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!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I apologize for not posting for the last week. Life just got away from me. From family emergencies to doing a tree for the festival of trees I haven't had time to breathe let alone do anything else. But I will be posting soon with the names of all the contest giveaway winners. So stay tuned!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How do you explain family adoption?

If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you know that our journey to adoption started years ago. When we began our journey we in no way thought that our child's birthmom would be someone we knew, let alone were related to.
Now that she is here though, I couldn't see it being any other way. Emily will be able to grow up with me as her mom, and Jacob as her dad, and Tamara as her sister. But she will have her Kristina. I have been asked many times if we will tell Emily who her birthmom is. Of course we will. We actually already do. We tell everyone who Emily's birthmom is. It's not something we hide or ever will. When Kristina called us I asked her what she wanted Emily to call her. She said that she was fine with Emily calling me mom, and Jacob dad, because we are her parents. And that she wants Emily to call her Aunt Kristina (or Auntie Tina) and that she is ok with Emily knowing she is her birthmom. We will tell Emily that mommy's tummy was broken, and I couldn't carry anymore children, but that she was so special Heavenly Father knew she needed to come to our family, and that he chose a very special way for her to come. He chose a very special person who carried Emily in her tummy and kept her safe. Although Emily is too young to understand, in a way I think she knows how special her Tina is. I mean, look at how she looks at Kristina:

They will have a relationship like no other. And I love that. I love adoption.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Repost: What NOT to say to a birthmom

This is a repost from last year. In trying to figure out what to blog about today, I remembered this post, and thought it worth repeating:
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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Spreading The Word

I thought today I would cover different ideas on how to spread the word on your hope to adopt.
One way is Pass-A-Long cards. Pass-A-Long cards are just what they sound like. They are cards, that you pass-a-long. ;o) They are normally business card size, sometimes bigger. They normally have a picture or two of your family, sometimes a message about your hope to adopt, and normally include information about where to contact you, your agency profile, a blog, etc.. Spaces For Faces is a great resource for these handy little cards. We got ours printed from them. The quality is fabulous, and the price was awesome. We already had our card designed, but Jill at Spaces For Faces was more then happy to print them for us. She can also do a custom design for you if you don't already have them designed. I'm sure there are other places you could get them done, I just don't know any others. But, what's so great about pass-a-long cards is you can pass them out to anyone and everyone. Leave some at a doctors office, send them to friends and family when you send your Christmas Cards, asking them to carry them with them and hand them out to anyone they may know who is considering adoption. I've even heard of people who give them to cashiers at the grocery store or waitresses at restuarants. The point is to get the word out there about your hope to adopt. Pass-a-long cards provide an easy, no obligation way for a prospective birthparent to find out your information and a little about you. If you don't think pass-a-long cards work, you obviously haven't read Que & Brittany's story on how their son's birthmom found them. You can read that here. My friend Angie is running a contest on her blog through tomorrow where a hoping to adopt family can enter to win 500 custom designed pass-a-long cards! Check out that contest here.
Another thing you can do to help spread the word is tell everyone! Everyone and anyone. I know some couples choose not to say anything, and that's fine. For us, if we had decided not to say anything, who knows if we would have been chosen. But because we told everyone, and we gave our pass-a-long cards, it was fresh in everyone's minds. So when Kristina found out she was pregnant and started considering adoption, we were the first family she thought of. Tell everyone people! Not to mention, my friend Sara and her husband Issac. Their daughter's birthmom found out about them when she went to the dentist who happened to be a friend of Sara & Issac's and told her about his friends who were hoping to adopt. You can read about that here.
Next, Social Networking. I know, that sounds like a weird suggestion, but it's not. It really works. I'm not promoting any social networking site here, but it's a way for you to spread the word. Take this story for example. This couple posted on Facebook about their hope to adopt. A friend saw that post and posted it on his page. Someone else saw that posting and it eventually led to a birthmom contacting this couple about a little boy she was going to place for adoption.
My last and final suggestion, and there are a lot more then this, but these are the ones I have chosen to highlight, is to have an adoption blog. I know, you're signed up with an agency, why do you need to have an adoption blog. The way I look at it, an adoption blog is a more in depth way for someone who is considering adoption to get to know you. Your agency profile, or parent profiles or what not, only allows so much information. You really don't have the opportunity to tell about your every day lives. And that is what a birthmom would like to hear. They want to know you, what your family life is like, what kind of life and family their child will be apart of. Some of the things you can include are information about each person in your family. Info about your extended families. Places you like to go, things you like to do together. Traditions you have. Pictures of your lives, home, the area where you live. The great thing about doing a blog, is you have control over how much, or how little information is out there. So if you aren't comfortable with having your personal lives out there, don't put it out there. Put basic, unidentifying information. Another helpful thing on your blog is a blog button that others can put on their blog that will link to yours to help you spread the word. And Blog Button's work too. My friend Shauna recently guest blogged about their story, and how they were found when a birthmom's lawyer was looking at his child's blog one day and saw their Gavin & Shauna's button. Here are a few blogs so you can see ideas of what you can do. And yes, these couples are hoping to adopt, so if you know someone who is considering adoption, pass these on. :D
Don't have an adoption blog and don't know where to start? You have a blog but it's boring and you want to give it some flare but don't know how? Then Don't forget about about my month long contest sponsored by Envision Image Design for a hoping to adopt family. A complete blog redesign. :D The entry deadline has been extended to Tuesday of next week!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Guest Blogger: Emily and Brian's Adoption Journey

If you don't read any other post this month, I urge you to read this one. I know this sweet couple's journey, and yet reading it in Emily's words, I cried, more then a little. This family's adoption journey is one that will touch your heart. I have posted about Patrick before. Patrick is waiting for a lifesaving transplant. When I asked Emily if she would share their story she immediately said yes. Her hope is that by doing so, it will help shed some light on how wonderful special needs adoption is.
Ours is not a typical adoption story, because Patrick is not a typical little boy. His life was meant to be something different, something miraculous, and so it required that it start in a very different and miraculous way.

But my part of the story starts the way a lot of others do. We wanted to have children. When that didn't happen easily, we involved doctors. For years, we went through the ups and downs of charting and temperature taking, tests and medications. Finally, after several years and a minor surgery, our doctor sat us down for "the talk." He explained that there were several causes of my infertility. The cards were, essentially, stacked against us. He still felt it very possible that we could have children, but only with major medical intervention. We had some big choices to make.

We talked about it and we prayed about it. And then, that Sunday, as we sat in church, we received a clear answer that it was time for us to stop medical treatments. Our child would come to us through adoption.

With a path finally before us, we moved forward quickly. I've never felt so driven to do anything before in my life. In under a month, we completed the application process, training classes, and were mostly done with our home study.

During our home visit, we had a conversation with our case worker that would play a major part in bringing Patrick into our family. She'd looked at our "preferences checklist" and noted that we seemed more open than most to adopting a child with special needs. We explained that we felt that adoption was a faith process. We believe that Heavenly Father puts families together. We knew we'd never turn away a child born to us with medical problems. So, if God was in charge of adoptions, too, then why would we limit His options? We knew Heavenly Father would help us find our child and that, if the child really belonged in our family, race and health wouldn't stand in the way.

We decided to adopt in June. Our application was approved in September and we hunkered down for a nice long wait. We figured two years, at the least, was the average we'd heard. And still, by the end of October it felt like far too long. My heart ached for a child it knew was missing.

Then, on a very snowy morning the first week of November, my phone rang. It was my case worker. She started out by saying, "There was a little boy born on Halloween in Michigan." My heart skipped a beat. I grabbed a pen and a piece of paper and started scribbling notes. She told me he was Korean. And then, she went on to tell me that he'd had a birth defect. His intestines had developed on the outside of his abdomen. The doctors were saying he had a life expectancy of 1 to 2 years. They needed to find an adoptive home quickly because doctors wanted to discharge him from the hospital. All she could tell me about his family that his birth mother wanted him to be able to go to the temple to be sealed to a family.

She said she'd send an e-mail with more information and a picture. She encouraged me to talk to Brian and decide if we'd like to be among those families considered to adopt this little boy, and then to call her and let her know.

As soon as I gathered myself, I called Brian. But he wasn't at his desk. Meanwhile, two e-mails arrived. One was a short paragraph from the baby's caseworker in Michigan explaining his medical needs and the unconventional and hurried search for parents. In the other were two photographs of a sweet little Korean boy with great big eyes and an IV in his head.

Since Brian wasn't at his desk, I called the insurance company to find out if this we even had coverage to pay for this kind of medical problem.

That's how Brian first found out about the offer. While I was on hold with the insurance company, he called back on my cell phone, so he heard me finish the conversation about "preexisting conditions" and "adoption".

I gave Brian the information and, after a quick moment of thought, he said he'd come right home.

We had a prayer together, then went to the temple - the perfect setting to make decisions about life and death and eternity.

I knew that families are eternal. I knew that mortality is not the end of life. And yet, I was filled with grief. It was as if I'd just been told I was carrying a child with a terminal illness, but he wasn't even mine yet. And I was scared. I didn't know if I was ready to leave the life I knew then.. abandon it all, and become mom to a child who would need so much help, and who had such an uncertain future.

Still, when Brian turned to me and said, "I think we should pursue this," my heart leapt with joy.

So, we called our caseworker and gave her a list of questions we had. And then we went to visit our parents. We felt we should tell them about the offer, because we knew that whatever happened, we were never going to be the same. And we both wanted father's blessings. We showed them the little boy with the angel eyes and explained that we didn't know if he was ours.. But from that moment, all of our families were praying for a little boy whom the e-mail called "Patrick."

That was Wednesday. Thursday, I sent a copy of our profile. Friday afternoon, as I on my lunch break with Brian, our case worker called my cell phone. The birth family had seen our profile and had chosen us to adopt their baby.

Now, we had a choice to make. Because we'd been selected, we could finally start filling in the gaps in the medical information we were getting. And boy, where there gaps! We called the baby's caseworker, who referred us to the hospital social worker. Finally, we decided we needed to talk to doctors, and we needed to do it face to face.

I called my mom and told her to take my credit card and buy airplane tickets. Then, I went back to work, explained what had happened, and asked for a leave of absence. After that, we went to the adoption agency where we signed pre-placement paperwork required for us see the baby in the hospital.

Friday night, we tried to get ready. We booked a long-term stay hotel room. We faxed legal documents to Michigan. We make a shopping list of nursery items. And we tried to pack.

I packed my bags that night not knowing what exactly I was packing for. We still didn't know enough to say if we could take care of this baby. We didn't know if or when he'd be discharged. We didn't know how long it would take before we'd be given permission to leave the state again.

And yet, Saturday morning as I sat on a plane to Detroit, 10 rows ahead of my husband, I felt a quiet, happy calm. If nothing else, I knew it would be ok.

We met Patrick, his family, and his doctor Saturday night. It wasn't what we expected. Due to unforeseen problems, things were tense at the hospital when we arrived. We felt like we knew nothing at all about his condition when we heard the doctor's account. His case was much more severe than we'd understood, but the immediate prognosis was better.

At last, they led us to his room. My first impression was of how small he was. He was SO tiny! Just a little ball with wires and tubes attached. Without them, you'd have never guessed there was anything wrong.

They let me hold him while we talked. He felt so small and fragile.

I thought that the moment I met my baby, or the moment I held him, that I'd know he was mine. But that isn't what happened for me. There were too many questions, still and I'd have to wait for that confirmation.

Sunday, we arranged to spend the day with Patrick. The nurses were so kind to let us change his diapers and help with other aspects of his care. I sat for hours singing him lullabies and watching monitors and letting him sleep.

When we arrived, the nurses warned us that he had a reputation as a very irritable little boy. There was even a sign on his door warning not to wake him. He was famous for screaming hysterically if his sleep was interrupted. But that's not the baby I met. He was just a sweet, tiny little boy who wanted to be held.

I remember singing to him: "I am a child of God, and he has sent me here. Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear." And my voice choked on the words because I knew that right at that moment, Patrick didn't have that. I couldn't imagine how any little boy could go through all he'd need to go through alone.

That night, as we looked at pictures from the day, I came across one that showed just his face with a white background. I knew, when I saw that picture, that I loved him.. and I wanted to keep him.

Monday morning, we held a "family conference." It was a business day so we finally had been able to confirm that there were doctors to take care of him at our hospital at home. Our insurance confirmed that he'd be covered. Brian needed to hop on a plane to go back to work. (He was running a conference that week.) So, knowing we had the resources to provide for his physical needs, we asked Patrick if he'd like to be a part of our family. I swear, he looked up at Brian and smiled.

The case worker rushed to the hospital and by 1, we'd signed paperwork, and I was on my way to the airport with my husband. I was staying behind to start a whole new life.

The next few weeks in Michigan are among the sweetest of my life. With nothing else to do but hold my new baby and learn to care for him, I virtually lived in the NICU. My mom came for a week and shared with me in Patrick's first feeding, first bath, and first time wearing real clothes. This time was also some of the hardest I'd experienced as I received a trial by fire as a mom of a child with major health problems. Patrick had his second surgery the day Brian flew back to be with us.

Two weeks after we signed papers, on my birthday, the birth parents appeared in court, and we were named as Patrick's legal guardians. A week later, we had permission to bring him home. At 4 a.m. Thanksgiving day, Patrick and I arrived at Primary Children's Hospital by air ambulance. He'd spend the next few weeks there as the doctors here got to know him and made arrangements for us to take care of him at home.

Because of his medical needs, the courts granted an early finalization of his adoption and we were able to take Patrick to the temple to be sealed as a forever family in February when he was just 4 months old.

Patrick just turned 2. He is an active, happy toddler who loves cars and music and Elmo. He is a living miracle! Patrick's birth defect came with a rare complication. As a result, at birth he was missing over 95% of his small intestine. Without intestine, he doesn't get nutrition by eating. In fact, eating large amounts puts him at risk for dehydration and bowel obstruction. Instead, he is entirely dependent on a form of IV nutrition called TPN. He has a permanent IV tunneled through his chest, into a vein in his chest or neck that runs to his heart.

The TPN leads to complications like infection and liver disease. In his short 2 years of life he has already struggled with both. Patrick's doctors warned us before we adopted him that we'd become such regulars in the E.R. that we'd be on a first name basis with the staff. We soon found that to be true not just for the E.R. staff, but also the IV team, the infectious disease team, the PICU team, most of the residents, several of the medical students, and the entire gastroenterology department.

At 9 months old, as a result of infection, Patrick's heart stopped. The fact that he is alive now is nothing short of a miracle. No doctor who hears his story and then meets him can help but confess that he has beaten the odds in countless ways.

Patrick will eventually need an intestinal transplant. He is already running out of places to put new IV's and each new infection makes him a little more fragile.

Since they don't do intestinal transplants where we live, we have chosen to have Patrick listed at Seattle Children's Hospital. Patrick has been on the waiting list since April of 2009. He is status 1A and will have his transplant is soon as a donor match is found.

People try to tell us sometimes what a tremendous thing we did in adopting Patrick. We don't really feel it's something we can take credit for. As we told our caseworker when this all started, Heavenly Father puts families together. He knew Patrick needed us. And what's more, He knew we needed Patrick.

Raising Patrick has taught us more about life than any other experience. We have learned to rely entirely on the Lord. We have learned to live each moment to it's fullest. We have learned to lean on one another when things are hard and we to trust in hands of friends and strangers when we felt too weak to stand on our own. And we have learned to love like we didn't know it was possible to love.

To read more of our story, or to learn how you can help make another miracle for Patrick, please visit www.patrickhoopes.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Giveaway Reminder: Blog Redesign for a hoping to adopt family

Just a quick reminder, don't forget about the month long contest from Envision Image Design. Crystal is so generously donating a Complete Blog Redesign for a hoping to adopt family. This redesign will include a Custom Background, Slide Show Header, and Custom Buttons to help you spread the word on your hope to adopt.
The entry deadline for this contest has been extended to November 23, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Mountain Time.
All you need to do is email me, at jandscrown at yahoo dot com. Include your name, email address, and a short summary about your adoption journey and why you would like a blog redesign.
5 finalists will be picked by Crystal and myself, and then it will go to a vote. You, my readers will vote on the winner.
And don't forget about this weeks giveaway offered by Jessalyn. A photo session for not 1, but 2 families touched by adoption. Go here for details on that.

Guest Blogger: Gavin and Shauna's Adoption Journey

I think it was in May, I could be wrong, but I think it was in May when I got a message from a sweet lady by the name of Shauna, on Adoption Voices asking me if I would add her blog button to my blog. I very happily agreed. We became friends, and then started chatting on Facebook. We have shared in the joys, and ups and downs of adoption, the waiting game and now motherhood. When I asked Shauna if she would share her journey of how her little man joined her family, she happily agreed. Thank you Shauna for sharing!
Ok, so like most adoptive couples our story spans over several years of trying to get pregnant on our own. After being married 2 years we moved into a ward where there are quite a few families with adopted children. I didn’t think anything of it at first, but now I definitely know that Heavenly Father placed us in that ward for a reason.

After 4 years of fertility testing we stopped trying. We needed a break, bad. Trying to have a baby that long definitely takes a toll on you emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. During that time I had to opportunity to be a Visiting Teacher for a woman who adopted and whose son adopted as well. The story of her first grandchild’s adoption brought tears to my eyes. I remember saying something to the affect of “Families are supposed to be together, no matter how they come together.” I didn’t think anything of it at the time.

Five days later, Gavin and I were having Family Home Evening. At the end, he got serious and said he wanted to talk to me about something. That definitely scared me, he’s normally not so somber! ;)

He said that for the past year-ish he’d been feeling like we needed to look into adoption. I was shocked. I felt like considering adoption was closing the door on possibly getting pregnant. I wasn’t ready for the finality of that. It hurt. Bad. I made myself open my heart and my mind to consider it. The words I had spoken only five days ago came back into my mind. I had to stop and ask myself if I believed what I had said. I decided I did. We prayed about adoption that night together and both felt that we should proceed. What a night.

Over the next several months we filled out endless paperwork, crossed our fingers, prayed our hearts out, and went through all the legal hoops necessary to become approved to adopt. I really appreciated the sweet support we had from the few people who knew.

During this time I discovered the wonderful support network of adoption blogging. I met some amazing people whose friendships I absolutely cherish. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if not for these wonderful friends.

About 11 months after we made the decision to adopt, we were approved through LDS Family Services for adoption. We were thrilled but I tried to restrain myself from getting too optimistic. I knew it could take years to be picked. But then I’d heard of couples getting picked in 1 month! I really tried not thinking about those couples too much lol.

Well, 3 months after we’d been approved my husband called me at work one fine Monday in June. An attorney had called him, who knew a birth mother who was expecting in August. Could we meet tonight to talk more? Oh heck yes we could! Turns out, this attorney was the father of a friend who had our blog button on their blog. We will forever be indebted to those sweet friends who helped spread the word of our adoption plans!

I was incredibly nervous prior to meeting the attorney. I really didn’t want to get my hopes up. But as soon as I saw him, I felt instant calm. We found out more about the birth mother and that she was expecting a boy. Yes I definitely destined him for soccer cleats and football before I even knew he was ours! I couldn’t help being excited and hopeful!

Two days later we met the birth mother. It was ironic because my husband, normally the calm one, was nervous and I, normally the very nervous one, was totally calm driving to meet her. The meeting went well and I totally felt like we hit it off. I felt we could have been sisters. We clicked. She told us she wanted us to be the parents and I squeezed Gavin’s hand under the table. She then gave us ultrasound photos from his 2 month appointment. I can’t describe the wonder and love that washed over me as I looked at his precious photos. I couldn’t believe, looking at the photo of that tiny lil boy, that he would be our son.

After we left we headed home to pour out our gratitude in prayer to our Heavenly Father. Then we hit up my fav restaurant to celebrate! I couldn’t stop staring at one of his photos. I think I even had it propped up near my napkin lol. We started spreading our good news. Definitely one of the best days of my life. Ever.
Our birth mother is absolutely amazing. She invited us to the rest of her Dr’s appointments, which we loved! I loved hearing his heartbeat and seeing the ultrasound and just being there. It really made us feel involved and we’re very thankful to have been invited into those private moments.

I laugh every time I think of the day our lil man made his arrival. It was Wed Aug 11, 2.5 weeks before due date. She was having one of her last checkups before his arrival. Gavin and I were leaving work early to be there. That morning she passed her mucus plug. Up till then I had been on edge over every single Braxton Hicks contraction she had. But that day I was totally calm and unruffled. I kept telling myself it would probably be soon, but not today so I wasn’t worried. Later when leaving for the appt. I had the feeling to take my personal belongings home from work with me. I followed the prompting, but still didn’t think anything of it. Silly me.
At the Dr’s appt there wasn’t any reason to suspect he would be coming later that day. Afterwards we stood in the parking lot talking for an hour (we had become best of friends). She kept telling me that it felt like he was pushing down on her “down there”. I joked maybe he was trying to find the exit. I still didn’t think anything was going to happen. All the way home she texted me that she thought I was having real contractions. Still no worry on my part. At home I felt like I should get our stuff ready for the hospital. She had been sweet enough to invite us to be there for the birth. I still didn’t think anything about it. Notice a theme here? I’m apparently none too bright lol. At around 5pm I was done packing and told my husband I was going to go run some errands. At 5:02pm she texted me that her water had broke. I stopped midsentence and told my husband there was a change of plans and laughed at how ironic it was that I had our stuff packed! We got in the car and I called her to see what the plan was. She was in labor and how! I felt so bad for her & the pain she was going through! She was waiting for her Dad to get home so we planned on meeting her at the hospital. On the way I felt we should stop at the store to grab some snacks. I’m very connected to my stomach people, ya never know how long these things take and I wasn’t going to let us go hungry! Ironically, the store was closer to her parent’s house, where she was, than the hospital. Can you see where this is going? Yup, walking towards the store I get a call from her that the baby is coming NOW and could we possibly drive her FAST to the hospital? Uhm. YES! We ran back to the car and flew to her parent’s house. Then we broke a lot of laws speeding, no, flying down the freeway to the hospital. There were definitely angels surrounding our car that day!
We made it to the hospital around quarter to 6pm. I rushed her to her room while Gavin parked the car. She got changed and on the bed and the nurse announced she was already dilated to a 9!! A NINE PEOPLE! The poor girl got NO MEDS. A couple minutes after that she screamed that she needed to push. The Dr rushed in and no joke, 12 minutes after her arriving he was born! At 6:02pm. It was an amazing experience, one I’ll never forget.

I remember the nurse putting him on the warming table to clean him up and it was like time had stopped all around me. As corny as that sounds it’s so true. I just remember walking over to him and looking down in wonder. I’m pretty sure I was crying. I held out my finger and he grabbed on. He had been crying but calmed down then. In my heart, that is when I became his Mother. I had always been told of what becoming a parent felt like, but I can’t find the words to adequately express the love and wonder of that moment.

The pain I felt during the 5 years of trying to get pregnant has been completely erased and filled with the joy of being a Mother. Every moment is precious, every day wonderful. I wouldn’t trade any of the pain or trials that led us to our son. They are part of the beautiful story of how we became a family.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Photo Session Giveaway: Memories Remixed

Yesterday I had guest blogger Jessalyn share her adoption journey. Starting today she is offering a giveaway! Not only is Jessalyn a birthmom, an open adoption advocate, and a birthmom advocate, but Jessalyn is a photographer. Her website is Memories Remixed. She is offering not 1, but 2 photo sessions to 2 lucky winners! Fabulous right?! This is for anyone touched by adoption! Whether a family who had been blessed by adoption, a hoping to adopt family that is looking for updated photos for their profile, or birth parents. (Jessa lives in Utah, so sorry, this is for Utah adoption lovers -close to the Utah, or Salt Lake County areas-) Seriously! Thank you Jessa for your generosity!

Want to know how to win? It's simple:
Just leave a comment here with your email address so I know where to contact you if you are one of the two winners.
Want an extra entry? Here's how:
Become a follower on my blog and then leave another comment letting me know you became a follower. If you already are one, just leave a comment saying already a follower. Make sure to leave your email address so I know where to contact you.
Want another entry?
Blog about this giveaway. Leave another comment here telling me that you blogged about it, with a link to your blog post, and your email address so I can contact you if you are a winner.
Want another entry?
Facebook about this giveaway. Leave another comment here telling mer that you did a facebook post, along with your email so I can contact you.
Want another entry?
Blog, or facebook about my month long giveaway for a hoping to adopt couple. A blog redesign by Envision Image Design. Leave a comment here with a link to your post, telling me you blogged about that giveaway, along with your email address so I can contact you.
That's 5 ways to enter! You can do just 1, or all 5, or any combination of the 5. How easy is that! Make sure you leave a comment for each way you enter, with your email address.
You have until Sunday November 28th. I will announce the winners as part of my final post for adoption month on November 30th.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Guest Blogger: Jessalyn's story

This is the story of Jessalyn. Jessalyn is a fabulous example of an open adoption advocate. She is also a birthmom. Jessalyn is using her experiences to help others. She started a website called Birthmothers 4 Adoption, also an organization called Blankets 4 Birthmothers (I posted about that a few days ago, and the project Mrs. R. is doing). And recently she started a non-profit organization called Scholarships 4 Birthmothers. Seriously, she is amazing. Here is her story:
I met my birthfather in basic training, I thought I was in love...or maybe I was just smitten with the fact that he claimed to be in love with me...I still haven't decided. Anyway, I got home at the end of October, found out I was pregnant a couple days before I was to leave to college.

My biggest fear was telling my parents. I could think of nothing worse then seeing my parents faces when I gave them the biggest let down of their life. To look into their eyes and tell them that seemed impossible. After they had been told they didn't react too bad. They were dissapointed but mostly sad. After we had talked for a while, they told me to call my college and make sure I could still live in student housing. Luckily, I was still able to.

I moved in and because of some differences i moved to a different set of housing, then my life changed.... I walked into the apartment and I met this girl. Her name was Alyson. Now at first I wasn't a big fan of her, little did I know she would be the source of relief and overbounding joy, she would help me get through one of the hardest things of my life. After several days of 24/7 throwing up I figured I should probably divulge the information that I was with child. I told them and to my surprise they weren't totally rude to me, instead they opened up their arms to me. One day after having gone to LDS family services I had a pile of adoptive couple profiles. I was looking through them on the floor. I had a yes, no, maybe pile. I had certain things i really wanted. ( I am not going to share those because I fear that adoptive couples will feel they need to have those. This is not true. Every birthmother has different wants and needs.) Anyways...Alyson came in from class and asked what they were, I explained they were potential adoptive parents of my baby. Aly responded non chalantly and walked into her room. Minutes later she came back out and told me of her aunt in uncle who lived in another state. I told her to have them call me or send me their profile. Well her aunt called me on the phone. She sounded nice on the phone at first impression then I found more out about her and her family. They were involved in a lot of the activities I had hoped and dreamed that my baby would be able to be involved in as well. She had two other biological boys. Big brothers is something I had always wanted. Then she sent me their profile. I looked at that profile for hours. Scoping everything out. I cried, I smiled, I pondered.

One day, I just realized, This baby belongs to them. I had my caseworker set up a face to face so I could tell them. They thought I just wanted to meet them. I put together a basket with Alyson and had it all ready for them when they came down. I was very excited, nervous, and scared. I probably tried on like 7 outfits...Aly kept saying, " You look fine" My biggest fear was that they would think I was some stupid teenager who went out and got knocked up. When they walked into that room I felt calm instantly. Then when their boys walked in I KNEW I had made the right choice. They are the two sweetest most well mannered boys i have ever met. I handed them my basket with the sonogram and some baby stuff. They just looked at it. They didn't really say anything. I started to freak out then. No response I was worried they were going to say no. After the meeting we went to Ice Cream. We talked and I enjoyed getting to know them. Overall I was pretty quiet. I went home and I just cried that night. I can't think of anyway to describe it. You feel relief because you know you found the parents and yet you feel an overwhelming grief because it becomes real. I have never wept like I did then.

On August 20, 2008 Josie Jeanne was born. She had a hard time getting here, but she made it. I regret it with all my might but I didn't even hold her right after she was born. I was just so exhausted. But on the other hand I think it was a good thing. She was able to have that bonding moment with her parents. The next two days went by so fast. Then I had to place that beautiful baby girl into their arms at placement. It was the hardest moment of my life. I didn't ever think in a million years I could feel hurt like that. But I did. I placed her in their arms and I walked out. That night I went to my parents house and didn't sleep at all. I was in shock. I kept putting my hand on my stomach. I was missing my baby girl. I wept, I looked at pictures. I missed her so so much. I cried for probably three months straight. Then in November I had the chance to see her for the first time since placement. When I held that baby girl again, the sadness started to heal, when I saw her with her family and how well she fit in, the sadness was even more alleviated. I knew she fit. She belonged to them!

I went home feeling worlds better. Skipping ahead. When I was getting ready to go to her sealing my friend who had planned on going with me skipped out. So I invited the guy who I had only been dating for a week (I know crazy! Yes, we are still together! lol ) and my birthmother friend and of course Aly. We went and I had some time with Josie before both the blessing and the sealing. When they came out of the temple they looked so beautiful. They looked so happy. It tore me up and made me happy all at the same time. But it was then I knew with no doubt in my mind I made the right choice.

Josie's adoptive parents are the most amazing people I have ever met and I am so thankful for them. I am thankful for their two sons. I am thankful for Aly. Most of all I am thankful for God.

15 months later I still miss Josie every once in a while and I still think about her everyday. But it gets better everyday. I can not ever regret my decision because she is with who she belongs to. I know that when she grows up she will know who i am and how I feel about her. She will know she is loved by a ridiculous amount of people. She is a beautiful girl and is growing to be more beautiful everyday. I love my Josie!!


Bloggers Post script: Jessa's daughter Josie is now a happy bubbly 2 year old. And Jessa is happily married. Josie and her family were there the day Jessa married her eternal companion.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It must have been so much easier.......

"It must have been so much easier for you, having Emily's birthom related to you. You knew she wouldn't change her mind so you didn't have to worry."
This is a statement we heard a lot before Emily was born, and still hear all the time. There are a few things I'd like to clear up when it comes to family member adoption.
One, adoption is never easy, whether family member adoption or not. Worth it, yes, Easy, no.
Two, we didn't know that Kristina wouldn't change her mind. The worry was still there. Adoption is a choice. Kristina had her choice with whether to place Emily for adoption or not. She had a choice on whether to place her with us or not. She, like everyone who is making an adoption plan, had the right to change her mind at any time, before and after Emily was born.
Three, just because Kristina is related to us, the wait between when we found out Kristina chose us, and the time she signed relinquishement allowing us to adopt Emily, was not, contary to popular beleif, "easier" then it would have been if Kristina was not related to us. I can't speak for others who have been through a family adoption, but for us, it was definately not easier.
Imagine if you will, waiting, hoping, praying to be chosen. Praying that someone will trust you enough to be the parents of their child. Now imagine getting "the call" saying that a birthmom has chosen you. You go through 5 months of the pregnancy, you prepare and get everything ready. Wash all the clothes, decorate the nursery, pack for the hospital, and tell everyone you know, (and even some you don't) that your baby is finally coming, through the miracle of adoption.
Now, imagine getting "the call" that the time has come. Your baby is on her way. You frantically pack the car, make all your phone calls, and drive to the hospital. You sit next to this brave young woman who is bringing new life into this world. Life that she is intrusting into your hands and heart. Finally the moment is here. You see that precious baby for the very first time. You hold her, love her, kiss her, feel her little hand wrapped around your finger, hear her cries, sooth her, you are her mother.
Now, imagine, this young woman, has made the decision to parent her child. You love her, support her, but your heart is breaking. You leave the hospital empty handed. You return home to find the nursery you were supposed to bring a baby home to, now sits empty. Every moment of every day you wonder how that sweet precious baby is doing, what she looks like now. You go to a family function and you see her. The little one who you thought would be yours. You watch her grow, you see someone else who is her mother. And you wonder, how will you ever go on, knowing that little one, was supposed to be yours. It is this scenerio that we feared, every single day for the entire duration of Kristina's pregnancy. We feared it not only then, but more so during the week Emily was in the nicu after she was born. Kristina had not yet signed her relinquishment and consent. We spent up to 18 hours a day in the nicu with Emily, yet, at any time Kristina could have made a different decision.
Please, do not think that by writting this post I am discounting what those who have gone through a failed adoption have faced and felt. I can't even begin to imagine the pain they have gone through. I have several friends who have gone through a failed adoption. I have seen their worst nightmares come true. What I am saying is, a failed adoption is something I think every hopeful couple fears. It may not be this way for everyone, but for us, it was magnified because we are related to Kristina. Because we knew, if she "changed her mind", we would either have to cut ourselves off from everyone in that part of our family, or we would have to see Emily grow up with someone else as her parents, knowing that this was the baby we had waited and hoped and prayed for all those years. And we would never be the ones she called mom and dad. We would never be the ones she came to when she scraped her knee, or when she did well in a dance recital. We would not be the ones to help her with her homework, or teach her to ride a bike.
How did we get through that fear. The answer is simple, yet it is the hardest to accept at times. Faith... We had faith, not that Emily would be ours, although we did have faith in that. But the faith that we relied on, was the faith that everything would be o.k. It would turn out according to Heavenly Father's plan.
As I sat in church today and sang the closing hymn in Sacrament, my heart was filled with gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father and for Kristina. The closing hymn was my favorite hymn. Because I Have Been Given Much. It sums up perfectly how adoption makes me feel.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Birthmother gift idea: letters from birthmom's

I got this idea for a birthmother gift from a book I did for my husband. Because none of our family members were able to come to say goodbye to my husband before either of his deployments, I put together a scrapbook of pictures and messages from loved ones (I updated it with new pictures and messages before his second deployment). It was a 6x6 scrapbook that he was able to take with him and when he was feeling down, or lonely, or just needed to feel close to home, he could pull out the book and read encouraging words from those who love him most.

When I was trying to come up with an idea for a birthmother gift to give to Kristina at placement, my mom reminded me of these books. I added pictures of our families and letters from us and our parents and told Kristina a little bit about our families. The letters were just thanking her for trusting us to be Emily's mom and dad, and telling her how much Emily means to us and how much Kristina herself means to us. I know it's probably funny to have put in pictures and such of our families when Kristina is family, but Kristina knows my dad's side of the family. But she doesn't know my mom's side, or Jacob's family and I wanted her to see the family that Emily is now a part of. So that is why I did that part.

But one thing I decided to add were letters from some of my birthmother friends. I figured who would know what she is going through better then someone else who has been through the same thing. There were letters from birthmothers who had placed many years ago, some who had placed recently. Birthmothers who are of our same faith, birthmothers who are not. Some are married, some are not. From all walks of life, all ages. I asked them to be open and honest with her, to give her words of advice, tell Kristina what helped them to get through the days, weeks, months and years after placement. I can't thank them enough for doing this for Kristina.

I was going to decorate a scrapbook, but found a really pretty binder. I did the photo pages digital scrapbooking style and found some paper that coordinated with the book to print the letters on.

Don't forget about the current giveaways! Today is the last day to enter the photo session giveaway for an AZ family.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Blankets for Birthmother's via The R House

My friend Jessalynn started an organization called Blankets for Birthmothers. During the month of November Mrs. R. over at the R House is hoping to help Jessa collect 50 blankets. Jesss brings these blankets to 6 different agencies who give them to birthmothers who are placing their baby's. This way when they leave the hospital, they don't leave empty handed. Jessa herself is an amazing birthmom to a beautiful little girl, and she used her blanket in the hospital with her little one and was able to bring it home with her. When she is missing her little girl, she will hold the blanket to feel close to her. Jessa wants other birthmom's to have that beautiful reminder as well.
So how about it? Shall we help them reach their goal? Don't know how to sew? That's o.k.! Mrs. R. posted a rockin' instructional video to a no sew fleece blanket on her blog, along with all the info on where to send the blankets. :D Check that out here.
And don't forget about the giveaways going on right now.
For anyone touched by adoption in the Phoenix AZ area, Kim Nevels Photography is offering a free photo session. You have until tomorrow night to enter this one.
And for a hoping to adopt family, no matter where you live, Envision Image Design is offering a complete blog redesign. This contest is running all month. For details, look here.
And for anyone touched by adoption, Envision Image Photography is offering a special $99 photo session for the month of November only.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hoping to adopt: Meet Paul & Jeanette

Before I go on to today's post, I wanted to remind you about the current giveaways:
For anyone touched by adoption, whether a birthparent, hoping to adopt family, adoptive family, adoptee, etc. in the Phoenix AZ area, a photo session and photo CD from Kim Nevels Photography.
And for a hoping to adopt family, no matter where you live, a complete blog redesign offered by Envision Image Design.
And a special for families in Utah, anyone touched by adoption, A $99 photo session offered by Envision Image Photography.
Anyhow, on to today's post!
I'm so excited to introduce you to this wonderful family. Jeanette has been a friend of mine since Jr. High. We lost touch after High School, then got back in touch when we both tried out for a play our church was putting on. Jeanette landed the female lead in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (I was the bride who married the 3rd brother Caleb). She is seriously an amazing woman, and her husband is pretty awesome too. Their daughters are adorable, as you will see, and joined their family through the gift of adoption. And they are ready to add a new little one to their family. But what am I telling you for. Here is their journey in their words:

We are the “UTE Fan Family of Four!” Here is a little bit of our family history to share with you:

Our journey to adoption began nearly 4 years after being married in 1998. We had tried getting “homemade babies” to join our family for a year and a half when we realized that might not happen for us. Another 18 months, and test after test later, we were informed of our infertility and immediately began paperwork to adopt.

We were on a “waiting list” for 4 years, when the agency contacted us to house a birthmother who had chosen another family. It took us a few days to accept the challenge, but in the end “C.S.” came to live with us for 5 months. This is when and where our hearts were softened towards birthmothers and how incredible and amazing each of them are.

3 months after “C.S.” left our home, we were contacted by a different agency to potentially adopt through them. The situation of the birthparents was rocky at best…. The birthmother was 19, having her second child, and going through a divorce. The birthfather was refusing to sign his termination of rights to the baby. Crazy as it sounds, we knew that this was our baby and our birthparents.

30 days later, we welcomed our first daughter “Lil’ Miss M” thanks to her birthmom “A”. It was another 30 days after having her home that the birthfather signed the relinquishments. It was an incredible miracle and blessing, not to mention a relief.

(“Lil’ Miss M” is now 4 ½ years old. She is in pre-school and dance. She is a happy and silly little girl, and she is such a peacemaker. She has a very tender heart and is a complete joy.)

Fast-forward 18 months…and we begin to feel anxious about another baby. We had decided we’d put together paperwork in February or March.

On a whim, around the end of September 2007, we called the caseworker we’d dealt with for our first adoption, who asked us if we were calling because we wanted another baby. When we told her we were thinking February/March time-frame, she said she needed our paperwork “like yesterday”; she knew where our baby was.

4 days after we submitted paperwork, we got a call from this caseworker informing us a birthmother, “S.J.” wanted to meet with us. Another 4 days, and “Lil’ Miss M” was to be a big sister to a little sister due in March. February 15th, “Angel C.J.” was delivered – exactly one month early.

(“Angel C.J.” is now 2 ½. She is talks like she is 4 ½, and about as smart. She is such a tease. She is an amazing little swimmer and she loves to sing. And though she can be more stubborn than an ox…she warms our hearts and makes us happy.)

The girls adore each other and are best friends.

We enjoy having open adoptions with both and couldn’t love “A” or “S.J.” possibly any more for the blessings we share in “Lil’ Miss M” and “Angel C.J.”.

We have had some difficult, crazy and absolutely amazing and breath-taking moments through adoption. But, one of the most unexpected blessings through both of our adoptions…is our relationships and the intense amount of love we have with and for our daughters’ birthmothers.

We’re so thrilled with our experiences…we are preparing to do it again. Yes! Adoption #3 is in our future. Our approval and paperwork should be completed in the next few weeks.


If you or someone you know is pregnant and considering adoption and would like to learn more about Paul & Jeanette, feel free to contact them at pescado_b@yahoo.com, or check out their blog for more information.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nia Vardalas on The Talk discussing adoption. Love it!

Was watching my new favorite Talk Show, The Talk yesterday and saw this interview with the awesome actress, Nia Vardalos who is the National Spokesperson for Adoption. Love this!! Ecspecially where she talks about seeing her daughter, who she adopted through foster care, for the very first time.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Photography Giveaway--- Phoenix AZ area for those touched by adoption!

I apologize for not posting yesterday. The stomach flu has been rampant in our house. It started out with our sweet nephew who spent the night last week, then I got it, now Tamara has it. We're hoping it stops with her and that Jacob and Emily don't get it. *praying*

Anyhow, here is the post that was supposed to go up yesterday. I will post for today later on.

This is a giveaway for anyone touched by adoption, offered by my long time friend Kim of Kim Nevels Photography. I have known Kim since my early years of high school. It's been 18 or so years now (boy does that make me feel old!) Kim is an amazing wife, mom, friend, and photographer. And she is offering a free photo session to those touched by adoption in the East Valley of Phoenix AZ area. (Or if you would like to enter but don't live in that area, but would like to pay her traveling costs, Kim is happy to come to you.) Kim is also the sister of a birthmom, so adoption means alot to her. And when I went to her and asked if she would be willing to offer a giveaway, she was happy to.

If you are a hoping to adopt family and need updated photos for your profile, blog, pass along cards etc., if you have recently welcomed home your newly adopted little one, or if you are about to welcome home a newly adopted little one and would love someone there to document those moments, if you are a family who has adopted, if you would like to do maternity photos with your birthmom, if you are a birthmom and would like maternity photos, or if you are a birthfamily who is about to place, and would like photos with your little one in the hospital before placement (Kim did this for her sister, and these are pictures her whole family cherish's.), and you live in or around Phoenix, this is for you!

The photo session will include the actual session of course, along with a CD of your pictures, fully edited.

So you want to know how to enter right? It's simple, just leave a comment here with your email address, tell me how adoption has touched your life. It's that simple. :D

Want an extra entry?! Blog about this, and leave an additional comment with a link to your blog post and you will get an additional entry. Also, Facebook about this giveaway and leave another comment telling me you did a Facebook post, and that is an additional entry! That's up to 3 entries! You have until this Saturday November 13th @ 11:59 p.m. MDT to enter! Winner will be chosen using random.org and will be announced on Sunday. So what are you waiting for? Get commenting!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Repost: Fundraising Ideas

I know this is a repost from last year, but I wanted to put it out there again. Not to mention, I have 3 callings at church and I have stuff due for 2 of them tomorrow, so I need to get those done, and time is getting short tonight. And don't forget about the contest for a blog redo for a hoping to adopt family! So far I have only had a couple of people enter, so your chances of being one of the 5 finalists, is really good right now. LOL So, here it is, from last year, how to raise money for your adoption:

I had been racking my brain trying to decide on what to post for today's adoption related post. I couldn't narrow it down was the problem. That's when I got a FB message from the lovely and talented mrs. r telling me that my necklace was ready. If you know mrs. r, you know what I'm talking about. If you don't know her, why not? ;o) Mrs. r has started with some of her friends, an etsy shop, called, what else but, the r house, featuring handmade, gorgeoue necklaces, and has recently added some children's clothing to her shop. A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E children's clothes too! Adorable I tell you! Cute little onsies for baby and shirts for toddlers that say things like, "I love my Birth Mother", and "I get my good looks from my birth family". Seriously, how cute is that!

What does this have to do with adoption you ask? Why everything! mrs. r started this shop to help raise funds for her adoption costs. As I mentioned in my last post, they have been in court for over a year fighting for their son. Their legal costs, as you can imagine, are crazy, so they started this shop as a way to help raise money. They do premade necklaces, that they have designed, and they do custom necklaces (that's what I got). Along with those adorable clothes.

So why am I mentioning this in this post and not the last one? Because what I want to focus on in this post, is ways to raise funds for your adoption.
Here are just some of the many ideas:
----- like mrs. r, open an etsy shop, etsy is a great website where crafters can sell their handmade items.
----- think of something you're good at, and offer that as a service, like if you're good at photography, offer to take family photos at a reduced rate, and all proceeds go to your adoption. Ecspecially this time of year, everyone is looking for affordable photographers for Christmas card photos!
----- sell on ebay, set up an ebay account if you don't already have one, and sell items on ebay for extra funds for your adoption.
----- garage sale, yes, in most parts of the country it is getting too cold for garage/yard sales, but now is a great time to start gathering items for your sale. Ask family members and friends to donate items that you can sell. When you're ready for your sale, don't hesitate to advertise your sale as being held to help raise funds for your adoption. You may be surpised how many people come to help support you. Put your blog address, or a link to your adoption profile on the price tags of your items. Place your pass-along cards on a table along with flyers telling all about you. You never know if someone who comes may know someone who is considering an adoption plan.
----- Adoption grants, Adoption grants are everywhere. some you need to pay back, some you don't. (just google adoption grants to find out more)Also, Check with your employer, they may offer adoption grants, or they may have a program to reimburse you for some of your adoption expenses.
----- bake sale, ask a local retailer, or a local church if you can do a bake sale in their parking lot, or in front of their building. You can also combine a bake sale with your garage sale. sell a couple of different beverages too, 12 packs of soda can be bought when they go on sale for as little as a couple dollars or less, you can sell each can for 50 cents giving you a nice profit.
----- car wash, need I say more?
----- the holidays are coming up, so write a letter to your family and friends and let them know that you won't be sending/giving gifts this year as you save for your adoption. You may even find that instead of giving you a gift, some of your family members want to donate to your adoption fund.
----- save save save! I know that isn't a "fundraising" idea, but there is no better way to obtain your funds, then to save, save, save! One tip I got from our new case worker who went to a recent conference on adoption, giving us notes because she knew we didn't live here when it was held and weren't able to go(did I mention she rocks!) is to figure out what the cost will be per week once your child is placed in your home. If the cost of diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, etc. will cost you $50-$100 a week, depending on where you live and where you shop, start setting that much aside in a savings account every week. You will be surprised how quickly that adds up. Plus, once your child is in your home, you will already be used to having that cost, so it won't be such a shocker to your budget.

Honestly, the possibilities are endless. I googled adoption fundraising and I can't even tell you how many hits I got. What fundraiser ideas have you used? Come on, let's share! :D

And I'm going to leave you with a photo of my gorgeous necklace. I can't wait to get it! (I hope mrs. r doesn't mind that I am using the photo that I got from her etsy store where my necklace was listed. I just had to show you all how gorgeous it is!)

Gorgeous right?! Here is the reason behind what I chose. I chose 2 discs, one saying hope, because I have hope and faith that we will find our birth mother, and that we will be blessed with her and her little one as new additions to our family (along with all her family and our birth father too if he wants to be). I chose love because I love my husband and daughter with everything I have and everything I am. I chose the pearl because it is Tammy's birthstone, and I chose the green stone because it was close to aquamarine which is Jacob's birth stone. :D Are you jealous? Do you want one too? Just contact mrs. r through her etsy shop or through her blog. And just think, not only will you get a gorgeous peice of custom jewlery, but you will be helping a wonderful family stay together. :D

Friday, November 5, 2010

Storytelling Workshop for Adoptive Parents

First of all, don't forget about the giveaway going on, generously donated by Crystal of Envision Image Photography and Envision Image Design. Check Tuesday's post for details. One hoping to adopt family will win a complete blog redesign (check the post on how to enter, for this contest, it doesn't matter where you live, you just need to be a hoping to adopt family). Also, Crystal is offering a special for the month of November only, a $99 photo session for hoping to adopt families, adoptive families, and birthparents.

Now, on to today's post. I was contacted the other day by my longtime friend Julie. I have known Julie for about 11 years now. Julie is an amazing master storyteller. Julie's friend Rachel is teaching a workshop on storytelling. This workshop is for adoptive parents. You will learn how to tell storys to your children, just like the master storytellers do. Before the event, a background survey and consent form will be completed as this is part of a Storytelling Masters thesis. Couples will email a paragraph once a week for 7 weeks on the impact, if any, on their parenting. Confidentiality will be maintained for the written responses.

As part of your attendence you will receive, a free story performance geared toward adoptive couples, a workbook on how to share stories with your child (not just your little ones either, you will learn how to tell stories, to every age, from tots to teens!) , gift bag with goodies, and free dessert! Oh, and did I mention a book filled with 12 different stories about adoption! This event promises to be fun!

Oh, and it's completely and totally FREE! So you want the details?

When: Saturday November 20, 2010
Time: 7:00 - 9:30 p.m.
Where: Weber State University, Shepherd Union Bldg., Room 312 in Ogden, UT
Cost: Free! (Even the parking)

For more info: http://yearofthefamily.wordpress.com/storyworkshop/