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


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!



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.

Are you about to be victim of an adoption scam?

March 11, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by Stephen Gardner  |  1 Comments

Recent media surrounding adoption has not been good- most of it focusing on countries closing ( to the death of an adoption child ( Unfortunately the most likely bad news adoption scenario is the adoption scam, and it’s also the most common.

What is an adoption scam? Well, it can look like a lot of things. An adoption scam can be an agency, facilitator or attorney who promises you a child and has no intention of giving you one. An adoption scam can be an adoption professional who has great reviews but continues to take your money even though no services have been provided. It might also look like a woman who you’ve met (probably online) who says she’s pregnant (who may not be) who says she wants to relinquish her child to you (and she has no intention of doing so) or who doesn’t exist at all. Usually all of this takes place after a lot of  money has changed hands (thus the scam).

How do you know it’s a scam? You’ve heard the saying, “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck….” Yes, the same applies here. Keep your eyes WIDE open. If something doesn’t feel right- DON’T DO IT. This is particularly difficult when adoption is involved. Your heart is on the line and no matter what your head might be thinking, your heart likely doesn’t care and is ready to take the risk even though it is a huge risk. Someone needs to be level-headed. If you are adopting as a single person, make sure you have someone trusted to bounce things off of and be a source of logical reasoning. If your adoption professional is asking for loads of money upfront, be wary. If your adoption professional charges you to keep you waiting (yes, to keep you waiting), be wary.  If you meet a woman online but have never spoken to her on the phone, have difficulty getting in touch with her or she has asked for money right away, be careful!

All of these warnings are not to scare you, but to safeguard you as the prospective adoptive parent. We can all learn something when we open our eyes (not just our hearts!). We will have much more information on adoption scams next Monday, March 18th at 9pm EST on twitter.

Join me and other member of the adoption community including adoption attorneys, birth mothers, and other adoptive parents who have been through a scam to learn from them. Follow the chat (and join in!) on twitter at #adoptionislove

What happens when an expectant mom changes her mind

March 4, 2013 in Domestic Adoption by   |  No Comments

I know you don’t want to talk about it- actually you don’t even want to think about it but you need to. Sometimes adoptions don’t go through. Usually adoptions don’t happen because the expectant mom has changed her mind about her adoption plan.  Generally adoption plans are made while she is pregnant and there is a significant amount of time to really think about all of her options. After the initial shock, perhaps, of her pregnancy it is often possible that a partner may come into the picture to help care for the baby, a parent is willing to step up or the expectant mom herself has figured out a way to make it work despite her initial thoughts she couldn’t. It is impossible to know the bond between mother and child and impossible to know how someone is feeling after just having given birth- there is always the potential that the expectant mom will change her mind until the waiting period is over after she signs the relinquishment papers.

It is normal to question yourself about your understanding of adoption, perhaps of the relationship you had built with this person. The reality is that it isn’t about you- it’s about a baby and their mother and that mother can change her mind so you should prepare yourself (another post on that!) and be ready to move ahead if it does happen.

There are so many reasons an expectant mom may change her mind. It is hard at the time to put yourself in her shoes. There is no one reason why adoptions don’t work out. In open adoption, prospective birth mothers not only have the ability to change their mind—it’s their right. That doesn’t change things or make them easier for you. This is always something to think about as you go through the process. Knowing that a failed adoption could happen is one thing. Having it happen to you is something else. A disrupted adoption is one of the hardest things you’ll ever have to deal with, especially if you brought the baby home with you and starting the bonding process.

Recovering from a failed adoption will take time, here are some things to remember as you journey through this difficult time:

Grieve together.  Acknowledge your pain and your loss and discuss your feelings with your partner. Remember, he or she is going through this with you. Together, you’ll emerge from your crisis even more united.

Search out and join support group.  Get in touch with other adoptive parents who have been in your shoes. Most people won’t understand what you’re going through, those who have been through similar situations are most likely to be your best support.

Don’t give up hope!  There will be other opportunities. You have to allow yourself to pursue them. Take a short break, be good to yourself and to your partner and don’t make any big decisions until you’re ready. Each failed adoption fails for its own reasons. Understand that just because one situation didn’t work out doesn’t mean the next one will be the same.

Patience and time will produce the right family situation for you!

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