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.

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.

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.

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.

book banner

 

Adoption.Net

adoption.netA few days ago I got an email from Luke, Outreach Coordinator at Adoption.Net.  I have followed adoption.net on Facebook for a bit, but I was unaware of some of the changes they were making until he messaged me and suggested I browse the site to see the online community they are building.

Luke is an adoptee and clearly very passionate about the outreach program.  He stated that this is “a new site and have started with blog stories, an adoption agency directory and a Q & A area, but we are working on some innovative ways for people interested in adopting or children who are adopted to build an online community.  Right now we are trying to get the word out about our site so that people can take advantage of it. ”

Obviously, I love a good adoption resource, so I was eager to check it out!  The website is easy to navigate and has clearly marked sections for adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents.  It has links to waiting parent profiles, blogs, news, community and a directory. I could spend all day long looking through the directory.  The resources listed are endless!

I went to the heading titled “Pregnant”, because I was curious how they addressed women considering adoption.  The first thing you come to after clicking is a list of steps to help a women who thinks she is pregnant, when she may be terrified and not thinking clearly.  It tells her to take a test, call a doctor, contact the father, reach out to a counselor and talk to her family.  It’s not a glaring “place your baby for adoption” page.  It provides all available options a woman has for her pregnancy and IF she chooses adoption, there is a link to waiting families and other resources, but it’s not pushy.

The next section of the site I browsed was “Adopting”.  It was well laid out with information for several avenues of adopting.  It had a lot of valuable information and sections dedicated to more in depth topics.  I liked that it and other sections have a Q&A heading as well as a guide to resources which includes articles.

I am glad Luke messaged me and hopefully you find the site helpful.

Image

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.

book banner