I’m a Big Sister!
It was 47 years ago. I was five years old and it was the best day of my life. My memory recalls only glimpses of moments in that day. My Mother, Father and I waited patiently in a room with a big table waiting for my baby brother. I remember having the outfit which my mom and I had carefully picked out for my brother, in my lap. My next memory is a woman holding a tiny baby boy leaning down to show him to me.
I can still feel the excitement knowing that I was becoming a big sister! It would no longer just be me and my parents! I would be like the other kids in my neighborhood….I would have a sibling! Another quick memory flash: my mom asking me to help her put his outfit on that we had carefully selected.
The only other thing I remember about that day is going outside and rounding up all the kids on my street to come and see my new baby brother. I brought them all inside and we all stood in a big circle around the bassinet. It was so great to be a big sister and I owe the whole experience to my brother’s birthparents who lovingly decided that adoption was the best choice for him.
Without adoption, I may have been an only child. I longed for a sibling to play with and to enjoy our family times with. My parents told me as I grew older about the pressure I put on them to have another child. Because of infertility issues, they had been unable to conceive so they began looking at adoption as an option.
I have no idea how long they waited or the process they went through, I just know I will have those few memories of that great day etched in my mind forever. I want to thank my brother’s birthparents for placing him for adoption. He has been a great friend, and wonderful brother to me. He has lived a life of adventure and had interests very different from mine, but I love him for that. He is very intelligent, a voracious reader and loves to travel. He has served our country and is a great father to his kids.
For those who are considering placing a baby for adoption I want to thank you as well. You will never know the feelings on the other side of the placement. The joy is greater that you may ever realize. I know that as you grieve for what you hope might have been, please know that the adoptive family with whom you place will love you forever. They will cherish this child. They will protect and guide and love and help him in every way that they can.
When my experience with adoption happened, there was no such thing as an open adoption. Because open adoptions are so common today, you may be able to see the joy you bring to the family and be a part of their lives. As you see pictures of happy faces and read letters or emails about the activities of the child, you will know in your heart that adoption was the right thing. As you witness your child grow into that young man or woman, it will be a thrill to watch what they become, what their interests are and the wonderful ways they can contribute to society.
Thank you, birthparents everywhere, for making my life even better for having had the experience of being a sister and having a brother. It is such a privilege for me to have my life touched through adoption.
Choosing Your Baby’s Parents
Moving on after an unplanned pregnancy takes a lot of effort and courage. So does choosing adoption for your child. Ultimately, it is an act of love on the mother’s part since she will have to experience a deep loss and relinquish her parental rights to the child. Nevertheless, she is deciding for the ultimate good of the child.
One way to help the birthmother move on is to ensure that her child is in good hands. She can work with a reputable adoption agency such as A Act of Love Adoptions to help her choose her birth plan, which includes deciding on the criteria for the prospective parents. The good thing about working with an adoption agency is that you get access to a lot of prospective parent profiles. The agency will have thoroughly screened parent-applicants. These families will already have finished a home study conducted by a social worker and had criminal and child abuse clearances completed.
If you are a birthparent who has decided on adoption, here are some things to help you make your choice.
– Make sure that adoption is what you really want. As a prospective birthparent, you can have access to professional counseling. This counseling can help you explore your feelings and thoughts on the unplanned pregnancy and the adoption. Even though you are the child’s parent in every way and can still change your mind prior to the finalization of the adoption, knowing what you want at this moment will help resolve any conflicting emotions that may get in the way of your drafting the proper birth and adoption plan.
– Know what you want for your child. Knowing that you want your child to be happy and loved is not enough. Be specific about the kind of upbringing and lifestyle you would wish for your child. Ask yourself about the following criteria for your child.
o Kind of family. What family set-up do you envision your child to have? A family with two parents or a single parent? Do you desire for your child to be the eldest child in the family? Or is it okay for him to have siblings? Is birth order important?
o Home and community environment. What type of community would you like the child to grow up in – the suburbs, a small town or the city? Do you prefer the child to be raised in a family of the same ethnicity?
o Parent’s interests and values. Would you like the family to share similar values and religion as yours? How about hobbies and interests? How about their parenting and discipline styles?
o Where the family will live. If you desire to maintain contact with the family, their location could be an important consideration. You may want to have a family that lives in the same city or state as you do.
o Education. Is a college education a priority for the prospective family? What are their dreams and aspirations for the child?
– Decide on the level of contact you want with the parents. It is crucial to choose parents who share the same commitment to maintain your desired level of contact. You can choose to have a confidential adoption (where you only set the criteria but do not have the family’s names and contact details) or an open or semi-open adoption (where there is some level of contact). For open adoptions, you have the opportunity to meet with prospective parents and personally select the parents.
At the end of the day, choosing a family will be based on what your heart tells you. The criteria you have made can be a guideline, but in the end, keeping an open mind can help you make your choice. Of course, the most important criterion is that the prospective family has opened up their arms to welcome your child and are committed to love him with all their hearts.
Social Media and Adoption: How Social Networks Affect the Adoption Process
Nowadays, Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites are very much part of our lives. They are a great way to connect with loved ones and friends and to keep ourselves updated with each other’s lives. As with other aspects of our lives, social media also has its effect on the adoption process.
We hear of stories of couples who had a hard time waiting for a placement and who decided to advertise via social media. The lucky ones were able to find and meet their birthmother and successfully complete the adoption process. There are also less than happy stories of hopeful prospective parents who turned to social media and who became victims of adoption scams.
Aside from the opportunity to get a match and build a family through adoption, social media has become a common “staging area” for reunions, where either the child, the parents or the birthparents come in search of the other party. It may be through the use of the “search” function or through posting an ad about one’s search. Social media can also be a “gathering area” for people who are looking for a support group (i.e. birthmothers connecting with other birthmothers).
These instances just go to show that social media is simply a tool – an effective tool, no doubt, but one that is to be used with care. Forming families through adoption via Facebook and other social media sites may negatively affect adoption practice and the industry’s efforts to maintain its ethical standards.
If you are a parent hoping to make an act of love adoption, here are some things to be reminded of when it comes to social media:
– Don’t get your hopes up too soon. Hearing from a prospective birth mother after months or even years of waiting for a placement can lift up the spirits. However, try not to emotionally invest in informal private messages and chats. Tread carefully. This is not to discount that there are real cases of parents and birthparents getting united through social media, but there are also cases of people who came home disappointed.
– Remember that there are legalities to the adoption process. In short, it is illegal for anyone to offer babies for a fee. Also, only those licensed and accredited adoption agencies (such as A Act of Love Adoptions) and professionals licensed in your state are authorized to facilitate adoption placements.
– Do not send money to someone you do not know. The general rule is that if something is too good to be true, chances are, it is, especially if you are dealing with someone you do not know and someone who does not have a “legal” or traceable identity (that adoption agencies have). Thus, when a person you do not know claims that she is pregnant and is asking you to send money for “expenses”, think twice before sending that money order or depositing some money to an account.
– Work with a reputable adoption agency or professional. Even when you have a proven link to a mother who has decided on adoption, it is best to course the process through an agency. This is especially true if you are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of the adoption process. The experience and expertise offered by agencies such as A Act of Love can provide invaluable in ensuring that you are able to navigate the legal labyrinth that is the adoption process. The adoption agency can also verify the scenario between you and the birthmother you met through Facebook.
Adoption Before Foster Care
A married couple that had decided placing their baby for adoption was the best option for them talked in our adoption agency this week and talked about their families. The husband talked of his 11 year old sister that was in the foster care system and had been for the past three years. The wife also talked about a brother that had been in state custody for several years before being reunited with her mother recently. Her brother now spends time with his mother and then his father alternately.
As the couple talked, they expressed their feelings as to why they had chosen adoption at Act of Love. Most of it had to do with watching siblings be placed in and out of foster care. Statistics state that just last year alone, 23,439 were legally emancipated from foster care. This means that they “aged out” of the foster care system without ever being adopted. This is such a tragedy to know that that many children never knew the joy of a forever family.
Studies have shown that one in five will become homeless after age 18, when they are released from the system and have nowhere to go. By age 24 only half will have work. Less than 3% will earn a college degree and 21% of the women will find themselves pregnant within 3 years of being on their own.
In addition, one in four will experience post-traumatic stress disorder and many are likely to return to government systems including local jails and prisons. Those who have experienced foster care say that being released to live on their own without the “know how” or skills is a frightening experience. There is no one to rely on, no home to go to for support or comfort — no family.
Most Americans are unaware of the thousands of children that are in the system and will remain there until they are adopted or age out. There is nothing being done to better the system and help with solutions for better education, vocational training, life skills training and homes to go, once they are released.
CNN states in a recent article, “It is our duty as a nation to end this cycle. We made promises to 101,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted that we would find them safe, supportive homes.” For these children that have been permanently removed from their families, and freed for adoption, America owes them the opportunity to thrive in the warmth of a loving family.
For those considering parenting, but suffer from extreme poverty, abusive relationships, unsanitary living conditions, drug and alcohol homes, maybe adoption is a better choice. Imagine your beautiful baby being in the custody of the state and moving from foster home to foster home. It is far better to place your baby in the loving arms of an adoptive parent of YOUR choosing -someone that will stay in touch with you and offer pictures, and updates on the child’s growing up years. Isn’t this better than the possibility of long term foster care? Placing your child for adoption is giving your baby more! More stability! More love! More opportunity! More life skills! More education! and the knowledge that their parents loved them so much, they knew what was best from the beginning.
Like these birthparents that have witnessed their siblings experience in foster care, choosing adoption for your baby may be the best option! Contact Act of Love Adoptions today to talk about your options.
How do I select a domestic adoption agency or professional? And where do I start?
Begin by Researching Adoption Agencies or Professionals
You can select an adoption agency in your area or across the United States to search for your baby. Many adoptive couples choose to search for their baby by working with other adoption agencies in the country, because they have received a referral from a friend, co-worker or through research. Many adoptive families get a positive feeling during their research and feel confident in their decision.
CAUTION: Make sure that you understand the services that the adoption professional or agency can provide for YOU and YOUR circumstance. Your home study will need to be completed in your home state by a licensed adoption professional and meet all of your state requirements, as well as the requirements of the other states you choose to work with.
Best Information Needed to Select an Adoption Agency/Professional
1. Whether you choose an adoption agency or professional by a referral from a friend, acquaintance or through on-line searching – make sure that you do your own due diligence and research the success and credibility of the agency or professional.
2. Understand that not all adoption professionals are licensed to perform ALL of the necessary services that are required to complete an adoption. Don’t just take them at their word – continue to research to make sure you will be getting the services you need/want and that your birthparent(s) will get the adoption services they need for a healthy and successful adoption.
3. Call the agency that licenses the adoption professional you are considering and find out if they are licensed to perform adoption services in the state you live and the states that you might be seeking an adoptive placement.
4. Ask the licensor for a Letter of Good Standing and inquire about any complaints filed against the adoption agency or professional.
5. Make a call to the Better Business Bureau. Not all complaints are valid or verified, but it gives you a place to start.
6. Look for on-line reviews and references. Be careful not to take a couple of complaints on-line, as a reason to not work with a certain adoption agency or professional. Remember it is very easy on-line to only receive one side of the story and easy to complain anonymously on-line. Also, remember that most adoption professionals are bound by confidentiality and may not be able to respond to certain complaints.
7. When you speak with the adoption professional, evaluate how you felt when speaking with them. Where they friendly? Did they make you feel comfortable? Were they willing to listen to you or did they do all of the talking? Did they encourage you to check out their standing in the adoption community? Did you feel like they had your best interest at heart?
8. Call back and speak with different staff members from the agency or adoption professional you are considering and ask yourself the same questions as above.
9. Keep a notebook with your notes and reflect back on the information that you have gathered. Listen to your own intuition.
10. Be certain to obtain good legal counsel for consultation on the legal requirements to complete an adoption. If you are considering an inter-state or multi-state adoption, be certain that you have consulted with legal counsel prior to moving forward with an adoption plan. It is vital to have all of the information, so you can be certain your adoption can be finalized. Find an attorney that is well versed in adoption law. Attorneys from the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys are experts in the field of adoption and navigate the complexities of interstate and multistate adoptions.
11. Prior to signing any contracts with an agency or professional, be certain you understand what you are signing and what your obligations will be toward the agency or professional.
12. Find out how long the adoption professional has been in business. How many adoptions they have completed and what their qualifications are.
Post Placement Relationships
Birthmothers often wonder, how and when do I tell a new boyfriend that I placed a baby for adoption? There is really no right or wrong answer to this question because, as we all know, we are so different that what is right in one situation could be wrong in another.
But, what most birthparents believe is that it does need to be shared. Many birthmothers also believe that sooner rather than later is better. For those who have a very open adoption, the subject may have to be addressed very early on. For instance, if a birthmother’s social media contains pictures of her child she placed for adoption or posts about her placement, it would be much better for her to tell someone she has a relationship with, in person rather than have that person read or see it on-line. It also clears the air for an open and honest relationship. If the person decides not to pursue the relationship based on the adoption information, it wouldn’t be a good relationship anyway……better to end before it begins than to have an ugly breakup about it months or years later.
In talking about their experiences, some birthmothers have also found that by talking about it early on, they’ve found amazing adoption stories experienced by the other person. For instance, one guy had been adopted himself and has a fabulous adoptive family. Another guy’s mom was an adoption counselor, so he knew all about adoption and what birthparents go through. He had a greater respect for this woman who told him. Another man expressed his amazement at the courage it took for her to place her baby and told her how much he appreciated her confiding in him.
All birthmothers interviewed agree that it is important to tell that “special person” in an open and honest way. They also agree that if it turns that person off then the relationship was not right in the first place. Some boyfriends and spouses become part of the open adoption and jump right in, getting to know the adopted child and offering support to the birthmom.
Adoption should not have to be a secret. Choosing life for a baby is one of the noblest things a woman can do. Choosing a better life for her baby than she can give is even better. Sharing that experience with someone who will keep it tender and sacred is a wonderful experience.
As adoptions continue to become more open, more stories will be shared. Facebook continues to have adoptees and birthparents reaching out for each other to learn more about the other. As these stories are seen by millions who use social media, talk of adoption becomes more commonplace. When two people searching for each other are re-united, it becomes big news! Sometimes for the mere fact that after dozens of years of searching, it happens in a few hours on social media!
As birthmothers have the courage to make their stories known, it is hoped that more significant others will respond with the love and respect that birthmothers deserve. She has made a noble choice and deserves to be treated as such.
Meet our Birthparent Coordinators
This great group of women are the best of the best! Their job at Act of Love Adoptions is Birthparent Coordinator, but they become much more to the birthparents that they work with. Not only do they love and help each other, but they do the same for their clients. Act of Love has so many heartwarming comments from birthparents that have placed children for adoption and a great many include their gratitude for their coordinator.
One birthmother recently wrote: “You’ve got the right person working for you when it comes to Jana! But I’m sure you know that….she really, really cares about me. All of you guys have been awesome. When I get back home I will def be the spokesperson for Act of Love if I meet a girl like me that’s pregnant, I’m def gonna speak up about you guys and let her know there’s options, and you guys are great!”
Another birthparent texted, “Hey I wanted to say goodbye one more time. I love you, Jess, and enjoyed you a lot. Thanks for all the support you showed us and love. Hope to continue to talk with you later on in the future. Loveeeeee yooooooouuuuuuu very much :)”
And yet another, “I think that Act of Love Adoption Agency is wonderful and you really looked out for my boyfriend and me! We really appreciated it and Shelly is Awesome! You guys are a great group of people to work with! You made the process very relaxing!”
A birthparent that Leslie worked with said, “There are no words that could sufficiently and accurately describe how I feel for you guys at Act of Love. It is my feeling that we are blessed to have come to know each other. You helped me find a part of my family, and for that, I can never thank you enough.”
Our newest coordinator, Meredith, has shown her love and compassion in numerous ways as she has assisted our birthparents. She has a huge heart and is willing to help whenever called on. Her first birthparent she helped grew to love her immediately and expressed to her caseworker that after speaking with Meredith a huge weight was lifted from her shoulders.
As our coordinators meet, get to know, and serve these wonderful birthparents, they are able to closely connect with them as they move through their journey of adoption. The coordinator is someone a birthparent can count on for a trip to the grocery store, a ride to counseling or the doctor appointment, but also to call and take a walk with or visit the library or local park. It is important for birthparents to feel they have someone they can call on that will answer and understand. And, equally important is the call that says….. “I think I’m in labor!” These calls come around the clock, during the night, weekends & holidays. The coordinators are always willing to drop whatever they are doing and run. They are dependable and so thrilled to be there for the big moment when the baby is welcomed into the world. So many of our birthmothers have mentioned this time and that having their coordinator by their side as they gave birth, was so meaningful and helpful to them.
Having a friend to experience life’s experiences is one of the greatest parts of LIFE. Placing a baby for adoption is a life experience that creates a rainbow of emotion. The coordinators at Act of Love understand the feelings that birthparents will experience and are there for a shoulder to cry on, a hand to wipe away a tear and two arms to give a big hug. When all is said and done, a coordinator is a support to the birthparents regardless of the decisions made in the adoption plan. A coordinator at Act of Love is your friend. Over the past twenty years, our coordinators have made lots of friends!
Baby Girl Due in September
Act of Love has been contacted to help find an adoptive family for a baby girl that is due the middle of September. Birthmom, J, reports that she is African American and the birthfather is African American. J would like an open adoption and would like to select and meet the adoptive family. She would like to have pictures and letters sent through the agency until the child is eighteen.
Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. She also reports that she has not consumed any alcohol or tobacco during the pregnancy and she has not used any drugs during the pregnancy. Birthmom reports she began prenatal care in January and is taking prenatal vitamins. Medical records and non-identify information will be made available to the adoptive family.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
Seven Placements in Eight Days!
Act of Love is excited that seven of its adoptive parents have been placed in the last eight days! It’s been a busy week at Act of Love Adoptions and we are thrilled for the seven families that have welcomed a baby into their home!
We have been working around the clock to ensure that both birthparents and adoptive parents have had their needs met! For several of these adoptions, the matching process and anticipation of the birth have been ongoing for several weeks and months. However, for one in particular, it was 48 hours.
At Act of Love, we can help birthparents with an adoption plan if they call us when they are twelve weeks along or if they are 40 weeks pregnant. Just this week, a sweet birthmother called our agency stating that she needed to make an adoption plan and was due in six days. Our caseworkers sped into action that evening and paperwork was on its way to her. Early the next morning the baby was born! The baby being born did not deter the agency or the birthmother. Everyone was willing to do the work needed to make an adoption placement happen.
Because of the Native American heritage of the birthmother, there was extra work that needed to be accomplished so that ICWA rules were followed. With the help of the birthmother, the proper authorities were notified and written approval was given within hours. This is generally a lengthy process which sometimes can take months. The adoption attorney in her state was willing and able to be available to provide his services. The hospital and social worker were very adoption friendly and supportive to the birthmother. About thirty six hours after birth, the birthmother had nine profiles in her hands from which to select an adoptive family.
She selected the adoptive parents for her baby and the next morning they were at the hospital to meet her and their new baby. She was so thrilled because she did not want to discharge from the hospital without meeting the adoptive parents and having her sweet baby in their arms.
Act of Love staff is committed to its adoptive parents and birthparents. Adoption is a big part of many who are employed at the agency. Therefore, it’s not just a job, its real life. Many agency workers would not have families if it weren’t for adoption, and adoption has touched each one of them in a very personal way.
We have many more birthparents and adoptive parents that we are pleased to be working with. It is our goal to place each beautiful baby in a loving home with one of our waiting families. As we work hard to serve you, please know that you are constantly in our thoughts and we will do whatever it takes to make the best placement possible.
One birthmother, who placed her baby last week said, “I will certainly tell other women in my circumstances back home about this agency. You made me feel like family, and took such good care of me. I will never forget you all.”
Thanks to all of our clients. We look forward to many more placements in the very near future!
Many Thanks and Happy 4th of July
Act of Love Adoptions is grateful for the freedoms and rights we enjoy as Americans. Our past and present service men and women help to ensure the priveleges we have living in the United States of America. Act of Love is thankful to our birth parents and adoptive families that have served in the armed forces and enjoy the relationships we have with each of them.
Adoption allows so many the freedom to make choices for themselves and their children. Being able to plan and make choices for our greatest gift, our children, is one of the many blessings we each have. Act of Love was founded by Kathy Kunkel based on her belief that each individual should be able to make the choices they feel are right for their children and families. For over twenty years Act of Love has had the privelege to serve its clients and especially the children.
Thank you to all of those that allow us the independence and ability to build families through adoption and ensure that all of our children will have the opportunities and freedoms in the United States of America!
For further information on the services that Act of Love Adoptions provides, please contact us at: Birth Parents 800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094 and Adoptive Families 888-767-7740
Happy 4th of July!