Archive for the ‘Birth Parents’ Category

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

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption in Tennessee? Right now, you may be feeling especially scared or overwhelmed. You want the best possible life for your baby, but also feel that you are not ready to raise a child at this time. You are not alone. Adoptions With Love is here to listen to you, to answer your questions, and to help you make the most positive, long-term decision for you and your baby – no matter what it might be.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children. Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your third trimester, or have already given birth, we extend our support to you.

If you are still exploring your unplanned pregnancy options, know that Adoptions With Love is always available to educate and guide you through this important decision. If you know you would like to place your baby for adoption in Tennessee, we can help you navigate the entire adoption process, from beginning to end. Our trusted Tennessee adoption agency partner will meet you, wherever you are, to help you understand the adoption laws in your area and make the perfect plan for your baby.

In this short guide, we will walk you through some of the steps you must take to make an adoption plan in Tennessee.

Choose a reputable adoption agency.

Your first step in the adoption process will be to choose the right adoption agency to guide you. There are many adoption professionals out there today, but it is important to find someone you truly trust to be there throughout this unexpected journey – not only during your pregnancy and the adoption, but also throughout your life. Choose an adoption agency that will discuss all your options with you, listen to your wishes, and respect any choice you make. You should never feel pressured to make an adoption plan, and any decision you make should be well-informed. That is why it is so important to select an adoption agency that knows about adoptions in your state, and that will provide you the support you need and deserve. Adoptions With Love has trained adoption professionals nationwide, and extends a range of free services to expectant/birth mothers in need of help.

Meet with a dedicated adoption counselor to begin your plan.

After choosing an adoption agency, you will begin working with a dedicated, licensed adoption social worker. She will be the person helping you design an adoption plan, and the person you can call if you ever want to chat. You can reach out to your adoption counselor with any questions or concerns. You should also schedule times to meet regularly with your counselor, to talk about your decision, about open vs. closed adoption, and about any feelings you might be experiencing throughout this journey. At Adoptions With Love, we feel this is a crucial part of the adoption process. We want to make sure you have the opportunity to learn about all of your options, all of your birth mother rights, and know exactly what to expect before, during, and after an adoption takes place.

Understand the adoption laws in Tennessee.

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Tennessee, no parent can sign legal adoption documents until the 72 hours after the baby is born. This gives birth mothers time to spend with their babies, and think about their choice. Adoption is a lifelong decision. That is why, at Adoptions With Love, we want you to be completely certain you are making the best possible choice for your child.

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

Adoptions With Love works with a team of compassionate and knowledgeable adoption attorneys who understand the laws of adoption in Tennessee. Rest assured that our legal services are always free of charge. In fact, there is never any cost for expectant or birth parent services at Adoptions With Love.

Choose an Adoptive Family

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

No matter which family you choose, rest assured that you will be placing your baby in a safe and secure home. All of the families at Adoptions With Love have gone through an extensive home study process as well as a series of background checks to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

Make a Post-Placement Plan

At Adoptions With Love, you will also have the option to establish a plan for ongoing communication with your child’s adoptive family, following the adoption. This level of contact (if you would like any at all) is completely up to you. Whether you choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or closed adoption plan, our trained social workers will help you think through your options for post-adoption contact with your child, his or her adoptive family, and our adoption agency professionals.

Remember that adoption does not end with the placement of your baby. As a birth mother choosing adoption, it is important to seek out ongoing support. Adoptions With Love offers confidential counseling services at no cost to you. We can help you navigate emotions, communication, and relationships after the adoption takes place. We will always be here for you.

Contact Amy, Nancy, Claudia, Nellie, or Amelia today at 1-800-722-7731 for more information on adoption in Tennessee. You may also text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series. To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


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

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy?  Right now, you may feel overwhelmed by the many emotions you are experiencing.  You want to provide the best possible home for your baby, but do not feel ready to raise a child at this time.  If you are considering adoption for your baby, you may not know where to begin or how to start the process. Take a deep breath.  One of the most important things to know as an expectant mother in Nebraska is that you do not have to walk this journey alone.  There are supportive, compassionate adoption professionals in your area who can help you explore your unplanned pregnancy options and guide you in making an adoption plan.

The decision to place your baby for adoption is a decision made with love and thoughtfulness.  It is one of the most selfless and long-term choices you can make for your child, and should always be well-informed.  Before choosing to make an adoption plan, it is essential to do your research:  Ask questions.  Assess all your options.  Learn about the steps you need to take to place your baby for adoption in Nebraska.  As a licensed adoption agency serving Nebraska, Adoptions With Love can help.  We are here to listen to you, educate you on adoption in Nebraska, and help you make the most positive, informed decision for you and your baby.

Adoptions With Love has great relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in your state.  If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Nebraska, know that you can always contact us.  We partner with experienced counselors and trusted adoption attorneys across your state. To help you get started, we have also outlined some of the steps you must take to place your baby for adoption in Nebraska below:

1. Choose and Meet with a Trusted Adoption Professional

The first and perhaps most essential step in the adoption process is choosing the right adoption professional  to guide you through the process.  There are many adoption professionals in Nebraska who can help, but it is important to find the people  that you trust, who are  reputable, compassionate, and that will listen to your needs.  Choose  adoption professionals  that will discuss your many options with you, adoption and beyond, and that will respect any choice you make.  The right adoption professionals  will stand by your side throughout the entire adoption experience – as you prepare for the adoption, after you place your baby, and throughout your life.   These counselors should always be available to you at any time of day, any day of the week, to help you through the adoption process or just to talk.

2. Decide on the Adoption Plan that is Right for You

Open adoption is a positive choice available to expectant/birth mothers in Nebraska. This means that if you choose to work with an open adoption agency, you will have the option to continue a relationship with your child’s adoptive family following his or her placement. This may involve receiving pictures of your child over the years, or even having monthly Skype or FaceTime meetings with your child and his or her adoptive parents. As an expectant/birth mother, you can decide if you want contact, and how much contact, you are comfortable having with the adoptive family.

At Adoptions With Love, we understand open adoption is not right for everyone. Here, you can choose from an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan.  One of our compassionate adoption counselors will explain each option to you and, if you would like, can help you personally design the type of adoption plan that fits your wants and needs. At AWL, you can also select and meet an adoptive family for your baby, if you wish.

3. Select a Loving Adoptive Family

Many expectant/birth parents find peace of mind in choosing the adoptive family for their baby. If you would like to make this loving choice, your open adoption agency will share with you a selection of prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles.  These family profiles, consisting of letters and photos, will help you get to know each waiting family and choose the best match for your baby.  At Adoptions With Love, we will listen carefully to your wishes and show you the waiting families that can meet all you envision for your child.

No matter which adoptive family you choose, know that your child will be safe, secure, and loved.  All waiting adoptive families at Adoptions With Love are thoroughly screened and evaluated through an extensive home study process, as well as a series of background checks to ensure each family is fit and ready to raise a child.

4. Understand the Laws of Adoption in Nebraska

Adoption laws vary state to state.  In Nebraska, you cannot sign any legal adoption documents until at least 48 hours after the baby is born.  This will give you more time to spend with your baby and think about your choice.  Adoption is a lifelong decision, and we want to ensure you are comfortable and confident that it is the best one for you and your child.

If you decide to place your baby for adoption in Nebraska, it is important to find an agency that is knowledgeable, experienced, and specifically trained in the laws of your area.  If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, for example, you can meet with our attorney partners who are experts in Nebraska adoptions.  They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal adoption process.

Adoptions With Love’s legal services are always free of charge.  In fact, all of the birth parent services at our agency are free of cost.  We can provide financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and up to six weeks after your baby’s adoption, such as:

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

5. Pursue Continued Adoption Support

Adoption is a lifelong journey full of new, delicate feelings and relationships.  You do not have to navigate these alone.  Adoptions With Love can help you manage any difficult emotions or adoption relationships that arise post-placement.  We extend our free ongoing, confidential counseling services to you.  We can also mediate any open contact you wish to have with your child and his or her family down the road.

At Adoptions With Love, we want you to know how selfless and brave you are for making this choice.  Know that we are always here for you.  Whether you are pregnant or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start your adoption in Nebraska.  Call us at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


The Adoption Process for Birth Mothers: A Mini-Guide

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and considering adoption, you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed. You have a lot of unanswered questions about the process, but with all the information available, may not know where to start. It is important to know that you are not alone. With a little guidance and support, you will carve the best possible path for your baby. Adoptions With Love can help. We have created this mini-guide to help expectant and birth mothers like you navigate the adoption process.

Contact an adoption agency.

Before you start the adoption process, it is important that you first understand the choice of adoption and what it means to place a child for adoption. It is also important to explore your other options, your feelings, and your needs before making this decision. This is where an adoption agency can help. By working with an adoption agency and a professional counselor, you will gain a support system. You will be assigned a trained, compassionate social worker who will educate you on your options and help you make the best possible choice. If you would like to move forward with adoption, your social worker will help you make a plan that meets your needs and wishes for your baby.

The right adoption agency will be there for you from the very beginning of the adoption process – as you prepare for the adoption, after placement, and even throughout your life. As an expectant/birth mother, you deserve this unending support. Above all, the right agency will never pressure you into a decision. Rather, its staff will educate you on your options and respect any choice you make. This is a promise that Adoptions With Love makes to you. Here, we believe an informed decision is the best decision when it comes to you and your child.

Start an adoption plan.

Once you have made the choice of adoption, your next step will be to sit down with your adoption counselor and start to make a plan. Together, we will plan for the remainder of your pregnancy, which might include finding a quality, compassionate doctor and ensuring you receive prenatal care. If you are in your final weeks of pregnancy and unable to work, we can help you obtain housing, maternity clothes, and assist with other expenses as needed.

We will also help you create an adoption hospital plan that helps you feel comfortable. A hospital plan is a document that details exactly how you want your hospital stay and labor to go, including who you want to be in the delivery room and how much time you would like to spend with your baby. Adoptions With Love will also help you get in touch with the birth father (if known and safe), discuss the adoption laws in your state, and schedule ongoing counseling sessions with you.

Choose the type of adoption you wish to have.

When making your adoption plan, you can decide how much openness you would like with your child’s adoptive family. There are typically three levels (or three types of relationships) you can choose from: open, semi-open, or closed adoption.

An open adoption is a type of relationship in which a birth mother has direct contact with her child’s adoptive family. This level of contact is based on your comfort level. With open adoption, you can choose to talk with the adoptive parents over email or phone, or simply receive letters and pictures. You may also desire occasional, in-person visits with your baby. This can all be outlined in an open adoption agreement. As an expectant/birth mother, you can also choose to have a semi-open adoption plan, which involves some communication but is mediated through an adoption agency. For example, if you feel you are not ready to speak with the adoptive family, you can have them send letters and pictures to Adoptions With Love. We will keep these on hand for you, for whenever you are ready. If you feel that meeting the family is too overwhelming, or if you prefer more privacy, you can choose a closed adoption and leave the rest of your plan up to us. These choices are yours to make.

Select an adoptive family for your baby.

Adoptions With Love is an agency that will help you design and adoption plan that works for you and your child. Here, you will have the option to choose a family for your baby. We invite you to tell us all that you are looking for in an adoptive family. For example, if you want your child to have siblings or a two-parent household, you can share these wishes with us. If you would then like to choose a family, Adoptions With Love will send you several profiles of families that are a good match.

Each of the waiting families at Adoptions With Love has created a special “Adoptive Parent Profile” for you. This is basically an album that allows you to get to know who these families are, what they look like, and why they would like to adopt. Once you choose a family for your baby, you will have the opportunity to speak to them through email, phone, or meet them in-person if you wish. Though this is not required, meeting the family tends to give expectant/birth mothers great peace of mind.

No matter what family you choose, you can rest assured your baby will be placed in a loving, safe and secure home. All waiting adoptive families at Adoptions With Love are carefully screened through a series of personal interviews and background checks. They have also undergone an extensive home study process to ensure the safety and stability of their home.

Prepare for child birth.

Before your baby is born, you will have gone over your hospital stay and delivery plan with your adoption counselor. Once you go into labor, it is important that you notify her immediately. She will contact the adoptive family and meet you at the hospital to ensure everything goes as planned.

After delivery, you can spend as much (or as little) time as you would like with your baby. You can choose to feed, hold, and name your baby if you wish. Typically, birth mothers choosing adoption will sign any legal paperwork before leaving the hospital. However, you can take your time with this decision. In all states, no legal adoption documents can be signed until after the child is born. Adoptions With Love will guide you through the necessary legal steps and will be there to support you throughout the finalization process.

Have a post-adoption plan.

Adoption does not end with the placement of your baby. It also does not have to mean goodbye. With Adoptions With Love, you will always have the option to keep in touch with your child’s adoptive family. If you choose to make an open or semi-open adoption plan with us, we will write out a detailed agreement for post-adoption contact (how and how often you will communicate with one another).

After the adoption is finalized, we also encourage you to attend ongoing counseling sessions. Adoption is a lifelong and emotional journey. You do not have to go through it alone. Adoptions With Love offers continuous, confidential counseling services at no cost to you. We can help you navigate any emotions, communication, and adoption relationships that arise after your baby is placed. We will always be here for you.

Whether you just found out you are pregnant, are in your final trimester, or have already given birth to your baby, it is not too late to make an adoption plan. Contact Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 for more information about the adoption process for birth mothers. If you just discovered an unplanned pregnancy, we also encourage you to download our free, month-by-month guide to adoption below.

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The Many Reasons for Choosing Adoption

Choosing adoption is a loving, yet lifelong decision. As an expectant/birth parent, it is important to know you are making an adoption plan for the right reasons. In this article, we will explore some of the many reasons an expectant/birth mother might choose adoption as a positive alternative for her baby. We will also walk you through some of the many reasons a family will choose to adopt.

Reasons Why Birth Parents Choose Adoption:

There are many reasons why a woman might choose to make an adoption plan. In most cases, it is because she is not in the right time or the right place to parent – she may feel too young, in school, or not ready at this stage of her life to have a baby. She may be lacking financial stability, emotional support, or a safe home to care for her child. Often a woman is parenting several children on her own, has an unintended pregnancy, and makes an adoption plan because it in the best interests of ALL her children. Sometimes, major life events occur and make it very difficult to raise a child. Most of the time, the reason is lies in wanting to provide the best possible life for her baby.

If you are considering adoption for your child, take some time to ask yourself “why.” Know that everyone has different reasons for choosing adoption, and yours will be completely unique to you. Below we have compiled some of the top reasons why expectant/birth parents choose adoption:

  1. They are not ready to become parents just yet – Though pregnancy can happen at any reproductive age, unintended pregnancies are most common among young women from ages 18 to 25. Women of this age are typically in college, working full- or part-time, or graduating from school and looking for a steady job. While situations do vary, these years are usually a transitional time. It is when most young women are starting to make life changes and decisions regarding their futures. A young mother may feel she is not ready to parent a child, thinking her age will put both her and her child at a disadvantage. Sometimes, expectant/birth mothers have other goals they want to accomplish before becoming a parent. This is completely normal.
  2. They cannot afford to raise a child – There is no doubt that being a parent is expensive. Today, raising a child through age 18 costs parents an average of $233,610. This does not include any expenses before the birth, such as prenatal care. Many women will choose adoption because they are not financially prepared to support a child, or another child if they are already raising one or several children. Some are facing financial hardships and know they cannot provide adequate food, child care, and the basic necessities (such as diapers) their child needs to grow. By choosing adoption, they can ensure their child’s needs are met or exceeded. Adoption is completely free for expectant/birth mothers, and uninsured maternity-related expenses are typically covered for those who make an adoption plan.
  1. They want their child to have the best – Expectant/birth parents often say their main reason for choosing adoption is to give their baby the best possible life they can give. By choosing adoption, they can ensure that their child’s basic needs will be met and that he or she will be granted so many other things, too, such as proper healthcare, a stable home in a safe neighborhood, and a good education. Expectant / birth mothers want their child to have many opportunities in life that they are not in a position to give. Adoption allows expectant/birth parents to realize their dreams for their child, and to give their child a future beyond what they can provide at the time.
  2. Their home life and/or relationship is unstable – Some expectant/birth parents do not have support from their families or from the father of their babies. Some have unstable, shaky home lives or live in an environment that is not adequate to raise a child. If this sounds familiar, know that you are not alone. Adoptions With Love extends our support and our services to you.
  3. They are already struggling to raise a child – Most women who make an adoption plan are already parenting children. Some lack the appropriate resources and finances to raise another baby. Some feel that parenting another child will affect their ability to care for the children they already have. As a result, they choose to make an adoption plan.

Reasons Why Adoptive Parents Choose Adoption:

Adoptions With Love understands how important it is to find a loving and stable home for your baby. We know that you want to find an adoptive family that will not only provide for your child, but also support him or her financially, mentally, and emotionally over the years.

We want to assure you that the waiting families at Adoptions With Love have come to us fully ready and able to commit to a child for life. They all dream of becoming parents and raising a child with all the love and care they can possibly give. However, for the majority of our families, parenting would otherwise be impossible without adoption. Here are the top reasons families choose to grow through adoption:

  1. Infertility – The majority of couples who choose adoption are infertile. This means that they are unable to conceive a baby on their own. Some couples will seek medical treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), however, only 30 to 35 percent of women under 35-years-old will become pregnant though IVF. These chances grow smaller as women grow older.
  2. Pregnancy complications – Some families choose adoption when they wish to become parents, but are at high risk for pregnancy complications. They may have had serious difficulties during a previous pregnancy and do not want to risk the experience again. For these people, adoption is a safer option and offers greater peace of mind.
  3. Same-gender couples – Many gay and lesbian couples, especially those that are married, will choose adoption as a way to complete their families.
  4. Single parents – There are many single women who do not have a Mr. Right, but still wish to become parents with all their hearts. The single parents at Adoptions With Love are fully ready to become parents: having stable, successful careers, safe home environments, and flexible schedules to meet the needs of their children.

Adoptions With Love helps expectant/birth parents nationwide make the best possible choices for their children. We can help you work through your reasons for considering adoption, explore all of your pregnancy options, and design the perfect adoption plan. Call us toll-free at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to speak with one of our compassionate counselors.


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

Are you pregnant and considering adoption? Discovering an unplanned pregnancy is an emotional, overwhelming time for many women. Right now, you may not know where you can go for help or who to call for support. You know that you want to provide a loving home for your child, but are unsure how to start the adoption process. You are not alone. If you are an expectant mother living in Maine, know that Adoptions With Love is here for you.

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency helping expectant/birth parents nationwide find the best possible homes for their children. For over 30 years, we have been building relationships with expert adoption counselors and attorneys licensed in Maine. If you need help placing your baby for adoption in Maine, you can always contact us. Our trusted Maine adoption agency partner and attorney can help you explore your options, understand the laws in your area, and make an adoption plan that is tailored to your wishes and needs.

Before starting your adoption plan, however, we recommend doing your research. Adoption is one of the most loving and long-term decisions you can make for your child, and should always be well-informed. Ask questions.  Learn about the steps you need to take to place your baby for adoption in Maine. Prepare for what is ahead. As a reputable adoption agency serving Maine, Adoptions With Love can help you navigate the adoption process. We will listen to you, answer your questions, educate you on adoption in Maine, and help you make the most positive, informed decision for you and your baby.

Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or have already given birth to your baby, we extend our support to you. To help get you started, we have created this mini guide to making an adoption plan in Maine:

1. Choose an adoption agency that you trust.

Every adoption journey starts by choosing the right agency to guide you through the process. There are many  adoption professionals in Maine who can help you, but it is important to find a licensed, reputable agency that you trust. How will you know you are choosing the right adoption agency?

The right adoption agency will have staff who listen to your wants and needs, who are willing to discuss all your options with you, and who promise to respect any choice that you make. Look for an agency that will stand by your side and support you throughout the entire adoption experience – not only as you prepare for the adoption, but also throughout your life. Your adoption agency should also be accessible to you at any time of day, any day of the week, to answer your questions and help you design the perfect adoption plan.

2. Decide the type of adoption you would like your child to have.

If you choose to work with an open adoption agency serving Maine, you will have the option to create an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan. With an open adoption, you can:

  • Choose an adoptive family for your baby
  • Meet and get to know the family for your baby
  • Keep in touch with your child’s family over the years
  • Receive letters and pictures of your child as he or she grows

Many expectant/birth mothers choose to create an adoption plan with some level of openness, because it gives them peace of mind to see and know that their child is doing well. If you would like to make an open or semi-open adoption plan, you can decide the amount of contact you would like with your child’s family, if any at all.  At Adoptions With love, we will help you personally design the type of adoption plan that best fits your wants and needs: you can choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption, or a closed adoption plan. One of our adoption counselors will explain each option and, if you would like, help you create your ideal adoption plan.

3. Select a loving adoptive family.

Whether you create a fully open adoption plan or a more private adoption plan with no contact, you will always have the option to select a family for your baby at Adoptions With Love. If you would like to make this loving choice, we will send you a selection of prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles. These family profiles, consisting of letters and photos, will help you get to know each waiting family and choose the best match for your baby. At Adoptions With Love, we will listen carefully to your requests and show you the families that best meet your wishes for your child. Once you choose an adoptive family, you will have the option to speak with them through email, phone, or meet them in-person. This is completely up to you.

No matter which adoptive family you choose, you can rest assured that your child will be placed in a loving, safe, and secure home. All our waiting families have been thoroughly screened and interviewed by a licensed social worker, have undergone a series of federal background checks, and are fully able and ready to raise a child for life.

4. Understand the adoption laws in Maine.

Adoption laws vary state to state. That is why it is so important to work with an agency who has adoption attorneys specifically trained in your home state. If you choose to work with Adoptions With Love, you can meet with our attorney partners who are experts in Maine adoptions. They can meet with you – wherever you are – to help walk you through the legal adoption process.

Adoptions With Love’s legal services are always free of charge. You can rest assured that there is never a cost for the expectant or birth parent services at our agency. In Maine, licensed, private adoption agencies like us are permitted to provide financial assistance for some pregnancy-related expenses needed before, during, and for weeks after your baby’s adoption, such as:

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

5. Receive ongoing adoption support.

Adoption is a lifelong journey full of new, sensitive relationships and emotions. Remember that Adoptions With Love is for you, even after your baby is placed. We can help you navigate any feelings, adoption relationships, or open communication over the years. As part of your post-adoption services, we extend free ongoing, confidential counseling services. We can also help you create an open adoption agreement with the adoptive family, and mediate any contact you might have with your child’s family down the road.

Whether you are pregnant or have already given birth to your baby, it is never too late to start your adoption in Maine.  Call us at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to learn more.

This is our State by State Adoption blog series.  To learn about the different areas we service, or to find the specific steps of adoption in your state, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/areas-we-service.


Catelynn and Tyler’s Adoption Story: From 16 and Pregnant to Teen Mom OG

If you are watching the current season of MTV’s Teen Mom OG, you may know and love the Lowell-Baltierra adoption story. So do we! In this blog, Adoptions With Love reflects on Catelynn and Tyler’s decision to make an adoption plan, as well as their open adoption experience so far.

When we first met Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra back in 2009, they were just a mere 16-years-old – and they were already facing one of the biggest, most difficult decisions of their lives. The couple accidentally became pregnant in high school. Despite how much they loved their daughter-to-be, they did not feel ready to raise a child. They were not emotionally or financially prepared and did not know what to do.

One thing was for certain, though: they did want the best possible life for their daughter. They wanted her to have a safe and stable home, as well as a loving family who could support her emotionally, physically, and financially. So, with great thought, courage, and selflessness, Catelynn and Tyler decided to make an adoption plan. They placed Carly with a devoted couple, Brandon and Teresa, who could not have biological children.. Together, the couples decided it was in Carly’s best interest to have an open adoption, where everyone would stay in touch over the years.

teen mom catelynn adoptionMTV first aired Catelynn and Tyler’s story on the popular 16 and Pregnant, where we were able to follow Catelynn’s unplanned pregnancy to Carly’s birth. MTV continued to follow the couple on Teen Mom, and most recently, on Teen Mom OG, where we can now see the couple’s life after adoption.

Catelynn has said that, by sharing her experiences on MTV, she has been able to share a true adoption story with the world. Despite the trials she goes through on and off the show, she has also shown the world that adoption can also be a positive experience. Many teenagers today do not know that adoption is an option for them. Many do not know that they can have an open relationship with their child’s family after the adoption. Before Teen Mom, many only knew of the stigmas and myths surrounding adoption. Catelynn and Tyler hoped to share an accurate vision of adoption today. Catelynn explains:

“Placing Carly in the beginning was important for me to share with the world, just because I felt like there wasn’t a ‘true’ vision of what adoption was really like. MTV really did it with my episode of 16 & Pregnant because it just showed the reality of adoption and it kind of ended some of the stigmas. It was scary to do [the show] also, because I mean, me myself, I was learning about adoption through that process, as I was going through it.”

By sharing their story, MTV has allowed us to watch, grow, and learn alongside this once teen couple as they worked through the adoption process. They have truly come a long way in the last eight years. Catelynn and Tyler are now 25-years-old, married, and have been blessed with a second daughter, Novalee (who they parent). The couple still has a very open adoption, and is in regular contact with Brandon, Teresa, and their daughter, Carly.

In fact, in a recent episode of Teen Mom OG, we got another glimpse into their open adoption: Catelynn and Tyler reunited with their birth daughter, Carly, and her parents for the first time in two years. The couple, along with their second daughter, Novalee, piled in the car to go meet Carly and her adoptive parents for a day at the beach. MTV cameras were not allowed at the visit itself, in respect of Brandon, Teresa, and Carly’s privacy.

The first time Catelynn and Tyler visited with Carly, she was a baby. Catelynn says, “When Ty and I saw Carly for the first time, a year after we placed her, I was just super excited to spend time with her and see how Brandon & Teresa interacted with her. That was really important to us, watching them as parents, because it just made us feel good about who she was with.”

When Catelynn and Tyler originally made an open adoption agreement with their adoption counselor, they asked to receive photos of Carly over the years. This has helped them cope with their decision and brings them peace of mind in knowing that Carly is doing well. At the time, the teen couple also asked for ongoing, in-person visits. Brandon and Teresa agreed to visits that are made in Carly’s best interest.

While in-person visits still happen, Brandon and Teresa have started to shield Carly from MTV’s spotlight now that she has grown. This is something we see Catelynn and Tyler struggle with on Teen Mom OG, as they desire to share photos and updates of Carly with their fans. Overall, however, the adoption is still open. Catelynn said her relationship with Brandon and Teresa is “really good,” and revealed to E! Online, “We talk, we get to see her, we get pictures, I text her all the time… so it’s definitely still very open.”

Catelynn and Tyler feel completely “blessed” to have an open adoption, where they can see and speak to Carly. Still, they do have their hard days. As a birth mother, Catelynn has days that she grieves and misses Carly, days that she wonders about the “what ifs.” She explains to her fans:

“Grief comes in all different ways and it comes at random times with adoption… You’re fighting with your internal instinct – you have to constantly, 24/7 talk to yourself about the reasons why you’re doing it [making an adoption plan]. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life but, I have way more happy days than I do sad days. There’s a rare day that I have a sad day and I think that’s just because I know I made the right decision for her.

What do you think of Catelynn and Tyler’s adoption story on Teen Mom OG? Let us know in the comments below! If you would like to learn more about teen pregnancy and options for young, expectant parents, please download our free “Guide to Teen Pregnancy.” You may also contact Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 to learn about making an adoption plan.


Kayla, a Birth Mother, Reflects on Her Adoption Experience & the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time filled with family, friends, love and gratitude. For birth parents who chose adoption, however, the holidays can also be quite difficult. Kayla, a birth mother who placed her daughter for adoption through Adoptions With Love, wants you to know that it is completely normal to grieve. But above all, she says, try to remember that you provided the best possible life for your child. Below Kayla shares her story in hopes it will empower other birth mothers this holiday season.

Can you give readers a little background on your adoption story?

My adoption story began February 13,2016. I woke up in the morning feeling crampy, but nothing out of the ordinary, and went on with my day. As the day went on, the cramping got worse and by 6:00pm I was driving myself to the hospital with the idea of my appendix bursting. As I entered the ER, an appendix bursting was what I wish I was hearing instead of the words, “sweetie you are in Labor.”

How could I be pregnant, I thought to myself, I’ve had no signs and I’ve lost weight. Nothing was adding up and I began to panic. The next few hours are all a blur, as nurses and doctors rushed around to save the baby. I fought with them saying they were wrong and there was absolutely no way this was correct. At 1:15am, my beautiful baby girl entered the world at six pounds. The happiest and scariest moment of my life. More panic set in as I held her in my arms.

Do I keep her, and struggle as a single mom? Or do I make an adoption plan and give her a chance at an amazing life, one that I was unable to provide for her at the time?

The tears, support, and comfort that swarmed my hospital room over the next 5 days was mind-blowing, from nurses who themselves made adoption plans in the past, to people over hearing my story and coming in for a shoulder to lean on and try to give me advice. I made my decision to make an adoption plan and the first struggle came: I had to pick a family.

The best advice I got was from a nurse who was by my side the entire time. Simple but stuck with me. One night around 3 or 4am I was in hysterics with family profiles spread all over my bed, the floor, just a mess – and she came in, hugged me. and just simply said, “Kayla, I promise you when you find your family you will know. Everything will make sense and you will not think twice about it. You will just know.” At first, I didn’t believe her and continued my melt down until the next morning. I was brought in one more book and everything started to make perfect sense – they were the family. They were everything I wanted and more!

Do you have a relationship with your daughter’s adoptive family? If so, what’s that relationship like?

The relationship I have with my daughter’s adoptive family is unlike anything I could have imagined. During the process of deciding whether or not to go through with adoption, my main focus was to find a family who would be willing to have an open adoption. Many of the families I looked at did not want as much of an open adoption as I did, which is completely fine for other families, but for my daughter to go with a family, it had to be the perfect one.

From the moment I saw their book, I knew they were perfect and they have proved it over and over by going above and beyond for her, their family, and even mine! We’ve become one family celebrating birthdays and holidays together and a summer ending cookout.

February 21, 2016 was a day full of fear, excitement, second guessing, and every possible emotion combined into one. It was the day we met our family and signed the papers. Walking into the agency for the first time, I saw them standing in the office. The second we got a glance of each other there was not a dry eye in the room.

I then received a beautiful bracelet that day from the adoptive family, with my daughter’s birth stone in it. They told me how my daughter had the same one (obviously smaller) and when she was able to finally fit it, she’ll wear it to remind her of me. It was the most thoughtful thing and one of the only things I really remember from that day. We stay in contact with texts, constant pictures, doctor’s updates, even just little cute moments captured. We try to get together about every 3 months.

Is this your first holiday season as a birth mom, or have you experienced the holidays before?

This year will be my second holiday season. Last year was extremely difficult, but not as bad as I expected it to be. We got together during Christmas break to celebrate because most of us were off from work and school. Something memorable I look forward to is just being able to come together with both families. Normally, visits are just my mother and I and the adoptive family. During Christmas, they welcomed anyone we wanted to bring with open arms and it really made me so happy!

Last year, there were about 12 of us who got together to celebrate the holidays. This year, we will be doing the same thing. we have lunch catch up, take lots of pictures, and have the best time! So I’m looking forward to seeing everyone, especially because I haven’t seen them since August.

birth mom adoption story

Do you have any holiday traditions you’ve created, or would like to create, with your daughter?

One thing growing up my grandmother did for me every year until she passed away was get me a Barbie Christmas ornament every year. It was something special to me and our special thing. My mom has done that with my daughter to start their special Christmas tradition every year! Which warms my heart.

Do you have any advice for other birth mothers on coping with grief during the holidays?

During the holidays, you most likely will have a very difficult time. For me, it’s the hardest time of the year and I won’t lie, I have days where I do nothing but cry throughout the day.

Though we don’t want to, it’s a very normal thing to feel this way.

My advice is to have someone you can talk to, whether a friend, family member, or even another birth mom to just let your feelings out. If you have an open adoption and can ask for a picture of your child to cheer you up, that has helped me also many times.

The main thing is to not second guess your decision. You provided the best possible life for your child and you have to take the good days with the bad.

 

 


Finding Peace this Holiday Season: A Birth Mother’s Story

For those who have made an adoption plan, the holidays are not always easy. If you have an open adoption, however, finding solace in letters, pictures, and updates can help. Knowing that your child is loved, happy, and healthy can bring the greatest peace of mind. Camilla*, a birth mother who placed her daughter for adoption through Adoptions With Love, agrees. Below she shares her story in hopes it will empower other birth mothers to find peace this holiday season.

You have a pretty open relationship with your daughter’s family. Has your adoption plan always been open, and is that what you initially wanted?

When I started making an adoption plan, I had no idea what I wanted – or more importantly, what I would want in the future. I remember being pregnant and filling out the initial adoption paperwork, and having NO idea what I was doing. At that point, I still wasn’t sure if I’d go through with it, wasn’t sure if I’d ever actually submit the papers to start the process. What I remember most about those forms, though, is a single check box. It’s the one you check off if you want to receive letters and pictures of your child as they get older. When I first filled out the forms, I left it blank. I stared at that box for a long time, and in my already-emotional state, decided that there was no way I would be able to emotionally handle watching my baby grow up without me.

At the last minute, though, I went back and checked the box. I figured I might want those letters and photos someday, even if I couldn’t handle them right now.

I have no regrets about checking that box. Getting to see my daughter safe and happy and healthy with her adorable family is one of the greatest gifts of my life.

I got so lucky with my daughter’s parents. They were incredibly kind on adoption day, and when I wanted to see my daughter at six months old, they agreed immediately. After that, almost three years went by before I asked to see my daughter again, and again they agreed without a second thought. They have been so generous with me.

Our adoption started off mostly closed, because I couldn’t handle it yet. I worried that knowing me would confuse my daughter, that it would be too emotional, that my existence in her life would be too hard for her parents to explain. Eventually I decided that it would be better for her to meet me now than to try and introduce me later. Over the past four years (and these past few months particularly), we’ve started to work on having a more open adoption.

What does openness look like for you and your daughter’s family now? How do you keep in touch?

Our adoption, and its openness, is evolving over time. They send me photos and a letter every year near her birthday, and we have a shared Shutterfly account. They post photos and comments of my daughter on various occasions and holidays, and I’ve been able to share some of my own baby photos with them (per their request). I got to see my daughter in person back in May, and hope to schedule another visit soon. Her parents are amazing, and the more I interact with them, the more I feel that I made the right decision in choosing them to be her mom and dad.

Will you all be connecting in any way this holiday season? If so, how?

I hope to schedule another get-together with them soon, yes! I’m always hoping for another one. I’ll reach out about it after the New Year, and if they respond the way they have in the past, I imagine they’ll be just as excited about it as I am. We talked about openness the last time we met, and we all seem to be on the same page about it –

That it’s better for our daughter to know all of us, have access to all of us, and be able to ask questions of any of us. I think it’s a healthier type of relationship to have.

Have you experienced the holidays since making an adoption plan?

This will be my fifth holiday season since my daughter was born – my first holiday season as a birth mom was 2013. I honestly don’t remember too much detail that year, because I felt like I was underwater. That’s the only way I can describe it – it was almost an out-of-body experience, like conversations took longer to process and words took more time to get to my brain. Everything felt like it was happening to someone else, and normal everyday things, like getting dressed for work or going out with friends, felt like much more effort than they should have been.

Every year that goes by gets easier, though! When the holidays come around now, I mostly just look forward to seeing new photos of my daughter.

How are you feeling with the holidays approaching this year?

I feel pretty good about them this year. This year, for the first time, I sent my daughter a birthday present, so I also plan to send the family Christmas presents – nothing crazy, but just little things to let them know that I’m thinking of them and wish them a happy holiday season.

I definitely hope to see her soon, though I’ll wait until the new year because this time of year is so crazy for people. I hope that seeing my daughter and her family starts being a regular occurrence. And I hope that my daughter, her sister, and her parents are happy and healthy and enjoying life!

Do you have any advice for other birth moms who might be experiencing some grief this time of year?

I think the thing that helps me the most is looking at pictures of my daughter. I love seeing her photos and reading the letters her parents have sent me, because it reminds me of the amazing life she has and how much she is loved. It brings me peace to know that she’s a happy, healthy kid in a loving family. That’s exactly what I wanted for her. So even when I miss her, I know that she’s happy.

Are there any special holiday traditions you’ve created, or hope to create, with or for your daughter as she grows up?

I don’t know if I have any holiday traditions in mind particularly, but I love the idea of having one with my daughter. I love family traditions and I hope that she and I have something we share on holidays as she gets older. That would mean the world to me.

*Names have been changed for anonymity

 

 


How Birth Mothers Can Cope with Grief this Holiday Season

The holiday season is here. While many of us are looking forward to celebrating with our families, it is important to remember that some of us will be thinking of loved ones who cannot be there to celebrate with us.

Adoptions With Love would like to take some time to recognize the birth mothers who are coping with grief this holiday season – whether you have just placed your baby for adoption, placed years ago, or are in the midst of making an adoption plan, we understand that this time of year can be a difficult one. As happy as you are knowing your child is sharing this special time with their family, you may also be grieving their absence in your own home and plans. This is completely normal. Adoption is a beautiful journey, but it can also be bittersweet—and with so much focus on family, it is not unusual for the holidays to be especially tough on those who have experienced loss or grief in some way.

We want you to know that you are not alone. Whether you made an adoption plan just yesterday or twenty-five years ago, there are resources available to you. There are also things you can do to make the most of this holiday season, despite any complicated emotions that might arise. Here a few suggestions:

Contact your adoption agency for support.

Despite being surrounded by family and friends, you might be feeling especially alone this holiday season. Know that you do not have to handle this time of year by yourself. Reach out to your adoption agency or counselor for support. If you placed your baby with Adoptions With Love, remember that we will always be here for you. We understand what you have gone through, as well as the complicated  grief that you are experiencing, and are here to talk you through this difficult time.

Your adoption agency may also be able to refer you to a local support group, where you can get together with other birth parents experiencing grief this season. At your request, your adoption agency may also set you up to talk with another birth mother who has walked in similar shoes as you.

If you worked with an open adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you might also consider asking for updates or pictures of your son or daughter. Adoptions With Love would be happy to provide you with the letters and pictures we have on file, or get an update from your child’s family. For many birth mothers, this can bring great peace of mind. Here is what one of our birth mothers had to say about coping with grief during the holiday season:

“I think the thing that helps me the most is looking at pictures of my daughter. I love seeing her photos and reading the letters her parents have sent me, because it reminds me of the amazing life she has and how much she is loved. It brings me peace to know that she’s a happy, healthy kid in a loving family. That’s exactly what I wanted for her. So even when I miss her, I know that she’s happy.”

Create new traditions with your child.

Your child will always be a part of your life, no matter if your adoption is open or closed. This year, if it feels appropriate, find a way to include your son or daughter in your holiday traditions.

If you have an open adoption and the ability to connect with your child’s family, try to take advantage of it. Connecting with your child directly can help ease some of the heightened emotions this holiday. It will also benefit your child, who will also be thinking of you. This is a special time of year for families. More than likely, your child’s adoptive parents will be happy to hear from, whether that be through a phone call, a video chat, a holiday card, or an in-person visit.

If you cannot directly involve your child in your holiday plans, you can still find a way to honor them this holiday season and beyond. If you are in touch (but far away) from the adoptive family, for example, you might consider making or picking out a special ornament to send to your child. This could even become an annual tradition – each year, with each ornament, your child will be reminded of your love.

If you have a closed adoption plan and do not have contact with your child’s family, there are still other ways you can recognize your child this holiday season. For example, you can light a candle for your child. You can make a special decoration to hang each year in honor of their importance. You can also choose to write your child a holiday card, even if it never gets mailed.

Write a letter to your child.

If you cannot see or connect with your child this holiday season, you might consider writing a letter. It does not matter if you send this letter or not. Many birth mothers use letter writing as an outlet for their thoughts and to cope with feelings of grief.

This year, you might choose to write your son or daughter a letter and put it away in a box. You might choose to write one every year moving forward, too, and give this box to your child when he or she is grown. If you have a semi-open adoption and would like to communicate with your child right away, you might give this letter to your adoption counselor, who can then forward it to your child’s family.

Take care of yourself.

Adoption is not an easy decision, but it is one of the most loving decisions a mother can make for her child. You are very brave for making this sacrifice in the best interests of your baby. You have the right to be happy and enjoy the holidays alongside everyone else. Of course, you do not have to.

If you are feeling sad this holiday season, you do not have to pretend to be otherwise. You do not have to feel obligated to act a certain way during holiday celebrations, especially if you are coping with birth mother grief. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel during the holidays. Do what you feel you need to do as a birth mother. Give yourself space. Allow yourself time to grieve. Try to understand your feelings. Forgive yourself. Practice self-care. Do something to make you happy. Stay healthy.

Not acknowledging your grief and holding it in, will make everything more painful. By finding a way to include your child in your holiday plans, by reaching out for post-adoption support and counseling from your agency, and by taking care of yourself, you can and will find a way to make the most of this holiday season.

If you would like to speak with an Adoptions With Love social worker this holiday season, please call 1-800-722-7731. Amy, Nancy, Amelia, Claudia, and Nellie are available 24/7 to answer your call, no matter what time of day or which day of the week – that is our promise to you.

 

 


How Does Open Adoption Work (and How Do You Make It Work)?

Are you pregnant and considering adoption for your baby? Making an adoption plan is a positive choice for women who are not yet ready to become parents. It enables you to give your child a forever family and a wonderful, stable life. Of course, adoption is also a very difficult decision to make. As an expectant/birth mother, it is important to research your options carefully and understand the different types of adoption plans, as well as the services, available to you.

Right now, you may be considering an open adoption plan for your baby. You may have heard that an open adoption plan will allow you to stay in touch with your child’s family over the years. You may have heard that you can choose an adoptive family for your baby, and even meet them in person. What does that mean, exactly? How does open adoption work? More importantly, how can you make it work?

Before you can understand what makes open adoption work, you must first understand what open adoption is. In its simplest sense, open adoption is a form of adoption that allows birth parents to know and have contact with the adoptive family. Depending on your state laws and the adoption agency you work with, you may hear open adoption defined differently. In fact, most everyone – even those who have placed their baby or adopted a child – will have their own definition of open adoption. This is because every open adoption plan is unique. No two adoptions are the same. At Adoptions With Love, we allow you to define what “openness” will mean for you and your child.

Generally speaking, in an open adoption:

  • Expectant mothers are given the option to choose a family to raise their child. They can talk with them, meet them in-person, and have them at the hospital if they wish.
  • Birth parents have some level of on-going contact or relationship with the adoptive parents and the adopted child, depending on what feels comfortable for everyone.
  • Children know they have been adopted and may have relationships with their birth parent(s).
  • Ongoing communication takes place between the birth parents and adoptive family, whether directly or mediated through an agency. Contact may involve letters, pictures, phone calls, emails, and occasionally in-person visits, whichever is most comfortable for everyone involved. (Some open adoptions involve just the exchange of letters and pictures. Some families celebrate holidays together. The level of contact is typically defined first by the expectant/birth mother and her adoption agency, then with the adoptive family).

The way open adoption works largely depends on the level of openness. At Adoptions With Love, you will have the option to choose a fully open adoption (having direct contact with the adoptive family) or a semi-open adoption (in which our adoption agency will mediate contact, so that you can maintain privacy). Most domestic adoptions today are mediated, but still maintain some level of openness. For example, most birth mothers will choose a family for their baby. Many will also choose to meet the family before placement, and find peace of mind in knowing the parents who will raise their child. All of the families at Adoptions With Love agree to at least a semi-open adoption plan. Some families are fully open to direct contact, as well.

The way a fully open adoption works is through open, honest, and direct communication between an adoptive family and the birth parents. If you choose a fully open adoption, you and the adoptive family you choose will have identifying information about one another (phone numbers, email addresses, names, etc.). You will have a relationship with the adoptive family, and together will establish expectations for ongoing contact. For example, you may want the adoptive parents to send you letters and pictures of your child each year. Or, you may wish to have ongoing conversations via the phone, email, Skype, texting, or FaceTime. In a fully open adoption, it is important to remain flexible, as your needs and the needs and wishes of your child may change over time.

You still may be wondering, “What makes open adoption work well?” This is a very important question to ask as you consider open adoption, and is exactly what we discussed in our recent eBook, “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption.” We will give you the short answer here. A successful open adoption is founded on a mutual love for the child and a focus on his or her best interests. It requires trusting, open-minded, and respectful relationships between both families. You can make open adoption work by:

  • Keeping your child’s needs and best interest a top priority
  • Establishing clear roles and expectations with the adoptive family in the very beginning
  • Pursuing ongoing counseling to ensure your emotional stability
  • Maintaining respect for everyone involved in the adoption, including yourself
  • Preserving trust in your adoption relationships
  • Always keeping communication open, honest, and consistent
  • Staying open-minded and flexible as needs and feelings change
  • Making your open adoption plan with an experienced, trusted, non-profit adoption agency who will be there for you both now and in the future (see how to choose an adoption agency here)

There is no right or wrong way to make an open adoption plan. There are, however, steps you can take to ensure your adoption plan is a positive and successful one. How does adoption work, and how can you make it work? Find out more in our new guide, “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption,” which you can download for free below.

You may also contact Adoptions With Love to get started on your open adoption plan, or to learn more about our open adoption agency. We are available any time of day, any day of the week, to speak with you. Call us toll-free at 800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.