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  1. Melissa, I want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings! I was amazed that the second time around was stressful in ways that I had not anticipated. I had set myself up for it won't be as stressful this time because I/we have Garrett to take our minds off the wait but that was unrealistic. He of course was a distraction some of the time but I still would allow and let my mind wonder to the possibility that we wouldn't be chosen because either we were two old or because we were already parenting. It became harder after each phone call that we had and would later find out that we were not chosen for whatever reason, I think we spoke or were presented with like 15 possibilites. It was HARD! I think being a PIW pre match has its own set of stress and anxieties that are different than when you are a PIW but matched. Once you are matched you can't help but worry about if the match doesn't work out. I think that having been through infertility it is just natural to doubt that your dreams will come true, especially after so much disappointment month after month or year after year for many of us. With Garrett's adoption I was so afraid of the match falling through that I didn't tell many people and I didn't want to talk about it. I was just so scared of being hurt. I wish now that I had enjoyed it a little more and had shared our journey. I don't think many people outside the adoption community really know how it feels so it is great that we all have this place that we feel safe to be able to vent our frustrations and have the support we need to pick ourselves up. With all that being said I hope you know and can feel how many people are right along with you on this roller coaster of emotions and we can't wait to celebrate with you when you become a family of four!!
    8 points
  2. When my first daughter was born we didn't have medical insurance. My in-laws gave us a heifer which we later sold to pay the medical bills. I am glad to report that after almost 40 years, our daughter does not appear to be traumatized by being paid for with a heifer. No, she wasn't adopted. But I think some children will embrace all aspects of their adoption story and some won't. I would guess if someone is upset because funds were raised to bring them into the family then they are probably struggling with adoption in general.
    7 points
  3. I have been thinking about this post for a few days. First thank you Elizabeth for your kind words and wisdom!! I know that this time around for us we have tried to be more "laid" back and know that in God's perfect timing we will find the right family to join ours. I will admit that it has been harder than I first anticipated. I am not sure why really not sure what I was expecting to happen, I guess we only have our first expierience to compare it too and we only spoke to two expectant moms and were chosen by the first one I spoke to. (I know no two adoption stories are the same but when it is all you know you can't help but compare the two) I have more fears/worries than I thought I would, I thought the fear of not being chosen would be gone but it was just laying dormant I guess. I worry that all the expectant parents will want their child to be the first in the family or that we are "too old" to them. I know that these are mostly irrational and I know parents that have adopted that are older than we are and that have more children than we do. I can say that we are good most days but the fears do sneak in some days. Another fear I have is that I am such a shy and reserved person that my phone calls with the expectant parents are to short and that they don't get a good feel for us. It takes me a while to warm up to people and I have been this way my entire life, I try my best to open up and have good conversations but I am not sure that they always come across this way. I do hope that more future birth families will consider againers and remember that giving their child a family often times includes a sibling, and that is a great blessing too! I know I wouldn't know what to do with out my younger brother. I have been wondering if we should update or profile and include more about how we are ready to welcome another child and their first family into ours. I guess I will think some more before making any hasty decisions.
    6 points
  4. Leslie, You may think you are "shielding" your parents but I really believe (at least from my perspective) that most parents don't want to be shielded. I am enormously grateful that Melissa and Steven chose to make me a part of all aspects of their journey, both the good and the sad. Melissa asked me to start reading the forum from the first day she discovered Abrazo. It doesn't take long reading the journeys to truly believe in open adoption. No, it is not the way adoption was addressed when we were growing up, but it is clearly better. I'm not sure I would have grasped that as fast as I did if not for the forum. As you know, they had two matches that failed. Yes, I cried tons of tears for both but was so grateful, again, that the through reading the forum I could see the avatars of those who had experienced similar failed placements and see the precious babies who found their way to them. How do you explain something like this to your parents? Especially while you are grieving? That is why I personally think it would be enormously helpful to allow them to read the forum or copy someone's story and let them read it. The more knowledge we have the better we also understand and process. I will also say that because Melissa and Steven allowed me to meet Bianca early on, she feels very much like part of our family. God forbid that anything should ever happen to M and S, but at least Bianca and I have a great relationship and I would do everything in my power to continue the open adoption! How would I understand the importance of all this, especially early on, if not for the helpful information I've received from all I've read? I'm not sure just hearing it from Melissa's mouth would be enough for me to grasp all that is involved from all sides. As for feeling I lost something because Oliver isn't biological, well I can honestly say that has never crossed my mind but I can see how it might for some. My best advice would be to talk, talk, talk to your parents and make them as much a part of every piece of the journey as possible. Don't shield them from anything. Allow them to grow in knowledge as you have. Help them help you!! And remember, there is nothing like holding your grandchild to erase any pain experienced up to that point
    6 points
  5. Welcome to our family baby girl! I've been praying for a long time that you will find your home in the arms of James and Christy. They have been through a lot and will love you more than you will ever know. Imagine the future... You will grow up knowing your whole family. I bet you’ll be a well traveled little lady. Your big brother Benny will watch over you. In fact, I bet he'll be super protective! Soon enough we'll be down to visit and give you a zillion little butterfly kisses. (Although I'm ready to pack up today and squeeze those cheeks of yours today!) James and Christy - Whenever I spoke with Mama R, it was clear that she understood the pain that was in your hearts. As strong as she is, she can also be very compassionate. I love how she embraces the concept of adoption with such conviction. Elizabeth, Audra and Brianna – You sure know how to make magic happen! Thank you for supporting Mama R as she chose her path. We will forever be grateful for bringing us all together and showing us the power of love through open adoption. All our love, Carine and Jim Krull Benny, almost 2! – 1st n 10 Kimmy Jo, 4 – InDecision 08
    6 points
  6. I was thinking today about how blessed Abrazo is to have as many againers as we do, and how I wish more prospective birthparents would consider againers when choosing parents for their babies. Parents who are placing typically prefer childless couples because it assures them they are changing a couple's lives in a way that nobody else can. They feel it makes their sacrifice more meaningful, on some level. Some wish to only choose childless couples because they want their baby to be the firstborn in the family. And still others feel more secure with couples whose level of adoption experience is akin to their own. They don't want to worry about whether they (or the child they're placing) will measure up to another birthparent, or another adopted child already in the home. This may seem unfair to those who are seeking to adopt a second time. Yet if you think about it, if you're going to a baby shower, you want to be the first person who thought to bring the parents-to-be a Bumbo, not the second or third. No matter how gracious the shower honoree may be, you're probably not going to feel your gift was just as appreciated if yours wasn't their first. That's just human nature... and that's the challenge faced by couples in the open adoption process a second or third time. Parents who are willing to place with couples who are already parenting are sometimes older, themselves. Many are parenting more than one child, and thus they recognize the value of placing with someone with proven parenting skills. (Occasionally, in rare instances, the adoptive parents' parenting skills may create a "make or break" situation with a prospective placing parent who has their own definition of "well-managed children" so keep this in mind when deciding whether or not to bring your child/ren along when visiting the prospective birthfamily before placement.) Abrazo's staff does counsel with prospective birthparents who are considering adopting couples, to help ascertain what's important to them and how to best find the family who will meet their needs. We do routinely encourage expectant parents to consider those who have adopted with us before by pointing out that one's best indicator of a couple's commitment to openness is often reflected in the relationship they have with the child they adopted previously. Yet more important than the agency's input is the adopting couple, themselves; their ease in speaking with prospective birthparents, their openness to a variety of placement factors (race, gender, age, lifestyle) and their commitment to open adoption and ongoing contact after placement. It's important for returning adopters to anticipate the questions or concerns that prospective birthparents may have and address those openly, whether in the profile one creates or on the phone calls that one takes. Help prospective birthparents understand the special place that awaits their child in your home, and how uniquely treasured each child you raise will be in your family. Offer a "reference" from the birthparent of the child you've adopted already, by including a testimonial written by your child's birthparent(s) in your profile. Ask the birthmom of the child you're parenting if she might be willing to serve as a special support person for the expectant parent with whom you match, if appropriate. And while you wait, know that the waiting does serve a purpose, even when it gets so discouraging. Whether you placed quickly or slowly the first time around has no bearing whatsoever on the second (or third) go-round. If your profile doesn't seem to draw the desired response, switch it up! If the mothers who ask to speak with you don't seem to "fit" your expectations for your next match, draw a wider circle of prospects by doing some additional advertising online. Get proactive! It's STILL a matter of "not if, but when!" so square those shoulders, thank Heavens for the child/ren you already have, and keep the faith! Your next son or daughter is going to find you... all in due time.
    5 points
  7. I read the below submission in a blog called Bumbler's Bumblings today, which is written by an adoptive mom, but her son's birth mother is a guest writer sometimes. The writing below is from her son's birthmom Amber about the day she first met her son's parents, her expectations for them, why she chose them, and her feelings on selecting the right family for her baby. Such a moving story about all of the thought that went into her decision. Here's the link, but the text is pasted below in case the link goes bad.
    5 points
  8. Just wanted to chime in that my employer does not offer a paid maternity leave for mothers (adoptive or biological) either. Any maternity leave is taken with vacation time, and FMLA does not apply in my case like Abrazo's because of less than 50 employees. They did however, want me to spend as much time as I could afford and allowed me to go in the negative, which I was very grateful for. We were very impressed with Scott's employers benefit, to say the least. We did not learn about it until after Abrazo urged us to double check with our employers for benefits at orientation. They exceeded our expectations and were very generous with a 4 week paid paternity leave!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?!?!?!? We are very thankful for his employer, they are fantastic. In regards to financing an adoption, I admit, I was tempted. Adoption costs were not easy for us to save for, but a priority. I (Scott most definitely not) was tempted to take a personal loan and even take parents up on offers to help out, but after deliberation and hearing Scott's point of view, it wasn't for us. We wanted and needed to do it ourselves. I'm glad we waited. In the moment, was I happy about it.....absolutely not! I personally do not think that how another family chooses to expand their family is any of my concern, financially or any other aspect. It's not my place to form an "is that right" or "is that wrong" opinion, it's their family and I am not walking in their shoes. Merae
    5 points
  9. Bridgett - I have to admit I was also pretty angry when I realized our policies. I work for a large, global company and just before we adopted Oliver, I found myself in DC. I requested time with our Chief HR Officer and gave my thoughts and opinions and asked for an explanation. He got very detailed with me and though I respectfully had to agree to disagree with him, I could see why a group of decision-makers who had never been touched by adoption made the decisions they did. I chuckled the other day when I called the company that now handles our benefits (outsourced now). I explained to the girl that I needed an explanation of the process and what I'd be expected to do once we found out we were about to take placement (paperwork, who to alert, etc). I called it "maternity leave" and she heehaw'd around that for a while before she said, "Oooooohhhhh, you mean A BONDING LEAVE OF ABSENCE." Huh? Sure... yes, a bonding leave of absence then. "Women who give birth to their children get maternity leave through short term medical leave, but when you adopt someone's baby, it's just a bonding leave of absence." I don't know why it felt like a slap in the face, but it did! There is most certainly something about "standing in a different line," of sorts, that feels stinging, no matter how seemingly resolved your infertility issues are (and I imagine this is how most adoptees feel about "standing in a different line" through no choice of their own). Steven's company gives a $5k payment per child, per adoption. Mine gives nothing. Steven's also gives unpaid paternity leave, regardless of the method the child comes to you. That $5k puts a dent in the pay we lose out on during that "bonding period," but the bonding is essential whether we're getting paid or not. That time is critical for a newborn, but I can't imagine heading back to work and not having that time for Oliver to learn us and for us to learn all about him. I hate that companies do this, but each adoptive family has to find a way around the financial aspects of it all. I think this is why we see a lot of families in their 40's or older adopting for the first time... the fertility treatments and everything else don't just take time, they take money... and after you've wasted all your time, you've wasted all your money, too. Financing an adoption is not an easy thing to do for 99% of us and I think many of us don't build our families in the time frame we otherwise would have, namely because we're trying to get into a financial space where we can afford it... but for a certain population of the world, who are having biological families... they are planning their families against their financial capabilities, too. And hopefully they're not telling their kids that they might not exist today, had mom and dad not waited a few years to build a family because the expenses just weren't where they needed them to be. Finances are just a touchy thing to talk about, no matter what the context. I understand that some children are going to be sensitive to each step of their adoption story, just as some of us adults have a sore spot for the topic in our adoption journeys as well! Hopefully the way we process it will help establish a healthy frame of mind for our kids as they grow.
    5 points
  10. It is insulting to me that I have heard so much about potential/hopeful adoptive parents giving us biological parents money in order to make our problems go away. As if a lump sum of money is going to make our situations better. It isn't just about money (and I'm glad to know that so many Abrazo families recognize this!). How is a "donation" from a prospective adoptive couple going to fix the intangible and non-mometary problems that exist and make placements necessary or optimal for birth parents and their children? Sickening. To me, it isn't "buying" a child, as we birth parents never see that money. I am totally for adoption fundraising! If a couple were pregnant with their biological child and did a fundraiser to help subsidize the costs of raising a child, would anyone raise an eyebrow? Doubtful. This is just a thought but I would be willing to bet people would be thrilled to help. People save for vacations, cars, houses, children's college funds, etc. Are they also unworthy of having these items because they cannot afford the initial costs from one pay check? Absolutely not! We all acknowledge (even the author, unwittingly) that it takes more than money to raise a child. Why is a couple who are incapable of producing biological offspring deserving of prejudice because they want to have a family too, but may or may not have the resources (IE funds) to help build their families? I'll get off my soap box now. This has just struck a nerve with me.
    5 points
  11. I've been thinking about this post a lot, which is good, I think! I definitely don't have all the answers either. I will be honest, in our first adoption it all seemed rather simple. Simplified because we did not meet Luke's birthmother. We did not witness her pain. We did not hear her cry. We did not see the love and raw emotion. I have no doubt it was there, but we didn't see it and she and her husband did not choose to meet us. We simply went to the hospital, our arms were filled with an incredible baby boy and we came home. Yes, I cried for her, and not a single day goes by that I do not think of L and feel an outpouring of gratitude for entrusting us with that tiny bundle that is now almost 3. But I don't have anything concrete. I don't know her. I don't know where she is today. I think of conversations in my mind of what I want to say, but I haven't had that chance. I don't know if she is at peace with her decision, or if she regrets it. I'm not sure I'll ever know even though I hope one day to meet. With our second, I feel that Elizabeth's question came into play more in the forefront: "How can people of faith clearly discern when they're being led by God, versus driven by their own desires?" We definitely knew we wanted to adopt again. We were preparing for orientation. I can honestly say (after MUCH soul searching of our motives) that we never once believed that we were entitled to another woman's baby or that we deserved a child. It always got under my skin when people told us we "deserved" a baby after all we had been through. We didn't deserve a baby. We don't deserve anything, but we are truly grateful for our blessings. We truly believe that in a perfect world there would be no need for adoption. But our world is so broken, life is hard, choices are hard and I do believe that adoption does solve a need when a woman is pregnant and not able to parent. We felt that we would start the process again and you know that we did have an opportunity much sooner than we had expected. I can say that getting to know M and knowing she was a capable parent of two made it much harder. We did match, taking her word and reasons that this was what she believed was best for A given the present circumstances. We prayed a lot about this match during the week. Rudy and I talked about how we needed to go down, be present for her and just be prepared for whatever would happen. I don't think either of us were convinced that she would place, but we did feel it was right to go and just be available. I know that we told her if her plans changed that we were ok with that and just to let us know. Did we want to adopt him? Of course! But we truly wanted it to be right. I remember praying over and over for God's will to be done, and for her to have the wisdom to make the best decision. I honestly didn't know what that was before the fact. She was firm in her conviction that this was best at the time. That is one reason we tried so hard to give her time alone with her family and that she would not feel pressured by us in any way, shape or form. I am sure we made mistakes but that truly was our heart and I felt God helped us while we were there. You know the rest of the story that she did place and it was agonizing. After later knowing how she felt about the decision after months went by, I felt my heart crumble. I did have doubts about whether God was truly in it. Now with some clarity, time and conversations we've had together, we have both agreed that our meeting and the adoption could not have just happened by chance and that God does have a purpose in it. I don't think that God "made" M relinquish to hurt her and cause her harm, but I believe from the bottom of my heart that He will use this experience in all of our lives to stretch us and make us more into who He wants us to be. I think that trials are given for our growing, and also so that we look forward more to heaven! If earth was so perfect, we'd not want to go to a better place. One thing I think of often is that we just see a glimpse right now, while God sees the bigger picture. He knows A's life from beginning to end, where we just know up until this point. Maybe all the reasons for him being placed in our family aren't even known yet. We don't even know what the next minute or hour will bring. I will add (going back to Elizabeth's original post) that I do not think we can do anything with adoption outside the law or using wrong tactics and cover that with "God told me to" or "God wants this child for my family" or anything like that. I think that is just a plain, rotten excuse for bad behavior. I don't know what that family in Utah was told or why they fought the biological father so long, but I do think we have to be careful not to excuse our own behavior. As far as signs, I think maybe it is better to think back on those rather than using them to confirm a decision. One neat thing about our adoption with Luke is that my birthday is March 9, Rudy's the 27th and Luke was born on the 18th - exactly half way between! Looking back that is kind of neat, but had he not been placed with us I don't think I could have looked back and said "it was meant to be and we must adopt him" based on that! When we were talking to M and she asked what sports we liked I mentioned about Rudy liking soccer (ok, being nuts for soccer! ) Her older daughter plays and we thought it was cool to have that in common. Did at the time that mean that she should place with us? No, I don't think so. But it still is a common tie that we have and it is nice (and she knows that Andrew will have the chance to play!) So, I guess I think it is fine to look back and see neat things but we need to be careful about using those things as subtle pressure beforehand. Does that even make sense? I personally feel that for our family we do have an extra responsibility to treat our kid's birth families with love and respect because that is what we see in the Bible and that is what we try to base our lives and actions off of (though imperfectly, of course!). I don't think we could ever (as the example mentioned above) close the adoption due to "divine direction." We see that it is taught to treat others the way we would want to be treated, and I can assure you I would not want an adoption closed if I had placed a child and the adoptive family had promised to keep in touch! So, I don't see how we could do that to another person. This got really long and hopefully at least some portion made sense! I definitely agree they are hard and good things to think through, but we may never have all the answers. I really like this quote posted above: "Yet when we find ourselves overwhelmed by challenges not of our choosing, it is God alone Who finds a way to bring redemption and joy out of some of the hardships and unimaginable sorrows that can befall us in this life. "
    5 points
  12. It's not a question for me that God was in our failed matches and our son's arrivals in our family. Just 2 days before (talk about coincidence) one of our biggest adoption heart breaks, I was at my sisters house. She pointed out to me that God uses ALL that is in our life for our good. She and her husband had started a business and she had so much faith that even if the business failed - it would still be an experience for their good and that they would learn from the experience. She encouraged me that even if the adoption plan did not result in placement, we were in that match for a reason. God would use the experience for our good. Wow was she right. 2 days later L was born, K chose to parent. If she had chosen to place with us I would have been stuck in the job I was in at the time. I would not have been able to get out. Because God placed that match in our path, and because it failed, we found abrazo 2 months later, I quit that very toxic job 5 months later and one year later I was exactly where I wanted to be... a mom, staying at home with my baby. Perhaps it's harder in others journeys to see such an obvious connection between a failed match and good things happening later. Perhaps you look at your journey and think no I think we could have skipped that failed match and not lost anything in our journey. I think that starts to assume that we know everything that could have been... what if that failed match were erased from your journey... would you have then had a different match that resulted in a different child? Or perhaps you would have not matched at all during that time and found yourself questioning your family's appeal to expectant parents or whether you'd ever be chosen. Perhaps you may never know the exact reason why and that is when faith kicks in - to be able to say I trust there was a purpose. I know everyone's personal feelings and religious convications are different. I don't ask you to believe the same as me. As we're all sharing and pondering I am just sharing my feelings that God is mindful of our families individually and uses every life experience for our good in one way or another. I don't believe he creates "bad" or "pain" (infertilty, failed adoptions, unplanned pregnancies, etc) but I do think he uses everything for our good. I am sure God had an inkling that K would parent and I'm sure he knew that it would be a very painful bump in our journey but I also think he knew how we would react to that heart break and the blessings that would come as a result. Perhaps he could have prompted Ben and I to not match with K and spare us of the heart break but then we would have missed out on the blessings/learnings as well. When I look at it that way I realize God doesn't want what is easiest or least painful for me, he wants what will be best for me.
    5 points
  13. I always love going back and seeing posts like these... nobody had any clue sweet Madelyn was just a little over a week away from making her grand entrance when this post was written. It is funny how everything works out and another example of everything will happen as it is supposed to and when it is supposed to. (Even if we don't want to always believe that) One of the things the J told us about why she selected our family was one of my fears about already parenting, but she said when she saw our family picture on the last page and saw that we had a son she just knew that we needed a daughter and Garrett needed a baby sister.
    5 points
  14. I always love going back and seeing posts like these... nobody had any clue sweet Madelyn was just a little over a week away from making her grand entrance when this post was written.
    5 points
  15. Yes, Thank you for posting the reminders! Like Monica I also have all these fears but my hubby tries to keep me in line! lol I have to say I have certain days or weeks where I wish I would know what is going to happen and other weeks that just fly by! I am like Monica I am more reserved and I find it hard to really get to know someone in such a short amount of time and it being on the phone doesn't help things. I feel as though most of my conversations this time around have gone well with that being said. A few weeks ago we visited Alexis and she had asked how our adoption this time around was going. I told her we had talked with some expectant Mom's and told her how things were going. This lead to how she had picked us. I had asked her before but she didn't really give me her true down to the heart answer if you know what I mean. This means so much to me. So with this being said I will wait until our next child's Mom has a moment of pure peace that their child should be with us. I took 3 years to hear this but it was definitely worth the wait. It really changed my perspective for this time around.
    5 points
  16. I'm here rooting you all on!!! Againers are awesome! It is different the second time around. Some things are harder, some are easier but there will be a family that needs YOU just as you are!!! Our 2nd adoption doesn't fit any of the typical scenarios above. They were very young not older, they were first time parents. Yet they needed us ... they'd been through every profile in our agency in WA before we submitted our profile. Someone out there is going to need Monica, Melissa, Carrisa, Beth (I can't remember all the guys names but them too) and all those of you who are againers but didn't post Lynn & Brent.... and many others. It's still not if but when. Excited to see your journeys unfold.
    5 points
  17. Mari, I just wanted to tell you that you are such a blessing to this community. Your insight and wisdom are so valuable. You always have a level head and loving heart in the words you share, and I appreciate you so much! Thank you for taking the time to be a part of the forum.
    5 points
  18. From the days of the Pilgrims and the Indians, this week has been one in which it's customary to stop and count one's blessings, and for one Midwestern couple from our BGE&s orientation weekend of 4/12, the memory of this Thanksgiving week's blessings will forever be woven into the tapestry of their family story! For the birthparents of their new baby boy found their way to our agency thanks to a referral from another Abrazo birthmom from a few years back, and when they first came to Abrazo, their son's first mom said she knew from the moment she saw their profile that they were the family of her dreams. They've become so close over the past few months that the adoptive parents were the only people she felt she could trust to watch her other five children while she was in the hospital giving birth (and what a crash course in parenting they've gotten over the weekend! We trust these well-broken-in new parents will find caring for "just" one newborn considerably easier.) We are infinitely grateful that these dear people all found each other, and we hope theirs is a lasting friendship for which the son they now share will be forever thankful, as well. Happy Thanksgiving to all!
    5 points
  19. When our youngest graduates from high school, my husband will be 67 and I will be 60! YIKES! Do we think about being older parents? You betcha. And, we do everything in our power to "stay young" and plan for the future -- the kids' and ours. We are forever grateful to Abrazo for being one of the very few adoption agencies that didn't immediately write us off the books for our ages when we first started our journey to being a family in 1997. But, the reality of the situation is that there ARE many age-related things we now must consider if we truly want to be the best parents possible for our girls. Serious things, like maintaining life insurance, having a good financial plan in place, updating wills and designations of beneficiaries, determining guardianships, and keeping physically fit. And, there are some light-hearted things too, like knowing what Dubstep is, dealing with grey hair (and no hair!), understanding that Flo Rida isn't the same as Florida, staying awake past 8:30 p.m., dealing with menopause (and MAN-opause!) symptoms at the same time the girls are PMSing, and graciously coping with being called "Nana" by the Walmart cashier (AARGH!). In fact, probably one of the most eye-opening experiences I ever had as an "older" mom came when I was on a school field trip with our youngest daughter's class. I rode in the car with another child's mom, who lamented the entire way about her upcoming birthday. When I asked her how old she was going to be, she sadly said, "Twenty-nine. Next year I'll be 30 years old!" To which I took a deep breath and announced, "Wow! Can you believe that my husband and I were married the same year you were born?!" Yee-haw! Viva the Mature Mamas of this world!
    5 points
  20. I can't imagine being in a position where I needed to choose a family... put all my faith in this family... to raise my child, never knowing if the things they told me about themselves (their family history, their medical history, their aptitude to be parents, etc) was true. The leap of faith that takes far surpasses any leap of faith I think APs have to make. Sure, we go through home studies and all of that... but how do they know if the promises we make are true? They have to put their faith in us. We're taking on a lifelong responsibility to raise a child, so of course we hope for a healthy child if it's possible. That BP certainly hopes their child is healthy, too... that's just love. But they put their faith in us that we won't betray them, won't raise their child in secrecy, won't shut them out... there are certain things they can choose on the front end, but the blind faith it takes to hand complete control over to someone else and just believe in them has to be so tough. That's just personally how I feel as an AP. It's impossible for us to write down what we want on a piece of paper and then cast the bottle out into the sea and wait for that "perfect" situation to float back to us. We all daydream... we fantasize about what our child might be like or look like... we lose our train of thought in the middle of the day thinking about how "ideal" we hope our open adoption situation is. But the truth is... when APs get that phone call... hopefully, when they hear that a child needs them, they forget "perfect." Hopefully the APs talk about the things that are REALLY important to them... what they can handle vs. what they've dreamed about... and then they take a humongous leap of faith. Our leaps of faith are different, and while we can all pick and choose certain things, the real decision lies with the birthparent who has to ultimately decide if the APs she chose for her child are the people she really wants to raise her child. She puts faith in us that we'll do a good job and that we'll have that door propped open forever so that even if contact is too hard right now, or her life isn't condusive to contact right now, she can watch her child grow up when it's possible. For PIWs, I think the daydreaming makes us feel more committed and more linked to open adoption promises. We start broadening our minds, thinking, "oh, if my relationship could be like theirs, I could do this." At least that opens up our minds to think and reconsider what once might have sounded scary. Then, hopefully, the more we all realize that EVERY situation is different, the more we begin to trust in ourselves that we can do this... no matter what hardship may arise. If I learned nothing else at all from this experience, it's that when your baby is placed in your arms, the challenges are somehow pushed far into the background. When you're witnessing a woman's pain, there is no "ideal." In open relationships, when times get tough (because undoubtedly, times will get tough somehow, some way along the road) there is this child in your life calling you "mommy" who counts on you... and somehow, it gives you the strength to "do right" by that child in any way you can, if openness truly matters to you. Elizabeth has written many times that in an "ideal" world, adoption wouldn't exist at all. We'd be fertile and able to have biological children. Birth parents wouldn't be plagued with hardships that make placement plans their best options. Children would grow up with their biological families and wouldn't experience loss. But "it is what it is" and so we all do the best with what God has planned for us... because birth or adoptive parent... it's my opinion because of my faith that we can plan and plan and plan... but when God has something in store for us, if we listen carefully with open hearts, we'll all get exactly what we need. The subject of this thread is "Selecting the Right Family for YOUR BABY" and I think that puts things in the right perspective. Selecting the right adoptive parents is a gift that birth parents get to give their children. It's so easy to forget (I oftentimes do) that adoption isn't about what I get out of this relationship... it's about Ollie's birthmama choosing people she felt would raise her son in a way she could be proud of. It's about me living up to those promises and providing Oliver with the best life possible... one that affords him the ability to stay strongly connected to the family who made his life possible.
    5 points
  21. My experience.. When I spoke to the AP's I picked it just "felt right" on a personal level! I didn't know what to expect when I called. I was sure they were going to be just as nervous as I was. They were the 2nd PIW I spoke to and on our subsequent conversations I felt connected to her as a friend. I thought that if I met her outside this situation that we could be friends. The 2nd thing that made me feel wonderful is that they felt the need to connect to their current child's BP's. Even though those BP's had chose not to continue an open relationship w/ them they continue to send pictures, letters, etc to the agency. That made me feel like they really wanted this to be an open adoption, do what's best for their son and that it wasn't just an "easy" way to obtain a child/family for themselves. The 1st couple I spoke to were very nice and had never adopted before. When I asked about how open they wanted their adoption to be they were unsure. They weren't certain as to when they would tell the child they were adopted and how they would tell him. That concerned me and I never called them back. When I finally met them and their son, there was no doubt that if I were to go through w/ the adoption, this family was sent to me and I was sent to them. Once they met my older children, they took them under their wings and embraced them. They made them feel included and assured them they would always be a part of their brothers life. Although it hasn't been very long since they have taken my son home, they have exceeded every expectation I could imagine. I hope this helps some BP's.
    5 points
  22. PRAYERS and LOVE to all in the adopttion triad! And YAY!!! for another toddler adoption. If you have any questions/concerns about the transition and growing your relationship with his first family PLEASE do not hesitate to ask ...... we are 3.5 years into the placement of Victor and Julie and life with these two is amazing.
    4 points
  23. I’ve had very positive responses to the design of both of the adoption profiles I’ve created for our family, and I remember feeling so very lost when we first started trying to create a profile and never felt like I found really useful information online or anywhere that gave me good direction to follow. I already understood that I needed to include in-focus pictures with nice close-ups and use a cohesive design theme of some kind, but I still wanted MORE information. So here I am, paying it forward by passing along a few things I learned through the process to share with anyone working on designing a profile and looking for some guidelines beyond the bare-bones basics. 1. More pictures, less words. This is really quite important, so I’ll say it again--more pictures, less words! In our first profile, I thought I did this concept fairly well, but I still found that birthmothers who talked to us on the phone had actually read none of the words (or at least totally missed major things like what state we live in (written on the front page, right below our names) or what my profession was(mentioned several times throughout the profile)) and I realized that if a picture is worth a thousand words, it might be worth it to think about what it is that you want to share about yourselves and then figure out if there is a way to express that in a photo instead of in words. Do you like to attend live sporting events? Take a picture of yourselves at the game. Is your favorite food ice cream? Take a picture of yourself enjoying a cone of your favorite flavor. 2. Emphasize the things that make you unique. I once read a story written by a birthmother who looked through the 300 profiles she’d been given by the agency (!) and found that EVERYONE had a dog, lived in surburbia, were devout Christians and loved to go camping and bake cookies. How could she possibly choose between 300 couples that all seemed the same? Expectant mothers considering placement are often forced to comb through the photos (see #1 above) looking for some small detail that speaks to them. Go beyond listing superficial details and make it easier for them to see what makes you unique. Do you love motorcycles? Include a picture of yourself on your Harley. Do you like to eat pickles on your peanut butter sandwiches? Include a picture of that (gross!) food. Who knows? Maybe she has the same unique likes and dislikes as you and will feel a connection to you because of that! 3. Be specific. Let’s say that you do, in fact, love to bake cookies. Rather than just saying, “I love baking cookies!” why not tell a bit more of a story and say, “My chocolate crinkle cookies are famous around town. Everyone loves them!” or “We bake 700 Snickerdoodles every year for Halloween.” (or.. include a tantalizing photo of your chocolate crinkle cookies or Snickerdoodles. See #1 above.) Just make sure that your “story” is told in as few words as possible (see #1…. well, you get the idea). 4. Include family traditions. What makes your family unique? Do you love to go caroling at Christmas every year? Do you have movie and popcorn night every Thursday? Do you go skinny-dipping on New Year’s Eve? Do you have a funny nickname for toes (my family calls them “tooties”)? Traditions, whether annual or more frequent, formal or silly, are one of the things that gives our families their unique “flavor” and can give a quick snapshot of what a birthparent can expect their child to grow up doing with their adopting family. And really, that’s what a birthmother wants to learn--what will her child’s life be like if they grow up in your household? Sharing those traditions helps them to feel like they “know” you better before they even speak with you. 5. Include a few captions on your photos. If your picture isn’t self-explanatory, add a (short!) caption to explain it. Readers are more likely to read a short caption than a paragraph explaining a photo, so this tool can be very effective. But don’t put a caption on EVERY photo, just the ones that need a bit more information (e.g. extended family members, that weird picture of a peanut butter and pickle sandwich…) If you'd like to see our second profile, it's online here: http://issuu.com/carissaabc/docs/christner_profile Our first profile is here [Okay, I just now did a search online and found a few articles that are helpful and say a few of the same things I did above. My favorite is here. Also, check out this cool adoption photoshoot--how great would this be for your back page?] By the way... all of this being said, our daughter’s birthmother told me that she chose us because we were already parenting a child. Not because of any of the carefully crafted words or pictures we included on our profile, but because we had a son. So… you just never know!
    4 points
  24. "I thought I couldn't do it, until I got attached (to the baby), and then I knew I had to." -- Nevaeh's Birthmom When they attended Abrazo's "Fiesta Under the Bus" orientation of April 2013, they could not have known that just across town was a young woman who would eventually change their lives. She first came to Abrazo last fall, looked over profiles, then decided to reconsider her options. This month, she called back, ready to proceed. She chose the adopting couple whose profile had caught her eye months ago, met them a week ago and birthed her baby days later, on the birthday of the adopting mom. Today, they officially became forever family, joined by the sweet baby girl they now share. May she always know how very loved she is! Blessings, all!
    4 points
  25. When a San Antonio couple came to speak on Abrazo's panel for our last two orientation weekends, they had no idea that they, too, would be preparing to adopt again in the near future. Yet when a local mother-to-be was led to Abrazo by a friend who had placed here, and then found herself without a Texas couple to adopt her child (which was the desire of her heart), the AbrazoChicks leaped into action. We called the folks who have been so gracious about sharing their story at orientation (and who had just finalized their first adoption of a beautiful baby girl, after having initially had a twin match fall through.) At the time of our call, they were busy entertaining beloved friends from their original orientation group who were in town to finalize, but they happily agreed to get a quick homestudy update and today, they officially became the parents of a beautiful baby boy! We thank them for their willingness to open their hearts and their home as needed, we love them for their loyalty to the Abrazo Family, and we congratulate them on their gorgeous Irish twins, as they now are the proud parents of not one, but two children-- exactly nine months apart!
    4 points
  26. It's amazing how seeing so much more of the story with this placement leaves me struggling to find the right words. My love and prayers go to you Ellen and Sergio. May god guide you and hold you tight as you begin this journey from here. Tim and Leslie ... Welcome to parenthood mom and dad may you never sleep soundly again.
    4 points
  27. She has a beautiful writing style. I really liked this post. I never put myself in the adoptive couples' shoes with either of my first meetings, but I was nervous and excited all the same. It is so overwhelming to meet the people who are going to raise your child. I like what she said about the personalities meshing well. I believe my children will inherit a lot from me, and I'm glad that I was at ease with both of my meetings. I'm gregarious and silly, I lack a mental filter at times and I can be very sarcastic. Neither couple minded. This birth mom is right: We don't find the couple, God leads then into our lives. With my current match, I feel so at ease when talking to them. We have had many, many serious conversations and I have asked questions that I consider to be heavy or challenging to answer. I need to know the answer and I have the right to ask them and receive an honest answer. I'm not finding a new home for my dog or something "frivolous" like that. No... I am securing the future for my daughter and I deserve to have as much peace of mind as I can. I feel fortunate that I have such peace of mind, that my questions are never skirted off or taken harshly. It is, of course, a two way street. Tim and Leslie have every right to know about me (and Sergio), to know my past and to be exposed to my heart. It is crucial that we know how the other side reacts when chaos or misunderstandings happen. Without such honesty and openness, how are either of us supposed to feel comfortable working together to stay friends for the sake of the daughter we will soon share? I can't remember the extent to which I have posted on this thread, and I'm too lazy to check. Pardon me if I'm repeating myself. I have words flowing out of me and I feel they are important to share and be read by all. Although the most important part of an open adoption relationship happens post placement, the magnitude of the match cannot be denied or minimalized. I have very much enjoyed sharing a long match with my future family, the man and woman who are going to be my daughter's parents. I have really come to love them, to see them as family. Although I don't want to be too overbearing, too emotional, too serious or too scary, I have been myself throughout the whole thing. They seem quite happy that their future child might have my sense of humor. She might have her (future) birth father's shy nature. She might be fair or caramel complected. She might be as determined and stubborn as Naomi. They have seen the people we are, and they still love us. I know they genuinely care about us- they aren't putting up a front just to get a baby. They aren't seeing that part right now. They realize and accept the reality even I have trouble with sometimes: she isn't their baby, even if there is a yet. She won't be their baby in the hospital. No, she will be their (our) baby after Sergio and I relinquish her. How amazing they are... I can't even begin to describe. I consider myself fortunate that we had months of dialogue before our visit, so I already felt I knew them more deeply than I would have without it. We were matched for 2 months before they visited. We talked so much during that time. Regardless of the intense closeness I felt towards them, I was still nervous for the meeting. I was technically meeting them a second time but under completely different pretenses. What if it blew up in my face? They came to my gate (and almost got eaten my dog), we hugged, and all anxiety disappeared! Our visit was amazing... I knew I had picked the perfect couple for Sergio and me. More importantly, we had chosen the perfect family for our daughter. We are approximately four weeks away from D-Day. I am confident and secure in our relationship. I know this is only the beginning to a beautiful friendship that will last forever. To answer the author's question, how do you pick the right family for your child? The answer is, you don't. They were made for your baby, and vice versa. What's meant to be, will. God is always watching and listening. Trust Him, and He will never let you down. (Sorry if this was too drawn out. Also, please pardon any typos. I'm not about to go through and edit this on a smart phone ).
    4 points
  28. Pie in the sky. Adopting from foster care IS cheaper, but it is still expensive (around $10,000 for legal fees in this state). While I can understand how this would make an adoptee fee "icky", it's unreasonable to assume that just because someone is infertile they have piles of money laying around to afford to expand their family. It's not reasonable or ethical to suggest that infertile folks should give their resources away so that other families can "stay together". There is no way to ever prove that giving funds to others will increase their own ability to parent. It's not always about the money for placing parents.
    4 points
  29. Monica, your profile is fine! Not to worry... if we thought it needed revisions, we'd have Brianna tell you so (and so for those who have gotten that advice from Brianna, please know that she's only the messenger, and remember that we are still waiting for your "new, improved" look!) The road to one's second or third child is invariably a different voyage than the journey to one's first. The second (or third) time around, you have the benefit of knowledge and experience that you didn't before. And yes, the second (or third) time around, you're not just wiser but older, too, and that can present new worries of its own, sometimes. Yet the "right" birthparent will be that expectant parent who looks at your profile or hangs up the phone after a call with you and says "yep-- they're the ones!" and whose relationship with you enables you to share that same sense of destiny at some point in the ensuing match. The expectant parent who is looking for a couple straight out of college or young enough to run triathalons or wanting to raise an only child isn't going to fit your needs any more than you'll fit hers, in the big picture. So don't doubt yourselves. Expand your expectations of what "sort" of situation or child or birthmama might fit, if need be? (Remember: "if you build it, they will come.") Do what you can with the opportunities that come your way. Work on connecting better in those initial phone calls, if you need to. Keep up with homework and don't forget to keep up with date night, too. And start including in your prayers now that special birthparent-to-be. She's out there somewhere already, she who is meant to find you someday, and she's going to need you to have held out and waited faithfully for her and her child to enter your lives, through whatever seasons and tides it takes to unite you. It's just a matter of time and all will, undoubtedly, prove to have been worth the wait when it's all said and done.
    4 points
  30. Yes, it's good times! The nice thing was that we referenced our old application a lot to help with some of the details. It was interesting to see how we answered the questions in what I'd call the essay portion of the app...and then to think of how our views had changed after going through the adoption process once. For instance, I vividly remember the question on what contact info we'd share with a birthfamily and the first time we answered it something like "we'd share our email address". I'm sure we were afraid of being bombarded via phone, mail, and a visit on our doorstep by a birthmom looking for her child back in a couple years...um silly us! We had a lot to learn but I can look back at some of those responses and worries and see how we've grown in the 3+ years since we first started looking into adoption. I didn't really enjoy filling out ALL the paperwork again but understood why we needed to and it was kinda fun to reflect on where we were in the past and where we've come to now. Jocelyn, you sound like us. It was pretty neat to see how much we had "grown" in our adoption views. We also had put something like we would give out our email. We have learned so much and why it is so important for Garrett to have the relationship that we are growing with his birthmom. I would never have guessed that she would have been to our home and that we would have the type of relationship that we have. We were silly weren't we! So here's to all of us who have grown and opened our minds and our hearts!!
    4 points
  31. 4 points
  32. We Skyped with Victor and Julie's bps for the first time today. It went SO well. The kids were much more engaged in the conversation and you could tell it meant alot to Stacey and David! Julie said her ABCs for them and Victor read them a book....even held the book so they could see the pics!
    4 points
  33. I say a prayer every night for God to lead is in the direction we are meant to go. I too learned that God had a different plan for our family long ago. What a wonderful plan he had. Faith is a very strong thing! Still wondering if he has more plans for our family.
    4 points
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