Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Wait vs. Find

By Brittany  
email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com

When we had been approved as a hopeful adoptive couple, people would ask us about being on "the waiting list." They would ask how long it was going to take for us to be at "the top of the list." The truth is, as you know, adoption through LDSFS didn't work that way. I guess there is a "list," in the sense that you can click here and search through LDSFS profiles of hopeful couples, but because it is the birth mothers who choose who the parents of their child will be, no couple has "priority" over another.

This means that some couples will be chosen with in a matter of weeks or months of being approved, while others might be chosen after years of being approved.

Because of this, as a hopeful adoptive couple, you should not rely only on your online profile to connect you with your birth mother.

In fact, even though our birth mom was going to LDSFS for adoption counseling, she did not use their itsaboutlove.org website to search for prospective parents for Liam. For her situation, she felt she needed a personal recommendation. In fact, she met with several couples before meeting us; couples that were referred to her by people she knew.

This is where the "Wait vs. Find" mentality comes into play.

W - What If?
A - Anxious
I - Insecure
T - Tense


F - Faith
I - Inspiration
N - Networking
D - Divine Intervention

Are you Waiting or are you Finding?

Had we just waited to be connected with a birth mother only by and through our online LDSFS profile, we wouldn't have Liam.

In the world of infant adoption (where only 1% of crisis pregnancies end with an adoption) you have to be the one to get your name out there, and doing so helps the time pass more quickly.

Attend the temple, increase your scripture study and grow closer to the Spirit, start an adoption blog (and update it often), order pass along cards, send out a mass mailer, start a Facebook group, etc. Listen to the Spirit and do anything to build your support network.

You never know who will help you find your child.

(Brie, me, my mom Dianne, Kristina and Danielle)

(Kristina and my mom gave our pass along cards to hairstylist Danielle, who gave them to her best friend, Brie!)

Do you have any other Finding Ideas? 
Post about them on your blog!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Adopting from Foster Care

by Amanda

Just recently we adopted two great kids through the Foster Care system. We love them so much and enjoy having them as a part of our lives.

The hurdles were not fun and the classes are enough to scare a person.

I think they try to scare you in the classes to let you know the worst-case scenario. Our boys have a hard time dealing with anger or dissapointment sometimes, but that might just be an age thing. I like to think that they are pretty normal for the most part. They have blessed my life so much that I couldn't imagine my life without them.

Foster Care is an OPTION for those who are infertile and an OPTION for those who feel like this is right for them without the challenge of infertility. To be honest I was quite stuck on wanting to have a child for myself for the longest time. Finally THIS felt right for me, Foster Care.

I remember being younger and not even married when I read "Oliver Twist" and that story was so heart-wrenching for me, that it makes so much sense to me now to have read it. To be a person who is someone a child can count on for life.

I must tell you there have been so many ups and downs in my whole adventure with the boys. The first three months were so hard. Suddenly I had two boys. One of which needed to be potty-trained, and the other whose tantrums were intense. I felt overwhelmed. Time helped so much though. Shared experiences built the love that we all now have for each other.

I can't convince anyone that Foster Care is the answer. I can only tell you that I am glad that I did it. I can't gaurantee that if you do it you will be able to adopt. Often times the children go back to their birthparents. (If you want to know about children who are up for adoption go the http://www.adoptex.org/ or http://www.adoptuskids.org/.)

In our case the boys were our first placement. I was convinced that if they went back that I would try infertility treatments because I knew I couldn't handle the pain of parting with the boys only to part with more children who would become part of our family.

In regards to Foster Care here are some of the things we had to do:
The Initial Consultation (which leads to being invited to the classes or not being invited)
Taking the Classes (a month's worth twice/week)
Licensing (which includes background checks, home study, and safety requirements for your home)
Placement (which can take a while)
Monthly Home Visits from the case worker

If you have any questions about Foster Care, don't be afraid to ask.

My e-mail address is wishes4happiness at gmail dot com.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Birth Parent Gift Idea: Stuffed Animals

By Brittany of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal

A cute idea that a lot of adoptive couples do is the matching stuffed animal gift. The birth mom gets a stuffed animal and the baby has a matching one too. The adoptive couple can send photos of the baby next to his stuffed animal and the birth mom can see how much he has grown.

We decided on an elephant (Brie's favorite animal) and when we made Brie and Liam matching quilts, we made sure the fabric had an elephant on it. Brie loves her elephant because she can cuddle up with it and she likes it because Liam has a matching one of his own.

Amanda C. even has a separate blog called Gracie and the Bear where she posts monthly photos of her adopted daughter and her stuffed bear.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birth Mother Gift Idea: Birthstone Ring

by Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal

(Photography by Tonja Day)

Another fun gift idea we heard of was a birthstone ring. (A nice alternative would be a necklace.) When we ordered Brie her birthstone ring, it had only been a few weeks since she told us she chose us to be Liam's parents. We had the guy (a family friend) who made my wedding ring make it for her. It has 5 stones set in a row in a white gold band. The stones alternate between Brie's birthstone (a garnet) and Liam's (a pink sapphire). I think it turned out really nice! We gave it to her on Placement Day and she loves it! She said she never takes it off.

(Thank you to Danielle who secretly found out Brie's ring size for us.) :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Adoption: Loss, Change and Healing

(adoption photography by Tonja Day)

Last October Que and I took LDS Family Services' adoption education classes (by-the-way, I looked it up and we started them on the 17th, which, one year later would be the day Liam was placed with us). :)

We learned about how adoption can be about loss for everyone in the "adoption triad" (that consists of 1) the birth parents, 2) the adoptive couple and 3) the child).

A birth parent (and their family) can obviously feel a great deal of loss relating to the placement of a child, and they actually go through the grieving process. For the adoptive couple, adoption can sometimes be the route they take after they are faced with infertility (and that brings about feelings of grief and loss). For the adopted child, they sometimes feel a loss regarding their birth parents. They wonder what they may look like, what their personalities are like, why they were placed for adoption, how their birth parents felt about placing them for adoption, etc. and it can create a void in their life. Thankfully, open adoption (and counseling) can diminish or even dissolve those feelings of loss for everyone involved. :)

Adoption is also about positive change and the hope for a bright future.

For the adoptive couple, choosing adoption can signal a huge paradigm shift. We did not easily make the decision to adopt; we were holding on to the idea of what we thought we wanted and were not letting the Lord tell us what needed to happen. When the decision to adopt is made, the couple now sees that the Lord meant for their children to come to them a different way, and that opens up a whole new world to them. (This experience has been so humbling, educational and spiritual for us.) Of course, actually having the baby and his birth parents come into the couples' life brings lots of positive change too. :)

For the birth parent, choosing adoption can be a catalyst for positive change in every part of their lives. It can bring about that "mighty change of heart" that is spoken of in the Book of Mormon. Brie (and Danielle) are different people than they were 1 year ago. They are now so close to the Spirit and are allowing the Lord to give them the happiness they deserve. They see life in a different way and are making a difference in other people's lives as well. (We are so proud of them!)

For Liam as the adopted child, his life has changed so much already and he doesn't even know it. :) Having him come into our life has made Que and I better people and hopefully that will help us be better parents for him. We all feel that his future is so bright.

Lastly, adoption is about healing. The healing of infertility, the healing of past mistakes and the healing power of the Savior's atonement.

I don't want to totally speak for Brie on this subject (hopefully she'll write about it on her blog!) :p but from what I've seen, this experience has healed her in many areas of her life.

For us, adoption has healed a lot of our infertility emotions (it doesn't cure it though). We didn't begin the adoption process in hopes that by doing so I would "suddenly get pregnant." We have grieved the loss of the child that will never have Que's eyes and my nose and we see adoption as a valid way to build our family.

It has also (strangely enough) helped me to understand that even if we were never blessed with a child (via adoption or otherwise), that Heavenly Father still loved and valued us.

Back then, my grief over infertility was eating me alive. By (finally) submitting my will to His and more importantly, accepting His answer, I also experienced a mighty change of heart. The atonement isn't just for sins; the Savior Himself experienced anguish, sadness and loneliness and He can fully empathize with us when we are going through life's trials.

We just have to let Him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

November is National Adoption Month

"Adoption is an unselfish, loving decision that blesses the child, birth parents, and adoptive parents in this life and throughout the eternities. We commend all those who strengthen children and families by promoting adoption.”
~LDS First Presidency statement, Oct. 4, 2006

Take this opportunity to teach others by blogging about adoption!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Placement Day

by Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal.
If you would like your placement story featured, please email either Amanda at wishes4happiness@gmail.com or email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com.

This adoption (everything included, the whole process) has been the most spiritual experience of our lives. Adoption is a difficult, yet beautiful thing and we are so happy that we chose this route to build our family.

Brad and Brenda were right when they said this while being interviewed on KSL Studio 5: "Regular families out there that give birth to their children- they don't know what they're missing! We've got 3 beautiful children along with their birth parents in our lives."

We knew it had the potential to be such a wonderful thing, but we had no idea how much and to what extent it would change us for the better.

Both our birth mom Brie and her best friend Danielle have said that too about their own lives. Adoption really is about love; the love that our Father in Heaven has for us. It is amazing to see the Lord's hand in this and it is such a testament of His love for all of us.

The four of us have had so many sacred experiences throughout this process, some too personal and sacred to share here, but I can tell you a little about Placement Day.

If you are new to the adoption world, Placement Day is the day that the birth mother signs over her parental rights and places the baby into the arms of the adoptive couple. Our placement took place 2 days after our baby was born.

It was both one of the best and worst days of our lives.

Brie asked that Que and I be present in the room when she answered out loud the (horrible) questions in front of witnesses and signed the relinquishment forms. The caseworkers couldn't believe she invited us in, apparently neither one of them have ever seen that happen before. I think she did it because she knows how much we love and support her.

It was so rough to watch her do it (Danielle, Que and I all stood near her and sobbed) but seeing her do it reiterated to us how much she loves this little boy. In the room, the Spirit of the Lord was so strong and you could tell by Brie's countenance how at peace she was with her decision. Even her caseworker remarked to us outside the room how at peace she was.

During the placement, we gave her a stuffed elephant (the baby has one too; it goes with the matching elephant quilts we made her and gave to her last month), this Willow Tree figurine (because she gave us this one when she told us she had chosen us to be Liam's parents), a copy of the book and CD From God's Arms, to My Arms, to Yours, some letters from us and other family members, a birthstone ring (with her birthstone and his), a digital photo frame (with an SD card loaded with her maternity photos and photos of Liam and her in the hospital) and some other stuff we thought she'd like (like Season 1 of The Office). We also gave Miss Danielle this Willow Tree figurine and a letter that we wrote to her, thanking her for being such a good friend to Brie and to us.

Brie dressed Liam in a going-home-outfit that she and Danielle bought for him. It is SO cute, I think I'm going to put it in a shadow box and hang it on the wall.

This is a picture of Brie's hand (wearing the birthstone ring) cuddling Liam in his going-home-outfit while he is sleeping on the baby blanket that Brie was taken home from the hospital in when she was born. (We put the blanket over him and his car seat on the ride home.)

After that, it was time for her to place Liam in my arms. Again, she just had this peace about her (we know it was so difficult for her, we're not saying that it wasn't at all) (there were tears and all of our emotions were running high) but the pure love she has for her son was showing on her face.

Because she sacrificed her own heart and her wants, and put his needs above her own (which is what a true mother does), he will never doubt the love she has for him.

Right after she handed him to me, she looked at him and told him she loved him and then she tenderly said "See ya later." She is so strong. All I wanted to do was sit and hug her for hours, but it was time for us to let her to go home.

This picture (above) is of Danielle getting Brie ready to leave the hospital. As she was tying that balloon to Brie's wrist, Danielle said "Now if you lose this, I'm not buying you another one." Haha.

This is the two of them right before they got into Danielle's car to go home. This picture makes me tear up- I wish we could have just taken them both home with us!

***The above photo was taken July 3rd, the night that Brie told us she had chosen us to be Liam's parents. (You can see the Willow Tree figurine on the table.)

The below photo was taken on October 17th, the day our family officially grew from 2 to 5.

We are so grateful for the chance to have an open adoption with Brie. We know that open adoption works well for us and our situation. There is nothing wrong with having more people in a child's life who love him.

We are excited to see what the future brings for us.
All of us.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Adoption Success!

Please welcome our son

Liam J

9:59 pm
7lbs. 11 oz.
18.5 inches long
Salt Lake City, Utah

Placed in our arms

Proud Parents: Que and Brittany
of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal

Friday, October 9, 2009

Adoption Facts

(This is a photo of me and my husband's hands on our birthmom's belly.)

Children of Married Parents
Children who live with married parents tend to have higher grades, are more likely to attend college, and experience lower rates of unemployment.

On average, children of married parents experience better physical and mental health, have lower rates of substance abuse, experience less child abuse, and are less likely to commit suicide or engage in criminal behavior.

“What has been shown over and over again to contribute most to the emotional development of the child is a close, warm, sustained, and continuous relationship with both parents.”

Children of Single Parents
Children raised by a single mother are six times more likely to live in poverty, twice as likely to drop out of high school, and two to three times more likely to have serious emotional and behavioral problems than children who grow up with both parents.

During middle childhood, children raised by single parents have high rates of chronic health and psychiatric disorders.

On average, teens from single-parent homes are more attached to their peer groups and less attached to their parents’ opinions.

As teenagers and young adults, “being raised in a single-mother family is associated with elevated risks of teenage childbearing, . . . incarceration and with being neither employed nor in school.”

Children of unmarried women are likely to need to assume adult roles prematurely.

“Single mothers . . . report less perceived social support, fewer contacts with friends and family, and lower levels of social involvement than married mothers.”

Benefits of Adoption
“On an index of self-esteem, adopted adolescents compare favorably to” those who were not adopted.

Children who were adopted as infants have better health, see mental health professionals less often, have fewer behavioral problems, and do better in school than children born outside of marriage and raised by the unmarried mother.

This information was from ItsAboutLove.org

Friday, October 2, 2009

Adoption Success Story: Importance of Following God's Will and listening to the Spirit

Jennie Smith from http://tjsforeverfamily.blogspot.com/ sent me this wonderful success story to share with all of you. She is a true example of following the spirit and having faith in the Lord.

Miracles? Do I believe in them? Yep. Does faith precede miracles? Yep, I don't have to look any further than my home. I guess the place to start is the beginning. We had gone through 3 years of infertility testing and treatments. At each test the words were the same "you guys are young and everything looks great. I am sure you will be back here in 3 months and be pregnant." Well, those months always came and went with no hint of a pregnancy. We were at a crossroads. Do we pursue further infertility treatments or adoption? We did not know what to do. We feasted on the scriptures, especially D&C 9

"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.
But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.
But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong…"

We felt the stupor about more fertility treatments and adoption. The only thing we did not feel a stupor on was waiting. We prayed, fasted and cried some tears and then prayed some more. The answer was very clear. We were supposed to wait.
What?...that is the last answer we wanted to get! I wanted to be proactive. I wanted to be in control and now, I am supposed to do nothing? Don't take my temperature in the morning anymore? Quit researching infertility and all of it's (sometimes hilarious) cures? Don't think about adoption? Keep hoping that every month something was going to happen? But at the same time just do nothing? It was the hardest answer to a prayer I ever had to accept. After many tears I KNEW that answer was correct. I just had to have the faith that this was all in Heavenly Father's hands. Like it says in Alma 32:21, "If ye have faith ye hope for things which are not seen, which are true." We for sure could not see anything. Was pregnancy in our future maybe? Adoption? We thrust our efforts into our jobs and experiencing life with each other. We spent a couple of years working and living in a motor home traveling around our beautiful country. We kept waiting for further instruction and of course hoping each month that something was going to happen. We ended up moving back home to Utah and we started pursuing different careers. My husband went back to school and got his teaching certificate. At the completion of this, we felt a spiritual urge to move. We started looking and the place that felt right was on the opposite coast from our whole family.


We had to follow our feeling, so we did it. We left all that we knew and loved and moved to South Carolina. At this point we had been married for 7 1/2 years and trying for 6. As we got to our new home, I specifically remember we were hanging out at the beach one day and I told my husband, "I don't think we are going to have to wait much longer to have a family. I just have a feeling like something is going to happen." He asked if I thought I was going to be pregnant. I told him I didn't think so, I just felt like something is coming. He asked when I thought this was going to happen, to which I confidently replied, "In the middle of November." The spirit was speaking to me in such subtle way, still small voice.
At this time I knew I needed to make my yearly OB/GYN appointment and of course I knew it had to be in the middle of November. I called a place that was highly recommended to me. They wanted me to come in the first of November, but I said "No, do you have something around the 15th?"

As the day approached, I was so nervous. What was going to happen at this appointment? Anything? Nothing? Is this another test of my faith? As I got into the old elevator that slowly made its way up to the office, the spirit said to me, "GET READY, YOUR LIFE IS ABOUT TO CHANGE."

I brushed it aside. My stupid hope again that something was actually going to happen. As I proceeded through the appointment, I acted cordial and tried to keep my emotions in check. I handed the new doctor all of our past infertility paperwork to which she replied, "Well, you guys look fine, there is nothing else I can do for you." I expected that. Then I told her we had been thinking about adoption. She looked at me and then said, "Hold on a second." She called her partner and turned her back to me. Even though she was trying to hide the conversation, I tuned my ears in and heard, "Have you found a family for that lady yet?"

My heart burst out of my chest it was beating so hard.

She then got off the phone and proceeded to tell me that her partner had been trying to help this lady find a home for her child. She had a family all lined up and ready to go, but just the week before the family backed out on her. This, of course, broke the mother's heart. She was envisioning a great life for this child and now she did not know what to do. The baby was due in 2 weeks.

The partner-doctor came into the room and we talked. He told me more about the birth mother and father and about the baby. It was a boy! The doctor had called everyone on his list of people that were interested in adoption and no one was interested. The mother was heartbroken and not sure what to do. He asked me if I was interested in speaking with her and of course, I said "Yes!!" We exchanged phone numbers and he told me he would call the mother and have her call me if she was interested.

I left the appointment trying not to be too excited. I told my husband the story and he was so elated. We waited and waited for the phone to ring. It eventually did. We were to meet that Sunday.

That Sunday came and I remember it being a perfect day. I shocked myself with the peace I felt. I was calm and happy. We meet the birth mother and birth father. It was like we had known them for years. They were so nice. They knew what they wanted for this baby. The birth father made me cry when he said, "You guys looked like angels walking to us. You just shine"

There was no question in their minds that we were the couple that was going to have the great privilege to raise their son.

The next couple of weeks were a whirlwind of getting a social worker to our home to do the evaluation, find a lawyer, just trying to get it all done. Well, everything happened so smoothly and by the day of the delivery, we were all ready legally. They wanted us at the hospital so our little man could meet his family right when he was born. It was a sweet day. We, of course, loved him immediately and also loved our new friends who gave us the gift of being his parents.
Everything went smoothly and now it has been 3 years and we have this little toddler running around the house. We cannot say enough how much we appreciate this great gift that was given to us. We have a semi-open adoption with this birth family. They love being able to watch Cedric grow up. We love being able to keep in touch with them and let them know what is happening in our child's life. Cedric is wonderful! He is so full of life and love. He loves other people so much and has a light that is contagious.
I have learned much from infertility. One of the lessons that sticks out to me now is how much we have to rely on the spirit. As we are currently waiting for our family to grow, we have to be worthy to receive His answers and know HIS will in our lives.
"The Holy Ghost . . . is our comforter, our direction finder, our communicator, our interpreter, our witness, and our purifier—our infallible guide and sanctifier." Dallin H. Oaks, Ensign, Nov. 1996
*On a side note, I am a total believer in passalong cards. I recently returned to the aforementioned doctor's office. They had told me that they had my name on a list of people that were interested in adoption, but somehow I was not really on that list. They had another situation arise in which they were looking for a family and they could not remember our names! They searched everywhere in their office and could not find it. If only they had a passalong card! As soon as we were approved I sent them a huge stack :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Adoption Success!

Congratulations to Dave & Holly who just flew from Utah out to North Carolina to meet their new baby boy, Miles. He is SOOO cute!
Congratulations guys!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Birth Parent Gift Idea: Matching Quilts

By Brittany M. of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal

Ever since Que and I began our adoption journey, we had been hearing about birth parent gifts. One that stuck out to me is the quilt idea!

The adoptive couple makes two matching quilts: one for the baby and one for the birth mom. On Labor Day weekend, my in-laws and I finished them, and then on the 19th, we presented our birth mom with her quilt at our baby shower. We chose a jungle/safari theme because she likes elephants. She really loved it! Here are some pictures of the quilt as we made it:

Below is a close-up of the quilt (you can see the back & front):

Monday, September 21, 2009

Open Adoption: Ron and Jessica

Posted by Brittany of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal

If you asked me two years ago if I thought I'd ever invite our baby's birthmother over to our house, I probably would have told you, "Um, I don't think so."

Well, we've had a long time to think about openness. We've met a lot of people with very open adoptions and our hearts have softened toward openness 100%.

Now that we have little ZJ, and we've met his wonderful birthmother and her family, there is no way I could tell them, "Thanks for the baby" and never see them again.

I like to think of our adoption like a marriage; a marriage of our families. We won't see each other all the time, but we do want to keep contact and we want to get together once in a while. Sure it takes effort, but everything worth while in this world takes effort. And there are many rewards for us, too.

Here's what ZJs's birthmother wrote to us in a card this week:

"Ron & Jessica,
I just wanted to say thank you for inviting me and my family for dinner! I am so lucky to have found people like you to take care of and be parents to ZJ. I truly believe God played a part in it and I thank Him for that."


~If you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent or are adopted, have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, please email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Why You Need to Promote Adoption

Posted by Brittany M. of Que & Brittany's Adoption Journal

The following interesting information is from an article called New Pregnancy Counseling & Adoption Services Website from LDS Media Talk.com which talks about the new ItsAboutLove.org site run by LDS Family Services. Here are a few of the statistics listed:

There were...

1.21 million abortions in 2005 (single women: 83% of all abortions)

1.6 million nonmarital births in 2006 (38.5% of all births)

Within 3 years after birth, 15% of dating parents marry; 21% of cohabitating parents marry

Only 1.6% are placed for adoption

Societal values overwhelmingly encourage unwed parents to choose single parenthood or abortion. Many programs, such as Planned Parenthood, exist to promote these values. With LDS Family Services, the Church has a program to counteract these values and to enable informed consideration of other options.

In 2005, nearly 37 % of all births were to single mothers. This resulted in over 1.5 million children being born to an unmarried mother.

In 2005 roughly 350,000 children were born to unmarried teen mothers. On the other hand, over 1 million children were born to single mothers ages 20 and over (23% vs. 77%). In other words, in the USA, non-marital births are not just a teen problem, and in fact, the age structure of unwed mothers has been getting older for several decades.

Not only are more single women getting pregnant, pregnant single women are becoming more interested in keeping their babies. Therefore, abortion rates are down and adoption rates are declining.

Were you shocked to learn that only about 1% of crisis pregnancies end with an adoption?

Especially if you yourself are hoping to adopt, be proactive and do something to change that statistic by promoting adoption!

(You would be surprised at how many Latter-day Saints are uninformed about the Church's stance on open adoption and adoption itself.)

A good way to do this is to have an LDS Family Services representative come to your ward or branch and do a 5th Sunday Presentation on adoption. (I bet they would do a presentation for a combined Young Women/Young Men's or Singles Ward activity as well.)

We had them come to our ward last November for a 5th Sunday Presentation and it was wonderful! Call 1-800-537-2229 to schedule a day for them to come to your area. (Or contact me and I will set it up for you.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Open Adoption: A Birth Mother's Perspective

Isabelle and her birth parents, Jen and Brit

Open Adoption:
I've Had the Chance to Grow with Her
by Jen

While we were vacationing at Tahoe, there was a rumor that my grandma-in-law was going to ask family to share a spiritual experience in a sort of family testimony meeting. That never happened. But it did get me thinking about the most spiritual experience of my life, which was (surprise!) placing Isabelle for adoption (you didn't see that coming, did you?).

I have never felt my Heavenly Father's direct touch in my life so much as when he was guiding me to her family. I've said it over and over, and I will say it again: I clearly know that he was guiding my steps- and her family's- quite directly so that she ended up in the right place. There were so many small and large coincidences involved in her adoption; so many times when, if the timing were just slightly off, she would have ended up somewhere else entirely. So many clear spiritual promptings that led us to each other, at just the right time, so that this particular child would be with that particular family. What an amazing testimony of the importance of families.

When I met them, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. Something that had been conspicuously absent through the whole ordeal of pregnancy and coming to terms with the idea of "giving up" my baby.

She clearly belonged with them, and it was clearly the right thing for everyone, and it made an almost impossible prospect feel right and good. Still painful; I don't think that can be avoided, for anyone in that situation, but much easier to heal from.

We have an open adoption, obviously, and people have questioned whether that is really the best thing. I absolutely think it is, for us. I know it can be hard, especially for adoptive parents! I can't imagine not having some feeling of "No, this is MY baby!" Or feeling just a tiny bit resentful at having to "share." But for my part, having an open adoption has helped me let go like nothing else could. Seeing her happy and well, and reinforcing that feeling that she is where she belongs, keeps me from holding on to the idea that she is "my baby," or second-guessing my decision.

I feel like if I had cut off contact just after seeing her and holding her when she WAS still my baby and little and sweet and innocent... or even just after she was born, if I had decided to never see her or hold her, I wouldn't be able to erase the memories of being pregnant and feeling her grow and move inside me. If I had decided to cut off contact at that point, how could I possibly move past it? It's not something you can ever forget, so instead I would be left cut off at the emotional state of being a new mom, and then... nothing. Now, I've had the chance to grow with her, to slowly let her go, to come to see her as Wendy and Tyler's cute little girl whom I love with the unconditional love of a parent.

Open adoption is an amazing, healing thing.

As an interesting side-note, I've done several adoption forums with other birth moms. At one in particular, the coordinator expressed frustration to me about getting a variety of birth moms for the panel- she says that those with closed adoptions rarely, if ever, agree to rehash it. She had one who did agree, but backed out at the last minute, saying "That's not a part of my life I want to remember."

How sad to be left with nothing but the pain of the experience. I love my adoption, I love Isabelle, and I love her family. And I love talking about it, and remembering what a wonderful, amazing, spritual experience the whole thing was. I can't call it a mistake. It was a few poor choices that led to an amazing opportunity for growth, and the chance to see Heavenly Father work miracles to bring eternal families together.


[Posted by Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal. If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com]

Monday, August 24, 2009

Open Adoption: Dustin & Andrea

Playing it by Ear and Listening to the Spirit

I would like to take a moment and give you a glimpse into OUR open adoption and hopefully give you some insight into this new trend in the adoption world.

First, I know that to many of you, having an open adoption seems weird. The only adoptions you know of are closed or there is VERY little contact. So, let me just start by saying, IT WORKS FOR US!!

Open adoptions didn't exist back in the day, but they are an option today if the couple and birth parents are interested. I believe this option was truly inspired. I think I can speak for Andee in saying, a lot of healing has taken place with her as a result.

Let me give you a little background, we met Andee when she was 12 weeks pregnant. She decided earlier than most birth moms, which to me, was awesome. It gave us a chance to really get to know each other. We went to all of her doctors appointments, we were with her when we found out it was a girl, we had game night at her parents house each Monday, we had long talks about anything and everything going on in our lives, we were like family.

Adoption isn't always easy, but having each other made it easier. If you have the chance to meet her someday, you will know what I mean.

When we first started the adoption process, I didn't know how I felt about having an open adoption. Like most who haven't personally adopted, I was nervous. Would I feel threatened, judged as a parent, comfortable in my role as this child's mom? I look back at those thoughts and realize that it was me being naive and new to the situation.

I learned something in an adoption class last year that I will never forget. This adoptive mom has 3 open adoptions with her children's birth parents, she stated, "As long as you are confident in your role as the parent, open adoptions can be healthy and fulfilling for all who are involved." I DO NOT feel threatened by Avery's birth parents, I don't feel judged in my role as a parent and I know with all my heart that Avery was meant to be my daughter and I her mom. Is it a more difficult and emotional way to have a child, ABSOLUTELY, but is it also more amazing and sacred, I believe so.

We don't have a set amount of time that our openness will continue. The beauty of an open adoption is that it's up to us. There isn't a contract that after a year it ends. We play things by ear and LISTEN to the spirit to guide us. The comforting companionship of our Heavenly Father has been with us EVERY STEP of the way and STILL continues to guide this process.

We got A LOT of questions/comments while dealing with infertility, and still do. As with most things in life, I never really understood it until I was faced with it personally. I am learning compassion and empathy and most importantly learning to put myself in someone else's shoes and see things from a different perspective. I will be the first to admit that I am not great at this, but it's something I need to work on. Infertility is one thing, but choosing adoption as a means to having a family is a TOTALLY different thing. Questions and comments came that I never expected. The Lord had prepared me for this through the struggles we had already been through. Suddenly, I was tougher, comments and questions are now a way to educate others. I knew that people were only saying things because they didn't know what to say or because it was different.

If you take a look around and talk to people in the recent adoption community, you will find that our situation is not uncommon.

I feel at home with other adoptive parents because they understand me, just as I feel comfortable with other infertile couples. With adoption unless you have been through it personally, sometimes it is difficult to understand.

Adoption was NOT an easy decision for us. It took much fasting, prayer and pleading with the Lord to find out what He wanted for us and our future children.

We don't have an open adoption out of obligation.

Andee is more than just Avery's birth mom, she is a dear friend. I have personally learned so much from her. I got to be a mom, and I also gained a wonderful relationship in the process. There will never be a question in Avery's mind as to why she was placed for adoption. We have all the answers for her, and that gives me so much peace and comfort. The connection we have with Avery is indescribable. I felt a bond with her before she was born and knew that this was all part of the bigger plan.

I hope this gives you a better idea as to how our open adoption works. It has been an amazing experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

It may not be right for every situation, but it certainly has been for us.

Our little Avery came to us in a different way, but in a way that allowed my relationship with God to grow beyond my ability to comprehend. This experience has given me such a greater grasp on eternity and what life is truly all about, and for that I am grateful.


Stay tuned for a blog post about the perspective of open adoption through the eyes of a birth mother!

[If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com]

Monday, August 17, 2009

Open Adoption: Fear vs. Faith

By Brittany M. of Que and Brittany's Adoption Journal

I know that for a lot of people, the concept of an open adoption can seem kind of scary. I remember (when we were first learning about adoption) not really knowing what to think about open adoption. But then I remembered this quote by President Boyd K. Packer:

"Fear is the opposite of faith."

I wanted to have an open mind to it and see what it's benefits were. I'm so glad we learned about it in our adoption classes (and by reading other blogs) because in our opinion, it really is a beneficial thing. We love our birth mom so much and are so excited to have her in our life!

Adoption has drastically changed over the years and many new adoptions are now being negotiated as "open." The term "open adoption" is a relative one, meaning everyone can determine their own level of openness.

What "open adoption" means to one family may mean something different to another.

For example, some adoptive couples agree with their birth families that they will only exchange emails, letters and photos. Others take it one step further and exchange last names and/or phone numbers. Some adoptive families meet with their birth mothers a few times a year at a restaurant; whereas some birth moms regularly go to the adoptive couples' home to visit. Some couples agree with their birth mom that everyone will be open at first with the shared and mutual intention to slowly break off contact. Some have a set schedule: Maybe an email is sent once a week with pictures, perhaps combined with 1 face-to-face visit every so many months until the baby turns one year old, etc. Some play it completely by ear. Other families have their birth parents come to their child's baby blessing, baptism, ordinations, etc. And some adoptive families have their birth families babysit for them!

Each adoption situation is unique and different from another because of the many factors and variables relating to them. The beauty of an open adoption is that each adoptive couple and their birth family can come up with their own plan that works just how they need it to.

Stay tuned for testimonies of open adoption from the perspective of both birth mothers and other adoptive parents! I asked them to talk about their individual circumstances and how open adoption has been a blessing in their lives.

You won't want to miss them!

(If you have an open adoption and would like to contribute to a future post, email me at queandbrittany@yahoo.com)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

16 and Pregnant: Life after Labor

By Brittany M.

Did you watch the adoption episode last week? Have you seen any of these episodes? Tune in tomorrow night (10:00pm Eastern) for MTV's special episode of 16 and Pregnant called Life after Labor.

It's a reunion show and Catelynn and Tyler, along with adoptive parents Brandon and Theresa (and baby Carly) will be on the show!

Click here to watch the full episode of Catelynn & Tyler's amazing adoption story. (You will cry.)

Click here for more updates on Catelynn & Tyler.

Click here to see the entire Life after Labor episode. (On that page you can also access links to watch full episodes featuring the other girls.)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pass Along Cards Work!

By Brittany M.

As a couple hoping to adopt, you should never underestimate the power of a

If you don't know what they are, how they work or how to get pass along cards, check out my friend/neighbor Jill's site SpacesForFaces.com.
She made ours and she can make you some too (for a great price!). 
Obviously, since our son's birth mom found us because of them, I'm a fan of them. :)

Check out our blog for updates on our exciting news!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brand Spankin' New

posted by Brittany

The new LDS Family Services site ItsAboutLove is now online- check it out! This also means that if you have this birth mom button on your blog or site, you will need to update your link from the old "beta" URL to this one.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Mission of Adopt-Us-Kids

Guest post by Sean Carroll at New Media Strategies

Most people familiar with the adoption and foster care process are aware of the many groups and organizations that play a role in finding homes for so many children who need them. As you all may or may not know, May is Foster Care Awareness Month. You can visit the official website here: http://www.fostercaremonth.org/, however, I have included some information below:

“All children deserve a safe, happy life — including the 496,000 American
children and youth in foster care. Young people in foster care especially need
nurturing adults on their side because their own families are in crisis and
unable to care for them.

"Each May, we salute the compassionate people
who make a difference by serving as foster parents, relative caregivers,
mentors, advocates, social workers, and volunteers. Thanks to these unsung
heroes, many formerly abused or neglected children and teens will either safely
reunite with their parents, be cared for by relatives, or be adopted by loving

Since so many potential families are considering adoption through foster care, I wanted to take a moment to highlight one organization, in particular, that has been doing tremendous work in this field as of recently.

The organization is called Adopt-Us-Kids and they have found homes for over 10,000 children who were simply looking for a place to stay and be loved. Take a moment to read through their website, which can be found here: http://www.adoptuskids.org/. Adopt-Us-Kids (which I have come to recognize as a true blessing), and the website they put so much time into, are a fantastic resource for prospective parents who are considering adoption and/or foster care. The following is the very direct, yet powerful mission statement behind Adopt-Us-Kids:

“The mission of Adopt-Us-Kids is to recruit and connect foster and adoptive
families with waiting children throughout the United States.”

Their website also features a substantial and heartstring-pulling photo-listing of numerous children looking for homes where they will be loved, in addition to a great deal of information and support resources to help in understanding and becoming a part of the adoption or foster care process. Additionally, Adopt-Us-Kids also takes the time to educate and encourage potential parents about adopting teenage children, many of whom are never taken into a home simply because of their age.

So throughout May, please keep all of these children in your prayers. And if you find yourself considering adoption, take a moment to look at Adopt-Us-Kids as a resource to use throughout your journey.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Visit the r house

Mrs. r at the r house has just started You Promote Adoption I Promote You

I love the idea because:
1. I've been thinking about doing spotlights for you couples hoping to adopt for a while, but really am too lazy/busy to keep up with it.

2. Because ADOPTION is totally a cause worth promoting. (Exactly why I started this blog/site.)

I am also TOTALLY IN LOVE with mrs. r's Matching Mondays segment.

Make your adoption happen, click on one of the links above. You just might fall in love with a child or a sibling group while checking out that last one! =)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

An interview with Troy Dunn of WeTV's The Locator

By Brittany M. of queandbrittanysblog and authorbee's blog.

Through Mormon Mommy Blogs I was given the chance to interview Troy Dunn, of WeTV's program The Locator. Troy works to reunite family members who have for various reasons been scattered and separated. Troy is also an LDS bishop.

I took this opportunity to ask him about his show, his faith and his opinions on openness in modern adoption practices. He spoke about birth mothers and gave wonderful advice for adoptees and adoptive parents. Check it out by clicking here! **UPDATE The MMB site was down this weekend but it is now back up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Things to Consider

1. Near the Bottom of the page is a link to Mrs. R's Matching Mondays. If you are looking to adopt, please take some time to check it out. (Also near the bottom of the page is my submission guidelines if you want your "Hoping to Adopt" site posted here.)

2. Birth Mother's Day is coming up!
Provo Families Supporting Adoption is hosting a Celebrating Adoption Walk May 9 @10 a.m. in honor of Birth Mothers Day. It will be at the Provo High School track (1125 North University Ave. Provo, UT. 84604) Wear white or an 'adoption shirt', games and activities for kids and and adults, drinks and snacks provided. Everyone is invited!

3. There will be a 5k race on May 30th for ADOPTION:
$20 for an individual
$50 for a family
Visit Adoption Exchange for more information (Utah area, events in other locations are also listed on this website.)

4. The 2009 Chalk Art Festival is coming June 19-20. The Utah Foster Care Foundation hosts this.

Visit http://www.chalkartfestival.org/ for more information.

5. Also there is a new button to this blog at the bottom of the page on the left hand side.

*If you have any other news in the adoption world, please let me know. Continue to spread the word about adoption. Advocate constantly, you never know who may be considering abortion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Adoption Exchange

There are many children waiting for homes at this time. Visit http://www.utdcfsadopt.org/ for more information on those waiting for a loving family in the state of Utah.

Also check out some of the websites in the right sidebar if you are hoping to adopt.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Foster Care (message for couples waiting)

I know this may be asking a lot of you, but I wish for you to think on the children out there waiting for a home in the Foster Care system. Maybe this isn't right for you at this time. Maybe you have needs to fulfill first or have been driven in another direction by the spirit. I just hope I can plant a simple seed, even if its just curiosity to look further into Foster Care as a means of building your family, or helping other families get back on their feet. This isn't a program for the faint hearted. THERE WILL BE CHALLENGES.

I just want you all to know how incredibly fulfilling this has been so far for me. I LOVE the boys in our care so very much. They touch my life daily. When we first received the boys into our home I thought: "What am I getting myself into???"

There were challenges I thought I was ready for but really I wasn't quite ready for them. I thought I was so prepared. I just couldn't wait for that phone call. We said yes to the first call, and now we do not regret it. I won't lie, at first I was in over my head. Three months really was a magical mark. Had a kid potty trained, the crying and tantrums had changed. And now at our five month mark, I can't imagine not having the boys with us. The thought of them leaving saddens me. I want them here in my family forever. I am so attached. I love getting hugs and playing with the boys so very much. Anything could happen still in regards to where the boys go. It will break my heart if I have to say goodbye!

I really just want to send this message out there to couples looking to adopt. I want to let them know this is a route, if they are brave if they are willing to risk heartache.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

LDSFS Profiles

Brittany at http://authorbee.blogspot.com/ sent me this information about LDSFS profiles:

Recently I discovered that it is possible to check the number of profile hits on your LDS Family Services adoption profile! Here is how you can do it:

1. Log into the Bluestep website.
2. Click on "Phase 4".
3. In the upper left corner choose "View Profile Statistics".

This is similar to what you will see:
Profile statistics since your profile was published.
Your Profile Message page has been viewed ____ times.
Your Photo Album has been been viewed ____ times.
Your Getting to Know Us page has been viewed ____ times.
Your Contact Us page has been viewed ____ times.

Monday, February 9, 2009

You Make me Feel

Hello all! I just wanted the birthmothers to know how grateful I am to them for making such a wonderful decision to place their baby for adoption. I know it must be hard to struggle with the decisions you face. You have a special place in my heart because of your courage.

Adoptive couples, I am so grateful for you. I see how big the list has gotten here and I think to myself "I am not alone." It really makes me want to cry because of all those nights when I yearned for a family and I really did think I was alone. I wondered why blessings were being kept from me.

I'm grateful for my life right now. I'm enjoying what I have. Being a Foster Parent I am aware that the kids could end up somewhere else in the end. I know I could be back at square one: Waiting.

My advice for couples waiting: Keep faith, look around. You are not alone. Enjoy what you have now. Enjoy every moment. Children require almost all you've got, and I know you would all be willing to give that! We know they are a blessing! Just don't be so hung up on the goal, that you forget to enjoy the journey.

My heart is so full because of all of you! I see how strong we all are because of our trials whatever the situation, and I can't help but feel the way I do!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Choose your best (Some guidelines for sending)

I want everyone to be on somewhat equal playing grounds here. So send me the site that you most want to be displayed here. If you send me more than one I am choosing the website that seems the most appealing to me. I figure that will keep the site from being too cluttered as well.

Also, please send me a site that has a profile of your family. This is not a place for sites that sell things. I'd like to help you add to your family. The best way to do that is to let others know about your current family. Displaying pictures of your family and writing what you are all about is ideal.

For those who have not sent a site yet, send it here:

wishes4happiness at gmail dot com

Thank you,


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thank You Mrs. R

Thank you Mrs. R for getting the word out about this blog. There are plenty more people wanting to be added to this list. It is my hope that it will become a great resource for both birth mothers and LDS couples hoping to adopt.

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House