normally would. Keeping busy with work can make waiting for adoption fly by, and can bring in some extra income before the baby arrives.
  10. While you are at it, find out your company’s “adoption leave” policy. Some employers will offer adoptive parents paid time off upon welcoming their child home. We recommend getting in touch with your supervisor or HR department, to learn about the possibility of taking a leave of absence (with or without pay) when the time comes.
  11. Explore local pediatricians and child care options. Before your baby is born, we recommend having a pediatrician (or an idea of who will be your child’s pediatrician) in place. Ask your friends, family, co-workers, and adoption agency for referrals. Find a doctor who you feel comfortable with, who is experienced and accepts your insurance, and whose hours and location align with your needs. If you are planning to return to work after your baby arrives, you may also do the same with local child care options. While you do not have to decide now, it can be beneficial to have these resources lined up (especially for those with wait lists).
  12. If this is your first child, take a parenting workshop or training sessions. In the state of Massachusetts, first-time adoptive parents are required to complete a parenting training course. As part of our adoptive parent services, Adoptions With Love offers pre-adoptive educational group seminars to help waiting parents prepare for their baby’s arrival.
  13. Most importantly, keep a positive attitude. Remember that adoption is a marathon, not a sprint. Keep a positive outlook and never lose hope throughout the adoption process. Adoptions With Love is dedicated to expanding your family through adoption. It will all be worth the wait.

For more tips on waiting for an adoption, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. If you are a hopeful family in Massachusetts looking to start the adoption process, you may also call us at 617-964-4357. Stay tuned for our new eBook, “The Massachusetts Adoption Process: A Guide for Adoptive Parents” coming soon.

What ABC’s Modern Family Can Teach Us About Adoption

cam and mitchell adoption

ABC’s hit TV series Modern Family does more than just make us laugh. Amidst all of its hilarity and light-heartedness, the show also touches on many important lessons about adoption and the experiences of the “modern family” today. In honor of Modern Family signing on a milestone 10th season, and with the start of Season 9 airing at the end of September, Adoptions With Love has decided to discuss some of those take-aways here.

If you have ever seen Modern Family before, you likely know the adoption storyline well. It all started in the first episode of the first-ever season, when Cameron Tucker and Mitchell Pritchett adopt their baby daughter Lily from Vietnam. Since the premiere, we have watched Lily grow up and come into her own. We have also seen Cameron and Mitchell – first-time fathers – experience the ups and downs that come with parenting and adoption. Here is what we have learned from the Tucker-Pritchett family so far.

1. Talk about adoption openly and from the very beginning.

Lily has always known she was adopted. Her fathers, Cam and Mitch, consistently talk about her adoption story to make it a comfortable and open subject. Their efforts are first revealed in the episode, “Two Monkeys and a Panda,” in which Lily is less than two years old. The episode depicts Cam creating a storybook for Lily that talks about her origins and adoption story. Cam is adamant about removing the stigma from the word “adopted,” and hopes this book will help Lily see her adoption in a positive light.

Adoptions With Love always suggests talking about adoption with your child from day one, as Cam and Mitch did with Lily. Of course, use age-appropriate language when doing so. This can help your child accept and understand his or her story, and give them the opportunity to ask questions. Like Cam, it is also important to show your child that adoption is a positive, loving way to build a family and that you are happy and always available to discuss the topic. To help your child understand his or her story, you may also create an adoption lifebook: a“storybook” (like the one we see Cam making in Modern Family) that contains photos, documents, and other personal mementos of your baby’s early life.

2. Embrace your child’s culture, and always make it available.

Though portrayed somewhat blithely on Modern Family, Cam and Mitch do encourage Lily to explore her Vietnamese heritage. In the episode “The Future Dunphys,” Lily’s parents take her to a Vietnamese restaurant to give her a little taste of her culture. Lily, however, isn’t interested in her Vietnamese background – she states she’d rather her heritage be “gay” because it would make her closer to Cam and Mitch. They explain to their daughter, “The three of us are a family even though we grew up in different places… We’re a family because we love each other.”

Cam and Mitch do not force Lily’s heritage on her when she does not express interest. They do not dismiss it completely, either. They are consistently open about her Asian heritage and it is available should she later have questions. In this way, Cam and Mitch allow Lily to decide how big a role her background will play in her life, and remain flexible to her needs. This is important in any adoption. If your child is of a different heritage, you can honor it through traditional food, community events, art, books, and music. As a parent, you can also make an effort to learn some new words in your child’s native language or even take a trip to their native country. Celebrating your child’s background can help him or her grow proud of his or her background, adoption story, and develop a better sense of self.

3. Adopting a child, especially internationally, can be a process.

At the end of the second season of Modern Family, Cam and Mitch decided they wanted to expand their family even further through adoption – they wanted Lily to have a baby brother. In season 3, we see the adoption process for the Tucker-Pritchett family. They go through the home study process, meet prospective birth mothers, and consider surrogacy along their journey. That is until the season finale, when they are chosen by a birth mother in Mexico who is delivering her baby. Unfortunately, when Cam and Mitch arrive at the hospital, the birth mother’s grandmother claimed rights to the baby and the adoption fell through. It is in this moment Cam and Mitch decide to step back and focus on Lily.

Executive producer of Modern Family, Christopher Lloyd, explained in an interview that they wanted to treat the adoption storyline in “a real way.” “You don’t just decide you want to adopt a baby boy and then rub your hands and it happens,” he said to TV Guide. “You have to sign up with agencies. The agencies have to come and interview and take a look at the environment the child would be raised in. Often, you have to more or less audition for the birth mother and see how she feels about placing her child with you. We are sort of exploring all of these steps along the way to them actually having a child.”

Adoption is a process that involves several interviews, home visits, and sometimes, meetings with expectant/birth parents looking for the right family. It is important to remain flexible and patient as you go through the adoption process. At Adoptions With Love, infants are typically placed within six to twelve months of completing a home study. We are committed to helping you grow your family.

4. Families come in all different make-ups.

Perhaps the greatest lesson of all in Modern Family is that “family” does not have to entail a traditional mother and father relationship. Mitch and Cam are a happily committed couple that love and support their daughter, and provide for her as much as any mother and father would. They also show us that families are not always perfect—and do not always have to be. When the adoption agency counselor comes to their house for a home visit, there is a whipped cream mess all over the kitchen (and all over Lily!). Everything still worked out and they were approved to adopt. They get through all of life’s messes together because of their love for one another. As they put it to Lily, “We’re a family because we love each other.”

Families, above all, are founded on love. Families founded by adoption are equally as real as families by birth, and it is very important for every adoptive parent to know this. It is consistent, devoted, and unconditional love that will make you a great parent. It is also important to know that you do not have to be a “traditional” family to adopt. Today, less than half of all children in the United States live with a heterosexual mother and father in their first marriage. Some children today have single parents. Others have same-gender parents. No matter your family makeup, know that you can adopt a child with us.

Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, private, domestic adoption agency helping families grow throughout Massachusetts. If you would like to learn about adopting a child in MA, or simply about our adoptive parent services, please call 617-964-4357.

What do you think of the adoption storyline in Modern Family? Who is your favorite character? Did you know that Phil Dunphy (a.k.a. Ty Burrell) is an adoptive father in real-life? Post your thoughts below!

The Powerful Adoption Story in Lion Movie

Though there are a number of movies addressing the topic of adoption, very few give us an honest and accurate picture of the delicate adoption in lion movierelationships and obstacles that the adoption journey so often involves. Very rarely do films and the media portray adoption with a view from all sides. That is what makes the 2016 film LION so special and profound.

The LION Movie Adoption Story Recap:

LION tells the true story of Saroo Brierley, a young man who was born in India and accidentally separated from his family at the mere age of five. He was out with his brother, Guddu, when he got lost at a train station just a few miles from his home. Thinking he could navigate his way back, Saroo boarded a train only to be taken 1,000 miles further away to the big city of Calcutta. There, he asked for help; no one understood him due to a language barrier. Saroo became homeless for weeks, living off scraps of food, until someone helped him identify as a missing child.

From that point, well-meaning authorities tried to help Saroo find his family. They asked where he was from, but Saroo was unable to communicate the right location of his home. They asked for his mother’s name, but he had only ever known her as “Mum.” With little details to work with, they were unable to find his family. Because his birth family was poor and uneducated, they were unable to find Saroo.

Saroo was placed in a crowded orphanage where many children suffered. Soon after, he was adopted by an Australian couple. The unconditional love and devotion that Mr. and Mrs. Brierley have for Saroo from the very beginning of their relationship is one of the most powerful aspects of LION. Before Saroo fully learns English, Mrs. Brierley promises the child that she will always be there to listen to and support him. Someday, she says to Saroo, she wants to know all about his past. She wants him to know, too. One year later, they adopt a second son, Mantosh.

Flash forward twenty-five years later, Saroo discovers Google Earth, a new technology at the time, and uses it to find his birth home. Like many adoptees, Saroo has unanswered questions about his identity and his background. He yearns to fill the missing pieces, not out of disrespect for his adoptive family, but out of an inherent need to find himself. Most of all, he carries the silent, emotional anguish of having left his birth family behind. He firmly believes they are still looking for the boy they once lost.

Google Earth leads Saroo to the train station where he got lost as a boy. Then, it leads him back home.

At the end of the film, Saroo reunites with his birth mother, who embraces him with tears. She explains that she never stopped hoping for his return, but understands that he has another home and family now. She is ever-grateful to the Brierley’s, and is overjoyed to know Saroo is safe and well.

Saroo then calls his parents and assures, “I’m safe, and the questions have been answered. There are no more dead ends. I found my mother. She thanks you for raising me, and knows you’re my family. I found her, but it doesn’t change who you are. I love you, Mom and Dad, so much, and Mantosh.”

Adoption Themes in LION:

Search and Reunion: We recently had a conversation with a now-young adult adoptee, who was sharing his adoption story when the movie LION came up. Having an intercountry adoption, he related deeply to the movie’s main character, Saroo, and his need to search for his birth family. Overall, the young man explained, LION was “really close” – closer than most adoption portrayals we see on TV today – to getting the picture right. The main difference between his story and LION’s adoption story, though, was that “Saroo remembered.” Saroo remembered pieces of his history. Many adopted children do not.

Having been adopted at five, Saroo was able to recount some memories of his hometown, biological family, as well as train station landmarks from the day he got lost. These small fragments became key puzzle pieces in finding his birth mother and birthplace 25 years later. The search is not always this accessible, though there are more accessible resources today to guide the search and reunion process.

LION truly offers us a healthy perspective on search and reunion, from all sides of the adoption triad. From the adoptee perspective, it shows us that finding birth relatives can fill major gaps in a person’s identity, but it does not in any way replace the adoptive family’s role. The film also sheds light on many adoptive parents’ view of the adoption search. Mr. and Mrs. Brierley are consistently supportive of Saroo’s history and his search. They support his desire to know more, and rejoice when he finds his birth mother at last. Finally, LION honors the perspective of the birth mom, who always yearned for Saroo’s return. Upon reuniting, she celebrates his presence yet fully accepts that Saroo has another place in life.

Discovery: One thing LION really gets right is the notion that, even if history has been forgotten, it is still there to be rediscovered. Saroo may have forgotten where he came from, but his birth mother and childhood home remained there for him to find. He may have forgotten the train station near his home, but the water tower stood there for him to rediscover. In the final scenes of the movie, this theme of rediscovery transpires – As Saroo walks the streets of his hometown of Ganesh Talai, a name he could not remember as a child, the memories flood back to him. His past comes back to him, and he is finally able to rediscover and fulfill himself.

The Emotional Challenges of the Adoptee: Adoption is an emotional journey. As much love and gratitude Saroo has for his parents, he still struggles silently inside. Questions linger about his past. He does not want to betray his parents, but he also yearns for the truth. He withholds from searching until it nearly breaks him, bringing us to one of the most moving parts of LION: Saroo apologizes to his adoptive mother for not being a “blank slate.” He explains that by adopting he and his brother, she also adopted their past. He feels conflicted about searching, but his heart is telling him to do so.

Saroo resists his emotions quietly for some time, but his brother’s emotional challenges are brought forward throughout the film. Mantosh (also from India, where he was treated badly) experiences a breakdown on his first day at the Brierley home, and these trauma-related behaviors continue to the movie’s end. He also isolates himself as he grows older. The Brierley’s handle Mantosh’s behaviors as lovingly and calmly as any parent can, and continuously express their love and hope for their son. As they were for Saroo, they wanted to be there for Mantosh and his journey, whatever it might bring.

Family is Founded on Love: Perhaps the greatest theme of all in the LION movie adoption story is the fact that love is what makes a family “real.” There is no one-size-fits-all definition of family; families come in all shapes, sizes, and make-up. Mr. and Mrs. Brierley are Saroo’s parents, but they do not ignore the fact that his birth mother also plays an important role in his life. They are all connected through their love, respect, and admiration for one another. Saroo’s family is built on love.

What did you think about the adoption story in LION? Do you relate to Saroo, Mantosh, the Brierley’s, or Saroo’s birth mother? Adoptions With Love would be honored to hear your story!

For more information on adoption, or to learn about the Search & Reunion program at Adoptions With Love, please contact us at 1-800-722-7731. Amy, Nancy, Nellie, Claudia, or Amelia will be happy to arrange a time to meet or talk with you.

Back to School: Talking About Adoption with Teachers & Classmates

The first day of school is right around the corner. You and your child have been stocking up on school supplies, spending your final days off with old friends, and getting ready to meet new ones this fall. Perhaps your child has been practicing the ABCs, the 123s, and mastering the art of writing his or her name. Maybe your little one has picked out the coolest lunchbox to impress classmates the first day.

There are many preparations that come with the back-to-school season. If you are an adoptive parent, this time is also a great opportunity for you to think about adoption and school, and prepare for the ways in which your child’s adoption story might come into play throughout the school year.

School is often a child’s first real encounter with people outside of family and friends. For an adopted child, school may also be the first time he or she is asked questions about adoption, or asked to share information about his or her family with others outside it. To help your child navigate these conversations at school, and to help your child feel confident in his or her adoption story, Adoptions With Love recommends the following tips:

1. Speak openly, positively, and regularly about adoption in your home.

One of the best things you can do as an adoptive parent is talk openly and honestly about adoption with your child. Even at a very young age, your child will benefit from hearing his or her adoption story (in age-appropriate language) and knowing that it is a very special part of your family.

Talking about adoption openly in your home also gives your child the message that you are comfortable and proud to talk about their story and allows many opportunities to ask questions about adoption. Your answers and your perspective will help your son or daughter grow confident in sharing their story, too. By talking openly, you are giving your child the message that this discussion does not hurt your feelings and that you want open communication. Instead of feeling confused by adoption-related questions at school, your child might even become the one who educates others about adoption.  However, this should not be a burden on your child and cause stress.

2. Prepare your child for questions about adoption.

Being an adoptive parent, you have likely been asked countless questions about adoption and your experience with it – about your child’s birth parents, his or her background or ethnicity, perhaps even your personal feelings on the subject. Many of these questions were likely fueled by unawareness or misconceptions regarding adoption. More than likely, you used your answers as a way to inform and educate others about this positive, loving act. It is important to teach your child to do the same.

Fact is, many kids do not know much about adoption before going to school. They will ask questions, sometimes over and over again. Before sending your child to school, remember that healthy adoption conversations start at home. As a parent, you can help your child become familiar with, as well as proud of, his or her adoption story. You can help your child understand that there are all different types of families in the world, and that yours is very special and unique. Explain that other classmates may not know this yet. Having these conversations now will help your child feel more equipped to handle any questions in a positive and healthy manner.

Most of all, also help your child understand that this adoption story is his or her own to tell. There is no pressure to talk about it if he or she is not comfortable doing so. You can discuss the difference between secrecy and privacy. This is not a secret, but your child may wish for it to be private until they are ready to share it.

3. Consider talking to school faculty about adoption.

Many parents wonder if they should tell teachers about their family’s adoption background. Some believe that adoption is private or irrelevant to their child’s school performance, while others think it will be helpful for teachers to know. There is no right answer here – the choice to share your family’s adoption story is completely up to you. However, it is something we recommend considering as an adoptive family. Sometimes adoption comes up at school and you would want to know so you can address this at home.

Even today, teachers do not always know how to approach the topic of adoption or integrate it into school assignments. Without knowing about your child’s story, teachers may give homework such as a “family tree” or request that students bring in baby photos, two typical elementary assignments that can be challenging for adopted children. By informing your child’s teacher early in the school year, he or she will be better able to accommodate your child’s needs and stay sensitive to adoption issues. You can even help the teacher think-up new, fun assignments to educate other students about adoption, too!

Talking about adoption with teachers can be especially useful for elementary school-age children, who may face emotional challenges as they start to understand more of their adoption story. Talking about adoption with teachers ahead of time will encourage them to use very positive adoption language in the classroom. This will also help teachers make adopted children feel more secure and comfortable in class.

A good opportunity to have the adoption conversation is at the very beginning of the school year, during a parent-teacher conference. Or, you may choose to reach out to your child’s teacher via email. You may also consider including your child in these conversations, to help share his or her story.

4. Get involved.

While you cannot be side by side with your child during the school days, you can get involved with his or her education. Actually, we recommend it. Getting involved with your child’s education – whether attending parent conferences, PTA meetings, helping with homework, donating books to the school, or volunteering in the classroom – can help make the transition to school both comfortable and positive for your child. It will show your child that his or her learning (and his or her success) is important to you. Being there will encourage your son or daughter to do well, to stand tall, and be the best he or she can be.

If your child is entering the first or second grade, you can use it as a great opportunity to introduce the topic of adoption to his or her peers. For example, you may consider donating or bringing in children’s books about adoption, such as Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis, or A Mother for Choco, by Keiko Kasza.

There is no doubt that the start of the school year is an exciting time for your child. As an adoptive parent, though, you may be feeling a bit nervous about sending your child off to school for the first time. Do not worry. With some preparation on your part, and with consistent, open adoption conversations in your home, you can ready your child for a great start to the school year. If you have any questions about adoption and school, or about talking to your child about adoption, please do not hesitate to call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or visit

Adopting a Newborn from the Hospital? What to Expect & How to Prepare for Your First Hospital Adoption Experience

The adoption process is a highly-anticipated and hopeful journey for waiting parents – if you are here, you have come a long way. You have made the decision to grow your family through adoption, you have gone through the home study process, you have been matched (and maybe have gotten to know) an expectant mother, and now, the time is here. Her due date is just around the corner, and you are getting prepared to bring your baby back to his or her forever home.

The trip to the hospital is perhaps the most anticipated event in a waiting family’s adoption journey. And once you are there, you will also find it to be one of the most intense and emotional experiences yet. As the prospective parent(s), you will be overwhelmed with joy and excitement, but also may face some underlying anxieties as you await your baby. You may worry about how you will be treated by the hospital staff, or about how the birth mother might feel after giving birth.

If you are adopting a newborn from the hospital, it can be very helpful to discuss a hospital plan with the expectant parents and an adoption professional prior to the delivery day. Together, you can discuss your wishes as well as hear and understand those of the expectant mother. From who will hold the baby first, to who will be in the delivery room, the details will be outlined in an adoption hospital plan. Ultimately, this is the expectant mother’s birthing plan – but by establishing an open and trusting relationship with her from the beginning, you may find yourself intimately involved with the pregnancy, labor, and birth.

Having this discussion before the baby’s birth can help ease any anxieties you may be experiencing, as well as better prepare you (mentally, emotionally, and physically) for this day. By planning ahead, you can also put more time and energy into what is most important: welcoming your baby into this world.

To help you navigate the hospital experience, Adoptions With Love has put together some tips for hopeful families adopting a newborn from the hospital. These are designed to help you prepare for the trip the hospital, the labor and delivery day, as well as this stage of the adoption process. Most notably, they will help you make the most of your time in the hospital with your baby’s birth mother.

Before the Birth:

  • Do not make set-in-place travel plans. Pregnancy is often unpredictable – only five percent of women actually give birth on their expected due dates. For this reason, we recommend that adoptive parents wait to make travel plans. As soon as the expectant mother goes into labor, she or the adoption agency will notify you that it is time to arrange for travel.
  • Pack some items to accommodate the baby. Bring some basic items to accommodate the baby after he or she is born: one or two receiving blankets, a set of bottles and pacifiers, as well as some onesies and a baby outfit for going home. These are easy, packable items that will be good to have following the birth of your baby. Having a car seat is also very important. Items such as a pack and play, diapers, and formula are can be purchased once you leave the hospital and the adoption papers have been signed.
  • Bring a gift for the birth mother and/or birth father. Bringing something special for the birth mother will show that you are thinking about her during this time. You may choose to bring some flowers or food. A lovely gift that they will have over time is very appropriate. Check with your adoption agency social worker to ensure gifts (and which gifts) are acceptable in the state.

At the Hospital:

  • Understand the hospital’s adoption policies, as well as the birth mother’s wishes. The expectant/birth mother has likely already made a hospital plan, detailing who she wants in the delivery room, how she will give birth, and where she will be staying after the baby is born. She may also have some plan for your stay, too. She may want to meet you in person, or have you be a part of the labor and delivery process. She may want you to spend time with the baby in her room. She may even want the baby to sleep in your room during your hospital stay.
    • The hospital may also have additional policies for your stay – if you will have your own hospital room, if you may have access to the baby’s medical information, and if you can move freely throughout the maternity ward and nursery. Be sure to understand these policies and fill out any paperwork as needed upon arrival, to ensure you make the most out of your hospital stay.
  • Be sensitive to the birth mother’s needs. As overjoyed as you are to enter parenthood, it is important to remember that the hospital experience is primarily about the baby and his or her birth mom. While in the hospital, be sure to check in on her and ensure she is comfortable. Ask how things are going, but also leave her space and time alone with the baby if she requests. Many birth mothers regret not having enough time alone with their baby before the adoption and carry that grief with them. Remember that you will have plenty of time with the baby when you get home.
  • Remain flexible and keep an open mind. Remember to stay flexible throughout this whole process, as a hospital plan (and the expectant mother’s wishes) may change at any time. For example, an expectant mother may first feel she does not want adoptive parents in the delivery room, but upon getting to know you, decide it is in everyone’s best interest. In the beginning, she may not want to see or hold her baby, but upon giving birth, desire some alone time with the baby in the hospital. Always be open to change, as this process is truly unpredictable.

Leaving the Hospital:

  • Understand the legal papers. Every state has different laws stating when an expectant mother can consent to adoption. In every state, no papers can be signed until after the baby is born. In most states, written consent can be granted between 12 and 72 hours after birth.
  • Be prepared for an emotional experience. Adoption is full of mixed emotions. As much joy and excitement it involves, there is also grief and goodbyes. Making an adoption plan is one of the most difficult decisions a woman can make for her child – be sensitive to her emotions and offer her a safe place to share those feelings with you or an adoption counselor. At the same time, remember that this grief is normal and you should never feel guilty for your own joy. Your happiness will ease her pain – she wants this for you and the child.
    • Before you leave, be sure to talk to the birth mother about your plans for the next few months. It will be assuring for her to know that she will hear from you after the adoption, and through letters and pictures, see how happy and well the baby is.
  • Be prepared to stick around. If you are adopting a newborn from another state, you will be required to stay in that state for some time after the baby’s birth. Typically, the ICPC clearance is around 7-10 business days. After that, you will be ready to bring your baby home.

If you would like to learn more about adopting a newborn from the hospital, or if you would like to start your own adoption journey in Massachusetts, please do not hesitate to call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731.

Yankees’ Rookie & MLB All-Star Aaron Judge is Adopted

aaron judge adoption storyThe new face of baseball. Record-setting rookie. HomeRun Derby king. These are just some of the many titles MLB fans and players have given the Yankees’ new All-Star player, Aaron Judge. At just 25-years-old, Aaron Judge has already become a household name in the sports arena. If you follow major league baseball, you have undoubtedly heard of Aaron Judge before.

Not only did he win his first-ever MLB Home Run Derby earlier this month, but Judge has also won the hearts of many baseball fans nationwide. Even some Massachusetts fans were excited to see what Aaron Judge could bring to the table in this past weekend’s games against the Boston Red Sox.

Talent and strength may be a driving force behind Judge’s swing, but passion, humility, respect, and a team-first attitude are at the heart of this player’s performance. That is why so many people love him. Despite his fast-coming fame, Aaron Judge is not one to brag about his success. “I’m just trying to be the best Judge I can be, every day,” he explained to the New York Post. “I’ve always been about the team aspect of baseball, pass the baton and keep it rolling.”

Talented and respectful, the Yankees’ VP of scouting calls Judge the “super package.” And Aaron Judge truly is, giving most of the credit to his parents, Wayne and Patty Judge, two retired physical education teachers from California. While they did not exactly give him his 6-foot-7, 275-lb stature, they did teach Aaron how to be a devoted, hardworking, respectful man from day one.

Judge professed to the New York Post, “My parents are amazing, they’ve taught me so many lessons. I honestly can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.” Of his bond with his mom and dad, he proudly stated, “I’m blessed.”

Aaron’s mother Patty says that it is actually her and her husband who are truly blessed, having adopted two wonderful sons and having been able to watch them grow into such successful individuals.

You may have heard of Aaron Judge before, but did you know that he was also adopted? Patty and Wayne Judge adopted Aaron as a newborn, on the second day of his life in April 1992. Judge’s parents call that day a miracle, and this baseball star agrees. He told The Post, “I feel they kind of picked me… that God was the one that matched us together.”

Aaron Judge has a closed adoption, meaning he does not (and never has) had any contact with his biological parents. He claims that he has never wanted to, either. In a Newsday interview, Judge simply stated, “I have one set of parents, the ones that raised me. That’s how it is.”

His feelings towards his adoption have always been to this degree—he did not feel the need to learn all the details about his family history or search for his birth parents. He had some questions about his adoption when he was around ten years old, explaining that the conversation went something like this:

“I don’t look like you, Mom. I don’t look like you, Dad. Like, what’s going on here?” Judge explained to, “They just kind of told me I was adopted. I was like, ‘OK, that’s fine with me.’ You’re still my mom, the only mom I know. You’re still my dad, the only dad I know.”

Of course, not all children who were adopted feel this way about their adoption story. In order to develop a sense of identity, find meaning in their lives, or fill in some missing pieces, many adoptees seek out information regarding their biology. This is completely normal. If you are an adoptive parent, welcome your child to ask questions. Give them the answers you can, in an age-appropriate fashion. Be open and flexible to your child’s needs as he or she grows. Remember that, in the end, you are his or her parents. Your child knows this, and will always love you for it.

Aaron Judge put it perfectly when he told Newsday, “Some kids grow in their mom’s stomach; I grew in my mom’s heart… She’s always showed me love and compassion ever since I was a little baby.” For this reason, he explains, “I’ve never needed to think differently or wonder about anything.”

Still, Aaron Judge feels for the thousands of adoptees out there who may feel alone or incomplete; those who have lingering, unanswered questions; those who are afraid to offend their adoptive parents. For them, he advises, “Be open, talk to their [adoptive] parents about the situation, [learn] what happened, maybe get some answers about it.”

As an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love could not agree more. Even if the adoption is closed, talking about adoption is an extremely important step for a child. Not only does it help the child’s sense of identity, it also makes way for an open, trusting relationship between the child and their parents. Having adoption conversions can also help a child accept and grow proud of his or her adoption story, which is very central for a positive adoption experience.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, or an adoptee, know that you are not alone. Millions of people have been touched by adoption in some way – including famous athletes like Aaron Judge. If you would ever like to talk about adoption in a safe and confidential space, or simply learn more about the positive act of adoption, you can always call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us at 617-777-0072.

You can also learn more about the experience of adopted persons by downloading our free eBook here.

7 Famous Adoptive Fathers You Might Not Know About

Father’s Day is just around the corner. Like Mother’s Day, though, this holiday goes much beyond gifts and greeting cards. This holiday is about celebrating dad and the family he helped build. It is a holiday in which we share our love and appreciation for the fathers and father-like figures in our lives – the men who have helped us grow, the men who remain important pieces of who we are.

Fathers come in all forms, from all walks of life, from all different backgrounds and beginnings. Some wear suits and ties, some wear jeans and t-shirts. Some are overseas. Some enjoy projects around the home. Some are married. Some are not. Some dads become fathers through biology. Some become fathers through adoption.

There is no single, universal definition of a dad, though they all have something in common: Dads have an unconditional love for their children. They support, teach, and try as hard as they can to be the best role models they can be. No matter how they become fathers, through biology or adoption, it is this unwavering love and support that truly makes a father a dad.

This month, Adoptions With Love will be celebrating all the dads out there who have made positive impacts in their children’s lives, especially those of you who have been touched by adoption. In light of this upcoming Father’s Day, we share the inspiring stories of seven famous adoptive fathers who have made this positive choice:

1.  Ronald Reaganronald reagan adopted son

Not only did this famed president declare the first National Adoption Week back in 1984, he also had a deep, personal connection to adoption long before his presidency began. Ronald Reagan was an adoptive father himself. He and his first wife, Jane Wyman, adopted a son in 1945, Michael Reagan.

In a recent interview, his son Michael explains, “My parents, Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman never referred to me as adopted. I was always their son.”

Ronald Reagan was deeply moved by adoption, and saw it as a positive alternative for women facing an unplanned pregnancy. He believed adoption was a beautiful way to grow families. In a 1988 proclamation, he wrote, “Belonging to a family is a natural and vital component of life, and every child deserves to be a member of a loving and nurturing family. For many children, this becomes possible through life in an adoptive family.”

2.  Hugh Jackman

You may know him as Wolverine, but this super hero’s two children just know him as “dad.” The legendary actor is also the proud father of Ava and Oscar, two mixed-race children who he and his wife adopted after finding out that they could not conceive. The celebrity couple tried IVF, and after Jackman’s wife suffered multiple miscarriages, they decided that adoption was the way they would hugh jackman childrenbuild their family.

The actor explains, “’From the moment we started the adoption process, all the anxiety [of infertility] went away. I don’t think of [Ava and Oscar] as adopted – they’re our children.” Jackman firmly believes that “adoption is about taking a baby into your home — and your heart.” He claims it is the best thing he and his wife have ever done.

Hugh Jackman is not just a famous adoptive father, he is also a strong advocate for adoption and co-founder of the organization Hopeland, helping orphaned and abandoned children worldwide.

3.  Ewan McGregor

Actor Ewan McGregor is usually private about his personal life, especially when it comes to family.ewan mcgregor daughters That said, many readers may not know that this famed actor is also the adoptive father of two young girls – Jamyan and Anouk – and the biological father of two more – Clara and Esther. While he has not spoken publicly about adoption, McGregor does offer some advice on parenting and the secret to fatherhood:

“I’ve tried to make sure that my daughters felt that they were each very special to me, and that I’d always make time for them – I think that’s one of the most important things to do as a dad. You need to pay attention.” He continues, “I realize it can get boring playing with really young children – telling a story over and over again, let’s say – but the secret is being there. If you’re playing with your children, then play with them. Don’t start reading the papers on your desk or sneaking a look at your computer. You need to turn off your BlackBerry and lose yourself in their world. Even if you do it for a short time, it will mean a lot to you and to them.”

4.  Scott Hamilton

Olympic gold medalist, famous figure skater Scott Hamilton is also an adopted person who has another title to write home about: adoptive dad. Hamilton, once adopted himself, is the father offour children: two biological sons (Maxx and Aidan) and two adopted children from Haiti (Evelyne and Jean Paul).scott hamilton adopted children

Hamilton’s story as an adoptive father began after the massive earthquake struck Haiti in 2010. His wife, Tracie, was eager to go there and help – which is when she met Jean Paul and his sister Evelyne for the first time. When she arrived back home to the states, her son Aidan asked, “Mom, can we adopt Jean Paul?”

Scott Hamilton loved these two children and loved the idea. He affirms, “We fell in love with these kids two years ago and it took us that long to bring them home… They’re beautiful, beautiful children and our hearts are twice the size they were before. We’re blessed beyond our wildest dreams.”ty burrell adopted daughters

5.  Ty Burrell

Most known for his fatherly role in the hit TV series “Modern Family,” actor Ty Burrell takes his patriarchal role home to his own “modern” family, a family that he and his wife Holly have grown through adoption. Burrell is the adoptive father of two daughters, Greta and Frances.

He says about becoming a father, “I guess I didn’t realize that you actually fall in love with children, that like with any other relationship, as time goes on you actually love them more.”

6.  Walt Disney

It may not come as a surprise that the man behind Cinderella, Snow White, and the Little Mermaid was also the fun-loving father of two daughters, Diane Marie and Sharon Mae. What many of you may not know, however, is that one of his daughters was adopted.

walt disney daughtersWalt Disney and his wife Lillian adopted Sharon Mae at about two-weeks-old. After the birth of their first daughter, Lillian experienced several miscarriages and was advised not to attempt pregnancy again. But the couple was not finished. They chose adoption as a means to complete their family.

“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”

The adoption of Sharon Mae was left off the press for years, as Walt Disney did not want her to be known as “the adopted daughter of Walt Disney.” She was their daughter – it was that simple.

7.  Brad Pittbrad pitt adopted children

Brad Pitt is one of today’s biggest-name actors, and he is also the power-father of six children: three biological and three adopted: one from Ethiopia, one from Vietnam, one from Cambodia. Go Dad!

The adoptive father states that all of his children are “as much my blood as I am theirs. And they are brothers and sisters… they have fun and they squabble and they fight, just like any other family. And it makes me so proud.”

Adoptions With Love extends a big “Happy Father’s Day” to all of today’s adoptive fathers – the famous and the local, the waiting and soon-to-be, the hard-working and devoted dads. We also wish a “Happy Father’s Day” to the compassionate birth fathers out there who supported the loving choice of adoption.

To start your adoption journey with Adoptions With Love, please visit today.

May Flowers & Adoption Showers: Tips for Hosting an Adoption Baby Shower

Spring is officially here. As the warm weather sets in and April showers pass by, we look forward to seeing what new life will blossom this season. This is especially true for many prospective parents who are hoping to welcome a new little life into their own homes and hearts.

A baby shower is a rite of passage that many parents look forward to when they find out they are expecting. Traditionally, it is a welcome celebration in which the expectant parents are showered with baby gifts, countless congratulations, and high spirits in anticipation of their child.

Welcoming a new member into the family is unquestionably a moment worth celebrating, and families that choose to grow through adoption are no exception. Today, it is becoming increasingly popular for adoptive parents to embrace the arrival of their new child with an adoption shower.

If you are on the way to becoming adoptive parents, Adoptions With Love extends a big hug and congratulations to you. This is the start of a beautiful journey for your family, one that will soon be blessed with the presence of a child.

If you are a friend or family member of the waiting adoptive family, we also extend good wishes your way. We can only imagine how excited you are to help welcome this child into his or her forever home. Before you start planning the adoption shower, however, there are considerations to keep in mind.

As you may already know, biological parents and adoptive parents prepare a bit differently for the arrival of their child. In the same token, preparing for a baby shower and an adoption shower should differ in their approach. Whether you are hosting the adoption shower or helping with the plans, here are some important considerations and tips to remember when celebrating the baby and parents-to-be.

  1. Hold off on the celebrations until after the baby is born and placed –

There are many unknowns when it comes to adopting a child. In most scenarios, the waiting parents do not know when they will receive the baby. Even if they are chosen by an expectant mother, there is no way to know if this particular adoption plan will be “the one” that brings a baby into their lives. While the staff at Adoptions With Love does our best to help expectant adoptive parents prepare for the adoption process, law states that birth parents cannot make a final decision regarding the adoption until after their baby is born. Sometimes, this can take days or even weeks after the child’s birth.

With that in mind, we recommend holding off any adoption celebrations until after the child is born and placed with their forever adoptive family. Doing so will avert any possible disappointment or frustration that a premature adoption shower could cause. Some adoptive parents will even wait to host an adoption shower until after the revocation period is up and they can assure their child is forever home.

  1. Give it time before throwing the adoption shower –

We understand that everyone, friends and family alike, will be excited to meet the latest addition to the family. If you are the soon-to-be parents, however, you might consider taking time to spend with your child before hosting a big celebration. Giving your child (and yourselves) a few weeks to adjust to new parenthood, will allow you to connect with your baby. If you are hosting an adoption baby shower for the new parents, be sure to check in and make sure they are ready for a welcome party.

  1. Tread lightly with any surprises –

Most of us out there love surprises, but when it comes to an adoption shower, it is best to play it safe and steer away from the surprise party approach. Adoption timelines, unfortunately, are never set in stone. Plans change or get delayed, and as mentioned before, the timing of the official adoption placement is very unpredictable. If you are hosting, make sure that the new parents are involved in the planning process. They may want time to adjust to parenthood before having a party.

If you are really into grand gestures and surprises, you may consider taking a different approach to the expected adoption shower. Fact is, adoptive parents often spend a good amount of time travelling to meet the expectant/birth parents of their child. In many cases, the birth parents will even ask that they be in the hospital the day and days after the baby is born. If this is the case for your honorees, be sure to check in with them while they are on their trip. Once you have word that the adoption is official, consider filling their house with “welcome home” baby gifts – clothing, diapers, food, toys, books. Many adoptive parents do not buy these things in advance in case of adoption hiccups, and will be very appreciative upon bringing their baby home to a well-prepared house.

  1. Personalize the party –

An adoption shower should reflect the adoption journey in some shape or form. If you know the child is of a certain heritage or background, you may consider celebrating that through food or decoration. If you know that the adoptive family traveled by air or car to meet their baby, or any other specific tidbits from their adoption story, try to incorporate that into the theme of the party as well.Puzzling Advice

No matter what, keep the focus of the party on parenting and the adoption experience. Unlike a traditional baby shower, adoption showers are not about pregnancy or birth. Think about the love and joy involved in adoption, and bring that to life through the party. Consider bringing adoption-related children’s books for others to read to learn more about adoption, and then give them to the new parents to read to their child once the party has ended. Consider other personalized activities such as custom message puzzle pieces and personalized notes for the family to help welcome the child home.

Adoption baby showers are a great way to say “Welcome Home” to a forever family. Whether you are hopeful adoptive parents or the adoption shower planners, there is just one more consideration that everyone should keep in mind: family bonds go beyond biology, love makes a family complete, and every parent – including adoptive parents – deserves a party to celebrate their newest family member.

For more tips and information about adopting a child, do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love at 617-964-4357. Across Massachusetts, we help families grow through adoption. We can also help you get started on your own adoption journey.

Adopting a Child? Here is What You Should Know

Are you considering adopting a child? Right now, you are likely very excited, hopeful, and a bit nervous about beginning your adoption journey. You are going to fulfill your dreams of becoming a parent at last. You are going to provide a child – your child – with a loving, forever home.

Adoption is an incredible journey of love, patience, and at times, paperwork. From the very beginnings of your adoption application, fast-forward to helping your child apply for college years down the road, you are bound to encounter many meaningful and joyous experiences along the way. If you are a family in Massachusetts, we welcome you start this journey with us!

Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, licensed, domestic, infant adoption agency helping Massachusetts families grow through adoption. Before you dive into the adoption process, we can also help you. Here are seven things we want you to know before adopting a child.

1. You do not need to be a “traditional” family to adopt a child.

You do not have to be a husband-wife household in order to adopt a child. The American family is changing. Today, less than half of all children in the United States live in a traditional family with a heterosexual mother and father in their first marriage. Some children today have single parents. Some have same-sex parents. No matter your family makeup, know that you have the right to adopt a child in Massachusetts.

2. Adoptive families are REAL families.

Families are no longer defined by DNA. Nowadays, family bonds transcend biology. As a prospective adoptive parent, it is important for you to know that families-by-adoption are as real as families-by-birth. It is not biology that will connect you with your child, but rather your unconditional love, devotion, and protection that will truly make you a parent.

3. Adoption is a courageous choice of love for a child’s well-being.

Adoption is not a matter of “giving up a baby.” Rather, it is expectant/birth parents choosing to give their baby a life beyond what they can provide at the time. It is a choice made with love, a love so big that the expectant/birth parents choose to put their child’s needs before their own. Adoption is a very difficult decision. All expectant/birth parents, no matter their background or reasons for placing their child, deserve to be respected.

4. Open adoption is the most common form of domestic adoption today.

Today, about 95 percent of domestic adoption plans are open, meaning that the majority of adoptive families have some extent of ongoing contact with their child’s biological family. Open adoption plans are often made in the best interest of the child: In an open adoption, a child does not have to fantasize about who his or her birth parents are. The child can ask questions about his or her history and maintain a stronger sense of identity having the answers he or she needs. In an open adoption, there are less insecurities carried by the child.

Open adoption is also positive for the parents involved. On one end, birth parents have the comfort of knowing their child is growing in a safe and loving home. This promotes better healing. On the other end, adoptive parents can benefit from having a good relationship with their child’s birth family and know important information like their child’s medical history. Adoptions With Love promotes open adoptions  meaning that all of our waiting adoptive families have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption.

5. Adoption is a lifelong commitment.

Adoption does not simply mean adopting a newborn baby, or raising a child in need. Adopting a child means becoming a forever family. It means taking on an indescribable responsibility, one that can be both rewarding and challenging, as you raise your child for the next 18 years and beyond. Like any parent, you will need to provide for your child financially, emotionally, and physically in all aspects of life. You will also need to take on several different roles as a parent, from being a nurse at times to being a shoulder to cry on, from playing a storyteller to acting as a protector. Before you begin the adoption process, take some time to think about how parenthood will impact your life long-term. Ask yourself why you want to adopt, how you see adoption affecting your family, and if you are truly financially and emotionally prepared to support a child for life.

6. Pre-adoption counseling is a key pre-requisite to adopting a child.

Many adoption agencies will require prospective adoptive parents to participate in therapy or group sessions prior to adopting a child. These sessions are designed to prepare waiting families like you for parenthood, and allow you to interact with families who have already navigated the adoption process. By connecting and meeting with other adoptive families, you can gain insight into the process and share your personal feelings about adoption. At Adoptions With Love, prospective adoptive parents join two group sessions, where they can find pre-adoption support through other waiting families as well as our trained adoption counselors.

7. Finding a reputable, trustworthy adoption professional is crucial.

Adoption does not end after a child is placed into an adoptive home. This placement is just the beginning of a long journey for an adoptive family. The adoption agency you choose, therefore, should stand by your side throughout the entire process—not just before the adoption takes place, but also as the years go on. Your adoption agency professional should be a dedicated, reliable resource for your family as well as educated on the adoption process. Your agency should be available to answer your calls and make you feel comfortable at every step of the way.

At Adoptions With Love, we offer prospective family services before, at the time, and long after an adoption takes place. We guide you in  designing your Adoptive Parent Profile and writing letters to the expectant/birth parents. We match you with expectant/birth parents and our agency attorney will finalize the adoption in court. Adoptions With Love has ongoing adoptive parent services and an active search and reunion program; we are here for you now and in the future.

To begin your adoption journey with Adoptions With Love, please call us at 617-964-4357. For specific steps on the adoption process in your area, please visit our article, How to Adopt a Child in Massachusetts.