Did you know that Al Roker, of the Today Show, is an adoptive father? He commented on the TODAY show, that 27 years ago, when he and his wife were adopting, there wasn’t much said about openness in adoption. “When I adopted my daughter 27 years ago, the thought of being connected to her birth mother never crossed our minds,” he said. But things have changed, and we know much more now about the importance of keeping connections. The largest national study in the field to date, the National Survey of Adoptive Parents conducted in 2007-2008, involved telephone surveys with the parents of 2,089 adopted children; over two-thirds – 68 percent — of the parents in private domestic adoptions reported post-adoption contact between children and their birth family members. Check out this video clip from the Today Show this week where we get to meet two moms who have forged a very special relationship. “The first time we met, it was terribly emotional,” Keane recalled. “Liane asked the question: ‘Why do you want an open adoption?’ And she looked at me, straight in the face, and said, ‘I want to be able to tell him later that I loved him.’”
Open Adoption keeps birth mom in the family tree
Make a plan for your adoption
Adoptive Parents: Once you make the decision to adopt, make a plan as to how you want to accomplish the plan. Set a realistic timeline, make goals, and take consistent steps toward these goals. Looking at all the paperwork and classes required to be an approved adoptive family might seem very daunting and time consuming. But having a plan and taking one step after another helps families work toward their goals. Use your social worker at the agency to help you with these steps. Social workers are there to help guide you and ultimately will be by your side when you are matched with a child.
Prospective Birth Parents: Making a plan is another important part of the adoption process. You are in control of your adoption plan. You make the decisions that will be put into place for your child. You can choose the family, meet that family, make a plan for how things will go at the hospital and then you can make a plan as to how your post adoption contact will go with the adoptive parents. Many prospective birth parents are unaware of all of the choices that are available to them throughout the planning process. Your input is valued and will be honored throughout the planning of this critical life changing decision. Please contact us if you have any questions or need more information, at 1-888-466-6693
Molly, age 40, and Valerie, age 24, have something VERY significant in common – both are Mothers to a beautiful little boy named Theo. Theo was born to Valerie who stated that she was not able or prepared to parent him at the time of his birth so she decided to make an adoption plan for Theo. Valerie and Molly originally met via facebook and have continued to stay connected through social media. We know social media is changing the way we connect and relate in profound ways and this is even more true for many adoption built families. Molly stated that they recently skyped with Valerie and her mother, Theo’s grandmother, and for her, they are extended family. For more on this story and how social media is changing the landscape in adoption, click the link below
How social media is changing adoption
Callie, a photojournalism student at the University of Iowa was struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. Her journey in making a decision to find the right family for both her and her child, was not an easy one. Here is an update on Callie’s story which we shared in an earlier post. Callie chose a family that was willing to create an open adoption and the result has been quite unexpected. Callie admits that her journey through the crisis of her own unplanned pregnancy was filled with heartache, loneliness and fear. Her strongest desire was to make the best decision for herself and her child. To get an update on this modern, blended family check out this NBC News video with Brian Williams.
For much of the past 100 years, adoptions have been kept secret. The original thinking behind this practice was the belief that children should be protected from the “stigma of illegitimacy.” Historically, most adopted children did not know their birth parents and often were not even told that they were adopted.
Some were never told. It was commonly believed that a lack of openness would make it easier for the birth parents, the adoptive parents, and the children to adapt. The sense of secrecy, however, left many children and youth, as well as their birth families, with unanswered questions and an inability to resolve feelings of grief & loss. It also left young people without access to valuable information about their identity, heritage, genetic background and medical history. Information that is particularly important during adolescence when identity formation critical.
One of the core values of our agency is openness within the adoption constellation. When we are all focused on building positive relationships . . . openness is a natural outcome. Please click the link below to find a great article from the Child Welfare Information Gateway on Openness in Adoption.
Did you know there are approximately 7 million adopted children and adults in the United States today? And if you include the numbers of birth parents, adoptive parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles . . . there are tons of people that are touched by adoption every day. And the majority of adoptions today have some level of openness that can range anywhere from the exchange of information/photos, to phone calls and/or on-going visits. It’s not often that we get to hear from children directly about what the experience of open adoption is like for them. Check out this clip from adorable Rylee, a bright young girl who is willing to share her experiences of open adoption.
The recent film Philomena tells the story of Philomena Lee, who as a teenager in Ireland, was banished to a convent for the ‘sin’ of having a baby out of wedlock and was forced to give him up. The film is based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith which tells the story of Philomena’s 50 year search to find her son. The story is a reminder of what is most important in the ethical practice of adoption . . . birth parents voice and choice must always be front and center in the decision making. This book and film have helped to increase awareness about the need to continue to improve adoption practices world wide. And while Philomena’s story is filled with heartache, betrayal and loss . . . it is also filled with resilience, forgiveness and love. Check out the clip below of Philomena, who recently stated ‘For years, I couldn’t talk about my life to anybody . . . and now, it is all anyone wants to talk about’.
A Letter to My Son’s Birth Mother was written by an adoptive mother who had so much that she wanted to share with the ‘first mother’ of her beautiful son. Sadly, she believes she will never have the opportunity to meet her and share her thoughts and feelings in person since her son was adopted from an orphanage overseas. In the letter she shares that as her sons second birthday approached she couldn’t help thinking about his ‘first mother’ and what she would be experiencing. She states ‘On Saturday when we light the candles on his cake, we’ll light one for you, too, sending up a prayer as we blow it out and send the smoke sailing across the seas. I hope with everything in me that you hear it when the wind whispers past bringing my good wishes and a gratitude so huge that I feel like I could collapse under the weight of the joy it brings. I hope the wind carries away some of your grief and leaves you a bit of peace’.
To learn more about this story from the series Portrait of An Adoption hosted by the Huffington Post, check out the link below:
Did you know that Al Roker, of the Today Show, is an adoptive father? He commented Monday on TODAY as the show kicked off a week-long series of reports marking National Adoption Month, that 26 years ago, when he and his wife were adopting, there wasn’t much said about openness in adoption. “When I adopted my daughter 26 years ago, the thought of being connected to her birth mother never crossed our minds,” he said.
But things have changed, and we know much more now about the importance of keeping connections. The largest national study in the field to date, the National Survey of Adoptive Parents conducted in 2007-2008, involved telephone surveys with the parents of 2,089 adopted children; over two-thirds – 68 percent — of the parents in private domestic adoptions reported post-adoption contact between children and their birth family members.
Check out this video clip from the Today Show this week where we get to meet two moms who have forged a very special relationship. “The first time we met, it was terribly emotional,” Keane recalled. “Liane asked the question: ‘Why do you want an open adoption?’ And she looked at me, straight in the face, and said, ‘I want to be able to tell him later that I loved him.’”
Open Adoption keeps birth mom in the family tree
‘Teen Mom’ Reality TV stars Catelynn Lowell and Tyler Baltierra made a difficult, emotional decision to place their child for adoption four years ago. Catelynn and Tyler are now engaged to be married and agreed to make the difficult decision to place their child for adoption because neither felt ready four years ago to be full time parents. They explored their options, made an adoption plan and chose a family to adopt their little girl. It was important to both of them that they have ongoing contact with their child so they chose parents who were willing to create an open adoption. Both are now strong advocates of open adoption and recently spoke at an event at Fresno State. To learn more about their story and hear directly from Catelynn and Tyler . . . check out the link below.
‘Teen Mom’ Stars Catelynn & Tyler Talk Pregnancy & Adoption