Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
They will have a relationship like no other. And I love that. I love adoption.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
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
Thursday, November 18, 2010
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Monday, November 15, 2010
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.
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
Saturday, November 13, 2010
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.
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or check out their blog for more information.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
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!)
Friday, November 5, 2010
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/