Placed – Couldn’t have said it better myself

May 2, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Placed – Couldn’t have said it better myself…#placed


What you CAN say to an adoptive family

February 4, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  1 Comments

I spend a lot of time coming up with answers to ridiculous questions from strangers about our trans-racial family. Can they speak English? They must be really smart! (Yes, these things really happened). I also spend a lot of time telling people what NOT to say when they see a family built by adoption. Well, I’m in a good mood this week so I’m going to give you some positive advice on what you CAN say to a family that is built through adoption!

1. Make sure they are really adopted before you say something dumb.

Just because the kids don’t look like the parents doesn’t mean they are adopted. You need to figure this out. It’s ok to simply say, “Is she adopted?” but I always appreciate when people follow it up with why they are really asking, “My niece is adopted too, I’m so happy she’s in our family.” Unfortunately a lot of people have crappy assumptions about how an adoptive family is made and some of us (pointing finger at myself) have heard enough garbage that they are quick to assume the worst. So show us you mean well right out of the gate!

2. Where is he adopted from?

This really is an okay question. I’d rather someone ask then assume. I have Korean children. I get a lot of “Did you have to go to China to pick her up?” Ummmm, nope, because she’s never been to China! Again though, always nice to follow up with, “Korea, awesome! I have a friend who adopted a little boy from Guatemala and …..” Nice to see your perspective.

3. I’ve always wanted to adopt but have no idea how to start the process- who helped you?

Adoptive parents want other people to adopt. This isn’t a secret club we’d like to be exclusive about. Once we know you are likeminded we are excited to chat with you about it! Please try to keep negative adoption remarks to yourself. Save those for a private adult conversation where you can express your concerns.

4. How did you decide to adopt?

This is a long conversation but it’s definitely an okay question. This might be for a later date, or a time without children, or an email conversation, but it’s okay to ask!

Most important, be genuine and nice. Don’t say anything you think could be construed in an ugly way. I often hear, “what a beautiful and lovely family you have.” That’s enough. I know you mean that you see my kids are adopted and you think it’s great- so do we.

Expert advice for making the adoption process smooth and enjoyable

February 4, 2014 in News by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments
Let’s face it, beginning the adoption process is a daunting task. One quick internet search of “adoption” will quickly make your head spin and your wallet scream. But don’t fret. There are several ways to make your adoption process as smooth as possible.

Do find the best option for your family

Domestic adoption or international? Open or closed adoption? There are many questions you need to ask–and answer for yourself–before you can begin the adoption process. Your first task is to consider the kind of an adoption you want and where you want to adopt from.

Do be sure you are working with an appropriate and legal adoption professional

After you have decided on domestic or international adoption, find the right adoption professional. This individual will be able to guide you the rest of the way. Use word-of-mouth references, google searches and Better Business Bureau ratings as a guide. Having a knowledgeable and trustworthy adoption professional will make a big difference in your adoption journey.

Do get support

Join local adoption support groups, as well as online groups. Look for groups in your area through Adoptive Families magazine, Facebook, twitter and Support cannot come too soon. Adoptive parents who have been in your shoes will offer you an enormous amount of emotional support, as well as knowledge and education. These parents have been through the same process and can give you advice on exactly what to expect.

Do educate yourself

While you should use support groups to educate yourself on all things adoption, be sure that you are also reading. Visit information clearinghouses, such as and the Donaldson Institute, for the lastest adoption research. Adopting from abroad? Learn about the country, culture and language of your expected child. Adopting from the U.S.? Educate yourself on open adoption, relationships with birth parents and infant care. Be as prepared as possible for the arrival of your new addition.

Do be patient

Keep in mind that the process can take a long time. But after this period of waiting, you will be together as a family forever.

Do not believe everything you hear

The media, as well as your friends, enjoy sensationalism. Every time you hear about an adoption story in the news, it is bad news. However, the vast majority of adoptive families are typical. And there is nothing sensational about a typical family leading a typical life. Same household issues, same behaviors, same love. So forget the hype.

Do not use the wrong vocabulary

Words have meaning, especially in the world of adoption. Be careful with your terminology because it can be demeaning–even if you do not mean for it to be. For example, use “expectant parent” instead of “birth parent” when speaking about a parent who has not relinquished a child. A “birth parent” is only someone who has terminated rights already. Don’t say that a woman “gave up” her child, but rather that she “made an adoption plan” for the child.

Do not be dismayed at the cost

Yes, adoption is expensive, but you must think of the investment. People who adopt are primarily not independently wealthy, but they make it work. While the average adoption cost is $30,000, there is a $13,000 tax credit refunded to you as soon as you finalize your adoption. That is almost half of your costs. Fundraising is common in the adoption world, and almost every adoptive couple fundraises to pay for their adoption. Home equity loans, employer benefits and other lines of credit also come in handy. Remember that you are not paying for a child; rather, your are paying for the process.

Do not cut corners

Somewhere along your adoption journey, domestic or international, someone will likely offer you a way to cut a corner. For example, they will suggest that you pay a little extra and receive a faster referral, or sign up with a particular agency and they will ensure that the expectant woman signs for the adoption. But don’t do it. Ever. Cutting corners in adoptions always leads to activity that is both immoral and likely illegal. Using an adoption professional you trust will safeguard you against morally questionable practices.

Do not believe that adoption ends once you have a child in your arms

Adoption is something you will live everyday. Adoption means relationships with birth families and other cultures. Adoption will invade your child’s school life, friendships and romances. You will become seasoned at answering questions about your adoption and your relationship with your child.



The adoption process is complex, but it does not need to be scary. Trust your gut instincts, educate yourself and rely on support–even if you think you don’t need it. Relax and enjoy the process. The end result is the best gift of all.

Some of our favorite Adoption posters

January 28, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Some of our favorite adoption posters…. add yours!

What to do BEFORE you bring your child home!

January 7, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

I know a lot of you are still dreaming of becoming parents but it’s never too soon to prepare for what life will be like once you bring your child homeI know a lot of you are still dreaming of becoming parents but it’s never too soon to prepare for what life will be like once you bring your child home. In what may very well be a frantic rush of emotion, putting together cribs, notifying family and preparing yourself for life with another member of the family, there are a few things you should consider.

  1. Who should welcome you home?

Are you adopting a newborn? Many families with newborns (adopted or not) try to limit the exposure of the newborn to other children (especially toddlers- who are prone to bring winter illnesses into the house). Make a plan now for who will be welcome and who should wait a few weeks to see the baby. Do you want your parents there but maybe your close friends to help out in another way? Many people will want to help you, so having a job for everyone will satisfy them until they can see the baby.

  1. How much time will you be taking off from work? If you have a spouse- will you both be taking maternity and paternity leave or will it just be one of you? Make sure you discuss this with EACH OTHER and are on the same page. Next, discuss with your employers about paid time off, maternity/paternity leave and when it will start. You won’t want anything unexpected interrupting your time with your new child!


  2. Will the room be ready or will you need time to set it up?If you are like us, you waited until that baby was in your arms before getting the room all ready. Which means having people on hand at the last minute to buy diapers, clothes (what size will your child be?), and put together the crib. Give out those jobs now!


  3. Prepare siblings!  Most importantly- prepare siblings for the arrival of their sibling. If you are unsure of a situation, talk about having a sibling in general terms: One day mommy and daddy want to make sure you have a little brother or sister- what do you think of that? We are excited!. If you are adopting internationally and know the child who will be a part of your family, share their picture and allow the older sibling to be involved in putting their room together or gather toys for the new child. Don’t forget a small toy or book for the older sibling(s) when the child comes home, keep them feeling special and in the loop!

    Do you have more tips? Add them below!

Jamie and Brad’s Story

December 11, 2013 in Success Stories by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

jamiebradA year ago, I was where you probably are: hoping to adopt. Today I’m mom to a happy eight-month old baby boy and I’m writing to share my story.

When we were singing up with our agency, they mentioned a new service called Parent Match that they had just joined. Parent Match allowed adoption agencies to match clients from all across the country and used technology that streamlined the matching process. They asked us if we wanted to be listed in it. We said yes.

We completed our home study in October and settled in for the wait. Just after Christmas, mere *weeks* later, the phone rang. Our son had just been born and the expectant mother’s agency found us through Parent Match. We jumped on a plane and closed the book on our last Christmas without a child to hold.

I still can’t believe we were matched so quickly and I know it would not have been possible if we had not chosen an agency signed up with Parent Match. I wanted to share our story to so you can see what is possible and for us is no longer a hope, but a reality.

If you haven’t already, ask your agency about Parent Match and how it can fit into your adoption plan.

Best regards,


Fertility Planit

December 3, 2013 in News by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

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Fox News Live

December 3, 2013 in News by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

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NBC News

December 3, 2013 in News by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

A study showed more parents are looking in the U.S. to adopt. The founder of Parent Match, Dr. Lori Barer Ingber, stops by Studio 5 to discuss how her new network is helping to make the process easier and faster.

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Let’s Talk Live

December 3, 2013 in News by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

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