Birth family

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Legal matters: Considering birth fathers

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

“We are planning to adopt a baby and have heard stories about birth fathers coming forward at the last minute to disrupt adoptions. What is the situation if this happens?”

As with all questions involving the law, an accurate answer begins with, “it depends.” The first thing it depends on is where the child (and birth father) reside. Different countries, and even different provinces or states, have differing laws and procedures. For the purpose of this response, I will assume all parties live in BC.

Everyone has a story: Meet the Vaillancourts

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

My first encounter with the idea of children in care who needed families was during a church service as a little girl.

The speaker shared unsettling statistics about kids who age out of care and end up incarcerated, homeless, or worse; kids who are separated from their siblings; and young adults who have no place to spend the holidays or summer vacation. I suppose it all resonated with me because I came from a family of five siblings, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. At that church service I made up my mind that I wanted to adopt older kids one day.

Parenting your adopted teen

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Adoption adds complexity to the life of adopted teens, even those adopted as newborns.

All teens struggle with the question, "Who am I?" Finding the answer usually involves figuring out how they are similar to, and different from their parents--a task that can be particularly complicated for children who have both birth and adoptive parents. Unknown or missing information, or having a different ethnicity from parents, can make piecing an identity puzzle together especially difficult for adoptees.

A change of heart - Birth parent revocation

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

These stories illustrate the power of the elemental need to parent, the ability to mourn but not blame, the uniqueness of every adoption, and what an agonizing decision adoption can be for birth parents.

In BC, birth mothers have 30 days form the time their child is born to change their minds and decide to parent their child. Usually those 30 days pass by, albeit slowly, and the adoptive parents can breathe a sigh of relief. For others, it's not quite so simple.

An adoptee's bill of rights

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

I have a right to feel confused.
Who wouldn’t? After all, I have two sets of parents, one of which was shrouded in mystery.

I have a right to fear abandonment and rejection.
After all I was abandoned by the one I was most intimate with.

I have the right to acknowledge pain.
After all, I lost my closest relative at the youngest age possible.

I have the right to grieve.
After all, everyone else in society acknowledges strong emotions.

I have a right to express my emotions.
After all, they have been shut down since adoption day.

Adopted Voice: It's not about gratitude

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

My adoption story

Prior to my adoption, I lived in Tennessee with my birth mother (in utero) and then spent one year in foster care. Doctors’ assessments of my potential medical issues deterred black families from adopting me, so a white couple with experience parenting children with special needs was selected. I moved across the country to the most northwestern corner of the United States and joined what would become a family of seven adopted and biological children. All of us varied in our racial makeup, ethnic background, cultural affiliations, and physical capabilities.

When Mother's Day hurts

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

All parenting has its ups and downs, and parenting adopted children is no different. One thing that is different is that there are certain times that tend to be more difficult for adopted kids than their non-adopted peers.

Holidays rank high as one of these difficult times. Like birthdays, the holidays are a natural time to reflect on family and the past, and this is often true for adopted children. For obvious reasons, Mother's Day and Father's Day are extremely common times for adopted children to feel down or to have a lot of questions about their birth parents.

Open borders

Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

Learning about open adoption

When my husband Chris and I decided to walk through the adoption process for the first time, we heard from several social workers and adoptive families about what openness in adoption typically looked like. We were adopting from the United States; in most international adoption situations, openness seemed to mean having occasional contact by letter, email or phone, which usually died out after the first few years.

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