Personal Adoption Blogs

August 31st, 2011

DigitalWorldOne of my favorite ways to stay connected to the adoption process (especially when my own is uneventful at the moment) is to read other families' blogs. I have learned a lot about the process and expectations by reading about the journeys of others. And I have a renewed spirit about the process when I see someone has just gotten a referral or has arrived home with their new family member. I was thinking of starting my own personal blog, simply to keep friends and family updated, so I thought I would research requirements or recommended practices for personal adoption blogs. Here is what I learned:  

  • Foreign government officials often monitor adoption blogs. Really. Therefore, parents should be careful not to post negative or

Raising Money for an Adoption

August 24th, 2011

PiggyBankBefore I was a writer, I worked as a fundraiser for 10 years. Whether I was calling university alumni for their annual gifts or writing grants for water wells in Africa, I never imagined I would draw upon this experience to help fund the expansion of my family. Many families conduct fundraisers to offset the cost of adoption. I have compiled some of the more effective ideas I've seen in addition to some lessons learned from my former career.

  • First, create a blog and add a donate button to make it easy for others to support you. Friends, family, and even strangers will often lend their support. Advertise your blog on social media, with business cards, on t-shirts, or even through your church's Sunday bulletin. And

Adoption Tax Credit

August 20th, 2011

TaxFor the next couple of years, adoptive parents will not be dreading April 15 -- Tax Day. Thanks to the Federal Adoption Credit, many people can offset some of the rather high costs associated with adoption. I knew about the adoption tax credit, but I must admit that I did the bare minimum for fact-finding and figured I (ok, my husband) would trudge through the process and the details after our adoption was finalized. (See, that much I knew; for international adoption, the tax benefits are not realized until after the adoption is final.) Well, then I did some investigating. And based on the surprises I found, I'm glad I did! Here are the basics:

  • First, you need to meet the eligibility requirements. Your adoption qualifies

Dating Your Agency

August 9th, 2011

ExcellentPNGChoosing an agency is just like any other big decision. Your agency will be there, ideally, to guide you through the complicated and emotional process of bringing home a new member of your family. Take some time to get to know your agency before you commit. First, make sure the agency is licensed to conduct adoptions in the country you chose. For example, there are 22 agencies in the US that are licensed in Ethiopia to place children. Yet other agencies partner with the licensed ones to conduct adoptions. Acting as third parties, some of these agencies have higher fees, so it might be wise to work directly with the agencies licensed in-country. Ask if your agency is Hague-accredited. Even if you're adopting from… [more]

Welcome to Our Home (Study)

August 2nd, 2011

Cleaning_PNGMy husband and I completed our home study about a month ago. In preparation for the home study, I did what any prospective adoptive mother would do...I cleaned! And then I organized things. And then I cleaned some more. And then I cleaned things no human on Earth would think to clean. Then it occured to me that I had no idea what would actually happen during the home study. Would the caseworker really inspect the toiletries I had just organized in the baskets in the bathroom? Or would she give us a quiz on how to parent an adopted child? (Oh no. I've spent precious time cleaning when I should have been reading the parenting books that are collecting dust! I should… [more]

What’s In A Name?

July 27th, 2011

Names2To change an adopted child's name or Not. That is the highly debated question. On the one hand, it's natural for parents to dream of naming their children, long before they've met them. I had names picked out long before I had my first boyfriend! On the other hand, some parents feel strongly that a child's name is one of the few things they have that is truly theirs. To take away that piece of their identity could cause immeasurable damage to their self-image or ability to connect with others. It's obvious that some names can be difficult for children. Certain names may lead to teasing. Names with difficult spellings or pronounciations can be difficult for kids and adults, too. (If I had a nickel… [more]

The Lucky Ones

July 22nd, 2011

LetterI received a lovely letter from my grandmother yesterday. In her letter, she wrote, "We see how you interact with your son - such wonderful parents. And that little child you're looking for [in reference to adoption] is going to be one lucky baby." I cherished my grandmother's words. After all, she's a tough woman and a wonderful mother, having birthed seven children. Even in her mature years, she is a painter, she still braves the cold winters of Small Town, Iowa, and her ideals and fashion choices are much more modern than her age would have you expect. But after thinking about her generous words, I couldn't help but think, "No, I am the lucky one." I completely understand the point she was trying to… [more]

Heritage Hard Core

April 28th, 2011

Banh ChungWe adopted our oldest daughter when she was 14 years old. She had previously been adopted by another American family when she was 13 years old but they disrupted their adoption a year later. During that first year in America, life was very hard on her. She didn’t know any other adopted children. Her first adoptive family had very little interest in maintaining her cultural heritage. She felt isolated, frightened and alone. We had heard about her situation and began visiting her. After a few meetings with her, my husband and I brought her home to stay the weekend at our house so she could get to know our two sons. Our sons were older child adoptions as well. They immediately… [more]

I Wish I Had Known

April 8th, 2011

wishingI recently came across an article on NPR, Fewer Russian Adoptions Since Mom Sends Son Back. I hadn’t realized it has been a year since Torry Hansen bought a one-way ticket to Moscow and sent her adopted son back to Russia.  I try not to judge others because no one can ever understand the true story behind the scenes.  Like most, I was outraged, but my focus was directed at the system rather than at Torry and her poor decision. When my husband and I started our Russian adoption journey 13 years ago, we were required to attend parenting classes at our adoption agency.  One session was about which particular country we wanted to adopt from.  One session was on the paperwork… [more]

Birth by Paperwork

March 21st, 2011

bbpblogI few years after I adopted Elle, a friend gave me the book, Clara: The Story of the Pug Who Ruled my Life.  She gave me the book to read because it chronicled the author’s journey into international adoption.  The author was adopting a baby from Russia, and since I had recently flown to Russia to bring Elle home, I could relate to the story…but just not to the pug. One of the chapters of the book was entitled Birth by Paperwork.  Those three words touched me.  I didn’t give birth to Elle physically, I didn’t have stretch marks or morning sickness, but I was still invested in her life.  She was my daughter; she just came to me in a different way. … [more]