Thursday, September 29, 2011

Finding Balance on the Adoption Roller Coaster

Disclaimer: I originally wrote this for my personal blog, but decided to also use it for my weekly post on  So, if it looks familiar to you, that's why.  (Either that, or you're just as obsessive about adoption as I am and get just as stuck.)

Last week we were contacted by two birth moms.  I don't think I can aptly describe the feeling of talking on the phone with each of these girls.  Heart pounding, hands shaking, wondering if what I'm saying makes any sense, wondering what she's thinking, how she feels, why she chose to contact us.  And then wondering why she didn't call back.  (Out of respect for these girls who are faced with so many tough decisions, I won't go into details here.)

(On a side note: We've had so many problems with our phones that I worry we've missed calls or discouraged callers.  We seem to have the home phone problem fixed.  My stupid cell phone is another issue.  It drops calls, and often won't hold a signal long enough for me to be able to answer or talk for long.  Still working on this.)

I could easily go crazy!  I know I will get better at knowing what to say/ask and hopefully will get better at reading people over the phone.  But, I don't think it will get any easier.  It's such a different experience than we had last time.  

"We have a baby for you.  Can you come get it?"  Um, yes, thank you.  Knowing what I know now, I kind of feel like we cheated.  We got so lucky with Olivia and Alyssa.  Well, it probably wasn't luck.  It was meant to be.  Olivia was meant to be ours and Alyssa was meant to be part of our family.  I love how things have worked out.  I love Alyssa.  And I love our sweet Olivia.

And I love the idea of adopting again and having another wonderful relationship with our birth mom.  But I'm scared that it won't be the same.  I know it won't be the same, and I guess I don't want it to be exactly the same, but I still worry.  I worry about what the process will do to me.  Will I have any nerves or sanity left by the time we are blessed with another baby?  I'm trying to focus on getting from here to there and not getting stuck in the moment.

For me, "stuck in the moment" is checking our profile stats obsessively to see how many people have looked at our profile, how many have looked at our contact page.  (I know exactly where the mouse needs to be on each page of the log in process before I get to it.)  It's not wanting to go anywhere I can't use my cell phone (which, these days, happens to include my home and neighborhood), or where I would have to turn it off.  It's unhealthy and downright dangerous.  Would I pass up an opportunity to attend the temple because a potential birth mom might call during that time block?  Fortunately, I haven't gotten that bad.  Yet.  So, I am trying to find other things to do that are both productive and engrossing so I'm not always thinking about adoption.  Yesterday that included cleaning the house and cleaning up vomit.  (Oh wait, that last was just gross.)  I'm looking for service opportunities, I'm trying to spend more quality time with my family and with friends.  I'm looking for new adventures.  I'm coloring my hair today because it sounds like fun and because I've never done it.

"Stuck in the moment," for me, also includes focusing so much on adoption that I appear, and quite frankly, am, a little unbalanced in my interactions with others.  Someone may ask me, "How are things going?"  And I answer with an adoption roller coaster update.  And what they probably really meant was something like: "How is Brigham enjoying the new school year?  How many students does he have?  Has he moved into the new building yet?" or "Is Olivia still taking swimming and dance lessons?  Is she loving preschool as much this year as she did last year?" or "Have you done your visiting teaching yet?  What are you guys planning to be for Halloween?  Is your dog still walking on only three legs?"  Or any number of other things that are going on in my life.  It isn't all about adoption.  I'm not saying that others aren't interested in our journey.  Everyone is supportive, but it's probably rather tiresome for me to come across as having a one-track mind.

I'm working on it, but this process is absorbing.  I feel like it could suck the life right out of me if I don't find a way to balance the adoption portion of my life with the rest of it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Knowing You Are Perfect

The one thing I struggle with, and probably will forever, is knowing I am enough.  Knowing I am perfect just as I am and that Heavenly Father has a plan for me and my family.  What do I mean by this?  As we've waited, and continue to wait, I've found myself asking, "what is wrong with me?", "why aren't people choosing us", "why are we having to struggle" and the list goes on and on.  It's been a constant struggle to evaluate me and my personal feelings. 

I went through a phase where I felt like I needed to constantly update our online profile.  I felt like we needed to evaluate and then re-evaluate the decisions we made regarding what we were looking for in a child.  Am I rich enough?  Do we live in a good place?  Do we have good jobs?  Are we good looking/skinny enough?  I became so wrapped up in the worldly ideals of perfect parents.  I felt like I needed to change myself to one of these "ideals" rather than just being myself.  I forgot to embrace who I was and what made me special and wonderful.  My husband was the exact opposite.  He was patient with me and reminds me often that everything will be okay.  He also reminds me that there is no such thing as a perfect parent.  

Because my husband has been an absolute strength to me, I wanted to pass on the strength to those who might be in need.  

Here's what I know,
I've learned through prayer, humility, and absolute faith, that Heavenly Father has a plan for each and everyone of us.  We are perfect exactly as we are and our children are coming, but we might have to wait for the right people to find us and us them.  Patience and diligence are the key!  I truly believe we are chosen to adopt by our Heavenly Father and I can't think of any greater honor! 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Your Turn Next! (But it Isn't, Always)

August 12, 2000.  I was heading to my cousin’s wedding reception and I was excited, not just because I love him and was happy for him, but because I was about to play a trick on my extended family.  At 26, I had been the oldest unmarried grandchild for five years.  I wasn’t worried about it.  My parents weren’t worried about it.  My three brothers weren’t worried about it.  My aunts were.  One in particular, the one whose baby had gotten married that day.

So to keep them from worrying and from trying to hide (unsuccessfully) how sorry for me they were that I was so old and so unmarried, I made a plan.  A great plan.  My good friend Walter went to the reception with me, acting as my boyfriend.  I never introduced him as such—everyone just assumed when they saw us holding hands that we were a couple (and it must be serious if I brought him to a family wedding!).  My mom and brother Scott were in on it and helped support our charade.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself, knowing that no one was feeling sorry for me.  (My pride could only take so much, after all.)  And I felt like I was doing everyone a favor by providing them an opportunity to feel happy for me rather than worrying about me in my old maidenhood.

As Walter and I were leaving the reception, my aunt, the mother of the groom, pulled me aside, gave me a hug, and whispered, “It’s your turn next!”

Well guess what?  It wasn’t.  And that was okay with me.  I was okay with my younger brother getting married before I did—three years before.  I was okay with getting married at 30.  I’d gone to grad school, had a job I mostly loved, and was changing the world one pediatric patient at a time.  My life was good.

Of course, I have to admit that my life got better after I married Brigham! 

The ward we attended after we got married had a good mix of younger and older families.  We were the only ones without kids.  Some of you are nodding your head right now because you know what that’s like.  It kind of stinks.  And now you’re thinking, “And I bet they got asked every week, just like we did, when they were going to have kids.”  Well, you’re wrong.  Nobody asked us that.  I was glad, but I just this week discovered that Brigham was offended by people NOT asking us.  He felt that people took one look at him in his wheelchair and just assumed that we couldn’t have kids.

When we decided we were ready to start our family, we sought medical help right off the bat.  We figured we would need some assistance and thought it would be wise to get that figured out at the onset.  And would you believe it?  In the city where we lived, there was a Spinal Cord Injury Fertility Center.  It was exactly what we needed.  (Too bad the doctor wasn’t—he was a big, fat jerk.)

And to satisfy curiosity, our infertility has NOTHING to do with Brigham’s injury.

So there we were, an “older,” infertile couple.  How did we deal with it?  Well, that’s the funny thing.  I felt okay about it, much like I had felt okay about being old and unmarried.  The day after we got our final test results, I called and made an appointment at LDSFS to get started on our adoption journey.  I knew I was meant to be a mom and that it didn’t matter how that came about.

How did other people deal with our infertility?  “Oh, I’m so sorry (you’re broken).”  “Well, you know, not everyone has to have kids.”  “I guess it’s just not meant to be.”  “Gee, how does that make you feel?”  “You’ll find other ways to fill your time.”  “Well, at least you have a job you can go to everyday.”  “Really?  So what’s wrong with you?  Is it you or is it Brigham (because my money’s on Brigham)?”  “Do you think if you were younger…?”  “Maybe it’s for the best.”  “Well, don’t you think it would be pretty difficult for you to take care of a bunch of kids, given Brigham’s disability?”  Seriously, people?  I know, you’ve heard it all, and worse.

We know that people say hurtful, stupid things all the time.  How do we protect ourselves?  Short of sticking a pillow in my shirt, I didn’t see a way to trick people into not worrying about me (and saying stupid things) like I had at my cousin’s wedding.

I’m going to be honest.  I have experienced very little pain or frustration regarding our inability to conceive a child.  And I feel kind of guilty for saying that because I know that’s not the case with most of you.  We didn't have the disappointment of trying month after month with no results. We knew we weren't going to get any from the beginning.  To get a better perspective I’ve read a lot of blogs featuring infertility.  Here’s one of my favorites:  Check it out.

Once we decided we were going to adopt, we didn’t have long to wait before Olivia joined our family (although it seemed like forever!).  You can read a bit about that here.  We didn’t have to deflect questions for years and years.  We were, and are, lucky.  I’m not bragging.  We’ve had plenty of other trials to make up for not having that one.

Am I alone in my relatively easy acceptance of my infertility?  Speak up, people!  And if you think I'm totally crazy or seem unfeeling, I'd like to know.  I really don't feel qualified to speak to the infertility issue outside of my personal and rather unusual experience, which is why I'm grateful for others sharing their experiences.  I want to understand because it's so much a part of adoption.  And I dig adoption.

Now that we have a child--who looks like us, even--people are less likely to wonder about our fertility status.
(Doesn't stop some people from saying stupid things, unfortunately.)  I love to tell people that Olivia was adopted.  I enjoy educating others about adoption and sharing our amazing story of an open adoption.  Dispelling myths and helping people learn to use appropriate adoption language are on my agenda. 

It's never been my turn to be pregnant, but it is my turn to be a mother.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Write it Down

One thing I've always wished I was better at, is journaling.  Everyone has a story to tell, and that story means the world to many.  When expecting couples find out they are pregnant, they usually begin documenting their next nine months.  What made them sick, what they craved, belly shots as they grow, and other little things along the way.  I think we as parents in waiting should do the same.  Our stories and time lines may be shorter or longer than the traditional nine months, but we too have a story to tell.  Instead of telling about how our tummies got bigger and how often we were sick, we can tell about our emotions, the paperwork process, getting approved, case worker meetings, birth parent meetings and emails, even preparing our homes and hearts for a new addition.  In the new world of open adoptions, children know where they came from.  In working with several people in my local FSA, I have seen many adoption books created to tell the child's story and how fun would it be to pull snippets out of our personal journals to include?  The powerful thing about journaling our stories and emotions is that our children will have no doubt they were loved long before they were ever placed in our arms.  Depending on openness it can also be something that you and the birth family can do together.  I keep a journal and although I've been really bad at it lately, I hope that when we have a birth family, we can collaborate and combine our stories into one.  I would love for my child to have that keepsake to share with his children and his children with their children, etc...  The beauty of keeping a journal is that it's also highly therapeutic and relaxing.  It gives our minds rest so that we can be touched by the spirit and open to revelation or peace.  It also allows us to realize what may be bogging us down or holding us back.  In  reading my journal, I've seen room for growth and ways that I can further advocate for ourselves. 

So I challenge you to grab yourself a composition notebook, cover it in something fun, and write it down!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hoping to Adopt Feature!!!


Paul and I met while we were both attending college. I was working as a legal secretary and Paul was working as a property manager. Our offices were next door to each other and every time he walked past, I stopped whatever I was doing to just watch him. I had a friend that worked in the same office he did and asked her to introduce us. After an awkward first meeting and a casual bbq with many of his friends, he finally asked me out. We were married 15 months later in October 2001. It’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago!!!

Paul served a mission in Buenos Aries, Argentina and upon returning home attended college where he graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing. He currently works as a Property Manager/Business Developer for a growing property management company. He has an excellent sense of humor (which is one of the reason’s I married him) and he loves to have fun. He is always the center of attention and manages to keep people laughing. He enjoys golfing and playing basketball.

I graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting. I currently own my own accounting services business. I love to read and spend time with friends and family. I enjoy being silly and having fun whenever I can. I’m a total klutz which leads to a lot of crazy stories and lots of laughing!

Paul and I enjoy doing many activities together including mountain biking, watching movies, playing board games with friends (Settlers of Catan is our favorite!), and spending time with our nieces and nephews.

Our journey to become parents began three years ago. After years of trying, a decision had to made: should we try IVF or should we adopt? So we began investigating IVF and adoption extensively. We were always left overwhelmed and confused whenever we talked to someone about IVF or read about it. But after talking to friends who had adopted and reading blogs about people who had adopted, we always felt peace and calmness. After much prayer, Paul and I decided in April 2011 to start the process of adoption. It has been the best decision for both of us. Our marriage has been strengthened through this process and we know the Lord is aware of us. We are grateful for this opportunity and are so excited to start our family through adoption!

To learn more about Paul and Alli, click here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Adoption is Expensive!

I don't know about you but adoption is expensive!  The is so much involved in the costs of adopting...costs for placement...costs for pass through expenses...costs for traveling to meet a birthmother...costs to find and market yourselves so that a birth mother notices you or knows you want to adopt...costs to be there when a baby is born...hotel, food, name it it is there...and even more if you are going through an agency outside of LDS Family...It costs alot!  Since coming onto this journey I have heard so much about how much it costs to adopt and heard everything when it comes to people saving and scrimping and earning to be able to save money for their adoption.  I have recently realized that I have had something all along that has been helping my family with these costs...especially in light of all the expenses that my husband and I incurred this summer when we flew across the country to stay and visit with who we thought was going to be our birth mother until our placement failed...yes more expense that could happen if your birth mother is out of state...have you thought and prepared for that?...I am not trying to be a pooper just be real about what is really here at our feet.  Like I said I had found a way to help my family that is not having a garage sale (not that those aren't good but there is only so much in our garages) and isn't selling a product where you have to get people to buy stuff they can get at a store and then you end up having a closet full of stuff you can't get rid of...When I realized I had this resource I decided I had to share with those of you out there that are having to save for your adoption...that I couldn't not tell you...So let me ask you this...If I could show you a way to help  would you be interested in hearing?  If you are email me at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Letting Our Birth Mom Live Her Life

I know there are differing opinions on this topic, even amongst my friends, so let me just preface this with, as always, these are my opinions. 

I sincerely believe in letting our birth mom live her life the way she chooses, even though it is so very foreign from my own.  It’s not my place to judge her or to tell her that she needs to make some changes in her life.  Do I wish she lived a healthier lifestyle?  Sure.  I wish I lived a healthier lifestyle (but not enough to put down the chocolate doughnut and go running at 5:00 AM).

We invited Alyssa, Olivia’s birth mom, out last year for Olivia’s third birthday.   When she called to tell me she was off the plane and had her bags, she said she was stepping out for a quick smoke and then would be ready for us to pick her up.  I’m not going to lie.  At that moment, I had a teeny, tiny freak-out.  I didn’t know she was smoking again.  Cigarette smoke is one of my migraine triggers, so I was worried.  (Just to be clear, I was not worried that she’d smoke in the house.)  I decided to be mellow and see what happened.

What happened was we had an amazing visit.  Having her stay with us was the best thing we could have done—for all of us.  For Olivia, Alyssa isn’t just some pictures and a character in stories we tell her.  She’s real.  Olivia knows her, knows who she is, and loves her.  And the smoking really didn’t get in the way.  Alyssa was so respectful.  She’d go outside, down the street, and around the corner—in August—in Phoenix—so Olivia wouldn’t see what she was doing.  And Brigham and I didn’t say a word.

Alyssa went to church with us when she was here.  I think it was the first time she’d been to any church.  She had bought a new outfit just for church.  She said she wanted to be respectful and be sure all her tattoos were covered.  I love her for that.  Not just for covering her tattoos, but for wanting to be respectful of us, of our standards.  Why in the world wouldn’t we show her that same respect?

I may not like some of the choices she makes—indeed, some of them pain me—but I respect that they are her choices to make.  We would never tell her that she can’t be a part of Olivia’s life unless she stops smoking and drinking.  And she would never dream of smoking or drinking around Olivia.

It seems I’ve painted a rather dark picture of our birth mom here.  That was certainly not my intention.  I just wanted to highlight our mutual love and respect for each other.  So, to offset the above, let me tell you what an amazing person she is.  Well, we all know she’s selfless for placing her baby.  And she chose us, so she has good taste.  She has an incredible work ethic.  She works full time in a management position and goes to school full time, as well.  She’s majoring in math.  (I’m praying Olivia got those math genes from her!)  She’s intelligent, witty, and a true friend.  And we love her like crazy.

So while our lives are so very different, we are able to come together and enjoy each other.  We're family.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hooray For Elise and Josh!

I know most of you don't know, but I heard this this week that Josh and Elise have adopted!!!!  He was born on September 9th!  We are so happy for you both and I know you will be the most Amazing Parents to your new little boy!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The "Good" List

We've all heard about a bucket list, in fact, some of us may even have one.  The Good List is a spin on this familiar idea.  For those who like lists, this might be the thing for you.
At the education classes provided by our local FSA chapter last spring the final class was called "Finding Joy in Infertility and Adoption" (I talk about it briefly here). I was so skeptical of the thought that one could have joy but I went to the class eagerly seeking enlightenment. To do this day there is one thing that has never left my mind from this short two hour class. We were told of how one couple had coped and, wait for it, thrived! Their story is a personal one but I will share with you one of their tools to success. The "Good" list. Essentially, in order to cope, they would turn things into positive moments. An example would be while visiting a friend they watch her child throw up all over everything after having too much red kool-aid and although their hearts hurt for a child-the good, bad, and dirty,on the way home, this couple would find joy in remarking that they were glad they didn't have to clean that up and add it to their good list. One other tool they used was forgetting about the what-ifs and just living their lives.  Running a marathon, taking vacations, starting projects, going back to school, etc...
To take this one step further, my husband and I combined the two. We set off to the store and bought a package of cork board tiles, cut a cute phrase out in vinyl and hung them in a visible area in our home. We then hung anything that made us happy, made us hopeful, allowed us to dream, or even simply made us smile. We planned vacations, we celebrated success by posting our graduation photos, my husband hung a candy bar wrapper from a treat given to him, and we collected memorabilia from dates around town. In taking time to appreciate the small things we grew to be grateful for a time in our lives where we were forced to let go of our lives and chart our new directions. It has also allowed us to be grateful for the many blessings that we do have.  It has been an essential tool in moving forward every single day.
Whether it be by journaling positive moments, keeping a board like myself, creating a box to hold treasures, or whatever works for you, I would challenge you all to try something like this.
Does anyone have any other tricks of the trade, if so comment below.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Fake Baby

This is how it all started:
Hello Mrs. Jennie

I apologize for being so late in replying to your email but I've been very busy and am going through a lot. My name is A_____ and I am 24-years old. I am very vibrant, ambitious and am currently in school to become a reproductive endocrinologist. I am African American and American Indian. I'm usually the "spotlight" child. If there is a spotlight, there is me! I do performing arts and dance. I was raised Presbyterian but was saved under the Pentecostal faith at 19.

Since I had really no choice but to tell my family exaxtly why I'm being so withdrawn from them including paternity of my baby. Even the twins (8 year old sisters) knew I didn't swallow a watermelon seed. My family has always been extremely close. There was nothing off limits to asking as long as you asked first. So when I left just out of the blue in January and went over sixteen hours away, my family didn't know what to think. I went from being Miss Teenage Morris College and leaving my second year of med school at MUSC (Charleston) to no contact with almost anyone in South Carolina- my best friend included. I did not know I was pregnant when I left. I left 3 days after the "incident" after spending 2 days in the hospital. The hospital does give the morning after pill  birth control is against my religion so I didn't take it. I didn't think I would get pregnant.

My due date is September 25th and this little lady must thinks she is inside a bounce house. My last ultrasound was on July 8th and she weighed 2 pounds 7 ounces but she has never really stayed still long enough for the to get an accurate measurement. She turned her back on one ultrasound and rolled over. I had to actually stay the night in the hospital because she was literally grasping her umbilical cord and had a tight grip on it! So she had to be monitored and turned (which was no easy thrill for me) manually by my doctor. I feel like she doing zumba or something sometimes.

I'm having a hard time-honestly- because I want to give her the best the world has to give. Sure I can shower her with affection, care and love but not safety. I can keep her safely snuggled in her little bounce house now but I can't say that for her future. The last thing I ever want is for my step-father to fight me for custody and win because of his credientals that I can not even compare too but it looks better on paper and in a court. I want her to grow up in a safe and happy environment that she can flourish and grow in. I made her that promise and I plan to always keep it in love.

Feel free to call me anytime on my cell __________. I want her family to have a chance to know and see her before she's here so she'll never have a question you can't answer. I have all of her ultrasounds on a digital CD because I always get two and 3D images so detailed you can see her smile. I even have all 7 of the preganacy test I took over 3 days to make sure I did the one before right. I don't want her to ever think I gave her away or didn't want her because of her conception. She's my beautiful blessing that I was once told I'd never have and it hurts but she deserves the beautiful life I don't think I can promise.

Signed ADM____

When you receive a letter like that it is like you immediately are excited.  We started to fall in love with the thought of a little girl coming to our family.  It all turned out to be fake.  So, beware, stay away from A.D.M. in Bishopville, SC.  She was working with an agency that many of you may be working with and I have no idea whose profiles she may have looked at.  We just want to get the word out and don't want anyone else to get hurt. Below is what we wrote the day after it all happened

A fake baby. Fake 4 months of getting fake pictures like the one above, being told you were the family for this fake child. Four months of dreaming of this fake little girl. Four months of bending over backward to help a fake birth mom through the fake hard times that were totally viable things a real true birth mother would go through. Four months of her meticulously telling us about the things the baby was doing and doctor appointments and how much they think the baby weighed. Stories about what the doctor told her and what she told the doctor. Stories, fake people, lies, all meticulously put in place. Three visits by the social worker to the fake birth mom. We were all played. For what? She never asked for money.  She never asked for anything, but she did take our time.  She did like the attention we gave her. 

It all lead up to Thursday. Thursday she had a fake infection and was in the "hospital." She was so concerned for the health of the fake baby. I spent all this time reassuring her the baby was going to be okay. She tells us that the fake doctor told her that she was going to have to deliver the fake baby a month early. She is freaking out. She needs reassurance. I totally feel I need to go to her in the hospital. I ask Tyson to take the day off work and watch the kids so I can go help her through her fake hard times. She calls on Friday and says she is dilated to a 6. She is having the baby. We frantically pack. We pick up our 4-year-old son from preschool and tell him we are going to go meet his sister.  He is so excited!  We pack him and our 18-month-old son in the car.  We get to the hospital. What? There is no one by the name at the hospital.
Oh, she says she is under an alias and not in the computer. What room are you in? 402 she tells us. Nope, 608, "they moved me."
They say there is no one in that room.
"What building? Where are you?" She runs us around the hospital. She describes specific areas of where to be. For 2 hours we wait for her to tell us how to get to her. She said she had the baby. We totally think she is just out of it. She just had a baby, right? She is on pain killers.
Tyson sees. Tyson knows it is fake. I can't believe it. I keep holding on to the fact that I know this girl. I have talked to her at least twice a week. She has told me in detail so much about this baby that makes perfect sense. I have to hear it from the horse's mouth. I still keep holding on that the circumstance is that we just can't get to where she is. She keeps talking about the baby. Keeps saying she is just so concerned about the fake baby. She keeps distracting me on the phone, talking about the baby. She creates a fake sister. The fake sister is supposed to meet us outside. We drive around some more. Can't find the sister. I talk to the fake sister on the phone. Gosh she sounds a lot like fake birth mom, but they are sisters, so maybe they just sound the same.
Oh, sister had to go back up to the room to check on the baby.
Ok. Boys are in the car and have been for 4 hours.
They need to eat.
Leave the hospital.
Tyson suggests I talk to a nurse. Perfect idea. Call birth mom, takes her a while to get the fake nurse on the phone. The fake nurse totally sounds like fake sister. I ask if it is the fake sister. Fake sister says no. I ask her to give me the phone number to the nurse's station and I will call her back. She gives me a number. I call the number. It is an OB/GYN doctor's office. Uh, Tyson sees, but I think maybe the "nurse" accidentally gave me the number to the office she works at rather than the nurses' station. I keep having hope. Call social worker. Social worker admits that perhaps she overlooked a few things. She met with this birth mom 3 times, but it could have all been lies.  Was the name of the birth mom on the ultrasound pictures? We didn't know. Do we have actual proof of pregnancy? Perhaps not.  Perhaps this is a scam.
Fake birth mom talks to social worker, says she is scared we are backing out because we feel like she is lying to us. She wants us to adopt her baby so bad. Finally get on the phone with fake birth mom again. Give her an ultimatum. I need to talk to a nurse right now or her sister needs to come down to the lobby right now. Right now. "I can't reach the nurses button", she says. Oh, "my mom is here," she says. "Perfect, please let me talk to her," I say.
Different voice this time. Totally different. I plead with her to help us. From what birth mom told us, she wasn't on board so perhaps she would not tell us where birth mom is. "Please meet us down in the lobby. "

"Where did she tell you she was at?" Mom asks.

"At the hospital with the baby," I say

Mom replies, "She is at home. What has she been telling you? What is going on?"

Me, "She said she went in to have the baby."

Mom, "No, she is not having a baby."

Me, "Is she even pregnant?"

Mom, "No. She is a very sick girl. She has serious mental problems. She made this all up."

Wow. Such detailed stories of a baby, such real stories of what the baby was doing and how it felt inside. Such detailed situations of what she was going through. Seriously, she had to research this like crazy. There has to be a book or something online she is getting this from. Amazing. Can’t believe this happened to us.  She knew so much of what a birth mom would go through.  She knew how to keep us talking to her.  She knew about drugs doctors would have her on, she knew about premature labor and the things they do.  She spoke to me in detail about the plans in the hospital. We were her project, something fun she did for 4 months.  I hope her mother has taken away her computer and her phone and gotten her some help. 

Despite this crazy situation and this crazy day, we are not in a deep dark hole. We are over adoption, but we know people are generally good. We wish we could go give all the people a hug that helped us yesterday. I had random hugs from strangers who saw what was happening. They cried with us, had concern and care for what we were going through. For this one sick person there was 10-15 amazing people who bent over backward to help us and show us compassion and love.

In the past year we have had three girls who have chosen us to be the family for their baby. Three times we have dreamed of a little girl who is coming into our family. Twice minds were either never really made up or minds were changed.  Situations changed and the birth parents decided to parent.  It hurt. We fell in love with them.  This one, we were totally played. Totally. 

One of the things that is so frustrating with having gone through these three experiences (especially with them so close together) is that we've been embarrassed by having announced our family growing by one more with the most pure and naïve faith that it was going to occur. We've announced to employers, friends and family that we are going to or actually do take off time from work to have this addition come in to our home in mere hours, days or weeks just to find out that we were mere pawns by mal-intended and sick people.
It is such an emotional thing when someone tells you that they feel that you are the perfect family to raise their child. You feel such a responsibility to not do something to upset them for fear that your spouse and children are denied the blessing of the child coming in to your home. You simply do all you can to not ask questions or give impressions to the birth parent that you don't trust them or that you're crazy. You fear being the reason that they're unwilling to place in your family. I think it makes you unwilling to ask the hard questions that need to be asked. Just imagine trying to live with that. You, your family and close friends all conjure up hopes and dreams for this huge blessing to come in to your lives and for the opportunity to rear, raise and love this child. You fear that YOU might be the reason that all that might be lost. The chance at that great blessing is lost due to you. YOUR actions ruined it for you and your family by simply pressing too hard or appearing untrusting or crazy. It is unnerving to even think about and creates an enormous amount of pressure. It is something you would live with your whole life. I can certainly say that we have tried our best to guard against it but simply have been out-foxed each time.  Maybe we only saw what we wanted too. 
We are done with adoption.  We love adoption because we have two beautiful boys who came to us through strong and wonderful birth families, but we are done opening our hearts to it again, just to let them be crushed.  We have been blessed with two tremendous little boys that we love. We are no longer willing to put them or ourselves through this again. We are no longer going to waste time trying to build our family but rather invest in the family that we've been blessed to have.
The Smiths

A couple of weeks has passed since we went through this.  It still seems like a dream that this even happened to us.  I think it is so important in this open adoption world that everyone is informed about what to look out for and what to watch for.  Stay involved in your adoption.  Check up on what the social worker is supposed to do and what is or isn't being done.  We definitely thought we were fine and didn't think much of a scammer because it was through an agency.  I so hope she has not contacted any of you. 
We are excited and content about being a family of four.  We are so thankful for the Lord's hand in our life.  We have definitely grown closer as a family through all three failed adoptions and perhaps that is what it was all about.  We love and appreciate our son's birth families for the wonderful opportunity we have to raise our beautiful boys.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

But My Background isn’t in Marketing

My husband and I are private people.  We keep to ourselves—more than we probably should—because we like ourselves and each other.  I’m pretty shy and I guess we’re both slightly anti-social.  So, our approach to a second adoption puts us right out of our joint comfort zone.   This time, in addition to our profile on It’s About Love, we have a profile on Parent Profiles (should be active beginning of next week), and are using our family blog to advertise our desire to adopt again.

It has been difficult for us to have all of our information—so much of it incredibly personal—on the Web for the whole world to see.  (It’s kind of like standing in the middle of the street, naked, and wondering who is looking at me through their blinds.)  But we know that we need to get ourselves out there.  It’s a strange dichotomy of wanting people to see it and not wanting people to see it.  We just want the right people to see it.  I’m uncomfortable with the idea of trying to sell ourselves.  To show what amazing people we are, what fabulous parents.  And the thought that we’re in “competition” with so many other amazing, fabulous couples doesn’t set well with me, either.  It feels wrong to be brainstorming to find ways to make us appear as appealing as we think we are.  (Please note that we are not misrepresenting ourselves in any way, just wanting to use the best pictures, the best stories.)  Maybe more appealing than other people.    Is anyone with me here?  Do you feel like you come across as saying, “Hey, look at us!  We’re better than those other people.”?  Do you feel weird about it?  (Disclaimer: I don’t feel like we’re better than other couples hoping to adopt, and I want everyone to get a baby.)

Marketing myself just isn’t in my nature, but I know that we have to be proactive in searching for our child.  We need to make it easy for the right people to find us.  I can’t wait to get our Pass Along Cards.  It seems like such a more personal way to get the word out.

SOMEBODY please comment.  Tell me what you are doing to market yourself.  Tell me how you feel.  Tell me I’m crazy, if you think I am.  Tell me you know exactly how I feel (if you do) so we can validate each other!  If you prefer, send me an email at sdavisfordhamATgmailDOTcom.  Thank you!

(And Britnee, I didn’t mean to copy your idea.  This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and it seemed to follow your post well.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Using the Internet

Because we don't know from where a person will be directed to our profiles or if our blogs are even being seen, it makes sense to get our names and data out there in as many locations as possible. 
Thanks to my local FSA chapter, we were introduced to Hoping to Adopt, a free online profile resource.  This is only one of many sites that will host a profile for those seeking adoption, but as it is free, it seems to be very popular.
Hoping to get our names and pictures out there, I sat down one night and built a profile.  It is very easy to use and colorful.  You can personalize your site to your tastes (much like a blog) and use information off of one of your existing profiles or make another one entirely.  The downside is that it also has a place to check your profile stats and if you're anything like me you make a habit of doing so obsessively.  I also feel some of the information is much more lax as in you can see occupations and locations without even logging in, so if you feel fears over internet security this site might not be for you, although keep in mind you can keep some of the questions blank.  Play around with it, build a profile and see if you like it first.  It doesn't hit the net until you hit publish so feel free to experiment. 
If you'd like to get an idea of what it looks like and whether it's right for you and your family you can see our profile here.
Anyone on this site?  Opinions or thoughts?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Getting From Here to There

Several months ago, after a day of running errands and waiting in numerous lines, my three-year-old daughter said to me, “Waiting hurts my feelings.”  Out of the mouth of babes!  Isn’t that the truth, especially in the adoption waiting game?

There are so many things that can hurt our feelings while we’re waiting—if we let them.  An empty nursery, seeing babies everywhere, hearing women complain about being pregnant, being invited to six baby showers in one month, knowing that we are not in control, being asked yet again by well-meaning (and sometimes just plain nosy) people if we’ve “heard anything yet.”  Sound familiar?

When my husband and I got engaged many people had advice for us.  Something stupid I heard a lot (because people were focusing on the fact that Brigham is quadriplegic) was, “Just think about the eternities, when everything will be wonderful.”  It was well meant, but is kind of like saying, “Everything will be better when you’re dead.”  Great.  But we have to get from here to dead first.  Sure, it’s nice to have that to look forward to (not being dead, but having perfected bodies), but it’s important to remember that we have to get from here to there.  We have to live.

So in the same sense that I’m not going to sit around and wait until we die for things to get “better,” I’m not going to sit around and just wait until we get a baby.  And I’m not going to let waiting hurt my feelings.  (Well, in all honesty, I probably will sometimes.)

What can we do to insure that the waiting doesn’t hurt our feelings?  This is not a rhetorical question—I’d like some ideas.  Having done it once doesn’t make me an expert.

Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with.  I’m going to start preparing for a baby now.  And I’m not just doing this because we only had four hours’ notice we were getting a baby last time and had nothing ready.  I want a place prepared for our baby in our home, in our minds, and in our hearts.  (Deanna, Elise, and Britnee have all said the same thing in their blog posts, so it must be a good idea!)  I’m going to make wide use of pass along cards.  And when people ask me what the latest is, I’m going to ask them what they have done with the stack of pass along cards I gave them!  I’m talking about adoption, and specifically about our desire to adopt again, to everyone, even strangers.  And for a shy girl like me, that’s quite a stretch.  I like to think I’m educating those around me.  I’m making adoption a part of their lives, too.  And I definitely don’t feel as isolated this time.

It’s a good idea to keep in mind that even after you bring your baby home there’s more waiting to be done.  There are all kinds of waiting, and we just can’t avoid them.  We waited six months for relinquishment papers to be signed, eight months to finalize.  Every situation, every cycle of waiting is unique.  And it doesn't have to hurt our feelings.

What are you going to do on your way from here to there?  (I really want to know.)

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House