Coercion in Adoption: What It Is and Why It Is Wrong

Published on Adoption.com 9/14/15

coercionAdoption coercion is when there is any type of pressure, withholding of information or services, or purposeful manipulation that results in her choosing to place her child for adoption.

Coercion in adoption takes away a woman’s right and ability to make a decision. There are adoption coercion laws in place to protect women when placing their child for adoption, but they vary from state to state. But regardless of the laws of your state, an ethical adoption will ensure that the mother is placing the child on her own accord and without any form of coercion. You may have to do extra research to ensure you are working with an adoption professional who will act not only legally, but ethically as well.

Now you are probably wondering what classifies as coercion. Maybe you are even feeling slightly panicked, wondering if anything was done in your adoption to make your child’s birth mother feel like she didn’t have a choice in her placement. Rest assured that everyone makes plenty of unintentional errors; rather than pointing fingers, the purpose of this article is to educate those pursuing adoption and shape the industry to a better standard moving forward.

As adoptive parents we need to recognize the signs of coercion and stand up for expectant parents who are considering adoption placement.

To read more about adoption coercion and how to avoid participating in adoption coercion, read the rest of the article at adoption.com.

Social Networking and Adoption: 6 Things to Think About

Published on Adoption.com 8/25/15

Social-Networking-and-Adoption-6-Things-to-Think-AboutOver 2 billion of the 7 billion people worldwide use social media. Of all Internet users, 47% are on Facebook. The likelihood of the members of your adoption relationship being a part of social media is high. So how can social networking and adoption work together successfully?

Navigating relationships in adoption doesn’t have to be difficult, but social media can sometimes muddy the waters if used poorly. Social media can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you proceed. From prior to your match, throughout your match, and into your adoption relationship, social media can play a vital role in communication, but boundaries may need to be established and privacy and respect given so the relationship can grow naturally and not feel forced or intrusive.

So how do you know what is appropriate for social media and what isn’t? You can start with this list of tips to think about on adoption.com.

Adoption Fundraising: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly – Adoption.com

Adoption-Fundraising-The-Good-The-Bad-and-The-Ugly1Published 7/11/15

It’s no secret that private adoptions are typically very costly, often ranging from $10,000-$50,000. The journey to parenthood usually doesn’t require so much in your savings account, so it makes sense that a lot of hopeful adoptive parents consider fundraising to cover their adoption costs. It is important to realize that fundraising for your family growing can be complicated and perceived differently by each person you talk to about it. Even in adoption support communities, the simple question of “How do you feel about fundraising for adoption?” can get varied responses and sometimes even spark arguments and hurt feelings. Why is it such a hot topic? Because like anything else, people have formed opinions based on preferences, experience, comments, feelings, and education.

Many couples suffering from infertility have tried costly fertility treatments that failed and were never covered by insurance or refunded. This can be devastating to a couple who just wants to be parents and are left with an empty bank and empty arms. Turning to fundraising may be their next option. Even if you never had any of those costly treatments and just went straight for adoption, your bank account might not have the money you need for adoption.  So what are your options?

Click here to read the rest of the article at adoption.com.

Should Education Classes Be a Required Part of the Adoption Home Study? – Adoption.com

Should-education-classes-be-required-as-part-of-the-adoption-home-study-Published 7/10/15

Depending on the type of adoption you are pursing, various training will likely be a part of completing your home study. You may question the reasoning behind the time-consuming classes, books, tests, group meetings, etc. You may wonder why adoptive parents are subjected to education when people who have children biologically aren’t required to have training. Each state and each agency has different requirements as to what counts as training and how much training or hours of classes are required.

I look at every chance to learn something new as a blessed opportunity. I personally LOVE to learn. I even would go as far to say that your training in adoption shouldn’t stop at the finishing the home study. Continued education in adoption, changing studies, and helping your child through the emotions of adoption is all something we can learn more about.

So what can you take away from those classes, books, magazines, and movies?

Read the things you can expect to learn through adoption training by reading the rest of my article at adoption.com.

I Want to Adopt. Now What?

Published 5/26/15 on adoption.com

i-want-to-adopt.1Are you hoping to grow your family through adoption? You have decided to adopt, but now what? Where does a person start?  It can be overwhelming, but very exciting! There are many different avenues for adoption, the three main categories being private domestic adoption; international adoption; and public/foster adoption. Determining which of these routes is best suited for you and your family is the first place to start. Once you have determined the type of adoption you wish to pursue, there are a few tips that will help you get things moving.

Follow through to adoption.com to read more about each category and other areas you will want to consider while you select the right type of adoption for your family.

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.

The Word Adopt – Adoption.com

adoption-definition-4-840x4201-300x150It seems to be a common theme for me lately to catch myself over-analyzing everything to do with adoption. When I don’t, and then see other adoptive parents upset about something, I ask myself, “Should I join in and be upset, too?” I wonder, “Am I missing something here?”

The word adopt seems to be a trigger for adoptive parents when used in situations other than the adoption of a child into a forever family.  In this article, I address the reasons why we are not the only people who get to use this word.  We did not coin the term.  Just like many words in the English language, this one has many definitions.  Click here to read the full story on adoption.com.

Adoption Guilt?

guilt-07Adoption comes with complex emotions. Often, the emotions are consuming and misunderstood. One of the emotions that a lot of adoptive parents unexpectedly find themselves feeling is guilt. It can come as a surprise if you find yourself suddenly overwhelmed with emotions that you translate as guilt after you have adopted. It is not uncommon to feel adoption guilt…

It is normal to feel a wide variety of emotions while adopting.  The emotions can change minute to minute, day to day or year to year.  Being empathetic to the other members, while keeping things in perspective only help us learn and grow.  To read the full article, visit adoption.com.

Spreading My Wings

adoptionI am sooooo excited!  A few months ago, I was asked to be a part of an ebook that adoption.com is publishing.  It is a collection of short stories from adoptive parents about advice they can give or lessons they have learned in their adoption process.  Each chapter is a story from a different adoptive parent.  I can’t wait til it is released! (Don’t worry, I’ll let you know when it is. Stay Tuned.)

Anyhow, they are almost done with editing and formatting the book and the editor of adoption.com wrote to me with an update and asked me to join adoption.com as a Staff Writer (Storyteller).  Their reach between adoption.com and adoption.org is over 2.5 million monthly viewers! That’s a lot of eyes!  I will be writing a short piece every week on adoption.  It will include personal accounts, navigating adoption, tips, pictures and advice.  They will be thought provoking, educational, touch on real world news, celebrity adoptions, etc.

I am so excited about this opportunity and I hope you will check me out on adoption.com soon!

PS. Don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere, I am just adding this gig to my adoption advocating!  I’ll still be writing for Cincinnati Parent and Indy’s Child too.

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Selecting an Adoption Agency

Learning about adoption was overwhelming for me.  You are not alone in feeling that way! We contacted at least half a dozen agencies and read countless chosingarticles online trying to figure out where to start and what to expect.  We were not only in distress about how long we had been trying for a baby, but then we learned that we could have anywhere from three months to several years on the waiting list for an adopted baby too.  Then factor in the enormous price tag associated with agency adoption and we were dazed.  As we began to verbalize we were considering adoption to others; we got all kinds of input.  Some of it was amazing and helpful.  Others only shared horror stories of adoptions gone wrong or questions of why we weren’t doing IVF like their friend, sister, cousin, neighbor did.  We had to take some time and process this.  Was it really what we wanted?

Fast forward several months of just setting all the agencies paperwork aside and living life… we hopped back on the train to adoption and settled down and found the right agency for us.   But how do you pick the right agency for you?  The agency we picked was a small agency located in Ohio that only dealt with Ohio birth mothers and Ohio adoptive families.  Their cost was much lower than the national agencies and they had high placement rates with a wait time that averaged 18 months.  They were very upfront about their outlooks and what we could expect.   They made us feel like we COULD do this and we WOULD be parents again.

One of the top questions I get asked by people considering adoption is: “what agency did you use?” People like to know that they can trust the agency with the task of giving them the family they have dreamed of.  So that’s the first place to start.  If you know anyone who has adopted, ask them what agency they used.  Ask them if they liked the experience.  Ask them if there was anything they wish they would have known going in.  Some agencies are very commutative with their families while others don’t relay every bite of information as it comes in.  You need to decide what you are looking for.

Things you may want to look for in an agency:

  1. What services do they provide expectant mothers?
  2. Do they offer ongoing support to all members of the adoption triad?
  3. Do they discriminate against single, transracial or homosexual families?
  4. How long is their average wait?
  5. How many families do they work with at any given time?
  6. How many placements do they do a year?
  7. What is their fee structure?
  8. When are the fees due?
  9. How do they handle expecting mother living expenses?
  10. Do they have “waiting” support groups or resources for you?
  11. Do they charge different rates for non-Caucasian children? (I know, it sounds weird, but some do!)
  12. How do they advertise?  Check their website for how they talk to expecting women considering adoption.  Are they guiding her in her decision or supporting her no matter what her decision?
  13. Do they support open adoption?
  14. How well do they communicate if you email or call with questions?
  15. Go with your gut and don’t sign anything too quickly.
  16. How do they handle birth fathers?  Do they see them as an obstacle or include them in the process?

You are looking for a few things by asking these questions.  You need to know how they operate and what will be expected from you so there are no surprises, but you also will be able to learn if they are ethical in their practices.   You may be thinking something like, “well I am not gay, so that doesn’t apply to me.”  Or “I was planning to adopt an African American child anyhow, so that’s great that the fees are reduced.”  But these things do nothing to promote ethical adoption or getting children to their forever families.

All this information can be overwhelming.  Hopefully you have found some recommendations from friends or support groups that can help you narrow down your search to a few agencies.  Once you start collecting information, you may want to start some file folders to keep each agency separate and you can then go through your own personal checklist of things you like and dislike about each agency.  Ultimately, go with your gut.  If something feels off, don’t ignore that.  Remember they have marketing to keep them afloat and in the business of facilitating adoptions.  You have to see through their glitter and make sure they are ethical for everyone involved.

Good luck in your journey!