*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Courtney Westlake. She is the author of the newly released book A Different Beautiful
. She lives in Illinois with her husband Evan and two children, Connor and Brenna. After Brenna was born with a severe skin disorder, Courtney began chronicling family life and experiences raising a child with physical differences and special needs on her blog
. You can follow her on Facebook
Sometimes the life we dreamed of having when we first started out on the parenting journey doesn’t turn out the way we envisioned it. In the midst of this, there’s an opportunity to discover a different beautiful.
When my husband, Evan, and I found out we were expecting a little girl, joining her big brother Connor in our family, we had a vision of pigtails. We pictured a little girl chasing her brother around the house, with blond pigtails bouncing on the sides of her head.
This is a guest post from our good friend Michelle McKinney. She is an adoptive mother and blogger. She describes herself as an imperfect wife and an even more imperfect mom who decided long ago, “Why bring more kids into the world when there are so many here already who need forever homes?” She believes all kids deserve a family. Every single one. You can read her work with HIV advocacy by visiting thoughtsfrommichelleskitchen.com
When you’re in the trenches of the foster or adoptive journey, empathy can go a long way on the path of healing. But what does that look like and how can others be that person of empathy?
Last Monday I traveled with my two littles from Las Vegas to UCLA to have the usual blood work and to get the 2 month supply of life-saving meds like we do every 8 weeks. It’s always a really, really long day. Hospitals and traveling across the desert with kids have a way of taking it out of you.
*Editors Note- This is a guest post by Jessica Graham. She is a mother of three kids, all of whom have been adopted and two of whom have significant special needs. Her book Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marvelings and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent
is available on Amazon
and is free September 15-16, 2016.
As foster and adoptive parents, many of us are also parenting children with major special needs. Many of us are constantly looking back, before we began this journey, wishing someone would’ve told us what to expect.
Being a parent to a child with medical or developmental needs is as much like being a parent to a typically developing child as it is different. Parenting is hard no matter who your kid is – and no matter who you are. Also, no matter how much you prepare, experience will be your greatest teacher. But often for those of us who became special needs parents through adoption or foster care, there is an underlying frustrating – why didn’t someone tell me how it really is!
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by Anthony Zurica, who works as an adoption attorney in New York City. Since becoming a solo practitioner in 2007, he has dedicated his practice to being a strong ally and advocate for his clients. His work and knowledge of Adoption law has made him a go to resource for both clients and his peers. Mr. Zurica is an active participant in the Adoption community throughout New York. You can visit his website here
or check out his Facebook page here
Adopting a child is a monumental decision for you and your family and it’s just the start of a long journey to bringing home your new family member. To make the process as smooth as possible, it’s vital to carefully choose your adoption team and understand the roles they’ll play.
When forming your adoption team, make sure that you fill the spots with individuals who support your wants and needs. Know ahead of time what kind of adoption you’re interested in, and be honest with yourself about your limitations. Think through race and culture differences, gender, special needs, and whether you want an open or closed adoption. Set your convictions on those issues and stick to them. It’s in the best interest of your family and your child-to-be. Once you’ve made those decisions, choose players that will work within the parameters you’ve set.
This is a guest post by Ellen Stumbo who is the founder of Disability Matters
. She is a writer and speaker who focuses on sharing the real, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes ugly, aspects of faith, church, disability, parenting, and adoption. Ellen’s writing has appeared on Focus on the Family, LifeWay, MomSense, Not Alone, Mamapedia and the Huffington Post. Ellen blogs at ellenstumbo.com
, you can also find her on Twitter
Looking at the fees and expenses associated with adoption can be overwhelming. How can anyone afford to adopt? The dollar sign is big, but make no mistake, that is not what adoption costs.
Adoption costs more than money can buy, because adoption is an all or nothing choice.
Adoption costs your time.
From the moment you decide to adopt, till the day you die! It’s not only the paperwork, and the waiting. It’s not dealing with the foster care system. Not even the traveling to a foreign country and being away from family and your support system. It is a lifetime commitment to another human being whom you choose to make your very own.
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post by our good friend Lisa Qualls. She is a writer, speaker, mom of 12, and the creator of Thankful Moms
, where she writes about motherhood, adoption, faith, and grief. Lisa is a mom by birth and adoption. Along with her husband Russ, their adoption journey has been marked by joy as well as challenges of trauma and attachment. You can visit her blog here
, and connect with her on Facebook here
Sometimes the adoption journey can leave us questioning our ability as parents. But the trials may lead to personal growth that we never thought was possible.
I was pouring a cup of coffee when my friend called. She asked if I had a minute to talk and when I answered, “Yes,” her resolve quickly faded and she began to cry. She told me about a conflict with her newly adopted son. Despite her best intentions, she was convinced she had failed to handle it well.
*Editor’s note- This is a guest post from our good friend Jennie Owens. She and her husband Lynn, support foster and adoptive families through their nonprofit organization, www.foreverhomes.org
. Jennie also speaks to parenting groups and leads retreats for foster and adoptive families. She provides training and one-on-one coaching services to parents through their clinic, Canyon Lakes Family Counseling, in Kennewick, WA. You can also visit her blog here
Dealing with rejection from your child is an uphill battle. No parent wants to face this. We want to believe we can love them through their trauma. How do you successfully parent your child but deal with their rejection at the same time?
“WE had FUN with DAD,” hissed my daughter, as she met me at the door with an angry sneer. Her glare and belittling tone once again communicated, what seemed to be, sheer hatred of me. We had just returned from camping at the Lewis and Clark Trail State Park. My husband had secretly given me the choice of driving the nice, newer car with our three children or the old, Ford Escort carrying the smelly Newfoundland dog, whose rancid stench had come from playing in the river all weekend. I chose the dog.
*Editor’s Note- This is a guest post from our good friend Rachel Lewis. She is a foster mom, biological mom and adoptive mom. She started her fostering journey before enduring recurrent loss and infertility, and shares transparently about her journey to creating a family on her blog The Lewis Note
. Connect with Rachel on Facebook
Adoptive parents are no strangers to inappropriate statements from others. But some statements that should never be uttered, regardless of the situation, or how well you know the person saying them.
I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. Maybe you’ve said it. You know someone. I know someone. Maybe you know 10 someones. And yet saying it is seriously not cool.
“As soon as you adopt, you’ll get pregnant.”