Care and Styling of Our Girls' Hair

I saw this webinar and I thought some of our waiting and adoptive parents might find it interesting and useful. It is offered by Adoption Learning Partners (www.adoptionlearningpartners.org) and is this is what it says about the session:

"Basic Care and Styling of Black Girls’ Hair
Many adoptive parents of black girls struggle with caring for their daughters’ hair.  This challenge can impact a parent’s sense of confidence as well as their daughter’s self-esteem. That’s why we have turned to the experts for help."

The webinar is Thursday, December 8, 2016 (7:00 pm mountain time). It appears that if you are not able to view the webinar on that date, it will still be available at a later date as long as you have registered in advance.

This webinar could also be of interested to those waiting for a match proposal as a way to be as best prepared as you can be.   

With kind wishes,
Liz

Liz Gifford,  BSW RSW
Program Director International

In the News: CBC November 7

Pregnant and Homeless: Edmonton coalition aims to give women pathway to better future

 "The Pregnancy Pathways program says it will work with women to help make decisions about raising their babies, choosing adoption or foster care, or finding other ways to become involved. The idea, however, is to have each woman make that decision for herself."

Read the full article: www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/pregnant-and-homeless-edmonton-coalition-aims-to-give-women-pathway-to-better-futures-1.3835837 

Raising awareness about the options available, and providing accurate information and counselling, are key in helping to ensure women can make informed decisions about what's right for themselves and their child.

November is Adoption Awareness Month!

We invite and challenge you to celebrate adoption and raise awareness during the month of November. Here are some activities and ideas to get you started...

Adoptive Parent Support Group Meeting, Calgary

Wednesday, November 23th
Join adoptive and waiting families in Talking about Adoption with your Child. Discussion about how to share your child’s adoption story with him/her. Strategies, resources, and tips used by others.  How and when to bring up the tough stuff...

Adoptive Parent Support Group Meeting, Edmonton

Thursday, November 3rd
Join adoptive and waiting families in talking about When Partners or Relatives Are Reluctant About Adoption. This will be a webinar and the talk will be given by Brooke Randolf.  We will also have time to talk together about your own experiences and hear what has worked for you.

And Thursday, November 24th
Edmonton’s second group meeting in November will welcome guest speaker Lisa Rogozinsky from the Edmonton FASD Network. Lisa will bring her experience and expertise, covering the “who, what, when, where, and why’s of FASD”, as well as talking about the strengths children who have FASD, possess, and what can be accomplished for children with the right intervention. 

The Adoptive Parent Group is an open, ongoing and supportive group sponsored by Adoption Options for our adoptive parents and waiting couples. For more information, location, meeting dates and times, visit www.adoptionoptions.com/adoptive-support-groupsparent

Community Natural Foods
Change for the Earth

Adoption Options has been chosen as a feature charity in Community Natural Foods’ Change for the Earth program! You can participate in this unique fundraising  and awareness opportunity when you shop at Community Natural Foods in Calgary during the month of November. It's so easy ... bring your own bags, shop, donate your bag credit, and CNF will double the donation to Adoption Options. Raise awareness of Adoption as a Positive Option by spreading the word about adoption and this unique program, and support Adoption Options at the same time. See attachment for more information and store locations.

 

Let's honour adoption with creating some positive adoption awareness....

Let's honour adoption with creating some positive adoption awareness....

Celebrate Adoption Awareness Month in Multiple Ways...

Spreading the word about adoption is easier than you think! Help us raise awareness about the positive option of adoption by reaching out to your community.

Email It... Put a short message about Adoption Awareness Month in your email signature. Add links to our homepage (www.adoptionoptions.com), Adoption Awareness page (www.adoptionoptions.com/adoption-awareness-month/) , and/or our 2016 video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=7yAW-3BZO_4).

Facebook, Tweet, Instagram, Pin It... Use your social media networks to spread the love!  Don't forget to platform for more ideas. www.facebook.com/adoptionoptionsalberta/

Screen It... Borrow a great adoption-related video, or an article from our blog or facebook page that you can screen for your family or friends.

Hand It Out... Ask your community school/church/club/rec centre/coffee shop if you can place our agency brochures on a bulletin board or in the lobby. We can provide you with cards and brochures upon request.

Share It... Organize a presentation on adoption or share your own story at your work/school/community centre or in the media.  Nothing promotes adoption like real family experience!

Write It... Send a letter to the editor of a local newspaper or the producer of a radio program/TV talk show and encourage them to cover a story on adoption. Or write to thank them for an adoption story they’ve already done.

Publish It... Share a few words or a short testimony about your adoption journey to be posted on our website. Write a perspective or adoption article and submit it as a guest columnist on our blog.

 Use It... Use and share Positive Adoption Language. This raises awareness, combats misconceptions and educates others about adoption as a positive option. Find examples at www.adoptivefamilies.com/talking-about-adoption/positive-adoption-language/.

Contact our Director of Outreach, Jean Lucas at: jlucas.adoptionoptions@shaw.ca for more information about how valuable your support in promoting adoption awareness can be!

Spread the love....adoption options

Spread the love....adoption options

Volunteer

Adoption Options is indebted to its many incredible volunteers who work in the background to enable the agency to be the best it can be. From fundraising and event planning to website development and outreach presentations - waiting, adoptive and birth parents step up to support us and we are deeply grateful. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

We are currently looking for volunteers to support us with the following:

  • Website management and optimization
  • Adoption awareness in schools and places of worship
  • Fundraising (online auction, anyone?)
  • Pride Parade planning

Please contact Jean at jlucas.adoptionoptions@shaw.ca  if you would like to join our volunteer force.

Thanks to all of you in our Adoption Options’ Circle of Family and Friends. Your love, your light, your support and your energy remind us daily of the important work that we do and the positive impacts adoption bring to our families and our community. We celebrate you this November, National Adoption Awareness Month, and every month!

From all of us at Adoption Options
Sheryl ~ Diane ~ Liz ~ Darlene ~ Vivian ~ Barb ~ Chantelle ~ Erika ~ Melinda ~ Nathalie ~ Jean

Together we can make a difference

Together we can make a difference

Adoption Options is Alberta's leading licensed adoption agency. We are committed to providing caring support, quality information and choices to anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy and to Alberta residents wishing to create a family through adoption. 

International Adoption Families Maintain Close Connections

Summerside Reunion

Marilyn Shinyei
Founder, Adoption Options
Retired

In February 2007 I had the unexpected joy of accompanying 12 families to China for the adoption of their baby girls (or in one case a 13-year-old girl). This came about because two of the families were from Edmonton and AO had done their homestudies. So the international facilitator, Yulin Deng at Families Outreach International in Ottawa, called to invite me. It was a wonderful trip, a highlight of my 24 years with Adoption Options and filled with lasting memories — being in the room with the families waiting for the foster parents to come in with the babies, the babies' arrival dressed in heavily quilted snowsuits on a very warm day, and the amazing good nature of all the families as they struggled with a brand new little stranger, a foreign country, immigration hoops, and the long trip home.

As well I fondly remember my own delighted exploration of China — being the only Caucasian on the streets of Nanchang and greeted with smiles and hellos from many people, eating in funny little shops there (in Beijing, Yulin took us for amazing group meals most nights sampling many different cuisines of China),  walking on the Great Wall, visiting the Forbidden City and so much more. Just look at these happy faces on our last evening in China! 

Over the intervening years, one of the Edmonton families has kindly stayed in touch, sending me a Christmas card every year with a picture of their children. So again this year I received an unexpected invite. The families, who have stayed in close touch and had small reunions whenever they could, were planning a reunion on PEI. Since I lived so close, would I like to come? Would I ever!

Seven of the 12 families spent several days together at Summerside, PEI in August. Two of them are PEI residents. The others travelled from BC, AB, SK and ON. Many made a real Maritime sojourn out of it. I took my 8-year-old granddaughter with me, first to Charlottetown to see the Anne of Green Gables musical then to Summerside for just 24 hours. Once again I was so impressed by these families. They enfolded Maeve and me into the group easily. The children played happily together all day. The adults seamlessly organized lunch for 30 of us at a nearby restaurant, picked up food for supper back at the motel, visited and shared stories. Just like in China there was no discord. I was really impressed with the bond that the adults clearly had with each other and the girls' bond was even stronger. It seems that 3 of the girls were fostered together for their first year of life.  It was wonderful to see that the frailest of the babies was a healthy, strapping 10-year-old and the most petite baby is now a terrific dancer and gymnast and still petite! I also heard the funniest homestudy story ever!

This photo is of the group on the red sands of Cavendish Beach. It requires a little explanation. Three families returned to China and adopted subsequent siblings, seen here as the two smallest girls and the one boy. The tallest girl was a 3-year-old returning to China in 2007 with her family who was adopting a second girl.

Marilyn Shinyei
Founder, Adoption Options
Retired

SUMMER TIME...

Summer Blog 2016 - Adoption Awareness Campaign

Summertime is always the best of what might be.”
― Charles Bowden

ADOPTION OPTIONS continues to strive to ensure adoption is considered as a positive option.  It amazes me how open adoption is still unknown or completely misunderstood after being a viable option for more than thirty years now in Alberta.  My hope is that one day anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy will know what each of their options are and is met with support in making a decision that is right for themselves and the baby. 

Understanding open adoption is to simply know that there can be an ongoing relationship between the birthfamily, adoptive family and child, like any other extended familial relationship.  Like all relationships, it must grow with time, nurture and mutual respect.  Open adoption is when the prospective birthparent chooses the adoptive family from our approved and waiting family list and there is an exchange of personal information about one another so all involved can make an informed decision.  The open adoption experience can be uncomfortable and awkward in the beginning as strangers come together filled with fear of the unknown and hope for the child that this relationship will be right for all involved.  Adoption is a life-long process and an emotional rollercoaster.  Open adoption is the letting go of any sense of entitlement and control and surrendering to a new reality.  Adoption is managed best by those who are able to embrace their new reality and acknowledge that all members of the adoption circle bring grief and loss but all ultimately want the same thing…. the best life possible for the child.  Adoption is managed best by those who are able to grieve their loss in a healthy manner, have a positive sense of self, are non-judgmental and open, compassionate, are good communicators, able to establish clear boundaries, have appropriate supports in their lives and are able to genuinely accept that the child has two sets of parents and what each role is with this responsibility.  That isn’t too much to ask for….is it???  That is why Adoption Options is part of the process and here to help.

As Silber and Dorner discuss in their book, The Open Adoption Experience, open adoption evolved from the belief that people handle their lives and their destinies best when addressed with trust and honesty, instead of protective secrecy and half truths.  In open adoption, all of the control and the choices are in the hands of the birthparents and the adopting parents.  The birthfamily is extended family like other relatives within the adoptive family, and like all relationships this one will evolve and change over time. Relationships need the same kind of nurturance and cultivation as gardens.

Adoption is not for everyone, and every adoption is unique.  But with professional counselling and establishing a solid adoption education base, it can be a very positive option.  It is time to debunk the adoption myths that continue to hold our society back from viewing adoption as a possibility and thereby inhibiting a real understanding about adoption today. 

As a birthmother and an adoption professional, I hear on a regular basis from very well meaning individuals, statements such as… “I could never give away my baby”, “who is the child’s real mother?”; “I would never allow the birthparent near the child, that would be confusing for the child and scary.”  All such comments or statements are cloaked in the theory of shame and fear of the unknown.  Misconceptions and misunderstandings about human nature, a child’s best interest and the fact that society has demonstrated that family can be successfully defined in many ways and a child can love and be loved by many people. 

Myths and Facts: The importance of positive adoption language...

Myth: The birthmother does not care or she would not have placed her child. 

Fact
Birthparents care enough to want the best life possible for their child, even if they cannot provide it.

Myth: Secrecy is necessary in every phase of the adoption to protect all parties.

Fact
Over the many years, secrecy from the traditionally closed practice of adoption has proven to have been harmful to the child, the birthparents, and the relationship between the child and the adoptive parents.  People are able to manage their lives best when living with honesty and the security of trust.

Myth: The birthmother will forget about her ‘unwanted’ child with time.

Fact
The loss of the child is revisited at every stage of the birthparent’s life.  They are never forgotten and never were unwanted.  They are forever loved with hopes of having the best life possible with a stable, loving, committed family able and ready to meet the child’s needs.

Myth: If the person who was adopted really loved his / her adoptive family, he/she would not have to search for their birth family.

Fact
Wanting to know or have a relationship with birthfamily has nothing to do with a person loving their adoptive parents.  It is about wanting to know where they come from and establish a solid sense of self and identity.

Myth: Birthparents don’t care.

Fact
Birthparents make an adoption plan in the best interest of their child because they love the child, and because this is not the right time for them to parent.

Myth: It’s better for birth families not to see the child.

Fact
They need to connect before and after the birth, for their well-being and the baby’s.  One cannot say good-bye until one has said hello. 

Myth: Birthparents will forget over time.

Fact
Birthparents and their families will never forget their child, and need to be able to express this love throughout the child’s life with a healthy and understanding support system.

Myth: Only the birthmother grieves.

Fact
Grief affects all members of the adoption circle and each member comes to adoption with some loss.  The birthfather and other birthfamily members care about the child and therefore are also deeply impacted by the adoption plan.

Myth: In open adoption there is nothing to grieve if they are still seeing the child.

Fact
Open adoption does not take away the pain and loss of one’s primary role in the child’s life.  It may lessen it somewhat, as the birthparents know the child is safe and loved. 
 

Five basic principles that ground open adoption practice are:

  1.  The child owns the story
  2.  Importance of positive adoption language / Advocacy
  3.  The ability to have healthy and genuine relationships
  4.  Respect for birthparents and birthfamily
  5.  Understanding grief and loss for all members of the adoption circle

The philosophical beliefs that guide open adoption practice and its principles are:

  •  Children have a connection to their birthparents.
  •  Children need information about their origins.
  •  Children need to know that their birthparents care.
  •  Birthfamilies need not represent a threat.
  •  Birthparents need to know the outcome.
  •  Adoptive parents feel more authentic when they receive permission from the birthparent to be their child’s parents, and see that the birthparents’ involvement with their family does not diminish their parent-child relationship.
  •  Openness and honesty = healthier relationships.
  •  Open adoption is NOT co-parenting, joint custody, babysitting or confusing for the child.


Accurate and sensitive adoption language to incorporate into your everyday vocabulary:

Positive adoption language: Birth or biological parents/ family
NOT: ‘Natural’ or ‘Real’ parents / family

Positive adoption language: Biological or birth child
NOT: Natural or Real child

Positive adoption language: My / Our / Your child
NOT: My / Our / Your adopted child

Positive adoption language: He / She was adopted
NOT: He / She is adopted

Positive adoption language: Chose to parent the child
NOT: Kept the child

Positive adoption language: Made an adoption plan or placed for / chose adoption
NOT: Adopted out, surrendered, or put up for adoption

Positive adoption language: International adoption
NOT: Foreign adoption

Important decisions are best made when there are two essential components: knowledge and then action.  Possessing the right knowledge and having the determination to follow up with the right action are crucial to making an informed decision that is right for you and your family.

If you would like to help develop our adoption awareness campaign in our communities, please contact our Outreach Director, Jean Lucas at: jlucas.adoptionoptions@shaw.ca with subject title Adoption Awareness Campaign.  Together we can make a positive difference in our community and ensure there is a positive awareness about adoption today!
 

Sheryl Proulx  BSW, RSW
Executive Director, Adoption Options

Spring News from Adoption Options

Spring has arrived and as we are enjoying this beautiful weather, we are reminded that this season is a time for renewal, growth and celebrating the cycle of life. It’s been a busy start to the year, working with many birthparents throughout the province who are considering making an adoption plan for their children (see current placement stats). In the cycle of renewal and growth, we recently bid Calgary social worker, Valeria Raposo, a fond good-bye and best wishes in her career and life journey. And we welcomed a new team member.

Welcome Melinda Lambardo

We are thrilled to welcome Melinda to our team. After graduating from the University of Calgary in 2015 with her Bachelor ofSocial Work, Melinda’s interest in working with children and families flourished. This passion led her to work with community agencies offering family support with newborns, as well as foster care -- which then further inspired her interest in Adoption Options. Melinda joined us in March, and has already immersed herself in working with adoptive families and birthparents. She’s looking forward to the meaningful people and experiences that are to come. Please be sure to say hi when you are in the Calgary office.

Annual Family Picnics - Volunteers Needed!

We are so excited about our 2016 Family Picnics in Calgary and Edmonton! They are going to be the biggest and best ever, thanks to our generous sponsor, Federated Co-operatives Ltd.  Mark your calendars to join us and other waiting, adoptive and birth families as we come together for an afternoon chock full of fun, games and fabulous food.  The annual picnics are volunteer-run, and we are looking for coordinators and assistants in both cities. Most jobs are small and require only a few hours of commitment. Please contact Jean at jlucas.adoptionoptions@shaw.ca (Calgary), and Barb at barb.keppy@adoptionoptions.com (Edmonton) for more information and volunteer opportunities.

Save the date:
Calgary: Sunday, June 12 (11am – 3pm)
Edmonton: Saturday, June 4 (11am – 4pm)

International Adoption Events

Check out these two upcoming events for prospective, waiting and adoptive international families...

International Adoption Information Session:
Are you considering pursuing an international adoption? Join us at Adoption Options’ Edmonton office the evening of April 12. More information about the session and registration available at www.adoptionoptions.com/international-adoption.

Post Adoption Challenges: Connection, Care and Community:  
This six session seminar series is offered in Calgary through April and May, with presenters Terra Bovingdon and Leanne Shannon. Additional information about the topics, presenters and registration here

National Volunteer Week

April 10-16 is National Volunteer week, and we want to acknowledge the contributions of our many volunteers at Adoption Options, and celebrate the power of volunteerism. WE COULDN'T DO WHAT WE DO WITHOUT YOU! From event coordination and execution, website development, video production, to fundraising and administrative work .... the list is extensive. We are truly grateful for all the time, energy and commitment our volunteers have given us out of the goodness of their hearts.
Thank you!

 More Volunteer Opportunities...

In addition to Family Picnic volunteers (above), we are currently looking for a volunteer coordinator, and support volunteers with expertise in areas of IT, website development/management and legal background. We are also always happy to connect with birthparents and adoptive parents who are willing to share their stories at events, conferences, schools, churches, etc. Please contact Jean at jlucas.adoptionoptions@shaw.ca to further explore these opportunities.

Thank you all for your continued support of Adoption Options and the work that we do. 
All the best to you and your families!
 

Welcome to a new Team Member!

I am the newest member of the Adoption Options team, and am thrilled to begin my journey in the field of adoption! After graduating from the University of Calgary in early 2015 with my BSW, my interest in working with children and families flourished.  This passion led me towards work within a few community agencies involving family support with newborns as well as foster care. My time at these agencies further inspired an interest for me with Adoption Options, which lead me to pursue a career opportunity in March 2016. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work at the Adoption Options Calgary office full time, and am certain that this work will continue to mold me into the ever-learning social worker I strive to be!

I am truly honoured to work with such a passionate and caring team, as well as with such wonderful birthparents and adoptive families. There is so much compassion and love within this community! I look forward to the meaningful people and experiences that are to come. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my partner and our families, friends, and pets - whether we are cooking (and eating), watching movies, or exploring the outdoors.  

Melinda Lombardo BSW, RSW

Calgary, Adoption Options

Spread the Love event raises over $32,000 for Adoption Awareness and Education Outreach Programs

More than 275 attendees and hundreds of volunteers, donors and sponsors made this possible
CALGARY, January 18, 2016

IMG_5334.JPG

Adoption Options’ 7th annual Spread the Love fundraiser took place one again at Theatre Calgary where a record number of guests were treated to a sneak-peak performance of the family musical The Little Prince prior to its Opening Night. Known for the past 6 years as the most entertaining fundraiser of the year, Spread the Love was a night of reconnecting with our extended Adoption Options’ “family”, celebrating adoption, and raising awareness and much needed funding for adoption outreach. We are thrilled to announce that over $32,000 was raised thanks to our generous guests and sponsors!

This year’s Spread the Love event featured TC’s The Little Prince, along with an incredible silent auction, games, and gourmet fare prepared by Roma Catering. A highlight of the evening was the unveiling of Adoption Options’ new birthmother video: Unplanned Pregnancy: The Power of Open Adoption.  Four birthmothers shared their very personal journeys of facing an unplanned pregnancy in this impactful video. Their important message has the potential to dispel misconceptions and negativity that surrounds the word “adoption” in our community as the video link is now being spread throughout the social media world. You can view it here at www.adoptionoptions.com/unplanned-pregnancy - then share it to increase awareness of The Power of Open Adoption.

The annual event brought together members of our staff from Edmonton and Calgary, adoptive families, birthmothers and birth families, family and friends, and guests from the caring professions. “It’s humbling that after three decades, the dedication and support for the work that we do continues to grow,” said Sheryl Proulx, Adoption Options’ Executive Director. “We are thrilled that through all this celebration, funds raised will benefit those facing an unplanned pregnancy as we are able to raise awareness of the option of open adoption in our community that is currently quite misinformed and unaware.”

Thank you again to everyone who made this possible: family, friends, guests, volunteers, donors, and our sponsors: Theatre Calgary, Morrison Homes, Fox Financial, Baywest Homes, Whitecap Resources and the Alexander Family. 

 

 


The Changing Climate of Adoption in Alberta

Our placements this year are lower than they have ever been.  This is not a phenomenon unique to Adoption Options, but is a trend being felt throughout the community of adoption in Alberta, where a steady decline in the number of adoption placements per year has been felt considerably over the past many years.

And why is this? 

As abortion rates climb and the percentages of young men and women making parenting plans increase, adoption figures are dropping.  What was once THE choice to make when faced with an unplanned pregnancy has now become all but obsolete.  

Coinciding with this increase in parenting and abortion rates, comes another reason, in my opinion, for why adoption has come to be the least considered, and least desired option.  I am of the firm belief that negativity and perpetuated misconceptions about adoption have a direct impact.

I like to believe we have come a long way in terms of increasing knowledge and education about current adoption practice in our province.  I like to think that when people think “birthmother”, the words “courage” “love” “maturity” and “strength” come to their minds, and when someone thinks “adoption” they also think “hope”, “love”, “family” and “choice”. 

However, I was reminded just this week about how far as a society we still have to go in actually considering adoption with this mindset.  This reminder came in the way of a radio broadcast on adoption I overheard while driving, and instead of the usual top 40 hits, I found myself listening to caller after caller ringing in to share their personal horror stories of adoption.  Stories from the “closed system,” where birth parents and adoptees were separated at birth, and everyone, including adoptive parents, were kept in the dark.   These callers, whether connected directly to adoption or not, shared stories of search and reunions gone wrong.  Of friends of friends who had a botched adoption experience.  There were callers who were adoptees themselves who resist seeking out their birth family for fear they are “drug addicts”, or “don’t care”.  The theme was this:  adoption equals negative.  Adoption is bad.

In listening to these many stories, I was left to wonder…where is the representation from those who live successful, positive, and fulfilling open adoptions year after year, every single day?  With literally THOUSANDS of open adoption success stories experienced in our province alone, where are the voices to combat these stories of an outdated, outlawed system of practice? Where were the callers to speak up about how it works today??  

This radio segment is just an example of the continued unbalanced perspective and reputation that adoption has in our society today.  When the representation is predominantly negative, and so few people even know about the open system, how does a prospective birthparent feel positive, sure, and supported in their choice for adoption?  When statements like “give up her baby” continue to be used so commonly, how does a prospective birthmother connect with an adoption plan when she considers herself a person who does not “give up”, but fights, loves, and longs for the best positive outcome for she and her child.  When the reality of open adoption is not commonly known, how can a woman, couple, or family be informed in their options? 

While I would not claim that adoption is the right choice for everyone facing the incredibly difficult decisions accompanying a pregnancy in complicated circumstances, I do believe that it is in everyone’s best interest to be informed about the reality of ALL their choices.  While the media continues to perpetuate stories from a system long ago abolished and does not replace that image with current or up to date information, it is no wonder that so few prospective birth families consider adoption a realistic and positive option.  It is incredibly difficult to stand up against that type of societal pressure, and feel strong in the face of adversity.

THIS IS WHERE YOU COME IN.  This is where we ALL play a role…

Share your stories.  Talk about how your families were formed, or how you plan to form your family.  Share with your loved ones, your acquaintances, and even interested strangers what you have learned – that there exists an adoption system of choice, trust, honesty, and contact; one that is not dictated by lifelong loss and separation, but rather courage and hope.   Educate your children about their adoption stories.  It is their voices that ring with truth and have the most power to inform and change the world’s view of their origins.  Use the words highlighted above – love, courage, strength – when speaking about birthparents.  I have never met one who doesn’t embody these qualities.  I’ll bet you haven’t either.

With our collective voice we can inform and empower, and we can provide choice and options where otherwise there exists few.  When positive voices outweigh the negative, maybe we will see a shift in our society where women and men feel supported, understood, and celebrated in a decision that is without a doubt based in, and made with, absolute LOVE.

“Just as ripples spread out when a single pebble is dropped into water, the actions of individuals can have far reaching effects” - - Dalai Lama

Erika Moore
Social Worker, Adoption Options

 

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is one of my favourite times of the year.  A time of personal reflection and appreciation.  A time when the earth’s most vibrant colours come to life.  As I work in a profession and with an organization that I innately believe in, I am very grateful for having the opportunity to fulfill my life’s career path with the most exceptional team a person could have the privilege of working with.  At Adoption Options, we are humbled each and every day by those who grace our doors.  With this, I asked each of our team members to share what they value and are grateful for in their work with Adoption Options.  Here is what they shared...

I am thankful for the opportunity to work with a team of incredibly passionate women who tirelessly support clients and each other. It is a privilege to learn every day doing work I love with people I admire. I’m grateful for the challenges and the learnings that have strengthened and deepened my understanding of adoption. And I’m thankful for chocolate!  Happy Thanksgiving to all. Jean

I am grateful for the opportunity to work with prospective international adoptive parents; and am always touched by their commitment and desire to show their vulnerabilities in proceeding in creating their family or perhaps larger family through international adoption.  The children whom join their families through international adoption are inspiring and I feel privileged
to be a part of their journey; it is enriching observing these children as they transition and adapt to their new family, home, and community.  With every placement I learn more about children's resilience, pain, joy, fear, grief, happiness, and pride in the opportunity of a new beginning. These children are truly gifts to their new families and Canada.
 Liz

I am thankful for the privilege entrusted to us in creating families, both domestically & internationally. Barb

I am grateful for all the wonderful people that I am privileged to work with, for all who were part of AO in the past and that after all these years I still feel that I "get" to go to work as opposed to "have" to go to work... Diane

I meet the most amazing people through my work, whether it be co-workers, adoptive couples, or birthparents.  I learn so much about life through the people I have the opportunity to interact with daily, and I am very grateful for that.  There are many generous, resilient, resourceful, compassionate people who are part of the adoption community.  
Happy Thanksgiving!
  Chantelle

I am grateful for the teachings and learning’s that my clients have brought to my life - I am often struck by the tremendous strength of spirit, capacity for love, and resiliency that I am privileged to observe nearly every day in my work.   Watching the creation of family through the open adoption journey is beautiful, and each time I witness those moments, I am struck by a feeling of gratitude for the gift of being a part of it.  I am also thankful for our Adoption Options team.  Each woman here brings a special passion and commitment to this work that I believe is unique to the field.  I love being surrounded by that energy. Erika

I am thankful that I have a job that I love, where I am excited to come to work each and every day and that I am blessed to be surrounded by the most caring and compassionate team members who work at Adoption Options. Darlene

When thinking about what I am grateful for in my work at the agency, I truly appreciate seeing the relationships between adoptive families and birth families come alive. It is a neat experience to see that relationship extend past the agency and for families to remain connected not only for the child, but also for each other. Nathalie

I am thankful to Adoption Options, for allowing me to work in a field I enjoy and to interact with people daily.  I am thankful for the country we live in.  This is often something taken for granted, but I am grateful we have the opportunity to have freedom of speech, religion, and the freedom to choose our own path. I am thankful for the opportunity to learn every day.  Valeria

I cannot add much to what has already been shared.  I am always thankful for seeing children being placed in forever homes with safe, stable, loving and deeply committed families.  To see families come together and the circle of open adoption come to life.  To witness resiliency, unconditional love and a capacity to handle exceptional life challenges with grace and dignity is a great honour that I treasure. 

Thank you to an extraordinary team and those we have the honour of serving.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sheryl Proulx
Executive Director, Adoption Options

Hot Topic: Social Media and Crowdfunding

What are the rules for adoptive and prospective adoptive parents?

We are receiving more and more inquiries about postings, blogs and crowdfunding sites by adoptive parents who have good intentions in wanting to share their adoption journey and also set up sites to fundraise to cover their adoption expenses. However, this is not currently permitted, and when Adoption Options learn of such a posting, we will require that it be removed. Here's why…

In accordance with sec. 85(1) of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act and sec. 25(2)(d)(iii) of the Adoption Regulations, both prospective adoptive parents and adoption agencies are prohibited from publishing any advertisements dealing with the adoption of a child. While legislation allows for sharing of information between prospective adoptive families and birth families in order to facilitate an adoption, such information sharing must also preserve confidentiality. This often translates into private communication and not public dissemination of information. Public dissemination is seen as an unnecessary disclosure of information beyond the intent of the Act. The posting of profiles online, with widespread access, falls under the category of publication and is prohibited. Furthermore, the Regulation prohibits identifying a specific adoptive parent. The posting of an online profile would identify the prospective adoptive parent and is contrary to the Regulation. This would then include crowdfunding /fundraising efforts to cover adoption fees, as such postings share one’s desire and story to adopt a child.

The issue of publishing advertisements dealing with the adoption of a child, including the posting of profiles online, will be considered when a review of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act next occurs.  As part of the review, adoption agencies and prospective adoptive families will be given the opportunity to provide their input on how the legislation could better respond to the needs of Alberta families.

You are welcome to seek your own legal advice on this topic.  As regulation review of the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act is coming up in 2016, I welcome your input on how current legislation can better respond to the needs of Alberta families in respect to adoption practice.  You can email me at: sheryl.proulx@adoptionoptions.com.

Sheryl 

Sheryl Proulx, BSW, RSW
Executive Director
Adoption Options

2016 Spread the Love Fundraiser Announced

The Little  Prince at Theatre Calgary
January 2016

We are thrilled to announce that Theatre Calgary has once again generously offered to host our annual Spread the Love fundraiser. Our guests will be among the very first to experience The Little Prince musical production at this "sneak-a-peak" event prior to opening night. Theatre Calgary is presenting the World Premiere of this family musical, based on one of the most beloved books in history: authored by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and now adapted by Nicholas Lloyd Webber and James D. Reid. theatrecalgary.com/the_little_prince.

Join us for a fabulous fundraiser and a most entertaining evening. The event includes dinner, silent auction, door prizes and a live theatrical performance. Your ticket purchases and donations help us provide many excellent professional services in the adoption community. More information and ticket information will be posted online at adoptionoptions.com/spread-the-love-fundraiser as the date draws nearer. The anticipated event date is Monday January 18, 2016.

I look forward to seeing all of you there!
Sheryl

30th Annual Adoption Options' Picnics

As the first day of summer is here and also happens to fall on Father’s Day, I am inspired and hopeful of things to come. June seems to have flown by. An extra busy time of year as school wraps up, extra-curricular activities come to an end with recitals and concerts, and we hosted our 30th annual Adoption Options' family picnics in Edmonton and Calgary. Being a part of the annual picnics is truly a highlight. Reconnecting and watching families come together is a pleasure. It's also is a humble reminder of why Adoption Options exists, and the importance of our agency’s continued success to ensure anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy or dealing with fertility loss has open adoption as a viable option to consider. A heartfelt Thank You to the many volunteers who stepped in and made sure that the picnics continued on this year. Without our volunteers, Adoption Options would not be able to host these special events. 

Here are a few pictures to share of our AO families at the Edmonton and Calgary 30th Adoption Options' picnics.

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads and dads to be.
Wishing each one of our families the very best,

Sheryl Proulx

 

Change for the Earth - Fundraiser

Adoption Options is a Feature Charity at Community Natural Foods!

Raise funds for Adoption Options every time you shop!
June 1 – 30, 2015

We are thrilled to be chosen as one of the three feature charities in Community Natural Foods’ Change for the Earth program! You can participate in this unique fundraising opportunity for Adoption Options when you shop at Community Natural Foods during the month of June.

Donating to Adoption Options is easy! When you shop at any Community Natural Foods market, bring your own grocery bags and donate your bag credit to Adoption Options!  You’ll be given 5 cent chips that you place in our donation stand. It’s that easy!!

Plus Community matches your donation to double our dollars!

Imagine how much we could raise if we ALL shopped at Community in June and donated our bag credits! Now imagine the fundraising success if we spread the word to our family and friends!!

Since its inception in 2012, customers have donated over $45,000 - 5 cents at a time. With matching funds, this program has raised over $90,000 for the 36 not-for-profit organizations Community has showcased. Thank you, Community Natural Foods!

Market Locations
10 Avenue Market: 1304 10 Ave SW, Calgary
Chinook Station Market: 202 61 Ave SW, Calgary (just blocks from our office)
Crowfoot Market: 850 Crowfoot Crescent NW, Calgary 

www.communitynaturalfoods.com

From Sheryl's Desk

Agency Update and Trends

We continue to be busy with regular calls from prospective birthparents. This past week our social workers also managed the painful work of a revocation, followed by two challenging instant placements and two other placements where we had been actively working with the birthfamilies and adoptive families that were matched. 

Although adoption is never straight forward, there does seem to be a trend toward additional layers of complexities.  We have seen an increase in our cases of regular prenatal exposure to drugs and / or alcohol, criminal activity and mental health concerns.  We are definitely in need of adoptive parents who are accepting of and able to meet the needs of a child who has been prenatally exposed to regular alcohol and drug use. If you are interested in learning more about these challenges, this link offers excellent information for professionals and parents: Recognizing and Managing Children with Alcohol Syndrome / Fetal Alcohol Effects.

 “Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life.”  Janine di Giovanni. 

Our Director of Outreach, Jean Lucas, has been working hard to ensure strong connections and adoption awareness in our community. Her efforts have already been very impactful by the increase in option inquiries from those facing an unplanned pregnancy.  Adoption Options is committed to ensuring anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy, or perhaps is parenting and struggling, is aware of their options and considers open adoption as a possible positive option for themselves and their child.  

From Sheryl's Desk

Welcome to our new Website and Blog!

After many months of planning and designing (thanks to our amazing volunteers - Jody, Jenn and Jordan!), I am delighted to announce the launch of our new website.

We wanted our site to more effectively connect with everyone in the adoption circle, as well as to all others who are as passionate as we are about building families and creating futures through adoption. We hope you like the fresh new look and the improved navigation that will allow you to find the information you want more quickly and easily.

This is a “work in progress” so you will see changes, additions and improvements as we move forward. We invite you to take a tour around the website - then bookmark us and check back regularly for news and updates from me and guest contributors. And don't forget to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more adoption information, articles and announcements.

We hope you enjoy our new site!

By: Sheryl Proulx, BSW, RSW
Adoption Options, 
Executive Director