Welcome to our corner of the web! Here you will learn about our family and our journey of a family member adoption. In July of 2010, after 9 years of trying to add to our family and 5 years after we started our adoption journey, we welcomed baby Emily Rose. Emily's birth mom is Sharon's adopted sister. We look forward to someday adopting more children but for now, we are enjoying our time together as a family of 4!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Love Of God

(The other day, Jacob and I saw this at the store, it seems perfect for us and everyone touched by adoption. It will hang in the nursery.)

Yesterday Jacob and I spoke in church. It has been 9 years since I have spoken so I was a little rusty, and a whole lot nervous. I think it went o.k. though. The topic I was given was a talk given by President Deiter F. Uchtdorf of the First Presidency. I remember from conference that this was one of my favorite talks. I thought I'd share my talk based on his talk with you. To read President Uchtdorf's talk in it's entirety, go here. I did change my talk a little when I actually gave it, but this is what I had written down.

Pres. Uchtdorf asks, How do we Become Disciples of Jesus Christ? In John 14:15 the answer is given; “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” So with all of the commandments, what is the greatest commandment? In Matthew 32:37 and 38 the Savior Jesus Christ answers this by saying; “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.”

Pres. Uchtdorf says, "Because love is the great commandment, it ought to be at the center of all and everything we do in our own family, in our Church callings, and in our livelihood. Love is the healing balm that repairs rifts in personal and family relationships. It is the bond that unites families, communities, and nations. Love is the power that initiates friendship, tolerance, civility, and respect. It is the source that overcomes divisiveness and hate. Love is the fire that warms our lives with unparalleled joy and divine hope. Love should be our walk and our talk."

He goes on to say, "When we truly understand what it means to love as Jesus Christ loves us, the confusion clears and our priorities align. Our walk as disciples of Christ becomes more joyful. Our lives take on new meaning. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father becomes more profound. Obedience becomes a joy rather than a burden."

Let me repeat that last part, "Obedience becomes a joy, rather than a burden." During our 8 years of marriage Jacob has spent 6 of them as a Soldier in the US Army. During those 6 years he has served 2 tours of duty, 12 months in Iraq, and 15 months in Afghanistan. I spent some time as an FRG leader. The FRG is a family support group and it was my job to make sure that the families of the other soldiers were doing o.k. Once a month we would have meetings to discuss any issues with our spouses and such. It was after one of those meetings that the hostess of the meeting offered everyone in attendance a drink. She stated that she had wine and beer. I politely declined and said I don't drink. She said that was o.k. and she had Coke and Diet Coke. I said that I don't drink caffeine either (gives me HUGE migraines) but that water would be great. She said, and I quote, "Let me get this straight, your husband is gone for months on end and you don't drink, I'm assuming you don't smoke or anything?" I said yes, that's right. She said "what are you? A Saint?" I chuckled and said, "Well, yes, I'm a Latter Day Saint." She looked at me puzzled. I explained to her that I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and that in our church we beleive in keeping our bodies clean and pure and not consuming alcohol and other harmful things. I then got the opportunity to talk to her a little about the church. She asked, and I was asked this alot during our time in the Army, if not drinking was hard for me. My answer was always the same. No, it's actually quite easy. I love the Lord, and I beleive the Lord has asked me not to do these things, so I don't. It's that simple. Because I love him, it's easy to follow what he asks me to do. (Not that I'm perfect, it's just that this is something I don't struggle with)

President Uchtdorf says, "God the Eternal Father did not give that first great commandment because He needs us to love Him. His power and glory are not diminished should we disregard, deny, or even defile His name. His influence and dominion extend through time and space independent of our acceptance, approval, or admiration.

No, God does not need us to love Him. But oh, how we need to love God!

For what we love determines what we seek.

What we seek determines what we think and do.

What we think and do determines who we are—and who we will become.

We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage. What and how we love not only defines us as individuals; it also defines us as a church. Love is the defining characteristic of a disciple of Christ.

Since the beginning of time, love has been the source of both the highest bliss and the heaviest burdens. At the heart of misery from the days of Adam until today, you will find the love of wrong things. And at the heart of joy, you will find the love of good things.

And the greatest of all good things is God."

Heavenly Father has given us so much. Summarizing Pres. Uchtdorf’s words, Through Heavenly Father’s direction, Jesus Christ created this beautiful world that we live in. He fills our lives with so much joy, fills our minds with such precious truths, gives us hope and peace during our darkest hours, leads us through our times of trial, rejoices with us when we rejoice, and answers our righteous desires. He has promised us eternal life, and has provided a way for us to progress in this life and in knowledge and glory until we receive a fullness of joy. He has promised us all that he has. If that isn’t enough reason to love Heavenly father, the Apostle John puts it simply, in 1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

So why? Why does he love us? With all our faults, why? Pres. Uchtdorf says, "He loves us, because he is filled with and infinite measure of holy, pure, an indescribable love. Think of the purest, most all consuming love you can imagine. Now multiply that love by an infinite amount- that, is the measure of God’s love for you."
He doesn’t care how much money you make or don’t make, how big or small your house is, how nice your car is or whether you ride the bus or walk to work. He doesn’t care if we’re famous or forgotten. Pres. Uchtdorf puts it best when he says, “Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, he loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love, emcompasses us completely. He loves everyone of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. His love is so great that he loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked.”

So what do we do if we feel we don’t deserve his love? Or we don’t feel him around us? In Jeremiah 29:13 it says “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” That is the key, when seek him, we must seek him with all our hearts.
Pres. Uchtdorf goes on to say, "Seeking God with all our hearts implies much more than simply offering a prayer or pronouncing a few words inviting God into our lives. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” We can make a great production of saying that we know God. We can proclaim publicly that we love Him. Nevertheless, if we don’t obey Him, all is in vain, for “he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”.... Don’t get discouraged if you stumble at times. Don’t feel downcast or despair if you don’t feel worthy to be a disciple of Christ at all times. The first step to walking in righteousness is simply to try. We must try to believe. Try to learn of God: read the scriptures; study the words of His latter-day prophets; choose to listen to the Father, and do the things He asks of us. Try and keep on trying until that which seems difficult becomes possible—and that which seems only possible becomes habit and a real part of you..... As you reach out to your Heavenly Father, as you pray to Him in the name of Christ, He will answer you. He speaks to us everywhere.

As you read God’s word recorded in the scriptures, listen for His voice.

As you visit the temple and attend Church meetings, listen for His voice.

In your daily interactions with others, in the words of a hymn, in the laughter of a child, listen for His voice."

I used to wonder why it is that I can’t have more children. I was able to have my daughter, so why couldn’t I give my husband a child. Did I do something to deserve not being able to have children? I constantly remind myself, that I did nothing wrong, Heavenly Father just has a different plan for me. As I listened to Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk in conference, and again as I read his words in the Ensign I was reminded how much he loves each and every one of us. How much he loves me, and how he has a plan for everything. We are so blessed to be able to be a part of the adoption world. Even though we haven't been chosen by a birth family yet, I have faith, that someday, his plan will be made known, and we will be chosen, and we will have the chance to raise our miracle baby. Not to mention, already I have made some amazing friends in all parts of the adoption triad, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings us.

I'd like to close with one final thought from President Uchtdorf, he says, and this is perhaps my favorite part,

"How clearly the Savior spoke when He said that every other commandment hangs upon the principle of love. If we truly learn to love our Heavenly Father and our fellowman with all our heart, soul, and mind—all else will fall into place."

A Birth Mom's Journey: Joniece's story, my letter to you.

A few weeks ago mrs. r posted a letter on her blog written by her youngest sons birth mom. It is a beautifully written letter and I wanted to share it. My hope is that if you are an unexpectant, expectant mother, that this may help you in your decision making. Thank you Joniece for your beautiful words and for sharing your story in such a heart felt way.

Dear "un-expecting" expecting mother,

I remember the day like it was yesterday.. I was on my knees sobbing repeating "My life is over." Nothing else was going through my mind at that point, other than the fact that I didn't believe what had happened... It was the day I found out I was pregnant. I was 18 years old, in school, and jobless. I was not even in an "actual" relationship with the birth-father at the time. "OH MY GOSH."

Adoption was never an option for me at first. It was an all or nothing type deal for me. Either I kept him or I was going to abort him. Afterall, there was no way I could have my child out there being raised by others. However, I couldn't tell my father.. It would upset and dissapoint him way to much. I was so confused on what to do! Not to mention my ex-boyfriend wasn't the most supportive... He begged me to get an abortion at first. And that my friend, is what I had planned on doing. Abortion... it was the only logical and easiest choice for everyone involved. Keeping in mind, I was raised and still am a catholic and that is against my religion... But really what other choice did I have.

I urge speaking to someone whose advice you trust greatly, whether it be a friend or a family member. I spoke to my best friend Chris. We had been best friends since 11yrs old and he always knew what to say, although this time.. he didn't really. He was sort of in shock... I honestly thought he would stop talking to me because of the choice I had made, but he didn't.. he assured me he loved me and wouldn't stop being my friend. He asked me what I was going to do and I told him I had no Idea, but was thinking about abortion. He told me he didn't agree with that option but would love me no matter what. Chris then told me about how his brother and sister-n-law had adopted and she could give me more information about it. ( I knew this beforehand as well) I told him okay, but honestly still shrugged off the idea of adoption. The main thing I got from our conversation is, "he told me to pray, just pray for the answer." And i did exactly this. I prayed for god to give me the answer to what I was supposed to do and make it clear to me.. Within the next couple of day I could see his answer start to un-ravel. I no longer wanted an abortion.

My ex and I had decided to parent without being in a relationship and just share responsibilities. How sad was this? My baby was going to not only be raised in a broken home, but born into one. I could deal with that fact at the time though. My relationship or lack-thereof with my ex was horrible. Before and during my pregnancy there were encounters that went from verbal arguements and abuse to physical. This was the deal breaker for me.

I could handle my baby being born to parents who were not together, but I would not stand for him being born and part of an abusive family. I then made the hardest decision I've ever made.. Parenting was not the option for my baby & I. I wanted him to grow up in a loving and nurturing family. One who would read together, sing together, pray together, eat together and overall love together. That was the important thing..LOVE. I wanted him to have it all because of how much I already loved him. Not that my family couldn't love him or didn't do those things.. I ASSURE you they wanted him just as much as I did. But it was about him.. and his parents.. and siblings and his life. I mean this is not just a choice for when he is a baby. It's making a choice for his WHOLE life, the life I wanted him to lead while on earth.

Adoption made this possible. I made it possible.

I'm not going to sugar coat it and tell you all of it is rainbows and butterflies, because it wasn't and still isn't a year plus later. It's hard. VERY hard. The hardest thing I've ever done. But it was MY choice. and it was the RIGHT choice for my baby & I.

That's all I want you to get out of this, it is YOUR choice. No one else's. (I REPEAT "NO ONE ELSE's") You are the only one carrying your baby. I can't sit here and say adoption is the right choice for every single person, every single scenario. But I want you to know it is an option and a good one at that. I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

"No choice you make for yourself, is the wrong choice"- Sal Loya ( a very wise man *wink*)

YOU ARE STRONG.

just remember this.

it is what got me by.

Sincerely,
Joniece
ps.

If you ever need to talk about anything or have any questions PLEASE PLEASE email me at
loyjoniece@aol.com. It's available 24/7 haha.
Go Here to read Joniece's original post on her blog.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Adoption Photography

One of my passions is photography. I love it. I love being able to capture memories. One of my favorite types of photography is adoption photography. Today I wanted to highlight some of my favorite photographers that have done, or do adoption photography.

First there is the very first one I ever saw. Kati from Priceless Impressions in Utah did some amazing photography for Sara and Issac when they adopted their baby girl Hazel. Seriously gorgeous images such as Hazel's First Days and their sealing.

Next we have Speckled Bird Art in Nevada. This one was brought to my attention by mrs. r. Jessie, the photographer for Speckled Bird Art went with her friends to India when they adopted their little girl and captured every wonderful, beautiful moment.

Next we have Tonja Day with Tonja Day Photography in Utah. Tonja is the aunt of Que and Brittany's precious Liam's birth mom. Seriously, if you haven't seen her stunning images yet, you have to.

And last but not least, I wanted to tell you about a website called Celebrating Adoption. This website features adoption photographers in just about every state. So if you are looking for one in your state, be sure to check out this site.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Site For Birth Mothers By Birth Mothers

A few months ago on Adoption Voices I saw a post by a woman named Jessa who placed her daughter for adoption a year ago. She started a website called "The Site For Birthmothers, By Birthmothers".


As a hopeful adoptive mom I have a great love for Birth Mother's and the sacrifice they make for their precious little ones. Part of the reason we chose the agency we chose is because LDS Family Services has an amazing Birth Mother Support Program which includes Support Groups where you can talk to, get to know, and become friends with other Birth Mom's who know what it is you are going through. Because lets face it, no matter how much someone may love you, they don't know what you're going through unless they went through it too.


This is Jessa's reasoning behind her site. There are several birth mom's who share their journeys and answer questions from other woman who are faced with an unexpected pregnancy and aren't sure what to do.


If you or someone you know is placed with an unexpected pregnancy and have questions about adoption, contact The Site For Birthmothers By Birthmothers at their email address birthmothers4adoption@gmail.com.

Friday, November 27, 2009

What NOT to say to a Birth Mom

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We spent the day with my dad and stepmom and a bunch of family in Logan. (pictures to come) It was a wonderful day. I hope you read yesterday's Thanksgiving Post about the Birth Mother Baskets. It really is a great thing.
As for today's post, this is the one I originally had scheduled for yesterday, but the Birth Mother Baskets seemed more fitting. Today's post is actually sharing What NOT to say to a Birth Mom.
I've seen several lists like these two floating around the internet, but these two are my favorite.
(Today's post is long, but in my opinion, worth the read)
So, What shouldn't you say to a birth mom?
Both of these lists are from birth mom's I have already introduced you to.
This first one is from Andee:
(To see Andee's full post, click on the link above)


1. Don't say things like: "Why didn't/don't you just give me the baby? Obviously you don't want 'it'"
There is little that someone could say to me that would offend me more than this statement. The funniest part about this, is that the first girl that said this to me was 18 years old and still senior in high school at the time. I was so angry with her that I let her know how much she offended me and was quite blunt. Usually I don't tell someone when I've been offended by them... She hasnt' talked to me since.

2. Don't say "Well I had my child out of wedlock and parented as a single parent...and they turned out just fine."
in other words you might as well say, "I can't belive you placed your child for adoption in a home with BOTH parents. That was seriously the wrong decision and I have less respect for you because of it." If you do not agree with my decision to place, either ASK QUESTIONS about why I placed...nicely...instead of being downright rude, or keep your opinions to yourself. If you ask me questions, I will be more than happy to honestly answer. I want more than anything to educate those people that are not aware of the miracle of adoption on THE MIRACLE OF ADOPTION.

Anyone that knows the truth about adoption, can't have negative feelings towards it. I don't see how that is possible. However, there is opposition in all things so I guess you never know.

3. don't say: "I can't believe you gave your baby away"
First off, I didn't 'give Avery away' I placed her for adoption. There is a difference. A huge difference. and Second, giving something away means giving it to someone that you (most likely) don't know and never wanting anything to do with it again. That's not the case. I knew Dustin and Andrea well before I placed Avery into their arms, to be adopted by them, so that she could have a family to be sealed to and two parents in the same home that love each other. AND I definitely want A LOT to do with Avery. That is why this is an open adoption. I love her more than anything and I always ALWAYS want to know how she is doing.

4. If you are married, pregnant and parenting this baby, do NOT complain to a birthmother OR an infertile couple, about your pregnancy.
Don't complain about how long you have to wait or how uncomfortable you are because I can GUARANTEE that when you DO complain to these people, you are causing much grief emotionally on their end. When I was pregnant, I complained about how long it was taking because I knew I wasn't getting anything in the end except more pain and heartache. I want more than anything to be able to create my own child and carry him/her for nine months and THEN parent him/her after he/she is born. It's hard to explain, but it's very hard to hear an expectant mother complain to me about how miserable she is. I just want to strangle her when she does and I'm sure infertile mothers feels the same way. I just want to say to her "At least this is YOUR child and you're not going to be dealing with incredible emotional pain after she is born."

5. Don't complain about being a mother
I'm sure this goes for adoptive parents too. I know that when the time is right for me to have my own kids, I will be so eternally grateful that I can be their mother. I will cherish every moment with them. So don't complain to me about how hard motherhood is. It's harder to give birth to your child and then willingly relinquish your rights as a mother. Until you have done that, don't complain.

6. Don't say "There are people out there who have it worse than you"
Frankly, this shouldn't be said about ANY trial a person is going through regardless of what it is. Saying that does NOT make the pain any easier. Saying that to someone is completely belittling their trial and that is SO wrong to do. I'm sure the person going through it doesn't think they have it worse than everyone else in this world, I know I don't. But it still hurts. Belittling it does not make them feel any better in fact for me, it makes me feel worse.

7. Don't treat someone placing their child for adoption as 'not that big of a deal'
I heard a story the other day. A good friend of mine had just BARELY placed and she was showing her coworkers pictures of her. One of them walked up to her and said "Cute baby, too bad you gave her away." and then walked away. WOW. That's SOO insensitive. Apparantly this person has NO idea what she had just gone through.

This next one is by Jill:

How to Irritate a Birth Mom
(To see Jill's full post, click on the link above)


1. “Didn’t you want her?”
“Are you serious?” is how I always want to respond to this. I don’t know a single birth mother who didn’t want her baby. I wanted Roo more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my life. If I had to choose between breathing and Roo, Roo would win every time. I wanted her, and I do want her, and I love her. But this wasn’t about me or what I wanted. It couldn’t be. It had to be about what was best for Roo, and adoption was it.

2. “I could never do that.”
This one is infamous in the adoption world. I think this of all statements is the one that most would consider harmless. But when I hear that, I want to ask, “Why? Why couldn’t you do that? Wouldn’t you want the best for your baby?” So often the tone in which it is said implies that the birth mother has erred or acted impulsively or been careless, or that she did it because she doesn’t love her child. Adoption is not a choice made lightly or impulsively, and it is certainly not made because of a lack of love. Adoption *is* love. As my friend Tamra says, if I’d loved my baby just an ounce less, I would have kept her. I placed her because I love her.
I also liked Tamra’s advice to me on dealing with this comment. She said to tell people, “No, you probably couldn’t,” in a tone that implies that I am a much stronger person than they are.

If you would say to a birth mom, “I could never do that” to try to tell her that you admire her strength and courage, consider phrasing it differently. Just tell her that you admire her strength and courage and that you can’t imagine how hard it must have been for her.

3. “I’m sure you did what was best for you.”
Someone actually said this to me and I wanted to hurt them. Does anyone really, truly believe that I chose adoption for my sake? It wasn’t best for me. What was best for me was keeping and parenting the daughter I loved so very much. Placing her was hell for me, certainly not best for me. If it was about me, I’d still be a single mother. I did what was best for Roo. Period.

4. “Will she call you mom when she’s older?”
Of course not. Why would she? I’m not her mother. M is her mother. She can call me whatever she wants to. “Jill” would work just fine.

5. “Won’t she be confused about who her mom is, having you in her life?”
Well, let’s see. One of us will feed her, dress her, bathe her, read to her, sing songs with her, play with her, teach her, give her hugs and kisses and tend to her boo-boos and take her to primary and listen when she talks and make sure she’s happy and healthy and smart, be married to Roo’s father and live in the same home, in short, be her mother; and one of us will … visit from time to time. Nope, sorry, I don’t see any confusion there.

Roo will know that she grew in my tummy before she was born, and that I made sure she got to her mommy and daddy. I don’t think she will ever, for a second, be confused about exactly who is her mother.

Going along with that question, people will opine that openness must surely mess with a child’s identity and sense of self. Well, how on earth does having more people in Roo’s life who love her, mess with her? You can’t spoil a child with love. Roo has two families who love her. She will know exactly who she is. Studies show that open adoption is mutually beneficial. All members of the adoption triad find peace and joy in openness.

6. “Oh, you took the easy way out.”
This is another statement that makes me want to hurt the speaker. There hasn’t been a single easy thing about adoption. I didn’t place Roo because being her mother was too hard. Being a mother wasn’t something I wanted out of! What was hard was placing her for adoption. I have never felt sorrow and despair so deep as I did when I drove home from LDSFS without Roo in the car. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life and the pain nearly undid me. Don’t think for one second that adoption is the easy way out. It’s not easy and it’s not an out.

7. “Well, now that she’s been adopted, you can get back to being young and having fun.”
Oh, honestly. I couldn’t believe it when someone said that to me. Did they really think that I placed Roo because she was interfering with my social life? I would take Roo over fun and youth in a second. But I can’t have Roo. So I go out with friends instead. That doesn’t mean I placed her so I could go out and have fun.

8. “You made the right decision.” (said with an air of judgmental superiority)
Well, thanks. I’m sure glad to know that you thought I made the wrong decision when I single parented for nine weeks. And thanks for judging me and deciding what’s right for me and my baby, too. Because that was totally your call to make.
Adoption was the right decision for Roo, but not right away, and I don’t think that it’s the right decision for everyone. When someone says this to me, I wonder what they say to single mothers, women who chose parenting over adoption. “You made the wrong decision”? How rude and judgmental!

Yes, I made the right decision for Roo. But the rightness of it was for me to determine, and I don’t need anyone else to confirm it for me.

9. “You know, you could have sold her for millions! People will pay a killing for a healthy white baby.”
People will say this jokingly, but it always makes me sick. A child is not a commodity to be bought and sold. I didn’t place her for any kind of physical gain and I never, ever would. No one should. Period.

10. “Will she know that you’re her real mom?”
Sorry, I’m not her “real” mom. M is. And what’s a real mom, anyway? I didn’t place Roo with a family of cardboard cutouts. Calling me Roo’s real mom implies that M is … what, her fake mom? Uh-uh. I am Roo’s birth mother, not her real mother. Same goes for the phrase “natural mother.” What constitutes an unnatural mother? There’s a lot of negative adoption language out there I’d like to change, like …

11. “Oh, what made you decide to give your baby away?”
Excuse me, but I didn’t give her away. I didn’t put up an ad on Craigslist, “I’m giving away my baby, does anyone want her?” I placed her for adoption, but I certainly didn’t and wouldn’t ever give her away. I gave her a family. People who ask this question always want to know when P and M will tell Roo that she’s “not really theirs.” That’s funny. I was under the impression that she was really theirs. Hmm. That’s news to me! Whose is she then?

Thank you Andee and Jill for letting me share your posts. I love What Jill said at the end of her list. She said: " And for the record, I think the best thing to say to a birth mother is, “What a brave woman you are. You must love your baby so much to have done that for her.” And leave it at that, folks, unless she wants to talk."

Both are wonderful posts and you should definately take the time to read them both. Birth Mothers are amazing, wonderful, absolutely incredible women who we as adoptive parents, or in mine and hubby's case, hopeful adoptive parents, owe so much to. Birth Mother's deserve to be treated with respect and love. Everyone does of course, but ecspecially Birth Mother's.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Birth Mother Baskets, a way to say Thank You

I had a different post planned for today, but I will share that one tomorrow. Today is Thanksgiving. It seems fitting that todays post should be a way to say Thank You to wonderful, amazing, incredible, Birth Mothers.
We haven't been chosen yet, but already I feel such a love for our future Birth Mom.
In planning out this weeks posts I had this one planned for tomorrow, but I think it needs to be today.
A few weeks ago in reading my daily blogs that I read I ran across a post about a website called Birth Mother Baskets. Birth Mother Baskets is an organization started by a Birth Mother who placed her daughter 9 years ago.
When a Mother goes into the hospital to have her baby, she leaves with her baby. When a Birth Mother goes to the hospital to have her baby, she leaves with empty arms.
Birth Mother Baskets are filled with items such as blankets, candles, lotions, etc. Each basket is unique and is lovingly given to a Birth Mother to carry out of the hospital as she leaves so she doesn't leave with empty arms. What a wonderful way to say thank you to your Birth Mother or to another Birth Mother.
On this day of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for this wonderful adoption world. I am so grateful for the amazing people I have met. I'm thankful for my family, for my husband and my daughter. I'm grateful for the gospel and the blessing it is in our lives. I'm grateful for our home, for our extended family and friends. And, I'm grateful we got a killer deal on a 2nd car (this is the first time we have had 2 cars in our entire marriage, trust me, it was needed. lol)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Birth Mom's Journey: Andee's Story

Several months ago I came across Andee's blog. Andee is a birth mom to a beautiful 1 yr old named Avery. Andee has an open adoption with Avery and her parents (a very open adoption, I love open adoption because of journey's like Andee's).
Andee is a birth mom advocate, and is going to school to be a social worker where her plans are to be a social worker for birth moms who are looking to place or have placed for adoption. Andee amazes me. Her journey has become one of strength and love that she has used to help others.
I don't think I can tell Andee's story any better then she can. She put together a video that tells her journey and what led her to place Avery into her parents loving arms. Seriously, how cute is Avery! She is an absolute doll! Turn your sound up, and grab the tissues, you'll need them.



Find more videos like this on Adoption Voices
Thank you Andee for letting me share your journey. For more of Andee's journey, in her words, go here, here, here and here

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Profile back online!

Just wanted to update real quick, our caseworker emailed this afternoon. Our background checks are back and our adoption file is officially updated. So that means our profile with the agency is back online!!! Here is the link: https://www.itsaboutlove.org/ial/profiles/22889225/ourMessage.jsf
Be sure to check out today's Birth Mom's Journey below this post. :D

A Birth Mom's Journey: Jill's Story

About a month ago I was blog hopping and I came across a blog that had me capitvated from word 1. Jill is a birth mom who placed her daughter Roo (not her daughters real name of course, Roo is a nickname she gave her) for adoption only a couple of months ago. At the time I started reading I think she had placed a little less then 6 weeks before.
I went back and spent several hours reading every single one of Jill's posts. Jill gives you an inside look at what adoption and placement is like for a birth mom. I can't tell you how many times I cried, how many tears I shed. Jill is a trully trully amazing woman.
Placement is not easy for a birth mom, and Jill makes no secret of that. She describes every emotion she felt as she felt them. She started the blog right before placement, and describes every last feeling in a way that I felt like I was there watching her go through them. My insides felt like they were being ripped out as I read her feelings at placement and the days following. I love that she did that, because placement isn't easy at all. But with time, comes healing and even the ability to see the good in life. Jill describes how much each new day helps her. Yes, she still have those hard days, and she misses her Roo more then anything.
Jills journey is trully one of hope. I already had such an amazing love for birth mothers before reading Jills blog, but after reading her journey, I can't even tell you how much my love has grown for what our future birth mom will go through for her little one, and my desire for an open adoption is even greater then it was before if that is what our birth mom wants.
Be sure to read Jill's journey in her words here at her blog.
Thank you Jill for letting me share your story.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Jami's Journey

Yesterday I shared with you the story of my cousin Jenn, who placed her son for adoption 5 years ago. Jami agreed to share their story, and how Jenn changed their lives.
Thank you David and Jami!
Jami's Journey in her words:
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My husband and I were excited to find out we were pregnant with our first baby. Then, at 25 weeks along, I became sick with severe pre-eclampsia and HELLP Syndrome. I was hospitalized, the baby was given steroids to help develop her lungs, and I delivered my baby at 26 weeks. Severely premature, she weighed 1lb, 12oz and was 13 ¼ inches long. She was beautiful. Kiley broke all the rules in the hospital for premature babies, breathing on her own so early, not needing blood transfusions. My husband and I got to hold her three different times by the time she was eight days old! Then on her 9th day of life, she contracted an infection from the bacteria in the air, and she passed away on her tenth day of life. We were devastated, heartbroken and so empty. We have a blessed knowledge of where she is and that there is a special plan for her, but our arms were extremely empty, and our hearts were shattered.

As soon as my doctor gave me the ok six months later, we tried to get pregnant again, but there was a bit of a wait; it took eight months but we were excited to be pregnant again! We went into this new pregnancy with hopes that things would go better this time. However, after our daughter passed away, we learned that I have three different blood clotting disorders that make it inevitable that I would have pre-eclampsia again. At 11 ½ weeks along, I miscarried. We were so confused. Why should anyone have to suffer so much? All we wanted was to raise a child, to cuddle them in our arms, to teach them to tie their shoe, to help them with their homework, teach them to play baseball, teach them to drive a car and watch them get married and have their own children. Doctors told me that it was not a good thing for me to be pregnant. I was completely hopeless.

My thoughts turned to adoption, which had been in our minds from years before. Growing up, I always believed being adopted would be cool. A few times, I even asked my mom if I was adopted! When my husband and I were first married, we often talked about adoption and how neat it would be to adopt a child; though we didn't plan to adopt until we were done having children of our own. After much thought, my husband and I talked about our dream to adopt, and after prayer we knew that the time had come for us to proceed with adoption. We received the paperwork two days after my miscarriage, on October 17, 2003, and I was feeling hope once again. I just knew that we would be blessed with a beautiful child that would be just right for our family.

In February 2004, we became certified through the state to adopt. Wahoo!!!!! We posted our profile and were so excited at the idea of adoption finally becoming real. I happened to meet a young woman in Florida who was expecting. We became friends through communicating online, and she asked me if I could send her my profile, and that she and her boyfriend wanted to place their child for adoption. “I’d rather wait until I can afford to buy my baby Nike’s, and not worry about where we are going to live and how we will survive,” she told me.

On Mothers' Day 2004, the young woman and her boyfriend contacted our family and asked us to raise their child. We were overjoyed! Of course we would! The baby was due at the end of July 2004. Then, one month before he was born, the birth mom changed her mind and chose to raise him herself. I expected to be devastated once again. I expected to be heartbroken. And while my husband and I were upset over this, we also felt a peace about it. We had faith that there was a baby who needed us.

Two weeks later (July 2004), our case worker called and told us that he had a letter for us from a birth mom. We rushed over to his office and opened up a sweet letter from a birth mom. “Congratulations, you’re having a boy!” the letter said. Oh wow! The birth mom had found our profile and felt like we were the family her son needed. Things just felt so right. Our birth mom also included her picture. She was so pretty! My husband and I were overwhelmed with gratitude for her. We couldn’t wait to meet her. We were so lucky, our birth mom lived in our state, 45 minutes away from us, and we shared the same case worker. Our meeting day came. I had butterflies in my stomach. Would she like us in person? Would she still want to place her baby after he was born? She brought her parents, her sister and her niece with her to our meeting, and after introductions, both my husband and I felt such a love for each member of her family and to our birth mom. Not only did we feel love, but we felt like we were a part of each others' heart.
Mama Jenn (our birth mom) and I communicated daily through emails, getting to know each other and sharing our days with each other. As an adoptive mom, I cherished this as it was a way that I could get to know her, so someday I could share things about her with my soon-to-be son. Mama Jenn was very open with us and welcomed us right into her life. We are so blessed to have her in our lives. Before Mama Jenn gave birth, we met for dinner one more time. It was so much fun to see her again, to laugh with her and truly enjoy her and her family. The day my husband I had been waiting for finally came. Andrew was born on a Saturday evening October 30, 2004, one year and two weeks after receiving our initial paperwork. I remember his birthday day so clearly. We bought a dresser for his room and had our car seat checked to make sure it was installed properly. Andrew was born at 8:08 p.m., and we received a phone call around 8:30 p.m. from our case worker. “All, I know is that the baby is here, Jenn is asking for you to come, but she’s in tears.” We hurried--I’m not sure if hurried is the right word, rather, we raced to the hospital. We entered Jenn’s room and I just wanted to cry for her. I imagined she’d been through so much. As it turned out, Jenn was in tears was because Andrew couldn’t be in her room; he needed to be monitored in the nursery for some medical concerns due to his birth. After all we’d been through with our children; she wanted to give us the perfect baby. Oh my gosh, she did give us the perfect baby! My heart was overwhelmed once again with gratitude and love for Jenn. She was the most selfless and charitable person I’d ever met. We are so thankful to her. We got to meet our little boy soon after that. Oh my goodness, he was so cute! He was so precious to us. When the nurse placed Andrew in my arms, I wept. It felt so good to have not just any baby in my arms, but my baby in my arms. Words just can’t express all that went on in my heart. Joy, healing, relief, humble, peaceful, ecstatic… the list goes on.
I had the privilege of staying in the hospital with Jenn, and then due to the minor medical issues when he was born, Jenn and I, as his two moms, sent him off to another hospital. We were able to join Andrew very shortly and the next day he was released and able to come home. I asked Jenn if she would like to help me dress him, and we worked together to get him ready to go. Then it was time to leave. At this point I could no longer hold in the tears. This sweet and selfless mother was giving her son the best gift ever-- a mother and a father, a family, and that family was mine! I’ve thanked Mama Jenn before, but I’m not sure that I will ever be able to express my most sincere thanks to her for her sacrifice.

This birth mom changed my life. She changed my husband’s life. She filled a hole that nobody else could fill. We will love her forever.

While pregnancies had not been successful for us in the past, we found out we were pregnant right before we received Jenn's letter in July 2004. Everyone involved (doctors, our case worker and family) in the pregnancy felt I was able to carry our daughter for a good amount of time because I was more relaxed; I was not as stressed because I knew we'd end up with Andrew in the long run.

I gave birth to Kortnie eight weeks early. Things were going very well in my pregnancy and then one night I thought I was in preterm labor, went to the hospital and found out I was having an abruption and my placenta was tearing off my uterus. She was born via emergency c-section and stayed in the nicu for 1 month before coming home.

Andrew and Kortnie are 10.5 weeks apart and are the very best of friends. As you can imagine, we get a lot of questions about how they can be so close in age! We have also been blessed with another daughter, Kaitlyn who was born May 2009. We were overjoyed that it was a full term pregnancy and she was a healthy baby. All of our children have truly made our family complete.

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Thank you again Jami and Jenn for letting me share your journey's!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Birth Mom's Journey: Jenn's Story

This week I am featuring birth mom's. I have contacted a few birth mom's who have all been happy to let me share their stories. I will also have other information this week on how to support birth mom's, what not to say to a birth mom, and more.
The first birth mom I would like to spotlight is very dear to me. My cousin Jenn placed her son Andrew for adoption 5 years ago. This is her story, in her words:
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I had always liked Michael McLean, and had always had a bond with the song "From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours". I had always loved the story since he released the song, and listened to it often. Michael is the reason I gave Andrew up for adoption. Here's my story: I was living a life of sin when I found out I was pregnant with Andrew. It was February 2004 and I was living in UT going to college for massage therapy. All my family was in AZ, but I thought I wanted freedom so I chose the UT campus rather than staying at the AZ campus and living at home. I had been kicked out of school in December after flunking too many finals and my GPA being too low. I had just lost my job the week before I got pregnant. I turned to the internet for comfort and found a guy who wanted company. “R” was 24, lived at home, and I was 18 still. I met him at his place and the rest is history. We began fooling around doing things we weren't supposed to, but he wasn't a member of my church, and at the time I didn't care. I found out after “R” and I stopped hanging out, when I found out “R” couldn't work due to a mental disability, so therefore couldn't support a child. When the test came up positive, I knew he was the dad since he was the only one I'd been with. I called my mom in tears, she bought me a flight home and I broke my lease at the apartments (luckily without a fee since it was student housing).

I moved home but moved in with my sister “S” and her now ex-husband. I thought I wanted to keep the baby and be a single mom. My sister is not active in the church and was willing to help me raise the baby. I applied for state aid and was accepted for WIC and Food Stamps. My parents told me that I could always move home and they would help me out, but I would have to place the baby for adoption. After not finding a job, I began thinking about moving back home. My parents had me meet with a birth-parent volunteer, who was just that... she was a birth-mom volunteer who took time out of her day to be there to talk to. No pressure, no forcing, just someone to talk to. I started meeting with her regularly and decided to place Andrew up for adoption. I was probably 3 months along at this time. I moved home, started meeting with the bishop (church leader of our local congregation) for counseling, and continued to meet with “L” (birth mom volunteer). I also started meeting with Jason from LDS Family Services. He helped me be sure that this was the decision I wanted to make, and then helped me explore my options. When it kicked in that I was really doing this, I began listening to Michael's song more and more. It made me cry, thinking about what I was doing, that I would be giving a couple a gift they couldn't give themselves. I learned how to search for couples and read their stories. After searching for a month and praying, I finally came across David and Jami's profile. I read their story and I knew they were the ones. They had just lost their daughter not even 2 yrs before (August 2002). She was born premature due to a condition that Jami gets when she becomes pregnant. Kiley was born early, lived to be 10 days old and was taken off oxygen and put on room air because her breathing was improving. She died the next day from an infection in the air. I kept reading and discovered they liked to do things outdoors, they were active, liked to play sports and travel. Jami was a nurse but was looking to stay home when they had a baby, so I knew she would know what to do if the baby was hurt, sick, or in any danger.

After choosing David and Jami, I met with my counselor and found out that he worked with them, so he could contact them asap for a meeting. I discussed the pros and cons of open adoption and decided that's what I wanted. Luckily David and Jami were okay with that. I found out I was having a boy and sent them an e-mail. Of course they were delighted and had asked if I had any names picked out. Since I was trying not to get attached to the baby, I left it up to them. They decided on Andrew.

The rest of the pregnancy I don't remember much. I did get “R” to sign over paternity, thankfully, so I didn't need to fight him for it. The next thing I remember is the day my water broke. It was October 30 and I was 36 weeks along. It was a Saturday and the ward trunk or treat was that night. My dad was going to be gone all day at a YSA conference (young single adult as an advisor). I woke up at 4:30 to my water breaking (though I didn't know that's what that was). I ran into the bathroom around the corner from my bedroom as water was leaking out of me. I couldn't hold it so I knew I wasn't going to the bathroom. When I got changed, I went to my parent's room and got my mom. They were both up as my dad needed to leave by 6 (he had a 2 hr drive to get to where he was going). My mom confirmed it was my water, helped clean it up (thank goodness for tile in the bathrooms... he he he), and got me situated on the couch in the living room. She called my sister “H” who had been taking me to dr's appts all along (my mom was scared to go and get attached to the heartbeat). My sister came over and my dad stayed home to watch my sisters daughter, since my sister's husband was gone for the weekend at work. My mom hopped in the shower since my contractions weren't bad and then we left for the hospital. They got me up and hooked on monitors. I was only 1 cm along, but since my water had broken they admitted me. I spent the day watching shows on TLC (that's the only thing on tv on Saturday). My labor eventually progressed after they put me on petossin and I later got an epidural. Around 5:30 I called my LDS Family Services counselor to let him know that I would be delivering soon. He told me to call him back after I had Andrew and he would call the David and Jami. At 8:30 pm, I delivered Andrew. He was 6 lbs. 13 oz and 19" long. He had dark hair and was so handsome. He came out not breathing, and I began crying knowing that David and Jami were on their way and their baby isn't breathing. They luckily were able to get him to cry, got him cleaned up, wrapped up in a blanket and brought him over to see me. I was still crying and knowing I had chosen not to hold him made me cry harder. After getting me cleaned up, sewn up and new bedding and gown on, Jason arrived with David and Jami in tow. They were given bracelets to the NICU since Andrew was needing help breathing and his heart beat was irregular. Jami decided she wanted to spend the night in my post-partum room to be closer to Andrew and spend more time with me. My parents, sister, Jason and David left my room and I was wheeled over to my new room. I remember getting up several times, and we (Jami and I) would go see Andrew in the NICU. When we woke up it was Halloween and I was faced with having to transfer Andrew. The hospital I had delivered at was new and didn't have the equipment to take care of Andrew for very long. Signing away papers knowing I would never see him again, was hard. He was transferred via ambulance to another hospital, and I was checked out of the hospital and sent home. My parents met up with David and Jami and decided to take me to the new hospital so I could see him. When he was released 2 days later, I remember holding him in their room. I remember helping Jami get him dressed and him being so small. I remember crying, knowing I wouldn't see him for years to come... We took pictures of all of us in the foyer, said our good-byes and I left the hospital without a baby. I felt so empty inside, yet I knew that Heavenly Father would bless me later on for what I had done for David and Jami.

As it turns out, I was able to see Andrew one more time. We had put our house on the market since my dad had accepted a job in IA, and so we would be moving. We met up with David and Jami at a central location, close to the hospital since Jami had just delivered her daughter Kortnie days earlier. Kortnie came early, but was a fighter and was released after only 2 weeks in the NICU. It was the first week of January and we would be moving in 2 weeks. We exchanged Christmas presents, where they gave me a photo album, a poem about Andrew with his footprints on it, and a picture of him framed. I gave them a couple of things from the church bookstore, and a letter that I had written to Andrew for him to open when he turns 18. In the letter I quoted the lyrics to Michael McLean's song "From God's Arms to My Arms to Yours". The rest is history and we've been exchanging e-mails, pictures, letters ever since. I was able to set up how often I want to get letters and pictures, and as time went on we became "friends" on facebook, and I was given their blog address so now I can see pictures of Andrew whenever.
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Bloggers note: Jenn and her husband have been married for 3 ½ years and live in California with their 2 daughters. Thank you Jenn for letting me share your story. Love you Cousin!

Jami, Andrew's adoptive mom has consented to share her journey as well
so, stay tuned tomorrow for Jami’s story.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

National Adoption Day!

Today is National Adoption Day! I stole today's post from mrs. r who posted this yesterday on her blog. In this video Nia Vardalos from "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" talks about how adoption and motherhood has changed her life and about what is happening today on National Adoption Day. Love it!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Trust

I can't sleep. It's 4a.m. and I'm still awake. I don't have anymore couples to profile, but I did want to point out on the right sidebar you will see different categories of blogs. One is birth mom blogs, and I'll talk about that next week. Another is families brought together through adoption, another is my favorite photography blogs, and the other one is families hoping to adopt. Some of them are the ones I profiled this week, but there are a bunch of others, so be sure to check them out.
Anyhow, I wanted to share this with you for today's post. Last Saturday I talked about how when we get discouraged, trusting that things will fall into place. I love this video. Enjoy! (Thanks goes out to Brittany who posted it on FB earlier this week, I've seen it before but it was nice to have the reminder.)

(Of you have trouble viewing the video, it is on Youtube under Mormon Messages, titled Trusting in the Lord)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another Hopeful Family: Clayton and Angie

This week I want to highlight other hopeful adoptive families. My reasoning is simple. My hope is, that if a young woman considering adoption visits our blog and decides we aren't the right family for her and her baby, she may find another couple who just may be the right ones. So in highlighting other couples, if I can help just 1 birthmom find her family, I will be happy.


Yesterday I shared with you the story of Clayton and Angie and their journey to find their son Adam and his birth mom. Today I wanted to share with you their hope to adopt another baby and make Adam a big brother. Take a minute to get to know them and see if they are the family for you and your baby:


Hi! We are Clayton, Angie and Adam, a happy family of 3 that can't wait to be a family of 4!!
We have so much love to share with another child and are eagerly anticipating what it will be like for Adam to be a big brother!


We met during our senior year of high school and started dating shortly after graduation. After 4 years of never been apart we were married in June 2000! We have been married for 9 1/2 years and have experienced many changes in our lives since then!


Clayton was diagnosed with Cancer 6 years ago and after a couragous fight he beat the disease! He is a healthy and active person who enjoys cross country biking. This summer he rode over 800 miles and is hoping to ride more next year! Clayton has a great sense of humor as well as an amazing outlook on life, he is always happy and always has a smile on his face! he works full time as a web designer and considers himself very blessed to have a job that he enjoys so much.
Angie is fun energetic and creative person! She enjoys cooking, scrapbooking, and her biggest passion is photography. She loves being a mom and is grateful to be home full time with Adam. Angie is a convert to the LDS church. She had the priveldge of being baptized by Clayton 2 1/2 years after they were married and they were sealed in the Manti temple the following year.
Adam is an energetic, fun and loving 2 year old! He loves animals more than anything! He came to us through the miracle of adoption and we are so blessed to have him in our family. He is surrounded by grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins that ADORE him. We know it will not be any different with our next child. We have an amazing and close knit family that can't wait for our family to grow.


All of the trials and experiences we have been through have shaped who we are today. We are especially grateful for the many lessons we have learned through our infertility and adoption journey. Open adoption is a natural choice for us. We want our children to know where they came from, who they look like and why they are so very special. We have learned so much from Adam's birth mother about love, sacrafice and inner-strength. She is an amazing person and we love her so much!
Adoption is about love...we look at it as a very sacred exchange that was not done lightly on either side.
We are thankful for a loving Father in Heaven. He knows us, He loves us and He can comfort us during our great times of need.
We feel blessed and priveledged to be on this journey!



For more information about Clayton, Angie and Adam, be sure to check out:

Their Blog Wishing and Hoping Contact info can be found here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Success stories: Clayton and Angie

O.k. I know what you're thinking, you're thinking, success story? Sharon, you said this week was featuring other families hoping to adopt. Well, it is, but I wanted to feature this story today. Last week I got a sweet comment on my blog from Angie who had read Erin's story (I talked about this in Saturday's post). I emailed her and asked her if I could feature her and her family this week with my hoping to adopt posts. She said yes, and sent me their story. But she also sent the beautiful journey of their son Adam's adoption. So I wanted to share that with you today. Tomorrow I will tell you a little more about them and their hope to adopt another bundle of joy. But for today, sit back and enjoy their journey to find their son Adam. (And seriously, how stinkin' cute is he!!!! I just wanna pull him through my computer screen and hug him! Sooo cute!) Thank you Angie, for letting me share your journey.
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We had been signed up with LDS Family services for almost one year and had just experienced our first "failed" placement..if you can call it that. We had met a lovely birth-mother who was placing through LDS and we were one of the 2 families she was considering. When she met us she was 5 months pregnant. We continued a relationship with her all the way up until 2 weeks before she was due and were still waiting to find out which couple she chose for her baby. I will never forget the day she called me on my cell phone to tell me she had chosen the other couple. I cried and cried.... I spent about a month feeling completely sorry for myself. Then one day I got the impression that we weren't doing enough to find our child and that we needed to do more. I had a discussion with our caseworker and she suggested that we consider foster care. She told me about an FSA chapter meeting the following week that would have a class on foster care and answer any questions we might have. My husband and I prayed about it but weren't sure if this is the direction we were supposed to take. At the same time I was having very strong promptings that we HAD to attend the FSA chapter meeting no matter what! At the time I had no idea that this wasn't even our local chapter of FSA and that we were driving clear out of our way to attend the meeting! It took some convincing to get my husband to attend because he wasn't sure about foster care but I assured him that I couldn't deny this prompting and that we had to go. When we arrived at the meeting house we walked around trying to find the foster care class but were re-directed into the main room for a "welcome" meeting that was to happen before the classes started.
The meeting was a collaboration between LDSFS and adoption agencies in Utah so that we could learn more about them and how they work. One by one the representatives from the agencies got up to tell a little bit about themselves. When the rep from Heart to Heart Adoptions stood up and started speaking it was as if the air stood still in the room...my husband and I could both feel such a STRONG spirit that we were both overcome by emotion! We looked at each other and we instantly knew this is why we had been prompted to attend the FSA meeting. We signed up with the agency immediately following the meeting and left more excited than ever!! ( This was in November 2006) at the end of June 2007 we were told that we had been chosen by a birthmother and our son was due in 5 weeks!
We were able to spend those 5 weeks getting to know D. and fell in love with her! She is amazing, strong, sweet and kind! She gave up her own desires so that her son could have a chance at a better life and we know it was not an easy sacrifice.
The day our son was born was amazing! We were both in the delivery room and I actually got to cut the umbilical cord! Those next few days were sacred so I won't write much about it but I can say I've never experienced so much joy and saddness all at the same time... No one ever prepares you for what it will be like to walk out of a room with some one else's child.
We love D. and we fully believe in an open loving relationship with her. She deserves it and so does our son. I want him to know where he came from, who he looks like and where he gets some of his most amazing qualities from. He is an active, happy 2 year old and he looks just like his D. He is our miracle and we are so blessed and priveledged to be his parents!
Incidently-the time line between recieving the prompting to sign with Heart to Heart and when our son was born was...yep..nine months!! I'm grateful for a loving Father in Heaven that answered our prayers and for the promptings of the Holy Ghost that helped us find our son!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Hopeful Family: Jeremy and Leslie

This week I want to highlight other hopeful adoptive families. My reasoning is simple. My hope is, that if a young woman considering adoption visits our blog and decides we aren't the right family for her and her baby, she may find another couple who just may be the right ones. So in highlighting other couples, if I can help just 1 birthmom find her family, I will be happy.

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Seriously, is this not the cutest family? Meet Jeremy and Leslie. Emma is their daughter, brought to them through a wonderful birthmother 2 years ago. Emma wants to be a big sister. Take a moment to meet them and see if they are the family for you.

For more information on Jeremy, Leslie & Emma, check:
Their blog When You Wish Upon A Star or
Their LDSFS Profile

Monday, November 16, 2009

Another Hopeful Family: Lincoln and Megan

This week I want to highlight other hopeful adoptive families. My reasoning is simple. My hope is, that if a young woman considering adoption visits our blog and decides we aren't the right family for her and her baby, she may find another couple who just may be the right ones. So in highlighting other couples, if I can help just 1 birthmom find her family, I will be happy.

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Lincoln & Megan are hopeful adoptive parents from Washington waiting to adopt a baby.
If you are pregnant and considering placing your child for adoption, please read the following Dear Birthmother Letter

Hello Expectant Parents,

We have written this letter to the birth parents of our children. As you read it, we trust that if destiny meant for us to find one another, you will recognize that this letter was written for you.

We wish any prospective birth parent who reads this comfort in the weeks and months to come, and peace in their journey.

We have worried and fretted over what to write in this letter. How do you write a letter to someone you haven't yet met, but that means the world to you? How do we express our awe in the love you have for your baby? What do you say to a person who will deliver to you your dreams and your future? What words could we write that would capture the emotion and gratitude that we feel? We have done the best we can. We have simply written what is in our hearts.

In the midst of a very personal situation you are considering a decision that would heal the hollow place of a family. You are showing a maturity and a love for your child that we admire beyond description.

Your courage will be the greatest gift we have ever received, but more importantly, your courage will be a treasured gift to your child. The amazing love you have for your baby will provide the promise of a brilliant future for him or her. Our joy in welcoming a new little soul into our family will spill out of our hearts and wrap your little one in a blanket of love, stability, and happiness.

Many birth parents may read this letter, but when YOU read it, when you know that it was written for you, please know that you are loved. We love you in the same way that we already love our unborn child, the same way you love your unborn child. None of us have met yet, but our love precedes that anxiously awaited meeting.

When you read this letter and know that your baby is also our baby, know that you little one will be treasured and adored. He or she will be taught of the great love of their Heavenly Parents and of their First Parents.

We have been through a pregnancy. We know that parenthood does not start with the birth of a child; it begins months prior to that. You have already loved and nurtured your baby for many, many weeks. Your child will always know that you loved him or her first, that you gave them life, and that you sent them to their eternal family.

Now, here is a little bit about us.


We are a FUN family.

We like to TRAVEL and see new things. Some of the fun places we have been are: British Columbia, Oregon, California, New York and Washington DC.

We also enjoy playing board GAMES. Some of our favorite games are Settlers of Catan, gin, and cribbage. We also like “The Bean Game.” We don’t know what it’s really called because neither of us speak German and the whole game is in German, but we have a lot of fun making up our own names for the cards.

When we get a bit of FREE TIME Link likes to spend it swimming and paint-balling. Megan loves to knit and even spins and dyes much of her own yarn. John Henry loves to listen to music, go swimming, and play with our family dogs, Maggie and Logan.

Of course, if you want to play hard, you have to WORK hard first, and we know all about that. Lincoln has a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and a Doctorate of Pharmacy. He works as a pharmacist in a hospital. Megan has a bachelor’s degree in History and will graduate with her Masters in Business in June (Hurray!) She goes part time in the evenings so that she can spend her days with John Henry.

We have a big extended FAMILY that we visit or are visited by several times a year. Since Lincoln's brother has ADOPTED TWO CHILDREN, our families know how wonderful adoption can be and are already eagerly waiting the next grandchild, nephew/niece, or cousin.


In April we celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary. After 8 years, we should have a lot of good things to say about one another, don't you think??? :)

What does Megan have to say about Lincoln?

When we were engaged I started calling Link, Goofy. The nickname has stuck. He is silly and fun by nature. If he feels we haven’t had enough fun in the recent past, he will create some fun. Examples include hiding in the house to scare the life out of me, blaming an assortment of pretend animals (including a favorite “invisible dinosaur”) on all sorts of mischief, and inciting the dogs into a frenzied barking game of chase.

He is also serious and spiritual by discipline. He has worked hard his whole life and become an amazing man. He is reliable and dedicated to anything he sets his hand too. He loves to learn and often takes on challenging projects, seeking out instruction as he goes. People are inspired by Lincoln (even if he doesn’t know it) which is evident by his most recent church callings, Elder’s Quorum President and the youngest High Councilman in our Stake.

It is rare to see Lincoln sitting still unless he is asleep (a state he refers to as sweet oblivion.) He is a red-headed energizer bunny, and can match the energy of most kids. John Henry ADORES him. Whenever Lincoln leaves a room that John Henry is in, he searches for him, and then tries to following him all while laughing at his impromptu game of tag.

What does Lincoln have to say about Megan?

I am so blessed to be Megan's husband. When I am tired and grumpy she doesn't tolerate it and makes sure that my mood improves quickly. Sometimes she does this by baking some cookies or brownies. Other times she takes me out to eat so we won't have to do the dishes. She also knows when I just need a hug and is not stingy with those either. She is such a fun, accomplished, silly person that just makes life so enjoyable.

As far as accomplishments go. I am so proud that she will be graduated soon with her MBA. She has sacrificed a lot of time that she could have been relaxing to study and put projects together.

As a mother she is excellent (not that I'm biased). She and John Henry communicate well with each other, and Megan really enjoys teaching and playing with him. One of their favorite games is "Get ya” where Megan chases after John Henry while he runs away eventually catching him in a hug of laughs and kisses. Some people have asked if we are ready for another child especially Megan who would be with them all day. Honestly, I can't think of anything that would make Megan happier. She enjoys being a mom that much.

One thing that Megan enjoys almost as much as being a mom is knitting. She has knit everything from colorful socks to stylish sweaters. Her knitting is a great example of how, even in relaxation, she is making something beautiful.

A favorite memory of Megan happened on one of our first dates when I went to her apartment for dinner. During dinner I teased her about something and was instantly in her sights with a spoonful of mashed potatoes. Calling her bluff I refused to apologize. Without a second thought she nailed me in the face with the potatoes. It was then that I knew I had found a very feisty woman and would have my hands full if we stuck together and I am so happy that we did.




A bit about John Henry

John Henry is a very easy going child and is VERY social. He loves to be around other children and seeks out other toddlers where ever we go. He will make a great big brother, and a great example as well.

A bit about our Pups

Maggie is a Wire-haired Fox Terrier who loves to play fetch. We call her our nanny dog, as she will come and find us when John Henry wakes up or is upset.
Logan is a Cairn terrier. He is a lounge about cuddly dog and a chewing maniac. He loves kids and plays gently with John Henry every day. He (oddly) loves to have John Henry pull on his fur.
Both think having a child in the house is fantastic because John Henry thinks feeding them from the table is great fun.

We want to thank you again for searching for us as we have searched for you. We look forward to meeting you and wish you the best through your pregnancy.

Sincerely,

Megan, Lincoln, John Henry,
(and the dogs too, Maggie and Logan)
~~~~~~~~~~~

To learn more about Lincoln, Megan, and John Henry, Visit:
Their blog Might be Baby Wright
Their profile on Parent Profiles
Their It's About Love Profile

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Hopeful Family: Mike and Tammy


This week I want to highlight other hopeful adoptive families. My reasoning is simple. My hope is, that if a young woman considering adoption visits our blog and decides we aren't the right family for her and her baby, she may find another couple who just may be the right ones. So in highlighting other couples, if I can help just 1 birthmom find her family, I will be happy.


The first family I wanted to spotlight are dear friends of ours. I've talked about them before and in fact their blog button is on the sidebar.

We met Mike and Tammy at church when we lived in New Mexico. They are an amazing, quirky, fun, couple and we are proud to call them our friends. So take a minute and get to know Mike and Tammy. If you or someone you know if considering adoption, they may just be the couple for you.




Dear Birthmother,

It has been said:

"A Birthmother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart."

- Skye Hardwick

As we sit here wondering what to say, our hearts are filled with gratitude, love and admiration for you. We recognize the selfless love you have for your child, and admire you for the strength you are putting forth. Though we cannot begin to understand how difficult your decision is, we are so eternally grateful for your choice of looking into adoption.

We realize that your decision can only be made with a great deal of thought and effort and we hope to be able to help you by telling you a little bit about us:


Mike was raised in a family of 5 children. He maintains a very close relationship with his parents and each of his siblings. We only live about 6 hours away from Mike's parents, and we try to see them as often as we can. Mike went into the Army right after high school, where he was able to travel to Italy, Korea, and around the United States. After his time in the Army, Mike went to college and graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology. Mike loves to read, ride horses at his parents’ house, watch sports, hike and travel.

Tammy lived most of her life with her mom, step-dad and 4 siblings. Tammy is very close to her family and loves spending time with them. She has always loved public speaking, drama, and has spent a great deal of her time on stage performing in church and school plays. Tammy is pursuing her degree in Graphic/Web Design. Tammy loves to read, bake, party plan, blog, travel, and dabble in desktop publishing.

We have been married for a little over 4 years, and having children has always been a top priority for us. However, we have been met with heartache and sorrow in our efforts. We were able to conceive, but every pregnancy has been unsuccessful. Not being able to have children has been a challenge, because we feel we have much to offer a child.

We both love to laugh, be silly, and have fun. We make up jokes, funny sayings, dances, and games to keep life fun and interesting. We are huge movie buffs and go every chance we get. We also love to take road trips. We like to see the beautiful country and explore new places. We also love to play board games, whether it is just the two of us or a big group. We enjoy taking walks around our neighborhood and riding 4-wheelers in the mountains. We are very active in church and love to attend the temple as often as we can.

Adoption is very much a part of our lives already. Tammy's aunt and uncle adopted her cousin when she was just a baby. After she was adopted, they went on to have 4 more children, and they all look like their older sister!

Several years ago, Tammy's brother and his girlfriend found out they were pregnant and decided that they were not ready to be parents. After much consideration, thought and prayer, they decided to place their son for adoption. We are all comforted by the fact that their son is with parents who adore him and that he is very happy.

Mike's sister and her husband have 3 children and decided they wanted to expand their family, so they are in the process of adopting a little boy from Tonga. He should be with them soon. We can't wait to meet our new nephew!

We are interested in open adoption. We are going to be very upfront about the fact that our child is adopted. We feel it is important for them to understand their entire history. We want them to know that they were not "given up" but given life. We feel like this is in the best interest of everyone involved. We feel that an open adoption will provide answers that we alone would not be able to provide. We also think that it will provide security and stability for our child regarding their adoption. However, we know that the decision regarding the level of contact we maintain will be mutual between us and you.

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little more about us. As you view our profile, please know that we will never be perfect parents, but we will do our best each and every day to provide a safe, loving, and spiritual home to our child.

We welcome any questions you have. Please feel free to take a look at our adoption blog oureternalcircle.blogspot.com or contact us directly through email.

Whether you choose us, another couple, or to parent your child yourself, please know that you are in our prayers and we wish you peace in your decision.

Love,

Mike and Tammy



Mike & Tammy's blog has even more info about them, and all their contact info: Our Eternal Circle
Also, check out their profile, get to know them, and see even more pictures on LDSFS: Our Message

Saturday, November 14, 2009

My thoughts

I got the sweetest comment from Angie about yesterday's post. I emailed her thanking her for her comment and decided to share with her some of my thoughts on why I chose to highlight success stories and why Erin's story touched me. I wanted to share that with you today.

"Hi Angie,
Thank you for your sweet post on my blog. I loved Erin's story when I read it on Adoption Voices and I knew I needed to share it. So often through this process we get discouraged. Hubby and I have been hoping and waiting for years now. We tried adoption through the foster care system but at the time hubby was active duty military and the state where we lived at the time was very discouraging about letting us adopt with hubby deploying so much. We had to say goodbye to a wonderful 8 yr old boy named Isaiah who we had in our home as a foster son and wanted to adopt. We were heartbroken and vowed right then to never go through foster care again. We have now been waiting through LDSFS for the better part of 8 months. Even though it doesn't seem like a long time, that is just 1 part of the process. We have been hoping, and waiting since we got married 8+ years ago. After reading Erin's story I prayed that we would know what we needed to do. The answer came, foster care. Imaginge my shock. I had received that answer before, but ignored it. This time it was a ton of bricks hitting me type answer. Can't ignore that now can I! I dont' know if this how we will find our bundle of joy, or if it is to help us learn something, but whatever it is, I have faith that it is part of the Lord's plan.

So often we get discouraged. I had one of those days myself yesterday. Erin's story, and those of the others I have posted this week, have made me realize that the Lord has a plan in all things. Like Erin, we have had the impression that the time for our little one to come is soon. But the Lord's definition of soon, and ours, are 2 totally different things. If there is anything this process has taught me, it's patience. Patience in all things. It will happen, when the time is right. Hang in there."
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Next week I am going to be highlighting other couples hoping to adopt. Starting tomorrow with my friends Tammy and Mike who I have talked about before on my blog. Some may find it odd that I am highlighting other families hoping to adopt when we haven't been chosen yet. My reasoning is simple. My hope is, that if a young woman considering adoption visits our blog and decides we aren't the right family for her and her baby, she may find another couple who just may be the right ones. So in highlighting other couples, if I can help just 1 birthmom find her family, I will be happy.

So look for those posts starting tomorrow. My hope is to fill the week with other hopeful couples. I so far have 3 couples, with the possiblity of another couple. If you know of a couple, or if you are a couple who would like to be highlighted next week, email me. I may not be able to highlight everyone depending on the response I get, but if I can't highlight everyone this week I will in the future. I hope to make that a monthly or weekly post on my blog, and of course your information will be added to my sidebar of couples hoping to adopt.

Starting not tomorrow, but next Sunday I will be highlighting those wonderful, amazing women, we call birthmothers. Next Sunday's post will be a very special one to me and my family. My cousin Jenn is a birthmom and she has agreed to share her story with us, along with her son's family who adopted him 5 years ago. In addition I have more amazing women who I would like to spotlight. So be sure to check back every day for the rest of this month. Happy Adoption Month!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Success stories: Erin and Chevy

A few days ago I was reading through some blog posts on Adoption Voices and I ran across this post by a member named Erin. She had written down her adoption story while it was still fresh in her mind and wanted to share it. I was so taken by it that I emailed her right away and asked her if I could share it with all of you. Not only did she say yes right away, but when I asked her if I could share pictures too, she sent me a few, 4 to be exact. Thank you Erin and Chevy for letting me share your story.

Here is Erin and Chevy's adoption journey, in their words:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



"Chevy and I were married so young. We wanted kids right away, I never took birth control at all because we (mostly I :) just wanted a baby like everyone else. Ummmm, never happend. 3 years later, I think we both kinda figured something might be wrong so we got checked out. There was a small problem with Chevy and one doctor said we could try invitro, one doctor told us to try adopting. Well, knowing Chevy and I- either one of these are a big step. Chevy hates doctors, and I'm non confrontational and I dont like to talk to people I dont know- which you do tons with adoption. At the time we were in denial so we did nothing for another year or two. Then one day(last January) I got a strong impression that we had a baby coming SOON- I remember thinking I was pregnant or something- whatever..... BUT I will never forget that impression I got- I cried when I started my period AGAIN- every month we were married I thought I was pregnant- talk about crazy, I KNOW I KNOW!! I had the forms that I needed to fill out, they had been sitting on our desk for about a year or so- so I filled them all out that night and sent them in to LDSFS the next day. Our caseworker told me it would probably take a couple of months to get everything together- and it did. We were approved the beginning of March.

When we got approved, I was a crazy woman and I expected our baby RIGHT NOW because I just kept thinking we had a baby coming soon soon soon. I made business cards, sent out mass emails, made 2 internet profiles, and went to any adoption classes or firesides thinking that if I did all of this, we would find our baby. After numerous scams and false leads we met (i dont like to say her name) S. Shortly after we met her I was woke up in the night by yet another impression that we were getting a baby BOY SOON. I woke up Chevy and told him. He had the same feeling too. So when S told us she was having a baby girl- we were like- THATS NOT OUR BABY! We kept working with her anyways because we wanted a baby so bad- and those were just feelings anyways and I had always had a hard time judging things by feelings. We were not surprised when S disappeared off the face of the earth AT ALL- we were sad, because we felt like we invested a lot of time but almost relieved at the same time.

By the time 8 and a half months had gone by since my first feeling of a baby coming to us soon, thats when we got the call. When I saw the number on my phone, I knew what they were going to tell me. What a different feeling we got when we found out we were getting a baby boy in ONE WEEK. We knew it was right- we were nervous but we had a feeling of peace that this was our boy we had been waiting for. I have had a lot of time in the last couple of weeks to think about this whole process and it was definatly meant to be. I believe that Camden was up there telling me from time to time- mom, quit freaking out IM COMING SOON IM COMING! Camden was concieved in January and thats when I felt that we needed to get ready. Camdens birthmom also had some of the same feelings about us. She felt like Camden was meant to come to us not her.


I think in the back of my head I knew that the internet profiles, cards, emails etc.. were not the way we were going to find our baby. We had a lot of people tell us that we should only go through LDSFS only. Just because they felt like it was safer and "more meant to be" Im sorry but thats not true.... (sorry if I offend anyone:) LDSFS is a wonderful service- I will agree. BUT our birthmom would have never found us through LDSFS. I have no idea why we felt like we should go through the agency we did (A Guardian Angel Adoptions)- but we did. I know that the spirit guided us to that agency ALL THE WAY- there is no other explanation at all. If I have learned anything throughout this whole process it would be- Trust your gut! Listen to those feelings you get AND good things CAN and WILL happen as long as you have faith. There might be MANY bumps or hold ups in the road- but when we look back on them usually we can see why they happened.


We had the opportunity to spend those first 72 hours in the hospital with Camden and his birthmom. Honestly we were really nervous about it. BUT it ended up being the most wonderful 72 hours of our lives. It was such a spiritual experience. Our birthmom had a C- Section and I got to be in there. She wanted ME to hold Camden very first. I got to sit by her while they were doing the surgery and we cried together. She kept asking me if I was okay and then I kept asking her if she was okay. When he finally came out she told me that he needed his mom and to go over there and be with him. It was hard for me to leave her! When I saw him I couldnt help but smile and cry at the same time. He was really REALLY cute- full head of hair and I was instantly IN COMPLETE LOVE with him. The next couple of days were so great! We sat in our birthmoms room with her and the baby most of the time. The rest of the time we were in the nursery with just Camden. His birthmom gave us all kinds of advice on how to take care of his skin and hair (he is biracial) She gave us such good advice and tips that we will cherish forever- She is a wonderful person and mother. Camden was her fourth and last child. She wanted him to have a DAD and a MOM and a better chance in life- and she knew she couldnt provide that herself. The best and worst day in my life was the final day at the hospital. I knew that we were going to have to leave her and I knew it was going to be hard. Our birthmoms caseworker wheeled her to us- (we were in the nursery with Camden). She had one last picture left on her camera and she wanted to get a picture with Me and Chevy holding Camden. We were ALL BAWLING in the picture. I will never forget her last words- "Thank You so much you guys- I know how much you love him" I remember thinking- Did she really just thank us? She loved him so much and that is why she did what she did. We will be forever grateful for her and we thank our heavenly father everyday for HER and CAMDEN."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I love Erin's advice, trust your gut. You will know what you need to do. This is your adoption journey. We are going through LDSFS, we have had other people talk to us about other agencies, we've considered them, but we feel we are where we need to be. Although, our guts and our hearts are also telling us that we should think about foster care again. I was surprised by this. After the heartbreak with Isaiah I didn't want to do foster care again and I was reluctant. But after reading Erin's story, and after a lot of prayer, I think this is the road we should be on. We are staying with LDSFS, because we feel we need to, we are just going to sign up to be foster parents as well.

Thank you Erin, for letting me share your story, and for your advice. :)