Domestic Adoption

Working Successfully with your Adoption Agency

October 30, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

I get a lot of questions about choosing an adoption agency (we can help you do that!) but once you’ve chosen the agency and have invested yourself in that relationship you need to manage that relationship. After working with adoption professionals for years both personally and professionally, I can tell you a few things about the dynamic.

Here are some things a good agency WILL do for you:

  • Help you choose an adoption program. Domestic or International? China or Colombia? Your agency has the most information about each specific program and is able to guide you in the right direction.
  • Identify a child for you. While it is possible to identify a child through other means, your agency can and should be actively searching for a child that is a match for your family.
  • Give you all relevant social and medical information for the identified child.
  • For domestic adoptions: give you and the expectant mother sound psychological counseling.
  • For international adoptions: guide you through the in country process.
  • Follow up with you after the adoption- make sure everyone is settling in ok and if not, guide you to the appropriate resources to help you.

An agency should NOT be expected to:

  • Make the decision on which adoption program you should choose- only you can do that.
  • Make the decision on whether a particular child is the right match for your family.
  • Be your travel agent. Yes, they can guide you but you cannot expect them to make all travel plans.

Make sure you have an agency who you trust and can communicate openly with and then use this as a guide to navigate your relationship with them.

Have more to add? Let us know below!

9 things you should know about my {adopted} daughter

October 1, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by   |  3 Comments

9 things you should know about my {adopted} daughter

  1. She knows she is adopted. Please don’t whisper about it in front of her. She doesn’t know it because we are an interracial family and her parents look nothing like her, she knows it because we talk about it. She knows it because it’s not shameful to know, because she’s proud of where she came from.
  2. She’s pretty, but you don’t have to remind her. When you look at her, and look at me and look at her again and say to me, “oh she’s so pretty!!” we appreciate it but we think you really mean, “oh, she’s so adopted!” Because that’s what it sounds like to us.
  3. Her siblings are her real siblings. They really really are, I promise you. They fight in the backseat, they vie for our attention, they love each other unconditionally. They have the same parents. They are really siblings.
  4. No one ‘gave her up.’ Our daughter’s birth parents made the most selfless decision of their lives, undoubtedly, when they made an adoption plan for their daughter. They did the opposite of give up on her, they found a way to give her a life they could not provide.
  5. She does not fit into any stereotype about her race. None. Just don’t say them. My daughter is a wonderful artist and a graceful gymnast. The end.
  6. She has ears. That means when you say something hurtful about people of her race, about the composition of her family or about how she came into our home she can hear you. She’s seven. Be mindful of your words .
  7. She didn’t cost a penny. We paid attorney fees, agency fees, airline fees and government fees but we did not pay for our child.
  8. She’s not ashamed of who she is. She’s proud to tell you where she came from and that she has a birth mom and a birth dad in another country who love her. She’s proud to tell you that one day we are going to look for her (and yes, she has our blessing!).
  9. She is ours in every sense of the word. Heart, mind, soul and legally, she is our daughter. We never doubted that for a second.

An Adoption Story in Photos

September 24, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Join us at Fertility Planit Event

September 13, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

I’ll be moderating the adoption panel at a major meeting in New York this weekend, Fertility Planit ( talking to people considering adoption. I often get asked about where and how to start the adoption process. Here are some of the basics that everyone should know.

Did you know that thirty percent of Americans consider adopting a child? That’s millions and millions of hopeful parents each year considering adoption as their path for creating a family. Despite all the interest, it remains an area of fragmented information, confusing choices, high costs and even higher anxiety and emotion.

What do people considering this path to parenthood need to know this year?

  • Interest in domestic adoption is rising. International adoptions have fallen dramatically over the past decade, but the number of people considering adoption has not. The good news for domestic adoption is that online technologies are actually helping speed and improve the process so that the years-long wait times are coming down. In addition, international adoption is still a strong option for many, as long as you carefully consider how to pursue it.


  • Most U.S. adoptions are open. In the U.S., open adoption is now the norm and research shows open adoptions are healthier for everyone involved, especially the adopted child. But many adopting parents worry over what open adoption really means – misperceptions and anxieties abound.


  • Online and social media has completely altered the process. Social media has altered the path to parenthood for many adoptive parents and opened up new resources for both adoptive and expectant parents.


  • Scams are a serious risk – choosing the right agency or attorney is a must. The explosion of online resources has created many more opportunities for scam artists. People who are adopting need to know who to trust and how to protect themselves.


  • Adoption costs are high, but the tax credit can help. The costs for adopting in the U.S. can average $25,000-$35,000 but vary widely. Just this year Congress made the adoption tax credit permanent – which could mean a credit back of more than $12,000 to people who adopt.

If you are in the New York City area this weekend and want to join me, along with Marni Denenberg (Director of Domestic Adoption Programs, Alliance for Children and adoptee), Gabriel Blau (Director, Family Equality Council and adoptive dad) and Jacqui Stafford (Fashion Editor, Style Expert and adoptive mom), email me for free tickets! [email protected], only a few left!



Father’s Day- it will be worth it.

June 14, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Father’s Day- it will be worth it.

Dear Soon-to-be-dad,

Father’s Day – Your turn will come. Soon, you will have your baby in your arms. Your wife, your partner, your husband will stop worrying. Your sleepless nights will be renewed with the sound of a child instead of the stress of the wait.

You’ve heard it a thousand times but it’s true- it’s worth the wait. Your child is worth the wait. You can make it. You can get to the end to start the journey as adoptive parent.

In the meantime do yourself a favor.

Go to the movies.

Go to the beach.

Go to a restaurant.

Just enjoy your time together. Soon your time will be compromised with each other but for such an amazing reason. You’ll see 2am, 4am, 5am not like your college days, but with tiny little eyes peering up at you. Fathers Day –  It will be worth it.

Soon you’ll write to your friends who are hoping to adopt and telling them it was all worth it, the planning, the money, the time, the worry. But for now you need to trust. Trust this adoptive parent to tell you that the time is near for you. Enjoy the moments before, enjoy the moments after.


Been There, Done That

What’s the big idea?

May 7, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

What’s the big idea?

I have a lot of people question what we do here at Parent Match- how could we possibly match infants, children, teens with adoptive families across agencies?

Doesn’t every agency have a plethora of waiting families?

Doesn’t every infant get a family even before they are born?


And no.

There are so many misconceptions about what happens in the world of domestic adoption today in the United States.  Agencies have decided that now is the time to work together, to match families faster, to give expectant moms exactly the families they are looking for.

Every agency does not have a plethora of families waiting. An agency in a state with a low population may also have very few potential adoptive parents. An agency in a very populous place may have an expectant mom who wants her child to grow up in a rural area- far away from the population of adoptive parents in their mix. In the past seven days Parent Match has helped to place five infants. That meant 6 agencies who had never worked with each other before came together and worked for the good of two families.

Bringing people together for the good of families is what we do. Behind the scenes at Parent Match the computer system does the work. Agencies have already put information about their clients (adoptive and expectant parents) into our system and it then automatically generates specific potential matches based on everyone’s preferences.

So, why the big idea? There are babies to adopt! It doesn’t have to take years! Just ask the families who had the best Mother’s day week ever.


The Baby Wait and other reality TV to real life mysteries….

April 24, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

The Baby Wait and other reality TV to real life mysteries….

If you haven’t heard by now the reality TV circuit is buzzing with adoption reality shows. Spurred by the hit MTV series 16 and Pregnant, a slew of new shows are now overloading our airwaves.  The Baby Wait in particular follows the journey of pregnant women and the adoptive parents who are hoping to adopt their babies. It goes through the birth and the mandatory 30 day waiting period of revocation in Connecticut. That means that in Connecticut, the biological parents have 30 days to change their minds about the adoption after they have signed the papers. Sometimes the children go home with the would-be adoptive parents, sometimes they go into an interim care situation.


In Kansas they have the same 30 day law.  Well they had the same law. This week, lawmakers in Kansas eliminated the 30 day waiting period ( which means the adoption could theoretically be finalized in the first 24 hours of the baby’s life. Interestingly, the premise for the bill was actually the reality TV show itself and the fact that the waiting was very difficult for the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents it was difficult for? Let’s delve into the minds of the birth-parents or expectant parents for a moment who have now been stripped of even more rights – the ability to revoke their decision even a day after delivery is gone.


I’m an adoptive mom, I know the pain of waiting for your child. I know how many adoptive parents live in fear that their children will be ‘taken back’ after placement. It does happen but it is part of the process. It is heart wrenching but there are good reasons for the revocation periods, which is why they exist. Sometimes it just isn’t about the adoptive parent  (sorry, I know this is a touchy subject) but it has to be about the birth mom, especially right after she has the baby. We need to give her more support and more choice, not strip her of those things.


Feel free to vent away below.

Dr Ingber Live on WELW Radio Interview

April 17, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

I’ve been so fortunate to be able to spread the love for adoption all over the country through radio and television interviews. It is always interesting talking to radio and televisions hosts from around the country and hearing their perspectives on what they know about adoption and how it has hit home for them. Interestingly, they often don’t share their personal connections on air but save them for after the interview to divulge.

Interview with Dr Ingber

Last week was no exception as I was on the air with Dr Ingber in Ohio discussing all things adoption including the decline in international adoption, how the domestic adoption process works, openness in adoption and gay marriage and adoption. You can hear the whole interview with Dr Ingber here, I’d love to hear what you think so please let me know!


Approaching Adoption at School

April 16, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Approaching Adoption at School

This week my Kindergartner was asked to bring in pictures from throughout his life. The instructions were:

“Bring two pictures from each of the following ages:







Guess what? We have no pictures of our son at birth. {S} was adopted and our first meeting was three days before his first birthday. We have pictures from about 6 months on but despite being in an orphanage with access to cameras, we have none from before that time.

{S}’s teachers know he’s adopted, I have gone into his class and talked about adoption with them so it’s no secret (the fact that he’s a different race would be a good clue too ;) ).  I sent in the pictures of {S} from as early as we have them, but it’s not the same. Even though he’s only five years old he’ll see the other kids have teeny tiny infant baby pictures from the hospital and he has a picture of a much bigger baby. But is it fair? Do I call the school? Do I speak to the teacher?

A lot of people would say yes, especially my adoptive mama friends. I say no. {S} is growing up in a world where the norm is not adopted. That doesn’t mean he has to conform but it does mean a different normal for him. That means explaining to his classmates that his mommy wasn’t there when he was born (that’s a confusing one….) or that she didn’t meet him until he was one year old (also very confusing for five year olds). What it does not mean is that he’s ashamed or embarrassed about any of that. He’s proud. He thinks it’s awesome that he used to live in Korea and I didn’t even know him. He thinks it’s awesome that he’s different from the other kids in the class.

So with that, we send the 6 month picture from the orphanage and dream about everything that must have happened before we were together.

Intervention: An Improved Model for Foster Children

April 8, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  No Comments

Intervention: An Improved Model for Foster Children

We celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month in November.  It is a time for adoption celebrations gargantuan and intimate, private and public.  We celebrate the creation, or in many instances, the expansion of forever families through adoption.  However, as a Florida-licensed attorney and champion of adoption for over thirty years, I submit that there should be a calendar-long “all hands on deck” effort to grow adoption, especially in the public sector where there are over 400,000 children in foster care.  While November may get the publicity, the work to grow adoption needs to endure each day of every month.

The traditional method by which many children are placed for adoption relies on a birth parent’s selfless decision.  Yet, for a parent whose child has been removed by the state and placed into protective custody or foster care, that parent often no longer enjoys the right to make a private adoption plan for her child or foster children.  It is as if that parent is labeled not worthy and stripped of the constitutionally protected right to determine her child’s future.  Regrettably, it is a scenario that has played out countless times in the juvenile courts across the United States, and one that prolongs permanency for children.

A positive and emerging change has begun to take root, albeit slowly and unevenly.  In Florida, through a statutory mechanism known as intervention, a parent whose child has been removed by the state retains the right to make a private adoption plan, provided that parent’s parental rights remain intact.  This option allows a parent to consent to a voluntary adoption, select adoptive parents, and receive information about the child in the future.  Contrast this with the inexorably lengthy and expensive process associated with having parental rights involuntarily terminated by a judge, and the parent’s exclusion from any permanent decision-making for the child.

Intervention also accomplishes the laudable goal of removing a child from the state system.  It frees up the juvenile court’s resources to address those cases that desperately need attention. It dramatically decreases and virtually eliminates the substantial public cost attendant to having a child remaining foster care. Most importantly, intervention quickly creates a “forever family” by obtaining the approval of the birth parent. With nearly 50,000 children  remaining in foster care five years or more, there can be no doubt about the benefits for both the children who await adoption and for society as a whole if adoption of children in foster care was made easier, faster, and more frequent.

In working with a legion of dedicated child welfare professionals, I have come to understand one universal truth:  the state does not make a good parent. Developmentally speaking, remaining in state care disadvantages a child, whereas adoption into a “forever family” yields the most positive outcomes and is the place where a child thrives. Moreover, nearly 30,000 children in foster care age out of the system annually with no hope of a permanent family. These children struggle in inordinate numbers with homelessness, lack of education, unemployment, poverty, unwed pregnancy and criminality. These children are our responsibility.

November sees the dawn of new families sewn and grown together by adoption. That effort needs to continue throughout the year, and if a birth parent elects to make the difficult decision to place a child for adoption, the Department of Children and Families and the courts should applaud and honor this choice, and move the child out of state custody to the safe, loving environment of a “forever family.”


Submitted by Guest Blogger,

Jeanne T. Tate,

[email protected]                                 

Page 3 of 41234