Interview with Author and Transformation Coach Nikol Rogers for Adoption Awareness Month
November is National Adoption Awareness Month, dedicated to increasing awareness of adoption issues and the urgent need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Adopting a child can be one of the most wonderous and fulfilling journeys for a person or couple to take part in. However, it is not an easy process, and when unexpected issues arise and derail original plans, it can be devastating. According to AdoptiveFamilies.com, 10% of adoptions disrupt, meaning that the adoption process is stopped after the child is placed in a home but before legal finalization. For this significant cause, Garden State Woman spoke with Nikol Rogers, speaker, author, empowerment coach, and adoptive mother who has felt the heartache of an adoption process getting disrupted.
Former Radio City Rockette and current New Jerseyan, Nikol Rogers, is a Spiritual Teacher and Empowerment Transformation Coach who helps others find their confidence and take control of their lives. She approaches her teachings with her ZenRed method which she has developed over many years during her own personal development journey, where she studied Zen Buddhism and regained her own confidence. Her ZenRed Method has helped hundreds of people all around the world get rid of their limiting beliefs and reframe their thoughts and feelings. Her book, 13: One Woman's Sacred Journey to Discovering Her Greatest Power, tells the story of Rogers' life and how she found light after everything came crashing down.
In an interview, Rogers offered insights into the lives of adoptive parents and her experience as an adoptive mother, a glimpse into her book, 13, and valuable resources people can look into to support adoption awareness.
Q: What are the risks of being an adoptive mother and couple?
A: Entering the world of adoption brings a whole new education around risk taking. My husband and I learned that we could support a birth mother for months financially (paying living expenses) and lose all that money if she changed her mind. We learned that many agencies and lawyers within the industry will gouge their pricing, taking advantage of adoptive parents who are desperate to create a family. There were many "fees" we had to ask questions about, and gain understanding about where our money was actually going. And probably the largest risk is around in utero exposure. Thankfully, the professionals we worked with required us to take a class to learn about different drugs and their effects on the fetus. We were given so much powerful information that allowed us to look at each situation and assess how comfortable we were with the drugs the birth mother was using. It was shocking to learn that many drugs don't actually have a lasting effect if the infant's care addresses the exposure in the first few months after birth. This was so helpful as we knew what questions to ask of medical professionals, and the NICU staff when we arrived at the hospital. However, it's important to know that when a birth mother fills out the form with the agency or lawyer they have signed up with, they may not feel comfortable sharing the whole truth. You may not know the true level of exposure, until the child is born, so there is a risk you take with any birth mother who is an addict, which I believe we were told is around 80% at this point. My husband and I were so grateful for the professionals and the support groups we were in because all of these things were openly discussed. While it felt overwhelming at first, we had the community and support to educate us so we could make decisions that were most aligned for our family.
Q: How does the process of bringing a new baby home differ for birth mothers versus adoptive mothers?
A: Physical touch and proximity are the fastest and most effective ways to form a bond with your adoptive child. Because an adoptee is not from the adoptive mother's body, everything is new. The smell, the touch, the feel, and energy are unknown. So, both mother and child need time to learn about each other. To honor this auspicious time, we decided to hold our daughter for about five weeks without putting her down. My husband and I took turns holding her, feeding her, and rocking her to sleep in our glider. We became YouTube aficionados and enjoyed many podcasts as we did all we could to stay awake and let her know we were there for her. Skin to skin was and is very connecting for everyone. Feeling my daughter's head and body against my chest was magical, as we were both creating the familiarity of what the other felt like. After the five weeks, we transitioned to a co-sleeper and took turns with night shifts as well, so our daughter always felt us close to her, and we always felt her close to us. We both took leave from work so we could create this compacted and very intimate time at the beginning of our daughter's life. We were all getting to know each other and feel our hearts bonding with each passing day. And because of this concentrated time, we feel completely confident in our role as her parents, and she trusts us. The love is deep because we put all of our attention on forming that bond through touch and proximity at the very beginning.
Q: How can people get involved in supporting adoption awareness and advocacy efforts?
A: There are many amazing organizations that help with advocacy and supporting the powerful world of adoption in NJ. NJ ARCH, or the New Jersey Adoption Resource Clearing House, prides themselves on being the "one stop resource for those touched by adoption." They have been around for 20 years and really are the leaders in our state for all aspects of adoption and kinship care. Another wonderful organization is the Concerned Persons For Adoption (CPFA NJ) who have book clubs, online support groups, newsletters, and endless resources. Both of these have been instrumental in our journey, and we are so grateful to them! Lastly, if you have loved ones in your life who are adopted, then do all you can to listen to their needs and concerns. Adoptee Rights are thankfully getting more prominent in legislation. Listening to an Adoptee Panel can be very eye opening, especially if you were raised by your biological parents. A great podcast for this would be "Adoption: The Long View" with Lori Holden. An adoptive mother herself, this podcast was on repeat as we were navigating the whole process. The last resource that made a big difference for us was the bestselling book, Adoption Nation by Adam Pertman. He paints the full history of Adoption over the decades and why the changes that are happening now are the most powerful for all involved in the adoption process and helping us all to create loving families.
Q: What can we learn from your book, 13: One Woman's Sacred Journey to Discovering Her Greatest Power?
A: We know the number 13 to be traditionally viewed as an unlucky number, but for me, it turned out to be the most transformative number of my life. This book is a story about the year my life went up in flames, burning to ash all of who I thought I was. But as I watched the career, persona, and marriage that I had carefully crafted go up in smoke, I heard a new quiet voice within, the voice of 13. 13 is the sacred invitation, the auspicious calling to your heart to finally have the life you have always desired. It was only through losing my identity that I was able to learn not only what I wanted in life, but that I was actually capable of creating it. We have been conditioned to believe that loss and devastation are terrible things that rob us of our resilience and strength. But my book teaches you how to overcome any obstacle and use it to create a whole new beginning. You can think of a 13 as a divine storm, or a crossroads. What makes it so magical is the transformation waiting for you on the other side. If it wasn't for my 13, I would still be married to a man who didn't want to have children. I would still be in a career that drained my confidence, and I would still be living in a toxic apartment. Thankfully, today I am in a healthy and amazing marriage, living in a home I love, doing work that fuels my passion, and playing with my daughter every day. My book teaches you how to move through any storm faster and create the life you have always dreamed of from the ashes.
Buy Nikol Rogers' book, 13: One Woman's Sacred Journey to Discovering Her Greatest Power on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. Visit her website, nikolrogers.com.
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