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It’s Almost National Adoption Month!

By Annie

November 1 will mark the beginning of a very special month for adoptive families, birth parents, waiting families, foster care providers, adoption professionals and anyone else whose life has been touched by adoption – it’s National Adoption Month!

The month-long celebration will also be recognized across the United States on Saturday, November 22 – National Adoption Day.

Want to celebrate National Adoption Month in your community? We’ll have ideas in our newsletter and on our blog throughout November. You can also attend a National Adoption Day event in your area. To find a list of events, click here.

We want to hear from you!

What do you have planned for National Adoption Month? Does your family have any special traditions in honor of National Adoption Month?

Share an Adoption Reflection. During the month of November, we’ll be celebrating National Adoption Month by sharing adoption reflections! Send us a favorite memory, detail, quote, song, etc. that reminds you of your adoption connection, and we’ll post our favorites during the month of November!

Share your National Adoption Month plans and reflections with us by emailing!


Looking for Volunteer Referral Families

By Annie

If you are passionate about adoption and want to give back to other families just starting the adoption process, please let us know!

Our Adoptive Family Coordinators keep a list of families that have successfully adopted with us and are open to speaking with and mentoring families that are considering American Adoptions and/or adoption in general.

These families are a priceless resource for families just beginning the process. Talking with someone who’s been through the adoption process helps tremendously, as does hearing about a family’s adoption journey and experience with our agency.

We welcome any and all families who have completed an adoption with us and wish to add themselves to this list. In particular, we would love to add families who are comfortable speaking on particular aspects of adoption, such as:

  • Pursuing domestic vs. international adoption
  • Switching from another agency to American Adoptions
  • Already having a biological child(ren)
  • Considering transracial adoption
  • Open adoption and contact with birth parents
  • Adopting a drug-exposed child
  • Coping with a longer wait time
  • Experiencing a disruption or failed adoption

To add yourself to our referral family list, please contact Adoptive Family Coordinator Justin King (


Our First Pennsylvania Adoptive Family Picnic

By Annie

Nearly 200 gathered to celebrate adoption – thanks for attending!

Last month, a number of our staff members traveled to Pennsylvania to attend our second Adoptive Family Picnic of the year. Nearly 200 people were in attendance, and our staff and families alike enjoyed getting together to celebrate adoption in their lives.

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“I had goosebumps all day,” said Adoptive Family Specialist Kathie Hoffmann. “It was cool to see so many kids in one place who had so many things in common.”

Kathie, who was previously a Birth Parent Specialist, had the opportunity to meet a family who she’d assisted as a Birth Parent Specialist during their first adoption and as their Adoptive Family Specialist on their second adoption, bringing everything full circle. Seeing older kids with their adoptive families and how they interacted with each other was especially rewarding for Kathie.

“I can tell the birth mother how well they’re doing, and it’s so much more than a letter could express,” she said.

Kathie also enjoyed seeing families who begin the process with such sadness and devastation find peace in the child they’ve adopted.

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 was definitely the kids. Kathie 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 said.

To learn more about Adoptive Family Picnics, watch the video below from our Kansas City Picnic in June. Below you’ll find information for our final Adoptive Family Picnic in 2014. And stay tuned for more events next spring!

We still have one more picnic this year: Orlando, Florida on November 15th. Visit our site to learn more!


The Boy in Blue

By Ashleigh

How two Cardinals fans adopted a Royals baby

Shandra, Drew, Tyler and JaseAs the Kansas City Royals prepared for their first post-season game in nearly 30 years, Drew and Shandra made a mad dash from St. Louis to Kansas City.

For these St. Louis Cardinals fans, it wasn’t baseball that brought them to the city, it was the arrival of their son Jase.

After having their first child, Tyler, and struggling to expand their family, the couple turned to adoption. They joined American Adoptions, they completed all the necessary paperwork and they waited.

Then, on September 29, just one month to the day after their activation, they got a call saying there was a baby boy waiting for them. He had been born four days earlier on September 25, but his birth parents hadn’t made the decision to place the baby for adoption until that day, leaving Drew and Shandra little time to process.

“We were speechless,” Shandra said.

They had to decide quickly if this was the right match for them, but it turns out the decision was easy to make.

“I told Drew ‘I don’t think we would get this call if this wasn’t our time, if this wasn’t our baby,’” Shandra said. And he agreed.

Read the rest of Drew and Shandra’s big league adoption story on our website!


Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

By Annie

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 

Please join the International Wave of Light, a worldwide lighting of candles at 7:00 p.m. in your time zone. Leave your candle burning for an hour to help create a continuous chain of light to honor and remember all babies lost due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and newborn death.

We know that many of our families experience this loss before seeking to become parents through adoption, and so today the American Adoptions family joins with you in remembering your child.



Q&A with an Adoption Specialist – Prenatal Care

By Annie

Staff Photos Megan SmallerHello, 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 don’t all birth mothers receive prenatal care, and what does American Adoptions do to encourage it?

A. It is not uncommon for birth mothers to receive very little, very late or no prenatal care at all. There are a number of reasons why a woman might not receive regular care throughout her pregnancy, and these reasons likely differ for each woman.

Some birth mothers spend the early part of their pregnancy in fear and denial. They may not be telling others about the pregnancy and therefore do not begin care until later on when they ultimately begin creating an adoption plan. It is also quite possible – given that she is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy – that a birth mother simply doesn’t learn of her pregnancy until she is further along and the symptoms and signs of pregnancy become more apparent.

Many birth mothers are balancing numerous responsibilities with little to no support. For instance a birth mother, who is a single mom to two other young children and does not have a car or any supportive family or friends to help her, may just not be able to find the time or resources to get to the doctor. Furthermore, even if she can get to the doctor, she may cringe at the thought of spending hours of her day waiting around for a quick checkup. Other women may not have received prenatal care for previous pregnancies, so they feel that it is normal to not go to the doctor and feel that they will know if anything is wrong.

Just because a birth mother does not make it to doctor appointments regularly does not mean that she is not committed to her adoption plan or taking care of herself. Nor does it mean that she has something to hide, such as drug usage. It is important for adoptive parents to remember that while prenatal care might be their top priority if they were pregnant, it might be at the bottom of her priorities, especially if her life is chaotic, which is typical for many birth mothers.

American Adoptions does encourage birth mothers to receive prenatal care and talks with each woman about the importance of receiving care during pregnancy. American Adoptions also helps birth mothers with arrangements to get to and from the doctor or with locating a doctor or getting insurance coverage, if those are barriers to receiving care.

Ultimately, there could be many reasons a woman is not receiving prenatal care, and American Adoptions will do our best to help a woman receive good medical care and support her in whatever ways she needs.


Q&A with an Adoption Specialist – The Importance of Traveling to the Birth

By Annie

Staff Photos Megan SmallerHello, 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 both adoptive parents to be present at the child’s birth?

A. When birth parents sit down and choose the adoptive family they want to raise their baby, they take many factors into account and most often choose a family because they see something special in the parents and their relationship. Furthermore, the birth mother may not have any support from the father of the baby and/or may not have had two parents when she was growing up. Often one of the key things she wants for her child – something she cannot give, something she never had – is a two-parent family.

It is imperative that both the adoptive mother and adoptive father be present when the baby is born and during the hospital time. Birth parents need to know that their baby is the top priority for the adoptive parents. If one parent cannot travel, the birth mother may feel like she and the baby are not that important and may also begin second-guessing what future life may be like in the family she has chosen and if that parent will be absent frequently. During a time that is already fraught with emotion and doubt, it is important that the adoptive parents do all they can to support the birth parents and not add any additional doubts or fears.

It is also important that both adoptive parents find a way to bond and interact with the birth parents and their support persons while in the hospital. It is not uncommon for one person to be more social, outgoing or comfortable in this setting, but it is important that both parents find a way to engage the birth parents and be involved throughout the process.

Should you need suggestions or guidance with this, your Adoptive Family Specialist will gladly provide ideas on how you can make sure to accomplish this.


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

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