Wednesday, December 31, 2008


About Single Mother Adoption

The Role of the Single Mother in Adoption of Children from the Child Welfare System

By Penelope L. Maza, PhD, U.S. Children's Bureau

From the Child Welfare League of America

Until recently, national information on the adoption of children by single women from the public child welfare system was unavailable. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), established by law and administered by the U.S. Children's Bureau, is now providing this information. As the information presented here indicates, single women are a critical component in achieving permanency for children in the child welfare system, and they play a particularly important role in the adoption of African American non-Hispanic children.

Close to one-third (31%) of the estimated 36,000 children adopted from the public child welfare system in fiscal year 1998 were adopted by single women. Almost two-thirds (66%) of single women, more than two-thirds (70%) of the children they adopted, were African American non-Hispanic. Almost two-thirds (65%) of the single women had been the child's foster parent, and more than one in five (21%) were related to the child. In more than three-fourths (77%) of these adoptions, the child was of the same race or ethnicity as the single adoptive mother.

When compared with adoptive married couples, single adoptive women are more than twice as likely as married couples to be African American and non-Hispanic (70% vs. 31%) and are somewhat more likely to adopt children of their own race or ethnicity (84% vs. 71%). In addition, single female adoptive parents are about as likely as married couples to have been the child's foster parent (65% vs. 63%), more likely to have been the child's relative (21% vs. 13%), and less likely to not have had a prior relationship with the adoptive child (14% vs. 24%). Overall, the children whom single women adopt are older than the children whom married couples adopt. The average age of the children adopted by single women is 7.2 years; the average age of children adopted by married couples is 6.3 years. In addition, the time from termination of parental rights to adoption for children adopted by single women is slightly longer than for children adopted by married couples (17 months vs. 15 months).

It has generally been assumed that children adopted by single women may be the children for whom it is most difficult to find adoptive homes. AFCARS provides information on the primary special needs for children adopted. Based on this information, single women are somewhat more likely than married couples to adopt a child whose primary special need is race or ethnicity (18% vs.12%), or a child whose primary special need is age (43% vs. 27%). In contrast, single adopting women are less likely than married couples to adopt a child whose primary special need is having a medical condition or a mental, physical, or emotional disability (14% vs. 22%), or whose primary special need is being a member of a sibling group (14% vs. 22%).

In conclusion, the significant role played by single women who adopt children from the child welfare system in providing permanency for a substantial proportion of the children waiting to be adopted cannot be underestimated. Although they are less likely than married couples to adopt sibling groups or children with disabilities, they are more likely to adopt minority children and older children. At the end of FY 1998, the average age of waiting children was 8, and 53% of the waiting children were African American non-Hispanic. For these children, and for waiting children in general, single adopting women will continue to play a critical role in helping them achieve permanency.

Monday, December 29, 2008

All you need is love...

Isn't that a song? All you need is love.... well, some folks in the adoption world believe that all you do need is love to build a family. And while I believe that love is extremely necessary, I also believe that other things are necessary, as well.

Respect - respecting your child's origins (birth country, biological family, race, heritage...etc) is very important. We can't belittle any of it. And, frankly, I wouldn't want to. Yes, my daughter is an American. But she's also Chinese. So, with that comes some responsibility on my part to figure out how to help her love and respect both aspects of her life. The same goes with her bio family. There are biological lines/ties there that are inherently a part of her. I respect that. I do not know her beginnings. That deeply saddens me. And I mourn her loss as well as that of her bio family. But I also know that she and I are building a family, and that I get to help build another part of her familial line...

Willingness - a willingness to learn and be open to your child's pain, hurt, questions, fears, successes, differences, beliefs. It is my responsibility to my daughter to be open to what our lives bring...and especially to help her learn to become her own person and traverse all the feelings, joys, pressures, hurts along the way. I do believe this will include her adoption story.

Education - I believe that we, as adoptive parents, are responsible to be as informed and educated as we can regarding adoption, transracial adoption and identity, and our children's birth country. I'm never going to know as much as I could know... but it is my responsibility to TRY.

Focus - we need to focus on our own children. That has meant that I've taken almost a year for Mia and I to spend mostly together... and will continue to do what it takes to make sure she knows she is my number 1 priority and that she can trust/count on me. I do not think this is adoption specific.

And, of course, then there is love. Love is very key. Without it, the other things are just an empty shell. I'm sure there are other things, but these are what came to mind to me today.


Monday, December 8, 2008


This weekend was spent cleaning... it seems like cleaning, laundry, dishes, etc, is a never-ending chore!! And when I get behind, it makes it even worse. Thankfully, I think I got almost everything caught up this weekend, except the dusting and mopping.

I've gone through my clothes several times this fall and have bagged up what I don't wear. I've been trying to do an overhaul in my closet and get things hung up that I used to put in drawers. I feel like I have so much, but can never find what I'm looking for, so I've been determined to change that!

So, while this is all the usual boring and mundane crap, I felt like it really needed to be done. This is the first time since I became a Mom that I feel like I can take a breath... it was a good, productive weekend at home.

Now, if I could get back to sleeping well...

Oh, Mia's new phrases:

"I did it!!" (after putting her puzzle together!)
"I done...." (i'm done eating mommy)
"I walk" (when she wants down to walk)

OH!! And, she can count to 10 with me! She will count to 3 by herself... but she can actually count to 10. Pretty understandable, too. That's what we did this weekend.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Can't have just one??

I'm sitting here as I've done quite a lot over the past couple of months trying to figure out if / how / should i... adopt again. Frankly, I don't have the money right now. I do believe that if this is meant for me, us, then God will provide. And, there will be a way. And, then there is this yearning... for a sibling for my sweet Lil M.

If you could lift your heart to God for this prayer, I would be so thankful. I just need to know that this is the right direction...


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

day in the life...

So, this week seems to be getting off to a busy start. We got home Sunday from Sis' house. I did dishes and laundry and put presents up. Yesterday, I did more dishes, laundry, garbage night, dinner, mia bath, mama-mia time (she was particularly tired last night 'cause she didn't have a nap)... then got to get online for a bit. Tonight we have to take Manna, my 14.5 year old cat, to the Vet. :(

Tomorrow is family dinner up in Tri-county.
Thurs is play date with MK and MK2.
Meet with a consultant firm after work and then company Christmas party.

Looks like the next time I will sit down and relax is Saturday!! This all on top of normal daily stuff, like mentioned above. Seems like when it rains it pours... I'm not really complaining, just feels like a lot this week is all.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Holiday planning

Divorce sucks. Oh, you probably already know that, and I've never had to go through it myself but it does. My nephew didn't get to be with us on Thanksgiving and the same will be true for Christmas this year. :( So, our normal traditions get bagged, and we have to do something a little different. We're trying to keep things as much the same as possible, but there will be some differences. Like, my dad, Grandpa won't be able to come over Christmas Eve morning to do our normal Christmas morning stuff because he is working. Oh well. One step at a time...

I got my Christmas tree up last night. It wasn't too hard. Lil M watched me from her high chair. She did help me "fluff" the tree a little, and she loves the lights. I think this Christmas is going to be fun for her! Well, and for me, since I'll get to watch her react to all the new stuff. She was here last year, but she is much more interested this time.

We're thinking of going to see some lights at the Zoo or Clifton Mill, but we've got to figure out when a) it isn't too cold, b) when my nephew will be with us, c) my dad isn't working, d) when it isn't too late during the week because Mia goes to bed by 8pm. Let's see if we can get it organized!! lol

Even still, things are great here... just wish it wasn't always quite so complicated!


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Christian Woman

Yes, I'm a believer in Christ. I've given my heart to God many a year a go. I don't often blog about that part of my journey as much as other parts, but when I found CWO, I think I might give it a try.

I am a single mother by choice, who has never been married. I felt led to adopt, and to adopt from China. More of that story can be found on my adoption blog.

To China and Back...and Beyond

I believe that Single Adoptive Parents are in the minority of the adoption world, and it would be GREAT to hear from some other, so we could lift and encourage each other!!!

I do read scripture myself, and will soon read Christian parables to my daughter. I am trying to be respectful of her heritage and so we are also reading some Chinese books (you can find an excerpt, not verbatim) on the right below. This is not to minimize our belief or following Christ. It is to let Mia hear some Chinese tales and stories to help her connect to her birth country. I don't have all the answers. All I can do is try to follow what I think God wants for my family.

I'm still prayerfully considering a 2nd adoption. Please feel free to add it to your prayer list, if you wouldn't mind. :)

May Thanksgiving and Peace be yours this season.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Adoption stories

If you are ever like me, you'll be tempted to go out and looks up adult adoptee stories on the web. All I can say is... don' Man, can that be depressing. Every time I do, I get overly worried that Mia is some day going to hate me. :( I mean, if she does... she does. I can't do anything about that now, except to try to be the best Mom I can be, regardless...

There are so many sad stories out there. I wish I could find some more positive ones... with older adoptees. I know there are some bad reasons why people were taken from their first families... birth families... "natural" (i don't like that term so much...makes me feel like I'm somehow un-natural...?)

I digress.

I know that there have been instances where adoptees are taken from their first mothers and sold. Where the bio-mother is wanting to mother their own child, but because of society she can't... due to being a single woman (of all things). Where people guilt, cajole, put down... bio moms until they sign the papers. Then there are those that made an 'adoption plan'. And still others who can't have more than one and are forced/cajoled/feared into abandoning their babies.

This is all a big issue. And the issue is how are our children going to grow up and feel whole and not scarred because of it. I don't have the answers. Just more qustions.

I thank God every day that I am a SINGLE mother able to adopt a child. Whether or not I'm looked down upon is other people's issue. I have no control over how others feel. Just how I do.


Sunday, November 23, 2008


So, my nephew has had some anger management issues since he was really little. Even in daycare he had some trouble handling his own feelings... well, last week he got himself in trouble at school. I really feel for my sister because she is making progress with him, but as soon as he goes back to his dad's house, he gets negative input and goes right back to handling his anger in inappropriate ways. Talking back to adults, rude, hitting, threatening... I REALLY hope she can get full custody next time they go back to court. He really needs to be with his Mom. She worries, though, because finances are tight. What she doesn't always see (i don't think, 'cause we're hardest on our own selves) , is that she's a great Mom. I think she's starting to realize that, though, because he *does* do so much better when he's been with her for a couple of days, even.

Mia and I are doing well. I'm excited to have a long weekend this coming weekend. We had a play-date with a friend of mine (Mary-Kelly) and her daughter MK2. It was TOOOOO cute seeing them play together. I've been considering number 2. I put in a request for information about Bulgaria and Nepal, but they are VERY small programs and I'm not sure how likely it will be. I also worry that two children might be too much for me. Or I'll have a difficult second child. No offense to my nephew (sis and i have talked about it)... Not sure if I can afford all that, either... but definitely praying and thinking about it all.

We've got a pretty good schedule and I'm loving my new job. Especially how close it is to home. It's amazing how much extra time we have together. Mia is talking even more these days, of course. She says lots of short sentences... she even made up a pretend bubble maker last night. She's a very fun child. :) I just love her to pieces.

Speaking of love, it is interesting how this past year (plus) has been. When we first came home, I was TERRIFIED. Ask my sister!! Terrified!! I cried and worried... but I enjoyed Mia from day one. These past few months have been so amazing. She has this great smile and so many qualities, even at the age of 2!! I just love it when she says Mommy, Mommy, Mommy..... Mommy!!! We laugh and play and she'd rather sit with me than do most anything else. It's a gift. And she has my heart.. was there any question? But it seems like it is more and more every day, even. Amazing. And she's mine. :)


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Do you ever lose your temper over (what seems like later) nothing? I have. And do, on occasion. It makes me feel awful. I've been working on it, but sometimes it just happens. Of course, I'm the type of person to ask for forgiveness when it does, but that doesn't comfort me so much.

My dad used to lose his temper when he got stressed. My mom did, too. And I see both of them in me sometimes. Not cool.

I definitely give myself my own time-out when I need to. But I've been thinking today about how much I don't like that trait in me... the temper part. Since I changed jobs recently, I'm more relaxed. I'm not nearly as stressed as I was 6 months ago. Thank God. Things are starting to feel "normal" again, but I still have my moments. I supposed we all do....right?

Lil M is amazing. I could not ask for a sweeter, more loving daughter. (I mean that. She is one of the happiest children I've ever known.) And I feel awful when I lose my temper over nothing. Ugh. Same with Chase. I have very high expectations of both of them, which is hard when they are children and can't help but being CHILDREN sometimes!! They are both wonderful children. Really. And I wouldn't change either of them in any way. I am, however, still working on myself.

I wonder sometimes if it is because I feel this mommy/daddy role responsibility sometimes. And in order to feel like they are really paying attention, I go into over-drive. :( Absolutely not an excuse. Just what I was thinking.

Thankfully, I don't lose my temper all the time. But I'm not proud when I do.

In Christ,
Mamma M

Potty and other news

So, Lil M is sort of starting to potty train. I put her on the potty every night, and they do at daycare too. This is new territory for us. I'm just taking it slow and getting her used to the idea. She's peed on it several times and poo'ed a couple. She usually does pretty well, and sits there quite willingly. Other times, she cries. That makes me feel bad.

On another note, she likes to put her babies to sleep (nigh nigh)... she does this with the dogs (dog dogs) and even Mommy sometimes. She has gotten quite attached to her stuffed kitty (Meow) and has tried to take it with us in the car a couple of times to daycare now. I haven't let her, because I don't want her to lose Meow. I'm wondering how this attachment is going to progress.

Speaking of attachment... we are at the stage where Lil M likes to make sure Mommy is very near and she checks back with me often. She does show some anxiety when there is a loud noise (TV or otherwise) that startles her. She runs to me and looks anxious. But she seems to calm down almost instantly. When I get to daycare she always yells "My Mommy" if another child comes close to me. She did this at the hair salon the other night, too. She definitely doesn't seem to want to go to others she doesn't know... and I'm actually thankful of that. I've heard where children sometimes aren't picky and will go to anyone, and that me...quite frankly, is scary.

I'm trying to decide when we are going to move to a big-girl (toddler) bed. I don't think she's ready, but will be in the next few months. She's 26 months old, and I think she's progressing quite well. We haven't been working as much yet on numbers and colors, but I'm going to get to that here soon. I periodically check my baby books to see where she should be at a given age, and she seems to be pretty close to what they consider the norm.

Days like today, I'm happy I'm the one who gets to make the decisions of how fast or slow we are going with potty and toddler beds and such. Other days aren't so easy, but it's been an amazing journey. There is always, absolutely more to do than can get done in a given day... especially with chores!! I've been trying to de-clutter, and have not quite conquered that yet. But I'm working on it. One day at a time. :)


Monday, November 10, 2008

Space heaters

Mindy and I went to the store this weekend and got space heaters. I had already purchased an ambient one, and really like it in my bedroom. It's really nice for spot heating. The ceramic one we got for downstairs works really nicely, too.

However, when I came into work this morning and told the guys in my office about them, one said that they thought I won't save any money this winter by using space heaters. Hm. Well. I really think Mindy will, because OIL is very expensive for her house. But I use traditional electric.

Then, I read some articles that said they are a fire hazard, and not to sleep with one on in the room. Ugh. So, now I'm not sure what to think. I think that men might know more about this sort of thing, just by the fact that they've been taught more. And now, again, I've got to do some more research!!! I do think that they will benefit me by not having to turn up the heat as much until bed time. So, that could be several hours a day. So, let's see.....


Friday, November 7, 2008

Difference and schedule

Why is it important for me to write about being a Single mom? What difference does it make? I mean, I made this decision... have known nothing different... so, some people are probably thinking, what the heck? Who cares about your thoughts Melissa. Well, maybe no one but me and Mindy!!! LOL but I felt like I should try to write some thoughts down. So here goes.

What makes me different as a single parent? Well, for starters, I'm responsible for everything. And I mean, everything! I pay the bills, am the bread-winner. When I don't work, we could be screwed, because I'm all we've got. That is scary some days. Down-right, freaking, horribly scary. I have to be very conscious about how much money is in the bank (or not). Thankfully, I have a good job, but I have been out of work twice in the past 10 years, and so, it is always in the back of my mind. I'm responsible for the mortgage, all the bills (satellite, broadband, telephone, cell phone, water, sanitation, heat, insurance (home, car, health), food, clothes, shoes, diapers, retirement, education....the list goes on). Is it overwhelming? Well, it could be if I didn't take it one day at a time. That's the key. Oh, and prayer. And good friends. And my family. You have to have a support system.

When I started the adoption process, they kept asking about my "support system". I am quite the independent person, so I wasn't sure how or if I really had a good support system in their eyes. I mean, I have Mindy. I have Dad, Janice, Ellen, Dave, Sue, Scott, Misty, Melissa M., my Aunt and cousins... and my Mom has (thankfully) come back in our lives. My grandparents have all passed, and my family lives an hour away... so, for the most part, it still leave just me. So, I made a friend at Daycare - MK and her daughter. She's a SMBC (single mom by choice), too.

I don't really get to go out as much as I used to, by choice, because I don't like having to have Mia in DC all day and then get a babysitter. She does go with Scott and I - everywhere. Scott has been a wonderful addition to our lives in the past year. Thankfully, he really cares about Mia and she seems to love him. That helps. Not only is he a really great friend, he happens to be my boyfriend, too. :)

So, besides all of that, I have the daily stuff, too. Breakfast, dinners, tooth-brushing, bathing, diaper-changing, cleaning, dishes, vacuuming, laundry, grass-cutting, dogs, cat, vet appts, maintenance... the list goes on! Things get done as needed... and I like to keep us on a routine. I'm pretty fanatical about that. But, when it comes to the other stuff (dishes, cleaning), I've found that even being by myself, I need some type of schedule in my head. I'm sure Mindy's found this to be true, too.

A typical day for me right now is:
Get myself up (usually with a helpful wakeup call from Sis... who'da thunk it?!! LOL)
Brush teeth, shower, dry hair, make-up, etc.
Make coffee
Get Mia up (diaper, change clothes)
Get Mia breakfast
Let the dogs out... then in.
Put shoes on, take Mia to Daycare
Go to work.

Go get Mia (do some grocery shopping before or after depending on what time I'm done with work, if necessary)
Go home, get us something to eat.
Let the dogs out - feed them
Dogs out...then in
Potty and bath for Mia (we're working on potty training)
Dogs out...then in...
Mia goes to bed (nigh nigh)
I finally have a little time to myself (pay bills, do laundry, dishes, surf web, make sure i have lunch for the next day, if i didn't make it right after dinner, pick out clothes for the next day, take a shower, if i know i've been up too late and won't want to take one in the morning...and whatever else needs to be done)
Put dogs to bed
Put myself to bed

Get up and do it all over again. :) And the crazy thing is, it's just going to get to be even more once she goes to school.


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Single Mom by Circumstance

I'm so proud of my son. Today, at his parent-teacher conference, I found out that he made the honor roll (again!). He has come a long way since his father and I separated. I know he's only in the 3rd grade, but hopefully he will always enjoy learning as much as he does now.

His dad and I were together for roughly 12 years, that's a long time. And I know it was supposed to be forever... but sometimes you just can't control the direction a relationship will take. I wasn't prepared for this new direction, and I doubt that most people who decide to get divorced are prepared for what they are in for. By the time this is all over, it will have taken almost as long as it took my sister to go through the adoption process... I think she ended up with the better deal, ha!

Either way, we both ended up with children to raise. And I pray that they both become emotionally healthy, well educated adults. Mia is probably the happiest 2 year old around & with her naturally calm disposition I am sure she is going to flourish. Plus, I'm already seeing some positive signs with my son. He told me three times this morning that he loved me, and he went on and on about how much he liked my spaghetti tonight... even went as far to say that he liked it better than his dad's. And in his 8 year old eyes, his dad does everything better than anyone, so that is saying something!

So tonight, as celebration for his making the honor roll, we got out the "death by chocolate" ice cream and made hand-made milkshakes... the kind where you put the ice cream in a cup, add milk and stir - yum!

My story

Some of you may already know me... but if not, I adopted my daughter from China in June 0f 2007. She was born in August of 2006 and is now 26 months old! I decided to become a single mom (again, by choice) after a bad break-up a few years ago. I knew I wanted to parent, but I also knew that I hadn't found the right man to be my partner in life.

I'm going to share some of my story here from a single person's point of view, maybe to help others... maybe just to remind myself that I *can* do this...and if you are a single parent (by whatever means... choice, chance, happenstance, luck...) please feel free to chime in! Ok, even if you're married or have a partner! ;-) All are welcome. I just wanted to have a place to talk about these things and maybe find some folks who have common interests, issues, etc...

I've invited my sister to help me "author" this, so let's see if she does! That would be awesome.



I'm not sure what it is with me and the 'green' colors... I'm going to play around with the layout here and see what I like... today, it's good to be green!!


Single parent by choice

I decided today that I needed some inspiration as a single parent. I went out looking on the web...and couldn't really find what I was looking for. So, I thought I'd start my own inspirational spot!

I'm a single mom by choice, choice mom, single adoptive parent.... and even though I read there is something like 40% of the family make-up out there like mine... it seems like either people take it for granted or they just don't want to talk about our uniqueness... so, I will.