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American Idol Contestants Touched by Adoption

Singing hopefuls are back at it with the new season of “American Idol” underway. As viewers tune in to watch whether contestants can stay in tune, they are also learning many personal stories about these singers and their backgrounds. Several American Idol contestants, for example, were adopted or have been touched by adoption in some way. In light of the 16th season of American Idol premiering last month, Adoptions With Love will explore some of their adoption stories and connections here.

  • Brandon Elder – Was Adopted

Brandon Elder is a construction worker from Alabama who won over the hearts of the “Idol” judges when he shared his adoption story. As he explained on the show, his birth mother was a teenager when he was born, and she “traded him” for a car to a couple who was also not ready to care for a child. Not long after, he was adopted as an infant by his mother, Patricia Elder. Patricia was a single yet determined mom who worked multiple jobs to help support her family. When Brandon was just 14 years old, Patricia was diagnosed with breast cancer. She passed away in 2016. Brandon sang an original song on American Idol, that he wrote about his mom. The judges were moved by his heartfelt adoption story and beautiful song.

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  • Marcio Donaldson – Adoptive Parent

Marcio Donaldson won over the judges as soon as he showed up to audition with his baby boy in tow. The 28-year-old Compton native shared his story about his troubled upbringing, including the fact that he ended up in the state foster care system. His sister, also in foster care, eventually faced many substance abuse problems. When she had a baby, a police officer and social worker brought him to Marcio’s home. Marcio’s choice was to adopt his baby nephew, or let him go to the state system. Marcio adopted Rashaad and has been inspired to sing and try to provide him with a better life. “I didn’t want him to go through what I went through,” Marcio said through tears on the show.

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  • MK Nobilette – Was Adopted

Being the first openly gay contestant in the show’s history, MK Nobilette wowed the audience – and judges – in the show’s original run during season 13. She was not the typical “American Idol,” according to the judges, but they saw a ton of talent in the young singer. Nobilette finished in the 10th spot during her season. She was born in San Francisco and adopted by her two moms when she was a baby. While her mothers separated when she was four years old, they both now have girlfriends—resulting in a large and loving extended family, which Nobilette describes as “very San Francisco.”

After her run on “American Idol”, Nobilette signed a record deal with San-Francisco based Velvet Rhythm Entertainment, and her debut single “Make Believe” dropped in 2015.

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  • Aaron Kelly – Was Adopted

Fans of season 9 may remember an upbeat, talented 16-year-old who impressed the judges and hooked fans while his mother stayed in the wings to support the minor singer. Aaron and his two older brothers were adopted by their-then aunt and uncle, Kelly and Greg, when Aaron was just a toddler. The boys’ biological parents were struggling financially, and so their aunt and uncle stepped in to avoid social services placing them in foster care. Aaron finished in the fifth spot on “Idol,” becoming the youngest contestant to make it so far in the singing competition. He went on to appear on many daytime and late night shows, and has been recording music ever since.

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  • Johnny White – Was Adopted

Before 19-year-old Johnny White impressed Lionel Richie on the most recent season of American Idol, he opened up about his tough upbringing. As he explained, his mother was addicted to drugs and his father was in prison for nine years. When Johnny was seven years old, he and his sister were placed in foster care. He was eventually adopted by a loving family, but says that the adjustment was not easy for him, and that he felt alone during this time. Music became Johnny’s outlet, and once he met a teacher and vocal coach who believed in him, he decided to make his passion his life. Johnny floored the judges during the audition phase, but did not make it past Hollywood Week of Season 16. White has since returned to his day job of putting auto parts on an assembly line, but says he has not given up on his dream and will continue to sing and audition for “American Idol in the future.”

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As evidenced by this list, it is clear that adoption touches all kinds of people, even singing hopefuls of “American Idol.” Check out our lists of famous men and famous women who have been touched by adoption.

If you would like to grow your family through adoption, please visit If you know or love someone who is pregnant and would like to learn more about this choice, please do not hesitate to reach out by calling Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731. We are here for you.

How the Adoption Journey Works

Whether you are a hopeful parent looking to grow your family, or you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, you may be considering adoption. Adoption is a very positive choice. Adoption helps many people realize their dreams of becoming a parent when they are unable to have children biologically. Adoption also helps expectant/birth parents in times of crisis, allowing them to choose a loving, forever family to raise their child in a safe and stable home.

Adoption is a positive choice, but it can also feel like an overwhelming process for expectant/birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents. Perhaps that is why you are here. You may be asking, “How does adoption work?” and “Where do I even start?” Adoptions With Love is here to guide you through this journey. We work with both prospective adopting families and birth parents looking to make an adoption plan. We will work with you to explain how adoption works, every step of the way.

It is important to know that adoption works differently for everyone, depending on their circumstance and where they live. Adoption laws, and therefore the adoption process, can vary state to state. Adoption also works differently for birth parents, expectant parents, and adoptive parents. However, the first step typically remains the same:

Start with an Agency

Birth parents and prospective adoptive parents alike must start in the same place: Finding a trustworthy and knowledgeable adoption agency. If you are just starting the adoption process, consider an agency that offers a full range of services, including counseling and support. You should always feel supported and comfortable throughout the adoption journey, and never pressured into an adoption decision. The right adoption agency will be one that listens to you and your wishes, and that promises to be there for you at every step in this process. The adoption agency you choose should also have experience with adoptions in your state, as well as understand your state’s adoption laws. For help on choosing the right adoption agency, check out this free guide.

For more than 32 years, Adoptions With Love has been helping connect birth mothers with families looking to adopt. We are a private, domestic, non-profit, full-service adoption agency. Our mission is to place children with loving, safe, forever families who will help them flourish and thrive; we strive to find the best home for each child.

How Adoption Works for Birth Mothers

Once you have chosen an adoption agency, you will be contacted by a compassionate adoption social worker. Together, you will take the time to learn more about your different options, including the types of adoption plans you can choose. Today, you can choose an open, semi-open, or closed adoption plan for your baby. Open adoption plans are often a positive choice for birth mothers and adopted children, as they allow for ongoing contact between the two families.

Openness can mean different things to different people. Perhaps annual letters and pictures, emails, or phone calls from the adoptive family would be a comfortable option for you. Perhaps you would like in-person visits once a year with the adoptive family. Or, you may prefer to stay anonymous throughout the entire adoption journey (and beyond). This is completely up to you. No matter your decision, your adoption social worker will be there, without judgement, to help you create the best possible plan for you and your baby. Adoptions With Love offers full support services for all types of adoption plans.

Once you have decided on the adoption plan you would be most comfortable with, you will have the option to choose adoptive parents for your baby. Many birth parents find peace of mind in choosing the adoptive family. If you would like, Adoptions With Love can provide you with profiles and photo albums from families waiting to adopt. You can scan these to get to know each family, understand their backgrounds, hopes, and values, and see how they will lovingly care for a child. As an expectant mother, you know what is best for your baby and can select the adoptive family that best meets your wishes. All the waiting families at Adoptions With Love are carefully screened and background-checked, to ensure the safety of their homes. No matter your choice, know that you will be choosing a stable, caring family who can provide a wonderful life for your child. You can also meet them, if you wish.

After choosing an adoptive family, your adoption counselor will also work through the other stages of the adoption process. She will help you make a plan for your hospital stay and birth, as well as through any legal documents and next steps. Your adoption social worker may also help you arrange meetings, tell friends and family the news, and help out with any necessary prenatal care. For more information on navigating the adoption process at each stage of your pregnancy, download our free guide here.

How Adoption Works for Adoptive Families

Once you have settled on an adoption agency, it is time to prepare for the journey ahead. As a hopeful family, you will need to complete an adoption application with your agency. This will include submitting personal information and any required documents. Afterwards, you will be contacted by an assigned adoption social worker from your agency of choice.

Your adoption social worker will need to know all about you and your family, so that we can ensure the best possible match. We will get to know you through a series of interviews and home visits, formally known as an adoption home study. The home study process will help us understand your wishes as a family, your reasons for adopting, and ensure that you are ready to become a forever parent.

As part of the adoption process, you will also be asked to prepare a family photo album and profile. This will detail your story, interests, and hopes for the adoption. Your adoption agency will help you compile these albums and other items together, and share them with expectant mothers looking for a family.

Adoptive parents should also prepare to meet with a birth mother, once selected. If she desires an open adoption, you may sit down with the birth mother and your adoption counselor to discuss each other’s wishes, ask any questions, and make plans for before and after birth.

Whether you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, have just given birth, or are looking to grow your family through adoption – Adoptions With Love is here to help you through the process. We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer your call. Contact 800-722-7731 for more information.

8 Ways to Incorporate Adoption into Your Thanksgiving Traditions

adoption at thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is arguably one of America’s favorite holidays. It is a special time, not only for giving thanks, but for bringing families together. It also happens to take place during National Adoption Awareness Month. Turkey Day is the perfect time for everyone touched by adoption to celebrate and honor their choice.

Here are some simple ideas for adoptive families and birth parents this holiday.

  1. Sharing Thanks

Just before digging into some turkey and mashed potatoes, go around the table and share what you are most thankful for. This is a great opportunity for adoptive parents to express thanks for their child’s birth parents, for helping to form their family. Children can benefit from hearing positive dialogue about their birth parents and adoption story. It is also a great reminder for birth mothers, who can reflect on their selfless choice and find peace of mind in knowing their child is being raised and loved by good people.

  1. Lay it All Out on the Table

Here is a more creative twist to this round table discussion of thanks: Write down what you are thankful for. Buy a light-colored tablecloth and some wash-resistant pens. Each year, you and your loved ones can jot down what you are grateful for, while looking back on the notes from years past. Think of it as your Thanksgiving yearbook, that you build upon each Thanksgiving holiday.

  1. Make “Thankful Jars”

Here is a great twist to sharing what you are thankful for. It does involve a bit more planning, but it is a simple and creative tool for getting the message of gratitude across. With this method, use empty jars designated for each guest at your Thanksgiving celebration. The jars may be decorated by family members or simply left plain. Ask everyone to write, on a small piece of paper, why they are thankful for each person and place it in the individual’s jar. Each guest takes home a gift of positive affirmations.

  1. Grow a “Thanksgiving Tree”

This is the perfect Thanksgiving tradition for the crafty family. Have the children find a leafless tree branch from the backyard and place it in a vase on the family table. Cut out leaves from colored construction paper and have each guest write what they are thankful for on a leaf. Attach the leaves to the tree using colorful ribbon for a personal – and festive – decoration.

  1. Capture the Moment

It goes without saying that photography is one of the best ways to capture precious family memories. Adoptive families should make it a point to take pictures together on Thanksgiving Day. Gather in front of the same backdrop each year, perhaps holding the same item. The item could be something particularly sentimental, such as a gift from the birth mother. It could also be in the same clothing or matching outfits. This is a fun tradition to enjoy each year, and it is extra special to look back on family photos of Thanksgiving through the years, to see how you all have grown as a family.

  1. Create a Scrapbook Page

Here is another creative activity for the whole adoptive family to enjoy. Make a memory or scrapbook page decorated with family photos taken on Thanksgiving and notes mentioning what each guest voiced as their greatest blessing. Both kids and parents alike will enjoy looking at this over the years.

  1. Sharing the Joy

Families involved in an open adoption can get the birth parents involved in the annual photo fun, too. If you have an open adoption or semi-open adoption arrangement, consider sending the pictures to the birth parents, with a letter of gratitude and an update on life each year.

Adoptive families could also send annual photos and updates to their adoption agency, like Adoptions With Love. Our staff loves to get updates and watch families grow! We also keep letters and photos on file, in case a birth mother does not have direct contact with the adoptive family but wishes to see photos or read letters down the road.

  1. Giving Back

In addition to giving thanks, adoptive families can consider giving back on Thanksgiving. Mentor a couple looking to adopt, or meet with a family currently going through the adoption process. You have been there. You know what it is like. Share your experience and offer any tips for going through the journey with a positive and patient outlook, especially for those waiting to adopt this holiday season.

Birth mothers can also give back this giving season, by helping other women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy or going through the adoption process. Sometimes, there is no greater support than the kind that comes from others who have walked in similar shoes – who understand what it feels like to make an adoption plan first-hand, and who can relate to them on a personal level during this emotional time.

Bonus – For Prospective Adoptive Families

Families waiting to adopt do not need to wait to start their thankful displays. Write a letter to your future child and have family members do the same. Jot down your hopes and dreams for your child’s future. You could even include the traditions you would like to have for Thanksgiving with your child. This is a fun exercise to help build excitement and positivity for the future adoption. Just like the annual photos or tablecloth of thanks, the letters will also be fun memento to look back on for the many years to come.

Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. It is the perfect chance for families of all kinds – adoptive, birth, blended, foster – to take a step back and reflect on all of their blessings. However you decide to celebrate National Adoption Month and Thanksgiving, savor that family time – and some extra turkey!

Adoptions With Love has even more helpful resources for our birth parents and adoptive families. Reach out to us anytime, day or night, for assistance in the Massachusetts adoption process.

National Adoption Awareness Month 2018

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. This initiative, funded by the Children’s Bureau, works to raise public awareness of adoption and bring attention to the need for permanent, loving homes for the many children in foster care.

Every year, National Adoption Month is dedicated to a special adoption-related theme, which helps support professionals working each day to match children with forever families. This year’s theme is: “In Their Own Words: Lifting Up Youth Voices,” which highlights the needs of older children in U.S. foster care. It is common knowledge that teenagers are adopted much less frequently than newborns and infants, largely due to their age. Because of this, teenagers are much more likely to “age out” of foster care, without ever gaining valuable family support or a permanent place to call “home.” Their well-being, as result, is often compromised. Placing older adolescents in healthy, stable care is an important step in ensuring that our youth have positive and successful futures. This is what National Adoption Month 2018 is all about.

This National Adoption Month, the U.S. Children’s Bureau is working to create opportunities for young people – whether they’ve been reunited with family, placed with an adoptive family, or entered adulthood independently – to be heard and to share their perspectives of living in foster care. Hearing about their experiences is important in spreading awareness about the loving act of adoption. These voices give those working in the child welfare field a valuable tool in educating communities and families about adoption and foster care. The National Adoption Month website also provides resources specifically designed for youth who might want to get involved or share their personal stories.

The History of National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month has been celebrated every November for more than two decades. It all started in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts where, in 1976, Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week to spread awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Then, in 1984, President Ronald Regan made an official proclamation for National Adoption Week. It was not until 1995 that President Bill Clinton – a man touched by adoption himself – expanded this initiative to stretch an entire month. Three years later, President Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care. In 2008, President George W. Bush provided an explanation of National Adoption Month in Spanish, opening up the inclusivity of the initiative.

The Importance of National Adoption Month

More than 437,000 children and adolescents are currently in the foster care system, waiting for a loving family to welcome them home permanently. The average age of children entering the foster care system is over six years old. On top of these statistics, there are thousands of expectant mothers across the U.S. in search of permanent homes for their babies.

Children are usually placed in foster care because their parents are unable to care for them. Unfortunately, these children are often the victims of abuse and neglect. Sometimes these children have lasting scars and need families that can provide the love and stability each child deserves.

Each year, local, national, and State adoption agencies, as well as adoptive family, foster, and kinship care groups take time to recognize National Adoption Awareness Month. They use it as an opportunity to educate the people in their communities about the positive act of adoption, by planning special activities, events, and programs to help raise awareness and dispel myths about the act.

This year’s theme has great potential to reach the public in a very personal way. Youths who have experienced foster care first-hand – whether they have been placed with a permanent family, been reunited with biological family, or outgrown foster care on their own – can share their personal accounts to help others. Their testimonials can be used to help adoptive families, recruitment practices, and even help shape child welfare policy and adoption processes.

This National Adoption Month also poses a great opportunity for clinical professionals across the United States to share more resources about the positive act of adoption – not just for adoptive families, but for expectant and birth mothers, as well. Making a private adoption plan is one way to prevent children from entering the foster care system. Private, domestic adoption agencies such as Adoptions With Love can work with expectant and birth parents to help them making thoughtful, caring plans for their child’s life.  Many of the women that consider adoption are already single parents, struggling to care for the children they have at home, or trying to work within the child welfare system to regain custody of their children.

What is Adoption?

In understanding the heart of National Adoption Month, it is important that we understand what adoption means – and why it is so meaningful for children all over the world. Adoption is the legal process by which a child becomes a permanent, legal member of a new family. Adoptive families have all the same legal, social, and emotional rights as biological families. When children cannot be safely reunited with or raised by their biological families, adoption is often the most positive outcome.

According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children: “Adoption can affect child development in profound ways. Data collected from studies over the past three decades supports adoption as a superior means of promoting normal development in children permanently separated from birth parents… For children suffering severe neglect or abuse in early life, an adoptive family is a remarkable environment for healing emotional and physical trauma and reversing developmental deficits.”

Despite popular belief, children who were adopted lead lives very similar to their non-adopted peers. In fact, studies show that adopted children are read to, sung to, and told stories to more often than non-adopted children. They are also more likely to have regular, family dinners with their adoptive parents, and are at lower risk of substance abuse as a result. The majority (90 percent) of children have positive experiences with their adoptive families. The most positive outcomes are often in open adoption plans.

Open adoption is a type of adoption plan that can stem from a private adoption or foster care adoption situation. It means that the adoptive family has contact, knowledge of, or some extent of relationship with the biological family. Open adoption is becoming increasingly common, and is beneficial for all members of the adoption triad. You can read about the benefits of open adoption here.

Celebrating National Adoption Month 2018

There are several ways adoptive families, as well as clinicians, social workers, and other professionals, can get involved with National Adoption Month. If you are an adoptive family, one of the most impactful things you can do is share your own adoption story. Post photos along with the story on social media websites such as Facebook and Instagram, using the hashtags #NationalAdoptionMonth and #30DaysofLove, to spread the word about this loving act.

Clinical professionals can also honor National Adoption Month by educating young women, families, and others about the positive act of adoption, and all that is involved in the adoption process. Too often, young women facing an unplanned pregnancy do not know that adoption is an option for them. They are unaware of the benefits of adoption, the steps it takes to make an adoption plan, or are afraid of what others (including the baby’s father) might think. It is important for these women to learn about adoption, as well as their other options, in a safe and confidential environment. It is important they have access to educational resources. By making an adoption plan, these expectant/birth mothers can prevent their child from entering the foster care system. If you have a patient or client who would like to learn more about adoption, we are happy to speak with her confidentially, without any pressure.

If you are looking for more adoption-related information, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. We are a private, licensed, non-profit adoption agency that has been matching children with loving families for more than 32 years. We work with expectant/birth mothers across the United States, as well as hopeful adoptive families in Massachusetts. Our caring staff is available to chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

8 Popular Halloween Costumes with Non-Traditional or “Blended” Family Backgrounds

Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Halloween is creeping closer. This is a great time of year for children and adults alike to dress up in costumes, enjoy festive parties, and head out for a night of trick-or-treating. If you are thinking that Halloween is just a bunch of hocus pocus, you may not have considered the opportunity that this spooky season presents.

Adoptions With Love always keeps an eye out for opportunities to spread awareness about adoption and the “modern family” today. You see, there is no longer a “norm” for families – nowadays, we see families in all shapes and sizes, from all different backgrounds and make-ups. Single parents, same-sex parents, step-parent and grand-parent adoptions, interracial families, and more. And this Halloween, we cannot help but notice all of the unique family stories that many popular costumes and characters carry.

There are many popular characters that have roots in non-traditional or “blended” families. And you may see many of them running around this Halloween season. Last year, we discussed the always-popular costume of Superman, who was adopted by the Kent family. Looking for some last-minute costume inspiration? Here are some of the popular Halloween costumes for 2018 that also tell of a unique family background:

spiderman halloween costume

1. Spider-Man

Just like Superman, Spider-Man is always a popular costume. The quintessential Marvel character has a unique story, just like many families touched by adoption. Spider-Man is Peter Parker’s alter ego. Peter is a teenage boy being raised by his Aunt May and Uncle Ben in New York, after his parents were killed in a plane crash. Although a super hero, he is spared none of the struggles of ordinary life; he experiences difficulties with friends, family, sweethearts and employers. His super powers enable him to do good, but not to improve his own lot in life. His simple humanity has earned him millions of devoted fans over the years, of many generations.

2. MaleficentImage result for maleficent halloween costume

Fans of the 2014 Disney film “Maleficent” can find meaning in the development of this classic villain’s story. The unique twist on “Sleeping Beauty” tells the story of how the fairy turned toward the dark side before putting Princess Aurora in a death-like sleep. The most surprising outcome of this version – spoiler alert! – is that Maleficent watches Aurora grow up, and therefore comes to love her like a daughter. In fact – another spoiler alert! – Maleficent is the one who ends up breaking the curse with her “true love’s kiss” on Aurora’s forehead. There is a “Maleficent 2” in the works, which will, no doubt, delve deeper into this beautiful adoption story. This makes for the perfect costume for any child. Plus, the costume is pretty cool!

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3. Batman

Here’s another superhero with a dramatic beginning. Bruce Wayne had a tough start to life, witnessing his parents’ murder at a young age. This inspires the vigilante to swear vengeance against criminals, an oath tempered by a sense of justice. Kids of all ages love dressing up as this classic DC Comics star. Pair your little caped crusader with Catwoman and the Joker to complete this family costume theme!

4. Frozen’s Kristoff

Parents, “Let it Go,” the craze over these Disney characters is not going anywhere. Kristoff, the man Anna meets on her way up the north mountain, has a unique family story, as well. When he was young, he was an orphan and taken in by trolls, who raised him as adoptive parents. This costume would pair perfectly with other popular “Frozen” characters, such as Elsa, Anna, and Olaf to complete a family costume.

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5. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker

With new Star Wars movies being released and new storylines unfolding, we are sure to see a lot of Star Wars themed costumes out there this Halloween. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker, well-loved siblings from the series, are two that also have a unique family story to share. Princess Leia was adopted and raised by the royal Organa family, while Luke Skywalker was raised by his aunt and uncle. Their birth mother was Queen Amidala of Naboo, who passed during childbirth. Each grew up to be heroes in their own way, with Leia becoming a princess, politician, soldier, and leader, and Luke becoming the brave protagonist who always fights for the good side. A great brother-sister Halloween costume idea!

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6. Harry Potter

Harry Potter is one of those costumes that we do not anticipate going away. He, a storybook hero and skilled wizard, also grew up in a unique family situation. His parents were killed when Harry was just a baby, and he was placed into a kinship adoption – to be raised by his aunt and uncle. Unfortunately, his family life was full of neglect and isolation. Because he was a child of magic, his aunt and uncle saw him as different than their other children. When he is sent to Hogwarts, however, he flourishes despite the adversity he faced as a young boy. He is able to find hope and meaning by learning more about his biological family history, as well.

7. Fuller House

Whatever happened to predictability? Everyone’s favorite 90s TV family makes for a great throwback Halloween costume and pop-culture reference. More importantly, these classic characters share an important message for blended families. In the original series, Danny, the father figure, is assisted in parenting his three daughters with his brother-in-law, Jesse, and best friend, Joey. Together, this quirky group comes together to warm the hearts of Americans for many years to come. This one is perfect for both millennial parents who loved the first run of the show, AND their kids who are watching the Netflix revival. It also helps to know that the 90s are back in fashion – think flannel and high-waisted denim – so putting together some DIY costumes for this look should be fairly easy.

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8. Jon Snow

For all the Game of Thrones fans out there, Jon Snow – the heir of the Iron Throne – is another great Halloween costume idea that celebrates an “adoption” like story. While not formally adopted, Jon Snow was raised by his Uncle, Ned Stark. Throughout his childhood, though, Jon Snow believed Ned Stark was his father, and that he was born out of illegitimacy. For those who are up to date, we know that this is not the case. His true parentage is kept a secret until he is much older. Jon Snow is actually the biological son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, the late Prince of Dragonstone – he was raised (and protected) by Lord Stark after his birth parents were killed in war.

Sure, Halloween is a fun for make-believe. It is also a great opportunity for families to bond over self-expression, creativity, and imagination. There is nothing quite like carving jack-o-lanterns and putting together clever costumes.  You can spend time walking through the neighborhood, making precious memories with your child. You can also use this time to connect with your child, and learn more about how he or she thinks and dreams, and possibly connect that back to his or her adoption story. With storied characters and heroes like these coming from unique family make-ups, it can be encouraging for your child to see that your family is truly special in its own way. Happy Halloween!

To learn about Adoptions With Love or how to start the adoption process, call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 today.

8 MLB Athletes Who Have Been Touched by Adoption

Baseball is America’s favorite pastime. It is also a sport played by an array of American athletes, from all different backgrounds and walks of life. For example, there are some famous baseball stars who have been touched by adoption in some form – whether they were adopted or have grown their family through adoption.

With playoffs officially here (and with our home team, the Red Sox, playing this week!), Adoptions With Love takes some time to explore some of the many adoption stories floating around the many Major League Baseball teams. Here, we will learn more about these athletes who have hit a “home run” in the world of adoption!

  1. Jack Flaherty (Cardinals) was Adopted

St. Louis Cardinals’ Pitcher Jack Flaherty has talked about being raised by Eileen Flaherty, a single mom. The 23-year-old explains that he was adopted, and credits Eileen for making incredible sacrifices for both himself and his brother, Grady.

  1. Aaron Judge (Yankees) was Adopted

Aaron Judge is a New York Yankee slugger who has been on the rise to fame. He credits much of his success to his parents, who have always supported his dreams. Wayne and Patty Judge, retired physical education teachers, adopted Aaron the day after he was born in April of 1992. In 2015, the 2017 MLB Rookie of the Year told the New York Post that he felt “blessed” to have such a great relationship with his adoptive parents. “My parents are amazing, they’ve taught me so many lessons,’’ Aaron said. “I honestly can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for me.”

About his adoption, Aaron told the Post: “I feel they kind of picked me…I feel that God was the one that matched us together.”

“We’re more blessed than he is,’’ Patty said. “Both of our children are adopted. Aaron has an older brother, John, 29, who is teaching English in Korea, and we’re real proud of him, too. Really, it was all meant to be.’’

“I know I wouldn’t be a New York Yankee if it wasn’t for my mom,” number 99 told You can read more about Aaron Judge’s adoption story here!

  1. Rob Refsnyder (Yankees) was Adopted

Another New York Yankee star, Rob Refsnyder, has an incredible adoption story. His parents, Jane and Clint, adopted Rob when he was five months old. The couple was in Los Angeles in June of 1991 to get Rob’s Visa approved, so that they could fly him in from his native country in Seoul, South Korea. Suddenly, the plans began to crumble – literally.

“Before our appointment, we were having breakfast in a building across the street, and the earthquake hit,” Jane told Newsday. “Everybody ran out. Then I realized I left a briefcase with Robert’s original documents inside. So I ran back in to retrieve it.”

Jane made it out safely and Rob’s Visa was approved. They welcomed him home in early September of that year. Rob was raised in Laguna Hills, California, along with his sister Elizabeth, who was adopted from Korea three years earlier. Rob has also talked about how blessed he feels to have such wonderful, caring parents.

“They are my biggest fans, my biggest supporters,” Refsnyder told Newsday. “I have a great relationship with them. My dad and I are super close. My mom sacrificed a lot. She is super loving, super supportive. Couldn’t ask for a better set of parents.”

  1. Tanner Houck (Red Sox) has an Adopted Sister

Tanner Houck is another MLB athlete that certainly feels touched by adoption. The Boston Red Sox pitcher’s little sister, Reanna, was adopted by their mom when she was four years old.

This year, the Red Sox pitcher has vowed to literally “pitch” for adoption. He has also asked others to donate to the cause.

He explains: “I’m personally pledging $25 for every one of my strikeouts in the 2018 season. Each pledge or donation will go to the National Council for Adoption – who will ensure more children will be adopted out of foster care; women facing an unintended pregnancy will continue to receive comprehensive information on the positive option of adoption; and intercountry adoption will remain a viable, ethical alternative for building families. I’m excited to pitch for Reanna and the many other children around the world who will hopefully have an opportunity to have a life like ours.”

Tanner has truly been inspired by his little sister. “I remember meeting her for the first time when my mom brought her to my high school baseball game,” Houck has said of his sister. “I knew even then she was going to change our lives for the better, and we would help change hers.”

  1. Babe Ruth was Adopted, as well as an Adoptive Parent

George Herman Ruth was the eldest of eight children born to Baltimore tavern owners Kate Schamberger-Ruth and George Herman Ruth, Sr. While he was just one of the two children to survive infancy, his busy parents placed him in St. Mary’s Industrial School for boys when he was just seven years old. They signed their parental rights over to the brothers who ran the institution.

The Catholic orphanage and reformatory became Ruth’s home for the next 12 years. Ruth formed a strong bond with Brother Mathais at St. Mary’s, who encouraged him to work on his passion and clear talent for baseball. Ruth caught the eye of Talent Scout Jack Dunn at the age of 19, and in order to circumvent the custody order (which was to be set in place until age 21), Dunn became his legal guardian.

“Babe” earned his nickname during an early appearance playing with the Baltimore Orioles. As most baseball fans know, he went on to play for the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the New York Yankees.

Babe Ruth was married twice. During his first marriage, he and his wife, Helen Woodford, adopted a daughter named Dorothy. Babe remarried four months after Helen passed away in a fire. His second wife, Claire Hodgson, was a widow. She also had a daughter, named Julia. Babe and Claire adopted each other’s children.

  1. Jim Palmer (Orioles) was Adopted

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer had known he was adopted since the age of seven, but he did not have any interest to learn about his biological family until much later in life. The former Baltimore Orioles pitcher adored his adoptive parents. His adoptive father died when he was young, but Jim admired his stepfather so much that he decided to take his last name. When Jim was 72 years old, he was ready to learn about his birth family through DNA testing, at the urging of his wife.

“I lucked out,” Palmer said about his upbringing to the Baltimore Sun. “I won the lottery when it came to my adoptive parents and a stepfather in Max Palmer. So, all the time when you’re playing, people go, ‘Would you like to know [about your biological parents]?’ … But it just never presented itself.”

  1. Tug McGraw (Phillies) was a Birth Father

Franklin Edwin McGraw was one of the most popular baseball stars of the ‘70s and ‘80s, working as a relief pitcher for the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1980, he led the Phillies to their only World Series victory. He learned later in life that he had fathered a son, named Tim, who went on to become a Country music superstar. Tim and Tug reunited when Tim was 18 years old, and the two enjoyed a close relationship until Tug’s passing in 2004.

  1. Willie Mays (Giants &Mets) is an Adoptive Father

Willie Mays is known as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. In his personal life, he became a father when he and his wife of three years, Marghuerite, decided to adopt. In his personal memoire, My Life In and Out of Baseball, Mays talks about the love he has for his adoptive son, Michael:

“It was in ’56 that Marghuerite and I were married. She had a daughter by her first marriage and in ’59, in San Francisco, she and I were to go to an adoption agency, and that is how my son Michael came to live with us. He was three days old when we adopted him. I don’t know what the chemistry was, but from the first moment I set eyes on him, I knew this was it. And it’s been that way ever since… All I can say is, he changed my life, my purpose, my outlook.”

As baseball fans enjoy the post-season competition, remember that adoption is all around us. Many people – neighbors, friends, and famous stars – have been touched by adoption, including many of this classic sports’ greatest athletes, today and in the past.

If you or someone you love is facing an unplanned pregnancy, know that adoption is a positive act. Adoptions With Love can help. And if you are interested in growing your family through adoption in Massachusetts, Adoptions With Love can also work with you. Contact us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-722-7731 for more information.

Adoption Storylines in Grey’s Anatomy

ABC’s longest-running drama series, Grey’s Anatomy, is setting records this month with its fifteenth season, which kicked off on September 27th. The hit television series delves into the stories, the work, the relationships, and the passion of ambitious medical staff members at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. What you may not realize, though, is how much Grey’s Anatomy also touches on adoption.

While not always at the forefront, adoption has remained a constant in the storylines of Grey’s Anatomy. Throughout its fourteen seasons, we have gotten to know adoptive parents, birth parents, as well as adoptees. We have watched stories about foster care, about search and reunion, and about identity formation in adopted children.

With the season 15 having just begun, Adoptions With Love talks about the role of adoption in Grey’s Anatomy – and how it touches some of our favorite Grey’s characters – below.

Zola’s Adoption Story

zola adoption greys anatomy

Perhaps the most well-known adoption story in Grey’s Anatomy is that of Zola. Zola Grey Shepherd, formerly Zola Limbani, was a six-month-old orphan when she first came to Seattle Grace hospital. She was one of a group of young patients from the Namboze Clinic in Malawi, Africa, and was there to be treated for spina bifida – a birth defect of the spine. While treating Zola, Doctor Derek Shepherd fell in love with the little girl. He later suggested to Meredith that they adopt Zola. At this time, Meredith had been struggling with infertility and the couple was unsure if they could have children biologically.

“I was holding her yesterday, and she was crying and then she stopped. And I’ve held a lot of babies, I’ve fixed a lot of babies. But, I looked down at Zola, and I don’t know what it was, but I just couldn’t imagine her being with any other parent or with any other family. We’ve been trying so hard to start a family, and she needs one. Let’s adopt her.” – Derek Shepherd, Season 7

After several interviews with a social worker and careful review by the court, the adoption of Zola was finalized. Meredith and Derek became parents in Season 8 of Grey’s Anatomy.

Arizona Adopts Sofia

Image result for arizona and sofia

If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fan, you likely know the long-winded love story of Callie and Arizona, and in later episodes, their daughter, Sofia. Callie is Sofia’s mother by birth, and Arizona is Sofia’s mother by adoption. Arizona adopted Sofia after realizing that, as Callie’s partner, she is very much a part of Sofia’s life and wished for it to stay that way forever. Arizona received legal parental rights and Sofia became her daughter on paper in Season 8 of Grey’s Anatomy.

Arizona and Callie went through some hardships in later episodes, resulting in Callie’s move across the country and a custody battle over which mama would keep Sofia in their care. In court, Callie’s lawyer questions Arizona’s role as a mother, inferring that she is not the real mother of Sofia. Arizona cuts her off, making a passionate speech about the realness of her motherhood:

“I’m going to have to stop you before you continue, for your own sake. You’re not going to imply that I’m any less Sofia’s mother because we don’t share the same DNA. Because that would be offensive. It would be offensive to anyone in the room who has an adopted child or is an adopted child, and for you to say that… I chose to be Sofia’s mother… and it was the best choice that I ever made.” – Arizona Robbins

Maggie Pierce was Adopted

Maggie Pierce was introduced in Season 10 of Grey’s Anatomy, as the new Head of Cardio at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. She was adopted as a baby and raised in Boston by two loving parents. She went to medical school and finished early, before fully knowing who her biological parents were. Turns out, they were doctors themselves. Two years prior to taking the job at Grey Sloan, Maggie started searching for her birth mother. She went to court to open her adoption records, and found out her birth mother was the amazing Seattle surgeon, Ellis Grey. When Maggie got the job interview, she knew she had to go.

Image result for maggie pierce and parents

Maggie’s biological parents are Ellis Grey and Dr. Richard Webber, making her the half-sister of Meredith Grey. However, upon coming to Seattle, Maggie had no knowledge of her biological father or her sister. They had no knowledge of her, either. Ellis and Richard had an affair long ago, and Ellis Grey was suffering illness. As a result, she placed Maggie for adoption. Meredith was only five years old.

This plotline is particularly special as we see Maggie connect the puzzle pieces and learn more about her biology, her adoption story, and her identity as a result. We see her deeply connect with her birth father and biological sister, while maintaining a strong relationship with her adoptive parents out East.

Owen Fosters Baby Leo

Throughout Owen’s storyline, it is clear that he wants nothing more than to become a father. In both his marriages, to Christina and then Amelia, his wives did not have the same desire to have children. In the most recent season of Grey’s, however, Owen finally gets his chance to become a dad. He files to foster-to-adopt, a program that would enable him to foster and potentially adopt a child who is in the welfare system. Owen expects to adopt an older child, because of the many teens in foster care needing forever homes.

Image result for owen and leo betty

Not long after he files, Owen receives a call. A social worker is coming over with a baby boy named Leo. We find out that Leo was placed in the foster care system (perhaps temporarily) because his birth mother, Betty, is unable to care for him at the time. She is battling an opiate addiction and is also homeless. Leo’s biological father is her drug dealer.

While their storyline has not played out in full yet, we can already see that Owen has connected with Leo and loves him as a son. Will he get the opportunity to become Leo’s forever dad? We will find out in Season 15! If Owen adopts Leo, though, we anticipate that an open adoption situation will be arranged, so that Leo, Betty, and Owen can all stay in touch.

Izzie is a Birth Mom

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Izzie Stevens was an intern and later resident in early seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, alongside characters like Meredith Grey, Cristina Yang, and George O’Malley. But did you know that she was also a birth mother? Before her career as a surgeon, at just a mere 16-years-old, Izzie faced an unplanned pregnancy. She also faced many hardships as a teen, having no friends due to her pregnancy and working hard to save for college on her own. Knowing she could not provide her daughter with the life she deserved, and knowing that Izzie had goals to become a doctor, she ultimately chose to make an adoption plan for her daughter.

In Season 2 of Grey’s Anatomy, as a doctor at the hospital, Dr. Stevens encounters a young new mother who is contemplating adoption for her newborn daughter.  She is struggling with her decision as she wants to be a good mom.  Dr. Stevens tells her “there is more than one way to be a good mother.”

Izzie wished to name her daughter Sarah, but her adoptive parents named her Hannah Klein. After 11 years, Izzie meets Hannah’s parents at the hospital. We learn that, at 11-years-old, Hannah is suffering from leukemia and in need of a bone marrow transplant. Izzie donates bone marrow to save her biological daughter’s life.

Fun Fact: Actress Katherine Heigl, who played Izzie on Grey’s Anatomy, is an adoptive mother! Read about her adoption story in our article here.

Shonda Rhimes is an Adoptive Mama

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Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey’s Anatomy, does more than just write adoption storylines – she also has a personal adoption story to share! The award-winning writer and producer is also the single mother of three daughters – Harper, Emerson, and Beckett. Rhimes adopted her oldest daughter, Harper, in June 2002 and adopted Emerson years later in February 2012. In September 2013, Rhimes welcomed her third daughter via surrogacy.

There are many other adoption stories weaved into the Grey’s Anatomy plot, but these are a few of our favorites. What do you think about how adoption is portrayed in Grey’s Anatomy? What do you look forward to in Season 15? Let us know in the comments below!


If you would like to learn more about adoption, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love. We extend our help and free adoption services to women facing unplanned pregnancies across the United States. We also help aspiring parents in Massachusetts build their families through adoption. Contact 800-722-7731 to learn more.

Respectful Ways to Talk About Adoption with Others

Adoption is an incredible way to start and grow a family. For many, however, adoption can also be a sensitive and emotional subject to discuss. Conversations about adoption, therefore, should be met with compassion and respect. In the United States, over 1.8 million children have joined their families through adoption. Even more Americans have been touched by adoption in one way or another, either by being adopted ourselves, adopting a child, or just knowing someone who has been a part of the equation.

This is one of many reasons Adoptions With Love wants to spread awareness on the importance of positive adoption language in everyday conversations. Whether you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, or were adopted, the language in which you speak about your experience with adoption can make a big impact on everyone involved. Even if you are not a part of the adoption triad, the language you use to talk about the subject can impact how others perceive it. In this article, Adoptions With Love will discuss some of the respectful ways to talk about adoption, including words and phrases to avoid.

Whether it is intended or not, some people will talk about adoption using phrases that feel very negative and that, as an adoptive family or birth parent, can feel quite hurtful. For example, some people may use the term “give up for adoption” in when referring to the selfless act of making an adoption plan for a child. Another common phrase is “real parents,” which some may unknowingly use when referring to a child’s biological parents. Adoptive parents would agree that they are very much real parents, putting in great time, care, and love needed to raise a healthy child.

As a member of the adoption triad, it is important that you become an advocate of adoption, and that you educate others on how to talk about adoption in a positive, respectful manner. When you hear inaccurate phrases of misinformation regarding adoption, do your best to correct it respectfully, without being defensive. Be an educator. For example:

If you are a birth parent who made an adoption plan, people may say to you, “I could never give my baby up like you did.” Your reply may be:

I did not “give up” my baby, I gave my baby the best possible life I could give at the time. I placed him/her in a loving home, with a stable and supportive family, where he/she will encounter so many new opportunities. I made a thoughtful adoption plan for my child’s life.

For more ideas, read one birth mother’s perspective here.

If you are an adoptive parent, you may hear people say, “You are a saint for adopting a child in need!” or “How lucky your child is to have found you!” In return, you may say:

We are the lucky ones, to be able to call ourselves parents. We needed our child, just as much as he/she needed us.

Adoptive parents also hear things like, “How could anyone give away such as a beautiful child? The birth mother must have been a teenager, poor, or on drugs.” Your reply may be:

While we want to respect our birth mother’s privacy, the truth is, most birth mothers who choose adoption are in their twenties. They are thoughtful young women who make a plan in their child’s best interest, to give their child the best possible life – We are so grateful that she chose us to fulfill it.

If you were adopted, or if you adopted a child, you may be asked questions such as, “Who are your real parents and why aren’t you with them?” The proper response would be:

My parents are my real parents. They raised me, fed me, taught me, supported me just like your parents do. If you are referring to my biological parents, that information is private. I can tell you that they loved me and wanted me to have the best possible life, and that life is here with my parents.

Positive vs. Negative Adoption Language Examples

If you have not been personally involved with adoption, it is important to be sensitive to how you talk about it. The impact of certain words can cause pain, even when unintended, if phrased the wrong way.  Here are some more examples of the most commonly used negative adoption language are listed below, as well as the positive phrases that should be used instead when you want to talk about adoption:

Don’t Say: Instead Use:
Real Parent Birth Parent or Biological Parent
Give Up for Adoption Make an Adoption Plan
Put Up for Adoption Choose Adoption
Keep Your Baby Parent Your Child
Unwanted Pregnancy Unintended Pregnancy
Unwanted Child Child Placed for Adoption
Adopted Child My Child / Their Child
Is Adopted Was Adopted
Adoptive Parent Parent
Track Down Parents Search
Adoptable Child Waiting Child
Relinquished Made an Adoption Plan

Other Dos and Don’ts on How to Talk About Adoption

Do recognize that a child will come to understand adoption gradually, as he or she grows, just like any other developmental leaps.

Don’t bluntly ask an adoptive parent if he/she plans on telling the child he/she is adopted. Most likely, this is already a conversation in the home. As most adoptive parents understand, it is important to openly discuss the adoption with the child continually throughout his/her life.

Do use a sympathetic and sensitive tone when discussing adoption. You do not know how much adoptive parents have been through with infertility, or other very personal factors that lead to the decision to adoption. You also do not know the emotional journey that birth parents experienced in making their decision.

Don’t ask adoptive parents how much the adoption cost. Children are not property to be purchased, and the fees that go toward the adoption process should not be openly discussed.

If you are an adoptive parent, Do discuss intercultural and/or interracial relationships among your family. Many blended families make it a point to celebrate their children’s culture and heritage – as they should! A person’s background is part of what makes them so special.

Don’t ignore your child’s ethnicity, as if it is not a positive part of his or her identity.

Keep a positive message is another important factor to keep in mind when discussing adoption. While you may have the best intentions when you say that a child is “so much better off to have you as his parent,” it is problematic. Why? You are assuming that the birth parent was unfit to raise a child. This statement also implies that the adoptive parents should be glorified. These are all common misconceptions of adoption that only continue to spread stereotypes and misinformation.

Positive language is the best way to talk about adoption because it helps debunk adoption myths and stigmas that adoption once had. It also helps educate others on this topic. In using positive adoption language, we celebrate and show respect to birth parents for making that loving, courageous, and selfless choice; to parents by adoption, we validate their role as their child’s forever family; and to adopted children, we recognize his/her story, family, and extended family.

For even more information on how to talk about adoption, please download our free Guide to Talking About Adoption below. If you are an adoptive family or expectant/birth parent looking to learn more about adoption, please do not hesitate to call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731. Our caring staff is available any day and any time.

How to Answer Others’ Questions About Adoption

The adoption journey is one that is both emotional and beautiful. Whether you are an adoptive parent or birth parent, you probably understand these feelings firsthand. As emotional and life-changing adoption was for you, it was one of the most positive decisions you have ever made. More than likely, you want to talk about it. You may be happy to answer others’ questions about adoption when they are truly curious about your experience. Sometimes, however, people ask tough questions that can be hard to answer.

Anyone closely involved with adoption may understand it is an incredibly sensitive process, but others on the outside – even relatives – may not. Even when intentions are good, feelings may get hurt because of the seemingly ignorant questions asked or comments made by others.

At Adoptions With Love, we want our adoptive parents and birth parents to feel confident in their decisions, and to be able to comfortably address the many adoption questions that will arise throughout theirs’ and their child’s life. We also see these questions as opportunities to help educate others about adoption and all its positive aspects. Here, we will address some of those adoption questions that may not be so easy to answer.

Adoption Questions & Answers for Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents make the decision to adopt for numerous reasons. You may have struggled with infertility, been influenced by another adoption, or simply are not in a relationship that enables you to conceive a child. These are all personal and private matters that are your business first and foremost. When someone bluntly asks, “Why did you adopt?” Do not be afraid to say that that information is personal and private. There is no more explanation necessary unless you truly desire to share. Some people may try to empathize with you, having responses such as, “Too bad you could not have children of your own.” Try not to take this personally. Instead, explain that they mean you could not have a child biologically but that your child is very much your own. By law, you are his/her parent(s).

Another common adoption question adoptive parents get all the time is, “What happened to your child’s real parents?” This one may be best handled with a bit of humor. You could reply, “Oh, dear, do I not look real again?” Or, to better drive home the point, “Last I checked, I am a very real parent. I am the one changing the diapers and staying up all hours of the night.” People who do not understand adoption often confuse the word “real” for “biological.” You may also respond with, “Do you mean his biological parents? If so, we have lots of great information about them but we are keeping that private for now.”

The topic of adoption fees can be a focus of fascination for some outsiders. Relatives, friends, or even strangers may just be curious about the expense or may be considering adopting themselves and looking for an inside point of view. Questions as bold as, “How much did he cost?” may pop up. This can, of course, take a parent by surprise. Think about your response carefully.

For example, you may explain, “We did not pay for our child. With adoption, you pay for legal, social work, and medical fees.” If a person is truly curious about costs, you may choose to share some general information while keeping your expenses private: “The average cost of adoption today is between $20- and $30,000, however grants, credits, and reimbursements can help with the costs.” You can also answer their question with a question: “Are you interested in adopting a child?”

Many people do not realize that most domestic adoptions today are open adoptions. Therefore, many adoption questions may be related to your child’s birth parents. You may be asked questions like, “Are you worried about his birth mother coming back for him?” or “Are you going to tell him about his birth parents?” These are those moments we mentioned earlier, which present great opportunity for you – the adoptive parent – to drop some knowledge and spread awareness about adoption. You can explain:

  • Your child is your child by law. Therefore, no one can take him/her away.
  • Your child already knows he/she is adopted. You talk about adoption openly and regularly with your child and will continue to do so as he/she grows. Therefore, it is not some big, bad secret that you will reveal someday (like what is sometimes seen on TV). If you have an open adoption, you may also take this time to explain that you maintain contact with your child’s birth parent(s), and that your child has/will have opportunities to meet her (or them) someday.

No matter the approach from others’ adoption questions, it is important to remind yourself that, unfortunately, many people are unaware and uneducated when it comes to adoption language. This will help you keep your cool and handle these adoption questions with grace and positivity – which will influence the way your child someday answers questions like these, too.

Adoption Questions & Answers for Birth Parents

As if making an adoption plan for your child was not hard enough, you may sometimes face some harsh and hurtful questions from others about your decision to place. It is important, however, to keep in mind where your original decision stemmed from: Love. Your selfless decision to create a plan for your child’s life – to choose a loving family and a stable home for your child to grow – was perhaps the most thoughtful and courageous choice you could have ever made for your child. Still, there will be adoption questions from those who do not quite understand the emotion and consideration that went into your adoption plan. Here is how to tackle some of their questions about adoption:

A very common question birth mothers are asked is, “Why did you give up your child?” In fact, it is very common to hear people say, “give up” and “put up” for adoption. These phrases are wrong and hearing them is a good opportunity for you to explain why. You may say something like, “I did not ‘give her up’, I chose to make an adoption plan for her. I looked through families and chose the perfect one to raise her, who could give her a stable home, financial support, and the best life possible. I planned for her/him. I gave him/her opportunity.

A common set of follow-up questions may sound something like, How come you didn’t want her? or “Don’t you love your baby?” Again, these are inaccurate remarks. You came to your decision to make an adoption plan out of love, and it is fair-game to say this: “Actually, I love her so much that I decided to carry her to term and give her a life better than what I could provide at the time.”

One of the birth mothers that chose adoption through Adoptions With Love suggests the same sort of response:

“Yes. More than the earth. More than you can imagine. Imagine what it takes to go through pregnancy, go through childbirth, hold your beautiful baby in your arms and accept that you cannot provide the life you think your child deserves. It’s impossible. It’s an impossible choice and it hurts. It’s the hardest choice I’ve ever made in my entire life, no contest. But the love you have for your child outweighs everything… You make that choice for your child, not for you, BECAUSE you love them so much.” (Read her full interview about adoption language here.)

Making an adoption plan for your child is something you should be proud of. So, when someone asks, “Do you regret your decision?” Just answer confidently, explaining how you brought this incredible person into the world, and this child brought more joy and love to her adoptive parents than they could have ever imagined. She made them the parents they have always wanted to be, and they can provide her with the life and opportunity she deserves. How could a person regret an incredible, life-changing move like that?

Some people may ask you if you ever think about your child or whether you want to see him/her again someday. Since most private adoptions in the U.S. are open adoptions, it is not the cut-off situation they are imagining. More than likely, you think about your child all the time, and you hope and plan to see him/her again someday. When you do, you will remind your child that he/she is loved very much. He/she will already know that, since you placed your child with such a loving adoptive family, who kept you and your family background an ongoing part of the discussion.

Reaching Out for More Guidance

No matter your position, adoption is a beautiful journey that requires time, patience, and plenty of heart. The staff at Adoptions With Love wants to help guide you through that process as smoothly and seamlessly as possible. Reach out to us any time of day at 1-800-722-7731, or text us at 617-777-0072, for more advice on answering questions about adoption. Or, you may download our free “Guide to Talking About Adoption” below.

A Father’s Day Message to All the Fathers Touched by Adoption

Father’s Day is a special time for us to honor all the men in our lives who helped to make us who we are today – those who raised us and those who gave us life. There is no single definition of a father; no single word that buckets all fathers together. Every father (and father-to-be) has a story. Whether you are father by birth or by adoption, or even just setting out on your adoption journey to become a dad, you deserve some recognition and love on this special occasion.

Here at Adoptions With Love, we recognize the work, care, and sacrifice needed to become a great dad. Well, Dad, this one is for you. Here, we will acknowledge the many different roles that men take on when it comes to helping create or raise a family.

For the Adoptive Fathers: You are the Real Deal!

Dads are men who parent and raise a child, no matter the biological connection. DNA does not factor into the complex and joyous role that is being a true “dad.” Adoptive fathers (or simply, fathers) make the profound decision to care for a child and love him/her with every resource possible. From the financial commitment to emotional support and guidance, adoptive fathers help their children grow into incredible adults. Father’s Day is certainly a day for you, adoptive dad. You are part of the reason your child is so happy, so engaged, and so spirited.

Adoptions With Love has the rare opportunity to meet with prospective adoptive families much like yours, and to discuss the hopes and dreams of the parents looking to adopt. We often hear from waiting adoptive dads who look forward to playing ball in the backyard, taking the family on road trips, and making memories to last a lifetime.

In fact, Adoptions With Love recently heard from one father who adopted an infant son through our agency. In an open letter to his son, Ben, he shared:

“Your Mom and I often lay in bed at night and talk about how lucky we are. Of course, we did not plan to have years of struggle starting a family.  We did our best to stay positive, optimistic and committed to our family plan. I will never forget the day we received the call and the day we first met. These are memories I will treasure forever. You have enriched our lives in ways that neither your Mom nor I could have ever imagined.”

It is clear to see that the love this father has for Ben is real, and that he is just as much as father as anyone else raising a child. You can read his full letter here.

For the Dads Waiting to Adopt: Let the Journey Begin!

For the men who are amid the adoption process and/or awaiting your child to be matched with you: Your job has already begun. You will soon become a role model to this growing person who will forever look up to you for guidance and support. Adoption is a beautiful, yet often long and winding journey, full of peaks and valleys. You deserve to be celebrated on Father’s Day as much as those men already playing the part.

“If there’s anyone out there who is trying and they’re just losing hope…just hang in there. Try every avenue; try anything you can do, because you’ll get there. You’ll end up with a family, and it’s so worth it. It is the most ‘worth it’ thing.” – Jimmy Fallon.

For those hopeful fathers just starting the adoption journey, Adoptions With Love can help guide you through the adoption process. Our caring staff will sit down with you to get to know your family, and to talk about your hopes and needs as well as Massachusetts’ adoption requirements. We will help you navigate everything from the home study and application process to the adoption finalization in court. We also provide post-adoption counseling for adoptive families, and have a dedicated eBook about the Massachusetts adoption process.

For the Fathers Who Helped Make an Adoption Plan

While Birth Father’s Day is not an official day, you should know that you are irreplaceable in your child’s life. You are an inherent piece of your child. You helped bring a beautiful child into this world – and provided him/her the opportunity to be raised by an amazing family with an abundance of love to give. The fact of the matter is simple: You lovingly made an adoption plan to ensure your child has the best possible life, even if it was not with you and his/her birth mother. Making an adoption plan is one of the most courageous and selfless acts a father can do for his child.  The profound importance of this impacts your   child and his or her adoptive parents. The adoptive parents are eternally grateful for your role in completing their family. You deserve recognition and celebration on this Father’s Day, for helping to make a family come together.

Father’s Day for All the Dads

Great dads of all walks of life – no matter their role – should be celebrated on Father’s Day. Whether you are an adoptive father, a prospective adoptive father, or a birth father who made an adoption plan – you are a hero! You play an important role in a child’s life and help shape who they will become as an adult. Be proud of your position in this incredible journey.

Adoptions With Love supports all fathers looking to adopt or make an adoption plan. Please reach out to our caring staff any time at 1-800-722-7731, text us confidentially at 1-617-777-0072, or email us at