Adopting an Older Child

Bringing home a school-aged child may take a little extra preparation. Use these strategies for a smooth transition.

Adopting an older child can be rewarding

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Four-year-old Hana arrived from Ethiopia “ready to bond with her new family and full of affection, enthusiasm, and positive energy for life,” recalls mom Susan Poisson-Dollar. “I was relieved to see that she was a normal kid who’d been nurtured when she needed it.”

Poisson-Dollar credits Hana’s easy transition to two factors: “First, and most important, she clearly knew what a ‘mom’ was, and she wanted one again, badly. For that, I’m grateful to the aunt who raised her from six months of age. Second was the preparation I had made for the transition. I had scared myself silly with worst-case-scenario thinking, and so I was confident that I knew what to do when I saw that she was primed to attach.”

Despite the challenges of adjusting to a new language, new caregivers, and a new home, most children adopted internationally at toddler age and beyond do very well. As Poisson-Dollar and many others have found, bringing home an older child can be deeply rewarding for families if they have realistic expectations, flexible parenting strategies — and lots of patience.

Waiting Children, Waiting Parents

Although waiting-child adoptions are often expedited, the time between being approved to adopt and authorized to travel can be agonizing, because parents have a picture and profile in hand and know that the child is waiting for them. Parents can use this time to prepare for the child’s arrival — taking parenting and language classes, getting a room ready, reading books (see “For Your Bookshelf," below), and educating family members about the child’s needs.

And, despite the distance between you and your child, there are ways to begin forging a bond during the waiting period. Sarah* and her husband adopted two sisters from India, ages three and six. She sent photo albums to the girls while they were in the orphanage to acquaint them with their new family, and these helped ease their transitions. “Our daughters knew exactly who we were, and recognized the house and the pets when they arrived home. They brought their albums with them and spent the first few days ‘matching’ things up.” Many online adoption groups offer ready-to-print files, so that parents can easily label photos in a child’s native language; a translation service can help you compose a reassuring letter.

After the Honeymoon

At the first meeting, an older child may be shy and reserved, happy and excited, or nervous and boisterous. For the next weeks or months, it’s common for families to have a “honeymoon” phase, during which the child stays on his best behavior. Then, as family members become more comfortable with each other, a child may begin to test his new parents’ limits, to see how much he can get away with.

Sometimes there are bouts of grief, confusion, or even rage over the child’s new circumstances.

After Ellen Margolese, a psychiatrist in Toronto, had been home several months with her four-year-old son, Kang Kang, he fell asleep in the car one afternoon. “Napping was unusual for him,” she says. “And when he woke, he whimpered and cried inconsolably. When I asked him what was wrong, he just shook his head. Later, when we sat down with a DVD of a cartoon he had watched in China with his foster family, he returned to his usual self. But halfway through, he turned to me and asked, ‘I stay here why?’

“Now, how do you answer that? He was too young, and knew too little English, to understand explanations about orphanages, foster homes, and adoption. I guess he felt I had kidnapped him and was keeping him from his beloved foster family.” After several months, during which he appeared to be adjusting well, confusion over all that he had lost seemed to emerge.

Parents may be surprised to see how deeply a child can grieve his losses. An institution, whether it was good or bad, may have been the only home a child has known. He may miss familiar routines and people, especially foster parents and friends. Though rough patches are usually brief, adjustment problems are sometimes severe enough to warrant professional help. Sarah says, “Our older daughter had a classic honeymoon. Then the rages started. They didn’t happen every day, but they were intense when they did. Eventually, we started counseling with a professional, and it was amazing to see the progress she made in less than a year.”

Generally, however, grief is a positive sign. It means that a child formed strong attachments in her home country — and is emotionally equipped to form attachments again.

Daily Adjustments

Children arriving from other cultures need time to adapt to your family’s habits and rhythms. Preserving some element of a child’s previous life can help smooth the transition. “Routine was very important to my kids. To this day, we eat lunch at noon and dinner at 6 p.m. That kept their schedule the same as it was at the children’s home, and it worked for us,” says Robyn Goldman, who adopted five-, seven-, and 13-year-old girls from Russia. (Find more real-life advice, in "Five Tips from the Trenches," below.)

Don’t underestimate the significance of dietary changes. Smell and taste are evocative senses, and a child who is stressed can take comfort in familiar foods. Though some children eat new foods willingly, don’t expect a child to enthusiastically sit down to a meal of hot dogs and apple pie right off the bat. Cooking a child’s favorite foods, or making weekly visits to a restaurant that serves his home cuisine, can ease his transition.

Language differences may be the greatest challenge for everyone at first. “It was especially hard for our older daughter, who was six when we brought her home,” says Sarah. “She and her sister are both quite chatty, and were just dying to communicate. The older one was reading and writing a little in Hindi, and talked constantly. I learned some spoken Hindi, which got basic points across, but I wish I had known more. They both learned English at an amazing pace, though, so language wasn’t a problem for long.”

Although children learn to communicate basic needs fairly quickly, understanding and gaining academic mastery take much longer. Margolese says, “It’s important to realize that our kids do not understand everything in English in their first months, or even years, at home.”

Boris Gindis, a developmental psychologist who works with internationally adopted children, explains that communicative language, the skill needed for social interaction and practical applications, is readily acquired, while cognitive language, the use of language as a tool for reasoning and education, takes much longer to acquire. It may take five to seven years to achieve cognitive mastery of a new language. A child who is behind academically or is struggling with English will often benefit by being placed in a lower grade than she would attend based on her age.

Parents often plan on giving children some time to settle in at home before enrolling them in school, but most school-age children are eager to start classes with their peers. “Our girls came home in March, and we thought we’d start in the fall,” says Sarah. “But our six-year-old immediately began a relentless campaign to go to school. We placed her in kindergarten, and it was the best thing we could have done. It did not hurt her attachment in the slightest.”

Poisson-Dollar made the decision on her own, and she agrees about its benefits. “We’d been home for two months, and I felt that Hana needed routine and exposure to other kids, and I needed a bit of a break to get other things done,” she says. “Hana loved preschool and she thrived. I concentrated on just having fun with her and exposing her to new, vocabulary-rich situations casually.”

Growing Attachments

Contrary to popular belief, older children are not necessarily at greater risk of developing reactive attachment disorder (RAD) than children adopted as infants. In Our Own: Adopting and Parenting the Older Child, author Trish Maskew notes, “If an older child formed a strong attachment to a primary caregiver in infancy and remained in his birth family, or with one foster family, for several years before being adopted, he may have less chance of RAD than a baby or toddler who has spent the first nine months to two years in an orphanage or a series of foster homes.”

But she cautions, “What is true is that most older children have likely been abused and/or neglected either before or after their relinquishment. Their risk of attachment difficulties depends on the strength of their initial attachments and their individual circumstances and personalities.”

Disciplining children while you’re working to build attachment requires understanding, especially if there is the chance that a child has been abused in the past. “I think children are especially sensitive to discipline that seems at all rejecting,” says Poisson-Dollar. Using “time-ins” — sitting with and comforting the child as he rages — rather than solitary time-outs is one way to discipline without reinforcing a child’s feeling of rejection.

Keep in mind that behaviors such as hoarding, stealing, and lying may be a child’s expressions of anxiety over situations he cannot control. If disruptive behaviors persist, if a child is struggling with grief, or if she has extreme difficulty bonding with family members, working with a qualified therapist is critical. Some veteran parents regret not seeking professional help when their children first showed signs of distress.

Building attachment is not all serious business, however. Poisson-Dollar says, “I think it’s important to have fun with your new child. Play, swim, and eat together, so you establish some happy family memories as quickly as possible.”

Becoming a Family

It may take months or years for an older child and his family to fully adjust to one another. Many parents report that they acted as if they loved their child long before they felt that love. Margolese says, “You have to get to know each other and adjust to personalities, tastes, and routines. It is a huge adjustment for both sides, and you should expect some bumps. I think some transitions are difficult because parents are not realistic about what to expect. No transition will be free of problems.”

Perhaps the most important gift parents can give a newly adopted older child is time. “Children need time and room to take it all in and figure out where they stand in their new world,” advises Margolese. “Sometimes they seem to adapt well, so we tend to forget how new everything is for them and how much there is still to learn.”

Flexibility is essential. Sarah says, “The best advice I got was not to parent according to some fixed idea, but to let them show me who they were before I imposed expectations on them. We knew our girls had never been apart, so we figured they would want to share a room. But we were imagining the typical American kid, who wants his own space, even in a shared room. Not so ours, who wanted their beds right next to each other. They could not handle any separation. We also learned that we needed to sit with them and leave a light and a radio on for them to fall asleep.

“Most of that defies conventional parenting wisdom, but if we had rigidly followed how we thought things should go, we would only have ended up hurting them — and our family.”

*Names have been changed to protect privacy.


Copyright © 1999-2016 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

More articles like this


  1. Susan Serrano/Dillon International said:

    Event: Free Adoption Information Webinar
    Date: Thursday, January 8, 2015
    Time: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.
    Details: Contemplating adoption? Join Dillon International for a free online webinar to learn more about the adoption process and Dillon International’s programs. Register online at

  2. Susan Serrano/Dillon International said:

    Event: Adoption Information Meeting
    Date: Tuesday, February 3, 2015
    Time: 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
    Location: Dillon International office, One First Missouri Center, Suite 115, St. Louis, MO
    Details: Dillon International, a licensed, non-profit agency, will host a free meeting for families interested in learning more about intercountry adoption. Please call 314-576-4100 or email [email protected] for details or to RSVP. You can also register your attendance online at

  3. Lynelle said:

    As a fellow adoptee, thank you for posting this! It’s a battle us adoptees have to face continually .. The justifying of our right to knowledge about ourselves that others have and take for granted!

  4. Mirah Riben said:

    Excellent post. The concept of being selfish for wanting to know your own mother or sister is ABSURD!Q Especially with the popularity of genealogy. Any adoptive parent who thinks as the one you quoted does is pathetically insecure. Wanting gratitude from her adopted child! is awful. Why should any adoptee be grateful they had to loose their family of origins?Why would anyone be grateful they were born to parents who were unable to raise them or grateful to live in a family they are not related to?

    The “selfish” finger does not just get pointed toward adoptees. For many decades it was the prime tool used against expectant mothers to get them to relinquish. We were told we were “selfish” for wanting to keep our own flesh-and-blood children we had carried for nine months and labored to birth. That others were more deserving.

    So very odd that adoptees and original mothers are attacked with the word selfish by the most selfish party in adoption: the takers, the winners. Projection?

  5. Margaret S LyBurtus said:

    I will share this post that may enlighten a few more people.

  6. HeldHostage said:

    Most Adoptees would find your Question Offensive. We owe our adoptors nothing.When the Court proceedings went on where was our representation?it certainly wasn’t the Agency they received profits ,where was our lawyer looking out for our best interest? there was no representation as our Identity and our family get locked away in a file.
    The same File the adoptor have access to but don’t give us and make us search because they aren’t looking after our best interest. We are captives we are disrespected with terms like you were chosen. guess what Kidnappers choose their victims too.
    We owe no body anything , until the day we are treated as first class citizens that are represented in a court with full access to our Identities and adoption paperwork . Until that day I consider adoptors insecure kidnappers that dont respect their property the Adoptee. They paid for them they are property.

  7. Lisa said:

    I can’t even begin to explain how much I love this post! I feel as though it was written for/about us, except that our “Spaz Out” lasted over a year. Our son was almost 7 when he came to live with us. He had 75 foster placements before us (most were abusive), and has been diagnosed with PTSD. Now, he’s a happy, healthy, and still healing 11 year old. Later this week, his 13 year old brother will be joining our family after a decade of moving through the foster system. He has been diagnosed with FASD. We know we have some challenging times ahead of us while both boys adjust to this new life and family dynamic, but we also know the love and joy that awaits us all. I think I will bookmark this post, so that I can read it when we are exhausted and emotional as our new son goes through this process.

  8. Lynda said:

    Looking for a parent support group for teens with attachment disorder and substance abuse in South Orange County CA. We adopted 2 unrelated boys from Belarus. Both have above issues.

  9. erika breen said:

    25 years ago I became a birth mother. I chose open adoption. Over all it’s been a great experience all the way around. My daughter and I are very close. However, recently we’ve had a falling out. Anytime, life doesn’t go her way she throws out the abandonment statements. And I’m tired of it. I love my daughter very much but I can’t spend the rest of my life feeling bad about the “best” and hardest decision I’ve ever had to make. No matter what I’ll always be that person who abandoned her. I can’t change it. Any advise would be helpful!!

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Thank you so much for your comments. I love hearing that you and your daughter are close. Perhaps it’s this very closeness that makes her feel safe and secure to express herself in this way. When a child tells their parent “I hate you” or some equivalent it is hurtful and we do our best not to take it personally as hard as that can be. I also think that when things don’t go her way, it probably does trigger feelings of abandonment in her. Maybe now that things have cooled, you might be able to approach your daughter to talk about the situation — the thing that didn’t go her way and the abandonment statements that hurt you. Maybe counseling would help you both sort through your feelings and gain more understanding for the other’s perspective and experience.

  10. Margot said:

    I have an adopted daughter from the Congo, and we live in a very progressive, major city with great diversity. I don’t know how (or when) to approach the issue of race and racism with her (she’s 5yo). I feel like this is such a complex issue, I can’t even begin to document all of my thoughts about this. In brief, I feel that race is everything, and race is nothing. How and when do I start the discussion with her?

    • Cindy Gibson said:

      I have this same question with my just-turned-3 year old (domestic adoption-he is African-Am/Peurto Rican and we are Caucasian). We live in a rural setting though so the opportunities to interact with a variety of people are limited. Is there a way that I can introduce the topic gradually so it becomes less of an issue or should I wait until he has questions?

  11. Peg said:

    We adopted our son 4 years ago; he is now 17. He seems to romanticize life in the ghetto: not just friendly neighbors on front porches, but gang loyalty, etc. He wants to listen to explicit rap and claims blacks using the n-word to one another is fine. “You just don’t understand,” he says. I tell him that I DO understand the history of that word and just canNOT understand why ANYone would want to rechain themselves to it! How do I speak the truth about that & the lousy elements of a culture w/o coming across racist?

  12. Eva Atkinson said:

    I am the adoptive Mom of 2 daughters born in China, now 15 & 13. I have never had the experience of driving while black or shopping while black. I have had the experience of my minority daughters experiencing covert racism…and not so covert…my 15 yr old’s friends: Asians (or any ethnic minority for that matter) are OK to be friends with, but not dated by, Caucasians. (I like this blog post:

  13. Sher said:

    “Sarah: That day came this month! Until now, my relationship has always been with the adoptive parents. For the last several years, they haven’t wanted me to have contact with my birth son and I have accepted their choice. After a lot of thinking, I decided it was important that he knew I was out there and I cared about him; anything he wanted to do from there was fine. I sent him a message on Facebook and, within five minutes, I got a message back. Little by little we’re sharing more intimate things, although we’re still very much at the 15-year-old-boy level. Last time I messaged him, I suggested he could come visit me if his parents said it was OK. We’ll see what happens. It’s definitely a new phase of our relationship and I’m glad I did it.”
    I find this VERY disrespectful and would be livid if my child’s birth mother directly contacted my son why I had asked her not to. And to suggest he could come visit, without putting that to the parents first is inappropriate. He is a minor. I find this a serious breach of trust. Sneaking behind the parents back. Not cool.

    • Alyssa said:

      By the time the kid is 15 he has the right to know his birth mother. So if there was some sort of issue why the adoptive parent weren’t allowing the connection – by the time the kid is 15 he has the right to make his own decision. This is why the comment earlier about having a “contract” with expectations would be good. If there was no contract then they need to listen to the birth mother and allow her to have a voice. And not just shut her out if she is seeking a relationship. If we are going to put blame, should we not blame the adoptive parents for not giving the birth mother a voice in building a relationship with her son. That’s almost disrespectful if it’s an open adoption.

      • dvsv said:

        I don’t think give a birthmother a “say” in having contact with the birth child should be up to her. The aparents are the parents and if they don’t want direct contact between the child and its bmom, then its their choice to make the parents. Open adoption is not co-parenting or joint custody.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      I think the fact that Sarah received an email back from her 15-year-old son “within five minutes” speaks volumes that he wanted contact very much, even if his parent’s did not.

      • R M said:

        Maybe, but the boy is still a minor and if the birth mother had good intentions, why didn’t she work it out with the adoptive mother? That would have been the right thing to do, don’t you think?

        • Denise said:

          I think it takes a lot to keep communication open. The first point of contact, out of respect, should have been the adoptive parents. I am a mom. We adopted our son 7 years ago. I would love more contact with his birth parents. As his mom though, I am responsible for knowing who he is in contact with birth family, friends, classmates, etc. If the birth mother had pure intentions, she would have expressed her feelings to the adoptive parents first and let them know she wanted to contact him. Suggesting he come visit her if it was “OK” with his parents can open the door to strife in his relationship with his parents by her not asking them first(especially if they say no). There is no information as to why they did not want her to have one on one contact with him. I think all of the parents should work to have a relationship with one another. If when their son grows up and makes decisions on his own it would be much better if there was no strife between his parents. He won’t feel like he has to hide his relationship or his true feelings about his birth parents or his parents. Think of future events in his life: college graduation, marriage, the birth of his children, etc. The parents are connected for life. Having an open relationship as parents can ex out the potential awkwardness ( like what will his children call his birth mom vs. his mom). It is better for the parents to lay their feelings out on the table first and work through them.

    • christina said:

      Did you read the rest of the article?

    • R M said:

      Oh you are so very right. This is the exact reason why adoptive mothers like me are afraid of the birth mother. That boy is a minor. I would guess that the adoptive family has good reason to not have you in direct contact with their son. Your backdoor actions just proved them right. It is THEIR son, not yours. Whatever your reason was, you gave him up.

  14. Epearson said:

    I am the adoptive mom of an 11 month old African American. While my and my husband’s families are very attached to our child, we have one family member who makes occasional racist remarks. When we explain why the remarks are racist and why it is not okay to say these things in front of our child, she argues that she doesn’t see our child as “black” and therefore is not offending our daughter or her race. I know there are SO many things wrong with this mindset and we have tried several times to teach and correct with no success. Any advice is welcome!

  15. taryn botha said:

    We have two adopted black african childern and we are Caucasian. We have put much thought into their school and have chosen one with much diversity. However in south africa the races are still very much divided and we find it difficult to find black african families to befriend…… add to that a lot of negative attitudes about adoption and especially white families adopting black children… its mostly not well received by black africans. My son is 7 and my daughter 5 and we are finding the race issues coming to the for and i must be honest that although we are very open and straight talking about our family i am often taken off guard when approached in either a positive or negative way by black africans asking us why we have a black child and most importantly it seems what we think about their hair!!??

  16. Habeshmama said:

    My wife and I (both Black) are the parents of an amazing baby boy, who is biracial (Black and White) , and fair skinned. Do you know of any resources addressing these types of families? Most info I’ve seen seems to assume that parents are White, children are of color, and parents don’t have experiencecwith racism, which is not our situation. We just want to be as informed as possible, and to give him a strong foundation.


  17. Jim said:

    As the white father of a black adoptee, I am working to educate myself and my six-year old daughter about African-American history. One challenge I have involves all the negativity of racism, including extreme violence, throughout this history. Though I talk with my daughter age-appropriately and include positive and inspiring aspects of black history, this negativity seems both inevitable and scary. A few times, my daughter has blurted out that she doesn’t want to be black and that she’s scared of white people. I understand this long learning process will be difficult; for now, could you offer me some suggestions on how to best handle its most painful aspects with a child?

  18. Barbara said:

    As the parent of a 16-year-old, I have mixed feelings about the idea of contacting a teen over his parents’ express wishes. As an adopted person, I also have some negative feelings about adoptive parents who maintain a relationship with the birth mother but don’t want her to have a relationship with the son. That does not seem realistic or healthy. But we don’t know enough about the situation to pass judgment. I don’t personally call a situation an “open” adoption unless it is truly open, including contact between the birth mother and the adoptee. This article has a lot of good “takeaways.”

  19. MarkG said:

    Did Karen say one child is like a hobby? More then one child means less time for your? Umm, when you have children you have no time to yourself. If you want time, you hire a babysitter for a few hours.

    Why in the heck did she adopt if she was looking for a hobby? For gosh sakes. Go learn how to throw a boomerang if you want a hobby.

  20. JC said:

    How do you feel about adoptive parents searching for their children’s first family?

  21. brandyrivera said:

    WOW, what a great article (didn’t start off so good, but great article). All of these comments were so beautiful, but this one made me cry…

    “I was walking out of the grocery store with my children, who are Asian, Black, and White, when a gentleman told me my family is like a beautiful garden because each flower is different and the best gardens have a variety of pretty flowers.” —HOLLIE

  22. KI said:

    How are the Korean adoptees of Non-Korean Asian American adoptive parents faring?

  23. Trina said:

    My situation is a bit different and yet the same. I have a daughter who is 23 that was raised as an only child until I adopted my son when she was 16.5. So my son knows that she is his sister but he sees her as just another adult in his life. He is now 6 and it took him some time to understand that “sissy” is his sister. Having shared that, my kids have gotten pretty much whatever they have wanted. With my son I am a single parent by choice. I have never had a problem with either of my kids getting along with their peers or with being willing to share. The first thing my son does and did even when he was much littler, is when another child comes over he immediately goes and gets a toy for them to play with. He has no problem sharing. His only problem is he doesn’t want them to help put the toys away. He says they don’t know where they belong and he wants to do it by himself. I had thought about adopting again but at 50, I really don’t want to start over again. My son enjoys having playdates with my nieces 3 boys. He is in between the ages of her two oldest and they get along great but he does complain after a while that they are to loud, which they are. Having an only twice now to me is the greatest way to raise more than one kid. One at a time.

  24. Michelle Campbell said:

    As an adoptive mother, I have never let on that my adoptive children came from my body. I am blessed that they chose me to be their mother. I love my children more than I have ever loved anyone else in my life. More so than my own parents. I have kept in close physical contact with the biological families of my children and these people are welcome in my house. A family tree with more branches and roots is stronger than one that stands alone. A day will come when the littles ask that question and it will be answered truthfully and without reservation. I did not adopt children to satisfy my ego, I did it to rescue them from the unspeakable horrors that they faced.

  25. Paula Settle said:

    What assistance for college etc. is there after the children turn 18?

    • V said:

      Same question here:
      California child, that’s going to be adopted at 13

      (I do know that in California, any child that was in foster care system for at least 1 day after their 16th birthday, receives free college tuition.)

  26. Leslie Howard-Redweik said:

    I’m also a Realtor and it just dawned on me I could look into seeing if I could give some kind of incentive to foster adoptive parents I’m going to check into that!

  27. Celia said:

    Very insightful article. My daughter is 3 and I have been wondering how to approach the adoption topic as well as how to respond. This article was very helpful.

  28. dawn vodek said:

    What is the difference in termination of right from reunification to TPR/adopt and just the simple change of the plan to TPR/adopt with a 6 month court date? How does it work when court terminates rights verses parents surrendering rights?

  29. Denise Daichendt said:

    We adopted a little girl privately and we are adopting a little boy thru foster care. What help is there for either child after adoption , especially the private adoption?

  30. Amy Bezecny said:

    Is it best to contract with a child placing agency, family law attorney, or other adoption professional as the foster/adoptive parent advocate?

  31. Lorry Shea said:

    As a current foster parent wanting to adopt, can I adopt from a foster agency in another state? What steps do I need to take if this is possible?

  32. Alma Cuevas said:

    What is the difference between guardianship and adoption?

  33. AJ said:

    I’m a disabled vet with kidney issues (due to injury.) I am stable and waiting for a kidney transplant. Will this cause an issue if trying to adopt from the Foster Care system?

  34. Bethanne Donovan said:

    Hi! My husband and I both just recently turned 50 years young and have been blessed with our 7 year old biological son and are longing to add to our family. I have struggled with infertility and we recently changed our minds about continuing with ART and are hoping for domestic infant adoption to fulfill our dream of another child. Is this possible with Foster Adoption? Thanks!

  35. Roxann Betts said:

    we have adopted 3 children and are looking to adopt one more ,a boy ,between the age of 5-10 …. How can we go about getting to find him?

  36. Jackie Komar said:

    My husband & I have been blessed to adopt 3 Native American children (privately) at birth.
    We desire to adopt more Native children. We are white & well aware of ICWA. What tribes or States are willing to allow non-native couples to adopt N. A. Children from foster care?

    • V said:

      Same desire for us…. How to find this info, for California? (We reside in southern CA, Riverside County and would prefer to stay close to the tribe, to keep the children involved..)

  37. Hug a bub said:

    Along with caring to your kid ,It is also necessary to spend more time with them.I have a 2 year old baby and I usually prefer to use a Baby carrier which helps to keep my baby with me all the time and also allows me to do other work easily.It is available for all type of sizes and age .

  38. Karen said:

    if you adopt from foster care and receive subsidies (including additional subsidies in recognition of special medical or behavorial needs for a child), what happens when you move with the child to a new state?

  39. Robin said:

    What supports are available to biological parents to help them deal with the loss?

  40. Tapper said:

    We adopted our 5 year old daughter at birth and feel that having one child allows balance for all of us. Our time, energy, emotional capacities, and financial resources are healthier and stronger than if we had more kids. Many kids with siblings fight and argue often as many exasperated parents have shared with me. The cost of private education continues to skyrocket especially in California. We can more easily afford to travel often and sometimes further away.

    Although the wife and I planned to have 2 kids when we married, it took us 7 years of massive fertility bills and then finally adoption costs to get our lovely daughter. After she was born we were spent in more ways than one so we are content with our family size for numerous reasons.

    Our daughter is socially fit and doesn’t seem lonely. Instead she is more reflective, empathetic, and independent. I think there is a lack of those qualities in many kids today especially when there is always a sibling or electronic device to distract a kid from the benefits of solitude. At her age that means she is very creative and imaginative with her play. And hopefully as an adult she will be more grounded due to being comfortable in her own skin unlike many who fear any time alone with their own thoughts.

  41. Lori Dawson said:

    How do subsidies work when you adopt a child from another state? Which state pays the subsidy? Does each state have a different daily rate or all states the same? If they are different, where can I find out the rate for a particular state?

  42. Tami said:

    How can you make sure you have all the info? We were 3 days away from signing and found out there was a line in the TPR papers concerning something post adoption. DFCS had not even looked at TPR papers and did not know it was in there. We ended up not being able to sign and proceed with adoption.

  43. Leonette said:

    I have been told by county workers that adoption from foster care has changed with the focus on kinship mandates. My understanding is that it is not a viable option for infertile couples to look to foster to adopt as a means to adopt an infant or toddler anymore. Is this true?

    • Katie said:

      I have been told the same in Illinois.

    • Wrynne said:

      I know it isn’t true in all states, and probably not most. Yes, most good departments of children’s services will attempt to place a child first with parents, then with relatives/family, then with others the child might know or have a relationship with. That said, there are still always cases where none of those things are possible and the child is put up for adoption. I will say however, that the best way I’ve seen to adopt a very young child is to go in as a foster/adopt and be willing to accept children who could be returned home or accept them on an emergency basis. Yes, it means you put yourself at risk of having to give up a child you love, but most very young children in foster care are adopted by the foster family who has been caring for them. If you tell DHS you will ONLY take children whose rights have already been terminated, it will drastically limit the age bracket as many children may be in the system for several years before they are put up for adoption. However, I was able to celebrate the adoption of a little boy by his foster family just last week. He just turned two, but they had had him in their care since he was about five or six months old. It absolutely does still happen!

  44. Rebekah R said:

    I’m sorry to read that this happened to you! But to be honest, we aren’t responsible for how people react to race. I think the best thing you can do is teach your kids how to respond to thongs like that. And to let them know that just because people respond that way, it doesn’t actually mean its true that they are bad or are considered less because of their race.

    I mean, what would you have done if the parents believedbyou and were proudbod their kids’ reactions to your son?

    I don’t know, I know your heart’s in the right place, but you’re solely responsible for your kids. This is a great twacheable moment to reinforce to your kids how amazing and great they are, despite what people may say.

    I’m sure my comment doesn’t seem helpful on the surface, but it is. As a black woman, if I confronted every person that was prejudice or racist in my day to day life, I’d ve a very bitter, tired and hateful person. Because most people would be angry at me for trying to change them, and they probably would be defensive, and after seeing that happen all the time, I’d start having a negative outlook about the world and people of other races (or even my own tace–given that people can be racist against their own culture) who didn’t like me just because I’m brown.

    But what I can do is educate my own children about how they are valued, no matter what anyone says and sometimes people are nervous around people or things that are different. And that this is a great opportunity to show all these people how trulyvhreat and wonderful and normal they are. I’m my experience, my family and I have turned and opened more hearts that way than just telling someone that they or their child might be a little prejudice.

    Sorry thus is long, and I hope I didn’t offend.

    • Stephanie said:

      Thank you for your comment. I read the article and yes I understood her frustration and wanting to protect her child but I wasn’t sure how I would have handled it. I really like your approach and although I’m white I don’t have the same experiences I really appreciate your perspective. My daughter who is Filipino/Puerto Rican has not started talking to me yet about our differences in skin color but we’ve been reading books about not looking the same and I’m trying to prepare myself the best way I can for when I am in a similar situation.

    • orndgi01 said:

      Rebekah I wanted to thank you for your comment. After reading this article I wondered myself how I would have responded and if I too would have approach the parents. Your perspective is SO important to transracial families and something that we should be openly talking about a lot more. As white parents of different ethnic child, we have not experienced what is like to grow up as a minority. We often see our children as no different than us, but the reality is that they are and they are going to experience things in this world that we have NEVER experienced (and even have a hard time understanding). We can’t be around them all of the time to “protect” them and I find your words about only worrying about parenting our own children and how it might be handled directly with our child as a teaching moment very inspiring! I personally learned a valuable lesson from your comments….keep them coming! Thank you!

  45. Edith said:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m sorry your kiddos had to go through that, but so glad to hear they had a great time. I’m so proud of parents like yourself who are not afraid to have those tough conversations with parents. We need to be more uncomfortable if things are gonna change in our society about color and race. I have not yet had an experience like this, but know it is coming – I’m ready, but not sure how my son will handle it.

  46. Ron said:

    Agree completely — thank you for saying exactly what I was thinking/feeling — ‘adoption day’ is great — ‘gotcha’ feels wrong.

  47. Debbie v said:

    I never liked that term so we call it family day

  48. Amy Bezecny said:

    I agree. We actually celebrate the day we met our son instead of the adoption court date. The first day I ever saw him is engrained in my mind much more than the day at court. We share the story and our son loves to hear about that day, what He did, what He said, even what He wore. He wanted to meet us and we wanted to meet him. So, we celebrate the day we met (which happens to be Valentine’s Day) with “Found you Fondue.” He found us and we found him. We found each other & we love to reminisce about that day as we dip anything and everything into chocolate fondue for desert.

  49. reggie said:

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I have an adopted African American daughter and we live in a 95% white community. While we do not experience direct racism here, sometimes we will be walking down the street and a young child will say, “Why is she brown?” or “Is she dirty?” The parents will apologize, but I will just say,”It’s okay. Isn’t my brown daughter beautiful? I just love her skin color!”

  50. michelle said:

    I started out calling it “Adoption Day” and have since changed it to “Family Day”. Gotcha day always sounded insensitive to me.

  51. JENNIFER said:

    I’m so glad this article was written. From the beginning of adopting our son from China a year and a half ago I never used that word–it just sounded strange to me however, I almost felt guilty for feeling that way since it seemed everyone else was using it. Hooray for your insight…hopefully the “powers that be” will start adopting a better word for such a wonderful and life altering day. Thank you!!!!

  52. Jennifer Gavin said:

    Thank you so very much for this article. As a mother of a twelve year old daughter who we adopted eleven years ago from an orphanage in rural China, we’ve commemorated our Family Day each year, with dinner, story-telling and question-answering. I hope the term “Gotcha Day” can be put to rest eventually, along with the term “adopted” as a noun rather than a verb. I’d like to see adoption as just another fully equal way of bringing family members together.

  53. Beth Weller said:

    My children feel the opposite – they love their Gotcha Day. My 21 year old called me yesterday between classes to because she hadn’t heard from me yet on her “Gotcha Day”. My kids are adopted from China, and their adoptions were not finalized on the day we got them, so “Adoption Day” doesn’t ring true. They like the informal and fun way it sounds and that it confuses their friends. I don’t feel “Family Day” works because my husband and I considered ourselves a family without children, and we have a biological child as well so how would we explain to her that her siblings get a Family Day but she doesn’t because she was “only” born to us? She actually grew up being upset she wasn’t adopted. I understand that on the day they joined our family our kids also lost something, but they lost their first families years before we “found” them and they recognize that while their birth country has much to admire, they personally had little chance at a stable future there.
    Each family can celebrate how they feel is best, but after 19 years of Happy Gotcha Day, we are not changing.

    • bella said:

      I agree. . If our children choose a different term in years to come then we will change the terminology but for the moment they love their “gotcha day”

  54. Ruth York said:

    I hear all the good points here. I have 2 adopted kids and have chosen to celebrate their birthdays only over time, and it seems to have worked well for us. I just want to say I think it becomes a very personal decision what you celebrate, and what you call it. I have friends who are very well meaning in celebrating “Gotcha Day” and they put little emphasis on the term and a nice focus on the special way they created their family. I think it is good for folks to re-evaluate that term and how it might be interpreted – but in the end, I think the interpretation placed on it comes from the feeling the family gives it versus how it sounds to the rest of the world.

  55. Jane Marquesen said:

    We celebrate ‘Gotcha Day’ in our family. I am not quite sure why this particular event or any other that we celebrate as a family means that we are not aware of losses our children may/have experience. If you call it Family Day or Adoption Day does that mean you are recognising their losses? I feel the most important job I have as a parent is to keep an open dialogue and opportunity for my kids to talk about the circumstances of how our family was formed the good and the bad.! I hope the author isn’t suggesting (or judging?) families that celebrate the day they became a family, whatever they call it, as not being sensitive to their children’s birth families and culture.

  56. Nichole said:

    In my humble opinion, I believe the author did the right thing by speaking up to the parents of one of the white children. If she didn’t say anything, those parents wouldn’t have even realized that there was a problem. The disappointment can come in when you think you’re having a teachable moment and expecting the “student” to have a “Aha” moment. I’m not at all surprised by these parents’ reaction. Most well-intentioned white people don’t like to believe that racism exists much less that they themselves could feel superiority because of their race. I believe it must be quite an eye-opener when white parents adopt black children because they didn’t need to see the ugliness that exists before. I don’t fault children for being ignorant because they are in the learning stage, but what’s sad is if they grow up with no direction from adults to lead them out of the abyss. I completely agree in discarding the concept of having a “colorblind” society. We all see differences, and they should be celebrated as to what makes the human race richer. What a boring world if we all thought and looked the same. Please keep speaking out because there could be a paradigm shift if we all spoke up when we see wrong happening in the world regardless of what it is. I don’t know if matters but my perspective is that of a black woman who has no children, but works in the adoption field.

  57. Gayle H Swift said:

    I agree with the article’s premise that the term feels objectifying, impersonal and centered on the parent’s experience of “acquiring” a child. My children who were adopted as newborns and are now in the twenties did enjoy celebrating their adoption as their “Homecoming Day” which is the anniversary of their adoption finalization. (They still like to observe this day which is distinct from both their birthdays and their arrival days. Part of being an Adoption-attuned family means recognizing the many layers of emotion that color life events for our children, and acknowledging that their benefits and losses are all real and coexist. Language DOES matter and our children depend on us to help them acquire the robust vocabulary that accurately and respectfully captures their experience.

  58. Christine said:

    Just to toss in a perspective I read from an adult black adoptee who grew up in an all white family, all white community-rather a question she posed to white adoptive parents: “Why are you adopting a black kid if you have no interest in getting to know black culture?” These kids will feel different -because they ARE in the minority – even if they seem to be having a good time – they will remember that comment. You can’t protect them from racism, but you can try to find a more diverse place for them to play basketball. That will help a lot. And that is on you the parent. I face that – and I embrace it. It is uncomfortable – but if I just bring my son to all white gatherings, and never look into diverse schools, diverse communities – I am doing him a disservice. White privilege is the privilege of ignorance. It is really really scary how prevalent it is. Here in NY City – I have the option to make sure he not be around little white kids who have never seen or played with a black kid – thank God. I don’t want to live in a place like that.

  59. Gayle H Swift said:

    Striving for “color blindness” is the Emperor’s New Clothes of social interaction. It serves no one and denies reality. Our senses do, in fact see color. Acknowledging color is appropriate. Judging on the basis of color is not. Instead of “color blindness”, engage in color appreciation.

    Silence implies agreement.Hold those educating conversations. Change occurs in the context of a willingness to raise issues.

  60. Deirdre said:

    If you embrace diversity, understand that the same words can mean different things to different people. Don’t you insult thousands of families who use the term “Gotcha Day” to celebrate the best day in their lives. Of course, they don’t think of their children as objects. They are not demeaning their children, who most likely associate positive interpretations with this phrase, since that is how it has always been used in their homes. Don’t try to impose YOUR OPINION (this is a subjective issue remember) on other families, or suggest that are insensitive because they have made a different parenting choice than you. Stay in your lane. You are not the official language police. Manage your home as you think is best for your children and respect others’ right to do the same.

  61. Cynthia Jabs said:

    I’m mother (thru adoption) to three now young adults. We always used the phrase Arrival Anniversary or, simply ‘Anniversary’ to name the day we came together. Less Parent-Centric than ‘Gotcha.’ And easier entree into “Adoption Education’ – both for our kids and others. We’d compare it to our own Wedding Anniversary, the day before which we weren’t family and after which we were.

    • amy said:

      Thanks for this, this is a nice solution.

  62. Amy said:

    When I was little, I used to climb the stairs of our split-level home, and jump from the top down into my father’s waiting arms. “Gotcha!” he would say, each time we repeated this familiar ritual. It remains one of my happiest memories of childhood – “Gotcha” meant safe, protected, and loved forever and unconditionally. Why would I hesitate to use this word to express the depth of my love for our adopted child? To me it means, no matter how far you fall, I will be there to catch you.
    I understand, however, that other people are offended by it – since they do not have this association with the word. I don’t like “Forever Family Day” since I believe our daughter’s biological family is also with her, forever, every time she looks in the mirror, so why should I dismiss them this way? That feels disrespectful to her family of origin to me. I defer to “Adoption Day” in public company, and it’s “Gotcha Day” with our family – with a big, giant squeeze of a hug when we say it. Lucky Mom & Dad.

  63. Beverly said:

    I want to adopt from another state. I have to go through a private agency, because the state that I’m in (Illinois) the state agencies do not work with you to adopt out of state. They work with the children in my state only. Will this process take longer going through a private agency?

    • Dominique said:

      I was wondering the same thing. We currently live in one state, but we’d actually like to adopt from PA if this state foster system isn’t working the way it should be. I hold residency in PA, so I’m hoping these ladies can help!

  64. jim said:

    “Oh, by the way — those brown boys who got rejected in the basketball circle? They had a great time.”

    It sounds like your boys taught you a valuable lesson. The best revenge is to live a happy life.

    “Training our kids to move from being self-centered infants into respectful and empathic children and then adults?”

    I missed your empathy for Timmy and Jimmy’s parents? What’s their side of the story? Real life isn’t as simple-good, inclusive parent v. racist parents. If Timmy’s mom had run up to you and accused your boys of refusing to hold hands with Timmy because he’s white, would you have defended your boys? would you have wanted their side of the story before going ballistic? For me, if a complete stranger came up to me and starting rattling off accusations against my child, I can say I wouldn’t be very cooperative. As any parent will tell you, when one child tattles on another, it’s best to get both sides of the story before passing judgment.

  65. Deb Brennan said:

    The term ” Gotcha Day” should be banned…it’s horrendous. To all adoptive or potential adoptive parents…USE A DIFFERENT TERM to recognize the children who have joined your family through adoption.
    Vice Chair- Adoption Council of Canada

  66. Amy said:

    Just this past week my four year old daughter, who is VERY social noticed a black man at the grocery store and would not stop staring at him. I asked her why she was looking at him and she said because of his dark brown skin. My response to her was, “isn’t it beautiful?”. She quickly agreed that his skin was beautiful. Then we had the conversation again that always follows when we talk about people different looking than we are (racially, physical disabilities, age etc…) “God makes us all look different but we all want the same thing: to be loved, cared for and appreciated. We all want people to listen to us and treat us with respect.” And that always leads into the next conversation “beauty is not just about what you look like, it comes from being kind and gentle, it comes from your heart”. Your children are never too young to begin to grasp these things.

  67. Elaine said:

    Thank you. I was appalled when I first heard of gotcha day. You have eloquently explained why it is inappropriate at best, harmful at worst. We celebrate the day we arrived home, calling it our Family Anniversary. That leaves the door open to any feelings and life memories that come up.

  68. Kimberly said:

    I can see the points made in this article, but I also think that you can read too much into a phrase that has always had good intentions, and is “catchy,” which is why so many adoptive families refer to their child’s homecoming as “gotcha day.” We celebrate our twin daughters’ homecoming day as “Gotcha Day” and they love it. They look forward to it, they are not offended by it in any way, and the whole point of it is that we celebrate the day we brought them home into their loving forever family. We do not prefer “Family Day,” because as someone else said, we were a “family” before we adopted our daughters. I think people should be able to call their special day whatever they like…whether it’s Adoption Day, Homecoming Day, Family Day, or Gotcha Day, without being scrutinized for it.

  69. Peggy said:

    My personal opinion is that Gotcha day is far more warm and loving than the very sterile Adoption Day. Adoption Day, differentiates birth vs adoption in a not such familial term. I much prefer the Gotcha, which is applied to both my adopted and birth children.

  70. jennynelson said:

    Use of baby carrier is one of the best option for spending more time with your bubs .I have many baby carriers which which I have purchased from gives comfort to my baby as well as also balances my hormones .

  71. Annette said:

    I never liked the sound of “Gotcha.” Instead we celebrate each child’s arrival in the family by their name, for example: “Jessie Day”. This gives a different name for each child’s special day.

  72. Juliet said:

    I have been talking about this with my older children (Ages 12 and 11) for a while. I have a son that is 4. How do you prepare biological children for this?

  73. Sarah B. said:

    Your son… So much wisdom! Thanks for sharing.

  74. Angela Emerson said:

    Thank you for sharing your experience. You made my day!

  75. cazaresfamily said:

    I have been reading a few article on infertility grief. Each one I read is similar in some way to my story. I can’t say I have overcome the grief because there are days I feel low. I’m thankful these moments pass quickly but after 10 years of treatments and miscarriages I don’t see the grief ever going away completely. This story gives me hope as my husband and I are currently on a waiting list. We no longer have tasks to do, rather we wait and pray for patience and strength. These stories, help ease the pain, by reminding me there are so many of us out there. I can’t wait to share my own story someday.
    Thank you!

  76. christina said:

    I loved this whole article and hope to see more along similar lines. Open adoption isn’t always easy but if there is a breakdown in communication or a difficult situation to overcome in the relationship I don’t think the go to response should be to close the adoption. Along similar lines, maybe the reason the divorce rate is so high is because humans give up to easy? When Lisa said, “being a parent means allowing your heart to walk around outside of your body. This is scary enough, but imagine how much more terrifying it is to then place your heart in someone else’s hands? I’m fairly certain all parents feel powerless to some degree, but this feeling is greatly increased if you’re a birth parent. One wrong move, or simply due to the whims of another person, you could lose your heart entirely.” Wow! Powerful words and one of the reason I hurt to see other adoptive parents dismiss their child’s birth parents as not worth it.

  77. D. Ross said:

    Thank you, Barbara, for being so committed to having a real relationship with your child’s birthmom and helping others do the same. As a birthmom myself, I open articles regarding adoption with a mix of hope and dread — hoping that nothing in the article will re-break my heart or deepen any hurtful public prejudices. Your article was thoughtful and honest; a step in the direction of positive evolution in this complex experience of raising healthy adopted children. Thank you.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Hey there, Barbara, here. Thank you so much for your kinds words… means so much to me. As you’ve said “having a real relationship with your child’s birth mother…” right there, that’s the key. And I’ll do my best to continue this, and other open-adoption, dialogues in my personal life and my writing life.

  78. R M said:

    Also, not all birth mothers are good people. In my case, all 3 parents are incarcerated. And in fact, they are very bad people. That’s not my opinion, I’ve read the rap sheets. I have gone through great lengths to hide my children for our safety.
    What do others have to say about this type of situation?

    • Barbara Herel said:

      If you or your children have been threatened or stalked then yes, that’s a safety issue. Is that the case?

  79. Susan Spieler said:

    In my efforts to have an open adoption with my daughter’s birth family, I have learned that each adoption is unique and complicated. None of the adults involved were prepared to consider creating an open adoption agreement when my daughter was born so we’ve been making decisions over the years to be in contact and to sometimes not be in contact. After several visits to them and them to us and my daughter’s getting to meet several members of the birth family including her 4 younger siblings who are being raised by her birth parents, we’re currently in a phase of my only sending an annual letter. It’s a long story and, I care about my daughter’s birth family but have joined my daughter in pulling back due to some hurtful behaviors on their parts. They’re not bad people but they can be quite insensitive. Of course, this is also true of people who have nothing to do with adoption. It is important to remember this. And their lives haven’t been easy. But ours haven’t been either, though I feel fortunate. And, as an adoptive mother, I see it as my responsibility to help my daughter, who is now 22, decide to protect herself when she feels hurt due to hurtful or insensitive actions from people in her life. I continue to send annual letters as promised and we all know how to reach each other. But, at this time, we’ve pulled back. I don’t know what the future has in store.

  80. Kashara said:

    I would like to adopt an embryo, what would be the process.

  81. Allie said:

    I am a birth mother to a one and a half year old. Her birth father and I are still together, but we weren’t (and still aren’t) in an appropriate place to raise a child. I knew going into it, that I would no longer have a say in my daughters raising. We chose the best parents we could, and we are an open adoption but I feel that the adoptive parents are slowly pulling back and trying for less and less contact, which breaks my heart. They ignore my question of “what will you have her call me? I want to be called mom”–especially since we chose a gay couple, she doesn’t have a “mom.” They briefly ignore my question of when can we see her, until about the 4th or 5th time asking. We have seen her 4 times since we placed her, and I know that’s still a lot but I feel like I should be allowed to see her more. I know the adoptive parents took a class to learn how birth parents feel after adoption, but I don’t feel they truly grasp the pain in my soul of not having my child in my arms. I overcompensate with taking care of my nephews. I am really scared that one day, their communication will stop, and I won’t see her again until she’s 18 and questioning about her birth parents, and she’ll think we didn’t want to see her anymore. We keep a journal for those purposes but I’m not sure what the future holds for our relationship with her.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      I really admire that you keep on asking to see your child. I know it must be hard to do considering you don’t have a legal standing. Do you feel you can be honest with the adoptive dads about your concerns, how you’re feeling, what your fear is? Maybe ask them how they’re feeling about your open relationship so far and the amount of contact you presently have. Do they feel it’s too much? Are they overwhelmed with parenting a toddler, pulled in too many directions? Once you know perhaps you could come to a happy compromise about contact. Maybe let them know that you’ve come to think of them as your family since they are now parents to your daughter? That you value them as her parents. That, yes, for personal reasons obviously you’d like to see more of your child, yet your real concern is that you feel it’s best for her to know and have contact with her birth family. That’s why you chose to have an open adoption. So that’s my thinking so far. Does anybody else have ideas or thoughts about this?

  82. SM said:

    Do foster to adopt families usually retain the same amount in subsidies before and after adoption?

    • Bianca said:

      After you adopt if the child is classified as special needs you get a subsidy if they do not qualify as special needs you do not receive anything after adoption. Prior to adoption the money you recieve is called reimbursement because up front you are supporting the child until you are reimbursed each month by a set amount of money for each child in Texas it’s like 23 dollars a day. Special needs could mean a child at a certain age, a sibling group or minority, it depends on your states guidelines.

  83. Mama Gringa said:

    What a remarkable story! Even more remarkable that the two families are so committed to each other. Wonderful stuff.

  84. Pam said:

    Can you provide information on if/how Canadians can adopt through the U.S. foster care system?

  85. Katie said:

    Where is the first place to go in Illinois to get accurate information on adopting a toddler through the foster care system? I have been told it is not possible in IL to adopt a toddler from foster care by the agency who licensed us for our son’s agency assisted private adoption 5 years ago.

  86. Katie said:

    I posted the comment about where to go for information for adopting a toddler in IL from the foster care system. I should clarify that we adopted our son 5 years ago in an agency assisted private adoption when he was a newborn. This time we are interested in adopting from foster care from age infant to age 3. Our home study agency from our son’s adoption told us that was not an option.

  87. Lisa Prather said:

    I’m wondering how difficult it is for people in other countries to adopt from the US foster care system. Does this vary by state or is there a federal mandate that allows this to take place in certain circumstances? So many of our older children can’t find families here in the US but maybe families in other countries would be interested?

  88. Mignon Matthews said:

    What protection do adoptive parents receive when it comes to parental rights (TPR), kinship rights, etc.? Thanks

  89. Becca said:

    Once you are licensed to foster, can you seek placements through multiple agencies or do you have to work exclusively with one agency?

    • V said:

      And a follow-up question: is there an agency that does country-wide foster matching, where foster parents can send their homestudies to?
      (Similar to what DPSS County offices do for kids in each county.)

      Background: we are foster/adoptive parents with DPSS directly, in California, not with an agency. Our county “locked us in” with them for 3 years after the homestudy was completed. We had the choice to either stay with them and wait for “an adoption match” or pay $500 for the homestudy then go “search for our own child” as they called it (outside of the county). They made it pretty clear they would NOT be helping in any way, however I had later found out there is a team (forget the name now, but if I remember, I’ll comment again) that is responsible for facilitating out-of-state kids’ placements.
      For our next child, we are NOT going to wait for the DPSS to control the process, but will instead work with the kids directly.

  90. Cambria Larson said:

    How do you suggest building the parent/child bond during the process? As foster parents, what do you recommend in terms of strengthening the family relationship with each other and extended family before the child is legally adopted?

  91. Feb 18 said:

    My husband and I are new to this process, but we want to start our family through foster adoption. How do you go about finding the children that are the best fit for your family? Will the caseworker help with this process, or is there a different way?

  92. Allison Preston said:

    Can expectant couples foster to adopt during their pregnancy or within the year following the pregnancy?

  93. colleen said:

    Can you adopt a younger child from foster care (2 or younger)? Can you adopt out of birth order through foster care?

  94. TS said:

    Had this happen with my son who is the same race as me when we took him in for an out patient procedure as a newborn. While talking to the Dr. the fact that he was adopted came up naturally. After they took him back they called us and asked if we had any documentation that he was ours. I calmly explained that yes I did but that unless they required that info for all of their young patients they would not be getting a copy from me. The caller put me on hold for a moment then came back on to say there would be no need and that is the last I heard about it. My position is that if they don’t check for all kids they can’t just because they a child is adopted. My son is my son no different than any other son is to his father.

  95. Annie Meisels said:

    I have a small 1 bedroom apt. in NYC. Is that going to effect a child getting placed with me?

    • V said:

      Children need their own room. 2 per room max, same gender. Bed for each.

  96. Jacquelyn said:

    We are a military family. We just completed our home study in a second state and now we may have to move again this summer. Is there any way to transfer our home studies with us? Or at least part of them. This is exhausting and time consuming

  97. Gabrielle S said:

    I’m 45 healthy female , I have a boyfriend I was married for 17 years but as unable to have my own child . I know in my heart I’m supposed to be a mom and adopting a child would be a dream come true . My question is : 1)can a single woman adopt a foster child ? 2) are there income qualifications and what are they thank you

    • Bianca said:

      You only have to be able to be financially stable to support yourself if you are adopting through the state.

  98. Ann Marie said:

    I wish docs would recommend a hysterectomy for me. Then I feel i could officially grieve. It’s hard to when there IS that chance no matter how remote.

  99. Tracey Emerson said:

    I am inquiring about the options available for me to advertise/promote the benefits of AuPair childcare to families that have adopted/will adopt. I am a childcare consultant who matches families with international AuPairs and always looking for ways to educate this cultural exchange program in return for live-in childcare. Many adoptions are international and the families which to share the child’s nationality in their home so I thought this could be a good venue. We also have a deep discount for adoptive parents. If not, I completely understand. However, if you have any social media events, posting sites or even live events in the South Jersey area, I would love the opportunity to spread the word. Thank you, in advance,
    Tracey Emerson

  100. shann said:

    What are some things to consider and look for when choosing an agency/organization if you’re fostering to adopt?

  101. Liaa Bannan said:

    Hello Adoptive Families Magazine,
    We’d like to list our China cultural event listed below. Thank you! Lisa
    Please join us June 5-7, 2015 at CAMP FCC in Medford, NJ for our 14th year of exploring Chinese culture and positive adoption awareness. Our program is for parents and children camping together. Children’s classes are grouped according to age, 5 years and up. Activities and workshops are available for parents as well. To learn more and register please visit us at

  102. violetpilot said:

    I loved this. I am soaking up every article I can find about being an older adoptive mom. Preparing for the “are you her grandma?” questions….

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Hah, so funny violetpilot! Considering I’m only two years younger than my daughter’s birth grandma, I’m expecting the same response.

      • lesliefitzgerald said:

        I received my first grandma comment when our baby was a week old. A nice lady in the restroom when I was changing him said, “I remember when my grandkids were that small; don’t you just love them!” I just smiled.

  103. violetpilot said:

    Thank you for this article.

  104. violetpilot said:

    Thank you for this single mom perspective!

  105. Sarah Darman said:

    This is a good topic! I adopted two children who had some difficult things in their background. I decided to answer any questions they asked me, like with my other kids, but to take care not to say more than I needed to, and keep it appropriate to their age. Fortunately, neither one asked much until they were older. With my daughter, I managed to keep it as positive as I could. When she was about 19, she decided she wanted to find her birth parents. When she was 21, we worked together and found them. That one has worked out very well! She has become very close with her birth father, and we now understand a lot more about what went on, when she was a baby.

    My son hasn’t asked, which I am very thankful for. He was conceived through date-rape. I don’t want to tell him that. However, if he asks, I will tell him what I know. I think he will be able to handle it, now, but I don’t see any reason to volunteer it. I haven’t told anyone else about it, which I’m very thankful for, and I think that’s a pretty good idea for other parents whose kids have some tough things in their history. That way, you don’t have to worry about having them hear it elsewhere, which would most likely not be a good thing.

  106. Brenda Savage said:

    I am a current foster care parent and I want to adopt an infant. I don’t want to go through another loss. How can I adopt without the fear of losing a baby again?

  107. Brenda Savage said:

    I had a newborn for 2 months. The love of my life.After maternal mother released from jail, placed child with another agency/parent caring for 2 of her other children. Mother is now being charged with abandonment. Is it possible for me to get this baby back to adopt now? If not now, will I be able to adopt him later if current home does not wish to adopt him?

  108. Michael said:

    How does fost-adopt vary from city-to-city or county-to-county? What are some common characteristics of fost-adopt in a major city like New York or Chicago?

  109. Lori Dawson said:

    We had an opportunity to adopt a little girl in our state, but decided that we weren’t the best fit for her after all. The local DCS workers are holding that against us and told us that we can’t be considered for other children. It is hard enough to adopt thru foster care without people putting a big X by your name. We are a very loving, financially stable family and want to provide a home to a child thru foster care/adoption. Why would DCS workers blacklist us when there are so many children out there that need a good home?

  110. Lori Dawson said:

    Why is it so hard to adopt across state lines? We have inquired on many children in foster care and were told they try to place children within the state. It seems crazy that people can go to China and other countries and pay an astronomical amount to adopt a child, yet we can’t adopt a child across state lines in the U.S.

  111. Amy said:

    My husband has a rare muscle disorder that makes him weak. How much of a problem is fostering or adopting a child when one parent has a disability?

  112. Casey said:

    On Long Island, NY social services told me that there are no children available for adoption through foster adopt. I am new to the process. Where should I contact for foster adopt of a 3-5 year old? I have sent out emails & left messages at some agencies I found online but no one responds or the info is no longer current. Thanks for any suggestions.

  113. Paige said:

    My husband and I have three biological children of our own and want to adopt a toddler domestically. We have been told that this can only be done through the foster care system and that we must first foster before adopting. Is this true? We want to make this as simple as process as possible considering we still have to protect our other three, young, biological children.

  114. Karen Bean said:

    If my boyfriend and I would like to adopt a child out of foster care together, is this possible without being married?

  115. Jennifer Felix said:

    My husband and I currently have my nine year old niece placed with us and the primary goal is reunification. we have only had her almost two months but fear she may go back to her maternal grandmothers. Help?

  116. V said:

    Question regarding RESTRAINING ORDERS and ADOPTION.

    When you adopt a child, their name will change. So, any restraining orders in place to protect the child, would become invalid, as the name no longer matches.
    We’re being told by the Sheriff’s Department that they will not enforce a restraining order with mismatched name.
    At the same time, getting a new restraining order means giving the address of the child to the person whom the child is best staying apart from. Catch 22.

    What’s your suggestion to handling cases like that?

  117. jg said:

    What if any rights do foster to adopt families have? If the decision is made by the department to have another family adopt children who were in your care for a year as a pre-adopt placement, do you have any rights to ongoing contact with the children? (Counselors have recommended that is what is best for the children)

  118. V said:

    Three siblings, separated by foster care. Been in the system for 4+ years, all with 8-13 years of age (so not talking about babies, but kids who had had history living with and without each other).
    Younger two returned to the biological parents with their DPSS case closing within 1 year of reunification, if no issues are present.
    Parents’ parental rights terminated for the oldest child; now free for adoption.
    Court order for monthly sibling visits in place – biological parents frequently cancelling the visits, but the children love the time they do get. But, there is no (legal) consequence to the biological parents for controlling the visits and messing with the 3rd child’s emotions, by cancelling late minute or not showing up……

    If the adoption for oldest child by a new family is finalized and the DPSS case for the siblings is closed, what happens to the now-court-ordered sibling visits?
    Are there any legal routes that can be taken, to require the biological parents to deliver the kids to monthly visits?
    What are the legal consequences to the biological parents, for breaking any “legal orders”?
    How easy are the consequences to enforce?

  119. Julie said:

    I reside in New Mexico and would like to adopt a Caucasian female infant or toddler. The majority of children in this state are not Caucasian. I am willing to travel to other states to foster-to-adopt. I have a completed homestudy and will be a licensed foster parent (for New Mexico) in approximately 1 month. Can you provide suggestions as to how to find children that meet our preferences? Thank you.

  120. Susanne Schmidt said:

    Is ist possible to adopt out of foster care as a non US resident?
    We have already adopted a newborn in the US 6 year ago.

  121. Judy said:

    What is the process of adopting a child or siblings from another state?

  122. Rachel Miller said:

    Are there babies available for Fostering to adopt? If so what agencies do you go through? So far every foster organization I have talked to only adopts 10 years old or older.

    • Bianca said:

      I live in Texas and for some reason there are a lot of 18 month olds right now. I am currently about to adopt four little ones that came to me at ages 2 days old, 1,2 &3. Foster to adopt makes it easier to get babies for adoption. Also when you foster and do a great job caseworkers send your name around so you may get that wonderful child you want.

  123. Carrie U. said:

    Is there a benefit of going through an agency to adopt from the state or is it better to work directly with the state?

  124. Teresa said:

    How does Act 101 impact adoptions in Allegheny County, Pittsburgh PA. I am a foster to adopt parent. My first adoption was closed. I’d like to do foster to adopt again, but I am concerned about what act 101 means, as well as the possibility that my child would get attached to a “sibling” who may be placed for a long time, only to be taken away after an extended period.

  125. Carrie Knauer said:

    When you foster adopt (because the parents have relinquished their rights to the children), do the adoptive parents need to maintain a relationship with the child’s birth family? If the parents had to relinquish their rights because of child abuse or neglect, are they still afforded rights to see the child?

  126. SS said:

    Would you please offer advice on dealing with state DCFS employees? They seem to not care about their work or their responsibilities to the public who pays them. Getting signed up for PRIDE training, which is required to adopt from the Foster System, is a Herculean effort. They act like you are asking for a limb or an internal organ if you request a confirmation of a course registration. If it is this difficult to get the state to register one for a required training course, I assume prospective parents will face similar disrespect and apathetic treatment throughout the entire adoption process. Is this the general modus operandi? Is there any way around it?

  127. Rebecca said:

    What is the realistic average timeline and number of submissions before adoptive parents have their child placed with them?

    • Bianca said:

      Could take years if you are not willing to foster first or if you want a newborn child through the state. If you do private adoption and pay for it I’m sure it’s alot faster. Also just depends on circumstances most infants go to foster homes first and if parental rights are terminated foster parents get a choice to adopt first.

  128. Casey said:

    Does the 40 year age difference rule apply to prospective foster adopt parent & child?

  129. Casey said:

    Is there an attorney or agency that can be used to locate & expedite placement of children available for foster adoption? If so, where would I find a list of these professional services for LI, NY? Also, what is the average fee using either of these services? In NYS do you have to apply to foster adopt by county or is it statewide? Thank you.

  130. Mama Bear said:

    “Faith made the decision for me. She said, “Hi, Mama.”” Love.

    Beautiful story, it brought tears to my eyes. Funny how life works. We don’t always get what we expect, and sometimes we get something better. Thanks for sharing!

  131. Jamie said:

    Is it ok to request from a private agency, a child to be from a specific county that there going to place with me. Reason being, in my state, there is a specific county that the judges are serious about terminating parents rights if it’s in the best interest in the child.
    Also, to answer some of the questions above. I do know of an agency in Georgia that has infants, GCAC, give a child a chance.

  132. Lauren said:

    Beautiful! I love this.

  133. lindahufano said:

    I tried anniversary, then family day, but my kids started referring to it as “gotcha day”. Don’t know where they heard it. But since that’s what they like, I am not going to correct them.

  134. shannon said:

    Thank you for sharing your experience! I think this issue will undoubtedly come up as my son grows older. I was also intrigued about the summer camp you referenced – can you point me in the right direction so I can look into that?

  135. Barbara Freedgood said:

    I am presently working on writing a review of Maggie’s article for the LAPA newsletter. I thought she was fair-minded and incredibly thoughtful on her treatment of this very provocative topic. I agree with her in this interview that adoption touches on some of the most sensitive areas of public policy and discourse on racism and that we owe it to our children to hear their pain.
    I am the mother of two white children adopted in the United States. While they have the benefit of white privilege, they also have lost the very different cultures that they would have grown up in as well as their birth families. Finding their birth families has answered some of their questions and allowed them to claim parts of themselves and their histories, some good and some bad. Joining them to help them do this was not an easy process of soul searching and opening my heart to their needs. (See my recent article in Adoption Today )
    I commend Maggie for bringing the conversation into the mainstream discourse. It is hard to talk about this issues. People have strong reactions and inevitably you upset somebody, but that is usually a sign that you have said something important.

  136. Tiffany Trent said:

    This is all very interesting. I wonder, though, if the opposite also is possible, wherein a child does not eat enough b/c of food insecurity/anxiety? Our daughter ate A LOT when we first got her but now eats very little and is still very underweight. (Of course, she’ll never be on the typical American chart, but she’s still far too light). We basically have to force her to eat, and meals are often very unpleasant for that reason. How to get a child to eat *more* rather than less? I suspect perhaps the techniques are the same. Would be interested to hear other people’s thoughts on this issue.

    • Katja said:

      Absolutely this is a very common scenario as well. It sounds like you need more support. A few thoughts. I also discuss food aversion in detail in the book Love Me, Feed Me for adoptive and foster parents. (The two issues I see most are food preoccupation AND food aversion.) When meals are unpleasant, and food is forced, it tends to decrease appetite and make picky eating worse! It’s a vicious cycle, and it is no fun for anyone! I recommend the facebook support group Mealtime Hostage for parents of food-averse children, and my book particularly is helpful for adoptive parents as it keeps in mind the attachment and trust issues as well. On another note, my next book out is called Helping Your Child With Extreme Picky Eating coauthored with Jenny McGlothlin, who heads up a feeding clinic. You can turn this around! There is hope! Please consider looking into some of these resources. You might need some professional help, but be very careful as some therapies can make matters worse as well, and some in particular are detrimental to building trust. Trust your feelings, if what you are doing feels miserable and it’s not working, there is a different way! I wish you all the best on this journey. And yes, your intuition is right on, the basic philosphy is the same. Allowing your child to tune in to hunger and fullness by decreasing anxiety and supporting her needs will help her appetite improve and decrease the battles! Good luck!

  137. Deb said:

    We feel the same about our transracial family. We prayed for the right baby for our family. God blessed beyond our wildest hopes and dreams. We figure if people stare at our unique family it’s because they can see the tremendous love that surpasses any of our individual physical characteristics.

  138. Carole Renee Hasz said:

    I can feel the love with Anaïs and Sam! I am so happy to have found their stories of reunion. Being a Spence-Chapin (adoptive) mom, I received an invitation to the Family Ball and discovered their good news. The more love, the better. A vital part of them discovered eases some of which had been lost. I’m wishing them and their families love and many more years of together. A Mother from New Jersey

  139. Kathy Carr said:

    Both of our boys have been home with us for many years. Our older son (13) can go to sleep at the drop of a hat, but he wakes up throughout the night and is hard to wake up in the morning. Our younger son takes a long time to go to sleep and then wakes up very early, sometimes getting only 6 or 7 hours of sleep (he is 10); he does not seem tired during the day, but I know this cannot be good for him. Both boys are getting Melatonin before bed, but it doesn’t seem to do the trick. The sleep specialist we took our older son to pretty much gave up, telling us to come back if it got much worse.

  140. HJ said:

    Will the guest speaker be sharing the age recommendations for co-sleeping? I hear mixed and often conflicting answers from agencies in my state and would like to know what the experts are suggesting.

    Thank you,

  141. ss said:

    my 28 month old daughter co-sleeps with us but she wets the bed all night long because she insists on her bottle (of water) all night long. the bottle is comfort to her. she has huge tantrums if she can’t have her bottle.

  142. Jill said:

    I’m a foster/adopt parent. You mention co-sleeping in your description of tactics, but that is not allowed with foster children. DCFS has very strict rules that children are never to sleep in the parents’ bed. My foster daughter consistently wakes up between 2-3am and it’s very hard to get her back to sleep. She’s not having nightmares. She just wakes up and wants company. She’s been home with me for 5 months. I’d appreciate other tactics for getting her to sleep through the night. I have found that denying her TV at night when she hasn’t slept through the night does motivate her to sleep through the night the following night to get that privilege back, but it’s not a consistent fix.

  143. Matthew daniels said:

    4000 – 10000?? What world are you living in? Both our adoptions were 45000. Both from different agencies.

  144. Micaela said:

    I have three questions – some are similar to other people’s questions:
    What qualifies a child for Title IV-E adoption assistance vs. state assistance?
    What should parents know when negotiating an adoption subsidy and adoption benefits?
    I know if varies, but how much ballpark should be set aside from legal expenses to finalize an adoption?

  145. Jess said:

    I’m actually in the process of collecting research articles about open adoption and writing brief summaries of them to try to help get information out to those who are going through the adoption process (we are in the process of adopting, ourselves). In case any readers are interested, here is the link to the blog where I am writing these posts:

  146. Sandra said:

    I would love to see an article involving older children. There is just no info out there. We adopted thru foster care. Our bio daughter was 10 at time of placement of 3 siblings. The girl in the group was 8 and she has had significant struggles adapting to her and with anxiety and jealousy. The boys were 6 & 9. She did ok with them. A year and a half after their arrival we are still looking for help and there seems to be nothing on the subject. Our workers couldn’t find any either…any suggestions?

  147. SM said:

    Our 18-month-old, home for four months from China has no problem going to sleep, and has finally started to sleep through the night. He continues to be very upset when he wakes up from naps or in the morning. He cries, kicks, crawls away from us, and throws his head back when we reach in to his crib to pick him up. After we get him up, we give him a bottle and he calms down right away. How can we help him to wake up more gently? Standing in the room and talking quietly to him doesn’t seem to help and he usually has his precious Blankie in his grasp.

  148. Rebekah said:

    What advice do you have about nightmares? What can I do to help reduce/manage them, and ease the transition back to sleep again?

  149. Zacs Mom said:

    Chicago (northern IL) is not an ideal place for foster adoptions. The systems, here, keeps children with their birth parents too long. We would prefer to do a foster adoption from another state. Is that possible?

  150. diane said:

    * what are the biggest mistakes prospective adoptive parents make when trying to adopt a foster child?
    * what are the things that make a prospective adoptive parent successful when trying to adopt a foster child?
    * what are the success stories of being an adoptive parent of a foster child – i.e. attaching well, healthy child.. – what can we to prepare to be an excellent parent?
    thanks so much!

  151. Tammy said:

    can we adopt a child in foster care without being foster parents? what is the fastest or best way to tap into resources to find a child in foster to adopt? Can we adopt a child in foster care anywhere in the US ?

  152. Marilyn WeeSit said:

    My daughter was adopted at 9 months and has been a good sleeper for most of that time. She is 10. Since last July she has been waking in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. Since I got very tired putting her back over and over, I finally gave up and climbed into her bottom bunk (she sleeps on top). She goes back to sleep if I’m in the room. We have tried melatonin, reward charts, scheduling one night per week for me to sleep in her room as a reward, but nothing works. Our pediatrician says she has no health issues. I’ve hesitated being too strict because I don’t know if it’s an adoption issue or just behavior. Any suggestions?

  153. Katie F said:

    This is such a great article! I’ve tried to describe to friends some of the emotions that I’ve experienced after adopting each of my boys. It was wonderful to read this and have it so perfectly put my feelings into words. I don’t think many people realize that life isn’t all sunshine and roses once you bring your baby home. Thank you!

  154. Sarah said:

    Our son (3.5 years old, adopted from foster care) goes through cycles of keeping himself awake for hours after we put him to bed. He will have weeks where he falls asleep quickly (or at least we believe he does), and then weeks where he stays up until 10:00 or even 11:00 pm. He’s usually happily awake, but talking, singing, playing in his bed. No matter how often we go in to try to soothe him, or if we stay out of the room completely, he will just be awake. He is exhausted the next day and I struggle with whether to give him a nap to help, or if that’s exacerbating the nighttime problem. Just today he was falling asleep at preschool this morning so I put him down for a nap and he fell asleep almost instantly. I’m at a loss! He and his 6-year-old sister (our biological daughter) sleep in the same room and have a bedtime between 7:00 and 7:30 each night. How can we help him settle down and fall asleep consistently and get a healthy amount of sleep?

  155. March 17, 2015 said:

    What is the best way to pick an agency to work with for foster care adoption? Are there agencies that work across multiple states?

  156. Tiffany Nolan said:

    We are finalizing our license in Illinois. We would like to adopt a child already available for adoption through foster care. How does interstate foster adoption work? Is is possible? What is the process? What are the costs associated with adopting a foster child from a different state? Thanks.

  157. amy said:

    We are a non military family based in Okinawa. We will be here for at least 10 yrs. We are CA residents looking to adopt a 2-3 sibling group. We need advise or a direction in which we can turn to.We 39 and 40 and married 5 yrs.

  158. Casey said:

    Where do I begin the process? Can Suffolk County,NY residents foster adopt Nassau & NYC residents? Read that one needs certification classes to begin but where can I call for information regarding available children & ages? Google searches lead to nothing specific. Where can I locate a list of places to contact on LI, NY? Which counties/states are easier to foster adopt from? How do I contact them? Thank you.

  159. Karen Hanson Nichols said:

    Our recently adopted 7- year-old son has an issue with banging his head on his pillow while he is sleeping on his stomach. When we roll him over, it stops, but we hear this many times during the night, starting about 2 hours after he falls asleep. This behavior does not seem to be self-soothing – it actually appears to be quite agitating. He takes 10 mg of melatonin before bed, but this does not seem to help. He was doing this before he came home with us.

  160. Davonne said:

    As an adoptive parent, my experience with the hospital was completely different. Our birth mom invited me to be a part of our son’s birth. The nurse who delivered him made it clear she didn’t want me to be there at all. She tried to kick me out of the delivery room a few times and our sweet birth mom spoke up and told her that I was to stay to the very end. The nurse wasn’t happy but complied with our birth mom’s wishes. I was even asked to cut his umbilical coed as well. I’m eternally grateful to her for giving me that very special experience with her and her mom.

  161. Alex said:

    I love finding movies that “address” adoption! My favorite is “Despicable Me”, “Chipmunks Movie”. My favorite on tv is “Dinosaur Train” (PBS) and “Jesse” (DisneyXD). My son and I have talked about his adoption and his feelings about it using cues from these movies and tv shows.

    • Alex said:

      …oh one more that we just all watched recently: The Blind Side….

    • Kate said:

      What did you talk to your kids about after Despicable Me? I was shocked when the kids were returned when they became inconvenient.

  162. Mary said:

    One of my all time favorites is STUART LITTLE.

  163. Wendy said:

    We just got back from 1st trip travel to Bulgaria. When we met that sweet boy, we realized his needs were way more serious than we’d realized and we had to turn down the referral. Much prayer, many tears, and serious heartbreak surrounded the decision. You are right – it’s the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do, but we (and only we) know what’s best for us and our other son. Prayers for you – you are not alone!

  164. Sheri said:

    Thank you so much for your honesty! Reading your article took me back to our decision-making process, having to define what was okay and not okay for our family dynamics. I know those feelings, and have felt the guilt so many times as one after another opportunity came and went. But now, after getting our two girls, I know it was right! We had no hesitation with them – we just KNEW! For those playing the waiting game, trust your gut, trust God to make the way clear, and your forever child will be made known to you!

  165. Kim said:

    It is so great to find these movie reviews…. we were totally blindsided by Mr. Peabody & Sherman and found that movie to be very offensive. Next time I will check here first.

  166. Jenny Childs said:

    What about Annie? Looking for recommendations.

  167. Karen Wood said:

    I agree with the commenter above….This has happened to my family as well. It is called discrimination if anyone has a policy that is enforced only for children of color with white parents. The times this has occurred I ask, “Do you require all parents to show proof that their child is theirs?” I am usually given some lame excuse that they look alike. I explain that the does not mean they are legally related so if you do not require this of all families than it is called discrimination that you are requiring it for my child because she is black. I have ever had to show proof after explaining this to them. It is critical we stand up for our children and not allow rules to be placed on our families because our children look differently than we do.

  168. Jennifer Fischer said:

    Our son, adopted from China at age two (exactly), has been home with us for nine months and is very controlling, especially at bed time. He wants to turn the pages in his bedtime book and will immediately say, “No, no, no” when I turn the first page (but he will turn them way too fast, so we always say that we will turn them, and then he lets us do so). He wants to turn the lullaby music on from our tablet and tries to do so. Again, we don’t want him to have access to the tablet, so we do this. We have begun rocking him in the only rocking chairs we have or can afford– our office swivel chairs, but he struggles to get comfortable in those. Then, he’ll always say, “Pee” and start whimpering so that we have to get up to change his diaper (which often has nothing to very little in it). Sometimes he wiggles out of our laps in the rocking chair, so we put him in his crib (which is in our bedroom, beside our bed). Then he cries and says that he wants to be in the chair. Again, we put him in the chair (or he will have a complete meltdown– more than just a temper tantrum). Just when I think he’s calming down, he starts to “bear down/ push” like he’s trying to have a bowel movement. He does have a GI special need, but we think this is more than just that. It’s another method of controlling, because sometimes he will then say, “Poop,” and we say, “No, you’re going to stay in the bedroom this time” because he often doesn’t have poop, and we have to change him around midnight again for urine anyway. Then, he will eventually agree to go into his crib, and we will sit outside of it and hold his hand or lay our hand on his back or stomach until he falls asleep. Altogether, from the time we end our bedtime story until the time he falls asleep, it usually takes a full hour for him to actually fall asleep. How can we stop all of his controlling behaviors at bedtime? We have tried co-sleeping, which initially worked for a couple of months, but then he decided he wasn’t tired and just crawled all over me to keep himself awake. Any other ideas?

  169. April said:

    Our 3.5 year old foster son regularly wakes up between 2-4am (about 3-4 times a week), and will be awake for two or more hours at a time. He eventually falls back asleep, but when this happens I have to wake him in the morning otherwise he may sleep until lunch. He doesn’t nap anymore, and falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow around 7 or 7:30pm. I’m not sure what to do with this, and how to help him sleep through the night. When he does sleep through the night he’ll get a solid 11-12 hours and wakes up super happy on his own. Is his bedtime too early and possibly causing the night wakings? We eat a very clean diet, hardly any sugar and basically nothing processed, and our bedtime routine has been the same since he came to us 8 months ago.

  170. April said:

    Our 3.5 year old foster son regularly wakes up between 2-4am (about 3-4 times a week), and will be awake for two or more hours at a time. He generally lays quietly in his bed during that time, and occasionally asks to use the potty. He eventually falls back asleep, but when this happens I have to wake him in the morning otherwise he may sleep until lunch. He doesn’t nap anymore, and falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow around 7 or 7:30pm. I’m not sure what to do with this, and how to help him sleep through the night. When he does sleep through the night he’ll get a solid 11-12 hours and wakes up super happy on his own around 7:30am. Is his bedtime too early and possibly causing the night wakings? We eat a very clean diet, basically no refined sugar and flour, and essentially nothing processed. Our bedtime routine has been the same since he came to us 8 months ago, although he has no trouble initially falling asleep. Just staying asleep.

  171. Jamie said:

    Regarding the sleep issue webinar tomorrow. My son has been doing better the past two weeks I have him on a very restrictive diet (no wheat, corn, soy, dairy, added sugar, etc.) and it has seemed to help. My son turns 6 next month and has been home almost 2 years. He falls asleep between 8p-9p every night and we have a set routine but the time does fluctuate by about 30 minutes. Prior to the diet change, 5 nights a week (which days vary) he would wake up between 1:30a and 3:30a usually very happy and full of energy. Half the time he would fall back to sleep from 6:30a-7:30a and the other half of the time he stayed up until 8-9pm that night, no afternoon naps. About once a week when he would wake up early in the morning he would not have energy and he would be trying to rock himself to sleep but he couldn’t and he would just look at me with the saddest face. So some nights he was only getting 4-5 hours of sleep. My son has been diagnosed with autism which may play a part in this. He also was treated for giardia and h-pylori the first year he was here and has had bowel issues which was another reason for the diet experiment. My son is considered non-verbal (although making lots of speech progress) so he can’t tell me what is waking him up. I am optimistic that the diet is helping but afraid that at any moment he will go back to his waking up at 2am routine.

  172. Ruth said:

    Our almost 8 yr old son (adopted from Russia) has been home with us for 2 yrs. He will not go to sleep on his own. One of us has to be in the room with him until he falls asleep (soundly asleep). He will then usually sleep through the night. If he does wake up to go to the bathroom, he will come and get my husband (even though his bathroom is closer than our bedroom) and then the routine about not being able to fall asleep by himself is repeated. We have tried weaning him off this routine, but so far our tactics haven’t worked. Suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  173. Deanne Hamlette said:

    What advice do you have for balancing music as a soothing bedtime tool and one that becomes a crutch? My son goes to sleep with music playing and I go in and turn it off when I tuck him in before I go to bed. However, he wakes in the night and wants music played again and it often ends up playing all night. This will become an issue when we take trips and are all in one room. How can we peacefully help him to use it while falling asleep only and how can we handle these nighttime wakings without music?

  174. Jerry Snider said:

    We adopted our son domestically at 2 days old. He will be 4 years old in May. In his early years, he would not go to sleep without being rocked – either for naps or bedtime. For the last two years or so, he will lay in his bed as long as my wife or I lay with him. He has to rub his hand on our arm or he will cry. We’ve tried letting him cry himself to sleep and he doesn’t go to sleep (and we get worried he will wake his sister in the next room). He has a noise maker in his room and once he goes to sleep, we are able to sneak out. He will sleep for about 2 hours and then he will wake up, sometimes screaming for us, and then he comes out of his room to find us. He has a weighted blanket that he simply tosses off when he wakes up. We try to put him back in his bed, sometimes it goes easily sometimes not. He will usually be back asleep after about an hour of the original routine. Then he’s up again after another 2-3 hours. Sometimes we put him back again and other times we are so worn out that we just let him get in bed with us. When he sleeps with us, he has to touch one of us with his hand rubbing either our arm or our back. And he will continuously rub his hand all night without falling asleep.

    The kicker is when he goes to visit the grandparents, they say he sleeps in his bed all night without getting up. That’s more than just a little frustrating to here. My wife has been diagnosed with chronic sleep deprivation and I sleep with ear plugs to try to avoid the noise of his waking. Both of us are becoming unhealthy due to the lack of sleep and are very concerned about this. He has so much energy during the day that no one would guess that he has sleep issues. Any ideas for what to do?

  175. Tumara said:

    My daughter has been home almost 3 years.. initially she slept through the night but once she was able to escape the crib, she preferred sleeping on the floor ( even after the toddler bed was in place). This went on for months. Her new thing is to wake up after a couple hours of sleep. So I can get her into the bed by 8:30 but she gets up numerous times to prolong the sleep process (bathroom, something she forgot to tell me, etc.). So she probably goes to sleep by 10 and then wakes up at 12 and goes to the floor outside my room. My question is how do I get her to sleep through the night and stay in her bed and not on the floor? Occasionally, she may grind her teeth but I don’t think this is the cause and I can’t imagine she is getting enough sleep.

  176. Bridgette said:

    Sleep seminar questions:
    My 4-y-o daughter has had a couple episodes of what seemed to be full-blown confused aurousal when awoken from spontaneous naps. She’s naturally a night-owl and I’ve noticed more sleep disturbances when I try to inforce a more traditional sleep schedule. My hope is that she’ll grow out of this behavior and we can try for a more normal sleep schedule when she starts school full time. Is this strategy likely to work?
    Also, usually when she awakens in the night, she is belligerant and pretty hysterical, but she seems pretty aware. I haven’t been trating that as confused arousal, but should I be? Is this still confused arousal? Can there be a “mild” version?

  177. Kim Ohlson said:

    My 14 yr. old son was a foster to adopt child, recently adopted. He has been in our house since Dec of 2013. He takes Melantonin before he goes to bed and seems to sleep okay. Although, while he is sleeping he does a lot of moaning and sleep talking. Is there an underlying issue causing this that we should get looked at?

  178. Kate said:

    We adopted our 10 year old son from foster care last year. He moved in with us at age 8. He came to us with a melatonin prescription.He takes it every night. I don’t think it is harmful. But, our concern is that he is not used to going to sleep without it. There have been a couple of days where we forgot it and he was fine but most times if he doesn’t have it before we read his story, he prompts us to go get it. We are just concerned he may have a psychological if not physical addiction to it. Do you recommend a way to wean him off of them? He sometimes does have nightmares as he has PTSD but they are not terrible. We do have a pretty strict bedtime ritual which includes a story.

  179. Jennifer said:

    You said that sleep problems are very common in kids who joined their families through adoption. Does this apply to children who were brought to their adoptive homes straight from the hospital as infants?

  180. Jennifer said:

    My son (now age 4), headbangs to fall asleep, whether it is at home or before his nap at the daycare. He also does this whenever he does not get his way throughout the day. How can we get him to stop this behavior?

  181. Jackie said:

    I brought my 7 month old home about 2 months ago (overseas adoption). He is still power-eating through the night. When he wakes, it’s hard to console him. He sometimes will take a bottle but not always. His 3 year old brother could always be rocked back to sleep. I adopted both boys at around 5 months. I want to start sleep-training him in the crib. He’s in a bouncing seat or napper right now because he prefers the contained space. He wakes up in the crib after a short time. But he’s getting too big for both. I’ve tried co-sleeping but again he prefers to be in a contained space. I can’t let him cry-it-out because he wakes his brother and then I have two up in the middle of the night. I’m getting no sleep. I hope you can offer a recommendation.

  182. march 24, 2015 said:

    Our son came home at 22 months. He has always slept with foster mother – never in a crib. He is now 10. We still struggle with keeping him in his bed. When he wakes up in the middle of the night he immediately jumps up to come find us. This can happen every 2 hours. We have tried rewards and punishments – neither work for long. The pediatrician says there are no medical issues so just keep putting him back to bed. He has seen several counselors who have tried to work with him on it but they all give up. He has no desire to spend the night at grandparents, go to camp or sleepover birthday parties he is invited to. He wants to be brave and says the right thing during the day but when the lights go off – it’s another game.

  183. stefanibrancato said:

    I adopted a newborn at 50! I have only gotten the “grandma” question twice in eight years. I never miss any routine exams (annual, mammy, etc.) as I too want to be there for as much of it as my body will allow.

    Three cheers for silver moms! :-)

    • Elza said:

      Finally I can share my frustration with somebody in the same boat! I do not care to look like my 12 year old’s Granma, but every time that question is asked, I feel for him! He is already “different” being adopted, now he’s reminded to be “different” because his parents are not so young anymore. Why can’t people mind their own business.

      • Cindy said:

        Don’t let the Grandma questions bother you! My mom had me (biologically) when she was 44. And I definitely got the “Is that your Grandma?” questions. But it didn’t bother me because I knew my mom was the absolute greatest mom and that her being older when she had me probably added to her wisdom as a mom. Also, I had my daughter when I was 33 and I got asked if I was Grandma – I should have said “No, I just look this way because it’s lots of work having a newborn!” ha, ha. And now, with our son (whom we were blessed with through adoption seven years after our daughter) I haven’t received the Grandma questions I was expecting (yet anyways). It’s the love we give our kids that they cherish.

  184. Sean said:

    Great article. I’m the white parent of an awesome Korean girl who has experienced many of the same feelings. What’s interesting to me is how the prospective parents ask, “Should we adopt?” which seems to be a question about themselves, rather than, “How was it for you?” which could have drawn Nicole out on the nuances of her own experience. The eyes-wide-open part of it should definitely include some knowledge of the race element, which is real and pungent, and has to be handled sensitively many times over the years.

  185. Nedra said:

    How flexible is the Home Study, schedule wise? What if I’m in the process of moving to a new house? Would the Home Study be conducted before I move?

  186. Laura said:

    I agree with this information as a social worker and adoptive mom myself…however, it does not address the important concept of an open adoption in which the child may know his birthparents and have visits with them (as little as once a year or more depending on the openness of the adoption).

    • em said:

      I agree with the comment above. And I have found adoption agencies scoff at the idea that an adoptive parent may want to prepare for the questions children in open adoptions may ask.I’d like to see a lot more support around this in the adoption community.

  187. Anne said:

    Out of all of the books in the world to ask my family to read, Ashley Marie Rhodes-Courter’s book was the one I chose. Every adult member of my family read the book cover-to-cover, and we were all humbled by her story. Ashley’s journey is incredibly powerful. Since then I have fostered and adopted my own children and although they are younger than Ashley was and did not have anywhere near as many previous foster homes, her perspective is constant in my mind when I interact. I constantly have to remind myself not to assume I understand their seemingly bizarre behavior. THANK YOU ASHLEY.

  188. jillodell said:

    Thank you for sharing your story. Like our son’s “Mama”, you show your love to your daughter through your focus on her in your decision. I admire you both tremendously.

  189. Meredith said:

    I believe the information in this article is dated.

    According the Child Warfare site, less than 12,000 infants are available for non-relative adoptions in 2014. Where did you get 19,000 international adoption number from? According to the US State Department, only 6,441 children were adopted internationally 2014. (

    I know I feel like adoption is becoming further and further out of our reach. Costs are increasing. ($40,000+) Our agency said that things in 2015 has significantly slowed and we should expect a five year or longer wait.

    Might think about having the author update this article to reflect realities in 2015 and beyond.

    • susan said:

      Thanks for this note…We are in the process of updating this article. Declines unfortunately are real.

    • CB said:

      Don’t give up… I signed up with an “Adoption Consultant” — I had to pay the consultant, but they guided me through the home study process and the process of creating my adoption profile. They then forwarded emails from various agencies looking for adoptive parents. 4.5 months after contacting my consultant, I was matched and 4 months later was the proud mom of a precious baby daughter!! I held her for the first time when she was 1/2 day old and she has been with me since. She’s now a very healthy, happy, and bubbly 17-month old toddler. The joy of my life!

      • jen said:

        what adoption consultant did you work with?

  190. Rebecca Gruenspan said:

    Great post! I never really stopped to think about this, but you nailed it. I’m going to share on my FB page. :)

    • stephanieanger said:

      We just recently posted our plans on our FaceBook pages. The response from family and friends was overwhelming and so heart warming!

  191. Melissa said:

    I am an adult who grew up an adoptee with no contact with my birth family. I appreciate the honesty and experiences shared in this article and truly wish for help and healing for birth mothers!

  192. Karin Fields said:

    I relate so much to this! Thank you for sharing!

  193. Terri said:

    Thank you for this article. As a birth mom who placed her daughter for adoption in 2000 in a semi-open adoption, I can tell you more and more education is needed for the general public. I get to see my birth daughter 2-3 times a year and she knows who I am. I have written extensively about my journey online. The number one myth out there is that birth mom do not love their birth children. I got so much grief for my decision.

  194. Jane said:

    I can relate so much to your story, thank you xxx

  195. April 13, 2014 said:

    We were told there is a chance the social worker will want to speak to my 10yr old child during the home study interview process, what kinds of questions do they ask children in this process?

  196. Carrie said:

    Can you examples of some homes study questions that we should be prepared to answer?

  197. Megan said:

    With respect to our two young (biological) children, we have opted for an alternative vaccination schedule and we share beds with them – both of which would not be options based on our state’s regulations with an adopted child. We understand that we may have to make different choices with an adopted child and we are open to that, but could our parenting choices made with the children who already reside in our home impact our eligibility to adopt?

  198. Mary said:

    The letter of reference form that our home study provider uses asks for our references to describe our home environment. What if the people we are using for references have not been in our home, can they leave this blank or how should they answer? We don’t have anyone that we could use as a reference for the home study that has been in our home.

  199. Pingback:

  200. Karen said:

    Can you adopt as a single parent?

  201. [email protected] said:

    Thanks for this article. We have just reached the one year mark of expanding our family with a sibling group placement – our daughter WAS expecting a baby or at least someone much younger than her when we were prepping her for the possibility of a placement and we were too but this placement felt right anyway. She has adjusted beautifully but is having a period right now of extreme jealousy and feeling like she wishes it was just her and us again. It was helpful to read this today and get grounded in the “normalcy” of what she is feeling.

  202. Liz said:

    You’re spot on. But when you finally announce that a baby has joined your family, I bet the reaction will be even more glowing and joyful than if you had birthed the child. It was for us!

    • Melissa said:

      notice you said BABY. I am fostering to adopt a teen ager, and I did not get the same reaction my sister who just had a baby did. At all.

  203. renee alcala said:

    I have a question about adopting, 4 siblings, same mom, im a single parent, widow, wanted to adopt one, got all 4. Does the court ever seperate siblings? I’ve seen it and heard it done. How does that happen?

  204. Mo said:

    I am interested in the types of questions that will be asked, the information gathered, and what the social worker looks for during the home study. How many visits are there?

  205. Fae said:

    Please address what questions will come up in a home study about mental illness and the best way to address them if someone has recovered from severe mental illness and has not been depressed for several years, no longer takes medication, and no longer goes to therapy due to being recovered.

  206. Amelia Tirado said:

    For some reason whoever built our house built it so the living room ceilings are very high and the bedrooms above ceilings are low. They are about 5’8″. I asked the foster care people for a detailed checklist of what they were going to inspect and I got one… however there was no mention of ceiling height. Is this going to be a problem? We even joked around and said we’d just adopt short kids if we had to. I’m just worried it may keep us from fostering and adopting? It used to be a bedroom before …

  207. traceystar16 said:

    I am also curious in general about the questions that will be asked (we have our first visit next week!), and am also curious how to handle conversations about medical and mental health related situations – including therapy.

  208. SMT said:

    What, if any differences should I expect during my home study / investigation does ICWA require?

  209. Pingback:

  210. sandycarpenter said:

    This is so beautiful.I was that lady in the chair, full of pain. I also came through that pain in time to look into the eyes of two adorable 5 and 6 year old sisters who took one look at my husband the day they came to us and asked “where’s my room?”. They are 8 and 9 now and I will never forget the way it felt the first time they called me Mama. : )

  211. Keith said:

    Thank you for this article. My partner and I have gone back and forth with the idea of adoption and this really shed some positive light on the decision. Thank you.

    I have looked at some adoption agencies who set costs relative to the household income, which I think will help families with their decision. Also, depending on the household income and the fess and costs for adopting a child can be considered tax deductible. (Please don’t think my statement of tax deduction is the basis for our reasons to adopt.) We are just two men hoping to start a family soon.

    Thank you!

  212. Kathleen said:

    Thank you for sharing your story. We recently accepted a long term placement of a teenage girl and it’s nice to not feel alone. I’m going to keep your experience in mind when interacting with our new daughter and make sure I’m truly listening. Thank you.

  213. Maria said:

    Thanks for sharing these useful tips for an infant care. My sister adopted a 6 months baby and faced lots of challenges for his care. However someone told us to consult a child Psychologist Dr. Karen Hutcheson ( , who helped her a lot related to child care and development issues. I think that consultation from an experience doctor is a worth to consider. Anyone wants a help can consult her.

  214. Tapper said:

    Hi. Could you explain the logic of “inherent loss”? In order to lose something, you must have possession of it first so this concept does not make sense to me. One cannot lose what they never had. Our daughter was adopted at birth.

  215. hthrdwn said:

    I have a copy of my son’s original birth certificate, too!

  216. Stephanie Corley said:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing. We have open adoptions with both of our children’s birth families. I can’t imagine it being any other way. We never imagined that we would not only gain children in our family, but would also gain a whole new extended family. Such a blessing!

  217. Gretchen said:

    I love this article and I couldn’t agree more. I have an adopted son and a biological daughter that are 8 1/2 months apart. I love them both so much it hurts sometimes. I feel absolutely no difference between the two.

  218. Lorna said:

    Such a beautiful story. I have 5 children, 3 through adoption. I live in the same city as my children were born. We were their foster family before we chose to adopt them. Every Christmas we have a “bio family” Christmas party. Last year we had over 40 family members join us in this celebration. It is wonderful to watch my children sitting with their families and enjoying time with them. I also love sitting talking with them and hearing updates, seeing pictures etc. We take group shots and individual family shots for prosperity and for my children to know they were loved by not one, but 2 families. I love open adoption!!!

  219. Kim said:

    My story is a bit different. I have three kids. My daughter is 12 (bio), my son is 8 (adopted) and my other son is 2 (bio). My middle son was adopted at four. The magnitude of how much of his life I missed out on didn’t bother me until after my third child. I missed out on the night time feedings that everyone dreads. I missed diaper changes. I missed out on a lot of cuddles! I love them all equally but, very differently. My 8 year old also has sensory issues and the cuddling does not come as easy. I knew his birthmom before we adopted him and sometimes I see her in him. She had lots of good qualities but also lots of bad! I only try to express positive qualities (and small doses of truthful ones the easiest way possible to him). My son and I have had a harder time bonding but, I believe it is not because of the adoption totally. After having my third child I also learned how different each child’s temperaments can be no matter whether they are adopted or biological.

  220. hthrdwn said:

    So gratifying!

  221. Paige said:

    What if our birthmother wants a closed adoption. Is there anything I can do to offer more openness? We talk currently through the agency.She has started to open up more as the wait and due date has gotten closer though.

    • Lori Holden said:

      It’s great that you are open to openness even from this early stage. One thing we’ll be covering in the webinar is that openness is not the same as contact, and that independent of the decisions made by a birth parent, adoptive parents can still cultivate openness.

      There will likely be wide swings of emotions between here and birth and placement, and decisions may be subject to change, so don’t fret that she’ll NEVER be available.

      Should the mom still want to close the door behind her after placement, you may simply have to accept. This means you find yourself in Box 3 (, in which you can focus on openness with your child, even with a lack of contact with his/her birth mom. In Chapter 9 of my book (The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption) we talk about how to maintain an “open door” adoption in the absence of a participating birth parent. I hope you find it helpful.

  222. Jamie purdie said:

    Please comment a little on explaining different levels of openness to adopted children. We have a very close relationship with our son’s birthmother and his biological brother and grandparents but because of our daughter’s birthmother’s lifestyle our relationship with her and her other children is limited. They are only 2 and 3 right now but I know soon enough they will start to question this.


    • Lori Holden said:

      As parents we must help our child to live in their world as it is. Sometimes things aren’t ideal, and our choice is to either change it (if possible) or accept it (if not possible). It’s great that you’re asking about how to explain so that you can do exactly this.

      Words I might use would be: “I wonder how you feel about your birth mom not being around the way Brother’s is. (pause so Daughter can express herself, and listen). I’m sad about that, too. Right now, she’s not in a place where she’s able to be in our lives, but we are open to that one day happening.” I would then be silent and let Daughter do the talking so I could discover where she is. I can get in trouble when I make assumptions about stuff like that!

      Let’s take the adoption charge out of it and look at this instead: Imagine that 10 years down the line one of your children qualifies for an advanced math class and the other doesn’t. Or one needs an IEP and the other doesn’t. How would you approach that with each child? ( It’s certainly not as emotional as the birth mother situation, but taking the emotional charge out of it may help you find more clarity about an approach to take.)

      My guess is that you’ll aim to meet both your son and your daughter where they are. You will help each understand, gently and age appropriately, why things are the way they are, and you’ll abide with them if/when they feel sadness. You can’t protect them from all sadness, but you CAN help them develop resilience as they process sadness and disappointment.

      This is more on this in my book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption” in Chapter 5. Just keep in mind that adoption relationships – like all relationships – have an ebb and flow. Things may change for either your son or your daughter. While you can’t always control WHAT happens, you can support your children in how they RESPOND to what happens.

  223. barrie.thornton said:

    I have just. Taken guardianship of a 13 year old boy will this be of any help to me. His mother and father have lost all right’s to him and the other children.

    • Lori Holden said:

      I think you will find a lot of insights in how to stay open with your new family addition. The webinar will help you see better from his point of view and to better understand his loss and grieving. It sounds like he has been through a lot, and the more you can work out your own “stuff,” the more you’ll be able to focus on his issues. I wish you and him well.

  224. lynerre said:

    Can I adopt my grandson who I have had guardianship over for the last 14 years, without hiring a lawyer? It will not be contested by his mother.

  225. Maria Matthews said:

    May 7, 2015

    We already have an open adoption. My son is 4 years old and I keep wondering when is a good time to tell him that he’s adopted? I still think its to early right now, but when do you find other parents start to open up about this. I just don’t want to make it a huge thing in his life, but he does have other half brothers and sisters out there and I do want him to reach out to them if he ever decides thats wants. Thank You

    • Lori Holden said:

      If you have a series of little talks, you won’t have to have The Big Talk. The more you can normalize the way you yourself think about it, the more matter-of-factly your son will be able to take it in and incorporate it into his identity. He will take many of his cues from you, so it’s wise if you first see if you have any sensitive spots in talking about it — much like having the Birds & Bees talk.

      I suggest you start telling him the story of how he came to be in your family. Soon. I find that bedtime is a good time to have focused and relaxed conversations.

      Also, the topic is a bit more broad, but check out the comments on this post about giving an adopted person ALL of their story:

  226. Kate W said:

    Can you talk a little about open adoption for foster kids who have been abused? We are about to adopt DD through foster care and there has been severe and repeated abuse. BD was the abuser and is in jail for it, and we’re not sure how to proceed with BM. By court order, DD hasn’t seen her in months, possibly a year by the time the adoption is final. I’m concerned about BM’s lack of understanding of the severity of the situation and her lack of concern for the safety and welfare of DD.

    • Lori Holden said:

      Safety does have to come first, and contact with birth parents is not always prudent. Still, as stated in a comment response above, even in such cases you can parent with openness, which we will cover extensively in the webinar. I hope you’ll tune in.

  227. Athena Brewer said:

    Beautiful. Thank you for writing this.

  228. Amy said:

    I gave my daughter up 18 yrs ago tomorrow May 9th and there’s not a day that goes by I don’t see her face or hear her cry. Just wondering if there are any therapy books out there for the birth moms

    • debra kline said:

      I am sorry for your pain, what a hard situation. If you Google your keywords & cannot find materials for birth parent loss, perhaps you might benefit from some “grief” materials.
      I lost a younger brother, whom I raised even if a child myself, and grieved for a decade. His death brought up guilt I never knew before, anger at our situation and lack of parenting and extreme sensitivity to any child in like situation.
      I sense you feel guilt, regret, responsibility. For your own well-being let-go of the past. If it was a trauma, treat it as such and don’t be afraid to seek counsel or grief support.
      You made a massive sacrifice so that your child could have more than you felt you could give. Let yourself off the hook, the vast odds are that your child is happy, healthy and has benefitted by your act of love. Let-go mentally. That’s what you would be doing now if you had kept him. Don’t continue to suffer.

  229. Kelly said:

    Good article. We try to honor our daughter’s birthmother in many ways in our daily life.

    I just wanted to make a comment that not all adopted families are alike and so not all adopted children have two mothers (birth mom + adoptive mom). Some adopted akids are raised by single fathers or two-dad families, which leaves the child with just one mother (birth mom) and some adopted kids are raised by two-mom families, which means they have three moms. And still others have a variety of configurations as a result of divorce or death or remarrying of adopted parents. Thank you.

  230. ruffomonty said:

    new TV program on Netflix, Grace and Frankie, has two characters that are adult adoptees. One has started searching for his birth family and only his brother knows about it. So far, well written.

  231. Bill Benjamin said:

    Excellent article. Thank you. Instructive and helpful.

  232. amandaroberts said:

    “To Sara, her adoption was merely one more thing that happened to her. We should have insisted that Sara have several visits with us prior to adopting her. At the very least, we could and should have allowed Sara the opportunity to say yes (or possibly no!) to us.”

    Thank you for this article. I would love to one day adopt an older child, but I never would have considered this! How great for the child to actually have a say in what happens to her.

  233. Amy Graham said:

    How do we address abopting one sibling and not the others with the child?

    • Lori Holden said:

      I would have to know more about your reasoning. Explaining the reasons to the child(ren) you are parenting will likely be tricky, but as with most tough talks, being truthful, respectful, and age-appropriate — as well as working out your own triggers about what you’re saying in advance will help.

  234. emoyerphimmelberg said:

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. My two adopted African American sons DO happen to be biologically related (same birth mother) as well as being brothers through adoption. We get the same question all the time “Are they brothers?” and experience all the same psychological and physical stress and dread that you have! The root of my stress–other than the fact that it’s an intrusion on a private matter–is that if I tell them, they will come to a negative conclusion will be a judgment on the boys’ birth mother: “Why would that African American woman who could not keep one child go and have another one? There’s some bad blood there!” But since they know nothing of the situation, and I cannot control anyone’s judgments, and I do not want my sons to take cues of stress or shame from me, I just smile and say “yes, they sure are!” If I decide to add “yes, they have the same birth mother” I make sure to do it proudly. I want them to know and be proud of it themselves! Then there is the issue of the two different birth fathers (we have no confirming information about the fathers but were told that was the likely scenario) which we are also “putting out there” as well when we answer “they have the same birth mother.” The response from people however, in reality, tends to be true delight, as our boys are truly delightful, and with parents who look so little like them it is awesome that they have each other, a sibling who looks like them and has similar mannerisms, etc. Now, the boys are still very young (2 and 4) so we have not had much in the way of difficult questions yet. I would be very interested to hear from others out there how they handle this!

  235. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    One of our birthmoms has been telling lies about what happens at visits. She said we didn’t let our 2 1/2 year old son open his x-mas gifts from her. He opened them right in front of her. She also lied and said that we cancelled previous visits and came up with excuses for not seeing her.

    • Lori Holden said:

      How would you handle a similar situation if this behavior were coming from your sister or mother-in-law?

  236. Barbara Herel said:

    Looking forward to your webinar Lori!

    • Lori Holden said:

      Thank you! I wish this page let me know who was sending me good wishes! ~~ Lori

  237. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    Our 7 month old’s birthparents and her family told us we were his “other” parents and they referred to him as a member of their family. Comments from BM such as, “my son is so cute” were posted on Facebook along with her deep regret months after she terminated her rights. His birthfather still called him his son when he was 6 months old. Birthmom’s grandmother left me a voicemail saying that she was my baby’s great-grandmother and wanted to see him. The complication here is that BM is very poor and didn’t have the gas money to make it to the visit we set up. (We live an hour and a 1/2 away.)

    • Lori Holden said:

      I’m not sure what poverty has to do with the first part of your question, but I would like to invite you to listen to the webinar to get insight about the emotions you are having about being called “other” parents, about your son being called “her” son, about your son’s birth mom’s regret, and about your son’s birth ggmother wanting to see him. I am hoping that the webinar will put much of this into a different framework for you, and I’m open to talking with you afterward by email if you’d like. y address will be posted as part of the webinar. ~~ Lori

  238. LMW said:

    My son came to me 6 months ago at the age of 2 yrs 10 months for a Caribbean island. He’s now 3 1/4 and he’s adjusting quite well. When I went to get him, I met his birth family, his birth mom, half sister, and paternal aunt. They love my son and wish him the best and I really liked them too during our meeting. They asked about keeping in touch, but I deferred to our coordinator and said I’d let them know. The paternal aunt is raising his half sister and would like to Skype. I would like my son to know all of his island family and I know it will mean a lot more as he gets a little older. However, my agency says to be careful of extortion, because the BM has little means. She says it can start off with, “oh can you send me so-and-so because we don’t have it here” and then it could lead to request for $$$. My agency said that I could send pics and letters to agency (every 6 months) and they will include with their courier pkgs to the island. I investigated a PO box but they are a little pricey on annual basis and who knows if they would use it. What do you think about writing letters to aunt and BM and including pics? What do you think about Skyping with aunt? Is there a way to protect my info using email? I want to keep in touch but I just want to control it as much as possible to prevent those issues from arising. Thanks! Looking forward to webinar.

    • Lori Holden said:

      I love that you’re wanting to provide a connection for your son to his birth family. That attunement with his needs will serve both of you well as he grows up and processes his adoption.

      You may also want to use this attunement skill as you implement healthy boundaries with his birth family on the island. Meet reasonable needs (like letters, pictures and Skyping, which aren’t just their needs but also your son’s) and don’t meet unreasonable needs. Your attunement to the situation will help you make this discernment.

  239. matthew said:

    Hi. Please define biology and biography in this discourse. Do you use biology as an alternative to the more specific notion of genetic inheritance? If yes, why?

    We adopted our daughter at birth in a California hospital. No information on birthfather. Initial contact with with birthmother but she dropped out of contact in the first several months and lives in another country. We have been open to discussing our daughter’s birthmother and have done so with her since birth.

    • Lori Holden said:

      I use biology to mean genetics and DNA we’re born with. I use biography to mean the life that’s written by those we consider family. Access to one’s biology isn’t always possible, but wondering about it may always be present for the adopted person. In the absence of contact and knowledge, we can parent with openness. Much of the webinar will be on how to do just this. ~~ Lori

  240. Debbie Jamieson said:

    How can adoption professionals best support parents who adopt children from foster care who
    have openness with birth parents; specifically during the first few years of placement? What is the impact of openness on the attachment process and to the empowerment of new parents?

    • Lori Holden said:

      We’ll cover in the webinar how openness isn’t the same as contact. And to address your second question, we’ll talk about moving from an Either/Or mindset toward a Both/And heartset, which helps with attachment and empowerment.

      I was asked similar questions recently and answered on my blog last month: ~~ Lori

  241. Melissa said:

    DD is almost 3 yrs old, and we’ve had a loving and open adoption with her birthmother (and birth family) since birth. We email each other often and visit with her every 2-3 months, but we’ve never had her to our home. Also, our family/friends have never seen even a photo of her. We’re about to host a 3rd bday party for DD and plan to invite her birth family. This will be the first time they’ve been in our home (which I’m excited about) and the first time our friends/family will see DD’s birthmom (which I’m nervous about). DD soooo closely resembles her. We celebrate this fact amongst each other because it is part of them both, and it’s a beautiful aspect for her and DD to share. Yet when I think about opening this up to our family/friends and potentially hearing comments about their striking resemblance, I feel emotional. I haven’t yet nailed down what these emotions are, but it feels like insecurity about my role as “mom”. I know this is MY superficial baggage and I need to get it sorted out before this event. Any tips? I very much love this woman and her family, and the coming together of everyone is something to be celebrated. I didn’t expect this to be emotionally charged for me. I guess I still need to learn how to truly share! Thank you.

  242. Melissa said:

    This is regarding the comment “DD is almost 3 yrs old…”, which I wrote. I have some additional thoughts:

    1) My husband just told me that, at our recent visit with DD’s birthmom, she told him that DD gets her brilliant blue eyes from her biological great-grandfather. This is so amazing! Every new piece of information that we learn about DD is something we treasure. Related to the birthday party topic, though, it reminds me that DD inherited genes from ALL of her birth family, not just her birthmom. This is good perspective – the reminder of how rich and vast DD’s identity is.

    2) I picture DD’s birthmom at the party, and I can only imagine how nervous she’ll likely be at being introduced to our home and friends/family, and how brave and special she is for wanting to be part of this. She is truly a remarkable woman.

    These new thoughts make me feel even more selfish about my insecure thoughts. Have you ever experienced/witnessed a situation like this?

    • Lori Holden said:

      You are wiser than you know, in that you answered many of your own questions in your first comment.You already realize that this is YOUR baggage and it’s up to YOU to process it. And you are contemplative enough to realize this ahead of time so that you can process in private and not on the spot at a public party.

      I wonder if you could see this as less about “sharing” and more about accepting that your daughter has the biology of one set of people and the biography of you and your husband (and others!). With this reframing, you are not “sharing” (splitting) your daughter, you are giving her permission to have all her pieces. Some of this will make more sense as you listen to the webinar.

      I really like your #2 point in your second comment. You demonstrate empathy for others, will will serve you well on this long journey of adoptive parenting. I’ll be presenting 3 key shifts and with your questions, you’ll see that you’re already doing #1 and #2. My bet is that #3 will not be difficult for you :-) ~~ Lori

  243. Jennifer said:

    I registered for the webinar. I won’t be able to log in at that time as I will be at work. Will you be recording the webinar? Should I remain registered?

    thank you!

  244. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    If my sister or mother-in-law were telling lies, I would try to find out why and work it out. We did this with our birthmom and she had no interest in explaining why she lied, she just wanted to shut down and not talk to us anymore. I was wondering what kind of psychological issue this is? Why would she tell blatant lies and be just fine with that?

  245. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    Lori, to answer your question about one of our birthmom’s poverty level, we didn’t want to get together with her grandmother without her, she would be mad about that anyway. So her grandmother shouldn’t have been asking for a visit behind her back. Our BM should have told her that she can’t come to visits because she doesn’t have the gas money.
    - LMZ (I am also the one that has the other BM that lies about everything.)

    • Lori Holden said:

      Gotcha, LMZ. In that case then, I would ask the birth grandmother to make her requests for contact through her granddaughter and that you’d welcome that she come along on a visit sometime. Navigating openness in adoption is complicated enough without becoming involved in another family’s inner dynamics. Keep clear boundaries and remain as open as you can to their reasonable requests.

      RE lying: perhaps your child’s birth mom has learned maladaptive behaviors, that lying is the better way to get her needs met. What can you do to reverse this? As often as you can, meet her needs when she makes them in an above-board way. She needs to learn that being direct and honest is more effective with you than lying. You can gently point out that you noticed she didn’t tell the truth ( but not in an in-your-face way — rather in a saving face way, like, “We’re so glad X got to open his presents in front of you. It means a lot that you got them for him. Do you remember that happening?”

      It’s a long process and it won’t happen immediately and you will have setbacks. Above all, remember that you’re TEACHing her how to treat you, rather than punishing her for lying. Meet her reasonable needs whenever you can to build trust in you and in an alternate way for her to get her needs met. ~~ Lori

  246. [email protected] said:

    I lost my Mom and now I seem not to be able to connect to my adopted son whom was very close to my mom-his me-mom. I feel like I am in a shell and can’t function properly. My husband been doing all the work and taking care of my son, when I don’t work. I am a stat home mom! Any help?

  247. Susan said:

    The birth parents are ok with the open adoption but felt too overwhelmed to do sign the paperwork at birth. Now the child is 4 years old. Should I push for the adoption to be completed? Also will doing the paperwork now have a negative effect on the four year old?

    • Lori Lavender Luz said:

      I’m curious what is holding it up? Reluctance or an oversight? An oversight is easier to deal with. Simply do now what you would have done then.

      I do think the limbo you’re in needs to be resolved. And you do need to be mindful with the way you approach your 4 yo about it, maybe even talking in advance with a child psychologist or a trusted adult adoptee about possible ideas on how to do so.

      Have you talked with your agency/attorney/facilitator about the situation? ~~ Lori

  248. Deb said:

    How would you resolve a situation where the birth mom simply lost interest in openness after you child has already built a relationship with them? They may already be facing rejection from being given up, but what if they have to experience it again or multiple times based on the birth mothers indecision?

    • Lori Lavender Luz said:

      Please see my response to the first comment, above. You are correct that you want to protect your child from rejection, and that sometimes goes with the reality that a birth family member may not always be present at the level we want or are used to. We do try to shield the child when we can (for example, don’t build up a planned visit until its happening is imminent) and we must support the child in dealing with tough emotions when they face them. That also means that WE deal mindfully with tough emotions (disappointment, frustration, etc with birth parents) when we face them.

  249. Lori Holden said:

    I’m curious what is holding it up? Reluctance or an oversight? An oversight is easier to deal with. Simply do now what you would have done then.

    I do think the limbo you’re in needs to be resolved. And you do need to be mindful with the way you approach your 4 yo about it, maybe even talking in advance with a child psychologist or a trusted adult adoptee about possible ideas on how to do so.

    Have you talked with your agency/attorney/facilitator about the situation? ~~ Lori

  250. Karen said:

    I’m close to my son’s birth mother and a few of her family members. His birth father is incarcerated and is a violent man. I’m uncomfortable because I have some things to send to his birth mom and her family but I’m concerned about disclosing my address. I’m uncomfortable to discuss it with his birth mom because it makes it seem like I don’t trust her with the information. But I don’t know what to expect long-term with her and the relationship with his birth father. Suggestions?

    • Lori Holden said:

      Would it be possible to get a box at a nearby mailbox rental store? UPS and USPS offer them, as do other packing and shipping places (non USPS ones look like street addresses). For an annual fee you may be able to keep in contact AND maintain some privacy (until you feel more comfortable). ~~ Lori

  251. Jk said:

    Excellent article! Thank you for sharing your experiences. The other book I found very helpful is The Boy Who Was Raised Like a Dog.

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  255. Natasha said:

    Such a fabulous story and a great reminder that not all children are going to ask the questions. What a great way to keep the conversation going without any pressure!

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  260. jillodell said:

    This is great advice. We write to our son’s birthmother and send loads of pictures. I try to tell her everything he’s doing. Unfortunately, she doesn’t email back, but I save copies so when he’s old enough, he’ll be able to see what we sent her. We communicate via email, and I always hope she’ll reply back, but she hasn’t in more than a year. I’ll keep writing, and keep hoping, though. Thanks for sharing the great ideas. I sent her some pictures of his daycare artwork with my Mother’s Day email… I really hope she likes them.

  261. amandaroberts said:

    It is important to teach our children (boys and girls) about consent as early as possible. Touching even their hair without permission violates their right to consent. I think this parent needs to take a firm stance with these strangers in front of her son that touching him without permission is unacceptable.

  262. Jen said:

    Yes! Despite everything we were told in the classes pre-placement about how this would be different from parenting our biological daughter, it was a big transition in my parenting thinking to hover over our new children more than I naturally would. But they needed and deserved that level of care!

  263. Deborah Blanchard said:

    Open heart, open minds, open adoption. It is moments like the one you shared with all of us; birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees that tell us we are making the adoption process healthy for all concerned. Andrew along with the birth mom will never have to wonder or go through the agony of not knowing where life has taken each of them. And you as the adoptive mom along with your husband has made that possible. As a birth mother coming from closed adoption you have no idea how happy I am when I read and hear stories like yours. Thank you.

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  265. amandaroberts said:

    I have been completely open with everyone I meet about our plans for adoption, so it’s no secret or surprise. But still, I want some aspects of the “bringing the little one home” experience, especially since this has been a decade-long journey for us to bring our first child home, not just 9 months, so we are still considering doing an adoption announcement after we get a match.

  266. alblankenship said:

    Another great article on transracial adoption!
    Thanks for all you do to promote, inspire, and support adoption.

  267. Barbara Freedgood said:

    So nice to see an article encouraging parents to initiate conversation about birth family. In the past parents were counseled to leave it up to children to raise the issue and it was assumed if they didn’t that they were not thinking about it. Children often did not bring it up for fear of hurting their parents. Way too much to ask of a child! The current wisdom is so much more helpful to everybody.

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  269. Linda said:

    As a mom to daughters adopted from China, I do not have answers to any of these questions. We have traveled to China with both of our daughters to meet their foster families and visit the orphanages, experience China, etc., and we talk about the circumstances in China at the time their mothers left them to be found. We also talk about the possibility of doing a search, DNA testing in the future. But, both daughters are aware they may never know their “story”. Thus, I am encouraging them to “write their own”. This seems to have resonated with them.

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  272. Becky Wright said:

    Such a GREAT and needed article!! As an adoptive mom of two siblings (from foster care), my children certainly want and need to know certain things like you mentioned, about their birth parents. Some questions we just don’t have answers to, of course, and we grieve for their losses as we try to build a new life. (They’ve been with us for 6 yrs now.) These are just the type questions that my music on “The Heart of Adoption” album is about, particularly the songs “Child of My Heart”, “Always Be Mom and Dad”, “Who’s My Daddy”, and “I Gave You Away”. I pray many more will find comfort, healing, and understanding through them.

  273. Alison said:

    My daughter, Hispanic, and I have discussions about why people look different at least once every month or two. When the issue of skin color comes up I explain that because her birth parents/grandparents are Hispanic she is also Hispanic, which makes her skin color darker than mine (white.) Sometimes she seems to understand and agree with this, but other times she insists she is also white like me. I really believe this is coming from her wanting to know she belongs to me, and I don’t always know how to handle this because I want her to feel secure with me and not necessarily always be pointing out how different we are. Any suggestions?

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  276. Runstr8t said:

    As a mom of a daughter adopted from China, we are very involved in our local Chinese community. I have to say that part of the reason the Chinese excel is extra classes. Our local Chinese community offers so many extra math and writing classes, both in our Chinese schools and in people’s homes. Our daughter has attended these since she was in elementary school. She was going to SAT prep classes in 7th grade. Not all of the kids are naturally good in math. But doing the extra classes in both English writing (not as a second language but just to do better in English class in school and on SAT) and Math can provide your child with all the support they need if they cannot receive it at school. You can stand up for your kid, but you can’t fix racial stereotypes. I would suggest that you get involved in local community of Chinese or Korean or whatever nationality your child is. These parents can help provide not only the connections to scholastic help, but also wonderful role modeling and connection to both other Asian adults and to other Asian kids to provide peer support and a strong racial identity.

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  286. Dena Leichnitz said:

    I don’t believe I did that as a child or teenager. I mostly kept it inside, but I am not 100% certain I didn’t either. I can’t apologize to my parents because they are no longer here. So I issue this apology to all the adoptive parents out there now. We are sorry! We don’t mean it! We feel hurt so we are trying to hurt you! That is not right, you have shown so much love and given us so much acceptance and so we feel safe lashing out. But you are our real parents, we know that. If we lost you, it would kill us. There isn’t anything we wouldn’t do for you. But we do have questions. We don’t ask in more calm times because we don’t want to seem ungrateful. We don’t want you to think we don’t love you. We are scared of losing you sometimes because our birth parents ditched us.But still we wonder about them. We really are sorry for hurting you. Please forgive us.

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  288. SJ said:

    You see Caucasian parents with children of different ethnicities…eg. African/African American, Asian etc however the chances of seeing the opposite i.e. Black parent with white child/children or Asian children is rare indeed. I am one such parent (single to complicate matters). While we have moved very far ahead in stereotyping there’s still more room for advancement. eg. One day at the park as I was helping my daughter climb the monkey bars, I overheard a Mother (I’m assuming she was the Mom) telling her child who was questioning the safety of my little girl as she was climbing… The Mom said ‘it’s ok honey see, her Nanny has her’… (Nanny of course referring to me because I absolutely COULDN’T have been the mother… I’ve gotten a couple of those. My daughter is actually bi-racial but tends to be more on the fairer side of things…so it is indeed possible I could have had her with a Caucasian father… the assumption of me being the nanny or the sitter in this day and age is so shocking and weird to me… I am from the Caribbean and it’s absolutely normal to see that…
    I’d love to know if there are others in my position…and how they handle situations such as these… In my case that day I wasn’t in the mood to respond and so I ignored the statement and acted as if I’d not heard but that won’t always be the case.

    • Margaret Oget said:

      Happens to me all the time. My child is a very pale Caucasian child with blond hair and blue eyes. His bps are from Iowa and Nebraska. So, yes, I get mistaken for the nanny. I knew I would when I decided to say yes to his bps (open domestic adoption). The reality is that it is rare to see a transracial family in which the black parent(s) is the adoptive mother of a white child. And it also messes with the “white people as saviors of those brown people” mythos that is part and parcel of white supremacy and white privilege in the US.

      My concern will be how to raise my son to be aware of, and proud of, his culture without equating his culture with white privilege and white supremacy. Thankfully, his birth mother is aware of anti-racisim work, as is his birth father. I’m not as sure about their families, but we’ll see.

  289. Nora said:

    Hi Dena, Thanks for your lovely message to all adoptive parents. I believe adoptive parents generally understand the reasons their kids are saying these things and don’t hold it against them. I know that when my daughter said something about her “real” parents I never thought for a minute that she didn’t think of me as a real parent or didn’t love me. There is nothing to forgive – this is just a normal reaction in the circumstances and in my opinion kids don’t have to worry about seeming ungrateful. My daughter doesn’t have to show me gratitude. I am the one so very grateful to have her in my life. Having said all that, I am sure that your message has warmed the hearts of many adoptive parents out there just as it has warmed mine. And I’m sure you made your parents very proud and very happy whether or not you ever said something to lash out at them.

  290. Jennifer Gavin said:

    My question is in regard to the circumstance of divorce and “re-coupling” in the adoptive family. My husband and I, who are European American, adopted our Asian-American daughter when she was less than a year old. We also have a daughter by birth who is two years older. The girls are now 13 and 15. Their father and I have been separated for 6 months following his affair. He has been and will continue to live with his girlfriend who is Asian-American. She also has a two year old daughter who is European and Asian-American. My children are just beginning the process of transitioning to visiting at dad’s shared home with his girlfriend. My questions revolve around what to prepare for and expect emotionally as my daughter is introduced to these new Asian-American members of her family. I want to be able to support her and her sister to make this as easy as possible on them both.

  291. Shannon said:

    I am a Caucasion adoptive mother of a African-American little girl who is doing my absolute best to care for my daughter’s hair and skin. I have a newer sister-in-law who is African-American and has been very critical of my daughter’s hair and very rude to me about it. On these occasions I have politely asked her for any suggestions she has for me and have tried what she suggested (which was what we were already doing, just doing more times a day), but it doesn’t make any difference. My daughter has VERY course, tight curls and her hair appears very short, even though she is 3 years old. It is healthy and does not break easily, but she does not have a full head of long hair like many other kids her age. So when we’re around other African-American kids and their families, she stands out a bit and I think people tend to assume that I, as the Caucasion adoptive mother, just am not taking good care of her. I’ve gotten some criticism (especially from my sister-in-law) and would like to know how I should best approach and handle that. I have to say, also, that I greatly appreciate the encouragement I have received from some of my African-American friends, including my nephew’s birthmother. That has meant so much to me. Thanks!

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  293. Charlotte said:

    My daughter is 12 and was adopted from China at 13 months old. She had an incident at school about 8 months ago where a Chinese-heritage classmate told her “you’re not really Chinese” and another Chinese classmate chimed in “no, you’re just adopted”. My daughter is a strong, confident, talented, academically-gifted girl but these comments shook her to the core of her soul. She has always hated being different from us, her white parents. She has stated for years that she wishes that we were Chinese (she’s never wanted to be white but instead she wishes that we were Chinese). We traveled to China a year ago on a self-guided homeland tour and she hated being stared at. Ultimately she feels like she doesn’t belong in either society.
    The school took the aforementioned incident very seriously and has provided on-going support from a Social Worker who my daughter still sees on a weekly basis. My daughter has now been diagnosed with depression (99th percentile on the depression inventory). The Social Worker has commented that in 15 years of working with middle school-aged students, she’s never worked with a child with such deep thoughts about life. She attends a racially-diverse school (45% Asian), attends Mandarin school on Saturday mornings, takes Chinese folk dance lessons, is an award-winning pianist, is a strong team player on the soccer field, and she won the top academic scholarship for her grade last year. Her friends are mostly of Asian heritage and she also has friends in the Chinese adoption community through our active participation in our local FCC group. To the rest of the world she’s “got it all”, but now she can’t see what everyone else sees. The SW said that things would likely get worse before they got better as she works through these tough feelings; she was definitely correct about that. We are very worried. Now our daughter wants to quit Chinese School and Chinese Dance to focus on music and soccer. Should we let her quit? How can we help our daughter to work through this incredibly tough time?

  294. Rachelle said:

    We have had so many issues with our son in school that it has resulted in us pulling him out and homeschooling him! How do you handle racisim in school?!

  295. elizabethbirdsall said:

    This is so apt to my story I am sobbing. Thank you for writing my story.

  296. emhrn05 said:

    You nailed it.

  297. cindyschlansky said:

    I could have written this. I wish the lady in the chair knew what we know…..

  298. ewaplech said:

    Thank you for the letter – it is is so true and yet it’s so difficult to stand up and leave… Been there, seen that and finally managed to adopt and we fell MADLY in love with the little one. If I could turn back the clock, if I had all this knowledge that I have now, if.. if.. – well, I wouldn’t spend a single dollar in the clinic.

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  301. rebecca said:

    We are waiting to matched for a newborn adoption. I would like to know what steps I can do in order to breastfeed. What steps do I need to take? Any advice in this area?

    • Elizabeth said:

      Same question for me- infant adoption and breastfeeding/ milk bank/ other options besides formula?

  302. Jennifer Prochazka said:

    My husband I are waiting to adopt. We are anxious to discuss some of the possible challenges we will face with a transracial placement. What is the biggest challenge most experience?

  303. jillmethvin said:

    I would challenge adoptive parents to question why they would have alcohol in the house if they know the devastation that it’s caused in their children’s former families. Children do not understand the double standard, at least I didn’t and still don’t. My birth father definitely has a problem with alcohol to which my adoptive father made periodic snide sounding remarks (passed away). My adoptive father was also a drunk – he didn’t think so. My husband and I both enjoy alcohol, but we have chosen to make our house an alcohol free zone, because some of our children have come from alcoholic homes too. Alcohol is not a necessity, and one small glass of beer alters the behavior in most adults and definitely should not be used prior to driving a vehicle that includes your adopted children. They will mimic you. It’s nothing fun when it’s cost you your family; adopted children can speak far more about its negative consequences than you think they can, nor should children with alcoholic backgrounds be taught that they can handle it differently than their parents. It’s important that adoptive children with alcoholic backgrounds be taught how to have fun, family, and a good life without alcohol. You are now their primary source for that modeling. Best wishes!

  304. Angie Hoffman said:

    Can you talk about racial identity for an adopted biracial child? My husband and I are both Caucasian and our son is Caucasian and African-American. Can you talk about good ways to help our son find his identity unique to him?

  305. Marie said:

    My husband and I adopted a Hispanic baby, we are African American. Our child is 4 and he is asking us about the different color of people. Asking if she is peach or brown….she was talking with friends at school, and I guess they realized they have different color skin. I’m afraid of talking about adoption with him. I don’t want to confuse him more…we assure her that we love her so much. My husband thinks we should have the “talk”. I fear the outcome…. But should she ask I need to know what to say in her terms, not to frighten her. She knows we love her very much. We had her from birth. I thought of maybe using Stuart Little the movie to begin, and how the mouse was adopted….any suggestions….

  306. RGW said:

    We are also Black parents to a white child. She is three-years-old and beginning to ask about the physical differences between her and the rest of the family. We talk about her mommy who grew her in her tummy that looks like her, but she just responds “She is not here.” She has asked if she could get her skin painted brown or have her blue eyes turned brown. In reading about transracial adoptions, it is usually suggested to give the child positive images of their race/ethnicity and keep them in contact with people who look like them. Well, she has that since we live in a state that is 99.5 percent white. And I haven’t been able to find anything about the beauty and joy of being white that doesn’t smell of white supremacy stuff. Some people have suggested that I focus on her ethnicity. Her bio parents are white American, no knowledge of what their European heritage could have been. How do I help my child become confident of her racial identity? We have also had our share of ignorant behavior from people. For instance, my daughter runs onto the playground where a father and son were playing. I am trailing behind her and stand at the base of the play structure to watch her play. She is chatting away with the little boy. The father asks my daughter where her parents are and then suggests to his son that they the little girl find her mommy. I am standing right next to him. The man never even looks at me to ask if she is with me. My daughter smiles and looks at me and shouts, “Mommy watch me slide!” The man hurriedly takes his son from the playground without ever acknowledging my presence. My daughter gets treated kindly, but people don’t treat her family the same way. I am use to racism. How do I help my daughter respond to the racism she will see directed towards her mother, father, and siblings at school, in our neighborhood and the rest of the country? I don’t know how to teach my daughter about being white. When I ask white friends about white culture, I get blank stares. I understand white privilege and the systemic racism in our country. How do I help my daughter to be proud of her silky blond tresses instead of longing for curly brown locs. This is already hard and we haven’t even reached the teen years. I hope that this webinar can help answer a few of my questions.

    • Margaret Oget said:

      Just posting a ditto to your question. My son is a year younger. He’s also very blonde and very blue eyed.

  307. ellie said:

    My Ethiopian daughter is now 6 and came home when she was just an infant. She is the happiest, most friendly little girl but also over the last 8 months or so has begun to completely lose her voice and I am concerned that it is psychologically related to stress and anxiety that she might be feeling but doesn’t express. She can also be very difficult to ‘handle’ at times and is incredible need of attention at almost all times. My husband and I wonder if some of these issues are adoption related or are just ‘her’. I have taken her for some therapy but we didn’t go for long as she seemed not ready/willing/able to discuss some of the difficult emotions she might be feeling. If you see her on the street you would absolutely think that she is the most happy, well adjusted child…we repeated her in kindergarten which was a good thing but still every time we ask her to read…she loses her voice and starts coughing and scratching all over. What do we do??

  308. Kathryn said:

    We have seven children by birth and adoption. Four are adopted, and two of the four are Hispanic (sister and brother), who came to us almost three years ago. They are also the youngest. Sweetest kids ever, now 16 and 11. The rest of the family are all Caucasion… and my husband is from England, and we used to live there, and now many of our vacations are to visit family and friends back in England. Here at home all our children have friends of many races who play at our home and sleep over, and our older kids have dated people of various races, and we live in the very diverse SF Bay area. Our kids have teachers of all races, for instance, and see doctors, etc. and elected officials in our town all of various races.etc. Still, when we’ve encouraged a special focus on Hispanic culture, our youngest (Hispanic) kids don’t seem interested. (Except for eating Mexican food, which is everybody’s favorite!) For instance, our daughter did not want a Quinceanera, and she did not want to take Spanish in school (choosing French instead). Our son will start Spanish this fall, but only because we urged him. (Neither child learned Spanish as a first language, though they picked up some in foster care.) Their foster families were both Spanish-speaking, but the children were not very happy in those placements. I’m wondering what more we might do to encourage engagement with their Mexican American heritage. A trip to Mexico will be fun for the whole family, but what here at home?

  309. Liz said:

    My H and I are waiting to adopt and are open to a transracial placement. We live in a diverse area, and we’re very much open to stepping outside of our comfort zone to consult with others who can help us maintain the racial and cultural heritage of our child. My question is – can you provide some specific examples of what that might look like? I have some obvious things in mind – attending museums, festivals, support groups. But I’m wondering if there are some more real life examples of what it looks like to tap into a racial group other than your own for this type of specific support. Thank you.

  310. Kate said:

    My 8 year old daughter who is adopted from Ethiopia is uncomfortable talking about race. We are caucasian and live in a very racially diverse neighborhood where she is exposed to many different ethnicities. We feel it is very important to talk about race with her. When we try and talk about race with her (and we try to make it age appropriate) she giggles and is clearly uncomfortable. When I ask her her thoughts or if she has any questions her response is usually “I don’t know.” Wondering if there is a better way to approach this?

  311. LG said:

    Thank you for honestly sharing your opinions and decisions! Congrats on building the family you thought you wanted (and now wouldn’t give up), even though it now means life is more complicated and challenging than you expected.

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  313. Michaele said:

    I am also interested in alternatives besides formula. I have heard that goat’s milk or camel’s milk is an alternative to breast milk because it has the same nutritional qualities. However, I’m not sure how I go about gaining access to these alternatives without breaking the bank and traveling long distances.

  314. Trish said:

    Me too! Want to know about formula vs. breast milk and using milk banks or any insights about shipping breast milk from someone who is willing to provide breast milk from afar. Any tips for parent/child bonding would be appreciated too! Thank you!

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  319. Kate said:

    Interesting beginning, but anticlimactic ending. What’s the point of mentioning the interaction with the other white person at the church? How is this experience meaningful? This is a mediocre personal essay.

  320. Sue said:

    This sure hasn’t been my experience trying out an African American church :-( quite the opposite, not at all welcoming.

  321. jillmethvin said:

    Nice article. An even bigger question for many of us with closed records or inadequate birth family information is: Am I dating a brother, sister or other close relative and not know it? Your teen or even adult children may date folks outside their race or age group just to avoid the possibility. Don’t count on them telling you about it especially if it’s not a subject you’ve broached yourself. It’s weird for most of you to think about dating a close relative because for you it would be a conscious choice, and ick! Regardless how remote the possibility, it has happen to a few adoptees where they’ve married a bio sibling; the thought is humiliating and when it’s discovered is devastating, can cause legal problems, and even get into the news.

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  326. catherinewalker said:

    Absolutely beautfully written!!

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  332. Jill said:

    This is written so well. It exactly describes it. We were visiting family out of state a few weeks ago and we had dinner at a local restaurant. We had never been there before. Our waitress didn’t do or say anything particular to show us she noticed our family, but the next morning we happened to run into her again, and she greeted us like she knew us. I had no idea who she was. And she greeted us only after looking at my toddler and then looking at the rest of us.

    I am slowly getting used to it after almost 2 years, although it still is something I’m very aware of when we’re out. Great article! Thanks!!

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  335. debbie said:

    I can also so relate. I’m a peach coloured mom to 3 beautiful brown kids, a 4yr old, and 2yr old twins. We don’t just get noticed, we get stared at, pointed at, and regularly people come up to us to speak to me as if they know us. Its been almost 2 years, and I don’t like it, but have had to just come to terms with it!

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  338. judy ramella said:

    We think our girls are beautiful and are a testament to what love and what a family can do in the lives of children. We adopted our children late in life, after already having two grown children. It was by far, one of the best decisions we have ever made. We are filled with joy and love daily, and we often stare at them in amazement of their beauty!

    • Sue Zacharias said:

      Our Jiangsu beauty has over come and hard start at life, having been abandon at 3 weeks ago with a severe heart defect. Our girl is now a healthy happy 8 year old.

  339. Tracy Gridley said:

    Our beautiful baby girl is such a blessing to our family. We feel so incredibly fortunate to finally get the opportunity to raise our own child. She has completed our lives in more ways than we could hope for. What a gift to watch a child grow & thrive. Her giggles bring a smile to our hearts & leave of us with such contentment.

  340. Amy said:

    We believe our daughter can do anything she sets her mind to.

  341. Christie said:

    We adopted Tyler just over 1 year ago – we waited 7 years for our adoption to be completed. He is a joyful, curious boy who lights up every room. His spirit is strong and he loves to explore and eat spicy foods!!!

  342. Alison Macera said:

    Our girls are beautiful and we are fortunate parents. All adoptive families hear ” they are so lucky”. We can not tell you how many times we look into their eyes and at one another and remark how lucky we are !
    - Alison Macera

  343. Elizabeth Ellison said:

    I am so grateful for this amazing resource.

  344. kim lehman said:

    My boys! But you never feature older adoptees but figured I would submit anyway!

  345. kim lehman said:

    My Kassahun! Best son ever! (well actually one of the 8 best sons ever!)

  346. Sheryl Fabr said:

    It would be great of more teens could be featured in the contest. Yes, they may not be little and cute, but they have been through so much and the fact that very few every get chosen for adoption shouldn’t necessarily mean that some of them can’t be chosen for these wonderful and uplifting photo contests

  347. Mikie said:

    My son has added so much joy to our lives.

  348. Adoption Consultants Inc. said:

    Interesting and helpful article. I shared it on our Facebook page as well!

  349. Diana Bramble said:

    Chase has been a ball of sweet energy since we brought him home. His big brother, Charlie, knew that Chase was his brother from the moment he saw his picture and insisted that we go to China to bring him home. It was a difficult adjustment for our little guy but now he is the life of the party and everyone loves him! He swims, plays baseball and hockey, and makes everyone laugh when he wears his t-shirt that reads, “TEN FINGERS ARE OVERRATED”.

  350. Teresa said:

    I just downloaded the “Helping Classmates Understand Adoption” PDF from your site. It is a good resource. Thank you. However on the very first Q&A on the first page the answer states that the boy was born in Ethiopia. I wish you had left a blank there so that the country which your child was adopted from could be written in. Just a thought.

  351. Sally Lehn said:

    We adopted our granddaughter, Makeda six years ago. Sure, life has been challenging raising a child in our 50′s but she has brought a lot of joy back into our lives!

  352. Cathleen said:

    I loved the article. I have a 2-year-old and I’m tucking this article away for future use. I like the idea of giving a presentation to my daughter’s class, but I wonder if it would make her uncomfortable. Has anyone done this? And how did their own children feel about it?

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  356. Amy Haggenmiller said:

    Oh Mama! Don’t worry. Our Korean children (my husband and I are white) are no picnic either. We struggle with their attention and learning differences every day and will, I’m sure, for the rest of our lives. But like you, we wouldn’t change a thing. We’ve been a multiracial family for over a decade now, and sometimes I truly wonder if this is the right route for my kids. We approached adoption with “color-blindness” only to learn that that isn’t the right path. We celebrate our kids’ Korean-ness everyday, but racial identity will always be a struggle for them. We all love each other wholly and completely, but when we walk outside our door, we are greeted by the approving nods you mentioned and other microaggressions that signal to our kids that our family is different and a little less than “real” to the outside world. It continues to be an enlightening and amazing journey, but I don’t begrudge you for not wanting this path. And you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You and your husband did your best with what you knew at the time. That doesn’t make you racist in the least. It makes you a strong and powerful woman and mother. Bless you and your beautiful family. xo

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  358. Ann Howe said:

    I have an idea Let them! They didn’t agree to the adoption and sounds like they didn’t want it. When u are a grandparent you will understand. The more people that love that child the better off that child will be. Being a parent means you do what is best for that child. Do not deny him/her of his heritage, the loser with be the child.

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  360. Kelley Williams said:

    Our girl has been such a blessing to our family. Never a dull moment when she’s around. She has made us enjoy and appreciate life more and we are so thankful to have her in our family.

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  365. Virginia said:

    He is our world!

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  370. Esther said:

    $30,000 is the cost recently given by Holt International for an adoption from the Philippines, so the numbers given here would not be significantly less than an international adoption from this agency. I have not checked other agencies, but a domestic adoption agency gave me a $20,00 number about 2 years ago.

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  373. andreajb said:

    Thank you for writing/sharing this. It makes me feel a little saner, and happy about my choices.

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  375. mrs.lipstick6 said:

    Hi! I’d like to mention that India, as of August 1st, has implemented many changes to their adoption policies. The link to the new policies can be found here:
    Some improvements include faster court timelines, faster passport issuance, and a new referral system as mentioned in this article. Much of it refers to resident Indians and OCI’s, but also a lot of it has to do with American PAP’s. Good stuff to read if you are following the India process.

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  377. monicapielage said:

    I think the points covered in this article are very valid. It is important to stay in a place of empathy, understanding, and appreciation for a troubled birthparent. However, there was no mention in the article about evaluating what level of contact is healthy for the child. In many cases seeking professional advice would also be appropriate. Close contact with erratic and inappropriate behavior can be damaging to young children. Especially if they are sensitive and suffering from trauma from prenatal events, early experiences or the trauma of adoption itself.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Monica thanks so much for reading. Yes, I agree with you about seeking professional advice. Good call!

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  380. Susan said:

    My 2 children have blessed our lives more than words can adequately describe.

  381. Kim said:

    Thomas Jamal is the jewel in my world, his exuberance is rather astonishing to everyone he meets. Tractors, basketball, N scale trains, nerf guns, the Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln, his Grandma Margaret, both poodles and both guinea pigs, fishing in Florida, pulverizing me at monopoly………
    That’s my son! ( obviously I’m completely indifferent unbiased and neutral)

  382. Elle said:

    Me too! I was 42 when we adopted our son and I relate to a lot of this. Recently I found myself thinking that maybe I would be ok with my son having a child of his own sooner than later. Because I don’t wan to miss out on being a Grandma. But for now I will plan to soak it all in and take care of myself so that I am around for as long as possible!

  383. Helen Gauchat said:

    I was 45 when I adopted two of my grandkids. We take each day,year as they come. As far as grandma question my answer is that I am honored to be both mom and grandma.

  384. Eeyore said:

    I’m on the verge of 51 with a 7 yr old and an almost 6 yr old (I’m three years younger than my kids’ birth grandmother). While my friends are sending their kids off to college, my kids are entering 1st grade and kindergarten. Somehow at 44 (and again at 45), being older than the average new mom seemed fairly reasonable. Ever since I turned 50, though, I feel dread and am not sure it is reasonable. I love my little kids and am grateful to have been given the gift of being their mama. I just hope I’ll get to see them grow up.

  385. Helen Gauchat said:

    My adopted kids know they have siblings. Theirs are very confessing though. Daughter has siblings older than her bio mom and from different mothers also. We do meet up with the closet to her age at the mall but then again. She is not sure. Son sees pictures of his half brothers and knows his bio dad is “weird “. We meet his other grandma and aunt when they come to our city but he knows they are friends from out of town.

  386. Christi said:

    I’ve been doing just the same thing with ups and downs. I actually lost 30 pounds (lost in the sense of I don’t want to find it again). Still have a ‘few’ more to go, but I was (am?) highly motivated to be here longer for my kid. =0)

  387. Kimberly said:

    This was a tough article to read. We adopted our daughter six years ago. We tried hard to keep our commitment to the three times a year in person visits included in our open adoption agreement. But, after two and a half years made the heart-wrenching decision to amend the open adoption agreement.
    There were several reasons for our decision to remove the in person visits, the single most important reason was the stress the visits created for our daughter. She is our top priority, her needs come before the needs of her birthparents.
    I am grateful for the gift of life our daughter’s birthparents gave our family. I am heartbroken we can’t have a relationship with them. But amending the agreement was the right decision for our situation.
    The article doesn’t acknowledge there are times, even with the best efforts of the individuals involved, a relationship is not always possible. The decision to stop in person visits was a difficult one. As our daughter grows and matures we remain open to the possibility of visits resuming in the future and continue to send pictures twice a year to her birthparents.
    The bottom line missing from this article is that a child’s parents must decide what’s best for the child and the details of the situation matter. Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, it’s just not possible to maintain a relationship.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Kimberly thank you for sharing your thoughts. I do appreciate it.

    • Sheri said:

      Kimberly, I appreciate your comments, and have considered this very same possibility for our daughters. Our older daughter (5 yrs old now) has some memory of the life she shared with the birth parents, and as much as she loves and misses them, she experiences anxiety when it comes time for visits. The most recent visit (this month) resulted in two weeks of heightened anxiety and acting out, constantly needing reassurance from us that we are still there and she is safe. If this type of response persists, we may have to revise our agreement, as well.

  388. Tina said:

    So glad to not be alone in this! I am 46 with an 18 month old. I get the grandma question a lot…( ok..well maybe four times). mostly when with hubby who is 8 year older and way more grey! LOL. Love the idea of living until I a 100! My mom was 38 and dad was 42 when they had me. Unfortunately, it means my children have no grandparents. Fortunately, I have a sibling that tries hard to fill that role. That is probably the hardest part for me.

  389. Lisa said:

    My adopted daughter was born when I was 47 1/2. Now, at 52, I’m the mom of a happy, active (very!), almost 5-year-old. It’s true that I never imagined becoming a mom so late in life, and I’m sure I have a bit less energy than I might have 20 years ago, but given the joy and love she’s brought to my life, I honestly wouldn’t change a thing. She was meant to be my daughter. People do tell me I don’t look my age, and I’ve only gotten the grandma question once, in Walmart. But frankly, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. She’s my girl, she loves me because I’m Mommy, and that’s all that matters. None of us knows how long we have — yes, it’s important to make an effort to be healthy, but it’s more important to make each day count!

  390. Kerry said:

    What if your child has huge problems because of exposure to methamphetamine, alcohol and heroin? What if she has extreme mental illness? I was always open to open adoption, until our bm lied about her using ( once was actually daily) She hurt my son!! She did not do something noble. He would have gone straight info foster care from the hospital. My son. has rage, is destructive, out of control. My heart breaks daily for him. Walk a mile in my shoes and then judge my situation. I am so angry at her for hurting him. She is extremely unstable, verbally abusive. He’s still very young and I will do my best to stay in contact for him only. If she hurts him in any way, done. We don’t have contact now, her choice. I will try..but its only through sheer love for him that I will do if. As far as I’m concerned, she lost her rights to updates etc when she chose to do methamphetamine daily and drink alcohol. She lost permanent parental rights to the other two half brothers.
    It is a bitter pill to swallow to write those updates but I made her a promise and I will keep it. But if she hurts him, that’s it.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Kerry, so very sorry your son is hurting so… I can understand your anger and your fierce protection. Yet I must say, I applaud you for following through on your promise. Big hug to you mama.

  391. PETER WINKLER said:

    I have done adoption work as a social worker for many years. I am glad to read these stories, each of which affirms open adoption. The message that I get is that open adoption is overall a good thing, but it is best approached in an individualized manner. In the past, the Adoption Triad (child, adoptive parents and birth parents) has not always been recognized or respected. I truly believe that closed adoption do an injustice to both the birth parents and the adoptee.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Peter thank you so for your kind words!

  392. melissabecker said:

    I too, would like to add that an adoption birthparent relationship is like all other relationships, and some are not healthy. If the extended birth family was opposed to and remains opposed to the adoption plan and takes every opportunity to say or express that “you owe us” , type mentality, it is hard to continue a healthy relationship. If the birthmother feels too that you “owe her”, a debt that can never be paid, this makes for difficult times. A birthmother that now regrets her decision, or views the open adoption as “co-parenting”, or view herself as the child’s mother can be more than challenging. I think we need to give permission for adoptive parents to take a step back and limit the exposure to the negativity, destruction and unhealthiness occuring. We, as adoptive parents, are not obligated to be in an abusive relationship just because they are the birth parent(s). There needs to be healthy boundaries and in the end the amount of contact involved needs to work to maintain the strong family ties that an adoptive family is providing to the child regardless of DNA.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      I’m all for someone taking a step back to catch their breath and figure out how best to make a situation work. I think the moms in the article do an amazing job with creating boundaries that work for their family situation. I do feel that as adoptive parents we are obligated to tend to the relationship for our children’s sake until they reach adulthood. . Now I realize every situation is different and that tending is going to look different for every family. At the end of the day, the birth family/adoptive family relationship may always be strained and troubled or with time things might soften and change. Certainly reevaluating the level of contact and what kind of contact over the course of time is important. I also very much like what Monica said above about having an adoption professional weigh in to help.

  393. Keith Cockerham said:

    We have been VERY lucky in our first adoption experience! We completed our application and began planning for our future child, expecting that we had some time before we would be paired with a birthmother…..2 days later we received a call that a wonderful birthmother wanted to meet us and she was due in 5 days! We rushed into the car and met her, her grandmother, and great-grandmother and we immediately connected. We went out to the hospital that weekend to be with her, her mother, grandmother at the hospital and she wanted my wife in the delivery room so that she could be the first bond for our new son. (I was pacing anxiously in the lobby). Then, three hours after Father’s Day (so close!) we held the best thing that has ever happened in our lives. Every day now is full of a new level of love, joy, grins, and play! We could not have been luckier or more blessed!

  394. Lynda Meeks said:

    Thank you thank you thank you for older child adoption tips! I am a brand-new single mom to an 8 year old girl and trying to work through such issues…

  395. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    I agree with Kim. Both of our BM’s disrespected us, insulted us, and, in general, treated us like dirt. Visits are impossible, but we send pics/texts to my younger son’s BM. My older son’s adoption is essentially closed because of lies that his BM told about us.

    • Barbara Herel said:

      Lisa, so sorry to hear what you’ve experienced with your son’s birth mother. I’m glad that in spite of all, you are able to send pictures and texts.

  396. Lisa Zdrazil said:

    What Melissa wrote is exactly what happened with our 10 month old’s birthmother. It’s very sad.

  397. Rachel.lehto said:

    I subscribed to this magazine when we began trying to adopt 4 years ago, and I devoured every issue. But as time went on I began to see it as a painful reminder of an unfulfilled dream. Now, (finally!) we have our precious daughter, and I’m so thrilled to read the articles with a new perspective.

  398. Nicky said:

    We adopted our son at 5 from the foster care system after fostering him for a year. We choose adoption after many failed infertility treatments

  399. Jodi Anderson said:

    We are incredibly blessed with 11 children – 3 bio’s, 6 from China and 2 from Ethiopia!
    How our children have changed our lives!!!! We are #trulyblessed

  400. Tracy said:

    I just loved your story. I have both a daughter through adoption and a daughter through embryo donation. The adoption process was horrible and long, just like my pregnancy migraines and horrible labor. I love both my girls so much and equally, and can’t imagine where a different path may have taken me. Thoughts of what our daughter’s birth mother also went through my head those first days after giving birth. This story brought tears to my eyes.

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  403. Marie A Santiago said:

    We are so excited to see our daughter grow into her role as daughter & I stand “Auntue” from the age of 3!
    We bring older parents with a middle aged daughter, who chose to wait for children.
    Suddenly after our adoption of Keanna was completed. Our daughter Kristie became pregnant within 6 months after Keanna’s arrival! Then there was a second child. Now Keanna is an “auntie” of two, present ages 6 yr & 2 yr. watching the bonding process & Keanna’s maturing is a joy to behold!

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  405. Jennifer said:

    Lovely column! We adopted our son out of foster care when he was 4-years-old. Another family had fostered him since birth and his birth parents were in and out of picture for that time. On the day we met him he called my husband “Dad”. We were thrilled (I was a little jealous). It turned out that he called all men “Dad” due to his life circumstances up to that point. We figured that out when we heard the neighborhood kids making fun of our guy by getting him to call out to their dads. Thankfully, Wee Fella was oblivious.

    He didn’t call me anything for the first few weeks. Then he started calling me “Nan” which is a local term for “Grandma” where I’m from. I was 38 at the time. I just went with it. All in his time, I thought. One day, he just started calling me Mommy and Mom. I don’t know what shifted but something did.

    It will happen. And it will be glorious. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

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  407. [email protected] said:

    This article reflects my experience well. Parker, a 19th century Unitarian minister spoke about the “moral universe bending toward justice.” Both MLK and Obama have used this in important speeches and it resonates with me. I believe it is true and it provides me with solace and a lens for dealing with bigoted people (of every kind).

  408. Jeenie said:

    Hi, Recently when I took my son and 3 of his school buddies (2nd graders now) out for a birthday treat, someone mentioned that another boy in their class is adopted, to which my son also commented that he, too, is adopted. His friends were all surprised but one boy said, “You were adopted?? That is SOOO sad…” Needless to say, I did damage control and explained all the reasons why it is not sad, but what phrases can I give my son to arm him with answers when I am not around? I am also concerned this boy could tease him about his adopted status this year now that he is aware…

  409. Laurie said:

    Advice on answering questions from other children directed to my my child: such as – “Is that your real mother or father?” “How come you don’t look like your parents?” “Your adopted, so that’s not your real mom/dad that you live with”. “Adoption means you were not wanted and were given away.” Seeking simple answers my child can respond to other children with.
    Adoption in movies – best websites to gain information about negative adoption issues to be better prepared before seeing the film?
    Thank you!

    • eve said:

      In response to your question about adoption themes and storylines in movies, there is no better resource than Adoption at the Movies ( Social worker Addison Cooper reviews classics and new releases, noting strong points and scenes or lines that may be challenges for adoptees, along with discussion questions.

  410. Erica Holmes said:

    Our daughter Sierra is the best thing that has happened to us. After years of tears, God heard our prayers and sent us a blessing way beyond our hopes and dreams. We our so happy to see her grow and become the amazing little girl that she is.

  411. Pam said:

    How should a teacher be advised to respond if a child makes up stories about their birth families or early memories. For example, my daughter told me that the emperor of China came to her first birthday and that there was a big party. I’m guessing this didn’t actually happen! She often tells me stories about her family, including grandparents, that are simply her stories. I generally respond with an “Is that so!” Type response.

  412. Catherine Sen said:

    We adopted my daughter from India when she was 18 months old. She is now 8 years old and in 3rd grade. My husband is Indian and I am Caucasian. My daughter is the only Indian child in her class and one of three in the whole school. The school is predominately African American and Caucasian. There are several other adoptive families at the school.
    My question is this: My daughter doesn’t want to talk about anything Indian at school, because she doesn’t want to be different from the other kids. The thing that is hardest about this is that she won’t even tell anyone that she is taking Classical Indian dance classes, even though she really loves it and it is a big part of her life. She also doesn’t want to talk about having been adopted, and doesn’t want us to do a presentation in class. (Her teacher knows that she was adopted.) Also, she is starting to talk about wishing that she and I “matched.” Do I need to be concerned about any of this or should I just respect her wishes and leave her be? Thanks for your help.

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  417. [email protected] said:

    Wow, this story says it all. I had tears in my eyes reading it. Thanks so much for posting it.

  418. margojoelnewton said:

    I started crying with the first paragraph. You hit the nail on the head. Thank you for sharing.

  419. Mile said:

    OMG, so touching!! Yes, you know me!!!

  420. Elizabeth Ellison said:

    What a great opportunity to celebrate our children.

  421. Lisa said:

    I have a situation with my adopted children that I’m not sure how to handle. I adopted a brother and sister now ages 6 and 8 a few years ago. They have no contact with birth mom. Now we are fostering their baby brother who does have visits and will very likely return to birth mom! I’m not sure what to say to them.

  422. Diana Chapin-Tsai said:

    My 4th grade daughter (age 10) just started at a new school where nobody knows her and she doesn’t want me to tell anyone that she is adopted. Our daughter knows that I told her English teacher that she was adopted from Taiwan 4 1/2 years ago due to the extra language help that she requires. We’ve always spoken openly and often with her about her adoption, but she’s never seemed very inquisitive about her adoption details and now seems to want to “reinvent herself” at this new school. By the way, she looks like she could be our biological child because although I am a fair Caucasian, my husband is Chinese. We tell her not to be ashamed of being adopted, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. Any advice? Thanks.

    • Sarah said:

      My son who is in first grade doesn’t want to share with his class that he was adopted. He looks like us and was adopted at birth. He has an open adoption, however we don’t see his birth parents often. He rarely asks about his adoption even when I bring it up in conversation. Any advice?

  423. Erika said:

    We have two beautiful adopted children, we are Caucasian and are children are mixed race Hispanic. We are older parents, dad is 42 and mom is 51. My 7 y/o son just started in a new school and just moved back to the U.S., from living abroad for most of his life. We are to some extent use to people asking if I am his mom, due to racial differences, however, we are not use to dealing with the open questions of our age difference. My son has been asked several times if I am his grandmother and he replies that I’m his mom, only to hear about how old I am for being a mom. I’ve asked if this bothers him, which he replies no, but I see there is some challenge there for him. Any advice on being a mature parent of two young adopted children?
    Many thanks,

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  425. Jill said:

    I had taught my daughter about reproduction (the birds and the bees) to better help her understand adoption. While in elementary school the other mother’s did not appreciate my daughter sharing this knowledge and as a result, the other moms refused to let their daughters have play dates with my daughter. Her best friends were boys rather than girls (thank goodness she was a good athlete, so they readily accepted her). How might one better navigate this issue?

  426. Outlet88 said:

    Thank you for writing your story and the people who commented. My husband and I are in the process of adopting, Keri, is due in December. We have met 2 times, attending her sonograms and we are all getting to know one another. Keri has 2 other children and my husband and I would love to create an open adoption. Your article was filled with the questions and raw authentic feelings my husband and I think about and wonder about. So compassionately touching how you supported April when she was unsure of she could go through woth the adoption. Your article brought me peace of mind and heart and the biggest reminder that the child is the center of where we all are coming from and having All of the family available so he/she can grow up knowing their biology and biography.

  427. susanettner said:

    Thank you for this. So beautiful, touching and right on-target.

  428. badecker05 said:

    I am curious what kind of doll that is! Her texture is close to my daughter’s, and I’ve had a hard time finding dolls with similar hair. Anyone know?

    • eve said:

      We reached out to the mom of the beautiful girl in the photo. Here’s what she said about her daughter’s great doll: “In the 80′s and 90′s, Mattel made a Barbie’s little sister, Kelly, doll. This is a bigger of the Little Kelly doll that I found at a Goodwill. The reader might find one on EBay and/or from a doll collector.”

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  433. Scott said:

    Question: How do you handle family tree dynamics in a family with both young biological and adopted children?

  434. Her said:

    Thank you so much for this article. I love how it’s broken down by age group. It reminds me of Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self. We adopted a newborn that we picked up from the hospital and we don’t know a lot about his family. He’s only a toddler and I’m already dreading the family tree assignment. So many adult adoptees talk about missing their parents that I want to make sure that his family is included but I’m not sure how to do that. I really like the idea of a family orchard. Anyhoo … thank you for this article.

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  436. gspeterson1 said:

    Great article Veronica. Congratulations on taking the plunge and adopting teens and tweens. We’ve done the same, and as an older couple it made perfect sense. I know some folks who will only take in babies, kind of like people who adopt only puppies and kittens. Probably easier to train. With older kids, you need to open up to the possibility and be ready to adapt to them as they adapt to you. It can be done, and it can be very rewarding.

  437. Amy Gill said:

    Domestic adoption has always been free and can be completed in as little as six months. It’s called adopting older children from foster care. Proud mom of four beautiful sons (and three more on the way) who came to us via foster care!!!!!!

    • Zack said:

      Yes but not everybody can adopt a big kid. My husband doesn’t speak English for exemple. My best friend is trying to adopt but her family is so uptight, they told her that they would never accept a kid of more than a year old ! (of course they are wrong but when you have a baby you need support, not this).

    • Sara said:

      Great for you, but not everyone wants to adopt an older child and a lot of people are not prepared to. There are more issues to consider when adopting an older child that some families do not know how to handle and will not know where to seek help for. There are many children overseas in orphanages waiting for a forever family.

  438. MrsA said:

    I forget the exact figure but I’m thinking it was about $15,000 for ours and it was completed in 2013.

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  440. Lisa Dirks said:

    Our adopted son is bi-racial we know who his bio mom is and she is Caucasian but she had no idea who the father was ,one man who was Caucasian did a DNA test, the other suggested was Hispanic. My Son is clearly African American or possibly, Tongan beautiful boy. He has never asked about his biological dad, unprepared for when he does. His great grandmother claims it was Bio moms Pimp, of course she has no proof and not a story I want my son to live with the rest of his life??

  441. Sarah said:

    Thank you for this! My Brother & Sister in law have just started the process and asked for my help. Reading the letters, this blog was so clear on the direction they need. Thanks! And congratulations.

  442. Sheri said:

    At what age should the child discuss adoption with her classmates, possibly show her life story. What responses should I prepare her for when they say we are not her “Real” parents? Btw, our daughter would pass easily for our biological daughter. At this time, family trees are our biological family, adoption is semi open so no contact with my daughter. I only send photos and letters twice a year as per agreement.

  443. Amy said:

    I was adopted and my adoption was closed and I was not told as a child that I was adopted. It was a family secret… I can remember now looking back some instances when I was in school where office personnel made comments to me about being adopted… I found it strange at the time until I found out at age 21 that I was adopted I was absolutely devastated. I know that times have certainly changed and adoptions are more open and semi open, but there are still closed adoptions. How might a parent communicate with school personnel about ensuring that this information not be disclosed at risk for student finding out before parents are ready to share?

  444. Jeenie said:

    Any advice on explaining foster adoption to your child, especially if they were put into foster care as infants?

  445. Dee Chiapete said:

    My son is currently 18 months old but I’m already thinking about school. Our school district starts at 4K and goes through grade 8 in one school. I feel like the decision we make at age 4 about sharing his adoptive status is what he will be stuck with until he goes to college. I’m not sure if I have a great opportunity to educate his classmates or if I should wait for him to make the decision about sharing. We have an open adoption with both birth parents and meet regularly. Any advice?

  446. josie pagani said:

    My daughter is 6 and is in first grade. She is Nepali and we be a family when she was 18 months old. Her teacher is very open to activities that help explain the concept of adoption. I plan to read some books (the ones that reinforce all families are different vs. adoption specfic.) Other than reading books in class, are there any specific classroom activities you recommend. Thanks.

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  448. reiley7 said:

    Thank you so much for this excellent idea! We are adopting a 14 year old who didnt get birthday parties when she was in foster care. We are in the process of redoing them now and it has been so rewarding!

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  450. Tapper said:

    I’m open to exploring this subject with my daughter but I find it hard to justify any rationale for the pursuit of such. She was born in California 5 years ago by a wonderful South American woman who was living here for a short time. We took our daughter home from the hospital after birth. So I don’t see any cultural loss just like I don’t perceive a loss of culture for any country that I wasn’t born in. Culture is what you learn and live not what you didn’t learn and live.

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  453. mlindsay said:

    no matter which way you cut it, i don’t see how “he has a beautiful smile” has anything to do with race or pointing out differences. I told someone this yesterday about their child. I said it because I thought he had a beautiful smile. I think if you make simple comments appear to be tied to race, the children will start looking for it everywhere.

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  460. Julianna said:

    When I first started reading Adoptive Families Magazine back in 2002.

    I was a Single Mom and Parent to 2 Daughters Adopted Awesomely and with Pride from our United States Foster Care System.

    In 2002, we found our then 10 year old Daughter and Sister #3 from India through an Article Feature of Adoptive Families.

    Now I am happily Married, both of us are pretty much ‘ Stay At Home Parents.

    As well as we are a Family of almost 40 Kids Adopted from Latin America, India, Cambodia, Asia, Dave Thomas Foundation, and the United States Foster and Foster to Adopt Systems!!

    Most of our Kids have Downs Syndrome or Apert’s Syndrome.

    Most of our Kids would have been ‘earmarked’ as unadoptable.

    Our then 10 year old Daughter who you introduced us to. She was ‘earmarked ‘ for the rest of her Life in a Adult Mental Institution

    As Laura Ingalls Wilder once said ‘ Our Little House is full of love and laughter, and we would not change a thing as how we became a Family as well also.!

    Our Family loves sharing our Different Cultures and who we are as a Family ‘ Ginormously ‘ Awesomely, and Muey Bien as well also!!

    Congratulations and ‘ You Rock ‘ in Celebration Familias and Families Adoptive Families!!

  461. Karen Ammerman said:

    We adopted our beautiful daughter in August of 99 when she was only 8.5 months old. We traveled all the way to Vladivostok Russia to bring our girl home. Then in 2004 we were blessed to travel back to Russia to bring our son, just shy of his first birthday. I can not believe how the time has flown and what an awesome gift from God our children have been to us! Now Elena will soon be 17 and Eli will be 13 in April. They have brought so much joy to us and are growing up to be awesome young adults who will go far! Love them SO much!

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  464. Mary said:

    I began reading Adoptive Families in 2008 when I began the process of adopting my daughter. My baby girl was just six weeks old and 4.9 pounds then when she came out of the hospital and into our home. Since then, we have lost my parents and her grandparents. My daughter, a now healthy and tall 7 year old second grader, continues to include her grandma and papa in her memories, thoughts and prayers and her (single parent) mama is more than grateful that we have each other. Reading Adoptive Families (AF) over this time period has continued to maintain my belief that family has more than one meaning. And as Desmond Tutu put it “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” I am blessed with a beautiful daughter, the love of extended family & friends that are like family, and a publication like AF that offers me & my family lots of support!

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  467. Isabel said:

    Thank you for this. I’m in the process of giving up my child and I wanted to look up stories and things of that nature to help me through this because I am definite about it but it’s still hard. Everything I’ve read is a guilt trip into keeping the child but deep down I know it’s not right. Those stories made me feel worse but you honestly helped. Thank you.

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  474. Adoptee said:

    I need 30 seconds of your time supporting the F.A.C.E. Act by November 5th, 2015. By signing and sharing, you help stop Internationally Adopted People from being deported! I have created an easy to sign Petition for you.

    I am one of many adoptees and this issue needs your help to reach its goal. It cannot be proved I am a citizen under the ambiguous and complex laws and my cases are pending with USCIS and the Department of State. Your help in having this law implemented would make sure the law says I cannot ever be deported just because I am an internationally adopted person who has been raised, educated, and working for 30 years in the US after being legally adopted. Here’s my perspective

    There are more extreme cases such as stories Adam Crasper who has no ability to prove he is a citizen on and more people who have already been displaced due to deportation,
    More information about the Foreign Adopted Children for Equality Act and its history can be read

    If an internationally adopted child turned 18 without acquiring U.S. citizenship, this law would allow that person to prove that he/she met the qualifications for automatic U.S. citizenship PRIOR to their 18th birthday. It allows them to file an application to qualify them as an American citizen even if they are currently over 18. This application, with accompanying proof, must be filed with the Department of State. Because internationally adopted children have been deported and are barred from ever entering the U.S., this law also allows for an application to filed at a U.S. Embassy abroad.

    Thank you kindly for your support, attention, and passing on the message for signatures by November 05, 2015!

  475. Dustin and Julianna said:

    Do you have any Orphans or Kids who have Downs’ , Apert’s or Crouzon’s Syndromes please??

    Dustin and Julianna

  476. nata said:

    Why does my income determine if a child in my care gets assistance or not?

  477. Kirstine said:

    What are the age and health guide line for those wanting to adopt?

  478. Amber said:

    I was wondering what formula they used to determine if you meet the financial requirements to pass the home study. In other words, how do they determine if you make enough money to raise a child?

  479. Mary Kiddy said:

    My daughter just turned 22. When she was 1, someone gave me a subscription to Adoptive Families magazine as a gift. What a resource it proved to be! To read stories of other parents and their journey made me understand I wasn’t alone in my journey to parent adopted children. The articles gave ‘normalcy’ to events or bumps in our road that other families didn’t understand. From stories about hair care to understanding the birth mother’s point of view, Adoptive Families magazine was a wealth of information.

    Now I give a subscription as a gift to any family starting the adoption journey.

    My daughter turned 22 and my son turned 18 this year. My head says my job as parenting is coming to a close, but my heart says these two will always need the closeness of their mother while they branch out into the world. Thanks for the help and guidance along the way Adoptive Families!

  480. Vicki said:

    We are just starting the adoptive process through foster care. I have found many articles in Adoptive Families to be extremely helpful to us as we are learning what to expect in the journey. I am an information hound, so Adoptive Families keeps me in the know, always in touch with what I might expect down the road. Thank you!

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  482. Ericka Danko said:

    I am an adoptive Mother of two biological siblings. They are biracial (white and black). My oldest son has very curly blonde hair and the youngest has darker skin tone and blonde curls but not as blonde and not as curly as his brother. I am white, olive skinned, brown hair, blue eyes. Everywhere we go, people stare and ask questions. Interestingly, no one has ever suggested or asked if they are adopted. There are many questions posed to me…were you blonde as a child? Did they get their hair from the father? And it goes on and on…

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  484. Kimberly said:

    Is providing all your medical information necessary? What weight does your medical history carry when determining if a family can/should be approved to adopt?

  485. Jolene said:

    I loved her from the moment I saw her picture for the first time, but when we got her I felt like I was babysitting. It took a couple months, and a trip to the ER, but while holding her during her treatment s at the hospital, I realized she was mine.

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  487. Lorraine Miner said:

    I began reading Adoptive Families Magazine with your very first issue in July 1994. At that time we were in the waiting process for our daughter, Ellie, born in South Korea. Ellie arrived home on August 23, 1994 and I became a loyal subscriber with your first issue. We were blessed with the adoption of our son, Thomas, also born in South Korea, 5 years later. Your magazine has been a tremendous source of knowledge for our family. From the waiting period to parenting an adolescent and beyond, we have looked to Adoptive Families (AF) for solid and loving advice and suggestions concerning adoption. A subscription to AF is always my go to gift to the prospective adoptive parents we have known. Thank you for your guidance in this wonderful journey of adoption!

  488. Antonio Capaldo said:

    In many cases, the adoption of a child inevitably has many problems due to the trauma of abandonment . Therefore, I believe that at the appropriate time, the best way to help them is to tell the truth, and to foster, if they want to, relationships with natural parents.

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  490. cazaresfamily said:

    My husband and I were given the precious gift or our son this summer. It’s good to read your story because it gives some perspective for what his birth parent felt and continue to feel. Ours is an open adoption and I enjoy sharing his accomplishments through photos and videos. Thank you for sharing!

  491. gspeterson1 said:

    Wow, thank you for this great article. It unexpectedly made me laugh, and then cry. We will be going through the same experience in about a month. I hope we can hold it together like this family did.

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  498. debra kline said:

    First, I’m sorry for your loss. It really sounds like you are depressed or withdrawn from grief. If you enjoyed your child before the loss, or have lost interest in more areas than parenting, consider this may be the case. If you were “checking out” before the loss as well, thereay have already been a lower level depression that the death intensified. If it’s a short term issue, consider grief’support, whether groups or books. Loss of a mom can open up other issues, if so, get a good referral for a quality counselor.if health is involved, address it
    In other words, take care of yourself. It takes time to overcome significant loss. But in the end, when it’s time, you must “let go” of the deceased in other to be healthy.

  499. debra kline said:

    Sorry for typos, I’m older and typing on mobile, hard to see. I want to add thoughts to the above.
    If you have endure very recent loss, inderstand your grief & explain it simply to your child, for many reasons, including that he has lost his me-mom and may feel sad or lost as well. You can.cope together a bit.
    Intense grief has to be acknowledged and endured; it’s the process by which we heal. Don’t condemn yourself. But once se time has passed, return to your new normal life bit by bit, perhaps by empathizing for your child more & more. Remember confusing times you had as a child his age, what it felt like. Give something to him, whether words or a note in lunchbox. It can make a big difference for both of you. Tell him everything will be okay. That you love him. Or just give a hug or encouraging word. Once you start “giving” you may find your new role in his life. Many people have overcome much and built new lives by doing something for someone else.

    Empathize with yourself, also, grief is an individual experience with a common theme. There is no time frame to follow, no matter what others say
    But to return to life function again, take small steps for another, in this case for your child. It will help you as well as your child. Remember, he is hurt also and the smallest “gift”, of word or deed, will help you noth.

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  502. Stevii said:

    I just learned that my 2000 divorce was never finalized.

    We have refiled in Aug.

    Is there anything I can do or submit to prevent delays of my process?

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  504. Josie Sowers said:

    I started reading the magazine a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend who has adopted. We were still in the research phase and are now in the waiting phase of our journey.

  505. Rhonda said:

    When we were finished with the paperwork in 2008 and while we were waiting our agency gave us a subscription card and told us it would be good reading while we waited. I read each magazine cover to cover and saved them our son is now 6 years old and I still go back to the past issues and look for stuff I read. I still subscribe to the magazine but find its not as easy to read online. So since it has gone online I have not read any of them. I know if I have the time to go online I can get them but they are not as easily available now. Mine used to stay in my car or my bag to read while I was waiting somewhere. Which was always a good conversation piece too. I have talked to many people who wanted to adopt but were unsure. They see you reading the magazine and it makes you safe to talk to. I wish it would be available in print as well. Love the magazine very informative and useful.

  506. Cristal Lake-Sanders said:

    We began subscribing to Adoptive Families magazine in 2003 when we were in the process to adopt our oldest daughter, Joselyn, who was born in Guatemala. It was, and still is, an invaluable resource for us, as we were waiting to adopt, after we were able to bring Joselyn home, as we learned about our youngest daughter, Elena, Joselyn’s birth sibling and began the adoption process for her, and then through the years as our beautiful girls have grown. They are now 11 and 12 years old, knee-deep in the world of middle school with friends and homework and chores and volunteering and extracurricular activities. I still have most of the magazines in my office and refer back to them at times when I need what I know to be accurate, well-researched, and beneficial information to help raise and support our children in relation to adoption. Congrats, AF magazine, on 21 years of helping families built through adoption!

  507. Elizabeth Como said:

    We started reading Adoption magazine about 10+ years ago as we were getting ready to adopt. Our daughter will turn 9 in November. We are planning to meet with her birth mom after Thanksgiving. I cannot even begin to list the articles that were helpful during the process. And I have used articles to educate my coworkers about adoption, I am an OB nurse. I have been involved in the process in multiple directions, from being an adoptive mom to working with families on both sides of the equation in the hospital. We had a very active support group that does not meet as much but is still available for consult. I use the magazine now as a go to for research on topics as they crop up. So grateful that it is available.

  508. Antonio Capaldo said:

    I started in 2010, when my son decided to go to Romania to meet his birth mother. You can see what happened in this link: -
    It helped me a lot discussion on Open Adoption Families .

  509. Terri said:

    We started reading Adoptive Families magazine 3 years ago when we adopted two of our foster babies. Sometimes we feel alone in this journey, so we are so thankful we can be a part of this community of adoptive families.

  510. Anne Sanger-Kuzmicky said:

    I started reading Adoptive Families Magazine and joined the online groups in 2006 when we finished our home study. I was eager to learn all about adoption and what to expect. In 2007 we matched with a birth mother and it was a tough year the online blogs and groups were a HUGE help and being able to reach out to other adoptive parents was both comforting and insightful. Your magazine and groups online saved my sanity. We welcomed our daughter home in November of 2007. I continue to gain information and insight from both your magazine and your online groups. Thanks for being a wonderful resource.

  511. MIchelle said:

    I started reading Adoptive Families magazine two years ago. We were just starting to research adoption at that time. We’ve since been foster parents to a 5 year old boy and 4 year old girl, until those children were reunited with their family, and we’re currently respite care providers. You might be interested to know that we use your webinar trainings as continuing education hours for maintaining our foster parent license. A lot of that information crosses over into foster parenting as well as adoption. We’re now finishing up the home study process for a domestic infant adoption, and will soon be excitingly waiting for a match. We can’t wait to meet our new forever family member! Your magazine has been a great resource for information on adoption, adoption issues, and parenting advice. I especially enjoy the articles that have to do with transracial adoption, parenting hurt children, or talking with kids about adoption.

  512. Traci said:

    I started reading Adopted Families Magazine right after adopting our first daughter, who is about to turn 10 in January. I continued reading the magazine for many years, until life got very busy and I was donating my copies to my local doctor’s office. I continued to give AFM subscriptions to families I knew who were considering adopting or had just adopted, because I felt it made such a wonderful gift. Now that my two adopted girls are getting older (my youngest will turn 8 in February), I find new questions & topics emerging, so I’m again could really use the insights of your wonderful publication. My experience, as all adoptive parents, was quite unique. We weren’t looking to adopt at the time, and learned about each of our girls shortly before their respective births. We had to quickly hire attornies and go through the home study process, to ensure our girls came home from the hospital with us. Our attorney said it was an impossible time line, I’d never get the proper clearances, and we needed to resign ourselves to that. I told him he didn’t know me when I’m on a mission :) To this day, he tells the stories of both my girls adoptions, because he’s amazed that I completed the entire adoption process start to finish with my first daughter in less than 6 weeks, and with my 2nd in less than 4 weeks. In both cases we were able to bring our bundles of joy right home (or to a family member’s within their birth state) with us from the hospital, and in the case of my eldest we were even lucky enough to be present in the birthing room and see her enter the world! We can’t believe we were twice blessed, and although I never got to experience giving birth, I/we did get to experience something just as powerful and beautiful, just unique and so very special in it’s own way. For us a dream come true, that emerged twice when we least expected it! I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and that your children find you, just as ours did. They were always meant to be ours, but marched to their own drummers even back then!

  513. Katie said:

    What year did you start reading Adoptive Families magazine? What adoption stage were you in then—researching, in the process, waiting, parenting? How old was your child when he or she came home, and how has your child or family changed since then? Is there an article, a story, a piece of advice that you read in AF that has stuck with you?

    I first started reading Adoptive Families in 2010. We had just decided to adopt after several failed infertility treatments. I was feeling overwhelmed and scared. I was trying to research options, but there was so much information that I stopped looking altogether. Somehow, one of my searches brought me to the Adoptive Families website. I found such great information that helped me prepare to research adoption agencies. There had been a post about questions to ask when interviewing agencies, and it was more helpful that you can imagine. I’ve actually shared it with several other adoptive moms. Since then, it has continued to provide me with excellent articles and great ways to connect with other adoptive parents on the message boards.

    We were lucky enough to be in the delivery room with our first son, and brought him home when he was discharged from the hospital (3 days old). We kept an open relationship with our birth mother, and have since adopted two more of her children. Our middle son went into foster care due to some unforeseen issues, so it took us 17 months to get custody. While we were working with DFS on that, she got pregnant and asked if we would adopt the baby (another boy!). We ended up bringing our middle and youngest sons home within a week of each other. Talk about a family change!

    Aside from the information about interviewing adoption agencies, there are no specific articles that jump out. They’re all helpful! I’ve referred so many people to your website. It provides information about every facet of adoption, making the entire process a little more management and a lot less scary!

  514. Penny said:

    I started reading your magazine 20 years ago just after the domestic adoption of my beautiful daughter, Emily. Six years later this magazine inspired me to bring my precious son home from Russia.. My husband banned the magazine for a few years lest I be “inspired” again, but I continued to secretly read every issue. Thank you AF!

  515. Winnie said:

    I started reading the magazine while we were waiting to hear from China about our baby. Turned out we got a little boy, imagine our surprise! That was 11 years ago and we have since adopted again—a 4.5 year old girl from Taiwan 6 years ago. Adoption is a beautiful, yet complicated thing, and Adoptive Families has always been there for me with sound advice, some tough truths, heartwarming stories, and a community of people who understand the realities of parenting a child whom you have not birthed. It’s a valued resource that I turn to again and again. Congrats on 21 years! Keep up the great work.

  516. Karin said:

    I read the very first subscription! In 1992, My daughter joined our family by international adoption. My children would look through the magazines. Several years later after my daughter’s arrival, my oldest son -in high school at that time- wrote an article for the magazine. Today, my daughter is 24 and my son is 31. Thanks for all your wonderful articles.I have told many others about your publication. Congratulations!

  517. Sharon cerasol said:

    Cannot recall if I came across Adoptive Families before or in midst of adopting.. Love the magazine and found it quite relevant in the early years.. Less so as my daughter gets older

  518. Alita said:

    I read the magazine for the first time while waiting to be interviewed by a social worker during our home study process, in 2009. I then subscribed and even cut out and saved articles, now I read them at the public library. Not long after the interviews we brought home our infant daughter. We are so happy.

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  522. Robyn C said:

    I started reading Adoptive Families in 2005, when I was researching the adoption process before we adopted our son. I still have all the issues. I miss getting the hard copy of the magazine.

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  526. Alida Rodriguez said:

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. I’ve always wanted a beautiful large family with children of all colors.

  527. Mo said:

    I have a question for the webinar. I am in the process of adopting an older child from foster care. I told the adoption agency I want a Caucasian girl. I was told, “Everyone wants a Caucasian girl.” She then told me that girls have more issues than boys (due to sexual abuse) and that they have successfully placed a lot of boys with single women (as I am). I felt like she was trying to dissuade me from my preference and to maybe get me to change to accept a boy or a girl of another race. What are your thoughts on this? Is what I was told true? Thank you.

  528. Jeanie Veith said:

    I am not a direct member of an adoptive family, but “related” to over 100 of them! For almost 30 years I led the primary adoption support group for Americans residing in Europe who were attached to the U.S. military communities. For a long time we had an annual European Adoption Symposium where families met others who had adopted, social workers for home studies, and agencies willing to work with clients residing in U.S. military communities abroad. Adoptive Families was with us from their beginning, and every step of the way! I am priviledged to have learned from all of these families, from their children, and from the first families of adopted children. Some of those children are now parents themselves, or adults who are still in touch with me in their busy lives. What a blessing! Thank you, Adoptive Families, for your continuing support!

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  531. provplace said:

    Thankful for sharing your valuable information on domestic adoption.

  532. Judith Bell said:

    Nice article! Adoptive parents who opt for international adoption are surrounded by lots of unusual questions due to which they take their step back, which is sad for the kids who deserve a nice, caring and loving family.

  533. Rebekah said:

    Some agencies want us to fill out a form telling which conditions and need levels we will and won’t accept when making inquiries. We could manage a few serious needs in some areas if balanced with less serious needs in other areas- how do I answer fairly and accurately, but still ensure that we are considered for as many kids as possible?

    • moposh said:

      When I answered the checklist, I just did, if the child had this condition, could I parent them and at what level (of the condition) could I parent (mild, moderate, severe)? The child isn’t going to have everything on the checklist. Answer it to the best of your ability. You can change it later. And if presented with a child who has something you said you were okay with, but have since changed your mind about, you can refuse the match. Good luck.

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  535. Apickett said:

    It’s amazing to me how different each woman feels about having a biological child. I did not use donor eggs, but I did become a mother through adoption. For me it has always been about being a mother. I’ve never really yearned to have a child that looks or acts like me or my husband. In fact, I love that my daughter is strong willed and confident , unlike her shy and introverted mother. I am in awe of her, and sometimes I wish I were a bit more like her!

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  537. mbsyska said:

    I always felt good friends are those people you don’t remember exactly how you met because they’ve been so much a part of your life it’s like they’ve always been there. I feel that way about Adoptive Families magazine. My daughter came home from Bulgaria in August 2001. I started reading AF soon after. As she’s grown so have the areas of the magazine that apply to our lives. It’s always good to read how others handle the phases we go through. And even now as we go through the TT (terrible teen).years, I feel the magazine will help us make it through to the WT (wonderful 20s) years in one piece. Thank you, AF Community.

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  539. Shelly Pennington said:

    My husband and I have been trying for a baby for years to no avail. We are able to provide a safe and loving home to one of the many children without a family.

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  542. laura said:

    I will use the questions my self…I may share this site with my daughters adoptive Dad. He single parents three adopted daughters, two of which I gave to him and his Ex-Wife at birth. She left my babies, which has poured the guilt to a new level.

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  544. Glenda Ownby said:

    I have had 7 miscarriages and helped all my sisters with their grown kids, I have wanted my own child since I was 9 years old. I am now 50 and can’t wait much longer, I really want a little boy that looks like me and my husband kinda we both have black hair and blace eyes with olive skin. I would love a baby to 4 years old. I Pray God makes my Forever dream come true :) Glenda and David Ownby

  545. Mark Goldman said:

    Thankful for sharing your valuable information on domestic adoption.

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  550. Mary-Anne said:

    Will you please address gender selection today? We have twin boys and I’m hopeful for a girl with our next adoption but ethically I’m not sure about gender selection. I also want a sibling not too far apart in age (our boys are 2 year old twins) so I want to ensure we don’t limit our criteria too much in hopes of a match in the next couple of years. Thank you!

  551. Christina said:

    Can we request that the birthparents be of a certain religious affiliation? We would like the parents to be of a Christian/Catholic faith who want to place their baby in a Christian/Catholic home? We would like a Caucasian girl or boy. Some agencies have the option of Caucasian in the same category as Hispanic and Native American. Is this typical?

  552. KFAYAR said:

    My husband and I are parents of our wonderful 10 year old son, who has high-functioning autism. I am 52 and my husband is 55. We would like to adopt a child to join our family, and we are currently considering international adoption. Our hope is to adopt a young child (0-3) to allow for bonding with all of us. We believe a younger child will be a better fit for our family, and will help create a stronger bond for our son. Comments?

  553. Jennifer said:

    You touched on the race point, and this is something my husband and I (both white) are really grappling with now. For quite some time, we have been very interested in adopting a child of color. I have some friends at work who are black, and a very close friend who is multi-racial but not a super diverse church or public elementary school where our daughter (we adopted her at birth domestically, she is white and currently age 5) is currently attending. I understand the point about by making this choice you need to be prepared to help expand your community and already have many friends of color and adults within that community for them to know and relate to. My husband and I want that in our lives but we just don’t have it yet. Any comments or books you would suggest?

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  559. Mark Goldman said:

    Open adoption benefits everyone in the adoption triad- birth parents, adoptive parents and the adopted child. Birth mothers get to know that they have made the right decision for their child. The child gets to know about the birth parents, their history and reasons for adoption which helps in building their self-esteem. The adoptive parents do not have the fear of the unknown figure as they know the birth parents.

  560. Mark Goldman said:

    Domestic adoption has become popular now. It is an appealing and beneficial option for adoptive parents. Domestic adoption gives you the opportunity to adopt a new born. It is more transparent as it gives more information and medical history about birth mothers and child. You also get the option of open adoption in domestic adoption.

  561. Cheryl said:

    I’m ready to become a mommy to a newborn baby or a if you have any thing to tell get back to me as soon as possible.thank you and may God bless each and everyone of you this holiday season.

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  564. Rhodesia Wynn said:

    My husband and I are intered in adopting. We are looking for a baby boy between the aged 3_5 years old. We do have other children but, they are grown and out on there own but, we still have one at home. The reason why we want to adopt is because I can not have any more.

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  566. Mark Goldman said:

    Great article you have shared on foster care adoption.Fostering provides a positive substitute family experience for thousands of children. Foster parents are the most important source of adoptive families for children in the child welfare system. In order to facilitate these types of adoption, professionals should be knowledgeable about the benefits, costs, and practice implications. Our dedicated team of adoption professionals in California will guide you through every step of the adoption process. We have a wonderful combination of high success rates and low average match times.

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  568. Mark Goldman said:

    Such a fantastic article you have introduced on adoption. Really inspiring. When talking about adoption to your child, stick to the truth — even when it’s hard. Adoption is a joy that sometimes comes with sadness, especially if there’s a difficult side to your child’s story. Your natural desire is to shield your child, to maintain his innocence as long as possible. We assist you in obtaining medical coverage and provide assistance with legal costs and costs to obtain counseling. Good sharing.

  569. Linda Rosa, RN said:

    Your article on RAD ( misrepresents this disorder. It actually refers to an unrecognized diagnosis called “Attachment Disorder” or AD, which is the invention of a highly abusive fringe psychotherapy called “Attachment Therapy.”

    This article could lead parents to adopt Attachment Therapy and its highly authoritarian parenting methods (aka Nancy Thomas parenting). These practices, along with the faux-RAD diagnosis have been denounced by APSAC and the APA’s Division on Child Maltreatment (2006).

    We urge you to evaluate this information for accuracy. For more information, see:

    “RAD vs AD”

    Please let us know if any action is taken in this matter.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

    Linda Rosa, RN
    Executive Director
    Advocates for Children in Therapy

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  574. Stacey said:

    I have always wanted a family and tried for many years to have one with my husband. My husband’s untimely death put a hold on that and now it’s too late for me to have one. I would love to give my life the child in need.

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  577. tlclarke said:

    Would this be useful for a person planning to adopt an older child through foster care? Does the foster care require a adoption profile?

  578. Jodi said:

    We are struggling with every aspect… My husband is a designer, the pages and layouts are beautiful (he rebrands magazines as part of his studio). However, the sections we should include and how to tie-in being parents has given us writers block. Specifically, we do not how much we show our personalities: we are fairly goofy people and most of our photos reflect this trait. We do have a fair amount of “professional” photos from a photo shoot, around our house, town green, beach, river. We do not want the profile to sound flippant. Can you share your thoughts on us laying it all out there, the goofy, nerdy, silly couple? Also, should we work on the letter to the expectant mom after we finish book? The letter is a bit daunting. I do not want to say “brave,” or anything that I do not know about her: it would all be assumptions. I want it to be sincere, and write it as if we are speaking to a friend. How to start?

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  580. Linda Boosalis said:

    When creating a video profile, what is a birth mother looking for? Also, our social worker told us that older couples are less likely to be chosen by a birth mother. Yet, our agency’s profile system posts couples ages as the first fact on their profile. Should it be posted or not?

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  582. KaraQ88 said:

    Unbelievably beautiful. Your family sounds like such a blessing. I am so glad things turned out the way they did, and the way you committed the memory to paper brought tears to my eyes. God truly answers prayers.

  583. MamaWannabe said:

    My husband and I have been trying to adopt for more than five years. We’re trying to go through the state and we were licensed five years ago but have not been matched. We’re even open to take teenagers- I just want to be a mom. But nothing is happening. We keep hearing about all the children who need homes but that just does’t seem to be the case. And we sure don’t have $25k to spend on a private adoption.

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  585. Beth Ingalls said:

    My partner and I are thinking about adoption but have heard a lot of different things about cost and wait time. I read your article “The Truth About Domestic Adoption, An adoptive mother dispels common myths about domestic adoption” by Eliza Newlin Carney but it is from your January/February 2003 issue. Do you have a similar article that is more recent? I can imagine a lot has changed in the over 10 years since that article was published. I found the article very helpful because it had all the initial information we were interested in, in one place. Also, we don’t necessary need a new born, is there are different process/costs/wait time, if one were to adopt a 1 year old or toddler? thank you,

  586. GangNet said:

    In Texas, the cost of the attorney for the adoption is paid for by the state. You can choose the attorney you wish to use and most know what the paid fee is going to be and accept that. There are no out of pocket expenses for the actual adoption proceedings. There is also a huge amount of programs and support in this state for post-adopt families if you take the time to sign up for them during the adoption process. Post Adopt will pay for camps, respite care, help you find doctors, therapists, etc. and they hold numerous free fun events for the kids and family (yes, even the biological kids in the family can participate for free), and conduct training and support groups.

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  588. bill higgins said:

    2016 mediakit

  589. Kara said:

    My husband and I concerened about adding that were atheists to the letter because we don’t want that to be focused on. Is that something that should be or is it a subject that be discussed later?
    How detailed should be we in regards to how well be adding a child to our daily routine?

  590. Judith P. said:

    Hubby & I have been trying for our first for over 7years! We have a loving, caring, happy, & Godly home we can give to a beautiful little one! We long for that missing piece to our puzzle! yes! The child may need us; but I assure you that we need them more than they need us! We have such strong love to give! Children are a blessing & heritage from the Lord; and we stand with our arms and our hearts wide open; waiting to receive our little blessing! We have so much love we can give! Unconditional love! Pure love!

    Thank you for your time! May God bless you all! In Jesus name we pray! Amen!

    Prayer. Hopes. Dreams. Love. Faith. Compassion.

    -The Palmer’s.

    (Looking for our Blessing)

  591. tbcrevensten said:

    Our daughter has red hair (like her birthfather). When people would ask where she got the red hair, my response was “she came that way.” My husband would reply that it was the same color as her cousin’s (they aren’t related, and nobody in cousin’s family has red hair either). And that would end that part of the conversation.

  592. MZ2007 said:

    Have there been any follow up articles written to this, since it’s been 9 years? I would love to know about other reputable places for testing. For example: 23 and me and Are they on par with the other ancestry tests listed?

  593. Jessica said:

    Hello everyone my hubby & I can’t have children & we are looking to adopt! We have been married for almost 8 yrs & together12 yrs. He does have 3 other children by his first marriage. But I have been doing research on adoption for the past week. Also is there anything I need to know about all this?? also I am on disability so how would that play in a factor to our adoption process??? Thanks!! ☺

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  597. Laura said:

    When my daughter (who was also adopted from China) was around 10 years old, she told me she was really excited to go to Chinatown with her friend’s family (who is Chinese) because “everyone will think that I belong with that family.” It made me realize my daughter’s experience and feelings when we were out in public together.

  598. Michelle said:

    My husband and I have a two year old. Should we put her name and picture on the cover of our profile book, or should we use a picture of just the two of us?

  599. Elizabeth said:

    We’ve adopted all three of our children through foster care. All three had paperwork delays, and court dates rescheduled, stretching the wait time before we were able to finalize their adoptions as much as a year after we expected. Our oldest’s adoption was finalized in one county. Our other two were done in a different county, which only does adoptions on a certain day of the week. Our son’s adoption, after waiting for months, happened to fall on his birthday! Between that time and when we just finalized our youngest’s, they changed the day from Thursday to Friday. After waiting more than a year past when we expected, the adoption day for her was scheduled for the exact same date as our oldest, six years later. Different county, different day of the week, different everything, but our girls share their adoption day.

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  603. Amber said:

    Should pictures of my home be included in the profile? I feel like being single is already a strike against me. I don’t want a birth mother to judge my home too. I keep thinking they won’t choose the single woman in the small home over the couple in the big home.

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  606. PEGGY said:

    Thank God he is rescued and given such joy. Tragic there are many children still out there in jeopardy.

  607. Roisa said:

    Should we include a wedding photo in our profile? Also, we feel like we have a nice mix of “action” photos and posed photos but wonder if you all have any recommendations on the type of things to show in photos. We have been waiting to be matched for about a year and a half and are revising our profile to see if some changes will appeal to birthmothers.

  608. Stevii said:


    I am a single women planning to adopt from the US Foster Care system.

    With the use of phones and tablets for everything, I do not have many clear print photos of myself or my family.

    What is your opinion on mini videos vs photos for the portfolio?

  609. Tessie said:

    Sorry I had typos… Please replace first question with this one.

    A few agency we are registering with have guidelines, however, it is not obvious if they must be followed to a T. I have emailed to ask, but haven’t heard back and I am a bit afraid I might have offended them… They are confused when I speak with them and say “expectant mother,” they always think I mean me, which of course I do not. Their guidelines say address Dear Birthmother, and there is other language that we are not 100% comfortable with. I assume there is room to put in your own words, but do not know as I have not heard anything back from anyone. How do I approach the subject of why we do not want to use the opening “Dear Birthmother?”

    It seems most agencies have moved away from this completely, and women who have placed do not like the term either (you are not a BM until after TPR; she might be looking at books as one option, she might not even be settled on adoption plan; she is expectant mother, to me and to her). Advice? I do not want to offend the agencies either. As I haven’t heard back, I fear I did. How can I fix this on both sides?



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