Foundations for Growth            

Specializing in Adoption Services, Adoption Education & Support,
and Counseling services for Women, Teens, & Families

Adoption Blog

Adoption blog exploring various adoption-related topics, information, and resources to benefit all members of the adoption triad as well as adoption professionals.

view:  full / summary

How/When to Talk to your Child About Adoption

Posted by on September 7, 2018 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Experts recommend that adoptive parents begin to talk to their child about adoption from infancy. This helps the adoptive family to become familiar with using positive adoption language, practice sharing the child’s adoption story and create adoption to be a normal, household term. By talking about adoption from an early age, the child will grow up always being aware of the concept, making adoption a natural experience and way to create a family.

During infancy, parents can demonstrate a positive association with the word adoption during this time, similar to the phrase “I love you.” This can be done while cuddling and caring for your baby and saying statements like “We are so happy we adopted you and that we are a family.” Also, parents can share positive adoption language information with their family and friends. This will further create an environment that is supportive and nurturing to your child. Download our Positive Adoption Language handout.

Key concepts during early childhood:

Parent’s discussions about adoption and responses to their child’s questions should be age/developmentally appropriate. At this age (3-6 years old), a child is curious and is starting to use cognitive and language skills to explore the world around them. They often have short attention spans, therefore he/she may be satisfied with simple, direct responses to questions they ask.

During these years, parents should teach their child basic concepts about family types and the various ways families can be created, highlighting the creation of a family through adoption. This can be done by telling the child the following:


  • “Every baby is born to a man and a woman.”
  • “Families are made in many ways - Babies can live with the family they were born in, and babies can live with the family that adopts them.”
  • “Sometimes a woman can’t have a baby, so she adopts a baby.”
  • “Sometimes a mom and a dad can’t take care of a baby who is born to them, so they find another family to raise their child.”
  • “Sometimes families adopt children from far away.”


  1. Use tangible objects - Young children are best able to understand more complex concepts when they can use one (or more) of their 5 senses: see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. Parents can use this approach with their child in the following ways:
  2. Read children’s books together that have a focus on adoption stories, family types, and diversity. Visit our website for a list of children's books we recommend.
  3. Pictures - Share with your child Birthparent/family photos, photos from initial contact/match period with birthparents, photos from hospital stay, photos from visits with birthparents, etc.
  4. Drawing pictures - This can be helpful if there is not availability to pictures of the birthparents and child wants to imagine what they look like.
  5. Create a Lifebook or Personalized Adoption Story Book- The best story in the whole world to a young child is “The Story of How You Got Me.”
  6. When talking with your child, Reflect and Repeat what your child says. Paraphrasing your child’s words demonstrates that you are paying attention and are interested.
  7. Discuss and offer your child concrete ways of expressing feelings. This can be done in the following ways:

  • Teach your child about feelings and how to express them.
  • Read children’s books with your child that teach feelings/emotions, healthy ways to express anger, and positive self-esteem. Download our recommended reading list.
  • Suggest to your child to write a letter to a birthparent to send or to put in a special place.
  • Have child draw a picture for the birthparent and send or put in a special place.
  • Use dolls or puppets to act out feelings or to ask questions.
  • Direct contact with Birthparents makes adoption concrete and real.



Creating a open and honest space for your child that allows him/her to freely explore, ask questions, and understand their adoption story will strengthen family bonds and relationships as well as allow your child to develop a secure, healthy identity. The discussion of adoption and your child’s story is not a one time conversation, rather ongoing discussions and your child’s understanding will continue to evolve as your child ages. We encourage families educate themselves through books, podcasts, community resources, and seeking the guidance of an qualified adoption professional/counselor.


We offer support sessions for adoptive families during the adoption process as well as counseling for adoptive parents and children post-adoption. Visit our website for additional information or contact us today. Email: or Phone: (813) 658-8071.

Understanding Open Adoption and the Benefits

Posted by on August 6, 2018 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

When planning for the expansion of your family through adoption, it is important to understand the types of adoption and the impact it will have on the adoption triad - the birth family, adoptive family, and the adopted child. Understanding the different types will help you choose the best option for your family. This is one of the first parenting decisions you will make for your child - becoming educated about adoption.

Research shows that open adoption is best practice and benefits all members of the adoption triad. Today, 95% of infant adoptions in the United States have some level of openness. (source: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute)

What does an open adoption look like?

In an open adoption, birth and adoptive parents share full identifying information, and typically have direct communication during the pregnancy, while making an adoption plan, and also following the placement, with the guidance and support of an adoption professional. Prospective birthparents are able to select the adoptive family of their choice, and both parties are able to determine the type and frequency of ongoing contact. Contact in open adoption ranges from sharing pictures and letter or email updates, to calls/video chat, and/or in-person visits.

It is very important that birthparents and adoptive families who are working towards a mutually agreed upon adoption plan have the guidance and support of a qualified adoption professional to ensure the necessary steps are taken for best outcomes of long-lasting, healthy family connections and birth family relationships. Foundations for Growth are advocates of open adoption and our social workers provide this guidance through comprehensive and compassionate match support services to birthmothers and adopting parents.

What are the benefits of open adoption?

Research shows that open adoption is best practice for the following reasons:

  • Supports everyone in the adoption triad (birthparents, adoptive parents, adoptee)
  • Acknowledges and supports the grief and loss process
  • Results in better psychological outcomes 

The greatest benefit of openness is accessed by the adopted child. The child understands he/she was placed out of love and has a better understanding of the meaning of adoption. The child has a connection to and an understanding of his/her heritage, family history, medical information, and personality traits. Through active communication with his/her adoptive parents and an ongoing connection to their birth family, the child is able to establish a secure identity, self-confidence, and sense of belonging. At times, post-adoption counseling or support from an adoption professional could be beneficial to navigate any needs that may arise. Check out our post-adoption support and counseling services for adoptive families to learn more about what we offer for families and how post-adoption counseling can benefit your family.

In an open adoption, birthparents are able to have a role in the child’s life, often similar to an extended family member or friend relationship. Through ongoing contact and connection, birthparents often feel reassured with their decision when they know the child is happy, loved, and taken care of. The continued contact with the family and child promotes healing in the grief and loss process.

Adoptive parents benefit from openness as it provides them with a sense of entitlement and ownership in parenting due to being selected by the birthparent(s). Due to the ongoing contact and relationships with birthparents, any concern that he or she wants to “take my child back” or regret their decision is alleviated. Lastly, the adoptive family has direct access to their child’s medical and family history and information that will assist them in raising their child and discussing his/her adoption story openly.

For more information about open adoption, visit our educational workshops or contact us for a free consultation to discuss our adoption services!

5 Ways to Find the Right Match

Posted by on July 24, 2018 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Every time the phone rings you wonder if it will be your adoption agency calling to tell you they have a match for you. You find yourself daydreaming about when will you get "the call," and have started feeling uncertain about the waiting period and why your adoption entity hasn't found a match for you. You've gone over and over in your head thinking there must be a way to make this process easier, to find the match that feels right, to find the child you are meant to parent. Somehow you find yourself waking up day after day feeling unsure how to get there. You've starting to realize there must be something else we can be doing. Great news - there is! Chances are there are a lot of ways to take an active role in your process and to help you find the right match, and we are here to tell you the steps to get there!

Here are 5 tips to focus on that will lead you to the RIGHT match:

Educate Yourself –

Connect with a competent adoption specialist specialist or adoption entity to seek out education to prepare you for being an adoptive family. When choosing your adoption professional, ask questions about what education and support is provided during the home study and matching phases of the adoption process. Many families assume their adoption entity will teach them everything they need to know, but often education is lacking and only extends to information about the home study and legal components of an adoption. Seek out comprehensive adoption education courses to not only learn about the process, but also types of adoption, special adoption preferences, how to communicate with birthparents, how to network your adoption, matching, etc.

By equipping yourself with information and knowledge you are setting yourself up for success! You may ask, how will this connect me to a birthmother? Let me explain. Knowledge is power – and educating yourself will empower you to take an active role in your adoption process. You will have a better vision of what options will be best for your family. You may be more open to considering something you were not previously aware of, feel more empowered to share your adoption profile, and/or be prepared for contact with potential birthmothers. These steps lead to connections, which will broaden your opportunities for contact, as well as finding the right match for you. Building the foundation of your adoption process on education will allow you to complete the remaining steps outlined in this blog post.

Get Support –

Talk to your friends and family about your decision to adopt. Just like when you started the process, you probably didn’t know a lot about adoption – you will need to educate them on the process, about birthparents, openness in adoption, and prepare them for estimated timeframe to adopt. Find recommended books such as In On It by Elisabeth O’Toole to give your relatives and friends a resource to learn everything you want them to know about adoption.

This will not only prepare your family for when you bring home your little one, it will get the conversation flowing! The more your family, friends, or co-workers know about your adoption journey, the more likely they are to talk about it! By educating and getting support from your family, they feel empowered too, and become invested in your process. This can lead to finding a match through mutual connections and word of mouth. Your social network is likely to share similarities with you, such as similar interests, values, or ways of life. These factors are what lead you to find the right match, as potential birthparents may also share some of those factors and when choosing an adoptive family, they are looking for a connection!

For example, your sister’s close friend could have a colleague whose friend is faced with an unintended pregnancy and has been considering adoption. You want them to remember you are adopting and reach out to you.

Connect with your Community –

Consider sharing your adoption journey with members of your community. Now wait a minute, before you start reminding yourself you never joined that community club last spring or telling yourself how you “should” be more involved – we are going to give you several options to consider. Most families we talk to can often identify with more than one option and never realized how big their network already is!

Options to consider include but are not limited to: your neighborhood, church or religious dwelling, community club or homeowner’s association, fitness or gym clubs, local community center or YMCA, local meet up groups, hobby meet ups, medical community such as doctor’s or dentist office, real estate agent, insurance or mortgage broker, your hair stylist, sports leagues, alumni collegiate associations, country clubs, support groups, or other group or club.

Connections will increase your exposure and contact to potential birthmothers. Everyone has heard the saying, “it’s all who you know!” Well – there is some truth to that in that the more people who know you are adopting, the more likely you are to connect with someone who knows someone considering adoption for their baby.

Create an Adoption Profile that Truly Represents You -

Many adopting parents feel ambivalent about creating a profile, and others simply dread it. While it can be difficult to “market” or “sell” yourself – try viewing it from a different perspective, from an expectant mother’s perspective. Expectant mothers want to see a genuine, real life family – they want to know what you like to do, what your family is like, traditions, interests and most of all, what it would be like for their child to grow up with you as parents. Avoid trying to represent the “ideal” adopting family or what you “think” expectant parents “want” to see – and rather, just be yourself! Through pictures and text, give expectant parents a view of your values, interests, views on parenting, as well as what it would be like to grow up in your family, and how you plan to talk to your child about their birthparents and his/her adoption story.

Once you complete that rocking adoption profile, you can use it to further connect with your community. You can market your adoption through pass-a-long cards or profile postcards that you can display in community spots. Ask your doctor or dentist’s office, OBGYN offices, pregnancy centers, or churches and they sometimes allow you to leave your profile in a common area that could be seen by a potential birthmother.

Be sure to get permission to leave your information and follow your state’s guidelines on advertising. If you are unsure of your state’s laws, click read article by the Child Welfare Gateway that can be found here: or talk with your adoption professional for feedback. For Florida peeps, advertising by adopting parents is a no-no! For more information on how to market without advertising, check out our upcoming webinars on Networking your Adoption Journey.

Get Online! -

Think about the last time you wanted to know about ANYTHING, what did you do? You picked up your smartphone and did a Google search! Chances are you also did the exact same thing when you began considering adoption and wanted to know where to start. Expectant mothers are doing the same thing - the best way to get the most exposure and increase your chances of finding your right match is to be visible online!

Create a Facebook and Instagram page. Be sure to make regular posts about what you are doing towards adoption and in life in general. Post pictures from your latest weekend family get-together or your niece’s most recent school play you attended. Post when you take a step in your adoption process or towards becoming parents – such as a buying a new children’s adoption book or baby item. Remember, your goal is to give potential birthparents a look into your real life. She may feel a connection to you due to a mutual interest, or she values the commitment you have about becoming parents. She may like your page or save your contact information after seeing your weekend post about going to a game for her favorite football team, and decide to reach out the next time she sees a post showing your efforts towards adopting.

Also consider getting on adoption online hosting sites for adopting families, creating a website, or talking to an adoption marketing specialist to consider marketing and online ad options. Ask your adoption entity or professional what options they offer to get you online exposure to potential birthparents.

Leave us a comment, feedback and any questions you have below. Give us a like on social media to let us know if you find this article helpful. Be sure to check out our other blog posts for more information and helpful tips - all about adoption!

Domestic Infant Adoption-Where to Start?

Posted by on July 9, 2018 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

It can be very overwhelming when initially exploring domestic adoption and deciding what will be the best path for you and your family. Many families start with a simple search on Google for "Adoption Services" or a similar term in the area they live in, which yields a long list of Florida adoption agencies, attorneys, and other adoption professionals. Next, you begin reading various adoption entities' websites and are introduced to new adoption lingo, the process, average wait times, and so on. This can bring on a mixture of emotions-ranging from excitement to fear. Know that you are not alone! 

As you begin to explore the options available to you, it can be helpful to have a basic understanding of the 4 different types of Florida adoption professionals and the services they are able to provide. 

What is an Adoption Agency?

An adoption Agency is a child-placing agency regulated and licensed by a state department (Dept. of Children and Families in the state of Florida) and is able to perform and complete an adoption placement of a child. Adoption agencies typically employ bachelor or master-level social workers (or similar profession) who provide adoption case management/coordinator services to birthparents and adoptive parents throughout the process, facilitate matches, prepare for placement of infant/child, and post-placement supervision. Typically, an adoption agency employs or refers to an adoption attorney for the legal aspects of the adoption. Some agencies offer counseling services, education, and/or support groups. 

What is an Adoption Attorney?

An attorney specializing in the practice of adoption law, particularly private adoption. Adoption attorneys are legally able to complete an adoption placement of a child and utilize a licensed professional to complete necessary birthparent interviews, counseling, post-placement supervision, etc. Often, an adoption attorney will also utilize a bachelor-level social worker (or similar profession) to provide case management/coordinatior services to the birthparents and adoptive parents. Families using an adoption attorney typically complete the required home study process with a licensed professional they have identified on their own or can be referred to a home study provider by the attorney. 

What is a Licensed Professional?

A licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed psychologist, or licensed mental health counselor (LMHC) who is legally eligible to provide adoption home study and counseling services in the state of Florida. These professionals are licensed and regulated by the state and are required to meet specific ethical and procedural standards. These professionals are also able to assess, diagnose, and treat mental health concerns in individuals, groups and families. They also hold a Master's degree, and have completed necessary experience, supervision, and examinations to obtain licensure.

Licensed professionals are utilized by adoption attorneys to complete required steps in an adoption such as birthparent interview and post-placement visits. Attorneys and Agencies often use licensed clinicians to provide birthparent counseling, match counseling and support - preparation for placement, to create a hospital plan and/or ongoing contact agreements, and post-placement counseling and supervision. 

Prospective adoptive parents can use a licensed professional to complete various adoption-related services. Some adoptive parents use licensed professional services when they have matched with an expectant mother/birthparent through their own networking. Licensed professional are not a child-placing agency or attorney; however, they can collaborate with other adoption entities (agency/attorney) who complete adoption placements and the legal component needed in adoption. 

What is an Adoption Consultant?

Adoption Consultants provide basic education, creation and feedback on adoption letter/profiles, and guidance and support through the adoption process. An adoption consultant will refer the individual/family to a home study provider to complete this required initial step.They generally work with a number of agencies and attorneys who they refer their clients to in order to have an array of possible ways to match with an expectant mother/birthmother. 


Understanding the different ways to pursue a domestic adoption, the roles of adoption professionals, and services offered will lead you to the next set of questions, such as: Which adoption professional is the right fit for me? What services do I feel are important? What questions should I ask adoption entities? What is my budget?  

Not to worry, we are here to help you tackle those questions! Tune in to our blog for more helpful tips, support, and important adoption topics or comment below. We'd love to hear from you!