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Have A Great Weekend.

Happy Weekend! We hope it’s a sunny and bright one. Spend this time taking care of yourself and the ones you love. You deserve it. 

Check out our blog this week! We talk about what to do when adoption expectations do not meet reality.

Huffington Post gets personal with this story of adoptive parents creating racial identities for their adopted children.

How long does it take to do something once you have kids? Cup of Jo presents a hilarious before and after.

Get involved in Molly’s Mission! Molly is a former foster child making the foster world a better place for everyone.

Chances are, there will never be a “perfect” time to adopt. Take the leap!

The state of Hawaii maintains that it attempts to reunify children in foster care with relatives, but do they? Deborah Goodwin’s shares her experience. 

Are you ready to grow your biological family through adoption and are concerned about blending your family? Don’t worry, it’s more common than you think.

Open adoption is a brave and difficult decision. Here are some tips on creating a durable and long-lasting relationship. 

Looking for fun and free activities for your kids this summer? Very Well Family has you covered!

Summer has just started, but school will be back before we know it! Here are some guidelines for easing your newly adopted child into school. 

 

The Fantasy of Post-Adoption Bliss

After all you endure on the adoption journey, you’d expect a little bliss to be at the end. Not always. You definitely deserve to feel happy, but the reality may be that you’re left feeling sad, under-prepared, and exhausted. While every person is unique, there are some general themes in the emotional ups and downs of adoption. This is common. How do you overcome post-adoption depression?

We hear a lot about Postpartum Depression, but we don’t often hear about depression following a lengthy adoption journey. Like a pregnancy, adoption is stressful, it’s just stressful in different ways. Entering an adoption journey can create unrealistic expectations, and when those expectations don’t meet reality, the feeling of failure can set in. 

If you start to feel down in the days after your adoption is finalized, don’t feel shame. Here are a few steps you can take to help yourself and regain emotional balance:

  • Find a therapist. Perhaps look for one with experience in adoption, parenting, or depression. A therapist can help you understand what you’re feeling, and give you the tools you need to feel better, more grounded, and confident in your parenting journey. 
  • Join an adoption support group. Often when someone feels depressed, they feel they are totally alone. In joining a group who has experience with this situation, it’s more likely you will find someone going through the same thing. Community is key, and a powerful tool for navigating the highs and lows of being a new parent.
  • Be open and honest with family and friends. Don’t be afraid to lean on your support system. Communicate how you’re feeling and let them help. 
  • Take care of yourself. Make sure that you are eating, sleeping, and exercising. Take time out to do something you enjoy. Remember that taking care of yourself is taking care of your child — it has to start with you. And the better your mental, emotional, and physical health, the stronger you can be as a supportive, loving parent. 

For a deeper look into the struggle with post-adoption depression, check out Amy Rogers Nazarov’s story of her journey after adoption

Have A Great Weekend

Happy Weekend! It’s been pretty gloomy in the midwest, but hopefully some of you are feeling the sunshine! We’re dropping by with our favorite reads of the week — enjoy!

This week on our blog, we addressed digital safety for kids and teens, and shared some of our favorite tips for making the internet a safe space for yours. 

The Indian Child Welfare Act is a bill designed to protect Native American families. It’s effects on adoption are multi-layered and complex.

New York just passed a law that will automatically unseal adoption records once a person turns 18.

These adopted siblings found each other after 73 years apart!

With opioid addiction in Montgomery County, PA at an all-time high, agencies are scrambling to place children of drug-addicted parents.

Los Angeles is working to champion their foster system by introducing an “extended” foster program that takes kids through higher education.

Cup of Jo hits us in the feels with life advice for a college-aged daughter.

HuffPost put together 15 stories that show what it’s like to be adopted.

Creating a Family talks about how parents can choose to ignore and rise above the negative adoption stories.

One last thing regarding social media — don’t forget your etiquette!

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Image via cdc.gov

 

Social Media and Child Safety

Today’s kids are more social media savvy than ever. With summer upon us, kids have more time to spend using their devices and social media. More now than before, people are sharing private information on the internet not knowing the consequences. While having access to the internet provides lots of opportunities, there are situations that can lead to dangerous consequences. How do you keep your kids safe on social media?

  1. Educate yourself. Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and parenting expert, recommends that parents spend a significant time researching the types of social media that young adults and children have access to today. In some cases, creating your own profile on these sites to obtain firsthand knowledge of how the application works can be very helpful. Some apps that are popular these days include:
  • SnapChat
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • KiK
  • Instagram
  1. Set an age limit. If your children are not currently using social media – have an open dialogue of when that might happen and what to expect when it does. If kids feel like they are not going to ever get access to social media, it may lead them to attempt to create secret accounts. Check with apps to see if there is a certain age limit to create accounts and then start your conversation from there.
  2. Help your kids understand consequences. Most children do not understand the consequences of dangerous behavior on social media. Discussing real life situations with your kids may shed insight on how easily available someone’s information can be on the internet. Make sure that your children know they can come to you without judgment and ask questions regarding social media use. Having this conversation will hopefully decrease the chances of your child sharing their location or information with someone they do not know.
  3. Keep the computer in a common area. Rather than allowing your child to keep a computer in their bedroom, move it to a common space in the household. This allows a parents to keep an eye on their children’s computer usage. Kids are less likely to engage in negative behavior if being watched by an adult.
  4. Set guidelines and rules. Establishing a set of guidelines or rules is a great way to encourage positive social media interaction with your child. For example, set a time limit on their social media, computer, or cell phone usage. Make sure your child understands the guidelines. Tip: don’t make the rules too rigid where your child feels they do not have any decision making power. This is a team effort!

For more on Amy Morin, or more tips on how to keep your child safe on social media – visit Amy’s website.

Image via wikiforyou.com

 

Have A Great Weekend

Hello! We hope you are ready for a wonderful weekend. We’re here to share some of our favorite reads of the week — please enjoy! 

This week on the blog we discuss differences between agency and independent adoptions. If you’re still on the fence about how you want to proceed, this is definitely worth a read.

Gabrielle Bruney wants to rewrite the “fairy tale” adoption story and shine a light on the struggles thousands of families face.

Understanding Adoption: A Developmental Approach. The US National Library of Medicine has released a study that explores how an adopted child finds their own identity and how it affects them throughout their lives.

Suddenly Mummy is a must-read blog about a single mom’s experience with foster care and adoption. Here she writes about the A-Z’s of therapeutic parenting.

Huffington Post’s “10 Things Adoptees Want You To Know” is extremely powerful.

Positive adoption language is so important. Lori Holden of Lavender Luz describes witnessing a lunch room encounter where adoption was the punchline for a joke. What would you do?

Creating a Family has swooped in to help us through the summer, with tips to surviving the season with children who’ve come from difficult places.

A Family For Every Child addresses diversity in adoption and why it is so important.

My Real Kid explores transracial adoption, and Allie Ferguson discusses some of the issues she deals with the most.

In closing, a little reflection. How has your life surprised you?

 

The Adoption Process: Agency vs. Independent

When determining which kind of adoption process you’d like to have, it’s important that you understand the distinction between an agency adoption and an independent adoption. The numerous avenues for adoption can be overwhelming to a family navigating this system for the first time — never be afraid to ask questions throughout your process. 

Agencies provide the highest assurance for monitoring and oversight because they are bound to licensing and procedural standards. Should you decide to partner with an adoption agency, there are few ways to go about it:

  • Private Agency: Private agencies include both international and domestic adoption options. Fees charged by private agencies can range anywhere from $5,000 – $30,000+. Some agencies will allow a payment plan, so if that’s desirable to you, determine that right away. Do your research to find a reputable agency in your area by attending support groups, checking with the Better Business Bureau, or visiting local agencies for a face-to-face meeting.
  • Public Agency: Public agencies are funded through state and federal taxes. This is a great option for families looking to adopt sibling groups, older children, or children with special needs. Because these agencies are funded by taxes and government funds, this is generally a more affordable way to adopt. In some cases, states have offered to pay the family’s legal fees and expenses in order to ensure the adoption goes smoothly. 

Many families prefer to start their adoption journey independently. While each experience is different, it is customary for the adoptive family to pay for all or some of the birth mother’s expenses (unless she is covered by private insurance or Medicaid). This can cause the independent route to be a bit more costly. Furthermore, there is little that can be done to assure that an adoptive family will not lose out on funds they’ve provided should the birth mother change her mind about the adoption. If you to pursue the independent route, support is key:

  • Adoption attorney: You will have to obtain an attorney to complete your adoption process. Attorneys must adhere to legislation in the adoptive parents’ state, the birth mother’s state, and that of the Bar Association.
  • Adoption facilitators: Some states have started to permit adoption facilitators to help the process move more smoothly. Facilitators act as “matchmakers” who counsel birth parents before making an introduction to a prospective adoptive family. The facilitators will charge a fee for their services and then let the birth and adoptive family make the rest of their arrangements. Be advised: this type of facilitation offers the least amount of oversight.

No matter what, you have the opportunity to customize the process that’s best for your family. Every journey is different, but preparation is key. 

Image via consideringadoption.com

Have A Great Weekend

We hope you’re gearing up for a fabulous weekend! Get outside, enjoy the sunshine, and take some time for yourself. 

Here are some of our favorite adoption and parenting reads of the week…

This week on the blog we talked about what to expect when your family is about to welcome a new addition via fostering

Rewire News enlisted Sakena Jwan Washington to share her journey of adopting while black in the private sector, which she calls a “messy” and “political” process.

Are you confused about the difference between ADD and ADHD? Parents.com lists (and dispels) the top 10 myths about these two conditions.

Mother/daughter relationships are complicated. Cup of Jo helps us embrace that reality.

Meet the Hedspeth family. They are committed to changing the adoption system of Panama.

Are you a stepparent who wants to adopt their stepchild? Adoption.com has a simple guide on how to get the process started.

Fostering Perspectives is an organization that seeks to explore all viewpoints of fostering and adoption. Here, they share the stories of children who have a foster sibling, and it’s very powerful. 

The Cradle addressed some of the most difficult challenges in creating an open adoption plan.

Telling your child they are adopted is a situation that should not be taken lightly, but when is the right time to do it?

Would you like to enroll your child in a summertime extracurricular activity, but don’t know where to start? Check out Fast Web’s list of impressive extracurricular activities.

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How Do You Become A Foster Family?

There are so many materials available for individuals expecting a baby. But the resources are less so for individuals who want to foster a child. Foster parents have to be ready to receive children from all ages, and ends of the spectrum, and are often thrown into the game with little time to prepare. So how do you find out what you need to know as an expectant foster parent?

Communication is key. You will likely be communicating with a wide variety of stakeholders during the fostering process. Whether that is a social worker or the biological family, you need to communicate clearly and directly with everyone. This includes your own family — children you already have, grandparents, extended family, etc. Encourage family members to be welcoming, but cognizant of the space the new child will need to process emotions and acclimate. 

Accept that this will be challenging. Fostering can be stressful and fearful, for both the child and the family. Questions are likely flowing through the child’s mind: Why did this happen? When can I see my family? When do I get to go home? Will this family be able to meet my needs? After the initial meeting, inquire whether the child is feeling sick, hungry, or tired. Give them a tour of your home, ending with their room. Giving a child their space is so important — it allows them time to process what is going on. This situation can be very confusing, so they will likely have lots of questions. Be honest when answering any questions they have. If you don’t have the answer right away. That’s okay! Let them know that you will find out the answers together.

Throughout this process, remind your family that this is new for everyone and acknowledge that each individual is allowed to adjust in their own way, on their own time. Encourage your family to be open to this experience. Fostering is the chance to make a positive impact on a child’s life, and it can have a powerful, positive impact on your family as well.

Interested in learning more? We love this valuable list of resources from AdoptUSKids.

Image via the Arizona Daily star.

Have A Great Weekend.

Happy weekend! We hope it’s a beautiful one for you. We’re popping by to share our favorite reads of the week, and we hope you enjoy. 

In this week’s blog post we talk about how to create an adoption plan while pregnant.

 Very Well Family put together a list of five ways to have a fun-filled family summer. Hint: you don’t even have to travel.

Are you getting ready to welcome your little one, but struggling to decorate or even furnish a nursery? Cup of Jo is here with 12 amazing ideas for kids’ bedrooms.

ReWire talks about how the adoption industry has become too focused on “supply and demand” and not enough on ethics. 

These dads adopted 6 siblings who had collectively spent 1,640 days in foster care.

Alabama set the record for adoption from foster care in the year 2018. 

Colorado is looking to break the mold in terms of accessibility and adoption. They just passed an extensive law that will open up restrictive barriers and create access to adoption for more people. 

Are you a birth mother or adoptive parent considering an open adoption? Lavender Luz has a fabulous open adoption advice column that addresses tons of common (and some not so common) open adoption questions, issues, and concerns.

The American Academy of Pediatrics via Reuters has released new evidence showing that newly adopted children should be required to undergo specialized medical exams. What do you think?

One more idea for fun summer ideas: family game night! Check out this ultimate list of the best games for families.

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Image via PBS.org

Thoughts for Birth Mothers on Creating an Adoption Plan

Getting pregnant unexpectedly can be a very stressful situation. No matter which options you’re considering, it’s difficult to think and operate under duress. Should you choose adoption for your child, there is research and planning ahead. An adoption plan is 100% yours to control, but where do you start?

Do your research. This is immensely important as you begin your adoption journey. You need a team of trusted professionals to guide you throughout this process. Put time into researching adoption agencies and attorneys who are there to help you. You can do research by joining support groups, setting up consultations with local professionals, and getting referrals from current medical providers. This is your life, and no question is too big or small.

Decide what you want in an adoptive family. This is your chance to instill your values and love into your child’s life. Do you want a family that has no children? A family who has three children? What kind of religious beliefs do you hold and does that make an impact on who you would choose to adopt your child? Remember that your child will inherit your qualities, so find a family that you fit into as well. Make a list of everything you are looking for and prioritize that list. Determine your non-negotiables, and where you’re willing to compromise — that will help you set and manage expectations. 

Prepare and invest yourself. When you’re gearing up for a conversation with a prospective adoptive family, give yourself time to prepare. Arrive with your list of priorities, questions to ask, and an open mind. This is a gift you are giving your child. You deserve all the time you need to make your decision. If you are moving forward with an open adoption, take the time to lay the foundation that you all can build on for years to come.

Remember, there is no true playbook for this process. Trust yourself, and surround yourself with support. You deserve it.