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13
Feb

26 Years of Creating Families with American Adoptions

It’s our 26th Anniversary at American Adoptions!

To celebrate, we wanted to share with you something we put together over the past year:

5
Dec

What Does an Adoption Specialist Do?

Adoption SpecialistChoosing adoption is a big decision.  It doesn’t matter if you are looking to be the adoptive family, or if you are the birth family.  Both parties have a lot to consider when they choose adoption.  The support of loved ones is extremely important and necessary.  Also important is the support of an adoption specialist.

An adoption specialist’s role is vast.  They are educators, counselors, and advocates for both birth families and adoptive families.  Their services include (but are not limited to):

For birth families

  • educating birth parents on what it means to choose adoption
  • helping them create an adoption plan, choose a family, and form a hospital plan
  • providing education about the emotional experience birth parents will have, from being matched with a family to their hospital stay
  • providing advice about the financial aspects of adoption
  • answering all questions the birth family will have

For adoptive families

  • educating adoptive families on each step in their journey to growing their family
  • answering all questions from the adoptive family
  • providing advice about the financial aspects of adoption
  • facilitating communication between the birth family and adoptive family
  • helping adoptive families be prepared for when they get “the call.”

Another hat worn by an adoption specialist is that of “friend.”  The adoption process can be daunting, overwhelming, and confusing.  An adoption specialist can help navigate the path, ensure all needs are being met, and provide encouragement along the way.  They are a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.  And most adoption specialists would probably say this is their most important role, one they are privileged to have.

13
Aug

Q&A with Executive Director Jennifer Kittredge

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 Executive Director, Jennifer works closely with our adoptive family and birth parent specialists as well as local attorneys in Florida. She is there to build relationships and help expand American Adoptions of Florida; 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 Jennifer and the life of an Executive Director!

What is your name and position?

Jennifer Kittredge, Executive Director, American Adoptions of Florida

How long have you been working for American Adoptions?

2 years

What are your tasks at American Adoptions?

Support and supervision for our Florida staff, growing the Florida office and the number of adoptions Florida handles, building relationships in Florida with local resources and attorneys, scheduling consent singing, training our local contract workers, Liaison with our licensing representative, carry a small case load of birth parents, approval of Florida Home Studies as well as post placements, yearly reviews of employees. (So a little bit of everything!)

What does a typical work day look like?

Supporting Florida staff with their case load, reviewing and approving home studies, reviewing post placements, scheduling local workers to meet with prospective birth parents, reading and reviewing cases notes, scheduling consent signings, meeting with local resources in the community to build relationships, call back prospective birth parents from online submission forms, and meetings…lots of meetings.

How has adoption impacted your life personally?

I am an adoptive mom. Our daughter, Emma is ten and came home from China in March of 2007 when she was 16 months old. We could not imagine our lives without Emma. She brings us so much joy and laughter every day!

What is your favorite part of working for American Adoptions?

Working with such an amazing, passionate team.

What is your favorite time of year at American Adoptions?

The holidays. It’s so fun to catch up with our Adoptive families and see how much all the children have grown.

Do you have any favorite adoption memories?

One of my favorite adoption memories is a sweet birth mom who placed her 2.5 year old twins. As difficult as this was for her, she felt in her heart that they needed a stable two parent home. Through many tears, I walked with her through her adoption journey. I am happy to say almost a year later she is doing amazing! She just visited the boys and has a wonderful open adoption. These are the adoptions that make my heart so happy.

How many adoptions have you been a part of?

I’m a part of all of the Florida adoptions since I staff and schedule our workers so I’m not quite sure.

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your position?

Growing the Florida office. It’s been a great accomplishment and I can’t wait to grow even more!

1
May

National Foster Care Month: Looking Back at Our Roots

Did you know that there are more than 400,000 children and youth in the U.S. currently in foster care? Did you know that of these, more than 100,000 children are waiting to be connected with their forever families through adoption?

Each May, National Foster Care Month serves to raise awareness of the facts to encourage families to explore foster care and foster-to-adopt programs. During the month of May (and every other month of the year) we ask for your help in promoting these programs and celebrating the amazing foster parents, volunteers, mentors, child welfare professionals and others who help children in foster care find permanent homes and connections.

For American Adoptions, our connections to foster care run deep. So, to help celebrate National Foster Care Month, we’re sharing the story of how one family’s commitment to foster care grew into a passion for building loving families.

The Mars Family

It all started 35 years ago when Ted and Susan Mars came to their son, Scott, with an important question.

“My parents came to me and said, ‘Scott, what do you think about becoming a foster family for an adoption agency?’” Scott recalls.

Scott, being an adoptee, loved the idea of being able to give back to other children and families. The family knew that they wanted more than anything to help connect these children to their forever families.

Before they knew it they had opened up their home and their hearts to a beautiful baby girl named Heather. After Heather came another child, and another, and another. Over the years the Mars family fostered 157 babies who went on to live wonderful lives with their adoptive families.

“I got to experience giving that child love and being a part of that, of seeing a child go on to an awesome life like I had,” Scott said. “I got a feeling of what it was like to be a part of and making a small child’s life better, to be that bridge between adoption.”

Love and Opportunity

The beautiful act of fostering children planted a seed in the Mars family. A seed that could only grow by continuing to give back to children and the act of adoption.

As Scott finished up his Business and Psychology degrees, his mother, Susan, came to him with an idea: She wanted to start an adoption agency. Thus, Scott, Susan and Ted set about making this dream a reality.

In 1991, American Adoptions was founded.  And as the company grew, so too did the Mars family’s passion for adoption and helping to build families.

Now, 25 years later, American Adoptions is one of the largest, most successful adoption agencies in the U.S. and has completed over 5,000 adoptions since its doors opened.

“I think back to how we felt when we were foster parents. We knew that we were helping to do something that was important, to help someone else become a family. I have the same feelings for each adoption that we do,” Scott said. “We get to be a part of helping that child have a life of love and opportunity, just like I did.”

13
Mar

Thank You, Social Workers!

Social Work Month 2016

March is National Social Work Month and here at American Adoptions we want to take a minute to thank our wonderful social workers! These amazing people work tirelessly to help build families and we couldn’t be more proud of all they do. Thanks for making American Adoptions great!

The National Association of Social Workers’ goal during Social Work Month and throughout 2016 will be to “educate the public about how social workers and the association have brought about major positive social changes, improved the lives of individuals and families, and will continue to do so in the future.”

Our American Adoptions’ Adoption Specialists are each Licensed Social Workers or Professional Counselors. These men and women work tirelessly to support and educate our birth parents and adoptive family clients. Their commitment, experience and heart are some of the things that make American Adoptions special!

You can learn more about our amazing staff by visiting our website or here as we continue to add more posts to the “about our staff” section of the blog!

13
Feb

Our Founders – Ted, Susan and Scott’s Adoption Story

February 13 was our 25th birthday and to celebrate we want to share with you our founders’ adoption story. Watch the video below or read Susan’s story. 

By Susan Mars, Co-Founder of American Adoptions

When I was growing up, all I really wanted to do was marry the man of my dreams and start a family. I married the man of my dreams but the family part was not able to be, at least not biologically the way most people plan. After many failed pregnancies, we made the decision to adopt an infant. We knew we both wanted to be parents and we knew we could love a child the same regardless if we gave birth to him or her.

We began the adoption process. We quickly learned adoption is not as predictable as having a child biologically.  When you give birth to a child you know a due date and there is a set timeline. With adoption, it started by completing tons of paperwork.  We then had a social worker come to our home, so she could approve us to be parents.

We were scared to death that we would not be approved for something as minor as having a disorganized sock drawer that wasn’t clean enough. When the social worker came to our home, she never looked in them. Of course our sock drawers were perfectly organized.

Once we were approved to adopt, we knew at some point we would be called to come to the office to receive our baby. We waited for what seemed like forever and even had a baby shower and fixed a nursery. We waited and waited some more.  We finally got the call that our son was born and waiting for us to come and get him.

We named him Scott and it was the most exciting moment of our lives when our social worker brought him into the room. I asked her to let his Daddy hold him first. It was a moment I will never forget. There is no greater gift that can be given to someone. I was in awe of Scott but also thought a lot about the wonderful woman who was brave enough and loved Scott enough to let him go. What a hard decision she had made.

Scott felt great about being adopted and grew up knowing his birth family placed him for adoption out of love. He decided he wanted to give back to adoption for all that he had been given. He graduated college and wanted to start an adoption agency. We had been a foster home for babies waiting to be placed with their adoptive family and he got to see firsthand how excited these couples were about receiving their child. It doesn’t matter if a child is born to you or given to you with love through adoption. They are so loved.

I still marvel at Scott and the fact that I was allowed to be his parent. I love him beyond words. From all of this, we started an adoption agency that has grown with a lot of love to be American Adoptions.

Read Susan’s full story here. You can also visit our website to read Scott’s personal story as well as an account from his father, Ted.

11
Feb

American Adoptions Turns 25!

25yr Anniversary

In 1991, after recently graduating from college, a young Scott Mars was in search of a way to give back to the world. Having been adopted as an infant, and having watched his parents foster around 140 babies, he felt that giving back through adoption would be a wonderful way to honor his unique history.

Thus, Scott, never having been one to back down from a challenge, founded American Adoptions out of the basement of his parents’ home.   With the support of his parents, he worked tirelessly to grow this one-man-show into the national agency it is now.

After 25 years of serving adoptive families and birth parents across the country (and beyond), American Adoptions has completed well over 3,000 adoptions. We boast a dedicated and passionate staff that helps us to assist in over 300 adoptions each year and who provide valuable support to both birth parents and adoptive families 24/7. Though we are so excited to have made it to 25 years, we know we wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the amazing families and birth parents who come to us each day. We are so grateful to all of you who have allowed us to be a part of your adoption journey. We’re looking forward to the next 25 years!

Help us celebrate our birthday by sending us your favorite American Adoptions stories! Share them via our Facebook page or email your stories to editors@americanadoptions.com.

4
Jan

New Year, New Agency

Since 1992 American Adoptions has helped create thousands of families through adoption. Every day our dedicated staff helps adoptive parents and expectant mothers find each other and facilitate the perfect adoption relationship. We are so passionate about creating families that we wanted to find a way to help even more couples realize their dreams of becoming parents.

A few years ago, we began to hear a recurring idea from our adoption attorneys who also practice surrogacy law:  As surrogacy continued to increase in popularity, so too did the need for a more child-focused and surrogate-supportive approach. What was missing from modern surrogacies was an agency like American Adoptions.

Thus, our sister company, American Surrogacy, was founded and developed with their Child-Centered Surrogacy Program at the forefront of everything they do.

USE THIS LOGO

For any of our families would like to learn more about surrogacy, we invite you to visit American Surrogacy’s website at www.americansurrogacy.com or call them directly at 1-800-875-BABY.

American Surrogacy is currently accepting intended parents and surrogates.

29
Apr

Q&A with Birth Parent Specialist Brighid Titus

Staff Photos Brighid TitusWe 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 Brighid Titus, a Birth Parents Specialist who has been with American Adoptions for several years. Read on to learn more about her job at American Adoptions!

What is your name and position?

Brighid Titus, Birth Parent Specialist

How long have you been working for American Adoptions?

7 years

What are your tasks at American Adoptions?

I guide birth parents throughout their adoption plan from start to finish. I provide birth mothers with emotional support and guidance. I also set up all the logistics of the adoption: connecting a client with an adoptive family, helping birth parents have their needs met with safety and stability, working with our attorneys who set up the legal process, speaking with medical professionals to arrange medical care, preparing for the hospital time, and coordinating everything for the delivery of the baby.

What does a typical work day look like?

I spend most days making calls to birth parents to check in and help them through the next steps. I communicate with adoptive families, attorneys, medical providers, and team members. Some days I meet with clients, go to hospitals, or go to court. My favorite part of each day is speaking with the women I work with… whether it be about something big or small. I love learning all about them and supporting them any way I can. I love going above and beyond to make their day a little brighter or help them solve a problem.  I love that I get to be a part of something so colossal and impactful: making a family!

What is your favorite part of working for American Adoptions?

My favorite part of American Adoptions is the energy. We are a dynamic group of people who are always evolving to better serve our clients and provide the best possible experience for everyone we work with. American Adoptions has a positive, interactive vibe, with teammates who support each other. We get excited to reach and exceed goals, and we always push ourselves and each other to be better.

What is your favorite time of year at American Adoptions?

Summertime! Summer weather and summer fun seems to permeate into work and lighten the mood. We also always seem to be extra busy in summer, which makes it exciting.

Do you have any favorite adoption memories?

More than I can count!!! One of my most favorite things is when an adoptive family I worked with will send me a picture of the baby. And years later… they are not babies anymore! It has brought tears to my eyes when I see the sweet beautiful children growing up, and hearing about all their milestones and accomplishments. I know that their parents and their birth parents are overflowing with pride and joy of these children and how they have grown. And THAT is what this is all about!

How many adoptions have you been a part of?

So far, I have been the Birth Parent Specialist to 225 women that have fully completed their adoption plans and placed their child for adoption with an adoptive family. It blows my mind thinking about it!

What has been your biggest accomplishment in your position?

I feel accomplished when I try new things, learn new things, and go outside my comfort zone… When I am faced with a problem that feels so big and complicated that I don’t believe there could be a solution, but I work though it and somehow I come out the other end… When I hear kind words from the incredible clients I work with and they say I made a difference in their life…When brave women I have worked with contact me years later and let me know that they are going to school to be a social worker because they want to do what I do. WOW – sometimes this job fills my heart so heavy and full that it feels like it could burst. What a tremendous job I have!

10
Mar

Recognizing Social Work Month!

Staff Collage SmallerEach March is recognized as Social Work Month. The National Association of Social Workers’ goal during Social Work Month and throughout 2015 will be to “educate the public about how social workers and the association have brought about major positive social changes, improved the lives of individuals and families, and will continue to do so in the future.”

Our American Adoptions’ Adoption Specialists are each Licensed Social Workers or Professional Counselors. These men and women work tirelessly to support and educate our birth parents and adoptive family clients. Their commitment, experience and heart are some of the things that make American Adoptions special!

You can learn more about our amazing staff by visiting our website or here as we continue to add more posts to the “about our staff” section of the blog!

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