Loading...

Follow America Adopts on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

This guest post is by Paige Knipfer, an adoptive mother and adoption consultant.

For 29 years, I lived in a blissfully comfortable color-blind bubble of ignorance and denial. I knew racism existed in this country but never around me. Not in my family or my friends. Not in my community. 

I was wrong on so many levels.

When we adopted our daughter the first question I was asked by some family members was “What color or race is she?” 

I was devastated. I wondered why it mattered. I knew and worried that my child wouldn’t feel a part of the family.

Whenever I talked about my daughter or mentioned she was adopted I would show a photo. Most people were shocked to find that she is white.

When society hears the word “adoption,” they think of a child from another country who is stereotypically black. Even now if we mention she is adopted some people seem shocked.

Recently, we adopted again—a son. We know he isn’t white, but we’re not sure yet what his racial identity is because some of his birth history is still in question.

After we sent photos of him to family and friends, some of them suggested we take a “race test.” One day we will find out what race he is but for now we are content with not knowing.

We notice racial biases so much more because we have an adopted a child who is white and a child who is not.

It’s difficult to go out in public with them. People always want to know our story and will ask questions in the most awkward way. 

They will flat out inquire what our son’s race is and then judge us for not knowing. Others will speculate on his race based on his looks.

And still others make awful jokes. They ask how much he and my daughter cost and why our children were ‘given up.’ 

Here’s a tip: Please stop trying to figure out our family. If you feel the need to say something just tell us we’re beautiful.

My husband often gets the “you’re stupid” look or together we’ll get the “pity” look. Some people assume I cheated on my husband and that we’ve worked through the cheating.

Take my word for it. If I say I’m his mom, I’m his mom. 

It’s extremely hurtful to be asked repeatedly who I am at the doctor’s office and assume I must be his aunt.

I think of all the bi-racial families that go out into the world and deal with this on a daily basis. 

It’s exhausting. I’m all for educating people on adoption and racial biases but some days I can’t handle the “Are they REAL siblings?” question about our kids. 

I know most of the time these comments and questions don’t come from a place of malice or viciousness. I know people simply don’t know what to say or how to ask something.

Our family lives in a community that is majority white. The first time my son got small red bumps a teacher had us take him to the doctor.

She thought he had hand, foot and mouth disease even though he didn’t have a fever or look it at all.

The doctor told us there was nothing wrong with him. The following morning the teacher said she didn’t know how to respond because of his “complexion.”

His “complexion”—e.g. race—doesn’t mean he will display different symptoms of illness. We all get sick. We are all human.

Another thing that surprised me is hair touching. I never knew this was a thing until my son was born.

People seem fascinated with his hair. At times complete strangers will run their fingers through his hair without even asking.

This is disrespectful and a violation of his privacy. My child is not a petting zoo. Please do not touch my children without my permission and honestly don’t ask.

I understand that his hair looks soft and beautiful. I understand that nothing may seem wrong with touching it. But touching someone else’s hair without their consent is demeaning.

I want to be able to teach my son that boundaries matter and to protect him from feeling like an “other” or “less than” a real person by being touched due to his differences.

Color does matter and everyone sees color. Everyone has implicit biases, including me! To learn about your own bias there is a test you can take here.

Knowing your biases can help you. Now that I’m a mom to a non-white child I’m obligated to be his advocate.  I’m dedicated to being the person that he knows will always stand up for him when someone hurls a racial insult or slur.

I’m committed to calling out friends and family members for jokes they might think are harmless.

It’s not about being politically correct or raining on people’s parades. It’s about making sure that the world our kids live in is as supportive as it possibly can be.

Paige Knipfer is an adoptive mom of two and an avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni) who loves to share her adoption experiences. Learn more at Love Grown Adoption Consulting

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

  •  

The post What Adopting Two Children Has Taught Me About Race And Racism appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Paige Knipfer, an adoptive mother and adoption consultant.

I’ve been extremely passionate about adoption since we adopted our daughter years ago. I started to write articles and went through political training to advocate for improvements.

I felt I wasn’t making a dent or doing enough. If you ask anyone what I would do if I won the lottery they would tell you it would be to open a women’s center that provides correct information on ALL options, an adoption agency that provides REAL UNBIASED legal/counselling/post care with low cost fees, and a foundation to help those in financial need to parent or to adopt.

Once again I’m writing an article to help those waiting to adopt push for a better process.

I implore hopeful adoptive parents to push for ethics and to ask questions. You hold the power to make sure your adoption is ethical. Ask and verify that an expecting mom is getting unbiased legal counsel.

Ask and verify that she is getting unbiased counseling and post-adoption counseling. Ask who she is working with and get real examples of post support they offer. Do your research and due diligence before working with anyone in this sector.

If you are seeking adoption independently it is your duty to provide unbiased counselling, post care, and legal guidance along with expecting mom expenses.

Some red flags to look for (they may not always indicate an unethical place but are worth pointing out):

  • They cannot provide detailed cost breakdown of fees
  • They have race-based pricing
  • They encourage closed adoption and will not allow direct contact.
  • They select you for the expecting mom
  • They may have had legal action taken against them (check reviews online)
  • They offer vague answers or big promises
  • They do not speak respectfully or highly of birth/expecting moms

Some other possible red flags are that staff don’t have personal experience with adoption or they only advocate for the hopeful adoptive parents. Bigger agencies should have a case manager for the expecting mom and a different case manager for the hopeful parents.

Since I haven’t won the lottery, I’ve started an adoption consulting company instead. It’s my way to improve on things and tap into my passion.

I want to help others learn things I wish I would have known when I first started the adoption process. I want to educate others on how they can advocate for better ethics in this industry. I want to be honest.

I want to include all parts of the adoption triad (the adoptee, the birth family, and the adoptive family) because we only harm ourselves and our adopted children by ignoring other voices in the triad. Never stop educating yourself on adoption and I implore you to LISTEN to adoptees and birth parents.

I hate hearing about families who have been waiting for years or about the scams couples have gone experienced. There are risks to adopting through both an agency and independently.

Originally when I started the adoption process I wasn’t a fan of consultants. I thought of them as another unnecessary cost to the process—as just another group of people trying to make money off hopeful adoptive families, and some consultants might be like that.

But I’ve learned so much the past couple of years and look forward to sharing my knowledge.

Paige Knipfer is an adoptive mom of two and an avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni) who loves to share her adoption experiences. Learn more at Love Grown Adoption Consulting

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post How Hopeful Adoptive Families Can Improve The Adoption Process appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Paige Knipfer.

We recently adopted our son in January. We also have a daughter we adopted a couple of years ago. We have no biological children and we are unable to conceive ourselves.

However, a couple weeks after we arrived home with our son I started to feel like I was pregnant.

I felt crazy. There was NO possible way I could be pregnant but for the first time in my life my boobs were incredibly sore. My nipples looked different. I was craving pickle, ham, and cream cheese roll ups.

I was cramping A LOT.

I’ll stop with the details but as you can imagine I was googling symptom after symptom which kept coming back saying I was pregnant. I tried googling adoptive mom pregnancy symptoms and nothing came up.

Everything that appeared was about how a woman had biological children then adopted and experienced these symptoms. I couldn’t find anything on an adoptive mom’s body reacting to an adopted newborn.

I talked to some adoptive mom friends who started to tell me they too had taken pregnancy tests after arriving home. It seemed this was a topic; maybe people were too embarrassed to talk about.

I started to worry I was pregnant. As impossible as it would be, a biological child would come with a lot of risks for us due to genetic issues and my own health issues. Also, two children under the age of 1, and a total of 3 kiddos was not in our plans.

I took a test. It was negative. A week later I received my period, which is also something that has never happened. I only get my period when prompted by medication.

I asked our pediatrician and our case manager who said they hadn’t heard of it while they tried not to look at me oddly.

Having a newborn lay on your chest pretty much 24/7 releases pheromones that your body reacts to. Skin to skin is an important way to bond.

But I don’t think I felt the symptoms as strongly with my daughter because she slept well on her own in the crib, unlike my son who requires to be held nonstop.

I wanted to write this article to share my experience and to tell you, if you have or are experiencing the same symptom, you are not crazy!

I also wanted to write this because you hear stories of women who adopt and then get pregnant, but we don’t really talk about those who adopt and don’t get pregnant.

As an adoptive mom I always hate being told that we’ll get pregnant after we adopt. First of all, not all couples that adopt want to get pregnant.

After my infertility, health issues, and genetic concerns we made sure we couldn’t get pregnant and chose to only pursue adoption.

Adoption was our one choice. Don’t get me wrong: I’m happy for those couples who do get pregnant after adopting, but it just wasn’t for us.

I hope others can share their stories because in all honesty, I think it’s pretty amazing that my body reacted to my son in that way.

Paige Knipfer is a trainer for a financial institution, an adoptive mom of two, wife, and avid traveler (Semester at Sea alumni). She loves to share her adoption experiences and assist anyone interested in learning more about the process @PaigeKnipfer.

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post Feeling Pregnant After Adopting? You’re Not Alone appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Lauren Serio, an adoptive mom.

We’ve all heard the quote about enjoying the journey, not just the destination.  It’s so easy, at least for me, to become so focused on the end goal that I don’t take a minute to look up and enjoy where I’m at NOW. 

I find this to be especially true in the adoption journey.  We are always trying to get to the next phase, the next door, the match, the placement or the finalization. But there is a lot of time in between those things. There is a whole lot of waiting. 

Really, if you think about it,  the adoption journey could easily be compared to one big giant house. In this journey,  we spend most of our time in the hallway.

We spend so much  time trying to get one door to open or trying desperately to keep another door closed. Even though we spend so much time in this  hallway–in this wait–it’s very rarely talked about in a positive light. 

My family has spent a lot of time in one hallway or another. On my wedding day, I waited for the double doors to open as I stood in the hallway. Nervously pulling at my shirt and fixing my hair, I waited in the hallway for my big interview. 

In December of 2016, my phone rang in the hallway — our little boy had arrived. Then, just four short months ago, I stood in a hospital hallway, tears of joy running down my face as I heard “come meet your little girl.”

I could go on and on about these big, huge, monumental events that took place in both a literal and symbolic hallway. The in-between of where we were, where we are and where we are going. 

I know that waiting is hard. 

Anyone who knows me will tell you — I do not wait well.  But if I learned anything through three years and two adoptions it is that the waiting IS where it all happens. The waiting is the story. 

The hallway is where you get your home study  approval, the bad news, the good news, the call or the judge’s final decision. 

Wherever you are in the wait–be right there. Stand right there. The door IS going to open so take a minute and dance in hallway. Lean in to all those feelings: the excitement, the anticipation , the stress, the nervousness—all of it.  Feel those feelings because the bad ones and the good ones–they are all fleeting. 

Your story is unfolding right before your eyes and you could very well miss it. 

This is your family. This is your story. This is your journey. 

I promise you, the door will eventually open. All you need to do is keep walking. 

Lauren is an adoptive mom to two sweet kiddos. She runs on coffee and crafts and has become an advocate for adoption education and ethics. She owns PJ and the Bug Adoption Profile Books and is a consultant for Journey Adoption Consultants.  Learn more @LaurenontheJourney

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post Waiting To Adopt? The Biggest Lesson I Learned After Two Adoptions appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Mercy, a birthmother.

Five and half years ago, we placed a very special little girl up for adoption to an amazing couple in the hopes of growing our family through open adoption.

Little did we know that our lives would change in such an amazing way.

August 19, 2013 we welcomed a very special bundle of joy into the world.  Harper was born and we were all overjoyed and had mixed emotions on the following events.

Looking back, the emotions and uncertainty was high.  I remember signing the paperwork for the adoption and struggling my hardest to stay strong. 

Right after we signed those papers, we went to Matt and Trey’s hotel room and snuggled that sweet baby girl that we just welcomed into the world.  She was barely a week old and already had some sass to her. 

We all could tell in the beginning that she was going to be a spunky character.  We spent about a week with Harper, Matt and Trey. 

We had many firsts with Harper that week. We watched Harper’s first MTV Music Awards at Dylan’s grandparents’ house.  We had our traditional Texas BBQ (one of the many 1st for Harper) and the whole family came to celebrate Harper and this next step in all of our lives. 

That week was probably the hardest for me.  My emotions were high still with all my hormones out of whack.

Matt and Trey made their way home with Harper and I was not sure how the next few years would play out.  Our minds were racing and we did not want to lose touch with them. 

That was our biggest fear. We were so scared at the possibility of not seeing or talking to them.

My and Dylan’s relationship with Matt and Trey has grown so much over the years.  When Matt and Trey said that they were just a text message or a phone call away, they literally were not kidding!

We talk to them all of the time. It is absolutely reassuring to talk to them and receive updates on Harper.

They are absolutely amazing dads and always make sure that we are in the loop with everything that goes on with Harper.

In our adoption paperwork, it was agreed upon that Matt and Trey would come to Texas once a year. So each year, we throw a big BBQ and invite the entire family to get together.  We also make sure to spend some time with just the five of us. 

In 2017, Dylan and I got married and for our honeymoon we made a road trip to Tennessee to spend some time with Harper. We had so much fun with Matt, Trey and Harper. 

We got to see where Harper was growing up and spent some time with her grandparents.  I cannot express how amazing our family has grown!

Matt and Trey’s families welcomed us with open arms and were so welcoming.  During this time we met one of Matt and Trey’s closest friends with their little baby boy.

Their closest friends had just gone through an open adoption and I knew exactly how everyone was feeling waiting on the paperwork to be completed.  They reminded me of Matt and Trey. 

They were so sweet and adore that little boy with all of their hearts! I did steal some baby snuggles! We ended the trip heading to Pigeon Forge and going to Dollywood with Matt, Trey and Harper. 

Of course, Harper and I hung out while the guys went on the big rollercoasters but we did ride a little ride that goes up and down.  Harper and I were waiting in line for this ride and she was so nervous yet so excited. 

I remember her conversation she had with me that had me almost crying in the middle of Dollywood.  Harper is such a smart kiddo and so sweet. 

I asked her if she was scared of the ride and she said “just a little” (showing me with her hands how much she was scared) and she looked up at me and said “Well you are not scared….cause you’re a mommy and mommy’s never get scared.” 

As soon as we got onto the ride Harper started to panic and look around for Matt, Trey and Dylan.  We thought she would freak out. 

Right before the ride dropped us down, I told her to put her hands up and scream.  Luckily, she did not freak out.  We got off the ride and she said it was so much fun and wanted to do it again.

We spent the next few days with them and then made our trek home to Texas.  We could not have asked for a better way to spend our honeymoon.

Over the years, we have all grown so much.  It has been emotional and amazing to watch Harper grow up these last five and a half years.

It is absolutely reassuring to receive the videos and pictures of Harper as she has grown.  We talk as much as we can with all of our busy schedules going on and we always look forward to them coming down here to visit or for us to go up there. 

Our journey through open adoption has been eye opening. In the beginning, there were lots of doubts and anxiety.  As the years have passed, the doubt and anxiety has subsided and we are more than excited that Matt and Trey are wanting to expand their family. 

Mercy works as police dispatcher in Abilene, Texas and is going to school for nutrition.  She and Dylan, Harper’s biological father, have been married for two years and love their little girl more than anything. 

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post I Worried My Daughter’s Adoptive Parents Would Shut Me Out After Her Adoption. Here’s What Really Happened appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Karie Boyd, an adoption attorney.

Potential adoptive parents have lots of things to consider, one of which is to decide on open or closed adoption.

In some cases, birth parents wish to learn about their biological child through things like updates, photos, and even occasional visits.

While the biological parents completely relinquish their parental rights prior to the finalization of adoption, they may still have some contact with the child after, which inevitably leads to some issues.

What are some of the most common issues with open adoptions, and how can parents navigate them?

Setting Appropriate Boundaries

Problems often arise when the adoptive and birth parents have different definitions of what boundaries are appropriate.

As such, it’s essential to lay out these definitions as soon as possible.

Some people rely on post-adoption contact agreements to create and adhere to boundaries, though the terms of these agreements are not legally binding.

Even with clear expectations from the beginning, parents are likely to encounter hiccups along the way.

Addressing problems as they occur is important, but so is the method by which parents work them out.

For example, email and texting can be valuable tools, but it’s also easy to misconstrue tone or intention.

This makes it easier to breed hurt or even feelings of resentment.

When faced with a problem during an open adoption, try to work things out via in-person communication. This allows for an honest dialogue and hastens solutions to conflicts.

When it comes to open adoptions and navigating relationships with birth parents, there is no “one size fits all” solution. These relationships may need a lot of trial and error to be successful.

However, taking certain steps can help make the process easier. Create boundaries from the beginning and consider drawing up a post-adoption contact agreement.

When problems do arise, attack them with open communication and resist the urge to communicate through passive methods like email and texting, where it’s easier to misconstrue information.

Sharing on Social Media 

In the digital age, one of the most common problems comes from social media sharing and what is appropriate for birth parents to share regarding the child on their personal accounts.

Photo sharing on social media can be a wonderful way for adoptive parents to share updates instantaneously with the birth parents, but the adoptive parents may be uncomfortable with birth parents sharing photos of the child on their social media accounts.

The best way to handle this situation is by being upfront and explaining why it causes discomfort or anxiety.

Getting everyone’s feelings stated clearly as soon as possible makes it easier to facilitate a compromise.

Choosing Names For The Birthparents 

One of the most common complications that can arise, especially when a child gets older, is what to call the birth parents.

This can be an awkward situation and it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible.

A variety of options may be appropriate and depend largely on the preferences of the adoptive parents.

Examples may include calling them by their first name or some derivative of “Mom” or “Aunt.”

In these situations, there are no hard and fast rules, only what makes the family most comfortable.

Whatever the case, be consistent to avoid confusion to the child. Talking through this issue as soon as possible will help mitigate any feelings of betrayal or hurt that can come with a topic so sensitive.

Create names for anyone who will be involved in the child’s life ahead of time and stick to them.

By observing these tips, adopting parents will be better equipped to navigate an open adoption.

Karie Boyd is an experienced family law attorney with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Karie Boyd’s legal team has extensive experience handling adoption, step parent adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, and more.

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post 3 Common Problems In Open Adoption Relationships–And How To Handle Them appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Andrea Cerny.

If you are considering adoption yet the birth father of the baby is not aware of the situation, you first need to make sure he is informed.

Adoption is a decision that both parents need to have a say in and it is not something that the mother can decide on single-handedly.

Definition of The Term “Father”

Defining the term “father” is not straightforward since the law has several different definitions for it:

  • Legal father – the man married to the mother at the time of conception of the baby or the birth. A legal father can also be the person whose paternity was determined by the court.
  • Putative father – a man who is the biological father of the baby but that hasn’t been legally confirmed.
  • Alleged father – a man who is possibly the father of the baby but there is no legal determination of the paternity.
  • Acknowledged father – a man who has signed an acknowledgment of paternity of the baby.
  • Adjudicated father – a man who is given paternity by the court.
  • Presumed father – a man who is informally recognized as the father of the child.

The father’s right in the adoption process depends mostly on which of the above definitions he falls under and the state in which the baby is to be born in.

Giving Consent to Adoption

The legal father of the baby must give consent to adoption – the mother can’t make the decision herself in most cases.

However, this mainly depends on the state the baby is to be born in. Only two states allow for the mother to make a decision for adoption without the father’s consent: Hawaii and Alabama.

Twelve states give both parents the right to give consent on adoption before the baby is born, while all other remaining states require a waiting period before consent can be given, which is usually few days after the baby is born.

Legally, for the adoption process to begin the father of the baby has to be established and his consent must be obtained, unless the father fails to acknowledge his paternal rights and responsibilities or if no objection is received within a given timeframe.

If the father is ruled as an unfit parent because of mental illness, history of domestic abuse or drug and alcohol abuse he might not be given the right to be involved in the decision by the court.

What if The Father Objects to the Adoption?

Regardless if the baby is born or unborn, the father has the right to object to the mother’s decision for adoption. However, he would first need to establish paternity.

If the biological father is not married to the mother, he is not considered a legal father.

Also, if he is not stated as the father on the baby’s birth certificate, he would need to prove his paternity in cases when he wants to stop the mother from going forward with the adoption.

This is usually done by a civil lawsuit by the father which requires DNA testing to establish paternity.

If the father doesn’t seek to acknowledge his paternity in a timely manner, it can prevent him from having any parental rights over the child, or it will be regarded as a failure to commit to the child as the father.

If the father is recognized as the biological parent of the child and he objects to adoption, he can execute his paternal rights by filing an objection to the court or to the Health and Human Service Department.

The objection usually needs to be followed by an intent for custody of the child. If the father is successful in the legal process, he will be approved full custody, and you might be asked by the court to pay child support to the father.

Unaware Father

If the father is unaware of the baby this might mean that he will be stripped of all rights to make a decision about adoption if you made efforts to recognize him as the putative father through the Putative Father Registry.

In all states, the father needs to acknowledge paternity legally as soon as the baby is born. If the father’s lack of knowledge of the child is his own fault, the court can dismiss him as the father and not grant him any rights.

Even though it is not illegal not to tell the father that you are pregnant with his child, from a moral perspective, it is the right thing to do.

Additionally, lying or misleading the father, especially if he directly asked you if you are pregnant is against the law. This refers to both online and offline communication.

If you fear for your safety, you can seek an adoption coordinator to take over the case.

Adoption is not an easy decision to make, and you need to be certain that you want to go forward with it because revoking the decision can be quite difficult.

Informing the father would be the right thing to do – after all, both parents have their parental rights, and the decision should be satisfactory for both.

Please note: The information contained in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

Andrea Cerny is a writer with Angel Adoption Inc. with a background in publishing, marketing, and online media.

Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post I’m Pregnant And Considering Adoption. What Do I Need To Tell The Baby’s Father? appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Karie Boyd, an adoption attorney.

The process of adopting a child is complex and parents have a lot to consider. One of the most important considerations is whether the adoptive parents choose to maintain contact with the birth parents after adoption.

These so-called “post-adoption contact agreements” outline what birth parents can expect to receive from the adoptive parents, whether it’s photos, updates, or even visits with the family.

If you’re considering an open adoption, here are a few essential things to know about post-adoption contact agreements.

Adoption Contracts and Custody Agreements Are Different

The process of adoption requires birth parents to relinquish their parental rights. As such, a post-adoption contact agreement only regards things like visits, updates, and photos of the child.

An open adoption agreement is in no way the same as co-parenting a child. You, as the adoptive parent, will have all the rights and responsibilities of custody.

Adoption Contact Agreements Are Not Legally Binding or Enforceable

In the vast majority of cases, a post-adoption agreement is not subject to legal enforcement.

Adoption agencies do not have the power to hold adoptive parents accountable to a degree of openness.

Firms have the freedom to request photos or visits that did not come, but they cannot do much more than that.

Further, all a judge can do is order an agency to request the contact. However, the adoption firm may choose to discontinue services, like facilitating further adoptions.

Birth parents can similarly choose to discontinue the degree of openness at any time without legal consequence.

You Can Discontinue a Contact Agreement at Any Time

Just as contact agreements are non-enforceable, you have the power to discontinue it at any time.

As such, think of these agreements as more of a good faith measure – if at any time you feel that a degree of openness is not helpful or working out, you can discontinue the agreement without consequence.

In the rare case that an adoption agreement is a legal contract, you, as the adoptive parent, can appeal to the agency or the court to cancel the contract if you feel that continuing contact would lead to danger or harm of your child.

If You Have an Open Adoption, Have a Contract

Even though post-adoption contracts are not legally enforceable, having one can help create clear expectations for the birth parents.

Open adoptions are open to a lot of interpretation, and having an agreement helps you spell out exactly what the term means in your situation.

In some cases, open adoption means visitation. In others, it means a photo of your child with an annual holiday card.

Establishing a contract helps all parties stay on the same page regarding contact and visitation, while avoiding hurt feelings or a sense of betrayal.

Don’t Make Too Many Promises

As adoptive parents yearning for a child, it might be tempting to make promises to the birth parent with regard to updates, photos, and visitation.

However, you might find it difficult to keep those promises after placement. Even if it’s possible to send those updates at the beginning, it might become wearing after five, ten, or fifteen years.

When making post-contact adoption agreements, it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver, instead of the other way around.

Think about the bare minimum you can provide, and only offer that much.

Post-adoption contact agreements are essential if you’re considering an open adoption.

The best agreements are specific and only cater to what you can provide long-term. Unlike legal contracts, these agreements are not legally enforceable and may be discontinued as you see fit.

Karie Boyd is an experienced family law attorney with offices in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles, and Sacramento. Karie Boyd’s legal team has extensive experience handling adoption, step parent adoption, open adoption, closed adoption, and more.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

What Are Some Common Problems with Open Adoption and How Can They Be Addressed?

Potential adopters have lots of things to consider, one of which is to decide on open or closed adoption. In some cases, birth parents wish to learn about their biological child through things like updates, photos, and even occasional visits. While the biological parents completely relinquish their parental rights prior to the finalization of adoption, they may still have some contact with the child after, which inevitably leads to some issues. What are some of the most common issues with open adoptions, and how can parents navigate them?

Biological Parents’ Names

One of the most common complications that can arise, especially when a child gets older, is what to call the birth parents. This can be an awkward situation and it’s important to address the issue as soon as possible. A variety of options may be appropriate and depend largely on the preferences of the adoptive parents. Examples may include calling them by their first name or some derivative of “Mom” or “Aunt.” In these situations, there are no hard and fast rules, only what makes the family most comfortable. Whatever the case, be consistent to avoid confusion to the child. Talking through this issue as soon as possible will help mitigate any feelings of betrayal or hurt that can come with a topic so sensitive. Create names for anyone who will be involved in the child’s life ahead of time and stick to them.

Social Media Use

In the digital age, one of the most common problems comes from social media sharing and what is appropriate for birth parents to share regarding the child on their personal accounts. Photo sharing on social media can be a wonderful way for adoptive parents to share updates instantaneously with the birth parents, but the adoptive parents may be uncomfortable with birth parents sharing photos of the child on their social media accounts. The best way to handle this situation is by being upfront and explaining why it causes discomfort or anxiety. Getting everyone’s feelings stated clearly as soon as possible makes it easier to facilitate a compromise.

Boundaries

Problems often arise when the adoptive and birth parents have different definitions of what boundaries are appropriate. As such, it’s essential to lay out these definitions as soon as possible. Some people rely on post-adoption contact agreements to create and adhere to boundaries, though the terms of these agreements are not legally binding.

Even with clear expectations from the beginning, parents are likely to encounter hiccups along the way. Addressing problems as they occur is important, but so is the method by which parents work them out. For example, email and texting can be valuable tools, but it’s also easy to misconstrue tone or intention. This makes it easier to breed hurt or even feelings of resentment. When faced with a problem during an open adoption, try to work things out via in-person communication. This allows for an honest dialogue and hastens solutions to conflicts.

When it comes to open adoptions and navigating relationships with birth parents, there is no “one size fits all” solution. These relationships may need a lot of trial and error to be successful.

However, taking certain steps can help make the process easier. Create boundaries from the beginning and consider drawing up a post-adoption contact agreement. When problems do arise, attack them with open communication and resist the urge to communicate through passive methods like email and texting, where it’s easier to misconstrue information. By observing these tips, parents will be better equipped to navigate an open adoption.

The post Do I Need A Post-Adoption Contact Agreement? appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Alana Redmond.

The first holiday season with your adopted child should be one that is memorable.

Given this may be their first time ever celebrating, its important to make it extra special.

I put together a few tips to kickstart your holiday season and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Cook Together

Studies show that spending time in the kitchen has several health benefits for the mind, body and soul.

Spend this holiday season baking your grandma’s famous oatmeal cookies or baked pies. If you don’t have an old recipe to follow, get creative!

Sometimes spontaneous creations are the most rewarding. Even if your newest family member is too young to cook, make it a point to share these moments with them.

Building these memories will allow you to pass down recipes you created together or laugh at funny moments when you over-cooked the Thanksgiving turkey.  

Play Games

Today’s technology-filled world has often made it hard to put aside the screens and replace them with a card game, puzzle or board game.

There are several healthy benefits to playing games around the table with loved ones.

This includes healing emotional healing, social skill development, cooperation and will help boost and stimulate creativity.

Release Expectations

If you’re a perfectionist — or worry wart during the holidays — make this the one year you put stress on the back burner.

When having a newly adopted child, the home should be a place of positive warmth and good energy.

Let your guard down and you might be surprised at just how rewarding the time you spend with your new child is.

Create Traditions

There’s nothing more memorable than the smell of a burning fire or a hot pie in the oven. Smells have a strong connection to memory and good memories are the foundation to establishing beautiful traditions with your new adopted child.

Use your first year home with your child through adoption to start forming new traditions around the house. This can include your new yearly pumpkin carving tradition or hanging up the lights and decorations around the house.

Simple scrapbooking is also a very fun craft to do with your child. These books are fun and will be keepsakes for years to come.

Listen To Music

Just like smells, music is also a beautiful way to establish new traditions and memories.

Fill your home this holiday season with soothing tunes and sounds that will be heard for years to come.

Listening to music can invoke a response and trigger emotions that you and your child need when nesting in your home together.

Write a Letter

Letters are an excellent way to get you in the spirit of the holiday season and they are a memorable keepsake your child through adoption will have for years to come.

Write a handwritten note to your child about the times you spent during the holiday season and the little memories you carried on with them.

These nostalgic notes will be something you and your child can look back on for years to come.

Cut Technology Use

Try to cut down on your technology use this holiday season. Studies show that reducing phone usage can be beneficial to how you communicate with members of your family.  

During Christmas and Halloween time, houses are lit up with vibrant lights and electric spirit.

Getting outside is a great chance for you and your child to soak in the sun and breath in the crisp air.

Overall, don’t chase for the perfect holiday this year. Releasing expectations about how your first year with your adopted child will be a great opportunity to let your guard down and make new memories.

Alana Redmond is a legal content writer and has worked with several family law firms including The Law Offices of Stephen Vertucci in Fort Collins, CO.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Do you have an adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook

The post 7 Tips To Make Your First Holiday With Your Adopted Child Memorable appeared first on America Adopts.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

This guest post is by Lynea, a birthmother and the founder of Life After Placement.

I became a birth mom 28 years ago when I made the courageous decision to place my baby for adoption. My daughter and I reunited 18 years ago.

I experienced what those things do to a birth mother. The relationship with the adoptive parents, positive and negative, the minimal interactions through the years with them and my daughter, reunification and handling the challenges that it brings were all unchartered territory as far as I could determine.

My experience brought me to a place where I knew that Birth Moms needed more support and understanding, so I started Life After Placement (LAP). Life After Placement is a safe place created by Birth Moms for Birth Moms to get support, education and resources for all things post placement.

Our goal is to help society see birth parents as equals in the paradigm of adoption.

One thing that many birth parents talk about is feeling honored! When I was reunited with my birth daughter, I found one problem that has caused heartache for the both of us.

Her adoptive parents didn’t honor me as a birth mother. I had no control over how they spoke about me to her. When that time came to meet each other, the confusion was tearing her apart.

Who I really am versus who her parents told her I was was very different. This has scarred her immensely. I have tried my best to show her who I am and how much I have always loved her.

Our relationship difficulties affect her still today. Watching her struggle with this is just another heartache for me.

What part of honoring my choice of placing her was so difficult? Often adoptive parents are afraid of losing their child to their birth parents as they get older.

Some adoptive parents feel as though we have no place in the child’s life. I can understand this feeling, but it is damaging to the child.

The processing of knowing who they are and where they came from is important for their self-awareness. When adoptive families can widen their circle to allow birth parents in it leaves no place to lose their child.

Adoption has been going on for centuries. Historically birth parents have this shadow of shame surrounding them. Traditionally they go without being acknowledged.

If history has shown us anything it is that we don’t just go away! DNA testing is just a spit away from knowing your history and where you came from. It is common to read or hear of an adoptive child reuniting with their birth parent

Birth parents are a part of the child’s history; there will always be a genetic link. As a birth parent I know fear of the unknowns create feelings of jealousy, shame and anger.

I can only imagine what the fear of the unknown elicits for the adoptive parent. Those feelings need to be set aside so that what is in the best interest of the child can be carried out.

For years we have known that open adoption is great for the adopted child. It is also beneficial for the birth mom. The birth mom should be honored for the place she holds in the adopted child’s life.

There will be times that an adoptive parent will look at their child and whether it is because of a look or a behavior they will be reminded of their child’s birth parent.

The birth mom and the child have a permanent bond; at one time they were living entities in the same body. Through the adoption process that bond is severed which impacts both the birth Mom and adopted child.

Both the birth mom and the adopted child grieve the relationship. Open adoption can be amazing for the adoptive child.

They don’t have to wonder whether it is nature or nurture that has made them who they are; they will just know that it was both.

What I have learned from my own experience is that there are three guidelines that will always stand true and prevail with any relationship. 

Honesty 

Honesty is the one thing that is rare and difficult! Telling someone the truth is always challenged by fear, rejection or judgement.

We will tell others what we think they may want to hear versus the whole truth. Being honest creates a safe environment for the adoptive child and creates a place of healing. Honesty about feelings, and expectations.

Communication

Communication is always difficult; we all struggle with this. Social media is great, but it will never replace the one-on-one interaction.

It is easy to say something in a text or on social media; what it will not do is explain the emotion behind the words.

We are human and that is complicated in so many ways. We tend to hurt people without dealing with the consequences of our words.

Boundaries

Boundaries are necessary in life. We all have them and need them. How we choose them is important in relationships. Expectations are misunderstood without the support of honesty and communication.

As our children grow up, they will ask questions and test boundaries. We all did this as children; it is normal human behavior.

Honoring a birth parent is what will keep a child from feelings of confusion about themselves.

Birth parents and the adopted child are always going to be connected, it is in the DNA. The child will always be a part of the person who made them, you simply cannot change that.

My plea for everyone in adoption is to please honor birth parents. For whatever reason we came to the choice to place, please honor us.

We could have made a million single other choices; even one single choice could change the placement outcome. We chose our adoptive families out of love, we chose to place our child out of love.

We will always love this child! We will always remember the painful choice to place. Time does change us all, but the love will always stay a part of us.

Lynea is a birth mother of 28 years who has been reunited with her daughter for 18 years. Along with her other interests, she is passionate about helping other birthmothers to cope with the daily challenges of life after placing a child. Learn more about Lynea and the birthmother support group she founded at Life After Placement.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Do you have a birthmother or adoption story to share?  any time or find out more about how to share it with our community.

Help us remove the stigma surrounding open adoption. Like us on Facebook.

The post A Birthmother’s Advice On How To Honor Your Child’s Birth Parents appeared first on America Adopts.

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview