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12
Jun

What You Need to Know About Finding Birth Mothers Online

You can find anything on the internet (literally anything), including a woman looking to place her child for adoption. But you probably shouldn’t try.

Don’t get us wrong, there have been many successful adoptions facilitated online. But you could be setting yourself up for a scam.

To help make sure your adoption journey is a successful one, we’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts of searching for expectant mothers online.

Don’t do it on your own

Let’s just address this right now. Because of the complexity and legalities of adoption, it is best to have an adoption professional involved in the process. They will make sure the adoption is legally sound and that all requirements have been met.  An adoption professional can also talk to a potential birth mother to make sure she isn’t trying to scam you and ensure that she is emotionally prepared for the adoption process through counseling services. Expectant mothers can rest easy knowing that adoptive parents working with an adoption professional have met all the necessary requirements, rather than feeling she needs to trust a couple she met online.

Working with a professional is safest for the birth mother, safest for you and safest for the baby.

Do share your story across various social media platforms

The more you share your story, the more people will see it. The more people who see it, the higher your chances of finding a woman who wants to place her child for adoption.

When sharing your story, you should be honest about who you are, don’t sugar coat things or exaggerate things in the hopes of making yourself seem more “appealing.” Pregnant women considering adoption can often see through this façade. Show your true self and you will find the child who was meant to be in your arms.

Don’t seek out birth mothers using hashtags, forums or support groups

Many hopeful adoptive families will “stalk” various forums, support groups or hashtags, looking for a woman considering adoption. They may then bombard her with uninvited offers to adopt her child. Besides being insensitive, this method is just plain creepy.

If a pregnant woman is specifically asking for adoptive families to reach out to her, then, by all means, do so. But don’t contact a woman who isn’t asking to be contacted. Instead, ask the admin of the forum or support group if you can post your story to the group. This way a potential birth mother can come to you if she thinks you might be the right fit for her child.

Do offer support to pregnant women who may want you to adopt their child

If a pregnant woman reaches out to you, be kind and courteous. Offer her your support without being judgmental of her current circumstances. Maybe suggest a support group she can join or an unplanned pregnancy hotline where she can ask questions and get information on the adoption process.

Don’t send money or gifts to a woman whose child you wish to adopt

Besides being illegal in many states, sending money directly to a pregnant woman whose child you wish to adopt could be part of scam. Many adoption scammers will act as though they want to place their child with you in the hopes that you will send them money. After doing so, many hopeful adoptive families never hear from the woman again.

If a pregnant woman asks you to send a money order, check, cash or any other form of money, please contact an adoption professional before proceeding.

The adoption process can be long and stressful. The last thing you want to do is add the stress of an adoption scam. Doing your due diligence in the beginning can save you headache and heartache in the future.

29
May

Surrogacy vs. Adoption

For hopeful parents who can’t conceive on their own, the question of surrogacy vs. adoption is a pretty common one. Both offer different benefits and challenges, so it’s important to fully understand both processes before you decide which one is best for your family.

The best way to learn more about surrogacy and adoption is to talk to the professionals — in this case, American Adoptions and American Surrogacy. They can answer your questions in full detail and help you determine what might be right for you.

Every family is different, and there’s no “right” way to create your family — just the right way for you. Here are some of the basics you should know when you’re considering surrogacy and adoption, including the differences and similarities between the two options.

  1. Genetic Relationship

Many intended parents have dreams of children who are biologically related to them, and surrogacy provides that opportunity. With gestational surrogacy, a heterosexual couple can use their sperm and egg to create an embryo that’s related to both of them (same-sex couples or single parents can use donor gametes). Adoption does not provide this opportunity, unless you complete a relative adoption.

In adoption, the baby is related to the woman who is carrying him or her but, in surrogacy, the surrogate is not. Therefore, both processes require different legal steps and have different emotional complications for those involved.

  1. Cost

Both surrogacy and adoption are expensive processes, although surrogacy is the more expensive of the two. While individual circumstances play a large role in determining these costs, adoption costs an average of $40,000 and surrogacy costs an average of $75,000. Both in surrogacy and in adoption, intended parents pay for the prospective birth mother or surrogate’s pregnancy-related expenses, but in surrogacy, intended parents must also provide additional base compensation for the surrogate (usually around $25,000).

Both adoption and surrogacy require intended parents to think hard about how they can finance their parenthood processes. While there are certain tax credits available for adoption, surrogacy does not offer as much — only potential tax deductions for IVF processes.

  1. Planning and Control

One of the biggest differences between surrogacy and adoption is the amount of control involved for the intended parents. A surrogate pregnancy is always planned, while usually a prospective birth mother’s pregnancy is unplanned — so how intended parents are involved in their child’s in-utero development greatly varies.

In surrogacy, intended parents are involved every step of the way — through the IVF medical processes, at their surrogate’s doctor’s appointments and at the birth of their child. A surrogacy contract outlines each party’s expectations throughout the process, and there is never any doubt about who will take the baby home after they’re born.

In adoption, intended parents must be prepared for uncertainty. A prospective birth mother can always change her mind at any point in the process and, while she will receive all the prenatal care she needs once she connects with an adoption professional, she may not have received the proper care beforehand. A prospective birth mother is the one that choose a waiting family, and intended parents must be prepared for circumstances that are beyond their control.

While both surrogacy and adoption come with unique challenges, they are also both viable ways for intended parents to grow their family. These are just some of the basics you should know about the processes, but there’s a lot more to understand before you decide what’s best for you. We recommend calling the professionals at American Adoptions (1-800-ADOPTION) and American Surrogacy (1-800-874-BABY) to talk to a specialist in detail about your personal situation. While you are ultimately the only one who can decide what process is right for you and your family, gathering all the information you can will be immensely helpful in this decision process.

24
Apr

Infertility Awareness Week 2017

Image result for infertility awareness weekApril 23-29th is National Infertility Awareness Week. It’s estimated that 1 in 8 couples get diagnosed with infertility every year and that more than 7 million women in the U.S. are affected by infertility issues.

Many of American Adoptions’ adoptive families struggled with infertility before ultimately adopting a child. We want to offer our support to anyone who’s ever had to face the pain of infertility.

American Adoptions and American Surrogacy will be at the Kansas City Infertility Awareness 2017 Family Building Conference, providing education and support for those interested in adoption or surrogacy as family-building options. Come stop by on Saturday, April 29th to learn more!

Share this article to lend your support to those who are struggling with infertility. 

For Those Who Aren’t Facing Infertility, But Want to Show Support to Those Who Are

Couples facing infertility need your love and support. There are a number of ways that you can care for them during this difficult time. RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, offers some infertility etiquette guidelines to help you navigate such a sensitive topic, and you can learn what you should never say to a couple grieving infertility here.

RESOLVE has also published a list of 25 ways you can increase public understanding and participate in the movement to erase the stigma of infertility.

For Those Who Are Grieving

If there’s one thing you should take away from National Infertility Awareness Week, it’s that you’re not alone. Others have faced these difficulties and have dealt with them in many ways.

Adoption is one way that many couples dealing with infertility are able to heal and become a family, but there are equally healthy ways to move forward after the grief of infertility, all of which are important.

If you think you might be ready to consider adopting, you can find more information on the Infertility to Adoption section of our website.

Want to read more about others who are going through similar experiences? You can find some of our previous posts about infertility and adoption below:


How Other Adoptive Parents Healed from Infertility

Some of our adoptive parents dealt with infertility for many years before pursuing adoption. They dealt with their grief in different ways, but these couples all sought to become a family through adoption after reconciling with their infertility journey. We hope that the words of others who’ve experienced infertility will be a source of comfort and a reminder that you’ll get through this.

“I kept miscarrying, and I thought, ‘I don’t want to spend all of this money and not end up with a baby in the end.’ We knew adoption would eventually lead us to a baby.” –Nikki

“We thought, let’s take that money where there’s a better change of us becoming parents. So that’s what we did… Honestly, after ten years, you begin to think. I think my one regret is that I didn’t do this sooner.” –Silke

“If we hadn’t pursued this option, we wouldn’t be parents. And in the end, that’s what it’s really about, becoming parents. That’s what it’s all about.” –Mike

“To me, the adoption is going to happen. Whereas fertility, there was no guarantee of anything. You could just be heading toward a brick wall. So with the adoption, you knew.” –Jim

“It taught me that if one thing in your life doesn’t work out, don’t give up. I really thought I would be able to have my babies biologically and everything would go according to plan. But it’s just an amazing lesson to teach my kids that everything is not going to work out. You’re going to have some challenges in life and things that aren’t fair at the time. But just hold on. It’s like my testimony to people.” –Robin

“There are a lot of emotions with [infertility]. Actually making the decision to adopt was easy. I don’t think we even gave it a second though. Our biggest question was: How do we do it?” –Nancy

“I was so beaten down from all of the infertility treatments. There was never an ‘adoption thing’ I had to get over. We just wanted to be parents. I just wanted to do something that would end with a child in our lives. I read a book, Adoption After Infertility, that said the person you love most in the world is your spouse, and you picked them with no relation to you. Your friends are the same way, and the same is true with adoption.” –Anne

“The hardest part of the whole process for me was deciding to adopt. I was opposed to it at the beginning. After going through everything with Cheryl in terms of reviewing American Adoptions… it actually became a lot easier for me and I was able to accept it. It’s the greatest thing we ever did.” –Craig

“We looked into other possible fertility treatments, but it was just something that we never really felt at peace about doing. My dad is adopted and adoption was always talked about in our family. We knew it would be a pretty easy transition, so it was a growing process to mourn the loss of not being able to have more of my own kids and moving to adoption.” –Nikki

Take the cause to social media! RESOLVE suggests that by sharing your own infertility journey with your loved ones through social media, you can help and inspire others who may experience the same struggles.

Share this now and remind those dealing with infertility that they’re not alone!

Image result for infertility awareness week

17
Apr

How to Access Your Original Birth Certificate as an Adoptee

Most adoptions today are open adoptions, where information between birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees is readily accessible just by picking up the phone. But for many adult adoptees who were born during an era of closed adoptions, accessing any information about where they came from can be difficult.

If you’re an adoptee who grew up in the closed adoption era, or know an adoptee who wants to learn more about their closed adoption, share this to let others know!

In every adoption, there’s an original birth certificate and an amended birth certificate. The original birth certificate that includes the name(s) of your birth parent(s) is sealed along with your adoption records, and the amended birth certificate is handed to your adoptive parents with their names on it shortly after an adoption is finalized.

Sealing these records or omitting birth parent names on documents in closed adoptions was done in an attempt to protect their privacy. This was especially common in the old era of closed adoptions when adoption was something viewed as secretive and shameful.

Many adult adoptees in closed adoptions want to search for their birth family, or at least learn more about their adoption. This process usually begins by opening your adoption records and requesting your original birth certificate. Unfortunately, that’s not always easy.

Are you interested in accessing your original birth certificate? Here’s what you’ll need to do:

1. Understand Your State’s Adoption Laws

Each state will have different levels of adoption information accessibility to adult adoptees, and each county may have a slightly different process for obtaining adoption records.

States with open adoption records include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island

Partial-access states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Montana
  • Oklahoma
  • Vermont

States with restricted open adoption records include:

  • Delaware
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee
  • Washington

States with sealed adoption records or very limited access include:

  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If you live in a state with open adoption record access, you’re in luck! Accessing your original birth certificate is typically as easy as calling the County Court Clerk where you were adopted and asking about the request process for your original birth certificate.

States with limited or sealed access to adoption records may not give you your full adoption record unless there’s some sort of medical emergency or your birth parents are deceased, and even then, the identifying information is usually redacted. If this is the case, you’ll need to proceed to Step 2.

2. Petition the Court

You’ll need to file a petition with the county clerk’s office where your adoption was finalized. The petition will explain your reasons for requesting your original birth certificate. Unfortunately, medical need is usually the only instance where strict adoption access states will approve your petition.

If your birth parents are no longer living, accessing your birth certificate will also be more likely. The state no longer puts birth parent privacy first after a birth parent is deceased.

Your case will be presented before a judge, who will decide whether or not you may have access to your original birth certificate and adoption records.

3. Order Your Original Birth Certificate with a Court Order or Through Your Attorney

You can take the signed court order from the judge approving your petition to disclose your original birth certificate, then work with your attorney to submit a written request to your birth state’s department of vital records. If you were adopted internationally, you’ll submit the request to the state where your adoption was finalized.

Best of luck with your search!

7
Apr

How to Throw an Adoption Shower

Adding a new member to the family is always a reason to celebrate, no matter how you’re going about it. Gaining a new family member though adoption is just as significant as having a child biologically. However, there are obviously going to be some differences in how you prepare for the arrival of that child. One of these differences comes in the form of a baby shower.

When should we have an adoption shower?

When a couple has a child biologically, they may have a better idea of what to expect than parents pursuing an adoption. With this in mind, it may be better to have an adoption shower after a child has been placed with a family. Why? Well, there are actually a few reasons.

  • In many adoption scenarios, the parents don’t know when they’ll receive an adoption opportunity. It could take days, and it could take months. If a couple is already anxiously awaiting an adoption, it could be painful to have an adoption shower and then have to wait six more months for a match.
  • For a traditional baby shower, you can usually bank on the parents needing similar items — diapers, carriers, cribs, etc. In an adoption scenario, though, it’s possible that the child will be older and will require different items.
  • While American Adoptions does everything it can to prevent an adoption disruption, it’s possible that an adoption won’t go through after a couple has been matched with a pregnant woman. If you’ve already had an adoption shower with a specific child in mind, and then that woman decides to parent, this might only serve to make your disappointment even worse.

What games should we play at an adoption shower?

Some of the games played at a traditional baby shower probably won’t make sense at an adoption shower. For example, if the baby is already with the family, then any guessing games about birthdays or weights will be off the table. And the new mom will probably not appreciate any games that involve guessing the size of her stomach. This might be a good opportunity to play up the adoption theme, though.

Adoptive Families suggests playing a game of adoption-themed trivia, with tasks like naming famous people who are adoptive parents or more personalized adoption questions specific to the couple. Keep in mind, though, that if the baby has already arrived, people may be more interested in taking turns holding them than playing games!

What should a gift registry for an adoption shower look like?

Quite simply, it should look however you want it to! If you’re an adoptive parent reading this, you should know it’s okay to register both for things you need and things you want, just like any new parent. Sometimes parents prefer to wait a few weeks after their child is placed with them to have a shower, just for the chance to acclimate the baby to his or her new home. If that’s the case, you may already be set for a while on things your baby actually needs.

If this is the case, and you don’t feel like there’s anything you need for your baby at this point, this might be a good chance to embrace the adoption theme. You can register for children’s books about adoption, or informational books about parenting adopted children. If you know of other couples who are beginning the adoption process, this could also be an amazing chance to help them fundraise. Instead of asking for gifts for your family, you could suggest a donation to another family’s adoption fund. This could also be a good chance to help raise money for an organization that benefits children.

The bottom line when planning an adoption shower is that it should be whatever the parents are comfortable with. If you’re hoping to throw a shower for family members or friends, simply ask them what they’d prefer. There are a lot of emotions that go along with adoption, and it’s going to be difficult to predict their preferences in this situation. When it doubt, just ask!

20
Mar

12 Adoption Myths Everyone Is Sick Of

You see it on TV, in books and movies and all over people’s faces when they don’t know anything about adoption.

Here’s the truth behind twelve common adoption myths:

1. “I can’t adopt because…”

  • “We’re not married.”
  • “I’m/we’re gay.”
  • “I’m too old.”
  • “I don’t own my home.”

The purpose of adoption is to provide children with safe and loving homes, so the approval process for prospective adoptive parents is a rigorous one. We consider adoption-ready families to be:

  • 100 percent committed to adoption
  • Able to financially, emotionally and physically provide for the needs of their child
  • Safe and stable people who can raise a child in a safe and stable environment
  • Ready and excited to love and care for a child

That’s what really determines whether or not you can adopt and that’s what all the paperwork and background checks exist to find out. Renting your home, your spouse being the same sex as you, or your age has nothing to do with your ability to be a good parent!

2. “Adopting an infant takes away from needy international/foster care children.”

Absolutely not. The goal is to create families through adoption — how you do that is entirely up to you.

Private domestic adoption agencies like American Adoptions are thrilled to promote adoption of all kinds. We just happen to specialize in the process of one type of adoption.

There are many ways to become a family. International adoption and foster care adoptions are fantastic ways to achieve that dream. There’s no wrong way to become a parent through adoption; there’s only the path that’s right for you.

3. “Adopting transracially is too socially complicated.”

Race is a socially complex issue and transracial adoptions do pose unique challenges. But being a family feels simple.

If you adopt a child of a race other than your own, your family will be asked questions and may occasionally receive ignorant comments. This is an opportunity to educate others about racial sensitivity and adoption.

You may have to learn about caring for different types of hair and skin and provide your child with positive roles models of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds. This is an opportunity to learn more about your child’s heritage and include that heritage in your family life.

Adoption and multi-racial, multi-ethnic families are becoming increasingly common in America, bringing a greater awareness and appreciation of cultural and racial diversity within our families. The physical differences between you and your child are small compared to the overwhelming love that a parent has for their child.

4. “Adoptions occur locally.”

Adopting within your community or state is one way to adopt. But working with a national adoption agency tends to have lower wait times and is more regulated than local adoption agencies.

National adoption agencies work with more potential birth mothers and more adoptive families across the U.S. This means more adoptions are completed in less time, and more families are created regardless of state lines.

5. “Most birth mothers are teenagers.”

While some prospective birth mothers are teenagers, the majority of pregnant women considering adoption are actually about 25–35 years old, and many are raising older children. There are a number of reasons why these women choose adoption for their babies:

  • Some are single mothers who want their child to grow up in a two-parent home.
  • They can’t afford another child at this point in their lives without sacrificing the well-being of the children they’re currently raising.
  • They simply may not be ready to be a parent right now, and they want their baby to be raised by someone who is ready for this step.

Whatever a birth mother’s background, she chose adoption for her child because she felt this was the best thing she could do for her baby.

6. “Most adoptions are closed, and adoptees don’t know their birth parents.”

Most adoptions are open or semi-open adoptions. In fact, 90 percent of birth mothers want some level of open adoption with the adoptive family. Research on closed adoptions revealed them to often be detrimental to the well-being of both the adoptee and the birth parents, while open adoptions provided a positive experience for everyone involved.

This allows for lines of communication to remain open through letters, photos, phone calls, or even arranged visits. Open adoptions are not synonymous with co-parenting. They simply mean that you’ll continue to maintain a connection between each other’s lives through adoption. Open adoptions exist on a scale, and the level of openness is determined by what each adoption triad feels best with.

Adoptees who grow up feeling satisfied with the level of contact they have with their birth family throughout their lives are reportedly more happy overall.

7. “It takes years to adopt.”

70 percent of parents who adopt a child through American Adoptions are able to do so within 1–12 months after becoming active.

There may be stages of the adoption process that can feel endless (the home study, for example), but generally the adoption process is usually complete within a year at American Adoptions.

8. “The birth mother will want her baby back.”

The myth that a birth mother will dramatically show up at your house someday to “take back her baby” is one that is horrifyingly persistent. No — the birth family can’t just “take the baby back” after adoption. Nor would they really want to.

Placing a child for adoption is an intense source of grief and loss for a birth mother. But those who choose adoption do so because they feel it’s what’s best for their baby in their situation, no matter how much it pains them.

Additionally, the legal reality is that after the birth parents have signed their consent forms following the state-mandated waiting period, they’ve terminated their parental rights. Once the final adoption decree has been issued about six months later, the adoptive parents are officially granted parental rights and the adoption decision is permanent.

9. “Most people don’t know they’re adopted.”

Again, most adoptions are open adoptions, and so most adoptees these days know their birth parents.

Most children grow up always knowing that they’re adopted. They don’t remember the first time they were told about their adoption because that part of their family’s story has always been celebrated since the day they arrived home.

Dramatic adoption reveals and secrecy are best reserved for the entertainment industry. And there’s a good reason why, which leads us to…

10. “I should wait to tell them about their adoption until they’re older.”

No way.

Although you should discuss adoption in age-appropriate terms, the recommended course of action is to begin telling your child their adoption story from the day you bring them into your home. Even “uncomfortable” details about their adoption should be disclosed to them. Adoptees at any age have a right to their own story; even the complicated parts.

Will they fully understand? Not necessarily. But they will understand that adoption is a positive part of who they are, not something that they should hide away because their parents never talk about it. They will understand that it’s ok to have feelings and questions about their adoption, and they will understand that they can come to you about it if you continue to introduce the discussion when an opportunity arises.

As an adoptee ages, they’ll continue to understand their adoption in new ways. By making their adoption a safe and cherished topic from day one, they won’t harbor any unspoken feelings or thoughts about their adoption. They’ll understand that adoption is a normal part of their life and that they have a right to their own thoughts and feelings about it.

11. “Open adoptions confuse the child about who their real parents are.”

Once again; no way.

Someday your child will be able to tell you him or herself that he or she was never confused about who their “real” parents are. A child’s parents are the people who help them with their homework, take time to listen to them and love them above all else. “Real parents” are just parents, so ditch the term altogether.

Open adoption allows the child to have a special relationship with their birth family and to stay connected to their biological heritage. But while the relationship between a birth parent and an adoptee is a unique and valuable one, it’s not comparable to the parent-child relationship they share with the parents who adopted and raised them.

12. “There are no healthy babies available for adoption in the U.S.”

Of course there are!

But international adoptions, domestic special needs adoptions and the adoptions of older children or sibling groups are always needed to ensure that wonderful homes are available to all children, including healthy newborns.

Share this to educate others and help dispel the adoption myths!

10
Mar

How to Build an Adoption Support System

Adoption is an extremely emotional experience for everyone involved. Whether you’re a pregnant woman considering adoption or a couple hoping to adopt, there are going to be times when you have to turn to someone for emotional support. Not only is that okay, it’s encouraged. Having people you can talk to about your struggles can make all the difference.

The struggles you’re going through, of course, are going to be very different depending on which side of the adoption triad you represent. With this in mind, we’ve split this post up into two sections: advice for pregnant women and advice for adoptive families.

How to build a support system as a pregnant woman considering adoption

If you find yourself unexpectedly pregnant and unsure of what to do, it’s so crucial that you have people in your corner. You’re faced with one of the toughest decisions of your lifetime, and having a good support system can make all the difference.

You need people around who are going to support you emotionally, help you throughout your pregnancy and help you with decisions. This does not mean you need people to make your decisions for you. You and you alone have the right to decide what to do about your unplanned pregnancy. But hearing different opinions and perspectives may be able to help you consider points you hadn’t thought about before, and this could be extremely helpful.

Who your support system consists of depends on the people you have in your life. This is going to be different for everyone, and there’s no specific number of people you need surrounding you. Sometimes one really good person is enough, and sometimes you’ll want to surround yourself with a variety of family and friends. Some people you can turn to may include:

  • The baby’s father
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Friends
  • Extended family members
  • Teachers
  • Counselors
  • Pastors or other religious figures

If you don’t have these people in your life, or if they aren’t capable of providing the support you need, that doesn’t mean you’re alone. It might be as simple as trying a new church or calling to speak with an adoption specialist. Just make sure that whoever you’re turning to for support and advice is always focused on your best interests.

Regardless of who makes up your support system, you’ll need to establish good communication techniques. This may include telling them what you need; sometimes you’ll just need the space to be alone. Other times you’ll need someone to run an errand for you or to discuss everything that’s changing in your life. Remember to not only ask for patience but to give it to those around you. This may be new territory for everyone.

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy and need support, or if you need help telling your friends and family members that you are considering adoption, you can contact an adoption specialist any time at 1-800-ADOPTION. Your call is free, confidential, and does not obligate you to choose adoption.

How to build a support system as a family pursuing adoption

Coming to the decision to grow your family through adoption isn’t always an easy process. Maybe you’ve encountered infertility issues; many couples who pursue adoption have already poured time, money and emotions into trying to conceive. This can be exhausting in every way imaginable.

It’s also possible that you’re worried about coming up with the money for adoption. It’s not a cheap process, and there’s a lot that goes into it. Then there’s the fear that you won’t match with a birth mother, or that something will happen during the pregnancy, or that she’ll change her mind. It’s okay to be stressed, even as you’re so thrilled about the child you’ll eventually bring home.

It’s also okay to admit that you’re overwhelmed. You’re being put through your emotional paces, and you’re going to need people in your corner just as a prospective birth mom does. Your list of potential support team members is, for the most part, the same as a pregnant woman’s.

  • Your spouse
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Friends
  • Extended family members
  • Other families who have adopted
  • Counselors
  • Pastors or other religious figures
  • Your adoption specialist

You may also need to be vocal about what you need from your support system. It’s not always easy for people to imagine what a family waiting to adopt is going through. They may not know about the financial aspect, or the paperwork leading up to it, or the matching process itself. They may not understand your feelings about a relationship with the birth parents. In other words, there may be a lot you have to explain, which can feel even more stressful when you’re already exhausted.

Remember to be patient with those around you. They love you, and they’re doing their best. But also remember it’s okay to take some time for yourself. It’s not your responsibility to educate people about adoption 24/7. Find your balance.

If you feel that your support system is lacking, don’t underestimate how helpful an adoption specialist can be. To speak with an adoption specialist at American Adoptions, call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

6
Mar

Happy National Social Work Month 2017!

March is National Social Work Month, so American Adoptions has a lot to celebrate!

We currently have 20 full-time social workers on staff and over 75 contract social workers working with birth and adoptive families “in the field” throughout the U.S. who dedicate their time and talents to helping pregnant women considering adoption, birth mothers, adoptive families and adoptees.

These amazing people take on the role of friend, confidant, educator, advocate, mentor and guide throughout the adoption process. They’re the reason that hundreds of families have been created and we have so much to thank them for.

This year, the National Association of Social Workers has dedicated the month of March to “educate the public about the contributions of social workers and give social workers and their allies tools they can use to elevate the profession” through the “Social Workers Stand Up!” campaign. The goal is to remind the public about the social workers who stand up for millions of people on a daily basis.

At American Adoptions, our social workers stand up for the happiness and rights of women, children and families. Their love for our clients is truly amazing.

Thank you to our social workers at American Adoptions and social workers everywhere!

  • Megan Kautio
  • Jennifer Van Gundy
  • Jenna Howard
  • Lara Sandusky
  • Brighid Titus
  • Kathie Hoffmann
  • Hayley Castrop
  • Katie House
  • Emily Droge
  • Emily Manning
  • Erin Frazier
  • Angie Newkirk
  • Kelli Cox
  • Dacia Peterson
  • Ashley Johnson
  • Rachel Marcy
  • Melanie Leal
  • Shannon Jesberg
  • Laci Leiker
  • Sara Dippel

Are you thankful for a social worker? Share this to let them know you appreciate all that they do!

24
Feb

6 Times When Adoption Sucks

Let’s get one thing straight: adoption is wonderful.

Birth parents can rest easier knowing the child they aren’t able to care for is being raised in a safe and loving home. Adoptees are given opportunities they may not have been able to have otherwise. Adoptive parents get to raise and love a child. Everyone in the adoption triad can benefit when adoptions are open, honest and loving.

The majority of our readers are adoptive parents. For them, nothing will ever compare to meeting their child for the first time.

But even something as beautiful as being a parent has its ups and downs, as every parent will affirm. Adoption is no different. Not every single second of the adoption process is full of butterflies and rainbows, and it’s alright to admit it!

So excuse the childish language. But sometimes there’s just no other word for it. Here are six moments when adoption can really suck for those who’re in the process of adopting a child*:

(**Stay tuned for our articles on “Times When Adoption Can Suck for Birth Parents” and “Times When Adoption Can Suck for Adoptees.”)

1. Paperwork

Of course it’s all for a greater purpose. Of course it’ll all be worth it in the end. But filling out the forms, filing the requests and checking the boxes takes hours and hours. There always seems to be one more document to send in. It seems silly but… it’s so tedious.

2. Cost

Adoption can be costly. Good adoption agencies will show you where the fees are going so you can see how each dime is directly helping your adoption process. But that doesn’t make it sting any less when you look at your budget. American Adoptions works hard to minimize costs and help every adoptive parent to adopt within their budget. There are financing resources that hopeful adoptive parents can utilize. But the cost of adoption can really suck.

3. Waiting

For many hopeful parents, they feel like they’ve already waited forever to become parents, especially if they’ve had to deal with the heartbreak of infertility. Once you’ve completed all the preliminary steps of the early adoption process, all that’s left to do is wait to be selected for an adoption opportunity with an expectant mother considering adoption. This can take a few weeks or a few months. Regardless, it’s often frustrating and nerve-wracking to relinquish control of the process.

4. Disruptions

It’s rare, but it can happen. A woman who was previously committed to adoption ultimately decides to parent her child. You understand, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less. She feels guilty for changing her decision, even though she knows she’s perfectly within her rights to do so. You feel grief and disappointment, even though you know another adoption opportunity will present itself. It still sucks all around.

5. Ignorance

It doesn’t happen often, but it happens. A kid in your child’s class will make some offhanded joke about adoption. Someone will “compliment” you on how much you and your child look alike. Someone will reveal their ignorance about transracial or foster care adoption in front of your child with a misguided comment. This is an opportunity to educate others about adoption. But it hurts a bit; for your child and on behalf of your child’s birth family.

6. Misrepresentation

Throughout your child’s life, there will be moments when they see adoption misrepresented in books, TV, film or everyday references. You’ll both feel a bit frustrated and a little hurt. They’ll see orphans used as plot devices or the classic adopted-by-an-evil-family-member storyline and so on. It’s a great chance to talk about adoption and reinforce adoption-positive attitudes. It can still suck.

For Every 1 Moment that Adoption Sucks, There Are 100 Moments that Adoption is Beautiful

Raising children has its moments that make you want to scream. The same is true for the adoption process and raising adopted children. But for every time that being a parent sucks, there are so many more moments that remind you it’s the best job in the world.

It’s ok to acknowledge that there are pieces of adoption (and parenting in general) that are less-than-sunshine and daisies. Anyone whose life has been touched by adoption knows that the benefits are so much greater than any of the fleeting moments of struggle that come with being a parent.


Adoptive parents certainly aren’t the only members of the adoption triad to experience their fair share of ups and downs during the adoption process! Stay tuned for our articles on “Times When Adoption Can Suck for Birth Parents” and “Time When Adoption Can Sucks for Adoptees.”

20
Feb

10 Ways to Fundraise for Adoption

It’s no secret that adoption is expensive. Depending on the type of adoption you pursue, you could be looking at spending as much as $50,000. And while you’ll want to look into loans, grants, employer benefits and the adoption tax credit, it’s likely that you’ll still have to come up with a large sum before you can adopt.

There are reasons that adoption is so expensive, and you can read about those here. This post, though, is going to focus on ways to raise that money. We understand that not all families have $50,000 lying around. (Wouldn’t it be nice if you did, though?! Sigh.) This doesn’t necessarily bar you from adoption. It just means you may have to get creative.

Families have funded their adoption in so many ways; it would be impossible to include every method in one post (although Fund Your Adoption did a pretty decent job). Instead, we’ve picked some of our favorites. You can certainly get creative with your adoption fundraisers—some families make things like jewelry in order to store away extra cash — but these 10 are tried and true. Sometimes, sticking to the classics can yield some of the best results.

1. Have a yard sale. There’s no way you don’t have a few possessions lying around that you don’t really need. And hey, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Get realistic about what you do and don’t need, and try to declutter your home a little. You’ll need that extra space for a new child anyway! If you live in an area where this would work in the traditional sense, and the weather will accommodate you, go for it. If not, it’s fairly easy to sell things online these days. Thank you, Craigslist and eBay.

2. Sell some food. Maybe this is a bake sale, maybe it’s an ice cream social, or maybe it’s a chili cook-off. It really doesn’t matter; people love their food. Think about what your strengths are kitchen-wise, and what would be the most cost-effective route in your community. Obviously, season factors in as well. Don’t have a chili cook-off in July, and an ice cream social probably isn’t a great idea in February. Otherwise, though, go crazy. Ask for people to donate food (or turn it into some type of competition), and ask for people to pay a small fee, maybe $10, at the door to come in and eat. (Hint: Sometimes it might work better to ask people to donate whatever they can instead of assigning a dollar amount per plate.)

3. Design a T-shirt. Chances are, your family and friends are going to be eager to spread the word of this fundraiser to their family and friends. A great way to help them do that is to turn them into walking billboards! Just kidding — kind of. Designing a t-shirt and selling it will not only raise some fairly immediate cash, but it’ll help to let other people know just exactly what you’re trying to do. Even if they don’t necessarily want to purchase a shirt, they may be more likely to follow your journey and participate in other fundraisers.

4. Hold a sporting event/tournament. Never underestimate the power of healthy competition. The exact event may depend on weather and location, but a day of games is always a safe bet. If it’s summer, try to find a park with a sand volleyball court or a softball field for some slow pitch. People who don’t know you will attend just for the sporting aspect, and people who do know you will most likely be willing to participate even if sports aren’t necessarily their thing.

5. Try adoption crowdfunding. We’ve all seen people using GoFundMe for various reasons on our Facebook feeds. This is an option for adoption, too. We recommend skipping GoFundMe, which takes five percent of every donation you receive. Instead, try a site like YouCaring, AdoptTogether or Pure Charity.

6. Send out letters announcing your adoption decision. Sometimes all it takes to get people excited about your cause is just letting them know about. Sending a letter to your family and friends is a way to personally let everyone know what’s happening and what you’re hoping for in terms of donations and fundraising. Some people will help you out and some may not, but if your letter is written well, this can be a tasteful way to ask for help without pressuring anyone too much.

7. Have a silent auction. This can either take place online or in person. Have people from your community donate goods and services, and then auction them off to the highest bidder. If you choose to do this in person, it may be wise to combine this one with a food-related fundraiser as well. People are going to want to have something to eat or drink while the bidding takes place.

8. Have an online raffle. This follows the same principle as an online auction. Have people donate goods or services, and then raffle them off. Set up a Paypal account or a similar method of receiving money to sell the raffle tickets. Just make sure you’re prepared to deliver those goods and services quickly!

9. Host a 5K. It seems like there’s a 5K for everything these days, but that’s because they work. People seem to love exercising in the name of a good cause.

10. Have a cookbook fundraiser. Everyone has that favorite family recipe they just know is better than everyone else’s. Have your family and friends submit their favorite recipes, and then compile them into one cookbook for sale. Everyone will love knowing that others are trying their recipes, and they’ll get the chance to get their hands on some new ones as well.

If the idea of paying for an adoption is intimidating to you, we hope these suggestions help you in terms of figuring out how to fund that life change. Remember, you really aren’t alone! To learn more about other ways to pay for adoption, click here.

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