May 24, 2017
[img][/img] I recently participated in a forum discussion that addressed the pros and cons of working with an adoption agency vs. pursuing a private adoption. The other posters brought up thoughts I hadn't considered before and made me re-think the purposes of an adoption agency and question whether it's a model that is meeting the needs of the adoption community today. Before the advent of the internet, adoption agencies were almost a necessity for those in the US seeking to place a baby for adoption or adopt a baby. It was pretty much the only way to make adoption connections, unless you happened to be in the right place at the right time. These days, agencies still help make these connections, but there are other ways that expectant parents and adoptive parents can connect instead. So now what is the purpose of an adoption agency? In my opinion, a good agency should do the following: -Facilitate connections between expectant parents considering adoption and parents who are hoping to adopt. -Provide education and support to adoptive parents. -Provide education and unbiased options counseling to expectant parents. -Provide guidance through the legal process. -Screen potential scams. -Mediate open adoption planning/assist with post-adoption open adoption challenges. -Be available to provide lifetime support to birth parents after placement. The problem is that some agencies do not provide all of the above services and many are focused more on money than on ethics. This isn't necessarily the fault of the agencies, which - even if they're not making much of a profit - do need a certain amount of cash flow in order to meet the expenses of running a business. This issue was underscored by the recent closure of Independent Adoption Center, a national adoption agency that had gotten into the habit of taking money from newer clientele to fund other adoptions in progress. This ultimately proved to be an unsustainable practice, and when IAC closed, they left hundreds of hopeful adoptive parents out thousands of dollars. The owners of IAC cited the changing face of adoption as the cause for their closure, and this is probably true - which again begs the question, with the face of adoption in the United States changing, is there a better way to facilitate domestic infant adoptions?

May 16, 2017
I was hoping you’all could give me some ideas. I've had many, but want to consider any new ideas before making a decision. Situation: In 1965 I was the product of a one night stand and therefore adopted out. In 2008, the mediator found my birthmother, but she refused contact with me because NO ONE in her family knew she had had me. At the time I was born, she was divorced with 3 children, and I learned she had another child after me. Well, in 2016, when the State of Colorado released birth certificates to adoptees, I got mine in the mail and did what 90% of us would have done, I Googled my birthmother’s name. Found out she, her first husband, and her current husband have all passed away recently. But I also found my 4 half-siblings (I’m still not sure how I feel about Facebook and it openness!) I guess what I’m really asking is for you to imagine that all of a sudden a person contacts you and they have the proof that your mother kept such a huge secret for so long and you wouldn’t even be able to talk to her about it. As far as I know, they know nothing about me. Question is two-fold. Do I make contact? If so, do you have any ideas on how to start that message? If not, why shouldn’t I?

Annaleece Merrill
May 13, 2017
This is the second birth mothers day I have celebrated since placing sweet baby R with her family. Today I feel blessed. I received a beautiful bou[img][/img]quet and several photos from the couple I placed with. I feel so lucky to be remembered. I have several friends who received no acknowledgment from the adoptive families, but that's never been a concern of mine. I know I am loved and cared for. I know I will never be forgotten. But Birth Mothers Day also reminds me of my 'otherness'. It reminds me that I am a childless mother. People will go about their day tomorrow and celebrate mothers.Some would say that I don't count on the official Mothers' Day because I am 'not quite' a mother. I am not raising a child. Today and tomorrow I will not wake up to sloppy toddler kisses. I will not have my child's father there to tell me he thinks I'm the greatest mom ever. My arms will be empty. I will feel the ache a little deeper. I sympathize so deeply with every mother of an angel baby, with every woman struggling with infertility or hoping to adopt. We long for children to love. Some of us have had a taste of that, holding a sweet baby in our arms for a few hours or days, only to have that feeling slip away. Yes, my arms are empty. But my heart is full. The ache in my heart is made worth is every time I see my beautiful birth daughter. She is thriving and happy- through open adoption I can see that myself. My tiny baby has grown into a happy, confident toddler. She hs every opportunity I dreamed of for her, thanks to her amazing adoptive family. And thanks to me. She wouldn't have such big blue eyes if it weren't for me. She wouldn't have her nose or smile without me. I kept her safe for nine months, and in placing her ensured that I would not be the only one to love and protect her. I hand picked her the best family I have ever known. Tomorrow I will rise and smile, and celebrate all kinds of mothers. And I will know in my heart that I am a mother, too.

May 11, 2017
Sharing our stories is a good thing. Sharing helps create connections. Sharing helps encourage others who are going through similar experiences. Sharing helps educate. Sharing helps create awareness, which can lead to positive social changes. Sharing is good! However, as I spend time reading adoption blogs and news articles and such online, I have noticed a troubling tendency: a tendency to overshare, without regard to a child's privacy. I recently read an article by a dad who talked about the challenges of raising a child with RAD. He published the article under his real name and didn't make any effort to disguise which child he was talking about. It addressed specific scenarios in which the child, a teen, had presented challenging behaviors and described how they had been dealt with. (Here's the article: I believe this article was well-intentioned and meant to help other parents raising children with similar challenges, but the author seemed to completely forget that he was writing about his son, who might have different feelings about having his story shared so publicly. As a teen, can you imagine what it would feel like if someone from your school read an article like that about YOU? If it were to get shared around? I see less of this kind of thing with teens, but I often see it with young children. When your child is little, it can sometimes be hard to remember that they won't always be little. That someday someone (peers . . . bullies . . . potential boyfriends or girlfriends . . . prospective employers) might Google your child's name and find an article in which you frankly discuss their mostly troubling behaviors or provide a list of their mental health diagnoses. Or maybe they'll find a video in which you describe the situations they endured before being adopted. But please remember . . . these are THEIR stories and THEIR struggles to choose to share or keep to themselves. Here are a few ideas for those who want to connect and share and encourage and reach out without compromising their child's privacy. -Write anonymously. Use pseudonyms for your kids and pictures that don't provide identifying information. -Join a forum where your real name isn't used if you want to build connections and community. -Find a private in-person support group where you can talk about your challenges! This might be better anyway, because you'll be able to build your circle of real-life friends.

May 3, 2017
[img][/img] I have a story to tell. It’s not a short one, but this is the beginning. I’m the inquisitive type. Stubborn. Both emotional and logical. At three days old I met my parents. My father wore a blue suit with a yellow tie. My mother laid me on her stomach in the hotel room and I smiled up at her when her tummy rumbled. She always said, “You may not have grown under my heart, but you grew in it.” I knew that I was loved. Always. A few times in elementary school I was teased about being adopted. “Your mom must not have loved you. That’s why she gave you up. That’s why nobody likes you.” It never bothered me. I laughed at them. My mom always made sure my brother and I knew that we were chosen. We were never mistakes. They prayed for us for years. That never stopped me from being curious. Where did I come from? What was my story? Did I look like someone out there? Do I have biological siblings? What’s the strength of nature vs. nurture? Did she care about me? Did she want to meet me? She’s like me, I know it. She’ll want to meet me. Prepare for the worst. Protect your heart. She might not be what you think. She may not want you. She might be a drug addict. She might be dead. She’s not your family. You have a family. Family doesn’t have to be blood. Family is a bond. Where does she live? I love you, daddy. I love you, mommy. You are my angels. Thank you for this life. Thank you for everything. Thank you for picking me. Thank you for loving me, even when I don’t deserve your pureness. I love you. Do you know how much I love you? Does she have my eyes? Does she want to meet me? Read More:

May 3, 2017
I gust found out a few weeks ago that my mother had a baby boy in September 1966 and gave him up for adoption. The baby boy was born in September 1966 at Gunderson Hospital in LaCrosse, WI. I am anxious to find my brother. I can be reached at

Lauren Madsen
May 2, 2017
I still can’t even believe everything that can happen in six months! My husband, Nate and I walked into an adoption agency in August of 2016 and began the process to become adoptive parents! We were so excited and we already felt so much love for the little one that is meant to be in our family. Some wondered how we came to the decision to adopt so quickly, but to be honest with you, this is something Nate and I have planned on doing since before we were even married. When Nate and I were dating and discussing what we wanted for our future, I told him I wanted to adopt. He eagerly jumped on board and that was the very first step to get to where we are!

May 1, 2017
I'm a father and I really really miss my boy. I miss reading him Bible stories regularly. Because of him I have read the Bible like I haven't in years. When he was here it was like a piece of Heaven came down. I miss all the hugs every morning I used to get before he would go to school. He was only 9 going on 10 staying with us with his older brother. He has been gone for 2 months now and I still miss him every day. I cry alot over his absence. Im the kind of guy who went into burning houses as a firefighter to save peoples lives or tell off a politician in a town hall board meeting. No body touched my heart like this boy did. I look at his school pictures and videos I took of him all the time every day. The good times on the jet ski's tubing. The good times snow boarding. The fun at the YMCA every Sunday. The miles of mountain bike trail rides. But evil does exist - all it does is kill, steal and destroy. The chain of events that lead to his being ripped from my arms made no sense and was totally evil. Bethany Christian Services is the worst-don't ever use them if you have them, change to a different agency. When he came he was suicidal. When he left he was different. The pictures and video show that was not the same boy who came here. If feels like there is no justice in this world - everyone just lies in those agencies who are involved. But he and his brother will be able to find me again easily. I hope they come back. When his brother turns 16 and can drive I really hope they drop by. I still have his bedroom with his name on the door and nothing has been moved around. I really miss my boy.

Annaleece Merrill
April 28, 2017
My fairy tale family was not meant to be. The honeymoon phase ended, and reality set in. I had been seeing this man for a month, and now we had a little human who was going to rely on us completely. I was so young, and he so unprepared. We had such different ideas about almost everything- whether or not I should continue my schooling, basic parenting ideas, politics, religion, you name it. We were so fundamentally different, it wasn't long before I realized this relationship was not going to work. So I was 17, single, and pregnant. My family was hundreds of miles away, and they had no idea I was pregnant. Calling them and telling them I had gotten pregnant by a man nearly ten years my senior was the last thing I wanted to do- but I had nowhere else to go. So I called my mother, told her what had happened, and hung up as quickly as I could. I was so afraid of disappointing her, and my father. I was raised in a fairly prominent family, as my father is a religious leader. I did not want to ruin their reputation. But my mother wasn't angry. She explained her feelings to me in a way that every single pregnant woman needs to hear. "Am I happy about the act that lead to your pregnancy? Of course not. But your pregnancy is nothing to be ashamed of. Your child is a gift. This baby has done nothing wrong, and you should celebrate and love her just as much as if you were married." Her words have stayed with me to this day. They flew me back home a few days later, because I had some major decisions to make. What was I going to do about this pregnancy?