All posts by Lawrence

Hi, I'm Lawrence Morton, community manager and chief blogger at America Adopts! If you have an open adoption story you want to share, email me anytime at

My Dream For the Daughter I Placed For Adoption

This guest post is by Amanda Miah, a birthmother and author.

They say in the third trimester babies begin to dream. Dreams filled with the sensation of movement and familiar voices.

My baby knew my voice. The voice of a young girl who found herself in a hard place, who faced a difficult decision.

My dream for my daughter was this: That she would have two loving parents who could provide her with a stable and healthy home life.

Two new voices would fill her dreams. And I suppose mine would be tucked away, somewhere in the back of her mind.

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Adoption Profile Videos: Good Is The Enemy of Great

This guest post is from Hal Kaufman, an adoptive parent and the Founder of My Adoption Advisor.

I stole “Good is the Enemy of Great” from James C. Collins, the author of Good to Great, a book about how few organizations – schools, governments, businesses, etc. – achieve greatness, principally because they’re good.

Adopting parents use an adoption video to share who they are with potential birth parents.

I have viewed a lot of adoption profile videos and some are definitely good. Few are great.

Why is making a great video important? What’s the different between a good adoption profile video and a great one? And even if you happen to make a great video, why isn’t that enough?

Let’s get to the answers. Continue reading

Why We Need to Keep The Adoption Tax Credit

This guest post is by Maxine Chalker, founder of Adoptions From The Heart and an adoptee.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month, which means that advocacy groups across the country have stepped up their community outreach.

Organizations from the Dave Thomas Foundation to the US Children’s Bureau are working extra hard to celebrate the beautiful families built through adoption and get more people who may never have considered adopting to begin thinking about it.

It’s just one month out of the year, but for those of us in the adoption community, it feels like a big deal.

Adoption Tax Credit Will Survive Tax Reform Efforts

So what does our Congress have in store for this month of celebration? Saving the adoption tax credit, a financial break that makes adoption a viable choice for thousands of middle-class families every year.

GOP lawmakers are busy trying to reform the American tax system, crafting bills that would lower the corporate tax rate by 15% and double the standard deduction that nearly 70% taxpayers take at the end of each year.

But to offset these reductions in tax revenue, legislators have proposed eliminating a host of deductions and tax credits, including the one that allows new adoptive families to reduce their tax liability by over $13,000.

Thankfully, we can now say that the adoption tax credit is here to stay.

On November 9, 2017, CNN Money reported that both the House and Senate versions of tax reform currently being considered will retain the adoption tax credit, despite an initial House-drafted bill that slashed it.

The Adoption Tax Credit Is Good For Children & Families

The adoption tax credit is an undeniably good idea.

Every year, over 100,000 children wait for adoptive families in the foster care system.

Thousands more will be born to women who have made the courageous choice to create an adoption plan and provide their children with a supportive home.

The adoption tax credit, in a very real sense, helps find loving homes for these children.

Adoption is expensive. The cost to adoptive families, according to financial advisor and adoptive mother Jennifer Myers at The Hill, can range from $20,000 to $50,000.

There’s good evidence that this expense dissuades numerous prospective adoptive parents from actually adopting.

When only upper middle class or rich people can adopt, you’ve got a real problem on your hands.

In 1981, Congress noticed this problem and acted. That year, lawmakers granted new adoptive families a $1,000 tax refund, hoping to make the prospect of raising a child easier on prospective adoptive parents.

By 2016, the adoption tax credit, which is now used to discount a family’s earnings for tax purposes, had grown to $13,460.

The adoption tax credit can be used to offset the fees paid to an adoption agency, legal fees owed to an adoption attorney, travel necessary for the adoption and even the cost of a home study.  

It Also Helps The Country

The tax credit isn’t just good for adoptive families and children. It’s also good for the American government and taxpayers at-large.

As the Deseret News notes, a number of studies have found that, for every $1 in tax revenue lost through the adoption tax credit, federal and state governments save $9 in social services that would have to be provided to children.

In 2012, President Barack Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act, extending tax deductions that encouraged adoption and making the adoption tax credit a permanent feature of the US tax code.

The credit has already helped build thousands of wonderful families. And, whatever Congress decides to do with our tax system, it looks like the adoption tax credit will continue to help families for years to come. Happy National Adoption Month everyone.

Maxine Chalker, MSW / LSW is the Founder and Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart. Her goal is to give adoption a new face by promoting open adoption and taking some of the mystery out of the adoption process.

Do you have an open adoption story? Email us any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

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How To Build Your Independent Adoption Team

This guest post is by Brian Esser, an attorney and adoptive father.

Somewhere right this instant, an expectant woman is on her phone, Googling her way to the self-produced online profile of an adoptive parent or parents. 

An email is sent, a connection is felt, and a match could be in the works. 

It is modern, yes, but there is still that same “I just knew” person-to-person feeling there, the same moment of connection felt by an expectant woman leafing through profiles at an agency or on the agency’s web site.

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Giving Thanks For Adoption

This guest blog is by Gayle H. Swift, an adoptive mother, adoption coach and author. 

Here in the USA, November marks two important observances: Thanksgiving and National Adoption Month. I venture to say adoptive parents certainly feel deep gratitude for the privilege of being able to parent their children.

Joining these two observances feels appropriate. Becoming adoptive parents delivered a visceral joy that many of us thought impossible. Continue reading

A Letter To My Pre-Birthmother Self

This guest post is by Gina Crotts, a birthmother.
Dear Gina,
The path you’re about to start on is a long and tedious road. You will wake up from nightmares, cry tears of emptiness, and ache to be whole again.
You will experience the most powerful and emotional rollercoasters in this life, called grief.
You will sacrifice and give away a part of you, that cannot be filled with any worldly treasure, yet you’ll continue to try and fill the unfillable.
You will know loss and you will know pain. Birthdays and holidays will haunt you. When you least expect it, you’ll buy a front row seat to that rollercoaster you wish would forget about you.

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Don’t Adopt

This guest post is by Kerstin Lindquist, an adoptive mother and author.  

Don’t adopt.

Don’t adopt because you think you want to.
Don’t adopt because it’s the cool thing to do.
Don’t adopt because celebrities do.
Don’t adopt because it’s an “option.”

It’s not that simple.

Don’t adopt if you’re not ready to lose everything.
Not just a little, but all of it.
Don’t adopt when your partner isn’t one hundred percent on board,
You can’t do this without their support.
Don’t adopt if you’re not prepared to get your heart broken.
Not just tomorrow but for the rest of your child’s life.
Don’t adopt if you aren’t willing to deal with the prejudice in your families’ eyes, in your friend’s words, in societies double standards.

Because you’re just not ready. Continue reading

What Growing Up In An Open Adoption Taught Me About Setting Boundaries

This guest post is by Juliana Whitney, an adoptee.

Open adoption is filled with uncertain boundaries which everyone involved has to be keenly aware of.

It’s one of those situations where you really have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  It requires an openness to vulnerability.  

In an open adoption, you deal with the boundary between the adoptive parents and the biological parents, the boundary between the child and the biological parents, and even the boundary between the adoptive parents and the child.  

Then there is the boundary between all members of the biological and adoptive families, depending on how close the two families become!  It’s intense, to say the least.  

As every open adoption situation is different, I will give you some background on my own.  

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Birthmothers Don’t Give Up Their Children 

This guest post is by Tysie Stoyan, an adoptive mother.

Almost two years ago today I became a firm believer that miracles really do come true.

On December 29, 2015, as tears fell down my face, I held a little boy in my arms for the first time.

Something I once believed was impossible came true. I became a mother.

I never imagined that my life could have so much love, happiness and completeness in it.

Five years earlier,  I was diagnosed with uterine cancer and told I could not have children of my own. Adoption was my only chance at motherhood.  

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How I Found Peace Of Mind As A Birthmother

This guest post is by Makena, a birthmother. 

It would be so easy for me to deny that I am a birthmother.

I haven’t simply because I love being a birthmother and I love how big my family has grown all because of one choice I made to place my son for adoption.

That decision has led me to where I am now. I learned to embrace its consequences and realized that not all consequences are bad.

Mistakes often lead to new experiences and blessings, although most people don’t realize that.

When it comes to experiences in life, I’m often seen as the elephant in the room. And yet I am happy with who I am. Continue reading