Too Cute Tuesday: Leo's First Summer

This summer has been busy for AOW and it's been that way for baby Leo, too! As August winds down, we want to share a little about Leo's first summer with his moms for our Too Cute Tuesday feature.

Leo was born on February 5, 2017 and spent some time in NICU at the hospital after delivery. His adoptive moms were at his side since birth, even staying in an unfamiliar city hours away from home to be with him. Over the months, Leo has gained strength, developed age appropriately and has met every milestone. Leo and his family completed the six months of post placement visits with AOW and his adoption was finalized on July 14, 2017.

Leo has been keeping his moms busy over the past few months of his first summer. He visited the family lake house and spent time there hiking, swimming, boating and fishing. He has had several "firsts" throughout the summer, and his adoptive moms can not believe how fast the time is going! Leo experienced his first parade, ate his first avocado and enjoyed being in a swing for the first time. He even had his first plane ride to the northeast this past July! He flew with his moms to meet over fifty of his extended family members in one whirlwind week. Some of his favorite things to do are giggling, eating peas, hearing his moms sing "Wheels on the Bus", reading books, playing outside and watching his three cats play.

Leo's moms are so excited for his future. When we asked for an update on Leo, they said, "He's growing so fast, rolling over and even sitting on his own! He is an exceptionally happy little guy who is always smiling, hardly ever complains and loves interacting with people. We couldn't be happier and are so grateful to his birth mom for bringing us together."

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.

Throwback Thursday: Blake's Second Birthday!

Happy Belated Birthday to Blake, who turned two on August 15th!

 

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Blake was born on August 15, 2015 and her adoption was finalized on March 15, 2016. Blake and her dads celebrated her second birthday with friends and family. Blake enjoyed a decorative pink cake that ended up squished between her fingers and all over her dress rather than in her tummy! Blake's dads report that she is quite the talker, and is growing up to be very independent. Blake continues to thrive in her forever home with her adoptive parents.

Happy Adoption Day, Branson!

As promised, today we follow up on Branson's Too Cute Tuesday feature. Branson's adoption was finalized today, August 23rd!

The courtroom was full of Jen and Brian's family and friends today, who were all there to support them and celebrate Branson's big day. After the short hearing, the kids took turns sitting in the Judge's chair and taking photos.

Branson was born on January 31, 2017, and the almost seven-month-old has been never been short of any love or attention. Jen and Brian first found out about their son after AOW Social Worker, Megan, gave them the call that Branson's birth mother had chosen them and was in labor at the hospital. Jen and Brian immediately drove to meet Branson's birth mother for the first time in the hospital, and they stayed by her side throughout the duration of the delivery. It was a heartwarming moment for all to be involved in.

Pictured above, AOW Social Worker, Megan, holding a squirming Branson, attended the finalization hearing with the family. Megan has been working with Jen and Brian from the beginning of their adoption journey. Megan speaks highly of Jen and Brian as parents and hopes their experience was one to remember with AOW. When speaking about Jen and Brian, Megan said, "They are one of the sweetest families I have ever had the pleasure of working with. I was lucky enough to have been with them on their journey from the very beginning - I first met them at their information session, I completed their home study and I introduced them to their birth mother. Jen and Brian always speak about Branson's birth mother with love and respect. They genuinely love her and are so grateful to her for bringing Branson into their lives. I'm going to miss our monthly post placement visits!"

We extend our warmest congratulations to Jen, Brian and Branson! We wish you all the luck in the world for your future together, and cannot wait to see updates as Branson continues to grow. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your story!

Too Cute Tuesday: Devin

This week's Too Cute Tuesday feature is all about Devin!

 

Shortly after completing their home study with Adoptions of Wisconsin, adoptive parents Erin and Tim were introduced to Devin's birth mom through mutual friends. After an emotional first meeting, the match was confirmed and they were able to join Devin's birth mom for the final prenatal appointments and be present at the hospital for her birth. Devin was born on January 31, 2017 and has been home with Erin and Tim since her discharge from the hospital.

Devin is now 6 months old and continuing to grow and change every day.  She is rolling over, learning to sit up on her own and just beginning to eat solid food (though, at this point she prefers playing with the food instead of eating it!).

Erin and Tim had fun this summer with introducing Devin to their favorite Madison activities like the farmer's market, UW Terrace and the zoo.  They also made a couple of trips to Milwaukee and Minnesota for Devin to play with her cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and meet her 99 year old great grandma!

AOW Executive Director and Social Worker, Claire, has been working with their family to complete post placement.  The monthly visits have taken place in their home, where Claire is able to see Erin and Tim interact with Devin in a comfortable environment. Erin and Tim have an open adoption relationship with Devin's birth family, which is becoming more common in the adoption realm. Erin and Tim continue to share regular photos and updates on Devin's growth and communicate with her birth family via a private Facebook page.  Devin's adoption is very close to being finalized and we will share another update once it is complete!

Birthday Wishes and Throwback Thursday: John

Birthday Wishes and Throwback Thursday John.1.jpg

Today's Throwback Thursday accompanies a warm welcome to our newest employee, John! John has been hired to fill a part-time Website and Marketing Administrator position with Adoptions of Wisconsin. He began working with us about a month ago and his duties include maintaining our website and managing new marketing campaigns. It won't be a toddler running our website and marketing, however, as John is much older and a more experienced employee than his throwback photos indicate! We are very excited to have him on our team and are excited for the talents he will bring to AOW.

As an added plus, today is John's 22nd birthday. Happy Birthday and welcome to AOW, John!

Happy Adoption Day, Taliyah!

Happy Adoption Day, Taliyah!

Happy Adoption Day, Taliyah!

Happy Adoption Day, Taliyah!

Taliyah Rose celebrated her special day with her parents on August 15, 2017. Taliyah was born on March 22, 2017, with her adoptive parents and birth family present in the room. Taliyah’s life with her parents is comfortable and full of love, and she is healthy and thriving. Her parents share an open relationship with Taliyah’s birth mother and intend to continue to have communication as she grows older. After the six months of post placement visits, Taliyah’s adoption was finalized in front of a judge. We are wishing the best for Taliyah and her parent’s future! Our sincerest congratulations, and we are so glad to have been a part of your adoption journey.

Relaxing at the courthouse with her dad

Relaxing at the courthouse with her dad

Family of three!

Family of three!

Too Cute Tuesday: Clea's Favorite Things

It’s Tuesday again, and even the gloomy clouds and rain in the forecast won’t make these cute photos any less adorable! Our feature this week is on Clea, and we hope she brightens your day!

Clea loves sitting up on the couch!

Clea loves sitting up on the couch!

Clea was born on April 10, 2017 as a beautiful, healthy baby. Clea’s birth mother thoughtfully considered her options when she found out she was expecting a child and contacted Adoptions of Wisconsin to create an adoption plan. Ultimately, she decided adoption was the best choice, hoping for an open adoption plan with the adoptive family she chose, Keith and Johannes. Clea was placed with her adoptive parents directly after a successful birth and discharge from the hospital.

Today, Clea is a lively, chatty four-month-old who cannot wait to start moving around. She loves doing anything that makes her feel like a “big girl” – standing up tall with help from her dads, chattering away in baby language (Keith and Johannes think she is itching to tell some good jokes!) and sitting up on her own with a little help from the sofa cushions. Clea is always refreshed and in a wonderful mood in the mornings and after her naps. She enjoys her naps so much that she even allows for some dreaded “tummy time” when she wakes up! Another one of her favorite activities is playing in her Exersaucer. It has several fun toys in different colors and shapes that Clea can explore. She spends time playing independently, but loves it most when her dads are cheering her on. Clea’s dad, Keith, gave her her first piggy back ride at a recent family outing and she was absolutely thrilled!

Clea’s adoption will be finalized next month and we will, of course, be documenting the special day. Stay tuned for her Adoption Day story in the future!

She explores the exciting toys on the Exersaucer

She explores the exciting toys on the Exersaucer

She even enjoys tummy time on occasion

She even enjoys tummy time on occasion

One of Clea's dads gives her a piggy back ride!

One of Clea's dads gives her a piggy back ride!

Always smiling

Always smiling

Throwback Thursday: Claire

AOW is joining in the Throwback Thursday tradition!

 

As you enjoy your own summer vacations, take a look back at this throwback photo of AOW's Executive Director and Social Worker, Claire, and her siblings on their summer vacation in Canada when she was growing up. Claire's sister and brother were both brought into her family through adoption and she can't imagine life without them. Adoption made Claire's family complete and now she works hard to make AOW's families' dreams come true.

Too Cute Tuesday: Branson

Finalization is on the horizon for this little bundle of joy. This week's "Too Cute Tuesday" feature is on the handsome, smiley baby Branson!

Branson was born on January 31, 2017 to a birth mother who had contacted AOW mere days prior to his birth about creating an adoption plan. Branson's birth mother looked at AOW's waiting families online and chose the perfect family for him to become a part of. Later that week, he was wholeheartedly welcomed into the lives of Jen and Brian, his adoptive parents. Branson is lucky enough to have an older sister, too!

AOW Social Worker, Megan, has been working with the family to complete post placement and check on the growth and development of the family of four. In one of his most recent photo shoots, Branson showed off his toothless grin. But he won't be tooth-free for long- his first two teeth have started poking through! As he's entering into the teething stage, the six-month-old is drooling everywhere! According to his parents, Branson saves his biggest smiles for his sister when she greets him every morning. Besides the busy work of growing teeth, Branson has also been spending his time growing in some blonde, fuzzy hair! His parents and sister love to rub the peach fuzz on his head.

After six months of post placement visits, Branson's adoption is very close to being finalized in court. Later this month, he and his parents will celebrate the adoption journey that brought them all together through his adoption finalization. Although waiting for placement can be hard, the final result is worth every second. Each situation is unique, and some are harder than others. In Branson's case, everything happened quickly and without much warning - but it's certain that Jen and Brian wouldn't have it any other way.

Stay tuned for a finalization day post about Branson in the near future!

An Interstate Adoption: Happy Adoption Day, Ella!

Happy Adoption Day, Ella! Ella's interstate adoption was finalized on August 2, 2017 in Illinois.

While AOW does most of our work with adoptive parents and birth parents in the state of Wisconsin, we also offer interstate and independent adoption services. In Ella's case, this was both! Ella's adoptive parents, Nicole and Dan, had a home study completed by their agency in Illinois and were connected with a birth mother living in Wisconsin. The birth mother reached out to AOW, informing us that she was already independently matched with a family in Illinois, but needed an agency to work with here. Over the months, we worked with both the birth mother and the adoptive parents to ensure that the birth and adoption would go smoothly. A necessary part of interstate adoption is completing the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) process. ICPC ensures that children being moved across state lines have the same rights and protections as children staying in Wisconsin. While this can often be a time consuming and tedious task, it is also necessary and relevant.

After Ella's birth, Nicole and Dan traveled to Wisconsin to receive placement and await ICPC procedures. They spent several days in Wisconsin, waiting for the go ahead to travel back to their home in Illinois with Ella. The process of an interstate adoption is often confusing, but AOW works closely with the adoptive parents and affiliated agencies to expedite the ICPC process as much as possible. We also work with families in Wisconsin to complete their home studies who are interested in working with out-of-state adoption agencies. Interstate adoption can happen either way, and we are here to guide you through understanding the requirements of ICPC.

Congratulations, Nicole, Dan and Ella! We wish you happiness and love in your future.

Too Cute Tuesday: Post Placement Visits

Adoptions of Wisconsin knows that our visitors love seeing photos of our cute newborns that are in post placement, and we love to show them off! "Too Cute Tuesday" is our newest blog inspiration that we would love to continue weekly.

Featured on today's "Too Cute Tuesday" is one of the newest bundles of joy, baby Kai!

Too Cute Tuesday Post Placement Visits.1.jpg

Kai was born on July 19 and has been home with his adoptive parents since his discharge from the hospital. The family is adjusting well to becoming a family of three, and are settling into a normal routine. Kai is being showered with love and has been embraced by all family members and friends.

AOW Social Worker, Claire, is performing the monthly post placement visits with Kai and his family. Many people wonder, what does a post placement visit look like? In the state of Wisconsin, 6 months of post placement visits are required prior to the finalization of the adoption. More often than not, these visits will take place in the comfort of the adoptive parent's home, but the AOW Family Room is also an option with comfortable couches and fun toys for siblings. A post placement visit typically lasts about 1 hour, during which the family updates the agency about the health of the baby, any milestones he or she has reached and the general adjustment of the adoptive parents to their new situation. AOW provides counseling and support to our adoptive parents during these first months, and offers suggestions for any hesitant moments. Post placement may seem like just another adoption requirement, but it can also be a time to reflect, adjust and receive support from an agency that is invested in your journey.

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

The First Month: Love Makes a Family

It has been a wonderful roller coaster of emotions for Heather and Steve over the past month. Early in June they received the phone call that changed their lives – they had been chosen. Not only were they selected by a birth mother to be the adoptive parents of the baby, but they soon found out that he had already been born! They only had a few days to prepare a nursery, inform their families and buy lots of diapers and formula.

Love makes a family

Love makes a family

One month later, Heather and Steve have been busy adapting to parenthood. They have spent countless hours fine-tuning their parenting skills and sharing in the joy of having a son. Ben celebrated his first holiday with his parents – the Fourth of July! He loved his festive stroller decorations for the parade, and was mesmerized by the pretty lights that lit his stroller at night.  The family of three is excited to begin creating more new traditions as a family.

Heather and Steve are thrilled to have become parents to their adorable baby boy in such a whirlwind experience. No adoption journey is ever without surprises and AOW is glad to have been able to provide support for both the adoptive parents and the birth mother in this situation. As Ben continues to grow and new parenting challenges arise for Heather and Steve, they will be surrounded by love and advice from friends and family. AOW is looking forward to completing our monthly visits with Heather, Steve and Ben during the six-month post placement period.

All the potential to be the next great astronaut!

All the potential to be the next great astronaut!

Ben's stroller got festive for the 4th of July parade

Ben's stroller got festive for the 4th of July parade

A mischievous grin!

A mischievous grin!

Heather with Ben

Heather with Ben

He loved seeing the pretty lights!

He loved seeing the pretty lights!

Steve with Ben outside of AOW's office

Steve with Ben outside of AOW's office

Happy Adoption Day Leo!

Adoption Day is like a birthday for an entire family. A big congratulations to Sara and Lauren on finalizing the adoption of their son, Leo. We wish you great things and happiness in the future!

It's always wonderful when a family can be created this way. Leo gained a loving, caring, and nurturing home; and a couple with love and kindness to show gained a son whom they will treasure for the rest of their lives.

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Meeting Their Son Was Love at First Sight

One week ago Heather and Steve received the call that changed their life. Their son was a few days old and they needed to get things prepared to bring him home. AOW social worker, Megan, was fortunate enough to be with them the first time they met their son. For Heather and Steve, meeting their son for the first time was love at first sight. Congratulations, Heather and Steve!

People are often wonder about adoption. It should be known that no matter how a family comes to be, it can be full of love and happiness.

AOW's Megan Vickers with the happy family

AOW's Megan Vickers with the happy family

Tenley Turned One Year Old!

Happiest of birthdays to Tenley! Tenley turned one year old today. She couldn't wait to dive in for some of her cake. Hopefully she managed to eat some, since it seems like most of the frosting ended up on her face! Adoptions of Wisconsin was very happy to help her meet her family, and it's always wonderful to see a child love her parents as much as she does. We wish her and her family the best, and many more happy happy birthdays to come.