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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.

Special Needs and Education: Be an Advocate

Some children require extra attention and time in order to succeed in the classroom. Often, these children are referred to as having “special needs” and those needs can manifest themselves in a variety of ways. But if you are a parent of a special needs child, there is a system in place to ensure your child can thrive. Understanding this system will enable you to be an active player in their success.

First of all, you’re the parent — you know your child best. If you start to notice that your child is falling behind or may require some extra attention, inquire with your school regarding an IEP. An IEP is an individualized education program and it’s designed to fit your child’s specific needs. To get this process started, it’s important to keep an open line of communication with the teachers and administration. An IEP is an evolutionary program or plan that shifts to accommodate your child’s most immediate needs.

Your child will likely be assigned an aide. This aide’s job is to be discreet, while helping your child follow the general instructions of the class. Remember: it is not the aide’s job to teach children things they don’t know — that is still a teacher’s responsibility. This is a team effort! Additionally, if you would like to bring an aide of your choice onto your team, most public school systems work with approved aides that will come onsite specifically for your child.

Special needs don’t just affect kids — it’s a process that will impact a child into their adult life. It’s important to remember that an IEP or special education program can (and must) be legally provided for an individual until they are 21 years old. Be an advocate for your child and do not be afraid to speak up. If you feel the IEP is not working for your child you can request a new one at anytime. Needs will grow and dissipate throughout an individual’s academic life and it’s necessary to accommodate those changes.

Everyone learns differently, and that’s okay. There is no shame in seeking help for your child in a discreet and respectful way, but remember, the education process continues at home, as well. You need to help reinforce the specialized education program even when the child is not at school. This will build individual academic strength and so they can feel supported and confident in their skills.

Have A Great Weekend

We hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend! Cozy up with our favorite reads of the week.

The adoption journey is difficult. Confessions of an Adoptive Parent gets real about the struggles.

Adoption is about building your entire family, including extended family members. Jeannine and her husband discuss how they navigated the blending process.

Getting your family out the door in the morning is tough, but you can still make weekday breakfast fun (and easy!).

“Kids practice every single emotion they’re ever going to use on anyone on you.”

The stressful process of adoption can be difficult on relationships – remember to keep your love language alive.

It’s so important to remember that birth parents have made an incredible sacrifice. Faylita Hicks talks about why choosing adoption for her child was the best decision she’s ever made.

Adoption ethics – what does it mean?

Adoptive Families Circle has created an amazing community for families seeking information on adoption or actively going through the journey.

The Donaldson Adoption Institute provides up to date and important news regarding policies and legislation on adoption. Check to see if your state is updating their laws!

Adoption is a process – and not necessarily a short one! It’s not healthy to rush kids through this process – here’s why.

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Have A Great Weekend

Happy Weekend! We hope it’s gearing up to be a restorative one. As always, we’re stopping by to share our favorite reads of the week. Enjoy!

Angela Palmer talks about her decision to maintain an open adoption relationship with her child’s birth mother, including how they found the “love they never expected.”

Speaking of creating positive relationships, check out our blog! This week we talk about growing a blended family.

Sometimes the best way for children to learn about complicated topics is through reading. Adoptive Families put together their 21 best books for families to read while on their adoption journey.

How can you recognized mixed maturity and developmental trauma in your child?

Time Magazine explores four common myths associated with transracial and interracial adoptions in this super interesting read.

As the narrative around international adoption evolves, one woman wonders, does their international adoption make she and her husband heroes or villains?

Summer is (hopefully) rapidly approaching, and you know what that means: no school! Woman’s Day put together an awesome and budget-friendly list to keep you and your kids engaged.

Are you looking for ways to bond with your newly adopted baby? Check out these ten easy ways to build a special relationship.

Adoption.com put together a comprehensive and super active forum for families in all stages of their adoption journey. If you are looking for a way to connect with others on the same journey, this is a great start.

Let’s end on a happy note: watch this throwback video of Hoda Kotb surprising a couple with their special adoption news!

Growing A Blended Family

Parents come to the decision to adopt in many different ways. Sometimes adoption is the only option, and sometimes adoption is combined with the ability to have children biologically. Whatever brings a family to this point in their own unique path, it’s important to understand the different aspects that come into play when building your own blended family. All children can thrive of course, but a little preparation and understanding can make your experience even smoother.

As with all adoptions, the more information you can obtain about your child’s emotional and medical histories, the better. This can help you anticipate behaviors, challenges, and even strengths in your new child, as well as to help your other children understand situations they may be encountering for the first time.

As is often the case when a new child enters the family, the existing children may fear not being loved, or have feelings of anxiety and confusion. Those are completely normal and a part of the process. Children may ask tough questions, and they deserve honest answers. Age-appropriate language and discussions will support positive communicate with your child(ren), including explaining to them why some parents are unable to care for their children at certain points in their life, and why some people become the families of children through adoption.

Including your children in the process of bringing another child into the home goes a long way to ensure trust and support. It may never be perfect, but information, awareness, and agency are always key. Let your children get to know each other in their own time — you don’t want to force new relationships. Love Builds Families shares wonderful advice about encouraging your children to head up a craft or think of a gift to welcome their new sibling, so they feel more included in the process. Another way to promote engagement is to have weekly meetings where family members are free and open to ask questions, express frustration, or gain clarity. Communication is key when going through a big transition like this. Allowing everyone to have a voice will only open those channels more.

Finally, it’s important to know that you’re never alone. If this transition is more difficult than you expected, reach out to a professional for guidance. Children especially struggle with big changes. If there is a noticeable change in their behavior, never be afraid or ashamed to seek a professional’s advice. Be honest and upfront with the struggles that come from creating a strong family — they’re more common than you think. And know that no matter what, you’ve got this.

Have A Wonderful Weekend

Kick back and relax with our favorite reads of the week.

Looking to raise a motivated and confident child? Check out “Parenting With Love and Logic” by Foster Cline.

The adoption journey can be tough on a relationship — check out this week’s blog post on how to put your relationship first while under stress.

Struggling with baby names? This list features the most popular (and unpopular) names of the last century.

What to bring to a new mom. (The comments are gold.)

Are you parenting an adopted child? Parenting.com put together a collection of articles that pinpoints some key parenting advice.

How to talk to your kids about drugs when everyone else is doing them.

Looking for an open adoption? Make sure to educate yourself on the responsibility of open adoption.

We love these stories about celebrity moms and their adoption journey.

Nicole Chung offers insight into the question of, “who are my real parents?”  

Prioritizing Your Spouse in Adoption

Adoption is a difficult journey — there is no denying that. It is an endless rollercoaster of emotions that joins two families who are both making remarkable choices. Although it’s a beautiful time, the adoption process can have a profound effect on your marriage. Welcoming a child into your home is an enormous shift in your daily lives and responsibilities, but prioritizing your relationship with your spouse is key to staying connected, grounded, and unified.

One of the major challenges couples face when navigating adoption is the financial undertaking that is required. If you and your partner have unresolved financial issues, now is the time to figure them out. It’s vital that you’re both on the same page and have ironed out all details — major and minor — before beginning your process.

In addition to finances, it’s important to tackle larger discussions around parenting as well. How was your partner raised? What are their core values in caring for and raising a child? What are their views on discipline, schooling, religion? Some couples get so consumed by the thought of starting a family that they forget to envision how their family will function as well.

There are many ways adopting is similar to having a biological child, but adoption also presents its own unique set of challenges. When the pressure starts to rise, take a deep breath and remember to enlist your relationship and spouse for support. Adoption is a mammoth task, but working together as a couple can give you a shared sense of accomplishment and will help you navigate the tough decisions down the road. It’s an incredible experience to share with one another, and the foundation you set for your relationship will be the foundation that grounds your family for years to come.

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Weekend! There are lots of fun and inspirational stories this week we’re excited to share -— enjoy!

As always, check out our blog. This week, we explore all the needs and emotions that a birth mother goes through along her adoption journey.

Affording adoption! It’s a real thing. Adoption.com has a wealth of resources regarding creative solutions while navigating the financial roads of adoption.

Birth mothers go through so many doubts and emotions before, during, and after placement. It is really important to understand these feelings.

Are you ready to find (or start looking for) your biological family? Take a tour of this search and reunion guide.

Matthew helps us discard open-adoption myths. Learn about his open-adoption experience via his college entrance essay.

Parenting.com put together an excellent health guide to help educate parents on a variety of ailments, disorders, etc. There’s also information about finding a community that can help support what you’re going through.

Thinking of international adoption? Make sure you familiarize yourself with international adoption laws. The Department of State has a comprehensive database providing up-to-date adoption guidelines country by country.

Check out the story behind the film Instant Family, inspired by Sean Anders and his beautiful adoption journey.

This adoptive mother interviewed five birth mothers about their open adoptions.

Let’s wrap up the week with this funny, but educational, advice from an adoptive mom to the masses.

*Image from adoptionmagazine.com

What Do Birth Mothers Need Most?

If you know someone who is expecting and will be placing her child with another family — it is monumentally important to show your support and love for the birth family as they make one of the most difficult decisions of their life. There are so many reasons why a birth mother or family decides to place their child for adoption — it is not our job to understand them. However, there are several ways to console and show love to women starting this journey.

The adoption process and journey is motivated by LOVE. Adoption can be portrayed in a negative light — spoken about as if a mother is “giving away” her child — but that is simply not the truth. Placing a child for adoption is an unselfish act, and it bravely puts the child first. Birth mothers, like all mothers, want their child to have access to the best resources and opportunities, a stable home, and lots of love. Many birth parents hope to have ongoing contact with their child in some form — realizing that their presence might fill a void or satisfy a need of their child.

Seeking professional treatment for pre- and post-adoption struggles is highly recommended. Remember — asking for help is not admitting weakness. It is enlisting someone to help you sort through your emotions and process them responsibly. It is not uncommon for birth mothers to have compromised emotional and mental health following the placement of their child with another family. In fact, Adoptive Families states that almost 75% of birth mothers encounter some sort of mental or emotional stress on this journey. This grief that a birth mother feels is often not openly acknowledged. Finding a support group may help you connect with others who are feeling hopeless and grieving their own child.

So, what helps birth mothers heal? Adoptive Families shares that one of the best ways to help a birth mother is to address her previously unmet needs, the top three being:

  • Financial support
  • Support from family and friends
  • Support from a mental health professional

It speaks volumes about how far love and support will go with someone who is grieving. Another significant factor that leads to a birth mother’s happiness and fulfillment is the possibility of an open adoption. More than the context of their needs, it matters most that these women’s needs are met appropriately.

To effectively grieve along this journey, women need understanding, validation, and support from those who are closest to them. In addition to family contact, birth mothers also benefit heavily from contact with other birth mothers. Finding commonality in your situation can be of great benefit in the healing process. Remember: patience, honesty, and empathy are absolutely critical in forming lasting and healthy relationships.   

Adoption and Parenting Reads of the Week

Happy Weekend! Kick back (for a minute) and check out some of the highlights from this week!

Adoption isn’t the end of the story – it’s the beginning of an amazing journey. Ask the Pike family!

Home studies or inspections can cause major anxiety. The Faherty family got WAY more than they expected during their home inspection.

Check out our blog this week – we talk about the “seven core issues” that arise from the adoption journey.

Are you a prospective adoptive parenting who is looking to get prepared? Look no more!

‘Tis the season where we all get sick! Parents.com shares some helpful tips for curbing bugs in your home.

Are you entering the teenage phase of your parenting journey? The University of Rochester has some advice: “Keep Calm and DON’T Carry On”.

Are you looking for something new to do while settling down after work and school? Here are TEN Ted talks that are great for the entire family.

Adoption.org explores the devastating reality of when a birth mother changes their mind. And how to keep your calm.

Financing an adoption? Educate yourself on the cost!

It’s 2019! Let’s bust the adoption stereotypes!

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*Image via jevongolden.com