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Archive for Adopting a child

How to Protect Yourself From Adoption Scams

Discover how you can protect yourselves from adoption scamsThe process of open adoption is a rewarding and emotional journey. The last thing we want is for any of our clients to fall victim to an adoption scam.

The vast majority of birth mothers who contact us are legitimate. However, each year, scam artists do make contact with a few of our clients.

Historically, Lifetime has done an excellent job of protecting clients from scams. In fact, most times we shut down a scammer’s activities within 24 hours. Our goal is to stop the process before people become emotionally hurt or lose money.

Lifetime’s Birthmother Coordinators speak to hundreds of potential birth parents each year. This experience enables our team to recognize “red flags,” sometimes within minutes of speaking with someone. While it is essential to be open and receptive to any potential birth parent that contacts you, it’s smart to allow the staff at Lifetime Adoption Agency to assess the situation objectively and thoroughly. Remember to call Lifetime whenever a potential birthparent contacts you.

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind in order to avoid adoption scams:

1. Requests Money
Never give funds of any kind to a birth parent unless an Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime has approved it. (FYI: many states limit the amount of money that can be given to birthmothers) A scam situation typically involves someone trying to take your money, but they can also be what is referred to as an emotional scammer. The following are examples of scams that we have come in contact with.

A birth parent may contact you on a holiday, weekend or late at night needing money immediately for food, housing or car repairs. This type of “crisis call” is geared to catch you off guard. Please direct the birth parents to call Lifetime. We will connect the birth parents to an emergency referral.

A birth parent may give you conflicting information. She may be genuinely confused because she is speaking with several families and cannot keep her details straight.

A birth parent offers to bring a baby to you contingent upon a plane ticket or money for a plane or bus fare. This is a typical ploy to take your money. Even if the situation is legitimate, some states do not allow this type of assistance. Do not take chances. Contact your Coordinator at Lifetime before providing transportation for anyone.

2. Multiples

Twins or triplets is frequently a sign of a scam. Do not accept faxed or emailed “‘proof of pregnancy” or a sonogram picture. We will confirm the pregnancy directly with the healthcare provider with a legal release of information.

3. Use Caution if You Get an Outrageous Story
Some scam situations have nothing to do with money. We refer to these as emotional scams. These scams are usually accompanied by an extreme crisis, complex emotional states and/or emergency medical emotional issues. A birth parent may keep you on the phone for several hours at a time or send you dozens of texts a day. Stories may be very sad and include rape and incest or involved stories of their own adoption. This type of scam involves your emotions, heart and time. Be sensitive, but refer the birthparent to Lifetime for professional counseling and support rather than trying to provide it on your own.

4. Doesn’t Want Adoption Professionals Involved
A birth parent may request that your adoption professional remains uninvolved with the adoption due to a negative relationship with the staff or a past bad experience with an adoption agency. This is a red flag: a scam birth mother will not want to talk to a professional counselor for fear of being “discovered.” Lifetime’s professional support and guidance will facilitate a successful adoption.

A birth parent may state that she’s choosing you at the last minute because a family or agency that she has been working with recently rejected her. This is often a tactic used to get you to move quickly and provide financial support. While it may be true that the birth parent has recently ceased working with an adoptive family or agency, the disruption most likely occurred for a valid reason. It may be that the birthparent demanded money shortly before the birth or after delivery, or the agency may have asked too many questions in an attempt to verify the birthparent’s situation.

5. Only Interested in Your Spouse
You may encounter a birth parent who shows an extreme amount of interest in your spouse, including wanting to only speak with him/her or wanting to know intimate facts about that person. This is not normal. Do not allow a birth parent to manipulate the situation. Refer the birthparent to Lifetime Adoption Agency.

The Top 10 Tools to Prepare for Transracial Adoption

Get Lifetime's tips on adopting a baby of another race!Many couples are hoping to adopt a child who is of a race different than their own, but aren’t sure where to start.

If you’d like to pursue a transracial adoption, there are important steps to follow to help your child thrive. A couple of these steps include learning about your future child’s culture and respecting their connections to it.

Here are the top 10 tools to use in preparing for a successful transracial adoption:

1. Read a book about transracial adoption, such as In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption, Come Rain or Come Shine, or Inside Transracial Adoption. After both you and your spouse are done reading, review the book together and share your notes.

2. Watch and learn from the panel of adoptive mothers in Lifetime’s Q&A webinar about their experience in adopting a baby of a race other than their own.

3. Read articles and follow blogs about transracial adoption and what it’s like to become a multi-cultural family. Check out the blog White Sugar Brown Sugar: the sweet life of our transracial, adoptive family.

4. Watch educational videos on YouTube, such as “Considering Transracial Adoption? Four Questions to Ask Yourself” and “The Multi-Racial Family.”

5. As you’re thinking about adopting outside of your race, ask yourself these important questions.

6. Watch this webinar, which shares Brent and Latonia’s transracial adoption story: AdoptionWebinar.com/brent-latonias-adoption-story.

7. Network with other adoptive families who are hoping to adopt a child of a race other than their own. Also, find families who have raised transracially adopted children to adulthood. Ask questions.

8. Read stories from couples who adopted outside of their race.

9. Research and find local community resources that promote your child’s culture. Begin networking and attend festivals and gatherings prior to your child’s homecoming.

10. Write out a plan that includes activities you will do with your child to promote his/her ethnic identity.

Are you ready to take the first step in your path to adoption? Start today by filling out Lifetime’s free online application!

How to Get Ready for Your Home Study in Florida

We'd love to provide you a home study in Florida!We are happy to provide home study services for hopeful adoptive families living in Florida. Our affordable home studies are conducted by family-oriented caseworkers, making the process seem more like a friendly visit. Keep reading to learn more about getting a home study in Florida from the Lifetime Adoption Agency!

Preparation and communication are key to getting your home study completed. The home study process ends with a written report that the caseworker creates about your family. It will include basic information from interviews with you as well as information from others. Typically, a home study report includes:

  • Financial statements
  • Education
  • Employment
  • Background info about your family, relationships, and social life
  • Daily routines
  • Experience with parenting
  • Info on your home and neighborhood
  • Reasons for seeking adoption
  • References
  • Background checks

The home study process takes about four to six weeks, depending on your availability for interviews, the return of background checks, and how quickly you turn in the required paperwork. Our goal is to complete your home study within 30 days of receipt of all the required documents.

You can speed up the home study process by making sure to provide all of the necessary information accurately. Don’t procrastinate filling out and turning in paperwork, gathering the required documents, or scheduling doctor appointments.

To help you get ready for your home study in Florida, here’s a list of 7 items that you will need to gather:

adoptive couple visit with the home study caseworkerCriminal background check
Every adult in your home needs to complete forms for child protective services and the police check center. You’ll also need to get fingerprint checks from the FBI. Hopeful adoptive parents whose state or federal records show they’ve been convicted of harming children are unable to adopt.

Health statement
A physical exam within the past year is required for all prospective parents, as well as tuberculosis (TB) tests for every member of the household. Conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure won’t typically prevent you from adopting.

Financial report
You’ll need to list your family’s annual income, such as through a paycheck stub, a copy of an income tax form, or a W-2. But don’t worry; you don’t need to be wealthy or own a home to adopt. You should be deemed eligible to adopt so long as you have enough resources to provide for your family.

References
You’ll be asked to provide the names, addresses, and phone numbers of three or four individuals who can verify the stability of your marriage, your experience with children, and your emotional maturity. Good choices for home study references are close friends, an employer, a co-worker, a neighbor, or a pastor.

Autobiographical statement
You will need to complete a comprehensive questionnaire, which is basically the story of your life. It will help your caseworker understand your family and help them with writing your home study. You’ll also need to submit a guardianship statement in the event that something happens to you.

Copies of legal documents.
Provide copies of marriage licenses, birth certificates, divorce decrees, and other legal documents related to your application to adopt.

Training Certificates
You will need to complete 21 hours of required and approved training sessions available online and in person. A list of options will be provided to you.

If you’re interested in hearing more about our home study services, call us at 727-493-0933. Or, you can complete the short form below!



Is it Possible to Adopt Twins?

Keith and Thirza were blessed to adopt twins!Many hopeful adoptive couples ask “is it possible to adopt twins?” The short answer is “yes”! Lifetime adoptive couple Keith and Thirza from Florida just adopted newborn twin girls!
 
We feel blessed to be able to share about their journey to adopting newborn twins! Please pray for all involved in this precious adoption story, especially the twins’ birth mom for her loving choice.
 
If you’re in the middle of your adoption wait, hearing stories like Keith and Thirza’s will give you inspiration and hope!

These happy new parents share:
 
“We’re adjusting to our new life as parents and we’re loving every minute of it! We learned about their birth mom from a friend approximately two years to the day our journey began (this includes the three and a half months before we signed with Lifetime.) As we posed for this photo, we couldn’t help to feel that waiting two years wasn’t enough to prepare us for when they arrived!
 
I [Thirza] personally struggled with the wait. Had we not been matched by the end of our contract with Lifetime, we had planned on ending our journey. But Natalie called me and spoke words that I really needed to hear. Then, we learned about the twins’ birth mom on a Sunday and flew out to be with her the following Saturday, as she was induced. The twins were born that day at 1:55 am and 2:08 am. The two-year wait came down to six days!
 
Keith and Thirza's twin daughters in their matching bassinetsKyla and Trinity were born at 35 weeks so they were kept in NICU. The staff at the hospital was nothing short of tremendous. We weren’t the adoptive parents, we were THE parents. They were extremely respectful of us and very protective of us once birth mom signed the surrender papers. Some of the nurses offered to help us at the airport once we were ICPC cleared. The entire experience at the hospital was great!
 
This photo is of their first night in their bassinets at home! It’s been a whirlwind of visitors, packages and two very generous baby showers. We have been blessed beyond our wildest dreams with not one, but two beautiful baby girls. Lifetime kept us going when we were ready to give up and we’re so happy that Natalie called when she did!
 
We want to thank you for all of the work that you do to prepare adoptive parents. From the monthly webinars and update reports to the one-on-one individual attention you provide when it comes to profiles and websites, everything you all had done for us was truly appreciated and are sincerely thankful!”

 
As Keith and Thirza’s story shows, it is possible to adopt twins here at Lifetime. But if you’re only open to adopting twins, it will increase your wait time significantly. That’s because out of every 100 adoptions, Lifetime has around two to three newborn twin adoptions, on average, per year. You can learn more about adopting twins in our blog post, “How Long Does It Take to Adopt Twins?
 

Take the first step in your journey towards infant adoption today, simply by filling out Lifetime’s free online application to adopt!

Every Adoption is Meant to Be

Sometimes, couples ask themselves if they’re on the right track with trying to adopt. Silas and Dawn, a couple who adopted through our agency, shared in one of our webinars that they felt this way. Today, they feel like each part of their journey to adopt their son was meant to be.

Are you currently in your adoption wait? Then hearing Silas and Dawn’s story is a valuable reminder that you too will adopt. Watch this short video of adoptive parents Silas and Dawn sharing how their son’s adoption is meant-to-be!

Every adoption is meant to be. from Lifetime Adoption on Vimeo.

Adoptive father Silas shares, “First of all, you probably made the best decision with going with Lifetime. They understand the process and they prepare you for it.

One of the biggest things for me was, okay great we made this decision [to adopt] but how do we go about making this happen? I know that there are other agencies out there, but to be honest with you, we really feel right at home with Lifetime. I’ve already recommended it to my friends who have even asked me about it and I would not hesitate at all. So you are in good hands and just walk the path and do the steps and it’s going to happen.”

Silas as Dawn testify how every adoption is meant to be

And his wife, Dawn, adds, “Trust the process. It’s hard to do and I heard it so many times when we were waiting. It’s hard to hear those words. But just trust the process because it really does happen! When it happens, it’s perfect!

In the webinars that I’ve listened to where [the adoptive couple] had walked through more than one match before they finally brought a baby home, even those couples were saying that the baby that they finally did bring home and adopt was perfect for their situation, their family and everything they ever could have wanted. Everything works out in the end as it’s meant to be…that’s really what it is. Having that faith that this is going to happen when it’s supposed to for you.”

Watch Silas and Dawn’s whole story of how they expanded their family through adoption! In this recent adoption webinar, they give waiting couples an inspiring outlook for the wait, adoption travel tips, how you can use social media in your adoption, and their experience with Lifetime.

Just go to AdoptionWebinar.com to watch “Meant to Be: Silas and Dawn’s Adoption Story.”

Why Should We Choose a Christian Adoption Agency?

Tommy and Kaycee, one of the many happy couples that Lifetime's Christian adoption agency has helped!“My wife and I have just started to look into adopting because fertility treatments aren’t working. Since our faith is such a major part of our lives, we want to adopt through a Christian adoption agency. But, we’ve noticed that there are so many Christian adoption agencies out there! How do we decide?”

The best way to evaluate all of the agencies you’ve found is to create a list of questions that are important to you. Then, call each agency and speak with a real person. If you’re wondering what to ask them, you can get ideas from these 20 questions: “Your Checklist for Choosing an Adoption Professional.”

When you talk with a representative from the agency, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. After all, this is the organization that will be helping guide you to the child God has meant for you! Ask, and make sure to take good notes so that you can refer to later.

Religious beliefs play a role in every aspect of one’s life, including adoption. When it becomes clear after lots of prayer that you’re being called to adopt a baby, it’s important to keep your faith in mind when searching for an adoption agency.

Lifetime has worked for hundreds of Christian couples as they prayerfully traveled down the path of adoption. Christian adoption agencies such as Lifetime are not just faith-based, but Christ-centered as well. From the person who processes your application to adopt to the one who works with your birth mother, it’s comforting for Christian adoptive couples to know the people at their agency share their core values and speak a common language of belief.

Many birth parents of faith have chosen our Christian adoption agency because they want their child to be raised by parents of the same faith. When a birth mother creates an adoption plan for her older child, she benefits from knowing that the foundation of faith she’s begun in her child’s life will continue. Providing this match and assurance is one of the many ways a Christian adoption agency like Lifetime can offer support to all involved.

The adoption process can be an emotional one, but you can take comfort knowing that the adoption agency you choose is more than just a business. Instead, it’s a prayerfully built ministry, called to assist both adoptive and birth parents.

We’d love to answer your questions about how Lifetime can help you adopt! Just give us a call at 1-800-923-6784 or email us.

We invite you to step forward in faith today, and fill out Lifetime’s free online application to adopt!

7 of the Most Frequently Asked Questions About Open Adoption

Lifetime couple Chaun and Bobby with their open adoption blessing

Lifetime couple Chaun and Bobby admire their adoption blessing

Open adoption is very common nowadays, with most birth parents and adoptive couples hoping for some form of openness. Many adoptive families living with an open adoption relationship get questions from people unfamiliar with the concept. They get asked questions such as, “how does open adoption work?”

Lifetime is providing you with answers to 7 of the most frequently-asked questions you might get about your relationship with your child’s birth parents!

1. “What is open adoption?”

In an open adoption, there’s some amount of interaction between the birth family and the adoptive family. They might communicate with each other through social media, emails, and photos. Other adoptive families have visits with their child’s birth mother once or twice a year. Typically in open adoption, there’s no go-between (like an agency, attorney, or social worker) and the families communicate directly. The amount of contact is something that the adoptive family and birth family mutually agree upon.

2. “Aren’t you worried that she’ll come back and get her child?”

Once the adoption is legally final, the adoptive parents are the child’s legal parents. Once the birth parents sign the paperwork consenting to the adoption and their revocation period is over, the adoption is permanent.

3. “Does your child know their birth parents?”

In today’s adoptions, adoptive parents talk about adoption with their child from the beginning. This is done so that the child doesn’t grow up wondering about their birth family and where they came from.

4. “Isn’t it heartbreaking for your child’s birth mother to see him with you?”

Although open adoption visits are definitely emotional, most birth mothers have told Lifetime that they make her feel positive about the decision she made. Emails, photos, visits, and other forms of contact let the birth mother see her child is growing up happy and loved. So rather than feeling regretful, she feels validated.

5. “How many years do you have to stay in touch with the birth parents?”

The answer depends on the open adoption arrangement made between the adoptive parents and the birth family. Lifetime has worked with birth mothers who need to have lots of contact for the first few years after placement, but not as much after that. Of course, the opposite can also be true; it just depends on the birth mother and her needs.

6. “Isn’t open adoption confusing for your child?”

Adoption experts have found that open adoption reduces the amount of confusion for adoptees. In an open adoption, a child knows his or her birth family and the circumstances of his or her birth. Plus, adoptees in open adoption know that they’re loved by two families: their birth family and their adoptive family. So really, the truth of their adoption isn’t confusing, it’s liberating.

7. “Do you wish you had a closed adoption?”

Adoption isn’t about the adoptive parents only; it’s about all involved. Everything in open adoption is done in the best interest of the child, making them the most important person. The reason why birth parents choose to place their baby is because of their child; to provide them the best life that they can. Although they can’t parent, they chose adoption out of love for their child.

At the end of the day, it’s the adopted child who sees the most benefits from an open adoption. Because of open adoption, they’ll never have to question or doubt that they’re loved by their birth family.

Discover how Lifetime Adoption Agency can help you realize your adoption dreams! There is no obligation in filling out our application.

It’s completely free to complete our online application! Click here to apply to adopt.

“Are We Too Old to Adopt?”

Discover your options of adopting after 40 at our adoption agency in Florida!There are various reasons that couples decide to adopt when they’re in their 40s (and later). They may have been establishing financial security first or hoping to create a family after a second marriage. If this is the case for you, the question “Are we too old to adopt?” may have crossed your mind. Keep reading to learn your options with infant adoption at our adoption agency in Florida!

In the past, there existed a “40-year rule” in adoption, meaning that adoptive parents could be no more than 40 years older than the baby or child they adopted.

At our adoption agency in Florida, we’re seeing that this rule is gradually fading away. In fact, we’ve worked with many birth mothers who are seeking an established, mature couple. The bottom is that when it comes to adoptive parents, what matters most to birth mothers is your ability to provide a nurturing, loving, and safe home.

If you’re hoping to adopt after 40, you may have encountered adoption professionals who have age restrictions and “cut-offs” for their clients. This is not so at our adoption agency in Florida. While we do have a minimum age of 21, we don’t have a maximum age cut-off that would restrict you from adopting after a set age. We believe that what’s more important than your age is to show birth parents that you’re healthy, active, and eager to become parents. So, it’s not so much about the age of the adoptive parents. Instead, what you can offer her child is paramount to birth mothers.

Here at Lifetime’s adoption agency in Florida, we’ve assisted many older couples to adopt a baby. We’ve noticed that older adoptive couples have much to offer a birth parent. They’re financially secure and are established in stable careers and marriages. With more people delaying the start of their family until their forties, age is truly just a number. What’s more important is the love and commitment you can provide to a child!

Discover how Lifetime’s adoption agency in Florida can help you adopt!

Starting your journey with Lifetime is simple! Just complete our free online application.

What NOT To Do at the Hospital

Many adoptive families nowadays are blessed to get invited by the birth parents to be present for the birth of their baby. We want to share some general guidelines with you today about the adoption hospital experience!

At the hospital, there’s such a difference between adoptive parents that mean well and those who act entitled. Join Lifetime as we share four things that adoptive couples should avoid doing at the hospital.

1. Don’t Invite People

While this is a joyous occasion for you, consider the birth parents. Unless they request the company of your friends and family, avoid the urge to invite them to the hospital.

We want to advise you to not to treat her hospital experience as your own, by celebrating with friends and family.

A birth mother kisses her baby2. Don’t Take Charge
The birth mother should always be the one taking the lead. Remember that right now, you don’t have any legal rights to her child. Show your birth mother the respect she deserves by honoring this fact and understanding boundaries. Don’t make any decisions for the baby until the adoption paperwork has been signed. That means that if hospital personnel asks you a question about the baby, you’ll need to remind them to ask the birth mother. She needs to be the one making the decisions for now.

Lifetime has heard from many birth mothers who cherish the time they’re able to spend with their baby after delivery. So, make sure to let her enjoy this time.

Remember, let the birth mother take the lead and always ask for her permission. It’s important that you allow her however much time she needs to have with her baby.

3. Don’t Stay for Hours on End
Make sure to give the birth mother regular breaks from visiting with you and give her the space she needs. It’s sometimes easy for adoptive couples to be so excited about becoming parents, that they miss her social cues saying she needs some space. Your birth mother definitely needs to rest after giving birth, and she might also need some time alone with her baby.

Follow her lead, and provide for her wants and needs as you can. Avoid trying to take over, and don’t ask her for favors. For example, we’ve heard of adoptive couples asking to have the baby room with them, or for them to sleep over in the birth mother’s room. Don’t be that couple! Your birth mother already has so much on her plate, and she deserves to be in charge.

4. Don’t Pressure Her
Many birth mothers already feel pressured to follow through with adoption, so don’t do or say anything that to add to that. An example is gifts. Even though adoptive couples mean well, giving a gift right now just adds to the pressure she already feels. Your birth mother’s aware you’ve traveled a long way to get to the hospital. She knows the emotional ties you’ve made to her baby.

Our advice is to make sure to communicate with her. Are you unsure of what to say or do? Let her know! Tell her that you’re not there to pressure her. Let her know you’ll still love and respect her should she decide to parent.

Remember, for years to come you’ll be telling your son or daughter their birth story. So what’s important now is that you act in a way that will make your child proud of the role you played.

How to Get Closer to Your Resolution of Adopting a Baby in 2018

discover how you can adopt a baby in 2018!Every new year brings new potential and hope for the future. It also comes with the chance to commit to a New Year’s resolution. Do you hope to adopt a baby in 2018?

Starting your family through adoption is a resolution that’s not set to please other people or to gain attention. Becoming a parent through adoption is a life-changing event which will mark the start of a fresh chapter in your family.

Here are 5 ways to come closer to your resolution of adopting a baby in 2018!

1. Hear From Couples Who’ve Had Adoption Success
Your best resource to learn all you can about adoption is from a couple who’s adopted recently. Seek out the stories of experienced adoptive parents, and establish a conversation with them if you can. You might ask them for their advice, and about their adoption journey. After all, the more adoption stories you hear, the more viewpoints you’ll have to learn from. Follow adoption blogs, sign up for email newsletters, and join up with other couples also at the start of the adoption journey.

2. Continue Learning
Learn as much as you can about subjects like domestic adoption, open adoption, and modern adoption. There are a wealth of wonderful articles, books, and blogs out there. Check out the adoption stories featured on our “Recent Adoptions & Matches” page, which gets updated each day. You’ll also want to watch adoption webinars, available online for free at AdoptionWebinar.com.

3. Start to Finance Your Adoption
You don’t want to be scrambling for funds when the opportunity to adopt comes up. So, start getting all of your finances in order now by meeting with a financial planner. They can help you create a budget and get your finances straight. Look into adoption loans, grants, and fundraising, too.

4. Make Time for Adoption Each Week
Since most of us are very busy, we suggest that you set aside time each week to devote to learning more about adoption. By scheduling this time, you’re able to plan around things like appointments and work obligations.

5. Begin Your Adoption Profile
Even if you haven’t signed on with an adoption professional, you’re able to start working on your adoption profile. Consider taking quick photos of your day-to-day activities and favorite hobbies. And start considering what birth mothers will want to know about you: where you live, how long you’ve been married, what your jobs are, and why you’re hoping to adopt.