• Jill Aller is an adoption consultant for A Step Ahead Adoption Services and is an adoptive mom of two children, ages 6 and 4.
  • Jill has a B.A. in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Teaching and an Ed.S. degree in Counseling. She adopted her two children through the help of A Step Ahead adoption services and had such a great experience with them that she went to work for them four years ago. Both children have very open adoptions, where they are still in touch with their biological families. Jill has lived all over the U.S. but is now happily settled in Florida with her extended family. Jill is passionate about helping others navigate their adoption journeys in a mindful, balanced way.
  • The language that we use helps shape the way we think about adoption.
  • The feeling that the language reflects becomes our children’s inner voice.
  • “She gave up the baby for adoption” sounds like a rejection.  “She placed the baby for adoption” or “she made an adoption plan” is a much better way to phrase it.  This sounds helpful and intentional.  It feels loving and nurturing.
  • Jill talks to her children in an active voice about adoption with phrases such as “we adopted them” to put the focus on her putting the effort into making them a part of her family.
  • More positive phrases include “birth family, tummy mommy, first family” instead of “the real mom”.  It evolves as they get over.
  • Since all of the people connected by adoption are connected by love.  It is a pain entered into willingly connected by love.
  • Others may say things such as “she’s so lucky to have you” out of good intention, but it can be construed as the biological family not being good.  It’s important to be mindful of the message that is conveyed and make sure it is focused more on the love shared. Statements such as “it’s so great to see you as a family” is ideal.
  • It’s important to honor the birth family with your words.
  • Being mindful of the language used to communicate about adoption is important for children and adults.
  • It’s important to allow the adoptee to voice their feelings.  Asking open-ended questions can be so helpful.
  • Many of the baby boomers are just finding out they are adopted.  This environment harbors pain and shame. Talking about it openly can be really supportive.
  • There’s a continuum between closed and open adoption.  Closed adoption is where the parents may not know any more than their names.  A semi-open is where they communicate through a 3rd party. An open adoption, often best for the mental health of the child and the birth family, is when there’s open connection. It’s important to note that open adoption isn’t always best for all families
  • Child Connect is a site that links families together.
  • When therapists work with adoptees, it’s important to allow space for grief and loss.
  • Adoption triad – birth family, adopted family, and the child.
  • Jill recommends the book 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Know by Sherrie Eldridge.
  • Family therapy can be really beneficial to help the entire family.
  • Support groups can be incredibly helpful.
  • Online support, consulting, and other connections can be really helpful.
  • Connecting through groups can provide support and healing that can be found elsewhere.
  • Jill recommends “The Family Book” by Todd Parr . It’s about adoption, but not solely about adoption.
  • Another book that she recommends is “It’s Okay to be Different” also by Todd Parr.
  • Jill really likes the “Adoptive Families” magazine. https://www.adoptivefamilies.com
  • The Center for Adoption Support Education, CASE, is a great educational resource.  http://adoptionsupport.org
  • Adoption Counsel is a great resource at https://www.adoptioncouncil.orgA Step Ahead Adoption is a nationwide agency that helps people build their family in a healthy way.. There’s a focus on helping the birth family.  http://astepaheadadoption.com
  • There are many great children’s books such as “A Mother for Choco”, “Tell Me a Real Adoption Storyadop”, “ABC: Adoption and Me”, and the “Tummy Mummy”.
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