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Are you going to get her back? 

Adoption? Wow, good for you. 

Why didn’t you want to parent?

You have to get her back. 

I’ll adopt your next child!

You actually visit her? Isn’t that hard? 

She’s lucky to be with a family who loves her. 

You’re really brave. I couldn’t do that.

We don’t believe in adoption. We take care of our own. 

Adoption, wow. Isn’t that hard? 

Is it too late to get her back?

Words are powerful. Some of these were said by well-meaning friends and others from complete strangers. Many times I have reacted out of defense mode and my emotions because let’s be real when these comments are made they target so much more than my heart, they target part of my identity. They cut into a place where I wish I could invite others because if only they could also step into the muck and muddy waters maybe then they would understand how hard adoption is. Maybe they would also see the reasons why I chose adoption for my daughter. But MAYBE then they could also know that this life I chose for myself and for her is not full of luck or goodness or bravery. It’s full of many moments of dropping to the floor with a tear drenched face crying out to God why? Why me? Why adoption? And I have to live with that because well I made this choice, right?

But if we are really being honest, I don’t have a “good” answer to any of these comments or questions. Or rather the answer that I think others want to hear. I wish I did so I could walk away from a conversation and feel like my answer made sense to the other person and so that I would feel a bit more understood. But I’m just learning to figure it all out myself. I’m learning to be okay with not knowing the answer to so many heart aching questions about adoption that I struggle with daily. I’m also learning to live with the answers I do have and let those be enough for me.

For those that have stepped in and tried to understand, thank you. Your desire to lead and love me on this hard road is immeasurable. But for those that will never try to understand, I will still by the grace of God fight to love you and educate you on how to walk alongside a birth mother on this rough road, because one day you may know another birth mom – and this time it may be a daughter, a friend, or a sister. And what will you say to her? My hope is that you would stand alongside her and support her fully because she won’t need your opinion as much as she needs you to tell her you love her. Instead of using words, start by listening to her and let her fill the silence with her emotions. You may be part of her story and also feel the effects of this choice, but it was first and foremost her choice. And remember, when you do speak, every single word you say will matter.

Words can be forgiven, but they cannot be taken back.

Emily’s desire to help women going through a difficult time all started in middle school. Her heart ached for the “not so cool kids” who were being excluded by the “cool, but not so nice” ones. She realized then that a simple word of kindness or encouragement goes a long way to lift a girl’s spirits. Emily’s compassionate heart grew exponentially when she herself faced an unintended pregnancy and made an adoption plan for her baby girl. She now works for the mobile app AdoptMatch, and her mission is to let every expectant mother know that she has the option to create a child-centered, open and ethical adoption plan for her unborn baby.

The post The Things People Say to Birth Moms appeared first on TruAdopt.

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Does an expectant mother who is placing her baby for adoption really need her own, separate attorney? At first consideration, adding another lawyer to the mix may seem like overkill. After all, it’s not like the adoptive parents and the expectant parents are adversaries. Because hey, in an adoption, everyone’s working toward the same goal, right? The expectant mother has clearly made her wishes known – she has fallen in love with a wonderful couple and wants to place her unborn baby for adoption with them. The adoptive parents’ feelings are mutual and they are very excited about the match. Since their initial meeting, they’ve been spending time together, building trust and anticipating baby’s arrival. All good! Why should we then force everyone to lawyer up? Isn’t that just a waste of money? Adoption is expensive enough. Should the adoptive parents be required to pay yet another professional? Besides, if we throw another lawyer into the mix, isn’t he or she just going to stir up trouble in adoption paradise?

When a birth mother signs a relinquishment for adoption, she is agreeing to permanently sever her legal relationship with her child and voluntarily deprive herself of the fundamental right to the care, custody and control of that child. Once the consent paperwork is signed and her revocation period has expired, that right is gone forever. Ironically, in the majority of adoptions in this country, the adoptive parents are the only ones who have to have an attorney advising them about their legal rights. The adoptive parents, who are typically college-educated, financially stable and on average, 15-20 years older than the expectant mom, are usually the only ones in an adoption who have a legal advocate protecting their interests and advising them about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

When an expectant mother who doesn’t have her own attorney has a question about the legal process, she has three very problematic options: she can ask her social worker, ask the adoptive parents’ attorney or ask Google.

Some of the questions we commonly hear from our expectant mother clients are:

1. Should I tell the birth father about my pregnancy?
2. How can I be sure the adoptive parents will abide by our contact agreement? What will happen if they stop communicating with me?
3. If I accept living expenses from the adoptive parents will that affect my right to continue collecting welfare?
4. In an interstate adoption, which state’s laws will apply to the adoption? How do the laws differ?
5. When will my consent to the adoption become permanent?
6. What happens if CPS gets involved after my baby is born?
7. What happens if the adoptive parents change their mind about wanting to adopt after my baby is born?
8. Will I be given a copy of my adoption paperwork?

While most adoption attorneys and agency social workers I know strive to be ethical in the way they practice adoption, they create a conflict for themselves when they allow an expectant mother to proceed through an adoption unrepresented.

When an agency social worker is required to advise the expectant mother about legal issues such as the ones noted above, she is engaging in the unauthorized practice of law, a crime in most states. She is also acting in violation of the National Association of Social Worker’s (NASW) Rules of Ethics which stress that those not legally certified should refrain from interpreting the law as it applies to another’s situation.

When an attorney is representing the adoptive parents, his duty is to advocate for his clients’ best interest, not for the expectant mother’s. Allowing an expectant mom to go through the adoption process without her own separate attorney creates a clear imbalance of power which puts the adoptive parents (and the entire adoption) at risk. Best practice (and basic common sense) dictates that all parties in an adoption should have access to separate legal representation.

Attorney Celeste Liversidge has been practicing exclusively in the field of adoption law since 2001. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers and a member of the National Association of Counsel for Children, Christian Adoption Legal Services, National Council For Adoption and the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Celeste earned her law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law and her undergraduate degree from Westmont College. She has served on numerous boards and as an adjunct professor at Pepperdine School of Law. Celeste is a frequent guest lecturer and speaker on a variety of adoption-related issues.

The post Justice for All: Why Adoptive Parents Should Insist on Separate Representation for Expectant Parents appeared first on TruAdopt.

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TruAdopt just concluded a year and a half long case in which we represented a birth mom in an attempt to enforce a post adoption contact agreement.  The challenges were many, namely:

  1. The agreement was written by an agency social worker and none of the parties had legal representation;
  2. The parties didn’t know one another very well at the time the agreement was written;
  3. The agreement was not very specific and did not contain any contingency plans;
  4. The birth mom never received a filed copy of the agreement;
  5. Birth parents don’t have access to adoption files and therefore couldn’t get a copy of the agreement;
  6. The agency attempted to mediate between the parties but, when they couldn’t agree, the agency was stuck and the parties did nothing;
  7. The birth mom had no idea how to find legal help;
  8. When TruAdopt stepped in, the adoptive family hired legal counsel and the time and costs involved with reaching agreement would have become prohibitive for the birth mom, had TruAdopt not agreed to represent her pro bono.

Once TruAdopt filed a motion with the court to enforce or modify the agreement, we were presented with a dilemma common to these cases:  the more birth mom pushed to enforce her rights, the more understandably resistant the adoptive family became.   The reality of litigation is that it can get very ugly.  As soon as declarations are filed, folks start saying derogatory things about one another, thus making the relationship even worse than it already is.  While we were always mindful to avoid saying anything irreparably negative, we knew that going to trial had the potential for permanently destroying any real relationship, even if a court ruled in favor of contact.  We were pleased, therefore, when the case resolved at a judicially supervised settlement conference.  Hundreds of pages of declarations, exhibits, and arguments boiled down to the parties agreeing to a very reasonable agreement that places the child’s best interests at heart.  The lessons we learned are these:

A good contact agreement at the beginning solves potential problems before they arise.

A good agreement needs to be specific!  It should be written assuming that the parties will not always get along perfectly.  Hopefully, the relationship will grow organically over time and contact will be free and easy.  However, people and circumstances change.  Write an agreement that will protect everyone’s interests, especially the child’s, even if things go wrong.

Both parties must be represented by their own attorney at the time the agreement is signed!

A social worker is not a lawyer and, while social workers are excellent at many things, they should not be the ones who are drafting legal documents.  It’s also vital that each party be given the opportunity to ask an attorney about any questions they have about the enforceability or terms of the agreement.  Clarity at this step is paramount!

Birth moms must be given a copy of the contact agreement once it is filed by the Court.

Even though she will probably be given a copy of the agreement at the time it is signed, it’s important that she receive a filed copy of it as well (the agreement usually won’t be filed until it is incorporated into the final adoption order).  It is her attorney’s responsibility to ensure she receives the filed copy.

Education on Open Adoption, including its challenges, and counseling can be crucial to a successful relationship.

In order to reach a settlement, we enlisted the help of adoption therapists who could educate the parties on the benefits and challenges of open adoption.  Counseling was also crucial.  The adoptive parents needed help addressing some of their fears concerning allowing someone into their lives who may not share all of their values and the birth mom needed counseling to address her adoption-related grief and to help her form realistic expectations for what an appropriate relationship might look like. In our case, the counseling came after the relationship had broken down. It would have been so much better if the parties had enjoyed that kind of education and counseling at the start of the relationship!

Grace goes a long way.

There’s a very good chance that the birth and adoptive parents share very different life experiences, attitudes, and values. While they may not always agree with one another or even like one another, they can agree that the child’s best interests should be primary.  They all love the child and can at least agree on that.  Grace and forgiveness will very likely be necessary to maintain a positive relationship with one another.  While extending that isn’t easy and comes at a personal cost, the benefit the child receives when they realize that their birth and adoptive parents have agreed to set aside differences in order to love them better, is great.

The post Can a Court Force Someone to be Friends? : Enforcing a Post-Adoption Contact Agreement appeared first on TruAdopt.

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Love and Appreciate Birth Moms this Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, we’re partnering with Kelsey, Birth Mom and Founder of From Anotha Motha to make sure that Birth Mothers are not forgotten this Mother’s Day. It’s important to love and appreciate these women for the mothers that they are.

How to get involved? 

It’s as simple as getting a Mother’s Day card, writing a thoughtful note, and sending it to:

From Anotha Motha
P.O. Box 504, Carmel, IN 46082

Be sure to visit the link below to read up on things to keep in mind as you write your note.

Learn More!

Visit www.fromanothamotha.com/get-involved to learn more about this awesome project!

Read More: 

The post Birth Mothers are Often Forgotten on Mother’s Day. Let’s Change That. appeared first on TruAdopt.

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Our friends at AdoptMatch are hosting a t-shirt campaign in support of Birthmom Buds. They are a nonprofit organization that has been providing emotional support to birth moms since 2003 through their unique buddy system, hosting chats, forums, and annual birth mother retreats.

When you buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt, you will be helping to send a birth mom to a support retreat where she can experience a life-changing weekend of reflection and healing with fellow birth mothers and mentors. Find out more info on their 2018 Retreat here!

Help us in letting birth mothers know: “We acknowledge your grief. We care about you. And we are here to advocate for you.”

SHOP + SUPPORT BIRTH MOTHERS

Read More 

The post Look Good + Do Good = A Happy Valentine’s Day appeared first on TruAdopt.

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Birth Mother Support Group

We’re excited for what’s to come for our Birth Mother Support Group. Our first session happened this past week, and thanks to Lifetime Healing LLC’s curriculum and the amazing group of women, we can already see the positive things to come for the California Support Group. It’s encouraging to see post-placement support for birth mothers becoming a reality.

Our support group happens every month in the Los Angeles area, locations vary. If you’re interested in attending or learning more about it, please contact Emily at emily@truadopt.org.

Read More

The post TruAdopt Happenings: First Birth Mother Support Group of 2018 appeared first on TruAdopt.

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TruAdopt by Truadopt - 7M ago

Welcome to 2018!


It’s 2018, which means it’s the start of TruAdopt Blog’s second full calendar year since our mid-2016 launch. We’ve already reflected back on highlights from 2017, and today we want to take a quick moment to share a motivational quote to start the year off right.

Our hope is that 2018 would bring you growth, strength, healing, and joy! 

Read More: 

The post Start the Year Off Right appeared first on TruAdopt.

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2017 Recap

2017 was an amazing year! This past year brought the official launch of AdoptMatch, the ///A Conference in Montreal, and the start of our Birth Mother support group. We are so amazed by all the positive changes happening in the adoption community and look forward to all the exciting things to come in 2018.

Our hope for next year is that we would continue to support and educate our communities on the importance of post-placement support for birth mothers and the need for separate representation.

Today, let’s take a look back at the top posts (based on the number of visits) of 2017. Take a moment to read through them and learn something new!

Top Posts of 2017

1. Do Expectant Parents Really Need Their Own Attorney?

Why Adoptive Parents Should Insist on Separate Representation for Expectant Parents.

2. Download the Expectant Mother’s Guide to Adoption

Our Expectant Mother’s Guide to Adoption is available as a downloadable PDF! This resource outlines adoption terminology and carefully breaks down the process of adoption into seven steps.

3. Puzzle Pieces, Part 1 and Part 2

Adoptee and TruAdopt’s own Megan V. shares her story about meeting her Birth Mom for the first time and what her Birth Mom’s sacrifice means to her. “I remember the day as though it were yesterday. I was so nervous. Pacing the kitchen floor, trying to find a way to occupy myself as I waited. ‘I am about to meet my birth mom,’ I thought to myself. This was a day I had played out in my mind for 15 years.”

4. Why We Should Care

This blog post explores the importance of engaging with the adoption community even if you don’t have any personal ties to it. Listening and engaging is what helps us connect with and support others.

5. A Gift for You!

On Mother’s Day, we gifted inspirational wall art!

6. Lifetime Healing Event, Photo Recap

Photos from our Lifetime Healing LLC post-placement support training led by Ashley Mitchell.

Read More: 

The post Happy New Year! Top Posts of 2017 appeared first on TruAdopt.

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from TruAdopt!

We can’t thank you enough for all your support throughout the year. We’re excited for what’s to come in the adoption community. We hope you have a safe and fun season filled with the ones you love.

Love,
The TruAdopt Team

Read More:

The post Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays! appeared first on TruAdopt.

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It’s been a week since the Lifetime Healing Training and Birth Mother Support Group. Ashley Mitchell of Lifetime Healing & Big Tough Girl delivered an amazing session on how we can better support a woman after she has placed a child for adoption. The reality is, there’s grief involved in the healing process. As adoption professionals, we need to be aware of that reality so we can better support Birth Mothers. As a community, we need to do everything we can to listen and be there for women who are hurting. Post-placement care is a great need in the adoption industry, and we are hopeful that more and more organizations will help Birth Mothers get the resources they need to heal after placement.

Adoption professionals from Family Connections Christian AdoptionsHeartsent Adoptions – PasadenaClaris Health, and AdoptMatch joined us for a full day of training. We were so encouraged by the insights of each individual, and we hope the adoption community will continue to work toward making post-placement care for Birth Mothers a reality!

Thank you FCCA for allowing us to partner to bring Lifetime Healing to Southern California and for leading the charge to make post-placement care for birth mothers reality in each and every adoptive placement.

 “The pain doesn’t stop because we are more educated, but the healing can become more effective.” – Lifetime Healing, LLC

Here are some photos from the event:

Thank you to FCCA, Heartsent Adoptions, Claris Health, and AdoptMatch for your dedication to ethical and compassionate adoptions!


Here’s Ashley Mitchell, Birth Mother and founder of Big Tough Girl & Lifetime Healing LLC talking about the vital need for post-placement care for Birth Mothers. What an amazing way to spend World Adoption Day.

So inspired by the wealth of knowledge and experience from this group. Your insights helped us better understand how we can support women post-placement.

Left to right: Katie (Caseworker), Emily (Marketing Director), and Megan (Caseworker)

Emily, Ashley, and Celeste (TruAdopt Founder & Adoption Attorney)

FCCA and Claris Health

Wayne (FCCA) and Celeste

THANK YOU, Ashley Mitchell for spending the day with us, talking about the vital need for post-placement care for Birth Mothers!

Read More: 

The post Lifetime Healing Event: Photo Recap appeared first on TruAdopt.

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