Decisions? Teen Pregnancy
Recently, a young fifteen year old mother called Act of Love. She also sent a text of her beautiful 3 1/2 month old baby girl. As we talked, she recalled her excitement over becoming pregnant, despite the rumors and gossip she encountered at school. As the pregnancy progressed, the father of the baby became less and less involved until, she says, “He wanted nothing to do with me or the baby.”
This young birthmother went on to say that she and her parents are very stressed. She says she just can’t take care of her baby anymore and just wants to have a normal fifteen year olds life. As bonded as they all are, the birthmother realizes she is much too young to be parenting her child. Her mother has health problems and is just too tired to be watching the infant all day long. Her father is worried about her mother.
Looking back on all the excitement, the baby shower that was given on her behalf and the precious time in the hospital, the birthmother realizes that she was not thinking clearly. Before the birth and during the hospital time, it was exciting and fun! It seemed like being a mother and having a beautiful baby was going to be pretty easy. Nearly four months later, she describes herself as depressed to the point of having to be hospitalized for a short time to stabilize her emotions. It has been a heavy load to bear and unfortunately, both baby and mom seem to be suffering.
Although teen birth rates have been dropping over the past 20 years, more than 365,000 girls between 15 to 19 gave birth in 2010. What is even more alarming is that 183 repeat teen births occur each day! Of those 183, 86 percent are a second birth and 13 percent are a third. This is a very alarming percentage of teens who are becoming pregnant for a first, second and third time.
Many teens are using birth control, but only one in five are using the most effective means of birth control. For others, admitting to themselves, let alone the adults they may be living with, that they need birth control is admitting that they are sexually active.
Once a pregnancy occurs in women at such young ages, opportunities greatly diminish. One of the first opportunities to get put aside is education. Many fail to graduate from high school, leaving the weight of getting a diploma or GED heavy on their shoulders. Without a high school degree, the opportunities in the job market become narrow. The money is poor and the chance for advancement is slim. Young women soon find themselves in a vicious circle with not enough income, education or means to support themselves and a child.
Adoption is the answer! Act of Love Adoptions has been successfully placing children for adoption for over 20 years. The agency receives updates from birthmothers who are so grateful for the adoption plan they made and followed through with. Many have gone on to get college degrees, CNA certifications, and management positions at work. Others have gotten married and started families. Still others are pursuing their interests and dreams. The common theme among all their comments is: “I couldn’t have done this if I wouldn’t have chosen adoption.” These women and so many like them chose a better life for their baby and in doing so, move forward and make a better life for themselves. As we continue to celebrate adoption at Act of Love, we encourage young teenagers to consider adoption as your first and best option in what is right for your baby! Placing a baby for adoption is an act of love!
Sibling Revelry: Having Adopted and Biological Children in the Family
Let’s face it. There will always be some kind of conflict among siblings, whether they are siblings by natural birth or adoption. Your children often come with different personalities. They may feel the need to compete for limited family resources. They will bicker and disagree over a variety of subjects – bathroom time or the use of the family computer or video game. That is how siblings are.
However, if you have both children by natural birth and by A Act of Love adoption, there may be an extra layer of conflict from among your children. As a parent, you can work proactively to understand and resolve conflict, as well as promote a harmonious family life that is marked by love and respect for each member of the family.
Here are some ways to help your children relate with their siblings:
– Prepare your existing children for a new addition. Whether you are anticipating or are in the process of adopting, it is vital to prepare your children for the entrance of the newest family member. A child may have apprehensions about a new sibling and how this may change how you feel about him. If you have adopted and are expecting a biological child, your adopted child may feel that you are replacing him. If you have a biological child and are adopting, your child may feel jealous of all the time you are spending in the preparations and paperwork involved in the adoption. Constantly reassure your existing child that your love for him is constant and will not change, and that the heart has the capacity to “grow bigger” as your family adds in number. Make him feel involved in the preparations you have to welcome his new sibling. Seek his help in preparing the new siblings things or in decorating the room.
– Treat each child equally. Giving special treatment to one child will be a slippery slope into more rivalry between siblings. Treating your adopted child with kid gloves in the fear that he may not feel wanted may engender jealousy as well as conflicting feelings between your adopted and biological parents. A child may take the special treatment as a sign that he is not actually part of the family and is only there as a guest. Rather, treat each child equally and fairly. Equally divide the share of chores the children can do. Equally distribute the budget for gifts (Christmas and birthdays) among the children so that no one gets a grander gift than the other. Reward or reprimand a child as warranted. Expect grandparents and other loved ones to do the same and not give preferential treatment, especially to biological grandparents, nieces or nephews.
– Never compare one child to the other. Words such as “Why can’t you be like your brother/sister?”, “This is the well-behaved one while that is our black sheep.” can be terribly wounding to a child. In fact, he may carry the scars to his teenage years and adulthood. If there are things to correct, the act of love is to firmly but gently focus on the behavioral problem at hand, without the need to compare his behavior to the behavior of his siblings.
– Treat each child as individuals. Each child is unique, with different capabilities and gifts. Recognize that a child by adoption will inherit the talents and traits of his biological parents. This may mean that your child by adoption will not be like his musically-inclined siblings but may lean more towards athletics. Rather than trying to fit each child into the family mold, help your child discover his gifts and provide him with support in developing these.
– Never allow your children to use a child’s adoption and adoption story as a weapon. It is only natural for siblings to bicker and have disagreements. However, the fact of a sibling’s adoption should not be brandished like a sword. Another way to use adoption as a weapon is to threaten to publicize parts of the sibling’s adoption story as a punishment. The siblings should clearly understand that you will not tolerate this. The key is to establish respect as a vital part of your family’s culture and show all that they are truly an act of love!
A Second Adoption, Are You Ready?
Many birthmothers and birthparents that have placed a baby for adoption, find themselves pregnant again with an unplanned situation. This can cause feelings of disappointment with themselves, embarrassment and sadness. Wondering what to do the second or third time around can cause a great deal of anxiety for a birthparent. As they contemplate what they will do, many have wondered, “What will the adoption agency think of me?” or “What will the adoptive parents say?” This inner turmoil sometimes causes the birthparent to call an agency that is different from the first one they worked with so the agency and the adoptive parents remain unaware of a second placement.
Contrary to this line of thinking, adoption agencies understand that this happens. They are more than willing to help with a second adoption plan from a former birthparent. And, many, many families say to their adoption agency, “If our birthmother finds herself pregnant again and feels adoption is the best option, PLEASE contact us!”
Adoption agencies operate under confidentiality rules and never disclose information about their clients. Birthparents are usually encouraged to consider the option of allowing the adoption agency of notifying their first adoptive couple of the pregnancy and plans for placement. A Act of Love makes it a practice to talk with the birthparent about that before looking at other adoptive parents.
So many adoptive couples have received the call telling them their birthparent is pregnant again and feeling that adoption is once again the best option. Many have been completely surprised, yet excited and thrilled that they can add to their family with a sibling! Others may not be in a situation to adopt again but have greatly appreciated the call.
One birthmother decided that a closed adoption was the best plan for her. She placed with a wonderful family, yet decided she did not want any contact. Upon finding herself pregnant a second time, she called Act of Love Adoption Agency. Agency staff asked her if she would like her first family notified of the adoption. She replied, “I chose your agency because you work well with me and I know by the way your agency treats me that you will pick the right family for my baby.” It just so happened that the first adoptive family had contacted Act of Love and were thrilled to be able to adopt the second child into their family.
Another situation at Act of Love occurred when a birthparent placed for a second time and the first adoptive couple was unable to adopt again, but their great friends and neighbors were on board with Act of Love to adopt and the birthmother selected them. The two children essentially will know each other and grow up together, not in the same home, but as good friends!
For some birthparents, it eases their mind to know that their children will be raised as siblings, in the same home. For others, they just want a loving and safe environment for their child, whether it is in the same home as the last or in a different home. The common theme for all birthparents is wanting the best for their child that they so lovingly placed for adoption.
Documentary “Closure” – SLC July 10th
Please take this opportunity to learn more about the documentary film “Closure”. This touching and inspiring film follows an adopted woman who sets out to find her birth family. Brian Tucker shares how honored he is to be able to document the journey that his wife took in finding her birth family. The film shows the ups and downs of her experience, the joy and disappointment and beauty of open adoption.
“If you were adopted, if you’ve ever adopted a child, if you have adopted relatives — well, no, let’s just say if you care about families — then I challenge you not to be moved and inspired by this film.”
Jeffrey Overstreet, Film Reviewer at JeffreyOverstreet.com
Plan to attend the screening of the documentary in Salt Lake City, on July 10th. For more information to attend the screening documentary “Closure” visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1885614069/closure-adoption-documentary.
For more information on open adoption, contact Act of Love Adoptions to speak with a staff member and learn about open adoption. Birth Parents contact 1-800-835-6360 or Adoptive Families 801-572-1696
Can you provide a home study?
Act of Love Adoption Agency is licensed to provide adoption services; including home studies and post-placement services in the state of Utah. Our experienced staff is able to provide a professional domestic home study for families receiving a placement in the state of Utah or other domestic placements within the United States along with post-placement services.
The caring staff is professional, friendly and expedient along with being very sensitive to the needs of clients. Many of the Act of Love staff members have either adopted children, placed a child for adoption or have a close connection with adoption. This connection to adoption provides our staff with the background and understanding needed when preparing and completing and adoption.
With over twenty years of providing adoption services, Act of Love ranks among the very best adoption agencies in the United States. The social work team is able to meet the immediate needs of clients and provide a professional and thorough home study or post-placement report for clients. Many clients have shared that they appreciate the compassion and competence that the social work team offers. “I called Act of Love and they were in my home within two days of my call. The social worker was so understanding and willing to meet our needs. I appreciated how quickly Act of Love responded and how concerned they were with us being able to complete the requirements to adopt our baby. I would absolutely recommend Act of Love!”
If you are an adoptive family in need of adoption services, please contact Act of Love at 801-572-1696 or for birth parents 1-800-835-6360. We look forward to helping you with your needs.
Open Adoption – A Peace of Mind
How does an open adoption make signing relinquishment easier?
Recently, birth mom Mia signed her relinquishment paperwork. She had decided to make an adoption plan with Act of Love Adoptions later in her pregnancy and began the process shortly before the baby was due. Having another little boy that was three, no support from the birth father and struggling to make ends meet, she finally made the decision that placing her baby girl for adoption would be the very best for all involved. Her mother and grandmother had been very supportive and helpful to her in making her decision. They all wanted this precious baby girl to be part of a wonderful, loving family where she could grow and be loved.
The due date came even quicker than Mia had expected. Her labor started about a week before the estimated due date that her doctor had given her. Since she had started the adoption process close to her due date, she had just begun to start looking at adoptive families. Her social worker brought profiles to her at the hospital and she was able to read the beautiful and meaningful letters that the adoptive families had prepared for her. The pictures that were with the letters showed amazing families and she could tell from the love that went into preparing the pictures and letters that her little girl would be loved. Now, she just had to figure out which one!!
After spending some time reading the letters and looking at the pictures, Mia suddenly had a big smile on her face and said, “This is the one!” She felt certain that her little girl belonged with this family and finally felt the peace in her heart that she had been longing for. Mia picked up her phone and called her mom to share the news. Not only did Mia feel certain this was the family, but so did her mom.
The next morning, as she was signing her relinquishment documents she felt relaxed and at peace. She even smiled and said, “This was always meant to be.” The excitement shone in her eyes as she shared that she was going to be able to place her baby girl in the arms of her family and be able to move forward with the life she was creating for herself and her little boy.
Mia expressed her gratitude for having the opportunity to have an open adoption. She had been able to select her adoptive family, talk with them on the phone and they would soon be at the hospital to meet their baby girl. In planning for her adoption, Mia had chosen to exchange letters and pictures with the adoptive family until her daughter reached adulthood. She also conveyed her desire to meet her daughter later in life when her daughter was ready to meet her.
Each birth parent can choose the type of adoption that is right for them. Some birth parents choose to select their adoptive family and not meet them. Some choose to not meet the adoptive family, but exchange pictures and letters through the adoption agency. The team at Act of Love has over twenty years of experience in providing support and counseling to birth parents as they make these very important decisions for themselves. If you are considering an adoption plan, you can contact a staff member to ask questions and receive information. Our loving staff is available 24/7 to help you. Call 1-800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094. We look forward to helping you.
Baby Boy Due in June – Matched
Act of Love has been contacted to help find a family for a baby boy that is due the end of June. Birthmom, K, reports that she is Caucasian and the birthfather is either African American or Hispanic. K would like an open adoption and would like to select and meet the adoptive family. She would like the family to be at the hospital as soon after birth as possible and have the family send pictures and letters one time a year through the agency until the child is eighteen.
Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical illness, however; she suffers from severe back injuries that required two surgeries eleven years ago. Birthmom reports she has had limited prenatal care. Medical records and non-identify information will be made available to the adoptive family. Birthmom reports Heroin use connected to her back pain during the pregnancy and tobacco use. She also reports that she has not consumed alcohol during the pregnancy.
If you are a home study approved adoptive couple that meets the requirements above and are interested in being considered for placement of this baby, please contact Act of Love Adoptions at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive further information regarding the Outreach approval process. If you have not started the home study process, but are a local Utah family or your home study will be finished immediately, you may contact Act of Love at email@example.com to possibly be considered for this situation. Only approved Act of Love Outreach adoptive families can receive further information and details available for this situation. The Application for Services in the Outreach Program does need to be completed, but does NOT require a fee until match.
Adoptive family will need to be prepared to complete an Application for Services, provide an original signed notarized copy of the home study along with supporting documentation and meet other agency requirements to become approved for Outreach situations. The Application for Services in the Outreach Program does NOT require agency fees until you are matched. For more information on the programs available, contact Act of Love Adoption Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions About Adoption Requirements?
The question is often asked, “Could I adopt a child?” Many different people can be great parents. There are families of all different sizes, ages, races and backgrounds. When considering adoption, it is a good idea to talk to several adoption agencies and find out what their specific requirements are. The requirements for a private domestic adoption, foster care and international adoption will be different.
Act of Love offers a FREE Adoption Orientation that is designed to be a casual environment where your general adoption related questions can be answered and you can receive information about the adoption process.
The next class will be offered April 6th, at 7:00 p.m. in the Sandy offices. Call an adoption specialists today to find out more or schedule and appointment at 801-572-1696 or 1-888-767-7740.
Find out more about the adoption requirements at Act of Love click here to learn more
A Successful Open Adoption
Having an open adoption creates a lifelong relationship between adopted child and birthparents.
A young unmarried couple found themselves with an unexpected pregnancy five years ago. They wrestled with the decision on whether to get married and raise the child together or place the baby for adoption. After weeks of agonizing, they decided that given their circumstances which included a volatile relationship and some debilitating anxiety issues with the birthfather, their relationship would not last in a marriage. They decided it would be best to place the baby for adoption.
One thing they wanted more than anything was an open adoption where they could build a relationship with the adoptive couple and the child. They were shown profiles and knew almost immediately the couple that was “right” for their baby girl. The birthfather’s parents were very supportive of the adoption plan but the birthmother’s parents believed that marrying and raising the child was the best option.
As the baby arrived, both families congregated at the hospital and met the adoptive parents. It was a very emotional time for all. The birthmother struggled with emotion after birth, believing adoption was the best, yet experiencing all the feelings of bonding with the baby. When the time came to relinquish parental rights, both birthmother and father knew it was best to place. They signed the papers but were promised they would continue to see her.
The adoptive couple stayed true to their word. They kept in touch and would extend invitations to the birthparents on special occasions. As time went on, the birthparents went separate ways and the birthmother was married to someone else. This did not hinder the openness of the adoption. Both birthmother and birthfather were invited to attend events associated with their daughter they placed for adoption.
As the birthmother started having problems in her marriage, she took a step back from the adoption openness. The birthfather, however, continued to stay in close contact. A picture was posted by the birthfather recently on Facebook with the birthfather and his mother (biological grandmother) attending a dance recital of their sweet little girl. They both agree that this has been a wonderful experience where they get to be a part of her life, yet know that she has wonderful parents and a family that cherishes, nourishes and loves her with all their heart.
Open adoption is a blessing in so many lives that it touches. Not only is it helpful for the birthparents, but for their parents and families and for the adoptive parents and their families. It is probably the best blessing to the adopted child. He or she can experience knowing and learning from all family members who love them. In most cases, open adoption is a healthy and beautiful experience.
For more information on open adoption, contact an adoption agency in your area. Adoption agency professionals can help you make a plan that is best for you, whether you are a birthparent or adoptive parent. The information is free and confidential. You will find the best scenario for your situation and the agency will help you on your journey whether you are looking to adopt a child or place a baby for adoption.
Adoption Stress and How You Can Deal With It
At last! The long wait is over! All the legwork and reams of paper work have finally paid off. You are now bringing your child home. But after the excitement has died down, you realize that all the stress that has been accumulating during the adoption process is now taking its toll on you. The stress may pile on from various areas:
– Physical: All the preparations can be physically draining, especially when you consider all the efforts behind the successful adoption. There is the hassle of going through the legal requirements, the preparations for the home study and the various visits to A Act of Love Adoptions, your lawyer and the potential birthparent. The physical stress can be especially heightened when a couple has come to adoption after a series of infertility treatments.
– Emotional: The process of adoption can be an emotional roller-coaster ride. If there is an issue of infertility involved, the couple may need to undergo a grieving process. There may also be disappointments along the way, as well as the emotional pressure related to taking care of a newborn or of dealing with a child who is also experiencing some stress and trauma himself. The whole family will also be undergoing an emotional upheaval with the adjustments related to the new addition to the family. If the adoption is a foreign adoption, there is also jet lag, travel weariness, lack of sleep and culture shock to deal with.
– Financial. The costs related to a act of love adoption as well as the cost of taking care of an additional member of the family can be considerable.
Indeed, adoption stress can happen. It is best to prepare for the possibility of the stress. And when it comes, it is helpful to know how to effectively deal with the stress:
– Be prepared to parent. While waiting for the placement, educate yourself about being a parent, especially if it is your first time to be one. Visit the library to get parenting books and attend parenting talks and seminars.
– Get some help. When you bring your child home, you can look to friends and family for help in housekeeping, cooking or taking care of the other children.
– Limit visitors. It may not be advisable to expose him to a lot of new faces. This may overwhelm the child, who is also still adjusting to you. You may need to explain this to your friends and loved ones who may be excited to welcome the child personally.
– Take some time off. Avail of your parental leave so that you can have some time with the child. Do not feel pressured to attend parties, do volunteer work or ensure that your house is squeaky clean. Fatigue may set in if you feel you have to be the perfect friend, host or volunteer especially at this time. If you can, take a breather to let off steam. Get some rest when things have stabilized. This can be a short trip to the mall, a massage or an excursion to a nearby beach or park.
– Be patient and positive. Cut yourself and your child a little slack. The bonding and attachment you desire with your child may not come immediately. Amidst the frustrations and strain, strive to keep a positive outlook. This can help so that you can start the first steps towards connecting with your child and overcoming any stress you may feel.
– Be on the lookout for signs of depression. It may be that you are simply feeling off. It may also be that depression is setting in. Be alert for signs that your sadness may need professional intervention. This includes:
o Considerable weight loss or weight gain
o Sleeplessness or having too much sleep
o Loss of appetite or a significant increase in appetite
o Irritability and aggressiveness
o Difficulty in focusing
o Deep feelings of guilt, hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness
o Substance abuse
o Persistent thoughts of suicide or death
– Get professional help when necessary. If you notice a number of the above signs, especially the last one, get professional help as soon as possible. A therapist that is experienced in post adoptive stress can help guide you through the stress. Even without signs of being depressed, you can consider getting counseling for you and your partner.