Twitter Facebook

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Hello there!

Happy Friday!

We hope you’ve had wonderful week, and that something fabulous is in store for the weekend ahead. As always, we open the weekend by sharing our favorite adoption and parenting reads of the week. Spreading information, love, and good stories.

Enjoy, and we’ll see you Monday 🙂

What does love look like through the eyes of an adoptee? “I’m not going to pretend that my adoption and reunion experience has suddenly, magically, made me understand everything there is to know about love. I won’t even say it’s made me willing to be vulnerable at all times in all places so I can embrace love more freely. I am still who I am — thanks to genetics and experiences — and I remain somewhat reserved and protective of myself. But, I do understand that love can be wonderful and messy, amazing and frightening, awesome and intimidating. And that’s a part of what I’ve learned as an adoptee.”

Why labeling feelings with our children is so important.

We’ve written about talking adoption with your child’s teachers before, but here’s more excellent writing about that conversation from Kristen Howerton. She focuses specifically on guiding teachers through her children who have attachment and emotional issues.

We love this podcast episode from Confessions of an Adoptive Parent about lessons learned from a traumatic past.

Excellent relaxation tips for dealing with stress…perfect for when you’re going through the adoption process!

How do you advocate for your child when no one is listening? “Have you ever stopped to consider what successful advocacy is…and what it isn’t? Fact is, we live in a very socialized, public, short-fused world. Advocacy has taken on many different forms- some good, some bad, over the past few years, in particular. But when it comes to our kiddos, and advocating for them to professionals, there are some things you must do, and some things you need to pay closer attention to.”

This adoptee talks poignantly and honestly about the darker side to adoption. Before she found a family, she says, she had to lose one. “I know you by your less popular name and function: abandonment. Before I gained a family, I had to lose one. You handed me one identity while you hid the other, like a city built atop ruins. You’ve taken just as much as you’ve given. You hold all of the secrets to my most fundamental questions. Do I have siblings? On what day was I really born? What is my medical history? The average person from the average family does not have to wonder such things. These are all core pieces of a person’s identity that most take for granted, yet were robbed from me.”

 

As An Adoptive Parent, What Should You Ask Your Child’s Pediatrician?

When you’re adopting a baby, you’re thrown into a fast and furious process, which includes healthcare. When you adopt, you may not know your child’s full medical history. Some families have more information than others, depending on their relationship to the birth family or simply how much information is actually available. That’s okay—you can still do this, and your child will be perfectly fine! It just means perhaps a deeper dive into Q&A sessions with your child’s pediatrician. And the best way to approach that discussion is to be prepared.

Here are some of the questions you should ask your pediatrician about your child’s healthcare. Write them down, and feel good knowing you’re arriving at your child’s early medical appointments prepared!

If you’re looking for a pediatrician, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with adopted children. You may find someone who has a great deal of experience, and that’s a huge plus.

What documents do they need from you to best oversee your child’s medical care? You may have birth records, or even a medical background from your child’s birth parents, but what other questions can you ask the birth family or your adoption agency about your child’s health history that could best inform your pediatrician? You may not be able to give your child’s doctor an answer to every question, but knowing what they need most gives you the tools to ask the right questions to get as much information about your child as possible.

How available are they? Do you have 24-hour access to a nurse or even the pediatrician? What happens if there is an emergency after-hours? Get a 360-degree understanding of how to contact your pediatrician at any time, and make sure that any backups you need are noted and in place.

What is their position on medicating young children? Antibiotics are heavily prescribed in this country, and are often given to children for viruses, or even the flu, when it’s not fully necessary. Make sure that you and your pediatrician align on the issue of prescriptions and antibiotics. This is also a good time to do your own research, so you’re aware of your position and the kinds of medications you do and don’t want your child taking.

Do they have any local referrals for individuals associated with the health of adopted children? Whether that’s a therapist, special needs counselor, a particular school district, or hospital—any resources your pediatrician can provide regarding medical professionals equipped to handle, treat, and empower adopted children is vital. The stronger your child’s wellness community, the better!

What questions would you add to this list?

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Hello!

Happy Friday!

We hope it is a happy Friday indeed, and that you’re looking forward to a beautiful weekend. We’re starting it off with a few of our favorite reads of the week, and we hope you enjoy.

See you Monday 🙂

This mother shares about the day she met her baby girl through adoption:

“Mom! Be quiet! Just listen to me. I’m a MOM! And you’re a grandma! And my daughter is about to be born right now. We need to…”

“No! No! This doesn’t happen like this. This isn’t the way this happens! You just began this process about six weeks ago!”

“Well, it’s happening. Like this. Now! A birth mom chose me as the baby’s mommy and I have been in this town for six days, but I’m flying home to you and Dad and…I’m a Mom! I don’t even have a crib or bedding picked out. No clothes. What kind of diapers do I…?”

After this incredible couple had triplets by birth, each of whom was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, they were inspired to seek out adoption for children with ongoing medical needs.

An essay on race, class, and culture, and how they all affect transracial adoption.

A first-of-its-kind study in Canada has shown that three of out of five homeless youth were once in the child welfare system. “Of those with a history in the child welfare system, almost two of every five respondents eventually ‘aged out’ of provincial or territorial care, losing access to the sort of support that could have kept them from becoming homeless, the study found.”

Interested in creating a life story book for an adopted or fostered child? Here are some great tips!

Is divorcing a child an acceptable option? Even if they could a real danger to the family?

Why it’s insensitive to tell someone “to just adopt.”

 

You Have A Call With A Prospective Birth Mother…Now What?

Congratulations! You’re in the middle of your adoption process, and you have a phone call with a potential birth mother. This is an exciting moment! And it is also scary, confusing, and you may have a bit of trepidation. It’s hard not to go into a call this momentous without being filled with expectation. But expectant energy can be stressful for a birth mother, and so we’d like to share some tips for making the call go as smoothly as possible.

Focus on her. She is making a forever life-changing decision in choosing a family with whom to place her child. And depending on the type of adoption process you two want, you could be in each other’s lives for a very, very long time. Like with any relationship, having that connection, spark, and mutual understanding is key to securing a solid foundation. She needs to feel comfortable with you, and your showing interest in her is paramount to that. Listening is key. There are so many things you may want to know, but don’t push her past the point where she’s comfortable. Keep an open mind and ear, and authentically connect with what she’s saying—not what you wish she would say.

Give the conversation some thought. You will both likely be nervous, and that’s okay! That’s why putting a bit of thought beforehand into questions you may have will help things move more smoothly. She could be incredibly talkative, she may feel extraordinarily shy. Be prepared for both scenarios, and allow the conversation to flow naturally. Which questions would you want someone to ask you if you were in her position? Which questions would you never want to answer? It’s okay to take notes and write things down! The more prepared you are, the better.

Allow her to make the next move. We’ll put it bluntly: urgent, desperate energy rarely feels good to its recipient. You cannot control how quickly she makes her decision, or what the final decision even is. No matter how badly you want to—and it is okay if you do! It’s her child being placed for adoption, and she deserves every minute she needs to make that decision. At the end of the call, express your gratitude for the experience, wish her well, and let her lead whether or not there will be a follow-up. Don’t barrage her with communication in between, just give her the space to think everything through. This will be the hardest part, but your effort here will make a momentous impact.

Most of all relax…and good luck!

 

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Can you believe it is August? Whew! Summer always flies by. We make millions of plans and maybe a third of them come to fruition. But we’re in the home stretch now, and that means a few more weeks to bask in sunshine, relish ice cream, and get our kiddos running around, soaking up as much vitamin D as possible. Summer!

If you have a moment to soak up some good reads this weekend, might we recommend the below?

My child doesn’t remember his neglect as an infant, but his body does.

What do you do on your adopted child’s first day home when they aren’t a newborn?

This adoption surprise is priceless (and a tearjerker!)

How Russian adoptions became a controversial topic.

This is a beautiful story about how two parents chose to keep their adopted son’s name, which means “peace” in his native language of Ethiopia (he was adopted from an orphanage, not as a newborn). How do you feel about sharing the naming process with your child’s birth mother, or their native country?

The new book, A Life Let Go, features a memoir and five birth mother stories about closed adoption. It is filled with pain, and resilience, and incredibly important stories.

How do you define family?

Being a parent can easily make you reach your boiling point…the trick is in how you handle it. Here are some excellent tips for calming yourself down and bringing it back in when parenting has you feeling in over your head.

Talking to Your Child’s Teacher About Adoption

Can you believe it’s August already? We still have a month of summer left, but the season feels like it’s flown by, and we’re seeing back-to-school marketing everywhere. This is a very exciting and anticipatory time of year—especially for adoptive parents of elementary school children. There are so many assignments that revolve around the family, and they tend to make assumptions about how families are formed and where children come from. It’s a learning moment, for sure, but it also puts kids and parents in the position of having to field certain questions, and anticipate how adoption may come up throughout the school year.

As a parent, you may worry: how will my child(ren) get treated? What will happen when the inevitable school project involving a family tree gets assigned? Will their teacher know how to address and work with adopted kids in a way that is sensitive, respectful, and doesn’t make them feel singled out?

Having a solid plan for how to address these concerns will go a long way, not only to prepare your child, but to prepare your child’s teacher. It is a wonderful opportunity to bring adoption education and awareness into the classroom, and to ease your child into having conversations about adoption with others. Here are a few tips for making this process go as smoothly and positively as possible.

Reach out to your child’s teacher before the school year starts. This is going to solve a lot of problems. Being able to introduce yourself, to have a conversation with your child’s teacher and fully express questions and concerns will alleviate a great deal of stress. It will also give your child’s teacher a valuable opportunity to explore any questions or concerns they may have. This could very well be their first time teaching an adopted child, or addressing adoption as part of their curriculum, and your heads up gives them a powerful opportunity to make a lasting impact.

Go over any potentially problematic school assignments. Will there be any assignments this year that involve family, lineage, or heritage? If so, talk with your child’s teacher about how to make it an educational experience for everyone, as well as a safe space for your child to explore these topics and to succeed in the project on their own terms.

Offer to come in and give a lesson about adoption. This may not be your thing, or this could be totally up your alley. Either way, it is a wonderful opportunity to support your child, to provide a more detailed educational experience about adoption, and to add a rich and valuable lesson to your child’s curriculum.

Have a conversation with your child. Part of making your child feel safe at school is creating a safe space for them at home as well. If adoption has never come up before at school, it’s a good idea to have a conversation with them about how it may arise in the upcoming school year. What are their concerns? Is there anything that makes them nervous? What are they comfortable discussing and not discussing? Let them know they can always come to you if anything makes them uncomfortable, and that they don’t have to do or talk about anything they don’t want to. Perhaps even come up with some helpful ways for them to respond to questions that make them uncomfortable. Conversations like this will allow you and your child to set boundaries you are both comfortable with, while giving them the tools to stand up for themselves and to feel confident in who they are.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Friday!

We hope you had a peaceful week, and are preparing for a smooth entry into the weekend. May it be sunny and relaxing wherever you are, with only good times ahead!

As always, enjoy our favorite adoption and parenting reads of the week. Share with others or save for yourself—either way we hope they spark something.

See you Monday :).

Can adoptive parents really love their children?

9 ways parents can help bullied children build resilience.

“I should have a mom, but for now I don’t.” 

Attitudes about adoptions from foster care in the US are shifting.

This is not news, but it did make us laugh. That counts, right?

How to answer rude questions about adoption from relatives.

How to stay mindful when the kids are fighting.

What to do when you don’t feel love for your child. “There was a day, just a few years ago, where I looked at my oldest son and felt zero affection for him. In fact, I even told him one day that I didn’t care if I never saw him again and I wanted him gone from my house. Awful, I know! He too had pushed us to the brink, caused our other children to feel unsafe and insecure, and turned our entire household upside down. It left me cold to the core toward him. I hated that, but I couldn’t help it.”

 

Preparing For Transracial Adoption

Transracial adoption is a beautiful thing, but talking about race can be uncomfortable—especially if it’s a culture with which you’re not familiar. How will you talk to your child about race? How will other people talk to your child about race? What challenges might your child or family have? These are excellent questions and legitimate concerns—and they shouldn’t stop you from adopting a child of another race. Here are a few thoughts on preparing for a transracial adoption.

Find support. Think of your community. Will your child always be the minority in the place you live? That’s not a reason to not adopt a child from another race, but it is something to consider, and finding people who share your child’s cultural history not only offers support for you and your family, but your child as well. These individuals can help answer questions you may have about experiences with race, as well as resources, groups, or individuals in your community that can offer help and support.

What about your personal community? Church, family, friends, a book group, a volunteer organization—each of these spaces can help expand your network to bring more people into your family’s life that identify with your child, or the experience of adopting a child of another race. It is okay to ask questions, to not know everything, or to rely on others for help. That is what communities are for!

Read. There are so many incredible books, blogs, and resources for learning about other cultures and transracial adoption experiences. Books and articles written by individuals who have shared a similar experience are invaluable and can help answer some of the tougher questions about race, and the experience of parenting a child whose race and culture differ from your own.

Stock your home. Simply put, non-white children don’t have the same resources as white children for reading or learning about kids who share their experience. Diversity is a growing trend in children’s literature, and it’s a good idea to stock up and have children’s books, TV shows, movies, and iconography that supports their race and culture. White children receive ample exposure to children of their same culture—children from other races deserve the same.

Do your research. What are the cultural norms and traditions shared by your child’s culture? Are their holidays different? What are the best ways of taking care of their hair and skin? What do they celebrate and what is their belief system? Research as much as you possibly can about your child’s culture so you can fold their culture into your own, sharing traditions, celebrating holidays, honoring beliefs, and nurturing their body in the ways that are authentic to their heritage.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Friday!

You made it!

Now you should celebrate by reading all these great articles, some of our favorites of the week about adoption and parenting. Enjoy, and we’ll see you Monday.

 

4 reasons why adoption is one of the most amazing adventures.

10 birthmother stories guaranteed to change the way you look at birth mothers.

Get ready to cry your eyes out, as you watch these two kids get a surprise from Mickey Mouse about their adoption!

Seven siblings being adopted together after being separated in the foster care system.

This angelic couple is adopting seven siblings who were separated in the foster care system. Absolutely incredible.

Unpacking the adoption that wasn’t.

Why do you think the international adoption rate is plummeting in the US?

Is international adoption playing a role in the relationship between the White House and Russia?

Love this story of one couple’s quest to grow their family by adoption, and their commitment to adopting those often thought of as “unadoptable” through the foster-to-adopt system.

 

 

Supporting The Birth Mother In Your Life

Being a birth mother is an incredibly difficult, courageous, bold, and deeply emotional. Placing your child for adoption is a no easy decision, and the emotional effects of that decision never go away.

If you know a birth mother in your life, or are close to your child’s, you’ve probably seen them go through so many things—from happiness at the new life their child has, to insatiable grief that they aren’t parenting their child themselves. This process is natural. And rather than judgment, birth mothers need and deserve support, compassion, and love.

If you know a birth mother going through a tough time, how can you help her out?

Listen. There aren’t answers for a birth mother’s sadness. There isn’t a magical way to make her feel better and take her pain away. But you can give her a safe space to talk, cry, scream, question, and process. That type of compassion leaves an indelible impact, and lets her know she’s not alone.

Check in. Reach out daily with a text or friendly email, or perhaps drop by with a soothing tea or cup of coffee. It’s easy to go days thinking no one cares, or that people don’t realize the depth of your pain. Having someone in your life who makes an effort and shows they’re thinking of you goes a million miles. To be reminded each day that you’re not alone is a gift so many don’t receive. Small gestures often go farther than grand, sweeping ones.

Plan a distraction. When we’re in the thick of depression, distraction is key. It could be a movie, dinner reservations at a new restaurant, a walk in a scenic park, or sitting outside somewhere and enjoying the summer sunshine. Having something new, fresh, and different to look forward to is so energizing. It’s also a powerful reminder of everyone’s innate need for self-care, and why getting out and doing something for ourselves can be deeply healing.

Connect her with new people. We all need new friends! And the older we get, the harder they are to make. Introduce the birth mother in your life to someone you think she’d get along with. Plan a coffee date as an introduction, or host a regular gathering like a cookbook club, book club, or dinner party night. Community is key!

Above all, lead with love and keep your heart open. What she’s going through isn’t easy, and your acknowledgement of that will mean the world.