What You Need to Know About Foster Care
If you’re considering foster care adoption, you must first know what it is, how it works and what questions to ask before making a final decision.
We strongly encourage you to complete this online form to connect with an adoption professional if you’re considering foster care adoption. They can provide you with helpful information on foster care adoption, what is required and explain how a private domestic adoption is always an option.
Until then, let’s talk about foster care adoption and what it means for your family.
Foster care adoption involves adopting a child whose biological parents have had their parental rights terminated by a court.
In some cases, when you choose foster care adoption, you are not required to have been a foster parent first. Some states, however, require that you get approved to foster a child to obtain eligibility for foster care adoption.
The term foster-to-adopt describes a situation where adoptive parents foster a child first and then permanently adopt that child.
Ultimately, the goal of foster care is to provide a child a safe environment for some time to reunite with the biological parents eventually.
Children are placed in foster care for reasons such as:
A judge presents the biological parents with a reunification plan, which, if met, means they can regain parental rights and bring their child home.
If the specific guidelines for reunification are not met, parental rights are terminated, and the child becomes eligible for adoption either by the foster family or another adoptive family.
Typically, relatives are first on the list for permanent adoption. If no relatives are found or are willing to adopt the child, the foster family can pursue foster-to-adopt.
If the foster family decides not to pursue foster-to-adopt, the child remains with the state until an adoptive family is found.
Because there are so many children in the foster care system waiting for a permanent home, many couples choose to pursue this type of adoption.
Foster care adoption is an opportunity for prospective adoptive parents to grow their families and help a child in need.
As discussed, the foster care system often requires a family to adopt an older child or a child with special needs.
You can find out more about how a foster care adoption is an option for you by completing our online contact form.
You’ll need to ask yourself how old do you want your adopted child to be? In many cases, prospective adoptive parents hope to adopt an infant.
In the foster care system, infants are uncommon. Most foster care children fall between the ages of 2 and 8 years old.
There is also a wide range and variance of race, gender and medical complications with foster children. In many cases, biological parents cannot provide safe environments for a child with special medical needs.
So, when considering foster care adoption, you must be open to adopting children of older age and potential medical needs.
If you prefer to adopt an infant, fill out our online form to connect with a professional to discuss working with an experienced adoption agency to find a birth mother placing her unborn or infant child for adoption.
State adoption laws will dictate specific requirements for adoption. However, there are general requirements you must meet before applying for foster care adoption.
Once you’ve met your state’s requirements, you will participate in a home study to determine your overall readiness for adoption, including determining that your home and environment are safe and suitable for raising a child.
This is an important question only you can answer. Now that you know foster care children can be older and potentially have medical needs, you must decide whether or not you’re ready to parent a child under those circumstances.
The needs of a child must come first. Before committing to foster care adoption or private domestic adoption, you must know you’re ready to make the necessary sacrifices to parent a child.
Knowing the primary goal is reunification with the biological parents is vital when it comes to foster care. Ask yourself whether you’re ready to care for a child for three months, six months or a year, knowing they may eventually leave your family.
If you feel that fostering a child knowing a permanent adoption isn’t guaranteed is too difficult, complete our form to connect with a professional to get information on private domestic adoption.
Because the primary goal of foster care is reunification, the biological parents will want support and communication while working to meet their reunification plan’s requirements.
Journals, photos, updates and support while they work towards getting their child back can be difficult. It’s important to ask yourself how far you’re willing to go to support the biological parents and keep them engaged in their child’s life.
Having a strong support system, no matter what type of adoption you pursue is of the utmost importance.
Foster care adoption can require a different level of commitment and sacrifice, and knowing your friends and family support you positively impact your experience.
It’s also important that you work with a professional that can provide you with adoption services and support to help guide you through the process.
Taking inventory of where you are in life and what path you’re ready to travel to add a member to your family is the most important question you can ask.
Assessing your readiness based on your current family life, career and other personal factors can help determine whether foster care adoption is realistic.
Furthermore, deciding which type of adoption is right for you is essential before making a final decision.
What do you envision for your adoption journey?
If you dream of raising a newborn, foster care adoption isn’t right for you, as newborns are uncommon in foster care because the biological parents are given different opportunities to correct their environment.
If you’re looking for the chance to give an older child or a child with special needs a safe and loving home, even temporarily, becoming a foster family with the hopes of foster-to-adopt may be right for you.
You can always connect with an adoption professional to get more information on your options, including working with an adoption agency to match with a wonderful birth mother looking to place her unborn or infant child with a beautiful family like yours.
You have adoption options, and your dream of growing your family through adoption can become a reality when you complete our online form and connect with a professional today.
Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family and there are important questions to ask to when considering a transracial adoption.
Adopting a child is a life-changing opportunity to grow your family and create a better future for a child and birth mother.
Before reading more about transracial adoption (also known as interracial adoption) and if it’s right for you, know that you can complete this online form to quickly connect with an adoption professional who can answer all of your important questions.
Now, let’s talk about transracial adoption, what it means for parenting your child and questions to ask when considering interracial adoption.
Transracial adoption is adopting a child of a different race than you. While all types of adoption have their strengths and weaknesses, transracial adoption does require specific additional education on potential challenges and the unique experience of adopting a child of another race.
Transracial adoption is becoming more common and prospective adoptive parents like you have increased adoption opportunities when you work with the right agency.
You can check out a complete guide on the adoption process by taking this link, but the process doesn’t change for transracial adoption when working with a reputable agency.
Many adoptive parents want to grow a family no matter the race because, after all, family is defined by love and the opportunity to raise a child. Biology, genetic connection and race are transcended.
Any potential challenges in raising a child of another race shouldn’t dissuade you from pursuing transracial adoption.
Instead, it’s a chance to educate yourselves on how you can create an inclusive environment and recognize history, holidays and role models and other important cultural elements associated with your child’s ethnic background.
Remember, you can always connect with a professional by completing our online form. All of your questions regarding interracial adoption get quickly answered, and you can find out how to start the adoption process today.
If you’re interested in adopting internationally or you are pursuing an adoption with a child with a Native American heritage, there are specific adoption laws that must be met.
Experienced adoption attorneys understand adoption laws and how to navigate them based on your specific case.
2. How Can We Prepare for Transracial Adoption?
Advocating for your child, better understanding events that have shaped the history of your child’s race in America and educating yourself on situations your child may face that you’re unfamiliar with are essential to preparing for transracial adoption.
Neither good nor bad, there is a reality to raising a child of a different ethnic background, as it carries an extra level of responsibility in ensuring your child:
Here are some other things you can do to experience your child’s racial heritage with them and provide necessary support:
It’s also crucial that you try to view a transracial adoption through the lens of the child. What circumstances might they face? How will certain situations revolving around race make them feel?
Having a better understanding of what life will be like for your child can help you prepare and determine how best to educate and involve your child in their racial heritage.
Want to learn more about how to advocate for your child? Fill out our online form to connect with an experienced adoption professional who can provide more tips on how to provide important educational tools and create an environment that recognizes their racial heritage.
3. How Do We Know if We’re Ready for Transracial Adoption?
During the adoption process, you must complete a home study. This step reviews your family’s life, home environment and general readiness for becoming an adoptive parent.
During this time, a social worker will help determine whether you are ready to become parents and raise a child of a different race than you.
You may also come from a non-white background, giving you a better understanding of how important diversity is, the impact of race in America and how you can raise a child with a different racial heritage.
4. Can We Get to Know the Birth Mother to Learn About Our Child’s Racial Heritage?
Yes! Throughout the adoption process, you will have many opportunities to get to know the birth mother. Adoption professionals strongly encourage birth mothers and adoptive parents to have an open adoption and build a relationship through open lines of communication.
You and the birth mother will have an initial introduction in the early stages of your adoption journey. At that time or shortly after, she may ask you various questions about your desire for transracial adoption.
She may ask you about your understanding of racial issues in America, how you plan to create an environment where the child’s racial heritage is recognized and how you plan to incorporate their racial heritage in everyday life.
This can be an excellent opportunity to learn more about your child’s ethnic background and create a deeper connection with the birth mother.
You can get more information on how to get to know the birth mother by reaching out to an adoption professional today.
5. Is Transracial Adoption Right for Our Family?
Ultimately, only you can decide whether transracial adoption is right for you. However, one thing is clear; transracial adoption goes far beyond the image of a white family adopting a black child.
In many cases, biracial couples adopt a child from a different racial background. Asian or Hispanic couples decide to adopt a child of a different race. There are numerous instances of transracial adoption that differ from the stereotypical image.
The most important element of choosing interracial adoption is realizing when you’re ready to provide your child with the tools, education and involvement in their racial heritage.
Doing so can avoid potential identity issues and provide your child with role models to look up to and remain connected to their ethnic background while experiencing the diversity of learning and experiencing yours.
Without a doubt, the best way to complete a transracial adoption and know you’re fully prepared for the journey ahead is to work with an experienced adoption agency and professional.
The services, support and education on transracial adoption you receive are priceless. You also get increased transracial adoption opportunities when working with a national agency that has the resources to connect you with incredible birth mothers from across the country.
You can complete our contact form to get more information on transracial adoption and how to get connected with the best adoption agency today.
When you decide to pursue adoption, everyone talks about how exciting it is to have a child in the house and how great it is you’re doing this for a child in need. They’re not wrong, as being able to adopt a child into your family is truly a rewarding time in your life.
But, while everyone is so focused on all of the positives from adoption, there’s an aspect of every adoption that needs to be addressed – the waiting period.
When you begin your adoption journey through your adoption agency, you’ll rarely be adopting a child immediately. In some cases, you could. But, overall, many adoptive families aren’t matched for several years.
For some, this wait may seem like an eternity. When all you want is to start your family, having to wait can cause a lot of impatience and frustration.
There is so much going into every single adoption your adoption agency is working on. Longer wait times are to be expected, but that doesn’t always make that time easy for everyone.
Let’s talk about what your adoption professional is doing in this time and what your family, friends, and you can be doing to make the wait more endurable!
Every adoptive family will experience a different wait time during their adoption process. Understanding adoption wait times is a great place to start.
What is an adoption wait time? Once you sign on with the adoption agency you’re working with and have been carefully vetted and approved through state and federal laws, you’ll enter the waiting time of being matched with a prospective birth mother. Your adoption professional will present your adoption profile to prospective birth mothers, who will review it and choose whether they want you to be the adoptive family for her baby.
There are many factors that can determine how long your adoption wait time will take:
In research, experts have found that approximately 63 percent of adoptive families in the United States were matched within a year of becoming active. The remaining 37 percent had a wait time of longer than 12 months. Again, the wait time you experience is based on many factors.
Yes, the wait time can be a very short time or a long time. But, to get through this time, there are several things you, your friends, and your family can be doing to prepare and stay calm while your adoption professional does their best.
As you continue through your adoption wait time, it can be easy to feel frustrated with your adoption professional – you feel like they’re not doing enough to get your profile to prospective birth mothers, that they’re not taking your adoption seriously, etc.
First things first – know and understand all of that is false. Your adoption professional cares deeply about helping you through your adoption from beginning to end, and every small detail in between. What you may not think about when you’re frustrated (which is understandable) is that your adoption professional is doing so much work for you behind the scenes. They’re working on:
Never think that your adoption professional is ignoring you or not working hard enough on your case. They are doing all that they can with what they have available to them, so your patience is appreciated.
During your adoption wait time, it’s important to have a support system for you to lean on and ask for help when needed. But, when your family and/or friends feel a little lost for what they can do to help, suggest these ideas:
While it’s most important for you and your partner to be knowledgeable on and understand your adoption and its process, it’s can be incredibly helpful to have your family and friends read up on adoption and all it entails.
It’s easy to get anxious, restless, and even frustrated when you’re facing a long wait time for your adoption. Every adoption journey can be stressful and lengthy, but that doesn’t mean you should waste that time being upset or complaining about the process.
As the adoptive parent, how you spend your wait time is the most crucial. If you’re a first-time parent, there are many steps you can take to prepare yourself and your home for your baby. Even if you have previous experience as a parent with other children in your family, the adoption journey is a lot different than if you’ve raised biological children.
The most important thing you can do while you’re waiting is taking care of yourself. You can do this by:
If you are going through an international adoption, there are some extra important steps you can take to prepare for your child:
Emotions run high during an adoption journey for adoptive parents, especially during the waiting period. Instead of getting frustrated with others, spend your time taking the necessary and proper action to prepare for a new baby or older child. This time is yours to use, so use it wisely to be ready when the day comes.
No matter how short or how long your adoption wait time is, there is plenty for you to know and do during that time. While your adoption professional is working to share your profile with many prospective birth mothers, you, your family, and your friends can be using this time to prepare and learn what lies ahead once your baby comes home.
Use this time you have available to you as you need, and talk with your adoption professional about any questions you may have.
September is National Neonatal Intensive Care Awareness Month. Understanding why some newborns will spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) (and what to do if your baby does need to enter the NICU) can help new parents appreciate this important month.
Officially becoming an adoptive parent is an exciting time in your life. You’re getting to take the next step into growing the family you always wanted, and love a child who needs you. What you may not be prepared for, however, is whether your newborn baby will need to spend time in the NICU after birth.
While most newborn infants won’t need to go to the NICU after their birth, it’s important to understand that, every year, there are a number of babies who will spend time in the NICU. Below, we’ll talk about why your adopted infant may be spending time in the NICU and what you can do to get through the wait and experience.
Something to understand is that the time your infant may need to spend in the NICU can vary depending on the situation. This could also be for any number of reasons, including:
No matter what the birth mother’s reason is for placing her baby for adoption, the baby needing to spend time in the NICU after birth is no cause for judgment. The most important thing you can do if this happens to you as the adoptive parents is to show support and love, and do what you can to help your new baby recover and heal.
The NICU can be an overwhelming experience for adoptive parents and newborn infants. Knowing some important steps you can take as an adoptive parent going through this experience can make that time more endurable.
Below are some helpful tips you can read about and try if you ever adopt a child who requires time in the NICU after birth.
Learning the medical terminology you hear in the NICU can help you more than you know. While many feel that knowing what medical terms doctors and nurses are saying can be even more stressful for adoptive parents, having an understanding of the language can help you feel more confident in asking questions and getting clarity.
When you better understand what a nurse is talking about in regards to your baby’s health and time in the NICU, it can also help reassure you that you’re going to be a good parent. You may be feeling helpless in not being able to make your baby better quickly, but you’ll have a better idea of their future health and understand future health action plans if your child ever gets sick as they grow up.
Talking with other parents whose babies are in the NICU can also be a great support for everyone. They can relate to you and your situation better than many others, so having others to talk to who understand what you’re going through with your baby and family can be beyond helpful when you just need to talk. Support groups may also be available for parents with children in the NICU. Being able to share your feelings, worries, and triumphs together can make this part of your family’s journey more manageable.
As most hospitals allow visitors in the NICU, talking with your baby’s nurses to better understand your baby’s routine can be one of the best things you do during this time. Knowing what type of interaction your baby likes, how long your baby can respond before getting tired, and even when your baby is stressed can all help you understand different ways you can help your baby while they’re in the NICU. If you can, skin-to-skin contact, also known as “kangaroo care” is a great way for both you and your baby to bond. Being able to spend time with your baby however you are able will go a long way for both of you.
Spending time in the NICU is usually not an expectation of any parent, but it happens. If your new baby is required to stay in the NICU for any amount of time, it’s important that you work with your employer to take that additional time off so you can be with your baby.
If you’re married or have a partner, work with them to coordinate time off, both together and separately so someone can be at the hospital. Having that time off allows you to focus solely on your baby and your family in a difficult time and not worry about any stresses at work. If your employer wants regular updates, work with them to figure out contact via email and phone calls.
Despite the fact that your baby’s time in the NICU can be stressful, it’s important to remember to include your other children in this matter. They may be at an age of being able to process things a little more, but it can still be a confusing time for them. Make time each day to spend with them so they don’t feel lost or neglected while their new sibling is in the hospital.
Finding support resources for your other children can also give them the time and other people to talk to while you’re with your baby in the NICU.
As long as it’s not against hospital policy, you can also work to create a home away from home. Especially if you have an extended stay with your baby in the NICU, bringing mementos like blankets, some family photos, and something comfortable to dress your baby in can make the time there a little more comfortable. Even though it’s not the nursery you have planned back home, you can still create the space your baby is in to feel a bit like home.
When your baby is going through an extended stay in the NICU, one of the best things you can do early on is take care of your insurance coverage. At placement, you can add your baby to your insurance. Once placement papers have been signed in a private adoption, you are officially responsible for your child’s medical needs. You can check with your adoption professionals to see if your baby may be eligible for Medicaid coverage to help with deductibles, copayments, and even coinsurance.
During your baby’s stay in the NICU as you’re there at the hospital, you can also look into getting nearby housing for little to no cost. Ronald McDonald House is a great example and opportunity for families needing financial assistance during this time in their lives.
Of course, one of the most important financial steps you can take is relying on others who offer to help. Whether that be extended family, friends, or even one of the nurses, they know you’re tired and dealing with a lot at that time. They want to help, and it can be beneficial to let them help.
That help could range from them hosting a small pizza party, bringing you a change of clothes so you don’t have to leave and drive anywhere, or picking up any necessities from the store. Not everyone may think of this kind of support as financial help, but having a strong support system with you throughout this time can make more of an impact than you realize, short-term and long-term.
If you adopted your child through foster care or through international adoption, there is a chance they may need a stay in the NICU. Especially for international children, the environment in their country may be different from that of the United States. If they picked up any illness while there, staying in the NICU allows medical officials time to make sure the baby is healthy. The birth mother of the child may also have had health concerns, herself, that could have affected the baby during pregnancy.
No matter why your adopted baby needs to spend time in the NICU before you can take them home, there is no need for any kind of judgment towards the birth mother or birth family. You need to spend that energy focusing on your new baby and your family so you can, hopefully, bring them home soon to start their new life.
If you have family members and friends who ask you how they can help while your baby spends time in the NICU, help can always be provided through donations to organizations that assist NICU hospitals and families. Before making a donation, you can research organizations and non-profit companies that take donations for NICU assistance.
Here are some websites of non-profit organizations you can research and contact for any questions or help with donating:
Despite how scary and overwhelming spending time in the NICU with your baby can be, taking the right steps and getting the best care can make that time a little more endurable. Having a strong support system, taking care of yourself and your family, and taking the time to learn more about the NICU and your baby’s health can have immediate and long-lasting effects.
The most important thing you can do during this time is to have patience and respect with the hospital staff attending to your baby. The nurses and doctors in the NICU can help you understand the procedures and your baby’s routines, which can help you feel more comfortable letting them do their jobs to get your baby healthy and ready to go home.
It’s understandable that you may feel highly stressed, but just remember that this time is only temporary. When you finally get to take your baby home for the first time after staying in the NICU, that time in your life will feel even more special.
When it comes to adoption, there are countless experiences and stories across the United States and throughout the world. If you’re considering adoption as a hopeful adoptive parent or are a child waiting to be adopted, the process can feel overwhelming and, at times, a little scary.
Knowing the realities of the adoption process can help you better understand what you may not already know. Sometimes, reading the words and experiences of those who have adopted or been adopted can help give you the full circle and encouragement you need.
Ultimately, the greatest part of adoption is the heart of each and every story. Below are some inspiring and eye-opening quotes from people who have experienced adoption in their lives and how it has impacted them.
1. “You never can imagine how much love you can have in your heart until you experience it. We didn’t realize we could love someone so much until she came into our lives, and we’re really thankful to have the opportunity and that she’s with us now.” – Ryan and Jeannine
2. “I just wish I had known it wasn’t as daunting as I thought it would be. I’m glad everything happened the way it did, because we were matched with our son, and I feel like it was meant to be.” – Lindsay and Michael
3. “I just love to tell people about it because it’s such an amazing thing and a great opportunity to shed a positive light on adoption. Whatever opportunity I have, I talk about their stories just to be able to say, you know, adoption is a beautiful thing.” – Kristin and Kirk
4. “It is true what they say, everything was leading to him and him to us. We don’t look back on that one way or the other, other than it was just one more step along the way until we met Garrett.” – Scott and Tristen
5. “Knowing that this child needed a home and that was something we could provide – not only are you getting the family of your dreams, but you’re providing a home to a child that needed it.” – Meg and Tanner
6. “When you have the choice to give life and to make that life the best that it could be, I can’t imagine it any other way.” – Sara
7. “It’s not something I want to hide from her. There’s a way you tell a child about adoption and, as she gets older, I’ll tell her more and more – but it’s not something that I want to keep from her. It’s not a secret; it’s not anything I’m ashamed of.” – Lindsey
8. “You’re not giving your babies up. You’re just giving them a better life…it’s unselfish, you know? That’s their lives you’re thinking about – it’s not just your life. You’re giving them the opportunity to live the best life that they can, and the life you know that you can’t give them.” – Janelle
9. “I knew my life did not stop after adoption. It gave me a second chance to pursue my goals and dreams so that I can be a better version of myself and help people along the way. I wanted to show my daughter that I didn’t give up on myself and, more importantly, her.” – Julia
10. “Adoption has a stigma. You know, there’s that ignorance that you’re ‘giving up’ these children, when you do not ‘give up’ a human being. In reality, you’re choosing something for them…I know a lot of people try to hide it because they’re ashamed of it, and you shouldn’t be. You made a big and hard decision for what was best for your child, and you should be proud of that.” – Casey
11. “Being adopted is a beautiful thing to me, because you have your own personal story to tell other people. It’s also a great conversation started when talking to someone you just met.” – Abigail Tolleson
12. “I feel no resentment towards my biological parents; in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m grateful for what they did. One day, I’m going to meet them. And when I do, I’m going to thank them for what they did for me.” – John DeFrank
13. “Discovering that I was adopted redefined my entire world, but it taught me that who you are doesn’t change.” — DaShanne Stokes
14. “I have a lot of respect for my birth mother. I know she must have had a lot of love for me to want to give me what she felt was a better chance.” — Faith Hill
15. “I wanted to meet my birth mom mostly to see if she was okay and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion. My adoptive parents made me feel special. There were my parents. 1000%.” — Steve Jobs
16. “We look at Rose and think in so many ways she was meant to be a part of our family. It is true what they say: You wait for the child you are supposed to have. Never for one minute have we ever thought that we didn’t have the right kid for our family.” – Eric and Elizabeth
17. “I really liked the full-service aspect of American Adoptions. When you start researching adoption, it’s so complicated. There are different laws for every state. You can deal with attorneys on your own or create your own advertising company. We just didn’t feel we were capable of doing all that.” – Sarah and Ken
18. “When looking at all of our adoption agency options out there, one thing that we didn’t really take into account when it came to cost structure or anything like that was the level of engagement from our agency. Our adoptive parent specialist Melanie – the level of engagement and passion and kindness and efficacy that she provided was worth every drop of the agency fee that we paid for her alone.” – Mike and Paul
19. “Adoption is a burden on families, but to have an agency that does communicate and does let you know that you’re being shown and prays for you along the way and is there supporting you along the way – that was huge for us.” – Marc and Krystal
20. “If I hadn’t found American Adoptions; I never would have met her new parents. They are perfect for her. Some agencies put the baby in a foster home until all of the paperwork is done. One of my biggest concerns was she would be in a foster home and not with her new mother. I was relieved to know that she was picked up from the hospital by her new parents. I made the right decision and I am proud of it.” — Jane
21. “What makes a family is neither the absence of tragedy nor the ability to hide from misfortune, but the courage to overcome it and, from that broken past, write a new beginning.” — Steve Pemberton
22. “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” — Fred Rogers
23. “Adoption is a beautiful, restorative, and redemptive thing for children in need of a family. It is not without pain and risk. It will not solve or even come close to scratching the surface of the ‘orphan crisis’. Many children in orphanages have a living birth-parent. ‘Orphan’ is a misnomer. The more questions you ask of your orphanage about their philosophy and approach, the more assured you can be that you are adopting a child that was ethically taken into the orphanage and needs to be adopted. With international adoption it is good to be cognizant that at any point the country can change their rules or shut down. It is a risk you’ll have to weigh and consider.” – Tara Livesay
24. “I’m drawn to kids that are already born. I think some people are meant to do certain things, and I believe I’m meant to find my children in the world somewhere and not necessarily have them genetically.” — Angelina Jolie
25. “You often hear attacks on international adoption as robbing a child of his or her culture, and that’s both true and false. It’s true that an internationally adopted child loses the rich background of history and religion and culture and language that the child was born into, but the cruel fact is that most children don’t have access to the local beautiful culture within an orphanage.” — Melissa Fay Greene
26. “International adoption does not being to solve the problems of the world’s orphaned children. It’s truly not the answer. At the same time, it solves a problem for a few. I think it can be a brilliant solution to the problem of adults wanting a child in their lives or wanting more children in their lives and the problem of children who want parents in their lives.” — Melissa Fay Greene
27. “An open adoption isn’t necessarily a back door for the birth parents to come back and take their baby; it’s just more people to love your kid, that’s kind of how I see it. Don’t be afraid of open; it can be awesome.” – Cathy and Ray
28. “It’s hard, but then I always come back to the whole adoption situation itself, how good I have it, how I shouldn’t be sad and how good she has it. I mean, I have my hard days. But I always talk myself out of being sad because I do have it good. I have a wonderful adoption.” – Randi
29. “From our experiences growing up with closed adoptions that involved lots of privacy, we are excited for an open adoption. We look forward to our future child’s birth family being an extension of our own family…we want this child to be excited and proud to have two families.” – Allison and Seth
30. “I gained a new perspective on adoption, and by choosing two dads for my child, in my heart I would know that I will always be his mother. I made the best decision for him and me (in that order). I knew I needed to heal from what happened to me and that he didn’t deserve to miss a beat. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. However, staying in touch with the adoptive parents and seeing my son healthy and happy reminds me that adoption wasn’t the only choice, it was the best choice.” – Jah
31. “If I can, from our experience, give one piece of advice to prospective adoptive parents, it is DO NOT BE AFRAID! Do not let fear invade your relationship with the birth parents of your child. Remember always, love is never divided, only multiplied. I wish each and every one of you the joy that can come when you are called ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad.’” — Sherry
What’s your favorite adoption quote? Let us know in the comments below!
Words have power. We use them to get through our daily lives and communicate with one another. That’s also why we need to be intentional with the language that we use and aware of how it impacts others. Such is the case for adoption, which comes with its own set of lingo.
When it comes to adoption, the language around it is always changing, as it often does for any subject. What was once an acceptable phrase may no longer be acceptable. Terms become outdated, so it’s important to keep up. In other cases, some terms stay in vogue, but they can still be confusing.
That’s why we’ve put together this guide of 10 adoption terms everyone should know. If you’re considering adoption, or if you know someone who is, then this list could be helpful. Or, you could be an adoptive parent who wants your friends to better understand your life. Whatever the scenario may be, here are 10 adoption terms that you need to know.
When someone decides they want to pursue adoption, they contact an adoption agency. Someone who wants to adopt a child can reach out to them, as can someone placing their child for adoption. Think of an adoption agency as the mediator between the two main parties in adoption: birth parents and adoptive parents. Agencies arrange meetings, provide financial assistance, explain the adoption process and more.
A birth parent is someone who has placed their child for adoption. But, there is also the term “prospective birth mother,” which means something different. Before the adoption is complete, someone choosing adoption is a prospective birth parent. This is because it isn’t quite official yet. Once the adoption is finished, those prospective birth parents are now, simply, birth parents.
Pop culture tends to portray adoption inaccurately. For instance, when you think of adoption, you may imagine a child who doesn’t know who their birth parents are or why they were placed for adoption. This is known as a closed adoption. It’s when birth parents and adoptive parents know nothing about one another, and the child usually has no knowledge of their birth family. The vast majority of adoptions today are open (which we will get to later), and closed adoptions are now extremely rare.
An expectant parent is someone who’s pregnant. They could be considering parenting or adoption, and in both cases, they’d be a parent! To be more specific, they become a prospective birth parent if they are considering adoption.
This is the last step in anyone’s adoption process. Typically, the hopeful adoptive parents go to a local court where the judge signs the final decree of adoption. Once this is complete, the prospective birth mother officially becomes a birth mother. In turn, the hopeful adoptive parents officially become adoptive parents.
Only hopeful adoptive parents complete this step of the adoption process. A home study is when a social worker visits their home, interviews the couple and checks the home to make sure it’s safe for a child. Usually, hopeful adoptive parents are intimidated at the mere thought of this, but this is a great opportunity for them to learn more about adoption and how they can care for their child.
Open adoption is today’s standard for adoption. Usually, prospective birth parents and adoptive parents meet through an adoption agency and develop a relationship. Throughout the adoption process, they begin to know one another, and they typically stay in touch after the adoption. Also, the birth parent decides on forms of contact they’re comfortable with (phone calls, video chats, in-person visits, etc.). With open adoption, it is never “goodbye” for anyone. It is “see you later.”
Placement refers to the moment when a child is placed into the arms of their adoptive parents. When most people talk about adoption, they use the phrase “give a baby up for adoption.” Although their hearts may be in the right place, this phrase completely misses the point. No one “gives up” when they choose adoption. Instead, they are giving their child a life of love and opportunity. That’s why “place a child for adoption” is the preferred term. The adoption community prefers positive adoption language, such as this, because “give up” suggests that adoption is a negative choice.
When prospective birth parents and hopeful adoptive parents meet for the first time, it’s usually mediated through an adoption agency. But, they may then decide to exchange contact information so that they can directly communicate, now and throughout the years to come. In the case of semi-open adoption, an adoption agency mediates all contact between the two parties. This is for people who don’t want to share any identifying information but would still like to exchange indirect updates.
Transracial adoption is when the child and the adoptive parents aren’t of the same race. For example, Black adoptive parents could adopt a Latinx child, or white parents could adopt an Asian baby. Transracial adoption is more common than ever, but adoptive parents must be ready to acknowledge and uplift their child’s racial and cultural identity.
How do you find the strength and courage to share your identity as a birth parent, and tell someone that you placed a child for adoption? As a birth parent, you know that you’re brave and selfless for placing your child for adoption. You should never be ashamed to tell someone that you’re a birth parent. But, you should never feel pressured to tell someone your adoption story either.
When you feel like it’s time to start telling people you’re a birth parent, you may be nervous or unsure. Many people don’t understand adoption today, especially from the birth parent perspective. It’s important to be prepared for the responses that you may receive.
Are you ready to tell someone that you’re a birth parent? Here are a few pieces of advice for sharing your identity as a birth parent.
Choosing adoption for your child is never wrong or bad, but it is personal. Becoming a birth parent is a huge event in your life that has likely changed your life in more ways than one. Not everyone needs to know that you’re a birth parent unless you want them to know. You should never feel forced or obligated to share such a personal piece of who you are until you’re ready.
That being said, there may be people that are an important part of your personal life that may benefit from knowing that you’re a birth parent. Maybe you chose not to tell those people — close family, romantic partner, best friends — because it was not the right time to share. Now that you’ve moved closer to coping with your adoption, perhaps it’s the right time to tell them that you’re a birth parent. This is especially true if you are in an open adoption where you communicate regularly, receive updates or even have in-person visits.
Whether you chose open adoption, semi-open adoption or closed adoption, your child is still an important part of your life. The experience of childbirth and voluntarily terminating your parental rights will always be a memory that may run across your mind – frequently or every now and again. If you choose to tell people that you’re a birth parent, this opens you up to discuss your thoughts about your child and sharing your child’s milestones with others.
Your adoption story is unique to you and your child which means that you have your own experiences and beliefs about your adoption. However, the fact remains that you are brave and selfless for wanting the best for your child whether you decide to tell others that you’re a birth parent or not. You chose adoption because you wanted your child to live their best possible life. It’s normal to love your child and be proud of your child even if you placed your child for adoption. No matter how you approach the subject of being a birth parent, your child will always be important to you.
When you tell someone that you’re a birth parent, they may want to know more or they could leave an uncomfortable silence because they don’t know what’s appropriate to say. This could be a great opportunity to spread adoption awareness. Normalizing adoption for the general public can spread the message of the benefits of adoption, helping other prospective birth parents know that it’s OK to choose adoption for their child.
Here are a few suggestions of things to consider when you tell someone that you’re a birth parent and they either want to know more or they don’t know how to respond:
Many people don’t know the facts about adoption, especially about the birth parent’s experience. There may be those who respond to your declaration negatively or who can be harsh, but their reactions have nothing to do with you.
Adoption is a precious gift and that doesn’t change.
You’re the expert on your adoption story and you have experienced the true meaning of adoption. You don’t have to allow negative responses or judgement to color your clear view of adoption. That being said, when you tell someone that you’re a birth parent there will likely be questions. Here are a few common questions you may be asked:
Keep in mind, if someone asks insensitive questions or makes a negative comment about you being a birth parent, you don’t owe them any answers or explanations. You can even make it clear that their questions are rude and insensitive. If you get a response like, “I could never give my child up for adoption,” you can simply tell them that adoption isn’t for everyone, but the welfare of your child was the most important consideration, and that you did what you felt was best in your individual situation.
On the other hand, someone may ask these questions because they genuinely have no experience with adoption language and etiquette. You can take their questions as an opportunity to educate them about adoption through your personal story, or you can choose not to further engage with that person on the topic of adoption. You are in control of when and how you tell someone that you’re a birth parent.
If you do choose to answer questions about being a birth parent, you may feel more confident by practicing your answers. You can always say more or less, depending on how you feel and who you’re talking to about being a birth parent. Here are a few examples of responses that can help you think about and create your own prepared answers.
When you give a strong, positive response to someone who has negative ideas of adoption, this could open up more questions of curiosity. People often don’t realize that birth parents are in control of the entire adoption process. It may help you to think back to what you may not have known about adoption before you experienced it firsthand.
Think of your prepared responses this way: How would you tell your past self that you’re a birth parent? How would you explain adoption to yourself before your unplanned pregnancy?
Trying to force the fact that you’re a birth parent into the conversation if you’re already nervous can make you feel even more uncomfortable. Just allow the conversation to unfold naturally. New acquaintances may ask you, “Do you have any kids?” People who already know that you’re not raising children may ask, “When are you going to have kids?” This could be a good opportunity for you to say, “I’m a birth parent, I chose adoption for my child.”
Sometimes it may be easier for you to introduce the topic on your own terms. Starting with an opener like, “I have something important to tell you,” can prepare you and the other person to focus on the importance of the topic at hand. Remember to let the other person know that it’s good news and that it’s information you’re proud (and maybe somewhat nervous) to share.
If you have a picture of your child, this can be a great way to help you introduce yourself as a birth parent. Most people love to see pictures and this can create the space that you need in a conversation to tell someone that you’re a birth parent. Being able to show people that your child is a happy and healthy adoptee can set the tone for the conversation and may ease the stress or tension that you might have had.
You can’t control what other people will say, think or feel when you tell them that you’re a birth parent. When you’re ready to tell someone that you’re a birth parent, don’t let fear hold you back. This can help you continue your journey to coping with your adoption by voicing your feelings about being a birth parent.
If you’re thinking about telling someone that you’re a birth parent or if you feel like now is the time, this could be a sign that you’re ready. Each time that you get excited about receiving a picture of your child or interacting with them through video chat or in person, the desire to share this joy with the people in your life could be a sign that you’re ready to tell someone that you’re a birth parent. Now, all you have to do is go for it.
You may be surprised at the level of support and positivity that can come with telling someone that you’re a birth parent. When you say it, own it. At the end of the day, whether you tell others or not, you’ll always be a birth parent and a hero.
We’ve all heard the phrase “words matter.” Our culture is one of constant change, adaptation, evolution, and personalization. In this fast-paced world we live in, new words and definitions are changing every day and it can be hard to keep up with everything.
When you think about adoption, it’s natural to think about the costs, the process, where you want to adopt from, and much more. But, even with adoption, words are just as important as the entire process.
Because many people are not personally connected to adoption and its process, they tend not to be as familiar with adoption terminology.
By taking the time to better understand the need for positive adoption language and using accurate terms, you can help dispel many common adoption myths and misconceptions.
Here are 6 helpful examples of terms and phrases to use, and related terms you should not use when talking about adoption:
Using the term “birth parent” allows the birth family to continue to hold value without lessening the importance of the adoptive family. “Birth parent” shows that both families play special roles in the child’s life. The term “real parent” can be hurtful to both adoptive parents and adoptees, as it implies the adoptive parent is “fake” or “unnatural.” “Real parent” can also imply that the relationship between an adoptive family and an adoptee isn’t as strong because they aren’t blood-related. Adoptive parents are just as real as birth parents to the adoptee.
The phrase “place child for adoption” provides a better description of a birth mother’s decision. It also implies the birth parents still love the child and want the best for them. More often than not, the phrase “give up” has a negative connotation and suggests a careless action. In truth, birth parents experience a lot of difficult emotions when choosing adoption. They are the ones taking the time to select the adoptive family, and do so with great care and emotional strength. We don’t know what any person is truly going through, so use phrases that don’t judge a person’s character or decisions.
There are times when the birth mother changes her mind about adoption and chooses not to move forward with her adoption plan. In these situations, she chooses to parent her child instead. Though it may be difficult for hopeful adoptive families, it’s important to be respectful of every birth mother and her decisions. Using the term “to keep” implies a child is an object or possession. It devalues the difficult decision the birth mother is trying to make for her child, especially women facing unplanned pregnancies. It’s important to not use phrases or terms that cause hurt to any woman making a difficult life choice.
When you use the phrase “unwanted child”, you can do a lot of damage to a child’s self-esteem. Being an adopted child does not mean they were not wanted by their birth parents. It’s important to remember that we don’t know the full circumstances behind why a child’s birth parents placed them for adoption. Therefore, we need to be respectful and use phrases like “child placed for adoption.” This phrase gives a more accurate description of the situation without putting the birth family in a negative light.
When talking about adopting a child from another country, you shouldn’t use the term “foreign adoption.” The word “foreign” can sometimes suggest a feeling of not being welcome. It’s also often used in a negative context of someone who doesn’t belong. Every child should be made to feel included and welcome, no matter who they are or where they’re from. By using the term “international adoption,” you’re making the effort to make the child still feel welcome into their new country and home, and less of an outsider.
By using the term “child,” that simply states that the child is no different from any other child in any family. Adding the word “adopted” implies the child is somehow different than a biological child within that same family. It can also make the child feel they don’t belong or aren’t fully part of the family. You should always use words that make everyone, including a child, feel welcome. They are no different than anyone else.
Words truly make a bigger impact than you may realize in every aspect of your life. Especially if you are talking with someone about adoption, it’s important and respectful to be aware of the correct terminology so as not to inadvertently hurt the other person.
When you’re talking about adoption, a simple rule of thumb – remember to always be mindful of your words.
If you’re a hopeful adoptive couple eagerly awaiting an adoption opportunity, you’re probably asking yourself, “What are prospective birth parents looking for in adoptive family?” We know having a family of your own is something you’ve been dreaming about for a long time, and you want an expectant mother to see your adoptive family profile and deem you a perfect match to raise her baby. We can help.
Here’s what most pregnant women will want to know about you:
Choosing adoption is a difficult decision for expectant parents to make, even if they know it’s what is best for them and their baby. Many prospective birth mothers find comfort in hopeful adoptive families who show reverence for what they’re going through, as well as a positive outlook on adoption and raising their child.
Placing a child for adoption isn’t easy and she doesn’t want to be judged for her decision, nor have her feelings dismissed. Acknowledging that she is making a brave and difficult decision can go a long way. It can also be helpful for a birth mother to know that you will openly and honestly talk to her child about their adoption and their birth family. When making your adoptive family profile, it can be helpful to empathize with the prospective birth mother and make it clear that if she gives you the opportunity to adopt her baby, you will celebrate this decision and your adopted child.
If an expectant mother is considering adoption, it’s likely because she feels she cannot provide her baby with the life she feels they deserve, or she is not yet ready to. She wants to place her baby with a family who she feels can give her baby the best life possible, and that are committed to doing so.
If you are hopeful adoptive parents who have been approved by an agency, then you’ve been cleared as being financially able to support a child. While financial stability is important in raising a child, she wants to know that family is important to you and that your family has a strong drive to support the child emotionally and mentally as well. She wants to know that you will do whatever it takes to give her baby the life they deserve and that you will be willing to make the necessary sacrifices to be there for her baby.
If your values align with the prospective birth mother’s, this is typically a good way to start establishing a connection. Since she will be choosing you and not the other way around, the best thing you can do when filling out your adoptive family profile is to speak openly and enthusiastically about your values and how you would raise a child in accordance with these values. Whether those values are based in religion, family, or simply just good character, don’t be afraid to be emphatic. Your adoption professional will be available if you need help or have questions when filling out your adoptive family profile. To get more information about how you can stand out to prospective birth mothers, reach out to an adoption professional today.
Choosing adoption for your baby as an expectant mother is a brave and beautiful decision. That doesn’t mean it’s always an easy one. If you’re wondering, “What if I don’t want to sign adoption papers?” this is a big question to ask yourself. You can change your mind about anything in your adoption process up until you sign the papers relinquishing your parental rights.
Even if you know the only way you can give your baby the best life possible right now is through adoption, it’s normal to have doubts and second thoughts. It’s a life changing decision that comes with a lot of complex emotions. Bear in mind that you are always in control of your adoption process and you never have to do anything, including signing the adoption papers if you feel you are ready to parent.
When you’ve heard about adoption, you probably hear the words “adoption papers” a lot. This paperwork includes the official legal documents that you sign to legally consent to the adoption and relinquish your parental rights.
Adoption consent is regulated on a state level rather than federal. This is important to note because every state has different adoption consent laws. To learn more about adoption consent laws in your state talk to your adoption professional so that you can avoid any unexpected surprises if you change your mind about anything down the line.
If you’re having second thoughts or worried that you might have second thoughts, most states have a minimum waiting period after the baby is born before you can sign the adoption papers. This is to ensure that you have enough time to really think about your decision and make sure all the proper arrangements are in place.
The waiting period varies from state to state but typically ranges from 12 hours to 72 hours, or 3 days. So, if you do change your mind once the baby is born, you do have time to do so. You can change your mind about anything before officially consent to the adoption.
However, if parenting is a possibility that you are seriously considering, you should mention this to your adoption professional as soon as possible, even if you’re not completely sure. This allows them to be prepared to take the appropriate actions if you do decide that you want to parent.
Adoption isn’t a black and white decision. We understand that it can come with a lot of conflicting emotions. If you’re considering adoption, it’s because you feel you are not able or ready to give your baby the life you feel they deserve.
Just because you are considering “giving your baby up” for adoption does not mean you are giving up on your baby. In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Choosing to place your baby with a hopeful adoptive couple who you feel can give your baby a life full of love and support is a very selfless and brave decision.
While its normal to have doubts about whether you’re making the right choice, remember to reflect on why you considered adoption in the first place. The conflicting emotions you might be feeling are normal and your adoption professional can help you work through these emotions and consider your options.
You don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you are struggling to raise your baby or regret not choosing adoption. However, if you are certain that you are willing and able to begin the beautiful journey of parenthood; you do not have to sign the adoption papers.