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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

Have A Great Weekend

Happy weekend, friends. Everything is blooming, and spring feels like it’s finally here. It’s such a special time of year! Here’s to a relaxing weekend, and some interesting reads to go with it. 

 

 

This week on the blog we talk about how to temper expectations during the adoption journey. Including some tips on setting realistic expectations so the process and its challenges will be easier to handle.

Adoption.com has over 420,000 adoption files used to assist people in finding their birth family or parents. Are you, or someone you know, interested in starting a search?

Finding time to cook at home after school and work is a lot of energy. Check out these super easy recipes that Cup of Jo families go crazy for!

Adoption’s developmental milestones are a lifelong journey

The Guardian explores touching stories of adoption through fostering.

Gabrielle Glaser from the New York Times explores why keeping adopted people “in the dark” might not be helpful in the long run.

“You’re adopting who?” Ralph Savarese wrote a memoir about his unique journey through adoption and autism.

What is it like to fill in the gaps in your health history when you’re adopted? 

ParentCenterHub.org is a great resource for those looking to adopt or foster.

Love these rules for proper adoption etiquette on social media. 

Managing Expectations During Your Adoption Process

Human beings are accustomed to having expectations. We like to plan so we’re not surprised by unwanted or unexpected situations. When it comes to adoption, we would love to have the ability to foresee the final outcome, but in reality, that’s just not possible. So how do you deal with the consequences when aspects of your adoption process don’t go the way you thought they would? 

The adoption journey invites parents to let go and release their expectations to focus on what’s most important: the child’s needs. Everyone has unrealistic expectations from time to time. To reduce feelings of disappointment and helplessness, we have some suggestions for ways to build your support team so that you can maneuver through the ups and downs of your adoption process with clarity and ease.

First things first: invest in a therapist. Emotions run rampant during the adoption process, and it’s imperative that you have an outlet for processing what’s going on in your mind and in your life. Finding a therapist who is familiar with the adoption process will help you navigate the ins and outs of yours. Not only can a therapist offer you an empathetic ear and solid advice, but the work you do together will allow you to be more present for yourself and your other relationships. Including your child, when they arrive. 

Be extremely honest with your adoption team — that includes every member of the triad. Getting comfortable with each other will help make the process less scary and ease the fear of the unknown. Communication at every stage is crucial, and if you are participating in an open adoption, make sure that your expectations and desires are known so that everyone is crystal clear on what to expect before the process even begins. 

Keep your expectations honest. Hold space for the best and worst case scenarios, because there is no way to truly know how your journey will end. You will likely feel high highs, alongside moments of fear and confusion. Preparing yourself for the wide spectrum of emotions and expectations that come with the adoption process is paramount. Stay tune with how you’re feeling, communicate with your partner and loved ones, give yourself outlets for expressing how you feel, and always lead with honesty. You’ve got this!

Have A Great Weekend

Happy Spring! It’s (hopefully) here to stay. Some of you may have plans with your family this weekend, but let’s make sure we all take some time for ourselves over these next couple days. While you’re relaxing, check out some of our favorite reads.

 

 

The adoption wait is excruciating. In this week’s blog post, we talk about how to alleviate anxiety and focus on important tasks instead. 

Lots of people choose not to change their last name when they get married. So what happens when you have children?

Some states are making major head way in their anti-discrimination adoption laws. Is yours included?

Rachel Baxter from Make Something Beautiful talks about why “mom brain” is totally worth it.

Focus on the Family touches on what helps and hurts during the adoption process, including positive language, celebrating family, and more.

The List put together a compilation of really touching adoption stories.

Open adoption can be a scary thing. Lavender Luz puts it all into perspective.

We shouldn’t shy away from pediatric mental health — it’s a conversation that needs to be had. The Cradle addresses it head on.

Peggy Phelan is a faculty member at Stanford University. She shares why she teaches about adoption and literature in tandem.

As we come up on summer, it’s time to put together your reading list! Good Reads put together an awesome list full of adoption positive reads. Enjoy!

 

 

Surviving the Adoption Wait

The old saying is true: time moves slowly for those who wait. During the adoption journey, slow takes on a whole new meaning. But there are many ways to keep yourself busy while you’re waiting, and it’s not just busy work. There are real tasks that this waiting period gives you time to accomplish, and your post baby life will be so much easier once you’ve handled them.

Start with practical tasks, like finding a pediatrician or medical professional. This requires research and it won’t hurt to enlist the help of other parent friends to help you find the best fit for you and your expectations.

Make sure you are familiar with your company’s adoption leave policy and follow through on updating your insurance benefits. A lot of times, insurance will need month to kick in, so this is not a task to delay. If you’re a working parent, do you have your bases covered in terms of child care? Life is unpredictable and it’s important to have a team of helpers that you can depend on. Finding a trusted caregiver is a serious process that requires thorough research and vetting. If you’re choosing a childcare facility, rather than a situation that involves family or friends, make sure they are licensed and regulated. 

Taking a parenting class or joining social adoption groups is a great way to expand your knowledge and prepare for your future. Parenting classes explore practical care and will help you feel more at ease in your day to day life. Everyone can benefit from being a part of a community of peers where you can discuss similar experiences and learn from each other. The adoption process can feel very lonely and at times, endless, but finding a group who can empathize with your situation will help ease these nerves. Parenting an adopted child is a unique experience of its own, and it’s nice to have the support and camaraderie of people who truly understand that journey. 

Finally, make sure you take time for yourself. Self care is extremely important throughout the adoption journey. It is easy to feel helpless and like you want to give up. When you reach those moments, take a step back. Do something for yourself every day whether it be reading a book, getting your hair done, or having a massage. The waiting phase is the most difficult part of the adoption journey and no one can tell you how long it will last. Keep yourself busy, know that something beautiful is on the way, and take good care of yourself. 

 

Have A Great Weekend

Happy Weekend! We hope that everyone is back in the groove after spring break and crazy weather patterns! Take some time for yourself and enjoy some of our favorite reads of the week.

Our blog this week highlights the process of adopting while single, which is on the rise in the United States.

Bad days! We all have them. Cup of Jo offers some advice on how to turn the bad down around for your entire family.

Mitali Perkins wrote a beautiful op-ed for the LA Times describing her journey through the process of international adoption, and the question she ultimately asked herself: Am I a hero or a villain?

Jenn Morson from The Atlantic explores Second Chance Adoptions — a licensed child placing agency operating out of Utah. This piece explores a side of adoption that most don’t hear about: when families un-adopt a child.

Jennifer Gilmore details her through struggles to get pregnant and the dark side of the adoption world. Read on to find out why she’s grateful in her life now.

Lori Holden runs Lavender Luz – a blog covering everything adoption. She put together this awesome article that highlights stories of birth mothers spanning from the 1960s to present.

The Globe and Mail did a “First Person” project where people are able to tell their own stories. Lita Jordan tells the story of her “best day ever”

Boston25 News did an in-depth report on the state of adoption and how it’s changing. The article includes interviews and a panel discussion with real people who have navigated the adoption system.

Mother’s Day will be here before we know it. Make ALL the mothers in your life feel special by finding the perfect gift. Parenting.com put together a fun list of ideas!

And we’ll send you off with a tearjerker. UNILAD put together a tissue-worthy adoption compilation. Enjoy!

Adopting When Single

Every state in the US allows single people to adopt. There is no legal barrier. However, there is still a misconception that the nuclear family is the ideal family. Making the choice to adopt is a monumental life event, a life-changing journey, and choosing to adopt as a single parent is its own unique experience. 

When preparing to adopt, one of the most important things a single parent can do is to build a strong foundation through family and friends. All parents — single other otherwise — should do proper research so that they can tap into all available resources. Before bringing your child home, we recommend researching the below parenting/childcare resources, so that you can build the right team for you and be fully prepared once your child arrives. That includes:

  • A childcare provider (if needed)
  • Pediatrician/primary care physician
  • Parenting classes
  • Support/bonding groups for single parent adoption

It’s not realistic to expect that you can do everything on your own, and reaching out for assistance or support is not a sign of weakness or an indication of failure.

We also recommend getting your finances in line. Adoption can put a financial strain on even the most finance-savvy of families. A budget should be a part of anyone’s parenting plan, and ideally put in place before the child arrives. If it’s within your resources, reach out to a financial advisor to help guide and build your new family’s financial future. Making sure you have appropriate time to bond with your new child is key for any adoptive family, and securing elements like finances and community support only give you more time to adapt to your new life as a parent, and support attachment and bonding with your child. 

We understand that different resources are available to different families in different capacities. The most important thing is that you’ve taken the step to share love and life with a child who needs you. When you take the time to build the village that will surround you and your child, you may find that your family grew not just by one, but a whole new tribe.

Photo via dailymail.com

Have A Great Weekend

Hello! Happy Spring! Does it feel like it where you are? Not quite in our area, but that’s okay. It’s nice to be able to say it’s spring nonetheless. We’ve got some of our favorite pieces of the week rounded up for you to enjoy. We hope you like them, and will see you next week!

Did you check out our blog this week? We talk about multicultural adoption and all the ways to celebrate that in your household.

With summer right around the corner, vacation is on everyone’s minds! Cup of Jo offers up some great vacation ideas as families share their favorite places (and ways) to travel. 

A Boston nurse adopted a baby in her care, and they steal the show in this sweet interview.

Educate yourself on how increasing regulation is putting a strain on international adoption.

Stacie Booth gets real with the Dave Thomas Foundation about the journey of adoption from foster care.

Bringing a new child into your family isn’t always easy. American Adoptions shares ways to help blend your family in a more fluid way.

Adoption is a juggling act, and you have to put in the work to maintain all your relationships. Especially your marriage.

CreatingAFamily.org put together an awesome list of blogs, breaking them down by issue, country, and other helpful categories.

Pediatric mental health care is on the rise. Parents Magazine discusses navigating the system and recognizing you’re not alone.

White Sugar Brown Sugar shares the struggles and victories of transracial adoption. We can all learn a lot from this.

 

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Creating Your Multicultural Family

Whether you are adopting domestically or internationally, you have the opportunity to become a multicultural family. This gives your family the unique chance to merge and blend different cultures. But if you do adopt a child from another culture, it’s vital that the child’s culture be embraced and celebrated. Where do you start? Here are five ways to weave your child’s culture into the broader fabric of your family. 

First, do your research. Educate yourself on the culture’s clothing, history, music, and more. Talk to people who look like them and share their background — get as much advice as you possibly can on how to create a safe and empowered space for them in this world. Make sure you know how to do their hair, and care for their skin and body. If you are raising a child of color, understand, as deeply as you can, what that means, and do everything in your power to help create a world in which they feel protected and understood. Being blind to your child’s reality does them no favors. Ensure that you’re ready to take on that responsibility.  

Celebrate the holidays. Educate yourself on the important holidays in your child’s culture and celebrate them as a family.  And don’t hesitate to make it an event! Invite friends and family, reach out to members of your community who have also adopted, or are from your child’s culture and celebrate together. It’s a wonderful way to build your child’s community, and to show them how much you value their culture and where they come from. 

Cook together. Food is the center of everything, and cooking is a fantastic way to unite any family. Learn about dishes from your child’s culture and take the time to cook them together. Involve your child in the whole process, from deciding which dish to cook to shopping for ingredients. It’s an excellent educational opportunity for you and your child, and a wonderful way to expand your palette with a new cuisine. 

Expand your local horizons. There are always different cultural fairs happening in cities, so why not take advantage of what’s available in yours to immerse yourself, meet new people, and learn new things? Not only does it help strengthen your child’s bond with your community, but it’s an excellent way to make friends and experience how other people live. 

Most importantly: talk about it! The easiest way to bring your child’s culture into your family’s life is communication. Read books and watch movies with characters that look like them, engage conversations that allow your child to share their experience as someone from their culture, celebrate their country of origin during the Olympics or sporting events, create a safe space for them to share whenever and however they need. Bringing their heritage front and center is the most powerful to celebrate them, and make them feel included, respected, and chosen.

Embracing your children this way, especially older kids, will help strengthen your family’s bonds, including those with extended family. There is beauty in all cultures, and the more you can expose your child (and yourself!) to theirs, the more intimate and connected your relationship will be. 

 

Have A Great Weekend

Happy Weekend!

Relax and catch up on some of our favorite reads of the week. 

First – we’ve got a new blog post this week! Parenting special needs children is difficult, but with the right resources can be easily navigated.

Cup of Jo offers 15 pieces of advice for new moms. 

Single dads can adopt, too. Steven and Quinton’s story is a special one — don’t forget tissues. 

Your relationship with your partner is everything.  Navigating that and parenting can be difficult, but so rewarding.

Carrie Goldman nails it when talking about self-censorship with parenting.

“People who are adoptive parents know that they aren’t a hero or a villain. They’re just a parent.” Lakshmi Gandhi shares her story of adopting two sons.

Summer is around the corner! Very Well Mama helps lay out your summer plans with both cheap and fun options.

Check out this guide for navigating the special needs education system.

Watch this special speech a recently-adopted boy gave. It will tug at your heart!

Michigan has updated their adoption discrimination laws, and now all families will be allowed to adopt.