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Archive for adoption tips

Waiting to Adopt? Get Our Holiday Survival Tips

get Lifetime's tips for surviving the holidays while you're waiting to adopt!If you’re in the midst of your adoption wait, the holidays can become a time of added pressure and disappointment. People close to you may mean well but ask questions or make remarks that seem insensitive.

If you’re hopeful adoptive parents waiting for a child, you might be wondering “How are we going to get through the holidays?” Today, Lifetime is sharing 5 tips on how to survive the holidays while in the adoption wait!

1. Talk About It
Trying to hold your emotions inside will only make you feel worse. So, think about talking to a close family member, friend, counselor, or your pastor about what you’re going through. It may be that simply talking about it will raise your spirits so that you can enjoy the holiday festivities.

2. Be Honest
You might be feeling guilty that you’re not happy when everyone around you seems to be in the holiday spirit. You see that people around you are cheerfully celebrating. If you’re feeling down, don’t try to suppress your emotions. Grant yourself permission to cry and be sad. It might help to jot your feelings down in a journal. Decline invites to holiday parties and dinners you’re not up to attending.

3. Do Something for Yourself
Practice some self-care if you’re feeling unhappy during the holidays. This could be a nice long massage, a weekly yoga class, or treating yourself to that pretty dress you’ve been admiring. By doing something for yourself, relaxing, and unwinding, you’ll be better able to handle the hectic holiday season. Everyone deserves a break to re-group every now and then.

4. Help Those in Need
Often, giving back can lift your spirits. There are so many ways to do this, so pick something that feels right to you. You could volunteer at a homeless shelter, donate toys or gifts to a family in need, or even just do something thoughtful for a friend, co-worker, or family member. Helping those in need will give you an amazing feeling!

5. Get Involved
When you’re feeling blue, getting involved in a project or activity may help. “When we were in the adoption wait, I put a fresh coat of paint and got new furniture for our guest bedroom. Doing all this allowed me something to think about other than how sad I felt. And, it paid off! My mom ended up staying in this guest room and helping me out during the very first days home with our newborn son,” shares one Lifetime adoptive mom. Getting involved doesn’t have to mean undertaking such a big project, though. It may be an activity as simple as baking, scrapbooking, knitting, organizing a closet, or making homemade gifts.

Remember, this too shall pass, no matter how you choose to get through the holiday season while you’re waiting to adopt. And you’ll be parents before you know it!

Join a Special Webinar on Understanding the Adoption Tax Credit!

Click to register for the Adoption Tax Credit webinar!If you’re researching your adoption financing choices, you’ve likely heard of the Adoption Tax Credit. If you’ve found it challenging to make sense of how it works or how you can apply it to your taxes, then this webinar is for you!

Join Lifetime’s free adoption webinar on the tax credit next week on Thursday, October 19th at 6:00 pm Eastern. This is sure to be an info-packed webinar, with well-known tax expert, Becky Wilmoth. Wilmoth is an EA (Enrolled Agent) with Bill’s Tax Service. There, she not only advises and prepares taxes but is also one of the only federally licensed tax professionals who have unrestricted rights to represent taxpayers before the IRS. She’s both a licensed tax professional and an Adoption Tax Credit Specialist®. Wilmoth is fully educated and equipped to answer commonly-asked questions about the Adoption Tax Credit!

Here’s the link to register for this information-packed webinar on the Adoption Tax Credit:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5117208859587965954

You can attend our adoption tax credit webinar on your computer, over the phone, or via GoToWebinar’s app from your smartphone. Here are the links to download this app on your device:

GoToWebinar in the iTunes App Store
GoToWebinar in the Google Play store

After you register, you’ll be emailed instructions on how to tune in live. People in any stage of their adoption journey will benefit from learning more about the Adoption Tax Credit!

Learn More About Domestic Adoption Through Free Online Webinars

did you know that you can learn about domestic adoption through free, online webinars?Each year, prospective adoptive families across the US make the life-changing and exciting decision to adopt a child. Yet, many people think an international adoption will happen more quickly and easily than a domestic adoption. That’s just due to a popular myth that says it will be difficult to adopt a baby in the United States.

Lifetime Adoption has been providing adoption services to adoptive parents and birth parents since 1986. We also educate about modern adoption and open adoption, so that light can be shed on adoption myths. Our free online webinars can be accessed by anyone who’s interested.

Our free, online adoption webinars provide information on the adoption process, what open adoption looks like, and gives adoption tips. Head over to AdoptionWebinar.com to start watching and listening to this FREE adoption resource! Each of our webinars feature expert answers and insights from people recently touched by adoption.

Lifetime focuses on each part of the “adoption triad”-the adoptee, birth mother, and adoptive parents. We assist women thinking about adoption for their baby with finding medical care, supportive counseling, and financial help. Prospective adoptive parents are guided through the open adoption process, which includes the home study, legal process, and creating their own adoption profile to present to birth mothers. We also help adoptive couples discover how to afford adoption, through adoption financing, adoption loans, adoption grants, and fundraising.

Subscribe to our free online adoption webinars at AdoptionWebinar.com today, so you can learn the important details you’ll need to know as you travel the path to adoption! When you subscribe, you’ll get exclusive access to webinar replays AND to invites to new LIVE webinars directly to your email.

Are You Ready to Grow Your Family Through Adoption?

Is it time to grow your family through adoption?Have you been thinking about welcoming a second (or third) child into your home? For many, adoption is one of the biggest and most rewarding decisions of their lives. If you’re already a parent and would like to grow your family through adoption, there are questions to ask yourselves and factors to weigh in. Keep scrolling to discover how you can realize your dream and grow your family through adoption!

Here are some questions and concerns to keep in mind as you contemplate domestic infant adoption:

  • How will adoption affect our lives?
    Think about the areas of your lives that would be affected by a new addition. Factors to consider include time, finances, housing, scheduled commitments, and values.
  • Why do we want to adopt another child?
    There are lots of reasons why people want to parent again; some valid and some a bit questionable. Is it because you have a strong wish to parent another child? Maybe you have experience with parenting and feel confident about it. Does it feel as if there’s a missing piece in your family “puzzle”? These are all examples of good reasons to expand your family through adoption.

    However, you may wish to stop and think a little more if you want to adopt because your child wants a sibling, you want to make a difference to a “child in need,” or you believe that another child will fix your marriage.

We hope the questions and concerns we shared here are helpful as you think about whether or not to grow your family through adoption. Another child will definitely change your current family dynamic, so it’s wonderful you’re pondering your reasons for adopting.

As you think about this decision, we encourage you to seek out adoption books, blogs, and professionals that may be helpful. Recognize that the decision to adopt is ultimately a personal one. Take as much time as you need to make the best choice for you, your spouse, and your current child(ren).

Once you’re ready to start your adoption journey, you can message us or call us at 1-800-923-6784. We’ll help you begin the path towards domestic infant adoption!

6 Smart Moves to Get Your Finances in Line for a Baby

get your money in line before you adopt!There’s no doubt that welcoming a baby into your home will affect your finances. There’s buying all the needed supplies, clothing, and bedding for a nursery, and then there’s the diapers, formula, toys, and child care. Add to that some costs that aren’t directly linked to the baby, but come into play such as increased life and disability insurance coverage.

Getting a hold of your finances right now, while you’re in the adoption wait, can help you enjoy your newborn without stressing out about money issues. Here are 6 smart moves to take before your baby arrives:

1. Check With Your Employer About Benefits

Ask your employer now which benefits are available to you, so you have an idea of how to budget. Parental leave is a necessary benefit, no matter if it’s paid or unpaid. There may be additional benefits you can take advantage of, like a health flexible spending account (FSA). Your employer may offer adoption-related benefits, so make sure to ask! Finally, you’ll want to research the life and disability insurance coverage your employer offers. Ask about the deadlines for buying increased coverage so you can plan ahead.

2. Pay Off Your Debt

Get out of any high-interest debt you’ve incurred, such as unpaid credit card balances. Once you start your family, finding money to dig yourselves out of debt might not be as easy as it was before.


3. Take a Look at Your Health Insurance

The costs for pregnancy and delivery vary a lot nationwide, depending on which doctor and hospital your birth mother will be seen at. Your insurance coverage will determine what your out-of-pocket medical costs for the birth mother’s pregnancy-related expenses will be. It’s smart to review the pregnancy and childbirth coverage included in your insurance now.

4. Start a “Rainy Day” Fund

Try to prepare now for the unexpected by routing 5% of your take-home pay into an emergency, “rainy day” fund. A good goal is to try and save the amount equal to three months’ of expenses into this fund. If you reach that target, continue to save 5% of your pay to cover unexpected costs like a car repair.

5. Consider Bonding Time

Per the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you’re able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after the adoption. Both you and your spouse can take time off of work to bond with your baby. But you want to start thinking now about how you’ll afford living three months (or more) without a second paycheck.

6. Learn Child Care Costs

Child care costs may take up a large portion of your monthly budget. If both you and your spouse work outside the home, talk about how that may change. Maybe one parent will stay home. If you do need child care, your employer and the IRS may offer some assistance. Ask your employer if they offer a flexible spending account for child care. On your taxes, you might be able to claim your child and child care in a tax credit. And let’s not forget about the Adoption Tax Credit! Use these tax savings on big expenses such as formula and diapers.

A Fun Money-Saving Tip for Your Adoption Budget

save money for your adoption budget with this fun tip!Are you preparing to have professional photos taken for your adoption profile? Or maybe you’ve set an in-person meeting with your home study provider and want to look presentable. Looking good and saving money on a manicure is possible with this simple tip. It’ll help you feel confident, while at the same time save money for your adoption budget.

Lots of women find that at-home manicures are tricky. Do you end up with polish on your skin when you’re done? Make your DIY manicure easier and less messy by applying Elmer’s glue. It’ll catch the extra polish and remove it from your skin once your polish dries. When you’re done, your skin will remain polish-free and your nails will look flawless!

Here are the supplies you’ll need: an old makeup brush, Elmer’s glue, a cuticle stick, and nail polish. Select a makeup brush you don’t mind ruining, or get one at the dollar store. This tip is really useful when you’re applying nail polish with your non-dominant hand since painting is usually trickier on that side.

Here are the 4 simple steps to your flawless DIY manicure:

1. Get out that old makeup brush and use it to spread glue on your finger, onto your skin around each nail. Make sure to apply just a thin layer. Otherwise, it’ll take forever to dry.

2. Polish your nails with the color you’ve selected.

3. After your polish has dried, use your cuticle stick to begin peeling off the glue. As you peel the glue off, you’ll be removing the extra polish layer on top of it, too. Once you begin peeling with the cuticle stick, you can just pull the rest off using your fingers.

4. Use your cuticle stick to skim away any of the remaining dried glue from your skin.

4 Terrific Tips on Listening to Birth Mothers

learn tips on listening to birth mothersListening is so important in any relationship, and especially when first meeting a birth mother. Many adoptive parents are so nervous during that first phone call that they chatter on and on. As a result, they never get to know the person on the other end of the phone. Today, we’re sharing simple tips on listening to birth mothers!

Humans can think about lots of things at once, and many of us do just that. This is a real issue if it’s done while speaking with a birth mother. It may feel natural to plan what you’ll say next when someone is speaking to you. But if you’re focused on what you’ll say next, then you’re not concentrating on a birth mother and her needs.

If you don’t truly listen to a birth mother, it may cost you the opportunity to adopt her child. Our Founder Mardie Caldwell shares, “I’ve seen several adoptive couples lose the opportunity in their first conversation by talking too much about themselves or drilling the birth mother with questions.”

Here are our 4 simple tips on how to effectively listen to birth mothers:

1. Really listen, and don’t interrupt her. Let the birth mother finish her sentence before you jump in. You can instead jot down a note that says what you wanted to say, and ask once she’s done talking.

2. Ask questions about the birth mother and her life, and be interested. Never judge her or preach to her. Ask if she’d like to know more about you, and then go ahead.

3. Give her a sign that you acknowledge, understand, and hear what she is saying.

5. Repeat or “mirror” what you heard her saying, in her words. Doing so makes sure she knows you got it.

Developing a healthy relationship with a birth mother isn’t a chess game. Plotting your next move while she’s talking is counterproductive.

Practice these tips the next time you have a conversation at work or with a friend. It might feel weird and uncomfortable at first. However, you’ll see that people respond well to you. When you talk to a birth mother, you’ll have listening experience and will increase your chances of a match!

A Lesson In Patience as You Wait to Adopt

tips on how to handle your wait to adopt

A Lifetime adoptive couple admire their baby

It’s been a long, stressful road. When you chose to adopt you were, in fact, making a life-altering decision. Up to this point, you may have spent countless days, years even, hoping, and longing for a child of your own. You may have cried out of desperation in your quest to conceive. All of these efforts may have felt like they were to no avail, but the reality is that the time you spent preparing yourself for the birth process, you were actually preparing yourself for the journey of motherhood. Everyone has a path that they will take to parenthood. Adoption is yours, and as you know, it is a process. Whether or not it seems unbearable, you will have to exercise patience as your family progresses through the wait to adopt.

At times, you will, no doubt, question yourself. You will question those that are working to help you realize your dreams of being a parent. You will wonder if this is the right thing for you to do and if you will be good at it. But, even as you wonder, your patience may be stretched a bit thin. You have to remember that this is a process and that it will not happen overnight. It will take time. It may take, what feels like, an eternity. Consider this…the time spent going through the adoption process will seem like a drop in a bucket once you have your child in your arms. The hugs that you will share, the moment that you tuck them in bed, the many, many nights that you will care for them, and each time they accomplish something great in their lives, this time will seem minuscule. As you watch them grow, when they hit their first home run, or when you watch them perform in a school play, that time that you waited will seem like a blink of an eye.

So, hold on. Take solace in knowing that the wait will soon be over. You will have your child, and then, you will absolutely need patience. But, you will be more confident and, much more able to enjoy your child. You may even be extremely thankful for this time, and proud of how you handled things…a lesson that you will be able to share with your child in years to come!

3 Great Ways to Stay Organized During the Adoption Process

learn how you can stay organized during your adoption processIt’s rare to find someone among us who doesn’t feel the need to become more organized. And, if you’re an organizational freak, you probably like to read about others’ organizational systems. Whether you love to create to-do lists or would rather embrace the chaos, your adoption process will be so much easier if you can keep track. All of the items involved with infant adoption can get overwhelming if you don’t have some method of organization.

Here are 3 great ways to keep organized during your adoption journey:

1. Make a spreadsheet
Using Excel (Microsoft) or Numbers (Apple), create a spreadsheet and use it to keep track of things like your home study to-do’s or adoption budget.  

You could also build a task list of items you’d like to do during your adoption wait. It may be for fun activities like traveling or constructive tasks such as finishing repairs around the house or getting your future baby’s nursery ready.
 
2. Buy a binder, folder, or similar organizer
Organize all of the forms, copies, papers you’ve signed in a binder, folder, or another type of organizer such as an expanding file. You might even choose to color-code your binder with tabs for categories like completed, copies, and to-do.
 
Folders are beneficial for storing info on your adoption expenses in one place. You’ll be thankful you were so organized when tax time comes around, and you’d like to take advantage of the adoption tax credit.
 
3. Grab your phone or tablet and use a free list app
Nowadays, there are so many list apps that you can download for free onto your iPhone, Droid phone, computer, and tablet. The app that you choose will sync to all of your devices. That way, you can access your notes and lists anytime, anywhere. Three free list apps include Todoist, Any.do, and Wunderlist.

Tips for Arriving Home With Your Adopted Baby

infant-adoption-in-2017When the time arrives that you can take home your precious baby, you’ll feel so elated! After an adoption wait and many prayers, you’re now finally home with your newborn.
 
The first month can be a challenging time for new parents, so today we’re sharing some basic tips with you!
 
The First Day Home
Begin by spending quiet time admiring and enjoying your new baby. Resist the urge to invite friends and family over to show them off. You need to take the time just to stare at your adorable baby. Admire his toes, fingers, and eyelashes. Gaze upon his tiny, delicate fingernails and round little tummy. Hold him, cuddle him, and let this precious moment sink in. Take plenty of photos and videos. The months of waiting are over, and you’re a parent!
 
The First Week Home
Your friends and family will be eager to visit and see your new baby. Request that all visitors wash their hands before holding your baby. If you feel awkward asking them, you might hang a sign by the front door that says something like “Please keep little Johnny healthy by washing your hands before holding him. Thanks!”
 
Your friends and family may want to chat about your whole adoption experience. A close friend or family member can help you out by reminding guests when it’s time to leave. As new parents, you’ll be exhausted and need all the rest you can get. Once the conversation is coming to a close, having guests depart will give you time to rest. It’s so important to remember the old saying “sleep when the baby sleeps”!
 
The First Month Home
People will be asking you “what can we do to help?” all the time. Accept their offers of help! It’s difficult for some to let others help out. But it really helps to take advantage of friends and family’s offers of help when you have a new baby home. Here are some ideas of things people could help you with:

  • Dishes – ask someone to load the dishwasher, put away dishes, and hand wash certain items. Asking someone to help you with dishes will make them feel useful and save you time.
  • Meals – lots of people will probably ask if they can help you with anything. Set up a meal train website! That way you can share food allergies and preferences. A meal train site also allows people to see which days are already covered. A couple of great meal train sites include MealBaby.com and MealTrain.com.
  • Caring for Children – you might ask those you trust for help with your older children. For example, a fellow parent at your child’s school could take them to school and/or drop them off afterward. This is a wonderful opportunity to save you energy.
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    Enjoy this special time, and share it with others. The memories you create will be worth everything to you and your baby for a lifetime!