Merle Bombardieri has been speaking on adoption decision-making, working with adopters and adoptees, and attending presentations by adoption professionals, birthparents and adoptees since 1982.
There are so many joys to look forward to once you bring your child home: welcoming, holding, cuddling, nurturing, enjoying being a family at last. What a wonderful celebration you will have to introduce family and friends to your child.
Unfortunately, many people’s adoption journeys are long, frustrating, and lonely. Merle’s guidance will make things proceed as smoothly and efficiently as possible. You will know what to expect, and gain confidence and sense of control.
Although Merle typically works with people throughout the process, you can contract with her for specific services at any stage. She is available by phone for consultation to out-of-state clients and professionals.
Merle gives you an overview of the stages of the adoption process, including steps that you will take to be prepared and confident for the next stage.
In the pre-adoption stage, Merle will work with you to complete unfinished business such as:
- Letting go of the dream of a biological child, and the experiences of pregnancy, childbirth and nursing.
- Healing from any lingering stress caused by infertility treatment.
- Mourning pregnancy losses, stillbirths, and neonatal deaths.
- Overcoming doubts and fears about parenting in general and adoption in particular.
- Coming to terms with medical conditions that have prevented pregnancy, such as hysterectomy, ovarian decline, conditions that make pregnancy dangerous.
Adoption Decision Success
Once you have dealt with these issues, you are prepared for decision-making. Merle helps by offering food for thought, personalized questions to ponder between sessions, and carefully selected readings that address your particular questions.
- Deciding whether to adopt.
- Deciding between adoption and donor egg.
- Comparing adoption to other alternatives such as childfree living, donor insemination, donated embryos, and surrogacy.
- Choosing domestic or international, choosing an agency, choosing a country or program within an agency. Considering children of other races and cultures, sibling groups, special needs children, and older children.
Adoption Application Success
Merle guides you through the logistics of filling out the application and helps refine your answers to challenging questions. She’ll also make editorial suggestions to increase your essays’ power and clarity.
She’ll also guide you through the emotions and mechanics of writing a “Dear Birthparents” letter and of creating a scrapbook for them.
Other tasks Merle helps with:
- Reducing stress about the home study process. Understanding what happens at typical individual, couple and group meetings.
- Developing home study confidence and competence: what to expect from a home study. Doing a mock interview with Merle to identify any areas that need more reflection and preparation before the actual meetings. How to handle difficult questions about your health, mental health or family background.
- Managing communication with your agency and social worker. Handling and correcting any misunderstandings that may arise.
Adoption Matching Success
If you are trying to locate birthparents on your own (in addition to or in place of an agency’s searching on your behalf) Merle helps you evaluate various programs and ask cogent questions to facilitate your decision. If you are offered a match that concerns you, Merle will work with you to formulate questions for your agency/program, birthparents, doctors or lawyers. Once you have that information, you can decide whether to accept the match or wait for the next one.
Adoption Waiting Success
After all the active steps you’ve taken, waiting can be frustrating. You are so used to being busy pursuing your goal, and thinking that only by these efforts will you land a baby in your home. But now whether you’re waiting for a country to process a visa, a birthmother to go into a labor, or something else, you may feel restless and antsy. You’ve already waited so long, perhaps through years of infertility or for the right partner before you even started the adoption process. How long can one (or two) human beings be expected to wait?
It is often helpful to visit adoptive families who are so content with their lives now, but also had a frustrating time of waiting. You can take comfort in the reality that their waiting, no matter how frustrating, did result in the family they are now enjoying. They may even recommend coping techniques that got them through their waiting period.
Other examples of living through waiting that Merle can help you with:
- Using mindfulness and acceptance practices to find a sense of well-being that is available here and now, even though your child isn’t available yet.
- Keeping your sense of humor, enjoying playful actitvities and loving connections with family and friends, journaling and creative writing.
- Participating in support groups for waiting parents that are offered by your agency or other community groups.
Dealing with the whole range of emotions that may occur in the first few weeks and months: joys, frustrations, ambivalence, disappointment. After so much anticipation, some feelings of letdown are normal:
- Coping with post adoption blues or depression.
- Handling bonding delays when it isn’t love at first sight.
- Coping with life passages that bring up old wounds for some parents: menopause, deaths, and children’s puberty.
When children are older, making decisions about whether or when to meet birth parents, or visit birth countries. Creating psychological resilience before meeting so that the adoptive parents and children are ready for whatever responses they receive from birthparents.
For adult adoptees:
- Making decisions about searching for birthparents. Getting the emotional support you need pre-and post-search from your adoptive parents and from professionals.
- Making your own decisions about becoming a parent through pregnancy or adoption. Receiving support while becoming a parent and/or parenting.