As she anticipates the release of her documentary Hayden & Her Family, the filmmaker reconnects with the mother of 12 she profiled to discuss special needs adoption, parenting outside “normal” boundaries, and how loving a child changes you.
Older Child Adoption: Post-Adoption Support & Information
Advice from adoption experts and real adoption stories by parents who adopted an older child internationally or from U.S. foster care.
The Grammar of Untold Stories: An Interview with Lois Melina
Lois Melina has been a voice of wisdom and authority in the world of adoption for decades. We connected with Melina upon the publication of her latest book, The Grammar of Untold Stories,a collection of personal essays, to discuss immigration and international adoption, transracial adoption and the Black Lives Matter movement, and the many ways adoption and infertility continue to surface in her writing.
Ask AF: What to Do the First Time a Foster Child Comes to Stay with Us?
“We are preparing for our first overnight visit with sisters we hope to adopt from foster care, and are nervous. What are we supposed to do for 24 hours with two children who are essentially strangers?”
Ask AF: How to Discourage Indiscriminate Affection
A mother who adopted from foster care seeks advice about discouraging her children from charming or hugging strangers— and how to respond to the adults who think the child is just ‘being sweet.’
Media Focus: Lissa Schneckenburger
Lissa Schneckenburger’s new album, Thunder in My Arms, takes foster and adoptive parents on a melodic song cycle about the ongoing effects of early trauma and the healing power of community, understanding, and love. Tune in to learn more.
Ask AF: Rivalry with a Newly Adopted Sibling
“Our son had been excited about the idea of a ‘little brother,’ but, from the day our younger son came home, they have had intense rivalry; there was no ‘honeymoon’ period. What can we do?”
“…and so It Goes”
My older son is off at college, and I’ve been heartened to see that his “new normal” includes a maturing and strengthening of the bond between us. I look back to the day I met him, just over eight years ago, and our years of attachment struggles, even as I look to his future, and ours, with hope.
“What Being a Foster Family Has Taught My Children”
Amazingly, the number one question we’re asked about being a foster family is: “Are you afraid of what they’ll teach your children?” So, what have my kids learned? To start—to be open, generous, non-judgmental, thankful for their warm home….
“…and Letting It Be” – My Son’s Transition to College
When I adopted my two sons eight years ago, they couldn’t separate themselves fast enough from their “old” life in Brazil. As I prepared to visit my oldest son two months into his “new” college life—a lifetime for any freshman—I wondered to what extent he might have compartmentalized his now “old” family life.
Never Too Old for Family
Today in the United States, more than 123,000 children in foster care are waiting for a permanent home through adoption. Nearly 45 percent of these children are ages eight or older—and desperately need the stability, guidance, and love that only a family can provide. Learn more of the myths and realities surrounding older child adoption.
Ask AF: Reconciling Different Personalities in Adoption
A mother finds herself exhausted trying to keep up with the boisterous, outgoing older child she’s adopting, and also worries that the girl might start feeling “different” from the rest of the family (who are all naturally more reserved and quiet). An expert offers advice.
Ask AF: Worried My Daughter Will Think Her Birth Mom Is More “Fun”
“My nine-year-old has been asking me about her birth mother. I was able to find her on social media, but I’m worried about sharing the photos I found.”
Ask AF: Should We Try to Adopt Our Children’s Biological Sibling?
“Our children have a younger sibling in a different foster home. Should we fight to get custody of this child, whom we’re told has a strong bond with her foster parents and foster siblings, or leave things be?”
“The Fine Line Between Letting Go and Being Let Go”
I adopted my son as he was entering his teen years, and now, too soon, I have seen him off to college. How will his still tenuous attachment play out when I’m no longer a constant, physical presence in his life?
Parents Share: Deciding What Age Child to Adopt
From newborns to teens to sibling groups, adoptive parents share the thought process behind their age preferences when adopting.
The Story Behind the Cover Photo: “The Words I’ll Never Forget”
“Looking back on this picture, I see a child who was confused, but yearning for what we all want and need: security, a family, and love. The picture is about hope.”
We may not have heard our children’s very first words, but we’ve heard many others in our journey through infertility and foster adoption—and now, as family.
Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children
Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.
Ask AF: How to Ask My Children About Trauma in Their Past?
“I know that my children’s birth siblings were abused by their birth parents, but my children don’t talk about trauma in their earlier lives. How should I talk with them about this?”
Creating a Photographic History for an Older Child
Pictures help show our children that their lives matter, and that they are part of a family. A photographer and adoptive mom offers her advice for taking and preserving meaningful moments.