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Grief in Adoption – Time to Heal

Mattie
I recently read an article about grief and how it helps us heal. It really struck me because I was completely grief-stricken for a while after placing my son for adoption. For a while I just cried all the time. Even now, there are times I feel really, really sad for a period of weeks. There are some days I still cry. That grief that birth parents experience when they place a child for adoption never fully goes away. It definitely gets better over time, but there will be times when those feelings of grief will be strong.

What is grief?

Grief is a very intense feeling of sadness or emotional distress. Some other feelings that are associated with grief are anger, resentment, guilt, and anxiety. People usually experience grief when they have experienced a loss of some sort. Grief is a natural emotional reaction to loss and is an indication that the healing process has started.

Grief in adoption

Losing a child through adoption is just as profound a loss as losing a loved one. When birth parents place their child for adoption, they experience the loss of a child. They will not experience the joys of parenting that child. They will not be called Mommy and Daddy by that child or get to spend holidays together. There is a loss of a lifetime of memories and laughter and love. Birth parents are not able to show their children love in the way they want. I wish I could hold my son, kiss him, hear him laugh, see him smile, and watch him grow. I wish I could simply just tell him in my own words face to face that I love him. Experiencing loss and grief in adoption is very real and very powerful.

Dealing with grief

Everyone deals with grief differently, but there are some things that help for most people. For one, do not avoid feelings of grief. Remember that those feelings are normal and are a necessary part of the healing process. For me, crying is a good way to get through periods of grief. I always feel better after a really good cry. Journaling is known to help with feelings of grief. It allows you to expel those intense emotions in a healthy way. Talking to someone… “A burden shared is a burden halved.” I talked to and emailed the counselor at Act of Love quite frequently after placement. I always felt better after sharing those feelings because I knew I did not have to experience them alone. The biggest help with grief is time. You must give yourself time to grieve. It can be a slow and frustrating process but know those intense feelings do not last long. Every day you feel those feelings is another day of healing and working towards acceptance.

Acceptance

There is no set amount of time for grieving. For some, those intense emotions may last only a few months, for others it could be a year or longer. In any case, acceptance lies beyond those feelings. Acceptance is being able to acknowledge your loss and have feelings of peace about it. Life post-placement may never be the same, it shouldn’t. You will be changed forever, in a good way. Placing a child for adoption is not the end of life for you. You will feel better and still enjoy life. You can move forward and experience happiness, and you should, that is the natural progression of the process. Doing so will also prepare you to reunite with your child when the time comes, if that is something you choose to do.

Ask Skylar to share more on her adoption experience by leaving a message or by emailing to adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com. You can also call the 24/7 phone line to speak with an adoption team member about your questions 1-800-835-6360 or text 801-450-0094.

Adoption – A Decision to be Proud of

Mattie
As a birth mom, I sometimes get really frustrated hearing other people talk about adoption. I really hate the language that is used sometimes. I hear things like, “I don’t see how anyone could give up their baby,” or, “It’s not adoption, it’s baby-selling,” or, my favorite, “The adoptive parents aren’t even the real parents.” It really is amazing at how people judge others no matter what they do. For example, an unwed woman becomes pregnant, and she is labeled a slut and immoral. Then if she decides to parent the baby, she is selfish and looking for a handout by getting on welfare. If she decides to have an abortion, she is a baby-killer. If she decides to place her baby for adoption, she doesn’t love her baby or want to take responsibility. It really hurts when I hear some of the things said about adoption and birth parents. I know that some who are searching for answers will read this, and my hope is that I can help clarify some of the adoption language.

Placing your child for adoption does NOT mean you are giving up your child. The idea that birth parents give up their babies does not even relate to placing a baby for adoption. There is A LOT of thought and LOVE that goes into placing a child for adoption. The process of adoption is strenuous and emotional. Whether an adoption plan is made soon after discovering the pregnancy or is not decided until after the baby is born, there is much emotional turmoil. In any case when parents relinquish rights to their child, it truly is an act of love. It is an act of hope. It is an act that says to your child, “I love you beyond measure, and I want to give you the best I have to offer.”

Birth parents receive a very modest amount of financial help for a few months during the pregnancy. This does NOT mean you are selling your child. Being pregnant is expensive. (Yes, it really is.) Being pregnant means missing work to go to doctor’s appointments, which we all know could be half a day of work. It means buying more food, specifically more fruits and vegetables, which we all know are the most expensive food items at the store. (Tomatoes recently went up $1/lb recently.) It means buying new wardrobe and shoes because a woman’s body changes during pregnancy. Not to mention all those vitamins that keep baby and mommy healthy, plus a co-pay for every doctor’s visit. There are no large sums of money exchanged between birth parents and adoptive parents.

In adoption, there is no such thing as REAL parents. There is the birth family and the adoptive family. The parents who assume responsibility for the child are the child’s parents. The parents who placed the child in their care are the child’s birth parents. There is no real, fake, better, temporary, or any other kind of parent involved in adoption. Parents and birthparents. That’s it.

I am proud to be a mommy and a birth mom. Like many others, I deal with the stigma of being a birth parent. Although I sometimes hear others negatively remark about either adoption or birth parents, I am okay with my role as a birth mom. I look back on my decision with pride. It takes a tremendous amount of courage and strength to make the decision to place a baby for adoption. It is a decision to be proud of.

Share your thoughts and feelings with Skylar by leaving a message or sending an email to adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com.

Choosing A Family

MattieIf you opt to choose a family for your child, then choosing a family is one of the most important decisions above any other in the adoption process. Doing this will give you peace about your decision to place your child for adoption. There is nothing more comforting and healing than seeing your child happy, safe, and healthy with his or her family after placement. Choosing a family for your child is a gift for birth parents, their child, and the adoptive family.

The selection process is a very important step towards providing a future for your child in addition to your own journey towards healing. Before I looked at profiles, I had about a dozen questions written down. They were practical questions about things that were really important to me. Some of those things were communication, family support, religious views (though not religious affiliation), family activities, and racial issues (because my son is half African-American and one quarter Thai and Caucasian). I wanted to get an idea of what their life is like, what their priorities are, and how they plan to nurture and raise my son. I had an idea of what my adoptive family would be like and wanted my son to be raised the same way I raise my own two boys. I wanted a family with shared values on education and family relationships. I based my questions on those things I had in mind.

I was so prepared to ask questions, be methodical and practical, but then I had the most wonderful experience. When I got the profiles in the mail and saw the families, I immediately knew which family was meant for my son. A feeling of warmth and peace and calmness came over me when I looked at one family in particular. Amid the turmoil of leaving an abusive relationship, fear for myself and my baby, and the emotions that go with placing my baby for adoption, that feeling of absolute peace was such a juxtaposition that I knew what family to place with. I still talked to them and asked all those questions I had and doing so was confirmation that they were right for my son and me. It truly was one of those experiences where it just felt right. I get to experience that over and over again every time I look at the pictures of my beautiful baby and read the letters sent to me.

That does not happened for everyone. If not, that really is okay. Every adoption experience is different. Every situation is unique, even though there are many similarities in the adoption process. If you do not experience this right away, it may happen sometime down the road, or it may never happen for you. That is okay. Remember why you chose adoption or perhaps are considering adoption. Placing a child for adoption is meant to provide that child with a family who will love unconditionally, provide every need, and most importantly give a lifetime of love.

To have your questions answered about choosing your adoptive family, leave a message or email Skylar at adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com.

Born Baby Boy – No Longer Available

Act of Love Adoptions is assisting birth parent J with selecting adoptive parents for her born African American baby boy. Baby boy was born on November 16, 2014. Currently, the hospital is planning for baby to be discharged Friday. Adoptive family will need to travel immediately to be with baby. J is looking for an adoptive family that is willing to have an open adoption with her throughout the child’s life to include sending pictures and letters through the adoption agency. She wishes to meet the adoptive family that she selects.

Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. She also reports that she has not used alcohol, drugs or tobacco during the pregnancy. She states that she has had minimal prenatal care and recently began taking prenatal vitamins. Non-identified information including health and social information, as well as any available medical records will be made available to approved adoptive families.

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.

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, December 2nd beginning at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.

Baby Boy Due December 30th – Matched

Act of Love Adoptions is assisting birth parent S with selecting adoptive parents for her baby boy that is due around December 30, 2014. Baby’s ethnicity will be Native American, Caucasian and African American. S is looking for an adoptive family that is willing to have an open adoption with her throughout the child’s life to include sending pictures and letters through the adoption agency. She wishes to meet the adoptive family that she selects.

Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. She also reports that she has not used alcohol, drugs or tobacco during the pregnancy. She states that she has had minimal prenatal care. Non-identified information including health and social information, as well as available medical records will be made available to approved adoptive families. Birthmom has needed a significant amount 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. 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, December 2nd beginning at 7:00 p.m. Call for more information regarding the orientation and information that will be presented to families considering adoption.

Emotions in Unplanned Pregnancy

Mattie
Discovering that you are pregnant is a monumental moment for women and their partners. Women and men experience different emotions at this time, some are good, and sometimes those emotions may be shock or panic, depending on their situations. That moment when a woman becomes pregnant, she becomes a mom for the rest of her life, no matter what option she chooses for herself and her unborn child. An unplanned pregnancy can cause some emotions that are not necessarily positive. For example, confusion and panic are some common reactions. I would categorize those emotions as neither positive nor negative…normal, maybe, but neither good nor bad. It is at this moment that women face a decision: to parent the unborn child, seek an abortion, or place the baby for adoption. Because of the emotions that one can experience at the discovery of an unexpected pregnancy, it is important to recognize and work through those emotions before making a decision.

When I discovered I was pregnant with Matt, I kind of freaked out! I just knew that I was not going to keep the pregnancy because of the circumstances I was in. I was in an abusive relationship, and at the time, I thought to myself that I refuse to have a baby with a man who loses his temper so easily. I felt that my baby would be in danger if I kept him. I also had two other small boys, and I was not financially or emotionally prepared to care for another child. I really felt like I had no other option except to terminate the pregnancy. I was shocked, in a panic, and scared for my baby’s life, or what could happen if I were to keep my baby. It was a very difficult time for me emotionally, and initially I lacked the resources I needed to work through my emotions to make a decision I thought was truly right. Instead, I was considering a decision that was rash and emotionally charged.

I contacted the local Crisis Pregnancy Center to ask if they had counseling services for women who have abortions. This was my first step in trying to deal with what I had planned; it turned out to be the decision that would change my life and the life of my baby. The staff at the CPC treated me with kindness and respect. Reaching out to the CPC was a way of seeking help to work through some of the emotions I was expecting to experience. They ended up helping me work through my emotions and providing me with information that would eventually lead me to A Act of Love Adoption Agency.

Talking to the counselor and birth mom coordinator at A Act of Love provided me the emotional support I needed to think clearly. The biggest help was simply getting information about adoption. I was ill informed about adoption until I spoke to them. Getting the right information about the option of adoption actually calmed my emotions and allowed me really make an informed decision about my unplanned pregnancy.

I think in any emotionally charged situation, the right information and the right amount of information marks the difference between facing a lifetime of regrets versus a lifetime of gratitude for the challenges we face and the blessings they bring. If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and are considering what option to choose, I encourage you to seek out resources that are immediately available to you. Perhaps you may want to contact your local CPC, or another resource similar to that, for information on parenting. Contacting an adoption agency just to get information will also help you explore your options. Either way, doing so slows down that decision making process, and you will be helped by those who love their work and want to help you. Most importantly, you will get the information you need to make the decision that is right for you and your baby.

Send your questions and comments for Skylar to adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com or leave a comment on the post.

The Magic in Adoption and Power of Family Ties

The Girls!Recently, an Act of Love adoptive mom thanked me for arranging a meeting with the adoptive family of the two half sisters to her adopted daughter. She had come to me and expressed her family’s desire for their daughter to be able to build a relationship with her birth sisters. In talking with her, she shared that she wasn’t sure what relationship may be formed, but she knew that it would be important for her daughter to have the opportunity to have some level of contact with her birth sisters and maybe meet them. She understood if it might not be possible and knew the other adoptive family would need to agree to a meeting or contact.

To her surprise, the other adoptive family responded immediately and was available to meet with them the next night. Her joy was obvious, as well as, the bit of apprehension that could be heard in her voice. I am sure many thoughts and feelings were beginning to surface. What will they be like? Will they like us? Will the girls like us? Will they want to stay-in-touch or just a one-time meeting? How will we be alike and how will be different? All normal, legitimate feelings to be experiencing. Adoption classes and training prepare you a great deal for being an adoptive family, but there are those things that each person will experience on a different level and at a different time in their life.

The Act of Love coordinator was able to provide the conference room for the families to meet and she shared her amazement and true pleasure in having been part of the visit. She expressed that the girls had a wonderful time and the adults were able to share and bond in their love for their girls. They exchanged addresses to be able to stay in-touch and all were so grateful for the beautiful opportunity that their girls had to know each other and begin a relationship.

This delightful adoptive mom wrote the most beautiful words in her thank you…“The magic of adoption and power of family ties were at play.” The adoptive dad of the two half sisters shared that he was so amazed and could not stop thinking about the visit.

Adoption is an amazing journey that is different for each birth parent and adoptive family. The emotions that are felt as individuals go through the adoption process will be different for each person and different at each step in their process. You will have some of your most joyous moments and moments of total despair and sadness. The emotion and feeling that will be the same for all is the joy and happiness for the children.

The children are so loved and cherished by all and the “magic” in adoption and the “power of family ties” will forever be important in lives of these two families and for many other families that choose adoption as a way to build their family.

Baby Boy Due December 10

Act of Love Adoptions is assisting birth parent W with selecting adoptive parents for her baby boy that is due around December 10, 2014. Birthmom’s ethnicity is Native American and African American and she reports the birth father as Hispanic. W is looking for an adoptive family that is willing to have an open adoption with her to include exchanging emails, phone numbers, addresses and to have regular contact throughout the child’s life. She wishes to meet the adoptive family.

Birthmom reports that she is healthy and free from any major medical injury or illness. She also reports that she has not used alcohol or drugs during the pregnancy, but does smoke about 5 cigarettes per day. She states that she began her prenatal care in April of 2014. Non-identified information including health and social information, as well as available medical records will be made available to approved adoptive families.

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.

The journey of adoption

Mattie
I really love hearing adoption stories from adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents. I love my own adoption story! Most of the stories I have heard from others, the placement occurred many years ago. Those stories are always, always stories of joy, love, and peace. Though I placed my son only just over a year and half ago, my adoption story is also one of joy, love, and peace. However, it was not always like that. The adoption process is emotionally frustrating for birth parents and adoptive parents alike. It is emotionally tumultuous and straining. It is challenging and heart-wrenching.

The moment I decided to place my son for adoption, I was relieved. Compared to the alternative I was considering, I felt like a weight had been lifted. Contrary to that, I was emotionally distraught. Physically, I could not eat anything. I could not sleep. In general, I was scared. On top of dealing with the normal physical and emotional changes that come with pregnancy, I was dealing with the fact that at the end of my pregnancy, I will not have a baby at home with me. I have two boys I get to call my own, so I knew what I would be missing. It is a difficult thing to feel a baby grow inside you, to feel him and to love him, and to know that you will not have him in your life in the way that you want.

The staff at Act of Love did everything they could to help prepare me for placement. They talked to me about the emotions I would feel after birth and what I would feel after signing papers to relinquish my rights. Truly, nothing can fully prepare a birth parent for that moment. It is a moment of momentous loss and tremendous heartache. It is pain that hurts your entire being. Leaving the hospital and going home without a baby really sucked. The first six months were the most difficult. During that time, my body was still adjusting to giving birth. Even with counseling and medication I was an emotional wreck. I cried every day. I hurt every day.

A year ago my adoption story was one of anger, resentment, and shame. I am not sure how many other birth parents felt that way in the beginning, but it seems that would be a logical reaction. The adoption specialists at Act of Love constantly told me that it gets better every day. It really did not feel like that the first six months. Eventually, it did start getting better day by day, little by little. Today, I can go a few weeks without crying. I can talk about my adoption journey without crying. When I think about my son and his family, I smile. There are still fluctuations in how I feel. I may go through periods where I cry every day for weeks. I may have a day every once in a while where I cry all day long. And that is okay. In some ways, the decision itself to place my son for adoption was easy. The follow through is much harder. Adoption is not easy. At first, it is ugly and terrible, but that does not last long at all. Those feelings of anger and shame go away. That feeling of loss may always be there, but it lessens over time. I am at peace with the decision I made to place my son for adoption.

Send any questions, thoughts or feelings you have for Skylar to adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com or send a message through Facebook.

AAOL Celebrates Adoptions!

Hey Everybody! It’s November! And that means…its National Adoption Month! At A Act of Love Adoptions, we celebrate every month as an adoption month, but November is officially the National celebratory month.

In a month where we give thanks and are grateful for all that we have, we are especially thankful for the wonderful people who have touched our lives through our work in adoption. Our staff has worked with the greatest adoptive parents and birthparents from all over the country. We are thankful for the amazing people you are. We have witnessed you share your hearts with us and with one another through the miracle of adoption. Through our twenty-one years in business, we are now getting to meet adoptees that are all grown up! What a thrill to talk to a teenager that you remember her birthmother placing her in the arms of her adoptive mother!

It’s amazing to think that over the past decade, over 500,000 children in America have been adopted, either at birth or through the foster care system. President Obama has announced that this year, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is declared the 15th annual National adoption DAY. This will be a nationwide celebration where policymakers, practitioners and advocates will come together to finalize thousands of adoptions and add awareness to the thousands of children that are still in need of a permanent home.

If you would like to share your adoption story with us and others, we would love to hear from you. It is so heartwarming for those making the decision on whether to place, to hear about the experiences of others. It also gives adoptive parents hope that they can have a family through the generosity of loving birthparents. We would also love to see photos that you would be willing to share on our website and Facebook pages. If you would like to share your story, please email us at actofloveadoptions@yahoo.com. If you would like to include a photo with your story we would love to see that as well.

We have been so blessed to have shared in so many of your beautiful adoption stories. Our office walls are filled with amazing photos of adorable babies. We would love to hear from you as we all give thanks this month for adoption. As a staff at A Act of Love Adoptions, we are unique in the fact that we have all been personally touched through adoption. It is why we do what we do. It is not just a job for us. We know we are deeply involved in our client’s lives. We have a passion for helping those who are in the process of adoption and go the extra mile to assist in that process.

We are so grateful during this month of Thanksgiving that we can also celebrate those who have adoption in their lives. I know birthparents, adoptive parents and adopted children alike, give thanks to all involved for making their life better and for creating one huge family of love.

Happy November! Happy Adoption Month! And, Happy month of Thanks!

Adoption
is An Act of Love

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