This guest post is by Paige Knipfer, an adoptive mother.
I recently heard a quote by Kerstin Lindquist, “The system is broken but our family is whole.”
This couldn’t ring truer for me. As an adoptive mom, sometimes I feel defeated by the adoption process. So I came up with some ways that we can all make changes to it in order to improve the adopting experience for others.
Here are the 5 things you can do to help.
1. Educate yourself
Read articles on America Adopts! and online. Read books, like some suggested below.
Talk to others connected to adoption from all sides (tweet me-I’d love to chat!)
Learn about local adoption/birth mom groups that meet. Join virtual groups and find organizations/groups to follow on social media.
Listen and understand different viewpoints. Judge less.
I know searching can be overwhelming so here are a couple of book recommendations:
- For family members if you are adopting: In on It.
- If you are adopting: Instant Mom (my favorite book).
- Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming our Families
- If you are further into the adoption process I recommend Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish their Adoptive Parents Knew and The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. I suggest tackling these books when you`re further along in the process as they can be somewhat difficult and painful to read. I found it challenging to read them when I was beginning the process.
2. Educate others
Write articles, even if they are just for you to organize your thoughts. Talk to others.
Learn when there are opportunities to educate others and when you don’t need to play that role. Some suggestions:
- Contact your local library or if you have a child in school contact the school librarian or even district librarian. Make sure they have books that discuss diverse families and adoption.
If you`re comfortable, share your experience online and with coworkers/family.
3. Advocate for Adoption Law Changes
Contact your local representatives and share your experiences.
Some ideas to get you started:
- State Law list (different adoption laws for each state)
- The adoption tax credit which is a credit given to families who adopt potentially could go away. Click here to learn more about keeping the adoption tax credit.
- Short term disability in your state to include adoption leave (if you are not in CA, NJ, RI).
- Request mandated counseling post adoption for the birthmother
- helpusadopt.org which provides grants and scholarships to families hoping to adopt (no matter religion, sexual orientation, etc.).
- Dave Thomas Foundation which focuses its attention of finding homes for children waiting in foster care.
- Donate to Go Fund Me pages set up by people you know trying to adopt
5. Surround yourself with unbiased organizations
If you work at a hospital, women’s center, etc. make sure they are discussing all the options including adoption.
If you are adopting or working with a lawyer/agency make sure the expecting mother is being provided 3rd party (unbiased) counseling and legal advice.
Make sure things are presented from all sides.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more information if you have questions or if something doesn’t seem right
- Ask if they need help with finding additional resources
Your story matters no matter who and where you are in the adoption process. We need everyone engaged to make a greater impact on the adoption community, process, and system.
Paige Knipfer is a trainer for a financial institution, an adoptive mom, wife, mentor to a high school student, volunteer, and avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni). She loves to share her adoption experiences and assist anyone interested in learning more about the process @.
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