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This morning I participated in a HuffPost Live Segment: “Fighting Misconception of Adoption” hosted by Nancy Redd with Psychotherapist Dr. Barbara Freedgood and adoptive mother Whitney Smith of I enjoyed listening to these wonderful women and would like to add that some of the misconceptions about adoption: It’s too expensive; American foster children have behavior problems. I can’t adopt without a partner; I can’t love a child who doesn’t look like me; Social Workers are unprofessional are rooted in fear. Unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about who the children in foster care are and how they got there remain in freefall. Celebrations like National Adoption Month were put in place to raise awareness about adoption, increase the likelihood of foster children finding forever families and clear the backlog of families waiting for their child’s adoption to be finalized.

As a single adoptive parent, it boggles my mind that our country is still stuck on the notion that a family consists of two-parents and therefore single people should not adopt. I wish this fantasy would die, for while that is an optimal scenario, it is not always a reality. How one defines family is personal and single women or men wishing to adopt, should do so. There are lots of organizations that support and encourage single adoptive parents. Going it alone means actively creating a community for the adopted child that includes male and/or female mentors to assist in nurturing a child’s development.

I regularly speak and write about adoption and continue to hear that Blacks and other minorities do not adopt. In communities of color, relatives often step-up to parent younger family members. Even if an adoption is the end result, we tend to keep those details to ourselves. For those of us who share our adoption journey, our experiences are not go-to features in the media. Thankfully, outlets like,, Black Voices/Huffington Post and “Adoptive Families” Magazine provide a space to talk about being adoptive parents.

Successful adoptions are a result of prospective adoptive parents doing their homework. Knowledge is power and the best way to ease fears about what it means to adopt. I think the best resources are seasoned adoptive parents. Adoptive parents are fountains of information and can tell you that love at first sight is not the litmus test for whether the child you are planning to adopt is the one. Whitney Smith, who adopted two children, thought she was a failure because she had to learn to love them. Like all blended relationships, success does not happen with the stroke of a pen. It takes time and commitment and in some instances, asking social workers or therapists for help. Humility is key.

Older children in foster care get dinged for things beyond their control, like their age and have sadly been portrayed as defective. These youth have spent their young lives being moved around and rejected at an alarming rate. Imagine being 7-years old and still in foster care… That’s a heavy burden and to minimize her hurt, she erects protective walls to keep the most loving parent out. They need adoptive parents to love past their hurt and not give up on them.

Whether or not one adopts, parenting is hard work. And even when you have information, there are blind spots. Children do not come with instructions and the most comprehensive adoption manual will miss something. My advice to prospective adoptive parents is to ask themselves why they want to adopt and understand that wanting a child is not the same a loving a child in need. For adoption has to be about the child.

In a just world, every child would have a family to call her own. Until that time, it is important to keep the conversation about adoption going and that is the purpose of National Adoption Month.

#WhatsWorking: Fighting Misconception Of Adoption


Women who voluntarily give up their children are often vilified in the media and this disdain is hard to undo, even in adoption/foster care training classes. These mothers remain low on the empathy totem poll, but they push through the guilt and shame with the hope of giving their baby stability and a chance at a great life. The following short interview of one woman’s selfless decision is worth reading.

Even though I was not prepared for the grief, I would do it all over again because it was the best decision for my son. My love for him made breaking my own heart possible.

Source: What One Woman Wishes She’d Known Before Placing Her Child for Adoption | Felicia Curcuru

On the eve of National Adoption Month, I am sharing an infographic I found in the Adoption and Permanency section of the California Courts website. A simple click of a mouse will provide answers to questions such as: what is adoption; how to start the process; who is eligible to adopt; and affordable healthcare for your adopted child.

Since Court Adoption and Permanency Month was initiated in 1999, many individual California courts have dedicated specific adoption days in November—including Adoption Saturdays and Adoption Fridays—as well as other events, to clear their backlogs of adoption cases.

I was such a naive mother thinking that adopting a child would shield me from becoming frumpy. LOL

In six weeks of pre-adoption training, no one ever mentioned that I would lose the fight against becoming a frumpy mother.

Source: My War Against Mommy Frump | Tue Night

Dr. John DeGarmo and his wife have fostered over 45 children and even adopted three. Like foster parents all over the country, they experience a loss each time one of their “children” move on but continue to open their hearts anyway.

What an inspiring article!

There are other children out there, right now, who need a home and need a family. There is a child out there right now who needs us to love him. There is a child out there right now who needs YOU to love him.

Source: What I Wish Others Knew About How Foster Parents Grieve | Dr. John DeGarmo

Simple truths about foster kids and ways you can help.

“…what if instead, on your first day back to school nobody cared enough to take a photo of you? What if you’d grown up with hardly any moments that were even photo worthy?”

Source: Foster Kids: Our Inconvenient Truth | Lola Reed

My friend Stacia L. Brown of BeyondBabyMama asked me to write an update about my life as the single adoptive mother of two.

October 12th is a seminal date in my family. It will mark my grandmother’s 90th birthday and the day my daughter came home. via BBM Revisits: Black Adoptive Mother Nefertiti Austin | beyond baby mamas.

Adoptee VanDerWerff writes that adoption is more and less interesting than non-adopted people think. This may seem an odd statement to make given the loss birth families experience and the loss of connection between adoptees and biological families. However, adoption is typically not fraught with tug-o-wars over the children and lots of families opt for open relationships with birth families. Adoption isn’t always rosy either, and VanDerWerff describes how adoptees deal with missing and meeting biological family members and suggests that most adoptees are ultimately satisfied with their adoptive families.

There’s a reason Clark Kent is our most famous fictional adoptee — and a reason so many adoptees (including me) strongly identify with him. He might love his parents and adopted world, but there will always be something that connects him to a secret history he carries in his heart. If there’s a common thread among the adoptees I’ve talked to for this article, it’s that weird link between known backstory and personal truth.

via Genes aren’t destiny, and other things I’ve learned from being adopted – Vox.

Delighted to share a list of myths about foster care. Hopefully, these will be put to rest for good.

With more than 100,000 children in foster care still waiting for permanent homes, an adoption such as Breanna’s is more than just a family milestone. It’s a sign that attitudes about adopting from foster care are starting to shift.

via Adopting from foster care: 6 myths that aren’t true –

Oh South Carolina…smh

Typically birth mothers fight with foster parents to get their children back. In this “truth is stranger than fiction” (Mark Twain) narrative, Chris Emanuel had two fights: (1) the perception that men are strictly sperm donors and a source of revenue and (2) a judicial system that has been slow to recognize the rights of birth fathers to their children.

Luckily, this story has a happy ending.

Registering as a responsible father gave Emanuel the right to be notified of the adoption, but in order to actually gain custody of Skylar, he had to persuade the judge that he could provide for her.  

via A Father’s Struggle to Stop His Daughter’s Adoption – The Atlantic.


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