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ElizabethAnn

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  1. ElizabethAnn

    WELCOME, JOSIAH LUKE!

  2. ElizabethAnn

    The Trimesters of Adoption

    THE FIRST TRIMESTER This is the learning trimester, when you begin your psychological pregnancy and yes, when you experience all the nausea, mood swings and fatigue that afflict any parent-to-be. During this time, you go through Abrazo's admissions process (inquiry, application and orientation) and (if accepted) remit half of the agency fee (for pre-adoption education/coaching/casework). You have your homestudy done by a local Master's level social worker, you get FBI and CANRIS/criminal checks done to satisfy Texas requirements. You have pre-adoption physicals done, with labwork. And you prepare a "Dear Birthparent" profile to be viewed by expectant moms who are planning to place. You remit funds to be held in escrow at Abrazo, for use on case expenses, keeping this account at a balance of $3K every month. You and your spouse go to counseling or support group meetings, read plenty of books, keep up with your orientation buddies via the Forum and phone calls, and you have check-in calls with your Family Services Coordinator, who tracks your homework and sets up calls for you with prospective birthparents looking to find just the "right" home for their precious baby-to-be. THE SECOND TRIMESTER You get chosen by a prospective birthmom or birthcouple, receive the case assessment, elect to match if there's a fit, and then begin the all-important process of building a friendship to hopefully last a lifetime. You make a special trip to spend a weekend with her or them well in advance of the due date, knowing that waiting until the due date is the most stressful point of all at which to meet! You call each other regularly, to check in, and you receive periodic updates from your Family Services Coordinator as to prenatal progress. You begin having a weekly "Date Night" with your spouse, knowing how important this mommy-daddy quality time will be once a baby comes home. You get feted at baby showers if you so choose (gently reminding folks, though, that you WILL become a parent when the time is right, but you won't know until then whether this case falls within that timing.) You make sure your nursery is ready and you keep your file at Abrazo up-to-date so that no last minute omissions can delay your baby's homecoming when he or she is ready to go! THE THIRD TRIMESTER You travel to your birthparents' locale for the birth, if so invited, and are present at the hospital as her loyal supporters throughout her hospitalization. You don't have nursery privileges, since the baby isn't yours yet, but you enjoy any opportunities to visit with the newborn when he or she is with his/her mother in the hospital room during the 48+ hours following birth before discharge occurs. At or after that point, the agency staff meets with the birthparent/s to help them launch whatever plans they feel are best for their child's future, and if that includes you, then Entrustment is completed, with the birthparents relinquishing parental rights to the agency and you accepting the duties of a fostering parent. You settle up your account with the agency, remitting the balance of all fees and anticipated case expenses. Abrazo releases the child to your physical care, and you enjoy a honeymoon with your child in the birthparent's locale, continuing to visit with them until approved by Abrazo to leave for home. You then maintain regular communication with your child's birthparent/s, and at least monthly contact with your Family Services Coordinator, via phone calls and written progress reports. You have quarterly supervisory visits with your homestudy worker. And within 6-12 months, Abrazo clears your file for finalization and you return to Texas for the adoption hearing in court and a reunion visit with your child's birthfamily. And then?! You come back for Camp Abrazo each year with your child's birthfamily and celebrate together, admiring that little person who made this journey all worthwhile.
  3. ElizabethAnn

    What Happens When? And Then?

    It'd be GREAT if we could offer "orientation weekends" for extended family members going through the adoption process with their loved ones; however, since that's not feasible, here's a step-by-step guide for the folks back home. Here's a general overview of what your son or daughter and their spouse must do/are doing/have done to adopt at Abrazo: ADMISSIONS: the process by which people wanting to adopt are approved to join the agency 1) Inquiry (or "preapplication") 2) Application 3) Orientation Weekend TIMING: usually takes 1-3 months ACTIVATION: the process of qualifying for consideration by birthparents seeking adoptive homes 1) Submitting contracts and fees within ten (10) days of orientation completion 2) Completing a "profile", a 4-6 page "Dear Birthparent" letter depicting the couple and their lives. Pregnant women who are planning to place their babies will review these in the course of their search for the right family for their child. 3) Complete a "homestudy," an official assessment of the family's readiness for adoption by a licensed social worker, based on background checks, a home inspection and no less than 5 face-to-face individual and joint interviews done in no less than 3 days TIMING: usually takes 1 month or less MATCHING: the process of finding the right mother/child with whom to plan an adoption 1) Phone Calls with expectant parents are set up by Abrazo; most birthparents will talk with 3 or more families before deciding which one feels like the right home for their child. 2) When chosen, that cople receives a "Case Assessment," the agency's presentation of available case information, for their review 3) Commitment decision is made (family has 24 hours to decide whether or not they wish to be "matched" with the prospective parents, and must return their answer in writing to Abrazo.) TIMING: takes anywhere from less than 1 month to more than 1 year, depending on family's specifications and readiness to match. GROWING: the process of preparing for the child's arrival 1) Building what is intended to become a lifelong relationship between birthparents and adoptive parents, through phone calls, mailings and visits 2) Teaching adopting family what their future child will need them to know, through "homework" assignments (books, lessons, support group meetings, classes) they must complete 3) Monthly "check-in calls" with the agency worker (our "family services coordinator") and the Forum 4) In most cases, the adopting family is invited by the birthmother to be present at the hospital for the birth of the child; the two families together welcome the child into the world and spend the first 2 days of the child's life celebrating his/her arrival. TIMING: takes generally 4 months or less (since most birthmoms match no sooner than 5 months into a pregnancy) PLACEMENT: the process of transferring a child from the birthfamily to the adopting family 1) More than 48 hours after the birth and when physically/emotionally ready, the birthparents permanently surrender all parental rights to Abrazo, if appropriate, by completing "relinquishment" documents. 2) Abrazo, as the child's legal guardian, entrusts the child to the adopting parents' care through completion of placement documents. 3) The adoptive family must remain in Texas for 7-10 days while Abrazo waits for "I.C.P.C." (Interstate Compact) approval for the child to cross state lines to go home with the adopting family. During this time, it is essential that the adoptive parents continue to spend time with the baby and birthfamily together, to support them in their grief and to enable the newborn/child to be nurtured by both families. TIMING: generally 1-2 weeks SUPERVISION: state-required 'proving period' before actual "adoption" can occur 1) Monthly reports, completed by adopting family and sent to Abrazo 2) Monthly check-in calls between adopting family and Abrazo 3) Ongoing communication between adopting family and birthfamily, to assure both of the other's wellbeing and to share baby's progress Quarterly supervisory visits between entire adopting family and homestudy worker, with reports being sent to Abrazo for each. TIMING: at least 6 months, or more (may be extended by Abrazo up to 18 months if child is not a newborn at time of placement, if it's a sibling placement, or if the adopting family is experiencing extenuating circumstances.) ADOPTION: the actual process of legally completing an adoption arrangement. 1) Adopting family receives clearance from Abrazo to begin finalization (cannot occur until all needed social work activities are done, file is complete and all medical providers' bills related to child's birth are cleared in full.) 2) Adopting family hires the Bexar County attorney of their choice to represent them in final hearing. 3) Abrazo permanently waives its guardianship rights over the child. 4) Adopting couple attends court hearing at which a judge approves their adoption of the child. 5) Abrazo closes the file and stores it for "perpetuity" according to state law. TIMING: usually 8 weeks from receipt of clearance to court appearance.
  4. Loving the updated Forum! (Thanks, almighty webmaster!)

    1. TexasFamily

      TexasFamily

      I need to get the hang of the navigation but it looks awesome!

  5. ElizabethAnn

    Who Birthmoms Are

    I'm not much into statistics, but I found this information rather interesting, about birthparents and the factors that influence adoption decisions nowadays...Plus, the National Adoption Information Clearinghouse is an excellent source of information on all things adoption! Check it out: Birthparent Stats There are a couple things I don't agree with, such as the 1995 study which makes reference to "unwanted" children (I think Abrazo folk would argue that these children are very much wanted, or else their birthparents wouldn't put themselves through it all!) And I do think it's curious that this information fails to address the large number of married birthcouples and older birthmoms who successfully complete adoption plans each year. Why is it that teens are less likely to consider adoption? How can we in the adoption community find fresh, new ways to give them better access to information about this loving option for their babies' futures?
  6. One of the things we emphasize at orientation is the fact that whether you become a parent by adoption or by birth, you still need to go through an emotional transition time of "pregnancy." When you plan to adopt a child through Abrazo, you, too, get to: * tell people you're expecting! * take Lamaze and parenting classes * rediscover the joys of spousal intimacy for the sheer pleasure of it * eat for two! * join store baby registries * get your nursery ready * experience mood swings as you cope with the stress of all the changes in your lives * worry about whether your baby will be healthy * share in the ups and downs of your child's birthmom's pregnancy, if you're so blessed * be feted at baby showers like any other expectant parent * interview pediatricians to find just the right doctor for your future child * be present for the birth, if invited by birthparent/s * involve your extended family in your coming miracle if you so choose * prepare to breastfeed, if that's important to you and more-- just like every parent-to-be! Enjoy! The primary difference between an adoptive pregnancy and a homegrown one (aside from the physical experience) is that we never know in advance how long the wait will be for those who are adopting. After all, a homegrown pregnancy almost always takes a full 10 months, and adoptive pregnancies can often be shorter, being those parents have to be that much more ready for baby! (Nice problem to have, hmm?) And if you want to wear maternity clothes, to let the world to know that you, too, have a bun in the oven (wherever that little bun may be baking!) check out this innovative little company especially for adopting parents-to-be: www.notshowing.com.
  7. ElizabethAnn

    Just Call Me "---"

    As inspired by a discussion elsewhere between Jada and linlacor, and resurrected here in hopes of inspiring more of the parents of our parents-in-waiting to post...(hint! hint!) What do you want your future grandchild to call you?
  8. ElizabethAnn

    Open Adoption

    I wonder, sometimes, if there aren't two different schools of thought in this process. (Or more!) It seems that the world at large looks at adoption as an alternative "baby supply source" for couples that want to become parents but cannot due to medical or other reasons... but for those who work in adoption over a long period of time and witness the losses the process imposes on children, many come to view adoption as the marriage of two unrelated families for the good (and future benefit) of one very loved child. (Which is why experts like Rueben Pannor, Annette Baran, Jim Gritter, Sharon Kaplan Roszia and others who began their careers doing closed adoptions now fight that concept so fiercely.) Historically, the process was terrifically unfair--juxtaposing the "haves" (aps) and the "have nots" (bps) and shielding the one from the other. But over time, with the input of thousands of adopted persons now grown, and with the shortage of responsible bioparents willing to relinquish parental rights to unknown "others" with no more than some agency's bland seal of approval, roles (and rights) have begun to shift. Now, hopefully, adopting parents and birthfamilies are beginning to see each other as equal participants in this process which initiates a lifelong relationship, for the good of the child involved. There are no college or grad courses on how to do good adoption casework, or how to do effectively homestudies, or how to see beyond those who "talk the talk" to be sure you place only with those who "walk the walk" after placement, just as there are no crystal balls on social workers' desks enabling them to determine the true intentions of everyone who enters the adoption process, be they birthparents or adopting. I like to think that the open adoption process offers children another layer of protection because of the depth of honesty required between parties to make it work. There are no perfect adoptive families, no more than there are perfect birthparents or even perfect children. (In fact, we worry about applications or homestudies that seem "too" perfect--they're rarely reliable. And in all my years of adoption work, I've never yet run across a birthparent who is seeking "perfect" parents for her child; simply good people willing to work at being good parents!) I think that "perfect" open adoptions generally entail imperfect people who commit to being "in relationship", for better or worse, through good times and bad, out of respect for the children involved, so those kids have ongoing access to the love of both families--which has the added benefit of strengthening your roles as Mom and Dad, ironically! All relationships are subject to occasional conflicts, differences of opinion, etc. But how we work through them, as extended family, teaches our children how to also do so effectively. It empowers them to be proud of their adoption stories with a crucial foundation of trust supporting every aspect of who they are. Easier said than done, to be sure, but well worth it all in the end!
  9. ElizabethAnn

    Newsworthy Grandparents

    Just thought this online article had some good things to say about why grandparents are so vital to all of us: Why America Needs a First Grandmother
  10. ElizabethAnn

    The Care & Keeping Of Kidlets During The Next Match

    The whole "kid thing" is a wild card, frankly. There are times, when birthparents and adoptive parents have compatible parenting styles, that spending time all together can be very positive, but folks rarely know each other well enough before their first meeting to make such evaluations in advance. I can imagine that some readers may be secretly thinking "why should a birthparent judge the parenting skills of the adoptive family, if they're not even capable of raising the baby themselves?" Yet bear in mind that most of Abrazo's birthparents are raising other children, however effectively, and any parent who is thinking of letting someone else raise their child does, frankly, need to consider whether or not it's in their child's best interests (which does require some level of judgement on the placing parent's part.) We've just seen it backfire too many times, when * a prospective birthparent perceives that the adoptive parents' child is not ready for a sibling or is ill-behaved, or * if the adoptive parents are perceived to be too strict (or too lax!), or * if the adoptive parents seem too anxious or overwhelmed with their existing child (or dismissive of), or * if the child/ren of the expectant parent and the child/ren of the adopting parent do not get along, or * if the adult conversations are continually interrupted by the kids, etc. In some matches, it can work very well to schedule "joint" family activities after the initial match meeting, but typically, it seems to go better if the "kid factor" is added in after the adults have built some trust and gotten to know each other... first.
  11. Some points to ponder: Are Christians called to different (or higher) standards, when it comes to adopting or placing a child? How did/does your faith impact your preferences/choices/actions within the adoption process? When it comes to open adoption... what would Jesus do? How can we apply standards of "good stewardship" to adoption today? There are no "right" or "wrong" answers, only yours. Want to share some of them?
  12. ElizabethAnn

    Age of adoptive parents

    People Adopting Children When Most Are Thinking of Retirement Is 60 Too Old To Adopt a Newborn? When Are You Too Old to Adopt? At Abrazo, we do not maintain an "upper age limit" for adopting parents, nor do we subscribe to the classic social work theory that parents should not be more than 40 years older than the child they seek to adopt. That said, however, the majority of placing parents with whom we work are in their twenties, so understandably, their idea of "optimal parents for a baby" may not include those who are their own parents' age... or even older than their parents. (Occasionally some do, but it's not very common.) This doesn't mean that older couples cannot adopt successfully, of course! Most can and do, eventually. Yet it is important for older couples (and yes, even those who don't consider themselves "older") to be aware that expectant parents may have very valid concerns about mortality (which is particularly relevant, given adopted children's proclivity for loss issues) and to recognize that this can potentially slow down the adoption process for folks pushing fifty or beyond. Again: this doesn't mean you cannot adopt successfully. It just means that you may need to be patient, and be ready to be receptive to whatever possibilities do come your way. Here are a few ideas for expanding your possibilities: * Open yourself up to the widest possible range of possibilities, in terms of the ages, racial backgrounds and number of children you are willing to consider adopting. * Make sure your profile shows off the active, fun-loving people that you are. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then photos of you and your spouse going places and doing things will say a lot more than pictures of you sitting or posing like couch potatoes. (Unless that's all you usually do, in which case you may want to re-evaluate your ability to keep up with a small child, anyway!) * Cast a wider net by posting your adoption profile on additional sites such as Adoption Profiles (http://www.parentprofiles.com/couples/) and Adoptimist (http://www.adoptimist.com/.) Abrazo can still screen calls for you and handle the casework like any other match, but by doing this, you may catch the eye of a mama who would otherwise have never found you and earn yourself a considerable fee discount as a result! * Resist the urge to try to come off as younger than you are when talking with prospective birthparents. It won't seem genuine anyway, and chances are that if you have to pretend to be more youthful or "hip" than you are just to appeal to somebody, it won't be a comfortable match from day one. * Spend plenty of time around children of the age(s) you intend to adopt, on up. (Babies are only newborns for a matter of days, of course, and they turn into toddlers and preschoolers before you know it.) Volunteer in your church nursery, or babysit for friends. Take a childcare class and be sure you're comfortable in a hands-on way, because your competency will be very important to any prospective birthparents with whom you match. ------------ Disclaimer: This post is written by an "older parent" whose sons are acutely aware that both their mom and dad are older than the parents of most of their grade school classmates, however young their mom may like to think she is!
  13. ElizabethAnn

    Profiles: Presenting... YOU!

    When you finish your rough draft of your profile, why not read it aloud to your spouse, and have them listen like a frightened, prospective birthmom who's been warned already about people who are in this just to get her baby and probably won't bother to keep in touch afterwards? Does the text of your profile alleviate such fears? Does your letter suggest ways in which you hope your future child's birthparent/s can enjoy an ongoing connection with you and your child over the years? Does your profile reflect an authentic interest in the reader? (Or does it read like it's just "all about you"?) Do phrases like "we promise to provide your child with a wonderful life" and "your child will always know how you loved them" feed into the warnings that every prospective birthmom hears from those who don't trust the options she's contemplating? Adoption expert Jim Gritter prefers to refer to "open adoption" as "hospitious adoption" (see http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED504496.pdf). Obviously, being hospitious means welcoming others in, and implementing "the practices of goodwill, respect and courage to create a smooth relationship process that enriches children’s lives." Is your profile an invitation that encourages a prospective mother to join your life in a meaningful and ongoing way? Or does it sound more like a couple who prefers that she just drops her baby off and goes away? (Which option will mean most to your child someday?)
  14. ElizabethAnn

    Waiting: The Sequel

    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.
  15. ElizabethAnn

    In Memoriam

    Thank for you mentioning the obituary, Nicole... it's at http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sanantonio/obituary.aspx?n=robert-estrada&pid=170678479&fhid=7331. Please do add a favorite photo of Bob from your finalization to the gallery on Legacy, if you're so inclined! We know Bob's wife Barbara and the rest of the family would enjoy seeing those pictures of him with Abrazo's clients! He so enjoyed being part of your adoption stories (especially the happy parts!)
  16. ElizabethAnn

    In Memoriam

    My heart is so heavy as I type the words I dreaded to hear for so long... but our dear friend and beloved attorney Robert Estrada passed away today. Bob had represented Abrazo and its clients for more than a decade. A "local boy done good," Bob was well-respected at the Bexar County Courthouse and much-loved by the AbrazoChicks over the years. He was a highly-skilled lawyer who took great pride in Abrazo's placements and who enjoyed very much the adoptive families and children he met at our finalizations. In his free time, he enjoyed bicycling, tropical fish and collecting motorcycles. He is survived by his beloved wife Barbara Estrada, his children and grandchildren and his faithful paralegal Monika Haeglin. May he rest in peace and in the certainty that his efforts truly did make the world a better place!
  17. ElizabethAnn

    Questions About Medical Bills?

    We're not sure whether it's blowback from the healthcare reform act or what, but recently, we are seeing a huge (and horrifying!) jump in medical bills in healthy newborn cases. One family's insurance got a nearly $9k bill-- for the pediatrician's care, alone! We've gotten several hospital bills lately topping $13k for single babies discharged in the routine 2-3 day's time, which is more than four times what Abrazo typically collects from adoptive families for baby's hospital care at placement. (We're also finding, suddenly, that fewer local pediatricians are willing to see babies being adopted for single visits outside the hospital, for some reason? We've found one or two who will do us a favor and get our clients in, but only on a private pay basis, because they don't want to have to mess with insurance.) And keep in mind that a mother's Medicaid coverage does not apply to her baby if relinquishment is being done before she leaves the hospital, unless the hospital bills baby's costs to Medicaid in error? And such coverage can be reversed and charged back should Medicaid learn the child is not in her care. Rest assured, we're fighting outrageous medical billings as best we can, but we don't yet know whether this is a fluke or a trend, so just be forewarned... http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/01/health/american-way-of-birth-costliest-in-the-world.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 http://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/health/2014/03/27/having-a-baby/
  18. ElizabethAnn

    Nursery Notes

    Yes-- two different cases.
  19. ElizabethAnn

    Nursery Notes

    We are pleased to have been able to match the mama referenced above! Thank you for your prayers on her behalf. ----------- We are presently seeking a home-studied African-American or interracial couple for an expectant mother who is already dilated and expects to deliver a baby girl very soon (and before her due date). Interested families should email their current homestudies with a Dear Birthparent profile to info@abrazo.org. Thank you!
  20. ElizabethAnn

    NEW PARENTS NEEDED!

    Awesome, Lindsey! Thank you... we NEED families, so their timing rocks!
  21. ElizabethAnn

    Celebrity Adoptions

    Mick Jagger is mourning the death of his longtime girlfriend, who happened to be an adoptee: http://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/people/2014/03/20/lwren-scott-hated-adopted-life/6642301/. Lorraine Dusky, a birthmom whose relinquished daughter also committed suicide, writes about L'Wren's tragic passing here: http://www.firstmotherforum.com/2014/03/saying-goodbye-to-adoptee-lwren-scott.html?m=1. May Ms. Scott find in death the peace (and the answers) that appeared to so evade her in life...
  22. ElizabethAnn

    Celebrity Adoptions

    He may have been an Adoption Angel recognized by Congress, but this adoptive dad does not get my nomination for "Parent of the Year"... http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/as-i-lay-dying-frontman-pleads-guilty-in-murder-for-hire-plot-20140225
  23. How can people of faith clearly discern when they're being led by God, versus driven by their own desires? That's a question being raised by some in the wake of the Baby Teleah case. The currently-pending controversy is pitting the rights of a military husband (and admitted agnostic) who never consented to his wife's decision to flee Texas and place their daughter for adoption in Utah, against the alleged spiritual entitlement of a Mormon adoptive couple who have been ordered by the courts to return that child, who is nearly two years old. Here's a thoughtful blog by another LDS parent, about statements made by Teleah's would-be adoptive parents regarding their conviction that God wants her for their family: [/url] It's risky business, presuming we know what God intends when it comes to fertility, unplanned pregnancy and adoption. And it's human nature to seek answers and to want what we want for ourselves to be what God wants for us, as well. Adoptive Families magazine raised the question not long ago: http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/articles.php?aid=363. Even the venerable New York Times recently took on the question of whether adoption is more about destiny or magical thinking? http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/15/adoption-destiny-and-magical-thinking/. Do we look for "signs" that God put our adoption together to assure ourselves of some cosmic seal of approval? Would a loving God wish miscarriage or infertility on us just to make adoptions happen-- and if God is completely in charge, why would God need to go to such lengths at all? Do adopting families only get the children God intended for them (and if so, does that mean disrupted adoptions are sinful?) Or does God allow the element of human liberty and free will to take precedence in adoption planning, loving and watching over us regardless of the results? Adoptive dad Shaun Groves (http://simplemom.net/six-things-adoption-has-taught-me/) cites a brother-in-law who thoughtfully asks "what if God's will for our lives is found wherever someone's need and our abilities intersect?" (This, however, incites the age-old debate of why those who claim their motivation to adopt is solely child-centered don't just devote the funds they would spend towards adoption to financially enable an expectant mother to parent and not place?) Yet if destiny/divine intervention is responsible for determining what happens and what doesn't, then does that suggest that it is somehow Fate that certain parents are destined to suffer adoption loss, and if so, how does that fit with the concept of a benevolent Creator, who wants only the best for our lives? http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/the-adoption-lists-was-it-my-destiny-to-become-a-birthmother/. To what extent should expectant parents seek Heavenly guidance when considering their adoption options and choosing a family, and how can they know if the answers they find are from God or not? And what does this mean to persons-once-adopted? Certainly there are adoptees who believe that their upbringing and their adoptive families were truly chosen for them by God, and who rightfully see God's loving hand in the open adoption relationships between their respective families. But what about those who feel called to question the process by which they became part of a family who feels they were divinely entitled to shut out the birthfamily? Here's one adoptee's response (and we warn you, it's not exactly warm and fuzzy: http://landofgazillionadoptees.com/2012/08/16/dear-people-who-believe-placing-children-for-adoption-and-adopting-children-into-your-families-is-destiny-and-a-part-of-gods-plan/... and here's another, rather scathing indictment of the adoption "industry" as a whole: http://neverforgottenisfound.wordpress.com/2012/05/06/gods-will-according-to-the-bible-and-not-according-to-the-christian-adoption-world/. ) I don't have the answers to all the questions raised herein. (Sorry if you were hoping otherwise...) Still, I do think as people of faith, they're questions worth discussing and quandaries worth exploring. I do believe that God watches over those who place, those who adopt, and those who live with the choices of both. I trust that Abrazo's efforts have been blessed by God, imperfect as we are, and I cling to the age-old wisdom of the Scriptures, in which we are assured that God has left nothing to chance, however limited our vision may be at times?! And I cling to the wisdom of my father, who always assured me that "out of a web of human emotions and events, some of which seem good to us and some of which may not, God IS bringing God's purposes to pass!" What do YOU think?
  24. ElizabethAnn

    NEW PARENTS NEEDED!

    Hate to sound like a broken record... but a recent crop of matches has left Abrazo in need of more adopting couples! Lately, we've had special requests from expectant parents who are particularly interested in Hispanic couples, as well as childless Texans, so if you know of infertile, traditionally-married couples who would fit Abrazo program requirements and be excellent parents through open adoption, please encourage them to apply!
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