Could I Be a Birth Mother?

November 5th, 2013

missing youCould I be a birthmother?  This is a question that recently crossed my mind.  Our journey to parenthood includes several adoption stops along the way, none of them successful, with parenthood finally arriving thanks to the blessing of embryo donation.  On our third attempt with this method, we finally found our forever child, due to be born next month.  I have proceeded cautiously throughout the pregnancy, in denial the first half, cautiously optimistic in the second half.  After all, we had a child in the home when we fostered, we got used to her being in our lives, we loved her as our own, we were her parents for every intent and purpose, and then she was taken away.  She… [more]

One Name to Unite Us?

October 25th, 2013
Posted By: on Hoping to Adopt

nameWhen I got divorced last year, it made sense for me to keep my married name. I got married during graduate school, so my entire post-education career had been conducted under that name. It was my daughters' last name and I had no intention to ask them to change it. It would be simpler to deal with school and other organizations if the girls and I shared a name. I felt no particular attachment to my maiden name. I asked my soon-to-be ex-husband whether he had any objections to my keeping his last name. He thought I was nuts for asking. "It's your name," he said. "Why wouldn't you keep it?" It was settled. I signed the divorce papers and called a realtor… [more]

Not My Problem

October 21st, 2013
Posted By: on Hoping to Adopt

abandoned A few months ago, an uncle called to catch up and see how my daughters and I were doing. I let him know well the girls were doing in school and how much I enjoyed my job. I then gave him an update on my relative's situation. I reminded him of the personal challenges she's faced and reminded him that her son, Alan, had been in foster care since January. My uncle is related to Alan. Alan and I fall in similar spots in our family tree from our uncle's perspective. When I began to explain that I had thrown my hat in the ring to adopt Alan, my uncle grew quiet, then began listing all the reasons that this would be… [more]

Silence

October 18th, 2013
Posted By: on Hoping to Adopt

3666661910_0b8da69fba_mI've been silent here for many months. This process, trying to adopt my relative's son because his mother cannot care for him, has been heart-wrenching for everyone involved. The last time you heard from me, I was hopeful that Alan would leave the UK to join our family in the US before too long. Sadly, that didn't come to pass. My viability assessment described me as having "strong parenting skills," but next to my history of depression, a major concern they raised was that my "strong financial position" was "dependent on [my] being able to work." Every American I've spoken to about this statement has expressed disbelief. Of course my income is dependent on my working! Things just work differently across the Atlantic. In… [more]

Should You Foster if You Want to Adopt?

October 18th, 2013

childrenShould you foster if you really want to adopt? Some areas have thriving foster-to-adopt programs where you go through the foster care training and become licensed foster parents, but you are only called with placements of children who are already likely to be in need of an adoptive home.  Either their parents’ rights have already been terminated, or the social workers expect this to happen shortly.  If that’s the case, perhaps this route to adoption may be ideal for those who don’t have too many criteria limiting what children they’d like to adopt and/or whose adoption budget is quite low. However, not every locality has a thriving foster-to-adopt program.  My area, for instance, only took prospective foster parents willing to do “straight… [more]

Encouraging a Colleague to Adopt

October 4th, 2013

childrenI recently encouraged a colleague to adopt.  The topic came up unexpectedly, and I found myself relating our fostering experience and suggesting that she adopt an older child or even siblings rather than fostering, which was her initial idea.  I noticed myself repeating several times that “I hate to discourage anyone from becoming a foster parent, but…” The truth is, our one time fostering experience was less than stellar.  The little girl we had was a handful, but that was not at all the problem.  Her parents were teenagers and inexperienced, but that was not the problem either.  Well, not really.  Actually, it is my belief that the department of social services (and I use this general term on purpose, as it… [more]

Adoption Ads in Pregnancy Magazines

August 30th, 2013

preg magWhen we were pursuing domestic adoption, we did so independently, without the assistance of an adoption agency.  This meant that we had to do our own networking and advertising, as well as screening potential birth parents.  Many times we came across people who were not familiar with private adoption and found our attempts at reaching out suspicious.  Many hopeful adoptive parents likewise found the idea of having to essentially sell themselves as a viable option for someone’s child as demeaning.  Yet adoption agencies can – and are expected to – advertise and network on behalf of their hopeful adoptive parents without raising any red flags. Still, as I came across an entire column of advertisements in the back of a pregnancy… [more]

Encouraging Minorities to Adopt

August 26th, 2013

minority adoptionWhile all transracially adopted children deserve adoptive parents who are culturally sensitive and willing to expose not only their child, but themselves and their entire family to the child’s ethnic and/or cultural heritage, good intentions on the part of the parents do not take the place of parents who already have a personal vested interested in the same culture by virtue of having also been raised in it. Over the years, informal adoption has been the preferred option among many non-Caucasian families for a variety of reasons.  In many communities, relatives simply take in children whose parents are unable to care for them, either on a temporary basis or until they are grown and on their own. However, informal adoption leaves the… [more]

“Rehoming”

August 25th, 2013

rehoming dogI first heard the term “rehoming” from my sister.  For a time, she ran a guinea pig foster home of sorts, caring for the little rodents while she looked for permanent homes for them.  I liked the positive connotation that goes along with the term “rehoming” – finding a new home.  In the field of information technology, rehoming is used to refer to the movement of an item from its current location to a new location, mostly in a virtual environment. In both instances, there is none of the negativity that is often associated with the concept when humans look for a new, permanent home for their baby. 

The antiquated term, “put up for adoption”, makes the child… [more]

Foster Care: Understanding

May 16th, 2013
Posted By: on Hoping to Adopt

dont_understandBoth the American and British foster systems initially seek, in my experience, to enable birth parents to regain custody of their children. There are cases in which it seems clear to me that there is no hope for parents to change the circumstances that caused them to lose access to their children, but I am no professional. I'm just a mom, and being a mom, I'm glad that foster institutions do their due diligence to understand and help the entire family instead of jumping to conclusions. In case you're unfamiliar with foster care, it is the institution of placing a child temporarily within a family that has been vetted and trained to care for them. These children have had to be removed… [more]