Top 10 Questions to Ask an Agency if You are Pregnant and Considering Adoption

ask if pregnant Published 5/11/15 on adoption.com Choosing to place your child for adoption is an enormous decision that you surely won’t take lightly. Are you considering making an adoption plan? If you are, these ten tips will help you select the right adoption agency for you. Having a good agency to work with will help your journey go a lot smoother. Emotional support as well as help along the way and in the future is a vital part of the process. Are you considering making an adoption plan?

Read this list of things to ask an adoption agency before committing to them. Follow the link to adoption.com for more information.

Top 8 Ways to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your Multicultural Family

Published May 5, 2015 Adoption.com

cinco“The Battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862. The holiday of Cinco De Mayo, The 5th Of May, commemorates the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle Of Puebla in 1862.” (Mexonline.com)

Learning the history of Cinco de Mayo is important so misconceptions aren’t passed along to the next generation. Did you already know what the Cinco de Mayo holiday was or did you just enjoy tacos and margaritas with friends each year? If your child is adopted from Mexico or of Mexican descent, learning the true meaning of the holiday can help them have pride in their heritage. Encourage your entire family to celebrate your child’s heritage and embrace the culture.

Here are some ways to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your family. Follow to Adoption.com for the rest of the story.

What is a Lifebook and Why Do I Need One? – Adoption.com

AdoptionLifebooksSitting in the rocking chair with my son on my lap, I read to him from a book. This isn’t an ordinary book, however. This is a Lifebook; a book all about him. This book begins with pictures and the story of his birth parents and gives child sensitive information regarding their path to creating an adoption plan. There are many reasons birth parents come to the decision to place their child for adoption. In some situations a child may be adopted at an older age or go through foster care. Whatever the reason, a Lifebook is a a historical book about your child.

What is a Lifebook? To find out click here to read the full story at adoption.com.

“Orphan Crisis” Strikes Again

articlenew_ehow_images_a06_ss_o3_orphanage800x800I hear two things when I tell people we adopted: 

1. You are so wonderful.

2. That is so wonderful.

Or some variation of the two.  Maybe something like “Oh, God bless you. You are such an angel to adopt. He is a lucky boy!”  What? I mean What?

I wrote a short blog about this last year and I have been thinking about expanding on it for some time now, as I see other adoptive parents encountering the same thing.  Then I learned about the “Orphan Crisis” and that some church congregations or sects of people are actually patting themselves on the back for adopting.  These people are fertile and have been blessed with biological children and adopt because they feel they need to save an orphan.  So where are they finding these orphans?  Sure some people, like Angelina Jolie spend time in other countries on movies or doing missionary work and learn about the problems that plague the area and fall in love with a sweet child they decide they’d like to adopt.  This is not the case for most though.  People are not plucking malnourished, homeless kids off the streets and bringing them home.  They are adopting infants and going through agencies that people that just want children also go through. 

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that people with biological children can’t adopt.  I have a biological son!  So that surely isn’t what I am saying.  I am also not saying that saying “God called me to adopt” is not a valid reason for expanding your family through adoption.  What I am saying is, don’t talk about “saving your child” and bragging about how terrible his life was and how you are his savior.  All “do you want a cookie?” or “pat yourself on the back” mentality stuff.  We don’t adopt children to make ourselves feel like we did a good deed.  We adopt them to make them part of our family.  If you want to do a good deed, send money and food or volunteer.  I am sure the child feels so great being made to feel like they owe their parents instead of just being loved by their parents.  (sarcasm) Some kids really do come from bad situations and wanting to help them is not a bad thing.  But, be honest with yourself and don’t make them feel like every step may lead them back to the original status. 

The Orphan Crisis has nothing to do with domestic infant adoptions.  Some articles I read stated how domestic infant adoptions are on the decline and they must figure out a way to change that.  Seriously?  Yes, I adopted a domestic infant, but do I wish to separate more children from their first mothers?  Do I wish to use coercion tactics to get more women to make an adoption plan?  No and NO!

Let me make this clear, To the first statement that people often say to me: I am not wonderful. I do not work with orphans, I am not a social worker or a missionary, I am not scooping up children without homes. I adopted because I wanted a child. My son wasn’t saved by me. He would have been just fine had his birth mother chosen to parent. He would have been adopted by someone else if I wasn’t there to adopt him. 

Secondly, it is not wonderful to adopt. It is stressful, expensive, heart wrenching, confusing and time consuming. Then add in how my son will cope with his identity and emotions and he navigates life. Or how about the the loss he and his birth parents feel every day?

What part of any of it other than ME getting to be this boys mommy is wonderful?

What have you experienced and how do you handle it?

Did you miss our giveaway?  Click this picture to enter!  Random drawing will be held Friday 6/13/14

Did you miss our giveaway? Click this picture to enter! Random drawing will be held Friday 6/13/14

Adopted With Love: Giveaway

soap giveaway

Adopted With Love is a website full of great gifts for yourself, your child or someone you know who may be adopting.  I will be giving a way this gift soap pack to one lucky commenter.  All you have to do is tell me what your favorite adoption related gift that your received, gave or would like to have or give is, and that enters you in the random drawing.  But make sure you post your email address in your comment, or else I won’t be able to reach you.

A little about Adopted With Love:

The idea behind Adopted With Love originated from our personal experience of becoming parents through adoption. It was a roller coaster ride, with ups and downs, tears and laughter, uncertainty and hope, despair and blessings. Throughout our journey, we had friends and family supporting us in a variety of ways, whether a small note with encouraging words, a thoughtful gift, or a listening ear.

When our baby came home, our friends and family threw us a baby shower. It was a wonderful party, a celebration of family and adoption. Many people commented on how they wanted to celebrate adoption with us, but found it difficult (if not impossible) to find adoption-related items. Plenty of newborn and baby gifts, and some books on how to explain adoption to children, but in a time when adoption has become more acceptable and open, still very little to actually celebrate families created through adoption.

So we thought of all the things we found important about our and our daughter’s lives coming together, and the little things we do to honor our history as an adoptive family. The holiday season spent with our loved ones, the memories of our travels abroad to finalize the adoption, our lifetime bond with a foreign country we never thought we would travel to. We tried to capture each idea in a thoughtful item and before we knew it, our adoption gift boutique was born.

We created blankets to give your children comfort on their travels home, bracelets celebrating adoption and family, journals to chronicle your adoption journey for your child, and of course gift bags and decorative table stands to really make a baby shower adoption-specific.

We hope you enjoy our gifts as much as we enjoy creating them. Because in the end, the only thing that really matters is a family full of love and support, whether through birth or adopted with love.

To Enter:

1. Comment with your favorite adoption related gift.

2. Include your email address so I can get in touch to send you the gift!

You can also use the coupon code HEART20 to get 20% off any item on their website as a thank you to our readers!

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The Right Foot

open adoption

Open Adoption, Open Heart

If I can give one piece of advice, it is that in all the training you will receive, you may not be taught that starting off the relationship on the right foot can never begin too early. When I say that, it means learning positive adoption language is a big deal. You may learn a few things like to use “created an adoption plan” over the dated version of “giving up for adoption”. There are many other situations though that choosing your words carefully can go a long way. But it really isn’t about just being politically correct, it’s about respect.  It’s about understanding people’s feelings.  It’s about willingness to learn.

Today with open adoption being the more normal route domestic adoptions are taking, starting that relationship off with respect is so important. As adoptive parents we are gaining something that we could not achieve on our own; a child. Imagine the heart ache and loss the expecting mother goes through every day leading up to placing her child and will likely feel every day after the placement. Respecting her as a human and the parent of that child shows you love not just her baby, but her as well. And don’t forget about the father, he may or may not be involved, but until you know otherwise, assume he is.

Remember, positive adoption language is not just about being politically correct, but respecting her. Moving forward in an open adoption requires respect. Respecting her for her decision and not just going after her baby and saying “all the right things” will create a lasting relationship that your future child can respect you for. There are many resources out there to ensure you understand positive adoption language. If it is not offered in your adoption training, seek it out for yourself, you’ll be happy you did.

Part of respecting her, is also respecting her story. Respecting that her story is also your future child’s story. People can be nosey when it comes to adoption. Some are genuinely curious about adoption, some just want to the juicy details. So decide how much you want to share with people and stick to it. People will ask all sorts of questions that you never dreamed of. IE. “Why is she giving him up?” “Is she on drugs?” “Does she know who the father is?” “Why doesn’t she want to keep him?” Etc. Keep in mind that what you share with people now, may get back to your child or give the inquisitive people less respect for the birth mother in the future. While you may have the best intentions of sharing the story with people, they may repeat it back at inconvenient times. If your open adoption ends up being like mine, we invite our son’s birth parents and other biological family over a few times a year for family gatherings. We want everyone to feel comfortable. They are all part of our extended family now. While a person may be at a low moment in life at the time of placement, often the reason for them creating an adoption plan is to not to just give their child a better life, but to also give them the ability to improve their own life.

I think that letting the expecting mother know that you will support her in any decision she makes is very important. It shows a great deal of respect. Yes, of course you want to be a parent and adoption is your goal in having this relationship with her, but her knowing that you will be ok if she decides to parent or picks another family over you, goes a long way in her trust in you as good people. But don’t just say it, MEAN IT! Get yourself in the right frame of mind before entering the relationship.  She is not there to make you a parent.  You are there to parent her child.

Starting off on the right foot with the expecting parents will help you in a lifelong respectful relationship that will be cherished by your child and all members of the adoption triad for years to come.

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Advertising For Adoption

Lately it seems a lot of my blogs spark from things I’ve seen on adoption forums.  It’s nice to have a supportive outlet, but with many people in different stages of infertility or from different backgrounds in adoption, these forums can often become heated debates with strong willed people.  I try so hard to see both sides of every situation and inject my opinion as just that, my opinion.  If I give more than the 2 cents they asked for, I do it so as the “voice of reason”.  I try not to belittle anyone, but when emotions are involved, defenses come up and people don’t always want a differing opinion or “extra advice”.

Networking and Advertising your adoption plans can be one of those subjects that is a hot topic.  It is a topic that I am interested in for many reasons.  I work in marketing; networking is what I do.  So, for me, where does the line need to be drawn in what is ethical and what is not?  First starting with what is legal is good.  People often claim they have talked to their lawyer and know it’s legal already, but I question how often that is true.  Not that I assume people are liars, I just know that from my own research there are a lot of legal caveats with adoption advertising.  When you tell someone it might night be legal, they get defensive and may say they have talked to their lawyer already, just to feel better to the stranger they are talking to.  No one wants to look like an ass.

Billboard taken out in New Jersey in order to market to expecting mothers that would only have a 72 hour period to change their mind instead of the Maryland 28 days where the couple lives. Neither state has laws against advertising. But is this ethical?

Billboard taken out in New Jersey in order to market to expecting mothers that would only have a 72 hour period to change their mind instead of the Maryland 28 days where the couple lives. Neither state has laws against advertising. But is this ethical?

What type of networking or advertising do you feel is OK and what is too much?  For instance, when my husband and I were first looking into expanding our family via adoption, I created a Facebook page.  I invited all my friends and family to like the page.  I posted on there that our desire was to adopt and I would periodically post cute sayings/memes as well as updates of where we were in our journey.  We weren’t with an agency, we weren’t home study approved, we were just expressing our want and sharing our journey.  Once we were home study ready, I got a little eager and since I work in marketing, I took out one of those ads you see on the side of the page asking people to “like” our page.  After 2 days, I took the ad down.  It seemed a little over the top for me.  I didn’t know if there were laws against it or not.  I didn’t know if there was any official faux pas I was making, I just didn’t feel comfortable anymore having an ad out there promoting such a delicate want to strangers.  Many people I know have those types of Facebook pages.  We still have ours up and running actually.

The debate that ensued on the adoption forum stemmed from a woman asking who she should pass out fliers and networking cards to to promote her adoption journey and website to reach more people.  My advice was just to be careful; that it might not be legal and that in the adoption community there is a fine line between what is ethical in networking and advertising. I also told her to tell her church members, coworkers, friends, family etc.  But that she should also talk about it frequently to anyone she got in a conversation with; make the natural segway that she is hoping to adopt and that talking about it is often much more well received than physically handing someone a card or flier.  She did not take my advice well.  She was offended by my input.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Networking and/or Advertising: Is it Ethical?

Pro’s:

1.  Being proactive.  It helps the “wait” if you are doing something.  If you are working toward the end goal of expanding your family, you pass time quicker and feel like you have done everything you can do.

2.  Possibly reducing the wait time by connecting yourself with a match faster than the agency or facilitator you are working with may be able to do.

3.  Find the right match for you.  If you are looking on your own terms, you may find that perfect person that will be a beautiful extension to your family.  The expecting mother and you may have a lot in common and connect easily, allowing the open adoption to be a beautiful relationship.

4.  It helps you connect to other families in your area also touched by adoption.  You may network at church, school, work and other places just by sharing your adoption journey.  This can not only offer you support, but possibly lead to a match.

Con’s

1.  When does networking become advertising and portrayed as distasteful?  Often people that market themselves for adoption are not as heavily trained as those going through an agency and therefore may use incorrect terminology in their advertisement as well as come across as “trolling” for a baby.

2.  Taking out an ad (We’ve all seen Juno and how they advertised in the Penny Saver), you are opening yourself up to it looking like you are buying a baby.  Think about it, you advertise a product that you want people to buy.  How is this different?

3.  Not everyone will agree with adoption.  You may receive backlash from people against adoption or just think you should either not have children or try a different route to grow your family.  So prepare yourself to be open to criticism.

4.  You may attract scammers.

5.  If you are embarrassed to tell your child how he/she came to your family, it may not be the right way to do it.  It can connote a feeling of “purchased” when ads are placed.

6.  It might not be legal.

So The Legal Aspects:

Some (not all) states have laws against advertising.  While some flat out ban any form of advertising, others have laws that allow agencies, lawyers facilitators, social workers to advertise.  Some states allow those professionals to advertise, but place stipulations on the situations in which they can advertise.  Other states have laws as to what type of media can be used in advertising when the adoptive couple or expecting mother is the one doing the advertising.  Do you know the laws of your state?

These are the states that have some sort of law defining advertising or banning advertising:

Alabama

California

Delaware

Florida

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Maine

Massachusetts

Mississippi

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Hampshire

North Carolina

North Dakota

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Tennessee

Texas

Utah

Virginia

Washingon

Wisconsin

To see what laws/stipulations your state has, you can find more information hereThis link also provides information on if your state allows the use of facilitators in adoption.

For more information on adoption laws, training and resources visit my Adoption Information page.

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