World Wide Wednesday – February 17, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Understanding the Costs of Adoption
    For many families, the financial aspect of preparation is the most daunting. Adoption often comes at a significant cost. Prospective parents field questions from family and friends who wonder “Why is adoption so expensive?”

  • Preparing for your taxes
    Information for foster, adoptive, and kinship families
  • The State of Grandfamilies in America
    This report
    from Generations United identifies key state laws and policies specifically designed to address barriers and better support grandparents and other relatives raising children.
  • International Adoption Myths

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

How do I choose an adoption agency?

Congratulations! You have made the decision to build your family through adoption. The first step in your adoption journey is to choose an agency. You may be thinking that you want an agency that is licensed by the state, honest, and ethical.

chooseanagencyYou may also want to work with staff who is compassionate, patient, efficient, and available when you need them. It’s a good idea to call a few different adoption agencies to see which one is the best fit for you and your family. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Researching an Agency
Gather as much information as possible about adoption in Wisconsin, adoption agencies, and state requirements. Ask questions like:

  • What agencies offer the kind of programs you are looking for?
  • Is the agency licensed by the state?
  • Is the license current?
  • When did the licensing board last visit the agency?
  • Are there any current or unresolved complaints against the agency?
  • You can find these answers by contacting the Department of Children & Families at 608-267-3905or at http://dcf.wisconsin.gov.

Networking and Support Groups
You also might try networking with adoptive parent support groups to find out about the agencies they went to and ask for recommendations. (For a list of support groups, check out the resource section at the end of this tip sheet.)

Support groups and adoption classes are also helpful throughout the whole adoption process, because there is only so much information you can get from agency staff and websites. The real learning comes when you can combine that information with forming relationships with others who are taking the same journey that you are.

Elizabeth Ghilardi, a Wisconsin adoptive parent says, “In the course of our adoption process, we went through 13 weeks of preparation classes; something we initially were not looking forward to, but turned out to be wonderful.”

She goes on to say, “We have kept in touch with many of the families and have gatherings on a regular basis. We have developed an unbelievable support network that is invaluable to our family and the children. Among us, we’ve adopted a total of eight children, with several more pending.”

Once you’ve narrowed down the search for an adoption agency, set up an introductory meeting so you can ask more detailed questions.

Continue reading the tip sheet.

Domestic, international, or special needs?

Families choose adoption for a variety of reasons and there are a lot of decisions to be made throughout the entire process. One of the first choices to make, is the type of adoption you would like to pursue and what your first steps would be after deciding.

TypesOfAdoptionCCYFBelow are the three most common types of adoptions and an explanation of what the initial or next step might look like for each one:

  • A domestic infant adoption takes placewhen a birth mother and/or birth father have individually or jointly made an adoption plan for their child. Often, birth parents will be able to work with a private adoption agency and get to choose the family they wish to have adopt their child. Other times, the agency will do the matching when a birth parent has elected not to be a part of the family selection process.

    First steps: In Wisconsin, families wanting to pursue a domestic infant adoption would first be required to select a private adoption agency licensed by the State of Wisconsin to complete their adoption home study.

  • An international adoption is when a couple or individual from the United States adopts a child from another country. Each country has its own rules for whether they will allow single people, unmarried couples, people of a certain age, etc. to adopt.

    First steps: In Wisconsin, families wanting to pursue an international adoption would first be required to select a private adoption agency licensed by the State of Wisconsin that is able to complete your international adoption home study and be your placing agency or able to work with a placing agency of your choice. (Please note that some private adoption agencies will be able to both complete your home study and be your placing agency, while others will only be able to complete your home study and work with your selected placing agency, based on the country you wish to adopt from.)

  • Special needs adoption, also known as adoption of a child from foster care, is when a family adopts a child who is in foster care and who cannot be successfully reunited with his or her birth family for a number of reasons.

    First steps: For Wisconsin families who have decided to adopt a child who is in foster care in Wisconsin, your first step would be to contact the regional Department of Children and Families office for your county and register to attend a mandatory two-hour informational meeting with the State Special Needs Adoption Program.

    For Wisconsin families who wish to adopt a child who is in foster care in a state other than Wisconsin, your first step would be to connect with a private adoption agency licensed by the State of Wisconsin to complete your adoption home study.

There are several other types of adoption not mentioned above, including, but not limited to, independent adoptions, relative adoptions, stepparent adoptions, and adult adoptions.

For more information about adoption in general, please contact us and ask to speak with a Resource Specialist. You can call us at 1-800-762-8063, locally at 414-475-1246, or reach us via email at info@coalitionforcyf.org. In addition, you can also gather more information from our website, where you can download an informational packet on a specific type of adoption.

World Wide Wednesday – February 10, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Please don’t take my sunshine away

“From the first day I received foster care placement of my son, then three months old, I sang him ‘You are My Sunshine’ constantly. But I always skipped over the ‘Please don’t take my sunshine sunshineaway’ part. I’d fallen in love with him the moment our eyes met, and the thought of letting him go was devastating. But it wasn’t about me. And for his sake, I wished for a happy healthy reunification. But it just wasn’t meant to be. A couple of years passed and I was asked if I’d be willing to adopt. A couple more years passed, and we had an adoption date. I remember every detail of that day. He wore little cuffed corduroys, an oxford shirt, and suede wingtips. I remember family and friends with balloons and cameras at the ready. I remember the judge letting him bang the gavel to finalize his own adoption.

“I remember walking out of Children’s Court on what should have been the happiest day of my life feeling the most unexpected profound sadness.

“How could everyone around us be celebrating? Didn’t they understand the depth of his loss? He no longer “legally” had siblings. His ties to his birth family have been severed. What must they be feeling today? And who could possibly understand the grief I’m feeling?”

Post Adoption Depression. Surely such a thing can’t exist for new adoptive parents? The sadnessfinalization of an adoption is the happy ending to what has often been a lengthy, nerve-wracking, emotional roller coaster ride. What possible reason could there be to be depressed when it finally ends?

There are a number of reasons that new parents might experience post-adoption depression, including:

  • Adoption may highlight unresolved fertility issues
  • You may not feel an immediate bond with your child, as you expected
  • The reality of parenting may not match expectations as you’d imagined them
  • You’ve experienced a major life change that requires an adjustment period
  • You may have a relationship with the birth family and cannot help but feel for their loss, even if they have voluntarily relinquished parental rights

Many new adoptive parents might feel reluctant to reach out for help, because most have spent a great deal of time and energy convincing their adoption worker what a great home they can provide for a child. A big step in coping with post-adoption depression is knowing you are not alone and seeking out help. Parenting is hard, for ANY parent. It rarely comes as “naturally” as we imagine it would, for both mothers and fathers.

Some Suggestions for How to Feel Better

  • Connect with a local adoption support group
  • Reach out to a therapist who specializes in adoption issues
  • Ask your case worker for information regarding post-adoption resources
  • Check out online adoption forums, groups, and chat boards
  • Join a weekly play group with other adoptive families

Please know that you don’t have to go through your journey along. The Coalition for Children, Youth & Families is here to help and support you and your whole family. For more information on post-adoption and other resources, please contact us.

World Wide Wednesday – February 3, 2016

iStock_000003621765_LargeIt’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s news in the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Inclusion in this post does not imply an endorsement by the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. The Coalition is not responsible for the content of these resources.

Tip Sheet Tuesday: Adoption Has No Age Limits

Think back to when you were 18, 21, 40. Were your parents there for you? Were you able to handle everything you needed when you moved out? Or did you still come home to do laundry, check out the refrigerator and bug your younger siblings? Were your parents at your wedding? Did you make vacation plans around your parents’ holiday celebrations? Did your need for a family ever go away?

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In Wisconsin, adoptions can occur at any age. There are many reasons why adoptions are finalized for adults, but one of the primary reasons is that being adopted creates a life-long connection for the adult adoptee.

Dustin Bronsdon, who was adopted as an adult, says “Family has always been important to me, and just because I turned 18, didn’t mean that I don’t still have a big need to belong.”

He laughs and says, “My fiancée wasn’t too thrilled to see that I had found the Bronsdon family crest and had it tattooed on my shoulder. But that’s how much being part of a family means to me.”

He goes on to say that “Being adopted lets you feel part of something—something real. It gives you an identity that was missing before.”

There are generally three main reasons for adult adoptions:

  • Formalizing a child-parent relationship so the family truly feels like they belong together.
  • Inheritance rights—especially in cases of trust funds and beneficiaries where “relatives” or “children” are only mentioned generally—not by a specific name.
  • Perpetual care for someone who has cognitive delays or other disabilities.
  • Continue reading