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Archive for adoption tip

The Truth About Being Picked by a Birth Mother

Woman browses Internet on a tabletAmanda rested on the sofa, with a cup of tea resting in one hand one. She grabbed for her iPad and began to browse through her adoption agency’s website, something that she did every night upon getting home from work. As she navigated the site, Amanda began feeling defeated. As she looked at all the happy photos of other couples hoping to adopt, she wondered, “How will we ever stand out from all these other couples and get picked by a birth mother? What makes a birth mother choose one couple over another as the parents to her child? How can we compete against couples who are charming, well-educated, attractive, and wealthier?”
 
If this scenario sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. Plenty hopeful adoptive parents feel worried from time to time that a birth mother won’t choose them. Struggling with jealousy and frustration during your adoption journey is normal. Today, we hope to bring clarity to the open adoption process and give you some bottom line truths about being chosen by a birth mother.
 

Why Them and Not Us?

Today, birth mothers pick adoptive families for a variety of reasons. Lifetime has seen women choose a certain couple just because they looked kind, or familiar, or fun. Birth mothers have decided on their baby’s adoptive parents based on where they live, their pets, or their hobbies. We’ve even worked with birth mothers who felt an instant connection to an adoptive couple because they both liked the same candy! As you can tell, there’s no specific formula to explain why a birth mother might like one family over another.
 
The truth is, a birth mother can only pick ONE adoptive family for her baby. Once she realizes that there are so many wonderful, loving couples who would make amazing parents for her baby, it makes her difficult decision even more so.
 

How Long Will We Wait?

Adoption is unique. If it were easier to adopt, there would be more people pursuing this path to parenthood. It’s challenging to predict exactly how long your adoption wait will be. That because here at Lifetime, adoption depends on a birth mother’s choice.
 
So, it’s important to follow your adoption agency’s guidance and expertise on your adoption profile, website, and video. Also, make sure to be as open as you’re comfortable in your adoption preferences for a child. Every time a birth mother sees your information, it’s another opportunity to be picked.
 
The bottom line is that there are a variety of reasons why some adoptive couples wait longer than others. Some hopeful adoptive parents may have put off turning in their home study paperwork or getting their adoption profiles in. Or, they might even have turned down an opportunity to adopt that was given to them and was inside their preferences. For couples who have been ready and proactive from the beginning of their adoption journey, it’s just a matter of time!
 
Each adoptive family’s path to their child is unique, but it can be hard not to compare yourself to others. Whether you’re seeking an adoption match on your own or with the help of a professional, we hope that the insights we shared here help you get through the frustrating days.
 

Do you need encouragement and inspiration during your adoption wait? Make sure to check out these helpful articles about waiting:

8 Ways to Be Positive During the Adoption Wait
 
In Your Adoption Wait? 5 Ideas on What You Can Do
 
A Lesson In Patience as You Wait to Adopt
 
Coping With Your Adoption Wait
 
Struggling With Your Adoption Wait? Read This!

Why Did They Adopt, But Not Us?

Why did they adopt, but not us?There are many sides to the adoption journey when you’re eagerly waiting to be chosen by a birth mother. Many adoptive couples go through the process joyfully, trying to be as patient and proactive as possible. Others struggle with feelings of jealousy and frustration, asking themselves, “Why did they adopt, but not us?”
 
During the wait, most adoptive families may wonder things like:
 
Why did that couple get chosen by a birth mother and not us?

Why is this taking so long?

Why are they taking new adoptive families when we’re still waiting?

We would have happily adopted that baby. Why didn’t they offer the adoption to us?

Thoughts like these might make you doubt your adoption professional and your adoption plans. They can even make you question what you have to offer a child. It’s what you do with these thoughts that’ll affect your peace of mind, while you’re in the adoption wait. Today, we’re going to elaborate on each common question to find the truth:
 

Why did that couple get chosen by a birth mother and not us?

In modern adoption, birth mothers choose adoptive families for a variety of reasons. Lifetime has worked with birth moms who chose the couple they did because they looked kind, familiar, or fun. Other women have chosen their baby’s adoptive family based on where they live, their hobbies, and even their pets. There isn’t one predictable reason a birth mother may prefer one family over another. However, the truth is that she can only pick ONE adoptive family for her baby. This makes her decision difficult when she learns about so many wonderful couples who’d make loving parents for her child.
 

Why is this taking so long?

If adoption was easy or fast, more people would pursue it. It’s hard to predict exactly how long your adoption wait will be. At our agency, every adoption depends on a birth mother’s choice. So in order to maximize your exposure to women thinking about adoption, it’s very important to follow your adoption professional’s recommendations.
 
Similarly, it’s crucial to keep your adoption preferences as open as you are comfortable. Each time your profile is shown to a birth mother is another opportunity to be picked. The truth is that there are reasons why some couples wait longer than others, such as procrastinating on getting their adoption profile or home study completed or passing up opportunities within their preferences. For couples who have been proactive from the start, the truth is it’s just a matter of time.
 
Birth mother considering adoption

Why are they taking new adoptive families when we’re still waiting?

Many assume that an agency should avoid welcoming new clients until their current ones have adopted. This reasoning behind this argument is that with fewer couples to choose from, the longer-waiting ones are more likely to get chosen. But, the argument ignores the fact that couples ARE completing adoptions each month, and there continues to be a need for adoptive families who are open to a variety of situations.
 
The truth is that birth mothers are less inclined to consider adoption when she doesn’t see any adoptive families that interest her. She might look for an adoptive family at another agency, or even give up on adoption altogether. When she really has a choice in who adopts her baby, a birth mother is more likely to feel confident in moving forward with an adoption match when she’s ready.
 

We would have happily adopted that baby. Why didn’t they offer the adoption to us?

Many factors come into play when an agency picks a family for a baby, including the birth mother’s preferences. Even if she wants the agency to pick the adoptive family, a birth mother may still have requests. Also, the agency must carefully consider the adoptive family’s readiness, preferences, and budget.
 
Lifetime’s Adoption Coordinators are thorough when they help adoptive parents and birth mothers connect. The truth is that because of confidentiality you don’t know every detail that went into an adoption match. It’s impossible to know what happened “behind the scenes.”
 

Remain Positive & Hopeful

Most adoptive families will tell you, that looking back now, perspective is everything when you’re in the adoption wait. When questions like these pop up in your mind, focus on the truth rather than fears or frustrations. This will help you remain positive and hopeful. The best way to fight feelings of discouragement or jealousy is to celebrate the adoptions of other adoptive parents and to focus on what IS happening as you wait. If you find the adoption journey pressing on your insecurities, reflect and then take action to tackle them during your wait. Not every step of your adoption path will be a milestone, but all are a necessary part of leading you to the child you long to add to your family.

Get 6 Tips on How to Support Your Loved One’s Adoption

Discover how to support your loved one's adoption journey!Today’s post is meant to help your friends and family better understand how adoption works today. If they want to participate in your adoption experience, this information can help serve as a starting point for meaningful conversations about how your adoption will affect everyone.

Please feel free to share this post with those close to you!

When someone you care about is hoping to adopt, you become a member of their adoption circle. As a member of their adoption circle, you’ll need information and insights about adoption. Whether you’re excited or anxious, experienced or unfamiliar with adoption, this info is useful for anyone touched by adoption. Lifetime hopes to help as you participate in their lives as an adoptive family!

Here are 6 ideas to support your loved one’s adoption journey:

1. Learn about modern adoption
Let them know that you want to learn more about domestic infant adoption. It’s helpful to know is that adoptions today are done so differently than they were 50 years ago, and drastically different than Foster to Adopt situations. Modern adoption is much more open, with the birth mother choosing the adoptive parents for her baby, and staying in contact as their child grows up.

2. Encourage them to see your point-of-view
Remind them that adoption was once new to them, as well. If you seem awkward as you talk about adoption or adoption terms, it’s because this is totally new to you.

3. Take risks
Part of being supportive and involved in their adoption will include asking questions and talking about adoption. If you’re not sure how to best discuss adoption, ask.

Don’t be worried if you accidentally say what might be seen as the “wrong” thing. Everyone, and that includes adoptive parents, says the wrong things about adoption inadvertently. Share that your questions come from a genuine and heartfelt place of interest.

adoptive father explains modern adoption4. Understand that sometimes, they might be sensitive about adoption and their child.
Sometimes, adoption is a touchy topic for the adoptive parents. We find this to be true if they’re still becoming comfortable with adoption themselves, or when they’re waiting to be chosen by a birth mother.

5. Apologize if needed
Do you feel like you’ve made mistakes in the past or said things you regret? Think about making an apology if it’s warranted. Tell them that you’re trying to learn more about adoption, then forgive yourself and move on.

6. Be open to learning and growing.
It’s normal to feel lost when you begin to learn about domestic adoption. So, keep an open mind and be willing to expand your knowledge as you support your loved one’s adoption journey.

When someone you care about is offering you the opportunity to participate in their adoption, it’s a beautiful thing. Maybe they’re even including you in their adoption process, for example by asking you to write a reference letter or appear in a photo for their adoption profile. It’s wonderful to get to share in the experience of your loved ones who are adopting!

Access this Free Webinar & Learn How to Get Started With Adoption

This free webinar will teach you how to get started with adoption!What do you need help with to get started with adoption? What obstacles are in your way towards achieving your dreams of adopting? Maybe deep inside you answered:

  • “I need clarity about the adoption process in general.”
  • “I wonder if open adoption would ever let us feel like ‘mom and dad.'”
  • “We need to know how to cover adoption costs.”
  • “My spouse is on board, but I’m just not there yet myself.”
  • “There’s so much going on right now. Hopefully soon we’ll have time to go over all of this, or take the next step.”
  • “We’re totally ready to adopt, but aren’t sure who we want to help us do it.”
  • “We’re still trying to conceive.” OR “We just miscarried again and need time to heal.”
  • “Honestly, we’re just so overwhelmed about what we want to do.”
  • “I just need to know what the next step is so that I can get this going!”

Maybe you can relate to one of those thoughts or have a totally different answer in mind. This free adoption webinar is a great place to start sorting through everything. The key with adoption is not to let the process or questions hold you back. The only way you’ll find out what you want to do next is to keep learning more!
 
If adoption is on your heart right now, then you’ll want to access this free webinar to get the answers you’ll need as someone who hopes to adopt.
 
Our adoption webinar, “Q&A: Adoption Basics & Getting Started,” is a great place to learn the basics, if you’re new to adoption, or to expand your understanding, if you’re already familiar with adoption 101 topics.
 
The key is not to let the process or questions hold you back from a calling on your heart to add a child to your family through adoption. This webinar will help you get the answers you need to make the right decision for your family’s future:
 

Q&A: Adoption Basics & Getting Started

How to Build a Relationship With Your Baby’s Birth Mom

discover how you can build a relationship with your baby's birth mom!

An adoptive mother snaps a quick photo to send her baby’s birth mom

“We’ve been chosen by a birth mom, who’s due next month and is expecting a baby boy! How do we handle contact with the birth mom after we adopt? We’d like to begin a relationship with her once we bring our baby home, but how do we do this?” asks one of our adoptive couples living in Florida. One benefit of open adoption is that your child will grow up knowing their origins, their adoption story, and their birth family. Read on to learn how you can build a relationship with your baby’s birth mom!

This is a joyous time for you and your family, as you bond with, and delight in, your wonderful baby. The paperwork, the waiting, the wondering…it’s all behind you! Now the marathon of parenting begins.

In open adoptions, this is also the time when you and your son’s birth parents build a relationship with each other. During your adoption match, you probably discussed how the relationship would work. You’ve thought carefully about the type and frequency of contact, how you’ll share photos, and so on.

You may have even committed those details to paper. This document, called an open adoption agreement, or a post-adoption contact agreement, will prevent misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Families whose adoptions were arranged at the last minute can schedule a meeting or a conference call several weeks after their baby is home, with an adoption professional or attorney present, if possible.

The Birth Mom’s Experience

Once your baby is home, it’s important to understand that, while you are enjoying him, his birth mother is grieving. She will go through the stages of grief that everyone experiences when they lose someone: anger, depression, and, eventually, acceptance.

The grieving process is normal, and you shouldn’t hide your happiness or worry that she wants the baby back. She needs to see the happy family that she’s helped create. If you’ve agreed to initiate contact, you need to send her photos and updates. This allows her to not only see her son flourishing but to see how loved he is by the two of you! Some adoptive parents create websites that the birth mother can check on a regular basis. Others post photos and videos on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

When you call or email her, make sure to share that you think he’s the most wonderful baby in the world. Your enthusiasm lets her know that she’s getting what she wanted for him when she made her adoption plan: a loving, stable home with two parents.

Stages of Contact

While each open adoption is unique, there are predictable stages in birth mother involvement. Many seem to want frequent contact for the first six months. This can help them through their grief. Some birth mothers seek more contact at this early stage than they anticipated during their pregnancy. Try to balance your needs with hers, but give yourself plenty of time to bond with your son.

After the first year, some birth moms want less contact as they move on with their lives. The pattern holds true with visits as well. Birth mothers typically want to get updates three or four times during the course of the first year but may visit once or twice a year thereafter. If you developed a close relationship with your child’s birth mother during her pregnancy, you may want to see each other more often.

Many adoptive couples have shared that they grew closer to their baby’s birth mother as they worked the first weeks after placement together. When your child is older, you’ll be able to draw upon this closeness to help him understand his adoption story.

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.

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!

Watch this Webinar to Understand the Adoption Tax Credit

tune in to this webinar and learn about the Adoption Tax CreditWhether you’re just starting to think about adoption, actively waiting to adopt, or if you’ve just recently welcomed your baby home, it’s important to understand how the Adoption Tax Credit can help your family!

Lifetime recently hosted an exclusive webinar on what adoptive families need to know about the Adoption Tax Credit. In the webinar, we covered lots of questions about this tax credit, like “What’s the difference between a tax credit and a refund?,” “How will the Adoption Tax Credit be helpful for our adoption?” and “What kind of adoption expenses can be claimed and what records are needed when we file?”

This is a great webinar to start better understanding the Adoption Tax Credit and how it will apply for your family. Please note that we do not present this material to you as tax professionals, but rather to help you gather knowledge, questions, and other items so that a tax professional can best assist you with your personal tax and adoption circumstances. It’s highly recommended that you consult a qualified tax preparer for specific answers about how the Adoption Tax Credit will apply in your unique adoption story.

Are you wondering if this webinar will help you? Here are the audiences we aim to assist in this webinar:

  • People just starting to think about adopting a child
  • Hopeful adoptive parents actively waiting to adopt
  • Future adoptive parents currently matched with a mother
  • Parents who have recently welcomed a new baby home through adoption
  • Parents who have recently finalized their baby’s adoption

Tune in as we tell you all you need to know (and more!) about the Adoption Tax Credit!

You can watch “Lifetime’s Webinar: Understanding the Adoption Tax Credit” right now, at AdoptionWebinar.com.

To watch this webinar, you’ll need to subscribe to AdoptionWebinar.com. Subscribing is free, and it’ll give you access to watch any of our numerous webinar recordings. You’ll also be emailed info, dates, and times about our future webinars! You can subscribe using this link.

Adoption Q&A: When Can We Name Our Baby?

when can we name our baby?Question: “When can we name our baby?”

Answer: Anytime really! You and your spouse can begin discussing it before you’re matched with a birth mother. You can talk about it during the match with your birth mother. Sometimes, the birth mother will already know or have an idea what she’d like to name her baby. So then you’d already have an idea of what she’s thinking about and if the name is important to her.

Some of the most beautiful adoption stories we’ve heard have been about the name. In these stories, the adoptive family has kept the desires of their child’s birth mother in mind, which definitely built and strengthened their open adoption relationship! Birth mothers have shared with Lifetime how touching it was to them when the family wanted to include her first name or middle name within the child’s name. It’s a way of honoring her and solidifying that commitment between the adoptive parents and the birth parents. It creates such a bond, and a beautiful story.

If you strongly dislike the name that the birth mother chose, you need to find out why it’s important to her. Listen as she tells you why this name is important. Have grace and give it some prayer. We encourage families to think about what’s really important. The name a child has doesn’t define who they are before they’re born. Don’t let the adoption fall apart just because of the name. Usually, there are compromises and ways to work around the name. If there isn’t, let your Adoption Coordinator know. She’ll try to work things out on your behalf.

While our office is closed today, Monday, September 4 for Labor Day, our 24-hour adoption line will be OPEN and AVAILABLE with Lifetime Staff to speak with birth mothers as well as any matched adoptive parents who may need to reach us urgently. That number is 1-800-923-6784.

Please keep your cell phone with you and on. Lifetime traditionally receives calls about urgent situations when other adoption professionals are not available because they are off enjoying the long weekend. If we need to reach you, we want to be sure that we can!

Join Adoption Agency Florida on Facebook!

LIKE Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida on FacebooK!Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida is excited to share that we’ve just reached 1,000 fans on Facebook! To celebrate, we’re offering a FREE download of an info-packed tip sheet, Ten Tips of a Safe and Healthy Open Adoption. Download this special report for free here!
 
On our Facebook page, Lifetime Adoption Florida, we share free adoption tips, link to adoption webinars, give important reminders, and share updates from clients who’ve adopted a baby through Lifetime! From time to time, we also post about ways that you can help women who have lovingly chosen adoption, through a donation to the Lifetime Foundation.

We also list inspiring quotes, upload adoption videos, share adoptive family websites, and link to helpful adoption articles we’ve written. You can direct message Lifetime Adoption Agency Florida on Facebook too, with any questions or concerns you might have. One of the most popular (and educational!) features are the conversations we are having with both birth mothers and adoptive parents.

So be sure to LIKE Lifetime Adoption Florida on Facebook and join the conversation. We want to connect with YOU!
 
Lifetime Adoption Florida has reached 1,000 fans on Facebook!