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Feeding Tips for Adoptive Parents

There's more to Motherhood than Labor and Delivery

By Jamie Anne Richardson

It has been said that any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad. I find the same to be true of being a mom. Motherhood is not defined by the ability to carry a child in the womb and give birth. Motherhood is about love, nurturing, instilling values, and raising a child. For many women, their dreams of motherhood are fulfilled through the amazing life-choice of fostering, adopting or fostering to adopt.

I've been blessed to watch several of my friends grow their family by fostering and adopting kids. The love that goes into such a decision amazes me. These families take in a child who has no family to call their own. The kids often have the weight of the world on their shoulders because of their birth mother's poor choices in and out of the womb, but they are offered a second chance at a happy life. Some of these babies have health issues, some have been abused, but all of them have one huge thing in common: they deserve a loving home.

Watching these kids with smiles on their faces as they are rocked in the arms of someone who has volunteered to parent them is emotional for me as a mom. These families are often made up of mixed races, faiths and nationalities, but they are just as much family as those who share blood.

During foster care, parents are usually given money to feed and care for the child. The funds are limited though, so if there are any major expenses, it can be a struggle. While medical insurance may be provided, some needs fall outside the tight perimeters of insurance and, instead, fall on the foster parent's pocketbook.

Adoptive parents do not usually receive a monthly allowance. In fact, once the child takes the family's last name, the full financial responsibility lands on the family. This includes everything from meals to school supplies to extracurricular activities to college.

One of the greatest gifts to these parenting heroes is giving them a way to feed and care for these babies so that there is still money to pay for the fourth week of diapers at the end of each month. When money is tight but love is vast, store brand infant formulas can allow financial breathing room. In fact, switching formula from an advertised formula brand to a store brand can save a family $600 per year! Imagine what fresh fruits and vegetables that savings can buy.

While the American Academy of Pediatrics and other experts agree on the benefits of breastfeeding, AAP also agrees that infant formula is a safe, science-supported, nutritious means to nourish babies. The FDA strictly regulates formula to keep little ones safe, so store brand formulas, like Wal-Mart's Parent's Choice Infant Formula, are nutritionally comparable to national brands like Enfamil® and Similac® and meet FDA standards.

To all the hero parents who have given their hearts, time and love to mother kids who need (and deserve) it, we thank you. Motherhood is not defined by biology; it is defined by love and nurture.

About the Author

Jamie Anne Richardson is an author and mother of three living in a Dallas suburb. She is a blogger for Huffington Post and a Distinguished Voices columnist for Dallas Morning News.

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