June 19, 2017
I am new and don't really know about this and I am hoping to meet others involved in adoption, especially an adult adoption - the adult adoptive parent or the adult adoptee. I am 17 years old now. I have a really rough childhood. When I was young I was an outcast and a victim of bullying. My parent sends me to study abroad just to get out of their way and now they threatened to cut me off. I feel so scared because I don't know where to go if they cut me off. It took me years to finally see and realise that I needed to find a better way to live my life, that I deserved a better/safer life, and that I am not a bad person. One should never be obligated to have contact with people just because they raised them, it's all about respecting, honest, caring, empathy, and being open-minded, is what makes a family in my opinion. I have always struggled with my relationship with my biological parent and never really felt like I belonged anywhere and always wanted to know what it was like to have mothers and fathers to love. If I decided to follow my dream my biological parent are going to be very angry and hurt but I have spent my whole life trying to make them love me and gain their approval. I don't want to hurt anyone I just want to be happy, loved, accepted and allowed to just be myself. I hope one day that I can find a place to really call home and people that want me in their life.

Annaleece Merrill
June 18, 2017
Ever since I became a birth parent, my viewpoint on fathers' day has completely changed. It used to be just a day every year where I made a nice card and dinner for my dad to let him know I appreciate him. It's not so simple anymore. Fathers day makes my heart hurt. I hurt for the little family I could have had with Ryan* and baby R. There is a part of me that will always feel connected to baby R's biological father. I carried his child for the better part of a year, and as much as I sometimes want to, I can't deny that I will always feel bonded to him. I wonder what it could have been like if we had both been a little more mature. I feel angry and robbed and hurt. Sometimes I feel so abandoned and sad that he wasn't ready to become a father. But as hurt as I am, there will always be a part of my heart that is grateful. Without him, I wouldn't have had the experience of giving life to sweet little R. My birth daughter is the light of my life, and I wouldn't be the same without her. And, in a way, I am grateful that he wasn't ready to be a dad. Because I wasn't ready, either. The life little R would have had if he and I had stayed together wouldn't be nearly as wholesome as the life she has with her adoptive parents. Since Ryan left, I now have the chance to grow up a little, to find the true, lifelong, mature love that I deserve. I am also so, so grateful to little R's adoptive father. He gives me so much hope and faith for the family I hope to have someday. There are men out there that really want to be fathers. Men who would do anything for their children. Baby R has him completely wrapped around her finger, I have never seen a father so in love. He is such a hands on daddy, and I am so grateful that little R will never have to wonder even for a second if she is loved. She will have a very strong male role model in her life, and I will forever be grateful for that. I am also so grateful for how he treats his wife because she will learn that she deserves to be treated the same way. I am grateful for the way he treats me. He is so supportive of little R and I having a wonderful open relationship, and he is like an older brother to me. I am grateful for my own father. He shares so many traits with little R's adoptive father, and I am so blessed to have him in my life. He is a hard worker and a loving father. Fathers day is hard. But fathers day also reminds me not to take the good men in my life for granted. How have good men blessed your life, and how will you celebrate them this fathers day? *names have been changed

Annaleece Merrill
June 14, 2017
For the first seven months of my pregnancy, I was dead set on parenting. Several acquaintances had brought up the idea of adoption, but I was not having it. I was not about to listen to anyone who implied that I wouldn't be a good mom. I would show them- I spent hours reading about labor and delivery, sleep training, forming healthy attachments, you name it. I put down a deposit on an apartment with my brother and sister in law, so I could continue attending college and get some help with childcare. I gathered baby supplies. I applied for grants. I did everything I possibly could to be a good mom. To this day, I stand by my belief that I would be a great single parent. I love children, I am patient, kind, and responsible. I love my baby. There is nothing about me that would make me incapable of parenting. Just because I could be a good mom didn't make me any less alone. It didn't take away my 50 hour work weeks just to pay the bills with no help from her father. It didn't change the lifestyle he lived. It didn't change the fact that he would have fought me for custody, and my poor baby would have been raised torn between two homes with very different values. It didn't change the sick feeling in my gut every time I thought about the kind of life she would have. I wanted her to have the same opportunities I had growing up, and there was no way I could do that for her at the time. But adoption? No. No way. I loved my baby too much. I wasn't going to shirk my responsibility. I wasn't going to just hand my child over to a stranger because I didn't want to deal with her. The idea disgusted me. But the feeling of panic I felt when I was scrambling to make plans for parenting disappeared when I thought about adoption. Would this be the right thing for my baby?

June 13, 2017
Last July our lives as foster parents were turned upside down. Well, you know, even more than usual for foster parents. We had two foster children at the time, Wheels and a baby boy we'd brought home from the hospital the October previous. So, we'd had him for just over 9 months at that point. We, and the GAL were convinced that the parents were a lost cause, but DHHS had decided they had removed the baby in error. I will spare you the details of why the child had been brought into care in the first place, but let's just say it hadn't been an error. But because this was the stand that DHHS had decided to take, the parents were not required to actually do any services, and they were going to return the baby. The plan was to slowly transition him to their care, since we'd had him his entire life. However, one evening at the end of July 2016, I received a phone call from the baby's caseworker. The judge had approved their request to return the baby home and she was coming to get him the next day. I called off from work the next day and spent the whole day with him. I packed up all of his things (except for a special baby blanket and his first rattle) and piled it all up in the hallway for the caseworker when she came. The kids and I played in the pool with him. I attempted to explain to Wheels that the baby was going home, but since we had brought him home from the hospital, he didn't really understand what other home he could be going to. That afternoon, my husband came home early and we played with the baby a little more, before the knock came at the door. DH helped the caseworker load all of his things into the car. I clung to the baby for all I was worth as I tried not to cry. The caseworker gave us her sweetest smile as she loaded the baby into his car seat. Wheels watched in dismay as she strapped him in to take him away. He looked up at me with big eyes and said, "I'm not going away, right?" I managed to keep it together as I explained that he wasn't going anywhere...that day. The caseworker gave us a big smile, thanked us for taking such good care of him, and walked out the door with my baby. The moment the door was closed, DH wrapped me in his arms and we both fell apart. The baby that we had brought home from the hospital, that we'd watched grow for the last 9 months, that I rocked for hours nearly every night for the first 6 months of his life (NAS), was gone. No sooner had the tears begun to fall, when another knock came at the door. I brushed away the tears and tried to pull myself together. I assumed the baby's caseworker had forgotten something. However, when I poked my head around the corner of the hallway door, I found Wheels' caseworker standing there with a look of horror and confusion on her face. First, let me say that Wheels' caseworker is awesome. We loved her from the moment we met her. She's a straight shooter and she makes it abundantly clear where she stands on an issue. She always let us know what was going on, and anyone who's done fostering can tell you, that's a rarity indeed. So, I went to the door, still swiping at stray tears, and opened it to let her in. She looked up at me and took in the tears, took in my husband who also was trying to hide the tears. She then turned to look down the driveway to the other caseworker taking the baby away. "Oh crap. What is going on?" she asked as she stepped into the house. I explained that the baby was going home. She looked at me with sad eyes, "Oh I don't have good news either. Maybe we should do this another time." Sighing I gestured her to have a seat at the dining room table, "You might as well get it over with. I can't imagine that this day could get much worse." For the record...I was wrong. Wheels' caseworker began her story by handing me a slip of paper with a name and a phone number on it. "Do you know who that is?" she asked me. I looked at the name, and no bells were ringing. "No. Should I?" I asked. "You're about to know that name very well. She's the woman who adopted Wheels' older brother. She has decided that now that the reunification isn't going to happen, she wants to adopt him. And my supervisor has advised me that I need to begin the transition to move him to her home as soon as possible."

June 12, 2017
As any foster/adoptive parent can tell you, the largest hurdle is permanency. Is the child going home? Are the parents’ rights being terminated? When you are finally told the end is in sight and we really know what is going to happen, the world is set back on its axis. The whole time up to that point is hectic and crazy and you spend (okay maybe it’s just me) all your time wondering if they’re telling you everything, and over analyzing everything everyone says to you. So you would think the day that the termination was finalized, we would be relieved. However, for us that day came and went with little fanfare. We were embroiled in something bigger and it felt like the whole world was against us. Perhaps a little background would help. I will be adding new posts regarding the adventures we’ve gone through with this, and other placements, over the next few weeks, or months, but for now I will give you a little bit about our current situation. In July of 2015 we were placed with a 2 ½-year-old boy. We’ll call him Wheels because he never stops moving and he reminds me of that Hot Wheels commercial where the guy talks really fast, non-stop. That’s Wheels. He’s always on the go, and he never shuts up. His mother had quite the DHHS history, and had lost 4 children prior to Hot Wheels. Why they had permitted her to keep him as long as they did, I will never understand. When they brought him to the house, he was coming from an overnight stay in the hospital after ingesting morphine his mother had dropped on the floor. He was wearing a pair of blue shorts and an overlarge orange t-shirt and he was wearing a pair of plastic sandals. The only thing he had with him was two baby blankets and a battered stuffed Elmo. As I previously mentioned, Wheels was the youngest of 5 children, the previous 4 having been removed and placed in a variety of situations. The child closest to Wheels in age, had been removed by DHHS and had been adopted shortly after Wheels was born. Therefore, the two brothers had no idea the other existed. So when Wheels was brought into care, as is customary, the adoptive mother of the older brother was asked if she was willing to take Wheels too. She declined, unwilling to deal with the children’s’ unstable parents. She was also asked if she wanted to have sibling visits between the brothers. She stated that because her son didn’t even know Wheels existed, she saw no benefit to her child in having visits. Those bits are important to remember as we proceed, as the adoptive mother I just described, is the current issue in which we are now embroiled. A year after Wheels came into care, and when it had become very clear that reunification was not going to be possible, she popped back into the picture and decided she wanted to adopt him. So there you have it. Even when it’s over…it may not be over.

May 24, 2017
[img]https://adoption.com/community/PF.Base/file/attachment/2017/05/1a0deeb5381d9a1a03dfccb1d0804017_view.jpg[/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]https://adoption.com/community/PF.Base/file/attachment/2017/05/30a014a71345e665227cf6179df9c0c3_view.jpg[/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: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865677119/What-raising-a-child-with-reactive-attachment-disorder-has-taught-me-about-parenting.html). 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.