Friday, January 29, 2010

questions about adoptlink

Does anyone know anything about this faciliator, good or bad? I'm just curious, because she presents quite a few available situations, so I wanted to see what anyone might know about her/them. It's out in California, where many adoption faciliators are, but she seems to get a lot of mothers/situations through.

Aren't there any facilitators east of the Mississippi with that large of a client base? All I have seen are very small companies with one or two situations.

Or am I just crazy not to count on my own agency? Am I the only one who wishes this would hurry up and would love to be connected with a birth mom some other way?

I know someday it will happen. But do I need to help it along or just sit and wait? Give me some perspective on that one. I'd love to know what you think.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

a little mystery

I've been so sick this week that I haven't thought to much about all this waiting. Charlie and I were talking about paying down our debt, something that has been a big goal of ours, and how we are trying to get it done this year. We have done some Dave Ramsey things before, but this year we are sticking to it tightly and applying every extra cent to the amount of debt we have. It isn't huge, mind you, but we still have some college loans and a credit card to pay off this year.

Currently, his schedule has us paid off in about 6 months. And I told him I thought that was good, but he said he figured it would get interrupted by an adoption. I kinda stared at him. I know he thinks about it too, but he seemed so certain that it would happen.

There are days when I think it won't ever happen.

Don't you have those days?

He said he knows someone will choose us eventually. And I just didn't have that kind of faith. I mean, the law of averages says yes, we will get chosen. But it could take years. I don't want to wait that long, but it isn't in my hands.

I did get the strangest FB message today from a student of mine. Now, I don't allow my students to be my friends on FB. There's just too much personal stuff on there, but this message was from a 4th grade student. The title was "adopt" and all it said was "Are you serious." No question mark or anything else. And the student's name was spelled wrong, but the picture was of her. Weird.

I'm not quite sure what to do, and I think I might talk with her teacher about it. I highly doubt she wants me to adopt her, which would be strange, but I don't know why she would send me that message.

Curiouser and curiouser, as my dad would say.

What do you think?

UPDATE: The teacher and I talked with the student this morning and all she said was she wanted to know if we were really going to adopt a baby. That's it. I told her I didn't talk to students on FB and wouldn't be replying to her, and I told her because the message was so short and abrupt I didn't know how to interpret it. I know people find adoptions in the oddest ways, and I really didn't want her to know a pregnant girl or something. Weird, I say again.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

crying in public

There isn't much to say or update anyone on these days. Every once in awhile I wake up and think "today might be the day" but our phone hasn't rung, so it obviously hasn't been our day yet.

Today we went to Walmart a couple of towns over. We like this particular store because the ones in town are kind of dirty and crowded, but we have to drive about 25 minutes to get to one that isn't half bad. And the husband wanted to wander around with me, so we drove over there.

That really isn't the point of the story. The point is that we hadn't been over to this store since last year when we were baby shopping. We ended up spending a ton of time in the baby section picking out some clothes and baby supplies and had a great time.

Today I cried in the store thinking about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

like a tortoise

It's the slowness that drives a girl crazy, I think. I mean, the beginning part of adoption, when you're filling out all the paperwork and hoping you get approved. There's cranky fingerprint people and courthouses to go to and endless questions about everything. But it all adds up to something I can do. Things to check off.

In our case, our match came around rather quickly. We weren't even done with our homestudy before we were matched, which is really rare. But our agency loved us so much to show us, and so Vanessa chose us for her little girl. It was thrilling to think that six months after calling the agency we would have a baby. It was fast, but it was all coming together. Then it all fell apart, but that's another story.

But now it's been another nine months and I'm getting a little antsy. The first couple of months I thought about the baby a ton and prayed for her and basically just tried to get past it. And I was embarrassed. It wasn't my fault at all, but I felt like I had lied, saying she was coming and getting all this attention, just to have to contradict myself. I hated that feeling.

After a while my husband just said...we need to move forward. We had never taken ourselves off the list, but we talked to the agency anyway, just to make sure we were still being shown. We're on the website (click over on the sidebar and you can see us under Waiting Families.) I want my phone to ring and it to be the right number, saying "you're matched!" I remember the moment we first found out about Vanessa and I ran out of my office and started jumping up and down with the woman next door. She didn't even know why we were jumping. Finally, I just said "baby."

Will it be as thrilling the next time? Will I want to jump or want to hide it? Will I want to be so forthcoming, or reticent about the details? How much will I share?

I don't know.

It seems like, knowing myself, that I would be open and share, but the fear of looking stupid twice comes over me and whispers to me to keep it to myself. Keep praying I get past that, okay?

As for now, we wait. Like little tortoises on the road to parenthood. But I want to be the hare.

Monday, January 18, 2010

no more whining

Okay, I am over my whining. It comes and goes depending on my mood, I guess. There are times when I feel blessed to be adopting, and other times when I wonder why God didn't make me like other women. It's hard to always know what God intends and to trust that his timing is perfect.

I did come across several adoption situations last week where I ended up emailing the social working involved. Both times the social workers were quick to email me back, which I appreciated, but with news that either the situation had already been matched or that they weren't accepting any more applications/profiles for the situation. One would have been almost perfect for us, with the fees being what we could afford and with the mom looking for a Christian couple. Oh well.

Are there any sites that you all look around at, to read or learn about available situations? Please share, if you would. How do you deal with just sitting and waiting for your agency to call? I would love some tips about that.

Well, today I have the day off and am going to the chiropractor. Church was amazing yesterday and we took up an offering for Haiti, plus our pastor talked about one of our local missionaries taking a medical missions team in a couple of weeks. I was glad that we were able to donate to Convoy of Hope, which already has a warehouse in Haiti that miraculously was not damaged by the earthquake.

If you would like to donate just click HERE. Anything helps!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

adoption is expensive

Okay, this is the post where I whine about adoptions being expensive. Yup. It won't be long and I'll be over it soon, but it's the post where I say it shouldn't be so expensive.

I will also say that infertility procedures shouldn't be so expensive either and should be covered by insurance (it is in Massachusetts, did you know that?)

We are homestudy ready and have a nursery ready to go. I have diapers and formula and a diaper bag that is packed. And while I have mostly girl clothes (from our failed placement) I have both boy and girl bedding.

And I have been researching many different available situations on the internet. There are many out there. And the price tag is steep. Most of the situations are advertised by lawyers and huge adoption consultant firms, who you have to pay, and then you pay an agency on top of that. The lowest adoption I have seen out there is $21,000 and the highest being $38,000.

It's not a cheap thing to do, and I know the staff at the agencies need to get paid. I understand that. I do. But I feel bad that right now there could be a baby waiting that I just can't afford to adopt.

I guess the comfort is in knowing that there probably are couples out there who can afford the steeper price tags. Like Brad and Angelina.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

feelings from a failed placement

Today I popped over to a site called For Birthmothers By Birthmothers as recommended by another blogger (I now have the birthmother blog on my sidebar.) It was a blog I needed to find. Not in the sense that I was looking for it, but in the sense that it helped round out my feelings on our failed placement.

I don't know if many of you out there have experienced an adoption that didn't go through. I know Maria did (plus a couple of you bloggers I don't know well), and I know some of you have been through a miscarriage (or two or three) or a stillbirth. All the situations, while similar, are very different. In a miscarriage or a stillbirth, I imagine women feel physically responsible, like maybe there was something they could have done to make the baby healthier. I didn't have to go through the physical pain of the miscarriage or deliver a baby only to watch them die. And I'm sure the pregnancy hormones don't make it any easier.

It was not like that for me. I just felt rejected, and not by the birthmother, really, but by God. Well, not even Him so much as LIFE. Reality. Murphy's Law. Like I wasn't good enough to get the baby. Or good enough to get pregnant in the first place. Why didn't he choose me for that? Why did he choose me for this? If he intended me to adopt, then why didn't it go through? In the months following, most of that has faded. I don't blame God or even feel like he doesn't see me or hear me, I just want to move forward and begin my journey as a family of three.

Anyway, to get back to my original point, was that this birthmother site is maintained to provide support for each other, and for others that support adoption. The posts were so interesting and provided so many insights into what birthmothers feel as they are making an adoption plan and placing their child. It helped me to better understand what our birthmother (I call her Vanessa on the blog) was thinking about before she changed her mind about placing. They were doing a question and answer post today, talking about the five highs and five lows of placing a baby for adoption. Some things came up that I wouldn't have even thought about. It's too much to go into here, but I encourage you to click the link and explore the site. Suffice it to say that I found myself clicking through many of the posts, feeling like I was taking an adoption class on birthmothers. I think some of you have talked about your adoption classes before and hearing birthmothers talk, and I think that would be awesome.

We only met with Vanessa once, and weren't able to talk to her after she decided not to place. In fact, she only text messaged the agency to let them know she'd changed her mind. It was all over and done with so quickly, although she did tell them to apologize to us. We even went ahead and had them give her the clothes we'd bought for the Interim Care family to use with the baby. I didn't want them back. I'd bought them for that baby and they needed to be with her. I just think I needed a little more closure. One text and it was over.

Okay, so I've shared more than I intended I think, but that's how I tend to be with my blogs, I guess. But I was so impressed by the honesty and perspective offered in the posts that I read for a long time. If you are considering adopting, I suggest you read some of the entries. It will give you some much needed insight into what the process is like for the moms. We tend to think of it all about us, and how we want babies. And I am like that a lot. I can admit that. But I also like to think that the baby I adopt will need a home, and a mom and a dad. It doesn't mean it won't be a painful experience for the mom. It will be, and I think I understand better all the emotions involved. I do plan to go back and check up on the blog, as I want to keep learning.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

not what I wanted

I shared a few days ago that we were exploring some more adoption options, and I got more news on that today, and it wasn't the best news.

Let's back up a step, so any new readers can catch up, my husband and I have been with our current adoption agency for a little over a year. We are hooked up with New Life Christian Adoptions out of Garner, NC (click on the sidebar link to see our profile.) We love them. We love their attitude towards adoption and the women that work there are totally amazing. We were matched with a birthmother last April, but she decided to parent once the baby girl was born. It was hard, as many of you know. We are already homestudy approved through them.

So, back when we signed on, we said we would give it a year and then talk again. It has been a year and so we have started talking about various options. One of them is a local adoption agency (Children's Home Society) that wasn't doing infant adoptions when we first were looking for an agency. They have since re-opened their infant networking program and we have a couple of connections there, so we called to talk with them. They do a lot of work with the foster program and it sounded like they might be a good fit from looking at their website. The one thing they don't post on their website is the fees, which I find frustrating.

Today we found out a couple of things. One, they don't accept other agencies homestudies, which is odd. Many agencies might charge you a fee to review your homestudy, but they don't take them at all. So, that would need to be re-done at a fee. Second, the total adoption cost is about $17,000 (including homestudy, but not legals.) That is on the low end for agencies, as you may well know, but I was hoping it would be closer to what we already have budgeted for New Life. You can use as many agencies as you like, but most of the time you can pay once for a homestudy and then send that around. With them we would have to go through that again, and you know how complicated that process can be with all the paperwork, interviews and home visits. If we had started with them to begin with it might have worked, but at this point I'm not sure what to think. I really haven't even shared this with Charlie yet, so I'll be talking with him later.

Maybe when our homestudy expires, we might consider this agency, because last year they did 49 infant adoptions. Our agency is a lot smaller and doesn't have the same volume. We'll see though...any day could bring another match.

I'm curious what other adoptive families consider their financial threshold. I know that many can't even afford the $15,ooo we are considering, but some families can consider more expensive agencies/options. When looking around on the internet for available options, there are babies already born that adoption consultants are advertising for $25,000-45,000 plus their time and travel. It might be a faster process if we could afford a more expensive consultant. But I don't know that having a baby faster would force me to change from our agency that does so much for the birthmoms counseling wise.

Anything you want to share is great. If you aren't comfortable talking about the money, that's fine. You can email me too ( if you want to share privately. I'm always curious about other agencies that people use and the process their adoption takes. I just learned about an agency the other day that had a very unique process and it was interesting to read about!

Anyway, that new agency is on hold for awhile. I was excited to learn more about them, so the news I learned today wasn't what I wanted to hear. But then, I find that to be typical in adoptions...there isn't good news until there's GREAT news.

Talk later, all you Mommas!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

trying to trust

I have spent the last few days popping around different pregnancy, infertility, adoption and foster care blogs. I am constantly amazed at how much is out there and available to read. I ended up adding lots of links to my sidebar, so I now I have lots of people to keep up with and follow their journeys.

But, one theme that seems to unite all these blogs is the wanting: wanting to be a mother, wanting to help children in need, wanting to find a good home for a child, wanting to follow God's will. So many of the women blogging out there are Christian women of all faiths, from Catholic to Protestant to LDS. Women who trust God with their families and their lives. Each woman may be going about it in the way they believe, but underneath all the differences in faith are the prayers sent up. Many, many, many prayers.

I know that I often feel like I'm whining about the waiting. And the waiting is hard. I feel like I'm supposed to be mothering someone, and so I often end up mothering my dogs. Lucy, especially, since she tends to be more cuddly. She'll often end up in my lap, and I'll talk in babytalk and call her the baby. I kiss on her and love on her and tell her that she'll love the baby when he/she comes.

Somewhere out there may be a woman who is thinking that bringing up a baby would be too hard. Or that it just isn't something she's ready for or can handle. Hopefully, God is touching her spirit, whispering that He can take care of that baby. There's a way. It doesn't have to be a can be a life, for her, for the baby, and a dream come true for couples like Charlie and me. I pray that in these moments, God is there and that hearts are opened. I pray that these honest whispers fall on receptive ears.

I believe I was meant to be a mother. It wasn't always this way, but more and more each day I know that this is God's calling on my life. Charlie is meant to be a daddy. That I know. I can see it in how he acts with his nephews and niece. It will come so naturally to him.

These are the thoughts for today, I guess. Those are my prayers and my prayer requests. Add them to your list, if you can, if you would.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

new year, new template

I posted the other day about some of the new options I have seen out on the internet for networking to assist in our adoption. Most of the things I have come across are pretty expensive, but it is quite addicting to look around. It also hurts my heart a little knowing that these babies are out there and it just isn't so affordable. This isn't really a post to say that adoption is costly or to whine about it, but to say that I am making more of an effort to connect with other women dealing with infertility and adoption. Connections could bring about something wonderful, right?

So, I felt like the blog needed a little bit of an update. And let me tell you, it took me hours to find the right template. There are many, many, many out there and not all of them are good. Plus, I didn't really want just a background to use with the Minima basic template. I wanted something graffic and vivid. I think this is it. Hope you like it.

I did pop around today and comment on many blogs that were new to me. So if you are someone I haven't really met, then HELLO and WELCOME. Hope you find me to be a sympathetic friend and this blog to be a place that will make you laugh a little, smile sometimes, and jump up and down with joy eventually (when we get a baby, that is!)

Nice to meet you.

Friday, January 8, 2010

new options

One of the other adoption blogs I have lurked on for some time now, All You Who Hope, just adopted a baby. It came around very quickly and was actually suggested to her from another blogger friend. Imagine that! One of her blogger friends told her about an available situation and they called the attorney, got their money together and went and adopted this baby!

I can't even imagine that.

It took a little over a week and a half!

It's amazing. To think that one day she was sitting there checking her email and then boom! Here's a possibility! Get on it!

And, I didn't know that people posted available situations, either. That was totally new to me. If you don't know, then available situations are when an agency has a birthmother that does not want to chose any of the parents available to them, or is not a good match to anyone the agency is already working with. So, they reach out to other agencies and some even post on various websites, or on their own websites. I had never even heard of this before, and I spent some time last night on the internet looking. Most of the available situations also post the fee associated with that adoption, and many of them are more expensive than we are budgeted to spend with our agency. I can't imagine how we would come up with $30,000 in a month. With our jobs, it just wouldn't happen.

Oh, so last time I posted I was talking about all the various things you think about when beginning to adopt and there certainly are many questions you deal with. When a woman is pregnant, she can control what she eats and if she smokes and if she exercises. When you adopt, you are at the mercy of the birthmom to disclose her habits. It isn't possible to know everything about the health of the baby, or what they will grow up to be, or if they will develop a health problem later, but if the mom smokes pot while she's pregnant, you'd like to know. And sometimes they don't say.

I guess it all comes back to trusting Him to know what's best for us. Trusting Him to know what we can handle. Trusting Him to know the timing and the way it will happen. How much work do I need to do on my end? Should I keep pursuing other options, or just wait for our agency to match us? It's hard to feel like I'm not doing anything.

Anyway, for all the couple of bloggers that read this, if you know of an adoption situation out there that might interest us, comment and let me know. You never know what could happen!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

want to think about these questions?

There are so many options when someone considers adoption. There are so many things to think about and pray about, to consider and ask questions about. Not to overwhelm anyone who is just on the brink of considering adoption, but here's where we started:

  1. Where do we want to adopt from? Initially, I wanted to adopt from China, because that's what so many people around us were doing. I researched all the possible countries we could adopt from and made a chart with their requirements and the cost. China seemed the most reasonable at $26,000 or so. The downside was that a non-special needs adoption could take three years.
  2. Where do we want to adopt from? Okay, so after thinking about China, and seemingly making that decision, my husband gets on the internet one night and does his own research and discovers that domestic adoptions can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on who you adopt through. So we decide to pursue a domestic adoption, considering our bank account and the realistic expectations for how much we can save.
  3. Do we want to consider being a foster parent and adopting through the foster system? Adoption through the foster system is free, but they mostly adopt school age children, many in their teens, and the kids are coming from situations bad enough that they have been removed from their homes.
  4. What about special needs foreign adoptions? Those tend to move quicker and are often less costly than the healthy children, but adopting a child with a special need is a very big step for a couple that have never been parents. Hmmm. Think about it.
Okay, so at this point, and many looooong conversations, we decide to pursue domestic adoption. So, more questions:
  1. What agency do we use? At this point we get on the internet and start looking at agencies. We could technically use an agency anywhere and we could use more than one. So I look at websites and then I call and talk to those that I like the look of...and ask more questions.
  2. How do they find birthmothers? Well, for most agencies, birthmothers come to them through using the phone book or the web. Or from a pregnancy crisis center or a doctor.
  3. Do they counsel the birthmothers? Some work extensively with their moms, counseling them through the process, and even after the adoption. Some seem to take the babies and run, leaving the birthmother to fend for herself. Ick.
  4. How do they charge? I did not really like the agencies that charge based on the race of the baby (more for white, less for black.) Some agencies told me they could have me a baby within six months, if I was prepared to spend up to $50,000. What I discovered was that according to the law, a birthmother could ask for up to two months rent and utilities, even if they did not need the help. And some agencies pass those costs on to the adoptive parents, again, regardless of whether mom needs help or not. So basically, we'd be paying her for the baby. Not really legal. On the boundaries of being legal, I guess.
  5. How many adoptions do they do in a year? Just curious.
  6. What is the average wait? Two years. It can be much less, but it can take longer.
So we went and talked to the two agencies we liked, and chose one, New Life Christian Adoptions. Of course, it's been a year now, and we almost had a baby in May, but I am getting antsy for something to happen again and so I have been looking at all our options. Again. And making myself crazy asking all these questions.

Just thought I would share some insight into this whole process. It can totally be overwhelming!