Domestic Adoption

Debunking adoption myths

May 6, 2015 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

Debunking adoption myths

Adoption is mysterious to many of us; we’ve relied on Lifetime movies and anecdotes of the most rare situations in adoption to define it. As a result, there are many myths that swirl around adoption and, as always, the truth is somewhere in the middle. The information that follows is applicable to domestic and foster care adoptions, rather than international adoption.

The birth mother/father can show up at any time and take the child. False. Once the adoption is finalized, the child’s adoptive parents are recognized by law. Post-adoption revocation is very rare, but these cases do gain publicity, which further perpetuates the myth. Most ethical adoptions are agreed on by birth parents who have made a very sacred decision that they feel is in the best interest of their child.

Birth parents are troubled teens and not to be trusted. False, false, false. On average, birth parents are in their 20s. Typically, birth parents choose adoption because they don’t have the means — financially, emotionally or otherwise — to parent the child. This factor doesn’t make a person dangerous or untrustworthy. Consider the amount of trust a birth parent gives an adoptive couple in order to choose them to raise their child.

Open adoption (where the adoptee has identifying information about their birth family, and the birth parents choose adoptive parents) is emotionally harmful to the child. False. Open adoption takes away the mystery. When adoptive parents are able to share information about the child’s birth parents and their history, the children understand their beginnings and they understand why a placement decision was made. According to a study completed by the Minnesota/Texas Research Project, birthmothers involved in open adoptions had lower levels of adoption-related grief and loss than compared with those involved in a closed adoption. The study points out “adopted adolescents was no different in levels of adjustment from the national norms. Level of openness by itself was not a major predictor of adjustment outcomes at Wave 2. However, relationship qualities, such as collaboration in relationships and perceived compatibility, were predictive of adjustment across openness levels.”

Open adoption is like co-parenting. False. Birth and adoptive parents do not share custody. Adoption outlines distinct roles. Open adoption allows for the child to have an ongoing relationship (of some level) with birth parents. Some birth parents report having an aunt/uncle-like relationship with the child.

Same-sex parents are not capable of providing a healthy environment for a child. False. Years of research by the Donaldson Adoption Institute has proven that children parented by same-sex or heterosexual couples have the same outcomes, happy and healthy.

The racial background of most children in foster care is that of a minority. False. According to the most recent Kids Count data, 46 percent of foster children are white, 26 percent are black, 21 percent are Hispanic and the remaining 9 percent are multiracial.

Adoption is born of loss. True. Adoption is sometimes the best-case scenario for the birth parents, who aren’t ready to parent; the adoptive parents, who have sometimes been waiting many years to parent; and the child, who is provided a safe, stable home. Despite this, adoption occurs because of a loss — a child’s loss of biological parents and the loss of connection to their history. As an adoption community we don’t do anyone any favors by glossing over this fact.

Adoption is expensive. True and False. Adoption from foster care can cost little to nothing. Information from the Child Welfare Information Gateway cites domestic adoptions can range from $5,000 to $30,000, and international adoption can cost $15,000 to $30,000. These fees are paid to social workers, attorneys and a small amount (as determined by each state) can be used for birth parent expenses such as rent, maternity clothes, etc. Birthparents are not paid for the adoption.

Adoptive parents must be “perfect” to pass the home study. False. Adoptive parents must prove that they can provide financially and emotionally for the child. They are asked about their relationships with family and spouse, employment, plans for when the child arrives and understanding of adoption. Most adoptive parents pass the home study process.

Waiting to tell my child he or she was adopted until they can understand is better for them. False. History has been a guide for us in this domain. Historically, adoptions were closed. Because of this, it was easier (and expected) for adoptive parents not share information about their child’s origins at all — or if so, later in life. Due to the research on open adoption, we now know that children who are provided information about their birth family early on fare better in the long run emotionally.

If I don’t talk to my child about their racial identity (if it’s different from my own) then it won’t be an issue.False. Children adopted transracially need special attention in order to acheive positive formation of their racial identity. Again, the Donaldson Adoption Institute has found “positive racial/ethnic identity development is most effectively facilitated by ‘lived’ experiences such as travel to native country, attending racially diverse schools, and having role models of their own race/ethnicity.”

Adoption has always been a way to build families, although in the past two decades, our understanding of best practices for all members of the triad has increased. As this understanding shifts, so does public misunderstanding. Adoption stories and experiences are as diverse as they come, because an adoption experience is a human experience.

Originally Posted At: http://www.heraldtimesonline.com/life/debunking-adoption-myths/article_6221600d-5d32-5a77-b83d-1576b95d4311.html

Interstate Placements and Adoption Subsidies

April 22, 2015 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

Interstate Placements and Adoption Subsidies

A few years ago, it was relatively uncommon for a foster child from Los Angeles to be placed for adoption with a family in Albuquerque or a Minneapolis teen to find his forever family in Atlanta. These placements typically happened only because relatives were living in other states. Today, with the increasing use of the Internet, plus increasing numbers of children going into out-of-home care, agencies are listing more waiting children on regional and national web sites. As a result, prospective families are using their computers to locate children and interstate placements are now more common in adoption.

When children move across state lines, families often wonder “Who pays for the adoption subsidy?” “How does the child get a new Medicaid card?” These questions are addressed below.

ICPC

The Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (AAICPC) was established in 1974 and consists of members from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) is not only statutory law in all 52 jurisdictions, it is also a binding contract between all parties. The ICPC establishes uniform legal and administrative procedures governing the interstate placement of children.

Placements must generally go through the ICPC when children move across state lines, regardless of the type of placement—foster, adoptive, etc. When the child has special needs and qualifies for state- or federally-funded adoption assistance, the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) comes into play.

ICAMA

ICAMA was established to protect the interstate interests of children adopted pursuant to adoption assistance agreements. The Compact creates a framework for formalized interstate cooperation for ensuring that children with special needs receive medical and other benefits when they are adopted by a family in another state, or their adoptive family moves to another state. As of June 2006, 47 states and the District of Columbia have signed the Compact.*

In our earlier example of a child moving from Minneapolis to Atlanta, both states are members of the Compact, so the process is made easier. Each state has a designated person who manages the paperwork for interstate placements (see attached). As soon as this person receives the appropriate paperwork, the process is put in motion.

Monthly Subsidy Payments

To determine the appropriate rate of the subsidy payment, the purpose of the placement is important. Parents and workers should look to the state regulations, laws and policies (of both states) for guidance. Generally, however, if a California child moves to New Mexico for the purpose of foster care, the California county pays the New Mexico family the New Mexico rate. (California is a state-supervised/county-administered state, while in New Mexico, all decisions are made at the state level.) If the placement is for thepurpose of adoption—even if the prospective parents happen to be foster parents—California pays the family the appropriate California rate. In both cases, California is responsible for paying the monthly subsidy because the child was originally from California.

Medicaid

Health coverage is slightly different than subsidy payments, and the type of subsidy (i.e., federal vs. state) makes a difference. For federally eligible Title IV-E children, Medicaid coverage is automatic and provided by the state where the adoptive family lives. A California Medical card does little good for a family living in New Mexico. Once an adoption assistance agreement is entered into between the prospective adoptive parents and the agency in California, the ICAMA Compact Administrator will send a referral to the New Mexico Compact Administrator so the child can be issued a Medicaid card in New Mexico. The adoptive parents will, most likely, be asked to fill out an assignment of rights by the New Mexico Medicaid agency (usually the request is done by mail). An assignment of rights means that the adoptive parents give the Medicaid agency the rights to any payment for medical care from any third party coverage. Medicaid is always the payer of last resort, so if you have private medical insurance for your child, you must use that insurance first.

For state-funded, non-IV-E children, providing Medicaid (or similar state-paid health coverage) is up to the discretion of the receiving state. For states that are members of the ICAMA, children are more likely to receive coverage. In many states, a majority of children are special needs and qualify for Medicaid, regardless of funding stream (Title IV-E or state-funded). In others, only children with a diagnosis of a medical or emotional condition receive coverage. For instance, a child with severe asthma receives medical coverage, but a sibling group of two with no diagnosed special needs would not.

Nonrecurring Adoption Expenses

If the child is to receive a state- or federally-funded subsidy, the state entering into the agreement is responsible for payment. If the state from which the child is being placed is not entering into an agreement for adoption assistance with the adoptive parents, then the state where the final adoption decree is issued is responsible for paying these expenses (45 C.F.R., Section 1356.41(h)). Parents can be reimbursed up to the state’s limit (between $250 to $2,000) for these expenses. Parents can also have expenses paid directly by the state, if allowed by the state. The specific reimbursement procedures are left to each state. Parents must, however, enter into an agreement for nonrecurring adoption expenses before they can be reimbursed.

Title XX Social Services

Children receiving Title IV-E adoption assistance are categorically eligible for Title XX services, which means they are eligible to receive any service of this program offered by the state in which they live. Children line up for services like any other child eligible for the program. Services vary from state to state and can include a variety of services that may or may not be of assistance to adoptive families and their children.

For more information visit: http://www.nacac.org/adoptionsubsidy/factsheets/interstate.html

Top Ten Tips for Parenting Artificial Twins Through Adoption

April 2, 2015 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

Top Ten Tips for Parenting Artificial Twins Through Adoption

Anticipate the constant question that your family will generate and the inevitable “Are they twins?” Decide how you are going to answer the question. It is best to have a couple of different responses depending on the circumstances (grocery store produce aisle vs. dinner party)

  1. Highlight the uniqueness of each child. Your goal should be to nurture them as individuals. Just because you are driving to Taekwondo for one kid, doesn’t mean that the other should take as well.
  2. Carve out time from your schedule to spend with each child individually. Make it a priority for both parents to establish a special separate relationship with each child.
  3. Talk with your extended family, friends, and teachers about some of the downsides of the inevitable comparisons that will happen, and ask them to work against comparing the children.
  4. As tempting as it might be, do not dress them the same.
  5. Do not always refer to them as a unit: the boys, the kids, and certainly not “the twins.”
  6. Celebrate birthdays separately.
  7. Do not hold a child back in school just because you want them in different grades. If, however, one child sits on the cusp of the cut-off date and would benefit from an extra year in preschool, then it might make sense, especially if the child is smaller in stature. If they are in the same grade, put them in different classes.
  8. If at all possible, one parent should stay at home for at least the first year post adoption.
  9. Go into this adoption knowing that you will feel overwhelmed the first year. Plan for this in advance by saving money for extra household help and by lowering your expectations of what you will accomplish.

Originally posted at: http://creatingafamily.org/adoption-category/top-ten-tips-for-parenting-artificial-twins-through-adoption/

Choosing an Adoption Agency

February 4, 2015 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Choosing an Adoption Agency can be the most important part of starting your adoption process

To find a public or private agency that is a good fit for you, your beliefs, and your situation, compare information from several different agencies by asking:

  • What kind of children does the agency place (ages, backgrounds, etc.)?
  • How many children has the agency placed in each of the past few years?
  • How will the agency conduct a search for me?
  • What kind of training is provided for parents?
  • Can I be a foster parent and still be considered as an adoptive parent?
  • What criteria does the agency use to match children with families?
  • What type of adoptive parents does the agency seek?
  • How long, on average, must one wait for a child?
  • What does the home study entail?
  • If I learn of a child in another state, will the agency pursue the child?
  • How much does a completed adoption cost — in total and each part?
  • Can the agency help me locate sources of financial aid, including subsidies?
  • What if the adoption doesn’t work out?
  • Can the agency provide references from parents who recently adopted?
  • What post-adoption resources does the agency provide or connect to parents?

Find the Perfect Match…now

Parent MatchWith Parent MatchTM your adoption professional can access the only national database of expectant parents and adoptive parents, people who need your help to connect. Parent Match makes it easy to expand your domestic adoption search beyond your existing network. Now you can find the ideal home for a newborn baby and the perfect child for a loving family faster and more effectively.

 

For full article visit https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/about-foster-care-adoption/adoption-guide/10-steps-to-building-your-forever-family/step-3-select-an-adoption-agency

Adoption Choices – Is she the one?

January 22, 2015 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

family in magnifier on planet backgroundAs my husband and I embarked on our adoption process there were are lot of unknowns. We didn’t know anyone who had recently adopted and therefore our support system within the adoption community was lacking (this was pre-Facebook…). Questions we rolled through our heads included:

How long will this take?

How taxing will this be on us?

How will the process effect our then 1 year old son?

But what really kept me awake at night was, how will we know if our match is the right match?

That’s scary. We adopted from South Korea and at the time, mostly girls were available for adoption (this changed shortly after we adopted our daughter). We were nearly certain we would be matched with a girl (we did not request gender) but when we saw her picture, read her file, scanned the documents, would we know she is ours? I often wondered what would happen if I just didn’t see a connection. I was a part of a yahoo chat group and people often danced around the same question without asking it outright- who would say it out loud? But what if we just don’t feel it?

In June 2006, just days after we completed our homestudy (international adoption was on a much different time schedule then), we were matched with a 10 week old little girl. We received a photocopy of a picture (yes, a photocopy) plus basic medical history. At that moment, and in the moments after I can tell you that those thoughts of “is this really my child?” vanished. They ceased to exist after our hands were on those papers.

I have experienced parenting through adoption and through biology. I can say that seeing my children for the first time, no matter where they came from, was the same. There was not a question of how right it is, if we were making the right move for our family, if the timing was perfect, it just was.

Although we adopted internationally (once more after our daughter came home), the process of seeing your child for the first time is the same. Anxiety and worry is a normal part of the adoption process but I urge you to not let it take hold of you. As much as possible allow yourself to give in to the process. Focus on getting ready for baby, learning about trans-racial parenting, different cultures, attachment, and bonding.

Adoption can be emotionally scary so I encourage you to surround yourself with people who have been through the process. Join us on Facebook in the Parent Match- Domestic Adoption Support Group, where you can privately ask the questions you’ve been too embarrassed to ask in public. There is a huge resource for you in the internet, use it to your advantage. Looking forward to chatting with you.

Staff Picks: Transracial Adoptions, From The Adoptee’s View

December 15, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Transracial Adoption

We’ve been feeling reflective here at WEEKEND EDITION. And over the past few weeks we’ve been listening back to some of our favorite interviews from the past year. This week’s pick comes from out editor Jordana Hochman and producer Chris Benderev. They join me in the studio. Hi, guys.

JORDANA HOCHMAN, BYLINE: Hello.

CHRIS BENDEREV, BYLINE: Hey.

MARTIN: So what did you pick?

BENDEREV: So we picked a story we did about a year ago on transracial adoption which is when a parent adoptions a child of a different race.

HOCHMAN: The guy that we talked to – his name is Chad Goller-Sojourner. And he is an African-American writer who was adopted when he was a really young boy by white parents. We decided to talk to him because trans-racial adoption had popped into the news, and we wanted to explore what that personal experience was like with somebody who was intimately involved in it.

MARTIN: OK. Let’s take a listen to my conversation with Chad Goller-Sojourner. Here’s Chad telling his story.

CHAD GOLLER-SOJOURNER: One thing that is kind of unique to my situation, or being trans-racially adopted, is that my source of love and hate came from the same well. So my parents looked just like the same people who are calling me a bleep or a porch monkey and all this other stuff.

MARTIN: And that was hard to process. How did your parents respond when you went to them with those revelations?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: So what happened for me is, like, every six months to a year something would happen. And I’d have a major breakdown and call my mother crying and unable to breathe of sorts. And she would arrive at the school. So I always knew that my mother and parents were in my corner, but it was still difficult to process because I didn’t see myself as they saw me. I mean, all my first experiences were white – my first friends, my family, my church, my faith. Don’t they know who I belong to? You know, for instance, shopping – I learned pretty early on that when people knew I was with this white lady that they treated me differently. So…

MARTIN: Your mom?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: My mom. If I didn’t want to be followed or bothered I would make a connection with my mom. It kind of played out like this. We have very different tastes – mine are high-end, hers aren’t. So I would, like, hold up some outfit, like, hey, mom, can I get this? And be, like, no – she’d go, like, no.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: Which let everybody within earshot know that I was with a white lady. And then suddenly it was like that privilege came back over me.

MARTIN: Your parents adopted you at a time, 1972 – The National Association of Black Social Workers declared that trans-racial adoption like yours was tantamount to cultural genocide. And there are still a lot of people out there who feel that the best option for children of a certain race is to be raised by parents who share that race – in particular for black children to be raised in black families. What do you think of that?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: Well, OK. So here’s the part that always gets people upset. Part of my story is I was 13 months old, and according to the social workers in my file, I had already been passed over by two or three black families because they considered me too dark. So yes, I mean, I agree that perhaps a black home is probably best for a black kid, but, I mean, it wasn’t by accident that in 1972 a white couple from Washington state ended up with this black kid from Cleveland. They were not my first visitors.

MARTIN: It sounds like you had a loving relationship with your parents and family and siblings. Would you still recommend trans-racial adoption today? Do you think it’s a good idea?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: I’m not opposed to it. I mean, it’s tough because, you know, as a parent you want to protect your child. But you also have to prepare your child for the world they’re entering into. And, you know, they were there for me, you know, in college when I was going through some issues surrounding self-hatred and kind of, you know, begin to take this descent into blackness and out of the whiteness. It was difficult because I realized all these privileges that I had I would have to start letting them go.

MARTIN: So what’s the solution? How do you prepare kids?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: I don’t have, like, a check list. But if I did, it would sound something like this. If you don’t have any close friends or know people who look like your kid before you adopt a kid then why are you adopting that kid? So your child should not be your first black friend. You know? Where are you living? It’s interesting, you know, people cross the country for a job, but they won’t move two neighborhoods over so that their kid can go to a more diverse school. Somebody’s going to have to be uncomfortable. I don’t think it should be the parent. One of the things I think that was the hardest for me is I didn’t have any independent relationships with black people, especially adult black people, until I was an adult. I was 25 before I saw a black doctor. I think there’s a lot of things that people do that you can do – certainly you can do better than my parents did because they only had certain options.

MARTIN: When you were talking about shedding white privilege, you then used the phrase I started descending into blackness. What does that mean? And what did it mean for you?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: Basically, you know, I began a journey. And for me it began with a new name. I added sojourner to my name, and I moved to New York City where, for the first time, I found my own reflection pleasing. So for instance, I didn’t have to, hey, I’m not the black guy you think I am. I used to say that in different ways. You know, I carried a picture of my family. I tucked it behind my driver’s license for years. Wherever the license went, the picture followed. Sometimes whispering and sometimes shouting, you know, I’m not the black man you think I am. And I stopped saying that.

MARTIN: How did your parents respond to that when you changed your name and started to assert a stronger black identity?

GOLLER-SOJOURNER: Yeah. There was no, you know, I was smart enough not to drop the Goller. I mean, you know, hey, mom and dad, I changed my name. Could you cut another check for school? You know? (Laughter). That – but they were very happy with that. And one thing – I’m part of the first wave – the 60s and the 70s so my parents had every single book, you know, in the library by a black author and black people. And so we were highly educated in that realm. But that only takes you so far. I mean, I learned to fall in love with myself and being black in my mid-20s to late-20s. And although it was a beautiful experience, it shouldn’t have taken 25 years to do that.

MARTIN: That was my conversation with Chad Goller-Sojourner about his experience as an African-American adopted by a white family. So Jordana and Chris, this is the piece that you selected out of this year that was really memorable to you. This is a story that generated a whole lot of public response, right?

HOCHMAN: Yes, it really did. And it wasn’t our first story on the topic of trans-racial adoption. A couple weeks before we aired our interview with Chad we had a conversation with a white woman about adopting African-American children, and we talked with her about what that experience was like.

MARTIN: And what happened after that interview, Chris?

BENDEREV: At that point we did get a lot of responses from trans-racial adoptees. They wanted to hear their perspective on-air. And I think at that point we started looking around for someone who could tell that experience well. And it ended up being Chad. When it I listen back to it, it just strikes me that he seems fair to both his parents and trans-racial adoptees who had a hard time like him. And maybe it shouldn’t be sort of eye-opening, but it was, when he said someone’s going to have to be uncomfortable. And when he had that line, and maybe it shouldn’t be your child. It just sort of seemed like a profound point.

MARTIN: Jordana Hochman is an editor at WEEKEND EDITION. Chris Benderev is one of our producers. Thanks so much for sharing your pick, you guys.

BENDEREV: Sure.

HOCHMAN: Thanks.

See the original article at http://www.npr.org/2014/01/26/266434175/growing-up-white-transracial-adoptee-learned-to-be-black

Celebrating the Holidays While Waiting for Your Child – Parents’ Stories

November 20, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Parents share their experiences

Waiting for your child

 As I have been waiting more than twelve months, I have made it through all the major holidays. What worked for me was finding a way to acknowledge my child through some small gesture. Last Christmas, I hung a special ornament for my daughter on the tree, to signify that in my heart she was already my daughter.

–Amy, Chugiak, Alaska

We filed our paperwork with the INS on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. We took the opportunity at Thanksgiving dinner to announce to our extended family that we were officially “pregnant with paperwork” but did not know the “due date” yet. On Christmas, my mom wrapped up presents for each child—special items she’d saved from my childhood for me to pass on to my children. I still cry when I think how much that meant to me!
–Shannon, Bellevue, Washington

The most important thing for us was to stay in a hotel near the house where our extended family was celebrating the holidays. This allowed us to get to festivities quickly, and to leave if being around children became painful. Staying at the hotel gave us a place to process our feelings in private and helped us enjoy our relatives’ kids that much more.
–Bettina, Farmington Hills, Michigan

I have been able to keep it together through all of this waiting, especially at the holidays, by focusing on creating my personal Web site. I update it every month for my family and friends, to satisfy the perpetual question: “Have you heard anything yet?” It sure cuts down on the inquiries at holiday gatherings.
–Lynn, Hazel Crest, Illinois

For our first adoption, we waited through Thanksgiving and Christmas with a referral but no travel date. On Christmas, all the presents we gave were signed from me, my husband, and our son. This made me feel that somehow he was there, even if only in our thoughts and hearts.
––Bess, via e-mail

– See more at: http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=487#sthash.Nt203DSr.dpuf

Our Words Surrounding Adoption

October 23, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  4 Comments
adoption-give-upOne of the ways we can spread a positive adoption message is to intentionally change our language surrounding adoption.  Many of us are accustomed to the term give up your child foradoption. When we take a moment to think about the implications of this phrase, we realize that a birth mother might be “giving up” a lot, but she is by no means “giving up” on her child.
“Give Up” a Child for Adoption – Why children are “placed” for adoption and what is really“given up.”
1. WHAT IS LOST IN ADOPTION?
I had a hard time when people would compare the loss of a child to adoption. I would get prettyupset because I was with families all of the time who had lost their child (I volunteered to takepictures of stillborn babies at the hospitals). What these families wouldn’t GIVE to see theirchild again, see them breathe, watch them grow up, etc. I felt like it wasn’t the same at all. ThenI discovered adoption wasn’t really about the loss of the child, but the loss of so many otherthings. Everyone grows up with a dream about how their life will go. When it doesn’t go the way
we planned it, we have to give up that dream and create another one.
2. WHAT BIRTH MOTHERS GIVE UP.
As a birth mother, you give up the opportunity to be that child’s mother. You give up watching so many firsts, seeing that child every day, etc. You give up your dream about how your life was supposed to be. Everyone’s story is different, but everyone gives up opportunities that come with being a mother to that child. (This also applies to birth fathers and birth families as well). 
3. WHAT ADOPTIVE MOTHERS GIVE UP.
As an adoptive mother, you have to give up on the dream of having a biological child. You give up feeling that baby move and grow inside you, watching them be born from you and, when you see them, seeing all of those physical characteristics that just look like you and instantly bond you as their parent. You give up being the only mother in this child’s life and will forever share that with another woman. I don’t mean co-parenting, but I do mean that that birth mother isforever in your thoughts, even in a closed adoption, when your child does anything. This alsoapplies to adoptive fathers and families.

Dear Grandma and Grandpa

September 18, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,
Maybe you’re not sure what to do right now.  I feel that way, too.  Here are some thoughts I have on how you can love me:Grandparents With Cute Granddaughter
1.  Now that I’m here, please help me get to know my mommy and daddy.  I know you want to hold me and help take care of me (seems like everyone does), but I’m overwhelmed with so many people and so many new things.  I want to get to know what my mommy and daddy’s voices sound like, what they smell like, and if I can trust them. I need to do this first.
2. Please help my mommy and daddy spend more time with me. I heard mommy say there is so much laundry to do.  Maybe you could help her with things around the house, so she can have more time to play with me.
3. There are a lot of things I miss right now.  Everything is so different and I feel scared and sad sometimes.  I’d really like it if you could help my mom and dad make something I’m used to.  There was this food that I ate a lot when I was little.  Mom hasn’t learned to make it yet.  Maybe you could figure that out for her?
4. I’m trying to figure out who is in charge of me and if they are really going to take care of me and keep me safe.  It confuses me when you do things like feed me or tell me it’s ok for me to do something.  I need to know that my mommy and daddy are in charge.
If you are at our house and you see I need something, would you mind asking mommy and daddy first and then telling me if they said it’s ok for me to have or do something?  If I can hear you ask them, and hear them answer you, that’s even better.  It helps me feel safe.
5. I want to get to know you, too.  I just need a little time.  I know everyone says they have been waiting for me, but this whole family thing was a bit of a surprise on my end.  I need to stay close to home.  Maybe I can come to your house or go somewhere with you once I am feeling more settled.  I’m not sure how long that might take.  I’m just gonna warn you, it may take longer than you’d like.  Would you mind waiting on me to be ready? I really need to stick close to mommy and daddy so I can learn how to let them take care of me.  They seem pretty smart.  I think they will know when I am ready.
I have heard you say you love me. I think one day I will love you, too. I’m kinda figuring out how to love right now, and mommy and daddy are teaching me.   I know you taught them, so that makes you special.
Love,
Your Grandchild

Domestic adoption: Myths and reality

August 18, 2014 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Domestic adoption in the United States has undergone a seismic shift in the last 30 years. How long will it take for popular perceptions to catch up with the new, healthier reality?

When Katie and Jeffrey Davis set out to adopt a baby domestically, everyone close to the couple assumed they were in for an excruciatingly long wait. As it turned out, the Davises, who live in Baltimore, Maryland, were matched with a birth mother less than a month after their adoption agency started presenting their paperwork. Their daughter, now 5, was placed in their arms just seven months after they started the adoption process.

“People think that adoption takes five years, just forever and ever,” says Katie. “They were shocked that we adopted a baby in the U.S., and that the process went so smoothly.”

Domestic adoption reinvented

The Davis family’s story is not particularly unusual. While international adoption has commanded the limelight for the last two decades, domestic adoption has remained an untold story. Despite persistently negative and sensational media coverage, domestic adoption today is more transparent than ever before, and increasingly defined by healthier choices for birth families and adoptive families alike.

The fact that more than 18,000 American families successfully adopt newborn babies in the United States every year belies the widespread misperception that domestic adoption is a difficult, time-consuming, expensive, and risky process. The truth is that most families successfully adopt within two years of beginning the process. The cost of a domestic adoption varies widely, from under $10,000 to more than $40,000. According to surveys conducted annually by Adoptive Families, the median total cost of a domestic adoption is $25,000 to $35,000, which tends to be considerably less than that of a typical international adoption.

The most damaging, and most deeply entrenched, conviction – that birth parents return after relinquishing parental rights to try to reclaim the baby – virtually never comes to pass. “People watch TV and read the newspapers, and they are scared to death,” says Mark T. McDermott, an adoption attorney in Washington, D.C.

 

Domestic adoptions outpace international

Although fewer adoptions currently take place each year within the U.S. compared to 35 years ago, domestic adoption is far from dying out. In fact, more U.S. families adopt domestically than internationally each year.

To be sure, the number of infant placements in the U.S. has dropped in recent decades. In the mid-1970s, as many as 49,000 American infants were placed for adoption each year. In 2007, the most recent year for which accurate numbers exist, there were an estimated 18,078 domestic newborn, non-relative adoptions.

The drop in the number of newborn adoptions since the 1970s coincides with a decline in the percentage of single mothers placing children for adoption, down from nine percent in the 1970s to 1.4 percent in 2002, according to the National Survey of Family Growth. As the stigma against single parenthood has diminished over the last 35 years, so has the number of children placed for adoption.

Despite the tenacity of myths and stereotypes, domestic adoption has quietly redefined itself over a generation. Adopting parents, once resigned to a lengthy wait at their local adoption agency, now have more options and more information. Birth parents, once shamed and almost completely shut out of adoption decisions, are now involved in the process. <http://www.babycenter.com/0_independent-adoption_1373616.bc>Independent adoptions<> have increased in number and, by some accounts, now represent the majority of domestic adoptions. The Internet has made it easier for like-minded birth parents and adopting families to find one another over geographic distances.

From secrecy to transparency

While almost every aspect of adoption is different than it was in the past, it is within the family matching process that the most change has occurred. In private and agency adoptions, rather than merely being assigned a baby to adopt without any background information to share with the child as he or she grows, adopting parents now usually meet or talk with the birth family. Birth parents, by the same token, are empowered to choose which family will adopt their child. Birth families are more likely to have access to counseling and independent legal representation, and, together with the adopting family, determine the nature of contact after the adoption.

Almost everyone involved in adoption today – adopting parents, birth parents, and adoption professionals – embraces this new transparency as an antidote to the confidentiality of the past. Birth families are reassured that their child will be well cared for; adopted children have the answers to questions that arise over the years.

Today, families who’ve adopted domestically often say that any initial concern about the role of birth parents has been replaced by gratitude for the opportunity to know their child’s family of origin. They note the positive aspects of adopting domestically: the opportunity to parent a newborn, and the medical and social history they have for their child.

 

 

Read full article at: http://www.babycenter.com/0_domestic-adoption-myths-and-reality_1374892.bc

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