Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Guest Post: Brittnee

Yesterday I received a very heartfelt email from a hopeful adoptive mama who is in the midst of the journey and wanted to share her thoughts and feelings with those out there who may be going through the same thing. Thanks for opening your heart to all of us,Britnee, and best wishes on your journey to find the little one meant to be in your family! -Elise
Adoption Blesses Lives

I always thought adoption would be easy. For us, I thought the getting here would be the hardest part. It took us five years as a couple to decide that we were both ready to adopt. One day I would be ready, the next I wouldn’t and vice versa. We were never ending up on the same page. Then one Sunday, in the middle of sacrament meeting, I turned to my husband and I said it’s time. I felt such an overwhelming peace that we were going to be blessed through adoption. My husband asked for some time to ponder his feelings and in the end he agreed, it was time! We called our local LDSFS the next day! We were totally lucky, the orientation meeting was scheduled for Thursday, (only a three day wait) and the FSA education courses that are offered twice a year were starting the following month, only three weeks away. We got our paperwork done quickly, had our interviews, and completed our home study in record time. We were approved and online just nine weeks to the day that we originally started our journey. I just knew that because everything had lined up so absolutely perfect, it would be a matter of months before we were placed with a baby. I even set a deadline that I just “knew” in my heart would be the timeline for bringing baby home, December 2010. 
That time came and went. Nothing. We came up on our first year and inevitably a home study renewal. We had just purchased our first home and graduated from college so we were sure these two things would drastically increase our chances. We eagerly started again, but this time we opted to also have our profile shared with the Department of Health and Welfare. Four months in, we got a call about a sibling group of 3. We were sure this was our time. After praying and pondering, we knew these kids were not ours. There was a family who could provide them so much more than we could at that time. We were ready for one, we worried about how we could care for three. It was heartbreaking and we worried that we might be walking away from our only chance but we said no and then we started waiting and searching again. Our second year passed and we were so doubtful about renewing again. We prayed and with some guidance from our priesthood leaders, felt like we should continue. Towards the end of our second year, we had been working on fertility treatments simultaneously and were so exhausted and burned out by it all. We decided that this third year would most likely be our final one. Only three months in, we decided it was time to move on. We would continue to wait for the adoption, but we stopped all fertility treatments at this time. We began to work on healing.

Here’s the thing, and I’m ashamed to say it, but I often longed for a miscarriage, a failed placement, or even to be scammed. I just longed for someone to notice us or want us and I longed to feel like there was a chance, that maybe we’d be parents someday. When we finally gave up and started to feel whole again, we had a private adoption opportunity that didn’t work out. We were so close. The baby was due in only fourteen days and we were literally waiting for the final yes. The birth mother selected another family in the end. Surprisingly, we were okay. We were heart broken, but we felt whole. We knew that this was an answer to our prayers. We knew that this was a key telling us to hold on a little longer. Since then, we’ve had a few opportunities sent our way. In fact, our profile is being handed off to a birth mother tomorrow for consideration. Although we aren’t the only couple being considered, we feel so blessed to have come this far.

Our journey isn’t over yet, but as I said in the beginning, I knew we would be blessed by adoption and I can honestly attest that we have. There is something so sweet and exciting about the process, that only those who have gone through it can really appreciate. We have learned so many wonderful things and we have grown and changed along the way. Most of all, our marriage has been strengthened ten-fold. I don’t know where we’ll be in a few days or years, or if and when we’ll be parents, but I do know that adoption blesses and changes lives! -Brittnee
Thanks again Brittnee for contacting me and sharing your thoughts! Check out more about Brittnee on her adoption profile at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Guest Post: Profile Tips By Elizabeth

Hi readers! We recently got to read a little bit about Elizabeth's family and their experience with adopting their beautiful daughter. Today we get to know some of Elizabeth's suggestions as a former social worker. She has some great advice on how to make your profile more appealing! Enjoy! -Elise

Tips For Your Adoption Profile
As an adoption social worker, part of my job was helping adoptive couples create a good profile. As this was for adoptions through foster care, a matching committee made up of adoption professionals was the ones reviewing the profiles. However, many of the principles are the same. Let me preface this by saying these are just suggestions, if they don't feel right for you, don't use them!

Profile Picture:
*Color catches the eye. For example, if I was looking through the 800+ profiles on the LDS website, the people in muted and/or earth tones would fade into the background if I was browsing. A person in bright yellow, or standing by bright flowers would stand out.

*While a professional picture is not necessary, a professional looking one is, meaning, try not to use a picture of you standing around a birthday cake, at the lake, etc.  Also I would not suggest very casual clothes like beach wear, flip flops, etc.
* Don't get lost in your landscape. Crop your picture so that you and your spouse/family fill in the space.

Intro Sentence:
*Keep it simple and from the heart. Try not to be too over-the-top or desperate (like Pick Us! Pick Us!). A potential birth parent is going through indescribable emotions as they review these profiles and a loving/peaceful/comforting introduction is going to appeal to them much more than a desperate/overly eager one.

* Only post your blog address if you feel comfortable with hundreds, if not thousands, of bored people looking at your blog. If a potential birth parent is interested in you, you can give it to them in private/through email.
Letter to Potential Birth Parents:

*I asked both birth mothers who chose us what appealed to them from our profiles. Both said that they liked that we didn't talk about God/Heavenly Father a lot and did not present ourselves as being overbearingly religious. Because neither was LDS (or even really knew what it was) and a good chunk of potential birth parents are not religious or have any affiliation with the LDS church. So while it may be your tendency to bear your testimony through your letter, know that this will only be appealing to a certain demographic.
*Carefully consider what level of openness (letters, phone calls, identifying information, visits, etc.) in an adoption you would want and talk about it in your letter. This is likely the most important information a potential birth parent will want to know about. Please give this careful consideration as you only want to promise what you really truly can commit to.

 Photo Albums:
* Again, only post pictures that you are comfortable with having a lot of strangers (most of whom are not even potential birth parents) looking at. Don't you just hate those profiles statistics? They creeped me out!

*Use pictures that show what you like to do so that a potential birth parent knows if you have the lifestyle/hobbies they are looking for in adoptive parents.
* One of the birth mothers who chose us said we appealed to her because she was African American and we had posted pictures in our album with our African American friends. She felt we could give her child connections to her culture. If you have similar friendships and are open to a transracial adoption, it would be important for a potential birth parent to see the connections you could provide to a child.

*Try not to present yourselves as "too" anything.... too perfect (because no one is), too reserved (could seem indicative of future behavior), too detailed (save that for communication through email or in person), or just "too" anything!

* Review, update, and edit your profile every 6 months.

 Hopefully, some of these tips helped you. Please remember while it is important to present yourself well through a profile, it is even more important to be 100% truthful in how you present yourselves. These tips are not supposed to help to trick a potential birth parent into choosing you as adoptive parents but are meant to help you present yourself in the best possible way so that a connection or interest may be made more easily between you and a potential birth parent. -Elizabeth

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Bringing together a family

I wanted to let you all know about a great event to raise funds to bring some sweet babies home to their family. There is a 1 Mile Fun Run as well as a silent auction and a live auction and it is going to be held this coming weekend at Freestone Park in Gilbert, AZ.  Please check out the links if you are interested in helping through donations or to find out more about the event. Best of luck Probst family! -Elise Probst Family Blog Event Info

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Guest Post-Devin

Hi everyone! We are the Payne's~ Jared, Devin, and Ayden. I was asked by Elise to share Ayden's adoption story! I am thrilled to!

Let me start out by letting you all know we are foster parents. OH! I most also warn you, I'm great at remembering exact dates and times, so yeah... That being said, here's our story.
We got a call about 8:30 a.m. on Mon., Sept. 26, 2011 asking us to accept a placement. This placement was a baby less then 12 hours old! We accepted and later found out that this baby is a boy and other information regarding the case. We brought Ayden home from the NICU about 3 1/2 weeks later. We went on assuming Ayden would eventually go home to his birth parents, even though all "signs" were pointing towards adoption. We tried to have faith that his bio parents would do the things necessary to gain custody of Ayden again.
We would have as much contact with his bio parents as the judge would allow, which wasn't much do to the circumstance of the case. One night (Jan. 31, 2012 to be exact :o) )we went over to where Ayden's bio. great-great grandma lives. Side note: We got her address, and permission from the caseworker to go over there as long as Ayden was not with us. Anyway~ His bio parents where there that night! We just talked, caught up on what was going on since last time we had been together. During this time, his bio mom asked if we had heard they were going to relinquish! Um NO! Trying to be sensitive to their feelings but letting them know how honored we are, we talked more about the details of the relinquishment and what we were all wanting from the adoption. That was one of the most memorable nights of our lives! When we left his bios. we instantly got on our phones and called all our family members. We decided to not tell friends, put it on facebook or our blog until his bio parents had actually relinquished. They did the most selfless act they could have done for Ayden, and they signed over their rights on Feb. 08, 2012. That court hearing was the most... solemn, hard hearing we have yet to attend. I was in tears! We had the honor of legally becoming Ayden's parents on April 16, 2012. One of the best days of our lives!! We were sealed to our little miracle on May 19, 2012.

Now that the adoption is finalized, things with Ayden's bios. are a lot less tense, I'd say. We try to go over to his great-great grandma's about once a month still. We have leave it up to his bio parents when they want to see Ayden. I am friends with both bio parents on facebook. I try to put pictures up regularly, and tag his bio parents in them. We, unfortunately, don't hear from them as much as we would like... but we hope that changes in time.

So that's our Ayden's adoption story. Thanks so much for taking the time to read. Feel free to follow our blog, learn more about us at or email us at We are a pretty open book about fostering, adoption, our infertility... whatever! :o)
Thanks for sharing your story Devin. I thinks it's great to hear about different routes to adopting because foster to adopt is often overlooked and it can be a wonderful way to find your family! Congratulations to the Payne's! -Elise

Monday, September 3, 2012

Guest Post: Elizabeth

Hi, my name is Elizabeth and my husband and I recently adopted our daughter through LDS Family Services. My world seems to have an adoption theme running through it, as several of my extended family members are adopted or have adopted, I spent much of my off time in college working in international orphanges, and I worked as an adoption social worker for several years (in foster care adoptions and international adoptions).  

In a fateful turn of events, when I was dating my husband I told him I never wanted to have biological children because I felt a strong call to adopt. Flash forward several years to when we discovered my husband had azoospermia, rendering us 100% infertile. If that's not destiny, I don't know what is. So why would we choose to go through LDS Family Services when my experience was in other types of adoption? Well, mostly due to cost and wanting to parent a newborn. But I still think ALL kinds of adoptions are awesome and plan to adopt through those avenues in the future.

Anyways, we started the adoption process in late 2010 and were placed with our beautiful daughter Soleil on Thanksgiving day of 2011. She wasn't due until December 5th but decided to come early, which meant catching some very pricey (due to the holiday) last minute flights to Kentucky, where she was born. During the waiting process I constantly prayed for the "right" baby to join our family. I didn't pray for a girl, or a baby with blue eyes, or even a healthy baby. Just the "right" baby. 

When her birth mother chose us, my husband and I both felt a deep sense of calm and peace and....."rightness." As if that was not enough, as we were driving to the hospital on the day of Soleil's birth, my husband commented that it was a nice coincidence Soleil was born on my favorite holiday. Then I noticed we were driving on Turkey Foot road. I thought that was funny too. But when we pulled up to the hospital and noticed she had been born at St. Elizabeth Hospital, I felt the most indescribable sense of the Spirit telling me He wanted me to know that this was all His doing. And of course it was. We love our little daughter and love that we were able to develop a relationship with her birth mother and have openness in her adoption.
Due to California state requirements that you must wait 6 months post placement to finalize an adoption and a hefty backlog for available court dates, Soleil's adoption was not finalized until August 15th of this year. We will be sealed in the San Diego temple on September 8th and are so excited for this day to come! Of course our adoption process wasn't perfect, there were many irritating and frustrating complications with our paperwork and out-of-state clearances. Not to mention the emotional fall out from investing much energy into a situation where the birth mother eventually chose to parent (which ended up being a wonderful thing for her and we are still friends!). 

In the end, it is my belief that all of these things happened for a we would be led to Soleil. So whether you wait 3 months or 3 years, have a failed placement, or have glitches with your paperwork, I hope you find encouragement in the idea that maybe these things happen for a reason, which is to lead you to the right baby for you. Just as we feel we were lead to Soleil.

Thanks so much for sharing your story with us Elizabeth. So excited for your family to be sealed this weekend, what an amazing experience for your family! We look forward to a future post from Elizabeth with advice (as a former social worker) on creating profiles!  -Elise

An Open Adoption Documentary

Adoption Isn't Selfish

Straight from a Birthmom...

The Open Adoption Project via The R House