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Common Open Adoption Challenges & How to Handle Them

When many women first come to Adoptions With Love, they are considering open adoption for their babies. They know the positive outcomes of open adoption, however, often worry that openness (or contact) with an adoptive family might also be too overwhelming. They are unsure which level of open adoption will be most comfortable, or how much communication they should commit to at the time. Similarly, we frequently hear from hopeful parents that are hesitant to commit to an open adoption relationship. They worry that having contact with biological parents might be too confusing for their future child. They are unsure if they should consider openness as an option for their family.

These are common concerns among both waiting adoptive parents and newly expectant/birth parents. They know the benefits that open adoption can bring to a child, but also fear the complicated relationships and conflicting conversations that openness can create. If you are considering open adoption, but are worried about problems arising after placement, you are not alone.

As an open adoption agency with over 32 years of experience, Adoptions With Love is very familiar with the challenges that can arise post-adoption. We have helped many expectant mothers, birth parents, and adoptive parents navigate sensitive adoption conversations, hard-to-meet expectations, and other open adoption concerns. We have also helped families shape very successful, healthy open adoption relationships by working through those challenges together. We can also help you.

Below are some common open adoption concerns among expectant, birth, and adoptive parents:

Challenge: Openness is “too much” –

Many expectant/birth parents will initially choose a fully open adoption for their baby, knowing that they want to stay in touch over the years. Sometimes, however, that level of openness can be overwhelming at first. Choosing adoption is a very emotional journey, one that involves both grief and loss. For some birth mothers, it may unexpectedly become too difficult to receive updates from the adoptive family. Other birth parents may decide that ongoing visits, phone calls, and emails are too overwhelming, and need space to move forward with their lives. Sometimes, adoptive parents may also need space in the beginning to bond with their new baby.

Resolution: A successful open adoption involves honesty. Be honest with your feelings and your comfort level. If anything changes, let the other family and/or your adoption counselor know. At Adoptions With Love, open adoption plans remain open for renegotiation as needs and feelings change. You may also consider a mediated or semi-open adoption through Adoptions With Love. Adoptive families send us letters and pictures, and we send these to the biological parents if and when they wish. In a semi-open adoption, “too much” is not much of a problem at all.

Challenge: Lack of privacy –

Open adoption involves an exchange of information between the birth parents and an adoptive family: names, phone numbers, emails, and sometimes photos of one another. When boundaries are not defined in open adoption agreements, this sharing of information can lead to overstepping. For example, a birth parent might share a photo of the baby online, with which the adoptive parents are not comfortable.

Resolution: When making an open adoption plan, it is absolutely essential to set boundaries, limitations and expectations. If you are an expectant/birth parent, make sure you are comfortable with everything outlined in your open adoption agreement. Ensure that the adoptive family understands and respects your needs and privacy. If you are an adoptive parent, you should also set boundaries in the best interest of your child. Adoptions With Love recommends keeping open adoption conversations offline or limited to a private, confidential platform. This will ensure that no personal information is lost to the vast World Wide Web. Read our eBook, “The Role of Social Media Among the Adoption Triad” for more tips on setting boundaries for social media.

Challenge: Undefined Roles –

Many families considering open adoption have concerns about the role of the birth parents: Will having a “birth mother” be confusing for the child? Will the adoptive parents have to share parental roles with the biological parents? In a successful open adoption, the answer is usually “no.” Children in open adoptions typically have a clear understanding of who each parent is and what role they play in the family. Sometimes, however, openness can create confusion for the parents without preliminary discussion. They may not know how to refer to the birth parents, or how much to involve them in caring for the baby or in important family decisions.

Resolution: Along with establishing boundaries, it is important to have preliminary discussions about roles and expectations in an open adoption. Understand that the adoptive parents are the daily caregivers, the nurturers, and that the birth parents are an important part of the child’s biology and roots. In the beginning, decide on names together – not for the child, but for the birth family. Does the birth mother want the child to call her “birth mom,” by her name, or something else? This will also help alleviate any confusion for the child.

Challenge: Unfulfilled Promises –

Unfilled promises are something that both birth parents and adoptive parents fear in open adoption situations. They worry about being cut-off or getting more/less contact than originally discussed. Many adoptive parents worry about getting their child’s hopes up, only to disappoint them if communication falls through.

Resolution: Do not make promises you know you cannot keep. Never commit to an openness level that you cannot maintain. Most of all think about your child and his or her best interests. How will your child feel if a promise is broken? How would that affect your long-term relationship with your child? Always keep respect, honesty, compromise, empathy, and commitment at the heart of your open adoption plan. An open adoption agreement and the involvement of an adoption agency can also help prevent unfulfilled promises and expectations.

To some people, open adoption sounds complicated and confusing. To others, it sounds like a very positive and bonding experience. If the open adoption is approached with care and respect, it can be an amazing gift to everyone involved.  The best interests of the child are paramount in making an open adoption plan. You can learn more about creating healthy open adoption relationships, and how to prevent open adoption problems, in our new eBook, “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption.”

If at any point you need help in your open adoption, whether it is starting a plan or navigating a difficult conversation, know that Adoptions With Love is here for you. Call us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to speak with one of our compassionate adoption counselors.

 


Happy President’s Day! Famous Presidents Touched by Adoption (& Their Inspiring Words)

President’s Day is right around the corner. On February 19, 2018, we will honor the many great leaders of our great nation. This year, Adoptions With Love would like to celebrate some of the nation’s former leaders, by sharing the stories of famous presidents who have been touched by adoption.

It is important to note that not all these presidents were personally involved in the adoption process. Not all these leaders knew adoption the same way we know it today. Adoption was very different decades ago. One thing is for certain, though: these figures held their families – and families nationwide, no matter their make-up – very close to their hearts.

President Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln was just a young boy when his mother passed away. When he was ten-years-old, his biological father re-married to a woman named Sarah Bush Johnston. She and Abraham quickly formed a very strong bond. Sarah encouraged Abraham to read, write, and practice public speaking. She also encouraged his love of critical thinking, and the two would spend hours together in deep conversation. Lincoln used all of that brain power to grow up and become the 16th President of the United States. He attributed much of his success to his stepmother, Sarah, who raised him and whom he called “mother.”

Lincoln has been famously quoted – in speaking of his stepmother: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

President Gerald Ford

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The 38th President Ford was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in 1913. His parents divorced when he was two years old. After his mother remarried, he was adopted by his stepfather, Gerald R. Ford, although his name was not legally changed until 1935. When he was 17 years old, his parents sat him down to explain his circumstances surrounding his birth. He met his birth father the same year, but the two never formed a relationship.

When speaking of his parents, those who raised him, Ford has said: “My stepfather was a magnificent person and my mother equally wonderful. So I couldn’t have written a better prescription for a superb family upbringing.”

 

President Ronald Reagan

Image result for president ronald reaganWe recently wrote about President Reagan in our article about famous adoptive fathers. Because long before the presidential election, Ronald Reagan and his wife, actress Jane Wyman, became parents. They had their birth daughter, Maureen, in 1941 and just a few years later, adopted their son, Michael.

On his adoption, Michael Reagan has said: “My parents, Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman never referred to me as adopted. I was always their son.”

President Reagan wholeheartedly believed in adoption as a beautiful way to grow a family. He also knew that it was an incredible, loving, and selfless sacrifice for women facing unplanned pregnancy. President Reagan was so passionate about adoption, he declared the first National Adoption Awareness Week in 1984.

In a 1988 proclamation, Reagan wrote:

“Belonging to a family is a natural and vital component of life, and every child deserves to be a member of a loving and nurturing family. For many children, this becomes possible through life in an adoptive family.”

President Bill Clinton

The former president was born William Jefferson Blythe III in Hope, Arkansas, in 1946. His father passed away in an accident just three months before his birth, and his mother was unable to financially provide for her baby. She chose to go to school to become a nurse. While his mother was studying in New Orleans, Bill was raised by his grandparents, Eldridge and Edith Cassidy. His mother returned to Arkansas four years later. She married Roger Clinton, Sr., who officially adopted Bill as his son.

On the topic of adoption, President Clinton said: “We must work tirelessly to make sure that every boy and girl in America who is up for adoption has a family waiting to reach him or her. This is a season of miracles, and perhaps there is no greater miracle than finding a loving home for a child who needs one.”

President Clinton was so touched by adoption that, in 1995, he expanded National Adoption Awareness Week to the entire month of November. A few years later, Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services to expand the use of the Internet as a tool for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.

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Other Presidential Quotes on Adoption:

“As an unselfish, life-affirming, lifelong commitment, adoption is rooted in the virtues that define and strengthen a family and that, in turn, enrich the lives of individuals and the communities in which they live.”
– President George H. Bush, November 10th, 1992

“Through adoption, Americans can forever change not only a child’s life but also their own.”
– President George W. Bush, November 1st, 2002

An excerpt from President Barack Obama’s National Adoption Month Proclamation in 2011:

“The decision to adopt a child has brought profound joy and meaning into the lives of Americans across our Image result for president obamacountry.  Parents are moved to adopt for reasons as unique and varied as the children they embrace, but they are unified by the remarkable grace of their acts.  Adoptive families come in all forms…

“As parents and as family members, it is our task to do all we can to give our children the very best.  In caring for our youth and putting them before ourselves, we make a lasting investment not only in their future, but also in the prosperity and strength of our Nation in the years to come.  This month and throughout the year, let us recommit to ensuring every child is given the sustaining love of family, the assurance of a permanent home, and the supportive upbringing they deserve.”

No matter the circumstance, adoption has played a role in the lives of many great influencers in our country. As we celebrate our nation’s presidents, let us also honor those parents who helped raise and shape these inspiring leaders. All of the famous names listed above grew up to become incredible Americans with passion, integrity, and the motivation to achieve great success. Whether they were touched by adoption or simply adoption advocates, let their stories serve as great examples of the American Dream this President’s Day.

If you live in Massachusetts and are interested in adoption, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents. If you know or love someone who is pregnant and would like to learn more about this choice, please call Adoptions With Love toll-free at 800-722-7731. We are here for you.


What is an Open Adoption Agreement?

Whether you are an expectant/birth mother who has just selected a family for her baby, or a waiting adoptive parent who is considering open adoption, the topic of an “open adoption agreement” is sure to arise as you make your adoption plan.

An open adoption agreement is a formal, post-adoption contract that outlines expectations and boundaries for ongoing contact between birth parents and an adoptive family. In other words, it is a detailed guide stating if, how, and how much the birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child will stay in touch after the adoption takes place. This agreement is typically developed by the birth parents and adoptive parents together, but written by a licensed adoption agency. It begins when the adoption is finalized, and lasts until the child turns 18. At that point, the child (as a young adult) can make decisions independently regarding the amount of contact he or she would like with the birth family.

Many adoption agencies today offer open adoption agreements because of the benefits they bring. Open adoption agreements can ease many anxieties that arise during the adoption process, such as: What if the adoptive parents want to meet in-person, but I am not ready for that? Or, what if I want more (or less) contact with my child’s birth family? What if the other party changes their phone number or address? What happens then? Open adoption contracts can also ensure that everyone stays happy, and that promises are kept.

In an open adoption agreement, there are less unknowns. This is because the birth parents and adoptive parents have come together to make a plan. They have discussed, whether directly or through an agency, the amount of communication they are comfortable having with one another post-placement. They share a mutual, unconditional love for their child and understand that, above all, the open adoption agreement was made in the best interest of their baby.

Like every adoption plan, every open adoption agreement is unique. They are based on the needs and wishes of each family involved. Some open adoption agreements, for example, will require letters and pictures to be sent to the birth mother once a year or more often. Other open adoption agreements will involve more intimate interactions, whether through phone calls, emails, texting, video chats, or in-person visits.

If you are an expectant/birth mother considering open adoption, know that this level of contact (and its frequency) are choices that you can make. Your open adoption plan and post-adoption contract will be completely based on your needs and comfort level. There is no minimum or maximum amount of contact you must have: Adoptions With Love can help you define the perfect amount of “openness” in your adoption plan. Rest assured that all our families have agreed to at least a semi-open adoption, meaning you can receive letters and pictures from the family through our adoption agency, if and when you wish.

An open adoption agreement gives both birth and adoptive families the opportunity to share their wishes, set clear boundaries, and establish expectations for the future: what form of contact they will have, how much contact they will have, how frequently they will be in touch, how the child will be involved, and also if that contact will be mediated by an adoption agency. Having this plan in place, and understanding it on both sides, will help ensure that communication and relationships stay consistent over the years.

It is important to note that open adoption agreements are usually written in accordance with the laws of each state. In many states, these post-adoption contracts are legal and binding. However, some leave room for renegotiation over the years. Open adoptions agreements usually include language that all parties take into consideration the best interests of the child throughout the longevity of the agreement.  At Adoptions With Love, for example, you will always have the opportunity to adjust the amount of openness in your contract as your family’s needs change. Please do not hesitate to contact Adoptions With Love to find out more about open adoption laws in your area.

Whether you are pregnant, have just given birth, or are an adoptive family considering open adoption, Adoptions With Love can help you create an open adoption agreement that works for everyone involved. Please call us at 800-722-7731 or visit adoptionswithlove.org/contact-us to learn more.


10 Famous Women Touched by Adoption: Adoptive Mothers, Birth Mothers, and Celebrities Who Are Adoptees

Adoption is never an easy decision, but it is one of the most loving decisions a woman can make for her child when faced with an unplanned pregnancy. It is also a beautiful way to grow a family for those who cannot have children. Maybe adoption has touched your life in some way. It has also touched the lives of many different female celebrities who we know and love.

When most people think of celebrity adoptions, they think of the Jolie-Pitt clan. But Angelina is not the only adoptive mama in Hollywood. Adoptions With Love has put together a list of some other famous women who have an adoption story to share – some who have adopted, some who were adopted, and some who lovingly chose an adoption plan for their babies. Take a look!

  1. Kristin Davis (Adoptive Mother)Image result for kristin davis daughter

Most of us know Charlotte from Sex and the City as the character who constantly dreamed of getting married and having children – before, of course, adopting a daughter from China. Kristin Davis, like her role as Charlotte on the hit TV series, also chose to grow her family through adoption. Davis is a single mother to five-year-old daughter, Gemma Rose, who was adopted in 2011 through a domestic adoption agency, and is also a spokesperson for interracial adoption. On her own adoption story, the actress says:

“Adoption is a huge leap of faith for everyone involved. It has been a profound experience for me.”

  1. Sandra Bullock (Adoptive Mother)

You may know this Oscar-winning actress as “Miss Congeniality,” or Leigh Anne Tuohy on The Blind Side, but behind-the-screens, she is simply known as “mom.” Sandra Bullock is the mother of two children, Louis and Laila, who she adopted from foster care in Louisiana. Word has it that she is in the process of adopting a third child, who she will welcome home before the holidays this year. “My family is blended and diverse, nutty, and loving and understanding,” she said in a 2015 PEOPLE interview. “That’s a family.”

  1. Nicole Kidman (Adoptive Mother)

Nicole Kidman is well-known for many roles, but her most recent work really struck a chord with us (and with her) – In early 2017, we watched Kidman star as the adoptive mother of Saroo Brierly in the heart-wrenching film, LION (which Adoptions With Love covered here!). The actress confesses that she was drawn to this role specifically because she is an adoptive mother – she adopted two children, Isabella and Connor, in the early 90’s with ex-husband Tom Cruise. LION, she says, is a “love letter” to them.

On adoption and being a mother, she says, “It’s not about anything else other than ‘I wanted you.’ It’s that deep and personal, and whatever your journey is, I’m here to love and support you.”

  1. Madonna (Adoptive Mother)

This pop-star is also the mama of six children, four of whom were adopted from Malawi, Africa – 11-year-olds David Banda and Mercy James and four-year-old twins Esther and Stella. Madonna has a continued relationship with her children’s native country. In 2006, the singer founded Raising Malawi, a charity that supports orphans in Malawi through health, educational, and community support.

  1. Katherine Heigl (Adoptive Mother)

Image result for katherine heigl childrenEven before she became an award-winning actress, Katherine Heigl knew that she wanted to adopt children. When Katherine was just three-years-old, her mother adopted her sister Meg from Korea. Katherine Heigl explains that she wanted a family that resembled the family in which she was raised, and adopted her daughter Naleigh from Korea in 2009. A few years after, Heigl and her husband adopted newborn Adalaide from Louisiana. In December 2016, the couple welcomed biological son, Josh, into the world, and may even continue to grow their family down the road. “I’d get pregnant again, and I still am very inspired by adoption,” Heigl shares. “I also have been thinking a lot about fostering.”

In an interview with Parent & Child Magazine, Heigl shared, “Anyone who doesn’t have experience with adoption wonders, does love for a child come through DNA? I knew it didn’t. My mother had biological children and an adopted child and said it made absolutely no difference. They’re yours.”

  1. Faith Hill (Adopted Person)

Faith Hill is one of the most successful country artists of all time, and is also an advocate for adoption. This is largely due to the success of her own. Faith Hill was adopted in 1967 by Ted and Edna Perry. The Perry’s had two biological sons and long wished for a daughter, but were told they could not have any more children biologically. “I was adopted into this incredible home, a loving, positive environment,” Hill boasts. But growing up, she also felt a void. “I had this yearning, this kind of darkness that was also inside me.” Hill desired to find her birth parents. Hill met her biological mother and brother in her 20s, and was fulfilled in finally finding someone that looked like her. She says of her birth mother’s choice:

“I have a lot of respect for my birth mother and no feeling of anger or any of that. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.”

  1. Snooki (Adopted Person)

Despite her “Guido” style and love for Italian culture, many fans might be shocked to know that Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi is actually of Chilean heritage. The Jersey Shore star was adopted from Santiago, Chile at six-months-old. She was raised in both New York and New Jersey by Italian-American parents, Helen and Andy Polizzi. In a recent interview, Snooki revealed that she has researched her birth family, but has no interest in meeting them currently. She considers her adoptive family her “real” parents and that it may be too touchy a subject for her children at this time.

  1. Kristin Chenoweth (Adopted Person)

Famed Broadway actress Kristen Chenoweth has always known she was adopted, and is very open about sharing her adoption story – as well as her remarkably positive perspective of adoption – with others. While the star recognizes that adoption is not always easy, she encourages the world to see adoption as a “full-circle blessing.” She explains in her National Adoption Day blog post:

“First of all, it’s a blessing (and a huge sacrifice) for a birth parent to make the decision to give his/her baby a better life. Sometimes people can’t take care of that baby just yet… But what a gift they are giving to both that child and the family who wants to adopt.

Next, if you’re thinking about adopting a child, remember that it’s a gift you’re getting and it comes with just as much responsibility as if you had your child biologically. On top of that, it’s a beautiful blessing that you were chosen to take care of this child and become his or her parent.

And then lastly, as an adopted child, I encourage other adoptees to remember what blessed lives we have. We weren’t abandoned; we were chosen. We were given a chance. I’m not saying it’s not hard or that it’s easy for people to understand. But it really isn’t for the world to understand; it’s for the people who are involved.”

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  1. Joni Mitchell (Birth Mother)

Joni Mitchell was not always a Grammy-winning folksinger with platinum albums. At age 20, when she was still struggling to make it into the music scene, Joni found herself penniless and pregnant. She was not married at the time and was afraid to tell her parents about the baby. The biological father was not in the picture and, unable to provide for the baby on her own, Joni Mitchell chose to make an adoption plan. “I kept trying to find some kind of circumstance where I could stay with her,” she told the Los Angeles Times, but ultimately made a choice in the best interest of her daughter. Joni Mitchell and her biological daughter, now 52 years old, reunited in 1997 and have a continued relationship.

  1. Kate Mulgrew (Birth Mother)

You may know Kate Mulgrew as “Red” on the very popular TV series, Orange is the New Black, but did you know that she is also a birth mother who chose adoption? Mulgrew was a working actress in 1977 when she found herself faced with an unplanned pregnancy. She explains, “I was single, alone and flooded with terror. But I knew I would have that baby.” The biological father suggested abortion, but that was not an option for Mulgrew, who felt that adoption was the only choice she could make. It was best for her baby.

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Adoption touches all types of families, even those with big Hollywood names. Among these ten brave, compassionate, and selfless women, we also recognize celebrities like Hoda Kotb, Sheryl Crow, Jenna Ushkowitz, Roseanne Barr, Angelina Jolie, Jamie Lee Curtis, and the millions of other women affected by adoption. Do you know of any other famous women touched by adoption? Share their stories here!

If you would like to grow your family through adoption, please visit adoptionswithlove.org/adoptive-parents. If you are 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 800-722-7731.


National Adoption Day: Essex Probate Court November 17, 2017

November was National Adoption Month.  On November 17th we were pleased and honored to participate in the first ever National Adoption Day Celebration at the Essex County Probate Court.  We finalized 5 adoptions that day.

In addition to finalizing many adoptions, we celebrated adoption and the families formed by adoption.

Adoption is the legal process of creating a family.  In our society, the word family has taken on many different meanings.

It was a very exciting day for all the families.  Several families brought extended family members and others brought themselves and their child.

Ben and Julia, whose adoption of Isabella was finalized that day, invited her biological mother Stacey and her two children, Cassie & Charlie, along with grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles and friends.  This was a first for AWL and the Judge that the biological family was present at the finalization.  I was quite taken that after the formal ceremony, Isabella’s grandparents all hugged Stacey and thanked her.  Their love and gratitude was sincere. They are a snap shot into an open adoption; with adoptive parents, biological family and extended family all brought together through Isabella… they create a new family by adoption.

national adoption day 2017

I want to share a story with you of a family created through adoption 30 years ago.

Peggy was an 18 year old high school graduate, heading to college, when she discovered she was pregnant.  Peggy went to her parents and the father of her baby.  Together they decided they the best option was to make an adoption plan for her expected baby.  Peggy found AWL and with the assistance of AWL, she found the perfect family for her baby, Ginger, Dan and their young son Adam.  One of the reasons Peggy selected Ginger and Dan is that she wanted her little girl to have a sibling.  Peggy’s siblings and her extended family have always been an important part of her life.  Peggy met Ginger and Dan when Margo was placed with them.

Peggy made the decision not to have ongoing contact with Ginger, Ken and Margo until Margo was ready for some contact.  Peggy kept in contact with AWL, updating us with her new addresses and events in her life.  Peggy graduated from college, became a nurse, married and had a child.

Fast forward 16 years: with the support from her parents, Margo contacted AWL and said she was ready to meet her birth mother.  Ginger and Dan had shared all the information they were given when Margo was placed with them.  Margo met with me and it was clear that she was ready to meet Peggy.  I contacted Peggy and met with her and her husband, Tom.   She was 8 months pregnant with her third child and ready to move forward to meet Margo; the teenager who was the infant she placed for adoption 16 years ago.

In Margo’s words, these are some of the reasons she wanted to meet Peggy:

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was adopted. For me growing up, it was always just a fact: that my birth mother made an adoption plan for me because she loved me, and that my adoptive parents are crazy about me. I am very much a part of my family. Friends who have known me for years comment on their disbelief that my brother Adam and I are not biologically related. We share so many mannerisms; so many inside jokes, and truly bring out the ten-year-old in each other…. As much as I felt loved and fulfilled in my adopted family, there was always what I described as a hole in my heart. Knowing that my birth mother Peggy placed me out of love, but not quite understanding what that meant, left me with a lot of curiosity…… I thought about her constantly and sometimes had fantasies that I had crossed paths with her when I saw someone whom I resembled on the street or in a magazine.”

There was a lot of fear, anxiety and excitement on everyone’s part for this reunion.  On February 14th, 2003, Margo and Peggy met for the second time.

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Shortly thereafter, Margo and her parents and brother met Peggy’s parents and then her extended Family.

Margo graduated from HS and chose to attend college in CA.  Whenever Margo returned to the east coast, she always would visit Peggy, Tom and her half-sisters.

A family has been formed out of love and respect for one another.

There have been some stressful times, when different parties felt anxious and nervous, maybe even a little threatened as these new relationships were forming.  Everyone was careful to maintain their boundaries; always keeping in mind, Margo’s best interests.

One of the most beautiful pieces of this story is when Margo graduated from college Peggy and her parents joined Ginger, Ken and Adam in CA and they all stayed at the same B&B.  They are an extended family formed by adoption.

I am blessed that Margo and Peggy have made me part of their process of creating a new family.

It is important to note that not all adoptions are open; each family figures out what works for them.  Many birth parents are not ready to have a relationship immediately after placement.  They need time to grieve and get their lives back together; they need to find a new normal.  Relationships ebb and flow over time.  What I have learned is that we all need to be flexible, listen to one another and have respect for each other.

We, at AWL, are always here to help navigate the adoption journey.


6 Tips for Ongoing, Open Adoption Conversations

If you read our latest guide, “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption,” you may know that open adoption is a type of adoption involving an open relationship between a child’s birth parent(s) and adoptive family. It enables both families to keep in touch over the years, and is proven to be very beneficial for a child.

An open adoption relationship can involve any level of openness. In some cases, a birth mother will choose to receive letters and picture updates from the adoptive family. Some families will stay in touch through direct emails or phone conversations. Some open adoptions involve in-person visits. In any open adoption, it is important to ensure that there is healthy, respectful communication between everyone involved.

Whether you are making an open adoption plan for your baby, are considering open adoption for your family, or already have an open adoption relationship, you are in the right place. Adoptions With Love has provided six open adoption tips below, to help you facilitate and navigate healthy adoption conversations.

1. Use Positive Adoption Language

Like any adoption, open adoption is an emotional journey. It involves many delicate relationships. As an expectant, birth, or adoptive parent, it is important to choose your words wisely in adoption conversations. Show care, respect, and empathy in all that you say:

  • Say “make an adoption plan” instead of “give up for adoption”
  • Do not say a child “is adopted;” if necessary, say he or she “was adopted” or “came into our family through adoption”
  • Do not refer to birth parents as “real parents”
  • Adoptive parents are just “parents”
  • A pregnancy is not always “unwanted,” that is why we should say “unplanned” or “unintended”

Positive adoption language is essential for healthy dialogue in an open adoption relationship. It shows respect and consideration for the other parties, and allows you to reflect adoption in a positive light. This will enable your child to see his or her adoption positively, as well.

2. Set and Respect Boundaries

In an open adoption relationship, it is also important to be clear about your wishes and needs from the very beginning. If you are an expectant/birth mother, you deserve to be completely comfortable with the level of communication in your adoption plan. For example, if you are not ready for in-person visits or direct phone conversations with your child’s family, it is okay to say so. Ask the parents to respect your needs and boundaries as you heal. If you are an adoptive parent, it is also okay to discuss limitations with your child’s birth family if they are made with the child’s best interest in mind. There should be a mutual respect for everyone’s needs, as well.

3. Understand Expectations

Much like with boundaries, it is also important to set and respect expectations for ongoing communication. When making an open adoption plan, the adoptive family, birth parents, and an adoption agency should all discuss what is expected of one another. For example, does a birth mother expect the family to send pictures on a regular basis? Does she expect to be told of any significant health-related issues with her child? Does the adoptive family expect the birth mother to inform them of a phone number or address change? Having clear expectations on both sides (and understanding those expectations) will help ensure that communication remains consistent as the years go on, and that no one is left hurt or disappointed. No one should make promises they are not able to keep.

4. Always Be Honest

Be honest about your needs, your wishes, and your expectations. Never at any point should you feel completely conflicted or overwhelmed in your open adoption relationship. You can avoid this by being honest. For example, if you are a birth parent and want more updates of your child, you should talk about this openly with your child’s family and an adoption agency professional. If you are an adoptive parent and feel your level of openness is preventing you from bonding with your baby, it is okay to voice this as well. Together with an adoption agency, you all can talk about adjusting the level of contact in your open adoption plan.

5. Be Flexible

All relationships require fluidity, but this is especially true in open adoption relationships. As an expectant mother, birth parent, or adoptive family, it is important to remember that things can change over the years. A birth mother may get married or have other children. An adoptive family may develop a busier schedule as their child grows, going to dance class, music lessons, sports games, summer camps, etc. Either family may request more (or less) contact in the open adoption. Communication in an adoption relationship can fluctuate as needs change. Most significantly, it can change as the child grows older  and begins to make decisions. He or she may request more or less contact with birth family members, and these wishes must also be respected.

6. Seek Professional Help if Needed

Many open adoption agencies offer post-adoption counseling and support. If you ever hit a bump in your open adoption, you can always reach out to a professional for help. Sometimes, an outside, unbiased, and professional perspective is best for resolving any open adoption challenges that arise.

Adoptions With Love is a private, non-profit adoption agency offering open, semi-open, and closed adoption plans. We offer free-of-cost counseling services to expectant/birth mothers considering adoption. We are also available any time of day, any day of week, to answer your call. Contact us toll-free at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072 to learn more about open adoption. You may also download our free guide below for more open adoption tips.

open adoption communication


The Pros & Cons of Open Adoption

When many people think of adoption, they think only of the adoptions that happened decades ago: when children were not always told they were adopted, when many birth parents did not have a relationship with the adoptive family let alone know where their child was placed, when many adoptive parents only had limited information regarding their child’s biology or history. Times have changed.

Today, the majority of domestic infant adoptions involve some level of openness, meaning the adoptive family and the expectant/birth mother has a relationship to some extent. For many expectant/birth parents, this means choosing and meeting with an adoptive family for their baby. For many families, this means having an ongoing relationship with the birth mother after the adoption takes place (whether through letters, pictures, emails, phone calls, or contact through an adoption agency). Open adoption plans come in all different forms, take shape in many different ways, and will vary depending on a birth mother’s needs and the best interest of the child.

If you are here now, you may be considering an open adoption plan for your baby. You might be weighing the pros and cons of open adoption, wondering if it is the right choice for you long-term. Will it prevent your child from having a “normal” life? Will it prevent you from moving forward with your own life?

On the other hand, you might be a prospective adoptive parent considering open adoption for your family. You may have heard how much openness can benefit the child, but are also concerned that an ongoing relationship might confuse your child.

These concerns are common among those considering open adoption. However, they are not always true. Open adoption, in most cases, benefits all who are touched by it – birth parents, adoptive parents, and especially adopted children. As an open adoption agency, Adoptions With Love often hears from both women and families who say the pros of open adoption far outweigh the cons.

As with any type of adoption, however, there are both pros and cons of open adoption plans. Here, we will walk you through the benefits and challenges to help you decide whether open adoption is right for you and your child.

Pros of Open Adoption for Birth Parents:

  • You can choose the perfect family for your baby. Open adoption gives you the opportunity to select a family to raise your child. This is one of the most loving decisions an expectant/birth mom can make for her baby. Through an open adoption agency, you can also meet, speak with, and get to know this family if you wish.
  • You can have a continuing relationship with your child as he or she grows. In an open adoption, the adoptive parents and birth parents typically have some ongoing communication with one another. If it is agreed upon, this can also involve direct contact between the child and biological parents. For many birth parents, this brings great peace of mind in knowing that their son or daughter is doing well, and eliminates the unknowns often associated with adoption.
  • You can answer your child’s questions about his or her adoption story. Children are naturally and healthily curious. At some point, your child may have questions like, “What is my biological father like?” or “Why was I placed for adoption?” In an open adoption, you will have the ability to answer those questions for your child and explain how adoption was a choice made with love.

Cons of Open Adoption for Birth Parents:

  • There is less anonymity in open adoption. In an open adoption arrangement, there is less privacy for birth mothers. Open adoption typically involves an exchange of some identifying information, which can include names, email addresses, or phone numbers.
    • If you do not wish to share identifying information with your child’s family, you may opt for a more closed or mediated adoption plan. Your adoption social worker will discuss all your options with you.
  • There is less “closure.” Some birth parents expect closure when they place their child for adoption, and this does not always come in an open plan. Open adoption, rather, brings new beginnings for birth parents and adoptive families, including new relationships stemmed from ongoing communication.
    • If closure is important to you, you can always choose a closed adoption plan. You may also choose to open communication at a later time.
  • Some birth parents feel pressured to keep in touch, even when it is not in their best interest. Sometimes, birth parents initially feel they want fully open plans and later find that they cannot move forward in their lives with the amount of ongoing contact. They may feel pressured to continue communication so as not to offend the adoptive family.
    • If you choose to make an open adoption plan, stay true to your heart and comfort level. Be honest with the family or your adoption agency counselor. This is one of the most difficult and loving sacrifices you can make for your child; you deserve all the time you need to heal. An Adoptions With Love counselor can help you adjust the amount of openness in your adoption plan as needed over the years. We are always here for you.
  • In some cases, the adoptive family may decide they want less (or more) contact than originally planned. There is the possibility that the adoptive family will express they want to reduce or increase the amount of contact with you after the adoption takes place. Some feel this is in the best interest of their family; some wish for space to bond with the baby.
    • When you work with an open adoption agency like Adoptions With Love, you can rest assured that each family has agreed to some level of ongoing contact with the birth mother. This is often done through our ongoing letter and picture program.

Pros of Open Adoption for Adopted Children & Their Families:

  • Children have a deeper understanding of who they are and where they came from. Openness is very beneficial for identity formation and self-esteem in adopted children. As they grow older and start to have more questions about their biology, they can get the answers they need to form a stronger senseof-self and become proud of their background.
  • They also can understand their birth parents’ choice. Having the opportunity to ask “Why was I placed for adoption?” and to hear those answers can help alleviate any abandonment issues for adopted children. It can provide them with a sense of security, knowing how much love and selflessness went into their birth parents’ choice.
  • There is no need to search for or fantasize about birth parents. In open adoptions, children have the opportunity to speak with or meet their birth parents. This eliminates the “what ifs” that adoptees often have, as they can answer questions like “Do I look like my birth parents?” and “Do I have any birth siblings?” Open adoption often gives adoptees the puzzle pieces they need to become confident in their stories and themselves.
  • Open adoption gives adoptive parents access to medical information about their child. In open adoption plans, adoptive parents can ask questions about their child’s health history and family history. Similarly, the birth mother can inform the adoptive parents of any changes in health that occur and may affect the child down the road.
  • Open adoption offers a wider circle of family support. In open adoptions, children have the benefit of having their parents, who care for and nurture them endlessly, along with their birth parents, who gave them life and serve as a strong connection to their roots. Both parents love them unconditionally.

Cons of Open Adoption for Adoptive Families:

  • Potential boundary issues. Sometimes, a birth parent who just placed her baby for adoption will struggle with knowing how she or he fits within the family and “bigger picture.” At the same time, adoptive families may not know how to accommodate two sets of parents.
    • While open adoption does not mean co-parenting, it does mean gaining more than a child – it also means gaining another valuable person in your lives. Speak with your adoption counselor about how you can make your child’s birth parents feel comfortable and valued throughout your adoption journey. When creating an open adoption agreement, ensure that you are comfortable with every aspect of the contract. Establish roles and expectations with your child’s birth parents from the very beginning, so there is no confusion or disappointment down the road. Finally, be sure to communicate exactly what the boundaries are in regards to ongoing communication and meetings.

Whether you are an adoptive parent or expectant/birth parent, the key to an open adoption is putting your child first. For more tips on open adoption, or details about the pros and cons of open adoption, please download our new eBook “The Keys to a Successful Open Adoption” below.

Adoptions With Love is a full-service, non-profit adoption agency offering both open and closed adoption plans. We also facilitate adoption plans that fall in-between, called semi-open adoption plans. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy or considering adoption for your baby, we can help you create an adoption plan that is completely right for you. Call us at 1-800-722-7731 to learn more about open adoption.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Happy National Adoption Month, 2017!

national adoption awareness month

November is officially here, which means we can now look forward to another National Adoption Month and another #30daysoflove! As many of our readers know, National Adoption Month is a very special time of year for Adoptions With Love, and also for the many families out there that have been touched by adoption in some way. If you are new to the world of adoption, or are have recently become a member of the adoption triad, here is a little history on National Adoption Month:

It all started back in 1976, when Massachusetts Governor Dukakis first proclaimed an “adoption awareness week” across the state. Less than a decade later, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan expanded that to a National Adoption Week, giving special recognition to those who are building families through the positive choice of adoption. In his 1984 proclamation, the president wrote:

“National Adoption Week gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to give every child waiting to be adopted the chance to become part of a family. During this Thanksgiving season, let us work to encourage community acceptance and support for adoption… Most importantly, let us pay tribute to those special couples who have opened their homes and hearts to adopted children, forming the bonds of love that we call the family.”

In 1995, President Clinton decided to magnify National Adoption Week even further. He proclaimed the first-ever National Adoption Month, explaining, “Adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families. It places children into loving, permanent homes where they can flourish and grow up to become happy, healthy, productive members of our national community. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.”

Now, and each year forward, the U.S. Children’s Bureau sponsors National Adoption Month in efforts to spread adoption awareness, honor adoptive families, as well as bring to light the newborns and children who are still waiting for forever homes. Each year, National Adoption Month takes on a new theme. For National Adoption Month 2017, the initiative is called, “Teens Need Families, No Matter What.”

A Focus on Teens in Foster Care

There are currently thousands of teenagers in foster care who are in need of permanent homes. Of the 110,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, close to 12,500 are between 15 and 17 years old. Unfortunately, many of these teens are less likely to be adopted because of their older age. As a result, they tend to “age out” of the system without ever gaining a stable support system or forever family to call their own. A positive role model, a mentor, or a lifelong family can make all the difference in a growing teen’s life. The lack of this figure or family, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on teens’ overall well-being and their transition to adulthood.

National Adoption Month is frequently focused on moving children from the foster care system to permanency. Usually, children are placed in the foster care system when their parents are unable to care or provide for them. This is often due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Sometimes, it is a result of their parents being incarcerated or in poor health.

The Work of Private Adoption Agencies

Private adoption agencies like Adoptions With Love are dedicated to helping expectant and birth parents make positive decisions for their children. We provide complete counseling services for expectant/birth parents nationwide, helping them design thoughtful adoption plans and find forever families for their babies. By making an adoption plan, by planning ahead, children can be kept out of foster care.

Many of the women that come to Adoptions With Love are already single parents. Some are struggling to provide for the children they already have at home. Some are trying to work full-time jobs while balancing the full-time job of a single mom. Some are working with the child welfare system to regain custody of their children. Some are not living in a safe or stable enough environment to raise a child. Some expectant parents feel this is not the right time in their life to start raising a child and wish for their child to have a more stable life with many opportunities. After discovering their unplanned pregnancy, many of these women are in complete crisis.

When parents choose to place a child for adoption, it is a courageous and loving choice; one that is made with deep personal sacrifice. As much as they love their children, they know they cannot provide for them at this time in their lives. Adoption allows expectant/birth parents to give their child the life, the opportunities, the love, and the permanency that every child deserves. Open adoption also enables birth parents to stay in touch with their child’s adoptive family over the years, which can bring great peace of mind for everyone involved.

#30DaysofLove

Today starts our #30DaysofLove campaign, celebrating National Adoption Month! We honor all the birth parents who have made adoption plans for their children and all the adoptive families created through the loving choice of adoption. During this Thanksgiving season, we also give thanks to each one of our readers who has helped provide loving homes and families for children.

We also recognize that across the country, thousands of newborns, children, and teens are still seeking permanent homes and families. For the next 30 days, Adoptions With Love will work especially hard to help spread awareness about foster care and the positive act of adoption. We invite you to do the same.

Whether you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent, or an adoptee, we welcome you to share your story with us. We’d love to hear about the role of adoption in your life, or about how you will be celebrating National Adoption Month this year. Simply post a comment below!

If you would like to learn more about how you can help honor National Adoption Month, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731. You may also visit the Children’s Bureau website to learn more about this year’s National Adoption Month initiative.


Touchdown! 6 NFL Players Touched by Adoption

Football season has officially kicked off. With all the hustle and bustle surrounding the start of 2017’s NFL season, Adoptions With Love decided to reflect on some of the many NFL athletes who have been touched by adoption. Below, you will find iconic football players who are also loving adoptive parents. You will read about NFL players who were adopted at a young age. You will also learn the stories of the players who spent many years in foster care before finding success on the football field. All of these NFL athletes, whether adoptees or parents, have inspiring adoption stories  to share.

  1. Michael Oher

Michael Ohr adoption

Michael Oher, a famed football star who finished his final games with the Carolina Panthers in 2016, is also one of the most well-known adoptees today. His adoption story, as well as his journey from a homeless teen to an NFL star, was the subject of the Oscar-winning film, The Blind Side.

Oher’s story is a particularly moving one for those who have been touched by adoption and foster care. Growing up, Oher faced a very difficult childhood: he lived in poverty in a violent and unsafe neighborhood. He had 12 siblings and a frequently absent, drug-addicted mother. Oher entered the foster care system at age seven. By age 16, he attended 11 different schools and had a grade point average of .06. It was in that 11th school that he came to a turning point. Oher met the Tuohys, the family that would soon become his forever family, and began playing football. At 6’5” and 300lbs, he became one of the best high school football players in the country. He went on to play football at the University of Mississippi and was drafted to the Baltimore Ravens in 2009.

Michael Oher shares a firsthand account of his story in his book, Beat The Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond. He and his parents have also created the foundation, Making It Happen: The Tuohy Family Foundation, to support families in the adoption process.

  1. Daunte Culpepper

You may know Daunte Culpepper from his seven-season streak with the Minnesota Vikings, or for his time with the Miami Dolphins, Oakland Raiders, and Detroit Lions. Did you know that Culpepper is also a big advocate for adoption? This former quarterback was named a national “Angel in Adoption” in 2006 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. He is very involved in the African American Adoption Agency (AAAA) helping foster children find permanent families, and has hosted annual golf tournaments to raise money for adoptive families.

Culpepper was adopted at one-day old. He was born to a teenage mother, who was then serving time at a correctional facility. Unable to care for her son, she placed him in the arms of an employee at her facility, Emma Lewis Culpepper. She adopted Daunte and raised him alongside her other 15 children (also adopted). Culpepper says of his mother, “She’s a very, very special lady. Remarkable. Strong. Everything you’d want in a mother. In a parent.”

  1. Kyle Van Noy

adopted athletes

If you are from New England or just love the Patriots, you probably know of Kyle Van Noy. Traded by the Detroit Lions in October 2016, Van Noy has quickly become a very memorable linebacker on the Patriots’ roster. This football star helped the Pats get their big Super Bowl win last year, and is expected to be a driving force on their defensive lineup once again this season.

Kyle Van Noy is doing big things off the field, as well. He and his wife, Marissa, started the Van Noy Valor Foundation to help adopted, foster, and disadvantaged youth in need. The foundation strives to provide opportunities for these children and to help them reach their full potential by giving them the resources needed to succeed.

The couple’s inspiration for the foundation stems from their personal, intimate connection to adoption. Kyle Van Noy was adopted as a baby and Marissa’s father and brother were also adopted. Kyle explains, “We have a big heart for adoption and foster families, as well as kids who are struggling. We want to give them strength and success.” Van Noy wants children and teens in foster care to know that they too can overcome the struggles. He wants them to know that their path does not define them, and a strong future is in reach.

  1. Colin Kaepernick

If you are a football fan, there is no doubt you have heard the name Colin Kaepernick before. Kaepernick spent his five-year football career with the San Francisco 49ers, where he served as both a starting and backup quarterback, before becoming a free agent in 2016. Some know Kaepernick for his football stardom, while others know him for his on-field protests and off-field activism against racism. What many do not know, however, is that Kaepernick is also adopted.

Colin Kaepernick was adopted as an infant after his birth mother, who was 19 at the time, decided to make an adoption plan. Kaepernick’s birth father had left during the pregnancy, and she knew she was not able to raise Colin on her own. She chose to make an adoption plan to give him the best possible life. Rick and Teresa Kaepernick adopted Colin when he was five-weeks-old, and are still in touch with his birth mother to this day.

  1. DeMarcus Ware

demarcus ware adoptionDeMarcus Ware is one of the biggest household names in the NFL game. He was the leading outside linebacker on the Dallas Cowboys for nine years straight and carried out the rest of his career on the Denver Broncos, with whom he won Super Bowl 50. He announced his retirement after the 2016 season, at age 34. Our best guess is that retirement meant spending more time with his family.

Ware has two young children – his son, DeMarcus Jr., is seven-years-old and his daughter, Marley, is nine. Ware and his wife adopted Marley after experiencing the heartbreak of miscarriage and a stillbirth. The football star has revealed that “Marley – and his struggle to become a father — changed his life, made him more responsible, fulfilled him in a way that football never had.” He is ever grateful to have been able to grow his family through adoption.

  1. Joe Berger

Joe Berger is the starting center on the Minnesota Vikings, and also the full-time father of four children: 2 adopted and 2 biological. He and his wife, Abigail, are active supporters of adoption and adoption family causes.

During Berger’s early career on the Miami Dolphins, his wife Abigail was receiving weekly fertility treatments. Their first biological son, Gavin, came after a year of trying to become pregnant, and they were told the prospect of giving birth to a second child was slim. They decided to grow their family through adoption, and adopted their son Blake later that year.

They were considering a second adoption when Abigail found out she was pregnant with their daughter, Ella, a year later. They always wanted three or four children. So, when the opportunity came to adopt a fourth child, they took it. The Bergers adopted their daughter Macy in the spring of 2016.

Both Blake and Macy have open adoptions and ongoing relationships with their birth mothers. Abby states, “We couldn’t ask for better birth moms… They both absolutely love these two and our other kids, too. That definitely shows with the sacrifice that they made. They are different situations but it’s nice to know that they made those choices for the better of their child.”

Joe Berger is not the only one on the Vikings who is also an adoptive parent. The Vikings’ General Manager, Rick Spielman and his wife have adopted their six children. Vikings’ VP Rob Brzezinski and his wife have also adopted five children. The Minnesota Vikings, as a team, were given the “Angels in Adoption” award in 2017.

Do you know these football players who have been touched by adoption? Can you think of any other NFL players that are also adoptive parents or adoptees? Please share below!

If you would like to learn about making an adoption plan with Adoptions With Love, please do not hesitate to contact us here. We are a non-profit adoption agency serving expectant/birth mothers throughout the United States and growing adoptive families across Massachusetts.


Separating Adoption Facts from Myths

Adoption is everywhere. We see it on television, on the news or on shows such as ‘This is Us’; we read about it on the Internet and social media; we hear about family and friends’ own adoption experiences. But who gets it right? Do we know all the truths about adoption today? Can we separate the real facts from the many myths surrounding adoption?

Adoptions With Love is a licensed, non-profit adoption agency with over 30 years of professional experience. We have facilitated both open and closed adoptions and helped thousands of women make positive, thoughtful adoption plans for their babies. We have assisted all kinds of adoptive parents in creating the perfect home environment for their children. Our compassionate, expert social workers have also helped many adoptees prepare for, search for, and meet their biological parents.

Over our years, however, we have heard many myths surrounding the subject of adoption. We have also heard from many people conflicted by these myths. It is our aim to share the truth about adoption.

Whether you are considering adoption or want to provide real, adoption facts for family and friends, you are in the right place. Below we separate adoption facts from five all-too-common adoption myths.

Myth: “Adopted children have more problems.”

Fact: About 9 out of 10 adopted children have positive feelings about their adoption. And despite the common misconception that adopted children are troubled, 88 percent of those aged 6 or older exhibit very positive social behaviors. Over half of school-age adopted children are excelling in subjects such as reading, language arts, and math. The majority are also in very good health, live in safe neighborhoods, and are being raised by two parents.

There is no sugarcoating the fact that some adopted children will carry complicated feelings of anger, loss, loneliness, or even low self-esteem as they try to understand their adoption story. There is no denying that they will face unique challenges and have questions about their biology. At the same time, however, it is important to recognize the fact that most adoptees have experiences no different than those of their non-adopted peers. Long-term studies have also shown that adopted children in the United States are no different in terms of their emotional health, psychological well-being, self-esteem, and attachment to family, either.

Myth: “Adoption means ‘giving up’ a child.”

Fact: Birth parents do not ‘give up’ their child, but rather, ‘give more’ to their child: Through adoption, they are able to give their child more opportunities, more resources, more devotion, comfort, and stability than they could provide at the time of their pregnancy. Adoption is a loving, thoughtful, and selfless decision. Rather than ‘giving up a baby for adoption,’ we say, ‘make an adoption plan.’ These thoughtful expectant parents are planning for their child’s life.

If you are pregnant, know that choosing adoption does not mean you do not love your child. It means that you love your child enough to give him or her the best possible life you can give. If you are adoptive parents, understand that your child’s birth parents did not ‘give up,’ but rather, found the courage and strength to make another plan for their baby’s life—a plan to fill it with loving parents, a stable home, a good education, holiday traditions, extended family support, and many other opportunities with you.

Myth: “Adoption means goodbye forever.”

Fact: It is common belief that adoption always means goodbye. Many expectant/birth parents worry that they will never see or hear from their children again should they choose adoption. The truth is, adoption does not have to an end-all, and expectant/birth parents can make this choice. If they would like to keep in touch with their child’s adoptive family, they can make an open adoption plan.

Open adoption involves some level of ongoing communication between adoptive and birth families: In a fully open adoption, they might have direct contact with one another through email, texting, phone conversations, Skype, or even yearly in-person meetings. In a semi-open adoption, they may exchange letters and pictures or choose to mediate any contact through their adoption agency. At Adoptions With Love, every prospective adoptive family agrees to a semi-open adoption, and most families are now open to some direct communication with the birth parents over the years.

Myth: “Open adoption is too confusing for children.”

Fact: Open adoption does not confuse children. It does not make them question who their “real parents” are. Rather, open adoption helps children better understand their adoption, as well as their birth parents’ choice. Today, 84 percent of children in open adoptions are very satisfied with their levels of contact with their birth family.

In open adoption arrangements, children understand the difference between their parents – the people who help them with homework, who take care of them when their sick, who love and support them above all else – and their birth parents – the people who not only gave them life, but gave them the best life they could possibly provide. Adopted children also understand the responsibilities of each parent, as well as their unique relationships with them.

Open adoption, in reality, can help reduce confusion over time. Because it establishes an open and honest platform for communication, adopted children can ask questions, get answers, and form their identity having a better, more available connection to their biological parents.

Myth: “All birth mothers are teenagers, addicts, or poor.”

Fact: Fact is, there is no single face of unplanned pregnancy: it can happen to anyone of reproductive age, of any background, education, or upbringing. However, research states that young women between age 20 and 24 are most likely to face an unplanned pregnancy. And many of these women are college educated: 70 percent of pregnancies among single, educated women in their twenties are unplanned.

The women who choose adoption may not feel ready to raise a child, but that does not necessarily mean they would not make great parents. Choosing adoption just means that these mothers loved their child enough to make a well-thought-out plan for his or her life.

Birth mothers are strong, selfless women who feel that adoption is the best possible choice for their babies. Some are single and desire their child to grow up in a two-parent home. Some do not have the finances needed to raise a child for life, and some are already raising children (most women that make an adoption plan are already parenting children). Some are simply not prepared to raise a child at this time, and wish for their child to be with loving, devoted parents who are ready to raise a child. No matter their background or reasoning, birth mothers are worthy of respect.

Help Adoptions With Love dispel the myths surrounding adoption— Please share these adoption facts with family and friends. For information on adopting a child or making an adoption plan, please call Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731 or text us confidentially at 617-777-0072.