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Adoption and the Baby Safe Haven Laws

Almost all states in the country have some form of Baby Safe Haven Law. For bewildered parents who may make drastic decisions, the law provides an alternative that can protect their privacy and spare them from criminal prosecution, no questions asked. A parent who may feel she had no way out and no choice about the matter may simply abandon the child in a place that is unsafe. With the Baby Safe Haven Law, she can leave the infant in a safe haven, where it can be kept safe and until custody of the child is assumed by the state through the foster care program.

Here are some pertinent details about the Baby Safe Haven Law:
– Location of safe havens. The law allows the parent to give the baby up in a safe haven. Safe havens include the hospital, police station, an adoption agency such as A Act of Love, a church or other religious institution or the fire station. The definition of “safe haven” may vary from state to state.
– Age and condition of the baby. The age of the child that can be left in a safe haven can vary from one state to another. Once the baby has passed that age limit, the safe haven law will no longer apply. The child should also be in good condition, which shows that the parent took care of the child until the time that he or she decided to abandon the child. If there are indications that the infant has been neglected or abused or if the infant is past the prescribed age, the individual who left the child will be detained and the police notified.
– Parental rights to the child. When the parent leaves the child in a safe haven, the child is considered to be abandoned and eligible for adoption. The child is first placed in foster care under such a time that he is adopted. In some states, the parent has a certain amount of time to change his or her mind and regain custody of the child. However, once the deadline has passed, the parents effectively lose their rights to the child.

Domestic adoption as an alternative

Aside from the Safe Haven Law, women who have an unplanned pregnancy have another option – adoption. She has the prerogative to choose to protect her privacy by having a confidential adoption or by working with A Act of Love Adoptions in a semi-open or open adoption. The semi-open adoption allows some form of contact while still protecting the birthparent’s identity. Meanwhile, an open adoption provides both parties (the parents who will adopt and the birthparents) with each other’s identity and contact information.

Choosing adoption provides a woman who may be very vulnerable, confused and scared with access to the support she needs. Working with an adoption agency allows her to have access to financial assistance during her pregnancy and delivery. This can include her daily living expenses and medical costs. An adoption agency may also provide her with counseling and assistance in making her adoption plan.

Adoption also gives an avenue for the birthmother to choose the parents for the child based on criteria of her choosing. The support provided by a successfully completed adoption can give the birthmother a strong foundation from which she can start to heal and move on.

Thoughts from Birthparents

When birthmothers who have placed a baby for adoption talk about their experience, there are many feelings, thoughts and emotions they have in common. These are things that they learned about themselves through the process of being pregnant, delivering their baby and placing their child for adoption.

One common thought is that they will never “get over” it. For those who are involved in adoption that phrase is difficult to hear. No one expects a birthparent to “get over” placing a child for adoption. “Moving forward” would be much more appropriate and accepted. There is a long period of time when the heart ache is strong and sometimes unbearable. It takes work and perseverance to move through the adoption experience and feeling those strong emotions of sorrow on a daily, weekly and monthly basis is challenging. Many birthparents have shared how helpful journaling their thoughts and feelings can be in the healing process. One birthmother, who recently celebrated her son’s first birthday, often looks back on the things she wrote throughout her pregnancy and this past year following the birth. She says that she sees growth in herself and is in awe of what she has learned from the experience. She also says that it will become easier if you continue to allow yourself to heal.

Another common reflection from birthparents is that they need people – people who will listen and be supportive. Birthparents need to be able to talk and cry and be angry and know that the person they are sharing with will respect their feelings and continue to be a support. The staff at Act of Love is well-known for being able to relate to birthparents and provide loving support. Also, telling your story to friends will be helpful in moving forward. Having others who have experienced placing a baby for adoption is also valuable. Many women and men find “groups” where they can go in person or join on-line that are dedicated to birthparents that want and need to talk about their experience. Knowing others have felt the same emotions and learning what they did to heal is so beneficial.

Knowing that the experience you have gone through is part of who you are can make you stronger. Everyone has a story and no two stories are the same. Having life experiences, such as placing a child for adoption, becomes part of your story and adds to your identity. Don’t be afraid of who you are. Don’t be ashamed to tell your story. You are brave and strong and what you have done is not easy. Celebrate the fact that you can make good decisions and stick with them, no matter how hard it gets.

Believe that by choosing life and adoption you have made a noble decision. How many adopted people on this earth today would say, “I wish my birthparents had not chosen life for me?” By giving life, you are enabling a sweet child to experience all the world has to offer and to grow and learn in a loving and nurturing environment. The choice of life has brought happiness and joy to an adoptive family and a child.

Act of Love celebrates birthparents and the journey they take from the time they learn about their pregnancy until the day they leave this earth. Their hearts are forever bonded to their child they so lovingly placed. We give thanks to these selfless and strong women and men who give their most precious gift.

We thank you, birthparents, for teaching us all what your sacrifice has taught you. We appreciate and love you and admire your courage!

African American Baby Boy Due in December

Birthparents C & S have contacted Act of Love Adoptions to help find an adoptive family for their African American baby boy that is due the end of December. C & S would like an open adoption and would like to select and meet the adoptive family. The birthparents would like to exchange emails with the adoptive family to have pictures and letters sent to them.

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 drugs. Birthmom reports she has had limited prenatal care and is taking prenatal vitamins. Medical records and non-identify information will be made available to the adoptive family. Birthmom has required a significant amount of pregnancy related assistance.

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 outreach@aactofloveadoptions.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 outreach@aactofloveadoptions.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 and other situations available, contact Act of Love Adoption Agency at outreach@aactofloveadoptions.com.

FREE Adoption Orientation Meeting at Act of Love Adoption Agency on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.

African American Baby Boy – BORN

Birthparents C & C have contacted Act of Love Adoptions to help find an adoptive family for their born African American baby boy. C & C would like an open adoption and would like to select and meet the adoptive family. The birthparents would like to exchange emails with the adoptive family to have pictures and letters sent to them.

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 drugs. Birthmom reports she began prenatal care in April and is taking prenatal vitamins. Medical records and non-identify information will be made available to the adoptive family. Birthmom has required a significant amount of pregnancy related assistance and will not have any insurance for the medical bills surrounding this adoption.

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 outreach@aactofloveadoptions.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 outreach@aactofloveadoptions.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 and other situations available, contact Act of Love Adoption Agency at outreach@aactofloveadoptions.com.

FREE Adoption Orientation Meeting at Act of Love Adoption Agency on Tuesday, September 2 at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.

Post Adoption Contact for Birthparents

Upon the one year birthday of his baby girl, a birthfather called A Act of Love Adoption Agency and told them that he and the birthmother had split up and were no longer together. Both birthparents were actively involved the year before in choosing adoption, selecting the adoptive couple and in deciding on the post-adoption contact (openness) of the adoption.

The birthfather was hoping that he would not be cut-off from the Post-Adoption Contact Agreement. He was very relieved to hear that he could continue to receive pictures and letters and so would the birthmother. In his excitement, he exclaimed “You just made my year! I’m so happy that I will have the same rights to openness as my ex-girlfriend!”

Act of Love Adoptions welcomes birthfathers to be a part of the adoption process. The agency provides counseling for birthmothers and birthfathers to help create an adoption plan to select an adoptive family and choose the type of post-adoption contact that will be healthy for everyone.

The way in which an adoption plan is created today has drastically changed over the past ten years. Many adoptions used to be closed with no contact after placement. Today, about 95% of all domestic adoptions have some form of post-adoption contact. For those birthfathers involved, they can receive the same type of contact as the birthmother, whether the couple stays together or not. In fact, some placements are such that the birthfather has open communication with the adoptive couple, but the birthmother has elected not to have communication.

Because everybody handles their emotions differently, it is perfectly ok for one to want communication with the adoptive family and for the other to not. Many adoptive parents and birth parents learn in moving through the adoption process that open adoptions are a very healthy option. Many, at first, expressed nervousness about an open adoption until they learned more about how an open adoption works.

Studies have shown that an open adoption can help the adopted child become better adjusted, if he has some idea about where he came from and his birthparents. Many children and young adults go through a period of time where their curiosity becomes quite overwhelming and if they have answers readily available, they can be satisfied and move on. Many open adoptions have been opened to the point of on-going face-to-face contact. Most of the visits happen every few years and children learn to really know their birthparents.

It is important for both sets of parents to be sensitive to the fact that kids go through periods in their life where they will enjoy these meetings and then other times when they really don’t want anything to do with visits. The key to making this kind of open adoption work is to be sensitive to the child and what he needs and is wanting at the time. A visit could be moved to a year later, if the child is not responsive to a meeting that was planned long ago. Letters, pictures, Skype or a phone call could be a great alternative to the visit.

As you move through an open adoption, both adoptive parents and birthparents should have the child’s best interest in the forefront of their minds at all times. No one should be offended if the child doesn’t respond in the way that was hoped. It’s like a young child on Christmas morning where the parents are so excited for the child to be thrilled with the gifts and all the child wants to do is play with the box!

The key is to be patient and loving. Do not place expectations on the child. Know that as he grows, he will learn and understand on his own terms. When he has questions, he will definitely make them heard. And, hopefully, both sets of parents will help to have those questions answered honestly and in a timely way.

The “Act of Love” Random Act of Kindness Challenge!

Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot of stories about random acts of kindness. One in particular just happened to one of our birthparents. She was outside getting the garbage ready to go out, when a neighbor whom she’s exchanged “hello’s and a wave” with periodically, approached her and asked her about the taxi cabs he’d been seeing pick her up. She explained that her car was broken and she needed to get to the doctor. He told her he had been a mechanic in the past and asked if he could take a look at it. As he looked at the car, he said he thought he might be able to fix it. A few days later, he came back with the part, worked on the car for about 30 minutes and had it running! When she expressed her gratitude and said she did not have the money to pay for the part or the labor, he said, “Don’t worry about it! I’ve already paid for it.” She couldn’t believe it! Wow! What an amazing act of kindness! Or as we would like to call it, and amazing act of love!

Other wonderful acts of kindness happened last Christmas when many past adoptive parents offered up help in the form of a Sub for Santa for the birthparents we were currently working with. It was heartwarming to receive the calls and emails from those asking ages, sizes etc. of the children of our birthparents. One adoptive family purchased a gift for every child we had on our list. Another purchased many gift cards from Walmart to distribute to the birthparents, so they could buy what they needed! It was overwhelming to see the love and generosity from so many of you! Recently, we received an amazing donation from a previous adoptive family!

It got us thinking! Why don’t we challenge all of our Act of Love followers to spread the love through random acts of kindness?! We are all bonded by our love for adoption. And, we share a love for all those who have helped create families through adoption. Why don’t we spread the love to people we come in contact with throughout our day??????

So……. Here we go!

The First Act of Love Adoptions, Random Act of Kindness Challenge!

As you are out and about, going through your busy day, help someone. This can be as simple as opening a door for another and smiling at them, unloading groceries into an elderly person’s car, or a young mother. Holding open an elevator for someone running to catch it, calling an old friend you haven’t talked to in a long time, mowing a neighbor’s lawn, texting a compliment to your child or offering assistance to anyone you see in need.

Please join us and take this “Act of Love” challenge this week! It will make the person you serve feel great and it will make you feel even better! You will be amazed at the opportunities there are out there to help brighten another’s day. It may not be something huge or expensive like fixing a neighbor in need’s car, but sometimes it’s the tiny simple things that make a difference. Act of Love has the privilege of working with so many wonderful clients that have truly touched our lives!

Let us know how you do! We want to hear your stories and how you feel when you help others – message us on Facebook! Good luck and start being aware of those around you!

A New Door Opened

There’s a popular phrase that goes like this: When one door closes, another one opens…… Here is a story to prove this point:

An adoptive couple eagerly anticipated the birth of their daughter who was to be born 1800 miles away. They had waited months as they had helped support their birthmother, financially and emotionally. They could hardly wait for her to be born!

The much anticipated day arrived! BUT, after giving birth, the birthmother decided that parenting was a better option for her. Heartbroken and disappointed the adoptive couple’s hopes were dashed and they felt so sad. Moving forward from this point is so emotionally difficult and it is tough to wake up every morning and try to feel happy. They knew that it was always a possibility that the birthmother could choose to parent, but going through the emotions was difficult. They also knew that failed and disrupted adoptions are a low percentage with Act of Love and that they wanted to continue moving forward to find their baby.

Fast forward to a month later:

Act of Love Adoptions received a call from a birthmother in the hospital in a small town in the South. She had given birth six weeks early and had a beautiful baby girl. Because she was early, she knew that adoption was the right choice for her, but she had not contacted an agency and made an adoption plan.

At the hospital, she received a list of adoption agencies from the hospital social worker and began talking with one. After a long day, she felt something just was not right. She began to explore adoption agencies on-line and came across A Act of Love. As she read about them, she decided to contact them through email. The agency responded quickly and she talked with one of the case workers on staff. She knew immediately that this was the agency that was right for her.

Things moved very quickly following that phone call. Paperwork had to be completed and counseling needed to take place. The birthmother was very helpful and did everything she needed to do to make sure her baby would be in a loving family environment and have the love and support of a mother and father.

Two days later, she selected an amazing adoptive couple who was thrilled beyond imagination. This was the couple whose birthmother had decided to parent a month earlier! And, they were headed to the same state as they were to go to previously.

The adoptive parents were filled with excitement as they quickly packed their suitcases to go and be with their precious baby. They understood that this baby was born early and could require hospitalization for two to four weeks. Upon arriving, they scooped up their baby girl and held her tight. They spent the weekend bonding with their baby and loving every minute of being with her.

Much to their delight, the doctor came in on Monday morning and said baby was doing so well, she could be released the next day! The adoptive couple just couldn’t believe that she was ready to go and the paperwork could be started for ICPC so much earlier than they had planned! They truly believe that this was a miracle and that this was the baby that was supposed to be in their family. They both expressed how amazed they were how things worked out! And, so happy that it did!

New Colorado Law Helps Adoptee Find Birth Family

The state of Colorado recently put into place two new adoption laws; one of which took effect of July 1, 2014. Because of this, an adult adoptee that has been searching for his birth mother for 26 years, finally received the information he had been seeking.

Colorado Senate Bill 14-051 gives adult adoptees access to their adoption records. Prior to this bill, adult adoptees in Colorado were left with minimal options in trying to find their birth parents. One option was to hire an attorney and request access from the court. The other option was to make a plea on social media.

Matthew Abdulla had done both. He had come to a dead end was frustrated and felt there was nowhere else to turn. Then a friend told him about the new bill being proposed and passed. With this information in-hand, Abdulla paid his $20 to the clerk and opened the documents to his past. He learned the full name of his birth mother. An internet search located his younger birth sister and from there he was lead to the rest of his birth mother’s family.

Abdulla quickly learned that his birth mother had passed away in 2012, but he also learned from his birth sister, aunts and uncles that she had never stopped thinking about him. He was told that she too, had searched for him but never was able to obtain information. He also learned that she was very young when she became pregnant with him and that it was just impossible for her to have raised him at that time in her life.

The information that Abdulla obtained made him feel “alive.” He explained that there was no longer a missing element to his life. He was so thrilled to learn the “why” about his adoption placement. It made him feel complete.

He recently attended a family reunion with his birth family and enjoyed hearing the family stories and seeing pictures of his mother through her life. There were many comments from family members that he looked so much like his birth mother and her siblings.

For more than fifty years in Colorado, women who placed children for adoption were not given copies of the documents they signed. Another Bill HB 1042 which became effective on August 7, 2014, gives birth parents access to those documents.

With today’s more common, open adoption, stories like these may be getting fewer. With open adoption, birth parents and adoptees have ongoing contact and access to one another, thus eliminating the curiosity and wonder about the events that led to the adoption. Of course, open adoption is a choice made by birth parents. There are still those who would prefer to remain anonymous or without any contact with the child.

For more information on open adoption and other adoption questions, contact Act of Love Adoption Agency. Act of Love has been performing successful open adoptions for over twenty years. With the years of experience and expertise, Act of Love is able to help birth parents and adoptive families with open communication that benefits all parties involved. If birth parents choose a more closed adoption, the counselors at Act of Love are able to help these birth parents with a plan that feels comfortable and right for them.

Sources: https://www.9news.com/story/life/2014/08/16/colorados-new-adoption-laws-help-man-find-family/14185165/

About Your Adoption: Coping with the lack of support from loved ones

They say that one of the elements that help in successfully navigating the adoption process is the presence and support of loved ones and friends. But what if this is not true for your case? What if you meet with either apathy or worse, opposition, from people you have counted on to be there for you at this time?

Here are some things to remember during your A Act of Love Adoption:

– Your loved ones need to grieve, too. You may have gone past the grieving process after struggling with infertility issues. Your loved ones may still not be ready and may need some time to grieve about their loss. Your parents may need time to mourn the loss of not having a grandchild who has “my nana’s eyes”. Your sibling may feel the loss of not having a nephew who has “Uncle Ben’s killer skills in the baseball field”. Give them their time to grieve and process their feelings about an impending family member that is not what they would have originally envisioned for you.
– Understand their fears. Perhaps they have been with you through the heartaches you experienced in your journey to become parents. They may have unspoken fears about further disappointment or hurt for you when an adoption falls through. The fears can also be because adoption is a new (and therefore unknown) experience for them. Understanding the source of their antagonistic feeling will be a first step in the right direction.
– Counter fear with information. You can share information regarding adoption, how you feel about it and how deeply you have researched your options. You can show them examples of families who adopted and how the adoption has made a positive impact for the child, the parents and even their loved ones.
– Do what you think is best. In the end, you and your spouse will be the ones who will ultimately decide the steps you want to take. Make it clear that although your loved ones’ support is precious and will be appreciated, their lack of support will not deter you from making the choices that you think are best for your family.
– Protect your child from hurtful comments. Hopefully, your loved ones will come around once they get to know your child. There are grandparents who come to learn to love their grandchildren by adoption in spite of their previous protests. However, if your loved ones do not seem to be so inclined, make your stand about the matter. Tell your loved ones that you love them very much and want them to be part of your lives, but doing so means that they must respect your choices, whether they agree with them or not.
– Set ground rules. Even in instances where you and your loved ones agree to disagree and they remain firm in their disapproval of the adoption, you can set ground rules in how they can behave during family gatherings. For instance, if an aunt or uncle refuses to accept the adoption, you can respectfully, but firmly set ground rules as to how they should treat your child. Some ground rules to include your relative being hospitable and polite to the child and to never refer to the child in any way that could be insulting or demeaning (such as calling the other children “the real family members” and referring to the child as “the adopted one”). You can also agree that your child be included during celebrations and in extended family photos.
– Limit contact with the family member. Or if this is not enough, you can choose to cut-off contact with a family member who continues to choose to treat your child badly. Ask yourself if it is really worth maintaining a relationship with someone who refuses to respect your choices. Remember, your first priority as a parent is to safeguard your child, especially from situations that may cause him long-term emotional harm.

These are just some ways to deal with unsupportive loved ones. While working with A Act of Love Adoptions, you will be given the opportunity to have counseling. Take this opportunity to learn more about how to handle objections from loved ones about the adoption.

Birthmother and Daughter in Close Proximity

Growing up in Ireland, a young girl knew she was adopted. She said it always made her feel special. As she entered her teenage years, she became curious, wondering the reasons behind her placement, wondering what her birthmother was like and mostly just yearning to have some questions answered.

On her 13th birthday, her parents told her everything they knew about her birthmother. This included her age, the fact that she loved music and that she was a twin. While this was helpful, it created a need to know more. So, at the age of 15, her parents took her to the adoption agency. The agency added to her information by telling her that her birthmother had named her Kathy. At this point she was three years away from the age of 18 when she could begin to look for her biological mother. At that time, she was told that it took about two years to locate a biological parent or receive some sort of valid information.

Being anxious, she enlisted her Dad’s help. They began cross referencing birth records and other legal documents such as marriage and death certificates. This seemed to work! They found her birthmother, Mary, listed in the phone book. Excitedly, they realized she lived five minutes from their home. This birthmother knew the street well that her adoptive mother lived on!

Making a rash decision, they decided to get in the car and drive by. Unbelievably, as they drove by, Mary was getting out her car in the driveway and a young boy rushed out to hug her. The birthmother said, I just knew it was her because she looked exactly like me! In that moment it was like time stood still and she couldn’t keep her eyes from her biological mother.

After seeing her birthmom, she called her social worker from the adoption agency and asked her to call the birthmom and see if she would meet her. An hour later the social worker called back with good news! A meeting was set up!

When they met, Mary told her daughter her story. She had become pregnant in 1982 and hadn’t told a soul. Her doctor understood that at that time in Ireland, an unplanned pregnancy by an unmarried mother was shameful. So he agreed to tell family that it was a cyst that needed to be removed. Mary told her daughter that she thought about her daily but had never told her husband and young children.

As they met, they hugged and cried and realized how close their worlds were all this time. They shopped at the same grocery store, ate at the same restaurants and watched football games at the same local pub. They exchanged phone numbers and when the daughter put her birthmother’s number into her phone, it popped up as already known. Come to find out that number used to be one of the daughter’s friends numbers and the daughter had called it several times after the friend’s number had been changed. So unknowingly, she had been talking to her birthmother!

Following that first meeting, the two bumped into each other at least weekly. It was a huge comfort to the daughter to know that through all the years of wondering, her biological mother was always close by!

Sources: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/apr/18/experience-found-birth-mother-close-to-home

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