Telling the Tough Stuff

When talking about adoption to your child, stick to the truth — even when it's hard.

Talking about adoption to your adopted child
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Your five-year-old plays in the backyard, contentedly immersed in a world of sunshine, sandboxes, and swings. How will you bring up the fact that her birth parents left her alone in a public place?

You've been evasive about the details of your eight-year-old son's life before adoption. Lately, he's been asking questions. Is now the time to tell him that his birth mother was an alcoholic?

You are wondering whether your teen's recent bouts of anger result from the news that his biological siblings live with his birth parents. Was telling him the right thing to do?

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. You want to focus on the happiness he's brought to your family. When talking about adoption to your adopted child, is it ever O.K. to veil, or just plain bury, sad truths in his past?

You Must Tell

Absolutely not, say the experts in an almost unanimous chorus. "During my 30 years working in the field, I've never seen information an adult adoptee shouldn't know," says Ronny Diamond, an adoption therapist and director of the adoption consultation team at Spence-Chapin, in New York City.

"Ask yourself, ‘Why don't we talk about this?'" advises Jayne E. Schooler, co-author of Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child. "Is it because we think he's not ready to know, or because we’re not ready to tell him?"

Naturally, you'll share information in ways that are appropriate to your child's age and abilities. "Children are entitled to information, but that doesn't mean a parent needs to say everything at once," says Diamond. "Parents have the responsibility to make decisions in the child's best interest, including what to share and when and how to share it."

Preschoolers can't understand abstract concepts or culture-wide prejudices. They don't know how babies are made, so they can't make sense of rape or prostitution. Experts disagree as to when older children can be told painful personal information. Some maintain that a child should know everything about his past by age 12, others advise withholding particularly tough details until the late teen years.

No matter how you choose to approach this difficult task, is is critical that you tell your child the story of his past. "It's not a parent's job to keep information from a child," says Diamond. "It's the parents' job to help the child make sense of that information."

You do that by explaining things in a positive, understandable way, by answering any questions your child asks, and by providing the context to help her begin to make sense of her birth family's actions.

How often should you talk about adoption? Adoption scholar David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., of Rutgers University, has a rule of thumb. If you can't remember the last time you talked about adoption, it's time for a conversation.

Others, mindful of reports by adult adoptees that adoption was on their mind as a child much more than it was discussed at home, suggest that parents toss out an adoption comment on a regular basis. This way, your children will have frequent openings to ask any questions or raise concerns.

Gauge your child's interest and curiosity before diving into a difficult discussion. Holly van Gulden, author of Real Parents, Real Children, outlines what she calls the "pebbles" technique: Toss out a casual comment, such as, "I wonder whether your birth parents are as talented in math as you are," and see if it leads to a conversation.

If your child doesn't respond, move on. Drop another "pebble" a few weeks later. Maintaining open lines of communication about adoption will make it much easier to broach the difficult aspects of the story when the time is right.

Straight talk about tough personal details will undoubtedly be emotional, even painful. But plenty of counsel is available to help you manage the conversations.

The Preschool Years: Telling the Story

There are two keys to sharing adoption information with preschoolers. First, tell the child's story as a story, not as a dry recital of facts. If "Once upon a time" catches your child's interest, lead off with it and go from there. Just make sure your child knows that, unlike a fairy tale, this story is true.

Second, tell no lies. As a fiction writer, I've been tempted to embellish my daughter's adoption story. But I know that anything I say may be taken and remembered as fact, so I leave her story unadorned. "Adoptive parents who ‘create' a story have to remember all of its details — or risk confusing their child," warns Schooler.

Limit the negative details at this age. "You wouldn't explain rape and incest to a six-year-old," says adoption therapist Brenda McCreight. "So why talk about such things in relation to the child's own life?"

Older preschoolers can handle more than you may think. Marijke Breuning had told her young daughters that their "Ethiopia mommies" were too ill to care for them. Recently she added the fact that they had died. One of her daughters became upset at the thought that her mother had misled her earlier. "I explained that I had not lied, I had told her only the first part of the story. Her Ethiopia mommy had been very sick, and had eventually died from the illness," explains Breuning. "Knowing that the first story and the new information fit together made a big difference."

Those Magical Middle Years

Somewhere around age seven to nine, children make a cognitive leap. They're able to understand abstract concepts and are likely to have more questions about the adoption story you've told them. While kids of this age might seem young and tender to parents, in fact, they're highly resilient. This is often the ideal age for sharing or revisiting thorny realities.

Older elementary-age kids haven't yet entered the tempestuous stage of adolescence. They're talking to you — and listening to what you have to say. They have time to integrate new information about their past before redefining their identities as teenagers.

It's important to keep in mind that each child processes information at his own pace. When a mother in California contacted her son's birth family in Russia in search of medical information, she learned some new, difficult details about the birth family. Although the parents decided to wait to tell their son much of the new information, they did tell him that he has a biological sibling. "It took my son several months to look at the photograph of his brother that we received," the mom recounts. Nonetheless, in an "encouraging development," her son recently felt comfortable enough to mention his brother to a friend.

This is also the age that a child can understand the social context of his birth parents adoption decision. Learning about the social conditions that might have lead to infant abandonment, such as extreme poverty, drug or alcohol addiction, or prejudice against unwed mothers, can be very important in helping a child make sense of his past.

Don't forget to balance facts with feelings and speculation. If you are someone who is most comfortable with hard data, remind yourself to ask open-ended, emotional questions. In the case of abandonment, you might say: "I wish we knew more about your birth parents! Does it ever make you mad that we don't?" If a child's biological siblings are being raised by his birth parents, you might say: "I wonder how your life would have been different if your birth family had been able to raise you instead of your brother?"

Let your child decide what, if anything, he wants to do with any new information. "His brother is willing to be contacted," says the California mom. "It's hard to say right now if my son will want to write to him, but," she notes wisely, "It's entirely up to him."

What Happens in Adolescence

Adolescence is the time to continue filling in the details. Be prepared for some turbulence as your child struggles to figure out who he is. If the adoption conversation has been open thus far, it's likely to remain so during adolescence. "If the parents have been honest, then the door is open to expand on what the teen has been told as a younger child," says McCreight.

In most situations, with most children, adoption experts say that difficult adoption information is best shared by the child's parents. After all, they are the people who love him and are trusted by him. Parents may benefit from consulting a therapist for advice on what to say, how to say it, and to otherwise prepare for challenging conversations, says Diamond. "But having a therapist talk separately to a child should be the last option."

Developing Compassion

Talking about adoption to your adopted child isn't always going to be easy, but thoughtful discussions over the course of childhood can help your child develop compassion for families in difficult circumstances — families like their birth families — without the resources to cope. Our goal is not to excuse neglect, abuse, or other hurtful behavior. In fact, says Schooler, it's wise to affirm a child's negative feelings. If a child reacts by saying, "I hate my birth parents," don't rush into an explanation of why they have problems. A gentle "I understand" can work wonders.

One adoptive mother in the Milwaukee area has always been open with her twin sons about the fact that their parents' alcohol abuse led to their leaving the boys in a burning apartment. She tells her boys that their birth parents must have been very loving when they weren't drinking, because the boys were so affectionate when they joined their adoptive family. "I guess I'm trying to help them see alcohol as the culprit, not their birth parents," says this mom.

Another mother who has worked extensively, both at home and in therapy, to help her daughter understand difficult medical and personal information about her birth family, reports that good has come out of the pain. "My daughter has confronted conflicting emotions, the grays in life, much earlier than other kids," she writes. "Helping her understand that sorrow and joy can coexist over the same experience is, perhaps, a loss of innocence — but also a gain in maturity."

Ultimately, says Diamond, "We want our children to be able to say, ‘My birth parents did the best they could, even if it wasn't enough.'"


Copyright © 1999-2015 Adoptive Families Magazine®. All rights reserved. For personal use only. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

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  10. 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 https://www.dillonadopt.com/webinar/.

  11. 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 http://www.dillonadopt.com/basic-training/.

  12. 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!

  13. 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?

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  15. 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.

  16. 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.
    Thank-you.

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  20. 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.

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  25. 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!!

    • 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.

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  32. 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?

    • 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?

  33. 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?

  34. 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: http://sojo.net/blogs/2014/12/11/pastoral-letter-white-americans)

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  43. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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?

        • 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.

    • 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.

  44. 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!

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  51. 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!!??

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  53. 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.

    thanks!

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  55. 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?

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  70. 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.”

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  72. 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.

  73. said:

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

  74. 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

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

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    • 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.)

  81. 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!

  82. 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.

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  89. 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?

  90. 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?

  91. said:

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

  92. 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?

  93. 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?

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  95. 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!

  96. 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?

  97. 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?

    • 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..)

  98. 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 .

  99. 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?

  100. said:

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

  101. 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.

  102. 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?

  103. 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.

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  106. 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?

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  110. 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.

    • 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.

  111. 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.
    Blessings,
    Edith

  112. said:

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

  113. 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.

  114. 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!”

  115. said:

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

  116. 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!!!!

  117. 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.

  118. 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.

    • 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”

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  120. 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.

  121. 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.

  122. 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.

  123. 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.

  124. 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.

  125. 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.

  126. 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.

  127. 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.

  128. 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.

  129. 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?

    • 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!

  130. 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.

  131. 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 http://www.adoption.ca

  132. 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.

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  134. 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.

  135. 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.

  136. 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.

  137. 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 http://www.hugabub.com/ gives comfort to my baby as well as also balances my hormones .

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  140. 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.

  141. 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?

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  145. manuelcazares 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!

  146. 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.

  147. 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.

  148. 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?

  149. 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.

  150. 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.

  151. said:

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

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  153. said:

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

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  157. said:

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

  158. 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.

  159. 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.

  160. 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?

  161. said:

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

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  163. said:

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

    • 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.

  164. 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?

  165. 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?

  166. said:

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

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  168. said:

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

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  170. 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.

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  172. said:

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

  173. 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

  174. 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

  175. 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.

  176. 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

  177. said:

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

  178. 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 http://www.campfcc.org.

  179. 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….

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  181. 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.

  182. 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?

  183. 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?

  184. 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?

  185. 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?

  186. 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.

  187. 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?

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  191. 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.

  192. 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.

  193. said:

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

  194. 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?

  195. 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?

  196. 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)

  197. said:

    (California)
    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?

  198. 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.

  199. 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.

  200. 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.

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  203. 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?

  204. 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.

  205. 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?

  206. 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?

  207. said:

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

  208. said:

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

  209. 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.

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  214. 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!

  215. 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.

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  220. 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.

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  223. 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?

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