- Posted on March 15, 2018
- in Resources
After waiting for months and months for a birth mother to show interest in you, you finally receive “the call”. A birth mom likes your profile and wants to get to know you better (in an open or semi-open adoption situation)! In the adoption world, this is called a match. You are overjoyed and begin to imagine all the life experiences you can’t wait to share with a child. It is impossible to not get emotionally invested at this point.
You’ve spoken to the birth mother several times and feel as if you have a great connection with her. The car seat is purchased, the nursery is decorated and the hospital bag is ready. All of a sudden the birth mom stops returning your calls and texts. You don’t want to think the worst, but your adoption facilitator prepares you for a grim reality; this may be a failed match. Your facilitator or attorney finally reach the potential birth mom to learn that she has, in fact, changed her mind and decided to parent. You are heart broken; experiencing grief as devastating as the years of infertility you’ve previously faced.
When adoptive parent(s) are finally matched to a birth mother, there are immense feelings of excitement and a renewed sense of hope. Embrace these feelings and share your excitement, but also be aware that this isn’t the end of the road. An adoption match is not set in stone and can fall through for a variety of reasons. Here are a few reasons an adoption match may fail and some red flags to look out for.
What Are Some Reasons Adoption Matches Fall Through
1. A positive, yet no less devastating reason that an adoption match fails is the birth mother or birth parents decide to parent. When a biological parent chooses to raise their child, it can’t be described as a loss; at least for the birth parent(s). However, it certainly feels like a loss for potential adoptive parents. In some situations, birth mothers find a support system that they may not have initially had. Perhaps the birth father, a grandparent or family member has stepped up to provide emotional and/or financial support. In other circumstances, the birth mother may have sought out counseling and found the strength and support she needed to make a different decision. Regardless, the most important factor to consider is the hope that the child will be raised in a stable home, filled with love.
2. Another reason some adoption matches fail, is less benign. In some cases, a birth parent never had the intention of creating an adoption plan, instead they use their pregnancy or fabricate a pregnancy as a means to obtain money from vulnerable prospective adoptive parents.
Assistance and guidance in avoiding adoption scams are one reason working with an adoption professional can save you time, money and heartache in the long run. An adoption facilitator, like Everlasting Adoptions has years of experience working with birth mothers. They know the red flags to look out for that could indicate a possible fraudulent situation. They also perform some extent of birth mother vetting before matching them with adoptive parents. Nonetheless, adoption scams still happen. Here are a few red flags to look out for when you are matched with a birth mom:
- Avoidance to share personal information, like proof of pregnancy, phone number or address.
- Direct and urgent requests for money.
- Over eager to bond, while knowing little about you.
- Reluctance to speak with your adoption facilitator or attorney.
It is important to be aware that adoption scams do exist, but not to have extreme paranoia regarding every birth parent. Most birth mothers simply want what is best for their babies.
3. As the relationship progresses, either the birth mother or potential adoptive parents decide the match isn’t right for a variety of personal reasons. There are so many factors that are involved in this life changing decision, that it would be impossible to list all of the reasons why a match can fail for personal reasons. It can be difficult to accept when a match fails this way, especially when the other party is not privy to the exact reasons why. Just know that a relationship of this magnitude, that can potentially last a lifetime, needs to be thoroughly considered and both sides should feel 100% confident in their decision.
There are no concrete statistics on what percent of adoption matches fail because it is such a difficult number to obtain. It is important to be aware that these situations do occur, but in no way reflect a failing on the adoptive parents’ part. It is devastating and the loss should be mourned, but it is even more important to not lose hope in the process and that the right birth mother and baby ARE out there.
- Posted on January 12, 2018
- in Resources
Whether you have decided to pursue adoption independently or work with an adoption professional, you will need to take great care in creating a distinct and compelling adoption profile. If you are just learning about the adoption process, you may ask, “What is an adoption profile, anyway?” In short, an adoption profile is your most important piece of marketing material. It is a booklet that will be shown to expectant mothers considering adoption, which consists of photos and narrative that describe who you are, what you do, what you value and what kind of parent you will be. Your goal is to tell your story and connect with an expectant mother on an emotional level. It is not unusual for expectant mothers to view several dozen profiles from hopeful adoptive parents at a given time. So how can YOU make YOUR profile stand out from the rest? Here are 5 tips from Everlasting Adoption’s Professional Profile Creator, on how to create a stand out adoption profile.
1. Invest in Professional Photos
One of the most important pieces of advice I can offer, is to include high quality photos in your adoption profile. Of course the words of your story are important too, but your pictures will tell an even more immediate and captivating story. A birth mother will more likely be drawn into reading a profile through quality photos that catch her eye and makeher feel a connection. Try to not solely rely on selfies and photos from your phone for your profile. If it is feasible to fit in your budget, consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos. You can create an account with Red Thread Sessions to view a directory of photographers who specialize in adoption photography. If hiring a professional photographer is absolutely not an option, consider renting a camera and recruiting a friend or family member to take your photos with professional equipment.
2. Be Yourself
We aren’t all great writers and that’s ok! Don’t unnecessarily stress yourself out about your writing ability. The most important thing to remember when writing the narrative for your profile is to be you. Don’t try to write or speak in a way that isn’t natural for you and don’t be cliché. Your writing will be more meaningful if you say what you want to say and not what you think someone else wants to hear.
3. Be Specific and Descriptive
Expectant mothers read profile after profile that sound very much the same, so how do you make yours sound different? The goal here is to be very specific and descriptive to make prospective birth moms feel something while they are reading your words. This does not require an innate writing ability, it just takes some creativity. You could say, “It is our family tradition to have Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house”, but that sentence doesn’t really make the reader feel anything. Instead, draw on all the senses and emotions involved in Christmas and the holidays and describe them. “Christmas dinner at my grandmother’s house is surrounded by the laughter and excitement of all the nieces and nephews as the smell of her homemade sugar cookies fill the kitchen.” Now this sentence makes the reader feel as if they are celebrating Christmas dinner there with you. Just remember, specific examples will always have more affect than generalities.
4. Show More Than Tell
An adoption profile that has page after page of paragraphs and few pictures will be reviewed far less than one with a focus on good quality pictures telling a story. I know you have so much you want to tell an expectant mother and it is ALL important. It comes down to the time involved in reading each profile she is presented with. She may set aside a profile with a lot of reading in favor of a profile where the pictures do the story telling and compelling captions help fill in the blanks. It is normal for most of us to be drawn to something that is visually appealing. Spend some time reading and rereading your narrative and condensing it down.
5. Highlight Something Unique
If there is something that sets you apart from other prospective adoptive parents, highlight this in your adoption profile. Do you have a sense of humor, do you like to bake, do you participate in volunteer work, etc.? Even special family traditions should be mentioned in your profile. This is yet another way to help your adoption profile stand out from the rest.
A lot of what draws birth mothers to adoptive parents isn’t something that can be put in words and checked off on a list. They just have a feeling about a parent or couple and this aspect of the adoption process, like so many is out of the adoptive parents’ control. Using some of these tips when creating your adoption profile will help you maximize what you can control and put together the best piece of marketing material possible.
- Posted on December 15, 2017
- in Resources
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.
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.
- Posted on November 7, 2017
- in Resources
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.
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.
- Posted on October 2, 2017
- in Resources
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.
- Posted on September 6, 2017
- in Resources
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|
|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.