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Reading (process)
Reading (process) (Photo credits: www.mysafetylabels.com)
There is a saying that I have heard throughout my life that has stayed with me. The saying is: Rich people have libraries,  poor people have big TVs.

Now, this is in no way a derogatory remark towards those who struggle financially, but it is a testament to the power of knowledge and the importance of being educated about the things that are happening to you and around you. You can never be too prepared for anything, whether it is prior to entering into a sexual relationship, after realizing you have become pregnant, or trying to decide what your options are as a pregnant teen.

I have compiled a list of books that I would like to recommend if you are a teen anywhere in the United States facing the temptation of having sex, facing unplanned pregnancy, or wondering about your options, this literature can provide you with information to help you find your way.

This is not your mother’s book! It is a real look at teen sex and what you need to know:

http://www.amazon.com/Sex-Teens-Uncensored-Guide-Safety/dp/0981973329/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1386179716&sr=8-4&keywords=books+about+teen+pregnancy

This book is going to answer those confusing questions you have about your body and your heart:

http://www.amazon.com/Teen-Guide-Relationships-Jess-Scott/dp/1477411429/ref=pd_sim_b_5

Here is a complete guide for all things unplanned pregnancy:

http://www.amazon.com/Unplanned-Pregnancy-Teens-College-Students/dp/0974783234/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386180002&sr=1-1&keywords=teen+pregnancy+books

A true story of one  young girl’s life turned upside down by teen pregnancy and much more!

http://www.amazon.com/Back-Prince-Charming-pregnancy-healing-ebook/dp/B00CPTTA64/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386180119&sr=1-5&keywords=teen+pregnancy+books

If you are looking for answers to the tough questions regarding abortion, this is the book for you

http://www.amazon.com/Pro-Life-Answers-Pro-Choice-Arguments-Expanded/dp/1576737519/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1386180406&sr=1-7&keywords=books+about+abortion

It is recognized that those who take an active involvement in reading have “higher GPA’s, higher intelligence, and general knowledge than those [who] don’t.” (Stansberry). Reading is an indulgence that enhances our knowledge by making us use our brain and causing us to think more and therefore enhancing our intelligence. Since books help improve both memory and concentration, one can say that reading makes it easier to study a subject and retain the knowledge received from the subject, thus directly making someone more knowledgeable. Dr. Anne E. Cunningham, of the University of California Berkeley, has shown through studies that reading enhances analytical thinking, “Readers improve their general knowledge, and more importantly are able to spot patterns quicker.” (Stansberry). If one can spot patterns at a faster rate, then analytical skills are enhanced by speed. Books are used nearly every day in schools to teach difficult subjects, there is a reason why schools of all grades assign a variety of textbooks. This is because books hold a variety of information within their pages, of all subjects. Brian Tracy, a self-help author, has said that “one way to become an expert in your chosen field is to read 100 books on the subject.” (Isaac). To some, this may seem preposterous but the matter of fact is that different authors know different kinds of knowledge, and by exposing oneself to a large variety of books and absorbing their information with understanding, one can easily become an expert in a chosen subject.

It’s your life. Shouldn’t you be as much of an expert as possible?

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Posted by on in Adoption Blog
Interracial adoption
Interracial adoption (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Teen pregnancy is often discouraging, confusing, and filled with difficult choices. The desire to keep your baby and do your best is tempting for a lot of young pregnant girls. Unfortunately, age, circumstances, financial distress, and many other factors make it nearly impossible to do so successfully. We encourage adoption because it allows you the opportunity to have the future you had planned before the unplanned occurred. It also gives you the chance to be a part of your child’s life if you want and see him grow into a well cared for individual who is loved and given opportunities that wouldn’t have been available to him as the child of a single teenaged mother. I would encourage you to research not only adoption as a process, but to also read some adoption stories and see how wonderful the experience can be for both sides involved. There are hundreds of beautiful adoption stories available to you online and it is obvious that adoptive parents have a very special and close bond with the birth mothers who choose them to be parents to their children. These testimonies can go a long way in easing your mind about how adoption can be and why it may be the right choice for you.

To help you get started, I wanted to share a short story that I came across recently. It is a simple and sweet letter about the adoption of her son and the decision change that the birth mother experienced, which resulted in a beautiful family being created.

You can read this inspiring story here:

http://www.standupgirl.com/sisterhood/letters/dear-becky/5093-the-love-behind-adoption.html

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For those of you who may be feeling alone and wondering how many other young girls are facing an unplanned pregnancy as you are, I thought I’d share some statistics with you. As you can see, you are clearly not the only teen making the tough decisions that you are faced with today. Unplanned pregnancy happens in every state: Mississippi, Texas, California, Maine, Illinois. Teen girls become pregnant every day in the United States. Imagine if no one in your situation ever thought to choose adoption. Imagine the enormous number of young women who, statistically, would never finish high school or attend college. The amount of money that taxpayers would have to contribute so these young mothers and their children could have food and medical care would be astonishing. While this data regarding unplanned pregnancy among teens is shocking, there are options available that offer both you and your baby a successful future. Choosing adoption, not abortion, saves more than just one life.
 
Teen birth rates differ substantially by age, racial and ethnic group, and region of the country. Most adolescents who give birth are 18 or older; in 2012, 72 percent of all teen births occurred to 18- to 19-year-olds.[1] Birth rates are also higher among Hispanic and black adolescents than among their white counterparts. In 2012, Hispanic adolescent females ages 15-19 had the highest birth rate (46.3 births per 1,000 adolescent females), followed by black adolescent females (43.9 births per 1,000 adolescent females) and white adolescent females (20.5 births per 1,000 adolescent females) (see Figure 1).[1] Estimates from 2010 data show that one in seven adolescent females (14.4%) in the United States will give birth by her 20th birthday, with substantial differences by race/ethnicity: 10 percent of white adolescent females, 21 percent of black adolescent females, and 24 percent of Hispanic adolescent females.[3]
 
Although Hispanics currently have the highest teen birth rates, they have also the most dramatic recent decline in rates.  Since 2007, the teen birth rate has declined by 39% for Hispanics, compared with declines of 29% for blacks and 25% for whites.[4]

Figure 1: Birth rates per 1,000 females ages 15-19, by race/ethnicity, 1990-2012
 

Source: Hamilton, B. E., Martin, J. A., & Ventura, S. J.(2013). Births: Preliminary data for 2012. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
 Substantial geographic variation also exists in adolescent childbearing across the United States. In 2010, the lowest teen birth rates were reported in the Northeast, while rates were highest in states across the southern part of the country (see Figure 2).[10]See how your state compares on birth rates, pregnancy rates, sexual activity, and contraceptive use with OAH’s reproductive health state fact sheets
 

Source: Martin, J. A., Hamilton, B. E., Ventura, S. J., & Osterman, M. J. K. (2013).Births: Final data for 2011. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics.
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Posted by on in Adoption Blog

This week, as we begin to celebrate being family and being thankful for life’s blessings, some of you may have questions about how to handle the holidays during or after an adoption. One expert shares her wisdom and offers answers for those difficult questions when it comes to what to do:


From Thanksgiving to the end of the year, everyone’s focus is on family. Even TV commercials show happy families celebrating the holidays together. As a result, this season can be painful for birthparents, especially if their contact with their children is minimal. And parents in open adoptions deliberate over what and how much to share with them. Will detailed information be painful—or reassuring—to the birthmother?

What you should keep in mind is that your son’s birthmother is a relative. You don’t have to love her, and she doesn’t have to be your best friend (as with some of your other relatives!)—but you should think of her as an extended family member. This is what open adoption is about. Knowing that he’s happy will help your son’s birthmother continue to feel good about the difficult decision she made eight years ago. And the holiday season is an especially important time to let her know you are thinking about her.

What to share

How can you let your son’s birthmother know she’s in your thoughts? The type of contact will depend on the relationship you have maintained over the years. If you have been in regular contact, whether by mail, phone, or visits with the family, your son’s birthmother will expect a detailed update or a get-together. If your contact has been more limited, I’m sure she’ll appreciate a letter and a photo.

Your son’s birthmother will enjoy hearing the details about his life—who he is at eight years old—his personality, his interests, his accomplishments. Parents might worry that details would be painful or would make the birthmother regret that she placed her child for adoption.

The reality is that the adoption plan was made out of love. She chose not to parent him, but she will always love him. So go ahead and tell her about the wonderful things your child does—that your son won the spelling bee at his school last year, for example, or that he’s learning to play the guitar.

You might ask your son what he’d like to share in a holiday letter to his birthmother. At his age, many children write their own letters to be enclosed in the holiday cards sent to the birth family. Or your son may want to draw a picture to send with your letter. By including him in this project, you gain an opportunity to talk with him again about his adoption story. You can remind him of the permanence of your family, as well as the love of his birthmother.

A 10-year-old I know, David, doesn’t visit with his birthmother, but he enjoys writing his own letter to her at holiday time. This year he talked about his accomplishments on the soccer field, and he asked her what her favorite sport is.

Many families also exchange gifts with their children’s birthparents at holiday time—as they do with other family members. If you have a close relationship with the birth family, consider a gift exchange. To children your son’s age, a gift from a birthparent is concrete evidence of her love; it attests to the fact that she thinks of him often.

Katie, an eight-year-old child I know, loves the teddy bear her birthmother gave her last Christmas. The bear sits on Katie’s bookshelf, and she tells visitors that it is from her birthmother, Susie. If you wanted to send a gift to your son’s birthmother, she’d surely cherish a framed photograph of him.

Whatever level of communication you have with your son’s birthmother, the holidays provide a wonderful opportunity to talk with your child about family and about all the people in his life who love him.

Kathleen Silber is the associate executive director of the Independent Adoption Center in Pleasant Hill, California, and coauthor of Dear Birthmother and Children of Open Adoption (Corona).

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Posted by on in Adoption Blog
As we are approaching Thanksgiving, let us remember to give thanks to the  birth  parents. Those who made the  though choice to give  birth  and then to  place.  To always remember that adoption is a choice.  To remember the birth parents with love in our hearts, for they made the kinder selfless choice.
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