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23
Sep

What is Semi-Open Adoption?

By Ashleigh

Pictures and LettersSo you’ve heard of open adoption and you’ve heard of closed adoption, right? But have you heard of semi-open adoption?

Semi-open adoption is a fairly new idea, only having really taken off in the last couple decades. It refers to those adoptions where contact is exchanged between birth mothers and adoptive families, but identifying information remains private. Ok, that makes sense, but how does it work?

Well, in these adoptions, interactions between birth parents and adoptive families are usually mediated by a third party (ie. The adoption agency). Contact will generally be in the form of emails, phone calls and pictures and letters, all mediated by the agency. To keep identities private adoptive families will first send their photos/letters to the agency, which will then forward them on to the birth parents.

Semi-open adoptions are generally sought by adoptive families and birth parents who would prefer to maintain their privacy throughout the adoption journey. Birth parents may choose this type of adoption with the hopes that less intimate contact with their child and the adoptive parents will help them heal after placement. Adoptive families may choose this type of adoption as a way to maintain their child’s connection with his or her birth family while also protecting their privacy.

At American Adoptions, we believe that contact between birth families and adoptive families is vitally important in having a successful adoption. For this reason, we require all of our adoptive families to be willing complete a semi-open adoption.

Birth parents, adoptive parents and adopted children can all benefit from being involved in a semi-open adoption.

Birth Parents

For birth parents, a semi-open adoption allows them to see their child grow from afar. Knowing that their child is happy and healthy with their adoptive family can be a great source of healing for many birth parents.

Adopted Children

Generally, adopted children will become curious about their history at some point or another. When they have continuing communication with their birth parents they can ask questions about their history. Having this information helps adopted children to form a better sense of self and have more self-confidence as they get older.

Adoptive Parents

Maintaining contact with the birth family gives adoptive families the opportunity to ask about any medical questions that may arrive. While American Adoptions does provide adoptive families with the medical history of the birth parents, this may not always include every little detail. Should something like a food allergy or illness arise, adoptive families can ask birth parents whether there is a history of that particular allergy or illness within their family.

One important thing to remember about semi-open adoption is that openness between adoptive parents and birth parents will often change over time. As time passes and a relationship forms, you might find that contact occurs more frequently, or you might become comfortable sharing more personal information and eliminating the middle man (the adoption agency) and maintaining contact yourselves.

All adoptions are different, they all evolve over time. Whatever you’re comfortable with in your adoption, is what is right for you.

21
Sep

The One Thing that is Affecting Your Wait Time

By Ashleigh

Waiting is the Hardest PartAsk any adoptive family out there and they will tell you that the wait between becoming an active family and having their child placed in their arms was the hardest part of the entire adoption process. There’s so much excitement and anticipation as you wait for that little bundle of joy, but everything is out of your control.

Fortunately, you can drastically reduce your wait time by changing one simple thing: your APQ.

The answers you provided on your APQ are the factors that determine which potential birth parents see your profile. You see, our algorithm looks at your answers and matches them to specific desires and traits that a birth mother has listed in her questionnaire. So, if your APQ does not line up with an expectant mother’s wishes, your family will not be presented as a possible match.

When an adoptive family has a more restrictive APQ, the list of potential birth parents they could be matched with is drastically reduced, which means longer wait times. On the other hand, an adoptive family that has a more open APQ could possibly be matched with a much larger pool of expectant parents, which means (you guessed it) shorter wait times.

So what can you do to shorten your wait time?

If you’re concerned about your potential wait time, it might be a good decision to reevaluate your APQ and talk to your adoptive family specialist about potentially opening up to different situations. If there are situations that you were previously unsure about but are now comfortable with opening up to, let your specialist know.

Here are a few things that may be affecting your wait time:

Race. The truth of the matter is that there are very few babies born that are entirely one race (ie. Caucasian, African American, Hispanic). The majority of infants placed through our agency are a combination of two or more races. Being open to many different races is the best way to shorten your wait time as it puts fewer restrictions on the types of expectant mothers you can be matched with.

Budget. Most of our adoption opportunities fall between $28,000 and $35,000, but there are those who fall outside of this range. The variance in cost is largely determined by living and medical expenses for birth mothers, so an expectant mother who needs more financial assistance will require a family with a higher adoption budget. Unfortunately, this is the area where families have the least flexibility. If there is way for you to raise your budget without putting your family in financial jeopardy, it might be a good thing to discuss with your partner.

Medical History. No one has a perfect family medical history, so it is unrealistic to expect one out of a potential birth mother. If you want to shorten your wait time, first check your preferences for medical history. At the very least, these preferences should reflect your own medical history. If there are still areas of concern, research the different conditions. Talk to doctors about the risk of conditions being passed from mother to child, you may be surprised at what you find.

Keep in mind when adjusting your APQ that you should always be 100% comfortable with your decisions. You should be ready and willing to accept any situation that falls within your APQ. If you’re not, then don’t make the change. Even if it does take a bit longer, the baby who is meant to be in your family will eventually find their way to you.

20
Sep

What to Expect in an APQ Call

By Ashleigh

Often times, when beginning the adoption process, adoptive families worry about how they could possibly find a birth mother on their own. How will they know where to look? How will they know if the woman they find will be a good fit? How do they find a woman whose hopes for her child are in line with what they can provide?

At American Adoptions we can do all of the legwork for you. How, you ask? Well, we actually do this using a very simple set of questionnaires. Upon joining our agency, you will be asked to complete an Adoption Planning Questionnaire, or APQ, with the help of one of our adoptive family specialists.

APQWhat is the APQ?

The APQ is a simple set of questions that will help our agency, and you, determine the types of adoption situations that would be the best fit for your family. It covers topics like race, budget, and birth parent contact. Your answers to these questions will then be used to match you with an expectant mother who might be interested in your family.

Women whose desires for their child are in line with your APQ will be presented your Adoptive Family Profile as a possible option for them. Upon viewing your profile, should an expectant mother feel your family is the right choice for her child, she can move forward to an adoption opportunity with you.

How Does it Work?

Once your family is committed to moving forward with our agency, your adoptive family specialist will schedule a phone call with you to complete your APQ. On average, this call will last 45 minutes to an hour.

Your specialist will start off by introducing him/herself and asking you questions about your history and what led you to adoption. He or she will then move into questions regarding your preferences in an adoption situation. These topics are:

Desired Race

Depending on their circumstances, some families may be open to accepting children of one race and not another. Others may be open to all races. When determining preferred races, it is important that you are confident in your ability to address your child’s racial or cultural differences in a healthy way.

Adoption Budget

Setting a budget is often one of the most difficult tasks for families. Some families stretch their budgets to the max, but by no means should your adoption budget put your finances in a compromised position. That being said, many of our adoptive families actually receive refunds of remaining funds after placement.

Contact Arrangement with Birth Parents

At American Adoptions we ask our families to be accepting of at least a semi-open adoption as closed adoptions are becoming increasingly rare. From there, it is up to you how open you would like your adoption to be. The important thing is that you do not make promises you cannot keep. Oftentimes, we see families begin the adoption process with more of a semi-open adoption and gradually grow into an open adoption as they bond with their child’s birth parents.

Birth Mother Substance Usage

Many adoptive families fear the negative health effects that drug usage can have on an unborn child. While there are some possible side effects, it is important that you understand what those effects can be and how often they occur. Review our article on drug exposure and talk to a doctor who has experience in the area.

Birth Parent Medical History

Our biggest piece of advice with medical history is to take a look at your own familial history and at least be accepting of those situations. It is very unlikely that an expectant mother will have a perfect medical history, so be realistic in your decisions. Again, research the conditions and make yourselves aware of how they may affect your child (if at all).

Misc.

This sections of the APQ addresses your willingness to accept multiples, sibling groups, special needs babies, and children who are a product of rape, as well as the maximum age of a child you are willing to accept. These answers are typically based on your personal preferences and your ability to properly care for these children.

When completing the APQ it is important that you are 100% confident in your ability to accept an adoption situation within these specifications. Keep in mind, should you change your mind down the road and want to open up your APQ or change your answers, all that is needed is a simple phone call to your specialist.

How Should We Prepare?

Before completing the APQ it is important that both you and your partner read the Preparing for a Successful Adoption manual. This will help you better understand how the APQ works and how each decision will affect your adoption.

Additionally, you should take the time to do any research on prenatal drug exposure or medical issues you may be unfamiliar with. And, most importantly, you should talk with your partner about your own preferences. Make sure you are both on the same page and know where your comfort level is. Comfort is absolutely key in finding the right adoption situation for you.

19
Sep

5 Ways to Help a Birth Mother Heal After Placement

By Ashleigh
  1. Together We are Motherhood Quote SmallerCommunicate with Me

Let me know how the child is doing after placement. Keep me updated on his emotional, spiritual, physical, and mental status with updates when agreed upon. I not only want to know WHAT he is doing, but HOW he is doing.

“Making an open adoption work requires commitment to ongoing relationships, despite their ups and downs. While adoptive family and birth family relationships may seem awkward at first, over time the involved individuals typically become more comfortable.” – Child Welfare Information Gateway

  1. Keep Your Original Openness Agreement

Don’t shut me out when things get hard. We can communicate and work together by staying open with each other.

“Ultimately, open adoption is in the best interests of the child. Maintaining a relationship with a child’s birth family can be immensely rewarding for adoptive parents, although it can also be challenging sometimes—like parenting, it may be the hardest, best job you will ever have. Birth parents often live in complicated circumstances. Some are leading happy, full lives; some are struggling with the grim realities of living in poverty or other difficult issues. Sometimes adoptive parents are afraid that younger children will be frightened or harmed by the complexity of their birth parents’ lives, but in fact the children are more likely to learn acceptance of a complex situation if they can see their adoptive parents model it, instead of being left to figure out a “taboo” subject on their own. Open adoption works best for adoptive parents if they always return to the central belief that what matters is what is best for their child, not only in the present but in the future—and it is likely that will always involve as much information and knowledge as possible.” – PactAdopt.org

  1. Tell Me You Love Me and Appreciate Me

Loneliness is something that can be curbed by knowing that you appreciate me and love me for the sacrifice that I have made and the gift that I have given.

“By choice, we have become a family, first in our hearts, and finally in breath and being. Great expectations are good; great experiences are better.” – Richard Fischer

  1. Focus on The Child

Take care of that child with all of your spirit and soul. Ultimately, that’s what I need in order to be able to heal. My decision to place that beautiful child and your decision to care for that beautiful child is what binds us. That is our first priority, no matter what.

  1. My Healing is My Responsibility

Understand that while I may have needs and desires, it is not your responsibility to heal me, only to help me at times feel connected.

“Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.” – Ephesians 3:17

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

16
Sep

Drug Usage During Pregnancy: How it Affects Baby

By Ashleigh

Drug Usage Effects on BabyWhen adoptive families are asked what kinds of prenatal drug exposure they are open to in their child, their main concern is the health of their future child. In a perfect world, an adoptive family’s child will have had no drug exposure and will be born perfectly healthy.

The unfortunate fact of the matter is that many babies placed for adoption have been exposed to some type of drug in utero.  Exposure can vary from very little to multiple times per day, and effects on the child can vary just as greatly. However, each of these babies has something in common: they’re in need of a loving family to care for and nurture them.

Before making any decisions regarding drug exposure, it is important that adoptive families understand the possible effects on the child. Below, we have identified the most commonly used drugs and the possible effects they may have on an unborn child.

Cigarettes/Tobacco

Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke in utero are more likely to be born premature, have low birth weight, and have weaker lungs than babies whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy. They are also more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Low birth weight can lead to a variety of other health issues such as: Respiratory distress syndrome, increased risk of infection, low blood sugar, problems with feeding, and difficulty regulating body temperature.

Alcohol

When pregnant mothers drink, so do their babies, which can cause fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). FASDs include a variety of physical and mental disabilities as well as emotional and behavioral problems.

Marijuana

There are very few studies that examine the effects of marijuana on developing fetuses making it difficult to say with any certainty what those effects may be.  There is little evidence of birth defects in children whose mothers smoked marijuana. However, marijuana use during pregnancy may be linked to low birth weight, hyperactivity, and some memory deficiencies.

Anti-Depressants

Though many antidepressants have been deemed ok to use during pregnancy, none have been proven safe without question. Certain brands of antidepressants have been associated with rare lung problems in newborns, and others have associated with a small increase in fetal heart defects. However, the overall risks of birth defects remain extremely low.

Antidepressant usage, particularly in the last trimester of pregnancy, can cause discontinuation or withdraw symptoms in newborns – such as jitters or irritability. Though these symptoms can be difficult for a parent to witness, they are usually short-lived.

Anti-Convulsants/Seizure Medications

While there are risks to a developing baby whose mother is taking seizure medications, there is also a risk to babies whose mothers go through pregnancy with untreated seizures.

Pregnant women who experience seizures are at risk for trauma from falls or burns, premature labor, miscarriages, and low fetal heart rate due to lack of oxygen.  These risks are generally seen as greater than the risks associated with seizure medications.

Effects of seizure medications on babies are generally limited to congenital malformations. In women who take seizure medications, the risk of congenital malformations in babies is 4-6 percent. The most common malformations include cleft lip and clef palate, as well as problems with the heart, urinary or genital systems.

Methamphetamines

Knowledge of the effects of methamphetamine abuse during pregnancy is incredibly limited. However, some research points to increased rates of premature delivery, still birth, and placental abruption, as well as low birth weight, lethargy, heart and brain abnormalities, and lasting neurological deficits.

Methadone (OxyContin, Vicodin, morphine, etc.)

Though few studies have been done, methadone use during pregnancy is thought to increase the risk of smaller than normal head size and low birth weight. However, the biggest concern with fetuses exposed to methadone in utero is withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Heroin

Heroin use during pregnancy has been said to cause placental abruption, premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects, neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), still birth, and birth defects, as well as an increased risk of SIDS.  The most common effect on babies whose mothers used heroin during pregnancy is NAS or withdrawal symptoms after birth.

In addition, mothers who injected heroin into their system during pregnancy are at a much higher risk for contracting HIV and other diseases via needle sharing. These diseases can potentially be passed from mother to child.

Ecstasy

While there have been very few studies done to evaluate the effects of ecstasy on unborn babies, it is thought to increase the risks of premature birth and low birth weight. Babies exposed to ecstasy in utero are more likely to suffer from NAS or withdrawal symptoms as well as a variety of cognitive impairments.

Cocaine/Crack Cocaine

The use of cocaine during pregnancy can have a variety of effects on babies, and it appears that the effects worsen when exposure is higher. When used early in pregnancy, cocaine is thought to affect the structure and function of the brain, which may predispose children to developmental, behavioral or cognitive problems. Additionally, babies exposed to cocaine in utero are at greater risk for premature birth, low birth weight and small size.

Amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin, Vyvanse, etc.)

Research on the effects of amphetamine use during pregnancy is extremely limited. However, there have been many adverse outcomes reported alongside amphetamine use. These include: premature birth, stillbirth, low birth weight, small size (including head circumference), cleft lip, heart defects, biliary atresia, hyperbilirubinemia (Jaundice), cerebral hemorrhage, systolic murmur and undescended testes.

Because the effects of many of these drugs have not been adequately studied, the above risks likely do not show the whole picture. Some of these effects may have been falsely attributed to the drug, and other possible effects may not have been listed.

Unfortunately, there is no way to predict how any one drug may affect a child. Variables such as, amount/length of drug exposure, time of exposure, use of more than one drug, and other environmental factors can drastically change the outcome of each pregnancy. The best thing adoptive families can to do is to learn as much as they can about the possible effects of these drugs, consult a physician or pediatrician, and decide what outcomes they fell comfortable accepting.

 

*Disclaimer: The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by American Adoptions, and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

This article includes external links. American Adoptions is not responsible for the accuracy, legality or content of the external site or for that of subsequent links. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

14
Sep

Have Faith in Your Child’s Birth Mother

By Ashleigh

Have Faith in Your Child's Birth MotherI made a conscious, thought out choice to put my son up for adoption. I also made sure that I chose his parents wisely. That’s right, I chose my son’s parents. The family was not forced upon me, the decision was not made for me, I was actively engaged along every step of the way. I have an open adoption, and voluntarily placed my son up for adoption. My son’s parents know that I chose them. I know that they value that gift. I want to share some insight into that relationship and encourage adoptive parents to know they are valued, and respected for the gift that adoptive parents give to a birth mother.

Side Note

I want to mention a few things about my son’s parents:

  • They face stigma as well, and I believe that we should all be sensitive to that. Yet, we have had open conversations about the stigma that I face as well.
  • We have a very open communication style and that was established at the beginning of our relationship.
  • Our level of communication has been adjusted as time has gone by, and while they maintain openness with me, we still have boundaries set up. This has been a learning process on both ends. What works for one open relationship may not work for another.

In general, I have found many similar lessons that have been learned to be present in other open adoption relationships between birth parents and adoptive parents.

I Made a Choice

I know that there are many emotions tied to adoption, especially in the beginning of the process and the transition of a new life for all parties involved. However, no matter how hard it was for me, I never wanted my son “back”. I say this because I have heard that people ask these questions, and have experienced them personally. I have never seen my son as a piece of property that I was transferring in exchange for something else. In my eyes, his life is a blessing and a gift, and I never have nor will I ever take that lightly.

I know that there are insecurities about birth mothers until the adoption process is finalized, but please try not to feel insecure. If you have a bad experience with a mother who changed her mind, remember, the right child is out there for you and the right birth mother is out there for you too. Trust me when I tell you, once a birth mother, or any mother, has made up her mind for what is best for her child, nothing will stand in her way of taking care of it.

Reciprocated Transparency

My son’s parents know this because we established transparency of all parties at the beginning of our relationship. I think this is so crucial in a birth mother choosing a family, and that family responding to that birth mother. Transparency will allow for a trust to be built in an open adoption relationship. Don’t hold anything back from that birth mother, and once she see’s who you really are, and has fallen in love with you, you have nothing to feel insecure about.

In my situation, I transferred custody of my son to his parents before the adoption was even close to being finalized. We had a transparent relationship that allowed for them to trust that I was firm in my decision. While I’m sure they were scared and felt insecure, they took a leap of faith, and it was worth it for all parties involved, especially for my son.

Listen to Your Heart

If you have concerns about the birth parent you are working with, please bring those concerns to the attention of the adoption agent that you are working with. They work closely with the birth mother, and will be able to help you. If your gut instinct tells you that something isn’t right about the situation, then don’t ignore it. While you may want to be parents, you may find that the fit you are in isn’t the best. And trust me when I tell you that waiting a little longer to find the perfect fit is better in the long run for all parties involved, especially that beautiful child.

~Lindsay Arielle

 

Lindsay Rambo VerticalLindsay is a guest blogger for American Adoptions. She placed her son for adoption 7 years ago and hopes to use her experience to support and educate other expectant mothers considering adoption, as well as adoptive families.

11
Sep

Happy Grandparents Day!

By Ashleigh

Grandparents DayEvery year, on the first Sunday after Labor Day, we celebrate the officially-recognized national holiday known as Grandparents Day.  Yes!  We take just one day to celebrate and recognize the people in our lives who are the roots of our family tree!  We spend time with the only people who will ever love us more than our parents.  One whole day!  Make it count!

Now, really, we all know we need to spend time with our grandparents more than just one day a year.  While an official holiday is most definitely in order to celebrate some of the most amazing people you’ll ever know, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that every day should be Grandparents Day.  Let’s show them some love and respect more often than just one day a year!

There are more grandparents today than ever before.  Within the next 15 years, 1 in 5 Americans will be over age 65.  If you are like me, and your grandparents are no longer on this Earth with us, odds are you do know someone who is of that generation (aka “grandfriends”).  They need love and recognition as well.

Grandparents Day was started by Marian McQuade, from West Virginia.  While organizing an event to celebrate the citizens over 80 in her community, she noticed that many residents of local nursing homes had been forgotten by their families.  She wanted a holiday to bring attention to these people and celebrate all grandparents.  In 1978, it became a national holiday.

Now that we’re talking about grandparents, here are a few of MANY reasons why you need to call/visit/FaceTime your grandparents or “grandfriends” whenever you can:

  • It will truly make their day. My parents and in-laws LOVE to talk to my kids, then recount the conversation to us later.  Your grandparents love to brag about you to their friends.  They carry pictures of you in their wallet or on their phone.  My parents and in-laws do this, and God-willing, I’ll get to boast about my grandchildren someday.
  • They are fantastic story tellers, and are full of wisdom. How many times did I beg my grandparents to tell me about their childhood, and then my parents’ childhood?  This is the history you won’t read in the books.  My mom interviewed her parents about their childhood and recorded it for all their grandchildren.  Do this.
  • You are their world. They love you unconditionally, and as I mentioned before, they are possibly the only people to love you more than your parents.  Return the love!  Grandparents also give the best hugs.  It’s a fact.
  • My kids would say that the best thing about grandparents is that they usually say yes when mom and dad say no. But that’s their job – spoil you, then send you home.  My kids just spent the night with their grandparents, who confessed that my daughter ate nothing but dessert at their neighborhood block party.  Whatever!  She was happy.
  • And speaking of food, grandparents always have a fully-stocked kitchen. You will be fed, even possibly overfed.  My grandma would have no less than 5 kinds of cookies and a cherry pie for me when I’d stop on my drive to or from college, even if the stop was less than 24 hours.  Then she’d send me with leftovers.

Here’s the thing…there are a million reasons why we need to celebrate grandparents on Grandparents Day, or every day, for that matter.  But the most important reason is that you just don’t know when it may be your last visit.  Be thankful for the time you have with them…and enjoy the food!

10
Sep

Q&A with Adoptive Family Specialist Dacia Peterson

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!

As an Adoptive Family Specialist, Dacia works closely with people looking to begin or expand their family through adoption. She is there to inform and counsel prospective families through every step of their journey; she has been extensively involved in the work that American Adoptions does, and her knowledge and support help families have a positive and fulfilling adoption experience. Keep reading to learn more about Dacia and the life of an Adoptive Family Specialist!

What is your name and position?

I am Dacia Peterson, and I am an Adoptive Family Specialist.

How long have you been working for American Adoptions?

I don’t know exactly. I started off doing contract work for home studies and post-placements. I had been doing that for several years, and then I filled in part-time doing birth mom callbacks. Then I moved into a full-time position as the post-placement coordinator, and I only did that for maybe a month or two. Then I moved into the Adoptive Family Specialist role, and I’ve been doing this for almost a year.

How did you education/work background lead you to working in adoption?

I switched from psychology to social work in college. I always knew I wanted to work with people, especially with children. Out of school, I did foster care and adoption work for many years, and then I transferred over to an adoption agency that worked with mostly foster kids, and then I took the newborn route at American Adoptions.

What are your tasks at American Adoptions?

My role is to help provide support and education for adoptive families going through this process. With that, there’s lots of information with adoption, and it can be a little overwhelming for families. We get them prepared for each new step along the way. Our role comes in first with reviewing the APQ (Adoption Planning Questionnaire), and then once they go active, I become the main point of contact for them. I provide support and guidance throughout the adoption opportunity, the first conference call, the hospital plan, and placement.

What does a typical work day look like?

We are returning a lot of emails. Some families do call just to check in, and then there are APQ review calls, adoption opportunity calls, hospital preparation calls. Then, if a family has been waiting six months or a year, we try to schedule a call with them, see how they’re doing, and maybe review their APQ again.

What is your favorite part about working at American Adoptions?

As far as the company goes, I love the support that we get here. There’s always somebody that is happy to sit down and help you work through a tough situation or just provide support. I love everybody I work with. As far as my role goes, I just really enjoy working with the families and getting to be part of that adoption journey with them. Most of them have had such a long road to get to this point, and even though there are a lot of hard times, I love being there to see it through to the end and watch them get their baby.

What is one of your favorite memories of working with American Adoptions?

I’ve got a lot of families that are just good memories. I had a family that had a really rocky road through everything, but I got really close with them during that time. Being able to share in that excitement with them in the end was neat. And there have been some situations where I’ve been able to observe the family and the birth mom develop a great relationship that they didn’t expect. That’s always really neat to see.

How has adoption impacted you personally?

I don’t have any adoption in my family, but I’ve always worked in adoption and foster care. I’ve been in the field for over 10 years, so it’s just become a part of my life. I was talking with another family specialist one day, and we were talking about how I have a 2-and a half year old, and how our young kids already know the word “adoption.”

How many adoptions have you been a part of?

When I did home study and post placement stuff, I got to do a lot. In this position, I think it might be 34.

What advice would you want to give to families considering adoption?

Do a lot of research—about adoption and everything that goes with that, but also agencies and what would be the best fit for their family. It’s important that families trust the agency they are working with. There is so much in the process that is out of their control, and that’s a very hard thing for a lot of families. The more comfort and trust they have in us, the easier that can be for them.

What’s one thing about adoption that you didn’t know before working for American Adoptions?

There’s so much that you learn—I’m still learning. I think after switching over from the foster care side to here, I’ve learned a lot more about the birth parents’ side of things. I’ve learned how this process is for them and what they need during that time. When you don’t have the birth parents involved, you don’t consider that as much.

8
Sep

4 Secrets to a Successful Adoption

By Ashleigh

Happy familyBe Honest

This is a good rule to live by in any aspect of life, but especially so in an adoption. For a successful adoption you should be honest with yourselves, honest with your home study provider, honest with your adoption professional, honest with expectant mothers and honest with your child.

Trying to hide your true thoughts or feelings can cause many problems down the road, when those true feelings finally come out. Your home study provider or adoption professional may see this as a red flag, which will stall the adoption. Expectant mothers may choose another family over yours. Your child may feel resentment if you are not truthful about how they came to be in your family. So please put everything out on the table from the beginning, you’ll be grateful that you did.

Be Prepared

As we all know, babies work on their own time and don’t always adhere to due dates. For a successful adoption, you should be prepared to welcome your child at any point. Even if you haven’t been matched with an expectant mother, you could still meet your child at a moment’s notice.

You should also be prepared for complications. Not all babies are born perfectly healthy and ready to go home; many have to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) before being released. There are numerous reasons why a baby may need to stay in the NICU but if it’s necessary, you should be prepared to stay near the hospital for at least a couple of days.

Be Flexible

Because there are so many unknowns in adoption, you can’t always be prepared. In these cases, you should be flexible. If you need to travel ASAP, find a way to make it happen. If the birth mother wants to spend time alone with the child before placement, don’t worry about it; just let her be with her baby. If the birth mother needs more contact, come to an agreement that both parties are happy with.

A little bit of flexibility early on in the adoption process will help build a strong relationship with birth parents and create a trouble-free adoption in the future.

Be Realistic

Even if your friend only waited three months before being matched with their child, you should expect the process to take at least 12-18 months. No one can guarantee a short wait because no one knows exactly what expectant mothers will be looking for in an adoptive family. Your adoption will happen in its own time. Just remember that one day, you will find the child your child and it will all be worth it.

6
Sep

Am I Too Old to Adopt?

By Ashleigh

Am I Too Old to Adopt? If you are an older couple hoping to adopt, you may have noticed that many adoption agencies have age requirements for families who work with them. What if you are above the upper age limits? Does that mean you are too old to adopt a child?

Very few states have laws that state a maximum age for adoptive parents. When it comes to finding adoptive parents for a child, the thing that matters most is the ability to provide a loving, nurturing, and safe home. Read on to learn about age requirements at adoption agencies and find out your other options

Why Are There Age Restrictions?

While age does not affect a parent’s ability to love their child, it can have an effect on wait times. Prospective birth mothers often choose to place their babies with younger parents, which means domestic infant adoption agencies cannot guarantee older families a reasonable wait. This is why American Adoptions typically works with hopeful parents between the ages of 25 and 50.

We set this upper age limit for the same reason we require our families to be open to semi-open adoption – because so few birth mothers seek out closed adoptions, finding a closed adoption opportunity could take years. However, your adoption dream is still well within reach.

What Can I Do?

Although some adoption professionals have upper age limits, you have plenty of other options to grow your family through adoption. If domestic infant adoption does not work for you, consider one of these alternatives:

  • Foster care – State laws for foster parents don’t have maximum age limits, and foster parents will often be considered first if a child becomes available for adoption.
  • International adoption – Many countries’ requirements for international adoption don’t have an absolute age limit, but an age limit in relation to the child’s age. Older couples often successfully adopt an older child abroad.
  • Independent adoption – If you have identified a birth mother on your own, you will not need to meet the requirements of an agency. In fact, American Adoptions can help you through our Identified Adoption Program.

So if you’ve ever wondered if there’s such a thing as being too old to adopt, you can set that worry aside – by finding the path that works for your family, you can make your adoption dream a reality.

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