Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Prison, A Sentence for the Whole Family

When a parent goes to prison, it can affect a child forever. In many situations, children are left home in a stressful environment or sent to foster care. What can a family do if a parent is sent to prison? It is a difficult thing to have your family split apart in any situation, but the challenges of prison and family life are very unique. What do you do if you are the only parent for your children and you are about to be sentenced to prison? There are options, which I will share with you.

Many families have a difficult time after a parent is sentenced to prison. The spouse or other parent is left at home and is now responsible for the entire house, including the bills and stress of raising the children as a single parent; this stress can be overwhelming. Some spouses are angry and often feel that their punishment is even worse than their partner who was sent to prison. At least in prison you get to have friends and interact with others, but left home alone you hardly have time to think. Some situations leave kids scattered between relatives, sleeping on the couch or in sleeping bags.

Keeping your children's relationship strong with the parent that was sent to prison will be hard. Children will often withdraw from that parent and not be interested in going to visit them. It is not because they don't love their parent, it is just because they can feel the tension around the
situation and want to do what they can to avoid feeling that way.

Besides being traumatized, it is difficult for children to understand and they often have to deal with extreme conditions at home. What happens if the parent going to prison is the only parent a child has? If a family member is not going to take custody of the children they will become a ward of the state.

Here is what a number of single parents have chosen to do:

If you are a single parent facing a prison term, you can consider open adoption as an option. Through adoption, you can choose loving adoptive parents for your child. You get to decide where they will go and who will parent them, since you will be unable to. You can keep the children together and still stay in contact with them. It is traumatic enough for a child to have a parent go to prison, but being moved from foster home to foster home or separated from their siblings will make it even worse for the child.

Through open adoption, you can find a family to parent your child in a way that you would if you were there. You can work with the adoptive family and discuss what would make you comfortable in making your decision. If you are going to be in prison for a length of time, it could set your mind at ease knowing your children had a stable loving home to be raised in. Counselors can help explain adoption to you and your children when you are ready. There is no cost to you to go through an adoption plan. All the legal work is paid for by the adoptive parents and the choices are up to you if you decide before you check in for your term. There are a number of waiting families of all ethnic backgrounds and faiths to select from.

You can make a good choice for your child's future with Lifetime Adoption's help.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

One Click Adoption Help

Are you thinking about adoption? Help is just one click away!

Find the adoption help you need by navigating the many adoption links on this new website:

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Will You Stand By Me…?

If you are facing an unplanned pregnancy, this short story may help you see the situation through your mom's eyes:

“I wanted to tell you something… I’m pregnant...” These words can bring joy, fear or even terror to both the person receiving the news as well as the women facing a pregnancy. Whether it was a planned pregnancy or an unplanned pregnancy, there are feelings and concerns that will surface and change over time. What the woman sharing this story is trying to say is “will you stand by me during this time? I feel vulnerable and scared and not sure what the future holds.” Her hormones are fluctuating and each week brings new changes and challenges, emotions can run in my ways and be stuffed as well. How a close friend or parent responds to this statement can forever embed feelings- positive or negative.

Hilary was 16 when she approached with fear and a fast beating heart– her own and that of her unborn baby. She blared out her news to her mother as they drove home from school knowing her mom had to be at a meeting within 15 minutes and would not have time to blow up. What Hilary also wanted was to “test the waters”; by giving her mom time to absorb the news before she came back home and they would have to talk about her pregnancy. Hilary had just found out she was five months pregnant when she missed periods, thought it was the stress of school and her home life, ignored signs that would indicated she was pregnant. She slowly turned to her friends first and then the father of the baby, seeking acceptance and support for her pregnancy. Sleepless nights continued night after night, not sure what to do next. Hilary called the National Adoption Hotline to get suggestions on what to say, when and they what her options were. Mature for her 16 years, she was a music student with dreams of going to Colorado Contemporary Music College and wrote music from an early age. Her father had divorced her mother when she was five. She turned to music as a way to express her feelings and stress. The father of the baby was not going to stand by her. He all but told her that she was on her own. Her hope was that her mother would support her decision to have the baby and also her decision to find parents to adopt her unborn baby through an open adoption.

It was a difficult decision but one that she felt was best for her and for her baby. Her mom was disappointed and went through the normal grieving and feelings that parents have when they find out their teenager is going to have a child. Together they worked with an adoption coordinator recommended by the National Adoption Hotline and found a family that was musical and childless that agreed to an open adoption, and in fact wanted one.

What do you do if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy – either as a woman of any age or a parent of a pregnant daughter?

Don’t come unglued; your daughter needs you to stand by her. You might not be happy about the pregnancy or any of her actions that led to her pregnancy, but you need to let her know you will stand by her and support her decision. It is her decision and if she is old enough to get pregnant then she needs to be able to make the decision and show how this decision is the best choice, whether it’s to parent or to place her baby for adoption or also known as “making an adoption plan.”

There are resources to help those facing one of the biggest decisions in their lives: that of an unborn child. The decision is one that needs to be thought through without regrets. No matter what is her plan, help her understand what it takes to raise a child. Is she able to give a child what they need through these stages? Has she had a role model to allow parenting to be successful? Is she willing to sacrifice her lifestyle for the needs of a child? Are you willing to give up your time and resources to help when needed without guilt or resentment?
These are very important questions to think about before your emotions take over and a decision is made from only the heart and not the head. There needs to be a plan in place for either decision. To get more information and to request free booklet on decision making- call the National Adoption Hotline at

Support and resources can help turn this difficult time into one of learning and getting closer to your pregnant daughter. There are resources and help – ask for it – you deserve it and she does too. Hilary and her mother became closer and have remained closer because of their communicating skills that they learned through the adoption and beyond.