Friday, March 29, 2013

U.N. Urges Morocco Crackdown on Child Labor


The U.N. children's fund on Thursday called for "major mobilization" in Morocco against the phenomenon of child labor after a young house maid died from burns in the southern coastal resort of Agadir.

The Moroccan teenager died after suffering serious burns to her hands and face, an NGO said on Tuesday, adding that her employer is in police custody.

The case "relates to a girl, aged between 15 and 17, who worked as the house maid of a couple and who died on Sunday," said Omar el-Kindi, president of the NGO Insaf, confirming media reports.

"This drama adds to a series of similar terrible events," UNICEF said on Thursday.

It recalled its "strong condemnation of child labor" and urged "major mobilization for an end to this phenomenon of 'little maids.'"

"We consider young girls doing domestic work to be one of the worst forms of child exploitation," said Morocco's UNICEF representative, Aloys Kamuragiye.

Last November, Human Rights Watch called on Moroccan authorities to put an end to the recruitment and exploitation of child domestic workers.

It said girls as young eight were being recruited as maids, frequently beaten, verbally abused and sometimes refused adequate food by their employers.

A bill outlawing the employment of minors as domestic workers has been proposed but not yet been voted through parliament.

"The draft law on domestic labor could offer a beginning in legal protection to end children working as maids," the UNICEF statement said, and encouraged "the government and parliament to speed up its adoption."

The U.N. body also urged Moroccans themselves to change the practice. Reports say that between 60,000 and 80,000 young girls work as maids in the north African country.


News from Armenia

IMG_0374Happiness is... a snowy day, a delicious mug of hot chocolate, lots of sleigh rides and of course, a loving and permanent family to call her very own!   Hopscotch welcomes home this beautiful little girl from Armenia.  If you are thinking about adoption or how you can change the life of a child, contact us today!  Children are waiting for families like yours.




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beauty in all things new...




37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium

Register for the 37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium Today!

Curriculum Highlights
Intercountry Adoption

A host of new speakers and session topics promise to make the 37th Annual Child Welfare Symposium one of our most energized and educational gatherings to date. This one is not to be missed. We'll cover topics that matter the most to you today, including serving children with special needs, post-adoption nutrition, and the future of intercountry adoption.


Monday, May 20
Micronutrient Deficiencies in Children from Eastern Europe, Ethiopia, and China Dr. Dana Johnson

Monday, May 20
When and How to Access Early Intervention and Special Education Services Dr. Lisa Nalven

Monday, May 20
Action Plan for Children in Adversity: What You Need to Know Dr. Neil Boothby

Monday, May 20
Understanding the Medical, Nutritional, and Feeding Needs of Children with Special Needs Mishelle Rudzinski and Dr. Elaine Schulte

Tuesday, May 21
An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussion Country Focus: India

Tuesday, May 21
Overseas Relationship Management and Risk
Dr. Kjersti Olson

Tuesday, May 21
Standards of Best Practice for Adoptive Parents: Ethics, Economics, and Responsibilities Maureen McCauley Evans

Tuesday, May 21
An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussion Country Focus: Haiti

Tuesday, May 21
Intercountry Adoption and the US Government

Tuesday, May 21
Lightning Talks! Various Presenters

Wednesday, May 22

Baby Markets: Thinking the Unthinkable in International Adoption Dr. Mark Montgomery

Wednesday, May 22
An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussion Country Focus: China

Wednesday, May 22

The Search of Origins in the Context of Intercountry Adoption Raffaella Pregliasco and Carlotta Alloero

Wednesday, May 22
An Integrated Approach to Child Welfare Round Table Discussion Country Focus: Ethiopia


Monday Spotlight

Carolyn Twietmeyer, Founder and Executive Director of Project HOPEFUL, will present on HIV Adoption and A New Clinical Model with Dr. Larry Gray and Linda Walsh. The new clinical model will aim to achieve the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) comprehensive health evaluation of the newly adopted child, with special emphasis on adopting the HIV+ child, including the personal experience of an adoptive family.




Tuesday Spotlight

Adam Pertman, Executive Director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, will discuss Best Practices in Intercountry Adoption: Improving Children’s Prospects for Living in Families. He will report on a new Adoption Institute study that includes two surveys (one for professionals, one for parents) covering policy and practice, plus interviews with policymakers in birth countries and adopting countries. The research focuses on critical issues impacting intercountry adoption, assesses the Hague Convention’s impact, and proposes best practices.



Wednesday Spotlight

Martha Osborne, Founder and Executive Director of Adoption Advocacy, will speak on Ethical and Effective Advocacy in International Adoption. Adoption professionals will be empowered with new tools, privacy techniques, and a specific plan for integration of methods into their online and offline advocacy plan for individual children. The presentation will also outline The Waiting Child Advocacy Plan and will be heavily focused on explaining and demonstrating how to ethically advocate for a waiting child using tools created specifically for Intercountry Adoption professionals.

See the full Symposium Schedule & detailed descriptions of all of our Workshops

March 2012 IAC Results

iac-results-11-30-2011-1Click here for the March 28, 2013 IAC Results (PDF) including referrals that were issued in IAC Session 247 which was held on February 21, 2013.

Top 10 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew

New Webinar!

Tuesday, May 14
6:00 PM Central

Q&A: 7:00 PM

Adopted people and adoptive parents don’t always look at adoption the same way. Many of the issues adoptees struggle with may be difficult for parents to understand and come to terms with. And it’s ever changing. A parent’s and a child’s adoption experiences change over time, based on life events, ability to understand the circumstances, and new facts as they become available or are discovered.

Understanding your child’s feelings about adoption is essential, so how do you gain some insight?

We’ve gathered a panel of adopted people, to discuss:

  • What they wish their parents had known
  • What feelings they shared with their parents and what they kept to themselves
  • What kept them from talking to their parents when they were younger and why
  • What you as a parent can do to help your child express himself

Submit your questions to our panel here or by tweeting them to @adoptiontweet using #ALPtop10.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

GIRL RISING: New Documentary

Watch the trailer – it’s awesome:

Girl Rising tells the stories of 9 girls from around the world who face – and overcome – unbelievable obstacles on the path toward getting an education. Each girl’s story was written by an author and is narrated by a cast of great actresses, including Meryl Streep, Kerry Washington, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, and others. The cinematography is stunning.

Screening set for Monday April 22nd at 7:30pm at the Cinema 10 in Winston Salem, North Carolina (3424 Yadkinville Road).

Want to come?  Tickets are sold in advance @:

A portion of Girl Rising ticket sales will help fund programs for girls.  Seeing the film literally makes an impact on girls' lives and supports the global effort for girls' education.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Role of Humor in Family Resilience Survey

If you have friends who also are parenting children who are ill or who have a disability, please share this link with them and encourage them to help, too.

If you have friends who are parents whose children are healthy and have no disabilities, please share this link with them and ask them to complete a similar survey for families without health care needs.

Monday, March 25, 2013

How Are Trans-Racial Adoptees and Families Faring?

editgrmafam We invite you to participate in the study below and bring your voice to the discussion. 

Hello! My name is Candice Presseau, and I am graduate student in the College of Education at Lehigh University. I am currently completing my doctoral dissertation research study under the supervision of my advisor, Dr. Cirleen DeBlaere, and am interested in studying the life experiences and well-being of racial minority individuals who have been trans-racially adopted by White parents or a White single parent.

It is our hope that with this study, we can contribute to the understanding of the experiences of adopted persons raised by parents with different racial backgrounds and experiences from their own.

Your participation is essential to achieving this goal, so we hope that you will take part in our study.  In order to participate, you must identify as a member of racial minority group, have been trans-racially adopted by White parents or single White parent, currently live in North America, and be 18 years of age or older. If you would like to participate in our study, please click on the link below and you will be directed to the online survey.

Thank you very much in advance for your time!  Please feel free to pass on this link to other people who might be eligible. If you have any question about this study, please feel free to contact me at This research has been approved by the Lehigh University Institutional Review Board (IRB# 397756-1).


Candice Presseau, M.A.


Shannon Patterson
Academic Study Skills Consultant
Counseling Psychology Doctoral Student
Lehigh University
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem, PA   18015

Raising Global Children Day 1: “Traveling” to Morocco through the five senses with Stephanie Meade

March 25, 2013 |

Stephanie-Meade-InCultureParent-300x275 Welcome to Day 1 of our blog post series “Raising Global Children: 10 Multicultural Blogger Moms Show Us How It’s Done”.

The purpose of the series is to learn with these 10 multicultural moms who are raising children to be global citizens and to connect to the broader worldwide community of parents and educators who care about this same thing.

Today, as the first day of the series, we are interviewing Stephanie Meade who is the Founder & Editor in Chief of “InCultureParent”, an online magazine for parents raising little global citizens. Stephanie, born in the US, and her husband, who is from Morocco, are raising their two bicultural daughters to be bilingual in English and Arabic, and have introduced some Spanish and French to them as well

1. What inspired you to start InCultureParent? How do you come up with content for the site?

It hit me one night after having my second daughter that the types of things I was googling (“are bilingual children late speakers,” “celebrating two religions in your home”) probably weren’t unique to my Moroccan-American, bilingual household. Multicultural families are found all over the world and our numbers are growing. I realized there was no parenting website at that time that brought together different cultural perspectives on raising children, provided resources for raising bilingual kids as well as explored topics of faith (all different faiths, not solely Judaism and Christianity which you find in many American websites), and also offered multicultural book reviews, recipes, crafts and more. I wanted a really comprehensive parenting website that would have everything you needed to raise a little global citizen, and above all represent the diversity in parenting styles around the world.

As far as content, there are many writers from around the globe who write for the site. And we are always on the lookout for new perspectives. It probably also helps that I have lived in many different countries and have friends all over the world, many of whom have contributed content to InCultureParent!

2. Why do you think it is important for parents to raise global citizens?

We live in a world that is globalized where everything we do has a global footprint, from the very basic—like the things we wear to the food we eat, to the more experiential—the people we meet and the activities we engage in.  So to me, it’s not so much that raising a global citizen is important, I see it is the only way forward for our children if we want them to understand the world they are growing up in. Being able to understand other cultures and different perspectives, or at least be open to learning if a culture is new and different to them, is a critical part of this. Another key part is being able to speak multiple languages. I was raised monolingual but learned three languages as an adult (French, Spanish and Portuguese). I see how each of these languages has both given me a new way to think and allowed me to travel and make friends in so many places in the world. But I want my kids to benefit from learning a language from the time they are young. That to me is one of the most amazing gifts I can give my kids.

3. Having a bicultural family of your own, can you give us some insight on your family dynamic?

It was only this year that we realized my children thought everyone celebrated both Ramadan and Christmas! Although cute, as it reflects what we do in our family, it was a chance to talk about the many other holidays people celebrate. I think having two different cultures, religions and languages represented in our home, and that both my husband and I have lived outside our home countries, makes us more sensitive to educating our children about the world around us. As far as language goes, my husband only speaks in Arabic with the kids and I speak English. More and more I have been trying to speak some Spanish with them (I learned Spanish while living in Ecuador), as they now take Spanish in afterschool time, but my four-year-old especially resists my trying to change languages. We are trying to raise them in an atmosphere where being exposed to different cultures and languages is the norm, a daily part of life, not just an occasional experience.

We intentionally chose to live in a diverse place to raise our kids (Berkeley, CA), where there are many families from different backgrounds. My kids also celebrate holidays beyond just our own, thanks to the friends we have, which has been great.  I remember coming to work one morning last year and mentioned to a colleague that we were at a Rosh Hashanah dinner until late. He took a moment to process it, as a month or so before we had been celebrating Ramadan. He asked jokingly, “Aren’t those kids of yours going to be confused?” On the contrary, we think they’ll be forever enriched.

4. Are bicultural families growing? Are there any challenges? Any advice for those raising bicultural families of their own?

I think there have always been loads of bicultural families across the world, they are just not very prevalent in mainstream media. I have interviewed many families from different generations across the world as part of my series on Real Intercultural Families. I think it’s important to give more visibility to these types of families as we are so infrequently seen in media, but we are everywhere! And our numbers are also growing. Intercultural marriage is on the rise, as are mixed race children. And as far as language, just in the U.S., one in five children now speak a language other than English at home—it’s very exciting!

I think one of the challenges can be learning to accept and incorporate all aspects (not just the ones you like) of your partner’s culture into your home—this includes your in-laws, who in many cases may have very different beliefs about raising children. Having two religions in the house can be an additional challenge, especially in the case where a parent might be less flexible about compromising on a child’s religious upbringing. Talking through a lot of this stuff before having kids is really key. But sometimes parents’ ideas about faith can grow stronger and change after having kids. Luckily for my husband and I, we are both very flexible and talked extensively about our differences in culture and religion before raising kids. For us personally, this has not been a challenge.

As far as advice goes, well, what works for one family may not work for another as everyone has their own beliefs and ideas. But something that I think is helpful is to learn about, embrace and respect each other’s cultures. In my case, that has meant not only welcoming and taking pride in Moroccan culture, but also Islam.

5. Our main audience is teachers with international students. Do you have any tips for teachers on incorporating culture and diversity into their classrooms?

There are so many fun ways to incorporate culture and diversity into the classroom! The simplest way is through multicultural books that explore the world. If you want some great suggestions, you can check out our multicultural book reviews (

Another idea is to “travel” to a country through the five senses. My husband and I presented a lesson on Morocco to my daughter’s preschool class last year through the five senses. We used Moroccan tea as the main attraction, as Moroccan tea is plenty sweet so kids love it, and built the lesson around it.  It is also fun for kids to watch how the tea is poured and to drink out of small, glass cups.  Here are the fun ways we used all the senses in a lesson:

Smell: Before it was made, the kids can smell the ingredients and guess which herb is used. For Moroccan tea, it’s mint.

While the tea was cooking, we had some time to talk a little about Morocco.

Site: We located Morocco on a map and told the kids five fun facts about Morocco using pictures.

Sound: They also learned how to say, “Hello” in Arabic. And we played some Moroccan music.

Touch: We had the ingredients to make an easy treat from dates and almonds that all the kids helped to create. Alternatively, you could have the kids make a craft to celebrate an upcoming holiday or any aspect of a culture. We have tons of ideas in our crafts section (, which I know teachers have used so have a look!

Taste: Once the tea and sweets were ready, everyone was able to eat and drink together communally, a big part of Moroccan culture, with the music on in the background.

Zoey & Scott’s Hands


Scott and Zoey


Mahan Family Fun!


The Dark Matter of Love - Science Can Change the Way You Love

The Dark Matter of Love Trailer from The Dark Matter of Love on Vimeo.

Monday April 22, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT

United States Capitol
Capitol Visitor Center
Washington, DC 20510
Info on Getting to the Capitol

You are invited to a FREE documentary film screening of THE DARK MATTER OF LOVE on Monday, April 22 at 6:00pm!

The Center for Adoption Support and Education, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the National Council for Adoption are jointly sponsoring this screening to increase the community's awareness of the complexity of moving children into adoptive families with histories of trauma, severe attachments and profound loss.

In this film, Masha, an eleven year old Russian girl, learns to love her adoptive American family through a scientific intervention. Professor Emeritus Dr. Robert Marvin, an expert in attachment, has spent a lifetime developing a program to help children learn to love. Rare footage of his extraordinary experiment is woven through the story of Masha learning to love for the very first time. 

Please join Dr. Robert Marvin in the discussion about our community's continued investment in accessible and effective post adoption  services for families faced with these challenges.

Click the link below for more detailed information or to RSVP!

Get more information

Register Now!

Thank you for your attention! We hope you can attend this exciting event!

Mark Your Calendars!!! Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2013

picnic_pix Mark Your Calendars!!!
Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion 2013

Winton Woods Park
Cincinnati, Ohio

June 21-23, 2013

If you plan to attend, contact the co-chairs today.

Friday, March 22, 2013

News from Bulgaria

Image%20detail%20for%20-Photos%20of%20the%20Feast%20of%20the%20Rose%202008%20-%20Karlovo%20and%20Kazanlak Congratulations to our Hopscotch families – and there are a lot of you!  Here's the rundown of our GREAT families:







  • Our Hopscotch family is currently in Bulgaria on their final trip to bring their beautiful 15 year old daughter home.
  • Another Hopscotch family is leaving this weekend to bring home their handsome 6 year old son and charming 10 year old daughter.


  • Court is pending completion for our family matched to an adorable 8 year old girl.
  • Court is pending completion for our family matched to three boys! Ages 6, 9 and 12!!
  • Court is pending for our family matched to a precious 4 year old girl and her sunny 5 year old sister.
  • Court pending for our family matched to a bright 12 year old girl.


  • Referrals matched by the Ministry of Justice for our family adopting a wonderful 12 year old girl.
  • Referrals matched by the Ministry of Justice for our family adopting beautiful sisters, 9 and 10 years old. 
  • Referrals matched by the Ministry of Justice for our family adopting gorgeous twin 2 year old girls.

There are SO many children waiting for families in orphanages around the world.  Imagine how colorful and joyful your life could be with a child that needs a forever family...  If you are interested in learning more about adopting a child, call us today 336.899.0068 or email us at

IAC 245 & 246 Results

The following referrals were issued in IAC Sessions 245 & 246 which was held on March 19, 2013. Download the PDF here.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Celebrating the life of Evan Moses Haufler


Robin Sizemore with Evan Moses Haufler.

Celebrating the life of Evan Moses Haufler, son of loving parents Tim and Alicia Haufler

Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2013!!

Happy World Down Syndrome Day 2013! from Conny Wenk on Vimeo.

World Syndrome Day 2013

Celebrate and bring awareness to World Syndrome Day 2013, by painting your nails blue.  Let your "Blue" shine in honor or someone you know with Downs – or hope to know! 

There are SO many children with Down Syndrome waiting for families in orphanages around the world.  Imagine how colorful and joyful your life could be with a child that needs a forever family...  If you are interested in learning more about adopting a child with Down Syndrome, call us today or email us at

The Step Forward for Orphans March

Friday, May 17
Washington, D.C.

Our final premiere will be May 16, in Washington, D.C.. The next day, we’ll gather as a group to deliver copies of the petition to legislators on Capitol Hill in the Step Forward for Orphans March. Details are still being finalized, but we invite you all to join us!

The March
Starting time will be 1 PM, Friday, May 17, beginning near the Capitol (location to be announced) and finishing at Upper Senate Park. We’re in the process of arranging a block of hotel rooms at a nearby location—we’ll let you know once those plans are finalized.

If you plan to arrive a day or two before, we want to encourage you to set an appointment with your local legislators to meet with them prior to the march to personally discuss reforms in the international adoption process.

Announcement of the Passing of Mr. Valiko Dzamia

Valiko_1037550ecdcd64d It is with great sadness that we inform you that the Georgian community in the USA has lost one of its most prominent members, a true embodiment of the spirit of the Georgian Association in the USA for the last 60 years, the treasurer of the Association for 35 years, Mr. Valerian (Valiko) Dzamia.  He died peacefully at St. Luke's Hospital in New York on March 18, 2013, at the age of 91 (he would have turned 92 on April 14).  He is survived by Mzia, his wife of 20 years and daughter Tamara Bakradze. The funeral services will be held at the Johnston Funeral Chapels, 300 E 104th st. NY, NY. 10029, Friday, March 22, 4:00 - 8:00 pm. 

Please, visit the link to the Voice of America Story about his life. For those of you who do not read Georgian, great photographs will be helpful to remember, or learn a bit more about this great Georgian patriot.  This is an irreplaceable loss for the Georgian community in the USA, and for those of us who knew him personally.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Qualify and Claim the Adoption Tax Credit

Two documents from the US International Revenue Service (IRS) provide information to individuals on how to qualify for and claim the adoption tax credit for certain adoption expenses.

The first document, Adoption Benefits FAQs, explains the adoption credit for tax year 2011, including which expenses are qualified adoption expenses, who is an eligible child, when to claim the credit, which forms to complete, and what supporting documentation is required.  The information was last updated in August 2012, and is available here.

The second document, March 2012 Adoption Credit Phone Forum Questions and Answers, provides further details on when certain expenses are allowable for the adoption credit for tax years 2011, 2012, and 2013.  It also provides the maximum credit amounts and income limitations for those tax years, as well as specific requirements for domestic special needs adoptions and intercountry adoptions.  The information in this document was last updated in October 2012, and is available here.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

News from Morocco: Progress!!!!

[Monday, 18 February 2013 18:24]

th Following a meeting Hispano-Moroccan Monday, February 11th, the Spanish parents who have initiated proceedings to adopt a child Moroccan kafala could see their result files. Both governments are poised to agree on a mechanism to ensure that Morocco principles kafala are respected, even outside of Morocco, until the majority of the child.

Spain and Morocco are a step towards each other. While the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs proposes to reauthorize the adoption of Moroccan children to foreign couples non-Muslims under certain conditions, the government plans to compel by law the parents who adopt kafala to follow rules this form of adoption. A meeting was held in Rabat, Monday, Feb. 11 between the two parties The conjunction of wills could unblock the situation of Spanish families trapped in their adoption process in kafala a Moroccan child.

In August last year, the Moroccan Minister of Justice Mustapha Ramid, had issued a circular prohibiting kafala couples foreigners living outside Morocco. "For how to control the extent of compliance with the Kafil brings its legal obligations not met, may result in the cancellation of the Kafala," explained the circular. In the months that followed, the government specified that the prohibition did not apply to foreign couples settled in Morocco, nor MRE.

Kafala refused to mixed couples

Since then, fifty Spanish families and a dozen French families who had begun a process of adopting a child Morocco are blocked in their efforts. In 2011, Moroccan courts had assigned 254 children kafalas to foreign couples, mainly Spanish with a majority of Catalans. "The French couples are mainly composed of mixed couples. Moroccan courts tend to give kafala, where is the man who is Moroccan, but not when it is the woman, "says Kamel Marhdaoui, treasurer of the association

Spanish side, things could be unlocked, after a meeting in Rabat Monday, February 11, between the Director General of the International Legal Cooperation Spanish Angel Llorente and Moroccan justice minister, Mustapha Ramid, Spain proposes to Morocco to compel by law the Spanish parents who have guardianship of Moroccan children or orphanages in sub-Saharan collected Moroccan respect kafala, reports El Pais.

Compel by law

It would force the issue of Spanish parents to visit once a year to Morocco to verify compliance kafala or entrust the audit to juvenile judges Spanish. Morocco wants to ensure that children are not converted to Christianity and they keep their original names until their majority.

This proposal has any place like Morocco, as in an interview with Europapress, the Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine El Othmani, said that "what really want the Moroccan authorities, and he insists on it, it is a mechanism that allows them to monitor how the child is educated, "including the cultural and religious. He acknowledged that the requirement of residence in Morocco for foreign couples present in the circular was not present in the statute itself, "explicitly".

A "certification kafala" in France?

The shade and the progress made between Spain and Morocco could benefit French couples. "This is being done in Spain could be in France, but the problem in France, when you make a kafala, there is no pleasure, because it is not considered a full adoption," says Kamel Marhdaoui. The association tries to put pressure on the Moroccan and French governments for the creation of an "approval kafala" specific.

"Today's social and psychological investigations that follow an adoption for any other child, are not routinely when a child is adopted Moroccan kafala. We would like a follow-up is done, for example, the Moroccan consulates in France, "says Kamel Marhadaoui.

Julie Chaudier


Friday, March 1, 2013

News from Bulgaria

th Successful match of two beautiful sisters to our Hopscotch family.  We are so thrilled for the girls and their new family!

Reconsidering Intercountry Adoption: Who Wants to Adopt and Who Could Be Adopted

By Christopher Balding

DollChainsDiagonal440 This article, which is based on a working paper presented at the Ninth Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference in March 2012, utilizes the 2006-2008 National Survey on Family Growth (conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control), the USAID/ UNICEF Demographic and Health Surveys, and UN and U.S. Census Bureau data in order to profile adoptive parents in the United States and examine the serious and often life-threatening dangers faced by orphaned and vulnerable children.

Continue Reading (PDF)…

20 Questions Kids Ask About Adoption

by AF Editors |

Your child has questions about babies, birthmothers, and the way he joined your family. Now, you have the answers.

101472327 Children ask questions to figure out the world. If a child's family was formed by adoption, much of her curiosity will center on birthmothers, babies, and the reasons adoption plans are made. We've compiled 20 of the most frequently asked questions, from the preschooler's "Did I grow in your tummy?" to the more complex queries preteens and teens may voice, along with sound responses suggested by experts and other parents over the years. As you talk to your child, adapt the sample language to fit your family's circumstances. Let the Q&A session begin!

1. "Did I grow in your tummy?"

"No, you didn't grow in my tummy. You grew in your birthmother's tummy, and then you were born. When your birthmother and birthfather were expecting you, they knew that they couldn't take care of any baby at that time. Your birthmother found us, and we became your parents. I'm so happy that we are! That is called adoption."

Although very young children can't yet understand reproduction, it's important to introduce the birthfather from your earliest conversations. Your child also needs to understand that she was born, just like any other baby. Some parents skip that step, saying, "No, you didn't grow in my tummy. We adopted you!" This leads the child to believe "I wasn't born, I was adopted."

2. "Why didn't my birthparents keep me?"

"Sometimes when a man and a woman have a baby, they cannot take care of any child at that time. It's never because of anything wrong about the child. It's for grownup reasons. Babies need a lot of care, day and night. They need healthy food, a warm place to sleep, to be cared for when they're sick, and to have grownups hold them when they cry. Your birthparents knew they couldn’t provide all of these things, so they looked for a family that could."

3. "Was my birthmommy sad?"

"Your birthmother was sad to say goodbye, but she knew she couldn't take care of you and provide all the things babies need. She was happy that she was doing her best for you by finding our family to adopt you. She had both sad and happy tears."

Hearing directly from their birthparents can help children. If you don't remain in contact but were with your child's birthmother at the hospital or court, tell your child what she said. If you have a letter your child's birthmother wrote, share it with him.

An Adoption Game Show

"The other night, I was on a game show. It took place in my daughter's bed, during my children's bedtime. I was the only contestant, and I had to respond to rapid-fire questions from the three hosts. Luckily, there were no wrong answers, as every time I answered a question, one of the hosts (who were also the audience members) cheered, 'Yes!'"
Read This Article

4. "I wish I had grown in your tummy."

"You sound sad about that. That's OK. Sometimes I wish you had grown in my tummy, too, but I feel as close to you as if you had. I love you so much."

Don't be alarmed if your child displays sadness when she first begins to process adoption. In the preschool years, children want nothing more than to be as close as possible to their mothers. Some sadness, or even anger, is a normal reaction, and a way for a very young child to express her love for you, the mother she knows and loves.

5. "Why did you adopt me?"

"Daddy and I couldn't make a baby, but we wanted a baby to love very much. You were born from your birthmother's tummy, but she couldn't take care of any baby at that time. You were ready for a mommy and daddy, and we were ready for you. So we adopted you and became a forever family."

6. "How do birthmommies make babies?"

"It takes a man and a woman to make a baby. Your birthfather's sperm and your birthmother's egg combined inside her uterus to form an embryo. The embryo grows inside the woman, who then gives birth to the baby. You were born the same way any other baby is born. Some babies always live with the people who give birth to them, like your friend, _____, but others go to new parents, like you. That's called adoption."

7. "What happened the day I was born?"

"When your birthmother knew it was almost time for you to be born, she called us and we rushed to the hospital. We got there in time to be in the delivery room! We watched you being born and we held you as soon as the doctor delivered you. Your birthmother held you and said you were beautiful. You were always with us, your birthmother, or a nurse when you were in the hospital; you were never alone there."

If you have a photo from that day, show it to your child. Say something like "Here you are with Ellen on the day you were born." If you don't have any information about your child's birth, you can explain what conditions were probably like where he was born.

8. "Was I a bad baby? Did I cry too much?"

"No. All babies are supposed to cry. That's how they tell us that they're hungry or tired or need to be changed. And adoption is never the child's fault. Adoption plans are made for grownup reasons, usually because the baby's birthparents can't take care of the baby and provide what he or she needs."

9. "What does my birthmother look like?"

If you have a picture, show it to your child. If you don't, but have met her, describe what she looked like. If you don’t know, you can say, "She probably looks a lot like you, so she must be very beautiful." Together, imagine what she might look like, or invite your child to draw a picture.

10. "I wish I could ask my birthmother _____."

"I'm going to write a letter to your birthmother next week. Do you want me to include that question, or do you want to write your own letter to send with mine?" [Or, if you’re not in touch with your child's birthmother] "Why don't you write to your birthmother and ask her that question, and any others on your mind? We can send the letter to your adoption agency. They may not know where she is, so she may not get the letter, but if they do know where she is, I'm sure she’d be glad to hear from you."

11. "Maybe my birthmother was a princess."

"That's exciting to imagine, isn't it? But there aren't many princesses in North Dakota, so I think she's probably like most people, working hard at a job."

Many children, not just those who were adopted, fantasize about an alternate set of "perfect" parents. Encourage your child to talk about these fantasies, but present the concrete information you have about her birthparents.

12. "Why is my skin brown and your skin pink?"

"You were born to birthparents [or to a woman] who have the same beautiful brown skin color as yours. I was born to Grandma and Grandpa, who have the same skin color as mine. We usually inherit our skin color, hair color, and other traits from our biological parents. That's why we look the way we do."

Rather than try to smooth over differences and strike a color-blind attitude, acknowledge the differences within your family, and let your child know that you love the way she looks.

13. "Why couldn't someone teach my birthmommy how to be a mommy?"

"Some women are not ready to be mommies, and they want their child to be with another mommy who is ready. Your birthmommy was wise enough to know that she was not ready to be a mom, so she made the decision to have someone else raise you."

14. "If you were my birthmother, would you have kept me?"

"Wow, that is a big question.... Your birthmom had to make a very difficult decision that I will never have to make. You are my son and we are a family, and nothing will ever change that."

15. "Do I have any brothers or sisters?"

"You have birth siblings. When you were born, your birthmother had two older boys. Those boys were in school and could take care of some things for themselves, but a baby needs much more care. Your birthmom knew she couldn't care for a baby at that time in her life, so she made a plan to find a family who would be able to take care of you forever." If you don't know, say so: "I don't know, but you might have birth siblings. Many birthparents have other children, born either before or after making an adoption plan."

16. "Now that Ellen is married, will I go back to live with her?"

"No. I know that, when we’ve talked about adoption before, I said that Ellen made an adoption plan for you because she was young and didn't have anyone to help her take care of a baby. But when we adopted you, we became your family forever. Dad and I will always be your parents, even when you're a grownup."

You might show your child her adoption decree or a photo taken the day her adoption was finalized in court.

17. "Why is Ellen going to be this baby's mommy but not mine?"

"It must hurt to think about your birthmom raising other children. Sometimes families go through hard times. It wasn't anything you did wrong. When you were born, Ellen didn't have anyone to help her and couldn't take care of you. You couldn't wait until later. You needed a safe family to help you grow up. Now Ellen is able to be this baby's mommy." [Or, if your child has older birth siblings] "When you were born, Ellen was just able to provide for her other children, but she knew that there wasn't enough food for one more baby. She wanted you to have a forever family to take good care of you."

18. "Why won't this baby be my baby sister?" [If an adoption match falls through]

"In order for a family to adopt a baby, the birthmother has to decide that she isn't able or ready to be a mommy. Your birthmother felt that way, and that's why we adopted you and we're your forever family. This baby’s mother decided that she was ready to be a mommy, so the baby doesn't need to be adopted. We will wait for another baby to be your baby brother or sister."

19. "Did my birthparents love each other?"

"From what I understand, your birthparents were young and just beginning to explore relationships with the opposite sex. Sometimes young people become physically intimate when they're really seeking emotional closeness. I don't think they were involved long enough to develop that kind of closeness."

20. "My real mom would let me stay out past midnight!"

"Right now, we're not talking about my being 'real' or 'unreal,' we're talking about the fact that we're not going to make your curfew any later. We can talk about my reality as a parent another time."

A day or two later, you can say, "Remember when you were upset about your curfew the other day? I know you were angry with me when you implied that I'm not your 'real' mother. Now that we've calmed down, I am wondering if there's a question you'd like to ask me about your birthparents, or something you want to talk about. I know you think about them. What can I help you with?"


The way you respond to your child's questions can matter as much, or more, than the words you use, especially for younger children. Start talking from an early age, to get used to saying words like "adopted" and "birthmother." Here are 10 guidelines for answering adoption questions.

+ Strike the right tone. Keep your voice positive and your body relaxed. You want to let your child know that adoption is a comfortable topic for you to discuss, and that you're happy about the way you became a family.

+ Play! This may be the easiest way for younger children to work out their feelings about adoption. Use dolls or other props. You can introduce a scenario (Barbie and Ken want to adopt a baby, a stuffed rabbit needs a mommy), but then follow your child's lead.

+ Clarify exactly what your child is asking. His questions may be simpler, or more complicated, than you think, and you want to be sure you're giving him the information that he seeks. A young child who asks, "Where did I come from?" may want to know where he was born, want to know how babies are made, or be curious about his birthparents.

+ Give yourself a chance to think. If you need a moment, repeat what your child asked. If you are still at a loss, it is OK to say, "That's a good question. I need to think about that a little bit. Let's talk about it after we get home, when I'm not driving the car."

+ Admit it when you don't have the facts. If you know little or nothing about how your child became available for adoption, you can say something like "We do know that many birthmothers have to place their children for adoption for the following reasons. [Offer reasons.] Maybe this is what happened to you."

+ Give your child your full attention--or not. If you're in the grocery store, move your cart to the side, get down to your child's level, and make eye contact. As children grow older, some have an easier time opening up when eye contact is not necessary. "Parallel" conversations--when you"re driving in the car, walking the dog, cooking together in the kitchen--can be productive times to talk about birthparents.

+ Be prepared to move on. Even the most intense questions children ask usually involve conversations that last less than 10 minutes (though they may seem longer at the time). When your child shows signs of moving on to a new task or new topic, let that happen.

+ Revisit the conversation. Children will ask the same question, in different forms, many times over the years. If you think of something important after the fact, you can say, "Remember when you asked _____? I thought about that a little more, and I wanted to tell you...."

+ Keep the discussion age-appropriate, but never lie. Since young children don't understand reproduction, telling them about unplanned pregnancy or rape won't make much sense. Reveal details as your child's understanding develops, but don’t say anything you'll have to later contradict. Keep in mind, however, that it's generally best to share all the information you know before the teen years, while your child will take it all matter-of-factly.

+ Drop a "pebble." If your child hasn't asked any questions recently, try to casually start a conversation. You might say, "I often think of your birthmother on Mother's Day; do you?" or "What do you think your birthfather looks like? I wonder if you got your long legs from him." A rule of thumb: If you can't remember the last time you talked about adoption, you're due for a talk.

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IMG_2043 Hopscotch family issued their US visa to bring their very smart and very sweet little boy home from Armenia on Sunday!! Congratulations!!

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IMG_1933 Within two hours of arrival to Yerevan, I was so happy to catch our Hopscotch family before they ventured home to North Carolina with their handsome son.  I have the added pleasure of living nearby to this family, so our High Point office hopes to see him often!