Menstuff® has information on Adoption.
Did you know that over 140,000 children are adopted every year and that six out of ten Americans have been touched by adoption? Deciding to adopt a child can be a time-consuming and exhaustive process--but one well worth the time and effort involved. November is National Adoption Awareness Month and if you are considering adoption, check out our sister site, Parent Soup's, Adoption Central. You will find a wealth of resources and information that will help you address your questions and get you started on your journey. For more support, check out our 35 message boards devoted to all aspects of the adoption triad and read members' touching stories from the heart.
The Patterson Family's Adoption Journey
Be an Adoptive Dad:
How many singles seek to adopt?
Who are the single adopters?
What research has been conducted on single-parent adoptions?
In a study undertaken by the Los Angeles Department of Adoptions, researchers found that single parents tend to have more difficulties completing adoptions. Thirty-nine percent have made three or more previous attempts to adopt, compared to only 18 percent among couples.
The Getting Started Adoption Kit
It's easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of information available on adoption. We at Adoption Central want to make your life easier so we've put together this list of articles, quizzes and other resources that can help you decide if you're ready to adopt and how. We hope it helps!
Disruption and Dissolution
Searching for Birth Relatives
What Children Understand about Adoption
Read these other articles
I'm thinking about adopting
Where do I Begin?
I'm interested in international adoption
I'm interested in u.s. adoption
What is adoption really like?
I'm waiting for my child to arrive
Developmental issues and adoption
I'm an adult adoptee
I'm a birth parent
Emotional support at adoption central
The National Adoption Information Clearinghouse (NAIC) no longer exists. It was merged into Child Welfare Information Gateway at HHS, but it still includes comprehensive information on adoption, both domestic and intercountry.
The Rights of Unmarried Fathers www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/putative.cfm
Legal Issues and the Law www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/state
National Foster Care & Adoption Directory search. Includes State-by-State contact information for a variety of adoption-related organizations and services including public and licensed private adoption agencies, support groups, State reunion registries, and more. These listings are provided as a public service and should not be construed as a Clearinghouse or Children\'s Bureau endorsement or recommendation of any one agency or organization. www.childwelfare.gov/nfcad
The adoptions of my two children are, quite literally, the two best things that have happened to me.
Ever. In my whole life. Nothing has altered the course of my life or meant more to me than becoming a mom to my kids.
Before them, I didnt really understand what unconditional love was, nor did I have a clue how it felt. Now I know twice over.
Adoption is amazing. And its complicated. It can bring great joy. And it can bring great pain.
Adoption is nuanced. And like anything else, it can be hard to see those nuances when it's not part of your life. That's particularly true when the media is so good at circulating adoption narratives that are a little problematic like the baby left under the Christmas tree for his siblings to discover.
I get why people thought it was sweet: A precious new life was placed into an obviously loving family. But I still cringed. Partly because it felt uncomfortably similar to buying the kids a puppy for Christmas. And partly because it made me think of the commodification and trafficking of humans, which unfortunately happens sometimes in the world of adoption.
Thankfully, there are some really great adoption stories that circulate, too like the one where a grandma lost her mind with excitement when she met her granddaughter for the first time. Beautiful! Most loving grandmas tend to experience unadulterated joy when they first lay eyes on their grandkids.
As with most of the important things in life, talking about adoption is complicated.
But at the heart of it is something really simple: More than anything, we want our kids to grow into adults who are respected as the complex and unique individuals they are. Not just representatives of the "adopted kid" stories we see all the time.
There are many, many things Id love for everyone to know about adoption. Here are nine of them, from an adoptive parent's perspective.
1. My kids are "my own."
"But are you going to, you know, have any kids of your own?
Most people who ask this question have good intentions. They want to know if my husband and I are planning on having any biological kids. Its a wording issue for most adults, but for kids who are struggling with attachment or working to feel secure in their families, those words matter.
When you ask this in front of kids who were adopted, you might be shaking an already unstable foundation the family has worked hard to build.
Adopting our kids was our "Plan A." We didn't want to have biological kids.
For other families, adoption may have followed a long struggle with infertility and it can be a painful question for them, especially coming from a stranger or casual acquaintance.
That said, know that...
2. Adoptive parents are approachable!
It's true that we don't appreciate being asked super-personal questions about adoption, especially in front of our kids. But thats pretty much like most personal topics in life, right? Asking random questions especially of a stranger to satisfy your curiosity probably isnt cool.
For instance, please dont ask how much our kids "cost" or where we "got" them. A two-second google search for "how much does adoption cost," for example, will provide the info you need. I promise.
Asking respectfully because you really want to learn or have an interest in adopting yourself? Thats a different story.
Im not an unapproachable lady (I'm even fun at parties!). Ive been a resource for many people wanting to learn about adoption. I've given my phone number to complete strangers who want to adopt and would like to learn more. The best questions begin with, "Would you mind if I asked you a few questions about adoption?"
That gives me a chance to say "no" if my kids are there or if it doesnt feel like a good time for me. That also lets me know that if you ask something I dont feel comfortable sharing, I can say, "Id rather not talk about that" and youll understand.
3. Yep, were all real.
Do you know who your kids real parents are?
I know what you mean youre asking if I know who my kids birth parents are. Its not that Im offended by the question, thinking that youre implying Im not real. My kids birth parents most certainly are real.
But the last time someone asked that in front of my sweet then-7-year-old son, he looked at me, the usually bright smile fading from his face, and asked in a quiet voice, "What does she mean? Youre my real mom too. Nobody can take me from you " long pause "... right, Mommy?"
Of course, he knows the answer to that. Weve been talking about adoption since, well, since the day he came home at 10 and a half months old. Back then, it was me talking about adoption to a baby that didnt understand. I figured Id start then to ensure we never stopped talking. And we havent.
But a childs feelings about adoption change over time. So can their sense of security. And having their place in their family questioned at the wrong time can feel pretty unsettling to child whos in the process of making sense of some of those feelings.
4. My kids' histories belong to them.
Sometimes the details of a child's history are simple. Sometimes they're pretty complicated. And, quite frankly, they're private.
Some birth parents place their children for adoption because theyre not ready for a baby. Some place because theyve been coerced or pressured into it. Some place because of medical issues either theirs or the child's. Some place because they don't know how they can afford a baby and there aren't enough services in place to assist them. Some place against their will because they're incarcerated. Occasionally, some truly don't want their kids.
Sometimes we have no idea who our kids' birth parents are or why they placed them for adoption. Sometimes our kids were abandoned. Sometimes our kids came from the foster care system and their family histories are very complicated.
Whatever the reason, it's not something we want to go around chitchatting about with anyone who's curious.
5. We might parent quite differently than you do.
It doesn't mean we're weird. Or coddling. Or over-parenting. Or trying to prove anything.
Were just trying to give our kids what they need and deserve.
Adoptive parents have to learn about a bunch of things their children could face, and we have to learn how to best parent our kids. Attachment parenting, healing from trauma, sensory processing disorder, and many other phrases become more than just words for a lot of us. When we decide to adopt our kids, most of us put our hearts and souls into doing what's best for them. Sometimes what's best isn't necessarily what most other parents do. Thats OK.
I got up every half-hour all night long with both of my kids for at least six months after we adopted each one. I didnt do it because I loved being a sleep-deprived zombie that would have traded a kidney for a solid week of sleep. I did it because in my sons 10 months of life before us, nobody ever got up for him at night. He had learned, rightfully so, never to believe someone would. And when we were finally there to do it, he didnt trust us. We had to work hard to earn that trust.
I went to my daughter all night long because she desperately wanted me to, but was terrified that I wouldnt. The people who looked at me, exhausted beyond words, and told me I should just let my kids cry it out had no idea how hard we were working to build a foundation of trust. Ultimately, we were doing it so our kids could grow into adults capable of having healthy friendships and relationships with others.
Plus, isnt that kind of a cardinal rule of parenting: Dont offer advice unless its solicited?!
6. Those of us who have adopted transracially arent suddenly "super sensitive about race."
For 26 years, I lived in a blissfully comfortable color-blind bubble of ignorance. When I decided to adopt children transracially, I began educating myself and came to understand the world doesnt work for people of color the way it works for me. Now that Im a mom to two kids of color, Im committed to being their advocate. Im committed to being the person they know will always stand up for them when someone at school hurls a racial slur. Im committed to calling out friends and family members for jokes they might think are harmless.
Its not about being politically correct or raining on peoples fun parades. Its about making sure that the world around our kids is as supportive as it possibly can be.
7. It's complicated.
There are three people (or groups of people) who are part of adoption: those who are adopted, those who place their children for adoption, and those who do the adopting. All of those people have feelings and experiences, and they might conflict. Thats OK!
My kids missing their birth parents and wishing they hadnt lost their cultures, for example, doesnt mean they love my husband and me any less. My wishing that my kids didnt have to deal with the pain of loss doesnt diminish the feelings of pure gratitude and joy I experience over getting to be their mom.
8. One of us doesnt speak for all of us.
While some things in adoption are pretty universal, one adoptive parent doesnt speak for them all. Which means that Im well aware that not every adoptive parent will agree with everything Ive written here.
And not a single one of us can speak for birth parents or adoptees. We can do our best to lend our voices to our kids as were raising them, but when it comes to sharing life from birth parents or our kids perspectives, thats not our place.
9. Were like any other parent in most ways.
Im pretty normal (whatever that means). I have good days and bad days days where I think, "Oh my gawd, if my child talks back one more time, Im going to lose my mind!" And days where I think, "I couldnt possibly be happier. This is everything."
Like every good parent out there, at the end of the day,
we just want the best for our kids. And were doing
everything we can to make it happen.
Every baby born into the world is finer than the last. - Charles Dickens
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