Archive for 'Domestic Adoption'

IAG 036: Adoptive Dad panel Part 2 – a guy’s view on infant adoption

Posted on 29. Jun, 2015 by .


This is is part 2 of the amazing adoptive dad panel where Jake Stewart, Dan Welz and I have a rare talk about infant adoption from a guy’s point of view.

If you haven’t listened to part 1 yet, I highly recommend you check it out first.

Jake told his adoption story in Episode 23. He and his wife have adopted two children – both as newborns. They have open adoptions with their children’s birthparents. Now they are excited as they are expecting their first biological child!

Dan and his wife adopted their son in 2011 and enjoy and open adoption with his birthparents. Now they are on the journey to adopt again!

I’m so excited to share part 2 of this adoptive dad panel discussion with you. We had a fun sharing our stories, tips, and resources.

There’s not a lot of support for the men who are on the adoption journey.

Our hope and prayer is that this episode will provide inspiration to those hopeful adoptive dads (and moms too) who are pursuing their dream of building their family through infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Stories about open adoption from each guy’s personal experience (and you’ll hear why open adoption is so important to us).
  • How men can support their wives through the adoption process.
  • How women can support their husbands through the adoption process.
  • Tips and advice from each of the dads for any hopeful adoptive family.

Links we talk about in this episode: – listen to part 1 of our adoptive dad discussion.
Answers in Abundance: A Miraculous Adoption Journey as Told from a Father’s Heart – great book that Dan suggested that any guy should read. – hear Jake’s full adoption story. – a Facebook support group for adoptive dads and hopeful adoptive dads. – If you like the show, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes. Thanks!

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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IAG 035: Adoptive dad panel – infant adoption from a guy’s point of view – Part 1

Posted on 20. Jun, 2015 by .


This episode is one that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It is very special to me because we have not one but two dads as guests on the show – Jake Stewart and Dan Welz.

These guys are here to have a very rare and unique roundtable discussion – a guy’s view on infant adoption.IAG 035 Adoptive Dad panel

You may remember Jake was a guest on the show back on Episode 23. He and his wife have adopted two children – both as newborns. They have open adoptions with their children’s birthparents. Some amazing and exciting news is that they are expecting their first biological child!

Dan and his wife adopted back in 2011 and enjoy and open adoption with their child’s birthparents. They have started the adoption process again – so they are waiting to bring home their second child!

I’m so excited to share this adoptive dad panel discussion with you. We had a blast talking with each other. In fact, we talked about so much that I’ve split the conversation into two episodes!

Today, you’ll hear part 1 and the next episode will be part 2, where we finish our amazing conversation about how guy’s view infant adoption.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • What each of our adoptive dads felt like when they and their wives were first matched.
  • How much they were involved in the adoption process.
  • What it’s like to have an open adoption (from a guy’s point of view).
  • Tips and advice from the dads for any guy who is going through the adoption process.

Links we talk about in this episode:

Answers in Abundance: A Miraculous Adoption Journey as Told from a Father’s Heart – great book that Dan suggested that any guy should read. – hear Jake’s full adoption story. – a Facebook support group for adoptive dads and hopeful adoptive dads. – If you like the show, I would love it if you would leave a review on iTunes. Thanks! – PART 2 of our adoptive dad panel! Listen to the rest of our amazing conversation.

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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IAG 034: Coley Strickland of Birthmom Buds

Posted on 25. May, 2015 by .


We have a very special guest on the show – Nicole “Coley” Strickland is here to share about her experience as a birthmom, and how she went on to co-found

Coley is the President and Executive Director of BirthMom Buds which provides support to birthmothers through its many programs including the buddy system, pregnant and placing program, and annual birthmother retreats.

In addition to the numerous articles she has written, she has also been featured on a number of radio programs, magazine and newspaper articles, as well as in books such as:

How to Create a Successful Adoption Portfolio by Madeleine Melcher
A Personal Touch on Adoption by Peter Berlin

Coley has been blessed to parent her special needs son Noah, who along with the son she placed, is the love of her life.

She has further given a voice to the bittersweet turmoil birthmothers go through, by becoming an active member of the adoption community, writing, speaking and sharing her story with others.

This is why I’m so excited about talking with Coley today!

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why Coley co-founded Birthmom Buds.
  • How Birthmom Buds provides amazing support for birthmoms, women considering adoption, and hopeful adoptive parents.
  • What makes them unique among adoption support groups.
  • Listen to what Coley hopes that all adoptive parents learn from Birthmom Buds.
  • Hear some success stories from women who have received support from Birthmom Buds.
  • Why you should set up an open adoption contact agreement.

Links we talk about in this episode:

Listen and Subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher by clicking on the logos:

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The Dreams that You Dare to Dream Really Do Come True…. Don’t They? Part 1

Posted on 22. May, 2015 by .


The following is a guest post by hopeful adoptive mom, Josie Sowers. She and her husband Scott are currently waiting to adopt. She shares her heart and her faith as they get closer to the day when their dream of becoming parents comes true.
This is part 1 of 2 posts by Josie. Here you go…

I’m horrible at waiting. Like really, really horrible at it. Ask my husband.IAG post dreams you dare to dream really do come true don't they

If we’re watching a TV show that has a cliffhanger to it and there just so happens to be an article online containing spoilers, I tend to find myself reading the article, finding out which major character died or who won a particular competition.

If we have a goal we want to achieve as a couple, I want it accomplished YESTERDAY so we can move on to the next goal.

So you can imagine how much fun the adoption process has been, where you are at the mercy of the adoption agency and government entities. You can’t control how long it takes them to process paperwork.

You have filling out applications down to a science, can get it done and submitted in no time, but once it’s out of your hands, you can’t say when it’ll get the stamp of a approval.

Did you know that God’s word has examples of people who also struggled with patience and releasing control? Did you know that God used their weaknesses to grow them and draw them closer to Him?

One such example is when the Israelites were in exile in Babylon. That’s right. I’m going Old Testament on you. Hang on, cause it’s gonna be a fun ride back in time.

Think of me as Doc Brown, which makes you Marty McFly… except we don’t have a tricked out DeLorean to ride around in. Sad, right?

Now obviously the Israelites weren’t thrilled with being exiled in a strange land with a strange language and strange gods and wanted to go back to their homeland immediately. They didn’t understand God’s sovereign plan, though.

Hindsight is 20/20, right? Jeremiah 29:10 says “For thus says the Lord: ‘When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place.’” Can you imagine how ticked they were? They would have to wait 70 years before they saw their home again?!

I don’t know about you, but if I had to wait 70 years for ANYTHING, I’d go nuts. The verse that follows, Jeremiah 29:11, is one of the most popular memory verses in the Bible and provides the reason why He made them wait that long. It says, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’”

One of my Pastors, Rob Green, covered this verse not too long ago and made a great point: that verse is used out of context a lot. People jump to the verses that are warm and fuzzy and don’t read into the backstory. Without verse 10, you miss a lot of the purpose of verse 11. Yes, God does have a plan for our lives, our future children’s lives, but sometimes that comes after years of struggle and tears and growing pains.

Not always, but sometimes.

Can you identify with the Israelites at all? I know I can.

Our profile has been active less than a year and it feels like it’s been 70 years already. It’s easy for me to question God, asking, “Why is this taking so long, Lord? Why have we gone through so many ups and downs?” and, although He’s never answered me audibly, His word does provide clear answers: God is sovereign. I am not.

He “knows the plans He has for me.” Whether that means waiting 1 more year or 5 more, I don’t know.

I do know that, until He moves us forward, I need to rest in His promise that He has only my best interest in mind.

God bless,

Check part 2 of her post here.

Josie Sowers is an adoption advocate, mommy in waiting, blogger and Food Network, History Channel and HGTV junkie. She has been married to the love of her life, Scott, since January 2011 and their fur baby, Ziva, joined their family in May 2014. She blogs at

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Book Give-Away! Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey

Posted on 04. May, 2015 by .


Have you heard?

There is a brand new adoption book – and not just any adoption book. This one is unlike any other.
adoption devotional book cover
Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey – 52 Devotions and a Journal
by Rachel Garlinghouse & Madeleine Melcher.

Rachel Garlinghouse and Madeleine Melcher (adoptee) are both book authors, mothers through adoption, freelance writers, and women of faith.

The authors’ education and experiences have been shared on MSNBC, NPR, Portrait of Adoption, Huffington Post Live, Babble, Scary Mommy, and Adoption Talk Linkup and many, many more.

Together, Garlinghouse and Melcher encourage their readers to accept God’s abundant, relentless, grace-filled love as they forge down the adoption and parenting path.

Being a regular reader of the Infant Adoption Guide blog and listener of the IAG podcast (like I know you are), you already noticed that I’ve recently interviewed Rachel and Madeleine on Episode 33.

If by some strange reason you haven’t heard that show yet, I HIGHLY recommend you have a listen. They did an amazing job of sharing their story of why they wrote the book, what the book is about, why it will help you on your journey, and much, much more.

I was so thrilled when Rachel & Madeleine asked me to review the book before it was released. They even included my review in the book!
Check it out…

My book review for Encouragement for the Adoption and Parenting Journey

Each chapter includes: a topic of interest (Hope is my favorite one), great bible verses, a heartfelt and applicable devotion, reflection questions, and journaling space. This book will reach out and lift you up on your adoption journey.

I love this book so much – I want YOU to WIN a copy!

That’s right – Rachel and Madeleine will send you a FREE copy of their brand new book.

All you have to do is enter.


There are 4 ways…
1. VISIT the book’s Facebook page.
2. PIN the book cover on Pinterest.
3. TWEET about the book on Twitter.
4. CHECK OUT the book’s page on

SO – this means you can get up to FOUR (4) entries if you complete each way-to-enter listed above.

GOOD DEAL? I think so. FREE books are awesome.

OK – here are the details:
Give-a-way STARTS on Monday May 4 at 11am Central.
Give-a-way ENDS on Friday May 8 at NOON Central.
Winner will be chosen randomly.
Questions? Email me at: [email protected]

Enter below and I hope you WIN! 

 Adoption Devotional Book giveaway

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IAG033: Encouragement for the Adoption & Parenting Journey with Rachel Garlinghouse & Madeleine Melcher

Posted on 23. Apr, 2015 by .


Hope, inspiration, encouragement, endurance, patience, reassurance.

These are some of what we need as hopeful adoptive parents trying to build our family through adoption. The journey can be overwhelming. It can (and usually does) test our faith and hope as we try to become parents. The journey does not end once you’ve adopted – it has only begun.

On this episode, we talk with two amazing women – Rachel Garlinghouse and Madeleine Melcher. They are both talented writers, authors, and adoptive moms. Now, they’ve teamed up to write a book that is MUCH NEEDED for all adoptive families.

The book is called Encouragement for the Adoption & Parenting Journey – 52 Devotions and a Journal.

I’ve been able to review this book and I can tell you I LOVE it! Here’s just a few reasons why I think it is a must-have for anyone considering adoption, already on the journey to adopt, or has started parenting.

1. This book is full of 52 short devotionals that will carry you through an entire year of your journey. The best part is that the messages and verses in the book are timeless – so you can go through it again and again.

2. Rachel and Madeleine did an incredible job sharing their heart, their faith, their troubles, their triumphs, and so much more. They will grab your heart, make you laugh and cry as you go through each devotion.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Why Madeleine and Rachel decided to write the book – and why they wanted to write it together.
  • Find out what is in the book and why it is something you need on the adoption journey.
  • How the book can help families – no matter how they are touched by adoption.
  • Find out how many different ways you can use this book.
  • Find out how to become a part of their Facebook page where you can share your thoughts and get support.

Links we talk about in this episode: – Here’s a special link to Amazon, where you can buy the book today! – Be a part of the online discussion with Rachel & Madeleine to get additional support. – You can find some amazing jewelry that Rachel & Madeleine talk about in the interview. – Rachel’s blog where you can learn more about her and her family’s story. – Madeleine’s site dedicated to designing adoption profiles. Her unique designs have helped lots of hopeful adoptive parents since 2005. – The podcast episode where Madeleine talks about how to create a successful adoption profile. – The podcast episode where Rachel talks all about trans-racial adoption.

CLICK HERE to BUY the book!



adoption devotional book cover


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IAG 032: Adoption Coaching with Gayle Swift of Gift Family Services

Posted on 19. Mar, 2015 by .


“If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” 

In domestic adoption, there are so many paths to parenthood which can have you overwhelmed and unsure how to start.

Having an adoption coach who’s survived what you are facing can be an amazing partner to help you realize your dream. They have experience, training and a commitment to families.

This episode’s special guest is Gayle Swift, an adoptive mom, author, and co-founder of GIFT Family Services – which is an adoption coaching firm dedicated to helping families on their adoption journey.

I’m so excited to have Gayle Swift on the show.

She is a certified coach with GIFT (Growing Intentional Families Together). They partner with adoptive families to achieve success before, during and after adoption.


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IAG 031: Transracial adoption with Rachel Garlinghouse

Posted on 04. Mar, 2015 by .


Have thought about or considered adopting a baby from a different race? Are you prepared?

Transracial adoption can be an amazing journey that can still sometimes having you feel alone and unsure of what to do. This episode’s special guest is Rachel Garlinghouse, who is an adoptive mom of three. She and her husband have adopted all three of their children from the U.S. and all are of a different race than their own.

Rachel is a gifted author and loves to share her passion for transracial adoption. Through her experience, she says “I believe adoption is complicated, intricate, evolving, and bittersweet.”

Rachel doesn’t believe transracial adoption is for everyone, nor should anyone enter into it lightly. Her prayer is to help open hearts and minds so families will better understand and consider transracial adoption.

If you are new to adoption or you are already an adoptive parent, this interview with Rachel will increase your understanding and appreciation for transracial adoption.

Rachel is the author of several books. Her most popular one so far is called Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children

This is an excellent book that will help you understand transracial adoption. She covers a lot of ground – from just getting started and preparing to adopt transracially – through parenting and raising children of a different race – to navigating open adoption, handling racism, and finding the support you and your children need.

What you will learn about in this episode:

  • Rachel tells her family’s incredible adoption story.
  • She shares her heart about what it is like to raise children of a different race.
  • She will explain why she wrote the book Come Rain or Come Shine.
  • Find out the most important things you need to know about transracial adoption.
  • Hear about Rachel’s newest project – a devotional/journal book called “Encouragement for the Adoption & Parenting Journey” which will be released soon! 

Links we talk about in this episode: – Rachel’s amazing blog where she writes about her experiences (and you can find her books).
Follow Rachel on her Facebook page: WhiteSugarBrownSugar
Come Rain or Come Shine: A White Parent’s Guide to Adopting and Parenting Black Children – Rachel’s popular book.
Encouragement for the Adoption & Parenting Journey Rachel co-wrote this with Madeleine Melcher (adoptive mom and adoptee). – check out my 4 FREE ebooks to help you adopt faster, safer, and cheaper. – my new site that will give you a step-by-step guide to create your adoption profile video.


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9 things you need when adopting from another state

Posted on 19. Feb, 2015 by .


When adopting a newborn from another state, it is extremely important to be prepared. You will likely have to stay in that state until the ICPC (Interstate Compact for the Placement of Children) paperwork clears and you are allowed to legally bring your baby home.9 things you need when adopting from another state

Every state has their own adoption laws, but you can expect to stay in the state where the baby is born for at least 7 days. For our two adoptions, we stayed 10 days for the first one and 12 days for the second. 

It is hard being away from home for so long – especially having to take care of a newborn in a hotel room. Based on my experience – and hearing from many adoptive parents – there are plenty of things you can (and should) bring with you. It is sometimes easier to bring less and buy what you need when you get there. 

With that in mind, I’ve gathered 9 things that will help prepare you when traveling to adopt from another state.

1. Swaddle wrap or Moby wrap.
We found these baby wraps work beautifully to keep your baby warm and help them sleep.

2. Summer Infant By Your Side Sleeper.
OK – I admit it. This is more of a want than a need – because we had our little ones sleep in their car seats in the hotel room before we went home. I wish we had this sleeper because it is perfect to keep your baby safe in the bed with you.

It has a sturdy metal frame that folds compactly for travel. It has mesh sides for a clear view of baby and helps air circulate to prevent baby from overheating. It includes a mattress pad and soft, comfortable cotton fitted sheet.

3. Ready made (pre-mixed) formula.
On our first two adoptions, we waited to buy formula until we were ready to bring the baby from the hospital to our hotel room. Hospitals usually feed babies with the small (2 oz) ready-to-feed, pre-mixed bottles – the ones that come with the nipple.

We bought the same formula the hospital used to feed our babies. Using these ready-to-feed formula bottles is more expensive than mixing the formula yourself, so we only used them at night. They are a HUGE time saver – especially during the middle of the night feedings.

4. Baby/diaper bag.

This is easy to take with you if you are flying to your destination. Most airlines will allow you to carry on a diaper bag in addition to your normal carry on items – even if you don’t have the baby yet. This will allow you to save money on extra checked baggage. I recommend buying a diaper bag before you travel – because you’ll have more time to look at all the different types of bags and pick the right one for you. 

5. Camera and/or video camera.

This should be a no-brainer. These days, most smart phones have great cameras that also take video. If only want to use your phone, it will save you valuable packing space since you won’t have to bring a camera or video camera. Be careful though – because your phone may not have the amount of storage space to handle the photos and video you are going to take.

You will be capturing some amazing photos of moments you’ll want to remember forever, so I recommend bringing a good camera because those photos and videos will be priceless to you.

6. Bottles and nipples and (of course) formula.
Buying bottles and nipples rather than using pre-mixed formula will save you money. Yes, you will have to wash them, but believe me you’ll have time. We used them during the day while we were more awake, then used the pre-mixed formula bottles at night.

Be sure to get the small bottles (4 oz size) and the slow flow nipples for newborns. We like to use the Playtex brand with the drop-in liners.

7. Organizer/folder to keep paperwork.
Adoptions require paperwork – and LOTS of it. Keep your paperwork organized and secure – you’ll have some very important documents to carry. If travelling by plane, I recommend keeping your paperwork with you in a carry-on bag.

Also, you should scan documents and keep them where you can have online access just in case something happens and you lose your paperwork. Yep, it happened to us. :(

8. Baby care items.
The hospital should give you some of these items. You can bring most of these with you, but you can also wait to buy them when you get there. Here is a list of items we used when adopting our first two newborns in another state:

Laundry bag, laundry detergent (wait to buy this until you’re there), quarters for hotel laundry machines, pacifiers (2 newborn sized), onesies (4 or 5) disposable trash bags for smelly diapers, changing pads, burp cloths, newborn washcloths (softer the better), baby lotion, small blanket or two, small bottle of dish soap (to clean bottles/nipples), baby fingernail clippers, and sensitive skin baby wipes.

9. Infant car seat.
This is also a no-brainer since hospitals won’t let you leave without having a car seat. With both of our adoptions, the babies also slept in the car seat and loved it. You can purchase one ahead of time and check it (if flying) or take it with you if driving. If you don’t want to mess with it, there are likely several places to purchase a car seat where you are going.

Here are some other tips from our experience with two newborn adoptions:

–We never used a stroller. We just carried the baby in the car seat. It was just easier than messing with a stroller.
–Bring plenty of comfy clothes for you and baby.
–Bring your laptop to manage your photos and videos, search for stores in the area, etc.
–Here are my 10 domestic adoption travel tips.
–Here are my 18 Money Saving Tips For Domestic Adoption Travel.

The time in another state goes by fast and is really pretty enjoyable because you have no one to think about but your little family.
I hope this list helps you.
Have you thought of something else? Leave your comment below.  

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IAG 030: Adoption tax credit update with Becky Wilmoth

Posted on 26. Jan, 2015 by .


The adoption tax credit.

It’s a huge financial tool for hopeful adoptive parents to use. Something that can help offset the large cost of domestic infant adoption.

The credit has changed over the years – and may change again in the future. There are a lot of rules that go with it, which makes it hard to understand.

It’s tax time again – so we wanted to bring in an expert to explain the credit.

Becky Wilmoth is our guest on this episode and she will break down the adoption tax credit so you can understand it and take advantage of it. She is an adoptive mom, an Enrolled Agent, and adoption tax specialist at, so this is a very personal issue for her.

Becky has a passion for helping hopeful adoptive families understand and get the adoption tax credit. Many of us feel like we can’t start the adoption process because we aren’t sure how to find the funds we need.

This episode will explain what you need to know about the tax credit of over $13,000 in 2014.


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