Our blog covers topics on adoption, assisted reproduction, and surrogacy. You can read articles, personal stories, and commentaries written by our staff and our clients. A complete listing of all blog postings appear in chronological order below. To sort entries based on your interests, select one of the categories to the right under “categories.”
Please call us or send a confidential email if you have any questions, comments or would like to to contribute to our blog. We look forward to hearing from you!
(925) 945 1880 or (800) 877-1880.
Becoming an adoptive parent is a life changing decision. Much work is required before you sign the adoption papers and a lifetime of work waits for you after bringing your adoptive child home. While adopting a child can bring immense rewards and joy, it can also bring many challenges. Here are 10 questions to ask when deciding if you’re truly ready for this important life change.
Prepare yourself for success as an adoptive parent by asking these important initial questions.
Why do I want to adopt?
While this is a fairly basic question, it’s also one of the most important. If you’re unable to conceive a child and are considering adoption as an alternative, you’ll likely need to go through the grieving stages of not having a biological child before beginning the adoption process.
Am I financially ready for a baby?
Raising a child not only requires time, it also requires money. Being financially ready for a baby will help ease the stress that comes with parenthood and will help ensure you’re able to give your child the best life possible.
Am I ready to commit to parenthood?
Your world will shift dramatically after bringing your child home and you must be mentally prepared for those changes. Of course, parenthood brings many rewards, but you must be willing to also accept the challenges.
What age of child do I want?
Many adoptive parents want the full life experience of parenthood and, as such, choose to adopt infants. Others envision adopting a toddler or an older child.
In the future, will I tell my child about the adoption?
Deciding how or if you’ll share the news of adoption with your child in the future is important to consider before you begin the adoptive process. Creating this plan of action from the beginning will help ease your worries regarding the topic.
How will I share the news with friends and family?
If you decide that adoption is right for you, your must then decide how and when you’ll tell friends and family. While becoming an adoptive parent is your decision, it also impacts others in your life and you must be prepared to handle their reactions.
Is your relationship strong enough for parenthood?
Assessing the state for your relationship can be difficult, but it’s essential when deciding if you’re ready for parenthood. A healthy marriage or partnership offers the foundation for a loving and nurturing home for an adoptive child.
In the future, how would I feel if my child wanted to find his or her biological parents?
At some point, your child may approach you with the desire to find his or her biological parents. If this happens, you’ll need to have a plan of action for handling the request and will also need to deal with your emotions surrounding the topic.
How will I handle potential problems during the adoptive process?
Adoptions take time, which can be frustrating. Consider how an attorney can help ease the process and prepare for how you’ll handle any potential setbacks along your journey toward adoption.
What type of adoption am I envisioning?
If you’ll be adopting an infant, you’ll need to consider the type of adoption you want with the biological parents. Closed adoptions, open adoptions and arrangements in between are all options to consider before making your final decision.
Adopting an infant is a life changing decision. Make sure you’re ready for the rewards and challenges.
Becoming an adoptive parent will change your life in many ways. Considering those changes before adoption is necessary not only to make sure that adoption is right for you but also to ensure you create an adoption plan that works best for your family. As always, the experienced attorneys at Family Formation are available to answer your questions and guide you through the adoption process.
Categories: Adopting Parent
Learning that you’re unexpectedly pregnant brings a wave of emotions, including denial and worry. It’s a moment that can also leave you feeling alone and scared. Remember that you aren’t alone and many resources and outlets for support are available to help. Here’s what you need to know when trying to make the best decision based on your life circumstances.
If you’re unexpectedly pregnant, you aren’t alone. Many resources are available and there are many options to consider.
Abortion is often the unspoken option for women facing unplanned pregnancies. Yet, it’s the best choice for some women and you mustn’t feel shame when considering this option or when moving forward with an abortion.
If a baby isn’t in your plans right now and you’re considering an abortion, here are some important details to consider:
- Assessing the Cost: An abortion can cost several hundred dollars or several thousand. This price range is based on many factors including stage of pregnancy, where you live, type of procedure and medical equipment or anesthesia used.
- Considering Safety: If you choose abortion, investigate the qualifications of any potential abortion providers. Ask about potential complications and how those complications would be handled. Knowing the risks of abortion upfront will help you prepare for potential complications and can help you decide if this is the right option for you.
- Dealing with Emotions: Having an abortion brings many emotions and those emotions can recur for years. If you experience depression or other strong emotions after an abortion, remember that counseling, therapy and other resources are available.
Keeping Your Baby
While your pregnancy may be unplanned, this doesn’t automatically mean you must choose abortion or adoption. However, here are several factors to consider if you’re thinking of raising the child:
- Handling the Cost: Are you financially prepared to have a baby and, if not, what changes can you make to become more financially prepared? Grants and other forms of assistance are often available for single mothers and these are resources to consider when choosing to keep your baby.
- Finding Support: Do you have a supportive partner or family that will help you raise the child? If not, seek out other resources in your community such as support groups for single mothers. Having a support network in place before bringing baby home can make all the difference.
- Accepting the Change: Plan for success as a parent by understanding up front that raising a child requires a lot of work, time and money. Your life will never be the same after bringing baby home and, while parenthood brings many rewards, those rewards are coupled with many challenges.
Apart from choosing abortion or raising the child, adoption is another option to consider. Here’s what you should consider regarding this option:
- Type of Adoption: From a closed adoption where you would have no contact with the child to an open adoption where you would regularly see the child, there are many types of adoption to consider. Think about such details as the emotional toll that each type of adoption would have on you, the child, and the adoptive parents to settle on the best option.
- Facing your Emotions: Adoption is a life-changing decision and feeling a sense of loss or regret after signing the final adoption papers is perfectly normal. Handle these emotions and come to terms with the adoption by regularly meeting with a counselor or by finding a support group in your community.
- Changing Your Mind: While you may have settled on an adoption and made all of the arrangements with the adoptive parents during pregnancy, you may have second thoughts after having the baby. This is perfectly normal and it’s OK to change your mind. Take your time before signing the adoption papers and be sure that this is the best option for you and the baby.
Whether you choose to keep your baby or choose adoption or abortion, only you can decide which option is the best for your situation.
When facing an unplanned pregnancy, only you can decide which option is the best for your situation. Whichever option you choose, remember that you aren’t alone. Many resources and outlets for support such as Family Formation are available to help ease the process.
Nothing has been easy for me, not much family to mention, or animated stories of the good old days. I’m 33 years old, single mother of one little girl, and an ex-felon. I’m unemployed however I do have a few superficial degrees under my belt.
So when I realized I was pregnant my initial response was terror. My plan was to terminate the pregnancy as soon as possible. Accumulating the money to pay for the procedure was a little harder than I expected. Mostly because of weekly increase in the amount the abortion clinics charge the further along you get. I thought about getting a job but child care isn’t free…. Since the Doberman ran away. The bank denied my loan application, my student loan application, and I would have to buy a car to get a title loan.
When I finally gave up on the 23rd week I felt like I was drowning. More than anything just needed someone to help. The past 23 weeks had been a nightmare…A gloomy, cloudy, lonely nightmare. Through a friend of a friend came a gentle suggestion to call this lawyer named Megan who may be able to offer me another option. After my first conversation with Megan I felt like the clouds parted. A huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
I get the impression that people think of adoption as a shameful thing. Especially when you’re not on the receiving end. But instead of feeling like I gave up my son, I feel like I gave him the best. He will have a family, with traditions, and more than anything he’ll have opportunities. I wouldn’t be able to provide any of these things for him.
Megan went the extra mile with me and still is. She was never judgmental or condescending. More than anything she wanted me to know it was my choice. I’ve never felt like I was thrown away after all was said and done. Her qualities are genuine…..Refreshing for a lawyer.
I won’t lie and say it hasn’t been hard. I think of my son every day and although I miss him… At least I know I gave him a chance.
If you found this page, it’s likely because you searched “my daughter is pregnant” and are looking for advice from others who have been in your situation. The content of this article is based almost entirely on the advice and experience of parents whose daughters worked with our firm to create an adoption plan. Some of these women ultimately chose to parent their child. Of course, one short article will not answer all of your questions; therefore, we invite you to contact our office anytime for free, confidential information. We work with women and families across the country.
My Daughter is Pregnant, and I Don’t Know What to Do: Be Patient. Be supportive. Listen.
It’s difficult for parents of birth mothers to be on the outside, looking in. Understand that the following are very normal reactions to learning your daughter is dealing with an unplanned pregnancy:
- You may feel afraid that she will make the wrong choice and worry about how she will live with that choice.
- You may feel that you want to help by telling her what she should do even though you aren’t sure if it’s the right choice.
- You may be angry that she got herself into this situation in the first place and feel that you should have an influence on the decision she makes about your grandchild.
- You may feel incredibly sad that your daughter is going through a difficult time and you can’t fix it.
It’s hard to accept that the adoption choice belongs to the birth mother, regardless of her age, and the reality is that only she knows what’s best for her. She will live with her choice for the rest of her life and will remember the experience long after others have forgotten. While adoption may not be something parents would ever consider for themselves, adoption can be the right choice for some women. Here is what other parents say:
I think the most important thing a birth mother’s parents can do is to take time to think before speaking as their daughter faces this awesome decision. My initial reaction was to assure my daughter that everything would be all right and that we, as a team, would figure out what is best. I then realized I had a plan for her and the baby, which was, at times, ahead of where she was in her thinking. It is difficult to see sometimes that what you feel, as a parent, is the best course is not always what your daughter feels is the best course for her. It’s important to have patience, undivided love and attention to her fear and, possibly, her panic.
Try to let go of your own pre-conceived ideas of what constitutes a good family and of your own fears. Have faith that, with love, you and your daughter will find the way, whatever decision she makes. She needs your unconditional love, support, and trust that she will make the right decision. I tried to listen to my daughter’s hopes and fears without judgment and let her know I would support whatever decision she made to the best of my ability.
My Daughter is Considering Adoption: Show Her that You Support Her Regardless of her Choice
If your daughter is pregnant and thinking about adoption, the most important thing you can give her is your support, whether you agree with her choice or not. Supporting her means you respect her and want to help her regardless of her choices. Pressuring her into doing what you think is best could have the opposite effect because doing what is best for you may not be best for her; as she moves forward, the pressure may impact her self esteem, her confidence, and her perspective on her choice. It can lead to serious regret.
Parents also worry that showing support for the adoption will put pressure on their daughter to go through with it. The opposite is actually true. The support you show is for her ability to make her own choices not for the adoption itself. The key is to clearly send the message that you support whatever she chooses whenever she chooses it and that you will be there for her through it all.
- Ask your daughter how you can help.
- Ask her what she needs.
- Offer to put together a team of professionals to provide her with the information she needs to make the choice that works best for her.
Here is what other parents say:
Find conscientious, kind, caring, knowledgeable professionals to help her through the process and help her determine whether adoption is right for her and the baby. I knew we were not equipped to provide all that our daughter needed during this process. The process of deciding whether to do the adoption or keep the baby was emotionally charged and fraught with twists and turns in the road. The team was key in keeping us on course and providing us with support. We helped our daughter find a counselor, an adoption lawyer we trusted, and an OBGYN who supported her and her choices the way we did. The team also was critical in helping me understand that this is my daughter’s decision, not mine, and that making the decision was not only good for her but good for the baby and for us as a family.
My advice to parents of birth mothers is to find an adoption professional that has similar values, is experienced with the process, and has a strong reputation. So this was something we got right; a great referral from a trusted source.
The adoption attorney advised her about how to position herself in a way that would protect her and the baby in case the father ever decided to insert himself into the situation, either about the adoption decision or if my daughter kept the baby.
Our Friends and Family Don’t Support the Adoption: Focus on Your Daughter. Don’t Stop Talking About the Adoption.
Dealing with unsupportive family and friends is one of the most difficult aspects of being the parent of a birth mother. Many parents choose not to share with family and friends until after the adoption is complete, and everyone has begun to move forward. The goal here is to make your own choices without outside influences clouding your decision making. This will reinforce for your daughter that her feelings and well-being matter most, not what others think. This continues through the adoption process and beyond. Here’s what other parents have to say:
Shutting out the outside influences was a challenge. That chorus of opinions continued to cause doubt about the adoption decision, at least within me. What helped was the continuing refocus on our daughter. What did she want? What did she need? She was always clear about going forward with the adoption.
Once the baby is born and the adoption takes place, it does not magically alleviate the hurt and the “what if” thoughts for your daughter or you. Our daughter most needs us to talk to about the baby, and the most important thing you can do is to continue to keep talking to your daughter. She needs to know you care and know the baby is always a constant thought. She is a mom even though she is not mothering daily.
We Are Here To Help
If you’d like to speak with someone on our unique team (read more about our unique team) or possibly with a parent who has been in your shoes, we invite you to email or call our office for a confidential and free consultation.
We believe that putting a baby up for adoption is not giving up. Call us if you have any questions or just want to speak with someone about your options. Always confidential and always free: (925) 945-1880 or (800) 877-1880. You can also text (925) 528-8158 or click here to contact us confidentially via email. We look forward to hearing from you!
Being a surrogate was one of the best things that I had ever done. The fact that I was able to do something that not many others would even consider doing made me feel good. So now here I am, telling my story to whoever would love to read it.
My name is Jessica and I am 33 years old. I have been with my wonderful partner Mauricio for over seven years and together we are raising three wonderful kids. Last year our life completely changed, because I gave birth to the two most beautiful twins in the world. Of course, they were not ours to bring home. They belonged to my wonderful Intended Parents (IPs). My whole journey being a surrogate was such an awesome experience; it seemed that everything just fell into place. I wanted to do it again!
Being a surrogate is like traveling a curvy road.
Being a surrogate means taking a path that you cannot rush on, but eventually you get there and the outcome is amazing. After a lot of thought and prayer, Mauricio and I decided that it would be great to start a second surrogacy journey. I knew going into my second journey that there would be a chance that finding IP’s like my former ones would probably not happen. They were two of the most amazing people I had ever met, and I am proud to say that I helped complete their family.
I contacted Family Formation, the firm I worked with on my first surrogacy. I knew 100% that they would help me find the perfect couple once again. They were there for me all throughout my first journey, and I wanted to start my next one with them by my side. My wonderful coordinator Dory sent over all the paper work and after faxing it all back to her and getting all my medical records we were all set to start. A few weeks later I got the call that I was so anxiously awaiting. Dory let me know that she had shown my profile to a couple and that they were interested. It made me feel good knowing that they wanted to meet us. Dory told me that Mauricio and I should just be ourselves and that everything would go great.
The meeting was set for that following Sunday. We decided to meet halfway and have breakfast. Mauricio and I were so nervous, the fact that we were at the point again was so crazy. Walking into the restaurant not knowing what the outcome would be and then being able to walk out knowing that I want to help them felt great. Mauricio and I still were a little nervous because we had no idea what their feelings and thoughts were. We had to wait until the following day to find out what their decision was.
The next day Dory called me and told me that they were so impressed with us and wanted to proceed. I was super excited to hear the news and was eager to get started being a surrogate again! I let Mauricio know the news and he let me know that he supports me and was really happy that the IPs liked us. He was hoping that they would because he really enjoyed meeting them.
So right now, we are at the slow point. We just got my insurance and I have to get medically screened, but have not got a call for an appointment yet. I know that once we get cleared the process gets a little faster. I love it though…the fact that I will be helping them complete their family through surrogacy is beyond words.
Being a surrogate is a controversial issue.
Some people don’t understand why I would want to do it. I, on the other hand, don’t understand how one would be able to deny helping a couple complete their family. The fact that they would trust me well enough to carry their child means so much to me, and I plan on being great at it.
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What Open Adoption Means to Me, by Kaylee (age 14)
Do you ever wonder what it’s like to be adopted? What your child is thinking about when it comes to adoption? Well I can tell you all about that because I was adopted at birth. When I say that I was adopted, some people ask if my birthmother wanted me. Of course she did, but she was going through times where she couldn’t take care of a child. It was a tough decision, but she only wanted the best for me. I am very happy with my life and I don’t feel like I should hide my adoption. It’s just part of who I am, and part of who I will become.
Yes, being adopted is different, but my life would be completely different if I wasn’t adopted. My birthmother wanted me to have a life better than what she could give me. I see an open adoption as having 2 loving families. I mean, my life is pretty normal. I get good grades, enjoy school, have lots of friends, and have 4 sisters. My adoptive mom didn’t hide the fact that I was adopted; in fact, we both embrace it. My younger sister is Gabby and has an open adoption as well. Since I was adopted from Yuba City, CA and her from Alabama, I see my birth family a lot more than she does because we live in California. When I tell my friends I was adopted, they shower me with questions. Some more intelligent than others! I am happy to educate people who don’t know a lot about it. A question I hear frequently is “why did your real mother give you away?” Okay, first of all I was not given away; this is not a thrift shop or a bargain market. She just wanted a better life for me that what she could give. Second, my biological and adoptive moms are both my real moms and they both love me. My birthfather terminated his rights, or just left, before I was born. I don’t really care, I mean, that’s one less idiot I have to deal with, and I still have 3 loving parents and 4 sisters. I mean, what’s one less?
I met my friend Zoe at an adoption picnic. I don’t remember it very well, but I know that’s when our friendship started. We are still friends to this day. Just like a band class or club, adoption get togethers can form strong friendship bonds because everyone there has something in common. They are all adopted. I mean, I was lucky, I got the easy life. Some birth moms find it really difficult to let go. I mean, who doesn’t? But some don’t end up letting go even though it’s best. Even though some say I’m smart, I have so much to learn and I’m willing to embrace that. I still have so much of my life left; high school, college, finding a job, raising a family, and so on – I love my family for guiding me through my life and helping me when I need it. “You’re always there for me and the best anyone can have!” I love all the choices that everyone has made that have gotten me to where I am today. My family says, “We are so proud of you, for what you have accomplished! You are creative, artistic, and smart and have a great heart!” Well, I hope they know I wouldn’t be who I am today without them.
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Categories: Adoption Stories
My adoption story is a beautiful one, although it didn’t start off that way. I found out I was pregnant when I was 21 weeks along. This was in August of 2012. I was working at a summer camp and had been complaining to my female coworker about not getting my period, but was coming up with every other logical explanation for why that was happening. Finally, she gave me a pregnancy test to “calm my nerves,” but what it did was help me face reality.
I found out on a Friday afternoon. I remember rushing home from camp and trying another test. Again, positive. No one in my family was home at the time, and since I was in such a panic, I called my mom sobbing. She was with my sister in New York at the time, and once I told my mom the news, she decided she would fly home from New York early to help me figure things out. We told my dad together, and after the initial shock and anger, they were very supportive and loving. At this point in time though we did not know how far along I was until I saw the doctor. I didn’t have many options at this point in the pregnancy. After telling the shocking news to the birth father, a close friend from my old school, we decided that adoption was the way to go. Both of us are still in college and it wouldn’t be fair to our daughter to grow up with one parent at a time who couldn’t even be with her all day because of work and class. We wanted to find a family that would give her all the love and attention we just couldn’t give her at this time in our life.
Life works in mysterious ways sometimes. Before finding out about the pregnancy, I had been babysitting for a family friend who had adopted their son the previous year. Their birth mom had been in contact with Family Formation, so I decided to reach out to them. After talking to Megan Cohen, my nerves were totally calm. It was weird how similar our life stories and adoption stories were. Megan sent me three pamphlets after meeting with me over the phone, and one of the couples seemed oddly familiar, as if I had met them before. Their smiles jumped off the page and warmed my heart. Then when I talked to them on the phone, they seemed like people who really cared about me and my baby. We decided to get brunch one Sunday, and I left that meeting knowing they were the people I wanted to be my daughter’s parents. It’s a feeling that no one would understand unless you are a birth mother. My parents especially didn’t understand. They were angry and scared how quickly I had chosen a family. They wanted me to see other options, which I did. But none matched what I felt about this couple.
After deciding they were the couple I wanted to raise my baby, we met for lunches, and they even brought me dessert one night when I was pretty far along. I could tell how excited they were, and it made me excited for them. Knowing I would be making a family gave me comfort through the entire process.
I went into the hospital on December 17, 2012 for an induced labor. The labor was quick and relatively painless thanks to my good friend the epidural. Grace Amelia was born after 4pm on December 18, 2012. She was perfect. I held her in my arms and couldn’t believe that she was mine for a short time. Her parents came into the room crying with the biggest smiles on their faces. I won’t lie that after seeing Grace I was a little bit jealous, angry, and sad that they would get to see her firsts and be with her everyday. I also knew that I loved her too much to selfishly take her home with me where she wouldn’t get the love and attention she deserved. Saying goodbye was terrible. The worst day of my life. But, I had amazing friends and family to support me through my emotional and physical recovery.
Grace’s parents send me pictures every so often, and she is growing up so fast. I’m so happy with my decision because I know she has the best possible life, and it is something I’m so proud of. I am looking forward to seeing Grace and her parents at the end of this month. I am now on the Dean’s list at the University of San Francisco, working a few jobs, and living at home with my parents. I get together with Megan Cohen for coffee once in awhile or with a group of birth mothers to process and share our stories. I am thankful for Grace and for this experience, as difficult as it is. I know Grace is happy and healthy, and that’s what matters.
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We had to wait for eight days after our transfer to confirm my surrogate pregnancy with a beta test (the blood test that says I’m pregnant!). This just felt like such a long time, so I had spoken to our Intended Mother about the possibility of taking home pregnancy tests prior to our Beta. She let me know that during her attempts to conceive, it was difficult to wait for the blood work, and they would test early at home. With this information in mind, I bought several home tests, and waited for several days. On the evening of the fifth day after our transfer, I got our first positive home test. The line was incredibly faint, and I had to ask my husband too look at it to confirm with me. The sixth day was very similar. There was a line, but it was faint. I decided that the following day I would take a digital test. The next morning came, and the digital test read pregnant. I was so excited for our Intended Parents! I knew that this was just one of many hurdles to cover, but we were off to a positive start! I text messaged our Intended parents that morning, and sent them a picture of the positive digital test. They were very happy, and appropriately cautiously optimistic.
(Read more about the process of becoming a surrogate)
Adoption agency waiting periods can be very frustrating for adopting couples, especially when they hear it can take up to 3 years to adopt through an agency. Adoption agencies refer their adopting parents to us when they’ve been unsuccessful in finding a birthmother for their adopting families. Some adoption agencies can take as long as two to three years to match their clients with a birthmother. The most likely reason for this long waiting period is that agencies are typically working with anywhere from 50 to100 adopting parent clients at a time. When a birth mother works with an agency, you can expect that she will be considering many families (25 or more in most circumstances).
Different from an Adoption Agency, No Long Waiting Periods
Our firm is different from an adoption agency, not only because we are attorneys, but because we work with only 10 to 15 adopting families at a time. This means that our wait times for a match are much shorter than an agency. When a birth mother works with us, she is going to be presented with an average of only 4 to 5 adoptive families. Also, we do not present any of our families with a birthmother until we have fully screened the situation first. We know her preferences for a family, confirmed her pregnancy (and in most cases already obtained her medical records) and have gotten to know her and her particular needs. This also benefits the birth mother because she already knows and trusts our team and feels assured that each of the families she’s been presented with will be a great fit for her based on her dreams for her child. And if for any reason she’d like to consider more families (which is not typical), we will present her with as many as she needs to make the choice that works best for her.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you build your family through adoption, call us today for a FREE 15 minute CONSULTATION with one of our attorneys.
Categories: Adopting Parent
The Topeka Capital Journal reported earlier this week about the case in which William Marotta answered a Craigslist ad to act as a sperm donor for a same sex couple. The state of Kansas now contests that Marotta is a father, owing child support to the three year old girl. This assertion is contested by both the female couple and Marotta.
Similar cases are cropping up all over the country, and what they generally have in common is the lack of a supervising physician. This is because most states that have laws actually protecting sperm donors require that the donation be made under the care of a physician. This requirement is clearly a mystery to many donors and recipients, with the lesson being to check your state’s laws before you buy a syringe and catheter and go it alone. This particular article points out that the parties have a contract that “releases [the sperm donor] from making child support payments.” The problem here…you can’t contract away your child’s right to child support. The comments are also worth a read, particularly the logic of the last one regarding the use of a condom and premeditated murder.
Follow the link to read the full article
If you would like more information about our specific legal services including donor contract drafting and review, click here