Talk with Friends and Family
Adoptive Parents: Even though adoption is a very personal decision, your friends and family will want to be involved and informed as to your progress. Make sure you talk with them about what to expect as you go through the adoption process. The adoption home study and the matching process with a child can be long and involved. Family members might not understand the different steps leading up to a child coming into your home. The legal aspect of termination of parental rights and finalization of the adoption can be confusing. Keep your family and friends involved so they can help support you in many ways.
Letting your friends and family know that you are planning adoption gets people talking. There might be someone in their circle of friends and family that could be thinking about planning adoption for their child. It is always good to keep the lines of communication open so that everyone knows that your family would like to adopt.
Birth Parents: Support is very important if you are thinking about planning adoption for your child. If you go through an adoption alone, grieving your loss becomes much more difficult. If you have at least one person who you trust by your side, the difference is invaluable. Adoption should not be a secret. You are making a loving plan for your child and you need positive and supportive people around you that can help you through.
So a New Year is upon us and it’s time for New Year’s Resolutions. If your resolution is to adopt or you are a woman who finds herself in a situation where adoption might be an option, here are some suggestions to help you keep on your adoption path. Number one of four.
1) Learn as much about adoption as you can
Adoptive Parents: Read about adoption, and go to adoption orientations at adoption agencies in your community. These steps are crucial in your journey.
If you were having a child naturally, you would be reading books about what to expect. You would be surfing the internet and accumulating as much information as possible. The same is true for adoption. You are making your family in a different way, so be prepared. A great suggestion for a website for adoption books online is www.tapestrybooks.com. They have books about every aspect about adoption to help you make a good decision for your family as to what type of adoption is right for you.
Adoption orientations at licensed adoption agencies are also an important way to gather information. Go to several of them, ask questions and see if the agency fits your needs. You are going to be working for a long time with the staff there, so make sure that you feel supported, understood and at ease with the environment.
Birth Parents: Gathering information about adoption is an important aspect of your decision making process. There are many great adoption books and articles that specifically address how others have made the huge decision to place their child for adoption. Knowing that others have walked this road can help you and inform you as to the different aspects of adoption that are out there. Do you want to meet the adoptive parents? Do you want an open adoption? How open? What will that look like? How will you feel? There are so many questions that you can learn the answers to by doing your research.
Calling adoption agencies and interviewing them about how they work with and support someone who is considering adoption is also part of the process. Do you think that the person on the other end of the phone is going to meet your needs? Will they be there for you as you go through this difficult time in your life? Are they an ongoing resource for you? You are in control of this aspect of your journey. Choose wisely.
All families have holiday traditions. Maybe you decorate your home right after Thanksgiving so that you can have Christmas cheer for the entire month. Maybe you wait until Christmas Eve to trim the tree with friends and family. Maybe you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Whatever you do during the holidays in your family, the tradition has been passed down for many years and you know what to expect and you look forward to the customs that define your family.
Consider children who come into a home through adoption or foster care. These children may have grown up with the tradition that was part of their family of origin. Or maybe the home environment was too chaotic and the holidays were not formally celebrated. Maybe the child was raised in a family that was of a different religion than yours and celebrated their beliefs differently. Maybe this is the child’s first holiday with you.
As families move forward to adopt a child, please take some time to think about the holidays in a meaningful way for the child placed in your home. Children who are older that have been placed for adoption through the foster care system carry with them all the past holiday celebrations in which they have participated. Take some time to discuss what was important to them before you plan your new family holiday. Including some of the past into your celebration will make them feel more included and at ease. Many family celebrations would not be complete without a certain food, a smell or a song. Learn how to make these foods, sing these songs and honor the past traditions for your child.
Younger children also deserve to learn the traditions of their culture. Even if this is the first time they are celebrating the holiday, an adoptive family should take the time to discover how the holidays are celebrated in the child’s culture. Incorporating parts of these new customs with the past traditions of the family, creates a new way to honor all members of the family.
My “How Adoption has Blessed Your Life” series shares good news happening in the adoption world from all sides of the adoption triad …or just offers a paragraph or two on how the love of adoption is blessing individuals and families. Please check out the link below…
I’m a visual person. I like putting faces to names and voices. When I speak on the phone or listen to a DJ on the radio, I imagine what that person looks like. When friends tell me stories of relatives or loved ones, I always ask to see photographs. Maybe it’s just me and maybe I’m just weird like that….but for this reason I enjoyed watching this youtube segment taken from Our America with Lisa Lang. It puts beautiful faces to an already beautiful open adoption story. (click on the link below)
Open Adoption in the Media
I just wanted to share a touching reunification story of a birth mother and the daughter she placed for adoption over 77 years ago. I have the honor of knowing this birth mother, Minka. She resides locally in Orange County. Believe me when I tell you, at 100 years old, her tenacity is only outweighed by the love she holds for God and her family. Her adoption story is pretty incredible, almost as incredible as she is. As I read her story, I’m reminded how a child remains in the heart and thoughts of a mother, despite passing years and distance. And how incredibly healing open adoption can be, even if it’s several decades later….
Mom reunites with daughter 77 years later
I read this honest account of a young woman’s adoption journey..I love that she describes the “pain” and “loss” as well as the satisfaction of knowing she made a decision that worked for her when she discovered at 25 she was pregnant… 14 years have passed and she is thankful for the fact that her adoption remains open… click below to link to this heart felt story…
Many pregnant women considering adoption as an option have asked what will my child think of me in the future if i choose adoption for them…A young woman wrote to Dear Abby advice columnist with her thoughts regarding the sacrifice her birth mother made in placing her for adoption… she asked that it be published on Mother’s Day…click below to link to this sweet and heartfelt message…
Kinship Center realizes the complexity of today’s adoption…even with the growing trend toward open adoption adoption remains a very serious and grief filled option for birth parents…if an adoption must take place birth parents and adoptive parents should strive to have a healthy open adoption and work with professionals who can educate and support the building of true relationships between birth and adoptive families over a life time…Historically Kinship Center has always promoted open adoption and has pioneered these relationships by educating both adoptive and birth families to the benefits of openness as well as negotiating the challenges that come with openness….It’s gratifying to see this stance being supported in a recent study published by the Evan B Donaldson Adoption Institute…the report shows how dramatically infant adoption has changed over the decades and that adoptions are trending toward openness… click below to link to the study and if you are pregnant and considering open adoption as an option hopefully the study will give you some added peace of mind to know that open adoption is becoming the norm in infant adoptions…