Call anytime, an adoption professional is here to help.
22
May

The 6 Most Annoying Things Waiting Adoptive Parents Hear

1. “I could never give up my child.”


Adopted children are not “given up,” they are placed with adoptive families in an act of unending love from their birth parents.
A birth mother may not have a safe environment to raise a child, or she may not be financially able to provide for her child in the way she would like. Whatever her reasoning, it is a decision that takes strength and courage. Unless you’ve been in her shoes, keep your judgements to yourself.

2. “Will you love a child that isn’t yours?”


Biology is the least of what makes someone a parent. Love is what makes someone a parent.
Once you adopt a child, he or she will be your own in every way. There is no distinguishing between the love of a biological parent and an adoptive parent, both are fierce and unending. To suggest that an adoptive parent’s love will be anything less is simply rude.

3. “What if the child has issues?”


This question is completely insensitive and downright hurtful.
It is wrong to assume that adopted children will be ill or cause problems. And the truth of the matter is that any child (biological or adopted) can face any number of issues in their life. Should the child have any sort of health issue, that will be for the parents to handle in their own way, just as you would handle your child’s illness.

4. “OMG it is taking forever!”


Waiting adoptive parents don’t need a reminder of how long they process is taking. If the process seems long to you, it seems 1,000 times longer to an adoptive parent.
Adoptive families have no control over the process, and they especially have no control over how long they wait. Most adoptive families will do anything to take their mind off of the waiting and the last thing they need is for you to bring it up.

5. “Why can’t you have your own baby?”

There are many reasons for choosing adoption and infertility is only one of those reasons. In fact, adoption may be the first choice for some couples.
Not only is it insensitive to assume a couple is having fertility issues, but for those experiencing it, infertility is generally a very sensitive topic. Adoption is not a consolation prize. Not to mention the implication of the phrase “your own.”

6. “Why don’t you just adopt from ~insert country here~”


International adoption isn’t for everyone. Maybe it’s due to finances, maybe it’s a personal preference. Either way, it’s not your place to question their choices.

19
May

Your Voice Matters – Help Save the Adoption Tax Credit!

As many adoptive families know, the adoption tax credit (ATC) helps make adoption more affordable, giving safe, loving, permanent homes to as many children as possible. But now, the credit is vulnerable and may be eliminated as part of tax reform — and we need your help to save it! Join us as we work to keep pressure on Congress to save the credit that makes it possible for all families to adopt.

As an adoptive family, you can help by sharing your story and creating a surround sound of voices defending the credit and asking that it be made refundable. Now is the time for you to let your legislators know what the adoption tax credit has meant for you and your family.

Your voice matters — Congress will only #SaveTheATC if they understand the real-world impact and feel that their constituents support it. Here’s how you can take action now:

Share Your Story with a Video Message

Follow these easy steps to share your story directly with your Members of Congress:

  1. Click here. Using your phone or computer with a camera:
  2. Click Send Video. A new window will pop up — click Make a Video.
  3. The camera will turn on, and you’re ready to record! Click the red button to start recording.
  4. When you’re done telling your story, click the red button again to stop recording.
  5. Review your video to make sure it’s what you want, and re-record if you want to make any changes.
  6. Click Send Video Message — and you’re done!
  7. Enter your info or log in with Facebook — it will ask you if your zip code is correct. Click confirm to send the message to your Members of Congress!
  8. Click the Facebook and Twitter buttons to share immediately with others and encourage them to take action too!

Find your U.S. Senators and Representatives here.

Spread the Word on Social Media

Don’t stop there! Once you’ve recorded your story, make sure to share it on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some sample tweets and posts that you can share:

Sample Tweets

  • The adoption tax credit made adoption possible for me and my family. Watch my story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform
  • .@(Your Member of Congress) Without the adoption tax credit, I wouldn’t have been able to afford adoption. My story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform
  • For me and thousands of families, the adoption tax credit made adoption possible. Watch my story here [LINK] #SavetheATC #taxreform

Sample Facebook Post

  • Without the adoption tax credit, I would not have been able to bring home my child[ren]. Watch my story here! [LINK]. Please join me and tell Congress we must save this credit! #SavetheATC #taxreform

Save the Adoption Tax Credit also provides tips for calling your Members of Congress, as well as a sample script you can use when contacting your Senators and Representatives to tell your story.  

For more information about the Adoption Tax Credit and legislative proposals important to adoptive families, visit adoptiontaxcredit.org.

19
May

5 Ways to Help Your Adopted Child Develop a Strong Sense of Identity

Throughout childhood, and especially during adolescence, each of us begins forming a sense of who we are as individuals and as members of society. This is called identity development, and it is shaped by a variety of factors, from race and gender to hobbies and religious beliefs.

Two of the components that play a role in identity formation are genetics and family dynamics — which may complicate the process for adopted children. According to Child Welfare Information Gateway, identity development may be more difficult for an adopted person with questions “such as why he or she was placed for adoption, what became of the birth parents, does he or she have siblings, and whether he or she resembles the birth parents in looks or in other characteristics.” If these questions go unanswered, it could lead to a less complete sense of self, which in turn can lead to lower self-esteem and other emotional issues.

While you may not be able to answer all of your child’s questions as adoptive parents if your adoption is less open, there are some things you can do to help them develop a positive self-identity. Here are five ways you can encourage your child through the identity development process:

  1. Give them options. As an adoptive family, your child may not always share your tastes and hobbies. When reasonable, allow your child to make choices about the foods they like to eat, the clothes they like to wear, and the things they like to do. Expose your child to a variety of opportunities and encourage them to pursue their individual interests. Ask them to teach you something new, and get involved in the activities they choose — by supporting the things that matter to them, you are encouraging them to be confident in their emerging identity.
  2. Recognize their strengths. Compliment your child’s natural abilities and celebrate their achievements, whether they are academic, artistic, athletic or otherwise. Suggest opportunities for your child to further explore his or her talents, even if they differ from your own.
  3. Seek out diversity. Surround your child with positive people from a variety of backgrounds. Develop relationships with racially and culturally diverse children and adults, as well as nontraditional families — and especially seek out other adoptive families. This inclusivity will give your child a sense of belonging while also illustrating that all people have value and that differences should be celebrated.
  4. Respect their birth parents. Remember that your child’s birth parents have contributed significantly to who your child is as a person. Experts agree that it is overwhelmingly beneficial to maintain a relationship with your child’s birth parents, but even in situations when this is not possible, you should always make your child’s birth parents an important part of your family’s conversations about adoption. Reinforce that adoption was a positive choice that your child’s birth mother made out of love, and tell your child how much you respect and admire her strength for choosing adoption.
  5. Talk and listen to your child. Talk positively and openly about adoption, as well as any other issues that may impact your child’s sense of identity. Give your child plenty of opportunities to ask questions and to express their own thoughts and feelings without making judgments. Constructive conversations like these will help your child develop a healthy self-esteem, as well as a positive view of adoption.

Ultimately, each person develops his or her sense of identity by discovering their interests, talents, passions and beliefs on their own — and your child is no exception. The best thing you can do for your child through this process is to be there for them; they will be more secure in their identity simply knowing that you love them and support them exactly as they are.

14
May

Mother’s Day Photo Contest Winners

Happy Mother’s Day to birth and adoptive moms alike!

We loved seeing your wonderful mom-moments. Thank you to everyone who participated. Congrats to the winners of the 2017 American Adoptions Mother’s Day Photo Contest!

(Mom) Krystal and Everly
“This photo was taken a few moments after my husband and I met Everly. The nurses had just left her in the hospital room with us. I was feeding her a bottle with tears rolling down my face. So many thoughts and emotions were going through my mind as I held my sweet daughter for the first time.”

(Mom) Amy with Nathaniel (1)
“Selfie before entering the courtroom on Adoption Day!”

(Mom) Jessica and Seth (2)

 

You can always tag us on social media with the hashtag #AmericanAdoptions if you want to share your family photos with other American Adoptions families.

Be sure to follow this blog, sign up for the bi-monthly American Adoptions newsletter, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to hear about upcoming photo contests and more.

12
May

7 DIY Gifts from Kids to Birth Family

We are halfway through spring, and it has been full of wild weather! Warm days followed by torrential rains, and even snow in some places. Kids (and parents!) are desperate to get outside when possible. This year, however, there seems to be more indoor days than outdoor. A parent’s arsenal of entertainment for those cruddy days needs to be pretty big. Here’s where some arts and crafts activities come in handy.

While you are setting out all the art supplies, this is a good time to get a jump on homemade items that can be given as gifts. The holiday season has a way of sneaking up, so give your kids some fun craft projects to do ahead of time. Homemade gifts are a wonderful way to show people how much they mean to you and your family.

Homemade gifts are especially meaningful to birth families. If your birth family does not live nearby, send them one of these personal gifts to remind them how grateful you are:

  • Yearly photo album – at various times throughout the year, websites like Snapfish and Shutterfly offer low cost or even free 8×8 photo albums. Keep an eye out for these specials and create an album for your child’s birth family. These are very easy to create, and can be shipped directly to the recipient.
  • Handprint dish towels – this is an inexpensive, easy and practical gift that is darling! Plus, it is very easy to mail.
  • Hand-shaped clay ring/coin holder – this is so precious and more practical than the ashtray of years ago. This can easily be boxed up with bubble wrap for mailing.
  • Thumbprint magnets – another easy DIY project that is easy to ship. Add some artwork from your child, with a promise to send something new every month to display on the refrigerator.
  • Send a hug – here is something that can be replicated each year. Trace your child’s head and outstretched arms, let them decorate it, and fold it up for the mail. If you do this each year, you can see how big they’re getting.
  • Handprint/footprint LOVE canvas art – think the iconic LOVE sculpture with a juvenile twist, and overflowing with sentiment.
  • Create a coffee table book of artworkArtkive is a handy website and app that all parents need. Simply take a photo of your child’s original works of art and upload it to the app, noting the date and age. Through the website, you can order a bound book of all their masterpieces!

Even if the craft project didn’t turn out quite the way you’d imagined, it is always the thought that counts. Your birth family will be ever grateful.

 

8
May

May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care month. This month is set aside to recognize and appreciate all people who are part of the foster care system — foster families, child welfare advocates, mentors, and volunteers. These are all people who have dedicated their time and effort to help the more than 400,000 youth in the foster care system find permanent homes. They have opened their hearts to these children in need.

Since its inception in 1912, the Children’s Bureau has been working to keep children in their own homes whenever possible, and when it is impossible, providing a home life with foster families. In 1972, the Bureau sponsored National Action for Foster Children Week, in an effort to recruit more families to become foster families. In 1988, this week stretched into a month to raise awareness of the needs of children in the foster care system, educate the public on how the system works, and urge people to get involved.

So how can people get involved if they can’t commit to being a foster family? One way is to advocate for foster care awareness. Whether or not you know someone who has been involved with foster care, take time to learn about the system, and help spread awareness.  Childwelfare.gov is packed with information, and is the sponsor of National Foster Care month. They even have tools to help you spread awareness through social media and outreach programs.

Another way to get involved is through organizations that allow anyone to support a foster child, even if they are not able to be a foster parent. One Simple Wish is one of these organizations. Through its website, people can select a wish to fulfill for a foster child, or donate money. Wishes range from a specific toy, to a ticket to the zoo, to a computer for schoolwork. Similar organizations are Together We Rise, which provides duffel bags to children in foster care, and The Forgotten Initiative.

Volunteering your time with local agencies is another way to help. The opportunities are endless, from tutoring or reading with a child, to teaching them how to play a sport or instrument. The agencies also need volunteers to work events and fundraisers or chaperone outings with the kids.

If you know a foster family, ask them how you can help. No matter how small the help may seem, it will be greatly appreciated by a busy foster family. Pick up groceries, mow the lawn, do homework with their child, fold laundry. If anything, be a listening ear and a friendly smile.

Finally, if you are interested in becoming foster parents, there is a great need. AdoptUSKids is a project of the Children’s Bureau that provides information and resources to families exploring foster care adoption. Committing to being a foster family is committing to open your heart and home to a child who desperately needs it.

Thank you to all who work to support children in foster care! Share to raise awareness for National Foster Care Month.

 

5
May

5 Photo Tips for Your Adoption Profile

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when selecting photos for your adoption profile. They are likely the first impression you will make on prospective birth parents in addition to a professional video profile, and they may be your first opportunity to prove that you would make a great adoptive family.

Choosing the right photos can help draw expectant mothers to your profile, but knowing which pictures to choose can be difficult. As you begin looking through photos for your profile, keep these helpful suggestions in mind.

  1. Keep them current. Old photos represent priceless memories, but your adoptive family profile should showcase who you are now. Using current photos will help potential birth parents visualize your life as it is today — the life you would provide to their child. If you already have children in your family, it is especially important to use current photos. Children often change very quickly, and your child may look very different than they did even a year ago. Try to use photos from within the past two to three years, and stay even more current when using photos of children.
  2. Include a wide variety. Your profile should showcase your individual strengths, personalities and interests, as well as your interactions with your spouse, children, other family members and friends. With the right photos, your profile can help birth parents imagine how you would interact with their child. Include a wide selection of pictures that show you doing a variety of activities with different combinations of people.
  3. Capture genuine moments. While it can be tempting to take your camera out for an all-at-once photo shoot, try to avoid taking all of your profile pictures at one time. You don’t want to be wearing the same clothes in all of your photos, and the best profiles include a variety of “action shots” — everyday moments that are real, relaxed and not posed. It may be a good idea to take some posed portraits of each of you individually, you and your spouse together and a few family portraits, but you should also include a variety of photos that capture your family in action.
  4. Use high-quality photos. Your photos do not have to be professional quality, but when possible, you should avoid using photos that are blurry, dark or otherwise hard to see. Better quality photos make a good impression and can enhance your profile.
  5. Make sure faces are visible. That shot of your family’s feet with a pair of baby booties is cute, but photos that show your faces are more inviting and help tell a better story. Especially when you have a limited amount of space to showcase your family, it is important for birth parents to be able to see your faces and get to know you. In addition, avoid using photos that obscure your faces with shadows, sunglasses or hats. Try to use photos that capture your personality and showcase emotion.

Your adoptive family profile is a great opportunity to make a positive first impression. Using the right photos can help prospective birth parents get to know you and showcase all of the wonderful things that make your family unique.

2
May

How to Make an Adoption Memory Book

You’ve probably heard of a baby book — that special blend of scrapbook and journal that allows parents to document every important step of their child’s first year or so of life. It’s a great idea, and they’re available for purchase at a variety of stores and, of course, all over the internet.

The problem with baby books, though, is that they don’t often include space for moments that are special to adoption. Adoption is no less special than growing your family the “traditional” way, and you deserve to commemorate the experience just as you would the birth of a biological child.

There are a few places to buy adoption memory books, or adoption “lifebooks.” But at American Adoptions, we occasionally like to get crafty; why not make your own? One of the special things about adoption is that the experience can vary so much from family to family. Creating your own adoption memory book allows you to tailor it to your own child. Plus, it’s a fun little project!

If you decide to create your own adoption memory book, here are some steps of the adoption process (chapters, if you will) you may want to include.

Before adoption. Start with some photos of your family before the adoption process. Write about why you decided to pursue adoption. You’ll want to keep the text simple, so your child will be able to go through and appreciate it as soon as he or she is old enough to read. For example, if you struggled with infertility, try something like: “Mommy and Daddy wanted you so much for such a long time, but nothing we tried was working. And then we decided to search for you through adoption.”

Meeting the birth parents. This one depends on your relationship with your child’s birth parents, of course. If you were able to meet them before placement, include any photos or memories you have from that time period. If not, see if you can get photos of the birth parents to include in this section. Talk about them as much as you feel comfortable. Write about how much they loved your child — enough to make sure they placed him or her with the right family, which was yours!

Hospital visit. If you were able to be there for your child’s birth, you’ll definitely want to include this in the adoption memory book. Use photos from the hospital, not only of you and your child, but of the birth parents as well. Include any special memories. Maybe there was a nurse that really went above and beyond, or maybe your child got to spend a few precious minutes with his or her biological mom right after birth.

After placement. This section should include all of the excitement you encountered when bringing your baby home. You might want to add photos of extended family members and friends meeting your child; you probably weren’t the only ones excited about his or her arrival! If you have older children, pictures of them meeting their new sibling are a must.

Finalization hearing. If you brought a camera along to the court hearing that finalized your child’s adoption, this is a great opportunity to showcase those pictures. “This is when you officially became stuck with us, kid!”

Birth parent relationship. If you have an open adoption, you’ll want to continue to include birth parent memories. Maybe this is photos of visits after placement, or maybe it’s snippets of letters or emails. If your child has other biological siblings, try to make sure they’re included as well.

At this point, your book is probably completely full.  You now have a story that documents all phases of your child’s adoption, and all of the important people in his or her life. As you continue to take pictures and keep memories from his or her childhood, try to continue to include your child’s birth parents whenever possible. They don’t suddenly stop being important after placement; this is a relationship that will continue to enrich your child’s life as he or she grows. Remember, the more people that love your kid, the better!

28
Apr

5 Children’s Shows with Adoption Themes

Too often, family movies and TV shows have an unrealistic or negative depiction of adoption. There’s always some tragic orphan who is being raised by an exploitative villain! But these five kid-friendly movies and TV shows feature characters and experiences that young adoptees can actually relate to.

Image result for despicable me 2

Despicable Me 2

Although the first Despicable Me movie had an adoption storyline that’s far from being either accurate or positive, the sequel centers on the family’s post-adoption life. Gru, gentle “super-villain” and loving single dad, raises three adopted girls in an unconventional but nurturing home.

Image result for kung fu panda 2 mr ping

Kung Fu Panda 2

In the sequel to Kung Fu Panda, the movie’s main character, Po, talks about his adoption story with his father, a goose named Mr. Ping. Po forms a special relationship with his panda birth family while still regarding Mr. Ping as his father. Po discovers that both his birth and adoptive families have played an important role in his identity.

Related image

Jessie

This Disney sitcom focuses on a young nanny in New York City who cares for four children, three of whom are adopted. They celebrate the children’s “Gotcha” Days, recognize the birth cultures of the children who were adopted internationally, showcase the sibling relationships throughout the show, and establish the importance of being very open about a child’s adoption from the beginning.

Image result for earth to echo

Earth to Echo

A little alien tries to get back home with the help of a group of pre-teen friends. The movie centers on a character living with a loving foster family. He struggles with fears of abandonment, grief and loss — all common experiences for foster children. He longs for a sense of home, just like Echo the alien. But the message of the film is clear: despite negative past experiences, change can mean an end but also a beginning.

Image result for doc mcstuffins adoption

Doc McStuffins

Disney Junior consulted with adoption experts to write a multi-episode storyline about the McStuffins family’s adoption of a baby. The show progresses through the different emotions that children can feel when adding a new sibling to the family through adoption, all while using adoption-positive terms and realistic experiences that even young audiences can understand.

26
Apr

Mother’s Day & Father’s Day Photo Contests

Moms and dads; we want to see your favorite photos!

Open to both birth and adoptive mothers and fathers, winners of each photo contest will be announced on Mother’s and Father’s Day, respectively, and will be featured on our blog and in an issue of our newsletter American Adoption News!

Here’s how to enter:

  1. Email your favorite photo of you and your child(ren) that shows your favorite Mom or Dad adoption moment to editors@americanadoptions.com
  2. Title your email as “Photo Contest”
  3. In the body of the email, please include your name, your children’s name(s) and ages. Example: John Smith, Age 2 – Parents: Robert and Jane Smith

Submissions for the Mother’s Day Photo Contest are due by 5 p.m. CST on Sunday, May 7th.

Submissions for the Father’s Day Photo Contest are due by 5 p.m. CST on Sunday, June 11th.

The winners will be selected by YOU! We’ll be posting the photo entries (first names only) to our Facebook page once the submission deadline closes, where you, your friends and family will be able to vote for your favorite photo with a Like. (Comments and shares will not be counted, so please direct people to the original photo post to submit their Like vote.)

Voting for the Mother’s Day Photo Contest will close at 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, May 13th.

Winners will be announced the following day; Mother’s Day.

Voting for the Father’s Day Photo Contest will close at 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, June 17th. 

Winners will be announced the following day; Father’s Day.

We can’t wait to see your special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day adoption moments. Good luck!

Page 2 of 60