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What is adoption: From a birth mom’s perspective

MattieBeing able to place my beautiful baby boy for adoption has been one of the biggest blessings I have ever received in my life! Placing my baby in the care of the two most awesome people I will ever know is a gift. I have a peace of mind knowing that my son is loved beyond measure, in a safe home, surrounded by family who love and care for him, and receiving the attention and upbringing I want for all of my children. Choosing adoption and living with it is not always easy. However, truly evaluating my life and being honest with myself about my own circumstances and what I want for my family gives me the perspective I need to understand the blessings of having placed my son for adoption. Some say that “giving away” a baby and “receiving a gift” are two completely opposite ideas. I say, in my case, they are wrong.

When I first discovered I was pregnant, adoption did not even enter my mind. The moment I found out I was pregnant; I just knew I was going to have an abortion. After I spoke to one of the ladies at A Act of Love about the option for adoption, I decided to at least get some information before I moved forward with my initial plans. After talking for hours to the agency, asking dozens of questions, giving them “what if” scenarios, and discussing legal issues I was concerned about, I realized that adoption is not what some others make it out to be. After learning about the adoption process and what it would mean for my baby and me, I knew in my heart that adoption was the right option for me and my unborn baby. Once I had the right information, the decision to place for adoption was easy.

While the decision was easy, the follow through and commitment to that decision was not. Grueling. Intense. Emotional. Stressful. Frustrating. Humiliating…these are just some of the emotions I grappled with during the placement process. Even now, a year and a half after placement, I still struggle with some pretty intense emotions over the loss of my baby. However, I got through the hardest parts. Now that I have had time to heal and regain emotional stability (because hormones during and immediately after pregnancy are haywire), I am able to see the blessings of adoption.

For myself and my two boys, ages 5 and 7, we still get to enjoy our lives and have fun talking about the baby that was once in Mommy’s belly. We talk about their baby brother that is with his mom, dad, and sister, and we all like to look for “babies” (tiny stuffed animals) to send to him. It is a great opportunity to teach them about families and love. I was able to continue pursuing my Master’s degree, something I would not have done with another baby at home. For my son, he has the BEST family in the world! He has a mom, dad, and sister at home with him with tons of other family members who absolutely adore him. He gets the opportunity to have a two-parent home that are financially secure and provide him with the healthcare, love, and attention every child deserves. He has parents that are devoted to each other and raising a family. I am completely confident my son is receiving the upbringing I want for all of my boys. He is receiving the upbringing that I could not have given to him myself. That is the blessing of adoption for me. – Skylar

“I know that adoption was the right decision for me…”

Mattie

My name is Skylar, and I am 27 years old. I was born to a very small and loving family. Growing up, there were 6 of us: my parents, my older brother (now 29), my maternal grandparents, and me! I now have three of the most beautiful boys the world will ever see. I have the privilege of being Mommy to two of them; to one, I am a Birthmother.

My life before kids was pretty normal. Growing up, I led a normal life, frequently going camping and fishing with my family. In fact, those adventures are the source of some of my fondest memories today. I always excelled in the world of academics and had normal extracurricular activities, such as cheerleading, basketball, and softball. Then, when I was about 14 years old, I started running away from home quite often. This ultimately resulted in a 5 week visit to the juvenile detention center, followed by a 3 month stay at a group home. When I was 15, I returned home on probation to start my sophomore year in high school. I never ran away again. In 2005, I graduated high school 3rd in my class and was selected Student of the Year.

I attended college for three semesters before I became pregnant with my first son, Edward. He was born August 2007, and he was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen. I took one year off from college, then returned August 2008, at which point I was pregnant again. Matthias was born in my second semester back in college, February 2009. Despite tremendous obstacles and adversity, I finally graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in English, October 2011. I started working on my Master’s in Mental Health Counseling soon after that. In July 2012, I found myself pregnant again, but this time under different circumstances.

Literally 5 days before I found out I was pregnant, I left an abusive relationship. Needless to say, I was shocked. Terrified. Embarrassed. Ashamed. Guilty. Scared out of my mind. Angry. Sad. Hopeless. Lost. I went to the local Crisis Pregnancy Center, a place I went to before when I was 19 and pregnant with my first son. I knew I could trust the ladies there to help me as I considered my options. Because of their help, I got in contact with A Act of Love Adoption Agency and ultimately decided to place my unborn son for adoption, though I am ashamed to say this was not my first choice.

After talking to Act of Love and gathering more facts about adoption through their agency, adoption became a feasible option. After serious consideration, I knew in my heart that an adoption plan for my son was what I truly wanted. The adoption process was the most stressful time of life. When my son, Matt, was born, March 2013, I had mixed feelings. I was so happy for the adoptive family because they clearly loved Matt and me; my spirit was completely shattered because I knew that I would not be his mommy. After a terrifying C-section delivery and returning home minus a beautiful baby boy, I was broken in almost every way imaginable: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The feelings of loss, grief, guilt, shame, and anger were overwhelming. But they did not last long.

I sought help through counseling, medication, and attending church. These things helped me a great deal, but time has been a balm to my spirit. The initial pains of placing my son for adoption are not prevalent in my life today, though I do get sad some days and even cry. I now have a stable job where I find satisfaction outside of my home. I am able to be physically and emotionally present for Edward and Matthias.

I know that adoption was the right decision for me because all three of my boys have a safe home and loving family. Edward and Matthias have their dad and me. Matt has one of the most wonderful families I have the privilege of knowing. Today, I am happy, healthy, and living life.

If you would like to ask Skylar a specific question, please email Skylar at adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com.

Trust Built in Open Adoption

A birthmother recently texted her adoption counselor and caseworker at Act of Love Adoptions: I’ve found a family for my son! After a long search for just the “right” family, she felt confident that she had found them. This wonderful birthmother wanted to be sure that the couple she selected would keep their word about the openness agreement. She loves and adores her precious baby and wanted a family that she could get to know and trust, people she could call family. She wanted to be sure in her heart that they would follow through with her openness plan until the child was an adult and could do as he pleased.

For most birthparents, this is not an uncommon worry or request. Placing a precious and much loved baby with an adoptive couple takes amazing strength and sacrifice. Knowing where the child is going and having a relationship with the adoptive family prior to birth, is an absolute must for many birthparents.

Another birthmother spent a fun weekend with the adoptive couple and she selected a month ago. She and her daughter were able to be with them at the zoo and really got to know what a great couple they were. The Act of Love staff assisted in coordinating this time together to bond and strengthen their relationship. They were able to correspond with email through the agency for another eight weeks, just like old friends as they talked about the nursery for the baby, how work was going for the birthmother, and other events that happened that week. Three days before the due date, the adoptive mom flew to the birthmother’s state to spend a couple days together and be there for the birth. Again, it was so great for the two of them to be together, enjoy each other’s company and be a support to one another. A day or two past the due date is when the baby finally decided to make his entrance into the world. Both birthmom and adoptive mom greeted him together, with love and joy and happiness. They bonded with him together and the birth was wonderful for both women. The next morning the adoptive dad arrived and both women were happy to see him. The wonderful relationship continued as they spent many hours together in the hospital sharing more pieces of their life stories with one another.

When hospital staff would ask the birthmother if she wanted to be alone, she always replied that she wanted the adoptive couple and the baby with her in the room. They were an amazing support at a time when she needed it, and they were so grateful for the time they could spend with her.

While the adoptive couple waited in the state for the adoption paperwork to clear, they spent more time with the birthmother. This included having a photo session with the birthmother and her daughter, the baby and the adoptive couple. It was a beautiful family photo session.

As they said goodbye, they all knew it was really saying talk to you soon. As they already have plans to meet in person soon. They have also set up Skype calls and will continue to email each other.

When adoptive parents follow through on the openness that a birthmother has requested, they are giving a gift back to that birthmother or father. There is nothing like hearing the joy in a birthparent’s voice when they talk of the pictures they just received or the email they just opened. It means the world to them to know that their child is happy and thriving……just as she hoped he would be by choosing adoption.

The staff at Act of Love has many years of experience in coordinating and assisting birthparents and adoptive couples to build strong, healthy relationships. The relationship that is built helps everyone in the adoption triad to move forward in a positive manner and for the adopted child to be in a loving and supportive relationship with their birth family.

November is National Adoption Month

Each year the month of November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. This is the month when communities, cities and organizations celebrate building families in a positive way through adoption. Particularly spotlighted are the numbers of children in the foster care program that are awaiting permanent placement through adoption. Throughout the month, there are dinners, events, walk-a-thons and recruitment campaigns to encourage adoption awareness of adoption and the children needing families. One day is set aside as National Adoption Day, which is observed in courthouses across the country as thousands of adoptions are simultaneously finalized. This year, National Adoption Day will be celebrated on November 22, 2014.

The history of National Adoption Month began in Massachusetts in 1976. Governor Mike Dukakis realizing the many foster children needing families proclaimed one week in November as Adoption Week. Soon, the idea was passed on to other states and quickly spread across the country. It was President Gerald Ford that instituted the first National Adoption Week which was later expanded to a month in 1990. It was made a month long focus because of the number of events and states participating had grown significantly.

As November nears, talk of adoption will increase. There will be radio personalities talking with those who have been involved in adoption and sharing their personal stories. Many news programs will carry stories about events and campaigns and certainly foster children will be spotlighted. The hope is that the public will become aware of the reality of the numbers of children in the United States that do not have forever families.

Last year, approximately 4,500 children were adopted on National Adoption Day. And, over the course of the observance of this day, nearly 50,000 children have had their dream come true! While the focus is heavy on the adoption of foster children, hearing adoption stories of those touched by adoption are wonderful to hear. All agencies, businesses, event organizers and citizens encourage people to talk about their personal experiences in adoption and they give thanks during this month.

If you have a personal story you would like to share, please send us an email or letter. We would love to hear your story, and if you are willing, share it with others. You can contact us at: adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com, actofloveadoptions@yahoo.com, or 1 800 835-6360. We are so blessed to be involved in the wonderful work of adoption. We as an agency staff share our love of adoption because we have each personally been touched through adoption. As we prepare to celebrate National Adoption Month, we hope that you will join us in the celebration and observe this wonderful month and share it with others!

Sources:
https://national-adoption-month.adoption.com/

https://www.nationaladoptionday.org/news/2013-12-05/national-adoption-day-news-for-planners-and-partners

Baby Boy Due December 23, 2014

Act of Love Adoptions is assisting birth parents T & T, with selecting adoptive parents for their African American baby boy that is due around December 23, 2014. T & T are looking for an open adoption with a married, Christian adoptive couple that does not currently have any children. They would like to meet the adoptive family and have a relationship with the adoptive family to include pictures and updates through the agency until age 18.

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 prior to finding out she was pregnant. She reports minimal tobacco use prior to learning of her pregnancy and does not report any drug use during the pregnancy. Birthmom reports that she has had minimal prenatal care due to lack of transportation.

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. The Act of Love Outreach Program DOES NOT require any fees until you are matched with potential birth parents.

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.

For other possible situations, visit Act of Love’s website at www.aactofloveadoptions.com. FREE Adoption Orientation Meeting at Act of Love Adoption Agency on Tuesday, November 11 beginning at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.

“No worries, no stress…nothing but love”

Tara photo

“Walking into the doors of Act of Love Adoption Agency – as soon as you open the doors nothing but smiles your way – smiles and hugs. When they say Act of Love – it’s a lot of love…beautiful people with beautiful spirits. I never felt uncomfortable with anyone I met. It was a good experience…not one awkward feeling.

I found the agency when I realized I was pregnant. I knew abortion was not a good option so I looked into adoption. As a mother, I got vibes…with Act of Love. I got the best vibe out of them all! They called and checked in on me every week…I had multiple conversations…it was my choice – there was no rush and no pressure and I decided to choose them.

There was a lot going on with me being pregnant and they helped with housing and a weekly allowance for food and other things I needed to live. I had a mentor – just in case I had one of those days. I had a few! Just the beautiful spirit you get off of them and the people you work with is amazing.

Something that was a big plus was meeting my adoptive family. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to meet them. It was a great decision to meet them and I really am glad for the family I chose. I picked a wonderful family. I found a loving and caring family just like I would do if I had her myself. The adoptive parents were very understanding about how emotional this is. Meeting them let me be at ease.

Now I can rest my eyes and know that my daughter is being taken care of.
With this agency and their counseling I’m going to get back on the right track. No worries, no stress…nothing but love.” Tara

Act of Love Partners With Pregnancy Resource Center of Salt Lake City

There are some great things happening at the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) of Salt Lake City! The 2014 Banquet for Life fundraising gala was held last week to help the Center continue its wonderful work for women, men and families in Utah. Guest speaker, Pam Tebow, shared her powerful message about her decision to carry her son, Tim Tebow, to full-term even with the risk it presented to her life. Her message empowered others to see the beauty of life and the alternative options available other than abortion.

The work that (PRC) has been doing over the past year is impressive! They have more than doubled the number of ultrasound appointments over the previous year and by the end of 2014 will have provided ultrasounds for more than 300 women in Utah. In addition to confirming pregnancy, the PRC offers much more. They give their clients many options and services. They have a program called Life Steps Parenting in which classes are held to support those parents that have chosen to parent their child, but feel unprepared.

PRC also offers support and help for those women and men that choose the option of adoption. They offer adoption agency choices and references in addition to counseling for parents who want to explore adoption. Act of Love Adoptions is proud to be a partner with PRC to help women and men with the option of adoption.

In addition, the PRC offers post abortive support and recovery groups. This helps men and women find healing and forgiveness. The facilitators of this group have been impacted by abortion themselves and can help women and men through the recovery process and find hope.

The Center has also helped teen pregnancy rates to decline in Utah. One way they are helping is through the Reality Check Program. This program is taught in a few school districts in Utah, helping teens to overcome pressure to be sexually active outside of marriage.

The Pregnancy Resource Center offers all this in addition to pregnancy tests, peer counseling, 24 hour hot line to help men and women discuss their options, college and community outreach and community and church referrals. This is such a wonderful resource designed to save the lives of the unborn, which do not have a voice themselves.

The vision of PRC is to make a positive impact in the lives of youth, women and families in Salt Lake City and surrounding areas by educating and caring for our community in areas of sexual health, pregnancy, abortion recovery, successful parenting and adoption.

The staff at Pregnancy Resource Center is kind, loving, available and willing to help. They have trained nurses and counselors on-site at all times. They are sure to follow-up with those who come into their offices for help. As they grow and expand, their hope is to expand their client services to include counseling for men, Father mentoring, medical services to include pregnancy blood testing and STI/STD testing. Their first and foremost goal is to save lives.

Act of Love Adoptions understands the importance of this wonderful facility available to those in need of options and support for their unborn babies. Their kind and helpful staff is available to listen and provide information and services. If you are in need of some pregnancy help, call the Pregnancy Resource Center at 801 363-5433 today. Or visit their office at 644 South 900 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102. They can also be emailed at info@pregnancyresourcd.net.

Adoption is a Great Option

Being a birthmother who is placing a child for adoption can be a very lonely position to be in. Frequently, women who have experienced an unplanned pregnancy and have chosen adoption say things like, “My family won’t speak to me because of my decision.” Or, “My friends all want me to keep the baby.” Or worse, “Everyone says to get an abortion.” They go on to say that if they made a choice other than adoption they would have much more support from family and friends.

Why is it that for many, adoption is the least desirable option? Is it really better to abort a child? To try to raise a child when the circumstances are far less than ideal? While there are many stories of women who are able to make it being a single parent sometimes at the early age of 14, most stories end in a cycle of poverty, unemployment and lack of education.

A woman that makes the decision to place her child for adoption should be able to feel the same amount of support as those who choose to parent or abort. After all, she is putting the needs of the child and the value of a child’s life above her own and giving so unselfishly of herself. She loves her baby so much….enough to carry the child for nine months, to feel the baby grow, move and even hiccup. She definitely bonds with her child during that time and then goes through the event of child birth. Love carries her through this process and her love for the child is what helps her then to do something that will be painful, yet right.

As a woman prepares for adoption, she must realistically think through her situation. Counselors at Act of Love will help her to process her decisions and plan for her adoption or provide resources for parenting. She should clearly ponder the alternative of parenting. She should think of every scenario in which it could work. She must think it through with her mind and not her heart. There are many that will help persuade a woman to parent with promises of help –both financially and through time. Unfortunately, however heartfelt, those promises were when they were made; the vast majority of them were unrealistic. Many women who ended up making the decision to parent because of loved ones who said they would help, have realized quickly that most of those promises never materialized.

Unfortunately, we live in a busy world, with many demands and most of us are working diligently to make the rent, put food on the table and barely make it. As much as we’d all love to help our friend or sister, we can give a little here and there, but it is usually not what is needed to help her raise and feed and provide for her child. And, in many cases there are already other children in the home that need the help, love and attention as well.

One birthmother said, “If I’m not making it with the children I have now, how does anyone think I’m going to make it when I add one more?” The best thing we can do is support her if she makes an adoption plan. Be willing to listen to her as she talks about adoption. Be willing to learn about the adoptive parent(s) she has selected. Be supportive when her emotions surface. Be the one she can lean on. Be the one that can help remind her of all the reasons she is placing and remind her that she made a great decision. Her child will love her and always be grateful she chose life and she chose adoption.

Let’s give the option of adoption a break! It is a beautiful decision to make and one that will have wonderful lasting effects on the child. Act of Love Adoptions honors and thanks all the women who choose adoption!

Post-Adoption Agreement

Adoptive parents who are eagerly awaiting a baby to adopt often receive information on situations from the adoption agency they are working with. Hopefully, most agencies, like A Act of Love Adoptions give a good social and medical history on the birthparents in addition to, the openness or post-adoption contact which the birthparents have requested and in most cases, have discussed with their agency’s counselor.

As the adoptive parent(s) review the information and begin deciding if this is a situation that they would like their profile to be seen by the birthparents, they should think long and hard about the “openness” or post-adoption contact plan that is being presented. If they agree to have their profile shown to the birthparents, then they must be willing to abide 100% to the plan for the open adoption.

As birthparents place their child for adoption, they are putting their trust in the adoptive parents to keep their promise to abide by the post-adoption contact agreement. For many birthparents, this is one of the most difficult parts to the adoption, as they hope and pray that the adoptive parents will do what has been written and promised for post-adoption contact.

Some states have new laws requiring the openness to be followed through with. Other states do not have such a law and it is an agreement made by both parties. It becomes a moral and ethical agreement in the states where there is no law concerning the openness. Many birthparents express their fear as they get closer to selecting the family that will raise their child. Phrases such as “How will I know that they will follow through with what I have requested?” are often expressed.

Act of Love advises birthparents to discuss the post-adoption contact with the adoptive parents they are interviewing. It is very important that the adoptive parent know how much it means to the birthparent and that they are counting on them to follow through. For some birthparents, the openness plan is the only way they can make an adoption plan and place. Knowing that they will be able to see the child grow up, whether it is through pictures, letters, Skype calls, or visits, helps the birthparent to let go.

Post-Adoption Contact agreements that are not followed through leave a birthparent feeling devastated and betrayed. Putting trust in those who will be the parents to your child is an amazing sacrifice and the hope is that it will be the best decision the birthparent will ever make. The adoptive parent should take this very serious and treat it like a contract that they are signing to keep their word.

Open adoptions are very healthy for everyone involved. It takes the wonder and guessing out of the equation, especially for the child. If the child wonders about why he was placed for adoption, he can learn about the situation his birthparents were in at the time he was born. He can know of their love for him and hear from them why they felt it the very best thing for him. He can see photos of his birthparents and birth family and learn about his biological heritage. He can have a grounded sense of who he is and the love that both sets of parents have for him. An open adoption can alleviate the wonder, the fear, the aching to know more. An open adoption can be a beautiful experience. Just make sure that you feel comfortable with what you agree to do. Do it for your child.

Gift Giving

A birthmother called into Act of Love’s toll free number last week and wanted the agency to relay birthday wishes to her son. She said a small birthday package was on its way and she wanted to ask what gift might the child really, really like. She said if it was something she could afford, then she would like to purchase it for him.

This brought to mind the image of Act of Love’s office at Christmas time. It actually resembles Santa’s Workshop, with gifts coming from adoptive parents to birthparents and from birthparents to their children they placed. It is a wonder to see and feel the love that the people on both sides of the adoption feel for each other.

With the holidays quickly approaching, the question will be on the minds of many, what kind of gift to I give that will be meaningful and appropriate? In the cases where the adoption is very open, birthparents and adoptive parents can talk about what would be best for the child, so that gifts aren’t duplicated. Many birthparents love hearing about what the child is “into.” Do they love baseball? Dance? Super Heroes? Reading books? Playing with dolls? This can help the birthparents that want to send a gift, give something the child will be sure to love.

Sometimes birthparents like to send personal gifts, such as photos, scrapbooks or collections of their family. This is very appropriate and can be something that the child will continue to look at throughout their life. It would be very helpful to add captions describing the photo.

Birthparents may want to send a copy of their favorite book as a child, and write something inside. Another personal gift that birthparents like to give is something they have made, such as a blanket or quilt.

Adoptive couples quickly learn that a gift to the birthparents that has photos or stories of the child is always loved and appreciated! Many on line companies allow you to upload pictures and add words and stories. Then, the company binds it all into a hardcover book that ends up looking beautiful! Other ideas that really help birthparents especially at Christmas time are gift cards for retailers such as Walmart and Target –stores that are easily found across the country. Many birthparents struggle to give their family gifts for Christmas, while trying to keep up with the bills.

Any kind words always keep the bond going, even if you just send holiday cards back and forth. The holidays are such a special time for reflection on family and what matters most. It is a wonderful time to connect with adoptive parents and birthparents and give thanks for the sacrifice and love that is shared by all. The adopted child will grow up with a good sense of well being as he or she feels the love from both sets of parents. And we all need to remember that the best gift of all is LOVE!

Adoption
is An Act of Love

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