Adoptees, Why Supporting Each Other Matters

I remember the day when I stood in the home of my birth mother and held her. We were in England and she had pulled me into her bedroom to “speak privately.”

Mum looked me in the eyes and said, “I never wanted to let you go. And, I need you to know that.” She then folded herself into my arms and we both began to cry.

It was just a few years ago, yet I recall the moment like it was yesterday. Mum handed me the original papers of my relinquishment. I had always possessed a copy. But, now I was staring at the actual document. Stained with her tears. The piece of paper that had been signed by my birth mother on the day she gave up her rights to parent me. How I hated that piece of paper.

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Episode 7: Zoe Johnson, A Former Foster’s Story of Reuniting with Her Birth Father

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Zoe Johnson. She has an incredible story to share! She’s a former foster child, orphaned as a little girl. Today, Zoe is a wife and mother, and a woman on a journey of faith to sharing the amazing story of finding her bio father through ancestry.com

Anyone who is searching, on any level, for truth in their life will want to listen to Zoe’s insights as she walks the real and raw path of reunion. Zoe’s journey to truth and to her bio dad is inspirational. Her ability to forgive and to start right where she and her bio dad are, is something we all can learn from. To learn more about Zoe, you can find her on YouTube.

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Adoption: Helping Foster Children with the Transition, by Dr. John DeGarmo

Adoption?

It was never a thought or consideration for me, for many years. Yet, as it is in so many areas of life, plans change, and people change.

Through the years, my own family has been granted the blessing of the wonderful joy that is adoption. As recounted in the book, Love and Mayhem: One Big Family’s Uplifting Story of Fostering and Adoption, my family and I have had the opportunity to adopt three children from foster care. Sadly, we have also experienced the realities of four failed adoptions, as well. Without a doubt, these adoptions have changed our family and our lives in wonderful and unanticipated ways. Yet, there have also been times of great anxiety, too, when it appeared that the adoptions might not go through as first planned. Fortunately, three adoptions did take place, and my wife and I are now loving parents of six children. Three of these are biological, three are adopted. To be clear, there are no labels in our home: no adoptive, biological, or foster children. They are all family, and all our children, and we love each unconditionally.

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Episode 6: Uplifting Children & Youth in the Foster Care System with Author Chavis Fisher

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with author, Chavis Fisher. We discuss how we can uplift the children and youth in foster care and raise their voices. In addition, we share the importance of foster children understanding that they are not alone in their journey—that there are people who love and care for them.

With over eighteen years of legal practice, Chavis Fisher has worked with hundreds of foster children, adoptive parents, Court Appointed Special Advocates (better known as CASA) and Department of Child Services agency employees. She received the prestigious Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for her commitment to improve the lives of children in need of permanent homes.

Chavis Fisher is the author of the book, Adopting Tigerwhich explores foster care through the eyes of a child. It’s a number one best selling book on Amazon. I couldn’t put it down!

To learn more about Chavis Fisher, please visit: chavisfisher.com.

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Three Women, One Love: Honoring Bio, Foster, and Adoptive Mothers

I’m not an adoption professional. What I am is an expert on how it feels to be adopted.  I’m an international adoptee. I hold a wealth of knowledge and understanding about living in the skin of adoption.

I was born in England. Not in London, but in a smaller place known as Bury St Edmunds. Bury St Edmunds is a town in West Suffolk on the River Lark.

It is of an ancient ruin and is said to have been the site of a Roman villa and later a royal Saxon town. Bury St Edmunds is named for Saint Edmund—king of the East Angles—killed by the Danes around 870, and is buried there.

I tell you this not because I’m a historian, but because I hold a deep sense of pride in where I am from and from where I was adopted.

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Episode 5: Open Adoption and Cultivating Love Between Bio & Adoptive Families with Molly Rampe Thomas

On this episode of The Greater Than Podcast, I speak with Molly Rampe Thomas. Molly is a licensed social worker, and Founder and CEO of Choice Network, a pro choice adoption agency that, at its very core, is founded on Molly’s love for her daughter’s biological mother.

We discuss open adoption and inspiring a culture of honor, gratitude, and respect between bio and adoptive families. In addition, we discuss the immense need for  families to consider adopting older children and sibling groups from the foster care system. To learn more about Choice Network and Molly’s work, visit: choicenetworkadoptions.com.

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Child Welfare: A Call to Duty, by Chavis Fisher

One of the things that amazes me, is about every third person I talk to has more knowledge about the child welfare system and adoption than they ever knew they had. What also amazes me is that we are so often called to this work, but not sure exactly how to play a role.  I had an Indiana University social work student ask me just yesterday, at an event where I served as a panelist, “How do you know when you are called?” My answer to her was the same answer I received from my father when I was just seven years old  — where does your passion lie? I went on to ask her several more rhetorical questions: what makes your heart quicken; what is that thing you would do if you never got paid; what would you be excited about engaging in even if it were twenty degrees below zero outside? She thought a while and looked at me and smiled. I smiled back and said, “That’s your call.”

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Saving International Adoption

I’m an international adoptee. I’m also the parent of two children delivered into my life via adoption from Russia and Ethiopia.

We’re an international family created through adoption. We love each other and we have so much fun together.

We are also Americans; immigrants to the U.S. and citizens by naturalization. We contribute and we serve this nation, our community, our family, and our friends.

Recently, I read a staggering statistic: International adoption by Americans has declined by 81% since 2004. And, crippling new policies and practices are projected to completely end international adoption within the next five years. (How to Solve the U.S. International Adoption Crisis, by Nathan Gwilliam, Ron Stoddart, Robin Sizemore, and Tom Velie, adoption.com, March 19, 2018)

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Breaking the Cycle of Abuse, by Shivonne Costa

This month marks the 6th anniversary of when two small children stood on our front stoop, accompanied by a social worker, searching for a place to lay their heads that night. They seemed tiny and scared — both defensive and hopeful all in the same breath. Within 30 minutes, the social worker had left and the two children remained. We were a houseful of strangers, my husband and I realized. We didn’t know what to do or what to say because we had no idea how deep their wounds went.

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Why I Became A Foster Parent, by Meghan Walbert

One of the questions I am most often asked is: “Why?” Family members, friends, neighbors and new acquaintances all want to know why.

Why did you become a foster parent?

Maybe one reason I get asked this so often is because in my circle of middle class suburban friends and family, becoming a foster parent is not particularly typical. I can understand the curiosity. Why would someone who grew up with no connection to the child welfare system, who didn’t have a single friend who entered care, who never personally knew anyone who’d been a foster parent … what makes that person arrive at this choice?

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