Wednesday, December 31, 2008

happy new year

All the best to you and yours in the new year. Of course, I hope it is the year we welcome a newborn into our family. I hope you get your heart’s desire as well.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

toll-free

I spent just about all day off and on the phone with Verizon business trying to set up an 800 number for birth mom’s to use to contact us. It proved to be much more difficult than I’d ever imagined.

The first call they set up my account, did a credit check, and checked about five numbers I’d come up with: all taken. They even checked 866, 877 and 888. Nuthin!

So I was told it was ok to call back with more numbers, but be sure to mention I already have an account when I called back.

So we came up with several more numbers. Several? 20+ more numbers. I called back. We went through all 20+ AND MORE variations, and still nuthin.

Finally we settled on the last 5 digits being HOPES.

Both times the agents were extremely helpful, especially after I explained the reason we wanted an 800 number was to make it easy for birth moms to contact us since we are hoping to adopt. Lemme tell ya, the second agent even waived the $15 set-up fee and I didn't even ask.

In case you are thinking of setting up an 800 number, we are having it roll over to my cell phone so we don’t miss a call by not being home (or because I am blogging on our DIAL-UP service using the phone line). The service is $12 a month, and calls are 6.4¢ a minute.

This 800 number will go on our profile and on calling cards that I need to create. This makes it easy for potential birth moms to contact us from wherever they are. At this time I have no plans to post it on line, though I know others have posted their 800 numbers online as well as in newspapers. We will consider that later.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Good to Know: A Hard Knock Life, Saved

from the Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

Good to Know: A Hard Knock Life, Saved
Desiree Parker

Thursday, December 25, 2008

expecting a miracle

Saturday, January 10
9 p.m. eastern, 8 p.m. central

When Pete (Jason Priestley) and Donna (Teri Polo), a busy professional couple, are told their latest fertility test is negative, their world crashes down around them. Their once-strong marriage quickly unravels and literally goes south when a business associate of Pete’s offers them the use of his vacation home in Mexico. But the getaway takes an unexpected detour across the border when they take a wrong turn on a dirt road, leaving them with a damaged SUV, far from a main highway and out of cell phone range. When they spot a nearby sign pointing to the town of Dommatina, they agree to head there for repairs. What happens in the tiny village over the next six days not only changes the lives of the couple but of all of the townspeople they meet, including a kind priest (Cheech Marin), a young boy with an infectious positive outlook, and his watchful older brother (Shalim Ortiz). When all is lost, it takes a village to create a miracle.

Saw this advertised tonight and wanted to share, especially with my Fertility Forums girls. Can't help wondering, will they conceive or adopt?

Merry Christmas

Yesterday, 12.24.08, we received our finalized Home Study report in the mail. Wooo Hooo! What an awesome Christmas present.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

National Geographic - photo of the day


Always take advantage of shooting locations. When the photographer saw the striking resemblance between this woman and the portrait of her grandmother, he knew immediately what his photograph would be.
Photograph by David L. Arnold
I just loved this so much I had to share.

Monday, December 22, 2008

“Baby Quest” on CNN's “American Morning” this week


American Morning explores alternative methods of starting a family. We'll look at cutting-edge fertility treatments, surrogate mothers and of course adopting a child in dire need of a family.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

from the show that aired 12.24.08

Surrogates for Wannabe Moms - video

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

from the show that aired 12.23.08

Single Dads Opt for In Vitro - video

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

from the show that aired 12.22.08

IVF Vacations - video

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The National Foster Care and Adoption Directory - website

New York State Adoption Services - website

Michigan Adoption Resource Exchange
- website

Sunday, December 21, 2008

home study update

Friday I received a copy of our home study report. Unfortunately there were many errors. If /when you have a home study, please be sure to ask to see it before it is signed and notarized. My husband's age was off by 10 years among other errors.

Due to the amount of errors, I have asked to see the report again before it is signed and notarized.

I am guessing this is gonna mean our report won't be finalized until some time between Christmas and New Years. Keep your fingers crossed.

I plan to get our 800 number ((866) number?), finish our profile and make up some calling cards over the holiday break. I am keeping busy and that's a good thing.

Chris and I are considering entering a 10k next spring . We did it in 2007. It will give us something to work towards and keep busy to help the time pass.

Friday, December 19, 2008

home study update

Today our social worker emailed me a copy of our home study report. We are to review it this weekend and send it back on Monday.

12.20.08: note: Be sure you ask to review your home study report before it is finalized. There were many errors in our report, we even asked for a second review to be sure all the mistakes were corrected.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

wait training

Nothing new to report. Still waiting for the final home study report.

I guess this is training us to be patient while we wait to be matched with a birth mom.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

shopping for bunny slippers?

Shopping for bunny slippers? Check this out. It's really awesome!
When Laura and Gayla launched Runaway Rabbit Creations, they committed to making a difference both with the products they offer and with a portion of their company's profits.

Passionate about their own children and their roles as mothers, they want everyone who has that desire to have the opportunity to experience it. There are millions of children, desperate for good homes and loving families who may never be united with the men and women just as desperate to bring children into their lives. Too often, lack of financial resources prohibits qualified adults from adopting. The folks at Runaway Rabbit know that this is just wrong. They have aligned themselves with Gift of Adoption Fund, which awards grants to qualified adults in order that another family might be created and touched by the miracle that adoption provides. A full ten percent of all Runaway Rabbit profits is donated to Gift of Adoption which awards grants to qualified families in the process of adopting.

So every time you purchase a pair of Runaway Rabbit Bunny Slippers, some little bunny's life gets better!

Friday, December 12, 2008

the cost of adoption

Our social worker sent me some links to articles about covering the cost of adoption so I thought I'd share.
  1. Affording Adoption - from Adoptive Families magazine
  2. Adoption Expenses: Where to Go for Help - from The Adoption Guide
  3. How We Afforded Our Adoption - from The Adoption Guide
I knew I'd read this someplace, it’s from #3:

I made a brochure explaining who we were and why we wanted to adopt a boy from Russia. I put it in every hand I could find - I even sent one in when I paid my bills! One day a man from New York called to ask how much we needed. I told him we still needed $20,000, and he said, “It's yours.” He had adopted from Russia six years earlier and had intended to adopt more children, but decided that his new son needed undivided attention. His way of bringing home more children was to provide the funds for another family.
Shari

my “Adoption Stories” addiction

We watch “Adoption Stories” every morning at 6:30 on Discovery Health Channel while we get ready for work. While it bothers me that all we see is the “happy ending” portion of the adoption journey, I still find these programs inspiring and educational.

Today’s program in particular got our attention.

Episode: Devon’s New Family
Marty and Joe, a gay couple in a long-term relationship, meet 23-year-old Emily, who has already lost custody of two children due to her drug problem, has entered a methadone treatment program just as she learns she is pregnant again.

Marty and Joe’s adoption went VERY quickly, like a matter of WEEKS from the time they decided to adopt (I want more details!). And they were so cute, they said Emily looked like she could be their daughter, and it was true, the three looked very similar.

Anyway, it was a very touching episode. They all wanted an open adoption and kept in touch with Emily. But the end, the voice over says something like “shortly after filming this episode Emily became ill and died in her sleep.” I wanted to CRY!

These stories continue to touch my heart and inspire me. If you or someone you know is in the process of adoption, you might wanna check them out. I think the same episode runs three times a day.

Adoption Stories episode list

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

i will be a mother

This shirt says it all!

From: Evil Genius Tees

it’s all relative

In an earlier post, I wrote about the much dreaded two-week wait (2ww) while trying to conceive and how it seems like an eternity. Now a two-week wait seems like a piece of cake to me.

Before we began our home study, we were told it could take two to three months and I've read on other adoption blogs where home studies have taken SEVEN months! Our home study took SIX WEEKS and I was frustrated that it was taking so long. I think we may have set a record.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

what’s next

The big question: "now that your home study has been approved, what's next?"

  1. We wait for the home study report to be written, hopefully by Christmas.
  2. We get an (800) number (now probably 866).
  3. I finish our profile.
  4. I send our profile to anyone who may come in contact with potential birth moms, including our adoption attorney, my aunt who works in the maternity ward of a hospital, the local abortion clinic (recommended by our attorney), a mid wife (also recommended by our attorney), and our social worker.
  5. A birth mom some where, some day, will see our profile and fall in love with us and choose us to raise her baby. According to our adoption attorney, the birth mom may narrow it down to three couples she wants to meet. Depending on the circumstances of her pregnancy, some birth moms don't want anything to do with choosing the adoptive parents and may leave it up to their attorney or social worker. The birth mom will still be pregnant at this time and has made an adoption plan for her unborn baby. I say this because at this point we are still hoping for a newborn baby, we may change our focus as time goes on.
  6. As I said, we may or may not meet the birth mom, it is up to her. We are willing to have an open adoption because we feel it's important for our child to know their own biological history. Our social worker can act as a go-between if our birth mom doesn't want direct contact with us, which is cool too. There are all different levels of contact between birth parents and adoptive parents.
After the profile is done, basically, we wait. Our adoption attorney said the better we are at marketing ourselves, the more people we tell we are hoping to adopt, the better our chances of finding a birth mom sooner rather than later.

We have asked our family and friends in the medical and education professions especially to keep their eyes and ears open, since they are the ones who could potentially come in contact with a birth mom making an adoption plan. I've also asked my friends with teenagers to keep their eyes and ears open for us too. You just never know where your child could be. We just hope the wait goes as quickly as the home study did!!!

Thanks again to all of you (family, friends AND strangers) for your support and well wishes during this time. We really appreciated.

celebrating the holidays while you wait

This is an article from "Adoptive Families" for my friends who are waiting too.

Celebrating the Holidays While You Wait

(Our social worker sent this link to me. How thoughtful.)

Monday, December 8, 2008

quote

It won't matter how you became parents,
it will only matter that you did.

– Scott Mars, Adoptee and Founder, American Adoptions

Saturday, December 6, 2008

1,000 visitors

Visitor #1,000 is someone from Philly.
You have won a free post on my blog & a gold star!

Wooo hooo!

the waiting is the hardest part

The Waiting
lyrics by Tom Petty
Oh baby don't it feel like heaven right now
Don't it feel like somethin from a dream
Yeah I've never known nothing quite like this
Don't it feel like tonight might never be again
We know better than to try and pretend
Baby no one could have ever told me bout this

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part...
When you are suffering from infertility, our bit worry is the infamous 2ww (two-week wait), meaning the amount of time between the possible date of conception and the day you can by POAS (Peeing On A Stick) to find out if you have a BFP (Big "Fat" Positive) - positive pregnancy test. We ALL dread the 2ww.

Well, in adoption, there's a new meaning to "wait" and it makes the 2ww seem like a piece of CAKE.

Upon completing your home study, you enter the wait, but there is not defined end date, so it's got me thinking that the 2ww isn't really that bad - but every thing is relative.

We are in the wait. We still have work to do that will keep us busy and the holidays are upon us, always a busy time for anyone. But I came across a list (list lover that I am) and thought I'd share it with those of you who find yourself at loose ends while waiting to be matched with your child. Keeping yourself busy and occupied will make the time go by more quickly. Here are a few tips to help:
  • start a hobby
  • complete those unfinished projects and/or start a new one
  • read about parenting an adopted child
  • join an adoptive parents support group
  • talk to others—friends, doctors, etc.
  • take a parenting class
So far, I have enough to keep me busy but may need to refer back to it later.

the adoption guide

Our social worker suggested we get ourselves a copy of this "Adoption Guide" published by the people who publish the magazine "Adoptive Families." It's about $15 but she says it's full of great information. And it looks like they update it each year, so the information is current. I sent in for a subscription to "Adoptive Families" some time and it's never come, guess I'll call and try to talk to a human and order both.

The Adoption Guide

(note to self: ordered 12.9.08)

Friday, December 5, 2008

home study APPROVED!

We had our third and final meeting this morning, it was short and sweet, and she told us she is approving our home study.

Our home study report should be complete in two weeks. She will let us see it to be sure all the facts are correct and she will have some of her coworkers look over the report as well to be sure she didn't overlook anything. Then we will receive three original reports.

We celebrated by having dinner at the Cheesecake Factory (if you knew where we live, you'd understand what a real treat this is!).

We had our first home study meeting exactly six weeks ago today.

The search is on! and now I'm ready to have some Christmas spirit!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the universe and beyond

Ok, so Sharon (friend from Va Tech) and Ashley (old boyfriend) came along just when I needed them (both having been through home studies and adoptions themselves), shortly after our decision to adopt. They have both been a great help to us throughout our home study.

Now, other family members and friends are coming back into my life people I haven't spoken to or seen in YEARS, even more support for us. I find the timing very interesting. Hopefully this is all a sign that things will start going our way. The more people who know we are looking to adopt, hopefully the sooner we will be able to find a baby to adopt. As odd as it sounds, it's all about networking for us. We are not Brad and Angelina.

Infertility was so different, so lonely and isolating. I'm so glad we are finding the adoption process to be the total opposite. It's so wonderful to have so much support from family and friends and even strangers. My world is getting smaller and bigger at the very same time.

• • • • • •

The home study portion of the process is nearly over (final meeting tomorrow, Dec. 5). I will be so glad to have that behind us. It's been such an invasive process.

After we have been approved, I will get an 800 number (866?) to include in our profile and on our calling cards. Our attorney advised us to get an 800 number to make it easier for a potential birth mom to contact us if she wants to. I need to look into the 800 number thing, I'll report back and let you know what I find out.

In the mean time I have to finish our profile, we can't hand it out until our home study is approved. We will list the name of our attorney and her contact info and our 800 number and an email address specifically for birth moms to contact us. You DO NOT list your last name anywhere in the profile. It seems a lot of birth moms do not want to know your last name, if they do want to know, they can find out later. Also, do not list your home address on your profile, just use your first name(s).

After our home study is approved (two weeks - Dec. 19 - hopefully) we can start applying for grants. So there is more paperwork on our horizon, but we can handle it.

• • • • • •

I recently learned something that really surprised me: in the state of Florida, gays and lesbians are not "permitted" to adopt. What is that about. I really find this shocking in this day and age.

I have learned the adoption laws are different for every state, not surprising. I understand Arizona is one of the "easy" states to adopt in. Some states are more difficult to adopt from than others. A good attorney will know the different laws for all or most states.

States have all different amounts of time for birth parents to terminate parental rights (TPR). The shorter the required time, the better for the adoptive parents.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

all I want for Christmas

Our third and final home study meeting is this Friday, December 5. I'm counting days, hours, minutes... I will be so glad when this phase is over. It has been a lot of work, but all more than worth it for the end result: BABY!

Our social workers says it will take her two weeks to write our report, so we are expecting to get our final report on Friday, December 19, signed and sealed. Then the searching begins. Since we aren't hiring an agency to locate a birth mother for us, we will be doing most of the searching ourselves and with the help of our adoption attorney.

All I want for Christmas is a completed and approved home study!

Friday, November 28, 2008

update

I am happy to report we've both completed our 19+ question questionnaire! wooo hooo! I must admit, that was the most difficult task for the home study to date, though less stressful than the home visit.

I am now working on our profile which will go to our attorney, my aunt who works in the maternity ward of a hospital and a few other people. The idea of the profile is to tell about yourself and catch a potential birth mother's attention.

I have downloaded some scrapbook software for Mac (iScrapbook), and am currently working on our redoing our profile.

Our third and final home study meeting is next Friday, December 5. Within two weeks of that final meeting we should receive our final home study report/approval and we will be free to adopt.

Please keep your eyes and ears open and if you learn of anyone who is making adoption plans for their unborn child, please keep us in mind.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

shopping online for the holidays?

I just wanted to remind you that if you are shopping online, you can shop through OneCause.com and the merchants will donate a percentage of your total to the National Adoption Foundation and to me (if you choose to include me, I am listed as gemmabean@earthlink.net). Old Navy is there, Omaha Steaks, LLBean, Target, you name it, they are on OneCause.com!

Thanks!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

new look - same blog

I just didn't want you to think you ended up someplace else. I'm trying on a new look. Enjoy!

Monday, November 24, 2008

what I learned from our meeting with our attorney

What I learned from our meeting with our attorney:
  1. It's all about networking and marketing ourselves. Please feel free to tell anyone and everyone you know that you know a loving couple who is looking to adopt a newborn.
  2. It is legal to advertise in the newspaper (in Virginia) that you are looking to adopt. Most newspapers will need from your social worker or attorney confirming that your home study is complete.
  3. Get an 800 (or 866) number in order to make it easier for a birth mother to contact you.
  4. "Dear Birthmother" letters aren't really used anymore.
  5. It can take 12–24 months to be matched with a newborn baby (domestic adoption).
  6. Expand your Christmas card list, include a dear friends letter that includes info. about you looking to adopt (yes, friends and family: this does mean you will be hearing from us this holiday season!!!).
  7. Have business cards made with your contact info on them so if you end up having a conversation with someone about your impending adoption, you can give them a card. You never know who knows who.
  8. Network, network, network!
  9. Make sure your ob/gyn knows in the event that one of his/her patients has an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy.
  10. Announce that you are looking to adopt in your church bulletin (we don't belong to a church, but she suggested we join one, but we feel this is the wrong reason to join a church). If you attend church, please feel free to post info about us looking to adopt :)
  11. IRS Tax Credit: keep track of your mileage to and from social worker's location and attorney's office, keep track of the money you spend on your profile (ink, paper, printing, etc) it all goes towards your IRS Adoption Tax Credit.
  12. She asked us if we had any family or friends who would be willing to act as a surrogate, we thought this was and interesting question. We haven't asked anyone but if you are willing, please let us know :)
more later...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

the infamous 19-question questionnaire

The 19 questions we each have to answer:

  1. Describe your personality?
  2. Describe your spouse’s personality?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. What are your limitations?
  5. What do you feel are the strong points in your marriage?
  6. What do you feel are the areas for further growth in your marriage?
  7. How do you resolve conflict in your marriage?
  8. What are your interests as an individual?
  9. What are your interests as a couple?
  10. What are your attributes that you feel best contribute toward your ability to parent?
  11. Who/What has been the strongest influence in your life to date?
  12. What do you regard as your greatest personal achievement to date?
  13. What three things would you most like to be said about you if you died today?
  14. What are your needs as a person? Which ones are satisfied within your family, your work, in recreational activities, in other ways?
  15. In what ways would you find satisfaction and fulfillment if you never had children?
  16. What are your most important values?
  17. What are your expectations for your child?
  18. What goals do you wish your child to achieve?
  19. What are your thoughts on the following:
  • Parenting
  • Discipline
  • Love
  • Positive Self-Image
  • Negative Self-Image
  • Adoption
  • Biological Parents
I think these would be difficult for just about anyone to answer! I think #13 is my least favorite.

This is the hardest thing we've done so far, even more difficult than the autobiographies. I just want others who are considering adoption to know these are potential questions you could be asked, so you can think about stuff like this ahead of time!


We are saving copies of everything for ourselves of course, but also things like this are going in to the baby's book :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

immigration déjà vu

So when Chris immigrated from the UK, there was a lot of paperwork, a lot of hoops to jump through. We jumped. We were never anything but honest. Chris got his green card four short months (short by immigration standards, long by newlywed standards) after we were married.

When we started our home study, we were given a checklist of documents our social worker would need from us (see post below called "home study checklist" ). Now she keeps asking for additional documents. More hoops, and once again we are jumping and being nothing but honest.

In both cases (immigration and adoption) it seems like they are asking "how badly do you want this" and in both cases the answer is "we will do what ever we have to" for Chris to immigrate, for us to have a baby.

I like to know the rules of the game, so I know how to play the game. I get really frustrated when the rules change mid game. I am trying to continue playing and as Sharon says "accept the challenge."

Game ON!

first "trimester" reflections

It's been three months already. I wonder if a pregnancy goes this fast. I wonder if pregnant women savor their pregnancies or wish them away.

I wish we only had six more months to go, but I fear it will take longer than that for us to have our baby at home with us.

It think the first three months has gone so fast because there has been SO much paperwork to do, so many documents to collect, so much keeping us busy. I'm wondering what it will be like when all that's over, right now it's hard to imagine the end of paperwork.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

home study checklist

completed and/or received by our social worker:
  • application
  • personal finances form
  • marriage certificate
  • medical history forms
  • criminal record check
  • autobiographies
  • photographs
  • verification of employment
  • corporal punishment policy agreement
  • 1st home study meeting (10.24.08)
  • sworn disclosure statement
  • 2nd home study meeting (11.14.08 home visit)
  • release of information form
  • Child Protective Services (CPS) report
  • letter from MH
  • each of us answer an 19-question questionnaire
  • reference letters received from: JB, EK, SF & CB
  • letter from KK
  • 3rd home study meeting (12.5.08)
DONE!!!!!

third and final home study meeting scheduled!

Our third and final home study meeting has been scheduled for Friday, December 5! Woooo hoooo!

Our Child Protective Services (CPS) report came back (that's all the social worker said so I'd assume that means there was no problem or she would have mentioned it)!

We meet with our adoption attorney this Friday and are excited about that. She will be helping us locate a potential birth mother, among her other attorney duties, we will find out more of Friday. Mom and dad will join us at this meeting, four heads are better than two!

Can you believe it has already been three months since we made the decision to pursue adoption?! Let's hope the search for a baby goes by as fast as the past three months have!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

i found hope at a farm market

The first Saturday of the month, there is a farm market nearby. There was a new vendor at the November market, Jewelry by Heart2Heart. I bought a circle with Hope on it (mine just has the word once).

As my friend Rick's grandmother says "Hope gets us to the bridge, faith gets us across."

I've learned a little hope goes a long way.

(Jewelry by Heart2Heart will be at the Irvington Farm Market in December and/or you can check them out at their website. They have circles with other words on them and they will create pieces upon request. They handcraft each piece with precious metals and genuine gemstones.)

family trees

Those of you who are not related to me, don't know that my family had a big reunion this summer, in honor of my great aunt Dorothy's 90th birthday. I think there were over 50 of us from around the country present.

This particular branch of my family tree has had reunions in the past, but it's been a long time since we'd all gotten together (years? a decade?). For this occasion, one of my aunts and I worked on a family cookbook that also included food related stories, our family tree, and other family and food related items. I worked closely with my aunt (well, we are on opposite coasts - so as close as technology will allow) for six months creating this cookbook. This project brought my aunt and I closer.

Ok, so, the point of this post. The family reunion, our impending adoption. It's got me thinking. At first we didn't really want to know the woman who gives birth to the child that will become part of our family tree. But the more we think about it, we've decided we do want to know her (there is always more talk of the birth mother than the birth father, as they are not always in the picture at the time of the birth, but we'd be happy to know him too).

Family has always been important to me. Unfortunately I am closer to some branches of my family than others. I try to think of our adopted child at different stages of his or her life. I would want my child to know the types of things I know about my family's history. I would not what my child's biological tree to be blank. I can't imagine not knowing the things I know about my family's history.

Since my family's reunion in June, I have been keeping in touch with more family members, you know how you seem to drift away from people over time. I have really enjoyed being back in contact with these family members and they have been VERY supportive of our plans to adopt.

Our child will be lucky and have two family trees.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

our references & more

I am happy to report my references FINALLY got their letters from our social worker. She was supposed to have sent the letters out after our first meeting on October 24. They were finally sent out Monday, November 10 after I called a few times to see if they'd gotten lost in the mail.

We have been very diligent about getting our paperwork in as quickly as possible in order to move ahead quickly, so this really frustrated me because it was out of my control (other than to be a nag).

We have scheduled our third and final meeting for later in December, but Chris and I talked after yesterday's home visit and decided we want to try to move it up, otherwise we are afraid our report won't be completed until after New Years.

Oh! and our social worker told me our police reports came back with our last name spelled incorrectly! Ack, I just need MORE control!!! LOL!!!

This is definitely a lesson in patience.

what to expect


Ok, so maybe I'm getting a bit excited here, but I figured what the heck, I read "What to Expect When you are Expecting" over eight years ago. I may be able to read this at least three or four times before we actually have a baby.

I bought it second hand (recycled) for $6 so it wasn't a huge investment. I have refrained from purchasing anything else baby related (aside from two baby outfits I purchased eight years ago that are probably so totally out of style now and my baby wouldn't be caught wearing them outside the house, and a bib that says "Bebe" that may still prove useful).

Friday, November 14, 2008

we survived the home visit

Can I just tell you how glad I am that our home visit is over.

It only lasted 45 minutes, but the 48 hours prior were the worst ever. I got so wound up by the thought of some one coming into my home to judge the way I live. I thought I'd just pass out after she left.

She was only at our house for about 45 minutes. Looked in all the rooms, asked us how we plan to discipline our child (very difficult to think of when the discipline years are still a few years away). We said we'd use the time-out chair in the early years and then withholding luxury items (cell phone, TV, internet, etc) in the later years.

She asked about our religion backgrounds and what values we would instill in our children. She also asked who we would name as guardians if something happened to both of us.

She also asked us if it snows, hmmm, was that home visit related or is she thinking of moving?

This things are all difficult to think of when you child is still hypothetical.

She didn't ask if we had a fire extinguisher. We were disappointed since we bought a new, additional one just for the occasion.

We will have our third and final meeting in December. After that we will get our final home study report.

We meet with our adoption attorney next week. She has asked us to bring a copy of our profile to the meeting. She said she can start searching for a match for us at that point.

Our social worker said it could take 12 to 24 months to find a match.

There was an extra $100 charge to come to our house since we live in the boonies ($50 each way).

I feel like we should have received t-shirts at the end of the meeting that said "I survived my home visit!"

This was quite possibly one of the most stressful days of my life.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

the kindness of family & friends

Our home study isn't even complete yet and the gifts are already pouring in!

Cousin Karin has generously offered us a crib, changing table and dresser that was passed on to her for her son Noah from our cousin John whose children use it. She has even offered to deliver it when we need it (I hope Pete knows)!

My dear friend Angie is planning to send us a car seat and stroller used by her daughter Harmony when the time comes.

We have received a gift of financial support from a family member, who we really want to thank, but also think it inappropriate to post her name. Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

We are also receiving the gift of financial support from my parents, for which we are very thankful.

Woo hooo! Now if we can just find a baby, we will be good to go!

Thank you for hanging on to this stuff for us. I don't think I'm ready to have baby stuff in the house yet, it's just too early for me. Your support, kindness and generosity are really appreciated!!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

adoption stats

  • 85% of adoptions happen because someone knows someone.
  • 20% of children exit foster care at age 18 without an adoptive family.
  • 85% of business offer their employees financial assistance with adoption.
  • 82% of European-born adopted children under 6 are from Russia or Romania.
  • 33% of adopted children under 18 live with a householder who has at least a bachelor’s degree. This compares with 26% for biological children and 16% for stepchildren.
  • 58% of American's are personally affected by adoption.

Please feel free to add more stats under comments, thanks!

(some of these stats are from the U.S. Census Bureau)

the case of the basket case

So, everyone keeps saying how happy they are that this is all moving so fast. While it might seem like it's moving fast, the home study is only a small step in the adoption process. And it's kinda funny because it doesn't seem like anything's going fast to me. LOL.

We have our home visit this Friday. Our social worker will come to our house, make sure we don't have guns, drugs or anything else unsafe laying around.

We've been burning candles for a week trying to get the doggy smell out of the house. It never smells doggy to me until we've been out and come in when the house has been closed up. Don't want to offend our social worker with the doggy smell (sorry Woody & Gemma!).

It's suggested that you serve your social worker a beverage and cookies or something, but we are afraid the dogs will drool all over her so we've opted out of the food and will just offer her something to drink.

I'm worried. Worried about being judged. Biological parents never had anyone look into their lives (I mean every nook and cranny) the way pre-adoptive parents do. It's all very intrusive, very unsettling .

I keep telling myself, "hey, whatever we have to do to have a baby, just do it!" I know it will all be worth it in the end.

Just think, this time next week it will all be behind us :) wooo hooo!

Thanks to all for your kind words and support, it means a lot! *hugs*

Monday, November 10, 2008

note to self: baby bjorn

We saw a couple with twins wearing these at the Oyster Festival this weekend and Chris said we should get one when we have a baby and that he'd wear it. Baby Bjorn Carrier. ("when we have a baby" I still can't believe we are saying stuff like that!!! :):):)

quote

Of all the rights of women,
the greatest is to be a mother.
– Lin Yutang

Sunday, November 2, 2008

the Cinderella complex

I must admit, for many, many years, whenever I see women with children or families together, I feel jealous. I feel like I've been left out of something big, very big. Like I haven't been invited to the biggest party in the world and everyone is there having the time of their life. Like Cinderella, everyone is at he ball but me.

All these years of waiting to be a mom, all these years, it's been like waiting for my life to start. I'm 43. Life HAS started. I guess I've been waiting for my life as a mom to start.


So back to my Cinderella complex. I've been pregnant (went very briefly to "the ball") so now I just have to find out who has our glass slipper (a baby for us to adopt). I guess that would make our social worker either our fairy godmother or prince charming!

I'm ready for some magic! Yes, I do look forward to having a baby, being a mom and not having any time to blog!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Casa de los Babys

If you haven't seen this film by the IFC, I highly suggest it. I own it, and we watched it again tonight. The first time we watched it we weren't considering adoption. I think we found it much more interesting this time. Be sure to watch the special features too!

The film tells the story of six white American women, all but one over thirty, impatiently waiting out their lengthy residency requirements in an unidentified South American country before picking up their adoptive babies.

Read about it on Wikipedia Casa de los Babys

Rent it on Netflix Casa de los Babys

This film is listed under my "relative" films links along with others about adoption, infertility and creative ways to build families.

November is National Adoption Month

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau supports many activities that promote the adoption of children and youth from foster care. National Adoption Month raises public awareness about the thousands of children and youth waiting in foster care for permanent, loving families. Visit National Adoption Month for more information.

Friday, October 31, 2008

30 Rock: the "Do-Over"

We've never seen the sitcom "30 Rock." Last night we watched it for some random reason. Maybe it's all the Tina Fay hype...

It was about a HOME STUDY!!! We couldn't believe it!

After the home visit at Liz's, Bev, the social worker played by Megan Mullally, decides she needs to go to Liz's office because she is planning on bringing the baby to work. Liz tries to get everyone on the staff to be on their best behavior when an adoption agent stops by to observe whether she is fit to be a mother...

Watch it here Do-Over

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

the adoption home study process

This is what we are going though right now:

The Adoption Home Study Process

Fact sheet for Families
from the Child Welfare Information Gateway
Originally Published in 2004, updated on December 7, 2007

Introduction

The laws of every State and the District of Columbia require all prospective adoptive parents (no matter how they intend to adopt) to participate in a home study. This process has three purposes: to educate and prepare the adoptive family for adoption, to gather information about the prospective parents that will help a social worker match the family with a child whose needs they can meet, and to evaluate the fitness of the adoptive family.

The home study process can be a source of anxiety for some prospective parents, who may fear they will not be "approved." It may be helpful to remember agencies are not looking for perfect parents. Rather, they are looking for real parents to parent real children. With accurate information about the process, prospective parents can face the home study experience with confidence and the excitement that should accompany the prospect of welcoming a child into the family.

Specific home study requirements and processes vary greatly from agency to agency, State to State, and (in the case of intercountry adoption) by the child's country of origin. This factsheet discusses the common elements of the home study process and addresses some concerns prospective adoptive parents may have about the process.

If you are just beginning your journey to adoption, you may find the Information Gateway factsheet, Adoption: Where Do I Start? useful. Information Gateway also offers the National Foster Care & Adoption Directory, a searchable database listing public and licensed private agencies, attorney referral services, support groups, State adoption specialists, and more for each State, Territory, and the District of Columbia. These resources, as well as factsheets with specific information on special types of adoption (such as foster care or intercountry), can be found on the Child Welfare Information Gateway website.


Elements of the Home Study Process

There is no set format that adoption agencies use to conduct home studies. Many agencies include the following steps in their home study process, although the specific details and order will vary. For more information, talk with the agencies you are considering.

Training
Many agencies require trainings for prospective adoptive parents prior to or during the home study process. These trainings help prospective parents better understand the needs of children waiting for families and help families decide what type of child or children they could parent most effectively.

Interviews [first meeting was 10.24.08, final meeting scheduled for 12.05.08]
You will probably be interviewed several times by the social worker. These interviews help you develop a relationship with your social worker that will enable him or her to better understand your family and assist you with an appropriate placement. You will discuss the topics addressed in the home study report (see below). You will likely be asked to explain how you handle stress and past experiences of crisis or loss. In the case of couples, some agency workers conduct all of the interviews jointly, with both prospective parents together. Others will conduct both joint and individual interviews. If families have adult children living outside the home, they also may be interviewed during this process.

Home Visit [11.14.08 at our house]
Home visits primarily serve to ensure your home meets State licensing standards (e.g., working smoke alarms, safe storage of firearms, safe water, adequate space for each child, etc.). Some States require an inspection from the local health and fire departments in addition to the visit by the social worker. The agency will generally require the worker to see all areas of the house or apartment, including where the children will sleep, the basement, and the back yard. He or she will be looking for how you plan to accommodate a new family member (or members, if you are planning to adopt a sibling group). Social workers are not typically inspecting your housekeeping standards. A certain level of order is necessary, but some family clutter is expected. Some agencies would worry that people living in a "picture perfect" home would have a difficult time adjusting to the clutter a child brings to a household.

Health Statements [done]
Most agencies require prospective adoptive parents to have some form of physical exam. Some agencies have specific requirements; for example, agencies that only place infants with infertile couples may require a physician to confirm the infertility. Other agencies just want to know the prospective parents are essentially healthy, have a normal life expectancy, and are physically and mentally able to handle the care of a child.

If you have a medical condition that is under control (for instance, high blood pressure or diabetes that is controlled by diet and medication), you may still be approved as an adoptive family. A serious health problem that affects life expectancy may prevent approval. If your family has sought counseling or treatment for a mental health condition in the past, you may be asked to provide reports from those visits. Many agencies view seeking help as a sign of strength; the fact that your family obtained such help should not, in and of itself, preclude you from adopting. However, each family's situation is unique, so check with the agencies or social workers you are considering if you have concerns.

Income Statements [done]
You do not have to be rich to adopt; you just have to show you can manage your finances responsibly and adequately. (Some countries may have specific income requirements for intercountry adoption.) Usually, prospective parents are asked to verify their income by providing copies of paycheck stubs, W-4 forms, or income tax forms. Many agencies also ask about savings, insurance policies (including health coverage for the adopted child), and other investments and debts.

Background Checks [done]
Most States require criminal and child abuse record clearances for all adoptive and foster parent applicants. In many States, local, State, and Federal clearances are required. While the vast majority of prospective adoptive parents have no criminal or child abuse history, it is important for children's safety to identify those few families who might put children at risk.

Public and private agencies need to comply with State laws and policies regarding how the findings of background checks affect eligibility for adoptive parents. However, do not hesitate to talk to agencies and social workers you are considering about specific situations that might disqualify you from adopting. Agencies are looking not just at your past experiences, but at what you've learned from them and how you would use that knowledge in parenting a child. Some agencies in some States may be able to work with your family, depending on the charge and its resolution. If the social worker feels you are being deceptive or dishonest, however, or if the documents collected during the home study process expose inconsistencies, the social worker may have difficulty trusting you.

Autobiographical Statement [done]
Many adoption agencies ask prospective adoptive parents to write an autobiographical statement. This is, essentially, the story of your life. This statement helps the social worker better understand your family and assists him or her in writing the home study report (see below). If you are working with an agency that practices openness in adoption, you also may be asked to write a letter or create an album or scrapbook about your family to be shared with expectant birth parents to help them choose a family for their child.

While writing about yourself can be intimidating, the exercise is intended to provide information about you to the agency, as well as to help you explore issues related to the adoption. Some agencies have workers to assist you with the writing. Most have a set of questions to guide you through writing your autobiography.

References [in progress]
The agency will probably ask you for the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three or four individuals to serve as references for you. References help the social worker form a more complete picture of your family and support network.

If possible, references should be individuals who have known you for several years, who have observed you in many situations, and who have visited your home and know of your interest in and involvement with children. Most agencies require that references be people unrelated to you. Good choices might include close friends, an employer, a former teacher, a co-worker, a neighbor, or your pastor, rabbi, or leader of your faith community.

Approval would rarely be denied on the grounds of one negative reference alone. However, if it were one of several negative factors, or if several of the references were negative, the agency might be unable to approve the adoption.


The Home Study Report [after all the above steps are completed]
Typically, the above steps culminate in the writing of a home study report that reflects the social worker's findings. Home study reports often are used to "introduce" your family to other agencies or adoption exchanges (services that list children waiting for families) to assist in matching your family with a waiting child.

In general, home study reports include the above-mentioned health and income statements, background checks, and references, as well as the following types of information:

  • Family background. Descriptions of the applicants' childhoods, how they were parented, past and current relationships with parents and siblings, key events and losses, and what was learned from them.

  • Education/employment. Applicants' current educational level, satisfaction with their educational attainments, and any plans to further their education, as well as their employment status, history, plans, and satisfaction with their current jobs.

  • Relationships. If applicants are a couple, the report may cover their history together as well as their current relationship (e.g., how they make decisions, solve problems, communicate, show affection, etc.). If applicants are single, there will be information about their social life and how they anticipate integrating a child into it, as well as information about their network of relatives and friends.

  • Daily life. Routines, such as a typical weekday or weekend, plans for child care (if applicants work outside the home), hobbies, and interests.

  • Parenting. Applicants' past experiences with children (e.g., their own, relatives' children, neighbors, volunteer work, babysitting, teaching, or coaching), in addition to their plans regarding discipline and other parenting issues.

  • Neighborhood. Descriptions of the applicants' neighborhood, including safety and proximity to community resources.

  • Religion. Information about the applicants' religion, level of religious practice, and what kind of religious upbringing (if any) they plan to provide for the child.

  • Feelings about/readiness for adoption. There may be a section on specific adoption-related issues, including why the applicants want to adopt, feelings about infertility (if this is an issue), what kind of child they might best parent and why, and how they plan to talk to their children about adoption-related issues. If the agency practices openness, there may be information about how the applicants feel about birth families and how much openness with the birth family might work best. For more information, read Information Gateway's Openness in Adoption: A Fact Sheet for Families.

  • Approval/recommendation. The home study report will conclude with a summary and the social worker's recommendation. This often includes the age range and number of children for which the family is recommended.

Applicants also will be asked to provide copies of birth certificates, marriage licenses or certificates, and divorce decrees, if applicable. Some agencies allow prospective parents to read the home study report about themselves; others do not. You may want to ask the agency about the confidentiality of the home study report and how extensively your information will be shared. Agency policies vary greatly, depending on the type of agency and type of adoption. In many cases, the information will be shared with other agencies to help in matching the most appropriate child with your family. In some cases, the information may also be shared with birth parents or others.

Common Concerns About the Home Study

How long will the home study take? The time it takes to conduct the home study will vary from agency to agency, depending on factors such as how many social workers are assigned to conduct home studies, what other duties they have, and how many other people applied to the agency at the same time. On average the home study process takes 3 to 6 months to complete. You can help speed up the process by filling out your paperwork, scheduling your medical appointments, and gathering the required documents without delay.

How much does a home study cost? [ours is costing $1,900]

The cost of the home study depends on what kind of adoption you are pursuing. Agencies conducting domestic adoptions of children from foster care (such as your local Department of Social Services) may not charge a fee for the home study. If these agencies do charge a fee, they often are modest ($300 to $500), and once you adopt a child from foster care you can usually obtain reimbursement for this fee.

For domestic infant adoption, intercountry adoption, or independent adoption, a private agency or certified social worker in private practice might charge from $1,000 to $3,000 for the home study. Other services (such as an application fee and preplacement services) may be included in this fee. Be sure to discuss any fees thoroughly and ask for this information in writing to avoid any misunderstandings.

For more information about costs of adoption and resources to help defray those costs, see the Information Gateway fact sheet, Cost of Adopting.

What might disqualify our family from adopting?

Aside from a criminal record or overriding safety concerns that would preclude agencies from approving your family under your State's laws or policies, characteristics that might disqualify a family in one situation may be seen as strengths in another. Remember, agencies are not looking for "perfect" families. The home study process is a way for a social worker to learn more about your real family, as a potential home for real children.

Who may adopt varies from agency to agency, State to State, and by the child's country of origin. Adoptions in the United States are governed by State law and regulations. Child Welfare Information Gateway has compiled States' laws regarding who may adopt in Statutes at a Glance: Parties to an Adoption. Some States also have their policies posted online. The Information Gateway publication, State Child Welfare Agency Websites, has links to each State's online adoption information. Within State guidelines, many agencies are looking for ways to rule families in rather than rule them out, to meet the needs of children in the U.S. foster care system waiting for adoptive families.

Thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system are waiting for families. The AdoptUsKids website provides a national online photolisting of children in foster care. Information Gateway offers a complete listing of State Child Welfare Agency Websites on its website.

How will the children in our family be involved in the home study?

Children in your family (whether they joined your family through birth, foster care, adoption, or marriage) will be included in the home study in some way. Older children may be invited to participate in age-appropriate groups during one or more of the educational sessions. They also might be asked to write a statement describing their feelings and preferences about having a new brother or sister.

The social worker will likely ask how the children do in school, what their interests and hobbies are, what their friends are like, and how their behavior is rewarded or disciplined. However, the emphasis will more likely be on how the children see a new sibling (or siblings) fitting into the family and whether they are prepared to share your time and attention. Children's input is usually quite important in the overall assessment of a family's readiness to adopt a child. The social worker will want to make sure that an adopted child or children will be wanted and loved by all family members from the start.

Conclusion

Although the adoption home study process may seem invasive or lengthy, it is conducted to help you decide whether adoption is right for your family, prepare your family for adoption, and help your family determine which type of child you could best parent. The process also serves to ensure children are placed in loving, caring, healthy, and safe environments.

Flexibility and a sense of humor are vital characteristics when raising children, and they can be useful during the home study process as well. With perseverance and a positive outlook, you will be able to team with the social worker to make this a valuable learning experience—one that will help you do the best possible job in parenting the child who will eventually join your family.


my girls on the fertility forum

I want to tell you about my girls (and I say girls, because at 43, I'm the granny of the bunch!)

I joined the fertility forum in May 2006, the month I had my first infertility procedure. Over the years, I've received wonderful support from many women on this forum and I know many of them are readers of my blog.

Many of these women have been so very fortunate to give birth, one is even pregnant with her second child now, I can't believe how very exciting that must be after experiencing infertility problems.

Another just had her baby girl Lily this week! Welcome! Welcome! Welcome!

When one of us has a child, they joyous event is shared by all of us, it's a very strange and wonderful phenomenon.

My very dearest and closest friend had her baby girl over a year ago. We are in contact either online or on the phone, nearly every day. I don't know what I would do without her friendship and support, it's grown to mean so much to me, and we've never even met. I have had the joy of watching her baby grow through photos, and I even got to help pick out her Halloween costume this year. What an honor.

I have an "adopted" little sister who is pregnant and about to take a trip to India to visit her family and attend a wedding. (Yes, I asked and she HAS gotten the ok from her doc to fly. I have to keep an eye on her.) *wink*

My other oldest friend from the forum had a baby boy Alex, and now her partner is pregnant with twins (a boy and a girl)! What a house full they will have!!! I'm just terribly excited for them.

You have already been introduced to my friend through her post who along with her brother is adopted. Both she and her baby boy Jason are truly miracles. Her support has been through infertility and now adoption. I am touched by our friendship

I have another friend who is also hoping to adopt like me and we share adoption tips. It's nice to not have to go it alone.

Recently, I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with another "old" friend from the forum who actually lives only about 1.5 hours away. We have had the pleasure of talking on the phone. It is very exciting to have one of my friends SO close by. We plan to meet some Saturday for lunch when I get through all this home study business. I consider myself her infertility coach and am encouraging her to get aggressive about her treatment! There is no time to waste where infertility is concerned.

I feel sorry for women who have not found support and friendship from others who have experienced infertility, it can be a very isolating experience. Without these women, and many others (this would be a terribly long post if I mentioned everyone – please don't be offended if I didn't mention you!) I would not be who I am or where I am today.

To my girls: I thank you for your support, friendship and love through my infertility journey and now through adoption, it means so much.

This blog has introduced me to new friends who are going through the adoption process or have already experienced the joy of adoption and your friendship, support and encouragement also mean a lot to me.

The internet is a crazy and wonderful thing, IMHO.

If you are suffering from infertility and feeling isolated, I highly recommend you check out this forum and wonderful bunch of people: Fertility Forums

Monday, October 27, 2008

quote

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
— Jean de la Bruyere

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Whole Life Adoption Book

by Jayne E. Schooler & Thomas C. Atwood
copyright 2008

I was looking for a book on adoption that had been published recently (2008) and found this. So far, I recommend it.

From Barnes & Noble:

The Whole Life Adoption Book has long been an indispensable guide for prospective parents of adopted children and blended families. Now this unique resource is available in a revised and updated edition. Author Jayne E. Schooler shares insights into every aspect of adoption, from vital issues to introductory questions, including:

  • Updated information on the adoption process, both in the U.S. and internationally
  • An in-depth look at the developmental stages of adoption for families and children
  • The impact of adoption on birth children in the family
  • Practical parenting suggestions to handle the unique needs in caring for an adoptive child

With wisdom and compassion, this powerful book addresses the needs and concerns facing adoptive parents, offering encouragement for the journey ahead.

Friday, October 24, 2008

we survived home study meeting #1 - wooo hooo

So we turned in everything but our autobiographies and boy was our social worker impressed! She couldn't believe we'd even had our physicals already. Hey, we are on the ball and had been given a heads up by my friend Sharon, so we knew what they were gonna ask for before we got our packet.

There was one problem. There was an information sheet that was suppose to go with the fingerprint sheets, but we didn't get it. So we didn't know we were suppose to have a $100 cashier's check to turn in with our fingerprints ($50 each). So we stopped by the bank on the way home and got that and have to mail it to our social worker so she can send our fingerprints off for our criminal background check.

Other than that, we've pretty much had to rule out international adoption due to the high cost.

I had been working on our profile and took it to show her to get advice, but she loved it so much she wouldn't let me have it back and wanted to keep it! Fair enough, I can print more ;) But she was well impressed at what we'd accomplished since we attended the adoption workshop on October 7.

One down, two to go!

Julie: FYI, duck tape never came up :D

the first big day

Didn't sleep, too worried about silly things like what to wear! It's our first of three meetings with our social worker. We have already spoken on the phone and emailed so the ice has already been broken. And we went to the family center earlier this month for our workshop. The second meeting on November 14 is at our home. The third meeting will be back at the family center on December 5.

Alan & Stephanie: thanks for your comments and encouragement. I'm happy to report no criminal records here ;)

My husband immigrated from the UK in 1996, so we have been through a lot of paperwork and the approval process before. This is feeling a little like that experience. I had to have a letter from my employer and fill out endless forms, he had to have a chest x-ray, get a report from Scotland Yard and finally have an appointment at the US Embassy. I had to sign papers saying I'd be financially responsible for him for the first three years he was here, because if he was unemployed he could not collect unemployment during that time, they don't want immigrants to be a drain on the American economy, but he had to sign up for selective services and pay taxes the moment he got off the plane.

So we do know what it's like to have others in control of our future, and from all the reading I've been doing, that's one of the most difficult thinga for people, the feeling that others are in control of their future.

I am trying to think of it like this, our social worker is on our side, and she will help lead us through the piles of paperwork and the whole adoption journey. I'm sure she wants what's best for us and what's best for our future child, and I am just trying to keep that in mind.

I keep reminding myself that while it may feel like we are being interrogated, that is not what is actually happening. Our social worker needs to get to know us so she will know what's best for us.

I am actually VERY excited.

I'll let you know how it went when I get home tonight. Thanks again to Alan, Stephanie and Julie for your support, it means a lot!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas eve

Our first home study meeting is tomorrow and it kinda feels like the excitement of Christmas eve and like I wanna be sick, all at the same time.

When you are pregnant with a child, there is no one there to tell you that you aren't good enough to be a parent. I guess I'm afraid of being told we aren't good enough to be parents, on paper.

A lot of it is probably a fear of the unknown.

Think good thoughts at 2 p.m. eastern!

more thoughts from an adult who is adopted

Here are some thoughts from another friend of mine who happens to be adopted. I'm just so happy my friends are so willing to share their stories with us!!!

In November 1976, Scott, my half brother, and I were adopted by whom I will always believe are my parents! I have never looked back!

Scott and I were taken
out of a situation of poverty, filth and devastation that we both remember very well into a home of love, faith and FOOD! Being a adopted child had made my life a fuller life! I realized that I was hand picked for more love then any child could imagine! Going from a foster home that had Scott and I, not for helping us but for the money from the state, to a home that was longing for the love of not only one child but two!

I know that way to many times a year someone has a child that they either do not want, or can not take care of or does not have the capability of loving BUT when this happens there is always someone out there that CAN take care of this child, CAN love this child and DOES want this child! Welcome to the wonderful world of Adoption! Adoption can be the best thing in the world for a child, either a baby born to a mother that is terrified and knows she can not do it or a older child that has been in "the system" for a while or in a place that is not conducive of learning to be a well rounded member of society. Either way adoption is not only for the child but for the parents who take this child in to love and raise as their own! When looking back at being adopted, there are many times in life that I forget I was adopted.

When I was finally blessed with a son with my wonderful husband, we scoured him looking for family traits and both my husband and I as well as my mother who was in the operating room when my son was born noted the 'Moreland/Lindsay' traits! It was a few hours later we were laughing that we found so many things about Jason that looked like my Mother and Father, when I was not biological! We still call and say 'Oh Jason is your biological grand child he does this or has this.'

So the moral to this is
once you take a child as a adopted son/daughter that child IS yours! No matter what! I adore the times in my life that happen even now when people tell me 'Oh I see so much of your father in you! You are the spitting image of him and in fact I look JUST like Daddy! '

My husband and I have been luck enough to have a child after 5 years of trying and 6 losses, and even now we talk about when we are going to adopt a child. We do not know if we want a older child or another baby but we BOTH know that we want to adopt. Before we were ever married we sat down and I poured out my heart and soul about how important adopting is to me. The costs aside, which I know can put some people off adoption, I believe that it is something that so many can do and in the end it is the best thing for someone! There is always love to share, so share it and think of adoption!



Thank you wonderful Mer-mer (short for Meredith!) for sharing your story and thoughts with my readers and me!!! You can see Mer-mer's blog here A day in the life of Jason Dawes.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the paper pregnancy

Our first home study meeting is this Friday and I'm nervous. Nervous I will say the wrong thing. It's been a lot of paper collecting, filling out of forms, etc. I've been making copies of everything! I'm calling this my paper pregnancy.

I'm hesitant, just like the early days of a pregnancy. I'm afraid to let myself get too excited about a baby. I'm afraid of disappointment, again. "Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst" isn't that what "they" say? I don't wanna be prepared for the worst, this time I WANT THE BEST!

I do wish this was only going to take 9 months...

Monday, October 20, 2008

National Infertility Awareness Week

October 19–25, 2008
National Infertility Awareness Week®
A movement to raise awareness about the disease of infertility
which affects 7.3 million Americans.

For more information, visit RESOLVE

myth of fingerprints

We were at the state police office bright and early this morning, in fact, they weren't even there yet.

There are two state police offices about the same distance from our house, but we chose the one that didn't charge $10 for fingerprinting, we got ours for free, saved $20 – call around.

The officer said he was use to fingerprinting sex offenders and this was a nice change of pace.

All ten fingers individually, rolled, then four fingers together, and a thumb.

That's a lotta ink! Bathroom's down the hall ma'am.

This particular police office shares a building (and bathrooms) with the power company. So I'm in the bathroom trying to get all the ink off my hands when a woman comes in and says "get in trouble with some toner?" and innocently I say "no, I've just been fingerprinted" and she says "ooohhh" and I immediately say "NO NO NO I'M NOT A CRIMINAL!!! IT'S FOR ADOPTION!!!" and she says "whew!" She kindly brought me some handy wipes to help get the ink off.

I'm thinking I'll get a plastic box to keep all our adoption stuff in so no one chews up anything of significant importance!

One more thing ticked off the list.

(It is my understanding that local police use to do fingerprinting but they don't any more, at least in my state. And in my state, not only did the three state police offices I contacted charge different amounts (or nothing) they also all had different hours – who knew?)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

hello, my name is "No No Bad Dog!" what's yours

We were out for a few hours shopping yesterday. Came home to a huge paper mess where I sit on the sofa. What in the world? Tiny pieces of paper everywhere, all over the seat and floor.

We start picking up the bigger pieces.... We had to use the vacuum because some of the pieces were so small.

It appears that our two dogs, working together, had knocked my work bag off the dining room chair onto the floor, and then riffled through it and decided my ADOPTION JOURNAL would make a nice CHEW TOY!

Fortunately they just ate the cover and all four corners. GOOD GRIEF?!?! Are they jealous already?!?!?

Friday, October 17, 2008

physicals & phingerprints

  1. We survived our physicals this week. (wooo hooo!)
  2. Our Child Protective Services (CPS) forms have been filled in, signed, notarized and sent off with a cashiers check (personal checks not accepted).
  3. First thing Monday morning we go see the State Police to have our finger prints taken.
  4. Next Friday is our first Home Study meeting with our social worker and I'm nervous already!

And, yes, as a matter of fact, I do have a spreadsheet to keep track of EVERYTHING!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

thoughts from another friend

I'm so happy to share our adoption journey with so many friends, and I'm even happier my friends have shared their stories with me. It has taught me so much about adoption already, the kind of stuff I cannot learn from reading a book or searching the web.

Here are some thoughts from another person I am honored to call my friend.

I'm a 60-year old female. Never adopted. Raised by two good people that I loved very much. It's possible that I was a black-market baby or the result of rape. I am told I even attended high school with my brother who lives about two hours from me, but doesn't know about me.


I have always had an emptiness, a hole in my heart, as though life begins with my birth... many teary and unsettling days since I found out, just before graduating high school, that I was not their birth child. But I'm grateful that she did not choose abortion, but allowed me life.

There is definitely something to be said for allowing the child to know both sides if they can/desire to know it, helping to avoid that emptiness that always seems to be just under the surface, and unexplainable.

God bless each of you and may God bless your searches both in finding birth parents and in finding your child to share your lives.



Thank you to sweet Sally for allowing me to share this with my readers.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

thoughts from a friend, who is adopted

I got an email from an old friend yesterday and asked her if I could share it with my readers.

"Being adopted myself, I will urge that one idea be considered -- that if you CAN have the kind where the youngster knows both his/her adoptive parents and his/her birth parents, it might be cheering for all concerned. NOT knowing, as one does not when it happened in the Napoleonic code state of Louisiana in 1954, has been something of a lifelong, ummmmm, sense of something missing. Just knowing, as I do, that my mother, 26, was working on her master's degree in library science at a southern university when she fell in love with a married chemical engineer, 25, is NOT SUFFICIENT to fill the hole an ex-newspaper editor feels in the "background" for the story! I felt very much loved by my adopted family and their extended families, but there was this hole in my self-knowledge....."

Before this email, I was totally against an open adoption (for selfish reasons), now I am willing to consider it, for the future of our child. (Oh! did I say "our child"?)

Thank you my dear Lynn. I wish you luck in your search for your birth parents.

Monday, October 13, 2008

independend adoption: estimated cost

your attorney $3,000
birth mother's attorney $1,500
Guardian Ad Litem $200 – $400
home study $1,500
follow up visits & "report to court" $500 – $1500
---------------------------------------------------------------------
total estimate $6,700 – $7,900

searching for French or UK adoptions

I came across this while searching for French or UK adoptions, since we met in France and Chris is from England, I figured why not (fyi, neither country has children available for adoption).

from: The Bayou Belles and Their Beau blog...

"I would love to adopt, but honestly, we just can't afford it, which is a shame. I mean, does the government really want to find homes for these children or make money? Even going to another country to adopt would be great, but that can be even more expensive.

"The girls know I want to adopt and always talk about it. And so we did talk about it again at lunch.

"K Belle talked about how she wanted us to adopt a baby from Ireland or France. I think she thinks they are automatically born with those particular accents and speak the languages fluently. I explained to her that the babies would grow up being American just like we are."


This just totally cracked me up. It reminded me of my first visit to Paris and I just thought those children were BRILLIANT because their French was so wonderful, of course I knew it was their native language, but still, it blew me away, so this post just made me giggle!