Positive Adoption Language

Using positive adoption language means taking care to choose the words that are accurate and respectful to all those involved in the adoption process. It really is a new language to learn when you first begin the adoption journey, but it becomes intuitive the more involved you are. Below are a few examples of some commonly misconstrued phrases in adoption.

Expectant parents/birth parents versus real parents/natural parents

A person planning to place a child for adoption is an “expectant parent”, if the baby is not yet born. That person is a “birth parent” after the child is born. Referring to the expectant or birth parent as the “real” or “natural” parent diminishes the role of an adoptive parent chosen by the expectant parent and can imply that the adoptive placement is temporary, or not “real”.

Give up for adoption/surrender versus place for adoption/make an adoption plan/choose adoption

The expressions, “give up for adoption” or “surrender”, imply that the expectant parent(s) are giving their child up because they don’t want the child, or are simply throwing in the towel. In reality, the expressions “choose adoption” or “make an adoption plan” reflect the choice that the expectant parent makes when moving forward with an adoption, and honors his or her decision-making process. When an expectant or birth parent makes an adoption plan, he or she is making a significant parenting decision for that child.

Parents versus adoptive parents

Even after the adoption is finalized, we sometimes refer to the parents as “adoptive parents.” They have adopted, but they’re really just the parents, like any other legal parents.

 

Expectant parents and adoptive parents have important roles in the adoption process and to the child at the center of the adoption triad. We can accurately and sensitively refer to the adult members of the triad who all care about the child’s best interests. But, we all stumble over our words, sometimes, so if you are ever wondering about terminology, AOW’s social workers are happy to talk through it, without judgment.

Preparing Your Fur Baby for Your New Baby

Get Your Fur Baby Ready for Human Baby Play

Your pet was your first baby. Your pet is a real and important part of your family, so it's important to prepare Fido or Tabby for the arrival of a baby. A baby will be a new, loud, wonderful, and disruptive part of your home life. Here are a few tips to make baby's arrival a little less disruptive or scary for your pet.

Adults know to treat a pet gently. A baby doesn't know this, which means that you need to prepare your pet for this new kind of interaction. Children love to poke, grab, and explore their environment. If your pet is skittish and not used to this kind of incidental contact, you should prepare by exposing them to this. Gently poke your pet's sides while you pet it, play with their feet, and rub their tail and face. Reward them consistently for good behavior during this so that they begin to equate it with praise and rewards. If your pet is ready for the baby, they can become fast friends!

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While You Baby Proof Your House, Consider Your Pet

Babies have a knack for getting into places in the house that they shouldn't. Consider setting up your baby gates, crib, changing table, etc. early enough when you decide to raise a child to get your pet used to the new set up and possible restrictions. If you need to relocate a pet's food or toys, do this as early as you can before your baby comes home so your pet is accustomed to the new status quo. You might also consider putting out a basket of your baby's toys so that you have time to teach your pet that they are not her toys. Of course, make sure your pet has appropriate toys of their own. You want to reduce the amount of sudden change as much as possible while you're introducing your pet to a new member of the family

Help Your Baby and Your Pet Get to Know Each Other in a Safe, Supervised Setting

Gently introducing your pet to your baby is crucial for both your baby's and your pet's well-being. Use positive reinforcement and practice to teach your pet that they are your partner in protecting and caring for your baby, and not a competitor with the baby for your affection. This will help to take care of the emotional and mental health of your fur baby, and your people baby.

If your pet likes treats, practice calling him away from the baby, or the baby's toys, then reward him with a treat each time he listens to you.

Planning for your new baby and preparing your pet as early as possible are the two keys to a successful pet-baby relationship. Once a pet understands that the baby is not a threat and has your seal of approval, the pet and the baby can develop a deep and lifelong bond that's unrivaled by almost anything else. However, no matter how affectionate your pet is, never leave a child unattended with a pet - for both their safety.

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How To Pay For Adoption

Congratulations! You’ve been matched. Odds are that, as waiting adoptive parents, you're looking for ways to pay for adoption, or you have already paid or incurred agency fees. Now you will have more expenses, which may include birth parent expenses, agency fees, attorney fees and travel expenses. Even though this is the happiest and most significant event in your life, adoptive parents have the same responsibility as other parents to be good stewards of their families’ finances.

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Many adoptive parents spend years saving for their dream. Others use their tax refunds or borrow from their loved ones. Earlier this tax season, we reminded everyone about the Adoption Tax Credit, a dollar for dollar federal credit worth up to $13,570 for 2017. [link]

Adoption of Wisconsin’s owner, Attorney Lynn Bodi, recently shared some other resources with us.

Lynn is proud to be a 20-year Fellow of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA). In honor of its 25th anniversary, the AAAA created the Family Formation Charitable Trust to help build families through adoption and assisted reproductive technology. More information and applications for grants can be found at: http://www.adoptionattorneys.org/aaaa/charitable-trust.

Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN)

If you are in the process of adopting a child, you may need to consider applying for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number, or ATIN. This is especially important at tax time. According to the Internal Revenue Service website:

 

“You should apply for an ATIN only if you are in the process of adopting a child and you meet all of the following qualifications:

  • The child is legally placed in your home for legal adoption by an authorized placement agency.
  • The adoption is a domestic adoption OR the adoption is a foreign adoption and the child/children have a Permanent Resident Alien Card or Certificate of Citizenship.
  • You cannot obtain the child's existing SSN even though you have made a reasonable attempt to obtain it from the birth parents, the placement agency, and other persons.
  • You cannot obtain an SSN for the child from the SSA for any reason. (For example, the adoption is not final).
  • You are eligible to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return.”

The IRS website has even more information available at the ATIN Questions and Answers page: https://www.irs.gov/individuals/adoption-taxpayer-identification-number.

 

Please consult with your tax advisor.  Adoptions of Wisconsin loves to help with adoptions, but we are not tax experts and will not provide tax advice. Our attorney, Lynn Bodi, also does not provide tax advice, even though she really enjoyed her tax classes in law school, but that was a long time ago.

 

Adoption Agencies and Facilitators in Wisconsin

Under Wisconsin law, it is illegal (Class H Felony) for someone to be paid to solicit, negotiate or arrange the placement of a child for adoption, unless they are a Wisconsin-licensed child welfare agency (or the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, or comparable county department). Wis. Stat. § 948.24.

Adoptions of Wisconsin, Inc., is a Wisconsin-licensed child welfare agency. However, many entities that advertise online – often from other states – are not licensed by the State of Wisconsin. These are often referred to as “facilitators.” That means that the adoptions they arrange may not be compliant with Wisconsin law. In most such cases, you will still need to retain a Wisconsin-licensed agency and attorney to perform the work required to be done in connection with the adoption.

As co-chair of the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys committee on facilitators, Attorney Lynn Bodi, owner of Adoptions of Wisconsin, prepared these FAQs regarding facilitators for the Academy.

 

Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family. One of your most important decisions when beginning the adoption process is selecting the resources you will use to locate a child who is available for adoption or to connect with birth parents who will place their baby with you. The Internet is overflowing with banners of entities promising you a quick and easy road to parenthood through adoption. The Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproduction Attorneys (AAAA) recommends that families retain an experienced adoption attorney in your state to help you evaluate the resources to ensure that you experience the process with legal, financial, and emotional security.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the difference between an adoption agency and a facilitator?

Resources for connecting or matching adoptive parents and birth parents come in all shapes and sizes. Some are state-licensed adoption agencies that provide a broad range of adoption-related services, such as matching, homestudies, counseling, placement, and post-placement supervision and reporting. These agencies must maintain certain minimum standards of expertise and training set by their state of licensure to qualify to obtain and maintain a license, as well as, maintain insurance and professional standards.

Another type of matching resource is a “facilitator,” which is a person or organization whose role is solely to make introductions between birth parents and adoptive parents in exchange for a large, non-refundable fee paid in advance. Yet, facilitators are not held to any minimum threshold of expertise, professional training, or ethical standards. Often the facilitator staff members are customer service representatives who field calls and match families from different states with little knowledge of the intricacies of each state’s legal requirements. Facilitators are illegal in some states and, in the few where they are licensed; the license is one merely to do business with no professional standards or training to maintain. Some facilitators use the word “agency” in their business name to appear to be a licensed adoption agency, but use of the words “agency” or “license” in no way ensures that you are working with trained professionals who have the skill to coordinate safe adoption plans.

Why do adoptions arranged by facilitators frequently fall apart?

Adoptions arranged by facilitators, can and often do, fail for many different reasons. Some families who reside in states where payment to facilitators is illegal unwittingly engage and pay facilitators to match them with birth parents. Yet, prospective adoptive families often hire facilitators before consulting a knowledgeable adoption attorney who can help them avoid illegal payments that will impact the entire process and even the ability to finalize the adoption without running into legal challenges. These prospective parents are left distressed and financially drained when they learn that an adoption with the birth family cannot be finalized due to such an illegal payment. An adoption may be legally unfeasible due to the legal requirements of the birth parents’ or prospective adoptive parents’ states of residence, Academy attorneys are frequently called upon by prospective adoptive parents or birth parents to salvage adoptions that are legally unfeasible because a facilitator or matching agency ignored critical state laws. These situations become financially prohibitive for the prospective adoptive parents and emotionally difficult for them and the birth parents, while the facilitator keeps its fee whether or not the match leads to an adoption.

Even in the states where facilitators are allowed to work, many of the matches they arrange do not result in adoption. Facilitators do not have the training, skill, or experience to ensure a safe and legal outcome. Many birth parents are left unprepared to part with their babies as they have not had access to counseling until too late in their pregnancies. Prospective adoptive parents require assistance from experienced adoption attorneys or licensed adoption agencies to have the match result in adoption.

What adoption resources will help us keep our adoption safe and legal?

Locating a child is just one piece of a larger puzzle that is often complex and emotional, partially because the laws concerning adoption differ dramatically from state to state. Completing an adoption demands that the attorneys you retain have knowledge of the laws of your state, the state of the adoptive child’s biological parents, the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children, and various federal laws. Both adoptive parents and birth parents should have attorneys licensed in their respective states of residence to ensure their initial connection conforms to each state’s laws and all federal laws, and to review legal options. You and the birth parents deserve to be fully informed so that all parties make decisions that will protect the integrity of the adoption. For biological parents, face to face counseling with a licensed social worker or counselor experienced in the field is also recommended to ensure they consider the short and long-term implications of their decisions.

Your road to parenthood through adoption will be fully informed, safe, and legally secure by consulting an experienced adoption attorney in your state of residence before selecting or paying any facilitator, attorney, or agency for matching or assisting you to connect with birth parents.

If we don’t work with a facilitator, will we ever find a child?

There are unplanned pregnancies occurring in this country every day. Birth parents make adoption plans for their children every day. A licensed adoption agency or adoption attorney can help guide you through the process of finding and adopting your child. Licensed agencies can be found through your state licensing department.

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Will Our Child Have To Go Into Foster Care Before Being Adopted?

Many birth parents and adoptive parents wonder whether their child will have to go into foster care after birth and before the hearing. The good news is that foster care in this situation is no longer required. It is up to the birth parents and adoptive parents.

Adoptive families who have completed a home study and received a pre-adoptive foster care license are able to take the baby home from the hospital if the expectant birth parents feel comfortable with them doing so. Adoptions of Wisconsin social workers work with expectant birth parents to create a hospital plan that outlines an expectant birth parent’s thoughts and decisions regarding her time at the hospital and her decisions regarding her baby’s care. The hospital and the adoptive family are provided a copy of the hospital plan prior to the baby’s birth. Adoptions of Wisconsin social workers are available to provide counseling and support to both birth parents and adoptive parents during this time.

Funding Your Adoption: Baby K Bake Sale

Funding any long-term endeavor, whether it be completing your education, buying a home or pursuing adoption, often requires more money than can seem feasible. A common hesitation for prospective adoptive parents is the big dollar amount that is looming over the decision to pursue adoption. This leaves many families feeling frustrated or even giving up on their dreams of growing their family through adoption. Although there are hurdles to overcome, there are ways to fund your adoption journey outside of your income alone.

Kelly and Neil, a waiting family on AOW’s inactive list, have been getting creative with their funding ideas for “Baby K’s” adoption. Not only have they been doing extensive research about possible grants and fundraising options, but they have gotten creative with simple ideas that they could do. Kelly and Neil then reached out to family members to let them know about their adoption plan, and their support has been overwhelming! Kelly’s extended family in Tennessee immediately thought of having a bake sale to support Baby K. Take a look at some photos of the busy work days and the finished product. The story below is written in Kelly’s own words about her experience with funding her adoption journey.

Kelly and Neil with family busy decorating deserts

Kelly and Neil with family busy decorating deserts

“Adoption has always been in our hearts. However, the expense of adoption was something that seemed overwhelming. I am a planner, so I had a plan for how we would make our family of four, which included adopting a child in our late thirties (when my husband had completed graduate school, which would give us two incomes, and life would be perfect). However, as we grew older and began to experience fertility problems I began to worry we might never be able to grow our family or we might have to wait another 10 years. It was then I decided we could do anything we put our minds to and we could find a way to pay for adoption and grow our family. I realized then that there was probably never going to be a time in the near future where we had an extra $30,000 laying around. Like any large, overly ambitious project I have talked my husband into tackling (such as quitting my full-time job and going back to graduate school, while remodeling our 100-year old home) I could put together a plan to grow our family through adoption. After meeting with a few agencies and discussing their practices, we decided that Adoptions of Wisconsin (AOW) was the best fit for us. While the adoption fees were still a bit overwhelming they were broken down and spread out over a period of time, which seemed more manageable. I then put together a spreadsheet, including a budget and savings plan to our adoption fund.

As we started the adoption fund I began to look to see how others had funded adoption. I began reading blogs and looking on Pinterest for adoption grants and fundraising ideas. I started to share with family our plan of adopting and our potential plans for fundraising. Once on the inactive list we made an adoption announcement via email and social media to let our family and friends know of our upcoming plans! We were overwhelmed with the love and support we received from our family and friends. Not only were they so excited for us, but they wanted to know how they could help make our dream come true. We started a crowdfund with 501c3, where people could make a tax-deductible donation that could be directly applied to our adoption fees. We also had family and friends offering to host garage sales and bake sales to raise funds for Baby K. My aunt and cousin that live in Tennessee were avid bakers and had done many bake sale fundraisers. They began to make themed treats weekly, post pictures on social media and sell them at work. Friends and family in Wisconsin instantly started drooling over these baked goods and asking if they would ship. Because the baked goods were not commercial, shipping was not an option. However, my creative cousin came up with an idea to bring the Baby K Bake Sale to Wisconsin for one weekend. We’re not sure they knew what they were getting themselves into. Neil created a “pre-order” form and my cousin created Disney-themed cupcake samplers and a variety of cookie options. Soon after the order form went live, we had nearly 500 orders for cupcakes and cookies. One week later we had over 950 cupcake orders and over 350 cookie orders. My aunt and cousin packed up their truck and brought the Baby K Bake Sale to Wisconsin. They had pre-made and frozen many of the cupcakes, and then set up “shop” at her other cousin’s home for the weekend with banquet tables full of cupcakes to be individually decorated. My cousin spent three days decorating cupcakes on nearly no sleep. At the end of the weekend the task was complete! We spent two days afterward hand delivering cupcakes and cookies to family and friends throughout Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. The “Baby K Bake Sale- Wisconsin Edition” ended up raising a net of over $1,000. As my cousin and aunt packed up the truck to head back to Tennessee, they began discussing the next “Baby K Bake Sale- Wisconsin Edition” and winter-themed cupcakes and cookies!”

A big thank you to Kelly and Neil for taking the time to write this blog post about funding your adoption. Also, we are excited to see where your adoption journey goes and can’t wait to see the winter-themed bake sale!

Disney-themed cupcakes

Disney-themed cupcakes

Disney-themed cupcakes

Disney-themed cupcakes

Some of the finished product!

Some of the finished product!

The cupcakes look almost too pretty to eat!

The cupcakes look almost too pretty to eat!

How to Talk to Your Young Child About Adoption

How to Talk to Your 6 to 8 Year Old Child About Adoption

At  this age,  your child is starting or continuing school. Their classmates, friends, and teachers are beginning to have an impact on their worldview and their opinion of themselves. Children at this age are also becoming more self-aware and realize that they are a person separate from their parents. Because of this, they will begin to question where they fit into the world.

Your child has probably always known that he was adopted, but now others may also be pointing it out to him and asking about adoption. Your child is also realizing that, while she was adopted, most of her classmates were not. Your child’s classmates are becoming more curious about the people around them, just like your child is. They may ask your child blunt questions about themselves and their family. Your child should be encouraged to engage only as she feels comfortable. You can help her to have the language to answer her friends’ (or their parents’) questions.

Your child’s understanding of why his birthparents were unable to raise him is an important developmental milestone at this age. It is important that your child does not associate being adopted by their parents with being rejected by their birthparents. When your child  has questions, you can reassure him that he has not been rejected and  that you will always be there to him.

Let’s look at one of the more common things that adopted children talk about at this age. What if your child says that they must have been a bad baby, and that’s why their birth mother decided to place them for adoption? Instead of the knee jerk response of “no, you were a great baby” you can help correct misconceptions. Let your child know that her birth mother didn’t place her for adoption because of anything the child did. Help your child to understand that no one decides to place a baby for adoption because of anything the baby did. People place children for adoption because they know that all babies need to be cared for, even if a birth mother isn’t able to provide that care for them. Birth parents place children for adoption because they love them.

Your child is getting smarter and more aware every day. Especially at this age, children will notice how you react to things that strangers and acquaintances say about adoption. Figure out a few polite, humorous responses to some of the more ridiculous comments that people will make , so that your child can see you helping to educate others about adoption. For example, if someone asks whether a child is your “real” child, you can response that “Of course, all my children are real.” Or, a well-meaning person may tell you that your child is “so lucky to have you.” You can also point out that you are lucky to have them and fortunate to be a family. Humor can be a powerful tool for managing social situations and presenting a good example to your child. When you talk with your child about this, you help to set them up for a confident, strong path in the future!

The Modern Family Effect: Adoption in the Media

The television show Modern Family has helped to continue a paradigm shift about the portrayal of adoption in the media. Historically, adoption was not always portrayed accurately in television. We could call this “The Modern Family Effect.” But from Ernie’s adoption in “My Three Sons” to “Glee” and “Arrested Development,” television has been helping us move to a normal, realistic appreciation for adoption as part of life.

It used to be a common device for siblings on sit-coms to tell each other that they were adopted. This was played as a negative, and would result in hijinks centered on the idea that an adopted sibling didn’t belong. This was a harmful theme.

The portrayal of adoption in the media has become much more accurate. If a current-day television show were to use the trope of an adopted sibling being played as “not a real family member” it would be panned as hurtful, wrong, and offensive by reviewers. The media can now play a significant role in changing hurtful myths and stereotypes about adoption, and reverse some of the damage that it has done.

It’s tempting to blame the media for their mischaracterization of adoption in the past. However, television tends to reflect the collective views of society. Fortunately, we can appreciate the positive changes in both society and the media.

Instead of portraying families created through adoption as “unusual” or “not real” we need to, and have begun to, show the reality of love, thoughtfulness and “normalness” that is adoption. The Modern Family Effect bodes well for this change. Sit-coms have always been on the leading edge of how our changing society is portrayed on television, so an accurate and caring portrayal of adoption is a great indicator that adoption will be more fairly and accurately shown in the future.

How to Give Your Baby Up for Adoption

The first step toward giving up your baby for adoption is realizing that you’re not going to give your baby up, or be “giving up” anything. You’re making a parenting decision for the child you’re carrying. Many birth parents believe that if they decide that adoption is the best choice for their child, they will never be able to see their child again. This can cause undue amounts of stress and indecision for a mother, neither of which she deserves.

Open adoption is a type of adoption in which the birth mother and the adoptive parents agree to varying degrees of contact and exchanges of information. Depending on the circumstances of an adoption, the level of contact between the birth mother and the adoptive family could range from letters and photos facilitated by AOW, to visits between the child, adoptive family and birth mother.

In 2012, the Washington Times released a report stating that 95% of infant adoptions in the United States now have some level of openness between the birth parents and the adoptive families. This means that in the vast majority of infant adoptions, the decision to go forward with an adoption isn’t the last decision that a birth mother makes. It is a selfless and thoughtful choice, made solely with the welfare and development of the child in mind.

If adoptive families and birth parents live close enough to each other, it is not uncommon for the adoptive families to accompany birth parents to prenatal appointments and try to be as present as they can during the pregnancy. The adoptive families have nothing but the best interests of the child at heart, which they share with the child’s birth parents. Bonding over their shared love for the unborn child often leads to a close and deep connection between adoptive and birth families, which can lead to a comfortable future relationship.

Adoption doesn't mean that you give your baby up. If you choose adoption, it is because you believe adoption is the best path for your child given the current circumstances. Choosing adoption, if it is right for you and your child, is a selfless parenting decision.

5 Women Who You Won’t Believe Were Adopted

Kristen Chenoweth

Kristin Chenoweth - 2012 Drama League Benefit Gala

Kristin Chenoweth - 2012 Drama League Benefit Gala

Successful actress Kristen Chenoweth says that she “always known that [she] was adopted.” The Muppets star has never met her birth mother, but she has no ill will for her at all. She has called adoption a “full-circle blessing” because she knows that her birth mother loved her so much that she was willing to do anything to give her a better life. When she was only 5 days old, she moved into her forever home, where she was nurtured and raised by loving parents.

When people ask her if she would ever want to find her parents, her response is always “I already have my parents.”

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe Circa 1953

Marilyn Monroe Circa 1953

For most of her childhood, Marilyn Monroe (born Norma Jeane Mortenson) lived in a constant transition between foster homes. She was never permanently adopted, which meant that she was dependent on the kindness and charity of foster families. Her mother was never psychologically stable enough to take care of her, so her mother’s best friend Grace McKee volunteered to take her in.

Marilyn Monroe was actually abandoned by her biological mother, who had been widowed before her birth. Marilyn spent most of her childhood in various foster homes. When she was 11, she went to live with a family friend, who eventually adopted her. Monroe went on to live an ultimately troubled life, but still became one of the most recognizable and iconic actors of the 20th century.

Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan July 2010

Sarah McLachlan July 2010

Born in Canada, Sarah McLachlan was adopted by an American couple shortly after her birth. Sarah's two brothers are also adopted and she has been able to meet her biological mother. Her hit song “Angel” has been used by the ASPCA since 2006, and has raised over $30 million dollars for the protection of shelter animals since the ad went on air. In 1997, her Lilith Fair music festival grossed $16 million dollars, making it the highest grossing festival of the year and the highest growing all-female performance music festival in history.

Faith Hill

Faith Hill at Good Morning America Tribute Concert for US Armed Forces 2009

Faith Hill at Good Morning America Tribute Concert for US Armed Forces 2009

This five-time Grammy winner was adopted as a young child in Mississippi. She began her musical career early, performing at 7 years old at a 4-H luncheon. Just before her 9th birthday in 1976 she attended an Elvis Presley concert in Jackson, Mississippi which impressed her deeply. She quit school to become a singer when she was 19 and moved to Nashville, but was not immediately successful. She worked jobs ranging from McDonalds to selling t-shirts, none of which she liked. Finally in 1993 she released her first album called “Take Me as I Am,” and her music career was born.

 

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt's 1933 Portrait

Eleanor Roosevelt's 1933 Portrait

Eleanor’s mother died in 1882 and her father died two years later, forcing her to move in with her adoptive grandmother. When she moved into the White House, she was not as respected and loved as she is today. This was due to her outspokenness and unwillingness to sit silently regarding issues such as race, class, and women’s rights. She redefined the role of the office of the president and the first lady, and led the way for more women in the White House to feel that they can take a stand and make a difference. Eventually she became the United States’ first delegate to the United Nations, and after her death was described as “the object of almost universal respect” in her obituary in the New York Times. She now takes 9th place in Gallup’s List of the Most Widely Admired People of the 20th Century.

Beating the Adoption Waiting Game

Relaxing up north

Relaxing up north

It is never an easy time for adoptive parents while waiting to be chosen by a birth parent. It can seem more manageable when you are busy completing education requirements, creating your profile or finishing the home study - at least then it feels like you're doing something! There is often a period of time between becoming home study approved, moving into the active program and becoming matched with a birth parent. The wait time is often uneventful and frustrating, but it is something that all adoptive parents go through and can identify with.

The key to keeping positive thoughts flowing about your adoption plan is to keep yourselves busy! One of our waiting families, Michelle and Jamie, are doing just that by getting outside and enjoying the summer sunshine.

Michelle and Jamie love visiting up north with family and friends at their cabin. The family of three takes a trip up north at least once a summer. They love swimming in the lake, going fishing and playing games together. This summer they are lucky enough to be traveling there twice; once with their friends and neighbors and once with their siblings and families. They also enjoy warm bonfires at night-which we hope includes roasting some delicious s'mores! Michelle and Jamie would love to bring another child with them on their next summer trip.

Although the waiting period is hard for adoptive families, there are ways to make it go a little faster. It is important to remember why you started this journey and to imagine where it will take you. Our agency is here to guide and provide assistance to adoptive parents during these stressful moments.

Family celebration!

Family celebration!

Father's Day celebration at the Union in Madison

Father's Day celebration at the Union in Madison

Fishing with Mom and Braden

Fishing with Mom and Braden

Mini golfing "dangers"!

Mini golfing "dangers"!

Jamie participates in Thursday evening fishing league

Jamie participates in Thursday evening fishing league

In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption

"In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption" is a book written by an adoptive parent and is a book AOW highly recommends to those who are going through the adoption process. One grandma recently read In on it and wrote the following:

Quite some time ago we met our son and his beautiful wife for lunch—they wanted to talk to us.

We quickly moved to “might they be pregnant? Or moving? Changing jobs? Going back to school?” On our way to meet them we discussed all of these choices, secretly hoping that they might be expanding their family.

The first words out of our son’s mouth were “we’re not pregnant” and then he excitedly told us that they had decided to adopt and had chosen an agency.  Both of them were so excited and we shared their joy.  Adoption was part of our family already as my brother had grown his family through adoption many years ago.

I began reading. A lot. And yet, nothing prepared me for the insensitive questions that my friends brought forward when I shared this new chapter in my life.  The questions seemed personal, inappropriate, even rude.  This reality sent me on a new search for information for the extended family and friends of the adoptive parents.  That is when I found IN ON IT: WHAT ADOPTIVE PARENTS WOULD LIKE YOU TO KNOW ABOUT ADOPTION – A GUIDE FOR RELATIVES AND FRIENDS by Elisabeth O’Toole.

I promptly ordered my own copy of this book. It proved to be an excellent source of inspiration, education and insight for those that are part of the adoptive family but outside of the adoption triad of birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptee.  I found myself looking at certain chapters over again to understand the patience, excitement and stress of my loved ones and in the process I learned appropriate language, appropriate topics of conversation with them and appropriate ways to address comments that were directed at me.

The humor and honesty of Elisabeth O’Toole has equipped me to be honest in educating others when I am told “how lucky” our grandchild is – or when I am asked “where did he come from?” or “what happened to his real mother”.

Really? Why do people lose their filter when being told that someone is adopting? IN ON IT helped me to understand that I was not alone in navigating these choppy waters – losing a filter is pretty normal and we are all IN ON IT enough to educate others.

I see this book as a ‘must read’ for everyone seeking to understand the adoption story and their role in the adoption circle.

We have had the joy of welcoming grandchildren into our lives – biologically and through careful adoption planning.  In our eyes, they are all our grandchildren. They are loving cousins to each other, and they all are the start of a new generation in our extended family.

We are blessed.