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Q & A with an Adoption Specialist – When to Travel

By Annie

Staff PhotosHello, my name is Megan Kautio, and I am the Assistant Executive Director of American Adoptions. I have worked with many birth mothers and adoptive families in my time here at American Adoptions and love being able to watch families form through adoption.

Q. Why is it important for an adoptive family to wait to travel until their Birth Parent Specialist or Adoptive Family Specialist tells them it’s ok? 

A. With the anticipation that surrounds the birth of the baby, it is inevitable that adoptive parents will feel anxious about travel arrangements. You’ll probably feel a range of emotions, from pure excitement that the day is finally here/close, to worry about not making it in time for the birth and possibly upsetting the birth parents, to concern about airfare and travel costs that seem higher for last-minute travel plans than those arranged in advance. It is easy to see why this part of the adoption journey is one that causes additional stress.

When it comes to this part of the process, it is crucial that families listen to their Specialists’ advice on what to do. The adoptive family’s Adoption Specialists will tell them when they should travel based on several factors: the birth mother’s hospital plan, when she wants the family to arrive, whether she is being induced or having a spontaneous delivery, etc.

If a birth mother is being induced and has a set date for delivery, it is much easier for the Specialist, birth mother and adoptive family to plan travel in advance. However, if the birth mother does not have a scheduled induction or cesarean section set, then the family should not plan to travel until she is in labor. Many families have decided to travel to the birth mother’s state based solely on her due date only to find themselves sitting in a hotel far away from home for two weeks or more before the baby finally arrives. Then, after the baby is here, the family has to wait another two weeks for ICPC and other legalities to be completed. Needless to say, this can cause undue stress as the family is away from home for longer than anticipated and is spending more money than expected. It is also important that a family always talk about their travel plans with their Specialist, just in case a birth mother experiences false labor contractions. We don’t want a family to travel on a false alarm, so your Adoption Specialists will verify that a birth mother is truly in labor before telling a family to go.

When the time comes and an Adoption Specialist tells the adoptive family to travel, it is important that they do not delay unnecessarily. If the Specialist feels that the adoptive family needs to travel ASAP, then they need to heed this advice, as it is likely important to the birth parents that the family arrive as soon as possible. American Adoptions’ policy is that families must travel (and hopefully arrive) within 24 hours of learning their birth mother is in labor.

Don’t worry, we go over this information with each family prior to the birth of the baby. Your Specialist will prepare you for travel and the entire hospital experience. If you have any questions, discuss them with your Specialist.


Families Always Needed for Available Situations

By Annie

Although American Adoptions works with families of all types, budgets, etc., there are times where our agency is unable to match a prospective birth mother with one of our current active families.

The reasons for this are varied and can be due to the living expenses needs of the birth mother, the social or medical history of the birth parents or even because the birth parents are seeking a family meeting a specific criteria. Please watch the video below to learn more about these adoption situations.

When our agency is unable to match a birth mother with one of our active families, we reach out to adoptive families via our Available Situations webpage.

American Adoptions urges all adoptive families currently working with our agency to periodically check the Available Situations page and contact our agency if they would like their profile to be shown for a specific situation. Our Available Situations are an excellent opportunity for waiting families.

In order to be considered for an Available Situation, all families must have a current, approved home study and some form of profile we can show to the birth mother. Click here to view our Available Situations.


Happy 4th of July!

By Annie

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! Life and Liberty


Kansas City Adoptive Family Picnic

By Annie

On June 21st, a number of American Adoptions adoptive families in Kansas City and across the Midwest came together to celebrate adoption and hang out at a picnic hosted by American Adoptions. In total, there were more than 40 families at all stages of the adoption process present!

KC Picnic 2014

Members of our staff attended and were able to catch up with families they helped to create. Meanwhile, adoptive parents could share parenting advice and adoption stories while the kids played together – Princess Elsa was even a special guest!

It was a great gathering for everyone, and we look forward to making this an annual event. Just look at those happy kids and parents!

We still have two more adoptive family picnics coming up:

  • Doylestown, Pennsylvania – Sunday, September 21st 
  • Orlando, Florida – Saturday, November 15th

To learn about these and other American Adoptions events, visit the seminar page on our website!


Attention: Waiting Adoptive Families

By Annie

American Adoptions currently needs families who are open to adopting children of full African American heritage. We hope to reach more families who are open to adopting children of this race, thereby providing potential birth mothers with more profiles to consider.

Recently, we needed to gather profiles to show to a potential birth mother who is very committed to her adoption decision and is due to give birth to an African American baby boy. This woman has received prenatal care and has no known substance usage. Unfortunately, we were only able to show her a limited number of family profiles. Luckily, she has found and selected a family that she likes and will be able to move forward with the couple, but this has been a common challenge lately for women having a child of full African American heritage.

If you are considering adopting a child of African American heritage and have not yet chosen a placing agency please call us at 1-800-ADOPTION.

If you are currently working on activating with American Adoptions and are getting closer to activation, please contact your Adoptive Family Specialist to let her know how close you are to activation. We may still be able to consider you for an adoption opportunity if you can become active before the birth mother’s due date. If you have yet to complete your profile, please work to do so ASAP so that you might be considered.

We do not wish to push families to open up to adopting a child of another race if they are not comfortable doing so. But if you are an active family with our agency and would like to open your APQ up to accept children of African American heritage, please contact your Adoptive Family Specialist to assist you. Your home study would need to approve you to adopt a child of this race, as well.

If you have any questions regarding your APQ or our adoption programs, please contact your Adoptive Family Specialist or visit our Domestic Adoption Programs page.


Happy Father’s Day Weekend!

By Annie

American Adoptions wishes you and yours a happy Father’s Day weekend! We want to thank you for choosing adoption and for making a difference in a child’s life. This quote really sums up what it’s all about! We hope you all have the chance to enjoy some quality time and all the little things with the ones you love this weekend.


And for those of you mothers and kids out there looking for a last-minute Father’s Day gift, we’ve got just the thing: a printable coupon good for a free bear hug or sloppy kiss!

Father's Day

You can download these printable coupons here!

If you’re waiting to adopt and struggling to be cheery this weekend, revisit our post on Staying Upbeat While Waiting to Become a Mother (or Father).

From the American Adoptions family to yours, happy Father’s Day to all the men out there who make a difference in our lives!


Love at First Sight Photo Contest

By Annie

It’s time for another photo contest, and we’re really excited about this one!

For our first Love at First Sight Photo Contest, please send us the first photo you took with your child together as a family. If you have a more open relationship with your child’s birth parents and have a special photo with them, we’d love to see that too!

Photo submissions are due Monday, June 23rd!

Winners will be selected by YOU! We’ll be posting the photos (with first names and ages only) to our Facebook page, where we encourage you and your friends and family to vote for your favorite photos with a like! (Comments will not count.)

Voting will close on Thursday, July 3rd at 5 PM CST, and winners will be announced then. Winners will also appear on our blog and in an issue of our newsletter American Adoptions News!

To submit your photo, simply follow these easy steps:

  • Email your favorite photo of your child (or children) to
  • In the email message body, include your name, your children’s name(s) and their ages. Example: John Smith, Age 2 – Parents: Robert and Jane Smith

Can’t wait to see your photos!


Don’t Fry Day 2014

By Annie

Dont_Fry_day_Official_Logo-TMAs the hot summer temperatures climb, families are taking advantage of the warm weather to enjoy lazy afternoons at the pool, fun-filled family camping trips, frolics at the park and other outdoor adventures. However, parents should also take heed of a danger lurking above.

To kick off summer, today is designated “Don’t Fry Day” by the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention! The day, scheduled on the Friday before Memorial Day hopes to help reduce rising rates of skin cancer from overexposure to the UV rays. The council encourages sun safety awareness and reminds everyone to protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors. Because no single step can fully protect you and your family from overexposure to UV radiation, follow as many of the following tips as possible:

  • Do Not Burn or Tan
  • Seek Shade
  • Wear Sun-Protective Clothing
  • Generously Apply Sunscreen
  • Use Extra Caution Near Water, Snow, and Sand
  • Get Vitamin D Safely

The summer sun can pose an especial risk to babies and young children. Medical professionals urge parents to pay careful attention to sun safety to protect their family now from sunburns and skin cancer later in life. The American Academy of Pediatrics offers these tips to protect children from the sun:

  • Keep babies younger than 6 months out of direct sunlight. Find shade under a tree, umbrella or the stroller canopy.
  • When possible, dress yourself and your kids in cool, comfortable clothing that covers the body, like lightweight cotton pants, long-sleeved shirts and hats.
  • Select clothes made of a tight weave – they protect better than clothes with a looser weave. If you’re not sure how tight a fabric’s weave is, hold it up to see how much light shines through. The less light, the better.
  • Wear a hat or cap with a brim than faces forward to shield the face.
  • Limit your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Wear sunglasses with at least 99 percent UV protection (look for child-sized sunglasses with UV protection for your child).
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Set a good example. You can be the best teacher by practicing sun protection yourself. Teach all members of your family how to protect their skin and eyes.

To learn more about summer sun safety, visit


Happy Mother’s Day Weekend!

By Annie

Mother's Day and Birth Mother's DayAmerican Adoptions wishes you and yours a Happy Mother’s Day Weekend! Whether you’re a birth mother, adoptive mother, first mother, forever mother or expectant mother – waiting to adopt or pregnant – we want to thank you for considering and choosing adoption and impacting the life of a child.

It’s hard to put into words what it’s like to be a mother, and it’s all the more difficult to explain through the beautifully complicated bonds of adoption. But we think the quote below does a good job:

Together We are Motherhood Quote Smaller

The following links are full of information for women, no matter where they are in their adoption journey:

Thank you for letting us share in your adoption journeys, and enjoy this holiday weekend!



Staying Upbeat While Waiting to Become a Mother

By Annie

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

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

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

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

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

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