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A Feeling of Contentment

unnamed[1]The odd thing about adoption is that it is a decision that benefits multiple people. There are times when I stop to take a look at my busy weekend and think; this wouldn’t be possible if my son was still with me. But these moments don’t fill me with joy at my full calendar; instead it’s a little bit of guilt.
On the other hand this is where contentment also comes from; the knowledge that my son is okay. After having gone through an extensive search and selection for a great family, it becomes so much easier to imagine the life that my son will lead and all the happiness that will come their way.

Knowing that my son will never be without any essentials required for a happy life, helps me to relax a bit. It eases the guilt and I am reminded that I am free from the anxiety that overwhelmed me during my pregnancy. When I see children around me laughing and giggling, it resonates even more strongly with my own child’s life is amazing. He has all the worldly comforts that he desires, along with the support and love of the adoptive family. He has siblings to play with and he will grow up with a strong support system to hold him up during the more stressful patches of their lives.

Even though it will still be tough being so far away from my son and I know I will miss out on watching him grow up, I feel okay. I can’t say that everything is perfect (there still is that bit of guilt I’m dealing with), but there is a calmness that settles upon me that is hard to explain in words. In the mornings I love to just close my eyes and imagine my son’s face with a big toothy grin on it. Now that will put anyone back in a good mood.

Adoption and Parenthood: Are You Ready for It?

Adoption is not something you come into lightly. It takes a lot of deliberation. It will require a substantial (and lifelong) commitment. Thus, you need to really determine for yourself whether you and your spouse are ready for adoption.

Here are some things you need to consider:
– Readiness to be parents. Parenthood is one of life’s ultimate challenges. Are you ready for its ups and downs? Are you ready to give up a lot of things to meet the demands of becoming a parent? Are you committed to diaper changes, the terrible twos (and often, up to the terrible teens), foregoing that purchase or that holiday? Remember, this is a permanent relationship. Deciding to adopt requires careful introspection so that you examine your reasons for wanting to adopt and finally making the choice for adoption for the right reasons.
– Commitment and desire to be parents by adoption. A number of couples come into adoption after they have exhausted all their options to have a biological child. Couples who turn to adoption should first have been able to resolve their feelings and moved on from infertility together. There is loss and grief involved in infertility. Each spouse must be emotionally ready and come into acceptance and commitment to being parents by adoptions. This means that both you and your spouse are ready to love and give of yourself and make sacrifices for a person. If one spouse is not ready for adoption, it is better to wait and allow the spouse to grieve and deal with his or her issues.
– Consensus between the couple with regards to adoption plans. Are you and your spouse in agreement about how the adoption would go, whether to have a domestic infant adoption or to adopt internationally? The journey to adoption will lead to a series of choices and the couple should be in unity with their adoption plan.
– Financial readiness. Are you still paying off your mortgage? Do you still have other debts you are paying off? How are your income, expense and savings levels? Are you financially stable enough to not only afford the expenses related to the adoption, as well as the financial responsibility of providing for the needs of a child? You do not have to be rich to adopt, but it is wise to carefully consider your financial situation (including future prospects). The cost of providing for a child from infancy till the time he reaches 18 years of age is estimated at around $250,000. Can your finances make room for expenses related to a child – diapers, formula, clothes, and ideally, savings for his college education?
– Existence of a support mechanism. Do you have a strong and stable relationship with your spouse? Having a partner in facing the challenges of parenthood certainly makes it more manageable. However, you can still adopt and be a good parent even if you plan to do it solo. However, you do need the presence of loved ones and friends you can count on when you get laid up in the hospital or when you need someone to watch over your child in a pinch.
– Home environment. Is your home ready for a child? Do you have enough space to accommodate a nursery and eventually, providing your child with his room? Does the house come with space for your child to run and play?
– Physical readiness. Do you have a physical ailment that can make it difficult to take care of a child? Although parenthood is not limited to those who are physical well and do not have any disabilities, your physical condition will make sleepless nights, carrying the baby and all other physical demands of parenthood easier. Also, if you have a serious illness that will considerably shorten your life expectancy; you need to think about whether it is wise to risk the possibility of leaving a young child an orphan. Make sure you have a plan in place for your child should you not be able to provide for him or her.

About A Act of Love Adoptions

A Act of Love Adoptions is an organization that has been committed for over twenty years towards helping both parents wanting to adopt and birth parents with an unplanned pregnancy who have chosen adoption for their child. A Act of Love will help you assess your readiness to parent and, if you are not, provide you with guidance and counseling to help you explore and prepare for adoption. Call today to schedule a meeting: Birthparents call 1-800-835-6360 and Adoptive Parents call 1-888-767-7740. The professional and experienced staff looks forward to assisting you with your adoption needs.

My adoption situation turned out better than I thought it would!

SkylarI keep imagining what life would be like had I not placed Matt for adoption and instead, chose to raise him myself. My first thoughts are always about how he would be a part of my life and that I could love on him, watch him grow, teach him, hold him, and watch him play with his brothers. I imagine his brothers adoring him because both Edward and Matthias love babies, especially Matthias. But then, I think about the reality of raising Matthew. I am not sure what the situation would be like with his birth father (BF). Maybe he would be going into a dangerous situation every time he visited his BF. Maybe Matthew never would have made it past infant hood because his BF lost his temper. Maybe his BF would not be a part of his life. Then there are finances (no, I don’t care much about money, but the reality is that you need it in order to care for a child). Daycare would be a nightmare. Then there are diapers and doc appointments. I work full time, but I, like most others, make a very modest income. While I would like to think it would have been possible to raise Matthew myself, it would not have been the best choice for Matthew.

Sure, unexpected pregnancies happen, and perhaps, adoption is the best choice for many situations, but more often than not, those situations are “crisis” (I use crisis for lack of a better word) situations. In my situation, I felt that adoption was the BEST choice, and raising him was neither safe nor wise. That is the decision I was most comfortable with. The biggest factor was fear…fear stemming mostly from the BF situation. Under no circumstances would I place my son, any of them, in danger. Other factors included wanting what is best for Matthew and knowing that he could never receive the kind of love, upbringing, and attention that I wanted for him if he stayed with me. Edward and Matthias have a super fantastic father! Admittedly, things were not always great, but their dad is a HUGE part of their lives now. I firmly believe Matthew never would have had that with me. (Unless, of course, I marry at some point.)

Placing Matthew for adoption has turned out to be EVEN BETTER than what I originally thought. It has given him everything I wanted for him. A mom and dad, an adorable older sister who LOVES him, a really huge extended family…like huge. He spends most, if not all, of his time with his family; whereas with me, he would spend about half the day at daycare, then another ten hours sleeping, which leaves only a handful of hours with me which would be spent doing homework, cooking, etc. I can tell you from experience, there is no fun having a kid if you cannot spend time with him. I really hit the jackpot finding Matthew’s parents. There are no better parents for my son. Matthew has so much love in his life, stability, safety. I know he is being taught the things I would have taught him because I saw that instilled in his sister.

At the end of the day, no matter how much I think about what life would be like raising Matthew with his brothers, I have no regrets over placing him for adoption. The way I see it, I had three options: abortion, raising him myself, or placing him for adoption. I think if I had gone through with the abortion I would have regretted it for the rest of my life, plagued with guilt and sorrow. Raising him myself could have been dangerous for him, and he would not have had the kind of upbringing I want for him. But placing him for adoption, that has given him exactly everything he needs and so much more.

To share your thoughts or ask Skylar questions, reply below or email to adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com.

Anything for Your Child’s Health, Wealth & Happiness

unnamed[1]Every mother in the world wants the best for her child, irrespective of her background and her position in life at the time of the child’s birth. Unfortunately, sometimes it is simply not possible for the mother to be able to cater to the multidimensional needs of the child all by herself.
In some cases, the mother cannot provide financial stability, while in other cases she might not yet be emotionally ready to raise a child. Whether it is one of these reasons, a combination of the two, or even some other factor altogether, adoption can very well be just the right option for both the mother and her baby.

As a mother, I want to guarantee health, wealth and happiness for my child. All three of these essentials require monetary resources, as well as love. I would strive to gather enough of both to fulfill all his needs, but when I can see that I would definitely fall short in one way or another, I would prefer that my child still gets everything he deserves, even if I am not the provider.

When I see my friend’s children or my coworkers with their children, my heart fills with a peculiar kind of joy. Seeing them living a safe and progressive life reiterates my belief in the fact that the first and foremost duty of a good parent is to put their child ahead of themselves. Thus, even the sadness that comes from separation from your child is wiped out in this way.

As a mother, I also know that even if adoption was not an option, my child and I would have to part ways at some point as it is only natural for children to grow up and move out in order to build their own lives. Hence, from a purely logical perspective, it only makes sense to give my child a head start by making all necessary tools for success accessible to them. The rest, as they say, is all’s well that ends well.

Act of Love Adoption Agency is on Twitter

Act of Love Adoption Agency is on Twitter. As a reputable adoption agency, we strive to keep adoptive parents and birth parents updated about our latest news, stories, testimonials and adoption-related subjects. Whether it is sharing a simple, yet joyful family picture, a loving adoption quote or the latest births, we love tweeting our success stories to other followers. For more than 20 years, we have been working with both birth parents and adoptive parents to help facilitate non-profit adoptions. Since Twitter allows us to share our photos and videos, we are easily able to upload the latest pictures of our successful adoptions with birth parents and adoptive families, including updates on families as they grow and prosper. As a comprehensive full-service adoption agency, Act of Love Adoption offers adoption placements, shorter than average placement times, home study reports and even post-placement services. Adoptive parents also benefit from several adoption programs, including adoption orientation classes and parenting classes. Follow us on Twitter for daily updates, tweets and the latest adoption news.

Getting Emotinal Support From Loved Ones and Friends for Your Adoption

For those who are planning to adopt, loved ones and friends are a valuable source of support. After all, the road towards adoption is a roller coaster ride of hopes, disappointments, paperwork and financial involvement. The challenges become more manageable and the joys are multiplied if you have people who will provide you with encouragement and who can provide a shoulder to lean on or an ear that simply listens. Conversely, having people who discourage you and find joy in enumerating the negatives of adoption make the journey towards adoption all the more challenging.

To pave the way for you to get the support you need from your loved ones, it is important to remember that it is a two way street. Even as you try to understand where they are coming from, you also need to help them understand your thoughts and what you need from them in terms of emotional support.

Here are some things to consider and do:
– Allow loved ones to process your announcement and to grieve. When you made your announcement that you were adopting, do not expect them to be on board with your decision from the get-go. Try to understand and give them time to deal with their own emotions and fears about this decision that will also touch their lives. They will need time to grieve about their loss regarding their concept of having biological nieces or grandchildren, as well as their sense of loss of control with regards to the process.
– Listen to their side about their matter. Learn about their concerns so that you can understand these concerns and be able to more effectively address them.
– Communicate your need for support. Do not expect your loved ones to be mind readers – they aren’t. Open up to them about what kind of support you would appreciate, whether this would entail lending a sympathetic ear, helping rally other loved ones for their emotional support or simply refraining from recounting the latest adoption horror story they heard from the television or from a “friend of a friend”.
– Fight misconceptions with information. Most of the objections loved ones have about adoption come from misconceptions and fears. These fears may range from the amount of expense involved to fears that something can go wrong about the adoption after they have been invested emotionally. It can be fears about the baby’s health condition or the reasons why the birthparent decided for adoption. Deal with these fears by helping them understand the adoption process and where you are at this point. Encourage them to read books or write-ups you have also read. This can show them that you are making a well-thought-out decision and also provide them with accurate information about adoption.
– Get them involved in the process. Solicit your loved ones’ help to make the concept of adoption more concrete, more real. This will also help your loved ones get a sense that they are entitled to the child as his loved one. Some forms of involvement include helping choose the name of the child, preparing for the child’s things or decorating the child’s room.
– Agree to disagree. Sadly, there may be loved ones that will not come on board with the adoption. Rather than force the issue, it is simpler to accept their decision. In this case, you may decide to minimize your child’s contact with this particular loved one if the contact will only cause emotional confrontation or hurtful words that may affect your child.
– Reach out to others in the same situation. There are actually other sources of emotional support. There are support groups that are composed of waiting parents just like you, who can empathize with your situation.

About A Act of Love

A Act of Love Adoptions is an adoption agency with a holistic approach to adoption. It aims to provide both birthparents and parents wanting to adopt with guidance and support, not just for the adoption but also for other related issues such as finding resources and post-adoption support. A Act of Love also provides invaluable counseling from experienced professionals.

Sweeter This Time Around: Having a Second Adoption

After having gone through the ups and downs of the adoption journey, you are raring to make another go. The success of your adoption with A Act of Love Adoptions has only made you think of a second (or perhaps even a third) adoption. You realize that your heart has the capacity to multiply love and welcome one more child into your family.

Here are some of the things you should consider with a second adoption:
• Examine your reasons. As with the first adoption, you need to take a close look at the reasons why you are adopting for a second time. Are you adopting again to give your first child a playmate? Or to give him an idea about adoption? These may be wrong reasons to adopt again. Closely examine your reasons to make sure you are adopting for the right reasons.
• Consider your finances. An adoption entails a huge chunk of the family resources. For some, the costs of the first adoption were covered through loans or by dipping into the family savings. Can you afford to do the same thing for the second adoption? You may need to make changes in your spending patterns, becoming more frugal as you strive to meet the needs of a bigger family.
• Consider your resources. This is not just about finances but also other resources such as your physical and emotional energy levels and your support from loved ones and friends. Are you up to the demands of parenting siblings? Meeting the physical and emotional needs of your children, as well as managing their schedule, going for visits to the school or the doctor, helping out on your children’s homework and all the everyday things these entail will be exhausting both physically and emotionally. Do you also have loved ones and friends you can count on if you need help with watching the children? For instance, you got into an accident and had to stay in the hospital. Will there be someone to be with the children during times like these?
• Consider the different details at play in your second adoption. If you had your choice, would you want a similar adoption setup as your first adoption (i.e. open adoption vs. confidential adoptions)? How would you deal with the differences, if any, with your relationship with the birthparents of both children? Would you prefer your children to share the same race or country of origin? If not, how do you plan to immerse your children in two different cultures?
• Talk with your adoption agency to explore other sources of support. Adoption agencies such as A Act of Love can provide you with access to support groups and parental counseling. You can also start the ball rolling on the process. The adoption agency will also provide you with further support when the second adoption pushes through.
• Be prepared for a change in lifestyle. Whereas parenting one child is “manageable”, two will be more challenging. Travel, eating out, moving around and indulging in other simple luxuries will require more work, preparation and energy when you have two children in tow. A second domestic infant adoption will also mean another round of night feedings, diaper changing and worried nights when baby is sick. A second adoption will also mean shifting priorities in one’s career as a growing family will also have more demands of your time and energy.
• Involve your child in the process. When you have decided to adopt for the second time, it is best to let your child in on your decision, as well as the preparations. You will need to decide how you will talk with your child to prepare him, especially when with adoptions, the timing is often unexpected. You can prepare your child by constantly assuring him of your love and his place in the family – this time, as an older sibling.

In the end, after weighing the ups and downs of adopting for a second time, you will be the one who will decide whether a second (or third) adoption is right for you. What is important is that you have made the choice to be parents to siblings.

Being Prepared for Healing and Reality

MattieIf you decide to make an adoption plan for your baby, then taking care of your emotional needs during your pregnancy and after placement should be a priority. Pregnancy brings out all kinds of emotions, and those emotions are compounded when making an adoption plan for your baby. Not only that, but the emotional struggles birth parents face are remarkably different from those parents who get to go home with a new baby. The emotional challenges birth parents face during pregnancy and after placement are tremendous. At times, it can be overwhelming. While these feelings do not last long, being emotionally prepared for placement is essential to the healing process.

The moment I knew I was placing my son for adoption, I began what I can only describe as a detachment process. I detached myself from identifying myself as his mom. I knew that at the end of my pregnancy, I would not be going home with a new beautiful baby, and I began preparing myself for that. That was one of the biggest emotional challenges I faced, and what I imagine all birth parents face. That loss of identity, for me anyway, was a tragic loss. I really struggled with knowing that I would not be his mom because I have two boys I get to call my own. They call me Mommy, but Matt will grow up calling another woman Mommy. I think that loss of identity is something that needs to be addressed soon after deciding to place your baby for adoption. You will not have it all worked out when it is time to place your baby in another family’s arms, but you will have prepared yourself as best you can if you acknowledge that challenge beforehand.

You will also have to deal with your own family. Whatever your situation is, whether you are married, already have kids, aged 16 or 36, you will have to deal with how those around you will deal with your decision. Not everyone in my family supported me in my decision. I had a few friends who supported me, and I am thankful them. My mother pretended the pregnancy did not exist. The hardest family related issue was dealing with my boys; they did not understand that the baby in Mommy’s belly would not be coming home to live with us. When I returned home, they frequently asked me about their baby brother and when he was coming home. If you have children, be prepared to talk to them about your adoption plan, and be prepared for those questions after placement.

All this pre-delivery preparation prepares you for that moment when you are to sign the papers that relinquish your rights to your baby. I never had second thoughts, or doubts that I was doing what I wanted to do. That did not make signing those papers any easier. I am convinced that nothing in this world completely prepares you for that moment, but the preparations you make during your pregnancy definitely help. In that pivotal moment, when those papers are in front of you, you are faced with the absolute reality of the situation. That moment impacts the rest of your life and that of your baby’s, as well as the adoptive parents. That moment is something you need to prepare yourself for. That is the most important emotional rollercoaster (and I say rollercoaster because you may be feeling ten thousand things at that particular moment) you need to prepare for in your adoption journey. In that moment, remember why you chose the path of adoption for your baby. Remember that whatever you are feeling is normal, and that those feelings are a part of the adoption journey and the path to healing.

Going home without a baby really sucks. It hurts, and it is devastating. It is supposed to feel that way. I do not say this to scare you. I say that because it is true, and I want to be honest. You must prepare to have constructive and positive things to do to occupy your time when you get home. You will have that initial recovery period where you need to physically heal from having a baby. During that time you will cry. That is a good thing. After the next few days you will still cry, and you will also need emotional support and do things that facilitate good emotional health. Do at least one thing you like doing every day. Take a shower every day. Go outside for a few minutes every day. Talk to someone every day, even if only for a few minutes.

Now that I have terrified you with all this high-intensity emotional drama, let me tell you that those things pass quickly. Those feelings are normal, and you are supposed to feel them in order to feel better. I really hated when other people told me that during the time that I was placing, but it really is true. I would hate for someone to think that they would regret placing their baby for adoption because they felt like they would forever be in pain. You will be in pain, at first, but not forever. I believe that the pain will be easier to cope with if you prepare yourself to be in pain. Relinquishing your rights should not be an emotional shock; it is something you prepare for shortly after you decide to place your baby for adoption. After it is all said and done, you move forward. You cope with the loss; you love your baby from afar; you heal.

Ask Skylar your questions about adoption at adopt@aactofloveadoptions.com.

Having a Healthy Pregnancy

MattieHaving a healthy pregnancy is a major concern for mothers-to-be. Knowing the gender of your baby, getting the house prepared, and choosing a name are all things parents think about, but women just want to be healthy and bring a healthy baby into the world.

Being pregnant is hard work on a woman’s body. The initial changes in hormones are dreadful for most women, causing “morning sickness.” That feeling of nausea, which can last a few months or stay throughout the entire pregnancy, makes it hard to maintain normal eating habits. Throwing up on a daily basis is common during the first trimester. It is especially imperative to keep yourself hydrated during this time. Water is always a good choice. I drank a lot of apple juice during my first two pregnancies, and I never liked apple juice before. I could tolerate the apple juice better than water. Drinking a lot of sugary drinks could be bad for you and increase your risk of developing other health issues, so talk to your doctor if you have questions about how much juice you should drink.

Food of any kind may not be appealing during the first trimester of your pregnancy, but fruits and vegetables are always a good choice if you can tolerate anything. Crackers tend to help with nausea. Greasy foods or high sugar content foods may make the nausea even worse. As the nausea goes away, making better food choices gets easier! During my last pregnancy, all I could really tolerate until week 35 was mandarin oranges, and I never did like those things until I was pregnant with Matt. That was all I wanted and craved! (Incidentally, Matt’s mom craved mandarin oranges when she was pregnant with her daughter!) While cravings can be really fun, or really irritating for some, your baby and you both need proper nutrients to nourish your bodies. If nothing you normally eat appeals to you, this may be a good time to try out some new recipes.

Exercise. For some, that probably sounds like a dirty word. For me, during pregnancy, I really did not even want to hear that word. Being pregnant knowing that you are placing your baby for adoption is vastly different from any other kind of pregnancy. Let me help you wrap your mind around that: When you are making an adoption plan for your baby while you are pregnant, all the things that happen during pregnancy intensify, and there are even more emotional and mental strains added to the process. During my pregnancy with Matt, I was depressed. I did not handle that pregnancy the same way I handled my other pregnancies. I was not getting any sleep, and I felt sick, and all I could eat were mandarin oranges. Getting out of bed was tough, let alone getting out of the house to take walk. If you find exercising really difficult, try doing some light stretches with your arms and legs. Walk if you can. Truly, anything to get out of the house and get some fresh air will do.

No matter what, take those prenatal vitamins! Those vitamins are super important for your baby’s health, and yours! I once was told that all the vitamins and nutrients a woman consumes during pregnancy go to the baby first, then to mommy. Those vitamins help the baby’s development and supplement what you may not be getting through food.

Excessive weight gain and gestational diabetes are a couple of concerns for expectant mothers. I gained A LOT of weight during my pregnancy with Matt, even thought for the first 35 weeks my diet was mainly mandarin oranges. I ate pretty well the last three weeks of my pregnancy. I consider myself very lucky to not have developed any health concerns. If you do have health concerns, and are considering placing your baby for adoption, be honest about what is going on with your body and your baby. If you have, or if your baby will have health issues, the best course of action is to let your doctor and the adoption agency know of these things. It will not disqualify you for anything. Instead, it will help them to better care for you and meet your needs.

If you have questions about diet or exercise during pregnancy, talk to your doctor.

Act of Love Adoption Agency is on Google+

Act of Love Adoption Agency is on Google+. We make it easy to stay in touch with all the latest adoption-related news, including adoption articles, information and photos. Google+ provides interaction among interested users with circles, highlighting our non-profit services, which include infant adoptions, home study services, post-placement services, open and closed adoptions, legal services, direct placements and counseling services. We also offer Interstate Compact Services, adoption orientation classes, adoptive parenting classes and even an outreach program that extends throughout the U.S. As our site shows, we are dedicated to working with prospective adoptive families and birth parents to help children find loving, open and caring homes where they can flourish. With more than 20 years of experience, we help make the experience a positive journey, never letting couples or birth parents face this decision-making process alone. Our expert staff has personal experience adopting children, which gives them an emotional and personal edge when working with families and birth parents in these types of situations. A Act of Love is dedicated to helping make sure that children find good, supportive and stable homes.

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