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What Now? Helping Birth Mothers Heal Post Placement

BM Support

Many adoptive parents struggle with feelings of grief, sadness and uncertainty before and during their adoption journey, but once a baby is placed in their arms, they embark on a new journey; one of joy and happiness. It is at this moment that birth mothers begin a very different journey of their own. Each birth mother’s experience and feelings are different, but each and every one should have access to a support system to help them navigate the road ahead. At Everlasting Adoptions, we offer a comprehensive list of local support groups to all of our birth mothers. Our birth mother consultant is also available throughout the process to provide guidance and support. Below we have compiled a list of nationwide birth mother retreats and support group. 

Birth Mother Retreats

Birth mother retreats are outings of varying lengths that provide support for women who have made an adoption plan for their child. Birth mothers are provided opportunities to bond with other women in the same situation and given tools to help them cope with whatever emotions they may be feeling. Retreats can last from a couple of hours to an entire weekend.  Gina Crotts, founder and president of Birth Mother Baskets, a leader at Tied at the Heart birth mother retreats and birth mother herself explains the importance of retreats and post placement support to America Adopts. “The grieving process was like nothing I had been prepared for and having someone who had been in my shoes before, could have eliminated a lot of questions and heartache that I experienced.”

Here are a few of the wonderful organizations that host birth mother retreats nationwide:

  • On Your Feet Foundation hosts two, weekend-long birth mother retreats each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. Their retreats are held in Michigan City, IN.
  • Tied At The Heart hosts a weekend retreat that includes accommodations, food and workshops. Their 2018 retreats will be March 8 -11th in St. George, UT and September 6-9th in Bear Lake, UT. Follow their Facebook page to stay up to date with retreat information.
  • Birthmother Bridge Ministries hosts a weekend retreat at no cost to birth mothers. All meals are also provided. Their fall retreat was held in Midland, TX. Check their website for 2018 dates.
  • Concerned United Birthparents, Inc. hosts a yearly retreat that is open to birth parents, as well as, adoptees, adoptive parents and others affected by adoption. Their 2018 retreat will take place in Safety Harbor, FL from October 6-8th.
  • Catholic Charities of Wisconsin hosts a day retreat for birth mothers at any stage in their adoption journey. Check their website for 2018 retreat information and dates.

Local Groups and Post Placement Support

A retreat may be too pricey, not practical or too much of a commitment for some birth mothers. A local or online support group is a great place to look for post placement support. BraveLove.org has put together this comprehensive list of recommended post-adoption support groups and retreats around the country.

Birth Mother Support Group List

For birth mothers looking for an online support group where they can connect with others from the comfort of their own homes, America Adopts has put together an online support group directory.

We need to educate birth parents on the resources available to them; whether it be retreats, support groups or online communities. It is crucial that those of us in the adoption community recognize the need for post placement support for birth mothers. Their adoption journey doesn’t end the day their babies are placed, in fact the most difficult part of their journey has just begun. If you are a birth mother at any point in her adoption journey and are interested in learning more about the adoption process or support options, please contact Everlasting Adoptions at 866.406.2702.

 

Adoption 101: Back to Basics

aDOPTION 101

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. What better time to get back to the basics of the adoption process. Adoption can be a complex and overwhelming  process, so let’s break it down to the essentials you’ll need to know to get started.

Domestic vs. International Adoption

The first thing you will have to consider is whether domestic or international adoption is a better fit for your family. Aside from the obvious difference of adopting from within the United States vs. outside of the country, there are other differences in domestic and international adoptions. In a domestic adoption, you will likely be adopting a newborn, unless you pursue “foster-to-adopt”. Adopting from foster care is an extremely important and valuable way adoptions take place, but for the sake of this article, we won’t delve into that topic.  If you choose to adopt internationally, it is unlikely you will be adopting a newborn baby. It is more common that you will adopt a young child from 1 to 2 years of age. You are more likely to receive detailed medical histories of birth parents in domestic adoption situations than in international adoptions. If you desire to maintain an open or semi-open relationship with birth parents, domestic adoption will likely be the best option. In both domestic and international adoptions, the cost to adopt and Home Study requirements are quite similar.

Independent Adoption or Adoption Professional

If your family decides domestic newborn adoption is the right choice, the next step will be to determine if you will go through the process independently or with the aid of an adoption professional. In an independent or private adoption, the prospective adoptive parent(s) take full responsibility for finding a birth mother through their own marketing efforts and word of mouth. They will also need to vet potential birth mothers without the knowledge and experience of an adoption professional. The major benefit of independent adoption is the cost. On average, it can be less costly to adopt this way. However, the uncertainty of wait time in independent adoptions can also make total costs uncertain. Adoptive Families determined that the average adoption cost using an adoption professional was $41,532 prior to claiming the Adoption Tax Credit. The major downsides to independent adoption are not having the expertise, access to birth mothers and networking ability that a reputable adoption professional will provide.

Getting Started

Once you’ve decided on domestic or international adoption and whether to go it independently or through an adoption professional, here is what you will need to do next.  

Step 1: Choose an Adoption Professional

If you have decided to pursue domestic adoption with the aid of an adoption professional, you will need to choose which professional you want to work with. There are licensed agencies, facilitators and consultants you can choose from. Do some research to determine which professional is legally able to provide services in your state and will best be able to meet your needs. Here is a great resource where you can find state by state adoption laws. Once you have chosen a professional to work with, you will be required to complete certain paperwork and pay whatever fees are required upfront.  

Step 2: Create Your Marketing Materials

Regardless of whether you choose to work with an adoption professional or not, you will need to create marketing materials to get your story out to birth mothers. Often times, paid adoption professionals will either create these materials for you or assist you in creating them. Your biggest piece of personal “advertisement” to birth mothers will be your profile, both hard copy and web-based. Take care to select high quality, professional photos and well written narrative to use for your profiles. If you are pursuing independent adoption, make sure to utilize all of the social media outlets available to you to get your name out there.  

Step 3: Get a Home Study

This step really goes in conjunction with step 2. The Home Study process can take a while in some states, so it is prudent to begin this as soon as possible, especially if you are signed on with an adoption professional and your contract “clock is ticking”. All families hoping to adopt need a Home Study completed by a social worker licensed in your state. Adoptive Families explains the Home Study as, “a document that says you can be a parent. It contains the story of your life: your family and marital history, your health, your financial situation. It includes a description of your home and neighborhood, as well as personal references and discussion of any health concerns or criminal record. It also details your family relationships and your feelings about adoption, parenting, and infertility, if applicable. It ends with a social worker’s recommendation that you be allowed to adopt; sometimes it specifies how many children, and of what ages.”

Step 4: Don’t Lose Hope

This step is probably the most important, but also the most difficult. After you have chosen an adoption professional, created your profile and are Home Study approved, the next step is to wait. Waiting to be matched with a potential birth mother is usually the longest part of the entire process. After all the prep work, the waiting and uncertainty can be exhausting, but it is important that you don’t forget why you did all that work in the first place: for a baby. Try and step back, take a deep breath and find comfort in family and friends while you wait for the baby that was meant to join your family.

The staff at Everlasting Adoptions is extremely knowledgeable and available 24/7 to answer any questions you may have regarding adoption, no matter what step in the process you are at. Call us at 866.406.2702 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to speak to an adoption professional. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Pregnancy INfant Loss

On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. One in four pregnancies ends in the loss of a baby. Whether you have personally faced this great tragedy or just know someone who has, we urge you to spend the month of October raising awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. If you are interested in seeking or offering support, here are a few places to start:

Early Pregnancy Loss Support Chat being held on October 3rd, hosted by NationalShare.org.

The Official Site of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day provides a wealth of resources and support.

Directory of national organizations that support families who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant death.

Don't forget to join others all around the world on October 15th at 7pm (all time zones) to light a candle in loving memory of all the lost babies.  

The Importance of Respectful Adoption Language

Positi

Adoption has become more main stream with the help of celebrity adoptions and popular TV shows, like This is Us, but for too many people , it remains a topic they know little about.  This can be reflected in the words and phrases used when speaking about adoption.  Most of the time, off-the-cuff remarks or poorly chosen words are not used maliciously, but are indicative of the lack of knowledge surrounding the adoption process.

Words and phrases can evoke negative feelings when used in the context of adoption.  The opposite holds true when careful consideration is used to choose positive and respectful adoption language. The National Council for Adoption has put together this helpful list of commonly used adoption language with more positive replacements.

Accurate Language Less-Accurate Language
Birthparent/Biological parent Real parent, natural parent
Birth child Own child, real child, natural child
My child Adopted child, own child
Person/Individual who was adopted Adoptee
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Make an adoption plan, choose adoption Give away, adopt out, give up, put up
To parent the baby/child To keep the baby
Child in need of a family Adoptable child/unwanted child
Parent Adoptive parent
Child who has special needs Handicapped child, hard to place
Was adopted Is adopted
Choosing an adoption plan Giving away your child
Finding a family to parent your child Putting your child up for adoption
Parenting the baby/child Keeping your baby
Confidential adoption Closed adoption
Unintended pregnancy Unwanted/problem pregnancy
Fully-disclosed adoption Open adoption

 

Patricia Irwin Johnston, an infertility and adoption educator, describes respectful adoption language as, “vocabulary about adoption which has been chosen to reflect maximum respect, dignity, responsibility and objectivity about the decisions made by birthparents and adoptive parents in discussing the family planning decisions they have made for children who have been adopted”.  So when Grandma Betty innocently asks why your adopted daughter’s “real parents gave her up”, try to not get offended and offer her examples of a more positive and respectful way to approach the subject of adoption.

California Paid Family Leave Bonding Claim

Bonding

Webinar: Paid Family Leave Application Process for 
Bonding Claims

On behalf of the California Employment Development Department, we are pleased to invite you to an informational webinar about navigating the Paid Family Leave application process for filing a bonding claim.

Research has shown that the application process for Paid Family Leave is one of the biggest barriers to eligible individuals using their benefits. In order to increase awareness and usage, we hope to help you get more informed about the application process for bonding claims in case you get questions from clients, employees, patients, and/or community members.

This webinar will cover the application process for filing a claim electronically or by mail, the documentation that is needed, and where claimants can go for assistance and more information.

Join us Tuesday, June 20, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT

Click here to Register

Please note, we strongly encourage participants to call into the webinar for a clearer connection. 

Dial: 877-309-2074

Adoption Books for Younger Children

Adoption Books for Younger Kids

CreatingAFamily.org put together an excellent, age appropriate list of books that will help introduce the concept of adoption and birth parents to younger children. These books are geared toward 3-8 year olds and can open the adoption dialogue between parents and children.

 

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