Taking the Risk: Finding the right family for your baby
Some pretty amazing matches have been made in adoption when both birthparents and adoptive parents are open and willing to look at all options. Some birthparents do not want to select a family; they want the agency to do so for them. At A Act of Love Adoption Agency, that is an option, but many times the information birthparents provide helps to find the family that is right for their baby. It is a very interesting process as a birthparent decides who is best to love, nurture and be the best parents for their child.
Adoption agencies take the placement of children into adoptive homes, very seriously. It is a huge responsibility to place the life of a child into the right hands. For this purpose, Act of Love takes the time and steps to really make sure the placement is right for the baby. Because we believe so strongly in adoption counseling during the pregnancy, through the birthing and relinquishment process, and post-partum, birthparents who decide they want an agency select option, are asked many questions about themselves, their interests, the type of parenting styles they prefer, their background, their goals and types of families they could picture their child in.
In other adoptions, birthparents may say they want a certain type of couple, a certain religion with a certain number of children. As birthparents narrow their parameters about adoptive parents, they may be excluding profiles of people they would really like and relate to. The same goes for adoptive couples. As they look for a certain type of birthparent, they may forego some birthparents that would match them perfectly.
The real lesson in the matching process is the more open birthparents and adoptive parents are in being willing to look at just about every situation, the more likely they are to find the right fit. In some cases, birthparents want their child to be the first child in the family. While it is fun, exciting and fabulous to have that first baby, parents can also be way more nervous and sometimes a little overprotective and domineering to that first child. As other children come into the family, parents become more relaxed and have learned a lot more about parenting from the first child. Often times, when my fourth child complains about being the last, my first child reminds her of all the privileges she has received, compared to him. He never fails to mention the 7 p.m. summer bedtime he had when all the kids in the neighborhood were still outside playing.
I guess the most important thing to remember is to be willing to consider just about anything and then see what your heart tells you. Just about everybody includes faith in their adoption journey. It’s nearly impossible not to. Whatever higher power one seeks for help, they will know in their heart when they have found the right situation. We see it time and time again. The match that brings peace to both birthparents and adoptive parents, the fit that just feels right, the trust that instantly bonds one to another and the love that both feel for the child that they will lovingly share.
As you begin or continue your adoption journey, take some risks, consider possibilities you might not have otherwise, and know in your heart that when it is right, you will know it!
Birthmother Perspective: Talking to your child about your placement plan
As a pregnant mother making an adoption plan, talking about adoption with an older child is sometimes very difficult. There are no right answers, but generally counseling and time to think through the decision allows mothers to make the best choice. Recently three expectant mothers gave their perspective on telling their child about adoption.
Janelle decided it was better not to give a lot of details to her daughter, Kristy, until after the placement of her baby. Although Kristy was 7 years old and knew her mother was pregnant, Janelle had not talked with her about her plans for adoption. She felt it was best to tell her when she was together with extended family that supported her placement plan. She felt this was best because the grandfather and aunts of Kristy could help her explain why she had chosen adoption and why she felt it was best for everybody. About a week after placement, they all sat down together and talked about the baby and the adoptive family with Kristy. Kristy had lots of questions and emotions, and although she really wanted a baby sister, she began to understand what her mother felt was best for her and the baby.
The second birthmother, McCall, had several older children who were at ages that they knew their mother was pregnant. McCall began discussing adoption with them from the beginning of her pregnancy. McCall’s children understood that they were in a very difficult financial situation, far worse than they had ever been in. They also had several occasions to ask questions and learn more about adoption. McCall had been very sick throughout the pregnancy and unable to work which created a loss in income that they so badly needed. Her children would say encouraging things about the decision to place the baby for adoption to her. They understood that placing the baby for adoption was done out of love and concern for everyone in the family. As her children would say positive and encouraging things McCall was grateful that she had involved them early on in the planning, despite her fears of what they might think about her plan and fear that she would consider placing them for adoption. Contrary to what McCall thought, that was never mentioned by any of the children.
Another birthmother, Wanda, hid her pregnancy from her six year old daughter until after the baby she placed for adoption was almost a year old. Wanda’s reasoning for not telling Crystal was that she wanted to make sure the open adoption was going to work and wanted to feel comfortable in talking with her about meeting her brother, to make sure the meeting would really happen. Crystal ended up being more shocked that her mother had been pregnant and she had not noticed, then she was about the adoption. After initially telling Crystal, she let her look at pictures of her brother. Then it became more real and Crystal was emotional saying things like, “I wish you would have kept him.” As Wanda explained to Crystal that she wouldn’t have been able to take care of two children, it calmed Crystal’s emotions. It took some time, but Crystal was able to start processing the adoption and expressing her feelings.
Wanda and Crystal decided to make two scrapbooks, one for each child. They began to fill Crystal’s book with pictures from her birth and birthday parties. They also filled the brother’s scrapbook with photos of his birth, his adoptive parents and the birthmother. Then the mother gave Crystal a surprise. She told her that they had been invited to be with the adoptive family to celebrate the baby brother’s first birthday. Both were very excited and the birthmother was excited to have photos of her two children together.
If you are considering adoption and need counseling and advice for talking with your older children, contact Act of Love to speak with a counselor. You can email, text, chat or call. Someone is available 24 hours/7 days a week to offer support and provide information on adoption related questions.
Placement and Beyond
When an adoption counselor meets with expectant parents about making an adoption plan, the plan should not stop once the baby is born and placed in the arms of the adoptive parents. A common complaint from birthparents across the country is that once the placement happened and life goes back to the way it was, the birthmother falls apart.
The goal at A Act of Love Adoptions is to help birthparents through the pregnancy, placement and beyond. Counseling sessions during pregnancy include post-partum discussions. Part of this is to help birthparents understand some of the emotions they are going to move through and how to cope with those feelings. It is also to help birthparents identify their goals, dreams and hopes for their future. Many are choosing to place their babies for adoption because of the current situation they are in. Through counseling, they explore the possibilities ahead. They are encouraged to keep a journal and write down their goals.
One birthmother who recently placed her baby described her first month post placement. She said she had placed so much emphasis on the pregnancy and birth that it was difficult to get right back into the life she had pre-pregnancy. So, she gave herself a little time to grieve. But, she said she was careful not to be stagnant, so as not to give herself too much time to constantly dwell on her placement. She said that she took baby steps that first month. She would do something each day to improve her situation, even if it was just reading positive thoughts or poems. Gradually, she enrolled in school and geared herself up for the day when school would start. She felt that this helped her in her grieving process and that she had time to go through that process before she threw herself back into life.
For others, children and jobs may be waiting the minute they return from the hospital. This is something they cannot ignore or avoid. It is important to take a little time each day for yourself and for some reflection. Whether it is a walk around the block at lunchtime, or thirty minutes after the kids are put to bed, take the time to write down your thoughts and feelings and if needed, let yourself have a good cry. Letting yourself experience the emotion you will feel, as it comes, is healthy and productive in becoming emotionally strong from your experience. If you have a friend or family member you can confide in, ask them if they will let you talk to them on a regular basis and get your feelings out. Sometimes just talking to someone who will listen makes you feel a lot better.
Remember to be nice to yourself. Don’t expect yourself to be 100% right away. Give yourself a pat on the back for getting back to work, school or home duties. Tell yourself you did a good job that day for all you accomplished. Keep putting one foot in front of the other with the goals you made during your pregnancy. Keep track of your progress toward those goals, even if it’s very simple steps and allow yourself to feel a little pride in taking the steps in that direction.
As you move further out from your placement, set dates to achieve your goals. For instance, I’d like to get my CNA certificate by December 2016. You can set a goal for just about anything in your life. I’d like to quit smoking completely by July 1, 2015. Let your pregnancy and placement be the beginning of a new and improved YOU! You know now that you can do hard things! Continue on that path of being a strong person with great goals.
PEACE in Adoption
The emotions that birthparents feel at the time of birth and placement are literally from one extreme to the other. I was reminded of this fact this week as two birthmothers I was working with delivered their babies within a day of each other. One birthmother had the baby’s father by her side, the other did not. But, in each situation, all birthparents involved knew that placing their child for adoption was the right thing to do for their child.
In both cases, the birthparents had chosen to have an open adoption. One was far more open than the other, but both chose to meet and get to know the adoptive parents before birth. The birthmother and birthfather selected their adoptive couple and then were able to begin bonding through Skype calls. Both commented the Skype calls helped them to get to know each other as they began their adoption journey together. The other birthmother selected her adoptive couple and wanted to meet in person the night before her c-section was scheduled. Their dinner meeting was wonderful and the birthmother felt the adoptive couple was perfect for her sweet baby.
There are really no two adoptions that end up being alike. Just like there are no two absolute identical people, there are no two identical adoptions. A Act of Love Adoption Agency provides the birthparents the freedom to choose and create an adoption plan that is just right for them. Each birthparent knows themselves better than anyone else and what is a good plan for one might be a terrible plan for the other. Just as in these two situations, completely different people making a plan that works for them.
The common factor in the two adoptions this week was one word that each of the birthparents used. The word was PEACE. The birthmother and father signed their relinquishment papers and shed some tears. Through their tears they both said they knew it was right and they felt PEACE. The other birthmother said, her heart was not aching, she loved her baby, but she just had an inner PEACE that made everything feel ok.
As the birthparents move on with their plans and goals, they will have PEACE in knowing that their child will be loved beyond measure and well cared for. They both know that this will not be the end. They will see the sweet face of their baby again and watch him grow and become all that they hoped for him. The beauty of open adoption is the wondering and guessing is gone. These birthparents will KNOW how their child is doing. That helps to keep the feeling of peace that they both carry so strongly now.
The adoptive parents that agree to the openness wishes of their birthparents’ understand that this is such a vital part of their adoption and the emotional health of their child. They express feelings like: we want the birthparents to be a part of our family, we want to continue this relationship we have started, and we want to get to know them better.
Adoptive parents are the ones who will be explaining adoption to their child and will talk about the day he arrived in the world. They will tell the child how loved he was and not just by one set of parents but by two. As the child grows and understands more, he will be so grateful to have answers not only by his adoptive parents but by his birthparents. Open adoption can make this happen.
Contact Act of Love Adoptions today to learn more about open adoption. Birthparents can call 1-800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094 to speak or meet with an adoption professional. Adoptive families can contact the agency at 801-572-1696 or attend a Free Adoption Orientation.
African American Baby Boy Due in December – Matched
Act of Love is helping birthparents, C & S, to make an adoption plan for their baby boy that is due the end of December. Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. There is no report of any alcohol, drugs or tobacco use during the pregnancy and birthmom reports taking prenatal vitamins and receiving prenatal care. Medical records will be made available to the adoptive family.
Birthparents would like a married adoptive couple. They are looking for an adoptive family that values education, spending time with family and friends and is open minded. C & S want an open adoption and the opportunity to bond with the adoptive family prior to birth. They would like to have the adoptive family at the birth and to receive updates of pictures and letters through the adoption agency until the child reaches adulthood.
If you are interested in this situation, please contact Linda at email@example.com or by telephone at 801-572-1696.
Gratitude in Adoption
A recent Act of Love birthmother reflected on the time when she placed her baby for adoption. She was just 20 years old at the time and was not ready to be a parent. The father of the baby was long gone and she felt alone and scared. Having been a journal writer for most of her teen years, she continued to write her thoughts and feelings through the pregnancy. As she searched and wondered what would be the best decision for her, it became clear that adoption was the right choice for her.
As she began to explore adoption, she felt that an open adoption would be the best type of plan. So, with the help of Act of Love’s adoption staff, she began to look at profiles of adoptive couples that would agree to the openness she desired. She wrote about this experience every day in her journal. One thing she made clear was that she wanted to take her time in choosing adoptive parents. She wanted to be sure that she made the right choice and she did not want to feel rushed.
Through this experience she began to notice that she began writing a lot about gratitude in her journal. Rather than feeling bitter, upset with herself for being in this position, or at others who were not helping her, she wrote about being grateful for the opportunity to get to know these couples who had experienced a lot of heartache as well. They had their own journey in arriving at the adoption decision and this birthmother knew it did not come without the pain and agony of infertility and disappointment.
When the time came and the birthmother knew which couple she would select, her heart was at peace and again, grateful. As she met with the couple prior to the birth of “their” child, she was comfortable and happy. The family lived on one side of the country and the birthmother on the other. But, the openness agreement was made and has been kept and honored throughout the child’s five years of life.
The birthmother is so grateful because the adoptive couple has family in a nearby state, so they make it a point to take an extra day or two and visit their birthmother, whom they also call family. They make arrangements ahead of time so that they can spend the day together catching up and doing something fun. The adoptive family is so grateful to the birthmother, as they overhear the child ask her if he can have a Popsicle and the birthmother replies, “Go ask your Mom & Dad if it’s ok.”
Open adoption does not need to cause anxiety on either side. As in this adoption, when an openness plan is established and followed, a mutual respect grows and each becomes filled with gratitude for the other. In this story, the birthmother and the adoptive couple have so much love for each other that they would never do anything to jeopardize the relationship. In fact, in many cases, they defend each other to those around them that don’t understand how an open adoption can work. Many friends of adoptive couples ask if they are worried to visit the birthmother as she might want the baby back. This is when adoptive couples can teach their friends about the beauty of open adoption and the agreements made in the beginning.
When adoptive parents follow through on their end of the openness agreement, there is nothing better for the birthparents. It confirms to them that they made the right choice in choosing wonderful parents for their child. Gratitude grows as agreements are followed and love strengthens the adoption relationship.
Act of Love has been in business since 1993 and has been involved with successful open adoptions for over twenty years. For more information on open adoption, contact Act of Love today. The birthparent line is answered 24 hours/7 days a week by loving and caring adoption professionals. 1-800-835-6360.
The Most Wonderful Gift of All!
I want to thank a special birthmother and father for giving me the most wonderful gift I could ever have been given. You see, I was an only child until the age of five. Everybody I knew that was my age or around my age had at least one sibling. But, not me. It was just me, Mom & Dad. Some kids love being the only child, the center of attention or the spoiled child. Not me! I hated it. I wanted “built in” friends, you know, I wanted siblings!
What is really hard for a five year old to figure out was that siblings don’t just happen. I had no clue about fertility problems and the heartache that comes with it. I just knew that my family was different and I didn’t like it.
After some time passed, something wonderful happened. My mom and dad asked me one morning if I would like to come with them to meet my new baby brother! Are you kidding me??? I was beside myself with delight and of course had a million questions to ask my parents. I’m sure this was one reason they did not tell me until that day what was happening. I do not remember the questions, or the ride to the adoption agency or anything else other than waiting, in a room, just the three of us, with more excitement than I could imagine.
I remember the outfit my Mom and I picked out that morning sitting in my mom’s lap. I remember the overwhelming joy and curiosity as a woman brought my blue eyed, four day old brother, into the room. She placed him in my mother’s arms and I sat right next to her, so excited that my life had then changed forever!
After we all held him for a long time, we changed him into the outfit we brought for him. I’m sure other things happened during that time we were at the agency, but I do not remember any of them, my focus was on my new baby brother!
What I did not realize at the time, but came to know as I grew older, was the sacrifice the birthparents made in order to fulfill my dream of being a big sister. My brother’s birthparents gave a gift they so cherished to a family with a young girl who desperately wanted to be a big sister. I have great love and admiration for my brother’s birth mother and father. Placing a child for adoption is not an easy task, it is not taken lightly and by no means does it mean that they did not love him. In fact, it’s just the opposite. They loved him so much that they chose to give him a better life than they could provide. I’m sure their hearts were hurting as they lovingly made the choice.
My parents made sure that as my brother grew; he knew and understood that he came from very loving parents that placed him for adoption. We would talk openly in our family about adoption and both my brother and I knew that he had four parents that loved him dearly. In fact, sometimes I wished I was adopted and had the same things said to me!
Adoption was presented so lovingly in our home that it just became a natural and normal part of our family. It was never shoved in my brother’s face. When he had questions, my parents would answer them as best they could. His adoption took place in 1967, when open adoption was non-existent. My brother asked my mother to help him search for his birthparents when he was in his early twenties. They did the best they could but came up with no information. My brother decided it was best and closed that chapter of looking, in his life.
I thank all birthparents who lovingly give to their child the life they cannot. The joy they bring to an adoptive family is nearly indescribable. I will be forever grateful to those who choose life and choose adoption!
Twins Due in January 2015
Act of Love Adoptions is assisting birthmom, W, with selecting adoptive parents for her twins that are due the beginning of January 2015, in Utah. W is making an adoption plan for her twin boy and girl that will have African American, Caucasian and Native American Heritage. Birthmom is looking for an open adoption with a married adoptive couple that does not currently have any children. She would like to have a relationship with the adoptive family to include updates through a monthly phone call for the first year and email updates until age 18 along with a yearly visit.
Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. She also reports that she did some social drinking a couple of times in the first six weeks. She denies any tobacco or drug use during the pregnancy. Birthmom reports she began her prenatal care around 9 weeks and she 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 these babies, 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 and other situations available, contact Act of Love Adoption Agency at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FREE Adoption Orientation Meeting at Act of Love Adoption Agency on Tuesday, October 7 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.
How to Respond to Adoption Questions
Those who have adopted have probably encountered some pretty insensitive questions about their adoption or their adopted child. For most people, their intentions are good, they are well meaning but curious and they just have a poor way of asking the questions.
Some questions commonly asked to adoptive couples include: Is that your real daughter?
Where did you get her? How much did she cost? Where did she come from? Do you love her the same as your “own” kids?
Luckily, most adoptive couples realize that people don’t mean to ask the questions in the way they come across. Adoptive parents can help educate their friends and acquaintances by properly addressing the questions with appropriate answers. For instance, yes, this is my real daughter. We adopted her at birth and she is the joy of our lives. Or, we adopted our precious angel from Act of Love Adoption agency. We were selected by her birthmother to be her adoptive parents. Another response to the question about costs: We worked with an adoption agency where we were required to have a home study, background checks and provide the proper documentation to be approved for adoption. This adoption preparation required certain fees, in addition to the pregnancy related living expenses we helped her birthparents with.
The “Where did she come from?” question is often asked when adoptive parents adopt a child from a different ethnic background then themselves. An appropriate answer could be, her birthparents are African American and living in the state of Georgia. As for the question about love….. I have never met a parent that didn’t love their child. Adoptive parents have a love so great it is evident from the time they first hold their baby. It’s a beautiful love to witness.
One adoptive dad made a video about inappropriate questions he had been asked about his adoption and adopted child. He cleverly likened it to a “boob job,” and called it the boob job rule for questions about adoption. He says: “If you wouldn’t say it about a boob job, then don’t say it about an adoptive family.” He posted the video on Vimeo and had many adoptive parents commenting and agreeing with the things he said. He wanted to create positive awareness in a fun way about something that was very dear to his family.
He also states that adoptive parents are not being overly sensitive; they are being protective of their adoptive children that may not understand the comments yet. Adoptive parents never want the adopted child to feel as though they were a lesser member of the family or love as much!
Act of Love Adoptions offers adotoption orientation and preparation classes to help adoptive parents prepare for adoption and these types of questions. For more information on the Free Orientation Class, contact Act of Love to speak with a staff member about the adoption services available.
How to Talk to Your Children About Placing Their Sibling for Adoption
Many birthparents struggle with how to tell their older children that they are placing the child they are pregnant with, for adoption. It is very difficult for a mother and father, who have made the adoption decision, to explain their choice to the children they are raising. As we all know, most children are very aware of a mother’s pregnancy from the time they are around four or five. Sometimes the parents talk openly about the fact that the mother is pregnant. But, they are often times reluctant to talk about their plan for the baby with their children who are old enough to understand.
Undoubtedly, the best way to handle the situation is with honesty and care. Adoption can be discussed with children who are very young and those who are older and teenagers. It is important to talk on the child’s level so they understand exactly what is happening. It is very important to establish the point that you love the child you are talking to very much, and you love the baby very much. You can help the child understand by stating facts about your situation. For instance, “Mommy works very hard so we can have food to eat and clothes to wear. We are a happy family and we love each other so much. But sometimes I can’t provide the things that you need. Babies need a lot of things too and I’ve found wonderful parents that are going to take good care of our baby.” Involving older children in the adoption process can also be beneficial. You can show them the profile of the adoptive family. You can ask them if they would like to draw a picture for them or write them a letter.
With adoptions at Act of Love, often times birth families and adoptive families meet before and after placement. The social work team and staff are available to help with building the relationship with the birth family and adoptive family. The children of the birthparents and adoptive family love to be involved in the get-togethers and bonding time. The children can see the adoptive parents with the baby. They can sit with the adoptive parents and together hold and love the baby.
Being honest with your children about the adoption will benefit you and them in the long run. No one likes to feel deceived. It is better for the children to know, and be a part of the adoption, while it’s happening then to find out ten years later. Finding out later causes so much distrust between a parent and child. They then begin to wonder what else was kept from them during their formative years.
Children understand more than we give them credit for. They are intuitive and can grasp concepts that we sometimes don’t believe they can. Knowing where their baby sibling is going and if possible meeting the people that will be “mom and dad” to their sibling helps the older siblings to understand better about adoption. They can formulate their own thoughts and can feel a part of the experience.
One birthmother who placed her baby for adoption a year ago, said her four year old would often comfort her saying, “Gracie is happy mom. She has a mom and a dad who are taking good care of her.”
As you contemplate adoption and talking with your older children about your decision, remember, they are a part of you and a part of the family you have created. They will be able to best understand and accept the adoption plan if you talk openly and honestly about it. Many siblings send pictures and letters to their adoptive brother or sister, and delight in seeing correspondence come back from the adoptive family.
For extra support and guidance, your experienced counselor at Act of Love will be available to listen to your needs and help guide you as you make your decisions and talk with your children. Sometimes just having a listening ear of someone who truly cares about you and your family can make all the difference. With over thirty-five years of adoption experience, the Act of Love adoption staff can help your adoption experience be positive and provide the support you need before and after placement.