TOOLS FOR TEENS

When Bellis speakers present adoption information in classrooms, the bell rings far too soon. Tools for Teens is a space where we continue the dialog and serve as an ongoing resource for those with more detailed questions.

WHY IT MATTERS

Why do Bellis volunteers work so hard to educate young people about adoption? Because we believe they can help create greater cultural awareness and compassion. Dated phrases such as “she gave her baby up for adoption” (not sensitive or accurate) are being replaced with “she made an adoption plan for her child” (more sensitive and accurate). Why does it matter? Because nearly two-thirds of the population have a connection with adoption, and we believe in honoring and dignifying their experience, debunking myths and removing stigma. Starting with youth, we can ensure adoption is discussed, understood and supported.

 

QUICK Q&A

Below is a list of common questions we hear in classrooms. Click on a question to see how our speakers respond. Have additional questions? Contact our volunteer speaker group today and they’ll reply via email.

Do you regret your choice?

No, I don’t regret my choice to make an adoption plan for my daughter. I poured my heart into making that plan. I chose her new parents, who were thrilled and ready to welcome her into their life. But I do sometimes regret that when I became pregnant with her, I wasn’t in a place where I could provide her with the life I envisioned for her myself. Since we see each other a lot, I see my plan unfold and I know that, by following my heart, I did the right thing. And, if I’m honest, I sometimes regret that when I speak openly about the pain and grief that goes with adoption, sometimes people assume that means I must feel l made the wrong choice. Painful feelings are part of adoption, and parenthood, and life. It doesn’t mean we regret our choices. (Birth mother.)

 

How much did it cost?

First, the most important thing to remember is that babies don’t have price tags. However, with an adoption plan comes expenses. Those expenses are typically paid for by the prospective adoptive parents. In my case, we paid about $22,000, which allowed our adoption agency and the state to train us, walk us through the process, complete background screenings, provide necessary support services for the expectant birth parents, court proceedings and more. I know that adoption fees vary depending on if it is international or a lot of other factors. Many companies provide grants for adoption and there are tax credits available as well. Adoption through foster care has no cost. It is also important to understand that birth parents do not have to pay anything to make an adoption plan for their child. The fees are about ensuring the child is as safe as possible in his or her new home. (Adoptive parent)

 

Do your kids get along, even if they aren’t really “related”?

My kids get along as well as any other siblings do. Some days they are best friends; some days they aren’t. It hurts my heart when I hear my biological kids scream “I wish we would never have adopted you.” But then I remember that siblings often scream “I wish you had never been born.” And I remind myself this is a typical sibling issue, not an adoption issue. (Adoptive parent)

 

When did your parents tell you that you were adopted?

You might be imagining that they sat me down and, at long last, admitted: “You are adopted.” But that doesn’t happen much anymore in adoptive families. Like most kids who were adopted as infants, my parents gave me age-appropriate information throughout my infant and childhood. One of my first books was “Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell. Since I could really listen or talk, adoption has just been a normal part of my family’s story. (Adopted person)

 

Did you get to name your child?

Yes and no. I had the name “Veronica” picked out, because that was my grandmother’s name. When I talked with the prospective adoptive parents about that, their eyes lit up because they had chosen a grandparent’s name, too. Together, we decided “Amelia Veronica” had the perfect ring to it. The name was a way to honor special women in our lives and share that combined legacy with the baby. Ultimately, it’s up to the adoptive parents to name the baby, but many adoptive parents and birth parents work together to choose a name. I’m really glad we came up with the name together. (Birth mom)

 

Other runners up – Is the birth father still involved? Are you married & do you have kids? Do you ever worry that the birth parents will try to take the child away from you? Schedule a Bellis speakers panel to discuss these and other compelling questions.

Is adoption for you?

When facing an unintended pregnancy, many questions arise including “What about adoption?” That question deserves thoughtful consideration and the help of a qualified professional. We encourage people to seek in-person, comprehensive decision-making counseling from a licensed professional. This should be available at full-service adoption agencies, at no cost and with no pressure to choose adoption. Bellis provides this list as a resource. Please note, Bellis does not endorse any agency nor does it guarantee the quality of services provided. It is sometimes helpful to meet with more than one agency to find the right fit.

Preview a current listing of full-service adoption agencies:
Download/View PDF | Download/View Excel Spreadsheet

We Make An Impact!

"The presenters… destroyed any misconceptions about adoption and empowered the students to use correct terminology while having a better understanding of the process. The presentation fit perfectly to the learning targets of the classroom."

– John Wardlow
Health and Physical Education Teacher
Mound Westonka High School

HELP BELLIS BLOOM

Bellis wouldn't be where it is today without the help of our donors. Your contributions help us visit roughly 125 high school classrooms each year; offer quarterly training workshops for new volunteers; cultivate new partnerships with corporate, nonprofit and faith-based organizations; nurture connections with our friends in the foster care community; host one of the only birth mother retreats in the country and offer bi-monthly meetings for anyone with an adoption experience. Take a minute to watch the video and discover why Bellis depends on people like you.

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