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11
Sep

Adopciones en español

Si inglés no es su primer idioma, pero usted está considerando la adopción para su niño, usted todavía puede elegir la adopción con American Adoptions.

American Adoptions trabaja con un servicio de traducción certificado cuando se trabaja con futuros padres que hablan a español como su primera lengua. Mientras que a veces tenemos miembros del personal que se pueden traducir directamente, o futuros padres tengan un amigo o familiar que puede traducir, nos gusta tener un traductor externo para reuniones y llamadas telefónicas para asegurarse de que nada es mal entendida o traducido incorrectamente, para la protección de todos.

Es importante que los padres expectantes entender todas sus opciones, así como la pasos del proceso de adopción y su derechos como los padres biológicos. American Adoptions utiliza servicios de traductor para que los padres biológicos hispanohablantes tengan toda la información que necesitan para tomar las decisiones que son mejores para ellos y para sus hijos.

Estos servicios de traductor son proporcionados sin costo a la familia bilógico. American Adoptions tiene experiencia trabajando con padres biológicos hispanohablantes y está feliz de trabajar con cualquier hispanohablante futuros padres que desean hacer un plan de adopción para sus hijos.

Sin importar el idioma que hables, mereces apoyo durante todo el proceso de adopción y más allá . La elección de adopción para su hijo es una decisión difícil que implica muchas opciones en beneficio de usted y su hijo, y buscamos para proporcionarle los recursos que usted necesita para tomar decisiones informadas acerca de su plan de adopción; en inglés o en español.

Para los futuros padres adoptivos

Si entras en una oportunidad de adopción con un American Adoptions padre expectante que habla español como su primera lengua, vamos a seguir para proveerle con servicios de traducción para ayudarle a comunicarse a través del proceso de adopción.

La relación entre la familia biológico y la familia adoptiva es importante, y American Adoptions no permitirá que el lenguaje se convierta en una barrera en la relación. Tener una relación de adopción abierto o semi abierto con la familia bilógico de su futuro hijo es posible, incluso si no hablas el mismo idioma. Somos capaces de mediar comunicación para cualquiera que trabaje con American Adoptions hasta 18 años después de la adopción, y siempre alentamos adopciones abiertas cuando situaciones permiten.

Otro beneficio de una adopción abierta o semiabierta con la familia bilógico de su hijo es la capacidad de su hijo a mantener un vínculo a su patrimonio cultural, incluyendo el lenguaje primario de la familia bilógico, algo que se ha demostrado que beneficio de los adoptados .

American adopciones ofrece servicios de traducción si los necesitas

Si usted es un padre expectante que está pensando en colocar a un niño en adopción o un padre esperanzado que está considerando adoptar a un niño, American Adoptions puede ayudar a ofrecerle un traductor cuando sea necesario para una adopción exitosa.

Para más información sobre adopción, llame 1-800-ADOPTION ahora para hablar con un especialista en adopción en inglés, o póngase en contacto con nosotros en línea  para solicitar un traductor de español a Inglés.

American Adoptions Offers Translation Services

*Translated from above

If English isn’t your first language, but you’re considering adoption for your child, you can still choose adoption with American Adoptions.

American Adoptions works with a third-party certified translation service when working with expectant parents who speak Spanish as their first language. While we sometimes have staff members who can translate directly, or expectant parents may have a friend or family member who can translate, we keep a third-party translator present for phone calls and meetings to ensure that nothing is misunderstood or translated improperly, for everyone’s protection.

It’s important for expectant parents to fully understand all the choices available to them, as well as the steps of the adoption process, and their rights as birth parents. American Adoptions utilizes translator services so that Spanish-speaking birth parents have all the information that they need to make the choices that are right for them and for their child.

These translator services are provided at no cost to the birth family. American Adoptions has experience working with Spanish-speaking birth parents, and is happy to work with any Spanish-speaking expectant parents who wish to make an adoption plan for their child.

Regardless of the language you speak, you deserve support throughout the adoption process and beyond. Choosing adoption for your child is a difficult decision that involves many choices to benefit you and your child, and we seek to provide you with the resources that you need to make informed decisions about your adoption plan; in English or in Spanish.

For Prospective Adoptive Parents

If you enter into an adoption opportunity with an American Adoptions expectant parent who speaks Spanish as their first language, we’ll continue to provide you both with translation services to help you communicate throughout the adoption process.

The relationship between birth and adoptive families is an important one, and American Adoptions won’t let language become a barrier in that relationship. Having an open or semi-open adoption relationship with your future child’s birth family is still possible, even if you don’t speak the same language. We’re able to mediate communication for anyone working with American Adoptions for up to 18 years after an adoption, and we always encourage open adoptions whenever situations allow.

Another benefit of an open or semi-open adoption with your child’s birth family is the ability for your child to maintain a link to their cultural heritage, including their birth family’s primary language; something that has been shown to benefit adoptees.

American Adoptions Offers Translation Services if You Need Them

Whether you’re a expectant parent who’s thinking about placing a child for adoption or a hopeful parent who is considering adopting a child, American Adoptions can help provide you with a translator whenever needed for a successful adoption.

To learn more about adoption, call 1-800-ADOPTION now to speak to an Adoption Specialist in English, or contact us online to request a Spanish-to-English translator.

31
Aug

In Moving Letter, Birth Mother Shares Her Love with Her Son

Four years ago, Sarah* placed her baby boy for adoption with a loving adoptive family. Through her open adoption, she has received pictures and letters to watch her son grow up happy and healthy. In one of the most recent letters, her son’s parents asked if there was anything she wanted him to know about her side of the adoption.

With immense courage, she finally found the strength to write him a letter of what she wanted him to know about his adoption. She agreed to share this letter with us at American Adoptions:

“I am a planner. I research menus before I go out to eat. I look up movie plots and spoilers before I watch anything. Sometimes I spend more time reading about a TV show than I do watching it.

For the past four years, I’ve started countless letters to you. I’ve read hundreds of letters and articles written by other women in similar situations. I’ve read books on adoption from the perspective of birth mothers, from adoptive parents, from kids who were adopted. I guess I was trying to get a template on what I should say. I couldn’t find anything that said what I wanted to say to you. It turns out this isn’t really a situation you can research your way out of.

Your mom asked me if there was anything I wanted you to know about your adoption from my side of things. Honestly, there are a million things I want you to know, a million stories I could tell you about my life and what led me to you. But all of the stories and explanations and details would point back to one indisputable theme: you are loved.

You are loved. That’s the one thing you need to know, above all else. You were not unwanted, you were not abandoned, you were not a mistake. Years will go by and time will pass but please don’t think for a minute that I will forget you. Giving you up was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Please understand that it was done out of pure love.

I wanted the best possible life for you, and however much I wanted that to be me, it wasn’t. You deserved to have a chance at life that wasn’t suffocated by my burdens.

When you’re older, you might have questions about me and where you came from. I’ll always be here to answer those if they arise. You may wonder what traits you inherited, if there’s any of me in you. Maybe you have my eyes or my nose but I don’t want you to ever question that you have my heart.

I loved you then, I love you now, I will love you forever. Let that be the drumbeat that drowns out any doubt you may have about your place in this world. ”

To her son’s parents, she wrote:

“I won’t ever be able to express how indebted I am to you. Thank you for giving my son a life I could only dream of. I feel like there will always be a hole in my heart, but seeing his smile in the pictures you send me and hearing about his adventures in the letters you write prove to me over and over again that you are his rightful parents.”

We were so touched by her letter that we asked her permission to share it with all of you — prospective birth mothers, pregnant women considering adoption, adoptive parents and everyone else for whom adoption has changed their lives.

While Sarah said writing the letter was hard, she just focused on telling the truth.

“If I only had one chance to tell him anything in the world, what would I want him to know?” she said. “I felt like the only thing he really needs to know is that I love him. I don’t want him to grow up believing that I didn’t want him, or that I just moved on and forgot about him.

“Adoption is not a selfish act,” she added. “You might have people try and convince you otherwise. It doesn’t mean that you care more about your life than your baby’s; it isn’t about trying to avoid the consequences of your actions. Adoption means you want the best possible life for your baby, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to make sure that happens. It means you love your baby so much that you’re willing to endure the pain of separation in order to ensure their happiness. Sometimes, love means letting go.”

Her letter is just another reminder of how beautiful adoption can be, even when it’s bittersweet. We thank Sarah for her bravery in sharing this letter and hope that you share this letter if you were just as impacted as we are by her beautiful words.

*This birth mother’s name has been changed to protect her privacy.

18
Aug

5 Birth Mothers Share How an Adoption Scholarship Changed Their Lives

American Adoptions prides itself on the support it offers to prospective birth parents as they go through the adoption process — but our support doesn’t end there. In addition to providing counseling and mediation for years after a birth mother places her child for adoption, our agency also provides something unique to help birth parents start a new chapter in their lives.

This is our birth parent scholarship, through which we’ve helped birth parents fulfill their educational goals and dreams. Every birth mother who works with our agency receives a scholarship application for the chance to receive assistance with the costs of further education (birth fathers are also welcome to apply). Twice a year, we award scholarships to eligible birth parents to help them make their education dreams come true.

American Adoptions started this scholarship program in 2001. We checked in on some of our previous scholarship recipients to celebrate the successes they’ve achieved since they received their scholarships:

Carly

Carly was 18 years old and already attending a local college for her general education requirements when she found out that she was pregnant. As an adoptee herself who wasn’t ready to raise a child, she knew that adoption was the right choice for her and her son.

“I just wasn’t at a place in my life where I knew I could give my son what I wanted him to have,” Carly says. “I knew what adoption did for me, and I decided to give him a better life.”

Carly knew she wanted to become a physical therapist but, right after placing her son for adoption, she also knew she wasn’t at the right place in her life to start going back to school. That was eight years ago and, this fall, she will graduate from a 20-month program with a physical therapist’s assistant degree, otherwise known as an occupational associate’s degree, from the Pima Medical Institute.

The support from American Adoptions — financial and emotional — has been instrumental in getting her to where she is today, she says.

“I never imagined how hard it was going to be when I was going to place my son for adoption,” she says. “It’s great to have kind of a sounding board, because I’ve never been through it, obviously, and I’m in the middle of it. But it’s nice to be able to talk to people about their story and what happened to them.

“I just think, overall, it’s changed my life so much because I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t chosen adoption,” she says.

Julia

When Julia unexpectedly became pregnant in 2013, she had no idea what she was going to do. But, knowing that abortion wasn’t an option and that she didn’t have the support from her child’s father, she decided that adoption was right for her.

“I knew I wanted my daughter to have a stable home as well as two parents that could love and nurture her into the young woman that I hope she will become,” she says.

Less than eight months after she placed her daughter for adoption, Julia applied for American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship. Already enrolled in a bachelor’s program and expecting to graduate just a year and half after placing her child for adoption, she hoped for financial assistance to help her pay off the remainder of her career at the private college she attended. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she recently gained admission to a master’s of public administration program, as well.

“I knew my life did not stop after adoption,” she says. “It gave me a second chance to pursue my goals and dreams so that I can be a better version of myself and help people along the way. I wanted to show my daughter that I didn’t give up on myself and, more importantly, her.”

Julia plans to use her degree to work in the higher education system, perhaps through career counseling or student affairs. In the meantime, she’s also created a support group for birth mothers like her.

“I want to help young women who have gone through the adoption process to help them live out their dreams, goals, and ambitions and help them not feel that their life has ended after adoption but rather begins,” she says.

Trillian

Trillian was 19 and preparing to go to college after saving up full-time for a year when she found herself unexpectedly pregnant. She knew that she didn’t want to compromise her higher education plans (which she’d been dreaming of since starting high school) to raise a son she wasn’t ready for yet, so she chose American Adoptions to give herself and her child a better life.

“I was really excited to read the birth mothers’ stories on how the agency provides financial assistance for college,” she says. “I applied for the scholarship because I wanted to use every resource available to me from the agency.”

Unlike financial aid, the American Adoptions scholarship was provided to Trillian before school started, allowing her to purchase her books before her first class and already be up to date on her first reading assignments. This allowed her to actively participate in class discussions from the start at her state university, from which she graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in social work and gerontology.

Today, she works at an agency through which she originally had an internship, has recently been accepted into another state university’s master’s program and is considering either a social work or public health concentration — all because of her experience with American Adoptions.

“Before I started college, I was very lost as to what I wanted to study and which field I wanted to work in,” she says. “The support I received from the Birth Mother Peer Support helped me to really find my niche in the helping field…I couldn’t have done it without the help and support from American Adoptions.”

Julie

Julie was working full time in a busy emergency room and was one year into her master’s program when she found out she was pregnant. With her boyfriend just about to move out of state for a job relocation and herself remaining in town to finish her degree, they both knew they couldn’t raise their baby the way they wanted to — and knew adoption was their only option.

“We came to describe the decision for adoption as both the most selfish and selfless thing we have ever done — selfish in the sense that we both were adults, had good-paying jobs, homes, educations, and the ability to raise a child, but we chose not to because we knew we still had more personal goals to accomplish and it was not what was best for us,” she said. “Selfless because the baby was ours, we loved her, but we also wanted more for her.”

Julie still had two and a half years left in her master’s of nursing program when she became pregnant. Even though she was working full time, she was still taking out loans to cover her education. With the goals of completing her training on time with her classmates with the least amount of debt possible, she applied for American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship.

With the financial assistance from the agency, she ended up graduating in December of 2016 with her Master’s of Science in Nursing and works full time as a nurse practitioner. While she’s done with school for now, she’s still considering a doctorate degree or post-master’s certification.

Amanda*

At the age of 22, this birth mother had recently dropped out of college when she became pregnant with twins. Because she was homeless and living in her car for the majority of her pregnancy, she choose to place her children for adoption knowing that she couldn’t financially, emotionally and mentally care for them the way they deserved.

“By the time the adoption process was over, I was already back on my feet contemplating what to do with my life,” she says. “When it was all said and done, I felt I owed it to myself to improve my lot in life.”

Her adoption process changed her life in more ways than she expected. Soon after, she realized that her own experience with adoption could offer something unique to those going through the same process in their lives.

“I have always thought of my adoption experience as an experience that I didn’t go through in order to be in the same position I was in before I got pregnant,” she says. “I feel that as humans, we go through things for a reason. For me, I feel that I went through that experience in order to figure out what my purpose in life was. As cliché as this sounds, I feel that my purpose in life is to help others who may be facing an adoption or who may just be down on their luck.”

By receiving American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship, she was able to cover her cost for tuition and decrease her need for student loans. She ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is currently in her second year of law school, from which she hopes to find a career in the area of family law.

*Name has been changed to protect birth mother’s identity.

Congratulations!

We’re incredibly proud of what these five women have achieved. We know that they’ll continue to do amazing things in their lives, and we’re honored that they’re a part of the American Adoptions Family. Thank you to Carly, Julia, Trillian, Julie and Amanda* for sharing your stories!

To learn more about American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship, please contact your adoption specialist today.

Please share and consider donating to the American Adoptions birth mother scholarship fund!

You can send donations in check form to:

The American Adoptions Scholarship Fund
C/O: American Adoptions
9101 West 110th Street Suite 200
Overland Park, KS 66210

Or call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about how to help the birth parent scholarship program.

11
Aug

Infant Abandoned in Plastic Bag —There Are Other Options

Earlier this week, concerned residents in Elmira, N.Y. heard what they thought was a cat crying. When they approached the source of the sound, however, they instead found an 8-month-old girl, whose feet were sticking out of the white garbage bag she had been stuffed in 72 hours prior.

The baby was dehydrated, filthy and covered in waste, but she was alive. The neighbors who found her immediately called the police and rushed the girl inside to clean her and keep her safe while they waited for authorities to arrive.

The infant was transported to a hospital to be evaluated and treated. Fortunately, she is in stable condition and is expected to make a full recovery. But her mother, 17-year-old Harriette M. Hoyt of Sayre, Pa., now faces charges of second-degree attempted murder.

“I Don’t Want My Baby”

Stories like these are all too common — and often have tragic endings. Overwhelmed, exhausted and desperate, some new mothers find themselves thinking, I don’t want this baby.”  Unsure of where to turn, and likely ashamed of having these thoughts, young mothers like Harriette may take drastic measures: abandoning their infants in unsafe conditions.

There are many reasons why a new mother might feel trapped in her situation. These are just a few:

  • She is a teenage mother who is overwhelmed by her circumstances and afraid for her parents or others to find out
  • She is facing personal struggles like addiction, homelessness or other instability and feels she cannot care for a baby
  • She is facing postpartum depression or other mental health issues

What these struggling mothers may not realize is that there are many other, safer options, including private adoption, Safe Haven laws and services available to struggling parents. Stories like Harriette’s highlight the need for increased awareness of these alternatives.

What are Safe Haven Laws?

In 1999, a staggering number of infants were abandoned. According to the Baby Safe Haven website, “never before in a single year had so many mothers decided that they couldn’t care for their children — and then disposed of their newborn infants in an unsafe and tragic way.”

That’s when Safe Haven Infant Protection Laws were enacted to protect these “unwanted” babies — and to protect their mothers from charges of child abandonment. Now, every state has Safe Haven laws that allow mothers to relinquish custody of their infants safely, anonymously and without facing legal repercussions. Since these laws were enacted, it’s estimated that more than 2,000 babies have benefitted.

If you are struggling with thoughts of not wanting your baby, or if you feel you cannot care for your infant at this time in your life, here’s how Safe Haven could work for you:

  • You must leave your baby with an on-duty staff member at an approved Safe Haven location. These locations vary by state but often include hospitals, police departments, fire stations and other emergency service providers. You can find safe haven locations in your state here, or call the confidential, toll-free hotline at 1-888-510-BABY to get directions to the closest Safe Haven drop off.
  • Your baby must be within your state’s Safe Haven age limit. Each state has different age limits for Safe Haven laws, ranging from three days to one year. You should carefully review your state’s Safe Haven program to ensure your infant is eligible based on his or her age.
  • You can leave your unharmed baby at the Safe Haven location. As long as your baby has not been harmed, you can leave him or her with a staff member at the Safe Haven location anonymously and with no legal consequences. However, if you are willing to provide some background information about the infant, such as his or her medical history, that will help ensure that he or she is properly cared for.

Safe Haven Laws are incredibly beneficial for overwhelmed mothers and their babies, and they have helped to save thousands of lives. But what if your baby is older and is not eligible for Safe Haven? What if, like Harriette, you’ve tried parenting, and have since decided that you are not ready to care for your baby?

Adoption is Always an Option

Regardless of your baby’s age, and regardless of your circumstances, adoption is always an option for you. Whether you are currently pregnant, have just given birth or your baby is weeks or even months old, it is never too late to start making an adoption plan. You can always contact American Adoptions to start the process, no matter if:

  • you have used alcohol or drugs in the past or during your pregnancy
  • your baby’s father is supportive or unsupportive of your adoption plan
  • this is your first baby or you have multiple other children
  • you are a teenager, an older mother or any age in between
  • you have a complicated medical background or family medical history
  • your baby is sick or has special needs

Regardless of your circumstances, you can always contact American Adoptions, 24/7, to talk about your options — even if you’re not sure adoption is right for you. Adoption specialists are available to answer your questions and can help you understand your options in your circumstances.

They can also help you understand the benefits of adoption, which include:

When you work with an agency like American Adoptions, you can still relinquish your baby safely, legally and confidentially, and you also have more choices and support in the process. Unlike with Safe Haven, an adoption plan with American Adoptions allows you to get the emotional support you need. It is an option regardless of how old your baby is, and it ensures your infant is quickly placed with a waiting family, rather than entering the foster care system for an unknown amount of time.

If you are a struggling new mother, seek help right away. If you find yourself thinking, “I don’t want my baby,” know that you are not alone, and you have options. No baby should ever be harmed or abandoned.

Adoption specialists are available 24/7 to provide the support and information you need. Contact American Adoptions now at 1-800-ADOPTION, or request free adoption information online. Your information is strictly confidential, and contacting us does not obligate you to choose adoption.

Please share to help spread awareness of safer options for mothers who can no longer care for their children!

28
Jul

Pregnant & Considering Adoption? 6 Questions to Ask an Adoption Professional

If you are considering adoption for your baby, you likely have a lot of questions — from the basic adoption process to the type of relationship you will have with your child and his or her adoptive family after placement.

Contacting an adoption expert is often the best way to get the information you need, but choosing an adoption professional to work with can be overwhelming in itself. Here are some questions to ask potential adoption professionals to help you make important decisions about your adoption plan:

  • What services do you offer? Are you talking to a full-service agency, or will you be responsible for finding additional professionals on your own to help with legal work, insurance issues, matching or other necessary adoption services? Get a full list of the services each adoption professional will provide, and carefully consider the type of support and resources you will need throughout the process.
  • What kind of support will be available to me? Adoption is an emotional journey, and you will likely experience a range of emotions throughout the process. It is important to have support available as you process your feelings and make big decisions for yourself and your baby. Ask potential adoption professionals whether their support staff will be available to you throughout the entire adoption process, on evenings and weekends and following the adoption. It’s important that you choose an adoption professional that has your best interest at heart and can help prepare you for what to expect at every point in the process.
  • Do you support open adoption? Adoptions are increasingly open, meaning birth parents have more opportunities than ever to maintain a relationship with their child and the child’s adoptive family for years after the child is placed for adoption. If you are interested in keeping in regular contact with your baby and his or her adoptive family, ask about your opportunities to continue communication through pictures, letters, phone calls and visits. Find out whether you will get to choose the level of openness you’d like with your child’s adoptive family.
  • What kinds of adoptive families do you work with? Choosing an adoptive family is one of the most important steps in the adoption process. Ask about the process adoptive families must go through to work with your adoption professional. How are they screened? What requirements do they have to meet? Find out if the adoption professional works with families that can provide the type of life you envision for your baby. Ask how you will be matched with families and how your relationship with these families will develop — will the adoption professional mediate contact if needed? Will you be able to meet the family yourself? If you need help determining what qualities you’re looking for in an adoptive family, ask if the adoption professional can work with you to help you better understand the life you want for your child.

As you begin the adoption process, it’s important to make sure you choose a professional that you are comfortable with and that can meet your individual needs. Working with the right adoption professional can help ensure all of your wishes are met and your child is given the life you want him or her to have.

14
Jul

Birth Grandparents and Adoption

Becoming a grandparent is a status many parents hope to achieve someday. You long to see your child look at their child like you’ve looked at them for years. You pray you raised them right, so they can teach their children all you’ve taught them. You look forward to watching your children become the parents you knew they could be.

But what happens when your child makes the decision to choose adoption for their child?

This may be your first grandchild. Adoption is emotional and can be overwhelming for everyone involved. Birth grandparents often feel conflicted — their support and love for their child may be at odds with the fear of the unknown of the adoption process. This is normal.

Before you can help your child during the adoption process, you need to come to terms with your own feelings. It is okay to be sad and to grieve the upcoming changes in your child’s life, as well as your own.

One way to help you manage your emotions during this confusing time is to seek counseling. There are many support groups dedicated to families going through the adoption process, including birth grandparents. Find a group or individual counselor who can help you work through the potential feeling of loss you may have for your grandchild. After you have come to terms with your emotions, you can begin to focus on helping your child during this time.

Take time to educate yourself on modern open adoption. Rarely are domestic infant adoptions closed. Your child’s adoption agency can walk you through the entire process so you know what to expect; the adoption specialists at American Adoptions are always available at 1-800-ADOPTION. Go with your child when they visit the adoptive family. Get to know them so you can feel comfortable knowing your grandchild will be with a very loving and grateful family. Nurturing this relationship will allow you to keep in touch and be in your grandchild’s life for as long as you like.

Watching your child choose adoption for your grandchild can be difficult. But you should also take solace in the fact that they are showing such bravery and love in choosing a wonderful home for their child. With open adoption, this is not where your birth grandchild’s story ends. It is only the beginning.

7
Jul

Dealing with Distance in Open Adoption

You have found the perfect family for your baby, and you know they’ll give your child everything you want for him or her. But what if that perfect family happens to live on the opposite side of the country?

If you choose to work with a national adoption agency, there’s a chance that the family you choose for your child won’t live in your immediate area. Long-distance relationships are never easy, but being far away from your child and the family with whom you want an open adoption relationship can be even harder.

Here are five guidelines for making long-distance open adoption relationships work:

  1. Communicate before placement.

When you create your adoption plan, you will get to determine the type of relationship you want to have with your child’s adoptive parents, regardless of where they live. As you get to know prospective adoptive parents for your baby, you’ll be able to talk with them in more detail about your hopes for an open adoption. Your adoption specialist can help mediate these conversations as you outline each party’s expectations for your future relationship. Some topics you might want to discuss include:

  • How often you can expect pictures and updates
  • How often you will visit each other, if you’re interested in post-adoption visits
  • Phone calls, video chats, social media, and other forms of communication
  • How you will address concerns and miscommunication

Remember that adoption relationships, like all relationships, change and grow over time. Try to be flexible as your relationship evolves, and always keep communication open, especially if you have concerns.

  1. Use social media.

Depending on the openness in your adoption and the relationship you have with your child’s parents, social media can be a great way to stay in touch, regardless of the physical distance between you. Posts from the adoptive parents can offer a quick glimpse into daily life for your child, even outside of scheduled phone calls and visits.

Talk about social media with your prospective adoptive parents ahead of time so that everyone is on the same page. Your adoption specialist can also help you work out some guidelines for what is appropriate and acceptable when talking about adoption online. Talk about how photos should be shared, what kind of privacy settings adoption-related posts should have, and more. You and the adoptive parents may even choose to set up private, adoption-specific pages just to share these updates.

  1. Make plans to visit.

If visits are an option in your relationship, make plans to visit your child or to have the adoptive family visit you. These visits will not only give you an opportunity to interact with your child, they will also give you and the adoptive family something to look forward to and talk about it as the trip approaches. Plan some of the things you want to do during your visit ahead of time so you can make the most of your time together.

  1. Send mail and packages.

Most adoption relationships involve the exchange of periodic pictures and letter updates. Mailing handwritten letters and small packages, especially around family members’ birthdays or holidays, can be a great way to remain present in each other’s lives, even when the miles separate you. It can be fun to send and receive “snail mail,” and handwritten notes and physical photographs can be even more meaningful than text messages and email updates.

  1. Look for the positive.

Distance can be challenging, but try to focus on the positive aspects of your open adoption relationship: you have the opportunity to remain an important part of your child’s life, while also having the space to adjust to life after placement, take care of yourself, and pursue your goals and passions. Your child will see that you and his or her adoptive parents are all going the extra mile to make your relationship survive the added distance — and that makes their adoption story even more special.

16
Jun

How You Can Make an Adoption Plan in Prison

Pregnant women in prison may be rare — only 3.5 percent of women entering all prisons were pregnant upon arrival — but it’s still important for these women to understand their rights and options. If you’re a woman finding yourself pregnant in jail or you’re about to enter jail knowing that you’ll be giving birth in prison, you may wonder whether a prison adoption is a possibility for you.

The answer is yes. Like any other pregnant woman, you have the right to make the decision that you feel is best for you and your baby’s future — including making an adoption plan that you’re comfortable with. While some of your adoption options may be limited while you’re in prison, you can always choose a prison infant adoption if you think it’s the best path.

But, how exactly does a prison baby adoption work? Each adoption is unique, but here are some general steps you will likely take in this process.

  1. Decide that adoption is right for you.

If you know that you will be giving birth in prison, you’ll need to consider how you will provide for your baby. Not all prisons will allow you to keep your child in your custody, especially if you’re serving a long sentence. It’s important that you make a plan for your baby before they’re born, because if you don’t, your child will likely be placed in the foster care system to await your release from prison or a future adoption opportunity.

One option is to place your baby with a friend or family member in a temporary guardianship until you’re released from prison. But, what if you don’t have any friends or family members who can provide a safe, stable environment for a baby? You should seriously consider the well-being of your baby and only choose the option that can provide him or her the best future possible.

In many cases, this may be a prison adoption. When you place your child for adoption, you know that they will live with a family that is prepared and excited to raise an adopted child — and willing to give them all the opportunities possible in life. If you’re curious about placing your baby for adoption while you’re in jail, talk to your prison caseworker; they can provide you advice and counsel to help you make this important decision.

  1. Choose an Adoption Professional.

Because prison regulations and restrictions vary, an adoption professional may or may not be able to interact with you directly. Therefore, your point of contact will likely be your prison caseworker, who will help you through every step of your prison adoption process.

Because prisons tend to work with the same adoption agencies and lawyers for each adoption, your caseworker will likely recommend certain adoption professionals. But, as a prospective birth mother, you always have the right to choose which professional is right for you. If you’re not yet in prison, take the time to research and talk to potential adoption professionals. If you’re in prison and deciding on adoption (or know someone who is), ask your caseworker if you can do research or enlist a friend or family member to research for you.

American Adoptions is always here to answer any questions you have and help you decide whether adoption is right for you. We will provide support to you, gather background information from you, assist you with selecting a family and help with any pregnancy related needs not met at your jail.

  1. Choose an Adoptive Family.

Like any other pregnant woman considering adoption, if you’re pregnant in prison, you will have the opportunity to pick the family that you want to adopt your child. While you likely won’t be able to meet the family ahead of time or ask them your questions directly, your caseworker and your adoption professional representative will work closely together to find a family that matches your preferences (like where the family lives, what their family makeup is and more). From there, you will receive adoptive family profiles that you can look at.

  1. Sharing Contact with the Adoptive Family

Many pregnant women considering adoption choose to share contact with the adoptive family before, during and after the adoption process. If you’re pregnant and in jail, your options may be a bit limited — but contact is certainly still a possibility.

One of the most common ways that birth mothers in jail can contact an adoptive family is through letters but, depending on your prison rules and level of comfort, you may be able to share phone calls with the family. As part of your financial assistance, the adoptive family may pay for your phone calls, as well as mailing materials like stamps and paper. American Adoptions will work with you, the jail and the adoptive family you choose to get you connected in any way possible so you can create a relationship with the potential adoptive couple.

After you’re released from prison, stay in touch with your caseworker and adoption professional to keep receiving contact from your baby’s adoptive family and to receive any updates about the adoptive family’s desire to increase contact.

  1. Giving Birth and Signing Adoption Consent

What happens when you give birth to a baby in jail? That’s a good question. First, know that you will likely be moved to a nearby hospital when it’s time to have your baby. Your hospital stay will be arranged by you, your caseworker and your adoption professional. While your options may be limited because you’re incarcerated, you may still get to choose how long you want to hold your baby, whether you meet the adoptive family and more. American Adoptions will work with you and the adoptive couple to create a transition plan that’s in the best interest of all of you.

While you’re at the hospital, you’ll sign your final adoption consent paperwork. Most of your paperwork will have been completed earlier in your adoption process, but a lawyer will be there to walk you through what you’re signing and inform you of your legal rights in a prison adoption. Your state laws will determine when you can sign your consent for the adoption, but know that waiting too long may jeopardize your adoption process and lead to your baby being placed in state custody.

After you sign your adoption consent and are discharged from the hospital, you will return to prison, where your adoption caseworker will continue to work with you for post-placement contact and counseling through any difficult emotions you may encounter.

As you can see, a prison baby adoption is not much different than any other private domestic infant adoption. American Adoptions and your prison caseworker will be there with you every step of the way. Most importantly, you can know that your baby that you gave birth to while pregnant in prison will live a happy life with a loving adoptive family.

Sometimes, women ask us, “Can you go to jail for giving a child up for adoption?” Whether it’s because they’re worried about the legal repercussions of adoption or are afraid that placing a child for adoption might increase their sentence, there’s no need to worry — as long as it’s completed with the assistance of the proper professionals, your adoption is completely legal. In fact, choosing adoption will protect you from charges of child abandonment or neglect if you find care for your child in an illegal or ill-advised way.

You may also be asking, “Can someone adopt my child if I am in jail?’ It’s not uncommon for women with children already born to enter prison, realize that they want a better life for their child back at home (especially if they are serving a long sentence) and want to place the child for adoption with or transfer guardianship to someone who can provide the proper care their child needs. This is entirely possible; if you are wishing to place a child who is already born, American Adoptions can assist you, depending on who currently has custody of your child and your child’s age.

At American Adoptions, our social workers are happy to work with pregnant women in prison or about to enter prison. We can help you decide if adoption is right for you and, if so, help you set up an adoption plan that you’re happy with. To talk to an adoption specialist for free (and with absolutely no obligation to choose adoption), please call 1-800-ADOPTION today.

27
Mar

How to Talk to Your Family About Your Adoption Decision

When a pregnant woman chooses adoption for her child, it’s never an easy decision. It’s one that she has to come to on her own, but that doesn’t mean she has to go through it on her own. If you’re a pregnant woman who’s chosen adoption for your child, it’s going to be important that you have a support system in place.

The first step in assembling that support system, then, is to choose who to tell about your adoption plan. Some women prefer to tell only a few close friends or family members. Others aren’t as concerned with keeping it a secret. It’s completely up to you who you do or don’t tell about your decision. If you’re having qualms about how to do it, though, that’s where we can help.

If you’ve chosen to pursue adoption for your baby, you’ve probably spoken with an adoption specialist. This can be a great resource when you’re deciding how to tell those close to you about your choice. By talking with you about your specific situation and family dynamic, your adoption specialist can help you come up with a plan for communicating with the people in your life about what’s going on.

Your adoption specialist will probably suggest that you first tell those who you think will be supportive of your decision. It’s entirely possible that not everyone will be, and it’s going to be much easier to handle those discussions when you have someone in your corner already. You may even want someone to accompany you when you go to tell those whom you feel might not understand your choice.

With that in mind, though, know that people might not react in the way that you anticipate. If people still don’t know about your pregnancy, you might consider telling them about that before bringing up adoption. Telling someone that you’re unexpectedly pregnant and have decided on adoption in the same conversation could be a little overwhelming for the recipient, and that may affect the response you receive.

If that response is a negative one, try not to take it personally. First, give them some time to digest the news. It may be that they’ll come around as soon as they’ve had time to process what’s happening. If that’s not the case, it might be necessary to tell them what you know about today’s adoptions. Sometimes people have preconceived notions about adoptions that are based on the way adoptions used to take place. When they understand what today’s adoptions look like, they may be able to better understand and support your adoption plan.

When telling them about your adoption decision and why you made it, make sure you explain that:

  • You are in charge of the entire process.
  • You get to choose the adoptive family.
  • You’ll receive financial assistance for pregnancy-related expenses.
  • You’ll be able to achieve goals that you wouldn’t be able to pursue while raising a child at this point.
  • You get to choose the amount of contact you have with your child and their adoptive family.

Even if whoever you’re talking to still can’t get on board with your adoption plan, make sure they know you’re still going through with it. Just as you should never let those close to you talk you into adoption against your wishes, you should also never let them talk you out of it. Adoption is your decision and your decision alone.

If you’re having trouble with unsupportive friends or family members, or if you aren’t sure how to begin the adoption conversation, remember that our adoption specialists are available to you 24/7. To speak with one, call 1-800-ADOPTION.

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.

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