All Articles Tagged "Adoption"
I have no idea what it’s like to be adopted, but I always imagined that adopted children and even some adults spend quite a bit of time looking into the faces of complete strangers, wondering if they’re their long lost parents. Your father could be someone you pass on the street everyday. Your mother could be the woman who works in your building.
Though the notion of such a thing seems highly unlikely, that’s exactly what happened to La-Sonya Mitchell-Clark, 38, of Youngstown, Ohio.
Mitchell-Clark told WKBN, an Ohio CBS affiliate, from the day she learned she was adopted, she wanted to find her biological mother.
That dream became a reality last month when the Ohio Department of Health released birth records for people born between January 1964 and September 1996. Mitchell-Clark’s record included the name of her birth mother, Francine Simmons.
Mitchell-Clark looked the woman up on Facebook and discovered that she worked at Infocision in Boardman, Ohio, the same company and inside the same building where Mitchell-Clark is currently employed.
That’s when Mitchell-Clark realized that she knew of a Francine at her job. The woman worked in another department, at the front desk.
Mitchell-Clark reached out to a few of her other friends on social media for help. Then the next day, she got a phone call from her birth mother.
“She called me and I said, ‘Is this Ms. Francine? She said yes. I said, ‘I think I’m your daughter.'”
The two women burst into tears.
Francine Simmons said that she’s still in shock. Like Mitchell-Clark, she too has wanted to reconnect but didn’t know how to go about it.
She explained, “I got pregnant when I was 14. I had her when I was 15. I was put in a home, a girl’s home. Had her. Got to hold her. Didn’t get to name her, but I named her myself in my heart all these years.”
When she found her mother, Mitchell-Clark also found three other sisters, one who works at Infocision with her mother and newfound sister.
Kamala Cummings, the sister, said through tears, “I feel a sense of relief for my mother.”
Her other sister, Maisaha Cummings said, “It’s just amazing that all this time we’re thinking about her and trying to find her and she was trying to find us too.”
Not only do the mother and daughter pair work in the same office, they live six minutes away from one another.
Mitchell-Clark says her adoptive parents have always been supportive of her searching for her birth mother. She said that they’re going to be a part of the new relationship with Simmons.
Simmons agrees, “Now, we’ve got a bigger extended family where we can just be together.”
You can watch the two women discuss their reunion in the video below.
— Connie Going (@GoingConnie) April 11, 2015
Davion Only captured the nation and the world’s attention two years ago when he, at 15-years-old, stood up in front of a Florida church and pleaded with the congregation to adopt him. Not only did he touch our hearts with his very real and relatable desire to be loved, his honesty shed a light into what the adoption and foster care system is like for Black children, particularly Black boys.
After Davion spoke at church, calls from people down the street to around the world came pouring in, expressing interest in adopting Only. And according to the Tampa Bay Times, last Spring he was sent to live with a family in Ohio, a minister, his wife and three children, who said they wanted to make Davion a part of their family.
Davion’s wish was finally granted. He had the family he’d always wanted. But things changed when Davion got into a fight with one of the minister’s other children. After just three months, the family changed their minds and sent Davion right back into the system he’d been trying to escape his whole life.
Naturally, when he came back to Florida he was changed. He didn’t want to speak to anyone, not his counselors at the agency, the kids from his group home, not the teachers at his new high school, or the foster parents who took him in. Davion knew they had no plans to keep him permanently.
Instead of talking, he mostly played Madden football on the PlayStation.
At 16, he thought his chances of being adopted were over.
A few months later though, in July, having lived in four different homes and attended four different high schools in a year’s time, he was ready to talk.
He called the only number he had memorized, the only woman who had been a constant presence in his life, his caseworker Connie Going.
Going had wanted to talk to Davion when she heard that he’d been sent back to Florida. Instead of Davion, it was reporters who wanted to talk to her. They had all types of questions for Going, mainly “What went wrong?”
Going wanted to tell them, “That boy spent his whole life in the system, that’s what went wrong.”
Going, who had been Davion’s caseworker since he was seven years old, felt like she had let him down in not being able to find him a home. Going told the Times that there were many occasions when she wanted to call Davion. But she didn’t want to make him feel like he had to explain anything.
When she received his call in July, she was at the hospital with her dying father.
When Connie first met Davion, he was shy and always wanted to hug her. She’d take him out for pizza, pancakes and hot dogs. The two went bowling and to the beach together. She found Davion a mentor and followed him through each of the foster homes and therapy sessions.
Every year, for the past ten years, Davion asked her at least once, “Why don’t you just adopt me, Miss Connie?”
Going told Davion that she thought he deserved more. She told him he needed a father. Since she’d met Davion, Going’s daughters were teenagers, her marriage had ended, she’d helped more than 1,000 kids get adopted and she’d adopted one of them herself, 10-year-old Taylor, Davion’s friend from the group home, who had suffered two failed matches.
Going allowed Davion to stay at her home on weekends but she felt with her teenaged daughters and Taylor her house was too small. She kept promising Davion that she would find him his own family.
When Davion left for Ohio, Connie helped him pack a bag and prayed for him every night. When she learned that he was sent back to Florida, she worried that he would think he had no one in this world.
So, when she spoke to him in July, Davion brought up the subject of adoption again. “Do you remember what I asked you before? I mean about…Well, how do you feel about adopting me now?”
This time Connie didn’t hesitate. She was no longer his caseworker and was waiting for Davion to ask her again. She’d talked to her children and they all agreed.
Once she agreed, Davion couldn’t believe it. He kept asking her if she was sure and did she mean it. Then he asked, when?
In December, Connie called an adoption agency, hired a lawyer and rented a new house with four bedrooms and a pool. When she passed a home study, Davion was allowed to move in for good. He brought a garbage bag full of T-shirts, a backpack stuffed with video games and the Bible the group home had given him.
Connie gave him the big bedroom and helped him paint the walls and hang anime posters above the dresser.
Just before Christmas, Davion told her, “I guess I always thought of you as my mom. Only now I get to call you that for real, right?”
In February, both Davion and Connie celebrated their birthdays, which just so happen to be the same day. Connie took Davion to get his permit and he took her to get a pedicure. Later that night, Connie and Davion signed the court papers.
On April 22, the adoption will be official.
Since he’s been living with Connie, things haven’t exactly been peaches and cream. The house is a lot louder with Davion around and Going says Davion tests her patience. All of the children squabble with each other, furniture gets overturned. Twice a week a family therapist comes to the house and meets with the family as a group and then all of the members individually.
But Connie is taking all of it in stride.
“I’m okay with messy and difficult. You just have to have your armor on all the time, but it’s more than worth it. And every day things get a little bit better.”
Going describes Davion as astoundingly compassionate. She says he’s always concerned about the other members of the house, even the dogs, and goes around asking if everyone is okay.
This semester, instead of enrolling in yet another high school, Davion is taking classes online and has earned a 3.1 GPA. In the fall, he hopes to get a job, start boxing and go back to traditional school.
Going says things can become a bit overwhelming for Davion at times and he just has to scream for what seems like no reason. Other times, he’ll lock himself in his room, draw the blinds and play video games.
Usually, after everyone has gone to bed, he unlocks the door and lets Going in. Most of the time she doesn’t say anything. She just sits on top of Davion’s covers and listens to him talk, talk and talk.
You can watch both Connie and Davion tell a bit of their story in the video below.
Not being born into a loving or financially stable family is a reality no child should have to experience, but thankfuly there are families out there willing to take a child in and show them unconditional love. Adoptive parents have taken the in many a child and given them a foundation that will carry them through life. These celebrities were raised by adoptive parents that gave them love, encouragement and a place to call home.
Kristin Chenoweth was adopted soon after she was born in July 1968 in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. She shared with Rosie O’Donnell her fear of finding her birth mother, “I was afraid that someone might come forward and that it either wouldn’t be true because it was a closed adoption, or it would be a door that I wanted to shut and couldn’t.” Being a Tony Award winning actress and singer, she does however want to know where she got her distinctive voice.
V. Stiviano is…a character. I can’t lie after watching snippets of her interview with Barbara Walters, where she denied being his mistress, but claimed he called her his “silly rabbit,” I find her odd… to say the least. But apparently, someone at the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services thinks she’s a suitable foster mother.
The agency agreed that Stiviano could serve as the temporary guardian for two boys, 12 and 14. A social worker signed off on the guardianship after visiting the $1.8 million home Clippers owner, Donald Sterling bought for her last year. The social worker’s visit, ironically came hours before the Barbara Walters interview, where she also denied that Sterling was a racist.
Stiviano’s lawyer, Mac Nehoray said the approval happened “in the middle of all the craziness.” He also noted that the reports that the boys are African American is false. One boy is of “Cambodian Mexican descent and one is of Mexican and Native American descent.”
I won’t say too much on this because when people, with good intentions, take children into their home it can be a beautiful thing, I just sincerely hope that she treats these boys well, that they find a good home with her and she allows them to live a normal life, not plagued by her newfound fame.
What do you think about V. Stiviano the foster mother?
From The Grio
A 19-year-old Iowa woman is meeting her birth mother for the first time thanks to a photo she posted online.
Hannah Stouffer of Urbandale posted a photo asking for information on her birth mother earlier this week.
Three days and 53,000 re-tweets later, she got a hold of her mother. It turns out her mother still lives in Des Moines. They’ve been texting back and forth for days.
Stouffer says she needed some time to prepare for meeting her mother in person.
“’I’m as ready as I’m going to be. I’m nervous. I`m scared. Every time I think about it I just want to cry. I just can`t believe it`s happening already. I’ve waited so long and it`s finally happening,” Stouffer says.
Growing up all Stouffer knew about her birth mother was that she gave birth to Stouffer when she was 15-years-old. “I was just so angry that she would give me up.”
It wasn’t until Stouffer became a teenage mother herself that she had a better understanding of what her mother went through. “As soon as I got pregnant I knew how hard it was. I knew that decision wasn’t easy and I knew she did it with love.”
Stouffer kept her daughter and shares her story with other teen moms. Stouffer plans on meeting up with her mother Saturday afternoon at a coffee shop.
Read more about this reunion at TheGrio.com
The notion of adopting a child truly tugs at our heartstrings, but let’s keep it real: the twist and turns that precede a successful adoption can be a nightmare! And to top it all off, your bank account will look damn-near empty after the process.
“I would like to adopt, but can’t afford the agency fees. It’s soooooo expensive.” a MadameNoire reader recently commented. She’s right. Between the legal fees, medical costs, travel expenses and possible failed adoption matches, this method of bringing a child into your family costs Americans between $10,000 to $40,000! But compare that to the average cost of a natural birth — $30,000 — and it isn’t too harrowing.
Now since there are several different methods to acquiring an adopted bundle of joy, let’s break down the numbers for each, shall we?
Maybe you’ll want to extend your motherly love to a precious child overseas? The latest figures show international adoption has plummeted to only 20,000 children from 45,000 in 2004. Despite the drop, international adoption costs have climbed — adoptive parents have put down as much as $50,000!
The price tag varies depending on which country you choose. One adoption agency — Bethany Christian Services — give us a pretty good picture of how much you’ll spend for international adoption. Taking in a Haitian child, for instance, will set you back between $35,149 and $42,129. What does this include?
Agency fees (paid to the social workers, the home study fees, and more) — $ 12,950
Country fees (funds the nation’s orphanage system) — between $13,810 and $ 14,650
“Third-party fees” (whatever that is) $ 2,864 — $ 3,404
Travel fees (don’t forget important documents like medical exams, proof of marriage, financial statements etc.) — $ 4,825 — $ 10,125
Post-adoption fees (agency needs to keep an eye on you as a caregiver) — $ 700 — $ 1,000.
The great thing about adopting internationally is that you don’t have to cover an expectant mother’s expenses or worry about her changing her mind. The downside? All that travelling can be a pain in the rear; be willing to visit the host country twice. Also, tough luck if you want a newborn! In most countries, children are orphaned and older before they’re permitted to be sent overseas, GlobalPost reports.
For a newborn, perhaps you’ll consider domestic adoption?
Newborn American baby? That’ll be $33,793, please! This average figure can climb or drop even depending on the child’s race. According to NPR, a Caucasian baby costs $35,000, a bi-racial baby costs between $24,000 and $26,000 and a Black baby can cost about $18,000. But where, according to Adoptive Families, does all the money go?
Home study Fee (agency determines if you’re fit for parenthood through interviews, background checks and references) — $1,912
Agency application & program fee (y’know, adoption centers got bills to pay & profits to make) — $14,161
Attorney fees (with all the legal mumbo jumbo, you might need one) — $3,548
Document preparation/Authorization — $1,114
Advertising (agencies need to retain their relationships with hospitals/clinics to find mothers willing to give up their child) — $2,017
Birth family counseling (sometimes offered to birth mothers for free, at your expense) — $1,085
Birth mother expenses (OB-Gyn, hospital stay, etc. One article calls this expense a “fraud” because taxpayers pay this fee, not you) — $3,076
Travel expenses (varies depending how far or near the birth mother is) — $2,198
All other expenses — $4,682
Whew! That’s a lot, but the good thing is that there’s a shorter wait time compared to international adoption and certainly less traveling. However, adoptive parents run the risk of the dreaded “false start” — expectant mothers fall in love with their baby and refuse to give it up. Thirty-five percent of adoptive parents have experienced this and lose out on an average of $5,000.
If you’re willing to forgo the fantasy of raising a child from birth, adopting from a foster home is the cheapest option — a relatively low price tag of only $2,744. As reported by Adoptive Families, let me give you a full picture of the expenses:
Home study fee – $231
Attorney fees – $1,573
Travel expenses – $342
Other expenses – $598
You pay absolutely nothing for agency fees, document preparation, advertising, and birth mother expenses. In fact, foster homes will give you a monthly stipend for food, medical insurance, school supplies, and clothes. On average, adoptive parents receive $607 a month. The downside is that many of the toddlers have developmental delays. “There’s usually a long line of potential parents waiting for an infant in good health,” ABC News says.
For women who cannot or choose not to give birth to children, another woman can carry and delivery the baby for them, which is what Melissa Harris-Perry did to add a baby girl to her family. If you thought domestic and international adoption was expensive, you’ll be shocked to hear that gestational surrogacy costs a whopping $80,000 to $100,000! Where did we come up with that number? Here’s the breakdown:
In vitro fertilization transfer fee – $1,000
Cycling process – $400
Pregnancy allowance (8 months at $200 per month) – $1,600
Maternity clothing allowance – $500
Life insurance – $500-$600
Health insurance – $1,000 – $25,000
Meeting allowance (5 meetings at $100 per meeting) – $500
Childcare – $1,200
Housekeeping – $400
Surrogate’s lost wages –$2,500
Travel to IVF doctor –$1,000
Program fee – $22,500
Attorney/court fees – $10,250 – $16,760
If you can supply your own egg, a baby of your own genetic line will be born. The downsides are obviously the costs and the surrogate can, again, change her mind and keep the baby.
Parents who choose any of these methods must be prepared mentally for the unforeseen circumstances can take you on an emotional roller coaster as well as the fiscal challenges that come up.
But you know what? It’s all worth it in the end when you have your new angel-faced tyke to call your “son” or “daughter.”
While many of us were celebrating or lamenting our Valentine’s Day gifts–or lack thereof– MSNBC host Melissa Harris Perry and her husband, James Perry, received a different kind of gift. They welcomed a new daughter into the world. What better way to celebrate a day devoted to love?
The couple’s adopted daughter was born on February 14 and her new parents are thrilled. The Perrys, who have been married since 2010 and co-parent Melissa’s daughter Parker from a previous relationship, tweeted about their new bundle.
Melissa shared this picture:
And her husband shared the image above and captioned it:
Here’s the wonderful Valentine’s day gift that @MHarrisPerry & I received yesterday! A beautiful baby girl.
The Perrys join a short-ish list of black celebrities who’ve adopted including Al Roker and Deborah Roberts, Magic and Cookie Johnson, Alfre Woodard and her husband Roderick Spencer, Viola Davis and husband Julius Tennon and “Scandal” and “Greys Anatomy” creator and writer Shonda Rhimes, who has adopted twice.
Melissa also twit-pic-ed this image early this morning of her fourth day with her new daughter.
Congratulations to Melissa Harris Perry and her newly expanded family!
We’ve all heard and read about the number of celebrities who have adopted their children from across the United States and beyond, including Viola Davis, Sandra Bullock, Angelina Jolie, and Charlize Theron, but what about celebrities who themselves were adopted? Here are 14 celebrities who were adopted and have gone on to find plenty of success and love.
Davion Only, 15-Year-Old Who Made Plea To Be Adopted, Will Spend Christmas With Prospective Foster Family
We told you in October about 15-year-old Davion Only. The young man had been in the foster care system his entire life, born while his mother (who had abused drugs for years) was in jail. He was most recently residing in a group home for teenage boys with 12 other young men. He was a frustrated youth for a time, short-tempered and getting bad grades. He also was reportedly packing on the pounds. But things in Only’s life changed big time after he learned about his birth mother. After making a search for her and finding out that she had actually passed on weeks before he sought her out, Only cleaned up his act, lost weight, and worked on his grades. He also pushed his search for a family in high gear and made a plea at a local church in St. Petersburg, Fl. for someone to adopt him, saying:
“My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born… I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either. I’ll take anyone. Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
And that’s where we met the young man. Well good news! According to the Daily Mail, Only is now staying with his new prospective adoptive family for the holidays so he can get to know them better before he’s permanently adopted. This was reportedly confirmed by Eckerd, the adoption agency working with the teen, as a spokesperson told the Mail the following:
“Davion has moved from his group home placement at Carlton Manor to a foster home where he is enjoying getting to know the family. Davion is excited to be spending the holidays with a perspective adoptive family.”
This was also confirmed by Only’s biological aunt, Doris Barnes, who is the sister of his late mother. As a reminder, family members did inquire about adopting him, but past criminal records and other issues blocked the ability for some of them to take him in. They met Only a few months before he spoke out at the church about his search to find a family.
“I know he is going out of town with a family for Christmas. I wanted to buy him a present and maybe see him, but I can’t because he’s not going to be around.
I just want him to be happy and loved and to be with someone who is going to do the best for his future.”
And it looks like he’s getting the chance to have that. This is an amazing thing, considering that after his search for a “forever family” hit the media, families from around the world, including Australia, Great Britain and more contacted his agency about his case. Hopefully the permanent adoption will happen very soon and Only can spend many more holidays with a family that will love, be there for him, and be good to him.
Well would you look at that! After discussing that she’s ready to find love and settle down again, the word on the e-streets is that La Toya Jackson married her long time business partner/friend/whatever he is to her, Jeffre Phillips.
According to RadarOnline, Jackson and Phillips were married in a ceremony in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon. The couple were joined by Jackson’s mom Katherine as well as one of her nephews. It sounds like they could have been two of the witnesses.
On La Toya’s show on OWN, Life With La Toya, Phillips made a bold move an proposed to her on the show after he was tired of seeing her being “wooed” by other men. It seemed a little odd but many of her friends considered them to be in some sort of situation because he was always around and always seemed to have a say in how she acts in her relationships.
One can only wonder if the couple will now take the idea of adoption more seriously. Jackson said many times on her show that she had a desire to have her own family by adopting a child. There’s not much information about Phillips but if he has children, it’s highly likely that they are adults.
We haven’t heard any official word from La Toya or Jeffre but this sounds like pretty solid information.
Congratulations to the happy couple!