5 Bonding Tips for New Adoptive Parents

This guest post is by Alana Redmond, a legal content writer.

Being an adoptive parent comes with mixed emotions. You may fall in love with the new member of your family immediately, but still wonder–is my child happy? Does my child love me?

Worry over how your adopted child is bonding with you is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. You can quell your concerns and enjoy this special time more fully by doing things to strengthen your connection. Celebrate National Adoption Month by bonding with your child at every opportunity. Continue reading

Our Adoption Journey As A Same-Sex Couple

This guest post is by Brian Splater, an adoptive parent. 

For several years my husband and I talked about adopting a child. As a same-sex couple we knew we could either adopt through an adoption agency, from foster care or through surrogacy.

We decided it was important to adopt through foster care since there are hundreds of thousands of children in America’s foster care system. 

Instead of one child we were blessed with two biological siblings. At the time Jaxon had just turned five (a week earlier) and his sister Ellie was six. They moved in with us in May of 2018. Continue reading

Looking To Adopt A Child? Start Building Your Team Now

This guest post is by Faith Getz Rousso, an adoptee and adoption attorney.

Are you ready to take the field? Did you do your education to put together a qualified, experienced and committed team that will guide you towards your ultimate goal of adopting a child? 

First and foremost, one must educate themselves as to the type of adoption you will be pursuing. Private independent? Foster care? Agency Adoption? 

Ask people you know who have adopted, whether they adopted through foster care, agency or private. Ask about their experiences with the agency and/or attorney. 

Speak with a few agencies and a few attorneys. This is a highly emotional process, and you must be comfortable communicating with the manager of your team—the person or entity that will be calling the shots and guiding you to the finish line.

Are you comfortable opening up and revealing your fears? Your concerns about adding to your family through adoption? And the uncertainty of who will respond to your profile? 

Continue reading

One Of The Best Ways Adoptive Parents Can Support Adoptees

This guest post is by Chemene, an adoptive mother and adoption support group leader. 

It was the afternoon of June 20, 2019, and I was making dinner while streaming CSPAN on my iPad.  My phone was blowing up with texts giving me play by play updates on what was happening. 

My heart was pounding as I waited with anticipation as each Assembly person went up to the microphone to tell their story for or against Assembly Bill S3419/A5494. 

It was the day that the New York Adoptee Rights Bill was being heard and voted on in the NYS Assembly. I sat for an hour or two listening, hoping to hear each Assemblymember say they will vote in the affirmative to pass the bill. 

One woman in particular comes to my mind. Hon. Pam Hunter shared her personal story of being an adoptee while trying to stop the tears from falling down her face.

She asked everyone present to think of what it would be like if you couldn’t give your child any information on pre-existing conditions or genetic predispositions.

She continued to say that the only way that you, as a parent, could help your child get this information would be if they were very ill and have means to get a lawyer and advocate for them in court. Even then, you are hoping to get it which doesn’t usually happen. 

I really wasn’t paying attention to cooking. I was thinking about all the adoptees, young and old, fighting for something that the rest of the world takes for granted. 

Then the time came to count the votes, and just like that, Hon. Jeffrion L. Aubry announced BILL PASSED!  I jumped and screamed and scared my children!  I was so happy!  But why?  I am an adoptive parent, not an adoptee. Why would this be so important to me?  

Let’s go back and I will explain.  

Being a support group leader for adoptive and foster parents for the last 13 years, I have learned a lot about the legal processes of placing children. 

I have also learned that the community at large doesn’t pay attention to some of the facts to do with placement and do not realize that any child placed for domestic adoption has two birth certificates.  

You see, when a child is born the biological parent fills out paperwork to get a birth certificate. When that child is placed for adoption, the birth certificate is changed or amended to read the adoptive parents’ names.  So this document is false. 

Many people do not know that an adoptee does not have the legal right to the original birth certificate (OBC) ever!  Non-adopted people can just walk into the town hall or county clerk with identification and pay a fee for a certified copy of their birth certificate. 

We look past this technicality and move on thinking that this amended document will only be used to get the adoptee a passport one day. Then it will go into a safe or folder and collect dust. I personally took it for granted and never gave it a thought. 

An adopted person is prevented from knowing their place of birth or hospital or even what time of day they were born. The legal system prevents them from having this simple piece of paper.  They are the only class of citizens in the United States that are denied access to their own birth certificate.

Now you might say that the adoptee can simply submit to an Ancestry DNA or 23andMe test and find out some information about their biological family.  However not everyone has the means to do so.

Also, it’s not certain that they would or could find the information they are looking for. Why do they have to jump through so many hoops to get information that most people have readily available at any moment.  

Open adoption is becoming more popular, and it can help when it comes to getting health or ancestry information in some instances, but what if the adopted person doesn’t have an open adoption? 

Recently, it was discussed at one of our support group meetings how sad it is as an adoptive parent to take your child to a doctor’s appointment and, when filling out the health forms, you just skip all the questions related to past genetic history since you have no information to add.

If you think it is frustrating to us as parents, just think of what that child will have to go through.  Again we take for granted what we know about our past without issue.

Think of all the times that you go to a doctors’ appointment, bank, clerk or passport agency. You are asked a bunch of questions and never realize just how easy it is for you to answer. That is not the case for an adoptee. 

For their entire life they are reminded that they are adopted and do not have ancestral information. As adoptive parents we can’t fix everything, but by advocating for this simple piece of paper it can possibly prevent the constant personal trauma.

Advocates have been fighting this law to bring equality for adoptees in all 50 states. Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy is one of those advocates and she believes “Human beings need to know where they come from so when we know better we do better.”

Annette O’Connell from the New York Adoptee Rights Coalition describes it like having a tree without its roots; you can’t grow if you don’t know where you came from.

Adoptees aren’t the only ones that have voiced an opinion on this bill.  The community would be surprised to find out that the majority of first mothers, or birth mothers, don’t ask for anonymity or state that they don’t want contact.

It is actually quite the opposite.  As I did my research, I was surprised to find out that approximately 1 out of 1,500 mothers ask for no contact. 

The NYS Senate on June 3, 2019 passed this bill, 53-6, and then it passed in the NYS Assembly on June 20, 2019, 140-6.  This supermajority should give you an idea of how important this bill is to so many.  

On November 14, 2019, it was signed into law.  On January 15, 2020, New York State adoptees over the age of 18 were finally allowed to apply to get their OBC. Over 3,600 adoptees applied by January 18th. 

As an adoptive parent, I want to have the best for my child and all the adoptive families I support in my group. A few years ago I would have never given this a thought and I would have scrolled past this on social media.

Luckily I stopped to listen and learn. I want all children and adults in this country to have what I personally have –the right to their own history. 

As of today there are only 9 other states that have this law and Texas, Maryland, Connecticut and Massachusetts all have pending legislation that could really use the support of adoptive parents to get passed.

If you want to be a part of helping legislation for adoptees in your state, go to The America Adoption Congress or Adoptees United for details.

Chemene is an adoption support group leader, and the adoptive parent of a boy adopted January 2010 and a biological son born April 2014. Over the past 16 years her journey has taken her through IVF and loss to adoption and family.  

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

Considering Open Adoption For Your Baby? Why It Has Worked For Me

This guest post is by Crystal Byrd, a birthmother. 

I am a birthmom to a beautiful 5 year old girl named Emma. I was 20 years old when I decided to do an open adoption with my little girl.

I was lucky and blessed to find her adoptive parents early in my pregnancy. I found them when I was 13, 14 weeks pregnant and they were with me throughout my whole pregnancy.

A question a lot of people ask me is how did I know Ben and Nicole were the ones? I knew as soon as I looked at their pictures online. People who go through this process say when you see, you will know. That was absolutely true for me.

Continue reading

Open Adoption Is Worth It!

This guest post is by Tysie Robinson, an adoptive mother.
 
Our journey into open adoption started over four and half years ago with the placement at birth of our beautiful baby boy, Zane.   
 
Everyday I am grateful for his and his birth family’s addition to our family. Both of us wanted the adoption to be open. At first it wasn’t easy. And though it has been scary, uncertain, and uncomfortable at times, it’s also been beautiful,  blooming and a blessing!!  
 
Over the years it’s gotten so much easier and smoother.  We have combined two loving families into one and a shared motherhood. I don’t believe Zane was ever given up but rather given from one loving family to another to get more love throughout his life!   

Continue reading

What National Adoption Awareness Month Is Really About

This guest post is by Pamela, an adoptive mother and educator. 

As a parent of two children from adoption I have done a great deal of listening and reading to become a more informed parent of adoptees. 

Honestly, I have learned so much in the past twelve years.  My opinions and beliefs surrounding adoption have really changed over the years. 

One thing I have done for the past 12 years is “celebrate” National Adoption Month on social media each November.  I post cute or maybe even informative memes and quotes. 

I used to tell the story of my children’s births and subsequent adoptions.  I’d post pictures of my children with their birth moms and all sorts of happy-happy images almost selling adoption to other families. 

I was under the impression that National Adoption Month was a celebration of all the joys of adoption.  I recently did some research about the “celebration” and thought I would share all I have learned. Continue reading

Adoption Has Come A Long Way: What A Simple DNA Kit Taught Me

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

“Mom you have to write this in your next book!” My middle child squeals in delight as I reveal the latest developments. She can’t get enough of the real-life drama that is our family.

“This is more of a made for TV movie sweetie.” I laugh.

Rewind to a year ago to a simple DNA kit. As a family created through adoption—two of our three kids are adopted as well as my brother, cousin and sister in law—my desire in getting tested was not so much to find any of my long-lost relatives but to discover a common strain between me and my kids.

Continue reading

The Keys To Creating A Successful Open Adoption

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

Consider the words of Rev David Augsberger: “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person they are indistinguishable.”

As adoptive parents and first parents, we have the power to ensure that our children experience the blessing of this deep sense of emotional resonance, of feeling heard and seen in a way that rings true to their core.

When adoptive parents and first/birth parents interact, each will want to  strive to understand what the other needs to hear, see, feel and know in order to forge that reality which Augsberger describes.

For our children’s sake, the compass point of both adoptive parents and first parents must be focused on our children. Their emotional and physical health must be the determining factor in the way we interact on this interwoven life journey that is adoption.

At its core, adoption is a relationship affirmed by law and built through agreement, not biology. Its success depends on the love, intentionality, integrity, and commitment of those involved. Continue reading

The Most Important Question Of My Adoption Journey

This guest post is by Angela Boucher, an adoptive parent.

“Why?” is only a three-letter word yet it has so much power. “Why?” is a question I not only asked myself but was also asked so times times at various stages throughout my adoption journey.

At first, when I asked myself “Why?” it was in the context of “Why can’t I become pregnant “ or “Why isn’t this happening for us”? You see my journey was filled with “Whys?“

After several months of trying to get pregnant my husband and I went to a reproductive specialist. We quickly started treatment to build our family through IVF.

Our unexpected journey was emotionally, financially, and physically exhausting for both of us. We completed multiple rounds of intrauterine insemination (IAI) and then did six rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

During this time I often asked myself again “Why?” People in my life, my friends,  family members and neighbours were in the process of building  their families yet my husband and I were not.

Our journey became all consuming and isolating and of course we kept asking ourselves that question again: “Why?” 

For our last round of IVF we chose to move forward with an egg donor and yet again I was asked “Why?’ My answer is simple, at least for us it was simple.

I wanted to experience childbirth and my husband wanted a biological connection. That last cycle also failed and we were at our lowest and darkest point in our journey.  And yet again we couldn’t help but ask, “Why?”

Over the next few months we processed our grief and mourned our  losses. We chose to move forward with a new sense of hope and purpose.

 I came to realise that it wasn’t just about pregnancy. It was about motherhood because motherhood lasts a lifetime. We researched, we networked and we began our adoption journey.

Along the way we were asked again “Why?”: Why not just accept that you’re not supposed be parents? Why don’t you understand that children may not be a part of God’s plan for you and  your husband?

As we moved to choosing an agency we were asked why adopt internationally or domestically? The question of why always seemed to be there. 

What I can say for certain is that it didn’t matter to me why . My husband and I just knew that we had to continue to pursue her dreams of parenthood. Neither of us understood why but we knew all could do was follow our hearts and pray that one day, one way or another, it would happen.

We choose a domestic agency and began showing our parent profile book in July 2011. In January 2012 we were selected by an expectant mother.

Yet again there was a “Why”: Why now? Why us? And, of course, why would she like us? The night she went into labour we were with her at the hospital.

Across the hall another woman was in labour and the hallway was filled with her family. They  were holding balloons and flowers—waiting to welcome a new life into the world.

Yet across that hallway we sat quietly sharing our hopes and dreams while shedding tears and praying for our little boy to enter the world.

And yes, of course, “Why?” entered my mind again. Why couldn’t we be surrounded with friends and family? Why are we alone? At one point our son’s birth mother asked me why?

And it was a question I will never forget . As tears ran down both our faces I told her that I didn’t know why, I just knew that I always loved him and I always would.

Nothing would ever change that love or our bond. After all, love comes from your heart not from your blood type or your biology .

Adoption was simply what forged our family bond. Sixteen days later we drove across several states and spent numerous hours driving home as a new family. 

I will always remember what my husband and I experienced as we turned into our neighbourhood. Balloons and welcome signs lined our street and were plastered across the front of our home.

The friends, family and neighbours that couldn’t come to the hospital on the night our son was born were there waiting to welcome us and him home.

At that moment I realised this was why. This was supposed to be our story and this was our journey to becoming a family. And “Why?” no longer mattered!

Angela Boucher is an adoptive mother.

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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