Twitter Facebook

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Saturday!

How was your week? We hope good and not too stressful. The weekend is here, and that means we’re sharing our favorite adoption and parenting reads of the week. The pieces that inspired and informed, taught us something new or made us feel something lovely. We hope you enjoy.

See you Monday!

Three ways toxic stress impacts learning (video). These are important to note, especially if you adopted a child who experienced childhood trauma or suffers from anxiety, depression, or any other mental health disorder. There are ways to help them move through it!

An excellent and informative piece about what to do once you’ve been matched!

10 things that surprised this mama about adoption. “Adoption made me sad. I’d always thought of adoption as being a happy event…and it is…but there are so many layers. Post-partum depression is something that people understand. They smile and nod and murmur supportive words…but post-adoption depression? Yeah, not so much. People don’t understand.”

What a beautiful perspective: how adoption makes us the best version of ourselves.

California is passing a law that will end meal shaming in schools. “Students in California whose families owe money for school lunches will no longer be given only a snack — a cheese stick, an apple and a glass of milk — or nothing at all, until they’re all paid up. They’ll get the same meal as all the other students.”

For the first time ever, Americans are adopting more boys than girls.

The orphan this couple thought they adopted from Uganda wasn’t an orphan at all. “The child we had struggled for years to adopt was not an orphan at all, and almost everything that was written in her paperwork and told to us about her background was not an accurate description of her life in Uganda.”

We need to save the adoption tax credit! “Congress is considering eliminating the adoption tax credit, raising the cost of adoption and potentially hurting millions of American families. Congress needs to keep the adoption credit and make it refundable again to help even more children in need of a family. Save the Adoption Tax Credit is a national collaboration of organizations and individuals united to support adoption by advocating to save and improve the adoption tax credit.

Become A More Active Listener

The adoption process requires intense listening skills. And that means actively listening on such a level where you hear deeply what the other person is saying, and where they feel powerfully heard. This is especially the case with your child’s birth mother and your child, as they grow and begin to process their life, and experience challenging feelings and emotions. Listening, real listening, is incredibly difficult. Much harder than you would think. And so many alienate those around them by not being good listeners. We believe in this skill very much, and want to share with you a few tips for enhancing your active listening skills.

  1. Don’t speak. So often when listening to others we want to jump in with “me too!” and “I’ve been there!” to let the other person know we understand what they’re going through. But that takes the attention off the individual. It completely interrupts their thought process and restricts their voice. When you are truly listening, you aren’t thinking about what you’re going to say next, or how you can relate. That type of mental distraction is palpable and will stifle your loved one’s ability to safely communicating with you.
  2. Don’t multi-task. We are a dreadful culture of  multi-taskers. How many times have you sat on the phone with someone and at the same time scrolled through Facebook on the computer, or had the TV on low in the background, or was looking up stuff on your iPad? That’s not listening. It’s a clear distraction, and it is very audible to the other individual.
  3. Make eye contact. Non-verbal communication is vital when it comes to listening. Not making eye contact, crossing your arms, sitting in a closed-off way, keeping your head down—none of these gestures communicate openness and engagement. Focus on opening up your body to the person who’s talking. You can communicate so much in silence.
  4. Ask questions. This one is so important. Often people are not actually looking for advice. They just want to vent, to be heard.  Asking questions shows you’re listening, and it encourages them to go deeper. You could help them uncover a great deal about what they’re feeling, just by asking them more about what they’re saying. Ask thoughtfully, without judgement, and without anticipating how you’re going to respond.
  5. Allow room for silence. There is not enough silence in conversation, and silence is where the real discoveries occur. When you accept silence, you also accept that you’re not going to try and fill it. You don’t have to say anything to offer support. Just hold space. Observe what happens. It will change the way you hear your loved ones.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Friday!

Is it a happy Friday for you? We hope so.

We’re ready for the weekend, and so happy to be nicely into fall. Here are some reads that caught our eye this week that hopefully warm, provoke, inspire, and generate a bit of thoughtfulness.

Big hugs, and see you Monday.

“Grieving for a child that never died.” Or, what it feels like to grieve a failed adoption. “Then 12 days later she was no longer ours and no legal system had ever given us the term ‘parents.’ We were merely her legal guardians. To the system, we were nothing more than babysitters, so when I go to tell people about the two children that I lost within a year, our adopted daughter and my biological daughter, I still don’t know exactly what the words should sound like at this point. I don’t know how to tell them that I lost two children but one lives.”

How do you best integrate an older adopted child into the family?

5 signs it’s time to take your adoption networking plan to the next level.

What this adoptive mama wishes she’d known about how early childhood trauma affects adopted children.

8 things never to say to a special needs parent. Note: “She/he looks normal to me” is not helpful.

The states of Oregon and Kentucky are facing off in a dispute over the adoption of a four year-old girl.

Some thoughts on effectively talking to your kids about depression. “If you’re unsure how to respond to a question, it’s OK to tell your child that you don’t know the answer but will get back to them, Schlesinger said. Children often ask questions because they want to make sure everyone is doing their best and that the family is OK.”

 

October 10 Is World Mental Health Day

Today is World Mental Health Day. Did you know that is a thing? It is, and it is so very needed. Every year 1 in 4 people are affected by a mental health problem. That’s 25% of the population—a staggering number.

There are a lot of horrible stigmas about mental health, and they persist across the world. It’s a topic near and dear to the adoption world, because many children come into their adopted families via traumatic backgrounds that can cause a variety of mental health issues. The scope of mental health disorders is far-reaching, and it includes depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, post-adoption depression, postpartum depression, ADHD, OCD, schizophrenia, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, attachment disorders, and so much more.

Mental health issues affect individuals of every age and background. They can be chronic and persistent, they can be situational and temporary, they can be staggering, they can be low-level to a point where someone may feel it doesn’t need to be taken seriously, or they’re making too big of a deal out of it. They cause shame. Fear. Confusion. Sadness. Desperation.

One thing they are not is an experience you or your child has to endure alone. It is okay to not be okay. It does not mean you or your child are damaged and beyond repair. It does not mean that you do not deserve help. It does not mean that something is wrong with you. It is okay if some days, the only thing you or your child can bear to do is survive.

We cannot overstate this: you always deserve help. You always deserve someone to talk to. Our mental health is the most valuable thing we have. And you matter. What you need matters. What your child needs matters. Anyone who tells you otherwise, or does not support your mental health, does not have your best interest at heart. And your best interest is always at heart.

Do you or someone you know struggle with a mental health issue but don’t know where to turn? The National Institute of Mental Health has some excellent resources to get you started. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers 24/7 support with live counselors, including mental health referrals and crisis counseling. You do not need to be considering suicide to utilize or benefit from their services, but if you or someone you know is, please call:1-800-273-8255. They will help.

They have also shared a comprehensive list of resources on their website, offering specific resources and support for everyone from the LGBTQ population, to disaster relief victims, Native Americans, loss survivors, vets, attempt survivors, and more.

To anyone in our community struggling with mental health issues, we honor and speak up for you today, and we are here for you everyday.

You are loved.

You are not alone.

You are never alone.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Hi dear friends. Big hugs to you this week. It’s been a tough one.

Give yourself some time for relaxation and self-care and hold tight the people you love.

Here are a few of our favorite reads of the week.

See you Monday <3.

You can’t love too much. Attachment doesn’t slow growth. It fuels it. “Whenever children can take for granted their attachment needs will be met, they will no longer be preoccupied with pursuing us. In other words, when you can count on your caretaker, you no longer need to cling to them. Kids who are clinging to us when they are no longer preschoolers may be doing so out of insecurity. It is security in the attachment relationship that frees children and allows them to let go of us; attachment isn’t the enemy of maturity but insecure relationships will be.”

A good grandparent may be more life-changing than you think.

Two Asian-American woman discuss what it’s like to be transracial adoptees.

The lonely battle of raising a child with special needs. “If you’re raising a child with special needs you probably identify with that scenario. If your child suffers from a disorder like FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder), or Reactive Attachment Disorder, you especially identify. You might even say, “Yep..been there, done that!” You understand the defeat of trying to get your child to cooperate in the middle of a tantrum. You’ve experienced the struggle of being in a public place while your child acts out, throws a tantrum, screams obscenities, or destroys personal property.”

This woman was surprised on her birthday by the son she placed for adoption 18 years earlier. So amazing.

Today.com is looking for YOUR adoption story!

Is it ethical to spread the word about an unvaccinated child? “Having children can be scary. Parental love, like all love, makes you vulnerable, because you can be profoundly threatened by harm to someone else. Unlike most other loves, however, parental love also involves overwhelming responsibility. Your young children are enormously dependent on you. In light of these intersecting conditions, it’s not surprising that parents can be panicked by the possibility that they will fail as caretakers…”

When You and Your Spouse Disagree About Adoption

Whenever two spouses don’t agree about big life events—marriage, home ownership, finances, children—it can be incredibly lonely and discombobulating. Adoption is no exception. It is an intensely emotional, time-consuming, and potentially expensive process, and it definitely requires the agreement of both partners to move forward. Although it can be frustrating, we encourage you not to panic. Openness and compassion are key, and desperate, angry, or negative energy tends to push others away, which is the opposite of what you want. Here are a few tips for having constructive conversations that hopefully get you both on the same page.

Listen to your partner’s concerns. 

What are they hesitant about? What scares them? Why do they not feel this is the right time for adoption? What would make them feel more comfortable in moving forward? Is there a way to expose them to some of the things they fear, like adoptive parents who have been in a similar situation, so they can ask questions and have a greater understanding of what the experience is like? The spouse that is more comfortable with adoption has likely put more thought into it, done some research, considered a wider range of options. The reticent partner may not be there yet. You can’t push your partner to be where you are. But you can create an open, compassionate space for them to process their concerns so the two of you can assess what you need to do together to create a more solid foundation for moving forward.

Consider, how does your partner usually process big decisions?

There are many ways to make a big personal decision. Some people are all in, heart-forward, comfortable jumping into the unknown without a net. For others, that lack of structure can be truly terrifying, and they’re more comfortable with a logic-based, right-brained approach. Understanding how your partner processes and makes big decisions is key to getting them on the same page with you. You can’t expect them to be exactly where you are. It’s vital that you consider how they might make their way to a similar place, and what they need to get them there.

Give it a rest. 

No one likes to be sold to. And if your partner feels like you’re constantly trying to convince them to go for adoption, it could push them away. Make your case, express your emotions, and then consider backing off for a bit. Some people process information best in the moment, talking it out and coming to an immediate resolution. Others need time to ruminate and consider. Your spouse may not talk to you about it for weeks, but be thinking about it very intently. Don’t underestimate the power of space and silence.

Find community!

The best way to gather support in moments of uncertainty to is surround yourself with compassionate community. Find an adoption support group, locate people in your area who have been or are in the same position as you and gather their perspectives. Outside opinions often make the biggest impact.

Keep the conversations going, stay open, stay kind, and lead with your heart. <3

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Hi! Happy Friday! How are you? Good, we hope. Let’s start off the weekend with something interesting to read, shall we?

Enjoy. We’ll see you Monday!

Have you struggled with how to talk about adoption with your non-adopted kids? This article provides some excellent thoughts on the subject.

Real adoptive parents answer: how did they tackle tricky school assignments like family trees so they fit the needs of their child? One mother says, “I explained to her teacher that this was a difficult topic, because a response would require explaining a great deal about her early years. Although she is proud of her Chinese name and heritage, she did not want to explain the details of her adoption to her classmates. Her teacher was kind and understanding. With her prompting, other students volunteered that the assignment was difficult for them, as well. The teacher provided several alternatives for completing the assignment, one of which was chosen by our relieved daughter.”

Adopting from foster care…this mama breaks down some misconceptions. “On my very first date with my husband, I mustered the courage to ask him the one question that would be a deal breaker. ‘How do you feel about adoption?’ His answer was encouraging, so I took a deep breath and asked one more question, ‘How would you feel about adopting from foster care?'”

When you’re deciding when you want to become a parent, there is no doubt that finances are a factor. This conversation has only become increasingly challenging for young couples who are likely saddled with student loan debt and emerging into adulthood with financial insecurities. Time offers some tips for tackling this tough conversation.

In the UK, adoptive families are facing some serious challenges—from violence to trauma.

What do we know about failed adoption matches?

Do you know everything you need to know about birth parent rights?

From a birth mother’s perspective: how can people support friends or family members who are pregnant and have made an adoption plan?

 

 

Keeping Your Mind Open

Adoption! What a blessing. What an exhausting mess of emotions. What a gift. What a giant ball of stress. It is amazing how one thing can elicit such a diverse range of feelings, isn’t it?

When you first approach the idea of adoption, it can be hard to level your expectations. Our initial dreams of becoming parents are often rooted in…perfection. Everything goes the way it should, we become the parents of healthy, happy children who grow up to love us unconditionally and to do all the right things. No matter how you become a family, the chances of everything working out perfectly and exactly how you envisioned it is…unlikely at best.

Today we want to talk to you about keeping your mind and heart open throughout your adoption process. And that means relieving yourself of expectations about what your process, or your new family, HAS to be, and allowing yourself to expand into everything and anything the process naturally becomes.

It’s true. Your adoption journey may looking nothing like what you anticipated. You may become the parents of a child who doesn’t look, act, or think anything like you imagined. You may gain family members you never thought you’d have, or become a parent unlike one you ever expected. And all of that is wonderful, and meant to be.

When we close ourselves off into a box sealed by our expectations, we don’t see the potential of what could be. We say no to opportunities we haven’t even explored. We determine that something isn’t right for us before we even have a chance to experience it. We turn something down before even knowing what it could be. And that’s such a shame.

So as you’re going through your process, identify what scares you. What makes you feel uncomfortable, or nervous, or unsure. Write it down. Articulate it. Put it out there. And then release it. Get rid of it. Clear your mind of what you think this process should be, and allow yourself to be open to whatever happens.

Your gut and intuition are so strong. They will tell you when something is right. Don’t shut down that impulse before it has a chance to work in your favor.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Hello there! Can you believe September is almost over? We absolutely cannot. Let’s read some fabulous articles from around the internet to take our minds off things, eh?

Here are the ones that caught our eye this week…we hope you enjoy!

See you Monday :).

Are you struggling to get your child into an evening routine? This sweet activity either falls into the category of “way too much work,” or “cute, and my kid might enjoy this.” It’s creative enough to have caught our attention, so we thought we’d share.

Do you listen to the Honestly Adoption podcast? It’s one of our faves, and they just relaunched with a super informative new episode about handling the behaviors of children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

 

Why post-adoption support is just as vital as pre-adoption support.

The ACLU has filed a suit claiming that same-sex couples face bias in adoption.

The Sri Lankan government is launching an investigation into an alleged baby racket in the 1980s, where babies were reportedly taken from mothers and sold to foreigners. “In an interview for a television documentary, to be aired in the Netherlands on Wednesday, Senaratne acknowledged the existence of illegal ‘baby farms’ in Sri Lanka in the 1980s. Children were either bought or stolen before being sold to westerners for adoption, the programme makers allege.”

Israel has announced that they are changing their same-sex adoption law, and giving same-sex couples legal adoption rights. 

Why “I’d get too attached to be a foster parent” is really the greatest excuse… “If being a foster parent sounds like it’s just setting yourself up for hurt . . . I want to challenge you. These children did not choose to be foster children. Their lives are completely up in the air, and are dependent on total strangers’ decisions. When you guard your heart so carefully that there is no room for them in it . . . They do not disappear. When you dismiss their plight with a wave of your hand and a quick excuse, they are still without a home.”

 

How Can Adoption Impact Your Life?

There is no question that adoption has changed our lives forever. Far before we founded Abby’s One True Gift. Not just through the expansion of our family, which grew by two beautiful children, but in our mission and purpose, which evolved to encompass helping others find their forever family, or gain support and stability in choosing adoption placement.

As a result, we’ve spent many years watching families come together, lives change, and children grow. And when we think of adoption, we always think expansion. It’s a process that promotes love, family, diversity, acceptance, openness, and compassion. It makes your life bigger and wider than it was before, and it forever changes the way you see the world.

So we wanted to share with you some of the more emotional ways in which adoption impacts your life, beyond the physical growth of a family.

It shifts your idea of family. Family doesn’t have to mean biological, and it doesn’t have to come about in one specific way to make it real or true. When you grow your family through adoption, you expand into the potential of what family can be, and relieve yourself of the expectations of what it has to be. Birth parents and grandparents become close-knit family members, new cultures merge together as one. Boundaries are broken.

It teaches you not to judge. When you sit down with a woman who has chosen to place her child with another family to give them the best possible life, it teaches you a thing or two about judging others. Everyone has challenges in this world. That is not the measure of who they are. Their capacity to love, their openness to others, and their quest to do good is what really matters.

It takes you out of your comfort zone. Adoptive parents have to put themselves and their lives on the line constantly throughout the adoption process. Whether you’re in the middle of your home study or trying to match with a birth mother, you have to face your fears daily and be present, raw, and honest. As a birth parent you have to do the same. You have to trust yourself to do something unfathomably selfless, and confront that decision every single day. There is no comfort zone in adoption.

It makes you part of a wider community. Once you’ve been through the adoption process, you’re part of a global community of adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth parents who each share a rare, unique experience. You mean so much to those who come after you, in need of advice and encouragement. Those who’ve paved the way show that anything is possible.

You become an advocate. Global awareness and knowledge of adoption is expanded by those who have experienced it. You are the living examples of how this process can change lives. Your advocacy and the stories you share have the power to change the world, and the lives of anyone looking to expand theirs through adoption.

How has adoption broadened your horizons?