Monthly Archive for October, 2010

“My Open Adoption Experience” ..An inside view of an open adoption;No more shame for birthmothers..

I recently ran a workshop for prospective adoptive families…I asked a birth mother I’ve known  for years to speak at the workshop and share her very personal open adoption story…she requested that the adoptive family and the son she placed 6 years ago come to the workshop to present with her, they lovingly accepted the invitation …At one point during the presentation the 6 year old popped up from his seat and said “I have something to say about adoption”..the room went quiet and he very proudly said “adoption is good, its better”!  A  few minutes later he announced he was tired, the workshop was held in the evening….He ran to his Dad’s lap …he stretched out placing his head in his Birth Mother’s lap, his mid section on his Dad and his feet rested comfortably on his Mother’s lap…At one point during the presentation I looked up at this incredible visual …His Birth Mother was rubbing his head, his Dad was rubbing his shoulder, and his Mom was rubbing his feet… All the adults who made this decision to move forward with the adoption 6 years ago were there to love him so openly without shame or fear…. Shame , guilt and fear are strong emotions that often follow birth parents who have made the choice to place a child for adoption…Birth Parents have shared with me how difficult it  is to tell people outside the adoption “community” why they chose to place and how much they love and care for their child and the adoptive family, especially if they are involved in an open adoption… Birth parents in the past had to suffer silently in pain and had very little choice but to wait until a child reached adulthood and then hope for a reunion…Today’s adoptions are still difficult…openness in an adoption does not mean there will not be challenges or difficult feelings like shame and guilt to contend with but, at least today birth and adoptive families including the children can speak out… Today there are a  variety of  forums available for birth and adoptive families to speak at in order to educate others …. Kinship Center offers workshops and support groups for this purpose…Also with the advent of social networking sites such as Facebook and You Tube, birth parents have another powerful vehicle to tell the world their story… They can educate the world that if an adoption must take place it can be done with dignity, respect and a great bond of love between the birth and adoptive family… The child will be the beneficiary of this incredible kind of love in a child centered adoption… a good friend at work forwarded me this YouTube video site dealing with adoption, I was amazed at the number of  birth parents sharing their stories…. I chose this video as it chronicles an open adoption over a 15 year period…I’m still drying my tears..take a look at these powerful images of an open adoption relationship being formed and growing through the years …. the love  between the birth and adoptive family is evident ….Look at the smile on the face of the adopted child at the end of the video it says it all… Click the link below then click onto … MY Open Adoption Experience…

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=passionjenn&aq=f

Finding a “place” and a “role”; Music legend opens up about adoption

 I came upon an article regarding the music legend Rod Stewart..now age 65  he shared that when he was 19 years old he fathered a child… He and his then girlfriend placed their infant for adoption.. He reunited recently with his birth daughter and spoke on several radio/talk shows about establishing a role and a relationship with his birth daughter who is now 46…..Stewart referenced that he struggled all his life as to what his “place”  or “role” was in the adoption ..He stated he never felt like a Dad to this child…He referenced not being there for the child, not taking her to school or changing her “nappies”( British term for diapers) and that he “Never felt like a father”… his shame and loss was evident…Struggling for a role and a place in your child’s adoption is common for birth parents…Birth parents I have worked with have spoken to me about this struggle…Often they question what will I be to the child ? What’s my role in the adoption if it remains open?.. . Will my child be angry with me ? Will I be intruding on the child and the adoptive family’s life? What will I be called?… How will I explain my involvement in the adoption or lack of it?..These are all valid concerns and questions that should be explored when considering an adoption, especially today ,with the option of maintaining a relationship…Open adoption can be a viable , healthy choice for both birth and adoptive families and most of all the child if an adoption must occur… Birth Mother Brenda Romanchik explores this issue on her web site… She describes and defines the role that birth parents might consider taking on if they commit to an open adoption…The role is challenging and may cause discomfort but the benefits are many for the child in what Brenda calls a “child centered” adoption.. How good it is to know that today’s birth parents have a choice… and have the opportunity to bravely participate in an adoption and not have to wait and wonder for years, perhaps enduring shame and unresolved grief… click the links below to read Rod Stewart’s story as well as Brenda’s article…

.http://kearth101.radio.com/2010/10/22/rod-stewart-opens-up-about-adoption/

http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/birthparents.html

The power of binding families together through ceremonies..

Healthy adoptions are about making connections not disconnecting a child from his roots in order for him to join his new family…a child needs that  entire “village” of both birth and adoptive family members to help him to grow and cope with the world.. that “village” needs to include the roots and foundation that only a birth family can bring to a child …I believe that anytime we are able to create a ceremony to mark meaningful moments in the adoption process we are strengthening that loving “village” that surrounds the child..I have had the opportunity of sitting in on many ceremonies that have been held between birth and adoptive families at the time of relinquishment…most birth parents will wait several days or sometime several weeks to actually sign formal relinquishment papers.. Most relinquishment’s are done in conjunction with a ceremony at Kinship Center to celebrate the transfer of the child from one family to another and to celebrate and acknowledge  the sadness also associated with the decision as well as the joyous fact that the family or” village” surrounding the child just got bigger not smaller and  all the hope this” new family” offers the child for the future…Birth families and their friends will be invited as well as the adoptive family and their extended family members… heartfelt toast’s of sparking cider are made..music is often played…loving and tender thoughts or  poetry as well as gifts are exchanged between birth and adoptive families..also the baby’s foot print is inked onto a canvas with the  name written below  and hung on the wall of the agency….I’ve often officiated at these ceremonies and I have often read the following words  .. the article I quote from is ” Our understanding of Open Adoption”

click below  to link to these powerful words and consider using them at your next adoption ceremony…
http://www.openadoptioninsight.org/html/understanding_adoption.html

Open adoption one family’s viewpoint..

If you are pregnant and considering an open adoption have you ever wondered  what prospective adoptive couples might think of open adoption…or what their concerns or fears might be of how to navigate a relationship with a birth mother and her family…I came upon this heartfelt story written by an adoptive parent now 2  years into an open adoption..She describes her experience with honesty, humor and compassion for the birth family..Click below to link to this wonderful story..be sure to read all three pages it’s worth it!!

http://www.parenting.com/article/child/development/sharing-rebecca

Pregnant, considering open adoption,Kinship Center can help you..

Kinship Center is now offering women considering adoption for their baby the option of choosing a family from our on- line adoptive parent profiles…Families approved through the Kinship Center believe in open adoption and want to build a lasting relationship with their child’s birth family…Women considering adoption for their baby might find it helpful to make a list of those things that they believe are important to have in potential parents for their child…Should it be a two parent traditional family? What about a single parent?….Would you prefer a stay at home mom, or a dad who might stay at home or work flexibly from their home?..What about siblings for your child.?… Or a childless couple?… Does religion & ethnicity of the parents matter to you?….What about their views on parenting and discipline?..Hobbies, leisure activities..Educational background?..Family traditions and celebrations?..  Do you have compatible ideas on open adoption and contact through the years?.. The choices can seem overwhelming….I remember one set of birth parents I worked with who developed a check list of things that were important to them. They referred to this list in the first meeting with the prospective adoptive parents that they met and interviewed… in the end they told me the list helped them immensely but when they found the right couple for their baby they just somehow knew that they would be the right parents for their baby!  Other women I have worked with have preferred to be more informal in their choosing of a family and have told me they have just gone on a” gut” level feeling and developed a relationship with the prospective adoptive family and eventually through further discussions and joint meetings between the birth parents and the adoptive family their questions were answered… There is no right or wrong way to choose a family…What ever way feels best to you…But, most woman have told me it was important to consider these things prior to choosing a family…In addition working with an established  adoption agency to help guide you through a discussion of these issues can be a good thing to do, as well as making sure that prospective adoptive parents have gone through an extensive screening process and have had some training and education on adoption issues… All of these things combined can save heartache and hopefully any regret…Adoption is a huge  life changing decision  that  requires a great deal of thought and planning whenever possible…click below to read two articles containing ideas for choosing adoptive parents for your child…and click on to Kinship Center’s parent profile section at www.birthparents.kinshipcenter.org  and see our selection of  well prepared, loving , couples and families hoping to adopt…

http://www.suite101.com/content/what-birthmothers-look-for-in-adoptive-parents-a93539

http://www.nurtureadopt.org/bp/epeduc/choosepar.htm

Study finds 4 in 10 babies born in LA county start as unplanned pregnancies

Almost  98% of the women I have helped at Kinship Center report that their pregnancies were unplanned…A large number of women report seeking prenatal care very late  in the pregnancy or sometimes not at all…Fear,denial or lack of knowledge of the signs of pregnancy have all been reasons women report for not seeking prenatal care, further women state that lack of access to affordable medical insurance is another barrier  … Some woman lack access to birth control or lack knowledge of proper use of birth control  and cite these as reasons for an unplanned pregnancy…A recent study conducted in Los Angeles by the Public Health Department reports that 4 in 10 babies born in LA county start as unplanned pregnancies which can endanger the health of babies…The study further reports unplanned pregnancies lead to a higher possibility of a mother using tobacco or alcohol not realizing they are pregnant…Kinship Center works hard to link women who contact us for help regarding their unplanned pregnancies to health care services as soon as possible to help insure healthy pregnancy outcomes…A good adoption agency will gain access to services for pregnant women as soon as possible and then help them to explore their options to parent or place for adoption… Kinship Center also offers referrals to women’s shelters where housing, medical and support services are available to help pregnant women explore their options… If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy please reach out for help as soon as possible to protect the health of your unborn child as well as your health..Kinship Center is here to guide you, contact us toll free at 1-888-466-6693….Click link below to read the Los Angeles County Public Health Departments findings as reported in the LA Times …

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/03/half-of-pregnancies-in-la-county-are-unplanned-study-finds.html?cid=6a00d8341c630a53ef0133ec5e307a9706

Do you know a birthmother who is trying to get back on her feet?

Often rebuilding your life after placing a child voluntarily for adoption can be difficult..Woman I have worked with through the years state the grief and loss issues as well as trying to define yourself as a birth mother can be difficult… sorting out new roles, navigating an open adoption as well as trying to attain education or career goals that might have been part of the reason for the adoption plan in the first place can all seem like overwhelming tasks……I came across this new resource for birth mothers trying to get on their feet.. it is a non profit foundation that offers vocational training and mentoring; connections for birth mothers to network and support each other as well as financial grants for educational purposes…click below to link to this great site and if you are an adoptive parent with an open relationship with your child’s birth mother refer her to this valuable web site;

www.onyourfeetca.org

Building the Village:the start of an open adoption…

Each time I am given the privilege of assisting a birth and adoptive family at the hospital  at the birth of the baby  I am always humbled by the experience of seeing the bonding opportunity that occurs when everyone present risks and gives of themselves …I observed that today with a Kinship Center prospective adoptive father, mother, birth mother and birth grandmother..they were all lovingly huddled together surrounding the baby and the birth mother with love…they were taking pictures and talking of plans for the future for all to be involved in “building that village” for the baby… it made me reflect on an article I came across written by birth mother Brenda Romanchik… in it she offers sound advice based on her experience of the benefits of treating birth families like extended family members… Hope you find this article as insightful as I did… Brenda’s wisdom has guided me for many years in my work with birth and adoptive families…click below to link to this article that appeared in Adoptive Families Magazine…

 http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=348