Image

Archive for Open adoption

Why is Open Adoption So Wonderful?

“Hi, my husband and I are hoping to adopt a baby after enduring several failed attempts to conceive. As I do research online, I’ve been seeing the term ‘open adoption’ a lot. But we are worried that the birth mother would just be dropping by our house unannounced all the time. Does this really happen? I guess I’m really asking, what makes open adoption so great?”
 

Peter and Helen were blessed by open adoption!

Lifetime adoptive couple Peter and Helen were
blessed by open adoption!

Great question! Often, when you’re new to adoption, the idea of an open adoption can seem daunting. Open adoption gives your child security as they grow and start to ask questions about their heritage and origins. If you have an open adoption relationship with your child’s birth mother, you’ll be better equipped to answer their questions. It will help you maintain and celebrate your child’s connections with all the important people in his or her life.
 
It also serves as a comfort to your child’s birth family, with the knowledge that they chose a family for their baby. They’re able to know and see their child grow up, through the emails, letters, videos, and photos that you send them. Some adoption relationships even include in-person visits once or twice a year. The birth family can have peace of mind in knowing that their child is happy and thriving, and enjoying the life they hoped and prayed for.
 
Open, modern adoption empowers you, the adoptive parents, as you raise your child. It equips you with knowledge about your child’s birth family and their family’s medical history. When you have your home study, your social worker will educate you on the many positive features of open adoption. You can also discuss which type of contact arrangement you’re most comfortable with. It’s important to be honest and open with your adoption professional about the type of relationship you envision with the birth family. Then, you’ll be able to build a relationship with your child’s birth mother that’s authentic and truthful!

Here are some recommended resources to check out:

7 of the Most Frequently-Asked Questions About Open Adoption

Adoptive Couple Jesse and Alicia’s Adoption Story

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

Adoption Webinar: An Adoptive Mom and Birth Mom’s Stories

Adoption Webinar: Questions Most Asked About Open Adoption

Start your adoption journey today, by filling out Lifetime Adoption Agency’s free online application!

Adopting a Baby in Today’s World

Webinar to learn about adopting a baby in today's worldWhat have you heard about how domestic adoption works nowadays? It’s easy to get caught up in the opinions and comments of others who think they know what adopting a baby is like or how it should go.
 
The truth is, adoption has changed a lot, even from just five years ago. It’s important to know what adopting a baby in the U.S. is like TODAY.
 
Lifetime just held a Q&A webinar about domestic adoption in today’s world! You can listen to “A Lifetime Q&A: Adopting a Baby | Domestic Adoption in Today’s World” here. Most people who want to adopt a baby aren’t totally clear on the process when they decide to pursue adoption. That’s where we come in!
 
Click to listen to this adoption webinar!We’re excited to present this new webinar, to help you cut through the stereotypes and hear-say. Get the info you need to know to adopt the baby you’re praying for.
 
If you’ve been thinking about starting the process to adopt a baby born in the US, then you’ll want to listen to this webinar all about domestic adoption!
 
In Lifetime’s Q&A webinar, we took questions from people considering domestic adoption, just like you. We covered topics from adoption basics, like getting started and what open adoption really looks like today, to beyond-the-basics, such as when (and how!) to tell your child about adoption, embracing adoption after going through infertility, and the best tips for ensuring a safe and successful adoption process.
 

A Lifetime Q&A Webinar: Adopting a Baby in Today’s World

 
When you subscribe to Lifetime’s Adoption Webinars, we’ll email you to let you know once our next webinar is scheduled. Sign up for the opportunity to ask our adoption experts your questions. We love to take questions from our audience of future adoptive parents, just like you!

How To Decide How Much Future Contact is Best for You

Woman looks at open adoption profilesYou have lots of choices with open adoption, like being able to select the adoptive parents for your baby. Open adoption also means that you choose how often you’d like to stay in contact with them after the adoption happens, and how you’d like to receive updates as your child grows up.

If you’re thinking about adoption, you might be thinking something like, “How can I choose how much future contact is best?” or “What if I say I want contact but then, later on, I decide I don’t?”

Today, we’re sharing more info about your options with future contact in open adoption!

Lifetime has helped a few birth mothers who decided on a closed adoption. Some opted for a semi-open adoption, and receive letters and pictures of their child. Many birth mothers want an open adoption and in addition to getting letters, pictures, emails, and talking to the family on the phone, they actually meet up once or twice a year.

It’s totally up to you how much future contact your adoption plan includes. Just tell your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime what you’re hoping for, and she’ll send you adoption profiles that match what you’d like. Some women decide to have lots of contact and others would rather get updates through letters and pictures only. Others just want to see the adoptive family at the hospital to feel secure their decision. Seeing the adoptive couple with their baby allows them to rest in the knowledge that their baby will grow up loved and well provided for.

What If I Want Less (or More) Contact Later On?

Lifetime has helped many women who thought they wanted to stay in contact after placement, but then felt differently once the adoption happened. When this happens, Lifetime will help you leave your options open. These birth mothers tell us something like, “I just decided I don’t need any more contact. Since I met the family, I feel very comfortable with them. I feel like I need to move on with my life and I don’t need to have any contact.”

We’ve seen the reverse happen too. A birth mother who didn’t think she’d want to keep in touch afterward may think, “I’m wondering how my baby is doing and about the family that I helped create” a year or so down the road. An open adoption could go in that direction. Think about the amount of contact changing over the years, and talk it over with the adoptive family you chose. If you stay in good communication with the adoptive family during your match, you’ll build a relationship with them where you feel OK asking for more contact.

Lifetime understands that your needs and desire for an open adoption might evolve. We’ll remain available to you in the future if you decide that you might more contact. You can let us know, and we will arrange that for you.

Resources to Help With Your Future Contact Choices

We want you to feel confident and secure with the amount of contact you have after your baby’s adoption happens. So, we have many resources here to help you with your choices in future contact. You can speak with another woman who has chosen adoption, also known as peer support. They’re able to tell you what they’ve experienced with contact. Peer support is a really valuable asset to take advantage of. Lifetime also has phone counseling with a licensed counselor available, at no charge to you.

Lifetime is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Whenever you have a question or a concern you need to talk about, we’re here to help you!

Just call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.

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.

“Open Adoption is Amazing! We’re Thankful to Be a Part of It!”

Brynlee's parents exclaim, "Open adoption is amazing!"

Here at our adoption agency in Florida, we love to share updates from our adoptive couples who are experiencing the joys of open adoption! Today, we’re sharing a sweet open adoption update from Jesse and Alicia, a young adoptive couple living in Colorado. Earlier this year, we wrote about their thankfulness to God for writing their beautiful adoption story. And last summer, we blogged to congratulate them on their adoption!

A year ago, Jesse and Alicia wrote, “We’re so thankful to have found Lifetime. You all have been there every step of the way. Struggling with infertility for so long leaves you vulnerable and it is difficult to imagine that you may never become a parent. God led us to Lifetime because He knew this perfect little girl would be waiting for us and that everyone at Lifetime would be here every step of the way! Every phone call, every webinar, and every prayer helped us become stronger and prepared us for parenthood.”

Here’s the most recent update from Jesse and Alicia, who created their family through a Lifetime open adoption:

Brynlee having fun in Disneyland“We have been reflecting on our journey a lot lately. On Mother’s Day I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than to spend time with the woman who made me a mom! We met with Brynlee’s birth parents and visited the aquarium downtown! I love that we are in the same state because we can visit each other often. Brynlee loved seeing the fish and she soaked up all the hugs and play time.

Watching them interact was such an amazing feeling. It showed us again, just how amazing open adoption really is and how thankful we are to be a part of it.

After struggling with infertility for so long and hiding from this day every year, it was nice to have someone to celebrate it with and I feel like it was part of my healing process.

Jesse, Brynlee, and Alicia in Disneyland with Minnie MouseWhen we were saying our, ‘see you later,’ they gave me flowers and I just about lost it! I was amazed at how strong and selfless this gesture was. I was so honored! I think about them and pray for them every single day! I pray they are safe and that they are content with the decision they made and this gave me the reassurance I have been needing. They are doing well and they know their daughter is cared for and loved so much!

Can you believe Brynlee is 1 year old!?? Time is flying incredibly fast and we are enjoying every second! We are learning so much as she is blossoming into a beautiful, independent toddler. I take full advantage of when she wants to sit on my lap or be held to fall asleep. We celebrated Brynlee turning 1 by having a birthday party with family and friends. We also took her to Disneyland and spent some time on the beach, she LOVES being in the water.

We are eternally grateful for being chosen to raise Brynlee and for all the amazing people we have met along the way.”

If you’re ready to see how Lifetime’s Adoption Agency could help build your family, please apply today! You can click here to take the first step towards becoming a Lifetime family.

What Does Open Adoption Mean to You?

Illinois adoptive couple Craig and Courtney were blessed to adopt a baby girl through Lifetime’s Florida Adoption Agency just a few weeks ago! Here’s sweet email that they recently sent to our staff about their open adoption relationship with their daughter’s birth mother:

“From the day we signed our contract with Lifetime we started praying for two people, our future child and also the birth mom (or birth family) that would forever be a part of our lives. To us, adoption was more than just starting our family with a baby, it was starting our family by welcoming a whole other family into ours.

We are so lucky to have such a special bond with our daughter’s birth mom. Since spending four days together in the hospital, we have struggled to find the right words to describe how amazing she really is. From meeting her in the parking lot, to Courtney hugging her head and cheering her on during the c-section, to taking those last steps together out of the hospital and feeling like we weren’t ready to leave her, we have fallen more and more in love with her each step of the way. Today we can honestly say we love her just as much as we love our baby girl!”

Craig and Courtney have a sweet open adoption story to share!

If you love reading sweet adoption stories like this one, check out our “Recent Adoptions & Matches” page!

Take the first step today towards adopting the baby of your dreams by completing Lifetime’s free online application!

Get Info on Your Choices With Open Adoption

Lifetime shares info on your choices with open adoptionWhen you make an open adoption plan with Lifetime, you’re in the driver’s seat. You have lots of choices, including your baby’s adoptive parents, how things will be handled at the hospital, and how much contact you’d like after the placement. Today, we’re going to give you some quick info on the three major choices with open adoption!

  1. Select the Adoptive Family for Your Baby
  2. This is one of the most important choices with open adoption. We’ll ask you what you’re looking for in parents for your baby. Maybe you’re hoping that they live in a certain area of the country, or maybe you’re looking for a couple who don’t have any children yet. Your Adoption Coordinator at Lifetime will mail or email you profiles all about the adoptive families that fit what you’re looking for. In the profile booklets, you can see photos and learn about their careers, parenting style, interests, and many other things. If you’d like to look at couples now, you can browse our hopeful adoptive family websites.

    Once you pick your favorite adoptive couple, you can interview them over the phone. We encourage you to ask them questions about topics important to you and get to know them better.

  3. Plan Your Hospital Stay
  4. You have the choice of how things are handled during your hospital stay for delivery. Here are some things to think about:

    • Who is allowed to be at the hospital when you deliver?
    • Would you like your baby in the room with you? Would you like your baby to stay in the nursery by the adoptive couple?
    • Once it’s time to check out, would you like to leave first, or should the adoptive couple leave first?
    • Would you like a copy of the newborn pictures the hospital takes?

  5. Determine Future Contact
  6. Another major one of your choices with open adoption involves how much contact you’ll have after placement. The relationship you have with your child and the adoptive family can run a wide range of options. Some women choose to have a very open adoption and get updates on their child through photos, emails, and visits. Other women are fine with not having visits and get updates on social media instead.

    Along with your child’s adoptive parents, you’re able to determine the amount and type of future contact you’d like to keep!

Whenever you’re ready to start learning more about your choices with open adoption, you can call Lifetime at 1-800-923-6784.

Did You Know That There’s a Symbol of Adoption?

The symbol of adoptionIf you’ve been blessed by adoption, you might wish to honor your journey in a meaningful way. The symbol of adoption has been used by many to share their love of open adoption. As seen in this image, the symbol of adoption is a triangle entwined with a heart. Each of the three sides of the triangle signifies the adoption triad: birth family, adoptive family, and adoptee. The heart symbolizes the love present in an open adoption relationship!

We encourage you to appreciate the fact that all in the adoption triad play a role in building a healthy, safe life for the child. Understanding what each party in the triad should (and shouldn’t) contribute is an important first step. Today, we’re sharing about the roles of adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees!

Adoptive Parents

adoption loveAdoptive parents provide the child with daily care, support, and love. They’re responsible for the child emotionally, medically, and financially. And adoptive parents are responsible for helping their child grow healthy self-esteem about their adoption. Openness and honesty are encouraged from the very beginning. It means sharing in an age-appropriate way that the child’s birth parents created this adoption plan to give them the best life possible.

Adoptive parents should honor the promise of ongoing contact that they made to the birth parents. If you promised to send pictures and updates, send them. If you agreed to visits, then schedule them. Open adoption is built on trust. If contact doesn’t happen, your child might search for his or her birth parents. You don’t want your child to hear that you broke your promise to keep in touch!

Birth Parents

Birth parents are a vital part of the adoption triad. They’ll always have a biological link to their child. At the same time, they should honor the level of contact they agreed to. It’s difficult to manage expectations if they thought, for example, that their child would still call them “Mom.” Having a sensitive conversation with them can help.

Sometimes birth parents make negative choices after placement. If you’re worried about your child’s safety, it’s acceptable to look at boundaries. But don’t change your open adoption agreement because some of the choices are ones you don’t approve of. Simply express your concern and hope for them.

The Adoptee

What a sweet update on baby Brynlee!Children should be provided the truth about their adoption in a way they can understand. You can share more and answer more questions as your child gets older. That way, your child doesn’t grow up confused about where they came from.

When parents wait to tell their child that they were adopted, it comes as a major shock, and there’s the potential for relationships to suffer. Part of loving your adopted child is loving where they came from, including their birth mother. Face the challenges you might feel when your child is curious about their origins.

When you understand adoption from everyone’s point of view as well as what healthy boundaries look like, these roles in the adoption triad will bring positive outcomes.

Find out how Lifetime can help you achieve your dream of adopting a newborn!

To get started, just fill out our free online application.

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.

How to Talk to Your Children About Their Adoption Story

talking with your children about adoptionThe experts at our adoption agency in Florida recommend that hopeful adoptive parents start thinking now about how they will talk about your family’s adoption story. When a child grows up hearing about their adoption, it makes life less confusing and mysterious.

You might be wondering, “How do I talk about my child’s adoption?” or “How can I help them understand their adoption story?” Lifetime’s latest adoption webinar talks about this exact topic, providing practical tips on how you talk with your child about their adoption story.

In this webinar, we heard from two Lifetime adoptive mothers. They shared about their struggles and successes of raising an adopted child. Watch the recording of our webinar, “Talking About Adoption With Your Child” to get their tips on talking with your child about adoption, from the very beginning. Each adoptive mom has their own unique adoption story, so you’ll benefit from hearing their years of experience so far.

Our Florida adoption agency knows that talking about adoption with your child doesn’t need to be complicated. Nor does it need to be a major life event. It’s highly recommended to talk to them about adoption from infancy. But how do you start? How do you talk about adoption in such a way that leaves it open for future discussion as your child gets older? How do you adjust your conversation as your child grows up and becomes more mature?

Head over to AdoptionWebinar.com to watch the recording of our webinar, “Talking About Adoption With Your Child.”

Please note that in order to gain access to the webinar, you will need to subscribe to AdoptionWebinar.com. It’s free to subscribe, and it’ll give you access to watch all of the webinars. Subscribe using this link: AdoptionWebinar.com/subscribe/