THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF ADOPTION
As we celebrate National Adoption month here at New Life Family Services, we also celebrate the families who have joined this extended family of adoption. The term “extended family of adoption” is a common phrase in the adoption world lately, and it shows the unique relationship that birth parents and adoptive families often grow to have.
If you think about all of your extended relatives, you begin to see how varied and unique these relationships are. It’s the same for birth parents and adoptive families. The extended family of adoption can look different in each situation.
“There is a deep connection between adoptive families and birth families because of their roots, they are a connected family,” says Jennifer Patrick, LICSW, Director of Social Services.
The biggest myth about adoption is that you don’t have any choices about the relationship that follows the adoption of the baby, whether that be too much or too little involvement. “An open adoption isn’t co-parenting, it’s a relationship between all parties,” said Jennifer Patrick.
Through New Life Family Services, families decide how open they want the relationship to be, and they set boundaries to respect everybody involved.
There is a deep connection between adoptive families and birth families.”
“A lot of times having an open adoption is said to be best for the child, but it’s best for everyone involved in the adoption. We’ve seen many adoptive families who are often disappointed if the birth mother doesn’t want the relationship to be open,” said Patrick.
We have seen time and time again that this extended family model brings blessings for both families. The stories below highlight the unique relationships formed between adoptive families and birth families.
One birth grandmother says she enjoys having the opportunity to baby-sit her granddaughter, Elise: “Only God could write this story. This couple that Maddie and Joey chose, have become family to us. It has turned out I spend a lot of time with Elise, I get to baby-sit her. It feels like one, big family, I feel really blessed,” said Beth Griggs Nelson, birth grandma to Elise. Read Elise’s birth mom, Maddie’s full story here.
Elise’s birth father, Joe says her adoptive parents welcome him to text them anytime he’d like to come over and see Elise. “They are super chill parents and people. It’s someone that I could hang out with as friends,” said Joe. Read Elise’s birth dad, Joe’s full story here.
Chris and Kris adopted Izak Imanual in 2012. They are so grateful for the beautiful gift of their son given to them by his young birth mom. They send regular updates and photos of Izak to his birth mom but often to hear back from her. “Although we don’t often hear from her, we know she receives the updates and hope for the opportunity to have more contact in the future.” Read the Negley’s story here.
Jessie Carlson is a birth mom, and was adopted as a baby. She believes her family has become one giant family with her daughter’s adoptive family. “Julie and Kevin are like my aunt and uncle. We’re a super big, connected family,” said Jessie. Julie also has discovered an unexpected friend in Jessie’s mother, “Jessie’s mom was a great resource for me. It’s nice to have a friend who I can talk to about adoptive parenting.” Read Jessie and the Kramer’s full story here.
Lydia talks about finding a new extended family through the adoptive parents she choose, “Through this adoption God brought me a new family in Eric and Hillary.” Hillary, the adoptive mother also sees Lydia is a huge blessing in their life, “It is a beautiful relationship unlike any other and we can’t wait to have our baby girl get to know her more.” Read Lydia and Eric and Hillary’s full story here.
We know that each adoption is unique and each relationship is special. There is not a one size fits all approach to adoption. That’s why New Life Family Services offers a two-worker model, so birth families and adoptive families each have their own social worker to help them in this process.
“We’re here to help you figure out what works for you. Making a plan that fits for each individual person and family. Each adoption is tailored made for their family and situation,” said Jennifer Patrick.
To learn more about adoption and the opportunities to share your own adoption story, contact Bethany at (612) 746-5670.