4 Tips for Writing the Introduction of your Adoption Profile

Published on Adoption.com 8/18/15

profile-tipsEach adoption agency will likely have specific requirements for creating your adoption profile.  Many will have a template to follow while others give wide-open freedom in its creation, layout, and size. However, overall they all will contain the same necessary elements that will allow expectant parents to get to know who you are and decide if you would be a good match for an adoption placement.

An adoption profile will have a general flow to it that eases the reader into getting to know who you and your family are. An introduction is a sensible place to start your adoption profile. So what should be in your introduction and how can you make it stand out from the rest?

To see the list of tips and samples of an adoption profile read the rest of the article on 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.

Adoption on Hit TV Shows “Nashville” – Adoption.com

AdoptionNashvilleOn the TV hit show “Nashville“, main character Juliette Barnes is in the bathroom tossing cookies and as she wipes away the evidence, she dials her ex-boyfriend Avery to tell him the news she found out… she is pregnant and it is his. On a previous episode, Juliette learned she was pregnant and assumed it was from a weak moment, one night stand she had which destroyed her relationship with Avery. At the abortion clinic she is determined to go through with the procedure until the sonogram technician informs her she is further along than she thought, indicating the baby is Avery’s, not from the affair. Despite the circumstances, many women with unplanned pregnancies are forced to make a decision. While abortion may never be an option for some women, it is for others.

To Read more about this show and it’s connection with adoption, visit adoption.com.

Creating a Dear Birth Mother Letter – Adoption.com

DearBirthMotherLetterTitle-20-300x150A question I often get asked or see online is: “How do I write a Dear Birth Mother Letter?” The simple answer is that everyone is different. There is no way of saying your letter is the perfect letter to be chosen by every expectant parent that reads it. Your letter, however, may be the perfect letter for that specific expectant parent that is looking for all the qualities YOU have. When this question gets asked on adoption forums, the language or term “Birth Mother” is usually the first to get addressed.  Adoption language is important and raises the hairs of many people when the “wrong” terminology is used. Below you will find out why the use of “Birth Mother” is not preferred as well as many other helpful things that will guide you in writing your introduction letter.

How can you make sure you stand out from a crowd, be respectful and include all the key points you want to make?  Click here to read the entire list of do’s and don’ts at adoption.com.

Top 15 Things to Look for in an Adoption Agency – Adoption.com

Top15Agency-10-300x150Learning about adoption was overwhelming for me. You are not alone in feeling that way!  Looking for an adoption agency is not any exception. In our journey we contacted at least half a dozen agencies and read countless articles online trying to figure out where to start and what to expect. We were not just in distress about how long we had been trying for a baby, but then we learned that we could have anywhere from days to several years on the “waiting list” for a baby, too. Factor in the cost associated with agency adoption, and we were bewildered. We had no idea how to select the best adoption agency that would meet our needs. Looking at the fact that there are tons of adoption agencies that can put on a great advertising front, but operate very unethically, we were scared we would be out time and money that we wouldn’t be able to ever get back and could potentially stop us from adopting if we suffered any loss.

While there are many other things, including the gut feelings you get when talking to them, these are a great starting point for fielding your options.  For the rest of this article, please click here to read it at Adoption.com.

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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Choosing Adoption

Choosing Adoption

Sarah Baker | November 11, 2013 | 01:14 PM

Along our journey many people have asked us, “why adoption?” There are many ways to become a parent. Most people find that natural pregnancy is the means to expanding their family. When pregnancy doesn’t come easy, people may resort to more time, fertility treatment, artificial insemination, IVF, surrogacy, sperm donors, egg donors, etc. Adoption isn’t for everyone, so it’s understandable that this question may get asked. However, sometimes the questions is just out of curiosity to learn your story, other times people ask “why adoption?” with a tone that implies it is not the choice they would make. Early in my life, I felt drawn to adoption.

When I decided it was time for me to start my family, there were restrictions to adoption like age and years married. I also didn’t have the big bank account to fund my adoption, so we pursued getting pregnant. Pregnancy happened quickly for us; in fact it was the first month we tried. I am glad I was able to experience pregnancy, but it wasn’t without complications, despite my young age and good health. I had HORRIBLE all day sickness for months. About the time my appetite came back, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Then came the hand and ankle swelling, my eye sight worsened several times and I had to keep getting new scripts for contacts. My entire birth plan went out the window; 48 hours of intense labor, an emergency C-Section and all night long hemorrhaging… but I had a perfect 8 pound 8 ounce baby boy, Isaac, to show for it all. I knew after that, adoption was the only way I could add to my family again.

Fast forward few years and Isaac’s dad and I decided to divorce. We are still great friends, we just married very young and grew apart as husband and wife. We ended our marriage to save our friendship. I then met Joe and as we were getting to know each other, I told him my story of giving birth to Isaac. I told him I didn’t know if it was possible for me to have more. He said it didn’t matter to him either way. If it was unsafe for me to have more children, then we would adopt or not have any more, but he wasn’t going to let it stand in the way of us being together. WOW! He’s a keeper right?!? After we were married, I saw how wonderful of a step dad he had become and my need to parent a baby with him began to overwhelm me. We looked into adoption, but were again overwhelmed by the price and the wait that it may take for us to become parents. We started “trying” to get pregnant. Honestly, I figured it would come quickly. But after a year, then two, we realized something was wrong. We were both tested and found out that we were both infertile. My eggs didn’t release, I had hormonal imbalances and massive fibroids and his sperm were deformed from a Varicocele. Even using IVF with sperm washing would be slim for us to conceive. We did not want to spend money on something that was not a guarantee when we could put that money toward adoption instead. We did not have a burning need to have biological children, just children. It was the experience we craved not the DNA.

We started saving money and learning about all types of adoptions and gathering information from various agencies. Many times we felt defeated and unable to move forward. We were overwhelmed with the information we got from agencies and the financial stress of it all. During that time we continued on with our lives and each month I secretly hoped I was pregnant, just because it seemed easier, despite how I knew it would probably be a miserable pregnancy based on my first experience. It was 4 years into our marriage that we decided to stop looking at adoption passively and start pursuing the plan. It became very exciting and scary. We started telling people our plans and asking for support.

That’s when the questions started. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on our plans to adopt. People would tell us about how their sister did IVF, how their aunt had a closed adoption, how we should adopt from another country, or through foster care, how once we adopt we’d get pregnant, or how we may not get chosen because we have pets, we have another child, we have a small pond in our back yard, a two story house, etc., or how we wouldn’t be able to bond with the baby because it’s not really “ours”. Then there were the questions of race, gender, drug exposure, etc. Everyone had something to say about the method we decided to become parents. I am sure many of these questions were from lack of knowledge or concern, but after hearing them over and over and sometimes more than once from the same person, it became offensive to us. Like our decision wasn’t respected. Like we didn’t have a large enough mental capacity to have talked to our doctors or made our decisions based on facts.. Adoption was in our hearts and we felt that was where our child was growing. We felt alone and that these questions would turn into years of feeling like our child wasn’t accepted.

Luckily, with some prayers and tears, we were able to talk to the people closest to us and understand where they were coming from and educate them on our choices. When our son was born, he was welcomed into the family with loving arms and many joyful tears. He is treated no different than the other children in our family. He IS their brother, cousin, nephew, and grandson.

I still get asked why we decided to adopt by people. Our answer, we just wanted to be parents.

To follow our adoption more, “Like” our facebook page at www.facebook.com/OurAdoption

Finalization

Finalization

Sarah Baker | July 23, 2013 | 07:56 PM

Today, we had a huge day! We finalized our adoption of Ezra. I had no idea what to expect. We got a letter from our agency with the court date (which was changed because our first judge retired) and it included a list of rules for court. Other than that, I didn’t have a clue what to expect.

In my mind, I expected a court room that looked like Judge Judy’s. I expected a very formal hearing with gavels and someone in the corner typing on a typewriter. I walked into a small room with three tables and a few chairs. Our lawyer and adoption agency director were waiting for us in the room. The lawyer left to let the judge know we had arrived and a few minutes later he entered. We stood and the judgee told us not to worry about standing. We shook his hand and introduced our family. The judge oodled at Ezra for a minute and talked to Isaac about starting football. He went to his table and asked our lawyer if all the paper work was in order. He then asked us if this adoption was what we wanted, of course we eagerly said yes with goofy smiles plastered across our faces. Even Isaac looked excited! He then just said “congratulations” and stood up and talked to the lawyer and then posed for pictures with us. Our lawyer left the room with him and a few minutes later came back with the Adoption Decree showing Ezra was now legally our baby.

We took more pictures in the small court room and chatted for a few minutes. It all went so quickly and still feels so surreal. There were no big speeches, no formal questions, no reviewing of our case paperwork, no doctor to make sure we were taking care of the baby, no probing us or the agency director that everything was done, no truth serum or lie detectors, no gavel. It was like we just met a new guy and he congratulated us on our beautiful, chubby baby.

But, we know what the day means. The day means that he IS our son. The day means that his last name is now ours. The day means that we will need to spend every day of his life protecting him, teaching him, loving him, nurturing him, etc. The day means that the blessing we received may be a bitter one for his birth parents. These people made a sacrifice for him and for their other children. They placed him for adoption out of a love that is unfathomable by many. We may be his parents and “parenting” him… but we aren’t the only parents he has. We aren’t the only parents that love him. They will always be a part of his life through an open adoption agreement. Denying him of his family is not an option for us. Why deny him more love? Why deny him his identity? Why deny these amazing birth parents the ability to see the beautiful boy his is. They gave us a lifelong gift… the greatest gifts are those that you can share in the recipients enjoyment. They can see how happy he makes us, which makes them happy. His original birth certificate may be official sealed after today, but his roots are not.

Thank you Teri and James, today wasn’t possible without you. We are forever in your debt.

Family Bonding

Family Bonding

Sarah Baker | July 01, 2013 | 02:45 PM

When adopting a child, the fear of bond is even greater than it is when it’s a biological child. I can remember when I was pregnant with Isaac and reading about women who failed to bond with their child after birth. That terrified me. If I had those fears with my biological son that I carried inside me for 9 months, how would it be with my adopted son? I feared it would take us longer to bond. That I couldn’t give him the maternal love he needed, that things would be “different”. The good news is… it was exactly the same. It was surreal, but it was the same. I saw that precious baby the moment he was born and was instantly in love with him. The first night we bonded so well that by the next day I knew him and he knew me. My husband was instantly smitten and I saw him cry just holding our newborn son.

With adoption it can be hard to bond with the unborn child. You bond with an idea of being a parent. You may have names picked out and a great relationship with the birth parents… but you still fear that adoption being disrupted. In our first match, we put ourselves fully into that match. When we saw family members treating us different from siblings that were also expecting; we were hurt. But, for them, the match wasn’t real. The baby wasn’t here yet, there was no guarantee. We wanted to celebrate our excitement, but they were afraid. We had to speak up. We now understand that it wasn’t their lack of excitement for us, but that they were protecting themselves in the chance it didn’t go through. Of course, our first match did fall through and we felt like that would just support their cause of not being excited if we got matched again. It’s like a miscarriage, in the sense that you don’t know what could happen. But should the “what if’s” cause you to avoid attachment? WHAT IF it does go through? Then you haven’t prepared or mentally bonded with that baby?

So when we did get matched again, we were terrified. But Ezra’s first mother knew about our first failed match, she understood my need to be up front about everything and clarify our expectations and us to understand her expectations so that the match could be a success. After we got that out of the way, I was able to cautiously bond. I was still scared, all the way up until he was born. But, I also was afraid for her. Afraid Ezra’s expecting mom was hurting. Afraid she would regret her decision. See, the beauty in bonding with Ezra before he was born, was that I also bonded with her. She is an amazing, strong woman that chose life for her son. She chose to be the best mom she could be to him and to her other 2 children by placing him for adoption. I am so glad I didn’t allow my first failed adoption to result in shutting my emotions down when we moved forward with trying again.

When Ezra was born, we stayed a couple days in the hospital with him and them. We did not invite family, but we were on the phone a lot, talking to family and texting pictures. When we got home, our immediate family came to visit in the days ahead. Those family members that struggled to bond and show excitement fell in love immediately. Their fear of the unknown vanished when they held our little 6 pounds of perfection.

The best part is seeing our older son, Isaac, with Ezra. When Ezra was about 2 or 3 months old, I was talking to Isaac and I said “I can’t believe he’s ours. He really feels like he is OURS.” Isaac said “duh, that’s because he is. He’s my brother.”