Family traditions give children a sense of belonging, which is so very important for children who have joined their family through adoption. These traditions help to give children of all ages a sense of security, predictability, family unity and pride. They create lasting memories, helping to foster and maintain strong family ties.
Many adoptive families qualify to take a federal adoption tax credit for qualified adoption expenses for the year in which the adoption is finalized. A tax credit reduces your tax liability. This means that you can submit qualified adoption expenses on your tax return to subtract from the amount of taxes that you owe. This is more valuable than a tax deduction, which reduces your taxable income.
Children in foster care waiting for permanent homes are just like all children – they have hobbies, friends, quirks, challenges, and strengths. They like sports, music, movies and video games, have favorite (and not so favorite) subjects in school, and have goals and dreams for the future. They are each unique individuals, caught in a system through no fault of their own. Some may have clinical diagnoses and behavioral issues, although a supportive and healthy environment often can decrease these. Many of them have lived through trauma and loss, but they can be very resilient and, like any of us, would feel happiest in a home that is loving, stable, and forever.
When I first speak with families considering adoption, the most common emotions expressed are tentative hope, but also fear. Although there are many unknowns in the process, inevitably, most fears circle around the birth parent relationship.
What is important to remember is that birth parents are often as frightened as you are about this process. They worry about choosing the right family, they worry that their child will feel abandoned or think they are a bad person, and they worry about being judged by their family members, peers, and current or future children and spouses. It can feel overwhelming for everyone involved – you are all brought together by a shared experience of loss – loss for adoptive families of not having biological children, and loss for birth parents for not being who they wish to be in this moment so they can parent their child.
In the wake of the recent news of child sexual abuse allegations at Penn State, it is clear that we still have a long way to go to protect our children. Most often, children are abused by people they know, respect and trust, not by unknown strangers lurking in alleyways waiting for a chance to victimize children. Abusers can be upstanding citizens and pillars of the community. They are parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, doctors, coaches, pastors, teachers, child care providers, youth group leaders, and others entrusted to care for and guide our children.
Developing a lifelong love of reading begins at home, and it is never too early (or too late) to start. After adopting our children as toddlers, reading aloud to them provided an informal opportunity to spend one-on-one time, away from the distractions and pressures of daily life. The intimacy of the process helped to strengthen and solidify our growing attachment in a way that was non-threatening and fun. My children looked forward to the routine of choosing special books each night and settling comfortably into my lap as I read each one aloud.
The Adoptions Together Work of Heart Super Saturday event is held the first Saturday of each month at a confidential location. At the event, foster parents drop off their foster children to enjoy a number of activities like bowling, board games, computer time, playing basketball or football and watching movies. They are also provided breakfast, lunch and a snack. Super Saturday is intended to be fun for foster children while allowing their foster parents time to run errands and enjoy a child free day.
Infertility is a significant life event. It takes time to process the myriad feelings that come from being infertile and giving up your dream of having a birth child. You don’t have to “resolve” your infertility, however, to move on and embrace adoption. After all, we don’t resolve our grief and loss when a loved one dies; rather with time, the hurt and sadness that come from the loss recedes slowly into the background and we feel stronger and more healed each day. Similarly, with infertility, we don’t wake up one morning, with our infertility forgotten and put neatly away. It takes time to feel that adoption is a viable and exciting alternative and not a second choice for your family.
“I didn’t know what to do or where to turn,” said the 29 year old mother of six. “I had hit rock bottom when my children were removed from my care and I didn’t think I had the strength to go on.” This parent who was referred by her attorney, is one of many who are connected to the Parent Advocate Project after becoming overwhelmed with the child protective services system.
All children can bring parents the most interesting and challenging situations. It could be something minor like getting tonight’s homework done or something more concerning, like shoplifting. Adoptions Together acknowledges that parenting is hard work! Some parents may benefit from help and support when facing these challenges. At the Post Permanency Family Center of Adoptions Together (PPFC) we work with parents who have grown their families through adopting or obtaining guardianship of children from the DC foster care system. We teach a parenting philosophy called Love & Logic that can be helpful to parents raising children with challenges around trauma and attachment.