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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.

28
Sep

Why Open Adoption is Important to Birth Mothers

Open Adoption “Open adoption is an opportunity to build enormous bridges to families beyond your reach.” – Kristen Gerald

Open adoption is so important to me. It’s just as important to me now, six years after my son’s adoption, as it was in the beginning of the adoptive relationship. The question is: why is having an open adoption important to me? Having an open adoption means I stay connected with my child. Just because I made a decision not to parent every day doesn’t mean I don’t want to have a relationship with my child. I also believe that us having a relationship is better for him as well in the long run.

Open for All of Us

The main reason that I chose an open adoption was because I didn’t want my child to have questions as he was growing up that would go unanswered. I didn’t want him to be confused about where he came from, or why he ended up where he did. I wanted him to be able to grow up in an environment that fully supported him being able to develop an identity based on security, trust and love. Having an open adoption means I can help offer him and his parents clarity as he grows up and has questions. There is more than enough love between all of us to satisfy his needs, and I haven’t disappeared from his life. I didn’t abandon him; I just play a different role in his life than his parents do.

“Adoptive parents, child, birth mother, siblings, extended adoptive family, extended birth family—the more love we give, the more we receive.” – Jeanette Green

Open Comfort

I’ll be honest, open adoption brings me comfort knowing that my son is doing well where he is now. When I get to talk to him and hear how happy he is, it gives me peace of mind and continues to encourage me to live my life. It’s a way for me to know that my son is safe and well taken care of, which was all I ever wanted for him. I love the pictures and the updates. I am proud of my son and who he is turning into. I also am proud of his parents for raising such a precious child. He wouldn’t be doing so exceptionally well if it weren’t for them.

More importantly though is my main reason for choosing openness: my son. I have heard too many stories about children feeling abandoned by their parents because they were in a closed adoption. I knew people who were adopted and went searching for their birth parents, only to find them many years later. I desire to be accessible at any time for my son. Whenever he needs me, I am here. I am not his adoptive parents, but I am his birth mother and I take that role very seriously.

*Closed Adoption Note

I want to mention that sometimes closed adoptions are the best option. When a child’s safety is at risk, or it is just the wishes of the adoptive and birth parents, then closed adoption may be the wisest choice. I mention this because I believe in what’s best ultimately for the child, whether it is open or closed adoption. My experience is with open adoption, and when it is an option, I advocate for it.

What Openness Really Does

I see adoption as a way to change roles and extend a family. I did not place my child up for adoption so I could get out of my responsibilities associated with becoming pregnant. It wasn’t a decision I made out of maturity or grief. I genuinely made the decision for open adoption because I love my son, and I want him to have the best he is able to out of life. So doesn’t that mean knowing where he came from as well and having access to his entire family instead of being cut off from me?

“Our family is like a big beautiful patchwork quilt. Each of us different yet stitched together by love!” – Unknown Author

I have learned my boundaries over time. There are times when I need more contact, and times when my son’s parents need less contact. He isn’t at the age yet in which he fully comprehends where he came from. Interacting with me from time to time will make it much easier when it’s time for him to truly understand the role that I play in his life. I believe fully that his parents will do an incredible job explaining to him how he was birthed out of love, and given to them because of even more love than is almost possible.

I believe that an open adoption is a way to teach a child more about how much love they actually have in their lives. Don’t we all want that for our children?

Benefits of Open Adoption for the Triad

  • Adoptive Parents
    • You will know the medical history and other history that you may be interested in for your child. In a closed adoption, this information is not always made available. In open adoption, as the child grows and you have questions about genetics, your questions with be answered.
    • You have an extension of family for your child. Your child will benefit from having so much love in his or her life as you express that love.
    • You can be open with your child about where he or she came from, and how that child was chosen twice: by their birth parent and by you. You made a choice to love that child and you can express that openly as well as expressing that the choice the birth parent made was out of love as well.
    • There is so much more love to give to your child with open adoption!
  • Adoptee
    • The child will have all of his or her questions answered, especially the big ones. The child won’t be left confused, wondering where he or she came from and where their birth parent/s is/are.
    • The child will have so much love from so many family members that they will grow up nourished and appreciated. Feeling loved will provide self-esteem, security, and a greater faith in their spirituality as they grow up.
    • What child doesn’t like to show off pictures of themselves and know that there are others outside of the immediate home who truly value what and how they are doing in life?
    • There is so much more love available to the child with open adoption!
  • Birth Mother/Birth Father
    • The grief process will be much easier, as what will be grieved is a specific role rather than a relationship. A mother changing her relationship with her child is a transition. A mother saying goodbye to her child is a loss.
    • Having an impact of love and being able to provide important history information will make a birth parent feel special and like they are still a crucial part of the child’s life, even if it is a different role than what the adoptive parents play.
    • There is still an outlet for a birth mother to love her child through an open adoption by giving gifts, receiving pictures and updates, and whatever else the open agreement entails.
    • There is somewhere to pour out all of that motherly and instinctual love!

Open adoption provides something incredibly special: Love.

~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.

19
Sep

5 Ways to Help a Birth Mother Heal After Placement

  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

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.

31
Aug

Tips for Bonding with Your Child’s Birth Parents

Bonding with Birth ParentsBonding with my son’s mother has come more naturally to me at certain times, and felt more difficult at other times. There were times that I felt insecure about bonding with her because I was afraid of what she might think of me. I think I realized that she was fearful of the same thing. You see, people are people, no matter what role they play in life. Whether you are a birth mother or an adoptive parent, you are still human. Human beings get fearful and insecure about what others might think of them. We may second guess actions that we take or words that we speak. Confidence doesn’t come easy for the fallible human being. Therefore, bonding with a birth parent may feel like a challenge.

Insecurity

What do I say? How do I act? What do I share? What do I keep to myself? These are questions rooted in insecurity that I have experienced in different relationships. These questions are not specific to the birth mother and adoptive mother relationship. In my experience, these questions and insecurities arise in many relationships I have been involved in. It’s not about who you are talking to though. I believe it is where you are talking from.

My son’s mother spoke from her heart, and I spoke form my heart and that is how we bonded. There was no façade or dance regarding how we would act towards one another. I wasn’t looking for a woman to put on a show for me. I was looking for a woman who would share her heart with me. I knew that I needed someone who could love my son as much as I did, and the only way I would be able to identify that was by looking at her heart.

Even though bonding has been challenging at times, I never felt as if I was forcing a relationship with my son’s mother. I think that forcing a relationship may be an indicator that the relationship isn’t meant to be. We should never have to force a personal and intimate relationship with another person.

Be Yourself

My suggestion to adoptive parents who are trying to bond with their child’s birth parents is this: Be yourself. Joining a family together through adoption isn’t about swooping the child up and walking away from his or her parents. It’s about creating an extension of family where you can all come together through one common bond: your love for that child.

If you are looking for some topics to discuss with your child’s birth parent, here are some suggestions:

  • What are some activities that you see that child getting involved with and how will you help that child by encouraging him or her to try those activities? Sports? Dance? Mathletes?
  • When was it first put on your heart that adoption was the way to go for you and how can you express a knowing that this is the right child for your family?
  • What are your dreams, hopes, and aspirations as an individual and as a parent?
  • What are your core belief systems and how do you try to carry those beliefs out on your daily life?

If you begin to discuss these topics from your heart with the birth parents you are looking to connect with, my prayer is that they will be receptive and open up with you as well. My relationship as a birth mother with my son’s parents is very intimate and special. That relationship has developed and adapted over time to become a closer connection. We have learned about each other’s hearts, boundaries, and desires.

Don’t Give Up

If you find that the birth parents or birth mother cannot seem to bond with you, but you are confident that the child was meant to be with you, be sensitive to why that bonding isn’t occurring. Consider that birth parents experience tremendous amounts of grief, guilt, and shame at times. They also may be feeling insecure about how they should interact with you. I know that there have been times I second-guessed myself with my son’s parents because I was feeling insecure.

I think that the desire to bond with your child’s birth parents is admirable, honorable, and crucial in the success of such a relationship. If bonding isn’t happening, perhaps it is one of two things. Either this isn’t the relationship you may be looking for, or the birth parents are feeling incredibly insecure and are not at a place where they are able to express intimacy through bonding. My suggestion is to not give up on creating that bond. If your heart truly desires a bond, and birth parents see that, there is always hope.

~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.

12
Aug

15 Inspirational Adoption Quotes

Born in Our Hearts

“Little souls find their way to you whether they’re from your womb or someone else’s”
– Sheryl Crow

“Adoption is a journey of faith, from beginning to end.”
– Johnny Carr

Adoption is Like a Marriage

“Families don’t have to match. You don’t have to look like someone else to love them.”
– Leigh Anne Tuohy (adoptive mother portrayed in The Blind Side)

“If you have a heart for adoption, don’t let fear stand in the way”
– Doug Chapman

Life gave me the gift of you

“Whether your children are yours through biology or adoption, they are yours through love.”
– Sadia Rebecca Rodriguez

“I don’t even bother playing the lotto because we’ve already won. Without a doubt, by far, they are the greatest gifts in our life. It’s so understated to say that. We’d walk through two fires to do that again.”
– Mike, AA adoptive father

From the First Moment

“He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.”
– Desha Wood

“Adoption was a bumpy ride, very bumpy. But, God, was it worth the fight.”
– Mariska Hargitay

Birth Mother Quote - Natasha

“The adoption was challenging – the LOVE arrived instantly.”
– Unknown

“There are times when the adoption process is exhausting and painful and makes you want to scream. But, I am told, so does childbirth.”
– Scott Simon

3
Aug

Understanding a Birth Mother’s Grief

Birthmother Grief

I didn’t understand what I was going through at the time, but through research, counseling, and my healing path, I have realized something crucial: I have moved through the grief process when it comes from transitioning from having the role of a custodial parent to the role of being a birth mother. I want to explain how I walked through the grief process in hopes that it will give adoptive parents and potential adoptive parents insight into what a birth mother may go through, be going through, or have gone through.

  1. Denial

I couldn’t face my emotions. It wasn’t the decision of choosing adoption that was scaring me, it was how I felt about the transition of my role. I couldn’t process or understand all of the emotions. I had to shut off the feelings for a while in order to move forward. I had to keep moving forward, but I didn’t know how to do that with all of the feelings that I was experiencing.

“It is a defense mechanism that buffers the immediate shock. We block out the words and hide from the facts. This is a temporary response that carries us through the first wave of pain.”

  1. Anger

I felt like I had lost everything. I faced consequences of my decision by being disowned by loved ones, betrayed by those I trusted, and I felt like I was lost. My role as a custodial parent was gone, along with those I cared about. I was angry at my situation and channeled my emotions of pain into feelings of anger because, at the time, it was the only emotion that I could handle.

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal.”

  1. Depression

I eventually began disappearing into myself. I couldn’t ignore the pain anymore of losing the role as custodial parent. The reality began hitting me of all of the things I wouldn’t experience as my role transitioned. I wasn’t regretting my decision, and I think that is crucial to mention. None of these stages were about regret. Depression was about facing the reality of how I felt, and it began to swallow me.

“Just as night is followed by day, so too your dark times will be followed by brighter days ahead.” – Karen Salmanohn

  1. Bargaining

I would say this was the most difficult stage for me. I didn’t want to change my situation due to regret, but I desperately wanted to change my feelings of grief. I didn’t want to face the loneliness and confusion I was feeling and I pleaded with God to relieve me of the pain.

“The bargaining stage is characterized by attempting to negotiate with a higher power or someone or something you feel, whether realistically or not, that has some control over the situation.”

  1. Acceptance

My prayers were answered from the bargaining stage. All of the sudden, the grief and pain began to evolve into the true realization: I was a birth mother. I had finally begun accepting that role and letting go of the old role that I played as the custodial parent. I can say in confidence today that I love being a birth mother. I love my son. I love his parents. It was the best choice, and it is still the best choice.

“I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord.” – Isaiah 66:9

I remember the day that I transferred custody of my son. As I watched his parents drive away with him, I broke down bawling and fell to the floor. My heart was broken into a million tiny pieces. Yet, it was bittersweet.  I logically and intuitively knew I was doing the right thing, but it doesn’t mean that it didn’t hurt like hell. My point is this: Just because it hurts, doesn’t mean that I regret it.

~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.

13
Jun

Zika Virus – Will it Affect Your Adoption?

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.

24
May

Will My Child Hate Me? An Expectant Mother’s Fear

Will My Child Hate Me?“I chose adoption for my baby not because I didn’t want her, but because I love her.” – Sandra, American Adoptions Birth Mother

It is not uncommon when considering adoption to wonder if your child will resent you for choosing adoption. While not uncommon, the thought of your child one day hating you for placing them for adoption is a terrifying one – leaving you to wonder if adoption really is your best option.

It’s almost comical how, when faced with an unplanned pregnancy, everyone in your life suddenly becomes an expert, lecturing you about what you should do next. People unsupportive of adoption will tell you just that – that your child will hate you for “giving them up.” Perpetrated by fear of the unknown, of a lack of understanding about the modern adoption process, people often believe that an adopted child grows up lost and lonely, wondering who their birth parents are, never finding a sense of “self.”

However, that image couldn’t be more untrue.

Today’s adopted children are not only given the opportunity to grow up with a loving adoptive family, but they also know their birth parents. These children don’t grow up lost and lonely, rather they grow up secure in the knowledge that not only did their birth parents love them enough to choose adoption, but that they are – and always were – standing behind them, watching them grow and thrive.

Adoption was once a secretive world where children grew up knowing nothing about their birth parents and adoptive families didn’t talk about them. Some children grew up never knowing they had been adopted until they were adults. This secrecy naturally led to feelings of shame, abandonment and resentment by adopted children. Furthermore, adopted children were often blocked by laws and courts when they did attempt to find who their natural parents were, leading to more hurt feelings and unanswered questions.

However, today’s world of adoption is a very open one. Closed adoptions, where the child or adoptive family never knows the birth parents, are very rare. Instead, the majority of adoptions today are open or semi-open. Birth parents see their children grow up firsthand though pictures, letters and even phone calls or visits. They send birthday presents and holiday wishes. Adoptive families not only see this as a positive influence in their children’s lives, but they support it. This constant line of communication not only allows you to see how your child grows, but allows the child to grow up knowing you and how much you love them as well. Instead of growing up wondering where they came from, they know – and they know the truth about why you chose adoption.

“I keep a journal for my son. I write letters to him that I will hopefully be able to share with him one day,” said Michelle, a birth mother who stays in contact with her son through a semi-open adoption. “This not only helps me process my thoughts, but will explain to my son why I felt adoption was best for him.”

Birth parents that choose adoption do so out of love for their children. While this time of your life can be very emotional and confusing, you should instead picture your child laughing, smiling and living the childhood you dream for them – all the while knowing that not only do they have an adoptive family that cherishes them, but birth parents who loved them so greatly they choose this wonderful life for them.

Remember, our agency is here for you to help you through this process. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to speak to someone about your grief or how you may be feeling. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-ADOPTION.

13
May

Finding the Perfect Family: Erin’s Adoption Story

Pregnant women who work with us often wonder how to pick a family. There’s no exact science to it, and often a woman “just knows” when she’s found the right couple! Hear from Erin about how she knew she’d found the right family in Suzanne and Adam.

“As soon as I knew I was pregnant, I knew I wasn’t in a position to give my baby the life they deserved,” Erin writes. So Erin and her boyfriend decided on adoption and began to look at family profiles.

“My boyfriend and I decided on important qualities and keywords and our search became much more specific,” Erin writes. “We had a small pile of “maybes,” but as soon as I read about Adam and Suzanne, I knew they would be the perfect parents for my child. They seemed like a combination of all the best aspects of my boyfriend’s family and my family.”

Erin arranged for Adam and Suzanne to travel to her hometown during her pregnancy so they all could get to know each other.

Erin says of the weekend, “We spent the weekend talking, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company. They were able to attend a doctor’s appointment with me on Monday before their flight left, and it was wonderful to see how emotional both Adam and Suzanne became upon hearing her heart beat for the first time and watching her squirm on the monitor. After we said very tearful goodbyes, I knew they were the parents I wanted for my child, and I felt very comfortable knowing my daughter would be loved immensely by these two wonderful people.”

Erin enjoyed more time with Adam and Suzanne when her daughter Vivian was born. She was even able to introduce them to her extended family. She says that saying goodbye was “very emotional, but I knew I made the right decision for my daughter.”

“She will have a life far better than any I could hope to provide, and she has loving, supportive parents who will nurture and guide her,” Erin writes. “It has been over a year since I placed my daughter with Adam and Suzanne, and the updates I receive reassure me that she is happy, healthy and well-loved.”

To read more of Erin’s adoption story and the stories of other women, visit birth mother adoption testimonials on our website. For pregnant women beginning the adoption process, read How to Choose an Adoptive Family to learn about how women who work with our agency select adoptive parents for their child!

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