The South End Blues Band is Back!

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We are very excited to announce our second benefit concert featuring our great friends from the South End Blues Band.

This year’s concert will be in Franklin at Gus’ Mexican Cantina. In addition to great music and good company, your $25 ticket also includes a Mexican buffet. We’ll also be making a big announcement that you surely won’t want to miss!

Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on Friday, March 15 at 7 pm. Tickets are on sale NOW!

Update on Russian Ban on Intercountry Adoptions to the United States

Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute

 

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Following the January 22, 2013 Russian Supreme Court Letter on Implementation of Federal Law No. 272-FZ, CCAI has continued to work closely with Members of Congress and our partners inside Russia.  In situations like these, CCAI’s priority is to ensure that the U.S. government is aware of all individuals directly impacted and have the information necessary to act on their behalf.  The following are actions that have occurred since our last update:

House Resolution 24: Expressing the deep disappointment of the House of Representatives in the enactment by the Russia Government of a law ending inter-country adoptions of Russian children by United States citizens…

  • Introduced on January 14, 2013 by Congressional Coalition on Adoption Co-Chairs Representatives Michele Bachmann and Karen Bass.
  • House Resolution 24 language matches that of Senate Resolution 628 (introduced in the 112th Congress on Dec. 30, 2012).

January 17, 2013 House Letter to President Putin 

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Five Must-Attend Training Opportunities for Spring

Training. Ongoing education. Information and support. Whatever you call it and however you want to name it, it’s essential. There is so much to know and learn and do when you’re a parent – especially when you are a parent to foster or adopted children. Expectations can be high and the pressure might feel turned up to an unbearable level.

And that’s where we come in.

One of the many services that we offer is a diverse catalog of trainings. Many of our events are available via webinar, meaning that, no matter where you live, you can attend, tune in and learn some valuable information. Here is a list of the five must-attend training events coming up this spring:

1. Life Books Explained: A life book is much more than a scrap book or a baby book. Life books provide foster and adoptive youth with personal connections to their past. It is a personal account of a child’s life that can help fill in the wholes from their past. Foster and adoptive parents play an important role in providing support in the creation of life books, as well as use the life book as a healing tool. Creating a life book may feel like an overwhelming task due to not having enough information or personal items to include. Come find out more about inventive ways to create life books and how to overcome hurdles that may come up in the process. (February 12, $10, attend in person or via webinar)

2. Our Home Our Family: If you’re feeling frustrated, overwhelmed and alone – both in your relationship with your partner and your relationship with your child(ren) – this is the essential training series for you. Our Home Our Family is a series of workshops for adoptive and foster parent couples. The series includes concepts to better understand your children and their issues, learn new skills for parenting, and find better ways to connect with one another. You and your partner will have the opportunity to connect with other adoptive and foster parents who can relate to your family journey. (Kicks off Feb. 23, $55 for six sessions, NOT offered via webinar; in-person ONLY)

3. Life Books Workshop: Take the skills and information you learned at the February 12th Life Books Explained training and put them to use! Enjoy tips, conversation and community at our Life Books Workshop. Bring all your Life book supplies for a morning of creating a true treasure for your family. Scrap book experts and enthusiasts will be on site to answer questions and assist with the assembly of pages. (Feb. 23, FREE! In-person ONLY. For those in western Wisconsin, the Catholic Charities Post Adoption Resource Center is having a workshop day on Feb. 23rd, as well!)

4. Caring for Children Affected by FASD: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are the number one cause of developmental disabilities in North America. This training will be a great resource for both the general population of foster/adoptive parents, as well as foster/adoptive parents who are caring for children affected with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. (March 6, $15, available in-person or via webinar)

5. Single Parenting: Self Care and Building a Support Network: Parenting is tough. When you are parenting alone, sometimes it can feel impossible. In this one-of-a-kind training, experienced mother and trainer Patricia Parker will talk to single parents about how to take care of themselves and build support networks. Through the use of a curriculum-based lecture, as well as discussion, Ms. Parker will address multiple ways single parents can become more successful and feel less stressed. (April 9, $15, available in-person or via webinar)

BONUS: Join us for a little fun, as well! We just announced our 2013 Benefit Concert featuring the music of the South End Blues Band. In addition to good music, great food and outstanding company, we’ll be making a very special announcement that you won’t want to miss! (March 15, Gus’ Mexican Cantina, $25 – includes Mexican buffet)

Open Adoption: A Birthmother’s Story

Don't We Look Alike?

My name is Laura Gladden. I am 20 years old. I placed my daughter, K, for adoption in July of 2012. My pregnancy was very unplanned and unexpected! I am so grateful for it though, and I’ll tell you why.

I found out I was pregnant when I was 18 years old.  It was 5 months after I graduated high school and 4 months into dating my boyfriend at the time. Shortly after finding out I was pregnant, my boyfriend broke up with me and told me he didn’t want to have anything to do with me or my pregnancy. I was now alone and left to parent my baby alone.

Being 18, I only had a part-time retail job at a clothing store and a part-time job at a realty office. I attended a university and still lived at home, very much dependent on my parents. I feared my…

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Becky & Ben Adopt: A Journey to Baby

My name is Becky and I’ve been a volunteer photographer with Adoption Resources of Wisconsin since 2011. Through this program, I donate portrait sessions to high school seniors that are in foster care. These kids are amazing and their stories are profound. Many of them have never had professional photos taken, and I’m honored to be able to offer them a lasting keepsake of this important time in their lives.

Today, Adoption Resources of Wisconsin asked me to be a guest blogger, as my husband and I begin our journey to find our children. We will not be having children in the traditional sense. Instead, we are searching for the right child and waiting for expectant parents who will put their trust in us as they choose us to raise their child through adoption.

Here is our story:

Ben and I have been married over five years. For over three years, we’ve been trying to start a family, but sadly, it has not happened. While I can get pregnant quite easily, I always miscarry. So far, we’ve had six miscarriages. The first one was incredibly sad . . . while sitting in the ultrasound room, we were told there was no heartbeat. It completely took us by surprise; we were over 10 weeks along and had just started telling a few people. We mourned the loss of our baby, but set out to try again. We kept hearing that it was completely normal to have a miscarriage and that, statistically, the second pregnancy would likely be healthy. Only . . . the second one was a miscarriage, too. So was the next one. And next one. And next one. After that, I was pretty miserable and couldn’t even begin to describe the emotions that I was dealing with at that point. I needed some time off, so we waited a full year before trying again. Just this fall, we gave it another shot, and that pregnancy ended in miscarriage, too. This last one was especially sad because I was due on my 31st birthday, and because I miscarried on Christmas Day. Let me tell you, having a much-anticipated pregnancy end on Christmas can make someone feel that they’ve hit the bottom. I mourned the loss of all my pregnancies, but this last one was the worst. I felt like a dream was totally out of reach. All the testing we had done showed completely normal results and doctors could find no reason why we’d lose each pregnancy.

It’s terribly sad to think that you may never have children when you’ve wanted them so badly for your entire life. It’s hard to be excited for friends who are expecting babies of their own. It’s downright traumatic to think about going to a baby shower and being excited for the momma-to-be, when you know that you may never get to experience that joy. And it’s awful trying to explain to a friend why you simply can’t attend a baby shower without crying. That is a quick way to ruin a happy occasion. Of course, deep down I was very happy for my friends and their babies, but I’d be lying if I said I never once wondered why something so wonderful couldn’t happen to me . . . just once. Hearing about women getting pregnant then leaving their babies at hospitals, young girls getting pregnant that are simply not at a place in their lives to take care of a child . . . things like that made me cry. They made me angry. I KNEW we’d be good parents, and honestly, I questioned why God would let this happen to us. It’s weird to think that I am a mother of six . . . yet I have no living children. Even though I never held them or comforted them, their loss is deeply felt and I will grieve for a lifetime.

Franchesca Fox said: “A mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the number she holds in her heart.”

I love that quote. In our society where no one talks about pregnancy loss or grief for babies we never get to hold, it was reassuring to hear that my unborn babies counted for something more than a note on a medical chart. I’ve had so many people tell me that I’m “so strong,” but you know what? I am sad. I feel this deeply. Sometimes I fall apart. It wasn’t just the loss of another baby. . . it felt like the loss of my dream for my life.

So the last few weeks I’ve been trying to find inspiration and comfort wherever I can. We purchased six little crystal angel ornaments in memory of our unborn babies for our Christmas tree. I’ve gotten a lot of comfort from a few things I found through Pinterest, of all places. This was my favorite:

tried my best

I can tell you that six miscarriages both weakened my faith, then strengthened it. I’m thankful. So very thankful that my faith has gotten stronger. And I’m thankful that my marriage has gotten stronger, too. Something like infertility can easily tear a couple apart, but I have a good man. Though he processes this experience differently than I do, I know it’s something he feels deeply.

hopeThis post isn’t meant to be so sad. I do have positive things ahead . . . please keep reading.

One interesting thing about my miscarriages is that they are a “missed miscarriage,” meaning that the baby’s heartbeat and growth stop, but my body continues to recognize the pregnancy for several weeks. So for these last pregnancies, I always knew in advance that I’d lost the pregnancy before I actually miscarried. Especially during this last pregnancy, I spent a lot of time in prayer, asking God to either take away this intense desire to become a mother, or to help us find a path to parenthood. My husband had talked about adoption years ago, but since it was quickly becoming a reality rather than something in the distant future, he wasn’t comfortable talking about it. For the sake of my marriage, I decided that I would not ask him about it any more. If we were meant to adopt, I wanted the path to be clear without badgering my way to it.

“For this child I prayed and the Lord answered my prayer”
1 Samuel 1:27

Then I received the best Christmas gift, ever. My husband secretly did some research on adoption, and on Christmas Eve, he told me that he made us an appointment at an adoption agency for the following week. I knew I would likely be miscarrying the next day, and honestly, this one act of kindness that he did made such a huge difference as I went through that heartbreaking miscarriage. Knowing that there was still hope for a family someday was a game-changer. A few days ago, we met with the adoption agency and have decided to move forward with the adoption process.

For us, this means getting put on the waiting list at the agency, as well as trying to locate a birth mother ourselves. We realize this process could still take years and that there are no guarantees. But we are hopeful that we will find a clear path to our future child. Through out networking with friends, family, and those we know through our businesses, we’re reaching out to share our story.

I created a website to introduce us to birth parents who might be looking for adoptive parents. You can see it here and read a little more about us: http://beckyandbenadopt.blogspot.com. We also started a Facebook page to make it easy to follow our journey: www.facebook.com/beckyandbenadopt.

Thanks for reading our story, and more thanks for keeping us in your mind and prayers as we move forward.

Many thanks to Becky for sharing her story on our blog. I was in tears as I read and I hope Becky will come back and continue to update us on her journey. -Jenna