Meeting Your Child’s Adoptive Parents
Talking to and meeting your child’s adoptive parents for the first time can be one of the most nerve wracking experiences. The only way I can describe it is like going on a blind date. I remember feeling so nervous and wondering what they would be like and what we would talk about. I mean we were complete strangers after all. Would there be anything to talk about? Were they going to judge me? Were they going to like me? What would happen if they didn’t like me? My head was spinning with a million different questions. In my case we started off with a phone call and then got to meet each other in person. After going through this experience, I have reflected on a few tips and things to remember if you find yourself feeling that same way.
HAVE QUESTIONS PREPARED. This sounded kind of weird to me at the time, but it was so helpful and most importantly it alleviated any awkward silence. As soon as there was a lull in the conversation, I would ask one of my questions. It also helped me to really get to know them. There were things that I wanted to know about them, but with all the nerves I would have forgotten to ask. It was really helpful to have them written down and in front of me. You may want to know what they do for work, what they like to do in their free time, or whether or not they plan to be stay-at-home parents. Having a list of questions can help to calm your nerves and make you feel prepared. Plus, if it’s a phone call they won’t even know you have the list. Also, something to remember…if there is something you want to know, but you don’t feel comfortable asking them directly, reach out to your adoption professional, who I’m sure would be happy to get the answer for you.
BE OPEN AND HONEST. It is so important to be open and honest about the way you are feeling or how things are going. Adoptive parents genuinely care about you and want the best for you, whatever that might be. They are not there to judge you or make you feel badly.
VIDEO CHAT IF YOU CAN. If you can’t meet in person, video chat is an amazing option. You can only get to know someone so much by the sound of their voice. It can be a lot easier to form a connection with adoptive parents when you can see their faces. I know this can be kind of scary, but hopefully by now you have had a few conversations on the phone or through texting and you feel more comfortable with each other. Video can give them a chance to show you their home, for you to see how they interact, and to build a stronger bond. I know a lot of birth parents that would video chat once a week to check in and catch up on what was going on in life.
ASK FOR MORE PICTURES. At this point you have probably only seen a few pictures from their profile or on their website. Picture albums can be a really great way to connect and share stories about different memories and times in their lives. It can also help you to envision what your child’s life may be like in the future. Is there a particular place they like to vacation every year? Do they have family reunions with extended family? Do they love to ride bikes by the beach? All of these pictures and stories can paint a picture of their life, hobbies, vacations, etc. If you feel comfortable, you can share pictures as well. The goal in all of this is to build a relationship and connection that makes you feel comfortable.
AND REMEMBER…nerves are completely normal. I can guarantee the adoptive parents are just as nervous, if not more nervous than you are! They are experiencing a lot of the same feelings and hoping you like them as well. And it may take a few times of talking or meeting for things to start to feel more comfortable but the hope at the end of it is that you both feel a connection to each other and feel comfortable with taking the next step in the process, becoming exclusive!
Surviving the Wait: Ways to Wait Well
Anyone that has gone through, or is in the midst of their adoption journey, knows that the waiting can be one of the most difficult parts. Whether it is waiting to be selected by birth parents, waiting for your child to be born, or waiting for your adoption to finalize it is just plain hard at times. We encourage you to keep hope while enduring the wait, and while we know there is no easy way around it, we want to offer you various resources and support to help you through it. Use your waiting period as a time to educate yourself and prepare for the abundant blessing ahead. We all have to wait, so why not wait well.
Read adoption books – There are so many books and articles talking about all things adoption. These resources can help to prepare you for the path ahead and the realities of parenting and adoption. Here are a few we recommend:
The Open Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child
Grow Up Whole by Lori Holden
Dear Birthmother by Kathleen Silber
In Due Time Devotional (Hope and Encouragement in the Waiting)
Listen to adoption related podcasts – Sometimes we don’t have the time to sit and read a book, but there are a number of podcasts that address every topic surrounding adoption. You can listen on your commute to and from work or even while you workout or walk the dog. Whether it is hearing from an adoption professional, an alumni adoptive parent, or even a birth mother, these are invaluable resources that can open your mind to all the different experiences and intricacies of adoption.
Quiver Full Adoptions Podcast
Adoption NOW Podcast
Creating a Family: Talk About Infertility and Adoption
Read adoption related blogs – Maybe you prefer reading to listening to a podcast, but don’t have the time to dedicate to reading a whole book. There are so many blogs written by people that are going through or have been through the adoption process. Their experiences and stories not only have the opportunity to educate you, but also to offer support and words of advice and wisdom. Kindred + Co. is a support network designed for those who are going through the adoption process. They have a great blog and Instagram page that educates and offers support. This leads us perfectly into our next way to wait well.
Find an adoption support group– It can be very helpful to find parents who are currently going through or have been through the adoption process. While friends and family are a great source of support, it can be very helpful to be surrounded by people who understand exactly what you are experiencing. It can be a good way to learn what to expect, how others are coping with the wait, and to hear others adoption stories. There are so many support groups both online and in-person. You can visit the National Council for Adoptable Children’s website to find a support group near you or do a simple Google search.
Reach out to us– We are here not only to share in your excitement throughout your adoption journey, but also to support you through the times you are feeling the burden of the wait. We know it isn’t easy and we would be honored to walk in that with you. It is completely normal to feel hopeless, anxious, discouraged or all of the above at times. But you don’t need to endure that alone.
Enjoy time to yourself – While this may sound trivial, once your new child arrives there will be a lot less time to do the things you enjoy. Make sure you take time to relax before you don’t have the option to. Whether that is making time for your hobbies, spending time with your friends and family, traveling, or just taking a bubble bath, these things can help to occupy your mind and rejuvenate you during your adoption journey.
Create something for your child – Write in a journal, write your child a letter, or create a keepsake. Doing such things can not only be a good emotional outlet during the process, but also a way to connect with your child before he or she arrives. Here are a couple journals we love (both can be found on Amazon for under $15).
-I Wished for You: A Keepsake Adoption Journal
-Our Adoption Story: The Journey That Brought Us To You
Welcome to March
Welcome to March, the month that brings us National Potato Chip Day, International Waffle Day, and so much more!
Congratulations to families that recently adopted from Michigan, Florida, Arkansas, and Virginia! We imagine you are enjoying every moment of parenthood, including smiles, sparkling eyes, tiny toes, bottles, sleepless nights, diapers, and toddler tantrums. Please, never hesitate to send photos of the good and the…!
For our waiting families, please hang in there. When you began your adoption journey you understood the importance of managing your expectations in order to successfully navigate this process. The perceived and sometimes very real lack of control can play with one’s emotions. Please lean on us and loved ones for support. You may also wish to join a local adoptive parent support group. While we do not have a crystal ball (we want one!), history has shown that those who are persistent will adopt in just a matter of time. This may be near impossible for you to believe until it happens to you and that’s okay. We’ll wait.
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Walt Disney
While you wait to be selected, a lot goes on behind the scenes. We want to take this opportunity to give you a “tour” of the screening and selection process and provide insight about what we do from the moment prospective birth parents contact us to when they select a family.
SCREENING AND SELECTION PROCESS
A BIRTH PARENT CONTACTS ADOPTIONS FIRST! WHAT DO WE DO?
Prospective birth parents contact Adoptions First 24/7 via our website contact form, online chat, direct text message, and by calling a staff member directly, toll-free. During the initial contact, we engage in friendly conversation and learn about the birth parents’ situation and details such as:
- Name, address, DOB, and ethnicity of birth parents
- Due date, prenatal care, insurance
- Drug and alcohol use, history of mental illness
- Living situation, job, other children, if any
- Level of emotional/financial support
- Prospective birth father and his level of involvement, if any
When a prospective birth parent (usually the mother) contacts us, often she is considering all of her options, including adoption. Our job is not only to gather information about the birth parents, but to provide them with information about the adoption process. We provide options counseling to all callers to ensure they are making the decision they feel is best for their child.
THE BIRTH PARENTS DECIDE ADOPTION IS BEST! WHAT’S NEXT?
After the initial intake, birth parents will receive a folder with helpful information and paperwork to complete, including: social/medical history forms, a HIPAA medical release, and a living expense request form (if applicable). Included in our mailing will be adoptive parent profiles for consideration. For families who, under their state law, cannot be matched with prospective birth parents, profiles can be viewed at www.adoptimist.com and other third-party websites.
With a greater level of openness as it relates to the child’s ethnicity, gender, drug/alcohol use, mental illness, and the anticipated cost of the adoption, your profile will be considered more often as more situations will be deemed suitable. Reminder: In order for a child to be placed into your care and custody your home study report must be complete and current (less than one year old) and all pre-adoption requirements in your State of residence must be met.
Please keep in mind, this is a mutual selection process. While not always the case, some birth parents will have preferences when it comes to adoptive parents they will consider. These preferences can include but not be limited to the prospective adoptive parents’ family structure (single, traditional, or same-sex couple), ethnicity, religion, level of education, and family composition (are there other children in the home).
KEEP READING! WE SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST!
YOU ARE SELECTED! NOW WHAT?
Please be sure to check your email daily! When a birth parent selects you, you will receive from us all known and available information, including confirmation of pregnancy and more extensive medical records, if available. All medical information should be quickly reviewed by your trusted medical professional (i.e. pediatrician, obstetrician). If you need a referral, please let us know. After speaking with us about the situation presented, and getting the green light from your doctor, you will feel better prepared to make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed. Should you choose to move forward with the birth parents that select you, you will enter Phase II of the adoption process and will be one step closer to building your family through adoption. Sometimes this means taking a risk, big or small, but we promise to be there every step of the way holding your hand and guiding you through.
The above is just a glimpse of what your Adoptions First team is doing behind the scenes every single day to help every birth parent make the best plan for their baby and every client reach their dream of becoming parents through adoption.
Below are some articles we have found to be insightful and helpful.
Most prospective adoptive parents don’t get cards or baby showers, or even much excitement. It’s time to change that. Buying something for your hoped-for baby won’t ‘jinx’ your plan to adopt, and 11 more things I wish someone had told me during the wait. ON THE COVER: Everett and Aveline ….
Sometimes it’s not just those unfamiliar with adoption who are misinformed. Read these common adoption myths, and the corresponding truths.
10 Ways to Build Trust with Prospective Birth Parents As you get to know prospective birth family, remember you are laying the foundation for a lifelong relationship, and use this advice.
Your Adoptions First Team
As we ring in the New Year, we wanted to take the opportunity for you to get to know the lovely staff you work with on a daily basis. Each of us brings unique experience and areas of expertise to the table. We could not be more thrilled to be a part of your adoption journey and feel honored that you trust us to guide you through it. Attached are short bios written by each of us covering our experience, both personal and professional, in the field of adoption.
Ronald G. Rosenberg
ATTORNEY Ron has been practicing law in California for many years. He recognizes that active involvement in the adoption process from the outset can make the adoption journey work better for both the birth mother and the adopting family. “My life is full of incredible joy as a result of my family and I find life more fulfilling when I can give back by helping other people create their own families.”
Gregg S. Koffman
ATTORNEY Greg is an attorney licensed in California who performs legal services in the area of adoption. Whether representing birthparents or adoptive families, Greg is keenly aware of the emotional nature of the adoption process and the ups and downs someone going through an adoption can experience. Greg strives to smooth out the process and make it enjoyable for all concerned. Nothing makes Greg happier than to see the smiles, tears of joy and hugs shared by family members when an adoption is successfully finalized.
ATTORNEY After adopting his daughter over thirty years ago, David knew he would always be connected to the adoption process as he has walked “in the same shoes” as people wanting to grow their family through adoption. He realizedthat with a lot more hand-holding on both sides, the adoption journey could be improved. He made the decision to go into the field of Adoptions services because he felt that his passion to build families and solely assist people in fulfilling their dream to become parents could make a difference. This passion and personal drive has lead David to help facilitate several thousand adoptions over the last 30 years. He has represented and been an advocate for the LGBTQ community and has had the opportunity to be a guest speaker at many events. David is an Interstate Compact specialist and has years of experience handling ICPC matters. David has reduced his management role of Adoptions First and become Of Counsel, allowing for him to be more involved in the adoption process and focus solely on adoption law and third party reproduction law (surrogacy, egg donation, embryo, and sperm donation).
Director of Adoptions First, has been working directly with adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoption professionals since 1996. Throughout that time, David and Renee have successfully collaborated on a number of domestic adoptions and international outgoing adoptions, working with families living abroad who were approved to adopt children from the USA. Working with families from around the world to see that every child has a forever home is Renee’s goal and passion. Her immeasurable depth of knowledge, attention to detail, and love for adoption is evident to everyone she works with. Renee supports and guides clients and birthparents with care and compassion while ensuring that everyone receives the highest quality of adoption services.
Alexandra “Ali” Desmond, MSW
After making an adoption plan for her birth daughter over 5 years ago, Ali earned a Masters in Social Work to spend her career helping others through the adoption process. Throughout her academic program, Alexandra continued her engagement with the adoption community as a Birthmother Outreach Coordinator, Adoption Agency Intern, and Birthmother Buddy. Alexandra is an invaluable resource for our birthmothers and a wonderful asset to our Adoptions First team.
With the New Year also brings tax season. We wanted to remind you about the Adoption Tax Credit. We have linked below an article outlining more information and encourage you to reach out to your CPA for detailed information as it pertains to your personal tax portfolio.
The Adoption Process
We understand that there are a range of experiences, emotions and questions when it comes to the process of building your family through adoption. It truly is a journey filled with ups and downs.
For those of our families who are in the waiting phase of their adoption journey, please remember to keep hope. Earlier this month one of our alumni families (photo below) reached out to us to share the joy they are experiencing as parents. They wrote: “We cannot thank you enough. Raising this little guy has been our best adventure yet.” Please see our website for other testimonials that will give you hope when you question the process. While we can make no guarantees, we remain confident that everyone who wants to adopt will in just a matter of time.
Below are some articles we found to be very informative and helpful for adoptive parents at all different stages of the process.
Adoption Laws by State
Travel Tips for Domestic Adoptions
Surviving the Wait
Tips from Birth Mothers for Creating your Adoption Profile
Personal Story: When I Was Ready to Adopt
Our New Address:
1100 Glendon Avenue, Floor 15, Los Angeles, CA 90024
Congratulations to all of our families that recently adopted from New Jersey, California, Missouri, and Michigan. We hope you are enjoying your new and expanded families. We currently have five families waiting for their birth mothers to deliver and are hopeful they too will soon become parents.
The Birthmother Experience
The experience of becoming a birthmother is so unique and I hope that sharing my experience will bring you hope and perspective should this be the path you choose.
I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant. I felt like my entire life was crashing down around me. I felt shame, anxiety, worry, and so many more emotions all at once. This was never part of the plan. The birthfather was unsupportive and chose not to be a part of my pregnancy. My family was extremely disappointed in me. I was alone and honestly thought that I had made my bed and now had to lay in it. I planned to be a single mom. I was going to school at the time. It had been a goal of mine to graduate from my university in four years. Being a mom, and a single mom at that, was going to make that very difficult. I had to give up on that dream and take on the responsibility that was coming. It was extremely scary. It wasn’t until I was about 8 months that someone suggested I look into my options.
Read the full blog at: https://adoptionsfirst.com/the-birthmother-experience/
THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS
Three strangers are reunited by astonishing coincidence after being born identical triplets, separated at birth, and adopted by three different families. Their jaw-dropping, feel-good story instantly becomes a global sensation complete with fame and celebrity, however, the fairy-tale reunion sets in motion a series of events that unearth an unimaginable secret — a secret with radical repercussions for us all.
Must See Documentary: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/three_identical_strangers/
Play Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uM5TQ4f7ycw