Heartfelt Mother’s Day

It is almost here.

That day of the year that we buy cards, flowers, gifts, and go to brunch will be here on Sunday. Do you have your plans made yet? Have you spent your $180.00 on your mother, or will you be spending more? (According to the National Retail Foundation, projected Mother’s Day sales will total more than $23 billion this year, or an average of $180.00 per person.)

Mother’s Day is one of those holidays that retailers love, but a portion of women dread. If you have experienced fertility problems or had a miscarriage or a still birth, Mother’s Day can be a reminder of significant loss. If you have placed a child for adoption, you may feel as if you have no claim to Mother’s Day at all—it’s simply something else that the adoptive mother gets that you miss out on.

The “mother” of Mother’s Day never intended for this day to become so commercialized.

Anna Jarvis began advocating for a national day or recognition for mothers in the early 1900’s, and in 1908 held the first official celebration in West Virginia. She lobbied for greater recognition and acceptance of this day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. But she was a proponent of the sentiments of love and gratitude to be shown to mothers—not that any type of company use the day for profit. Rather than sending store bought cards, she believed a mother would best be honored with a hand-written, heart-felt note.

Based on the actions of Miss Jarvis later in her in life, it is doubtful she would have wanted any woman to feel slighted or uncomfortable or sad on that Sunday. She never had children herself, and she died completely destitute from her efforts to have the holiday removed from the national calendar.

So how are you celebrating Mother’s Day?

Are you taking your mother out to eat? Men, are you giving your children’s mother flowers and candy? Do you all have your brunch reservations made? More personally, are you going to focus on your losses rather than celebrating the love women have for their children?

However you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day, remember the story of Anna Jarvis. Whether you are a waiting mother-to-be, a birth mother, an adoptive mother, a foster mother, or someone who mentors someone along the way…think love and gratitude—and then go out and show the world the same.


Livin’ on a Prayer

It’s quite common to hear people voicing their prayers, asking for prayers, and sending thoughts and prayers. Whether it’s from the pulpit of a church or a shared post on Facebook, it seems as though prayer is pervading every part of our lives. Those associated with the world of adoption hear prayer requests all the time. Even those who do not think of themselves as religious or even particularly spiritual seem to both seek and offer prayer when an adoption situation is mentioned.

So, if you are praying for an adoption situation, what exactly are you praying for?

(Or to keep the grammarians happy, for what are you praying?) As an adoptive couple, are you praying the woman who just gave birth will sign those papers so that you can take the baby home? Are you praying the baby is healthy? Is the prayer to keep away a family member who wants to take the baby home instead of you? Maybe your prayer is a little more personal. Maybe your prayer is a little more along the lines of “please don’t let me be hurt again. I can’t handle any more disappointments.”

But wait! Is there anything wrong with asking an adoption go smoothly? Is there anything wrong with praying for the birth parents to sign a consent, for a healthy baby, for the storybook ending? Maybe not. Yet maybe there is something truly limiting in this type of prayer.

What about prayers for the woman who has just given birth?

Even more challenging, what about prayers for the woman whose children just entered foster care? How about praying for the extended biological family of that baby who are losing their chance to be grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? Where do the siblings of the baby fit in? Is a prayer for your happiness and ease all that matters?

It has been said that prayer is a conversation. There are always two parts to any conversation—speaking and listening. The speaking comes easily. The listening often takes more work. And in an emotionally charged situation, like adoption, the listening gets crowded out by our own wants, hopes, and dreams.

So here’s a challenge.

When you ask or are asked for prayers regarding an adoption, pray for strength and peace for the birth family, and for joy in the life of the baby. And then be prepared to listen—even if it’s an answer you don’t like. Listen to the voice inside that says you were meant a part of this other family’s story, for just a little bit. Listen to the voice that says you made this woman’s last part of pregnancy a little easier. Listen to the voice that says your example showed her children they have value and worth.

When you do get to bring your baby home, don’t let the prayer conversation end. Let the prayers you speak reflect gratitude. And let the prayers you hear result in actions that show the world that same gratitude.


Agency or Attorney?

Adoption is one of those topics about which everyone seems to have an opinion or story. If you mention that you are thinking about becoming an adoptive parent, you will likely hear those opinions or stories, whether you want to or not. Within that conversation, there is also a good chance you will hear the agency versus attorney debate. Should you trust this very important step in your life to an adoption agency or just use an attorney?

The thing is, agencies and attorneys BOTH have a place in the world of adoption.

As an institution, adoption is a legal process that allows for the creation and expansion of a family. Because it allows for the creation and expansion of a family, it is also involves relationships. Opening your heart to adoption means you are opening yourself to new relationships. There is a relationship between you and your child, and there is a relationship between you and your child’s birth family. Your child will always have a relationship between themselves and you, and also will always have a relationship between themselves and their birth family. Yes—let’s repeat that one. Adoptees will always have a relationship between themselves and the family who created them and gave them life. They may not always have a day-to-day relationship with their birth family, but nothing can change the fact that the first relationship in their lives will be with those whom they share a genetic link.

Can you imagine how complicated this can all be?

And if it’s complicated for you, imagine how the children of adoption feel? That baby you are hoping for is going to grow into a toddler, then elementary school kid, and then teenager, and then into adulthood. Along the way, questions will be asked. Will you be ready to answer them?

An adoption agency can navigate all those relationships with you. The people working for adoption agencies see and understand the pieces of those relationships that go into adoption. You know—those things like unexpected pregnancies. Infertility. Physical needs. Emotional needs. They have experience in working through the good and the bad, ups and downs, joys and sorrows that are a part of adoption.

Where does the lawyer come into this? The goal of the lawyer in adoption is to represent either the person placing the baby or the person adopting the baby. The lawyer is there to make certain the legal process is understood and the rights of the party they are representing are upheld. If the lawyer is representing the adoptive parents, the goal is to make certain the adoption is finalized in a court of law and an adoption decree is issued.

Adoption is a lifelong commitment.

If you are going to make this commitment to a child, make certain you have the resources to do honor the commitment well. Know the resources available to you—both for legal support and for emotional support. The best of all worlds in adoption uses both an attorney and an agency. Let them help you create a happy story for your family.

To find out more about the history of our agency, click here.

 

 

 

 


And then there’s HIM…

Did you know that an individual’s fingerprints are formed and set around the halfway point in pregnancy? Those little ridges on the tips of your fingers are completely unique. No one has a set that looks like yours, and there will never be another set the same as your baby’s in the future.

Every person is unique—as we know from our fingerprints. Even identical twins do not share the same fingerprints! Not only is each person unique, each pregnancy is unique. Every situation, every aspect, every set of family members, every set of friends, every job, every home, well, pretty much EVERYTHING, is unique. This includes the father of the baby…who he is, how involved he is, what he thinks of the relationship he is in and what he hopes for the baby. Fatherhood can be a scary proposition, and talk of adoption only makes what is sometimes a tough situation more difficult.

Brittany, Taylor and Heather all chose to place their children for adoption. The relationships they share with the children’s fathers, however, are completely different. Just like their fingerprints, all three women had different answers to the question “What about the birth father?”

Brittany began considering adoption when her boyfriend, Tyler, left her and their other two children to move in with someone else. Taylor and her boyfriend, Lamar, were just out of high school and struggling to make their relationship work. Heather was not certain who the father was and was afraid people would judge her for the way she lived her life.

So what about the birth father? There is no “one size fits all” answer.

What about the birth father? There is a legal answer and there is an emotional answer. The best place to find answers to the legal question is through a lawyer. An adoption lawyer can help navigate the ins and outs of any particular situation.

What about the birth father? The relationship question — that one that involves all the emotions — deserves thorough deliberation. Sorting through the feelings about relationships during a confusing and tricky time with an impartial listener is an excellent place to start to gain clarity.

The Adoption Support Center talk with women like Heather, Brittany and Taylor as they sort through the questions and emotions that are a part of an unexpected pregnancy. They also talk with men like Tyler and Lamar. They approach every person who comes through the door or makes a phone call as uniquely and individually as their fingerprints. In adoption, there is no “one size fits all” answer. The ladies of the Adoption Support Center are ready to listen.


Where’s My Maybe Family?

“And then I found a couple who seemed like my favorite parts of myself in two people. If I wasn’t going to raise her, I knew they would be most similar to how I would have done it.”

How do you find the perfect family? How do you not open your heart to every story from every family that has wanted to have a baby and couldn’t? Who wanted to have a baby but health issues stood in the way? Who already have a baby but felt like their family was not complete and is looking to someone just like you who can make their dreams come true?

Taylor recalls this struggle. After meeting a maybe family on the advice of a “close, trusted friend”, she thought her choice had been made. She wrote in her journal, “I met this great family today. They are so sweet! I feel like we could be friends. We have so much in common.” After telling them her good news, Taylor said, “We are all so happy! I can finally take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be ok.”

Fast forward two weeks. Taylor’s journal tells a different story. “They called today. They are backing out. No reason. No explanation. Just no. What am I going to do? I thought my plan was in place. I am devastated. How could I have been so wrong?”

Taylor picked up the phone and called a friend who worked for the Adoption Support Center. Taylor began looking through profiles of families who were truly committed to adoption. She looked for a family who did not already have children, who had a strong sense of spirituality, and valued education. Those were the things important to Taylor. Eventually she found the family who jumped off the page and into her heart.

Taylor then continued her story by saying, “I am choosing to place my daughter through ASC because I know I will have constant, unwavering support. The rest of my life can’t offer that. I know that any of the women at ASC will hold me up if I struggle.”

The adoption of Taylor’s daughter went exactly as she hoped. Her “maybe family” became “my daughter’s family”. Taylor is confident she made the right decision and says her daughter’s family is “exactly who they said they were. They have never lied or left me in the cold.”

Taylor found a safe place with the women at the Adoption Support Center. Before her daughter was born, Taylor wrote, “I believe the women at ASC are who they say they are. They have had warm, kind words when the world seemed harsh.” After her daughter was born Taylor said of her daughter’s family and the women of ASC “They were exactly what I didn’t know I needed.“