Orphan Sunday is about raising awareness of the many children here and around the world who are in need of a loving and nurturing adoptive family. On November 11, 2018 Spence-Chapin will once again join the Orphan Sunday movement to help bring awareness to the need for more adoptive families! So many families are eligible to adopt – married and unmarried couples, single men and single women, LGBTQ parents, and families of all ages, income levels, and religions!
living in a children’s home or with a foster family, today we stand alongside
every child who has been disconnected from the possibility of a permanent
Spence-Chapin advocates for children in the New York Metro area and around the world through our international adoption programs in Bulgaria,Colombia and South Africa. We also offer lifelong support for children and their families through our counseling, parent coaching and post-adoption support services.
strengthening families is our top priority.
committed to the idea that all children deserve a forever family, regardless of
their age or medical condition, and we focus on finding families for the most
vulnerable children: the thousands of pre-school and school-age children,
sibling groups, and children with medical needs living in orphanages and foster
care around the world.
Join us at an event during
National Adoption Month to learn more about how you can get involved and make a
difference in the life of a child:
To learn more about domestic and international adoption at Spence-Chapin, or to view profiles of Waiting Children ready to be immediately matched with an adoptive family today, contact us at 212-400-8150 or at email@example.com.
A mother reflects on her family’s transition at home after adopting her daughter from South Africa.
“I keep meaning to write a post about how well we’re all doing. I wake up each day with resolve to sneak away and write about Kurhula’s progress – the letters she’s learning, the pounds she’s gaining, the friends she’s making, and all the other ways she is thriving after seven months home. But lately, by the time her breakfast eggs have left the pan, she’s usually already initiated at least one epic power struggle. Despite all the progress she’s made (or, perhaps maybe because of all the progress) we’ve entered a trying phase of Kurhula testing her boundaries. Every boundary. Over and over. This has resulted in some loooong days, folks…with lots of foot stomping, arm crossing, and eye glaring pouts. It turns out our little girl has quite a stubborn streak! And she knows how to push my buttons faster than any child I’ve ever taught. By the end of each day, I usually opt for chocolate and puppy snuggles on the couch rather than writing a blog post about how well we’re all doing.
questioning myself a lot lately, wondering if I’m getting this whole
“motherhood thing” right. As I sit in the hallway outside her open
door and watch her cry on her bed for the third time in one day, I can’t help
but wonder if I’m doing right by her. But then, inevitably, her sobs always
turn to a whimper, and soon after, I usually hear her whisper, “Mama,
I’m sorry. I feel bad…” That’s when I open my arms and welcome her into
my lap, and we both take a minute to just breathe each other in again. This is
how we’ve ended most days this month. And although it’s hard and exhausting, I
know it’s what she needs right now. She’s testing us to make sure we mean what
we say, to figure out if we really are going to keep her safe, and if we truly
are here forever no matter what. Just last night she nodded
her head emphatically and said, “Mama, you still love me even when I make
the big, BIG Consequence Choices.” Yes, baby, even then.
last seven months have presented us all with a very steep learning curve. And
although some days are harder than others, I am so proud of our little family
and the ways in which we’re growing together. Speaking of growing, it
seems our little baby really has turned into a young girl! She’s gained 4
pounds and grown 3 inches since coming home.
She still begs to be carried around in
the Ergo (or “the pouch” as she calls it), but Kurhula now has a
collection of scooters and bikes that she likes to zip around on during family
walks. She loves her pets and smothers them in kisses and hugs throughout the
day. And when we visited her doctor today for a blood draw (which has always
resulted in tears and screams in the past), Kurhula calmly put on her
headphones, turned up the volume on her favorite Shakira song, and gritted
her teeth while the nurse inserted the needle into her arm.
I must laugh when I think back to our initial impressions of Kurhula, when all we had to go by were her referral photos and a few video clips. We thought she was delicate. We really did. We had no idea what a firecracker she’d really turn out to be. Anyone who meets Kurhula quickly learns that there is nothing fragile about our girl. In fact, she defines the word “fierce.” And although that means I’m probably in for at least twenty more years of epic power struggles, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
By Lucy Shaw, LMSW and Birth Parent Outreach worker for Spence-Chapin
For National Adoption Month, I’m excited to share my
personal story of open adoption with you all. As an adoptive mom in an open
adoption and as a social worker focused on Birth Parent outreach at
Spence-Chapin, I have a unique perspective on adoption that I think is
important to share. Adoption is such an integral part of my life and something
for which I am so grateful and proud.
My husband and I adopted our son Daxton (Dax) in 2014. He’s
now four years old! When we decided to adopt, we began working with an adoption
attorney, and within six months of completing our home study, we had connected
with Erin, Dax’s birth mom when she was about two months pregnant.
From that moment on, we truly never looked back. It seemed like things were destined to be as soon as we started talking to Erin. We drove Pennsylvania from NYC to meet Erin for the first time in January 2014. She even invited us to meet her and go with her to get her first ultrasound to find out the gender of the baby! What do you know, the day we started driving was the day Snowstorm Hercules pummeled the east coast! We had to pull over on the side of the road several times due to heavy snowfall, but we kept trudging along because we were so insistent that we were going to make it to this appointment, no matter what. And I’m so glad we did! I still have the ultrasound photo today saved!
I’m so thankful for having this chance to visit Erin while
she was pregnant because it set the stage for a genuine and trusting
relationship going forward. Throughout this journey of getting to know each
other, Erin has been an open book. We could see right away that she had the
best intentions and was an incredibly brave, honest, strong and trusting woman.
She shared her story of why she was considering adoption with us and we could
see firsthand what a kind and loving mother she was to her four other children.
We could also see how hard it was to be a single mom raising children, while
trying to work full-time and complete her education so she could make a better
life for her family.
As Erin’s due date began to approach, she kept us involved
every step of the way. She included us in her birth plan and introduced us to
her other children and her best friend. She also allowed us to be by her side
in the hospital when she gave birth! She was amazing at the hospital – she let
me cut the umbilical cord and let us hold Daxton for skin to skin contact while
she also bonded with him and breastfed him throughout the time we were in the
hospital. We just followed her lead.
Daxton was born on May 6, 2014 and that weekend we
celebrated my first Mother’s Day with Erin, Dax’s birth siblings and Erin’s
best friend in Pennsylvania – as we were hanging out, barbecuing and watching
Daxton sleeping happily in his car seat, I continued to be in awe of Erin’s
grace and generosity in sharing this event with us.
Since Dax’s birth, Erin continues to show her kindness,
resilience and strength in so many ways. And I often see these qualities in
Daxton too, like the way he interacts with everyone he meets in such a friendly
and confident way. From the moment he could smile and wave, he’s been making
friends with almost everyone he meets.
We stay in touch with Erin in many ways – we keep each other
updated on Facebook and Erin’s always one of the first to like any of the posts
I have about Daxton or parenting. I know she’s always thinking of us and we’re
always thinking of her as well. We also visit each other about once or twice a
year. For Dax’s 4th birthday, she came to NYC with all the kids and baked three
gorgeous cakes for our party. She always goes above and beyond our expectations
during these visits.
Overall, I feel so lucky to have this relationship with Erin
and am happy that Dax will grow up knowing his birth mother and his birth siblings
and be able to answer all the questions he may have about his identity as he
Parenting may be one of the hardest jobs on earth, but for me being in an open adoption is one of the easiest things about being a parent. I know there are going to continue to be challenges, tough conversations, and ups and downs in the years to come, but I’m not worried about answering questions about adoption with Dax or anyone else. In that area, I know without a doubt, with Erin’s help, we have honesty, love and resiliency to guide us.
Families often have questions about what the matching process is like in our Domestic Special Needs Adoption Program. Similar to Spence-Chapin’s Domestic Infant Adoption Program, the matching process in our Domestic Special Needs Program is driven by birth family whenever possible.
Spence-Chapin’s Domestic Special Needs Adoption Program (formerly called ASAP – A Special Adoption Program) was created when parents struggling with an unexpected diagnosis for their child came to us needing support. Since creating this unique program in 1995, we have found over 500 loving adoptive families for children with special medical needs, and we continue to work hard at expanding the benefits of adoption to more medically-fragile children and the prospective adoptive parents who want to love them.
The Spence-Chapin Way
For both our Special Needs and Domestic Adoption Programs, our counselors provide free, confidential, unbiased and culturally-sensitive options counseling for parents in crisis. Our goal is to support these families in understanding all their options and rights as well as the resources available, so they can be empowered to make informed decisions and plans for their child. This includes connecting families to early intervention services, Social Security Income (SSI), and finding additional resources to parent a child who is medically fragile.
For birth parents choosing adoption, we are uniquely qualified to support and guide them through the adoption planning process. Our Special Needs Adoption Program is one of the only places in NY and NJ that has expertise to support birth families and find loving adoptive families for medically-fragile infants. Sometimes we know prenatally that a baby will have a special need, other times we are contacted after the birth of the baby. We know that all birth parents have a great deal of love for their baby and want to make a plan that they feel is best for their child. When a child is born with a special needs, we look for adoptive families registered in our Special Needs Adoption Program.
Birth Parent Perspective: Watch Melissa tell her story about how Spence-Chapin helped her through a difficult time.
Ideally, birth parents can review profiles from multiple adoptive families. Some children have very severe medical conditions and it may be challenging to find multiple families for every child. When looking for prospective adoptive families, we network with other special needs organizations and advocates around the country to find supportive and loving families for children with diverse medical needs.
Additionally, some families have requests about the adoptive family, such as one or two-parent household, religious, racial, or ethnic preferences. In some cases, a birth parent may be looking for families that reflect their own heritage or cultural background. This means that not all families who are open to adopting a child may be profiled with birth parents. If a preference is known, we will often write it in the child’s online profile. Since the children are ready to be adopted immediately, birth parents are only presented with profiles of families that meet their preferences and have a current home study written by a social worker at an accredited agency in the family’s state.
Sometimes we already have adoptive families who have pre-registered with SC who can be considered. Other times we need more options for the birth family and are looking for more prospective adoptive families. Not all waiting children are photo listed on our website. It is the birth parent’s choice if their child’s photo and/or background information is shared online and each parent makes a choice that feels comfortable for them.
Because the children have special medical needs, it is important to know how and why a prospective adoptive family feels prepared to parent a child with significant medical needs. Eligibility is very flexible; we see all types of families: people who are not yet parents as well as parents of 8 or 10 children, families who live in urban, suburban, and rural areas throughout the U.S., families of different races and ethnicities, and parents of different ages. Families living in any state are eligible to apply to adopt. Overall, we are looking for loving families who are prepared and excited to adopt a child with special medical needs! Spence-Chapin supports open adoption and is seeking adoptive parents who are open to ongoing contact with their child’s birth parents, often in the form of phone calls, video chat, letters, emails, visits, and texts.
Ultimately, birth parents select an adoptive family by reviewing adoptive family profiles with their social workers. Once they have narrowed their choice to one family they would like to meet, a match meeting is held between the birth and adoptive parents with their social workers.
Birth Parent Perspective: Hear Zeke’s birth parents speak about their experience working with Spence-Chapin to make an adoption plan for their son. Zeke’s story was featured at the Spence-Chapin Gala in 2017. Learn more about his story here.
Birth Parent Perspective: Watch Scotttalk about the unknowns he faced when his third child was diagnosed with Down syndrome prenatally and how he and his partner explored adoption and ultimately chose to parent their daughter.
To learn more about becoming a prospective adoptive parent through our Special Needs Adoption Program, read our Special Needs FAQ on our blog! You can also contact us at 212-400-8150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a birth parent considering making an adoption plan, you can contact us 24/7 for free, confidential and unbiased options counseling: Call 1-800-321-LOVE or Text: 646-306-2586.
For more than 110 years, Spence-Chapin has been a part of thousands of American families through adoption.
On November 2, 2017, The House of Representatives shared their proposal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act”, which excluded the Adoption Tax Credit. Since 1997, American parents have relied on the adoption tax credit to help them adopt children in need of permanent families. Without the adoption tax credit, it will be much harder and more expensive for families to adopt. It will be more difficult to find forever families for the children who are waiting to be adopted and deserve a permanent family. This important tax credit has enjoyed bi-partisan support as many Congress members recognized the need to promote adoption for children without permanent families.
We ask our Congress members to share our belief that Every Child Deserves A Family and to preserve the adoption tax credit to make it possible for families to adopt.
Spence-Chapin asks their community to join in advocating for the adoption tax credit and sharing the urgency of this issue. We are proud to be a member of the Save the Adoption Tax Credit working group and support the advocacy efforts to save the adoption tax credit. #SaveTheATC #foreverfamilies #spencechapin