Have you been thinking to yourself lately, “Gee, I wish there was a way I could help Adoption STAR promote its Shining STAR event at Shea’s Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, November 2, from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm, but I don’t know how?…” well then today is your lucky day.
Our goal is to let everyone in the community know about this great event that raises money to help the agency place children with special needs. All you need to do to help promote the event is put this Shining STAR link as your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that all of your Facebook friends and Twitter followers are aware of the event and can find more information. If you are putting the link on Twitter, please use the hashtag #ShiningSTAR
The event promises to be a fun evening filled with fine wine, gourmet food stations and extravagant gift baskets, and With your help, we can make this the most fun and successful Shining STAR event yet!
Recently New York State amended a law that stated married couples had to be married for at least one year before being approved to become adoptive parents. The clarification states that:
“If the applicants have been married for less than one year, the Local Departments of Social Services (LDSS) or voluntary authorized agency may take the length into consideration when evaluating the applicants. However the agency cannot deny an applicant solely on the basis on the basis that the length of marriage is less than one year.”
According to the clarification, this amendment was made because applicants do not need to be married in order to adopt, so this law was restricting newlyweds who could have adopted if they remained unmarried.
The clarification also states that instead of looking at the length of a marriage, agencies should take into account how long the couple had been together before getting married, and also “the commitment and stability of the applicants’ relationship and their ability to plan and commit to an adoptive child” when deciding whether to work with a family.
If you are interested in growing your family through adoption please visit the adoptive parent section of the Adoption STAR website or contact the agency by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (716)639-3900.
Whether adoptive parents (specifically mothers) should receive paid maternity/paternity leave is a hotly debated question at the moment. Kara Krill’s lawsuit against her former company has brought this issue front and center.
According to an article on Time Magazine’s website, Krill and her husband recently became the parents of twins due to a surrogacy pregnancy. The article said that Krill gave birth to a child in 2007 but afterwards developed “scar tissue in the uterus” which resulted in her being unable to give birth again.
When Krill gave birth to her child she received paid maternity leave for 13 weeks, and according to the article Krill believed she was entitled to the same 13 weeks with her twins. However the article said that the company “granted Krill five days of paid leave under the company’s adoption leave policy, but no paid time under the company’s maternity leave policy.” The company also offers coverage of $4,000 dollars of adoption costs according to the article.
The obvious issue here is whether adoptive parents should be offered the same maternity/paternity leave rights as biological parents. The article wonders whether maternity leave is meant as a recovery time for a woman after giving birth, or as a time to bond with the new children?
This topic is currently being discussed on the Adoption STAR LinkedIn page, “Touched By Adoption.” The consensus on the page is that adoptive parents are not looking for any special privileges, just the same benefits afforded to women who give birth.
Bonnie E. commented on the thread stating, “We are talking about the fairness of who gets to use the already in place benefits and who does not. We are not talking about forcing expenses on a business. If the use of sick time, and vacation can be used by those who are creating their family by giving birth, then those creating their families via adoption should also be able to apply sick and vacation towards their family…. Do you honestly believe that it was fair that I, or for that matter, a same sex couple, are not able to use sick time post adoption during FML, but the woman at the desk next to me who gave birth was permitted to use her eight weeks of accumulated sick and vacation time?”
Robert H. who is a small business owner, commented that small businesses should not be required to offer this paid leave as it is their responsibility “to make a profit so their employees can have jobs, not pay for social policies.”
While an adoptive mother did not physically deliver the child, her journey is filled with an incredible amount of emotions affecting her both physically and mentally. In addition, studies have also shown the importance of early bonding between child and parent, especially for a child arriving due to an adoption plan.
Adoption STAR applauds businesses that are adoption friendly. Such businesses have policies that include adoption leave benefits that either match maternity leave or are similar, to maternity benefits. Some businesses, both large and small have been known to also offer assistance with adoption fees.
Please share your opinions including your experiences with adoption friendly (and not so friendly) workplaces.
In another blog post we share how one can go about making your place of employment adoption friendly.
The Adoption STAR Blog is happy to announce that you can now subscribe to the Adoption STAR Blog via email.
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We have discussed Facebook and how it relates to adoption several times on this blog. If you are interested in more information on having a healthy and ongoing relationship as a birth parent, adoptee, or adoptive parent on Facebook, we suggest you read our official Facebook recommendations or listen to the Adoption STAR Podcast on the effects of the internet and social media on adoption. Today’s post is on creating a safe Facebook page for you or your child once they are of age to have their own page. Facebook’s official stance is that no one under the age of 13 should have a Facebook page.
In order to change the privacy settings of an account you need to:
1. Click on the upside down triangle in the top right corner right next to the “Home Tab”
2. Click on the “Privacy Settings” tab from the drop-down menu
3. Scroll down on the “Privacy Settings” page and click “Edit Settings” under “How You Connect”
4. Once you select edit settings the pop up menu pictured below will appear.
1. The first setting is asking who can find your (or your child’s) profile.
- Facebook gives you the options of choosing to make the profile visible to the public, to friends of your Facebook friends, or just your Facebook friends. By choosing only “friends,” you are making it difficult for the Facebook profile to be found and allowing you or your child to send their invitations to friends and family members without being found by anyone unknown.
2. Who Can Send Friend Requests:
- The second customizable option is, “who can send you a Facebook request.” If you make your or your child’s profile private to everyone but friends, it would be very difficult to receive a friend request. However you still may want to make this option “friends of friends” which means, in order to send you or your child a friend request, a person must at least know another friend first.
3. Who can send you Facebook Messages
- Facebook allows you to restrict who can send a Facebook message to you or your child. Your options are making it public for anyone to send you a Facebook message (if they can find your profile), making it so that only friends of friends can send a Facebook message (again, only if they can find the Facebook profile), or making it so that only friends can send a Facebook message.
4. Who can post on your wall
- This security option allows you to decide if you want to let Facebook friends write on your or your child’s Facebook wall. The other option is allowing just the Facebook “user” to write on his/her own wall by creating status updates.
5. Who can see wall posts by others on your wall post
- If you decide to allow people to allow friends to write on the Facebook wall, then this security option will allow you to decide who can see what friends write. Your options are making your or your child’s wall visible to the Facebook community (though only friends could write on the wall), visible to friends and friends of friends, visible to only friends, visible to only the Facebook user, or to customizable people. This last option allows you to decide who can see yours or your child’s wall among the Facebook friends.
While staying up to date on these security options is great, it’s important to always remember, and to stress to your children, that the internet is written in ink and despite your best efforts to make Facebook private, anything written has an opportunity to become public knowledge. You also want to make sure if you are allowing your younger children to have their own Facebook page, that you are friends with them so you can view their activity.
My sister and I are in our 20′s and my mom is still stalking away on our profiles, don’t be ashamed to do the same!
This post was written by Kathy Crissey, MS, LMHC. Kathy is an Adoption Social Worker for Adoption STAR, and is also the owner of Turning Point Counseling Services.
Hopes, dreams and expectations – we all have them – not just for ourselves but for our children. What happens when your son or daughter is facing an unexpected pregnancy and is looking for support and guidance? Where do extended family members turn? It seems that the focus is on the birth parent and rightfully so. However, swirling around this birth parent are often family members who have their own feelings and needs.
A first grandchild – maybe you have dreamed what this would be like and look forward to having this experience. How does an unplanned pregnancy change your hopes and dreams? Maybe this is the first time you will become an aunt or uncle. Maybe you are feeling angry, disappointed, frustrated and hurt. All natural feelings but how do you keep them from spilling over on to the son, daughter or family member who needs your love and support.
In my work as a mental health counselor I have spoken to many family members who need an outlet to express their feelings during the pregnancy and certainly after. Grief and loss is a part of any adoption plan and to be able to acknowledge these feelings and talk about them is vital. It is my belief that the things we do not talk about are the things that hold us back from working through the issue at hand. While it is very clear that extended family members have no legal right to make a decision regarding an unplanned pregnancy for their son or daughter, it is very often the case that their influence plays a huge role in decision making. It could be that your son or daughter is just too young to parent, it could be that they are in college and the focus is on finishing school. Whatever the reason that birth parents choose to look at adoption as an option, it brings many issues up which, at times, may have nothing to do with the pregnancy.
I believe that the following are important issues to be aware of:
- If you are feeling anger, disappointment or hurt, find someone to talk to so that you can have a forum to express your feelings and be able to support the birth parent in an appropriate way.
- Threats, anger and disappointment only serve to stop the pregnant person from expressing their feelings.
- Listen, listen, listen. The pregnant person may be very scared and fearful that he or she is disappointing others and may not know what decision they want to make. They may change their mind during the pregnancy. They may go from one option to another.
- Ask for what you need – if your son or daughter does not wish to have contact after a placement, this does not automatically mean that you cannot. Many adoptive parents build a relationship with birth grandparents and find that these individuals can bring a special relationship to their little one.
- Expect the unexpected. You can think that you have thought of all the issues, but there will be surprises along the way.
- This baby is a part of you and as such, the love you feel will be enormous. The letting go will be painful.
- You cannot take care of and support someone else if you are not taking care of and managing your own feelings.
It is not about ignoring your feelings about an unplanned pregnancy but rather about recognizing them and managing them so that your family will be able to get through this together. This is a life long decision and one that will always be with you.
Adoption STAR has always been of the belief that support is essential. If you are struggling with a family member who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, please contact them at 639-3900 to obtain referrals to providers who can help you work through this process.
Last week I posted the Modern Family trailer for season 3, which starts tonight at 9 pm on ABC, and here is an article from TV Guide with details on Cam and Mitchel’s adoption story arc.
“We’re going to treat it in a real way,” Executive Producer, Christopher Lloyd, told TV Guide about the adoption story line. “You don’t just decide you want to adopt a baby boy and then rub your hands and it happens. You have to sign up with agencies. The agencies have to come and interview and take a look at the environment the child would be raised in. Often, you have to more or less audition for the birth mother and see how she feels about placing her child with you. We are sort of exploring all of these steps along the way to them actually having a child.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays Mitchel on Modern Family, said in the story that he thinks “a lot of people, gay and straight, have to alternate ways to expand their family. There’s a lot to be told in that story. We met them at the peak of their joy, so it’s going to be really nice to see their struggle.”
From the sound of the article, it looks as if the comedy will showcase both the highs and lows of the adoption process this season, and I will be interested to see how everything turns out. What about everyone else?
Child trafficking and international adoption has been in the news lately, and the New York Times recently wrote a feature about the issues regarding orphans and international adoption in China. Adoption Medicine Specialist, Dr. Jane Aronson, recently wrote a column in response to the New York Times article, saying that the number of international adoptions in the United States has not declined because of child trafficking, instead Aronson said the biggest issue with international adoption is “a global orphan crisis.”
Aronson has been working with international adoptions for over 20 years and said that the biggest issue in international adoption is that many of these birth mothers are not informed about the adoption process and do not have the counseling that is available to many birth mothers in the United States. Instead many of these birth mothers, according to Aronson, drop their babies off in public places hoping they will be found and given a good home.
In her column, Aronson said that “It is safe to assume that the cause for the desperate decision to not parent one’s own child in countries all over the world, including the US, is poverty and the resultant isolation and depression that darkens the birth mother’s thoughts. There is no hope and there is no to talk to and no one to help sort out the possible solutions to the dilemma of shame, no education, no work skills, no dignity, and abject and extreme poverty.”
To improve international adoption, Aronson wrote that these birth mothers need to be educated so that they can make informed decisions about adoption. She said that “If we educated women abroad and showed some respect for their process, we might find that some women would still opt for their children to be adopted.”
Aronson, and her foundation, are working to help the orphans and their communities in these countries. She writes that there is a need to “reach more children in their communities, provide for social services for women, lessen abandonment, lessen relinquishment, and trafficking will naturally be less of a threat.” She ends her article by calling for people to help “strengthen the adoption opportunities so there is complete transparency….and to be community builders.”
Much of what Aronson is writing about in international adoption, is what Adoption STAR stresses to birth parents in domestic adoptions. It is important for all birth mothers, whether they reside in the US or across the world, to be educated about the adoption process and have counseling and support throughout their adoption journey. If you are considering growing your family through international adoption, it is important that you go through a HAGUE accredited adoption agency, such as Adoption STAR. For more information on international adoption, please review the international adoption section on the Adoption STAR website. You can also contact the agency by email or phone at (716)639-3900 for more information.
This post is written by Dr. Jeannine Zoppi. According to her website, Dr. Zoppi specializes in individual and group therapy for adoptees and adoptive families and adoptive families.
Adopted children are usually told a story, a narrative, about the circumstances around their being placed for adoption. The content of this adoption story varies based upon the amount and type of information contained in the adoption record as well as the personality, needs and fears of the adopted parents and adoptees.
The common thread that runs through all adoption stories is a focus on the birth mother. However, the role of the birth father in adoption has not been sufficiently addressed and his relationship with his child placed for adoption has not been given the magnitude it deserves. A relationship between birth father and adoptee does exist, even if the relationship is a fantasized one.
Our fathers have had a profound effect on all of us. Whether they are alive or dead, whether we knew them or not, whether we consider them good fathers or not so good fathers. Our fathers shape us.
We have all created our own stories about our fathers. Who among us has not looked at pictures of our father, taken when he was a child, and said to him “Tell me a story about when you were little” or “Daddy, what were you like when you were in college?” These stories are often told to us or by family members, even if our fathers are no longer with us. These stories about our fathers shape how we think about and what we feel about them. They also influence how we feel about other men and how we feel about ourselves.
The impact that a father has on his child’s identity and on his child’s relationships with other people is quite remarkable. This impact happens even though the child may never have known his/her birth father, because all children develop fantasies about their fathers in an attempt to connect to him and to make sense of who they are.
I think it is crucial to create another type of adoption story. In order to help adoptees make sense of their adoption, to help them form attachments to their adoptive parents and other relationships, as well as develop solid identities, adoption stories must include thoughts and feelings about birth fathers.
Adoptive parents and adoption professionals must help adoptees write adoption stories that focus more on the thoughts and feelings they have about their birth fathers and what they imagine their birth fathers think and feel about them. This different adoption story must include fantasies about who their birth father is as a person, and not just musings about “Do I look like him?” Adoptive parents must acknowledge and work through their own anxieties and any negative perceptions of birth fathers they may have to help adoptees feel comfortable developing these birth father fantasies and to talk about them.
The Dave Thomas Foundation, which was created by the founder of Wendy’s, recently released its annual Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces. the foundations website said that the rankings are based upon “the maximum amount of financial reimbursement and paid leave for employees who adopt.”
The top five adoption-friendly workplaces were:
3. Barilla America Inc.
4. Liquidnet Holdings Inc. (tie)
4. LSI Cooperation (tie)
4. United Business Media LLC (UBM) (Tie)
To view all of the companies in the top 100, visit the Dave Thomas Foundation website. Did your company rank in the top 100? What benefits did you receive from your company after your adoption placement?
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The New York State Adoption Registry
The New York State Adoption Registry is a website that can be used by adoptees, birth parents, and birth siblings of adoptees, in their efforts to connect with their birth families. To use the New York State Adoption Registry, both the birth and the