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.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

UFA Announcement

United For Adoption is growing so fast we needed a  better online home.
We are so excited to share our new
UFA website with YOU!
Come by and look around....we think you will want to stay!*All future posts and information will be shared on the new website.
Thank you for sticking with us!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Birth Parent Panel event in Ogden, Utah.

If you would like to come to this event please rsvp on
Choosing Adoptions Facebook page.

Space may be limited.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Matching Mondays ~ Utah's Adoption Connection Website

Each week I go to
website to view waiting children.
But it doesn't just have profiles for waiting children.  This website has some very useful information.   So today I would like to feature the website rather than one specific child.   Take a moment and look around the site and see it might answer some of your questions.  Don't forget to click on the heart gallery and then go look at ALL of Utah's waiting children by clicking on "Search Utah's Waiting Children" in the upper right hand.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Why Aren't You a Foster Parent ~ Part III.

Today we have Laurieann Thorpe sharing
"Why Aren't You a Foster Parent?" Series
Part 3.
Laurieann is on our UFA Blog Committee.
We share her bio below and you can also find out more about her by visiting her blog at openbookopenheart.com

 A few weeks ago, I told you about how people love to tell me the reasons they could never be a foster parent.  Today, we're going to talk about reason #3.
You can read my answer to reasons
#1 and #2 here and here .

1 - “I could never give up a child I love – especially when it means giving them back to their no-good, dirty, rotten, stinking, biological parents.”

2 - “Children in foster care pose a threat to the children already in my home.”

3 - “People just do foster care for the money.”

I can't... I'm not...  I just... Oh my... Gah!
#3 makes me stutter.  I cannot believe people think and say this out loud.  But they do.  I know they do.  I'm certain I thought and said as much BEFORE I became a foster parent.  And now, I'm ashamed of myself for it.  Let me be perfectly, crystally, clear: No one fosters for the money.  No one.

If you are guilty of thinking that, first of all, shame on you, and second, I know you are pulling up a stereotype in your brain of a family who fostered 10 kids at the same time and you KNOW they were in it for the money.  That stereotype is complete garbage for three reasons.

1- No one is that stupid.  You can get a minimum wage job and work said job for 3 hours a day and make more than you "make" for fostering a child.  You do not have to do a cost benefit analysis to determine what would be more lucrative.  ANY job is more lucrative than fostering.

2- You can't foster 10 kids at once.  States limit the number of foster children who can be in a home at the same time.  In Utah, where I foster, the limit is three placements at one time.  Unless a family is fostering a sibling group of ten, no one fits that stereotype.

3- The "basic" foster care rate falls well below the cost of caring for a child. For example, Utah's foster care rate provides only 55-60% of the cost of caring for a child. (You can find details about each state's rates compared to the cost of caring for a child in a comprehensive report published by Child Trends  http://childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Foster-Care-Payment-Rate-Report.pdf)

Have you ever had a job you loved so much, you paid your employer to let you do it?  That is what foster parents do. 

When we first started fostering, we had a 4-year-old little guy (who, by the way, called us SuperMom and SuperDad - oh, we adored him!).  At the time, I had a part-time job.  I worked 25 hours per week.  My sister agreed to provide daycare while I was working for an incredibly reduced childcare rate of 2 bucks an hour (a screaming deal!).  Every month, we paid her far more than we received in foster care reimbursements.

I reject the whole premise that providing foster care is a job.  But let's just run with that idea for a second.   Would you ever, in a million years, say to a daycare provider, "Oh, you're just in this for the money!"  How about to the 14-year-old you hired to watch your kids for a couple of hours?  How about your child's teacher?  You get how ludicrous that is right?

Foster Parents receive a reimbursement for a (small) portion of the cost associated with caring for a child.  No one is counting stacks of cash, bags of gold in their back rooms, cackling and rubbing their hands together, scheming about how to get MORE kids and MORE bags of gold. 

Let's put the incredulity and outrage where it belongs.  Why are states getting away with paying such low reimbursement rates?  Dog kennels charge more for their services than foster parents do for taking a child! (One example: http://www.ricmarkennels.com/pricing_policies.html)  Instead of judging a foster parent, write a letter to your legislature - ask for parity between reimbursement rates and the cost of caring for a child in your state.  And then sleep better because you're out of the judging game AND you made a difference for kids who couldn't do that for themselves.

Laurieann Thorpe loves other people’s children.  She has worked professionally in child welfare, overseeing education programs for children in foster care.  She and her husband David adopted their oldest son through a private agency when he was two days old.  Later, they became foster parents.  Some children have bounced into and out of their home.  Others have come to stay.  They will adopt a two-year-old little boy this year and anticipate his little sister will join their family any day. 

Laurieann is a passionate adoption and foster care advocate.  She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has a unique perspective, having worked in child welfare for many years.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Matching Mondays ~ Super Cute Siblings Hope for a Family!!!!

Known for her outgoing personality, Tayvia is a bright and articulate young girl. She thrives on spending time and talking with others. Tayvia is a music lover! A natural performer, you can always find her singing or dancing!
Tayvia is attending the first grade and is learning fast and loving school.

Roman is an energetic and sweet boy! Swimming and eating out at restaurants are just a few of the things that he likes to do. He loves playing with toys and is always quick to share with others! A fan of the outdoors and swimming, Roman longs for a family that he can do these activities with.

This cute guy is in Pre-K! Eager to learn, he is enjoying and excelling in school!
Roman and Tayvia currently benefit from counseling, which will need to continue after placement. 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 children, 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 we feature 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.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Matching Mondays: Darling 8 year old girl hoping for a family!

Naomi D.  Naomi age 8
Full of energy and happiness, Naomi is a sweet young girl! With a great imagination and creative mind, coloring, writing stories, and art are tops on her list of things to do. You can often find Naomi playing with dolls. She loves to be around others and thrives of off groups of people and positive attention. Naomi is also a big performer and although she’s a natural singer and dancer, she would love to take dance lessons someday! Above all Naomi is a bright lass that likes to have fun and longs for a family to call her own.
Naomi is attending the second grade and would excel in a structured environment.
She currently benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement.
Naomi is anxiously awaiting a family she can call her own. If your family can offer her the love and support she needs, we urge you to 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 we feature 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, January 24, 2014

Adoption in the News

Here are a couple of fun adoption related news articles from Jan. 2014."Boy gave hope in darkest hour" written by Christina Blizzard.
Story shares how a tiny tot helps lift the hearts of a couple who's son just died.
"The Family did not see the surprise coming from God, and you may not see it either " written by Ronak Kallianpur
Story shares a great video of a couples journey to adoption and a Christmas surprise.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Ethiopia Children.

Are you hoping to adopt?
Have you considered adopting a waiting child living in other countries?
Here is a little clip about children in Ethiopia.

If you have questions about West Sands feel free to call Steve Sunday from Forever Bound Adoption 801-821-1354 and he can tell you a little about them.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Matching Mondays ~ Adventurous 11 year old girl hoping for a family!

Shadai is an energetic child on the go!
With an adventurous spirit, she is fearlessly willing to try new things. Affectionate and talented, Shadai enjoys music and she loves to sing and dance! This is a resilient child who is capable of great things when given the chance.

Shadai is currently in the fifth grade and benefits from an IEP (Individualized Education Plan). She attends counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

If your family is interested in this charming lass, we urge you to inquire. Shadai is in need of a caring, patient and understanding family.

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 we feature 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.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Adoption Fair ~ YOU are invited.

If you live in Utah don't miss the Adoption Fair being held in Centerville, Utah on January 25th!
United For Adoption and Forever Bound Adoption Agency have been invited to attend.
Great time to ask questions and learn more!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Matching Mondays ~ Brian age 15 is hoping to be adopted!

"There are wonderful kids that need families. We don’t believe there are any unwanted kids—we just believe there are unfound families. This is a great time to say, “Hey, maybe I can do that,” or, “Maybe I know someone great that can adopt.” Michael loves me unconditionally, and it’s a beautiful, wonderful love. And there are so many people missing out on it, that Id love for them to be able to experience it. So you know, turn around and get out of your comfort zone a little bit. Realize there is a life and a world outside of what you know, and it may impact your life in a very positive way."                                                                  ~Leigh Anne Tuohy

Full of optimism and adventure, Brian has an engaging personality! Brian is big on playing basketball, skateboarding, or just being in the outdoors. He also loves to eat out with friends and he hopes to go out one day with a loving family of his own. He is respectful and mindful of others and is quite the conversationalist!

Brian is an intelligent young man and is currently in the tenth grade. He would thrive with a family who can support him academically. He benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

This great kid is in need of a family that can provide him with the stability and support he deserves. If your family is interested in this future artist 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 homestudied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.
 You can inquire about these children we feature 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.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Foster Parenting in the New Year.

Considering becoming a Foster Parent in 2014?
It is life changing, hard and amazing!
Love what Dr. Degarmo has to say about Fostering.
I recently attended my foster parent association’s annual Christmas party, a time where the foster parents in my county gather together, along with our children (foster, biological, adoptive, and even some grandchildren sprinkled in there).  It is a wonderful evening, with great food, fellowship, support, and even an appearance by Santa Claus, himself, with gifts for all the children.  For all involved, it is a great way to spend the evening, as we lift each other up in support and love.

            I was able to spend some time chatting with a new set of foster parents who had recently joined our association.  This loving husband and wife were parents to twelve children; biological, adoptive, and foster children.  I was so very impressed by their selflessness and dedication to children, as they devoted their lives to helping children.  Indeed, over the last twelve months while traveling across the country working with foster parents at training conferences, I have met many such foster parents, working tirelessly to help children in need.

A successful foster parent is one who provides a caring environment while a birth family works on their caseload for reunification.  Foster parents not only provide a caring environment, but a safe and stable one, as well.  During this time, as a foster parent, you will agree to carry out all functions of the birth family.  These day to day functions include assuring that the child’s medical, nutritional, educational, and parental needs are met.  Foster parents may also provide social activities for the child,  as well, such as extracurricular events after school, city and county sports, and church related activities, to name a few.

            Yet, as we all know, foster parenting is hard work!  It may just be the hardest work you ever do.  You will often find yourself exhausted, both mentally and physically, and feel drained.  There is very little money available to help you, and you will not be reimbursed for all the money you spend on your foster child.  The job will require you to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with no time off.    You will probably feel overworked and under-appreciated.   You will work with children who are most likely coming from difficult and harmful environments.  Some of these children will have health issues, some will come with behavioral issues, and some will struggle with learning disabilities.  Many times, the children you work with will try your patience, and leave you with headaches, frustrations, disappointments, and even heartbreaks.  There is a reason why many people are not foster parents, as it is often too difficult.  The turnover rate for foster parents in the United States is between 30% and 50% each year. 

            There have been those moments when I have questioned whether or not I was making a difference.  If you read my book Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey, you know, then, my wife’s own doubts, and her desire to no longer foster, as her heart had been broken numerous times from the many children she had grown to love, only to see them return to homes where the children were once again placed in jeopardy.  However, when we consider no longer taking in children from foster care into our home, we are reminded that the need is strong, and are encouraged by the stories of others, such as the family I met at the Christmas party.

            As we begin this new year, I want to remind you that what you are doing is important. What you are doing matters. What you are doing is truly making a tremendous difference in the lives of children in need.  Though you may feel exhausted at times, and though you may feel that you are not making an impact, you are changing the life of a child.  You are planting a seed in the life of a child in foster care that WILL grow, and WILL bloom.  You may not see this transformation while the child is living in your home; this seed may not blossom until much later, but it will blossom if you plant it with love, water it with your tears, and nurture it with your time and compassion. 

            It is my hope that you continue caring for children in foster care.  There are so many children in care, yet so few willing to help.  May you have the strength and resources, compassion and support; and may you continue to change the life of a child in foster care.

Dr. John DeGarmo
Jan. 2014

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.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Matching Mondays ~ Utah Heart Gallery

Have you checked out Utah's Heart Gallery lately?
Lots of new faces....lots of darling children hoping to be someone's forever!!
Please take a moment today and take a peek and share the link!
You can make a difference in a child's life!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Why Adoption?

 Today we hear from Shelley Skuster.  A news reporter, blogger and best of all and mother through adoption.   She shares her answer to the question "Why Adoption?"
When my husband and I learned it would be hard to have biological children, we knew we would adopt.
I'm not going to lie, being diagnosed with unexplained infertility isn't easy to swallow. It took some time for us to grieve the loss of having biological children.
There were a lot of times I asked, "Why us?"
"Why do we have to go through this?"

It took a few years before we dove into the adoption process.
When the going got tough -- when our fingerprints got held up in processing, when our background checks took forever, when a birth mom chose another family -- I often times asked myself, “WHY ME?” or "Why are we adopting?"

It’s easy to be angry when you wonder WHY the adoption process is so hard. Why it’s such a roller coaster. Why there’s so much red tape...
But we knew the end result was going to be a baby. We knew it would be worth it. We had faith that God had already handpicked a baby just for us.
What we didn't know was that it would only be six months before we'd hold our sweet daughter in our arms.
Six months.
These days I find myself looking in the mirror while holding our 5-month old little girl [she loves to see herself], and I ask myself the same question: “WHY ME?” except in a completely different context.
Why did God choose me to be an adoptive mom?
Why did her birth momma feel I was deserving to be this precious girl’s forever mom?
What did I do to deserve such an honor?
I still don't know why God chose us to be adoptive parents.
I'm not sure I'll ever know.

But what I do know is this: It's an unbelievable privilege to be chosen -- Chosen by my daughter's birth momma to be her Mom; chosen by God to be an adoptive Mom.
It's the absolute greatest feeling in the world...
-Shelley "Russell" Skuster
You can read more from Shelley on her blog.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tips for finding the right adoption agency for YOU!

Today is the day we begin a fresh start and set goals and plans for the new year. There is nothing like having a clean slate to begin new ideas and goals.
Today we share an article that was originally written for and published on Or So She Says blog. If one of your goals in this new year is to adopt a child we hope this article will be useful. We hope your goals and dreams for 2014 come true!

My 6 tips for finding the right adoption agency.

By Brenda Horrocks
UFA Co-Chair
When we started to look at adoption as a way to build our family we sought out people we trusted.
First it was my friend who had just adopted her second child.   She had been through the whole thing twice and I knew she could help Brad and I start this exciting journey the right way.   She talked to us about the agency she went through.   We felt comfortable with this agency and even more comfortable hearing her experiences so we began (this was in 1998).  Not soon before we started the adoption process, an agency wide group was being formed to help support couples as they adopt.   It was an amazing thing to be part of something so special and find we were not alone in our journey to parenthood.   It was there we made lasting friendships that continue strong to this day….fifteen years later.
Horrocks Family Photo 2013
In 2002 we learned our cute niece was pregnant.  She was unmarried at the time.   We along with her Mom and Dad encouraged her to seek some counseling as she worked through her decisions.   We encouraged her to go to the same agency we had felt good being part of.   I had the opportunity to go with my niece to her first appointment.   I remember feeling kind of smug and irritated.   Brad and I were trying to adopt a 2nd child and had gone through more fertility treatments as well.   I was irritated that my niece had the opportunity to do what I couldn’t and she wasn’t even married.  All of those feelings  I felt as I waited in the waiting area melted away as I was called in to sit with my niece in her first session with her counselor.  I listened to a broken hearted girl who was scared and felt alone.   I listened to a girl whose dreams of what life would hold were lost.   I listened to a girl who reminded me of me.   While our circumstances were different we both felt loss, pain and felt alone.  I will never forget the feeling of chastisement I experienced as I sat there….and I deserved every bit of it.   From that moment on I realized even more fully how pain may speak a different language but it stings the heart the same way in each of us.   That day I was so thankful she was in the hands of people I trusted.   She went on the have a positive but hard (of course) experience. She made an adoption plan for her baby boy.  She met with other girls and women who were dealing with the same decisions and issues my niece was.   This support from others helped her as she faced difficult moments and as she followed through with her adoption plan.
When  you first start looking at adoption, you wonder where to turn and who to trust.  We hear horror stories of fraud in adoptive placements and we want to make sure we are with an agency or attorney who is dotting every i and crossing every t.   We want to make sure we are with someone with a big heart and who knows adoption and all of its many faucets!   I know for Brad and me it was important that our agency we chose would take care of the Birth Families and those who were experiencing a crisis pregnancy.  We wanted them to have all they needed.
My 6 Tips for Finding the Right Adoption Agency:
(There are more than 6, but these are the big ones, in my opinion.)
1.  What type of adoption do we want to have?  Domestic or Inter-country Adoption?
Knowing which type of adoption you are looking for will determine what agency’s or attorneys you will want to work with.
2.  What age of child are we hoping for?
If you are open to a child that is not an infant your best option might be working with your state.  Each state has children who are legally free and waiting for an adoptive home.  If you are hoping for an infant then you want to check out private agencies and/or attorneys.
It is possible to adopt an infant through the foster care system in some states but you need to be willing to support the plan that is set for the child who enters your home.  Plan on the child leaving until things are set in stone that they are staying.  We learned about this the hard way with the first newborn we fostered.  She was a beautiful African American baby girl who we fell in love with.  We were told many things and had reason to hope she would be staying with us.  After 8 months loving her we transitioned her over to her Dad.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done but worth every moment with her.   So just be prepared, think positive but be realistic.  We said goodbye to 7 awesome kids (2 of them newborns) before having the opportunity to adopt our little Spencer.
3.  How long has this agency or attorney been working in adoption?  Are they licensed to place children?
You want to make sure the people you will be working with know the ins and outs of adoption, counseling and placing a child, birth parent work etc.
4.  If you are looking at an agency find out who their attorney is they work with…do they have a good reputation?
Talk with other adoptive families and birth families to see who they worked with and what they did or didn’t like about them.
5.  What does this agency do to ensure each adoptive placement is ethical?
This is so important.  When it comes to placing a child for adoption every state has their own laws.  You want to work with an agency who hold high standards and works to ensure each placement is legally sound.
We realized how important this was in our 3rd adoption.  Some special laws came into play and if the attorneys our agency used didn’t understand those laws we could have had a unstable adoption on our hands.  Every adoptive couple’s and/or birth parents nightmare!
6.  What support do they offer to birth parents, expectant parents and their families who are in the middle of making decisions and what support do they offer to the hopeful adoptive couple and adoptive families?
Support was a big deal for Brad and me and for our niece, Erin.   Our agency had a wonderful group which was nationwide and was founded by the manager over adoption services there.   What he did for all involved in adoption was amazing. In 2004 I had the opportunity to meet this Manager, Steve Sunday, and started to work with him and others to help couples who were hoping to adopt.  Brad and I have now worked with Steve for nine years.  This is actually how I came to know Mariel…Steve is her Dad.  Steve is the best example I can give you of a professional who understands goes beyond what is expected to help all involved.
Steve has opened up his own adoption agency called Forever Bound Adoption.

If I was going to do an agency adoption today I would go with Forever Bound Adoption because I would be working with people I trust, who have a good reputation, are ethical and see the needs of all involved in the process.  This is where my heart feels at home.  Your agency, attorney, or maybe your state will be exactly what you need.  I believe there is something inside of us that helps us know when we are in the right place.   Do your homework, be honest with yourself and then listen to your heart.
You will find your right place!

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