Friday, December 18, 2009

One of the unexpected benefits of this blog has been the support I have received from my readers, especially during difficult times (like now). For that I do thank you. The support has, fortunately, by far outweighed the mean commenters.

So for all your support, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Many of you have really touched my heart. And at times your comments have made my day.

I don't think I expected this journey to be so difficult. So thank you for your support!

my blog

So, I've been thinking a lot about this blog lately, and my original purpose for this blog. That was to journal about our adoption experience so our family and friends could follow along.

Well, the best laid plans of mice and men. . .

I can tell you, this blog is not intended to be a profile of us for birthmoms. Though I do know some birthmoms read it and I appreciate their advise and insight.

What this blog has become (I hope) is a record of our journey to adoption. Something that others who are on the same journey or who take the journey in the future can learn from. But. . .

It is also not just that. This blog has become many things. It's not just sharing of information, thought it has long been my belief that if I know 10 things and you know 10 things together we know 20.

I am getting things from this blog that I never expected. I get so much support from my dear readers, it warms me heart. I've decided I cannot let a few mean commenters run me off the road. If they don't like my blog, they don't have to read it. It's that simple.

I have tried to be honest about our journey. Our journey has changed since it started. We survived the home study and I hope others who have it ahead of them find my posts helpful.

We'd so hopped to be able to adopt a newborn, but we were just clueless about the cost associated with adopting a newborn. There has been a lot of learning.

We are now hoping to adopt from foster care, from one of the state's systems.

When we did our home study, we were told it was valid for three years. Our first year will be up on December 24, 2009. I recently found out that some states only consider one year home studies, so that means either we cannot adopt from those states OR we have to renew our home study every year. Good grief. We never imagined it would take us over a year to adopt, especially when we realized we would not be able to adopt a newborn.

We are currently waiting to hear about one little girl, one little boy and two sets of brothers (did I say that before? in a precious post - if so, sorry). I feel a bit piggy when we are inquiring about so many children, but after a year of inquiring, I'd say we've inquired on probably over 60 children. What IS wrong with us? Why doesn't anyone want us? Our social worker says it's because so many people want to adopt children age 5 and under, so there is a big pool of us, and few children in that age range.

So that's the update. We wait. We were told at the start that it could take up to 2 years to adopt, we just never imagined it would.

I keep waiting and hoping.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

holidays schmallidays

I admit it, I'm having a very difficult time.

I miscarried in a December and I had a baby due in December of another year. I'm not currently a fan of December. The holidays are very difficult for me. We had a nice Thanksgiving with friends but our Christmas has been turned inside out, so we are going away.

I dread the holidays. It marks the passing of time. Another Christmas, childless. It's been a year and a half since we started our adoption journey. We were sure we would have been adopted by now. But we continue to wait.

Currently we are waiting to hear about two sets of brothers, one little girl and one little boy. Someone has to want us.

I had email from a friend who has adopted a beautiful boy. She assured me that after we adopt, I won't think of the miscarriages or the missed due dates. I will be able to move passed the tragedies that I currently dwell on.

I don't even like to Christmas shop any more.

Right now, I'd just like to jump ahead a month, which makes me a bit sad because I always loved the holidays.

I try to look ahead to future holidays, when we have a child (or two) and we can celebrate together, as a family.

Dear reader, I wish you and your family happy holidays, I will try not to be away so long again, but there's been nothing to report.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

two sides to every coin

I have tried very hard to understand things from the birth mom's side, or maybe some of you hadn't noticed (obviously by some of the comments that I get and chose to delete rather than post for all to see).

I have become friends with birth moms, just as I am friends with adoptees. I try to understand everyone's point of view.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to make an adoption plan for my child.

I cannot imagine what it would be like to give birth, because I am not able to carry a baby to full term.

I have been getting some ugly comments.

Some of you cannot imagine what it is like to not be able to carry a baby full term. Did you ever think of that? You ask me to think of how difficult it is for the birth mom making an adoption plan for her unborn baby. I do. I have. Have you ever given any thought to what it's like to be a women who is unable to have children? You might want to consider thinking about it.

As in life, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say it at all. I will not post your comment, so kindly keep it to yourself.

My blog is for friends and family and strangers to follow along our journey to adopt. I hope to educate some about adoption as well as learn from kind commenters.

Thank you.

bad news . . . again

Just found out we were not chosen to parent the baby due December 20. We were really hoping.

Well, we really hope for EVERY child, but particularly this one. The birth mom is in our state.

It is difficult to find the courage to go on, but we will. We want a family more than anything else in the world.

We will find our child/children.

adoption awareness

just came across this great, informative site about adoption awareness:

Contact Person:
Professor Cynthia R. Mabry
(202) 806-8067

2900 Van Ness Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008

"Welcome to Howard University School of Law’s Adoption Awareness web site! This site is designed to promote adoption of children in the child welfare system in the Washington Metropolitan Area including the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. The child welfare system was chosen because a majority of the children who are waiting to be adopted are in the public child welfare systems in these states. This site offers general information about the adoption process, adoption laws, local adoption agencies, adoption attorneys, and selected national web sites that provide a wealth of information about children who are available for adoption and the child welfare system..."

Monday, November 16, 2009

waiting, waiting and then, some more waiting

I'm growing weary of all the waiting. We inquire about a child and wait. And wait. And wait. And then wait some more. And I think "this is it, this is our child." But no, we hear nothing. We just wait.

We are still waiting to hear about the baby who is due December 20. Yes, all my eggs are in that basket. I WANT that baby. The birth mom is in our state. It's a perfect situation and she is looking for someone with 2 big dogs. We have 2 big dogs and Annie the puppy. Should I call her attorney and let him know we adopted Annie? Would that swing things our way?

And then there's A, who's matching meeting is Nov. 19. We are waiting to hear about her too.

The exercise of finding a child to adopt is so much like job hunting. When you find the job you want, you want to stop looking, but what if you don't get offered that job.

I feel like I betray some of the children when we inquire about more.

Then I remind myself, it's not about finding a child for us, it's about finding a home for a child. That is not like job hunting.

So we will wait, and wait, and wait some more.

I cannot believe we've been waiting 10 years to be parents, and one year to adopt. Last year we were sure we'd adopt a child before last Christmas, and here we are, a year later, waiting.

It's been three years since my last miscarriage. I still hold out a tiny hope that the myth about adoption is true, that everyone gets pregnant after they adopt. We would like at least two children. Why does this have to be so hard for us, so difficult.

We have spent so much time and money trying to become parents. Why couldn't it be easy, natural. What are we supposed to be learning from this. Why us. Why me.

I won't give up.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

unexpected adoption

Meet Annie. She is 6 weeks old. A friend of a friend found her wandering out of a corn field and into the road. She is now the newest and youngest member of our pack. The other two four-leggeds aren't sure what to make of her.

We think this is a good learning experience for the entire pack. For the humans, we were up all night last night with a crying Annie. The four-leggeds just don't know what to make of her and the pack has changed. I'm hoping this will help them adjust when we add another two-legged to our pack.

While we CONTINUE to WAIT to adopt, Annie is a bright ray of sunshine in our day (ehem and NIGHT! - we are thinking of it as practice!).

She may be just what we needed to weather the wait.

Transition time in our house :)

Friday, October 30, 2009

-----> November 19 <-----

This is A, the 4-year-old girl, we are waiting to here about.

November 19 is the date of the "matching conference" for A.

This means they (her social worker and coworkers) will have already narrowed down the candidates to several homestudies. Then they narrow them down again in the "matching conference." Usually during that time they call the social worker to ask additional questions about the family. That's usually done as part of a conference call. Once a couple families have been picked they give the families full disclosure to see if they feel this is a good match for them. Then they pick the best family for the child.

Only the final candidate(s) meets the child. Then they spend some time with the child to make sure it's the right match. Usually an afternoon, then a day, then an over night. We will need to go where A is for a week to 10 days, should we be lucky enough to be chosen as the final candidates.

* Yes, we do find it curious that in this day and age, all they have is a black and white photo of A... hmmmm...

12.14.09 update: A's matching conference has been postponed until sometime in January. A family member may be interested in adopting A. Good news for A!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

waiting and more waiting

We are currently waiting to hear about these 3 sisters. How can you NOT fall in love?

11.4.09 update: we are NOT ELIGIBLE to adopt these sweet sisters because we have no parenting experience! They are looking for a family who has a teenage daughter. ACK!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

According to a 2004 National Vital Statistics Report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2000, 15.6% or 1,003,000 of the 6,401,000 pregnancies in the United States ended in either a miscarriage or stillbirth; the CDC also indicates that in 2003 the number of live births in the United States was 4,093,000; of those births, 27,500 ended in the death of an infant under the age of one.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is to promote Support, Education and Awareness for grieving parents nationwide (and worldwide).

Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss. Our goal is to help others relate to our loss, know what to say, do or not say, not do and to help families live with their loss, not "get over" their loss.


We lost 3 babies. I think of them often.

8,300 visits

Ok, so when I started this over a year ago, I never imagined I'd STILL be blogging about the process of adoption a year later! Good grief!

This week I've been thinking about taking the bad with the good. We are considering children age 0–5. I've been trying to process this. On the good side, we may not have to go through potty training drama, on the bad side, we could have a child/children who don't wanna call us mom and dad for awhile. I could go on, but I won't. These are just the two I've been pondering as of late.

We inquired about 3 sisters this week. Ages 5, 6 & 7. I asked our social worker (SW) to submit our home study report, as you do. I got email back from her asking how we expected to provide for 3 girls. I was like wha??? How quickly she forgets. A few months ago she called and told us about 3 kids who needed a home, I asked her how she expected us to provide for 3 children. That's when she told us about adopting from social services and that we'd get a stipend for each child until they are 18 as well as help with medical until the adoption was complete.

I reminded SW of this. She was like oh, I'd just come in and I wasn't making the connection. Hello? who did you think I was??? AAARRRRRRGGGGGGG! with a big Peanut's mouth!!!

So this afternoon I hear back from SW that these 3 girls are only available to families who have children and/or experience with adoption. Why would the leave that most important piece of information out of the girl's profile???

I feel sad. People ask me "what about the baby from NY?" "what about the boy from Ohio?" and I can't remember. Sadly, it's similar to applying for jobs: you only hear back from the one's you are being considered for. No news is bad news.

We are just normal people. We live in a smallish house in the country. We don't drive fancy cars. We shop at Old Navy and Trader Joe's. No Starbucks. We have 2 dogs. We just what a family. Why is that SO hard for us?

At dinner overheard a conversation at the table near us, it went something like this: "but she's THIRTY-THREE AND PREGNANT!!! AND they've been trying for SEVEN YEARS! She's just too old..." Yes, I remained seated, no, I did not embarrass my husband.

Monday, September 28, 2009

“adoption as reality series”

A reality took months to figure out the details.

Adoption Diaries, a new original series on WEtv explores the process behind privately held open adoptions. The series, which premiered September 12, showcases the matching process between the couples and expectant mothers who turn to open adoption.

Each episode follows a different story from the beginning stages, as a birth mother is faced with choosing her baby's future family. Throughout the series Dr. Jennifer Bliss (National Associate Counseling Director and Southern California Branch Co-Director at the Independent Adoption Center) works to match the birthmothers with the right families...

read more here

not what i had planned

Ok, so how old am I now? 44.

I've learned a couple of important things rather late in life:

  1. life is not fair (learn it early)
  2. this is not what i had planned

The first is simple enough. Life is not fair. We should all be taught this from a very young age. When you children say (er whine?) "but it's not fair" please reprogram them to say "life's not fair." because life IS not fair.

Maybe I learned it earlier in life, but it's just now sinking in. We plan to earch our children from an early age that life is not fair.

Ok, on to #2 and this is not what I had planned. At 27, I'd completely given up on ever finding Mr. Right and getting married. I planned to be a single mom and get artificially inseminated someday. (I met my husband in Paris in my 30th year.)

We started trying to get pregnant when I was 34 years old, yes, 10 years ago. This life is so not what I'd planned, not what we'd planned. We thought by now that's we'd have three kids (for the record, I have been pregnant 3 times).

Recently I went to a friend's baby shower. She is 40 and single. She said to me "this is so not what I had planned."

I am in touch with an old boy friend. He found himself divorced and trying to date when he was 36. He said to me "that was so not what I had planned." (He has since remarried and he and his wife adopted a boy from Russia.)

You thought you'd never be married.
You thought you'd never divorce.
You thought you'd have kids.
You thought you'd never have kids.

Life is just never what anyone plans. It's not just me. It's not just my life that isn't going as planned. It's not just my life that isn't fair. No one's life is fair. No one's life is what they'd planned.

Living and learning while we wait to adopt.

book: The Best for You

Adoption is about love for the child, not that the child was not wanted. This heart warming book is aimed to help children and parents understand what one birth mother was thinking when she decided to adopt. Written in her perspective, she tells her child the reasons why she chose adoption for her baby. A great conversation starter for parents, or companion book for adopted children to discuss with other children, this is a unique journey for any child of any age.

Kelsey Stewart is a first time Author/Illustrator who has a unique perspective into adoption. She has been through two adoptions as a birth mother and hopes that this book will help children and adults everywhere understand why a mother might choose to place her child for adoption. Kelsey has lived a full, productive and happy life since her journey as a mother began and considers herself incredibly blessed. She currently resides in Southern California with her husband and their two sons.

Monday, September 21, 2009

From Infertility to Adoption: Knowing When to Move Forward

When is the right time to move from infertility to adoption? When do you emotionally feel ready? Will you ever feel ready and must move forward with other ways of creating your forever family! Mardie Caldwell, through her personal experience and over 20 years of working with couples nation-wide, has made it her life's work to bless children needing forever adoptive parents....


Saturday, September 12, 2009

journey to adoption - what i've learned so far

Our journey to adoption is so not what I expected.

When we began, we had our hearts set on an open, newborn adoption. As the months passed by and nothing was happening, one birthmom looked at our profile, we changed our hearts and our home study to include two siblings between ages 0–5. This would be a foster-adoption. This would mean closed adoption, not really what we wanted.

We've tried to keep our eyes on the prize. We want a child, a family. We still don't know what that means for us. Our path has changed in so many ways, and who knows, we may still end up with an open adoption and a newborn.

Recently, I asked our social worker what is wrong with us. How come no one has chosen us yet. She said it's not us. It has to do with what we are looking for a healthy, Caucasian child, age 0-5. It seems that's what everyone is looking for. It makes me feel bad when we say we want a Caucasian child. But do to where we live, we know that is what is best for the child. We do want what's best for our future child. But it makes me feel so racist, but we are not. I've talked about this with our social worker, and she says we are wise to consider what's best for our child now, rather than later.

I guess a lot of my problem is that with each passing day, I get older and older (I know, so does everyone else). But I'm 44. I'm old enough to be the mother of some of my friends who are also hoping to adopt! My grandma was a grandma at my age! I never wanted to be an old mom, I wanted to be a cool, young mom. Who would pick me? Who will pick me?

I can't help thinking that getting pregnant would solve all our problems. But I know in my heart, that is not going to happen. And yes, people still say "oh, you'll get pregnant as soon as you adopt." I wish. But that just doesn't happen for everyone, contrary to popular belief.

There are many different paths to adoption. None of them easy. Though it does seem to me that the more money you have, the easier it may be to adopt. We are just "normal" people who want a family. Why is it so difficult for us.

Yesterday, our social worker sent me a list of "older" Russian children who need homes. She asked if there were any we were interested in. There was a 4-year-old boy. So I responded that we were interested in him. I asked if they were already in the states. Her response was no, they are in Russia. She knows we cannot afford to go to Russia, or any other country for that matter, to adopt. Our frustration with our social worker continues to escalate. Has she paid no attention to what we've said this past year? She's seen our financial statement? Hello? What the hell was she thinking, dangling these kids in front of us?

We've asked to change social workers within our family services center. We were told point blank NO. If we want to change social workers, we'd have to go some place else and have a new home study - pay for a new home study. This is all very frustrating.

It gives me such a feeling of being out of control. It's our future, our child's future. But our social worker doesn't seem to care. This is where I know having money would help, then one could afford an agency adoption, one where the social worker would actually work to find a child for a family and a family for a child.

We've been working with our social worker for a year and it seems she still doesn't know who we are or what we hope to find.

Ok, I'm getting off course. Our journey to adoption. Not what we expected a year ago when we decided to grow our family by adoption. I guess we were operating under the "Juno principle." We hoped to find a birthmom who wanted to "kick it old style," someone who is looking for a good, loving home for their family, and not looking to make a fortune.

Juno is the fantasy, not reality.

I once had a birthmom tell me "birthmoms hate Juno, adoptive parents love Juno."

Our child is out there. We are not giving up.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adoption Diaries

New show premieres Saturday, Sept. 12 at 10p|9c on WE tv

WE tv's new original series, Adoption Diaries, explores the process in which privately held open adoptions take place. The series showcases the matching process between couples who, having struggled with infertility, turn to adoption and the brave, expecting mothers whose difficult and selfless decision to place their children for adoption makes it all possible. Each episode features clients of the Independent Adoption Center, a nationwide nonprofit adoption agency specializing in domestic infant adoptions. The IAC has been a trusted advocate of fully open adoptions for over 25 years. To learn more about the Independent Adoption Center, visit their website at

My DVR is already set!

PS we still watch “Adoption Stories” every morning on Discovery Health. We've seen some of them at least three times now!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The path to adoption |

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, September 7, 2009

Julie, Julie & Julia

Ok, so I've been blogging for a year, with no end in sight. How can I get my blog turned into a book and a movie??? And people sent her all that stuff, no one has sent me anything, then again I'm trying to adopt, not cook. I guess all I could hope for is to find a baby in a basket at our front door.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Blind Side

“The Blind Side” depicts the remarkable true story of Michael Oher, a homeless African-American youngster from a broken home, taken in by the Touhys, a well-to-do white family who help him fulfill his potential. At the same time, Oher’s presence in the Touhys’ lives leads them to some insightful self-discoveries of their own. Living in his new environment, the teen faces a completely different set of challenges to overcome. As a football player and student, Oher works hard and, with the help of his coaches and adopted family, becomes an All-American offensive left tackle.

The Blind Side - official trailer

in theaters November 20, 2009

“Julie & Julia” It’s About Way More Than Cooking

from the fertility advocate

“...And loved how honestly they handled her infertility in the movie - in a beginning scene when she noticed a baby carriage going by - and her devoted husband gently kissed her hand - in acknowledgment of the pain. And then when her sister got pregnant - and she broke down while saying how happy she was for her. What I loved about that was how her husband loved her - and cared for her through her emotion. This was really a love story on so many levels....”

Monday, August 31, 2009


EVERY pregnancy is a blessing.

It means someone will be a parent and a family will be born.

Please don't ever forget that.

I wish everyone could know how much of a blessing being pregnant and being able to have a child is. Sadly, some people just don't get that.

There was a time when I was very jealous of other's pregnancies, but now, I am happy to hear of anyone getting pregnant because I know what a true blessing it is.

I consider myself blessed to have been pregnant three times, but not a day goes by that I don't wish I could have carried all three to full-term.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


No, we haven't adopted yet.

Yes, it's been a year.

I'm just to frustrated to post.

We are unhappy with our social worker, but were told we cannot change. If we went to another family services center, we'd have to start over from scratch.

We are currently waiting to hear on two sets of siblings:
  1. 2 boys, ages 2 and 4
  2. a boy and a girl, ages 6 months (well 7 now) and 4 years
I don't know what else to say. F R U S T R A T I O N

Thursday, July 30, 2009

dear department of social services,

Maine: You do your children a great disservice by only updating your waiting children QUARTERLY

Connecticut: Thank you for posting a "last modified" date! This is greatly appreciated by us waiting parents.

to be continued...
11 months, 1 week & 6 days

need I say more...
The Adoption Clubhouse is a program of the National Adoption Center, whose mission it is to expand adoption opportunities throughout the United States, particularly for children with special needs and those from minority cultures.

Read More about the National Adoption Center

The Adoption Clubhouse is designed, authored and formatted by adoption professionals who believe...

Adoption is not the end but the beginning of a lifetime of experiences and relationships heightened by the unique aspects of being adopted.

The Adoption Clubhouse is designed with your child's adoption needs in mind. Through the activities and information on this site your child can experience a sense of belonging to a wider adoption community of peers.

The staff of Adoption Clubhouse takes every precaution to insure a safe internet experience for your child but we ask you to be the lead in guiding them when using this and other websites.

To read about the contents of the Adoption Clubhouse, please see our Parents’ Guide for information.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Taking a break this summer?
Plan to jumpstart your family building efforts in September at the
2009 Family Building Conference: Adoption, Infertility Treatment,
Donor and Third Party Options

Saturday, September 12, 2009
Tysons Corner, VA

  • Looking for a comprehensive overview of your family building options?
  • Stuck at a decision crossroads and wondering how to get the information necessary to take the next steps?
  • Want to talk to people just like you who know what you are going through?

Join RESOLVE at our 2009 Family Building Conference and get the answer to these questions and more. Educational sessions include domestic and international adoption, surviving the home study, improving your IVF outcome, donor issues, dealing with grief and loss, getting the support you need from family and friends, and strengthening your marriage during IVF treatment. Hear the personal stories by attending and IVF or adoptive parent panel discussion. Also offered are personal, free, 15 minute appointments with local experts, and an Exhibitors Hall where you can talk to representatives from agencies, clinics and more. Whatever your family building question is, find the answer at the 2009 RESOLVE Family Building Conference.

Register online today!
Thank you to our Sponsors:

Premier Sponsor of all 2009 Programs and Services


Benefactor Sponsors of all 2009 Programs and Services

The Johns Hopkins Fertility Center
Professional Pharmacy
Prosperity Specialty Pharmacy
Shady Grove Fertility Center

Friday, July 17, 2009

People ask me. "What about gay adoptions? Interracial? Single Parent?" I say. "Hey fine, as long as it works for the child and the family is responsible." My big stand is this: Every child deserves a home and love. Period.

Dave Thomas
Founder of Wendy's
adopted child

thought for the day

How do we prepare when we have no idea how old our kids will be?

It's not like being pregnant and expecting a newborn, you know what you're having, you know how to prepare. You can plan.

We cannot buy one single thing. No car seats, no bed or crib, no toys, no clothes, nada.

It's all gonna be a last minute scramble - so that's what I'm trying to prepare for, if that's possible.

I am a planner. I think this is what frustrates me about adoption. I cannot plan.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

dear reader

This is an email I recently sent to family and friends, most of it you already know if you keep up with this blog, but I wanted to include you and also thank you for your support.

Dear family & friends,

Just a note to bring you up-to-date with our adoption journey. It's been nearly a year since we embarked on our journey to build our family through adoption.

We have updated our home study to include up to two children age newborn through five years old. We are really hoping for a sibling group of two, much to our surprise! This type of adoption is through Social Services, and we are considering children from all 50 states. Don't be surprised if you find us on your doorstep looking for a place to crash ;)

By widening the age range, we hope to speed up the adoption process a bit.
We are currently being considered as adoptive parents for three sibling groups. Don't worry, we will let you know when we become parents!

Thank you to those of you who have been helpful and supportive in our journey to build our family. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Take care, and we hope you are enjoying your summer.

Please visit our blog about our journey at

Love, Julie & Chris

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

a rose by any other name

Dear reader,

I want to know what you think about names. Specifically, changing the name of an adopted child. I have been pondering this subject for some time now. I go back and fourth. Sometimes I feel like the child has been through enough, who are we to go changing their first name.

Then I think, if they are under a certain age, it may be ok. Like if they cannot spell their name yet, it might be ok.

I've also heard of older children who want to pick a new first name because they associate their given first name with bad things, and their former life.

With some names, it's just a matter of um, well, correcting the spelling, and I don't really see that as a problem, unless of course, the child is old enough to spell their name, then it may be a problem or not an option.

What do you think? I'd like to hear from you.

the kindness of strangers

I got the SWEETEST email today, I just have to share.

Julie, I don't know if you remember me or not... I've chatted with you on the infertility forums over the years and have emailed you before. I just want you to know, I continue to follow your story and you touch my heart in so many ways. I love that you are documenting your journey to becoming parents and really enjoy reading all of your words of wisdom along the way. I always have my eyes and ears open to children that may need a mommy and daddy and have you in mind lots. Take care and keep the faith... you are going to be an awesome set of parents some day because of your adventure along the way!!!!

A, I want to publicly thank you for writing. It means so much to me that you took the time. I am truly touched. Thanks A, you made my day!

update 7.16.09: I should change the title of this post, A is not really a "stranger," we've have cyber contact for several years, we've just never met in person ;) Ah, the kindness of people I've never met!!! :):):)

whose parents are we?

We are being considered as adoptive parents for these 2 sets of siblings as well as another set of brothers (whom I do not have a photo of).

The kid's social workers DO have our home study in hand, and as one social worker said "we are in the hat."

It is very nice to have some positive news and know we are being considered, after all the negative news lately. Maybe these are not our kids either, but we will keep searching until we find them!!!

FYI, my friend A and her husband J are also being considered for the two brothers pictured above. So these boys have at least 2 options for great parents!

adoption quotes and more

Words of wisdom on adoption.

I have been looking for encouraging words on adoption, came across this and wanted to share.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If during the course of your own life,
you have saved one life,
it is as if you have saved all humankind.
– Al Kadushin

16 & Pregnant - Episode #6 - on MTV 7.16.09

Better For My Baby
Catelynn explains to potential adoptive parents why she's adamant on providing her daughter with the life she never had, on the upcoming episode of '16 and Pregnant,' airing Thursday, July 16th at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

Click on the post title to go to MTV's page about 16 & Pregnant to see previews.

Friday, July 10, 2009

adoption language

Helpful post by Michelle. Check it out.

Adoption Language
Nothing is as simple as we hope it will be.
- Jim Horning

growing frustration

  1. Maine updates their website QUARTERLY, so you can see the same kids there after they've been placed, but they will still show as available until the next quarterly update.
  2. Our social worker inquired about 2 sisters in another state, she was told to send our home study, she did. I called to follow-up to be sure our home study was received. The girls case worker told me that due to the fact that the girls have siblings in their state, only families in their state will be considered and that she is THROWING AWAY our home study. Whey didn't she tell our caseworker that when she made the initial inquiry?
  3. Some states post children on their websites even though the children have ALREADY BEEN PLACED.
  4. In some states the children remain on the website as available even thought their case worker has submitted paperwork to have them removed or marked as adopted. Seems many states have a backup with paperwork and cannot keep the children's status up-to-date.
  5. One state told me they could not afford to pay the webmaster to keep their website up-to-date. GOOD GRIEF!

This all makes it very difficult when you are searching for a child or children to adopt. If they are not available for adoption outside their state, that information would be VERY helpful to know up front.

It's looking more and more like if you don't know someone who, or have an "in" it's nearly impossible to adopt.

It should not be this difficult.

Monday, July 6, 2009

how to adopt

Came across this while searching photolistings, so I thought I'd share. Unfortunately nothing to report on this end, I'm getting calls, but they are to say "already been adopted." So frustrating...

Every adoption experience is as unique as the families, children, and service personnel involved. Common to every adoption, however, are certain steps that lead from first thinking about adoption to finally welcoming a new child (or children!) into your life. The 15 steps listed below--typical for most domestic (adoption of American children by American citizens) special needs adoptions--provide a basic overview of how you may want to approach the adoption process....

for the rest, click here

Friday, June 26, 2009

i fell in love again today

and I am frustrated BEYOND belief. His case worker is on vacation and no one is handling things while she is gone? really? So this little one is in limbo? I've even tried the state's Department of Social Services and no one there had a clue. I just don't get it. It is terribly frustrating.

I have learned that when we find a child we are interested in, we need to act quickly, email is no longer a quick enough option, phone calls need to be made, but there is no one taking calls on behalf of this sweet boy??? Oh, governmental bureaucratic BS, get out of my way! I'm an expectant mother!

Friday, June 19, 2009

No, you can't always get what you want

No, you can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
You can't always get what you want
And if you try sometime you find
You get what you need...
– The Rolling Stones

can't get it out of my head...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

patience *heavy sigh*

“Thank you for your interest in [insert name]. The child/children have been matched with a family and we are no longer accepting home studies.”

Support H.R. 213: The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009

This bill will prevent the 2001 Adoption Tax Credit from expiring in 2010. This tax credit enables thousands of Americans to grow their families via adoption. Without it many families would not have the financial resources to bring their children home. Please click on the button above to learn how you can help make sure this credit will still be available to adoptive families after 2010.

Read more here.

Introducing Anthony and Michael

Attention Michigan Parents!

Anthony (Tony) and Michael

I would inquire about these two cuties in a heartbeat but these children need to remain in Michigan in order to facilitate regular contact with siblings and relatives.

Michigan's waiting children:

Legal Risk Placement

A foster/adopt term to know:

In a legal risk placement, it is expected that the family will eventually adopt the child, even though the birth parents’ rights have not been fully terminated at the time of placement.

Introducing Dustin, Rodney, Ashley, and Katie

Dustin, Rodney, Ashley, and Katie

Dearest Reader,

I've decided to post photos of waiting kids on my blog from time to time. We are able to adopt two at the most, so unfortunately we are not the right family for Dustin, Rodney, Ashley and Katie, but maybe you are. Some kids just touch my heart. I will share those kids with you and maybe some families will be born.

Texas Adoption Resource Exchange:

If you click on their name in the post title, it will link you to their page.

Forgive me if some kids are no longer available, I'm sure I won't be able to keep up with that depending on how many children I post.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

through 7-year-old eyes

A 7-year-old friend of mine was searching for kids with me one day last week during my lunch hour.

Like me, he was surprised at the amount of kids without parents.

Like me, he was also surprised at the amount of kids in their late teens waiting for parents. He wondered why kids who are so old would want parents, "why don't they just get in their car and go?" I explained that everyone wants to be part of a family and asked him where would they go for Christmas. This caused him to re-evaluate his original thought. Yes, everyone should have parents.

Like me, he was fascinated by some of the kid's names, as well as the kids who, like him, are 7 years old. We learned that Skyler is a very popular name for both boys and girls. We learned that sometimes we cannot tell from a name if the child is a boy or a girl. He asked if we wanted a boy or a girl. I said we'd like a girl or a boy.

Like me, he cannot wait for us to have kids.


Now that we've widened our search to include children up to age 5, I am learning a lot of new things.

For instance FAS stands for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Read more here.
(There are also FASD which is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders.) I see it listed both ways.

We are hoping to adopt a child/children who is/are "developmentally on target."

It is our belief that children with special needs deserve a stay at home parent. We also think a special needs child would benefit from parents with parenting experience.

I am surprised, daily, at the number of children available for adoption from the foster care system in this country. I look at their faces and wonder how they've ended up in "the system."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

whose mother am I

post that has been kicking around in my head to be written later...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Two Little Girls: A Memoir of Adoption

In Chicago, Theresa Reid and her husband had lucrative careers and a beautiful home. What was missing from their lives was children. But they knew in Eastern Europe, there were children who were missing parents-and they set out to find their family. This is Theresa's account of how Natalie and Lana came to be her daughters-a journey that takes readers not only to Moscow and Kiev but into the deepest parts of a mother's heart. Reid addresses the issues that arise for many an adoptive parent- including the guilt over taking children away from their roots, and the slow, stumbling steps toward trust and tenderness that played out between them. For any parent, adoptive or not, this book offers not only a compelling story but valuable insights into the transformative power of loving a child.

Just came across this, anyone read it yet? feel free to comment.

I was Googling 'adopt a healthy child' and came across this post So You Want to Adopt a Healthy Infant. Which caught my attention with the first paragraph

These days, when people say they want to adopt a healthy infant, they receive dirty looks from some in the adoption community. “Why not adopt one of the hundreds of thousands of children waiting in foster care?” people ask. “Why not adopt one of the millions or orphans from around the world?”

If you want to adopt a healthy infant, some insinuate that you’re an adoption traitor. They imply that you should be more altruistic and less selfish than to desire what every parent who gives birth wants: a healthy baby.

Friday, May 29, 2009

please, call me mom

Found this in a listing for a waiting child:

“Parental rights will be terminated upon identification of a permanent resource.”

permanent resource? you mean me? parents? mom? dad?

Everyone is SO careful about getting the references correct for a “birth mom who is making an adoption plan....”

I don't like being referred to as a “permanent resource.”

Please, call me mom.

my friend MsBirthmom says:

“Adoption is about people coming together to form a family. In whatever way possible!”

I love MsBirthmom, she has been so supportive, and feel honored getting to know a birth mom.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


woo hoo!
23 followers and 3,904 visitors!
who knew?


To date, we have inquired about 12 kids ranging in age 1–5.
  • Two have been adopted already.
  • Two are not allowed to leave their state.
That leaves eight possibilities.

Our social worker has advised us to find as many children to inquire about as possible, but I don't want to inquire just to inquire. I have to feel something when I see the child's face or read their profile, a connection, something.

Our child is out there, I'm convinced. It will take as long as it takes, and I will continue to have frustrating days.


I continue to be frustrated that almost EVERY single child we inquire about has already been adopted.

I know, on the one hand that it is a really great thing: children are being adopted. But on the other hand, I feel like some of these kids are being used as "lost leaders" or "bait and switch" and that is not how photolistings of waiting children should be used.

Is it just because social services are so understaffed they cannot keep up with who has been adopted?

Today I called two local social service departments, 2 different counties. One was very nice and said to call back in three months because they have some kids that will be available for adoption then if things don't work out and their birth parent's rights are terminated. The woman was very kind and helpful.

Just one county away I was told that I need to "use a private adoption agency." Was she having a bad day? I know we all do. But one could be a bit more helpful.

I did learn that not all children have online profiles. So if you are able, you might want to physically go into the office of your area social services (or call first) and ask if you can look through their book of waiting children.

Yes, it continues to be a long and bumpy road.
I hope I can make it less so for others seeking to adopt.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

dear department of social services,

I would greatly appreciate it if you'd include information about a child not being eligible to leave his or her state in their online profile. This would save you and me some time.

I was also sorry to hear that you do not keep your children's profiles up-to-date because you have to pay a webmaster each time you want to make a change. This is most unfortunate for the children.

Also, it would be nice if we could sign up for email alerts when new children become available or when the status of a child changes (for instance some children are not allowed to leave their state, but that can change). This might help the children get adopted faster too! Arizona does this for their children and I think it's great! Thanks Arizona!

Thank you,

Heart Gallery

The Heart Gallery is a national movement inspired by an exhibit created in New Mexico in 2001. As a result of media coverage, over 42 states have created a Heart Gallery and in 2005 the first national Heart Gallery was displayed in Washington, D.C.

A Heart Gallery is an exhibit of portraits. Portraits of children who want to be adopted. Typically photographs are donated by professional photographers who volunteer their time. A Heart Gallery exhibit is distinct because the photographs of the children are done as a portrait of the child’s personality – a more personal feeling than is derived from a typical adoption photo listing.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

what ARE we expecting

I'm getting excited. I feel like we are getting closer and closer to finding our baby/child,/children or they are getting closer to finding us.

I don't know what we are expecting, a boy? a girl? a baby? a child? twins? siblings?! I'm finding it rather exciting, the possibilities.

All those years, I wanted a baby, our baby. Now I know whatever baby/child/children who come into our family will be ours. They will know the same love our biological child would know. We are meant to be a family, and we will be. It's just not happening the way one imagines, the traditional way. The plans for us are different, and I don't mind any more.

We will just keep searching and searching, and hoping our baby/child/children find us!

What ARE we expecting!?!! It will certainly be a surprise, a joyous surprise!

A family WILL be born!

just the facts, ma'am

  • About 60% of Americans have a personal connection to adoption. [source]
  • Children adopted internationally tend to be younger than children adopted from foster care [source]
  • Almost 90% of children adopted internationally are less than five years old. [source]
  • The majority of those adopted from foster care are more than five years old. [source]
  • Almost half of the children adopted internationally are infants. [source]
  • 2% of the children adopted from foster care are infants. [source]
  • It is estimated that 11% to 24% of couples who experience difficulty conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term pursue adoption. [source]
  • The number of American children in foster care rose steadily through most of the 1990s, peaking in 1999 at 567,000, and has declined since then to 510,000 in 2006. [source]
  • In 2006, nearly half (46%) of all foster children lived in foster family homes with non-relatives. Nearly a quarter (24 percent) lived in family foster homes with relatives-often known as "kinship care." Seventeen percent of foster children lived in group homes or institutions, 3% lived in pre-adoptive families, and the rest lived in other types of facilities. [source]
  • Almost one-third (31%) of all children who exited foster care in 2006 lived in foster care for less than six months. [source]
  • Children are placed in foster care because a child protective services worker and a court have determined that it is not safe for the child to remain at home due to a risk of maltreatment, including neglect and physical or sexual abuse. [source]
  • 50-70% of foster children are returned to their biological parents [source: The Complete Adoption Book]

foster care facts

These foster care facts are interesting, but, sadly, a bit dated.

Monday, May 25, 2009

list of links

I found this list of links of "babies available for adoption."

I know there are different laws in different states, so be sure you follow laws specific to your state.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Adoptive Parents are Expecting Too

Adoptive Parents are Expecting Too

a great post by Parenthood for Me

(I wish I knew how to do that linkback thingy!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Children in the USA who need homes

Maybe they are looking for me and you!!!

This is a list of sites that list children, in addition to

I wanna make it easier on you since you are already coming here. Some of the links on are no longer working.

If you find a site, you are looking for waiting children, heart galleries, our kids, photolistings, etc. I'm made these links go directly to the photos of the kids or to the search page where you can enter specifics. If you know of something I've left out, by all means, let me know and I'll add it! Hopefully we can find homes for some children and children for some homes!!! If you've been reading my blog long, you'll know it's my philosophy that if I know ten things and you know ten things, together we know twenty! I'm all about sharing the info! I hope this helps someone, anyone :)

Covering multiple states or areas:

By state (if the state is not listed, that state only lists their children on

a work in progress...

updated 5.21.09 @ 2:30 p.m. eastern

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

photoslistings and profiles and faces OH MY!

I want to say "now I know how a birth mom must feel when faced with dozens of profiles to look at." But I cannot possible feel the way a birth mom looking for parents for her child feels. I can feel how overwhelming it is to look at so many photographs.

I am looking for a child, and (hopefully) a birth mom or child is looking for me.

I look thought page after page, and wait to feel that "connection." That when I imagine I know what it's like for a birth mom looking at profiles, looking for that "connection" that certain je ne sais quoi.

Yesterday I found him...
But he is not allowed to leave his state (which is not our state). So instead he will remain in foster care. This is the thing I don't get. Who made these rules? OMG, can you believe that little face? Which also begs the question "what is he doing in foster care in the first place?" which a question I now find myself asking me several times a day.

As far as we know, we are still being considered for these two handsome fellows:
Again, who could let them go? Who could let ANY of them go? I know, I know, drugs, alcohol, blah blah. But it's all just breakin my heart.

Are you getting the picture? an idea of what I am going through? I WANT THEM ALL! Call me crazy, who hasn't. I just want to love them and hug them and show them what it's like to be in a real loving home where their every need is met, where they won't be scared of anything, where they won't want for anything (except maybe the odd video game).

Waiting, waiting, waiting. I'd think the social workers working on behalf of these children would be working quickly to get these kids in to a stable "forever" home. I don't get that either.

I do have an alternative motive for posting these photos here. Yes, to tug at your heart strings because I cannot adopt them all. But I want you to know there are children out there who need me AND you.

So, dear reader, this former advocate for infertility treatment, is now an advocate for foster-adoption. These are children who's parent's have had their rights terminated. They are available and there are THOUSANDS of them, HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of them. I encourage you, check them out if you have any, ANY desire at all to adopt. Their faces will touch your heart (unless it's made of stone).

ComeUnity Adoption
This is where I go every day, EVERY DAY, every lunchtime, evenings, 2 a.m.... o f t e n !

There is BUT not all children are listed there.

I have learned that if there is any mention of "family members" the child probably cannot leave his or her state. Sometimes their profiles state that up front, which is nice, sometimes not.

Children are beeing added to these listings every day. When we started our adoption journey, we had no clue. Notta one. We had our hearts set on a newborn. As I mentioned in a previous post, our hearts have changed.

Our child (or children) are our there, now if they'd just hurry up and find us!!!

update 5.21.09 - also waiting to hear about these two:

01.18.10 Today I received a request to remove one of the photos that was formerly posted here. It is the first such request I have received. I have honored your request.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

call me Mother Goose

Today I told our social worker I wish we could adopt a bunch of kids and I could quit my job and stay home with them!

...the old women who lived in a shoe and had so many children she didn't know what to do.

Ah, if wishes were horses, there's be no goodbyes...

Nia Vardalos on Becoming a Mom – Overnight

by Nia Vardalos
Originally posted Saturday May 09, 2009, 11:25 AM EDT

Talk about your big fat surprises: With one phone call, Nia Vardalos had a daughter. In this exclusive Mother's Day essay for PEOPLE, the star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding talks in detail for the first time about the shock, chaos and "peaceful gratefulness" that came after she and husband Ian Gomez adopted a 3-year-old girl...

click here to read the full story

Struggling families look at adoption

MARENGO, Ill. — Renee Siegfort broke the news to her three teenagers on Mother's Day last year: She was pregnant.

She really wanted the baby. Her kids did, too. Her on-again, off-again boyfriend of three years did not.

"I talked to God a lot, asking what does this mean. What am I supposed to do?" she recalls. She was working long hours as an office manager at a chiropractic firm and just making ends meet. She would need to take on a new expense: child care.

"We live simply," says Renee, 36, looking around the living room of her three-bedroom town home. "There wasn't much more we could simplify in our lives." As much as she wanted the baby, she says, "I didn't want to hurt my children."

So after giving birth Dec. 30, she nursed Josephine Olivia Renee for six days. She then did something she would not have imagined nine months earlier: She gave her child to another family.

Renee says placing Joie (pronounced "Joey") for adoption was the most difficult thing she's ever done, but she has no regrets.

"I've never been more at peace in my life," she says. "Joie deserved better." ...

click here to read the full story

Thank you to all who comment, you encourage me and keep me going. I appreciate that. Thank you for sharing your stories with me, they give me hope.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 18, 2009

how I spend my lunch hour (and many other hours)

I go here every day at least once, sometimes 2 or 3 times. All the faces staring back at me.

I can't help wonder, how did ALL these kids come to be here. They are so sweet, how could someone NOT love them to bits???


I sometimes get frustrated, I see the photo first, try to find something in the face, something in the eyes, that I connect with. Then I read. Yes, this sounds good, reading more, then I get to "this child may not leave the state of such-n-such." Can that info please be moved to the top of the list so I can read it before I fall in love? Pppffffttt, I fall in love about 50 times every lunch hour! LOL.

I keep reading and looking for the child or children who call out to me. Though there are so many.

And then I wonder, how fair is it for us to be considered for more than one child at a time? Then I think how many PAPs are being considered at any one time, (remembering the birthmom who was looking at 175 profiles!).

9 months and 1 day today, where oh where is my baby, my child...

followup to previous story/post

Maybe Parents Don't Like Boys Better
A follow-up to the recent column about whether daughters cause divorce.

By Steven E. Landsburg
Posted Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2003, at 11:49 AM ET

In a recent column, I argued that the most plausible reason that couples with daughters divorce more often than couples with sons is that parents, on average, prefer boys. Since then my e-mail box has overflowed with objections, alternative theories, and requests for clarification. In the meantime, I've changed my own mind. I think I have a much better way to explain the facts. So, I want to revisit these issues.

First, to the e-mail. The easiest ones to dispose of are those that question the facts, particularly the claim that a one-child American family with a daughter is 5 percent more likely to get divorced than a one-child family with a son. The facts are accurate. The divorce numbers come from a study by Gordon Dahl and Enrico Moretti based on more than 3 million observations from the U.S. Census. With that kind of sample size, there's no way the 5 percent difference is "just a coincidence," as some readers suggested.

Other readers accepted the reality of the 5 percent difference but questioned the conclusion that daughters cause divorce. After all, marriages differ in all sorts of ways that might be relevant—financial stresses, infidelity, emotional distance. The phrase "correlation does not imply causation" popped up a lot.

But in this case, correlation does imply causation, and here's why: If you take 3 million people, have them all flip coins, and divide them into two groups according to whether their coins came up heads or tails, then the two groups are going to look statistically identical in every way—same average income, same average intelligence, same average height. That's called the law of large numbers, and it works for two reasons—first, the sample size is huge, and second, coin flips are random. Now do the same thing, dividing your 3 million people according to the gender of their last-born child. The same thing happens—parents of boys are going to be statistically identical in every way to parents of girls, because you've still got a huge sample size and because the sex of a child is as random as a coin flip. Since everything else is equal, the only thing that can be causing the difference in divorce rates is the gender of the children.

"Why not just ask people why they got divorced?" inquire several e-mails. Answer: You can't feasibly ask 3 million people why they got divorced. You could feasibly ask 3,000, but then your results would be statistically suspect because of a small sample size.

In fact, there are published surveys indicating that mothers of boys are happier on average than mothers of girls. These surveys are directly relevant to the point at issue, but I chose not even to mention them in the original column because Gordon Dahl convinced me that their statistical significance was suspect.

A number of readers offered the comment that, evidence be damned, they would simply never believe that the children's gender could be relevant to a divorce decision. My favorite of these came from a therapist in Iowa—it would probably be inappropriate to mention her name, so let's just call her "Bozo the Therapist"—who took me to task for the "archaic notion" that children ever have anything to do with divorce. Unless she's been practicing not in the state of Iowa but on the planet Iowa in some distant solar system, Bozo must win the prize for "least observant therapist in human history." The fact is that children do affect divorce decisions; if we didn't know this from statistical evidence, we'd still know it from common sense. And to a smallish but non-negligible extent, girls cause more divorces than boys do. Ignoring those facts won't make them go away.

The facts are clear and worth reporting, but there's legitimate controversy about what they mean. There are three key facts: 1) Parents of daughters are more likely to divorce than parents of sons; 2) in multichild families, parents of daughters are more likely to try for another child than parents of sons; 3) divorced mothers of daughters are less likely to remarry than divorced mothers of sons.

I originally said that all three facts point to a parental preference for boys. Several readers pointed out that the third fact—that divorced mothers of daughters are less likely to remarry—admits a better explanation: Mothers don't want to expose their daughters to a potentially predatory stepfather. Excellent point. So, I now think the evidence on remarriages is ambiguous regarding whether second husbands prefer boy stepchildren.

Other readers offered what they thought was counterevidence: Adoption agencies report a higher demand for girls. But this is exactly what you'd expect in a world where parents prefer boys. In such a world, boys will tend to be put up for adoption when there's something seriously wrong with them, but many girls will be put up for adoption simply for being girls. So, if I'm looking to adopt a bright healthy child, of course I'll choose a girl: I expect that among children put up for adoption, girls are on average brighter and healthier than boys. I could well make this choice even if I prefer boys to girls, as long as my preference for bright and healthy is stronger.

Still, several readers came up with other ways to explain the facts. A lot of their stories were rooted in evolutionary biology, e.g., "a boy is a better genetic investment because boys can have more progeny than girls." Unfortunately, that doesn't work. For every boy with more than the average number of offspring, there's another with less than the average number. Boys are likelier than girls to generate 20 children, but they're also likelier to generate zero.

The most creative evolutionary biology explanation comes from reader Todd Peters: Boys with low self-esteem become withdrawn and unattractive; girls with low self-esteem become promiscuous. So, if you want lots of grandchildren, you've got to raise the self-esteem of your sons (by staying married) and lower the self-esteem of your daughters (by getting divorced).

Ooookay. But let's end on a serious note, with a whole new way of looking at this—the way I wish I'd thought of to begin with. Suppose parents believe that inherited wealth is more important to a boy than to a girl—either because wealth gives boys a bigger advantage in the mating competition or because boys are more likely to do something entrepreneurial. Then parents of boys will try harder than parents of girls to preserve their wealth. In particular: 1) Parents of boys will avoid divorce, because divorce is costly; and 2) parents of boys will have fewer children, because extra children dilute the inheritance.

That could explain the divorce statistics and explain why parents of boys are less likely to try for more children. So, here's a nice theory that fits all the facts and doesn't rely on a preference for boys.

Finally, a lot of readers asked me about my own preferences. I cannot imagine why they're interested. If I were reporting on national employment trends, would you want to know my personal employment history? But for the record, I'm pleased to say that I always wanted a girl, I got the girl I wanted, and so far she's perfect. Ask me again next month after she starts driving.

The Girls vs. The Boys

I've been wondering why there are SO many boys available for adoption so I Googled... It's old, but interesting.

Bringing Up Babes
Why do adoptive parents prefer girls?

By John Gravois
Updated Friday, Jan. 16, 2004, at 11:52 AM ET

Illustration by Robert Neubecker

Steven E. Landsburg deduced from an array of data that parents, on average, prefer sons over daughters. His evidence lay in a few recent studies that show that daughters have a slight but marked tendency to break up (or else forestall) marriages while sons tend to keep them together. But it turns out there's a fascinating fork in the statistical trail of bread crumbs.

For years, it's been common currency in adoption circles that girls are far more popular than boys among adoptive parents. Now there's data to confirm it, which has prompted another round of speculation about gender preference among parents—an issue that is bound to rouse more interest, and concern, as the era of assisted reproduction progresses.

This past August, the Census Bureau released an unprecedented report comparing adopted, biological, and stepchildren based on results from the 2000 Census—amazingly, the first census to differentiate between these groups. First of all, the report found that there are about 105 boys for every 100 girls in the general population of biological children under the age of 18. Adopted children, it turns out, present a very different picture, with a "sex ratio"—the sociologists' term—of 89 boys for every 100 girls. What's more, adopted children under the age of 6 constitute a group where there only are 85 boys for every 100 girls. (The Census Bureau reports that stepchildren—a sizable population whose sex ratio is closer to the norm—are usually adopted at later ages than orphans are. Hence the under-6 drop-off.

Last but not least, the sex ratio of adopted children goes still further off-kilter if you look only at international adoptions. The Immigration and Naturalization Service (now part of the Department of Homeland Security) has kept up excellent data on international adoptions over decades of processing visa paperwork. Its word: Girls make up about 64 percent of all children adopted by Americans outside the United States. That's a mere 56* boys for every hundred girls.

What explains the disproportion? If we didn't know better, the most obvious conjecture would be that these numbers simply reflect an imbalance in supply. After all, America's leading source of adoptees is China, where the legacy of female infanticide is the grimmest hallmark of that country's overwhelming preference for males. The organization Families With Children From China reports that about 95 percent of children available for adoption in China are girls. Other Asian adoption hubs (like Korea, the erstwhile lead supplier) have orphan sex ratios that tend in the same direction. So Americans adopt more girls because other countries don't want them, right?

Wrong. Unlike biological parents, who must simply make do with what the procreative coin toss affords them—as in a market determined solely by supply—adoptive parents get to be upfront about their gender preferences. And a look at those preferences suggests that, in fact, the adoption market in China represents a happy coincidence of supply and demand.

Numbers vary, but it's pretty safe to say that somewhere between 70 percent and 90 percent of parents looking to adopt register some preference for a girl with an agency. It doesn't matter if they're adopting from China, where girls far outnumber boys; from Russia, where the numbers are about even; or from Cambodia, where there is typically a glut of orphan boys and a paucity of girls. Everywhere, demand tends to favor the feminine.

And, as the case of Cambodia suggests, demand can in fact exert an influence on supply—and not a happy one. In the late '90s, Cambodia became a popular source for American adoptions, thanks to a relatively quick, cheap, and tidy process. But for whatever reason (some cite a Cambodian tradition that girls are expected to take care of their parents when they get older), Cambodia didn't offer the standard Asian profile of adoptable children. Boys outnumbered girls by a healthy margin. So what happened was what you would expect to happen in an underpoliced free market: Market pressure built up, until certain enterprising Cambodian adoption suppliers, or "facilitators," stepped in and found a way to meet demand.

Evidence of child-trafficking came to light in late 2001 and early 2002, when several poor Cambodian women stepped forward saying they had been approached by someone from an "NGO" who offered them a sum of money—significantly more for a daughter than for a son, though never more than $200—in exchange for their children. When that "NGO" turned out to be an orphanage, the U.S. Embassy and the then-INS slammed the gates on all U.S. adoptions out of Cambodia. They haven't reopened the gates yet.

Scholars inside the adoption community are quick to admit that the historical aura of secrecy surrounding adoption has hobbled research efforts to account for the decided preference among parents for girls. Still, there are a few decent indicators. First, there are certain norms and stereotypes peculiar to the world of adoption that have been wafting around since adoption became a modern institution. Take, for example, the following quote, an excerpt from the 1916 annual report of the Spence Alumni Society, one of the very first American adoption agencies: "Why do so many people prefer girls! The majority seem to feel that a girl is easier to understand and to rear, and they are afraid of a boy."

Quaint, yes, but the same view still crops up regularly enough in adoption-talk that it invites some probing. Parents might be "afraid of a boy" because the adoption market stalks frightful circumstances like poverty, instability, and violence around the map: When taking the somewhat risky step of bringing a foreign element into their family, parents might perceive little boys to be inheritors of their homes' uneasy fortunes, whereas little girls can more readily seem to be hapless victims of circumstance. Or it might be that, as Landsburg suggested in a follow-up piece, adoptive parents choose girls out of an inference that his theory is true—that most biological parents like sons better—and therefore they gather that "boys will tend to be put up for adoption when there's something seriously wrong with them, but many girls will be put up for adoption simply for being girls."

According to Adam Pertman, the real answer lies elsewhere. Pertman, the executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a New York-based think tank, and author of the book Adoption Nation, suggests that the most important step in figuring out why so many people want to adopt girls is to look at who wears the pants in most adoption processes. Hint: It isn't the men.

"The extent to which women are the driving force in most adoptions is probably a factor," he says. "It's usually true that the women are filling out the paperwork, going to the conferences, the support groups." He adds, "If I speak at a conference—whether it's on adoption or family issues—at least 80 to 90 percent of any of these audiences are women."

If men are indeed largely silent partners in most adoptions, it could indicate that men's preferences with regard to their children's gender are simply not as strong when patrimony is not an issue. A man might hanker pretty strongly after a biological son to pass down both his name and his genes; but if that grand prize, so to speak, is not on the table, he may not care as much either way. Furthermore, if women are the ones running the show in most adoptions, and daughters are the ones getting adopted, it might nudge us toward the overall conclusion that parents merely tend to want children who are like themselves. Absent a strong paternal vote, mothers adopt daughters—and, as Landsburg noted, "fathers stick around for sons when they won't stick around for daughters." If adoption has any light to shed on the larger questions of gender preference among parents, this is probably it: More often than not, the view from adoption has it, mom wants a little girl, and dad wants a little boy.

But perhaps it's worth considering whether deeper motivations might also be at work. Let's assume that the parenting instinct combines two different components: a procreative and a nurturing urge. Some might say women disproportionately answer to the call of nurture, and men are more susceptible to the leaner procreative impulse. In most instances, adoption provides people who cannot satisfy the latter part of that instinct (procreate!) with a means at least to satisfy the former (nurture!). By that reasoning, parents (mostly women) who initiate adoptions do so because they want children to nurture and love, and they adopt girls out of a common perception—however accurate or inaccurate it may be—that girls respond better to nurturing than boys do. Perhaps adoption simply isolates one of the variables involved in why people become parents, and that variable happens to be one that favors girls.

Any institution that grafts altruistic motives, and ends, onto stubborn instinctual predispositions—which is what adoption does—is a cause for rejoicing. (Full disclosure: I have two adopted siblings.) But the adoptive parents' freedom to choose their child's gender can, as recent events in Cambodia suggest, cast a potentially darker light on this cuddly scenario. When little girls or little boys become preferred commodities—instead of just glints in the eye—there can be unforeseen, and unfortunate, consequences.

In this, adoption may be a bellwether of things to come, as rising technologies of assisted reproduction begin to afford biological parents a similar freedom to stipulate the gender of their children-to-be. If nothing else, the case of adoption shows that gender preferences can indeed skew pretty far to one side if parents are free to jot them down before the fact of parenthood (after which point one's theoretical desire for either a son or a daughter usually breaks up against an actual, beloved child of either gender). Perhaps, all speculation aside, we should regard this particular freedom with a wary eye—and applaud the growing number of adoption agencies that don't allow prospective parents to stipulate any gender preference in the first place.

Correction, Jan. 14, 2003: This piece originally miscalculated the gender ratio for adopted children. It is 56 boys for every hundred girls, not 72. Return to the corrected sentence.