A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

T-Shirt Giveaway Reminder

Don't forget to go to this post and find out how you can win one of these darling shirts!!!
Giveaway closes on November 6th at 8AM.

Had to add this photo since Halloween is tomorrow!  :)
My hubby (Brad Horrocks) is really into the zombie stuff...he would pick this shirt for sure! 
Which one would you pick if you win?
You can see all of Happy Goat Designs shirt at their shop.
Make sure you go to the original post to find out how to enter!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Cameron age 13 is hoping for a family!

Do wonder what children who are waiting to be adopted think about fun holidays like the ones we have coming up?  Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years...we all enjoy celebrating and being with our family.   Wouldn't it be nice if these children like the one we have featured here today could have a forever family who gives them the chance to have stability, love, safety and a chance to know what it feels like to celebrate holidays together!   Please help us give Cameron a little help in getting his profile out there and been seen by those who are hoping to adopt!  May YOU will be the connection to his forever family!!!  
Or maybe YOU are his family!
Take a moment, learn about Cameron and then find a way to help!

Cameron age 13.
This energetic kiddo is Cameron. Very sociable and talkative, Cameron loves being surrounded by friends and family. Some of Cameron’s many hobbies include bike riding, swimming, and playing outside. He loves sports, especially baseball and football! You can often find Cameron exploring the outdoors and being active!
Cameron C.
Attending the seventh grade this year, Cameron benefits from an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

Cameron is in need of an active family who can offer him love and permanency. If your family can provide him with the care and compassion he needs, we ask that you inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

 You can inquire about these children by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Please share this post with your social media contacts...don't forget to use Pinterest.  :)
Go here for some ideas on how you can help children waiting to be adopted.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Embracing Openness ~ Jenny's Story

 This post is written by Jenny Jerkins, an adoptive mom.   She wrote it for her blog:  Our Not So Engineered Life.
Thank you Jenny for sharing your experience and perspectives (and your darling pictures) with us!


“Because of His great love for us before the world even began…We were chosen by God to be adopted as His children…We love because He first loved us…A pure act of faith is to care for His children just as He cared for us…Adoption is partnering with Jesus to see lives transformed…Adoption is a Miracle!” (Glory Haus)

As I sat down to write this particular blog, I struggled with how to begin and in finding those perfect words to set the tone.  Then Courtney (my dear friend and co-writer for “Our Not So Engineered Life” blog) sent me this quote which happens to be from my favorite Glory Haus canvas print.  Talk about divine intervention and perfect timing! It was just the words I was looking for and again God has shown me how He has placed us together for encouragement and support so that we can accomplish His work.  

The quote above perfectly describes why my husband and I chose open adoption.  Through our faith in Jesus and knowing what His word says, we are to open our hearts and minds to transform lives – not just our son’s, but his birth family as well.  We want to be a stark example of how Christ shows His love for us in practical ways.  One way we can do that is to open our lives to another family – the family that He chose for us, our son’s biological family.  

Ephesians 1:3-6 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

I have been asked many questions about our open adoption just in the two short years of our son’s life.  Some of these questions are heartfelt and asked with pure intentions.  Some are asked by those who are also seeking to adopt and want to know what kind of options they have.  Other questions are asked in judgmental tones from those who could not possibly understand or want to understand, and give feedback such as “I don’t know how you do that,” “Isn’t it hard?” “Won’t it just confuse your son more?” The answers are yes it is hard, but so is parenting in general.  Marriage is hard.  Jobs are hard.  Life is hard.  And we are not to be given “extra credit” for doing what we believe to be best for our son.  We don’t want or seek any kind of “medal of honor”.  We are just normal parents doing the best for their son just like everyone else.  As for confusion, we believe that openness in adoption actually lessons confusion and takes away the factor of hiding things from our son.  We don’t want him to question why he’s different.  Because first, he’s not…he’s a normal child with a mommy and daddy.  Instead, we want him to grow and have all assurance that the decision his birth mom and her family made was to give him the best life possible.  To give him a life she couldn’t at 18 years of age.  To show him that he is loved and has an extensive family who also loves him beyond measure. I’m writing this particular blog for multiple reasons.  I want to encourage and counsel others who are considering adoption by giving them the picture of a healthy and open adoption.  And I’m also writing it so that others may understand our open adoption relationship better.  

Just like individuals, all adoptions are not the same.  What works for us may not work for others.  And vice versa, what has worked for others doesn’t work for us.  But one thing is certain; every decision we have made and will continue to make will center around two things: 1) we will continue to do what God directs us to do through prayer, and 2) we will always do what is best for our son – whatever that may mean.

By now, most of you have read my Adoption Journey on our blog and have a picture of the relationship that my son’s birth mom and I had prior to and at the time of his birth. One thing my husband and I were certain of when we first started the adoption process is that we would always do what is best for our child whether that meant - open or closed adoption, meaning we either would or would not have contact with the birth family based on the situation.   And there are varying degrees of open adoption – from sending pictures at a mutually agreed upon timeframe/frequency all the way to personal visits.  And that may even change as time goes on or as a relationship grows.  For us, we evolved from our birth mom just wanting us to send her pictures on the timeframe of her choice to now having personal visits at least twice per year.  And that is the way it will remain as long as it is not emotionally affecting our son in a negative way or until it is not consistent.  For all of us – our son, my husband and I, our birth mom, the birth family, and our immediate families – it is absolutely wonderful and a way for us to demonstrate the love of Christ to our son.

My heart also wouldn’t allow me NOT to open my life to our birth mom.  I believed from the very first time that we met that God had not only sent her to me to allow me to be the mother of her unborn son, but to also allow me to have a role in her life as well.  She wanted me, someone she barely knew at the time – virtually a complete stranger – to come to doctor appointments, go with her to child birth class, and most incredibly to be with her in the delivery room.  God gave me all the joys of giving birth to our son through our birth mom even though I couldn’t physically do so.  What a gift!  But with that gift comes responsibility – to love, nurture, and provide for our son and to also do the same for the amazing young woman who carried him in her womb.  She opened her heart to me, and for the rest of our lives I will do the same for her.  It is a true, unconditional love – for one another as mom and mommy, and most importantly for our son.  How could I not allow her the opportunity to watch our son grow up and be a part of his life after her incredibly selfless acts!

No matter what choice you make in your own adoption journey – open or closed adoption – the most important thing is that you follow God’s direction and to do what is best for the child.  There are no cookie cutter adoptions and there are more gray areas than black or white.  Once you decide on your relationship with a birth family – it must be consistent.  There can be no going back and forth, or walking into or out of a child’s life.  That is beyond unfair to them and it will do more psychological and emotional harm than good to the child.  Their lives are precious and we get one chance to mold it as their parents.  

Psalm 127:3 “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him.”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Adoption Shop Talk: Featuring Happy Goat Designs

Each month we feature a business that creates and/or sells adoption merchandise.
Today we are talking
Happy Goat Designs
Happy Goat Designs
was created and is owned by Steve and Emily Anderson.
They are happy parents to a darling little boy named Milo.
They started Happy Goat Designs after their little boy was born and they weren't seeing many shirts that were "their style".   Steve had was just finishing school and had a background in graphic design and thought it would be fun to pursue a tee shirt business where he could create tees for Milo and for other parents who wanted to put their children in non-generic clothes.    So Happy Goat Designs was officially started on Etsy in November 2012.

So you might be wondering why they decided to create some adoption realated tees.  This is what Steve and Emily said when I posted the same kind of question.
"Steve's mom is an adoptee along with 2 of her siblings. Steve's dad also has a few adopted siblings. Adoption has been a part of Steve's life from the get go and he believes he wouldn't be where he is today if it wasn't for adoption.  Emily has had the privilege of working for an adoption agency (for the past 4 years) and absolutely loves the work she does. She is an open adoption advocate and really enjoys being involved with adoptive couples and birth parents. Emily has a family member and also a very close friend who have placed children for adoption. These experiences opened up the interest for her. "
They went on to say:  "As we started the business and continued to come up with ideas for tees we noticed there were not a lot of adoption tees out there. Maybe we didn't look hard enough or maybe we couldn't find ones that fit our style, either way the discussion was opened up of creating some fun adoption tees. We are excited to provide these shirts for the adoption community and help spread a positive message surrounding the awesomeness of open adoption. We plan to and look forward to creating more designs. We also think our monthly onesie sets could be tied into adoption as they are a great way to document a child's growth each month, which is fun for couples and also a neat way to share that growth with a child's birth mother (monthly pictures)!"
Steve, Emily and Milo Anderson.

Happy Goat Designs is excited to celebrate National Adoption Month they wanted to have a giveaway on our blog.  
You can enter to win the following ways with a total of 5 possible entries per person.
1. Go to Happy Goat Designs Shop on Etsy and look around.  Come back and share with us in the comments section which tee was your favorite. 
2.  "Like" Happy Goat Designs on Facebook and come back and tell us in a separate comment.
3.  Follow Happy Goat Designs on Instagram and come aback and tell us in a separate comment.
4.  Follow Happy Goat Designs on Pinterest or Pi
n your favorite item from their shop and come back and leave a comment.
5.   Like UFA on Facebook and come back and leave a comment.
The lucky winner will get to choose from any Tee or body suit. 
*sets and hoodies excluded
Happy Goat Designs will be joining us as a vendor at our upcoming United For Adoption Conference on November 9th. 
Don't forget to register! 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

8th Annual Adoption Walk this Saturday!!

Live in Utah??
Don't miss this awesome event!
8th Annual Adoption Walk With Me
October 26th
Liberty Park 9:30AM
Come in all your orange glory to celebrate all the adoption super heroes in your life!
Raffle prizes to be won, friendships to be made, kid fun to be had, and orange, orange, orange you glad for adoption?

 Here are a few pictures from a previous year.

Adoption Walk With Me is an event created by
United For Adoption's very own Alison Lowe!
Please come and support her amazing effort to promote a adoption as a positive option!
Thank You Alison!!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ 13 year old hopes to be adopted.

America has gotten a bit of a wake up call thanks to this courageous young man.
Davion Only

Let's allow Davion's courage to inspire us to do more to help children in our own areas find that special family meant for them, feel loved, be safe and be allowed to become the adults they are meant to become.
Here are some things you can do to help children in your area.
1.  Adopt a waiting child.  Go here to learn more about children in your area who are hoping for a family. Heart Galleries of America
2.  Check your local photo listing of waiting children in your area and link your friends in your social media networks to the photo listing or one child or the entire gallery.
3.  Call your local children services and find out how you can volunteer your time to help children in foster care.   Ask to be a mentor, become a licensed foster parent, help with birthday gifts and Christmas gifts etc.
4.  Volunteer to help at events that invite family to learn about children waiting in your area.  Help promote the event...the more that attend the more hearts will feel and see the need and the more will want to help and the more will want to adopt.
5.  Pray for the children to be adopted.
6.  Do community outreach to help others in your area become aware of the needs of the children.
7.  Watch out for families around you...is there a family in need?  See if you can help meet the need yourself or with help from others or professionals.

Fadhili age 13 is hoping for a forever family!
A natural athlete and leader, Fadhili can often be found on the field or court. While he loves all sports, football and basketball are easily his favorites. Fadhili does his best to treat others with respect and fairness and hopes for the same in return. Music and dance are other interests of this talented and outgoing guy. Using humor to overcome life’s trials and hardships, Fadhili is known for his resilient nature. He has many goals and dreams, but his greatest hope is to have a family of his own.

Fadhili is in the eighth grade and benefits from an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). He is in counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

If your family is interested in this charming, talented lad, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.

This is a LEGAL RISK ADOPTIVE PLACEMENT. In a legal risk adoptive placement, it is expected that the family will eventually adopt the child, even though the birth parents’ rights have not been fully terminated at the time of placement.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

 You can inquire about these children by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Please share this post with your social media contacts...don't forget to use Pinterest.  :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

UFA Conference Giveaway Winner!

We are so excited to announce our giveaway winner!
Melissa Nielson
Please email us at unitedforadoption at gmail.com to claim your free registration for two.

Thank you to all who entered!

We hope you will go to our registration page and register to come to the conference!

We look forward to seeing you!!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Three Community Agencies YOU will want to know about!

Three Community agencies working together to fill in the missing gaps in adoption…
Forever Bound Adoption – West Sands Adoption – Hope for Fallen Leaves
Have you heard about Forever Bound Adoption?
Forever Bound Adoption is licensed adoption agency that works with other community organizations to provide maximum support for adoptive couples and expectant parents. With 30 years of experience Forever Bound displays high values in the challenging and emotional adoption process. Forever Bound offers a full range of opportunities for adoptive couples by providing; home studies, domestic infant adoptions, International adoptions through West Sands Adoptions (Hague Accredited) and assistance with Utah foster care adoptions.
West Sands Adoptions has been licensed for over 20 years as a non-profit 501(c)(3) Child-Placing Agency. They are currently licensed in China and Ethiopia.
Have you heard about Hope for Fallen Leaves?
Hope for Fallen Leaves provides grants to adoptive families for adoption expenses. Adoptive couples that are approved by Forever Bound Adoption Agency are eligible for these grants. Hope for Fallen Leaves also provides humanitarian services for several countries in Africa.
A blog post specifically about Hope for Fallen Leaves is coming soon!
Interested in adopting or placing through Forever Bound Adoption?
Contact Steve Sunday at steve@foreverboundadoption.org

Monday, October 14, 2013

United For Adoption Conference Giveaway ~ Extended.

We have been working hard to get the word out about our upcoming conference and WOW...it is working!
Due to the volume of inquires we are receiving we are going to extend the giveaway until Friday.  We will announce the winner by Friday morning.   In order to be a possible winner you must Like us on Facebook and Like the post regarding this giveaway by Friday Oct. 18th.
Good Luck!!
Special shout out to
Arianne Brown
for the 

Thank you so much!!!!

Matching Mondays ~ Brother and Sister hoping to stay together.

Richard "James" age 14 and Mckenzey age 11
are hoping to stick together with a forever family.

Richard, who goes by “James”, is a loving and kind teen who is great to be around. James enjoys playing games and making friends. Participating in sports is one of his many pastimes. 

Respectful and studious, it is important to James to do well in school. A seventh grader this year, he is a conscientious student who works at grade level. James participates in counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

This likeable and talented girl is Mckenzey! She loves music as well as making arts and crafts. This lass is happiest when she is being creative!

A fifth grader, Mckenzey is a good student working to improve her reading and math skills. She participates in counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

If your family can provide this bonded brother and sister with the patient, loving and supportive home they deserve, we urge you to inquire. 

Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related services.

For Utah children, only homestudied families from all states are encouraged to inquire. We only accept inquiries on the sibling pair, who will be placed together.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Adoption Conference Giveaway!!!!

We are WAY overdue for a GIVEAWAY!
We are excited to see our Facebook numbers grow....559 and counting!
We are so excited about our upcoming Adoption Conference we are giving away registration for 2.
In order to be a possible winner you must Friend us on Facebook and Like the post regarding this blog post by Friday October 11th 11:59pm.
We will announce the winner here on the blog Monday October 14th.
*Note the Adoption Conference will be taking place on November 9th at Utah Valley University so you need to be local or willing to travel (at your own expense) to the conference.

Registration is now open for the conference.


1st Annual
United For Adoption Conference.
November 9th at Utah Valley University.
Our Keynote Speaker is 
Amy Iverson
KSL's The Browser.
Facebook: The Browsers
This conference is going to be awesome!!!
Don't miss it!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Foster Fathers II: The Importance of Fatherly Love.

Brad Horrocks with son adopted from foster care.
During my decade plus experience as a foster father, I have had over four dozen children come to live in my home.  Some children have stayed only one day, while others have stayed as much as a year and a half while in foster care.  One thing I have learned while taking care of these children in need is that, above all, these children simply wish to be loved in a healthy and safe manner.  As I wrote in my book, Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey, many children in foster care will try to resist this love, and tragically even try to sabotage it in some way.  To be sure, there are those children who are difficult, who are challenging, and who are exhausting.   Yet, each deserves to be loved unconditionally for who they are.  As a foster parent, this is one of my greatest responsibilities, as well as one of my greatest privileges.

Sadly, many children in foster care come from homes where violence reigned.  Profanity, abuse, and harsh words filled the air that surrounded a child.   Additionally, where love was to be a child’s cornerstone, there was neglect instead, as the basic needs of the child were not met, and where the emotion of love was instead substituted with just the opposite.  Along with this, there  may be those foster children who have had poor examples of fatherhood in their lives, resulting in poor examples of so called “manliness.”  There are those who may believe that a real man does not express love, does not state that he loves someone, or even grant a hug to another under the misguided belief of weakness.  

For a foster child who may have been abused, beaten, or neglected, this type of love is most important.  Without this type of love, a foster child will not form necessary and healthy attachment with others, resulting in a number of attachment disorders.  Emotional difficulties such as a of lack of self worth, trust, and the need to be in control often result in the lack of unconditional and healthy parental love.  As anyone who has worked with foster children will tell you, most foster children face an enormous amount of emotional issues, many times stemming from the lack of healthy love.

            With this in mind, it is especially important for a foster dad to communicate love to their foster children at all opportunities, and in a variety of ways.   A strong foster dad is one who is not afraid to say “I love you” to his wife, to his children, and to his foster children.  These simple words, these three words, can make a significant difference to a child who has only known violence and abuse.  Along with this, foster dads need to be nurturing to the foster children in their home, as well. 

There are those moments when I am weary, and feel I have very little love and compassion to give.  Indeed, there are those moments when I must pray for patience with a child who has spent hours screaming in rage at my wife and me.   Yet, I also recognize that these children are suffering; suffering from horrors I may never understand; horrors that I have dedicated myself to protecting them from while in my home.  Indeed, these children need my love. In truth, foster dads need to be comforting to a child in need, gentle in his words and actions.  After all, this may be the only positive example of a loving father that the foster child may ever have. 

-Dr. John DeGarmo
Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 11 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 40 children come through their home.   He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations.  Dr. DeGarmo is the author of Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Story, and the new book The Foster Parenting Manual: A Practical Guide to Creating a Loving, Safe and Stable Home.  He also writes for a number of publications and newsletters, both here in the United States, and overseas.  Dr. DeGarmo can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at his website, www.drejohndegarmo.com.

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