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Activities to Do with Your Child’s Birth Parents

By Ashleigh

day at an amusement parkSummer vacation is a great time to get in touch with your child’s birth parents – or even get together. If you and your child’s birth parents are meeting up over the summer, here are just a few fun things you can do:

  • Meet at a park – This season is the perfect time for some outdoor time at a place you, your child, and his or her birth parents can all enjoy themselves.
  • Have a day at the lake or beach – Nothing says “summer” like a cool dip in the water. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!
  • Find a theme park – Amusement parks have something to offer someone at any age – and the photos you can get on roller coaster rides are priceless.
  • Have a picnic – All of you can work together to pack a lunch big enough for everyone. Then, you can lay down a blanket wherever you want and chow down.
  • Celebrate the 4th of July – Holidays are a great time to get in contact with your child’s birth family, and hot dogs and fireworks add even more fun.

Some families may not be able to visit birth parents in person this year, but there are many other ways you can show them you are thinking of them. If you are going on vacation, send a postcard. If your child is watching his or her first fireworks show, snap a picture. There are endless ways to show birth parents that they are in your thoughts; this summer, find a fun activity or nice gesture that works for you.


Bringing Adoptive Families Together

By Ashleigh

– Erin, Jared and Charlotte’s Adoption Story

hartNot long after finalizing their adoption, Erin and Jared Hart took their six-month old daughter Charlie to a playdate with another adoptive family. The parents had a two-year old son named Henry, and these two kids had more in common than just adoption – in fact, Henry and Charlie share a birth mother.

Henry and Charlie’s birth mother was insistent on one thing in particular: that her children grow up around each other as much as possible. For Erin and Jared, this meant not only a biological brother for Charlie, but a support system for the whole family during the adoption process.

Erin and Jared’s story began in early 2015, when they decided to look into adoption and attended an American Adoptions seminar. After weighing their options, they ultimately decided to work with the agency. In the beginning, the adoption went very smoothly, part of which can be attributed to their approach to the process.

“We’re pretty easygoing,” Jared says. “It doesn’t help matters when you start getting frustrated or stressed out. It’s not always easy, but the more you can keep yourself calm, the easier the whole process is.”

Read more…


Cut Down on Screen Time – Why, How and What to Do Instead

By Ashleigh

Little boy with touch padSchool is finally out for the summer – and for a lot of kids, all that extra time is going towards phones, computers, and video games. While your kids should embrace the activities they enjoy, there are also known benefits to reducing your time with your electronics:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved school performance
  • Prevention of weight gain
  • Increased energy
  • Better behavior

As summer vacation continues, consider some of the following strategies for minimizing your child’s time with the screen:

  • Set a curfew – At a particular time – preferably a couple hours before bed – all electronics should go off.
  • Keep the TV out of your youngster’s room – By leaving the TVs in the common areas, your child will have a better chance of getting a good night’s rest.
  • Make other options easily available – Keep a collection of books, board games, or whatever else you have in a visible area of your home.

And finally, you’ll want to find some activities to enjoy with your child that don’t include TVs or phones:

  • Reading together
  • Visiting neighbors or family
  • Going to the park
  • Cooking
  • Swimming at the pool, lake, or beach
  • Playing board games or cards
  • Doing arts and crafts

Television and video games are often relaxing and fun, but your kids’ down time should also leave room for a variety of other health-promoting activities. This summer, you can use these tips and ideas to help your kids make the most of their vacation.


Namaste. It’s International Yoga Day

By Ashleigh

Mother and daughter doing yoga outdoorsOmmmmm. Today is International Yoga Day so take a break from your hectic day to stretch it out in a downward dog pose. Oh and be sure to include the little ones!

Yoga has been shown to have numerous health benefits, and they aren’t limited to just adults. Studies have shown that people who practice yoga have more:

  • Flexibility
  • Muscular tone
  • Protection from injuries
  • Endurance
  • Energy

Yoga is a fun and healthy activity for both you and your little ones – but if you won’t take our word for it, you can watch this video of a mom and her daughter showing us how it’s done.

We do encourage parents to keep safety in mind – not all of us are former Cirque du Soleil performers like this impressive young mother. If you’d like to learn more about yoga for parents and kids, visit Childlight Yoga. Happy International Yoga Day, and don’t forget to stretch!



All About Summer Safety

By Ashleigh

Today marks the official beginning of summer, and it is bound to be filled with games, activities, and outdoor fun. Before you head out, though, you can take some measures to keep all your summer days safe and enjoyable. This season, make sure you and your little ones follow these core summer safety rules.

Shield Yourself from the Sun

Summer SafetyProtection from the sun is always crucial, especially during a particularly hot and bright summer. Keep you and your family safe from the heat with some of the following tips:

  • Minimize outdoor time at the hottest times of the day. Mornings and evenings are cooler and safer.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. If your child has any symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
  • Dress in loose and lightly colored clothing. Darker clothes tend to absorb heat and sunlight.
  • Sunscreen must be applied a few times a day. Your sunscreen should be at least SPF 15.

Swim Safely

Water-based activities are a great way to stay cool and have fun at the same time. Whether you’re swimming, boating, or running through the sprinkler, here are a few things to remember:

  • Do not leave children, especially those under four years old, unattended at the pool.
  • Make sure any life jackets or flotation devices are securely fitted to your child.
  • Learn about water-based illnesses and how to prevent them.
  • Make sure you are able to perform CPR in case a lifeguard is not present.

Stay Hydrated

While your kids should be getting enough H2O year-round, this becomes especially important as the temperature rises. See some of our advice for keeping hydrated this summer:

  • Kids should try to drink at least 5-8 cups of water every day. The older and more active your child is, the more water he or she will need.
  • Pack reusable water bottles on family outings.
  • Try to avoid sodas or excessively salty snacks. Both of these common treats can be dehydrating.
  • Not all of your water has to come from a glass – many fresh fruits and vegetables are also great sources of water!

To learn more about having a safe and fun summer, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Thank You, Dads

By Ashleigh

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! Whether you’re an adoptive father, a waiting father, a birth father, a grandfather or any other father figure, we hope you’re feeling the love today! Thank you for all that you do.

Father's Day 2016


Show Dad You Care

By Ashleigh

Handmade Card

Father’s Day is this weekend, (Is it really that time of year already?) and we want to make sure all of our adoptive fathers and birth fathers know that they are appreciated.

To help you celebrate the fathers, birth fathers, grandfathers and any other father figure in your life we’ve compiled a list of ways to show him how much you care. Whether you’ve got little children, big children, or grown up children, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you.

For Fathers and Grandfathers:

  • Buy dad a fun t-shirt like this one, to display ever-so proudly
  • Have a Dad photo shoot and create a photo display
  • Handmade crafts are fun for kids and dads love them!
  • Or you can opt for a personalized gift
  • Spend a little more time with him and go out to dinner together
  • Or let him enjoy some “me” time and send him golfing (or another activity he enjoys)

For Birth Fathers:

  • Send him a handmade card
  • If you’re in a semi-open adoption, send him an extra special Father’s Day letter and photos of your child.
  • If you’re in an open adoption and you live close enough, enjoy a nice meal together or even just an ice cream cone.
  • If you’re in an open adoption and live far apart, schedule a Skype or Facetime call just to say hi and let him know you’re thinking about him.

If none of these appeal to you, or you’re short on time, just remember that the best gift you can get for dad is to spend time with him and tell him you love him.

Happy Father’s Day!

*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.


Zika Virus – Will it Affect Your Adoption?

By Ashleigh

Some adoptive families have come to us with questions and concerns about the recent outbreak that has affected newborn babies in other countries – the Zika virus. To help you understand the Zika virus and whether it has an impact on American Adoptions, we have provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

If you have any questions that are not addressed here, contact us at any time for assistance.

What is Zika virus?

Zika is a mosquito-borne virus which has led to birth defects in the children of affected women. While it was first discovered in Africa several decades ago, in the last year it was spotted in Brazil. From there, it has spread to several countries.  To date, no person has contracted Zika virus from a mosquito bite within the Continental United States.

How is the virus spread?

Zika is primarily transmitted through mosquito bites from Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitos that are infected with the virus.  For the virus to spread within the United States, an Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus would need to bite an infected person during the first week of the infection when the virus can be found in the infected person’s blood.  The mosquito then bites another person and this cycle continues causing an outbreak.  Zika virus can also be spread sexually if one person is infected.

What are the effects of the virus?

The symptoms of Zika virus are mild, and they only occur in about 20 percent of cases. These can include joint pain, rashes, fever, and redness of the eyes.

The most pressing concern of the virus is the effect it has on the babies of infected mothers. Numerous cases of microcephaly and other serious birth defects have been reported in infants as a result of Zika.

How can you tell if someone has Zika virus?

Because the symptoms are not common or severe, the virus can often go unnoticed. The only way to confirm that someone is infected is to test him or her for it.

How many cases of Zika have there been in the United States?

While there have been United States residents infected, all of the cases have been caused by travelling to a country where Zika is prevalent, such as Brazil. U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico have experienced an outbreak.

How can Zika be prevented?  

People travelling to affected areas should protect themselves from mosquitos at all times of the day. Because people may not know they have Zika, it is recommended that travelers practice safe sex and not attempt to conceive for at least eight weeks after traveling. Men who experience symptoms may need to do so for six months.

What measures does American Adoptions take to prevent illnesses in newborns?

American Adoptions cannot prevent the spread of Zika virus or regulate the behaviors of prospective birth mothers.   We will however continue to monitor the spread of the virus to ensure that we can inform the families and birth parents who work with us and take further action if necessary. We strongly encourage all of the birth mothers who work with us to receive timely and proper prenatal care.

What if a baby were born with Zika at American Adoptions?

Because of the effects of the virus, we would treat such an occurrence the same as any special-needs situation. We know that not all families can provide the necessary care for children with significant medical needs. If you are unable to move forward with an adoption plan for this reason, it will not affect your ability to adopt in the future.

How can I learn more about Zika virus?

For current information on the virus, visit the World Health Organization.


2016 Love at First Sight Photo Contest

By Ashleigh

Katie and KevinIt’s that time of year again, time for another photo contest!

For our third annual 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 27th!

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 7th 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!


Our Journey to You – John, Anne and Daniel’s Adoption Story

By Ashleigh

John & AnneBy Anne (Mommy)

After being married for over three years and becoming settled into work and life in Georgia your Dad and I started to try for a family.  I had a long history of female problems and was concerned that I could not get pregnant.  This fear became a reality.  John, your Dad, had always talked about adoption and I was never against it but needed to feel in my heart that this was God’s plan for how I was to become a mom.  Once I was completely at peace and knew in my heart this was the way we were to become a family it was full steam ahead.

Once I was completely happy and focused on adoption, I started researching agencies, reviewing the process, reading blogs, and basically doing my homework on all things adoption.  After interviewing many agencies we whole-heartedly agreed on American Adoptions and in July 2014 we were ecstatic to sign the papers and start the process.

The next few months were filled with paperwork!!!  We had our kitchen table covered with computers, our printer, and mounds of papers.  I had checklists galore.  We completed our Home Study essays, took Ziggy and Zippo (your kitty brothers) to the vet, made physical appointments for your Dad and I at our doctor’s office, visited the county police office, and were finger printed at the Quik Ship many times.  During this time we also assembled our written portfolio and created our adoption video.  By April 1st, 2015 we had completed all the necessary paperwork and we were an active couple waiting for a birth mother to select us.

The next few months were the hardest part of this whole process for me.  During this time all we did was wait.  Especially June through July, when I was not teaching every day, I would think about you constantly.  I was praying daily for you and your birth mom, waiting to hear about your existence.  There were many tears shed and many phone calls to Kathy (our social worker at America Adoptions).  I wanted so much for you to be here at that moment.  I had to keep telling myself that it couldn’t be any baby, it had to be my baby.  I had to remember that God had a plan and that I had to wait for you.  God doesn’t work on my timeline and I had to be patient because his timeline is perfect.  It was also hard to return to school in August, having everyone ask about you and if we heard anything.  As I said it was the hardest part of this process for me, but you were totally worth the wait!!!

We were looking forward to October. Your Dad knew he would be traveling to the Philippines to help his Mom (your Lola) with his grandmother’s passing and to visit with his Dad (your Lolo) who he had not seen in 15 years.  We were also excited about your Grandma and Buddy (my parents) coming to visit for a weekend after their beach trip. Little did we know what was about to happen.

… Read More

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