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Upcoming Fall Seminars and Picnics

By Ashleigh

Website PhotosAs the summer comes to a close, we are gearing up for our fall lineup of Adoption 101 Seminars and Adoptive Family Picnics. There are only a few left for the rest of the year, so don’t miss your chance to learn more about the adoption process or meet other adoptive families in your area!

Adoption 101 Seminars

Our Adoption 101 Seminars are for adoptive families entering the adoption process who are looking for general information to help them decide between domestic adoption and international or foster care adoption. An Adoptive Family Coordinator will also go over how much an adoption might cost and the advantages of using American Adoptions over another adoption professional. One of the highlights of our Adoption 101 Seminars is a Q&A session with an adoptive family and sometimes even an Adoptive Family Specialist. No matter where we travel across the country, we like to have this Q&A time for our families from folks who have been in their shoes!

Watch the video below for more information and then see our upcoming seminar dates for the fall!

Below is our fall lineup of Adoption 101 Seminars: 

  • Florida – Saturday, September 19th
  • Missouri – Saturday, September 26th
  • Pennsylvania – Saturday, October 3rd
  • Texas – Saturday, October 17th
  • Florida – Saturday, November 14th

Adoptive Family Picnics

Ever wanted to meet up with other families who have adopted children? Our Adoptive Family Picnics, now in their third year, have been a great opportunity for adoptive parents and adoptees alike to share advice and connect with each other. After our October Picnic in Pennsylvania, Adoptive Family Coordinator Mike Aguilar shared how inspiring it was to see everyone come together:

“It’s amazing to not only put faces to the names that we interact with but also to see how grateful they are for our services,” he said. “And it’s so great to watch them interact with other adoptive families and bond over their shared experiences.”

But the highlight for everyone in attendance is definitely the kids. Adoptive Family Specialist Kathie Hoffmann overheard one girl say, “Mommy, are all these other kids just like me?” Another little girl’s main goal was to make new friends who were adopted. And when she did meet another girl around her age, they were instant friends!

“It was one of the coolest things I’ve experienced in the six years I’ve been working here,” Kathie says.

The remaining picnic dates for this year are:

  • Doyelstown, Pennsylvania – Saturday, October 3rd
  • Tierra Verde, Florida – Saturday, October 3rd

Watch the video below to see more from our 2014 Adoptive Family Picnic in Kansas:

To find the most updated information on American Adoptions’ variety of seminars and events, subscribe to our newsletter or visit our seminar page!


Newborn Care Class for Adopting Parents – St. Louis, MO

By Ashleigh

IASheaderAttention adoptive families in the St. Louis area! Do you need help preparing for your little one? Looking for a newborn care class tailored to your needs? We’ve got just the class for you!

Infertility and Adoption Support is hosting a Newborn Care for Adopting Parents workshop specifically designed for adoptive families. Meet families in your area who are also going through the adoption process and learn the basics of taking care of baby – who could come any day! Learn about finding and choosing your child’s healthcare provider, the difference between rear and front-facing car seats, safe sleep practices, and cloth vs. disposable diapers.

The seminar will be held September 24, 2015 from 7 – 9 PM at the Missouri Baptist Medical Center, Auditorium 1.  Seminar is free and open to all families no matter where they are in the adoption process.

For more information, visit Infertility and Adoption Support’s website.


We Want to Hear Your Stories!

By Ashleigh

One of our favorite things here at American Adoptions is to hear adoption stories from our adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees. We love hearing all the wonderful things that make your adoption story unique and special and sharing those stories with our readers.

If you have an adoption story you want to share – whether you’ve written it yourself, whether you want us to help you write it or you want us to write it for you – we want to hear from you! Any story, big or small, we want them all!

Adoptive Families:

  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your relationship with your child(ren)’s birth mother
  • Tell us about your first night/week/month home with your little one
  • Share your advice for other adoptive parents

Birth Parents:

  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your struggles and triumphs with your adoption plan
  • Tell us how your coping with the adoption
  • Tell us about meeting your child’s adoptive parents
  • Share your advice for other birth parents


  • Tell us about your journey with American Adoptions
  • Tell us about your relationship with your adoptive and birth parents


Whether your story is short, long, happy, or emotional and no matter where you are in the adoption process, we want to hear about your experience. This is your chance to share your story with the adoption community and help people just like you. Email your story to and we’ll share it with our readers!


Back to School: Adoption Awareness in the Classroom

By Ashleigh

Back to School!As the new school year approaches parents scramble to prepare their children for what’s ahead. From buying pencils and paper, to backpacks and lunch boxes, to the coolest new outfits, they do everything they can to ensure their children are ready for a great year.

For adoptive parents, there is one more thing you can do to ensure your children flourish in the classroom: raise adoption awareness.

Back to school is a great time for you to educate your child’s teachers about positive ways to promote adoption and blended families in the school environment. By explaining your unique family to your child’s teachers, fellow parents, and even the students themselves, you can help create a learning atmosphere that is open and accepting.

Here are a few ways you can promote adoption awareness in the classroom:

  • Write a letter to your child’s teacher(s)
    Explain your family’s background and provide him or her with preferred adoption language to use in the classroom. This can help him or her to be aware of challenges or negativities that may arise and allow him or her to correct these situations.
  • Provide the teacher with adoption storybooks to read to the class
    Here are a few of our favorites.
  • Educate fellow parents
    Provide them with handouts that explain the beauty of adoption. These handouts can include advice on how other parents can talk to their own children about adoption and encourage them to be accepting of their adopted classmates.
  • Be aware of tricky assignments
    Many teachers assign projects that explore a child’s ancestry. These assignments can be difficult for adopted children whose backgrounds may be quite different from their classmates. Encourage your child’s teacher to present the class with several options for these assignments that are more inclusive. Options such as our Adoption Family Tree or our Assisted Reproductive Technology Services (ARTS) Family Tree are great alternatives to the “traditional” family tree assignment.
  • Stay involved
    Maintaining an active role in your child’s schooling will keep you up-to-date on any problems that may arise within the classroom and allow you to arm your child (or their teacher) with proper solutions.

Additional Back to School Resources:


Q & A with Social Work Support, Doreen Ball

By Ashleigh

Staff PhotosWe want to bring you, our readers, into the day-to-day of our agency by sharing more about the people you get to work with through each phase of the process! This month we’re featuring Doreen Ball, a member of our Social Work Support Team who has been with American Adoptions for three years. Read on to learn more about her job at American Adoptions!

What is your name and position?

Doreen Ball, Social Work Support

How long have you been working for American Adoptions?

3 years

What are your tasks at American Adoptions?

I assist the social workers with preparing files, entering information in the database, finding resources for the birth mothers such as counselors and prenatal care, and numerous other tasks.  I also assist with getting the babies on Medicaid to cover their hospital time before the adoptive family’s insurance takes effect, and I take care of medical bills for both the birth mothers and the babies, making sure that they are paid or correct insurance is reported on them.  I also help with our Resource center and phone support… just to name a few of my daily tasks.

What does a typical work day look like?

For me, there are no “typical” days.   Every day is a new challenge and is filled with calls to hospitals, tracking down paperwork, entering information in our database, opening Medicaid cases, paying bills, responding to emails from vendors and clients and too many numerous tasks to list!

How has adoption impacted your life personally?

My best friend in grade school was adopted, as well as her siblings, and one of our close family friends when I was a teenager adopted a little girl.  As I have grown older, I have seen the beauty of it in my extended family who have adopted and also close friends who placed a baby for adoption, and seeing their selfless gift made a big impact on me.

What is your favorite part of working for American Adoptions?

I love when a family that has been waiting a long time finally gets a placement and knowing that another family has been created.

What is your favorite time of year at American Adoptions?

This year I would say it was the Adoptive Family Picnic and getting to see so many families that had been created through adoption.

Do you have any favorite adoption memories?

I drove one of our birth mothers to her doctor’s appointments as she not had any prenatal care and was having a rough time.  We thought she had about a month to go and she delivered that very weekend.  I was able to go to court with her and the family and then go back for the hospital discharge of the baby to the family. It was an incredible experience to get to know her and appreciate the strength and bravery of our birth parents.

How many adoptions have you been a part of?

I have been a part of almost every adoption since I have worked here through my different positions as there are usually administrative tasks for each one that need to be done, so probably close to 600, take or leave a few.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your position?

Every time I have been able to close out a difficult billing case and save a family some money feels like a huge accomplishment!

Is there anything else you want to share?

I love working at American Adoptions and getting to work with a great staff,  awesome vendors, wonderful families and  brave birth parents to create forever families!


Worth the Wait: Andy, Alicia and Levi’s Adoption Story

By Ashleigh

Andy, Alicia and LeviOur Story:

In April 2014 we decided to shift our focus from fertility treatments to adoption. This transition was easy for us because we had considered adoption before we started trying to have a family on our own. When we found American Adoptions something about it just felt right for us, so we began the process of becoming an adoptive family. July 2014 our profile went “active” and our anticipation went through the roof! We were so excited to get “the call” that every time the phone rang for the first few weeks I instantly got butterflies thinking this could be it. As weeks passed I started to settle in and life got back to normal.

The hustle of summer faded and we started to accept that things may take a while to happen. October 30th was a Thursday and normally we would have both been gone at work, however, that day we spent with family after the loss of Andy’s Grandpa. We arrived home from the funeral around 2 in the afternoon and I noticed the answering machine was blinking. I said to Andy looks like another telemarketer had something to say! We were both standing in the kitchen as I hit play on the machine, instantly we both knew this was it. The lady introduced herself as Lara from American Adoptions. She said she was from the Arkansas office and was working with a birth mom from Arkansas that had selected us as the adoptive family for her baby and we should call her back when we could.

Read the rest of Andy, Alicia and Levi’s adoption story on our website!


Calling All Adoptive Dads: We Want Your Opinions!

By Ashleigh

Father and BabyIt seems that no matter where you look you can find advice for adoptive mothers, or advice from adoptive mothers; but what about the adoptive fathers? The nature of adoption involves a wide variety of emotions, which causes many people to focus on the women involved. However, men are just as involved (emotionally and physically) in adoption as their partners.

Adoptive fathers – whether veterans, newcomers, or those just beginning to research adoption – have just as many questions and concerns about the adoption process and life post-placement, and who better to answer these questions than fellow adoptive fathers?

Here at American Adoptions we want to give our adoptive dad’s a chance for their voices to be heard. We want to know your perspective on adoption! Help us share the adoptive dad’s perspective by emailing your answers to the following questions to

– What is your adoption story? 

– What were your biggest fears or concerns about the adoption process? How did you address those fears or concerns? 

– What was the hardest part about your adoption journey?

– What has been the most rewarding part of becoming a father through adoption? 

– What advice can you give to fellow adoptive dads about the adoption process and life with your adopted child? 

We will collect all answers and feature your responses in a future American Adoptions blog post to help adoptive fathers navigate the adoption process!

From an adoptive father’s perspective: Read what American Adoptions Founder Scott Mars’ father, Ted, has to say about his adoption experience as well as Executive Director Shawn Kane’s adoption story or watch his adoption video here.


2015 Adoption Tax Credit Info: How does it work?

By Ashleigh

Adoption Tax Credit 2015 - small teaserLast month, the IRS released updated figures for the 2015 Adoption Tax Credit. Below we have provided a brief explanation of the Adoption Tax Credit, the updated amount available to families for the 2015 tax season, and an infographic to help families understand how the Adoption Tax Credit works.

What is the Federal Adoption Tax Credit?

The Federal Adoption Tax Credit can help families offset the costs of qualifying adoption expenses, making adoption possible for some families who could not otherwise afford it. Families who adopted a child, or tried to adopt a child, and paid qualifying expenses may be eligible for the credit.

With the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 the Adoption Tax Credit became a permanent part of the tax code. However, the tax credit is not refundable, which means that only those individuals with tax liability (taxes owed) will benefit.

The maximum adoption tax credit for 2015 is $13,400. The Adoption Tax Credit limit is based on modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) and is recalculated each year based on current cost of living. For the 2015 Adoption Tax Credit, the maximum amount available will begin to phase out for families with MAGI above $201,010 and will be unavailable to families with incomes around $242,010 or above.

The infographic below further outlines how the federal adoption tax credit operates:

Adoption Tax Credit 2015 - smaller


For more information on the adoption tax credit and exclusion, read 2015 Adoption Tax Credit or visit American Adoptions recommends that you contact a local accountant or qualified tax professional for more specific information for your family.

Visit our Financing on Adoption section for other ideas for paying for adoption, or read how American Adoptions helps you adopt within your budget. You can also speak with an Adoption Specialist at 1-800-ADOPTION with any questions about cost and financing.


Happy 4th of July from American Adoptions!

By Ashleigh

We hope each of you is celebrating Independence Day today with the ones you love. Have a happy 4th of July, from the entire American Adoptions family! Have fun and stay safe!

4th of July


Love at First Sight Contest Winners – As Voted by You

By Ashleigh

The votes are in and these are your top three winners!

Katie and her son Kevin (born 2014)

Katie and Kevin

Derek and Tiffany meet their daughter Larkyn (born 2014)

Larkyn, Derek & Tiffany - 2014

Peyton meets little brother Maddux (born 2015)

Maddux with Big Sister Peyton - 2015

To view the other entries in the contest, visit our Facebook page.

Thanks so much to everyone who voted! And thanks to those of you who shared your first family photos with us this year! It’s so fun to see how the American Adoptions Family grows and expands each year, and judging by the Facebook likes and comments, these American Adoptions kids have great support and love from their friends and family!

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