Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
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
Posted: Sunday, December 28th, 2008
It stuck with me for years, that 1982 version of “Annie,” the story of a poor girl living in an orphanage in the thirties. This adorable little girl had no parents and no home and no prospect for the future. She sat in windowsills and sang her heart out, and while she scrubbed and toiled away, all she dreamed about was having a family to love her.
This is just the story that came to mind when Nancy Hathaway began talking about the nonprofit she began, Heart For Orphans, which aims to place Ukrainian orphans in loving homes. It began with a nine-year-old orphan girl, too. Her name was Natalie.
When Nancy and her husband decided that they wanted to adopt a child from Ukraine in 2001, they had to board a plane, fly to a country they knew little about, and choose one girl out of a group of over 300 kids. It wasn’t an easy choice.
The orphanage was very much like Annie’s had been in the movie – institutional beds, peeling paint, and sometimes no heat in the winter. Once, the water was cut off long enough for an outbreak of Hepatitis A to begin spreading among the kids. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part comes after ninth grade for most of these children, when they’re turned loose from the orphanage.
Within two years of leaving, 60 percent of the girls will become prostitutes and 70 percent of the boys turn to crime, according to the Heart For Orphans website. Only 27 percent will find work. The odds are as bad as any that Annie faced, but these are real children in the real world.
Nancy brought one of the girls home – Natalie. But the girl had a friend whom she missed terribly, and so Nancy and her family flew back in less than a year and picked up the second nine-year-old, Angelina. Three months later they returned for a 14 year-old.
“I remember the day we left with the oldest girl, Elisabeth. She’d never been on a plane before,” Nancy says. “I saw she was crying, and I asked her why, if she was homesick or scared, and she said, ‘No, I’m so happy.’ So were we.”
Why adopt three older kids who you don’t know who don’t even speak your language? “I’ve just been really blessed in my life,” says Nancy. “I wanted to give back. When you see a need, you say, I want to help – and that’s what we did.”
It wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Not every older orphan is as well-adjusted, happy and healthy as little Annie was. Some face mild to moderate illness or have learning disabilities; some have trouble adjusting to a new life in a new country. Maybe they’ll dislike their new family or resent a sibling. Nancy and her family didn’t know what to expect the first time around.
They knew they wanted to adopt an older child, but they were concerned about what that might mean. “We were worried about health problems, emotional issues,” Nancy remembers. “I was terrified at first. It’s definitely not something to jump into lightly. But the bond of love happened so quickly for us with the girls. They want a family so much. They don’t care who it is. They just want someone to love them.
“We came home and started sharing stories about the orphanage in Berdyansk and the other kids we knew there. One by one, families we talked to started to fly over and adopt kids from the same orphanage. Right now, in Williamsburg, there are about 15 who’ve been adopted. Within about a 50-mile radius, there are probably 50.”
Heart For Orphans officially began about a year and a half ago. One of its main goals is to get older kids from Ukraine adopted, so that they avoid an almost certain “hard knock life.” Since its inception, Nancy’s organization has raised enough money to move toward its second goal, which is to get some of the teenage kids into a group home.
The group home, which will be called “Ruth’s house,” will have house parents who will look after about 12 teens, who will stay for about two years each. House parents will give the kids affection, attention, and moral and spiritual guidance once they leave the orphanage, and they’ll help get the kids ready for adult life.
The organization is in the process of purchasing land, but they’re also trying to raise capital for the home itself. It’s not an easy thing to do in tough economic times, but Nancy is sure that God will find a way to help.
“Institutional life doesn’t give these kids a moral basis to make the right decisions like a family does,” says Nancy. “Once they leave the orphanage, they are naïve and they get swindled, they might live on the streets or become prostitutes. This is why our heart is with these older kids.”
To find out more about Heart For Orphans and to see what you can do to help, visit their website.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
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?
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
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
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
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
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
Sunday, December 14, 2008
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
- Affording Adoption - from Adoptive Families magazine
- Adoption Expenses: Where to Go for Help - from The Adoption Guide
- How We Afforded Our Adoption - from The Adoption Guide
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.
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
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
- We wait for the home study report to be written, hopefully by Christmas.
- We get an (800) number (now probably 866).
- I finish our profile.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
lyrics by Tom Petty
Oh baby don't it feel like heaven right nowWhen 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.
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...
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
The Adoption Guide
(note to self: ordered 12.9.08)
Friday, December 5, 2008
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
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
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!