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The Emotions of Adoption

Adoption is an emotional topic. In adoptive placements, high level emotions are experienced by both parties – the adoptive parents and birth parents. Grief and loss are experienced by those who desire to grow their own family, but cannot.  Placement-minded birth parents also experience grief and loss because they care infinitely for the little one growing inside them.
Often, people can be at a loss on how to come alongside those in the process of adopting, and those seeking a family for their child. The Bible speaks to such emotions through the words of the Apostle Paul. He describes how believers in Jesus are to identify with each other’s emotions in our life together.  He says that we are to weep with those who weep and experience joy with those who are joyful.
For those involved in adoption, reminders of intense emotions are everywhere. Baby showers, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and a child’s birth date can be difficult reminders for those who do not have children as well as those who have relinquished a child through adoption.
Even in churches, people don’t know what to say to those experiencing infertility, or making an adoption plan. Clients have taught me to ask “How can I serve you today?” or, “Is there anything I can do to encourage you today?” Instead of trying to figure out what people need, I ask directly “What do you need from me today?”
Some may need a reminder about God’s truths. Some may want to talk about it, while others prefer to work through their feelings alone. Encouragement may be needed to express their thoughts, feelings, and questions to God.
Several practical steps can be taken to heed Paul’s admonition. Listening is one of the most important, especially without giving advice. Listening without judging is critical.   Also, several practical, tangible things can be offered prior to placement.  One is to contribute financially to a family’s adoption journey, or suggesting other sources of financial assistance.
Intentionally spending time with families who are adopting is often very much appreciated. Asking the question, “How can I be of help to you?” is a great place to start. Another good question, “Is it okay if I ask how your adoption process is going?”
Following placement, practical steps can be taken to reach out and help both adoptive families and birth parents as they adjust to the changes in their lives. Ideas include helping plan meals or providing food.  Families adopting internationally often need to travel long distances to receive their child. Offering to tend to their homes, watch their children, or mow their lawn may be helpful.
Birthparents especially need time to adjust but may hesitate to reach out for help. Look for subtle signs that someone may need support.  They will appreciate just being asked about their need. Remember, it is important to ask, and not assume, what they need.
Pray specifically and expectantly for these families. Pray that God will be near to them during their adoption or placement process. Telling them you are praying can bring encouragement, strength, and hope; especially at times when life seems to be out of control.
The Apostle Paul was right! It is up to each one of us to know how and when to come along side those who are confronting the real emotions of adoption.
Kate Roecker, MA, LPC,  Adoption Counselor

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Treat Yo’ Self

“Treat Yo’ Self” is a phrase that I first heard on the TV show “Parks and Recreation.” Although the phrase can be used to justify overspending or “splurging,” it has turned into a phrase that I use with others in my life to encourage self-care. In a world that is constantly moving, always busy, and frequently demanding more and more from you, taking time to care for your emotional and physical well-being is often considered a luxury. However, I (and many researchers, professionals, doctors, etc.) submit that it is a necessity. The areas of self-care include: physical, emotional, mental/intellectual, spiritual, social, relational, and safety/security. Self-care, in all forms, is crucial to overall health and well-being.

So “treat yo’ self,” and spend time taking care of yourself. Find something that brings you joy, call that friend who you have not seen in a few months, take a walk in the sunshine, finally read that book on your nightstand, or join that small group at church.

Whatever self-care looks like for you, try to be purposeful and set aside the time (and energy) you need. It is so easy to get carried away with the “I just don’t have the time’s” or the “maybe when things slow down’s,” but do not let the “busy” of life get in the way of the joy of life. One thing I have learned is that I schedule most everything in my life, so in order to take care of myself, I also need to find make room for “me time” in my schedule.

Again I say, “treat yo’ self.” Recognize when you need a mental break.

“Treat yo’ self.” Make steps towards a personal goal.

“Treat yo’ self.” Reach out to the positive supports in your life.

“Treat yo’ self.” Sign up for that dance/water-coloring/spin/language class.

“Treat yo’ self.” Plan a vacation or mini trip.

“Treat yo’ self.”

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Chicago Area Families For Adoption (CAFFA) 4th Annual Scholarship Essay Contest

“CAFFA is pleased to invite students who will be entering college in Fall 2015 to enter our 4th Annual Essay Contest to win an Educational Scholarship! This $2,000 tuition scholarship will be awarded to one graduating high school senior student who came into their family through adoption and has been accepted to a 2- or 4-year college for the 2015-2016 school year.  The winning essay and photo of the recipient will be published on our website and in our newsletter.

To enter, see our Scholarship Information document ( http://caffa.org/caffa-scholarship-2015-information.pdf ) for the application form and essay topics.  Past and present CAFFA Board family members are not eligible for this scholarship.  Applicants are not required to be CAFFA Members.  Feel free to pass this information on to other Adoptive Families who have college bound students!

The application and essay must be completed by June 29, 2015.  If you have any questions, you can contact Mike Lepley at president@caffa.org.  We enjoy reading the entries each year and look forward to seeing the essays!  Happy writing!”

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#Placed Campaign

I am already gearing up for this year’s #placed campaign.

Started by Birthmother’s Baskets, the #placed campaign is trying to reach out via social media to friends, family, Hollywood, and all people.  It is trying to share with everyone what so many birthparents, families who adopted, adopted kiddos, and adoption professionals already know.

The #placed campaign is trying to raise awareness about how much love goes into an adoption plan.  How much love and planning goes into a child being #placed for adoption.  The love, planning, and actual outcome of adoption is better reflected by using the word “placed.” This love and planning is not reflected by the more commonly (incorrectly) used term “gave up.”  (Please see below for examples of use.)

I know an awesome couple that placed their baby with the most fun, adventurous family.

I know a sassy, Cubs-loving family that have a child, #placed by Sox-fan birthparents.

You love the family you placed with? Awesome. I’m so glad.

She gave up her baby for adoption.

It must have been so hard to give up your baby.

Now, let me be honest.  When I was interviewing for my internship with Pregnancy Support Services and the supervisor of the program asked me how I felt about adoption, (no, not about the couple adopting), I was thrown off track and used weak phrases such as “I haven’t really thought about the birthparents before.” And then I used incorrect phrases resembling “I guess I’d have to assume that it is really hard for a birthparent to give up a baby” and then followed up with more forgivable comments such as “I am really embarrassed, as a cousin of adopted people, that I have never before considered the birthparents that loved them first and allowed my cousins into our family.”

Fortunately that supervisor saw through my novice ways.  She allowed me to meet and work with some of the strongest, loveliest, most sacrificial and thoughtful people alive: birthparents.  And I have learned about their love, and about the language that comes closest to respecting and representing that love.  And now I advocate.  I am now able to teach birthparents that there is better language to reflect the care and pain in what they are planning, that they are choosing to #place a child for adoption.

The amount of love, care, decision making, and paperwork it takes to #PLACE a baby into a family is astounding.  I have learned that even calling an agency is a difficult step.  Additionally, birthparents have to trust us (the birthparent worker) to connect them to the adoption team (who work with and license the adoptive family) to make the initial match of families.  Birthparents then need to trust themselves as they carefully choose the family that they will #PLACE their baby with.  Their baby’s family.

Birthparents will ask that family not only to take care of and to love their baby, but to love them too.  To be open with them, and to build a relationship.

After seeing the love in the decisions birthparents make, after hearing the love in the words they say, after feeling the love in the passing of gifts between families, one does not hear “give up” or “give away” without cringing.  After watching birthparents worry about every decision, cry over their paperwork, talk to the adoptive parents like friends, like family, I want people to understand them better.  I want people to know about #placed.

With practice and with focus, we can help change the language.  We can help people know about #placed.  We can show a birthparent, an adopted child, an adoptive family that we understand a little bit about their story.

God wove their stories together because of a birthparent’s desire to Give life. Give love. But never to give up.

To #place.

Be ready for May.  If you know what a hashtag is, use it.  If you still think it’s called a pound or number sign, then call or write some friends to discuss this or any other article about #placed.

I have attached some other blogs for your continued education purposes.




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Writing Contest for Adoptees Anchored in Christ

Jody Moreen is excited to share a writing contest for those adoptees who are 18 and older. Please read below a message from Jody and more information regarding this writing contest.

“Spring is on the horizon and in the month of May we celebrate Mother’s Day. This year it is May 10th, 2015. As adoptees, we are keenly aware that we have been given the gift of LIFE. Regardless of the circumstances of our birth, there was a special birth mother that chose LIFE and carried us safety in her womb for 9 months. I don’t know about you, but I have always embraced a soft and loving place in my heart for my birth mom. Sadly I was never able to meet her face-to-face before she passed away. In honor of all birth mothers I am asking adoptees or those orphaned since birth who carry love in their heart for LIFE to share your thankfulness, gratitude and loving and honoring sentiments to your birth mother and to God. Contest open to persons 18 and up. In 250 words or less share in a letter, a poem, a prayer or a song of praise. ( If you have already written something longer- feel free to share, but new writings strive to keep close to 250 words- a goal to be concise ) You may include a beautiful scripture verse in the Bible at the beginning, end or in the content of your piece. Feel free to share what God places on your heart. Be simple, poetic or creative, whatever way you are lead to express your praiseworthy sentiments. ( You may address your birth mother by her first name, if you know it, or you can just use the word Birth Mother or Dear Mother or another loving title.) Please prayerfully consider participating and share this with others you know that are adopted or those orphaned since birth. I would love to compile a collection of some of these letters to use to honor LIFE, and encourage birth mothers, women in crisis pregnancies, adoptees and others touched by adoption. Just imagine- your words, your expressions could save a precious life by touching a woman making a challenging pregnancy decision! PLEASE-DO NOT post your letters here.
E-mail them to me at:
jodymoreen ( followed by the @ sign ) gmail.com and in the Subject line add- or send them to me via snail mail at:
Jody Moreen, 408 Christopher Ct. SE, Winter Haven, FL. 33884. PLEASE include your name, address, zip code, phone number and e-mail address at the end of your piece. Also state whether your entry is an original, or already published in any print or media source. Contest deadline is Easter Sunday April 5th, 2015- emailed or postmarked before Easter Sunday.**** ( see note at end of this posting )
A pre-selected group of adoptees and birth mothers will vote on their favorites ) Winning entries will be published on my Adoptees Anchored in Christ blog at:
adopteesanchoredinjesus@blogspot.com and also on Adoptees Café : adopteescafe@blogspot.com
1st prize: $200.00
2nd prize: $100.00
3rd prize: $50
4th prize: $50
Honorable mentions: ( up to 10 depending on the amount of entries ) will receive their choice of a silver-toned Chosen Necklace containing the words ( Created/Chosen/Celebrated/Cherished) on a pendant from Dayspring, an Adoptee’s Anchor -Christian mug or a new Adoption book of their choice from selections from my ever growing library )
**** If entries number less than 50 by the April 5th, 2015 deadline, participants will be notified by e-mail of an extended deadline- so please include your e-mail address with your entry. Feel free to write and inquire.
Questions about the contest can be sent to Jody at jodymoreen ( followed by the @sign )gmail.com

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Breaking Down Walls

Christmas Presents image for blog

The Christmas season may be over, but the hope of Christmas is still very present. “The Light has come and darkness cannot overcome it.”

However, the staff of Intact Family Services sees darkness everywhere. There are so many broken families, hurting mothers and fathers, families destroyed through addiction, and families overwhelmed by mental illness. In the midst of this darkness it can be difficult to see the change we are trying to facilitate in order to strengthen and support families.

I would love to say that our families all see the value in what we do and welcome us into their lives and homes with open arms, but that doesn’t always happen. Some families do welcome us, trust us, and understand that we are really there to try and help them succeed long term. Unfortunately, it seems that many can’t see the value of our time and services. I don’t blame our clients for this. I can’t imagine how it must feel in the midst of their pain to have a stranger come into their home, especially affiliated with DCFS. They’re scared of having their children removed, are defensive of their parenting abilities, and just want to move forward in their lives without “interference.”

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, families never trust us nor do they voluntarily welcome us into their homes. These are the most difficult cases for any worker.

Yet, in the Christmas season something very special happens! We as an agency and as a service are able to provide all of our families with Christmas presents. LOTS of them! Through the generous donations of so many, hope is provided, even for a moment, to a family. For some, the moment we arrive with gifts for their children is the first time they see that we really do care and that we really do want to help. That is when the walls may begin to come down.

Isn’t that what Christ came to do? To break down walls, walls of sin and shame, and offer hope? Providing families with gifts may not seem very significant on the surface, but underneath it is one of the most significant moments for the IFS team. This moment is when we begin to become a part of our clients’ families, and when change begins.

So, thank you to all who have generously donated to bring hope to our families every Christmas; we are so grateful for the role you have played in bringing hope, breaking down walls, and letting the Light in.

For, the Light has come and darkness cannot overcome it.


Brigid Luke, Supervisor (IFS)

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All Types of Mothers’ Day

Mother's Day Blog Photo

This coming Sunday is a day traditionally set aside to celebrate mothers (and let me tell you, they deserve to be celebrated). It is a day to honor and recognize mothers.

Mothers come to be through a myriad of ways. They are made through thousands of little experiences. There is not just one type of mother.

So, here is to all the mothers out there.

Those who are experiencing infertility.
Those who opened their hearts and homes to foster children.
Those who gave birth to a child and made a courageous decision to make an adoption plan.
Those who serve as Safe Families for Children mothers.
Those who just became mothers for the first time.
Those who have been mothers for years and years.
Those who donated embryos (for someone else to become a mother too).
Those who have lost a child.
Those who are currently pregnant.
Those who are mothers through marriage.
Those who regret an abortion.
Those who may be an “unofficial” mother to a child.
Those who are raising a relative.
Those who added to their family through adoption.
Those who are surrogate mothers.
Those who have experienced miscarriage.
And those who I haven’t even specified (as there are more types of mothers than I even know).

Whatever your situation, story, or experience, I hope you feel loved and appreciated. God Bless and Happy Mother’s Day.