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For 10th anniversary, “Juno” returns for an L.A. live reading

One of the most popular portrayals of adoption in recent pop culture came in 2007 with the film “Juno.” Now, ten years later, the two lead actresses will reprise their roles with an all-female cast.

Ellen Page, who played quirky teenager Juno, and Jennifer Garner, who played adoptive mother Vanessa, will lead the live reading of the movie on April 8 in Los Angeles. Writer and director Jason Reitman is producing the event as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood as part of his “Live Read” series.

“Juno” follows a 16-year-old girl who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant and decides to place her child for adoption with couple Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Garner). It’s a mostly realistic representation of the adoption process, portraying Juno’s bond with the adoptive parents, her complicated relationship with the baby’s birth father (Michael Cera) and the support she receives from her family and friends.

It’s unclear what (if anything) the live reading will change about the plot, given that it’s an all-female cast. However, it’s probably safe to assume that the reading will retain the comedic but honest portrayal of adoption that made so many fall in love with the movie in the first place.

Follow Reitman on Twitter to find out who else will be in the show’s cast, as he’ll announce the other actresses in the days leading up to the show.


12 Adoption Myths Everyone Is Sick Of

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

Here’s the truth behind twelve common adoption myths:

1. “I can’t adopt because…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. “Adopting transracially is too socially complicated.”

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

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

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

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

4. “Adoptions occur locally.”

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

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

5. “Most birth mothers are teenagers.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. “It takes years to adopt.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No way.

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

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

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

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

Once again; no way.

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

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

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

Of course there are!

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

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


10 St. Patrick’s Day Recipes to Try with Little Ones

Happy St. Patty’s day! This holiday, for many anyway, tends to involve more adult-friendly activities. (Read: green beer, green cocktails, etc.) But that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of ways to celebrate with your kids, too.

If you’re anything like us, you probably enjoy celebrating holidays with special variations of our favorite thing — food. With that in mind, then, we’ve gone through and selected some of the tastiest, kid-friendly, St. Patrick’s-themed dishes for you to try with your little ones.

1.Irish beef stew. While most Irish stews tend to include lamb, this may be a safer bet for picky eaters. This recipe does include alcohol, but it should cook off enough to be safe for kids to consume. The author has some good suggestions in the comments if you’re worried about including alcohol for any reason.

2. DIY pot of gold. This one really involves no culinary skills at all, unless you consider opening a pack of Rolo candies to be a culinary skill.

3. Rainbow Jello mold. If you’re capable of making Jello, you’ll be equipped to make this rainbow masterpiece. It will, however, be something of a time commitment. If you want your kids to be able to eat this one on St. Patrick’s Day, it might work better to do a little work on this one the night before.

4. S’more leprechaun hats. These might be the cutest item on the list, although it’s a pretty close call. With chocolate-coated fudge stripe cookies and marshmallows, it requires fairly few materials, and your kids should be able to help you construct the hats.

5. Golden Oreo coins. Take some Oreos. Spray edible gold paint on them. Done.

6. Shamrock pretzels. Pretzels and candy — you can’t go wrong here. If you’re a perfectionist, this recipe may not be for you. These pretzels need to be placed pretty accurately so the candy coating will harden and bond them together. It might be difficult for smaller fingers, but it’s sure to be a good time.

7. Twizzler rainbows. Again, an option that requires no culinary skills. Throw in some Rolos as gold, and these will make perfect treats for your kids to pass out to friends or classmates.

8. Lucky Charms pancakes. Can’t decide between green pancakes or Lucky Charms? Easy. Do both.

9. Shamrock shakes. You could, of course, hit up the McDonald’s drive thru for these, but where’s the fun in that? Making festive milkshakes should be relatively easy, and it’s a memory your kids will have forever.

10. Irish potato soup. This is pretty much just your classic potato soup to follow up your day of sweet treats. But hey, add some green food coloring if you’d like it to be more festive!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from American Adoptions!


9 Things Guaranteed to Make an Adoptee Roll Their Eyes

We get it. You’re curious. You don’t know any better. That’s ok, because here’s a great opportunity for you to learn about adoption.

But if you want your ignorance to show, here are nine surefire ways to make us roll our eyes hard enough to launch our eyeballs into orbit:

1. “Do you know who your real parents are?”

Uh… yes, that’d be my parents, thanks.

2. “Why didn’t your parents want you?”

We’re not rejects. Our birth parents chose adoption because they wanted the best life for us.

3. “So where are you really from?”

People will often assume you were adopted from somewhere outside the U.S. Then they get sorta disappointed when you explain that you’re from Kansas or whatever. This happens a lot more frequently for transracial adoptees, which is 10,000% NOT OK.

4. “Your brother/sister/cousin/whoever is so hot; it’s ok if you think so, too, since you’re not actually related.”


Do you even hear what you’re saying right now?

5. “What was it like in the orphanage?”

Orphanages in the U.S. aren’t a thing anymore. Tell me: what was it like in your mom’s uterus?

6. “Have you ever tried to find your parents?”

My parents are probably home right now, getting ready for bed at 8 p.m.

But most domestic adoptions these days are open. So I could probably call up my birth parents right now if I really wanted to and ask them where they’re at this moment, I guess.

7. “Wait, seriously? You’re adopted? Haha you’re messing with me!”

Nope, but thanks for making me feel like a punchline.

8. “Oh, wow. That was so great of your parents to adopt you.”

I’m not some puppy that needed saving, alright? Adoptees aren’t moral superiority trophies.

9. “Ohhh, you were adopted? I’m sorry.” *insert pitying look here*

Why? I’m sure not sorry about it.


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.


Happy National Social Work Month 2017!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


12 Children’s Books on Adoption

March 2nd is Read Across America Day!

Experts agree that you should tell your children the story of their adoption early and often. Reading these 12 books to your child can be the perfect way to incorporate domestic, international, transracial, or foster care adoption as a part of their daily life, and can give them characters to relate to in a positive way.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born – Jamie Lee Curtis

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A little girl asks her parents to retell the story of her adoption and the night she was born.

“Tell me again about the night I was born… Tell me again how you would adopt me and be my parents… Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms…”

The Mulberry Bird: An Adoption Story – Anne Braff Brodzinsky

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A Mother Bird is unable to care for her baby, so she creates an adoption plan to provide him with the future she wants him to have.

This classic picture book helps explain the difficult choice that birth mothers face and how families can be united through adoption out of these circumstances.

I Don’t Have Your Eyes – Carrie A. Kitze

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This picture book reminds children that while families may not always look alike, our physical differences make us unique and the bonds of family are what matter most.

“I don’t have your eyes… but I have your way of looking at things… I don’t look like you on the outside… but I look inside and in our hearts we are the same.”

A Mama for Owen – Marion Dane Bauer

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When Owen the baby hippo’s mama is lost in a tragic tsunami, he becomes best friends with Mzee the tortoise, who becomes his new “mama.” A new family begins after a painful loss.

Elliot – Julie Pearson

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A young rabbit in the foster care system goes through difficult and complex emotions, even though he knows his foster families love him very much. A social worker comes to help Elliot understand that he’ll never be able to go back to his old home and helps his adoptive parents to understand what Elliot has been through.

We Belong Together: A Book About Adoption and Families – Todd Parr
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“There are lots of different ways to make a family. It just takes love. Share your home, and share your heart.”

This sweet little picture book illustrates all the reasons why your family belongs together through simple language and bright colors, but it still expresses an important reminder to adoptees and their parents.

My Family is Forever – Nancy Carlson

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A young Asian adoptee tells the story of her family’s international adoption journey and the differences that can exist within a family. This illustrated book reminds readers that families can be created through birth or through adoption; families become families through lots of different ways.

Pablo’s Tree – Pat Mora

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Every year since Pablo’s adoption at birth, his Abuelito decorates a special tree for Pablo’s birthday. “Pablo’s Tree” is a bilingual story that shows just how many loving relationships can be built through adoption within a family.

Home at Last – Vera B. Williams

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When Lester is adopted by his new daddies and settles into his new home with the family dog, he’s happy and loved. But at night, his adoption worries and fears creep up and Lester can’t sleep. Even though his daddies love him, Lester still gets anxious at night due to his past experiences.

With the help of his adoptive family (and especially his dog) Lester finally feels at home.

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairy Tale – Grace Lin

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Based on the Chinese proverb that “an invisible, unbreakable red thread connects all who are destined to be together,” The Red Thread tells the tale of a Caucasian King and Queen who feel a pain in their hearts from something that is missing. The couple is able to follow the red thread wrapped around each of their hearts across the ocean to a distant land where they find their Asian baby girl waiting for them at the other end.

Lucy’s Family Tree – Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Most children are tasked with creating a family tree for school at some point. This poses a frustrating dilemma for adoptees, whose family trees don’t always fit the typical format. The main character of this book, an adoptee named Lucy, also feels the same anxiety that this assignment brings.

But Lucy finds that most peoples’ family trees don’t fit into just one standard type and that family trees should celebrate all different kinds of families: birth families, adoptive families, and everything in between.

I Wished for You – Marianne R. Richmond

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“’Mama,’ said Barley. ‘Tell me again how I’m your wish come true.’”

A Mama bear and her little cub talk about his adoption story, the questions that adopted children have, and how they became a family.


Your Stories of “The Call”

We sent out a request to our adoptive parent social media followers, asking for your stories about the moment when you got “The Call”- that phone call from your American Adoptions specialist, informing you that you were about to become parents through adoption.

You delivered! Here are your stories:

(*Editor’s Note- Some stories have been edited for grammar or clarity.)

“Hi, American Adoptions!

We love you guys so much- shout out to Angie and Justin!!!!

October of 2011, we were in the process of giving our profile a re-vamp. I was very busy in meetings and my husband did a lot of local travel.  Apparently, American Adoptions called me 5 or 6 times, and I left my cell phone on my desk, so they couldn’t get ahold of me.  They reached my husband who was in the car and he pulled over to the side of the road he was in such disbelief.  He then called me 5 or 6 more times, so I came back to 10 missed calls.  I finally called my husband back, and he screamed at me, ‘They called, there’s a match for us, they called!’  We both rushed home to talk to Angie, made an emergency trip to Target because [the expectant mom’s] due date was 2 days later. Our baby boy was born 2 weeks later.  He is a happy, loving, amazingly awesome 5 year old now.

The second call- we called you!  Our first’s birthmother texted us that she was pregnant again and asked us if we would parent Cayden’s sibling.  Of course this was a dream come true because we just started all our paperwork to begin a search for number 2 with American Adoptions again.

Our little Kyler was born 6.5 months later and we are so extremely blessed to have biologic siblings.   He is now 2.5 years old and so funny, affectionate and as amazing as his brother.

As always, all our best to you,

Melissa, Lee, Cayden, Kyler and Millie.”

Jean and Kevin also adopted two sons through American Adoptions. Here’s how they heard the news:


On Wednesday, June 8, my Mother’s birthday, I (Jean) was in New York.  I planned a surprise visit for my mom while Kevin was away for work in New Mexico, doing a conference presentation.  My mom and I were shopping at Kohl’s when I heard that I had a voice mail on my phone.  I saw it was from American Adoptions and when I listened, heard that it was about a match!  I found my mom, told her, and went outside to call our adoption specialist. I was so excited and flustered that I couldn’t figure out where the car was so I found a patch of grass in the parking lot and looked for a piece of paper to take notes.  All I had was a train ticket stub so on that stub I prepared to take notes about our son-to-be.  I found out that our son Kyle’s birth mom chose us to be his parents, was scheduled to be induced in Nebraska the following Tuesday, and wanted me in the delivery room.  I cried when I heard this, called Kevin about the news and made one more stopping shop with my mom, buying baby clothes, before heading to my parent’s home.  Over the next few days there was a whirlwind of activity, mostly adoption paperwork, trying to find a place to stay, and organizing our lives since due to the legal processes involved we would need to be away from our home for 3 weeks to a month (turned out to be 6 weeks)! Kyle’s birth mother actually was not induced so we arrived in plenty of time to get settled, explore the area, and be present for his birth! We fell in love immediately with our beautiful boy.


In the afternoon on April 24 as our son Kyle was returning from preschool, we received an email from our adoption specialist presenting us with information about an expectant mother and asking us if we wanted to be considered as the baby’s, whose gender was unknown, parents. Our second son, Christian’s birth mother asked American Adoptions to choose parents for her baby. Kevin and I read the email and felt, ‘Yes, this is IT, this is our child!’ We were thrilled knowing we would be parents again soon and anticipated the journey to and stay in South Dakota. We reached our adoption specialist and told her that we wanted to accept the match. The match would become official soon after when Christian’s birth mother reviewed our profile and felt that the agency picked a wonderful family for her baby. Christian ended up being born early, on June 8, my mom’s birthday and the day we got “The Call” about Kyle. We traveled across the country arriving the day after his birth. We were filled with so much love and joy when he was placed in our arms.”

“I was at a conference sitting in the front row during the keynote speaker. I screamed, “OH my God!” and ran out of the room (in front of about 500 people). I was 3 hours from home and drove as fast as I could when about an hour and a half later I realized I was going the WRONG direction! After a tearful conversation with our specialist and my husband, I got my head on straight, went the right direction, and still made it in time to jump on a plane and make the birth.” -Jenna

“It seems crude but it isn’t a joke. I was in the middle of performing a PAP smear on one of my patients! My wonderful patient knew I was waiting and she heard my phone ring in my pocket and sat straight up and said, ‘Answer that!!!’ She tells me to this day that was the best PAP she has ever gotten! That will be 9 years ago in March.” -Cammy

“[I was] in our kitchen with my hubby! It was on our answering machine so we both heard it at the same time. One of the best moments of my life. It has been over 2 years since that day and the message still lives in our machine!” -Alicia

“I was at work as acting Chief and preparing for a major presentation the next day when I got the call. My husband was on the golf course and didn’t have any reception. There was major rushing that day, because we flew out the next day and got our one in a million!” -Sara

“We were at work; I had just started my new job. It was only my second day. Two hours in, I dropped everything and drove 16 hrs to meet our sweet boy. Almost 4 years ago!” -Sharon

“I got the call about the birth when I was on a shuttle at work (going from the parking lot to the front door). The social worker called and said, ‘Your son is here, come see him!’ I squealed and announced to the whole shuttle bus that my son had just been born and that I was a mommy again! I got a lot of confused stares (they were wondering how I was a mom again if I was standing in front of them). I took the shuttle right back to my car, called everyone I knew and my hubby and I caught a plane to meet our son!” -Lisa

“I was at work in a meeting and had just prayed and told God I was losing hope and really needed this to happen. We had just hit our Year mark. I walked out of the meeting and had the message. 3 years later I still have it on my phone.” -Krista

“[I was] washing dishes from lunch on Labor Day when we got the call that we were chosen and our daughter was born that morning! Best phone call ever!” -Jennifer

“I was at work. I ran into a conference room and wrote down everything she said as fast as I could. Most of it didn’t make sense later. I called my husband who had just gotten off work and he came by. We shared the biggest hug and one of my co-workers got a picture of it. The cool thing about that day was that it was the day before the due date of our previous match that disrupted.” -Kellie

“[I was] working in a classroom full of 6th graders! I ran out the door without telling my co-teacher (also in the room) and jumped up and down in the hallway and cried! I had to keep it a secret from my students for about 2 weeks. Hardest secret to keep ever! Our son was born about 3 weeks after that call.” -Colleen

“I remember sitting at the restaurant the night of Valentine’s Day, as a couple without kids, discussing how much we were looking forward to a match… the next day, the phone rang at work… the caller ID stated ‘American Adoptions.’  I screamed and cried…” -Julie

“My husband and I had just pulled up to a gas station and as he was getting out my phone rang. He just sat back down because he could tell it was ‘The Call.’ Best day ever.” -Heather

“For our first adoption, I got the call right as I walked in the door from work. I was so shocked. I could hardly focus on what our social worker was saying. I got to tell Hubby the news which was so special. For our second, I had secretly hoped he would get the call. As it worked out, I was at a craft fair and didn’t hear the phone because it was noisy and so they called Hubby. I checked my phone an hour later and my husband had called 20 times. I heard him say, ‘They have a baby for us!’ I sat down and cried right there on a picnic bench in the center of a busy, loud crowd.” -Jessica

“We missed the call and didn’t notice that my cell phone had a VM. I was at work 2 days later when American Adoptions called and asked if I had gotten the VM from 2 days earlier!!! I said no, so they told me about the match!! I was so excited I started jumping up and down!! As soon as I got of the phone I checked my VM. Yup. I had a VM about a match! I called my husband and he was in shock. Our son was born 2.5 weeks later!” -Jennifer

“We were asleep! They called, and it took us a second to register what was happening!” -Rachel

“[I was] in the shower!” -Ashley

“We got The Call two years ago today!!” -Samantha

“I was at my knitting club, knitting a baby blanket!” -Brenda

Thanks to everyone who shared their stories about how their family began! We love hearing from you.

Share your story about the moment when you received “The Call” in the comments!


6 Times When Adoption Sucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Paperwork

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

2. Cost

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

3. Waiting

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

4. Disruptions

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

5. Ignorance

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

6. Misrepresentation

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

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

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

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

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


Reconnecting with Adoption Stories, as told by “This Is Us”

At one point or another, adoptees will become curious about their history, including how they came to be adopted and what their birth parents are like. Open adoptions like those encouraged by American Adoptions makes answering their questions easier than ever — but figuring out how to do so can be challenging.

For adoptees, knowing where they came from can play an integral role in developing their sense of identity. Whether it involves meeting their birth parents or simply learning about their adoption process, reconnecting with adoption stories is a life-changing opportunity.

We saw this process in last night’s episode of “This is Us” (spoilers ahead). Randall, a black adopted child, travels to Memphis, Tennessee (his birth father’s hometown) to learn more about his birth family history. His terminally ill birth father accompanies Randall, showing him the important places that shaped his father’s youth and reconnecting with long-lost family members before his father’s death at the end of the episode.

Their journey is a great example of how adoptees can learn more about their adoption story and birth family in a positive manner. For many adoptees, being able to meet their extended birth family and see where they came from plays a pivotal role in their self-identity as an adoptee.

So, how can you create a positive experience for adoptees like Randall who wish to learn more about their history? Each adoption is unique, and what works for some adoptees and adoptive parents may not work for others. However, if you’re ready to begin the reconnection process, here are some tips to successfully do so:

If the Adoptee is a Child

It’s normal for children to start asking questions about their adoption when they’re younger; particularly if they have little to no openness in their adoption. However, some birth parents and adoptive parents may not think that a reconnection with birth family is appropriate at a young age.

If this is the case, you still have the opportunity for an adoptee to learn more about their adoption story — specifically, the process their parents went through.

To make an adoption story more tangible, adoptive parents and adopted children can visit the adoption agency where it all started. Adopted children may enjoy speaking with their parents’ adoption specialist to learn more about their adoption in an age-appropriate manner (many social workers are familiar with how to answer these kinds of questions from a child). Adoptive parents may also take their child to the hospital where they were born and the courthouse where the adoption was finalized. Because parents likely have photos from when the adoption was finalized, it can be fun to recreate those photos, as they’ll be something an adoptee will enjoy looking back on when they’re older.

For children adopted internationally, visiting these places may be difficult. Instead, to help adoptees reconnect with their culture and history, adoptive parents may want to look into cultural camps specifically designed for international adoptees. These camps educate adoptees about their native country and culture while they’re surrounded by adopted children just like them. Check out some international adoption camps here. If it’s a possibility, visiting their native country can be very informative for adopted children.

If the Adoptee is Ready to Meet their Birth Family

When an adoptee, adoptive parents and birth parents deem it appropriate (and the adoptee is old enough), they may take steps to reconnect the adoptee with their birth family. Like Randall and William do in “This is Us,” adoptees can visit their birth parent’s hometown and see the places that shaped their parents’ lives. While many adoptive parents are interested in accompanying their child on this journey, whether or not they go with their child will depend on their individual situation and their child’s wishes.

For adoptees, seeing their birth parents’ history and meeting relatives can be life-changing. The process can be healing for both adoptees and birth parents, so if possible, it’s highly recommended.

It’s important to recognize, however, that different birth family relatives will respond to the adoption in different ways. In “This is Us,” William has to reconcile with his own family before Randall can get to know them — which, for an excited adoptee, can be a tough waiting period. Many birth relatives will be overjoyed to meet the adopted child but, depending on the adoption situation and how well they’re prepared for the reunion, things may not go as planned. If possible, it’s best to prepare all members of the birth family for the reunion.

For adoptive families and adoptees who are interested in reconnecting with their birth family, the documentary “Closure” is a great story of how one adoptee found her birth family and got to know them. It also shows how different birth family members may react to a reunion. You can watch the documentary on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and IndieFlix.

If the Birth Parent isn’t in the Picture

Sometimes when an adoptee is ready to reconnect with their birth family, it’s not a possibility. Birth parents may not be prepared to make that reconnection, their location may be unknown or they may not be alive anymore. It can be hard for a child to accept this news, especially if they’re excited about meeting their birth family.

One way they can handle this is by writing letters to their birth parents and birth family detailing their feelings and asking any questions they have. They may also want to start a journal they can look back on when they finally are able to reconnect with their birth parents.

On the same note, adoptive parents may want to utilize any pictures or letters they already have from their child’s birth parents, as this gives their child a different way to form a connection with their birth parents. Adoptive parents should request these letters and pictures from the beginning of their open adoption so they have materials in case an adopted child wants answers before a birth parent is ready.

If the Reunion is Unexpected

Sometimes, a birth parent who previously wanted no contact will reach out to their adopted child unexpectedly. If a birth parent is terminally ill, like William in “This is Us,” they may feel a sense of urgency to tell their child about their history before it’s too late.

How you proceed with this kind of reunion will depend on many factors: the adoptee’s age, whether they’re prepared for the reunion, why the birth parent is reaching out, etc. As with any reunion, adoptive parents and adoptees will need to consider what will happen if the birth parent disappears from their life again (whether due to death or lack of commitment) after their child bonds with them. It’s a difficult situation, so make sure you reach out to your adoption specialist for advice.

If the adopted child is not quite ready for a reunion, adoptive parents may suggest the birth parent write letters and gather pictures for the child. That way, the child can view them whenever he or she is ready, even if the birth parent is no longer around at that time.

No matter how they proceed, reunions with birth parents and reconnecting with adoption stories can be difficult — but many times are well worth the challenges. As Randall says about reconnecting with his birth father: “He changed me. I love him.”

If you’re wondering how to proceed with an adoption reunion (whether you’re a birth parent, adoptive parent or adoptee), please reach out to your adoption specialist, family and friends to discuss your feelings and options. Our professionals at American Adoptions can always help if you call us at 1-800-ADOPTION.

Follow the links to learn more about Adoption Searches and Adoption Reunions.

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