Adoption Around the World
A Act of Love Adoption helps give children hope through the adoption process. With a special focus on domestic adoptions within the U.S., they strive to help find homes for infants and young children. As Act of Love Adoptions directs their efforts towards making a better life for children domestically, they understand the importance of working with birth parents and adoptive parents to create a harmonious relationship, one in which a child greatly benefits.
Statistics show that worldwide, between the years 1999 and 2011, there were approximately 233,934 adoptions. As predicted, most adoptions occur when a child is under the age of one-year. With overseas adoptions in China weighing heavily on adoption figures, more than 146,516 children were female and only 87,415 were male.
Astonishingly, more than 423,000 children within the U.S. do not have homes and more than 115,000 of that number are available for adoption. Sadly enough, more than 40-percent of these children will need to be in foster care for more than three years before being adopted by a permanent family. In 2004, international adoptions peaked at 22,990 and in 2009 statistics showed it had declined to a mere 12,700 children.
While adopting a child may not be inexpensive, it gives a home to a child that is already born and in need of a healthy, thriving family. Public agencies are the most inexpensive route for adopting a child, costing no more than $2,500. Licensed private agencies, independent adoption groups, facilitated and unlicensed adoptions and international adoptions are more expensive, costing between $5,000 and upwards of $40,000. However, how can someone put a price on the value of human life – especially an innocent child that simply needs a loving mother and father to provide care, guidance and acceptance in a difficult world?
The top five foreign countries that allow U.S. adoptions include China, Ethiopia, Russia, South Korea and Ukraine. However, due to recent political tensions and human rights violation accusations, Russia officially withdraws their open adoption policy with the U.S. effective January 1 and will not permit Americans to adopt Russian babies.
The top states for adoptions, largely based on population, include California, Texas, New York, Illinois and Florida. Adopting a child not only gives the gift of American freedom, but also opens an entire world of possibilities and advantages that may have otherwise been unavailable to a disadvantaged child.
About A Act of Love
Since 1993, A Act of Love Adoptions has been striving to offer services to birth mothers and adoptive families, ultimately resulting in many successful infant adoptions.
They offer birth mothers free adoption services, medical assistance, legal aid, financial assistance, furnished housing, living accommodations, transportation, open and closed adoptions, meeting adoptive families, counseling, pregnancy support and post-placement support.
Adoptive parents have a short placement time with A Act of Love, are offered home studies, post-placement visits, interstate services, open and closed adoptions, adoption orientation classes, adoptive parenting classes, direct placements, legal services and counseling.
A Act of Love Founder Celebrates 60th Birthday
Kathy Kunkel, founder and director of A Act of Love Adoption Agency in Utah, celebrated her 60th birthday this week. Kunkel has been a pillar in the Utah and national adoption community for more than twenty years — adopting eight of her own children and assisting thousands of adoptive parents and birthparents in adoption as well. For her sixtieth birthday, her staff at A Act of Love celebrated with a surprise party and adoptive families from all over the United States sent letters of gratitude and well wishes.
Ms. Kunkel founded A Act of Love in June, 1993 when there were very few adoption agencies at the time that were not church or state funded. She started the agency after having considerable experience and communication with birthparents. In addition to her experience with her own adoptions, Kunkel had birthparents live in her home during their pregnancy. She had the time to spend learning how a birthparent feels as she prepares to place her newborn. She began to understand the need for a new type of adoption agency. After learning from the birthparents she helped, Kunkel felt it was very important to let birthparents actively participate in the type of adoption they wanted. Many expressed they would like their adoption to be more open than what most of the current agencies were willing to offer. Kathy listened.
She and her husband went to work to complete all of the necessary paperwork and licensing requirements to open Act of Love’s doors. After several years, her dream came true and on a June day in 1993, A Act of Love Adoption Agency was officially open. It was then that the face of adoption in Utah began to change. Kathy took her understanding of birthparents wishes and created programs that would allow choices. She and her small staff (at that time) were very hands on. Often, she and her husband would take birthparents to their doctor visits and grocery shopping. As the agency grew, Kathy brought on more staff and moved the agency from her home to an office. Upon doing so, business grew and both birthparents and adoptive parents began recommending A Act of Love to their friends and acquaintances.
Today, A Act of Love Adoption Agency has over 20 dedicated and loving employees. Each has been personally touched by adoption in their own life and has the desire to help others through the beautiful journey of adoption. They understand the roller coaster of emotion involved and lend an empathetic shoulder to lean on.
A Act of Love is known throughout the country and works with the top attorneys in the industry — members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Birthparents and adoptive parents from many states in the U.S. choose to work with Act of Love because of their integrity and their reputation.
Although the agency has grown tremendously since its inception 20 years ago, it continues to have the personal “Mom & Pop” feel, where every client is met with individual attention and love. Kathy Kunkel truly loves her life’s work and pledges to continue serving children through adoption services until the day she dies! Congratulations Kathy on your incredible success and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
Charitable Donations to Act of Love
Act of Love Adoption Agency is a licensed, non-profit 501(c) (3) adoption agency in the state of Utah. Act of Love is able to accept tax-deductible donations until midnight for the 2012 year and will then begin accepting donations for the 2013 year on January 1.
The charitable donations that were made to Act of Love in the 2012 year are cherished gifts that have made it possible for Act of Love to assist many children, birth parents and adoptive families in adoption services. Act of Love is dedicated to assisting birth parents as they have the opportunity to choose adoption as an option for their child, serving the children and helping to place them with a loving family. Being a full service adoption agency allows the staff at Act of Love Adoptions to support the needs of the adoption triad.
Act of Love is well known in the adoption field for the special treatment and attention that is given to birth parents and adoptive families. The charitable donations that are made to Act of Love provide more opportunity to assist with the beautiful option of adoption.
Gifts made to Act of Love Adoption Agency are tax-deductible. Act of Love thanks you for your continued support.
To Serve Children – to
Help build loving families who
Share the joy of living
And loving together.
We Were Touched and We Knew It Was Right!
We started looking into adoption and searching for an adoption agency one October, by the next October we had brought home our baby girl! It took us six months to decide on an adoption agency. We contacted agencies from coast to coast and spent a lot of time speaking with the people that worked at them. From the first time we contacted A Act of Love there was just something about the people that really touched us. When we finally made our decision it was soon apparent to us that we had picked the right adoption agency. Everyone was so wonderful to work with and helped us with each step of our journey. I am sure Jeri got tired of hearing from us nearly every day! We finally finished all our paperwork and received our call letting us know we had been approved. Two weeks later we got a call, telling us to get ready…a birthmother in our own state had chosen us! We were so excited, but wait there was more…she was already in labor and she only lived a couple of hours away from us. We were going to meet our baby girl the next day. We met the next day and before our baby girl was 24 hours old we were holding her in our arms. I truly believe God brought our family together, but I know that he had to have A Act of Love’s help! Our baby girl turned 5 this year. She is the most amazing little person and has made our lives complete.
You have found yourself pregnant and in a position where you’re not ready to raise a child, and now you are wondering what to do? Have you considered adoption? Remember, you are not alone in your situation. Thousands of women like you, have experienced this same circumstance, some more than once — and many of those women have made the choice to place their baby for adoption.
You may not know much about adoption or maybe you have seen some crazy things on TV. But, for people who have experienced adoption in their life, it is a beautiful option. For you, as a potential birthmother, the options in adoption are endless. You can select a loving couple that has been home studied, by an adoption agency or adoption professional and ready to adopt. These are adoptive families who are emotionally and financially ready and able to provide a wonderful home and life for your child. You can view profiles of adoptive parents from all over the country with a family life that your child would thrive in. These families have resources to provide your child with opportunities, like a terrific education, sports involvement, musical options and more.
Knowing your child will be raised by loving parents will give you the opportunity to focus on your hopes and dreams. You can accomplish the things you have in mind for your future. Whether that means graduating from high school, college or completing other schooling for a career, or finding a job that you enjoy and will support you.
As part of your adoption plan, you can be reimbursed for out of pocket maternity related medical expenses. An adoption agency or professional will ensure you receive the proper care during your pregnancy and for the weeks following your delivery. You may also be able to be reimbursed for other maternity related living expenses, depending upon the state you are residing in. To better understand this, you can call an adoption agency to find out about your state. There are many reputable and knowledgeable adoption agencies or professionals that can help with these and other questions.
If you decide upon open adoption, you will have the added joy of receiving updates with photos of the child. Many birthparents describe receiving their updates as a reassurance they did the right thing by placing their child for adoption. Open adoption gives birthparents, adoptive parents and adopted children the comfort of having answers to questions that will arise during the child’s life. There is also the happiness that comes with knowing that you loved this child enough that you chose life and all the opportunities it brings.
Giving such a precious gift to adoptive parents that could not otherwise experience the joy of parenthood is also comforting to a birthparent. Seeing the wonder and excitement in their eyes when they meet the baby for the first time brings peace to many birthmothers. It is wonderful to know that you are giving them the ability to fulfill their dreams of raising a child even though they may not be able to do so biologically.
Placing a baby for adoption is a wonderful and unselfish option to consider if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy. There are many resources available to you. Adoption agencies have excellent counselors, caseworkers and staff to help you understand and prepare for an adoption plan. Many adoption agency staff has extensive experience in adoption, from placing children, to adopting children and being members of families where adoptions have taken place. They are warm and compassionate and ready to help you with an adoption plan.
Forever Touched Our Family
Mark, Marie, and Soren’s Story
We will forever be grateful to Kathy and the A Act of Love team for making our little family possible. Like many other couples, we didn’t anticipate any difficulty conceiving a child. Yet, after several years of trying, including stressful fertility treatments, we realized that, for whatever reason, this was not going to be possible for us. Adoption had always been on our minds throughout the process, but sifting through all the options and considerations took immense effort and careful thought.
After attending numerous information sessions at different adoption agencies in the Washington, DC, area, we decided to work with the Barker Foundation. However, since we chose domestic adoption, it became clear that it might take as much as several years to be matched with a baby. Barker recommended we consider doing the home study through them but collaborating with some out-of-state adoption agencies for placement. They gave us a list of about one dozen adoption agencies, including A Act of Love.
From the very start, A Act of Love struck us as leaps and bounds above the rest of the pack. Marie will always remember her first call to their office. Even though it was a Friday, and the office was closed, Kathy answered the phone and took the time to patiently and kindly answer all her questions about A Act Of Love’s program and the placement process. Marie was so impressed by Kathy’s responsiveness and dedication. Immediately, it was obvious that the work of A Act Of Love was Kathy’s passion and that she had created an organization that felt more like a family than simply an adoption agency.
It took us a bit of time to get our paperwork done, but once we had a completed home study; it was only a matter of months before we were matched with our beloved son, Soren. Kathy and Jill called us on December 15, 2009, to let us know that we had been chosen by Soren’s birth mom. We were ecstatic to hear the news and spent the next month preparing for the arrival of our little son.
Soren was born on January 13, 2010. We were so lucky to be able to be there in Arizona the day he was born, and to have Cheryl and Laraine there to support and encourage all of us in this exciting but also difficult moment. Like all of the A Act of Love staff we have worked with, Cheryl and Laraine were so kind, warm, and helpful, and it was clear to us that Kathy’s example set a tone for the agency as a whole.
Our beloved son is now almost three years old. We love him so much—beyond the capacity of words to convey–and always feel so grateful to be his parents. We are so glad that our journey led us to adoption through A Act of Love, and that we had Kathy and all the A Act of Love team to walk with us on this journey. Kathy can be sure that her life’s work has profoundly and forever touched this little family.
CELEBRATE WITH KATHY!
Kathy Kunkel, the founder and CEO of Act of Love is turning 60 years old
on December 30, 2012. She has given her heart and soul to make Act of Love Adoption Agency what it is today. She loves each and every person that she has met throughout
the years at Act of Love. She plans on continuing working to bring families
together the rest of her life! As you may know, Kathy went into acute heart failure
almost 5 years ago. She never slowed down though. With many prayers and by following
doctors’ orders, she has overcome that great obstacle in her life. Doctors are amazed
and she is very blessed to be healthy again. She has been told she will live until she is 90!
Kathy always says that her life has been spared because of the prayers and faith
of many and the love she has for her adoptive families, birth parents, friends, staff,
children and especially her family.
We would love you to help us celebrate this special day with Kathy by sharing with us your adoption story, any special memories you may have or just a simple birthday wish. Her 60th birthday wish is a book containing the stories and memories of the adoptions through Act of Love Adoption Agency. She would love to receive pictures if you would like to share those with us too. We would also love to post these stories on our blog. You can either mail these to us or email them to Jill@aactofloveadoptions.com. There is not a deadline to send wishes as they will be added as they are received.
Also, with the holidays approaching, we will have many birth parents and their children here with us for Christmas. If you are interested in making any sort of donation, please contact us.
Thank you so much and have a Happy Holiday season!
My Beautiful Jennifer
Jennifer and I became a family almost 9 years ago. Our story begins when I was young. I knew even my teen years that someday I would have a little girl named Jennifer. I wrote messages to her in my journals, and bought outfits for her over the years. I prepared my whole life to be married and have the perfect home to raise a family. After years of waiting and preparing, the marriage just didn’t happen (yet!!). However, I kept feeling stronger and stronger that I needed to get ready because I was going to be a mom. This was confusing to me because I wasn’t married and I knew that is what was supposed to come first. So after a year of constant impressions that I should be ready, I decided to look into adoption. I found Act of Love Adoption Agency after I looked at 7 other companies. All the other companies just didn’t feel right. I felt like because I was single, and that I had diabetes for many years, that I was not an acceptable for adoption. I was so discouraged. I decided to would give it one more try. I met at Act of Love Adoption Agency with Isaac, and by chance happened to meet Kathy on my first visit to the office. I instantly felt like I belonged. I appreciated their honesty about the challenges and blessings of adoption- of biracial and tri-racial children. I told them I wanted to give a home to a child, any child, and I knew a child was waiting for me somewhere. We discussed that most birth mothers want their baby to go to traditional families with a mother and a father, but anything was possible. So I did the paperwork and created a book about me. I prayed and prayed that I would know if this was the right thing to do. On a Thursday afternoon at 4pm, I turned in my paperwork to A Act of Love. I drove home leaving it in my Heavenly Fathers hands. I knew if it was meant to be, it would happen.
The following Monday I was in the ER with one of my parents for many hours. When I called my brother to update him on the situation, he asked how things were going with the adoption process. I told him I hadn’t heard anything yet and that with my luck the agency probably called while I was in the ER. How did I know? I got home right before midnight and there was a message to call Act of Love. I cried all night thinking I had lost my chance. In the morning I called the adoption agency and was told that a birth mom in South Carolina had requested that her little girl go to a single mother. She was sent my information and that afternoon I was told that she had chosen me to be her mother. I cried again. It hadn’t even been a week since I turned in my paperwork. She was just waiting for me to finish my part!
I held my little girl a few days later, and knew this was my Jennifer. She was everything I ever imagined her to be. I never envisioned me with a beautiful “brown” little girl, but I look at her now and can’t imagine any other child being mine. She is so much like me!!! She likes animals and gardening and is so creative. All my life I wanted a little girl that was cuddly. Jennifer is so cuddly that sometimes I have to ask her to give just one inch to breathe. I am so grateful that things happen the way they a supposed to, when you are doing what is right. I am so grateful for the support of family and friends, and hairstylists, that support me in raising her. I’m excited to help Jennifer explore our family heritage, but also her Southern, Jamaican, Korean, heritage. It will always be a part of her- and I want her to be proud of who she is. People often ask if I cried when I got her. I have to admit that it happened so quickly I was scared to death once that foster mother handed her over to me and her precious little life depended completely on me. It took me 45 minutes in the hotel parking lot to figure out how to use the car seat, but everything else came naturally. We have joked that I had to schedule time to hold her because so many people wanted to hold her and be a part of her life. I cherished the times we were alone and she could just look up at me and smile as I fed her. Jenifer was a binky baby- sometimes she had three binkies in her mouth at a time. My favorite memory was when I was rocking her to sleep and we had been looking at each other for quite a while. She looked at me as if she was thinking, and then slowly took her binky out of her mouth and then put it in my mouth. She took it back in a few seconds, but her message was loud and clear even though she couldn’t talk- she loved me. I have that binky in our memory box. I will never forget the love that was shared without words.
A Act of Love made this all possible. Meeting the people there, being encouraged by them, and them providing classes on adoption helped me immensely. If it were not for them I don’t know where I would be, or where Jennifer would be- and that scares me. I know that her birth mother provided the means for me to have a beautiful daughter that could never happen any other way and I thank my Heavenly Father every day for her sacrifice and love.
Thank you Kathy for all the work you put in to an adoption agency that helps make dreams and wishes come to life. I love sharing my story about A Act of Love and my experience there. It could not have gone better or smoother, and if I were a little younger I would do it all over again.
Thanks you for the miracle you brought to my life.
Happy Birthday Kathy!!!
Much Gratitude in North Carolina
Birth mother S lived in North Carolina and had 3 great children and a longtime boyfriend. They were planning to get married and create a great life. S worked hard to help support her family. She found out she was pregnant, very unexpectedly. She and her boyfriend, C, tried to decide what to do. They contemplated abortion, but then S found out she was too far along for abortion. Their thoughts started to turn to adoption.
S and C found A Act of Love Adoption Agency, in Utah and decided to give them a call. After talking with an adoption counselor with the adoption agency, they knew that adoption was the right choice for them. They also found out they were having a baby girl.
S and C found an adoptive family that was ready to adopt with the adoption agency. They just loved the adoptive family! They talked on the phone and had a great connection. The adoptive family agreed to come to North Carolina at the time of delivery to be with S and C.
S went into labor 2 weeks early, so the adoptive family made their travel arrangements. The adoption counselor was with S & C to be a support to them. The baby was born and the delivery went well. S was still confident in her decision to place, and felt that she was giving her baby girl so many opportunities in life.
Then S’s world came crashing down. The hospital had run some routine blood work when S arrived at the hospital. The hospital social worker let S know that she tested positive for HIV. She was shocked and scared. How could she have HIV? She had been totally faithful to her boyfriend for years! S and C sat down to have a serious discussion. C admitted to have been with multiple women when he was supposedly away working on the weekends. He had passed HIV on to her, an innocent victim! She was so distraught, but her thoughts turned to the adoptive family and her baby.
Doctors immediately put the baby on medication that she would have to take until she was 6 months old. The adoptive family took some time to think and talk with doctors, and still felt this baby was meant to be in their family. The baby is thriving and is so blessed to not have contracted the HIV.
S is doing well. She continues medication and doctor appointments. She has learned how one person’s decisions can completely change another person’s life. Just like her positive decision to place impacted the wonderful adoptive family she chose to place her daughter with. S is able to watch her beautiful baby girl grow through pictures that are sent through the adoption agency. She is so grateful for this connection and to see and know that her baby girl is healthy and so loved by all of her family.
Adoption Agencies Work With Birth Fathers
Utah’s adoption agencies are receiving a lot of attention in regard to birthfather rights. Having been part of a family touched by adoption, I have closely watched the practices of several agencies in regard to how birthfathers are involved in the adoption process. As many of you know, usually only bad news is covered by the media. This seems to be the case in Utah adoptions. Of the hundreds of adoptions that take place each year in the state, just a handful of adoptions are contested. These make the news and put a negative spin on Utah adoptions and agencies.
In analyzing the statistics of one Utah adoption agency, A Act of Love, it was found that 72% of their adoptions in the past year have had either a birthfather aware of the adoption plan and/or sign relinquishment paperwork. This agency makes every effort to notify potential birthfathers of a pending adoption and offer services to that birthfather, including openness. Many birthfathers are supportive of an adoption plan and participate in counseling and selecting adoptive parents together with the birthmother. Whether or not the birthparents are together in a relationship at the time of the adoption, many have stated that knowing the other one is supportive of the plan makes the placement even better. Other situations make the signing of both birthparents more difficult. These can include scenarios like sexual assault, date rape, abusive relationships and birthfather’s identity and whereabouts are unknown. For situations such as these, state laws vary and will need to be addressed according to the state in which the baby is conceived and/or born.
Adoption law can be difficult because every state has different laws. Again, in most cases, the laws in the states where the baby is conceived and born are followed.
Many states have Putative Father Registries, where a father can establish his paternity and willingness to provide for the unborn child. A “putative father” is a man who may be a child’s father, but who was not married to the child’s mother before the child was born and has not established that he is the father in a court proceeding.
You can consult the National Directory of Putative Father Registries to locate your state’s registry and requirements. The following states are listed on-line as having a Putative Father Registry. According to National Directory of Putative Father Registries from Erik L. Smith: an asterisk (*) means that the state, by statute, regards a putative father’s ignorance of the pregnancy or the birth as no excuse for not registering with the putative father registry. Other states may imply similar theory through their case law, even if the statutes do not mention it.