Family

A Closer Look at the Adoption Process For Birth Mothers

Adoption

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she has options, including placing her baby in an adoptive home. While an unplanned pregnancy might seem devastating for a woman, the newborn child can become a wonderful gift for someone else. In the past, adoption was a secretive process, and an unplanned pregnancy by a single woman was considered shameful, but today, most people are more open about unwed pregnancies by single women, and this means that there are more adoptive options. The adoption process involves several stages—from the initial decision to post-delivery care.

Birth Mothers Can Make More Decisions For a Child Before the Adoption

A birth mother can make more decisions about her baby, including helping to choose the adoptive parents. In some cases, she might select an open adoption that includes meeting the adoptive parents or receiving information about her child. Alternatively, a birth mother can decide to have a private adoption, or she might not want to meet the child until he or she is an adult.

Birth Mothers Can Receive Money For Medical and Living Expenses

When a woman wants to place a baby in an adoptive home, the adoptive parents can pay for her living, medical, and legal expenses. The regulations concerning these expenses differ in each geographic region, and if the birth mother changes her mind, then the adoptive parents are often not reimbursed.

Birth Mothers May Need to Contact the Biological Father

In some regions, a biological father has the right to care for his child, so the birth mother must provide information about the father before an infant is available for adoption. By having the correct information and release forms from the biological father, a woman can place her child in an adoptive home legally.

Birth Mothers Cannot Reclaim a Child Later

Protocols are in place so that a birth mother cannot reclaim a child later. The amount of time for reversing the decision to relinquish a child to adoption varies, but in most cases, it is only a few weeks. This ensures that the infant receives the best care, so it is important for a birth mother to understand this regulation.

The Birth Mother Isn’t Involved in the Child’s Upbringing

In many cases, a birth mother isn’t involved in the child’s upbringing after he or she is placed for adoption, and this includes open adoption situations. If an adoptive couple decides to divorce, change religions, or move to a new location, the birth mother cannot stop these events.

A Birth Mother Doesn’t Need to Pay an Attorney or Adoption Agency

The process of adoption is expensive, but the adoptive parent or couple is responsible for the fees. This makes it easier for a woman with an unplanned pregnancy to place her baby for adoption. The agencies and attorneys arranging the adoptions can charge thousands of dollars in fees, but the birth mother doesn’t receive payment for placing a child for adoption.

Birth Mothers Can Use Private or Public Adoption Agencies

A woman who wants to place a baby into an adoptive home can choose a public adoption or a private adoption. A public agency is an agency operated by the government; a private adoption process is planned by an attorney. Also, religious-based adoption agencies exist that will place an infant in a home where the parents are committed to a certain faith.

The Adoption Process Is More Respectful Than in the Past

Today, when a birth mother wants to place her child in an adoptive home, she is treated with respect instead of being treated as if she is doing something shameful. Birth mothers are also taken care of after the adoption process ends with professional medical care and psychological counseling. An adoption agency or attorney will make sure that the birth mother is able to continue living her life in a healthy and safe manner.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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How Domestic Violence is Threatening Family Life in America

Domestic Violence

Toxic relationships can affect all of us. Sometimes toxic relationships can escalate into something violent. Domestic violence is one of the most prevalent family crimes in the world. While statistics vary in different countries, every country in the world battles with high rates of this horrible blight on humanity. Based on statistics from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the prevalence of domestic violence in America is staggering.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Annually, more than 10 million Americans are victims of domestic violence. One out of every three women and one out of every four men have been victims of domestic violence in their lifetime. The numbers are even more startling when you look at the statistics per minute. On average, 20 Americans are victims of domestic violence per minute. That means in a day 28,800 Americans are battered. Out of this number, over 20,000 of them reach out to local abuse hotlines across the country every day.

In a country with so many freedoms, it is astounding to see so many people perpetrate crimes of imprisonment and abuse against others. Unfortunately, every American knows several victims of these crimes. Sadly, many people fail to see the signs until it’s too late to stop the heavy toll it can take on victims and their families.

Because of the increasing prevalence of domestic violence, it is imperative that victims understand their rights. It should always be understood that no person is entitled to a relationship with another person and no one is entitled to treat another person as a slave or property. 

The Toll of Domestic Violence

When domestic abuse enters a family, it can adversely affect everyone in the home and can become fatal for the victim(s) if not addressed expeditiously. Women are the primary victims of domestic violence and are often victims of stalking. In fact, one in seven women in America are victims of intimate partner stalking in their lifetime. If these issues arise, it is essential to seek safety to take care of your family. Even the accusation of abuse can be damaging to a family, causing families to split apart. The best advice for anyone, including the accused and accuser, is to follow the guidance of an attorney. Domestic violence attorneys understand the law and criminal justice system.

It should be noted that most abusers will try to excuse and deny their behavior. Because of this, it is vital to realize this is all part of their attempts to continue to dominate and control you. Once the safety and security of your family has been established, domestic abuse victim advocates and attorneys can work with you to ensure the necessary proceedings are handled to cut ties with the abuser safely and legally.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Happy 41st Birthday to Tunicker M. Jones

Tunicker M. Jones

(Photo Courtesy of Tunicker M. Jones)

After years of her being envious of my best friend, Dr. Santresa L. Glass, I reluctantly decided to write a brief piece to wish Tunicker M. Jones a Happy 41st Birthday! Each year, I compose a piece, an ode to Dr. Glass on her birthday. Jones has desired the same, with me denying her request each year. She has the privilege of being my sister, which, of course, is the greatest fact of her life, of her existence.

Ms. Tunicker M. Jones earned her undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Troy University in Troy, Alabama and her master’s degree in Special Education at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. As a certified educator, Jones has over 10 years of professional experience teaching middle grades regular and special education students.

The passion Jones has for ensuring special needs students receive a quality education is commendable. She’s truly committed to helping every child, including our most vulnerable, to be prepared for the future and to experience success.

As I reflect on the vital and challenging work you do each day, I guess you deserve a little recognition on your birthday. Savor this piece, as it’s likely to never happen again.

Although the most important national and international holiday is on March 27th, which, of course, is my birthday, I’ll let you have today.

Happy Birthday!

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Nature Speaks, Nature Remembers: My Strong, Protective Flower Tree

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

I had some trees cut around the house that seemed likely to fall. After the trees were cut, some of the remaining stumps left such distinctive prints. One, in particular, evoked the memory of when Billy and I, as a young couple 30 years ago, purchased our home. What follows is the dominant impression this idiosyncratic tree, uniquely mine, engendered.

The tree reminded me of you 30 years ago when we first moved in, so strong with muscle limbs, protecting our little family from storms and harsh sunrays. Yet, with time, the strong become weak but still try to withhold winds and persevere. Each year, more dead leaves fell, and we could tell—with unspoken words—this once robust tree was dying.

Flower Tree

(Photo Credit: Ginnie Ann Daniels)

Your strong roots embedded lasting memories for your seedlings, family and friends. We have to let go and start anew. With exultation, however, we never forget that the strong leave roots in the dirt with everlasting memory of the last leaf that fell.

I can now look out of my window to see and remember my strong, protective flower tree.

In loving memory of Billy Daniels, spouse of Ginnie Ann Daniels, married nearly 44 years (23 days short of 44 years).

Ginnie Ann Daniels, El Dorado, Arkansas, Author

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Editor

Black Mother of Three Kids Needs Your Help Immediately

Charmine Mitchell

(Photo Courtesy of Charmine Mitchell)

Recently, Charmine Mitchell, a devoted black mother of three precious children, unexpectedly found out that her husband, Royce Mitchell, passed away. Unfortunately, her husband did not have any insurance to cover burial expenses and other essential living expenses for his wife and children. Although Mrs. Mitchell is seeking employment, she’s currently unemployed and is left struggling to pay the mortgage for her and her children and is left struggling financially to support her children’s needs. In America, when tragedy strikes some of us, we all share in the heartache of those victimized by tragedy. Americans always rise to the occasion and help fellow Americans in need. By making a financial contribution—no matter how small—you can make a significant difference in helping to ease the struggle this widower and her children are now facing. It’s already horrible that the family is facing the heartbreak of the loss of a husband and father, but to have the added burdens of not having any money for burial expenses, to pay the mortgage and support their living expenses is tragic as well. Go to Mrs. Charmine Mitchell’s GoFundMe Page and provide the best financial contribution you can make: Click Here to Donate! All contributions are greatly appreciated, and Mrs. Mitchell and her kids are grateful for your support in this difficult time for them.

Many thanks,

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Let the Power of Discovery Begin at Home

Black Family

(Photo Credit: Black Enterprise)

Before you go out exploring phenomena outside of your home, discover the new things you can learn about those inside of your home.  How often do you ask questions to those in your immediate family?  How well do you really know your family members?  Too often we assume we know a tremendous amount about our immediate family members, but there can be so many things we don’t know about them.  Many people can be so busy trying to find out what’s going on in other people’s homes that they’re missing the greatest attractions developing inside of their own homes.

Parents, how well do you know your children’s friends?  For parents with older children who are in relationships, how well do you know the individuals they’re in relationships with?  Do you know why your children decided to be in relationships with these individuals?  How did they first meet and what attracted them?  Are your children too secretive about their relationships?  Why?  Do you have children you find it strange that they are even in intimate relationships?  Have you asked questions that will provide you with more information to make it less strange?  These aforementioned queries are just some you can posed to members of your immediate family to discover some potentially novel things.

One of the best ways to build and maintain strong families is to place a strong value on communication in your home.  Your home should be a place where frank and open communication are truly valued.  The members of your immediate family should feel comfortable to talking to one another about virtually anything.  One thing I’m very proud of about my immediate family is the members of the family feel comfortable talking to one another about anything.  We can share things with one another without feeling like any member is going to bring condemnation for what’s disclosed.  My immediate family is loving and supportive, and it has been the welcoming and embracing of frank and unrestricted communication that has been essential to the love in my family.

If you talk more to your immediate family members, you may learn ways you can be useful in helping them to overcome physical, social, emotional and/or spiritual challenges and problems.  Before sending a family member to see a psychologist or psychiatrist, determine if this is even necessary.  Those situated inside the home can serve as the only psychologist or psychiatrist the person needs.  We often miss opportunities to be helpful to those who live in our own homes because we allow ourselves to become too busy to look for the potential needs of our family members.

Use this piece as a conversation-starter with the members of your immediate family.  Let this piece become a way for you to ask questions of the members of your immediate family that you’ve always wanted to know or failed to ask.  You may discover some things about your immediate family members you needed to know before they died.  Don’t make your family members think you’ve turned into a private investigator (unless you truly are one).  Just let them know you want to grow closer as a family through the power of discourse and inquiry.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison