We asked local social work students to survey friends and family to get their answers on what comes to mind when they hear the word adoption. Here are some of their answers:
I first think of the word hope. Adoption means someone is blessed with a child... -Olivia Toft
It gives birth parents another chance at a successful future and gives the babies an opportunity to succeed, be healthy, and be happy with a loving family.
I interviewed my parents about adoption. They both think it is a wonderful thing for everyone involved. My mom’s sister had a baby out of wedlock back in 1965 and it was much different back then...A lot has changed since then and they think it is a wonderful thing. Both my mom and dad give birth parents and adoptive parents credit because it does take a lot of courage but it is a beautiful thing.
It was so awesome to hear from the community about your thoughts on adoption. As Adoption Awareness Month comes to a close, we hope more people have found a chance to talk about adoption at home, work, or with friends and consider how to support and encourage people going through the adoption process or where to find resources for an expectant parent trying to make decisions for their baby's future.
We are grateful for you!
By Anonymous CFLS Volunteer
I’m your biological sister. I am 21 years old. We have the same birth father. I have known about you for over half my life. I have often thought about you and how you have grown up. Were you involved in sports? Do you like to travel? What are some of your hobbies? What are your parents like? Do you have other siblings?
Over the years, I have tried to understand why our father created an adoption plan for you. I know that he was 15-16 years old when he found out you were on the way. He, along with his girlfriend were very excited to become parents but they were on a tough road. Both your mom and your dad were still in high school. They decided adoption because they wanted to help others who could not have babies on their own. It’s been over 20 years since the adoption and a lot has happened since then. We have a sister. She is 23. She also has been curious about you and what you have been up to. I am currently a senior in college going into the field of social work. I am getting married next summer. Our sister is going to start Grad School next fall in the field of criminal justice. Did you go to college? Are you married? Do you have kids?
We have missed out on so much of each other’s lives and my goal in life is to know who you are. I understand the difficulty in making this step and if you are even interested in meeting your biological family. I understand if you have no interest in knowing where you came from. I am prepared to handle that when and if that time comes. I just want you to know that you are loved!
I have started the outreach process in hopes to someday meet you. I have so many questions and so much to tell you!
-Your biological sister
*CFLS works with clients to conduct a search of biological family when applicable. See our Adoption Search page for more information.
Come find out more about Adoption Awareness Month tonight...
By Destrie Overmoe
There is something about reconnecting two hearts that have been separated for a time – it is a beautiful process.
In today’s world, each adoption can land anywhere on the spectrum of closed and open adoptions. We often use the imagery of a door that can be opened just a crack or wide open. In semi-open adoptions there are visits, pictures, and letters; in really open adoptions identifying information is shared between all parties involved. In some cases, people choose that for the time being, minimal or no contact is best. Keep in mind that no contact right now does not mean no contact forever, and it definitely does not mean that the decision was made without love. So what happens when contact is desired later on in life? Search.
Search allows for birth parents or adoptees to seek each other out usually with the assistance of the placing agency. As Case Manager at Christian Family Life Services, I get the honor of conducting Searches on behalf of adoptees or birth parents.
In North Dakota, adoptees can begin searching for their birth family once they are 18, but adoptees cannot be searched for until they are 21. A recent case started when *David decided that it was the right time to look for *Melanie, his birth mother. Most often it is the adoptee who is wondering “Where did I come from?” and wants to search for his/her birth parents. Sometimes families start with ongoing contact, but it decreases or ends as families get busy with raising children or birth parents forget to give address updates to the agency...
Read the rest of the article (A Time to Search) in our Thanksgiving Newsletter!
by Tina Bloch, LSW
What do you think of when you hear the word “Adoption?” Where do we get our information about adoption from? Some people hear about adoption from the media & movies. However, you must ask yourself if that is a true and accurate representation of what adoption is like today.
Adoption has been around for a very long time dating all the way back to the days of the Bible. The first story in the Bible about adoption was with Moses. If you need a refresher about his life, check out the story in Exodus 2.
In adoption, unfortunately the history includes shame and secrecy. Openness can be an “antidote to shame.” Moving along the time periods, closed adoptions stayed the norm for many years. In the early 1930s, it was believed that adoption should be a “discreet process and that secrecy should be maintained to protect not just the adoptive family, but also the birth parents.” However, in the 1980s, people realized that this secrecy, guilt and shame lead to resentment and depression. In closed adoptions, the adoptive families were unable to even access their adoption records or resources to help them. The child had no sense of where they came from and the women who made an adoption plan lived hiding their adoption story. As a result, adoption is very different today.
Today, most agencies conduct open to semi-open adoptions, with closed adoptions still being an option for birthparent(s) if they so choose. First off, openness in adoption means maintaining some degree of contact between the adopted child, their birth families, and the adoptive family. There are different forms that openness can take in regard to the type of contact, frequency, intensity/emotional impact, time and location. The openness continuum can range between the exchanging of non-identifying information through a third party, to arrangements for face-to-face contact and many types of openness in between. For more information about open, semi-open and closed adoptions please visit our Types of Adoption Openness page. At Christian Family Life Services, most of our families choose a semi-open adoption plan where non-identifying information is shared through letters and pictures. In addition, occasional face-to-face visits take place at a neutral location.
*We encourage families who are considering adoption to take time to research stories of openness and talk together with your spouse about your personal comfort level regarding your relationship with birth parents. Transparency is important in this process, and the CFLS case work will provide more education and tools as couples walk through the home study process.
If you have more questions, please contact CFLS or come by for our open house next Thursday!
In celebration of Adoption Awareness Month in November, Christian Family Life Services wants to showcase our beautiful families whom have adopted through us. Families built through adoption may not share genes, but they certainly share lots of love! Check out these great families below:
“Our three boys:
The latest News and updates from the CFLS offices and the adoption ministry.