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!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Fabulous Phone Call!!

Do you remember back in November this guest post from my friend Tammy about coping with a failed placement? I have been sitting on some news for about a month now. And I finally get to spill the beans! For those of you on my facebook, this is the fabulous call I got the other day!




About a month ago (right around Thanksgiving) I got a call from Tammy asking if I could look over a paper copy of their profile. Their lawyer had called them with a possible situtation and she asked if they were interested. After discussing and praying the decided they were. The lawyer asked if they could send a paper profile that she could present to the perspective birthmom. Tammy had been up all night working on it and needed some fresh eyes. After a little tweaking she printed it off and sent it to the lawyer. The wait began. After what seemed like forever, (even for me so you can imagine how bad it was for them not knowing) they finally heard back. On Wednesday evening I got a call from Tammy. I bawled my eyes out needless to say. The perspective birthmom had chosen them to be the parents of her unborn child!!!! The gender of the baby is unknown but is due in February. The lawyer asked her what made her choose Tammy and Mike and she said simply, "She reminds me of myself". They have to find a new lawyer now but frankly they are happy to because as long as all goes well, they will finally be a mommy and a daddy! O.k. tears again, just thinking about it! YAY!!!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A room with a door....

Recently in my Communications 1010 class we had to give an oral presentation. The professor allowed us to speak on a topic that we love, are passionate about and are maybe an expert on. Now while I'm not saying I'm an expert on my chosen topic, I did feel confident enough in my knowledge of it to speak. What's that you ask? What was my chosen topic? Why thanks for asking! I chose to speak on something I am extremely passionate about. That is open adoption. I shared a few statistics about adoption and got an audible gasp when I told my audience that less than 1% of unwed expectant mothers choose adoption. They couldn't beleive the number was so low. But that wasn't the point of my presentation. The point was to talk about the benefits of open adoption for those amazing parents who choose adoption. But I had to explain what open adoption was befor discussing the benefits. So that brings me to the purpose of this post.






I used an analogy to describe adoption. I likened adoption to a room with a door. The adoptive family and the child who has been placed are on the inside of the room. The birthfamilies are on the outside. In a closed adoption, the door to the room is closed. You as a birthmom can't see in, and likewise the adoptive family can't see out. There is no contact. The door is completely closed. In a semi-open adoption the door to the room is partially open. As a birthparent you are able to see part of what is going on in the room. You receive letters and pictures, quite often through a third party, but even though you can see part of the room, you don't see all of the room. In an open adoption, the door to the room is all the way open. As a birthparent you can stand in the doorway and see the entire room. You get letters, pictures, emails, phone calls, visits. Often times you are even invited into the room to share in the activities going on inside.




So what do you think? Fair analogy? Did I hit the mark or miss it completely? In a future post I will share what I found to be the benefits for an open adoption. For now, I'm going to bed. I have 2 reviews for finals in the morning. Finals are next week and than 3 weeks till next semester. Looking forward to the break!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

2011 Adoption Walk With Me

A few weeks ago I was excited to be able to participate in the Adoption Walk With Me at Liberty Park here in Salt Lake City. I got to meet some new friends, say hi and chat with old friends, finally meet some that I have chatted with online for years it seems like, and just had an all around great time. In addition I was honored to be asked by the r house to photograph this fabulous event. Here are some of my favs from the day. Thank you to everyone who came out and braved the cold dreary weather to show support and adoption loves! It was cold, and dreary, but it was so much fun! Can't wait for next year!






























Friday, November 25, 2011

Journey as a birthmom Part 2 ***Guest Blogger

I know I said I would post part 2 of Shantel's journey the other day. Sorry, the holidays are crazy. But here it is!


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Two days before I received the message from Sophie, I read an email from my cousin, Merrady. She was good friends with a couple in New York that were hoping to adopt. They had already had two birth mothers change their minds. As painful as that was, they were still positive in their pursuit of finding a child to share their hearts and adventures with. I briefly looked at their profile and sent Merrady an email telling her I was already working with another family. When things fell through with Sophie, I took the rest of the day to relax and figure out how I felt. The next morning, I sent Merrady an email with an update, and looked more at David and Jessica's family profile. They seemed so warm and loving, and I began to get excited to get to know them a little better. I emailed them, and shortly after Jessica and I spoke on the phone. Immediately, I loved her. She was so kind and funny. The sadness I felt from Sophie dissipated, and I knew that I had found the right family to move forward with.David and Jessica were very understanding of my situation with Cory, and they were happy to be there for me as I made plans to leave the relationship. We were all very lucky that Cory willingly signed his relinquishment papers before I left. There were very ugly things that happened between us as I prepared to leave. Even now as I think of him, I choose not to be angry with him. There will always be a special connection between us, and I am grateful for the experiences I had in our relationship. Cory has many great qualities, and I wish him all the best. David and Jessica are always thankful to him, as none of this would have happened without him. He is always in all of our hearts, and I hope that someday he can move past the pain that this has caused him, and have a good relationship with David and Jessica, and his son.Yes, that's right, I said son! Shortly after I began speaking to David and Jessica, we all found out we would be having a boy. I felt early on that I was having a boy. David and Jessica were so excited, and quickly shared the news with their friends and family. My family was also very happy with this news too. There were many emotions throughout my pregnancy that made it difficult to know that adoption was the right choice. Somewhere deep down, I felt that this boy belonged with David and Jessica. I knew that he was brought to me for a reason, that this would be an amazing lesson for me. Never in my life will I again be able to do something this loving, and the knowledge of that is very comforting. When I left Cory, I moved about 3 hours away. I missed my sister, and Mariann as they were physically closest to me. I was sad and lonely at times, but loved being able to be with Brynn. We were together every day again, and that was worth any pain or struggle I had to go through. Shortly after moving, David and Jessica came from New York to visit me in Utah. It was the craziest 2 days ever. We spent time eating yummy meals together, did some shopping where they generously bought me clothes to get me thorough my pregnancy days feeling beautiful, and enjoyed being able to squeeze on each other and actually see each others big smiles. They were able to attend my 20 week appointment with our new doctor, and were there for me through the amniocentesis and genetic counseling session that took us all by surprise. In those 2 days, we were all able to see our sweet boy in ultrasounds several times, hear his heartbeat, and share the love that this amazing life had connected us all with. They went home, which was hard for us all. We knew it would be awhile before we would see each other again, but we stayed in constant contact over the next several months. We shared pictures in emails, and stayed in touch with daily text messages and many phone conversations. Jessica became my best friend. She has been there for me since the first time we spoke. If ever things are hard for me to handle, or if I have good news to share, I know who to call. Not only did I have their support, but also all of their family and friends were cheering us on. Go Team Desi!!!After having a difficult pregnancy with Brynn, I felt so blessed to have a beautiful pregnancy with Desi. There were hard times in the beginning with morning sickness, and the last trimester I had issues with carpal tunnel. But I enjoyed every minute of it. I knew that was the only time I would have with this sweet boy all to myself, and I cherished it. It all seemed to go so quickly.


Once I was settled into my new home, I began attending therapy. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to do that, to have the support of an outside party to help me process the emotions and challenges of placement, as well as past issues and strengthening my parenting skills. When it was time for Desi to make his grand entrance, David and Jessica were able to attend a session with my therapist and she also came and did a session with me in the hospital. I thank her for her support and guidance, she is a very neat lady. She has such great advice for me, and also for David and Jessica in transitioning as new parents and how to have a successful relationship with me in our open adoption.Telling Brynn about the pregnancy was a delicate issue, one which I spent much time pondering what was right for her, and what would help her understand. Knowing that she had no concept of time, I waited for quite awhile to tell her. I didn't want her to spend time worrying about me and what would happen. In October, I snuggle up with her. I told her how I met David and Jessica from my cousin, and that they couldn't have their own babies. They asked mommy to do them a big favor and have a baby for them. I explained how special this was, and how they were wonderful people who really deserved something nice to happen to them. And that mommy was very brave and kind to help them become a family. At first she was sad, since she longed for a sibling. As time passed she became more comfortable for her. My main goal in telling her was to always keep openness and honesty a big part of our relationship. When she is older, we will be able to talk more about Desi. About how he is her half brother. For now she understands him as her spirit brother. We take it one day at at time with her. She loves to see pictures of him and hear cute stories of how he is doing, but sometimes it is too much for her. I can relate, as it has been the same for me at times.December came around so quickly. The pregnancy continued with only a minor speed bump at about 33 weeks. I rested as much as possible and took the best care of my growing body and sweet baby boy. Granted this pregnancy is how I developed my love affair with chocolate and lemonade, but hey, there are worse things I could be putting in my body. Before any of us knew it, David and Jessica along with her parents, Steve and Roz, hopped on an airplane headed for Utah. Merrady was headed here from California to visit for Christmas, deciding to come a few days early to meet our little guy. Since Desi was developing well, we had scheduled an induction for 7am on December 21st. David and Jessica came to spend some time with me and the big belly, spoiling me again and enjoying all the excitement in the air. We met up with Steve, Roz and Merrady for a lovely dinner. It was such a fun night, I really enjoyed spending time with Merrady, who I hadn't seen for too long, and meeting Jessica's parents. They are the sweetest people ever, and I am so blessed to be a part of their family. We all went home, looking forward to seeing each other bright and early for our induction.When we established the date to induce, it was my decision, backed up by David and Jessica's support and the all clear from our doctor. I had feelings like maybe I was forcing his birthday to be that day, and that maybe he was supposed to come when HE wanted to, not when I felt it was best. At 4am, 3 hours before our planned trip to the hospital, my water broke. I took this as a sign that he was in agreement with being born on that day. He was just as glad to meet us as we were to meet him. I woke David and Jessica up, and they drove through a crazy snowstorm to come take me to the hospital. My sister, and dad came up to be with me. Steve and Roz also joined us and waited patiently for things to progress. After 12 hours of labor, Desmond Rhys graced us with his presence. That 7lb 3 oz, 20 1/4 inch boy was placed right on my chest, and I fell so in love. David was able to cut the cord, while Jessica gave me and our sweet boy a big squeeze. No one could stop smiling. I was able to feed him his first bottle, and David and Jessica watched him have his first bath. There were complications with passing the after birth, and I am lucky to have a great doctor and awesome team of nurses taking great care of me. Desi was very healthy, and was so content. We were all able to share in caring for him over the next 48 hours in the hospital. I love thinking about that time I was able to share with him, and loved seeing David and Jessica bond with their son. My mom was able to come visit me the day after he was born, and take pictures and spend time with everyone. My best friend Tyler also came to see me that night, he was my biggest supporter through my pregnancy, and soon he will be my husband. {And that is a whole other story...}


The biggest relief came the day after Desi was born. Instead of having to go to court and sign my relinquishment papers in front of a judge, I was able to have our Utah lawyer and a social worker come to the hospital. David, Jessica, and I gathered with the officials in my room. We were read the documents by the social worker, and I signed all my parental rights over to the people I trust the most with everything I have inside me. This beautiful, intimate ceremony is a memory I will always treasure. No one outside of this adoption circle will ever know what a positive thing it was for all of us. I am so grateful to Merrady for connecting us, and for everyone who has and will continue to support the love that we all share. Such a beautiful, sweet boy came into our lives and has connected us all forever.





After placement, I spent some time at my sister's home. She took care of me when I developed serious infections from the after birth complications. She took me to the hospital for doses of IV antibiotics every 8 hours for 8 days. Not to mention she had a spirited 2 year old and was rather pregnant at the time. She was there for me when I cried and made me laugh in the way only a sister can. She is the definition of an angel. After I felt well enough to return home and back to my life with Brynn, Tyler drove the 6 hour round trip to pick me up. He has been there for me through my saddest and darkest times during my healing process. He has brightened my everyday just with his presence. I can't even tell you how much I love this man. Not only to I love him, but so does Brynn. And everyone else who is blessed to know him. Seriously, this man is amazing. I love open adoption! The relationship I share with Desi and his parents is fantastic. They are so open and honest with me. They will work with whatever I am comfortable with as far as contact goes. They understand when I need space to process my emotions, and are there for me to share in all of our happiness too. I couldn't have wished for a better outcome in all of this. Desi is blessed to be surrounded by love. I am thankful to his parents for making it so important that he will always know about me, my love for him, and the beautiful story of how his life began. Seeing pictures and hearing updates on his progress and life is so blissful. Soon, I hope to be able to travel to New York and visit the Eastern division of Team Desi. I miss that sweet boy, every minute of everyday.

( Shantel & her fiance' Tyler at the 2011 Adoption Walk With Me in Salt Lake City Utah November 12, 2011 Go Team Desi!! )










Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Journey as a birthmom Part 1 ***Guest Blogger

Have you ever met someone and known pretty much immediately that they were going be someone special in your life, that you had just met a life long friend? Ya, that's the way it was when I met my next guest blogger. It was the first day of school and I was sitting in math class. I had to introduce myself and so I said that I am a wife and a mom. I have two girls, one who was brought to us through adoption. A few people later she introduced herself and yup, she would be a friend for life! She is so sweet and caring and loving and selfless. Her name is Shantel. She is a mom to Brynn, and a birthmom to Desi. We grew through the adoption connection, but we are finding we have more and more in common as well. Thank you Shantel for being so willing to share your journey. Shantel's journey will be a 2 part post. The first part today, and the concluding part tomorrow.
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Sometimes you wish for something so hard. You wish to be stronger. You wish things would work out they way you want them to, when you want them to, and why you want them to. It is beyond frustrating when all of your efforts toward your goals cause so much pain, and challenges you are not sure you can handle. In my life, many tough things have come my way by chance or choice. Looking at those events as lessons is something I strive to do.When I was 16 years old, I made several choices that will forever effect my life. I chose to become a mother to Brynn, and a wife to Tyson. Taking this path was incredibly difficult, yet has brought so much happiness and beauty to my life. Being a mother to this spunky, hilarious, adorable child is such a blessing. Tyson and I love Brynn, so much that when things were so difficult for us to cooperate as a couple, we knew that is was best not to continue our marriage. Sometimes I am sad that she had to grow up like I did, in two separate homes. My biggest hope is that she will always see how much we both care for her, and will one day understand what we did was out of love, and not anger. I am glad my parents were mature enough to know that they were better parents to us apart than they ever could have been as a couple. What I learned in struggling to accept their divorce has made me a much more understanding and forgiving person. I thank both of my parents, and Tyson, for the choices they were a part of, and for the strength I gather from those lessons. I forgive them, and I love them for what they have brought to my life.Being a single mother is an enormous challenge. What I have been through with Brynn, I wouldn't wish anyone to have to experience. The strength my daughter will gather from the things we have faced together is something that I try not to feel guilty towards, rather know that she will be a stronger person because of them. She is amazingly caring and can make me laugh harder than anyone I know. She is my best friend, and I hope she will always consider me hers. For 3 years, it was just Brynn and I. We had the support of my family, and she was able to spend time with her dad. But mostly it was just me and my girl. Our whole world shifted when I met Cory. He was so unique, and I was fascinated with him. He had a son, Xander, who was six months younger than Brynn. How exciting was this?! Maybe Brynn and I could have a family after all, we could have two handsome boys to share our life with. I spent more and more time with Cory, and Brynn spent more time with Tyson. I can't say that we grew apart, but there came a time that Brynn wanted to live with her dad. After some time and thought, we all agreed this would be a good option for everyone. It was hard to be her only parent, to have all of that responsibility. And it was hard for me to know that Tyson was missing out on things in her life, and deserved to have to opportunity to experience that.Soon after this, I moved in with Cory. I loved the things that I was experiencing with him. As our relationship grew, I overlooked things that he did that were painful to me, still holding onto that wish that we would be a family. I have no doubt that Cory did love me, but not in a way that I could function with. Everyone on the outside could see how unhealthy our relationship was. I could see it too, but after 4 years of knowing nothing but a life with him, it seemed impossible that there could be anything else out there. No one else would want to deal with what came along in a life with me. Staying was so hard, but finding a way to leave was much harder. To back track a little.... When Cory and I began dating, I found out that I had pre-cancerous cells on my cervix. Seriously, I am 20 years old, how can this be happening? The thought of developing cancer was haunting. I had several treatments and surgeries trying to fight off my aggressive illness. After hearing great news that after 2 years of treatment, the final surgery had worked, I was beyond ecstatic. The news following this was something I was unsure of how to deal with. Due to the severe scarring on my cervix, I would not be able to conceive a child. If I wanted to have more children, I would need to explore other options of conception and be aware that carrying the child would be less of a worry, but could also present problems. I saw another doctor, who also told me the same thing. Having Brynn was something I was so happy about, but wasn't I supposed to have more children? Didn't I want to have more babies? After many discussions with Cory, I was at peace with the diagnosis. Even happy. My pregnancy with Brynn was.... horrible. As grateful as I was to feel cancer was no longer a worry, I was even more grateful that trips to the doctor were over. I didn't want to spend another moment with my legs shaking in stirrups, trying to calm myself and not be afraid of the pain. So life went on, knowing I was going to have Brynn, and hoping that I could allow myself to get the place where I was supposed to be.Again my little world shifted when I woke up and knew, some how just KNEW, that I was pregnant. I couldn't shake the thought. I tried to rationalize this crazy notion with memories of speaking with my doctors, of knowing I couldn't even get pregnant. Not only could this not be a possibility, but I didn't want it to be. Wasn't I trying to find my way out of this negative relationship I had let consume my life? I wished to have my self back again, I wanted to have the simple times of Brynn and I again. You know you are in trouble when you miss your own smile, and long to hear your own laughter. Three positive pregnancy tests later, my crazy thoughts were confirmed. Immediately, I was flooded with a mix of emotions. I was scared, for the health of this child and my own. I was worried how Cory was going to react, and what this meant for my plans of freedom. But the strongest emotion was happiness. I was pregnant. And that knowledge was such a blessing. Taking some time to decide what to do with this blessing, this lesson, was what I needed to do.As it turns out, I would make my decision a lot sooner than I thought. The first person I told of my pregnancy was my friend Em. She was so excited for me. As happy as I was, I knew that I would be foolish to bring a child into such a negative environment. I knew I needed out, and so my options were to parent this child alone, or to find a family to place him with that would care for him in ways I was unable to at the time. As nervous as I was about what his reaction would be, I told Cory right away. I told him that I knew it was the last thing he probably wanted to hear, but that we were going to have a child. I told him I understood completely if he did not want to be in our lives. He had an extremely difficult relationship with Xander's mother, and it was hard for him to be close with his son due to that. The last thing I wanted was for either of us to have any more negative feelings towards each other. So I gave him the freedom to be involved as little or as much as possible. Feeling that I was leaning more towards parenting, we discussed the situation very openly. He reminded me of all the challenges Brynn and I had dealt with, and asked me if I was willing to do that to another child. We both already knew that was not something this child deserved. We decided at that point that we would begin the search to find a family to pursue and adoption plan with. I will forever be grateful to Cory for being supportive of this choice, and for allowing our baby to make his way to where he belonged.Shortly after deciding on placement, I told several people who were close to me. I told my sister and brother, my dad, and my dear friend Mariann. They were all so amazing to me. My sister has helped me to be strong, my brother can always make me smile, and my dad is wonderful at listening and helping me think of ways to look at things with a new perspective. Mariann became my rock. She supported my creative endeavors, and was always there to lean on for strength through my waves of emotions. After struggling with carrying her biological children, she and her husband were able to adopt their daughter, Whitney. Two years later, she was able to carry Jeremy to term. She had a closed adoption with Whitney's birth parents, and this really helped me to see the beautiful relationship that can exist between adoptive parents and birth parents. I knew that I wanted an open adoption, not only so that I would always know that my child was safe and loved, but also so that I could be able to recover from this overwhelmingly emotional experience. Both of Mariann's children were away at school, so I did not have the opportunity to meet Whitney until after placing the baby. I did however have the pleasure of meeting Whitney's best friend, Daniel, who was also adopted. Mariann told him I was expecting, and was placing my child with an adoptive family. Immediately he had a huge smile on his face and told me "Awesome! It takes a really great mom to be able to do that for her child." This is honestly one of the best experiences I had during this process. Most people that you tell look at you and say "Ohhh, that is so sad..." This was never meant to be sad or negative in anyway. Of course, there are times I cry, and that will probably never change. I will always cherish that sweet comment from Daniel, and remember that things will be okay, and that I am doing something great.Note that one of the first people that I told the news of my pregnancy and adoption plan was not my mother. She and I have always had an interesting relationship. She was a huge influence on the choices I made as a young adult. And during this time, our relationship was strained due to her feelings towards Cory. Knowing how I react and handle her opinions, I decided to not inform her of any of my circumstances. I wanted to know that I had made choices that were best for me and the baby, not what she thought was best for anyone. I love my mother, and I am very grateful for the lessons I have learned in life through our relationship, even if they were very difficult. When I felt the time was right, I told her what my plans were and was grateful that she could be understanding and supportive, even if it was difficult for her.With support around me and a knowledge of what is right in my heart, I began to look for a family for this sweet baby. Cory has a friend, Teena, that he rides mountain bikes with. Her daughter, Sophie, and her husband had been hoping to adopt for the past 5 years. When Teena heard our story, she put Sophie and I in contact with each other. While still viewing other family profiles, I began working with Sophie. Cory and I felt like they would be a great family to place with. They have a son close to Brynn's age. They had many attributes that I was looking for in a family. Sophie was a nice person, but something didn't seem quite right with her. After about a month of working with her, she called and left me a voice mail, telling me that they had changed their minds and did not want to adopt our baby. I was sad, and felt like this was very cold of her to do. Cory probably took it harder than I did. These were people he knew. We finally felt like we had some stability, and then everything fell out from under us again. To this day I have not heard another word from Sophie. I have no hard feelings towards her, and I only wish the best for her family. As sad as I was at the time, I know this happened for a reason. I couldn't be happier that her honesty opened up a beautiful opportunity for the people who remain involved in our adoption story.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Forgotten Family ***Guest Blogger

Today's guest poster is a very dear friend of mine. We have known eachother for going on 20 years now. When she contacted me and asked if she could guest post I jumped at the chance to have her do just that. You see, she is not the "typical" part of the adoption triad. When you hear about the triad, you hear about the birthparents, adoptive parents and of course the adoptee. What you don't hear about are, as my dear friend puts it, "the forgotten family". The extended part of the birthfamilies. The ones who stand by and watch their loved one go through heartache and have an aching heart themselves. So grab your tissues, if you're like me, you'll need them. Thank you my sweet friend for opening your heart and soul with this post.

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I have read the posts for the past couple of years that Sharon has up when she does her adoption month stuff. I’m not related to adoption in the traditional sense so I’ve never really felt like sharing my/our story. But as the years have gone on, every year I think, I should share our heartache. So finally this year I am.

Because this story is not fully mine I am asking Sharon to not use my name, and will change other names so as not to cause pain to anyone who knows me and this story is partially theirs. See, the thing I have learned about adoption is it is never just one person’s story. Adoption has come a long way, and many people now give more credit and love to birth mom’s. That wasn’t always the case. But there are the “forgotten family” in adoption too. These are the people that aren’t allowed to feel, hurt, miss, long, share, etc in the process. I am part of that group. But there are others who are even more. My mom is the one I am really writing for. But let me back up and tell the story that isn’t mine to share, yet is so much mine it has defined me...I think you will understand more when I’m done.

When M got pregnant and struggled with what to do, certain things were expected of those around her. She had been engaged to the dad for a couple years. He wasn’t making progress towards the date part of the wedding though. So when she got pregnant she figured that was the next obvious step. They were practically living together anyway. But he had other things in mind. His answer and the advice very vocally given from his family was to abort the pregnancy. I can’t remember how many times M was told, “No one would want your baby anyway”. This all proved one thing to M; not to abort but not to marry. So the question M struggled with was do it on her own, or give her baby up for adoption. M turned to her family for advice. But no matter what her family said they seemed to be judging and wrong. It got to where M’s family did not feel like they were allowed to have an opinion. M’s family understood that this was her choice, this was something she would need to live with for the rest of her life. They really didn’t want to make that decision for M, they just wanted to support and help her through the process. It was not easy for M, no one will deny that, in fact everyone was very sensitive to that. But NO ONE thought about how difficult it was for M’s family. If you tell M that you would support her though the adoption if that was what she choose, then you were pushing her to give up her baby because you felt you were better than her with the choices you made. If you told her you would do what you could to help her raise the baby if that’s what she choose than you were agreeing with his family that the only place the baby would be loved was by those who gave him life since they “had to love the child”. I knew through all this that she was struggling, but it was heartbreaking to watch my mom no longer be allowed her opinion. My mom has always felt that giving a baby up for adoption was the correct thing in a situation. But if she said anything about the possibility of adoption she was pushing her belief on M.

After much time, M decided that the right thing in her life was to give the baby up for adoption. This brought on months more of pain and heartache to our family. M was met by more struggles in this process than I’d ever heard anyone. She tried to go through reputable agencies but was met with obstacle after obstacle. We learned that no agency, no matter who it is run by is immune from bad employees. This was particularly hard when she was met by so many obstacles from the agency run by our church. Our church feels very strongly in adoption, so why would they make it so difficult for her to place her baby with them. She finally found a family she was happy with. She spend the last 3 months of her pregnancy communicating with them through the agency. M had one seemingly strange, but very important request to any family who adopted her child. They couldn’t have a pet cat. It’s a long story, but M is severely allergic and the dad’s family spent years trying to convince her she was crazy and it was all in her head, just move in with his parents and their 10 cats, you’ll grow out of the allergy. So this became a huge issue. What if M’s baby was allergic, what would the family do given the choice of pet cat or new kid. I know, to all of us out there whose lives are touched by adoption on the receiving end you think, that’s just crazy who wouldn’t choose the baby over the pet. The family she choose had a pet cat, but they said it was an outdoor cat and they weren’t really attached and they would give it away not a big deal. They had three dogs also so it wasn’t like the other kids would be loosing their only pet.

But then the unthinkable happened. One week before her due date, the family contacted her and told her they decided they just couldn’t give up the cat for the baby. It was too much to ask of them. She shock M and those around her felt was overwhelming. She then was posed with all those same questions she had struggled to come to answers with all over again. Did I make the right decision to place, how do I know that I’m making the best choice for my baby, would no one really be able to love my baby like I can, can another family really think of my child as theirs not just a gift/pet they are to take care of. It had taken M months to find this family that she felt good about how was she supposed to do this with only a week until the baby was set to arrive. That’s when I really got drawn into the mix. As you probably have guessed, I’m M’s sister. But I moved away from the family years before all this so I wasn’t really “in” the situation like everyone else was who lived there with her. M called me and asked me if I could help her. She didn’t know how to even start this over again and couldn’t bear the thought of fighting with adoption agencies again to get info on families with so little time while she was working full time. So the matter was turned over to me to help her find a family for her baby.

Talk about the weight of the world being put on your shoulders. I prayed about what to do. The answer was strong and clear. Tell everyone you know about her and ask them to tell everyone they know about her, DON’T waste your time with agencies. It was not the answer I expected, yet it was the most clear answer I had ever gotten. So I emailed everyone I knew, I called everyone I knew, I asked them all to email and call everyone they knew. The info we gave out was simple. My sister M was looking for a family to adopt her baby. Anyone who is ready to have a baby in their home in a week to please get me a copy of their profile info or to know how to find their profile info online. I was just litterally in the information gathering person who then would spend hours going through each family with her. I never had anything to do with the choice of who ended up with her baby. I was on the phone from 6 am until 10pm with out breaks almost for days straight. Emails were coming in like crazy. I don’t remember how many families we got info for. It was easily in the high hundreds if not the thousands. Most were from people who knew someone who was looking. Only 1/3 or less was I actually contacted by those who wanted to adopt. It was the greatest answer to her prayer. She went from no one wants my baby to this. It restored her faith in the human race.

In the end the family who ended up with the baby was not actually one that anyone told us about, yet she would not have found them had it not been for my pleas. See a I was told first names of a couple and the number of kids and the agency to see the profile online. I’m not sure where the mistake was made but the number of children was changed. She couldn’t find that family. But she found another one that just seemed right. She talked to them and it felt right. She asked them, “What are your feeling on pets” She didn’t want to guide the answer. But their answer was, “We have a dog, and like animals but since “Dad” is allergic to cats the kids have to be content with that.” That sealed the deal. Someone could understand her child and put a possible allergy above other needs. Less than 6 hours after that decision was made she went into labor. It took some phone calls to high officials including the president of the church to get their profile released from the agency to do an adoption through a lawyer. Contrary to what they had been told, it actually cost the family less than had they gone through the agency. The family hopped in a motorhome and drove to the state where M lived to meet their new baby. They did not arrive until the day after. I hopped in a car and drove up to be there with her through it. I took some very special pictures of my nephew and his “first family” . These pictures are the most precious things to my siblings and my mom.

See here is what I told that whole story to tell you about. My mom and I never got to see another picture of him. We never have gotten to read letters about how he is doing. This was M’s baby and her loss, and so everything has been done according to her needs and desires. She receives pictures but it’s too painful for her to share them with us. I understand that, and honestly I don’t begrudge her that. However my mom lost her grandson, and I lost my nephew that day. Knowing he is where he is supposed to be does bring us much peace. But I still miss him. I know my mom misses him like crazy. But we aren’t allowed to miss him, we aren’t allowed to have comfort in seeing and hearing how well he is doing in his new family, every is quick to offer support to my sister, being extra sensitive when they talked about babies, pregnancies etc. But no one thought about my mom and how many nights she has spent crying over the loss of her grandson. No one thinks about how hard it is on her. My mom knew this was the right decision. She has supported the decision and has no regrets on the decision. That’s not it at all. But she still misses him and longs for him at times. It’s been 8 1/2 years since he was born. It’s not something that is consuming to us. It’s just periodically my mom will call me to talk about her grandson she knows nothing about. My mom did the right thing in letting my sister make her own decision. She did the right thing in not fighting against it for her own desires to see him overrule what was best for him. Yet, in the end she is left with just an empty spot in her heart for her grandson she can never know and that can never know her love for him.

So my desire to share this story that isn’t really mine I guess is to point out that no matter where you are in the adoption “family”, my belief is that it is still your story. My nephew being placed for adoption has changed and defined who I am today. I am a stronger better person for having supported my family through the process, and worked not to judge even when I don’t understand all the decisions that are made. But, no matter where you are, take a minute to remember the forgotten members of the adoption family..the grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, sister and brother of the birth mom. They all sacrificed their heart for the process too.

Thanks,
Loving Aunt, sister and daughter in a birth family

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Struggling as a Birthmom ****Guest Blogger

Sorry for the time between posts. Finals are in less than a month so it's crunch time. Yesterday was the Adoption Walk With Me and despite the cold weather we had a great turn out. I was asked to be a photographer for the event so I will have fun pictures to share soon. If you want to see them all you'll have to join The Adoption Walk With Me Facebook Page.




Anyhow, for today's guest poster, you may remember my cousin J who guest blogged for me a couple of years ago. J is a birthmom and placed her son Kermit (his online nickname) 7 years ago. J volunteered to guest post this time about what life is like now for her. She has been struggling somewhat with her semi-open adoption and would like the advice of my readers. So without further ado.......




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As I sit here pondering what to say 7 years after the birth of Kermit, I am listening to some songs that help me in times of stress. One of them that comes to mind is called "The Birth Parent Song". I received it from my LDSFS (LDS Family Services) Counselor on a night when we were out to dinner. I was 6 months pregnant with Kermit (nickname his adoptive mom uses on her blog to keep his name private), and my counselor decided to invite my family and his adoptive parents to eat. As we met in the party room and ate, we had a good time talking. I was getting to know this couple that had been through such a hard time, with the loss of their daughter, Angel Baby (another nickname used to protect her name), at only 10 days old. After losing her, they decided to adopt and I'm glad that they did. They have done such a good job of raising Kermit, and I know that they have given him more of a life than I could have.The song that is typed up is part of a CD that was given to both Kermit's adoptive mom and me, as a gift to help us through any hard times we might have. It was a way to keep us connected through the distance we have (we don't live in the same state). I hope you enjoy it as much as I do."Once I was expecting a baby, marriage was impossible; what was I to do? Everybody knew but me;All my friends told me to keep my child, but something deep inside my soul kept urging me to pray;I bowed my head and found these words to say:What can I do to help this baby of mine? So tiny and helpless, an angel divine;What were his feelings about coming to me?Did he know that some other loving father and mother were meant for him eternally?Why is this happening to me?I know I did some foolish things, it seems unbearable for me to let him go;Yet I'd do anything for him and pray that someday he will know; I gave him out of love, it was no easy thing; When he was born I held him close to my heart; I loved him and kissed him and tried to impart;That I knew the mom and dad God wanted for him; I've come to accept it, I'll never forget him; and I'll be a mother again, I pray;I know my Heavenly Father lives and that he loves me; I know that when I placed my baby, I followed his plan;So when my heart aches for the one, I will always cherish; I turn to Him for help, He listens to my prayers;And peace fills my soul, peace fills my soul; What can I do to help the one I adore? I pray for him daily, and it's come to me lately;His life with them will lead Him home;"You would think that things would get easier as time goes on. I have an open adoption that was offered to me as a choice when I first met his parents . They told me that they would be comfortable with whatever I decided, so I decided on open adoption. We decided on monthly letters, pictures, and then go from there once I was married and had kids of my own. I was married before Kermit turned 2, and had my first daughter before he turned 3. Up until I had kids of my own, I was receiving letters monthly along with pictures. Although I wasn't there to watch his first steps, his first words, etc, I saw enough pictures. Once I had kids, we decided to do pictures every 3 months, then somewhere along the lines, we pushed it back to every 6 months. Now I get a yearly letter with pictures, PLUS I get to see more pictures on his mother's blog that she keeps updated for my mom and me to see. I also have her and her husband on facebook, so I'm able to keep in communication with them. Time flies and Kermit is 7 as of Oct. 30th, and I now have 2 beautiful daughters. My oldest is 4 1/2 and my youngest is 2 1/2, and I love them with all of my heart. They're a handful at times, but I have a very loving and supportive husband that has been good through this whole experience. Every time Kermit's birthday comes around, he tries to be there for me and help me through it. It's especially hard for me because with the financial hardships in our marriage, we haven't been able to have another baby. As I sit here and watch all my friends have boys, I wonder if Heavenly Father will ever bless me with a boy. Will I ever have a chance to see what it would've been like if I would've kept Kermit? Of course I understand that I can't replace him, nor is it right to compare him. I just want to have a son to fill that joy that is missing in my heart, from placing him with his parents. I want to have a son that will love me for who I am, a son where I can watch him grow up. It's not the same, and I understand that, but shouldn't I be able to have a son of my own. I repented of my transgressions of having a baby out of wedlock, changed my life and was married in the temple, but will that day come? Let me ask you readers something. I would love the comments, especially if you are a birth mother yourself and have gone on to have kids with your husband. Is there ever a right time to have another baby of the same gender as the one that you placed for adoption? Will life be easy, or will you find yourself comparing, playing the "what if" game?The other reason why I am writing this experience down, is because I love my cousin Sharon. She is a very strong woman, who went through a teen pregnancy, raised a daughter by herself, went on to become married to a wonderful young man, and then wasn't able to have any more kids. After trying, they decided to adopt and were blessed with Emily, and I'm excited to be able to meet her after we move to UT. Anyways, Sharon started participating in National Adoption Blog Month about 2 years ago, and she asked for volunteers to write down their experience as a new birth parent, a birth mom who just placed, or a family member that was there as a support for either woman. I volunteered and sent my story to Sharon, then I e-mailed Kermit's mom and she also submitted her story. Now I'm volunteering once more, only I'm writing down my thoughts of struggle as I near the date of Kermit's baptism (in 1 more year) and the thought of possibly not being able to go. See, we have an open adoption, but to me, it seems like it's a semi-open adoption. I know their last name, have their address, have them as friends on facebook, and have a chance to see the blog that Kermit's mom started as a way for me and my mom to keep up with his daily life. However, I can't visit him nor can I call him. Up until now, I've been okay with it because I have a family of my own that keeps me busy, I've lived far away from him, and he's been too young for me to communicate with him. However, my husband will be graduating college in December and we have decided to move to UT. Kermit lives in ID and this troubles me, because now I puzzle with the thoughts of wanting to go see him, of wanting to call him. I, too (like Sharon), watch Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant. I very much see myself as Caitlyn and Tyler placed their daughter Carly up for adoption, and also have an open adoption. At the young age of 16, they made a grown up decision (I was 18 when I became pregnant and 19 when Kermit was born) and yet they have contact with Carly's parents. They can call her parents, they went to visit Carly when she turned 2 (?), and are planning another visit. They also get letters every 6 months with pictures. If they have the contact of an open adoption, then what is my adoption? Ok, here are some more questions for you readers. Is it too pushy of me to bring up the situation with Kermit's parents, and see if they're comfortable with visits? We'll finally be close enough where it will only be a 10 hr drive to see them, and I would love to finally be able to meet him. Also, if I already have their last name and address, why don't I have their phone number? Sometimes I sit there and cry because I can't call him on his birthday, or call him on Christmas. It's something as simple as that, and yet I don't have that privilege. Is there ever a right time to ask his parents? Is there a group of people in UT that can help me with this part of my life? I've been to LDSFS before and done a couple of counseling sessions with other birth moms 4 years ago, but would love to meet with some now that can help me. Will things ever get easier?I hope I haven't bored you all, but this is my experience.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Birthparents are my heroes! ***Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is my friend Devin. She and her husband Jared are hoping to adopt. I met Devin last year when she and I both volunteered for the planning committee for the Adoptive Couples Retreat. She is one of those people that when you meet her, you feel as if you have known her for years. Even though it has only been a year, I feel like I have always been friends with her. Jared & Devin are just a quirky, fun, happy couple. They would give you the shirts off their backs if you needed them. When I asked for guest bloggers, Devin was one of the first to volunteer. I gave her freedom on what she wanted to write about, and her loving nature shines through with what she chose:


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Hey everyone! We're Jared and Devin. Little history about us... we
were married Dec. 2006. We went into our marriage knowing having
biological kids were out of the question for us (yes, yes we know we
are super blessed like that). With that in mind, Jan. 2009 we started
the adoption process and got approved through LDS family services
Sept. 2009. Now, if you really want to know more of our story, please
email us (jndpayne@gmail.com) or check out our blog
(http://jndpayne.blogpsot.com). In this post, I would like to focus on
something else.

Birth parents are one of my heroes! I know there are a lot of them out
there and comparatively I only know a handful, but every single one of
them are my hero. The selfless sacrifice they make for their child is
beyond comprehension in my opinion. In general, birth parents are the
nicest, most giving people EVER! too. It breaks my heart to hear of
the things people say to and about them. No one deserves to be treated
disrespectfully, but especially not birth parents. If it weren't for
their ultimate gift there were be countless couples, like us, that
would never have the chance to be parents.

I actually have all 3 of the adoption triad involved in my family. I
have an aunt who places a baby boy about 31 years ago, I have an uncle
who was adopted, and we are hoping to adopt. Jared has a brother or
two hoping to adopt as well. Not that this makes us any more educated
in adoption, but I do think it helps us get at least somewhat of a
good perspective on all three ends. I think the end that deserves the
most respect and honor is the birth family end! The things they go
through. Not to say the other two ends are all "peachy keen". There is
just something so ... angelic and heroic about birth families though,
in my opinion.

Thanks so much for reading! I hope I was able to at least somewhat
related how special birth families are. Like I said, please feel free
to contact us or follow our blog!








Sunday, November 6, 2011

Adoption Rocks! ***Guest Blogger

Today's guest blogger is Chantel. I met Chantel at our mutual friend Kim's house. Kim is one of the co-owners for the r house couture. They were doing a photo shoot for their latest adoption wear and my Emily and her little man were models. He is seriously the cutest! We met again at the Girls Night Out before the FSA Conference. She is so sweet and I was so excited when she said she would share her story. Here is it:

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I was very excited to be asked to share our story! I tend to be long winded when I talk, so I will try to make this post short and sweet!
My husband and I were marred in 2001. We soon wanted to start a family. We learned this may be a little more challenging than we thought. Through fertility treatment, our daughter, Morgan, was born in 2004. With no fertility treatment, we were surprised with our son, Maxwell in 2005.
In 2007, we wanted to add to our family again. All fertility treatments we tired failed. It was a very hard time for us. One night I was up looking at blogs and came across an adoption blog. It hit me like a ton of bricks. The baby that was coming into our house was NOT going to come through any amount of medical treatment. There was a sweet birth mother out there that was going to bring this child into our home. Our heart had always been open to adoption but we were now financially more prepared for it.
We began to look into what agency we wanted to use and we found Heart to Heart. I knew our baby was there. We began filling out the endless piles of paper work and became an “active family” in January of 2011. I was sure our baby would come into our home in days (a girl can dream, right?). I was wrong. We had 10 birth mothers look at our profile from January to April. We would get our hopes up every time we got a call only to find out they had chosen another family. I was about at my limit. My husband and I talked out pulling our profile until we moved in July and just resuming our adoption process once we had gotten settled from the move. We felt that would be best. I got on the computer Friday morning to email our case worker and let her know we wanted our profile put on hold for a while. Much to my surprise, there was an email from Heart to Heart in my inbox. It was a birth mother profile and I glanced over it. I didn’t give it a second thought and just replied. We would love to be shown, but I think this is the last one until we move. I also had a few questions about the birth mother I wanted answered and asked if she could call us on Monday with more information.
We went about our weekend and had a really late night Saturday night. The phone rang at 3:00 AM Sunday morning. My husband works at a hospital so it isn’t unusual to get random calls that early in the morning! I heard him say “I will go get my wife” I remember being confused at this point! He came in the bedroom and said “Kim is on the phone, the baby we heard about on Friday was born this morning!” I quickly answered the phone and Kim told me the birth mom we had received information on went into labor early and delivered a healthy baby boy. We were the family that had been chosen and if we didn’t think it was too fast, we could come and meet him! Too soon? Are you kidding me? I said we would be there and jumped out of bed! Our kids were soon woken up by all the excitement and we celebrated as a family. We knelt in prayer and thanked our Heavenly Father for this blessing. The spirit confirmed this was our baby. Our little guy was born in Utah and we were living in Missouri. We loaded our van as quickly as we could and raced to Utah to pick him up. We drove straight through and arrived in Utah late Sunday night.
Monday morning we drove to the hospital to meet our sweet birth mom and baby. I was so nervous walking into the hospital. The second I saw our birth mom, my nerves were put to ease. She is amazing. Words can’t accurately describe how we feel about her. She is strong and has been through a lot. She told us that she knew her baby was meant to be a blessing for someone else. How awesome is that? We felt nothing but pure love for her. She was truly doing the most selfless thing and brought this miracle into our home. We walked in together, my husband and I hand in hand, and our birth mom by our side to meet our baby. It still makes me tear up to think about it. Here was a perfect miracle. It was more than we could have asked for. Our hearts almost burst with joy. We named him Isaac and thank the Lord every day for the joy and blessing he has brought to our home. We share an open adoption with our birth family and it works well for all of us. We love having them in our life and sharing the miracle of adoption. I love that as Isaac grows, he can get to know the people who created him and brought him into our home. Without them, none of this could have been possible. We love our open adoption!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Falling Into An Open Adoption ***Guest Blogger

This is my friend Crystal, her husband Matt and their adorable daughter Sammy. I met Crystal & Matt in March at the Adoptive Couples retreat here in Utah. I was talking to a friend about our family member adoption and she mentioned there was another couple there with a family member adoption. I knew immediately I had to meet them. Several minutes later we were sharing stories and they were giving advice. Such a great couple! Such a wonderful family!


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Our adoption story isn't your typical one...but really whose is? We knew before we got married that we would be building our family through adoption, it was the when to get started that we weren't quite sure about. We prayed for years if we should get started and the answer was always, "not yet", so we waited. Almost 6 years into our marriage, when we felt the least prepared, living just outside of Washington DC thousands of miles from our family with a friend as a roommate while his wife and kids were in North Carolina trying to sale their home, that the answer to our prayers changed.

With in a week, before we had the chance to schedule appointments with agencies in our area to get the ball rolling, we got a phone call from Matt's mom, you know the kind that changes your life forever. She had gotten a phone call about her niece from her sister in law. Her niece was pregnant with a little girl and they had two choices, find a home for this little one or the state would. Because our families knew that we wanted to build our family through adoption they thought of us, and it didn't hurt that Matt is her favorite cousin.

Five of the fastest weeks of our lives later we were parents, and two of the slowest days after that we met our Sammy.

Open adoptions were just starting to become something that were being chosen by birth parents and adoptive parents alike. Because we hadn't been to any agency orientations let alone spoken with any case workers we had no idea that open adoptions even existed. Before we said OK to being Sammy parents we sat down and decided what kind of relationship we wanted to have since our birth mom is family, and had older children. We knew that our relationship could take one of two paths; we could still be one big happy family with no secrets as to how Sammy came into this world, or we could become this once close family that had nothing to do with each other over fear that the secrets we were keeping would come out. In our minds it was a no brainier, we would be one big happy family with no secrets.

The extended family took a bit to warm up to the idea, it was about three years later that they finally grasped the concept. We were setting up for a celebration for one of Sammy's aunts, her birth mom's sister, the little ones were running around and like most three year old kids, Sammy's legs sometimes moved faster then she realized and she fell. The nearest person to her was her birth mom, Jennifer. As Jennifer scooped Sammy up to comfort her there was an audible gasp from our family, the moment of truth had arrived! What was going to happen? Would Crystal run and snatch Sammy out of Jennifer's arms complete with stink eye and wagging finger? Would Jennifer take Sammy and run? Because we had a solid relationship with Jennifer, both she and Crystal knew who they were in Sammy's life, and Sammy knew who they were, neither of those things happened. Crystal looked over towards Jennifer, asked if Sammy was OK, got a nod from her, then went back to the conversation she was having.

Almost two years ago, when we started the process to be approved to adopt again, and learned about open adoption we realized that we had "fallen into" an open adoption. We know that having extra branches on your family tree full of people that love you is never a bad thing. While it can be "fun" at times trying to reign in three sets of grandparents, explaining to the teacher at parent teacher conference that Sammy really does have a brother and two sisters that don't live with us, that she wasn't making it up, and lining up schedules so we can visit as many times a year as possible with Sammy's birth family, they live a few states away, we wouldn't have it any other way.

You can read about getting the phone call from our friends point of view, the pure awesomeness that is our family, and our adoption journey with an agency this time at our blog http://mattandcrystalsadoptionjournal.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Coping with a Failed Placement **Guest Blogger

This is my friend Tammy and her husband Mike. We met while hubby and I lived in New Mexico a few years ago. They are an amazing couple, and have just endured what I would say is every hopeful adoptive families worst nightmare. I was hesitant to ask Tammy if she would do this guest post since it has only been a month. When I did ask her, she said she would be glad to and that perhaps it would help someone else. She wants couples who go through a failed placement to know that it's o.k. to grieve. It's o.k. to have days that you can't get out of bed. A part of her will always miss and love that sweet baby boy. And that's o.k. too.


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We were matched with a birth mother in April of 2011. She was about 17 weeks along and to be honest, the phone calls at first were a little awkward. We spoke very often. As time went by, we grew closer. One question I would ask her periodically was: “Are you still sure you are ok with the adoption plan?” Every time I would ask, she would tell me she was.

As the months passed, we let our guard down more and more. We were so excited. We were going to be parents!! We started buying a few things, our friends and family were giving us baby clothes, furniture, diapers, etc. We opened up a baby registry and were even discussing a baby shower. Things were going according to plan.

In mid September, the day finally came for us to pack our bags and go meet our son. We drove straight through the night (our birth mother lived out of state) and arrived about 2 days before he was born. I felt honored that she wanted me to be in the delivery room for the birth. After he was born, I was chosen to cut the umbilical cord and she asked the nurse to hand the baby to me first. I was beyond words. I was finally a mother!

The baby and our birth mother were released a few days later and she allowed us to have the baby the first night. I didn’t sleep at all. I was in heaven. I was holding my son and in a few short hours we all would be signing paperwork and we would be a family.

The next morning, we were preparing to go to the appointment to sign placement papers. Our birth mother came and took the baby out of my arms saying she had to stop by her house and that she would see us there, and then she left. Although I didn’t have a good feeling, I said OK and we decided to run some errands to kill time before the appointment.

That was when our world fell apart. During one of our errands, the adoption caseworker called my husband on his cell phone and I could tell by his face, that it was not good news. After the phone call, we got into the car and I found out that our birth mother never went to the appointment. She called the caseworker and said that she couldn’t go through with it.

Needless to say, we were stunned. I usually am not at a loss for words, but I was so shocked, that it actually took a couple of days for me to comprehend what was going on.

We waited a few more days before we came home, hoping she would change her mind. She didn’t. So, we packed up and came home.

It has been just a little over a month since everything happened. We had to undo everything we had done for the nursery. It was too difficult to look at all the baby stuff every day. My husband put everything he could into the garage. For now, that room is back to being the guest room.

This past month has been one of the hardest in my life. I cry on a whim and some days it is all I can do just to get out of bed in the morning. Some days are better than others, but I am still coping with the loss of our son. The hardest part is that he will never know us. Someone else will be wiping his tears, rocking him to sleep, and watching him grow. He will never know how much we love him and all we sacrificed to be a part of his life.

We still have not heard from our former birth mother. We never will. The day it happened, that she changed her mind; the first thing we did when we got back to the place we were staying was to get on our knees and beg the Lord to help us forgive her. Are we angry, hurt, and devastated? Yes, of course. Even though we don’t agree with her decision, we are trying to understand. We don’t know the pain of placing a child for adoption, but we think that we deserved to have her tell us of her decision herself.

We are hoping to adopt again. We are going to use this experience as a learning tool. There are things we will do differently the next time. What won’t change is our testimony of adoption. It is a blessing, it creates families.

I hope that no one has to ever experience the pain of a failed placement. If you do, feel free to contact me. Our email is nmparents2b@gmail.com
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Tammy and Mike are hoping to adopt. If you or someone you know is considering adoption for their child, you can find out more about them at Completeing Our Circle.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

How does your family member adoption work?

What a difference two years makes. As I look back on the last couple of years I see how much our family has changed. Two years ago during National Adoption Month I was posting about other hopeful families. Meaning, we were a hopeful family too and we had been for several years. Now, here we are, two years later, with two beautiful daughters, the youngest of which was brought to us because of one gorgeous and amazing young woman who made such a selfless decision. I remember talking to Kristina shortly after Emily was born. She hadn't yet signed the papers because she was still in the hospital and since we have a family member adoption the law required her to sign consent forms in front of a judge at the court house. I asked her how she was feeling with everything. She simply smiled and said "good". We were alone in the room so I felt like I could really talk to her and so I asked her how she was really doing. She smiled again, and she said "no, really, I'm good. I know this is right, you guys are going to be amazing parents to her." People often ask me why Kristina needed to see our profile and consider us as a potential family for her child that she was carrying. What people don't understand is that, yes we might be a family member adoption, but we aren't the typical family member adoption (is there such a thing?) When Kristina was adopted by my dad and stepmom she was a baby, but I was 16 and not living with them. We didn't grow up together. We had actually met in person, a dozen or so times before Kristina became pregnant other than when Kristina was a baby but she doesn't remember that. So she really didn't know me that well and didn't really know Jacob at all because half the times she saw me, Jacob wasn't there. So she really needed to take time research and get to know who we were in order to make her decision. We were able to take the time we needed during the pregnancy to really get to know eachother on a different level then just family (not that family isn't a fabulous bond, but the bond between an adoptive parent and birth parent, is just different and special in it's own way, which combined with our sisterly bond, makes for one fabulous and special bond). Our family member adoption is not what most are. It works, most don't. We have our ups and downs yes, but for the most part, it is fabulous! We honestly wouldn't change it for anything.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

National Adoption Month 2011

November is here! If you are a supporter of adoption, you probably know that November is National Adoption Month. This year, like the past 2 years, I plan to post about adoption every day this month. Adoption is something that is near and dear to my heart. My first experience with adoption was when I was in 1st grade. A family moved in a couple of doors down that had a little girl, my age, who was adopted from Korea. She and I became instant best friends. My connections with adoption grew and grew. And now, it is a part of my life, every minute of every day, and I love it! Adoption Rocks!



For my first post, I wanted to share with you and event that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I am so excited for this!! The Adoption Walk With Me is an annual event. If you are a birthfamily, adoptive family, adoptee, adoption supporter, love adoption, etc. join us!!


Liberty Park

9:30-12:30




Hope to see you there!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

National Adoption Month is Coming!!

My favorite time of year is beginning!! November as most of you know, is National Adoption Month. For the 3rd year I am going to attempt to post on my blog every day about adoption. With school, kids, husband and life, the only way I am going to accomplish this is with your help. If you have been touched by adoption in any way (birth familiy, adoptive family, adoptee, adoption supporter, etc.) and you would like to share your story on my blog, please let me know. You can either comment here, if we are facebook friends, you can contact me there, or feel free to email me at jandscrown at yahoo dot com.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Timing.....

Do you remember the post where I said we were starting the adoption paperwork again? Well, there have been a lot of changes going on in our house. And that is one of them. Through a lot of thought and prayer we have decided to hold off on our next adoption for a little longer. We just don't feel like it's the right time. In the meantime we are all keeping way busy. Jacob is almost done with his Bachelor's Degree (1 more semester left after this one and he will be graduating in the spring). And he is working on submitting his application for the PhD program. Yup, he's skipping his master's and going straight for the big one. Tamara is loving her Jr. Year of high school and is working hard to be able to graduate early. I am also in school now and am working hard to get my Associates degree. Emily is working hard at getting cuter and cuter. O.k. so she doesn't have to work at that at all. But life is good. We do want to adopt again, we just know that now isn't the time. This was a really hard decision to come to, but we know that just like with Emily, when the time is right, we'll know.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Placement after parenting... Advice?

Dearest Blog readers and adoption friends,
This morning I got a message from an old friend of mine. She and her husband are married, with 3 children. The youngest (we'll call him Colby) being just a few months old. We'll call them Kayla & Shawn (Kayla, Shawn & Colby are not their real names).


Kayla & Shawn are great parents. I have known them since Kayla was pregnant with their oldest. Now they have 3 children. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they are unable to care for all 3 children and feel it best that they place their youngest Colby, for adoption with some friends. These friends have been trying for years to have a baby and have been unsuccessful. So Kayla & Shawn have made the heart wrenching decision to do what they feel is best for their son, at the same time blessing the lives of their friends.


So my question to you dear readers, what advice would you give them as they start this process? Kayla asked me for advice and honestly, I am at a loss for what to tell them. My heart is breaking that they are having to make this decision. I also commend them for doing what they feel is best for their son.


Let me state that I am not looking for angry comments here. They are already heartbroken enough and don't need people lashing out at them. Put yourself in their shoes. Any angry comments will be deleted. These people are very dear to me and I can and will stand up for them.


That being said, Birthparent friends, what advice would you have for them? Adoptive parent friends, what advice would you have for them? Friends who were adopted, what advice would you have for them?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Happy 10 Year Anniversary!!

(Our Engagement Picture~Montague Photography)

10 years! It's been 10 years since I married the most amazing man. We have been trying to figure how to spend our anniversary. We were going to stay in Park City for the weekend since neither of us have ever been, and it's 10 years which is a big deal. But Emily stopped sleeping through the night and we don't want to ask anyone to keep her overnight so instead we are trying to rack our brains to find something else to do. We decided that maybe we would think of something we can only do here, that we have never done and that when we move we won't be able to do. So we are thinking of maybe going downtown and going to the Beehive House and taking a tour and then maybe going to the Church History Museum (which we have done that, but that was while we were dating so it's been a long time.) Besides, those are all free things to do so that works even better. We'll go out to dinner, possibly to the Roof, or to the Garden, but we aren't sure yet. Jacob's mom and dad are going to watch Emily while we spend our afternoon/evening together. Unfortunately this will have to wait a few days because Jacob is working tonight and tomorrow night so ya. But still, I'm excited because we don't get a lot of time together just the two of us. We may go to the temple too while we're there right next to it so we'll see. Basically we have an idea of what we'd like to do, so we'll just go have fun without a plan in the world on what's actually going to happen. ;o)
(Our wedding Day August 3, 2011~Montague Photography)




Here's to 10 years love!! And to an eternity more. I love you!!


(Us July 2011~Ray Of Sunshine Photography)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy 1 Year!!!

Miss Emily turned 1 yr old on Tuesday! I can't believe she is 1! Crazy how time flies. We have her check up tomorrow so no stats for ya, but she is doing great. She is walking now, most of the time at least. She still crawls when she falls down while walking, but she getting better. She can now walk most of the way across the room without falling. And she only falls because she gets to excited that she is walking that she starts going faster then what her little legs will carry her. But it's funny because she will fall down on her bum and then start clapping. LOL She now says 17 words, her newest words are no, stop, help, and pretty. She is seriously one of the funniest kids I have ever met. She's hi-larious!



We had newborn photos done of her when she was 3 weeks old, with a stuffed elephant that we bought for her before she was born. Here is that picture.


(Photo taken by Paramount Photography)









I decided it would be cute to do her photo with the same elephant for her 1 yr photo. (I did this one) She sure has grown!

I'll have photos and an update from her birthday parties later (we did one and her birthmom did one so she had 2).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cha-Cha-Cha-Changes!

There are so many exciting changes going on in our family right now! We're so excited about what the future holds. Jacob has just a couple of semesters left after this one before he graduates from the University of Utah with his Bachelors Degree. Then he will be entering the Master's Program and if all goes as planned he will be getting his Masters degree in Religion or Theology. He will be entering the Army once again. This time as a United States Army Chaplain. He will be submitting his request for endorsement from the church to represent them as a Chaplain in January. If he is able to he will be in the Reserves until Tamara is done with school. We don't want her to have to switch schools so close to graduation so we are still here for a minimum of 2 years.

Speaking of Tamara, she passed her drivers ed class and her test. Now she is just waiting until she has had her permit for 6 months which will be at the end of this month. The other prerequisite is that she has a job to pay for the insurance for her having a license.



Emily has taken her first steps and is sure to be a lean mean walking machine in no time at all. She is also cutting more teeth so there have been some sleepless nights around here.


As for me, in addition to starting my own photography business, I am going back to school. I am so excited! I will be attending Salt Lake Community College and getting my Associates of Science Degree in Visual Arts and Design with an Emphasis on Photography. I can't wait! I have been wanting to go back to school for a long time. Seriously, so excited!!


Oh! And! Jacob has applied for a new position at his work, that is not only a pay raise, but it's also a day time, salaried, office job. He would have a set schedule and actually be home every once and a while. So hoping he gets it!


See, told you there were a lot of changes! :o)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Crazy!

These last couple of months have been crazy busy for my family. First my big brother Roy graduated from the U with his EMBA in Business. YAY! Proud of you big brother!!





Then my brother Matt got engaged to a wonderful woman named Marcela, and I took there engagement photos.


Then, Tamara, my baby! She turned 16!!! She is finishing up Driver's Ed, looking for a job, and will be getting her License at the end of this month!


I made not, 1 but 2 cakes for two seperate Sweet 16 parties. The first was for the party with friends. She wanted a small party, just having some friends over to hang out, but she wanted a fun cake. She designed it. It didn't turn out like I had hoped, but she liked it.

The day after her first party I went to Utah County to take my newest nephew Sam's newborn photos.

Then Tamara had her other party which was the party for family and friends. We did an open house with cake and presents at the end. I was happier with the cake for this one. She designed this one as well.


Then, we got a new washer, dryer, and fridge. Emily's newest favorite "movie" to watch is watching the clothes go around and around in the washer and dryer. Heck, Tamara likes watching it too! LOL
Then I took my soon to be sister in law's bridal photos.

Then it was time for the wedding. I was able to shadow Ashley with Paramount Photography at the temple and did the reception photos myself.


In addition to the wedding photos I also did their announcements, a video montage that played at the reception, and I also did their cake (my friend Kim helped with the cake, so could not have done it without her!)

And to top it off, in May, little miss Emily turned 10 months old.


And now, she is 11 months old! I am starting to plan her 1st birthday. That is just crazy to me! She's almost 1! How did my girls get so big so fast? Emily now has 2 teeth on bottom, one on top that just broke all the way through and another one that has just started to peek through. She crawls everywhere, is walking around furniture, just started acting like she might be willing to try walking on her own, she stands by herself for up to 20 seconds by herself without falling (when she's done she'll just sit down), she loves bouncing and has even started jumping, she gets in to everything and anything, still won't sleep at night unless I'm with her, she says: momma, dada, mommy, daddy, Nay (Tamara's nickname) Sissy, Kitty, Cat, Dog, Pup pup, hi, bye, ball, baba, no, what, kay (ok), and her latest, Mine! Silly girl!



On top of all this, I am getting ready to start my own photography business. I have been doing photo shoots like crazy to help build my portfolio, and am working on a business name, logo, cards, price list, etc. Stay tuned for more details on that, along with a giveaway!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Beginning again?

Because our adoption with Emily is a family member adoption we could have adopted another child at any time, including when Emily was born or even before. In fact the very day we got a call saying that Kristina had chosen us, we also got a call from our case worker, not two hours before saying that a baby had been born the night before with Down Syndrome. The baby's parents were painfully considering adoption because they did not know if they could care for this baby the way she deserved. (the parents were married with 4 other children and didn't know how they would be able to care for a special needs child as well since they didn't make a lot of money to begin with.) I can't imagine how hard that decision must have been for them. We had to make the decision on whether we would like to have our profile presented to them. Jacob's Aunt has Down Syndrome and our case worker knows this. So she called to see if we would want our profile presented because we were one of the families who had marked that we were o.k. with Down Syndrome in our profile with the agency. We considered it, but by the time we found out we were chosen by Kristina we had already made the decision to not have our profile presented. It was a really hard decision. I spent the next 24 hours wondering if we had made the right decision. But ultimately we felt that the parents were the ones to raise this sweet baby. And we were right. The next day we got a call saying that the family had been given help and resources to help with the care of their little one and they had chosen to parent. I was so happy for them. After informing our case worker that we were indeed chosen by Kristina, I asked her if this other family had chosen adoption, would we have been able to still be "in the running". She said that yes, because Emily was a family member adoption, we could absolutely adopt at any other time. Just before Emily was born we chose to have our file put on hold so that we could adapt to having a baby in the house and concentrate on our new family member. We didn't close our file, just put it on hold. And because we didn't adopt through our agency we won't have to do the full application process again should we choose to take our file off hold. We will need to update a few things, but that will be it.

Which brings me to a few weeks ago. We got an email from our case worker. She is leaving the agency to become a stay at home mommy. We are so happy for her, but sad to lose her as our case worker. She wanted to set up a meeting with us to discuss when we want to take our file off hold and to also introduce us to our new case worker. So that brings us to now. Our meeting with them is tomorrow. We need to decide what we are going to do as far as our future hopes to adopt. Do we want to pursue adoption again? If you had asked us a few months ago we would have said no. At the beginning when Emily was first born we couldn't wait to add to our family again. As the months went by we had pretty much decided that we were done. Not because we didn't feel we were supposed to adopt again, but because we didn't know if we could go through the waiting process again. So how do we decide. We have no idea..... We have prayed about it, we feel that we should adopt again. But we are just so scared of what the future holds. What if we wait years again? What if we are chosen right away? What if we are never chosen again? And so.... tomorrow, we talk to our new case worker. And we have pretty much decided we will tell them we are ready to start again. We want Emily to have another sibling. She loves Tamara to death, but by the time she is in school, Tamara will be out of the house and either off at college or married or both. We want Emily to have another sibling close to her in age. And we feel like our family is not complete. And so.... we begin again......


We have a family photo session set up for this weekend by the awesome Angie from Ray Of Sunshine Photography. We were originally going to do the shoot to celebrate Tamara's 16th birthday, Emily's upcoming 1st birthday and our upcoming 10th Anniversary, but it's looking like we will also use the photos for pass along cards and updating our profile. Exciting.... but nervous too!