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IAG 044: The Cost of Adoption – What you need to know for domestic infant adoption

Posted on 21. Jul, 2016 by .

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The cost of adoption is a sensitive subject.

We hear about how expensive it is and it can be difficult to understand why.

Here is the truth. In domestic infant adoption, lots of people are needed to help make sure the safe placement of a child happens with the right family.

See the emphasis on safe placement and the right family?

There is so much that goes into making this happen.

Hopeful adoptive families need adoption professionals – agencies and/or attorneys to help them go through the process. There are costs involved with getting this help, and that’s what we are talking about today – the cost of adoption.

We have a great discussion with Cheri Williams, who is a Regional Director with Bethany Christian Services. She oversees operations in Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Cheri is passionate about serving children and families in need and has worked in the child welfare field for nearly 18 years.

She has extensive experience in the areas of child protection, foster care, and adoption. Cheri earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Family and Child Sciences from The Florida State University, and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Troy University.

Cheri and I will break down the costs, what they are, why you need them, and how to afford them. This is a big topic, I know.

We are going to especially talk about what to expect, and we’ll give you the tips/resources you need to understand the cost from the adoption professional you choose.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why does it cost so much to adopt a baby, especially when the cost of foster care adoption is minimal?
  • What are the costs that hopeful adoptive families can expect?
  • Find out what questions to ask an agency or attorney to find out their fees and what they cover.
  • How to reduce or eliminate the financial risk if an expectant mother decides to parent.
  • Hear a story about a family who successfully adopted while having to come up with a larger sum for their adoption plans.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Check out this show’s sponsor, Bethany Christian Services!

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Your adoption profile can now be created on Shutterfly

Posted on 19. Jul, 2016 by .

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The following is a guest post from our friend Madeleine Melcher, who has been creating adoption profiles for families over the past 12+ years. She had a brilliant idea of contacting Shutterfly to have them create a special adoption profile section, so we can easily create profiles online. Enjoy!

I am an adoptee, an author, a blogger, a profile creator and of course my favorite job EVER, a mommy.

I have spent the better part of the last dozen-ish years or so:

I am always looking for ways to level the playing field for families and to give them the knowledge and access they need to create honest and ethical adoption portfolios, to share their child’s story with him or her in an appropriate way and to keep the promises they have made to birth families. 

I wrote my first book about creating your own adoption portfolio because I knew people could not always hire someone like me but I still wanted them to have the knowledge they needed to create something that really reflected them and was honest and real and included things many expectant parents may want to know about if they are considering an adoption plan for their child. 

I did not do it for the money, turns out there is some truth behind the term “starving artist”. I did it because everyone in the process deserves it; hopeful family, expectant family and the child. 

Now I am pleased to offer another option to families that I could not when I wrote my book. 

About a year ago, after seeing that Shutterfly had many more options, embellishments, and layouts than ever before, I reached out to the CEO of Shutterfly with an idea –  why not have an adoption section?

Why not, if people were going to make their portfolio on Shutterfly anyway, give the access to knowledge about doing it ethically, uniquely, honestly and in a way that reflects them?

Why not spotlight adoption announcements?  Why not tell families about the free websites where they can share with family/birth families? 

THEY LISTENED and HERE IT IS!  shutterfly_profile_photo_book

This is not a project that I personally make a penny from — I just wanted it to be there for families in a real and accessible way, and Shutterfly has put it together.

Shutterfly is not leaving those hanging who need help/direction in creating their portfolio, those who don’t know what to include, including the importance of ethics out or those that want to choose a template and create a lifebook and are not sure what one really is.

There is a whole blog section on my website that is also linked on the Shutterfly ADOPTION page at “learn more” that is directed to making your portfolio unique, tips, etc. 

I also have my regular adoption blog with pieces from me to parents, written from my perspective as an adoptee – which is the focus of my most recent book.

Additionally, if you need help with or would like a full and honest review with REAL suggestions for improvement on a portfolio you created yourself on Shutterfly or on your own, contact me today.

Click HERE for just a few ADOPTION RELATED things you can create on Shutterfly TODAY!

I am thrilled that Shutterfly responded with action when I reached out to them and I cannot wait to see what is next.  I will always be looking for ways to ensure that help and resources are available to EVERYONE and that the knowledge of the importance of ethics and honesty are there for all to see.

I hope you will LIKE & follow my Facebook Pages:

Facebook.com/DearAdoptiveParentsFromAnAdoptee

Facebook.com/OurJourneyToYou

Facebook.com/REALadoptionprofiles

Facebook.com/adoptiondevotional

A big thanks to Tim Elder and Infant Adoption Guide for inviting me to guest blog- acknowledging the importance in honesty and ethics in adoption.  Read some of my previous guest blogs and listen to several interviews with me on IAG:

Madeleine Melcher is an adoptee, an author, a blogger, a profile creator and a mommy. Please check out her website and blog at OurJourneyToYouAdoption.com

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IAG 043: Part 2 of A Birth Mother’s Story with Tammy Thompson Davis

Posted on 01. Jul, 2016 by .

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A birth mother’s story is often a powerful one – with lots of emotion.

Tammy Thompson Davis has such a story, as she placed her twin girls after not one, but two hopeful adoptive parents backed out of a match with her. 

This episode is part 2 of her story, where she shares the happy ending about how she found the perfect adoptive parents for her girls, even after struggling through two broken matches.

Go here to listen to part 1 of Tammy’s story

Most adoptive couples worry about an expectant mother changing her mind before placement, but Tammy had the opposite happen to her. Both couples backed out prior to the birth of her girls. 

Tammy has a unique perspective in the adoption world. She is a birthmom, an adoptive mom, and an adoption professional.

Her own difficult experience as a birth mother led her (22 years ago) to begin The Family Building Project, which is a company that specializes in adoption education, networking, and marketing support of the adoption triad.

“No one thinks about how the birth mom feels when a couple commits but out of fear jumps at another opportunity if due sooner, its hard. It hurts. And it almost derailed my faith in adoption. I’m grateful it didn’t.” –Tammy Thompson Davis

Tammy speaks often at American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) meetings, and for large corporations which have family building programs (such as Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola, Merck, etc).

She has never had her story recorded to be shared for everyone to hear…until now.

Her story is so powerful and touching, that we split it up into two parts. This episode is part 2.

Be sure to go listen to part 1 when Tammy shares the beginning of her amazing story. 

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What it’s like when hopeful adoptive couples decide to back out of a match with an expectant mom.
  • Hear what she did after two devastating failed matches with adoptive parents.
  • How Tammy found the perfect adoptive parents for her twin girls.
  • Find out the main lessons she learned from her experience.
  • Hear what Tammy wants you to know about expectant moms, birth moms, and hopeful adoptive families.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

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IAG 042: A Birth Mother’s Story with Tammy Thompson Davis [Part 1]

Posted on 27. Jun, 2016 by .

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Every now and then, you hear an adoption story that truly tugs at your heart. We don’t often hear a birth mother’s story, and we especially don’t hear stories about how hopeful adoptive parents back out of a match with expectant mothers who want to place their child for adoption. 

IAG 042 A Birth Mother Story with Tammy Thompson Davis

Tammy Thompson Davis is a birth mother, and also an adoptive mom. Her own difficult experience as a birth mother led her (22 years ago) to begin The Family Building Project, which is a company that specializes in adoption education, networking, and marketing support of the adoption triad.

Tammy shares her powerful story about how it wasn’t the easiest experience (obviously) being a birth mom. She’ll share how she experienced the fall through of a match – with not one, but two hopeful adoptive couples.

Most adoptive couples worry about an expectant mother changing her mind before placement, but Tammy had the opposite happen to her. Both couples backed out prior to the birth of her girls.

One couple backed out because they discovered she was carrying twins, and the other backed out because they were presented a “stork drop” situation 8 weeks after matching with Tammy and 8 weeks before her twins were due.

Hear what happened with each couple and what Tammy did when the twins decided to come early. Listen to her tell the amazing story of what she did while in the hospital, not knowing who would ultimately parent her babies. 

“No one thinks about how the birth mom feels when a couple commits but out of fear jumps at another opportunity if due sooner, its hard. It hurts. And it almost derailed my faith in adoption. I’m grateful it didn’t.” –Tammy Thompson Davis

Tammy speaks often at American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA) meetings, and for large corporations which have family building programs (such as Turner Broadcasting, Coca-Cola, Merck, etc). She has never before had her story recorded to be shared for everyone to hear.

Her story is so powerful and touching, that we split it up into two parts. This episode is part 1.

After you listen to part 1, go here to listen to part 2, where Tammy shares the happy ending to her amazing story. 

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What it’s like when hopeful adoptive couples decide to back out of a match with an expectant mom.
  • What Tammy went through when she found out she was pregnant at 19 years old.
  • Hear how she felt as she experienced two devastating fall-throughs with potential adoptive parents.
  • Find out who was helping her through the process – and how much support she had from family & friends.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

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Listen to Part 2 of Tammy's Story

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IAG 041: How to talk to family and friends about your adoption plans

Posted on 12. May, 2016 by .

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For a lot of us who are hoping to adopt, family and friends are a big part of our journey. We need their love and support as we build our family through adoption – and especially AFTER we’ve adopted.IAG 041 How to talk to family and friends about your adoption plans

Once we start the infant adoption process, it can go on for months or even a few years. The journey is definitely an emotional one, so we need family and friends to support us and our adoption plans.

On today’s episode, we have a great discussion with Dawn Baker from Bethany Christian Services. She is joining me to help us figure out how to talk about adoption with family and friends.

Dawn is the Pregnancy Counseling & Adoptions Service Line Director for the Bethany Michigan office. She has so much experience working with all those involved in infant adoption. She is extremely knowledgeable and passionate about working with expectant parents and adoptive parents.

Since 2009, MTV has followed the story of one of Dawn’s clients, documenting her counseling and the pregnancy and adoption placement of birthparents Catelynn and Tyler in two reality shows, 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom. She is lovingly called “Dawn, the adoption professional” by the MTV folks.

While having friends and family support is important, it can also be challenging when we talk to them about our adoption plans. It can be tough to figure out when to tell them, how to tell them, and how much to tell them.

Dawn will share tons of wisdom and tips you can use on your adoption journey. I know you’ll enjoy listening to Dawn share her heart. 

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • When is the best time to announce your adoption plans to family & friends?
  • Dawn’s tips for figuring out what to tell & what NOT to tell family and friends.
  • What questions (that can be intrusive and rude) should we expect from our family & friends?
  • How can we explain positive adoption language to our family & friends.
  • When is the right time to share your adoption story (and how much should you share)?
  • Plus Dawn shares many more tips and resources for how to talk with family & friends about your adoption plans.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Check out our new sponsor – Bethany Christian Services!
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How to choose the right adoption agency for you – Special Guest Post from Maxine Chalker of Adoptions From The Heart

Posted on 07. Apr, 2016 by .

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The following is a guest post from our friend, Maxine Chalker, who is an adoptee and the Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, which is an adoption agency that she founded over 30 years ago. Maxine shares her insight and experience on how to choose the right adoption agency to work with on your journey to adopt. Enjoy!

Choosing the right adoption agency to work with is one of the most important things prospective adoptive parents can do. Here are some tips to help you think about making this decision.How to choose the right adoption agency for you with Maxine Chalker

Opportunities To Learn The Unexpected

Education should be a core aspect of what adoption agencies do. Many agencies offer courses for prospective adoptive parents and adoptive parents, but usually the classes are confined to the basic topics you’d expect: parenting an infant, transitioning into the school years, things like that.

Obviously, those are important subjects, and you’ll want to learn everything you can on competing theories of parenting and the particular challenges that face many families built through adoption.

But in your research, look for classes that you wouldn’t expect to find. Estate planning? That knowledge could come in handy. Try to find an agency that can be a true resource for your family, one you’ll keep going back to when you need support or guidance.

That’s another important point. Make sure your adoption agency’s services will be available to your family well after placement.

Be sure the adoption agency you choose also offers opportunities to meet and learn from other families who chose adoption, along with expectant parents who chose to place their children for adoption.

Learning how different types of adoption, and different degrees of “openness” in the case of open adoption, from real parents can go a long way in helping you consider your own options.

At Adoptions From The Heart, we find that our expectant parent panels are extremely helpful, because they give prospective adoptive parents insights on how real expectant parents consider adoption profiles, and thus, how to effectively and truthfully craft their own.

Individualized Attention Is Best

Check on the agency’s staff levels. Many small agencies won’t employ enough qualified social workers to assign one to each prospective adoptive family. Be wary of entering a situation in which the person meant to advocate for your best interests is being pulled in multiple directions.

Tim’s written before about one of the biggest fears that prospective adoptive parents often come into the process with, that an expectant parent will change their mind about their adoption plan at the last moment.

It’s true. This is a big fear, and it’s not unfounded, so look for agencies that offer a “disruption policy.” Adoption disruptions, when a child’s biological parents choose to parent after relinquishing their parental rights but before their “revocation” period (which varies according to state law) ends, are painful.

But they happen, and can be extremely costly for adoptive parents. Make sure your agency will credit your placement fees toward a future placement, just in case, and will offer you counseling during what can be a very difficult period.

In essence, try to find an agency that goes out of its way to protect and help you through this journey, while always putting the health and well being of children as its first priority.

My biggest tip, though, is that once you’ve found an adoption agency that you want to work with, relax. You’ve been through a lot, and now you’ve found professionals who want to help.

Maxine Chalker is the founder and executive director of Adoptions From The Heart. While AFTH is now one of the East Coast’s largest private placement agencies, Maxine started it herself, out of her home, in 1985. Maxine embraced Open Adoption early, and is now devoted to promoting the philosophy in any way she can.

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Book review: “Dear Adoptive Parents: Things You Need to Know Right Now – from an Adoptee” by Madeleine Melcher

Posted on 19. Feb, 2016 by .

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Adoption is how you came to be a family- not a parenting style. Be the parent you are meant to be- the parent your child needs you to be, today. — Author, Madeleine Melcher

As a parent through infant adoption, the title of this book really struck me. So, naturally I needed to read it and write up a review for you.IAG BOOK REVIEW dear adoptive parents by Madeleine Melcher

Adoptee, author, speaker, blogger and mommy, Madeleine Melcher’s brand new book “Dear Adoptive Parents: Things You Need to Know Right Now – from an Adoptee” is a honest message, that is truly written from the heart. You may surprised by what you read.

She has a very unique perspective of being adopted AND being a mom of children that her and her husband have adopted. She writes about the realities of adoption, what it means to have been adopted, and what it means to parent children that you’ve adopted.

Madeleine is so refreshing in her words that tell the story of how positive adoption can be.

The book is so easy to read – not just because she writes in a conversational way – but it is broken down into short letters. Every chapter begins with “Dear Parents…” because she is writing directly to parents who have adopted.

She even writes directly to those who have yet to adopt. The words of wisdom she shares are invaluable because it offers parents (and parents-to-be) the support, inspiration, and encouragement they need to be the best parents to their children.

Madeleine shares so much of her story – which is compelling and touches your heart.

My favorite chapters include:

  • What REAL (good) Parents Do
  • Don’t Assume We Are All Wounded
  • No One – No Voice is More Important Than This One
  • Adoption Days

This book talks about what parents need to do TODAY. It talks about what their children need. As Madeleine says in the book – the most important voice that parents need to pay attention to is the voice of their child.

One more really cool thing I love about this book is at the very end, where she encourages you to write your own letters. She says “you could write letters to yourself, encouraging the parent you hope to be, or to your child about the joys of being their parent.” Awesome, and a great idea.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has yet to adopt, or is thinking about adopting, or is already parenting a child by adoption. You can pick it up on Amazon right here: Dear Adoptive Parents: Things You Need to Know Right Now – from an Adoptee by Madeleine Melcher.

Here are more books written by Madeleine Melcher:

If you like how Madeleine writes, then you’ll LOVE listening to her. She’s been a guest on the Infant Adoption Guide Podcast! Check it out…

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3 things I learned at the Adoptive Parents Committee Conference (and why it matters to you) by Anthony Zurica

Posted on 08. Feb, 2016 by .

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The following is a guest post from Anthony Zurica, an adoption attorney in New York City. He was guest on the IAG podcast, episode 28. He shares his experience with attending a recent adoption conference held in New York – including why attending adoptive parents conferences are a great thing to do. Enjoy!

Did you know the Adoptive Parents Committee, Inc (APC) is the oldest adoptive parent group in North America?IAG post 3 things I learned at the Adoptive Parents Committee conference by Anthony Zurica

Founded in 1955, APC is a non-profit parent support group dedicated to improving all aspects of adoption. It offers adoption information, support, and education from the time people first consider adoption until their children are grown and starting families of their own.

At monthly meetings, workshops, and social events, APC members support and educate one another. Members can take advantage of the experience and expertise of adoption professionals and other members who have experienced the joy of adoption.

The 35th Annual APC Adoption Conference was held on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, NY.

The APC conference consists of numerous workshops on a variety of topics including things such as international adoption and extending all the way to topics such as ADHD: what can parents do. 

I attended the APC conference this year because I truly feel that you can never stop learning. Furthermore, its just great meeting all the other adoption professionals that attend the conference year after year. 

On to the 3 things I learned at the conference.

1. Is print advertising effective?

The short answer is, yes. While you need a varied advertising plan, print advertising is just one area that you must try to attack when searching for a birthmother or getting your info out there so a birth mother can find you.

In this specific workshop regarding advertising, we learned about the numerous ways and costs associated with advertising in today’s digital world.

The main takeaway from this workshop was that there is no magic wand you can wave that gives you the perfect advertising plan. Each family is different and learning as much as you can about what is out there and how it matches up with your needs is essential when starting out on your adoption journey.

2. The kids are all right.

This was a great eye opening panel that dealt with the children of LGBT families. Many LGBT prospective adoptive parents are very concerned with how their children will be treated out in the world when people start to look at the makeup of their family.

They have concerns about discrimination and since children are so innocent, they want to make sure they help inform their children to deal with any situation that may arise. The panel that sat and talked during the hour consisted of a few LGBT families and their adopted children.

All the children were so well adjusted it brought a smile to my face that their family and society as a whole was able to help navigate them on what could have been a very tough journey for a child.

3. EVERYONE has concerns and needs a support system to help them though this journey.

I sat in on a panel with adoptive parents who discussed their own personal journeys and the theme that tied all of them together was that not a day went by where they weren’t worried about a hundred different things.

Will the birthmother change her mind? Will the child love me? What will others think?

These are all normal and natural thoughts and the most important thing is to have people by your side throughout it all that you can look to for guidance and support, whether that be your attorney, your family, your adoption professionals or anyone you trust to have a time to give you their attention and love.

 

Prospective adoptive families gain so much by attending this conference that I almost implore all my clients to attend. There is just so much information to discover, learn and soak in that there is no way attending something like this can’t be beneficial to someone no matter what stage of the adoption process they are in.

From pre adoption info all the way to dealing with teenagers, there are different workshops for everyone and its just a great place to meet people that are going through the same journey. To learn more about the APC and their annual conference, click here:  www.adoptiveparents.org.

My name is Anthony Zurica and I am an Adoption Attorney with an office in New York City. Anthony Zurica attorneyTo get more info regarding the adoption conference, adoption in general and my law firm, check out www.nycadoptionlawyer.com and reach out via email at az@nycadoptionlawyer.com.

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IAG 040: What birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families (PART 2) with Libby Denniston of Lifetime Adoption

Posted on 29. Dec, 2015 by .

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“Expectant women want to learn about the parents who are waiting to adopt right away. They don’t want to wait until they’ve decided “yes, I want to choose adoption” – and then look for families.”
–Libby Denniston

One of the biggest obstacles for hopeful adoptive parents is to figure our what birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families. How do you create a book, a website, and a video that shows how unique you are and how excited you are to adopt? 

What is most important to expectant mothers who are trying to choose a family with whom to place their child?

This episode is part 2 of our chat with Libby Denniston, the Outreach Coordinator for Lifetime Adoption Center – which has been dedicated to bringing couples and birthparents together since 1986.

Libby has been working directly with hopeful adoptive families and birthparents for many years. She is so compassionate towards birthmoms and hopeful adoptive families.

She has a keen eye and ear for helping families create amazing adoption profiles. She loves offering guidance and support for expectant women who are considering adoption for their child.

Libby is an extra special guest for me personally, because she has been a vital part of our journey to build our family through adoption.

Here’s a picture my wife and I love because it is when we went to visit Libby and the Lifetime staff in California, who had just helped us adopt our baby daughter, who was not quite 2 weeks old.Libby holding Arianna at Lifetime

I’m excited to have her share her wisdom, her heart, and her adoption knowledge. 

We had such a great discussion, that I decided to make it into two episodes. So this is part 2. I hope you take time to go listen to part 1 in episode 39.

This episode will help you understand birthmoms better – and you’ll learn how you can connect with them faster and easier.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why creating an adoption profile video will help you connect with a prospective birthmom.
  • Libby’s tips for making a profile that stands out to expectant women who are considering adoption.
  • What expectant women look for BEFORE they choose an adoption plan.
  • How the internet is changing domestic infant adoption and what you can do to connect faster with prospective birthmoms.
  • What you may be doing to stunt your adoption journey and your search to connect with a prospective birthmother.
  • Hear some amazing stories about the families who have received help and support from Libby and the staff at Lifetime Adoption.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Find out how to make your own Adoption Profile Video!

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IAG 039: What birthmoms are looking for in hopeful adoptive families (PART 1) with Libby Denniston of Lifetime Adoption

Posted on 03. Dec, 2015 by .

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“Hopeful adoptive parents need to remember – you could be why an expectant mother chooses adoption for her child. You could be the #1 reason that makes a woman go from saying: I’m not sure about adoption – to say – I can make an adoption happen with people like this. You are going to be an answer for that woman.”
–Libby Denniston

Sometimes it’s difficult for hopeful adoptive parents to really understand birthmoms and women who are considering adoption for their baby. It can be a struggle to figure out how to make a great profile that will touch the heart of an expectant woman.

If you are anything like me and my wife, we struggled with figuring out exactly what open adoption means. 

Our guest on this episode is Libby Denniston – who is the Outreach Coordinator for Lifetime Adoption Center – which has been dedicated to bringing couples and birthparents together since 1986. Libby has been working directly with hopeful adoptive families and birthparents for many years.

She has an amazing heart for all those involved in adoption. She helps families reflect themselves through their adoption profiles and she loves meeting with birthmoms and offering them support.

Another thing you need to know about Libby is that she is the adoption webinar queen – as she hosts Lifetime’s awesome free webinar series at AdoptionTeleconference.com, were they share adoption success stories, have Q & A sessions, and discuss other informational adoption topics.

Libby is an extra special guest for me personally, because she has helped my wife and I through many ups and downs throughout our quest to become parents.

Here’s a picture we treasure because it is when we went to visit Libby and the Lifetime staff in California. Libby is holding our baby daughter, who was not quite 2 weeks old.Libby holding Arianna at Lifetime

Libby is a trusted mentor for us on our journey, so I’m excited to have her share her wisdom, her heart, and her adoption knowledge. 

We had such a great discussion, that I decided to make it into two episodes. So this is part 1 of 2. After you’ve listened to part 1, I invite you to listen to part 2 – the last half of our discussion.

My hope is this episode will help you understand birthmoms better – and you learn what they are hoping to find in adoptive parents.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What Lifetime Adoption Center does – and how they help adoptive families and birthmoms.
  • Libby’s tips for understanding birthmoms and expectant women who are considering adoption.
  • What expectant women look for BEFORE they choose an adoption plan.
  • Insight about what open adoption looks like from all perspectives.
  • What hopeful adoptive families need to know about birthmoms.
  • Hear some amazing stories about the birthmoms who have received help and support from Libby and the staff at Lifetime Adoption.
  • AND MUCH MORE!

Links we talk about in this episode:

Do you like Podcasts? Listen and Subscribe to the IAG show on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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