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This essay picks up a conversation I had with myself about when to tell my daugther that she is adopted. One year later, she is the one asking the questions.

My mini-me came to live with me when she was 10 months old. Having adopted her brother years before, I was ready for another baby. Adoption is a topic that comes up regularly in our home—I shouldn’t have been surprised when my toddler asked “Are you my mother?” when she was 3 years old.

Source: “Are You My Mother?” How I Handled My Daughter’s Scariest Adoption Question — mater mea

Local DJ adopted her six nieces and nephews when she was 25 years old. Not only did Yesi step up when her sister was on drugs and unable to take care of her children, she went to court to legally adopt them.

Listen to her empowering story of triumph over anger, resentment and being overwhelmed by so much responsibility at such a young age.

What a blessing she has been to her family!

On weekdays between 10 and 3, Yesi Ortiz is the warm, flirty host for the popular Los Angeles hip-hop station Power 106. But off the air, she’s a dedicated single mother of six adopted kids.

Source: The Power of Yesi Ortiz – Death, Sex & Money – WNYC

Nikkya Hargrove is…amazing! She adopted her younger brother when she was 25 years old. I can’t remember what I was doing at 25 but know it was as far away from adopting, raising or even wanting to be a mother as possible.

Talk about having to grow up. Wow. Ms. Hargrove, I bow down.

 

She died four months later, and I adopted her fourth child as my son. At the age of 25, I buried my mother and became one myself.

Source: Adoption Essay – I Adopted My Brother Because My Mother Couldn’t Take Care of Him

I love, love, love this article because Maralee expresses what families of Black boys, adopted or not, feel about their children’s white friends. It’s so tricky coaching one’s Black son through waters were only a handful of kids look like them. And as she points out, it’s the responsibility of white parents to teach their white children how to support their Black friends.

 

But my son is getting older and as he transitions from an adorable black boy to a strong black man, I know the assumptions about him will change.

Source: To the White Parents of my Black Son’s Friends |

It’s tax time and if you finalized the adoption of a child(ren) last year, you are entitled to a one-time tax credit. Families who adopted special needs kids (as in a U.S. foster child who receives adoption subsidy or adoption assistance program benefits (which can include a monthly payment, Medicaid, or reimbursement of nonrecurring expenses) can receive the full adoption credit of $13,400 per child.

For more details, see below:

For adoptions finalized in 2015, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $13,400 per child.

Source: NACAC | Adoption Tax Credit

Some people have no shame.

Later that day, however, these feelings turned to frustration and disappointment when — after a couple of hours spent texting with this “expectant mother” — we learned that she is actually a well-known adoption scammer.

Source: Dear Adoption Scammer: What I Wish You Knew About Prospective Adoptive Parents

Boy was I excited to receive an email from a dear friend about this book! I can’t wait to buy it for my children and hope there will be more books for African American families made through adoption.

 

Illustrated by Romney Vasquez, the [Heart Picked: Elizabeth’s Adoption Tale] 30-page book is for children ages six to nine and available for pre-order on Crutcher’s website and Amazon. The author said in addition to helping children of color understand adoption, she’s aiming to help make black parents more receptive to the idea of adoption.

Source: This Adopted Woman Wrote An Awesome Book To Encourage More Black Families To Adopt

Lucky me! My article about being open to my son’s feelings about his birth mother ran on two sites: matermea.com and HuffPost Parents.

 

As the holidays near, I thank whatever gods may be for the gift of adoption. Not a day goes by that I question my decision to adopt.

Source: I Asked My Son If He Missed His Birth Mom. What He Said Next Moved Me | mater mea

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 http://www.someoneelsesvagina.com. 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 matermea.com, MyBrownBaby.com, 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

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