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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.

<3

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. 

 

Have A Great Long Weekend

The first long weekend of the warm weather season is here! We hope you find restoration and positive connection with ones you love near and far. We’re celebrating with lots of interesting reads this week. Enjoy!

We talked about slow parenting in our blog this week. It’s a hands-off parenting style that more people are embracing.

Chances are, we all know someone who has been touched by infertility. It is tough to know what to say to a friend who is struggling to get pregnant. Cup of Jo explores beautiful ways in which you can offer authentic support. 

Catherine Anderson runs a blog called “Mama C and the Boys” which discusses transracial and single parent adoption. This particularly meaningful post talks about getting “the call.” 

Great news coming out of New York! A recent case upheld anti-discrimination adoption policies, and ruled that an agency could not discriminate against LGBTQ couples. 

Hoda Kotb adopted a second child and she is the sweetest!

Nicole Chung, a contributing write for BuzzFeed, talks about how she had a love/hate relationship with her Korean heritage and being adopted.

Todd VanDerWerff  reflects on his experience being adopted and how it shaped his youth.

An amazing story out of Washington: Jillian Titus had the unique opportunity to pick her parents!

16 myths about adoption that we need to stop believing and perpetuating. 

We are going to send you off with some love for the Heart Chakra, our body’s emotional center. Adoption blogger Lavender Luz shows us how to tap into it.

Have an amazing weekend, full of self-love. 

<3

 

What Is Slow Parenting?

Children need to space to stretch, grow, and play, but that does not mean that life (or childhood) needs to be fast-paced. “Slow Parenting” is a term that is gaining traction. No, it is not about moving at the pace of a snail, but about bringing balance back into the home. When parents practice slow parenting, they allow their child the time and freedom to explore the world on their own terms. Slow parenting cherishes quality over quantity, being in the moment, and making meaningful connections with your family. What are some surprising benefits?

You get to reconnect with your family! Lots of families that practice slow parenting find themselves “unplugging” for at least one day of the week. Logging out of Facebook and putting the phone down altogether can positively impact relationships. Taking the time to talk and really listen to each other is one of the most helpful things people can do in any relationship. It is crucial to carve out time where you can be fully present. Children and parents can learn so much about each other just by playing simple games together or engaging in outdoor activities that require teamwork and communication.

Slow parenting enhances exploration and creative growth, and not just for the kids! This style of parenting is all about learning and developing via discovering natural surroundings. By allowing children to be influenced by relationships and natural instincts rather than material objects, they are able to truly be themselves.  A parent that utilizes a slower manner of parenting may give their children toys, but not explain to them how they work therefore letting the child naturally figure out how to use the object. This will help develop independent and creative thinking at crucial moments during development.

Even if the idea of slow parenting doesn’t fit into your lifestyle, you can still take some cues from it. Start to embrace the idea of slowing down in general — listening more intently, engaging further, thinking more deliberately. Slowing everything down means allowing children to figure out who they are rather than what we want them to be. Interested in learning more? We love this piece in the Boston Globe. 

Image via mission-health.org

 

Have A Great Weekend

The “April showers” are a little bit late this year, but we will take it. Spring has arrived! Enjoy your weekend and some of our favorite reads.

This week on the blog, we talk about how to create a history for your adopted child. Including some tips about how you can make it an experience for the entire family.

In the blog, we talked about making a Lifebook with your child. Here are some great resources on how to make one and what to put in it.

Adoption.com has a great resource for those looking to preserve their adopted child’s cultural history. This is especially important with transracial or international adoptions.

Lavender Luz shares tips on how to build birth family relationships coming out of a foster care adoption. It doesn’t have to start with the birth parents.

This 90 year-old birth mother found the daughter she placed for adoption 70 years ago!

Taiwan recently became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. With that legalization, these couples also received rights to adopt children. This is a huge!

Celebrities and activists have flocked to Capitol Hill to advocate for LGBTQ adoption rights. You can follow the most recent updates here.

It’s never a bad idea to revisit positive adoption language. A Child’s Hope breaks key terms that are often found in adoption conversations.

This article shares helpful tips for how to make your adoption profile stand out.

Considering Adoption highlights the four most common problems that adopted children face. 

 

Image via Time Magazine.

The Story of You Before Us

History for an adopted child is an interesting concept. Like anyone else, they have a history, but it is documented differently. They may never see photos from their birth parent’s childhood or what their birth grandparents look like. They may have siblings they don’t know, or don’t know how to contact. It changes what they have to reflect on as they age, because it’s quite possible that the only history they’ll ever know begins with you.

So how do you create that?

Take (and keep!) photographs. Make a conscious effort to photograph moments in their lives both major and minor. And not just photos of them, but photos with you, their friends, the family — anyone who is helping build their history post-adoption. This will help them remember the people and places that helped shape their childhood. Maybe it’s their tee ball team or candid photos of them playing with the neighbors — all of these experiences will play a part in their history.

Keep mementos from many places. Don’t just collect interesting pieces from their childhood, save relics from your childhood and your parent’s childhood as well. By keeping these pieces and mementos, you are helping them create their own history. Much like a lot of people, it may not mean anything to them when they’re five years old, but when they’re 45 and explaining how they grew up to their children, a family keepsake means the world.

Ask them what they want to know about their history! Make it a conversation, exchange dialogue. Together, you and your child can make a Lifebook. A Lifebook is an important tool in an adopted child’s life because it allows them a connection to their past through their own eyes. It is part scrapbook and part memory book and they are uniquely individual. This book is a great way to get the conversation started — you can begin with basic information and then weave your way into memories and special moments.

Talk about the tough stuff. Tough histories are not just limited to adopted children. Everyone has had to endure something difficult throughout their lives. It’s important to discuss the tough stuff, and that includes a child’s family history. Some adopted children come from traumatic backgrounds, so how do we talk about that? Make sure your child knows that they, and everyone, are more than the hard parts in their history. They are not doomed to their past. Their potential is infinite. 

Engage their birth family’s history as much as possible. Weave it into the history they share with you — the two don’t need to be separated, they are both deeply important to who your child is and how they see and experience the world. If you have a more open relationship with your child’s birth parents, bring them into the conversation when it’s appropriate. It is not about breaking your child’s history into two separate spaces, it’s about finding ways to blend the history together and allow your child to create their own identity based on that.

Image via: modernheirloombooks.com

 

Have A Great Weekend

The weekend has arrived! We’re still keeping our fingers crossed for spring, though. It’s got to come soon, right? Here are some of our favorite reads of the week…

It’s Mother’s Day weekend! Did you know that Saturday is Birth Mother’s Day? This week on the blog we shared ways to bring your child’s birth mother into the weekend’s celebrations.

Cup of Jo shared the funniest mom advice book. Perfect for the upcoming weekend!

The New York Times photographed and interviewed New Yorkers who were adopted from Asia and grew up in white families—a great read. 

The ladies at Mix and Match Mama discuss how they talk about adoption in their household.

If you’re curious about all the ways families can come together, visit See Jamie Blog and read about her adoption journeys.

Adoption Beyond is a fabulous resource for anyone who is pregnant and looking to place or for a families looking to adopt. Here is an interesting list of adoption facts and myths.

Mindfulness is essential during the adoption journey.

Mother’s Day isn’t easy for everyone. Here are some thoughts on how to navigate this weekend when you’ve chose adoption.

Sensory Processing Disorder is something that a lot of adoptive families struggle with. White Sugar Brown Sugar talks about how to create an at-home sensory gym for your child.

To close, these five adoption stories are sure to melt your heart.

 

How You Can Celebrate Birth Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is a day to recognize and honor the extraordinary work it takes to be a mother. Being a birth mother is a part of that. Which is why every year, the Saturday before Mother’s Day is Birth Mother’s Day. If you do have an open relationship with your child’s birth mother, this is an opportunity for you to recognize the selfless and brave choice she made to place her child for adoption. 

On Birth Mother’s Day we honor the fact that just because a woman is not raising her child, that doesn’t make her any less of a mother. Celebrating her on this day is a wonderful way to show your support, and understanding of her sacrifice. 

If you do have an open adoption with your child’s birth mother, here are a few things you can do to make this day extra special:

  • Share a video or phone call
  • Send a handmade card
  • Treat her with a gift, or flower arrangement

If your adoption is a closed adoption and you have limited information regarding your child’s birth mother, there are still ways to honor her and her place in your family. For one, make sure you always speak about her in a positive way. She is an indelible part of your child’s story, and recognizing that doesn’t make you any less of a mother. For adopted children, the experience can bring up feelings of rejection or confusion. Helping your child understand how much their birth mother loved them is a wonderful way to honor their place in this world, and how they came to be. You could also:

  • Let your child write a letter to their birth mother, even if she may never see it
  • Revisit or re-tell your child’s adoption story
  • Plant a tree or flowers in honor of your child’s birth mother

Birth mothers are a vital part of your child’s history, and they often go unnoticed or overlooked. Consider taking a moment this Mother’s Day weekend to send light, positivity, and gratitude her way. 

Have A Great Weekend: Children’s Health Edition

This week our roundup is themed around children’s health. There are so many excellent resources for new parents out there, and we think the below are particularly helpful. Check them out, and have a fabulous weekend!

 

 

Part of the adoption process is securing the professionals that will be in charge of your child’s health. This week on the blog, we highlighted some questions to ask your pediatrician to ensure your child’s needs are fully met.

Are you a foster parent who would like to insure your child? The Child Welfare Information Gateway highlights a variety of ways you can obtain coverage—from Medicaid to private insurance.

21+ million children are affected with a chronic physical, developmental, or mental condition that requires health services above and beyond the average child.  Communikind is a free and excellent resource that can carry your child’s medical records into adulthood. 

Speak Now For Kids is an online child advocacy network that helps families navigate the ever-changing health system. They partner with hospitals around the country to ensure that all children are insured.

Boston Children’s Hospital started a blog that takes readers on a journey through the eyes of a patient. 

Rainbow Kids is an adoption and child welfare advocacy group, and they’ve nailed it when it comes to detailing, one by one, the physical and emotional conditions that can occur with adopted children. 

When the Lockhead family set out to adopt their 20 month-old daughter from China, they consulted with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s International Adoption. One of the biggest lessons they learned? Take advantage of every resource.

Language matters! Social workers are becoming more sensitized to families.

Lippincott Nursing Center investigated the role of nurses in the adoption triad, and how they affect the journey as a whole.

Most of us take our health histories for granted, because they’ve always been there. It’s not so simple for adopted or fostered children. U.S. News explores what happens when a medical history is revealed.

How to Approach Your Adopted Child’s Healthcare

When you’re in the thick of your adoption journey, you’re thrown into a process that encompasses so many decisions, one of which is 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 how much information has been made available to you. Regardless of what you know, you can still build a strong health history for your child. It just means a more dedicated relationship with your child’s primary care provider. The first place to start? Prepare yourself.

 

 

Here are some questions to ask, and things to consider:

During your search for a pediatrician, don’t be afraid to ask about their experience with adopted children. You may find someone with a great deal of experience who can help review records or offer advice before the adoption is finalized. 

Write down any questions you have about your child’s health and bring them to your appointment, along with a notebook and pen or the recording app on your phone, to ensure you’re able to properly digest the answers. 

Clarify which documents they need 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? 

Determine their availability. 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. Some health care institutions have revolving 24-hour care.

What is their position on medicating and vaccinating young children? You and your doctor must have alignment on these issues. You are the parent and know which path you would like to take, but it’s important to have professional guidance that you trust. 

Finding healthcare providers goes beyond addressing physical health. Do they have any local referrals for individuals associated with the health of adopted children? Whether that’s a therapist, special needs counselor, particular school district, or hospital — any resources your pediatrician can provide are vital. The stronger your child’s wellness community, the better!

Remember, this is your journey. What questions would you add to this list?

Image via: mhealth.org