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18
Sep

Adoptive Family & Birth Mother Share How They Were Meant to Find Each Other

Many birth and adoptive parents in the American Adoptions family offer to share their stories. We’re always so grateful when someone touched by adoption shares their voice with us. Their words have the power to reach others who’ve walked, or are currently walking, in their footsteps during an adoption journey.

Sharing your adoption story often brings comfort to those who are unsure or feeling lost in their own adoption process.

But it’s more rare when both the birth and adoptive family are willing and able to share their stories in tandem. Having both sides of the story offers a full look at the adoption experience, and every act of love that brings families together.

We’re honored that Angelica (a birth mom), Jenn (an adoptive mom), and Keith (an adoptive dad) have shared their story — and what a beautiful story it is!

With Keith’s wheelchair, and their son, Brandon’s, severe disabilities, why would a prospective birth mother ever pick them as the perfect family for her unborn child? Angelica was 20 and raising two young boys while living with her aunt and struggling with an on/off relationship with her baby’s father. What happened next was “just meant to be.”

Read Jenn, Keith, Brandon and Kaylin’s story here.

Read Angelica’s story here, and watch her speak about making her open adoption decision here.


Want to share your American Adoptions story? Email us at editors@americanadoptions.com.

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

6
Jan

Our Open Adoption Story – Harry & Sherry

American Adoptions writer, Diana, is an adoptee. Her parents, Harry & Sherry, share their story:


Sherry:

Our adoption story began in the summer of 1988. My husband and I had been married nine years and spent five of the nine years in infertility treatment. My husband, frustrated with our progress, suggested we visit an adoption agency. I was very hesitant. Although I was frustrated as well, I was optimistic that “next month” we would be pregnant. Finally, in the fall of that year I agreed we would visit with a social worker at the agency, but still thought of adoption as “Plan B.”

One of the reasons I was reluctant to adopt was my worry that as my child grew up and asked questions about birth parents I could not answer, they would begin to fantasize about the life they could have had and not be happy with their life in our family. Those worries were dispelled when the social worker told us that the agency only did open adoptions.

She described how the profiles, pictures and letters we would compile would be shared with birth parents, and after viewing profiles from several potential adoptive parents, the birth parents would choose who to meet with and potentially place their child with. The birth parents and adoptive parents would then stay in touch (deciding among themselves exactly what that meant to them) and the adopted child would grow up knowing who their birth parents were and have health history and the ability to ask questions of birth parents when necessary.

All of the sudden I was “all in.” Open adoption made perfect sense to me. I could see how important it was for the physical and mental health of my child and also for the mental health of the birth parents. Learning about open adoption took away my fear of the adoption process.

In February of 1989, our son was born. His paternal grandmother placed him in our arms three days later. In the 27 years since his birth, we have maintained a close relationship with his birth parents and birth-grandparents, and by close I mean visits over the years and frequent phone calls and letters. My son, as an adult, now determines how much contact he wishes to have, but my husband and I always stay in contact with the birth families because they are part of our extended family.

I could go into more detail about our son’s adoption, but this blog post is meant to highlight our daughter, Diana’s, adoption, which took place 27 months later.

When our son was around 20 months old, my husband and I knew we would like to adopt another child. Our worry was: how could a second adoption possibly go as wonderfully as the adoption of our son? Would we always compare the two processes? What if we don’t feel as bonded to this birth family as we do to our son’s? Good advice from my sister propelled us forward. She said, “Why shouldn’t the second adoption be a miraculous as the first? Have faith. Don’t be afraid.”

We contacted the same agency and, once again, our profile was sent out to birth parents. We were selected by a couple who were college students at the time. My first impression of these two young people was — “they are so smart!” They were very interesting as well — people who I could have imagined myself being friends with when I was in college. It was also obvious that they loved their baby. Birth Father was so gentle and considerate with Birth Mother. Birth Mother was very careful of what she chose to eat for lunch to make sure it was healthy and would not upset the baby. Needless to say, we admired and respected these two courageous people who wanted the best for their child.

Diana’s birth parents wanted to place her with us at the birth father’s home. Her placement is such a lovely memory. We had chocolate cake and strawberries. Both sets of birth grandparents were in attendance. Birth Mother’s older brother spent time entertaining our son, so much so, it was hard to get him to leave when the time came. One of the most vivid memories I have of that day is Diana fussing while I was holding her and thinking, “She hears her birth mother’s voice and wants to be held by her.”

I cherish that memory as it reminds me of the sacrifice that the birth parents had to make to provide me with a family. My love and respect for them is overwhelming.

We were happy to send letters and pictures of Diana to her birth families. It was never a burden because we were so proud of this beautiful child and couldn’t wait to share every milestone in her life. Their letters to us were always so positive, and when they expressed gratitude to us for being such good parents, I was humbled beyond what I can express.

I have many wonderful memories of letters, gifts and visits with Diana’s birth families; here are two of my favorites:

When Diana was about 2 ½ years old, we met her paternal birth family at a hotel as we traveled through Kansas on our way home for Christmas. This was the first time her paternal grandparents had seen her since her birth. Diana was quite precocious and articulate for her age. She was cute as can be all dressed up in her poinsettia dress for the special occasion. I could not wait for her birth family to meet her. She was a delight, and entertained everyone. Her birth family was so complementary of her and our family. I was reassured by the visit that her birth father was confident of the decision he made to place this precious girl with us.

The second memory is when Diana’s birth mother was her Confirmation sponsor at our Catholic Church. We had such a great family celebration afterward. Diana’s birth family — grandparents, birth mother and her husband’s precious children, my parents and siblings with their children — all in our home together celebrating this incredible young woman we all loved and supported. I remember looking around my very full home with such joy in my heart.

Diana now is in control of the contact she has with her birth family. We still keep in touch with them by Facebook and are happy when Diana meets with her birth father or hears from one of her birth grandparents. We love seeing pictures of her birth mother’s beautiful children and have felt honored to be able to attend her birth father’s music performances.

I know this story sounds a bit idyllic, but I can honestly say the only downside we have experienced of the open adoption process is — we wish we could have spent MORE time with our children’s birth families but distance and time have not allowed us to do so. We genuinely care for them and enjoy their company. We wish they could have attended more of Diana’s piano and dance recitals, seen how beautiful she was for prom, and experienced her extraordinary talent when she acted in plays in college.

If I can, from our experience, give one piece of advice to prospective adoptive parents, it is DO NOT BE AFRAID! Do not let fear invade your relationship with the birth parents of your child.  Remember always, love is never divided, only multiplied. I wish each and every one of you the joy that can only come when you are called “Mom” or “Dad.”

Harry:

Sherry and I were married in August of 1979 and we spent several years focusing on our professional lives, but knew that we would eventually want to start a family. After many months of trying to conceive and additional fertility testing, we decided to meet with a fertility specialist. We spent several months following their advice and unfortunately, we simply were not able to get pregnant. This was a very stressful time in our lives as we watched month after month pass without a pregnancy, wondering if we were simply not going to be able to have children.

During that time, I started thinking about other options to bring children into our family. I have always been fascinated with the adoption process having known others who decided that this might be the best option for them.

I presented the idea to Sherry, and at first she was not ready to even consider this option. With a great deal of additional discussion and prayer, we both decided that we would approach an adoption agency to seek their advice and counsel. After visiting with the agency about their adoption process, they encouraged us to consider an open adoption. Both of us really liked the idea and decided that we would work with the agency to seek a child through an open adoption.

The degree of openness to open adoptions seemed natural and welcoming. I liked the idea that an open adoption was simply a way to expand our current family by including birth parents and their family into ours. I wanted the birth parents to be totally committed to Sherry and me – feeling at peace with their decision. This gave them a chance to know that they made the right decision picking us and looked forward to continue being involved with the child’s life in some way. The greatest value in open adoption is that the child has nothing hidden from them… they know the families they came from and the family that raised them.

Both of our two children have been adopted through open adoptions, and even after 25+ years, I’m absolutely convinced that it was the right decision.  

Sherry and I spent weeks preparing a profile of our family that included information about our open adoption with our son. We knew that it was critical to try to tell our story through the family profile so that potential birth parents would feel like they knew us. We knew it was important for them to understand the unique opportunity of open adoption like the one we had with our son. It wasn’t about trying to sell ourselves, it was about letting potential birth parents know all there was to know about us, and to open the door for a face-to-face meeting – which I believe is the critical part of the process. It wasn’t long after we completed the biography that we got a call from the social worker at the agency to tell us they had a couple who really wanted to meet with us. After getting that call, I knew in my heart that God was involved in this decision (as he was in our son’s adoption) and we were in the process of getting our second child.

Our second adopted child, Diana, was born to a teenage couple from western Kansas, who made the courageous decision to place their child for adoption.

Meeting with Diana’s birth parents was simply a delight. Once we started our visit with them, it became clear to me that we wanted to welcome them into our family. They kept us up-to-date about the pregnancy, and we wanted to make sure that they had everything that they needed. There was even some discussion about being in the delivery room with them during the birth. The total commitment to their decision to place this child for adoption was evident during all our conversations with them throughout the pregnancy. Sherry and I felt it was important that the birth parents give the baby her name. They liked the name “Diana” and we agreed: our daughter would be called Diana.

Both Sherry and I were totally committed to the birth parents. Our door to them was always open; we welcomed visits in our home, we would talk with their families by phone whenever they wanted to chat, we would send letters to them on a regular basis and at least once a year we would provide them with pictures from all the kids’ activities during that year…to this day, we still send them a Christmas letter with photos.

After Diana’s birth, we met with the entire birth family in Dodge City, where they hosted a reception with their extended family to meet us. With a great deal of love, they handed Diana over to us.

It was a true celebration and to this day, we call them our family.

Read Diana’s side of the story here.

Share this to reach those who may be considering adoption or who’ve been touched by adoption!

20
Oct

5 Things Not to Say to a Couple Grieving Infertility

Many people in the adoption world understand the emotional impact infertility can have on a hopeful family. But everybody who faces infertility copes and manages their emotions in a different way, so it may be difficult to know how to talk about it.

To shed some light on the subject, we’ve provided 5 noteworthy examples of things you should never, ever say to people dealing with infertility:

1. Well, it could be worse.

Most of the time, people who say this are well-intentioned, but it minimizes the emotional challenges caused by infertility. Do not invalidate the feelings of someone grieving infertility – just let them cope in their own way, and on their own time.

2. Maybe you should try…

Most of the time, couples dealing with infertility don’t need suggestions from anyone other than a doctor. And if they have already decided to stop trying to get pregnant, unsolicited advice is even less helpful. If someone is grieving infertility, it’s more than likely that they’ve looked into every possibility – and it’s frustrating when others assume they haven’t.

3. You’re trying too hard. You just have to relax.

This implies that a person’s infertility is his or her fault in some way. Infertility is never a result of trying too hard or not trying hard enough. Statements like these only serve to make hopeful families feel guilty over something that they can’t control.

4. Now you won’t have to deal with being pregnant!

So many hopeful parents would do anything for the opportunity to be pregnant and give birth to a child. Those who are facing infertility don’t want to hear other people talk about how bothersome or inconvenient pregnancy is.

5. You should just adopt.

Adoption is not a replacement for having biological children, and it doesn’t erase the grief of infertility. More importantly, there is no such thing as “just” adopting – the process can take years for some families and is a huge financial and emotional investment.

Infertility can be a challenging subject to talk about – but instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t say, focus on what you can do to support hopeful families in this position. The most valuable thing you can do is be there for them and listen.

5
Jul

4 Signs You’ve Moved on From Infertility and Are Ready to Adopt

Looking Toward the FutureIn order to begin the adoption process you must be fully committed, meaning you must leave infertility treatments behind you and look forward to the journey ahead. This is easier said than done.

Moving on from infertility may take months or years. It is truly a process, but it is possible. For those considering adoption, but unsure whether they are truly ready, here are a few signs you’re ready to make the leap.

You have grieved your inability to have biological children.

Healthy grieving is probably one of the most important aspects of moving on from infertility.  Families should move through all stages of grief at their own pace, which may not be the same pace as your partner. Explore every avenue available to you, whether it’s a new medicine or a new diet. Allow yourself to be sad, angry or both. Turn to your partner to comfort each other. Allow yourself to imagine becoming a family via adoption. Once you have come to terms with the fact that biology is not what makes a child yours, you may be ready to pursue adoption.

You have accepted that you won’t become pregnant.

This is likely the hardest thing for women. To move from infertility to adoption means not experiencing life growing inside you. It means missing out on attentive and doting family and friends, seeing your child via sonogram, being the guest of honor at a baby shower, and the pains and joy of bringing a child into the world. While these may be things you miss, there are plenty of beautiful and unique moments brought with adoption. Getting “the call” that a mother has chosen you, finding out the sex of your child, having a birth mother hand you your baby, sharing a beautiful bond with the child’s birth parents, and the joy of having your lifelong dreams realized after so much heartache. The gift of adoption is just as beautiful and wonderful as childbirth.

You feel hopeful about adoption.

Once you’ve started to move past infertility you may find yourself daydreaming about adopting a child. You may find yourself imagining what it would be like to raise a child who does not look like you. You may also find yourself perusing adoption websites with a sense of hope for the future. This is a breakthrough. You are finally able to see yourself building a family in a new and exciting way.

You are excited to meet the child who is meant to be with your family.

You have finally found the path for you, the way that you were meant to build your family. You have realized that just because you couldn’t have biological children doesn’t mean you can’t have a family. There is a child out there who is meant to be in your arms and you can’t wait to meet him or her.

If you and your partner are ready to pursue adoption you can request free adoption information or talk to one of our Adoptive Family Specialists by calling us anytime at 1-800-ADOPTION.

24
Apr

National Infertility Awareness Week

NAIWToday marks the beginning of National Infertility Awareness Week, a national movement designed to raise awareness about the disease of infertility and to encourage the public to understand their reproductive health. Many of our adoptive families have endured long struggles with infertility before turning to adoption, so the topic of infertility is one that is near and dear to our hearts.

More than 7  million people of childbearing age in the U.S. experience infertility. Infertility is a very painful struggle. One that is wrapped up in grief and longing. A couple may struggle for years with infertility, and while it is easy for friends and family to advise them to stop treatments or find an alternative way to parent, most couples aren’t willing to let go of their dreams. What these couples need most during this process is your emotional support. We would like to use this opportunity to support all of our families who have struggled or are struggling with infertility, as well as to educate those who have not experienced infertility.

Resolve, the National Infertility Association, has published an Infertility Etiquette Guide for anyone needing advice on how best to support your loved ones. Here is a brief overview of their advice:

  • Don’t Tell Them to Relax
  • Don’t Minimize the Problem
  • Don’t Say There Are Worse Things that Could Happen
  • Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to be Parents
  • Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF
  • Don’t be Crude
  • Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy
  • Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant
  • Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition
  • Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)
  • Let Them Know That You Care
  • Remember Them on Mother’s Day
  • Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

For those of you looking for ways to raise awareness, Resolve also published a list of 25 ways you can increase public understanding and participate in the movement. For more information on National Infertility Awareness Week, please visit www.resolve.org.

15
Oct

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 

Please join the International Wave of Light, a worldwide lighting of candles at 7:00 p.m. in your time zone. Leave your candle burning for an hour to help create a continuous chain of light to honor and remember all babies lost due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and newborn death.

We know that many of our families experience this loss before seeking to become parents through adoption, and so today the American Adoptions family joins with you in remembering your child.

PIL Day SMALLER

10
May

Staying Upbeat While Waiting to Become a Mother

While families across the nation celebrate Mother’s Day with flowers and gifts, it can be a difficult day for some waiting families.

When facing infertility, Mother’s and Father’s Day can be emotional days for many couples. These holidays can also be especially difficult for families who are waiting do adopt, as they may not feel like “celebrating” the day while they are still awaiting a child.

RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association offers these suggestions, which we’ve expanded on, to help couples handle the emotional aspects of Mother’s Day:

  • Take a Proactive Stance – Think ahead about the day and plan a strategy in advance. Don’t wait until the holiday is upon you to make plans.
  • Focus on Your Parents/Grandparents or Special Parental Figure – Make this a special time for them. If a family gathering is planned and it will be pleasant for you, go and enjoy. But, if lots of children or pregnant relatives will be present, and you know this will be upsetting, consider other possibilities. You might plan to see your mother/father at another time during the weekend. Consider reaching out to a nursing home to visit residents who might be separated from their children and grandchildren for this holiday.
  • Recognize Potential Painful Situations – Restaurants, for example, may be a source of discomfort. They may ask if you are a mother or a father in order to give you a complimentary item. Be prepared for this question so you are not taken off-guard.
  • Speak to your Minister or Rabbi – Before a religious service, talk with your clergyperson (or write a letter) and educate him/her about the experience with infertility. Perhaps he/she would be willing to say a prayer or offer words of support for those struggling with this crisis.
  • Plan an Enjoyable Day Together – It is important to work as a couple during these difficult days. Consider tuning out the holiday emphasis entirely and make it an opportunity for a fun day together. Plan a day outdoors to go hiking, bicycling or walking on a beach. See that movie you’ve wanted to see or create a special meal. Perhaps arrange to do some volunteering – helping others in need a great way to take your mind off your worries.

Refer back to our Beating the Holiday Blues post for more tips on handling groups settings and holidays as you wait to adopt. And just think, this time next year, you might be celebrating Mother’s Day with a whole new outlook and a special little someone!

25
Apr

What if My Spouse is Struggling with Adoption?

Throughout this week, National Infertility Awareness Week, we’ve been sharing some of our educational videos, which can help couples as they transition from infertility to an adoption plan. During this transition, it’s especially important for a couple to be on the same page and to have both reached acceptance that they will not be able to have a child biologically. Below Adoptive Family Specialist Kelli Cox talks about why it’s important for both spouses to be equally ready to move forward with adoption.

To learn about signs that your spouse may not be ready to pursue adoption, visit What if a Spouse is Struggling with Adoption? or visit the Infertility to Adoption section of our website.

25
Apr

Can You Love an Adopted Child Like a Biological Child?

During this National Infertility Awareness Week, we’re sharing some of our educational videos. One of the questions that many families have as they move from infertility to making an adoption plan is whether or not they will bond and become attached to an adopted child the same as a biological child. Below Adoptive Family Specialist Kelli Cox talks about how attachment and bonding happens for adoptive couples in different ways.

To read more on this topic, visit Will I Love an Adopted Child as Much as a Biological Child? or check out the Infertility to Adoption section of our website.

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