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carissaabc last won the day on October 28 2015

carissaabc had the most liked content!

About carissaabc

  • Birthday March 26

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    Madison, WI


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    Adopting Parent

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  1. What a story your family has to tell! Congratulations to all of you.
  2. Absolutely, Ellen! I always look forward to reading your posts and responses here on the forum because I know you will be honest and I will gain insight into the BP point of view. And everyone on that BP panel that day had such amazing and widely varied stories and everyone shared such a part of their hearts with us that day that I felt like I knew you. (Whatever happened to Frank?) it's funny how we sometimes may not realize the impact we have on people. I'm glad you and Mari are still a part of the forum so that you can know how much of an impact you made simply by sharing your story with a bunch of newbies still not sure how this whole "open adoption" thing would work. Thank you a million times over for that.
  3. Thank you for your "two cents", Mari and Ellen! Hearing feedback from people who've been on the BP side of this type of information exchange is absolutely priceless! In fact, I think it was both of you (since I was incredibly lucky enough to meet both of you during our first orientation meeting--what an amazing BP panel that was!) who first instilled the "be yourSELF" motto in me and for that I'll be forever grateful. Our son's birthmother told us that she'd chosen us because we "looked nice...and a little bit goofy" which was such an apt description that I knew I'd done something right when putting together our profile. Thanks for pushing me in the right direction even way back then!
  4. 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!
  5. Congratulations to everyone who loves this new baby boy!
  6. Welcome, baby Eniah Jane! What lovely names your whole family have chosen for you! (also, thanks for the well-wishes to our family and for the very apt announcement from the Stork!)
  7. Congratulations to all who love this little girl!
  8. Wow! What a fantastic story! Congratulations to you and sending you prayers for patience, calm and a strong sense of humor to carry you through the diaper years (and beyond)!
  9. woot woot! what an exciting little hint!
  10. Suzi and Jocelyn-- very helpful feedback, thank you! We do have a strong church family here and your mention of a babysitter triggered another idea for a "tool for my tool belt." I think that my anxiety is a bit heightened by the accident that paralyzed my mom last summer and knowing that (much to her chagrin and frustration) she is not able to be on our on-call list, but luckily, Jay's parents were excited to be asked to be a part of this process. We also have relatives in san antonio who might be able to help out, but I learned during our orientation visit that I can't just assume that they will help, plus we have no idea if placement will occur anywhere near SA. Two great pieces of feedback--anyone have more to add? Thank you!!
  11. By the way.... I found this thread to be helpful, but most of the people posting there don't seem to be BOG placements or have relatives living close by (either in Texas or in their own hometown) to help with childcare. It also appears that there's not exactly "one right answer" so I'm really just looking for lots of different stories. Both of our parents live about an 11-hour drive away (granted, they can also fly, but just to give you context), so even if they drop everything and fly to Wisconsin or Texas, coordinating their travel plans with ours is bound to be... tricky. What I'm having the most trouble picturing is the flurry of activity leading up to the initial meeting of a birthmother you've never met and who just gave birth and where my nearly-4-yr-old, very active son fits into that picture. I realize this is all very what-iffy right now, but that's the whole thing about BOG's, right? There's no time to plan ahead and every situation is unique, but I don't want to inadvertently commit some terrible faux pas if I can avoid it by at least thinking through a few different scenarios ahead of time.
  12. I'm curious to know what other againers have done for childcare during the placement days of a BOG situation. Especially out-of-state againers. It seems like having your child with you the whole time is not a good idea (too distracting) and switching parents all the time seems like it might be disruptive to the placement relationship-building process, but does that also mean that while you're dropping everything to hustle down to Texas that you're also calling on a friend or relative to join you in Texas as fast as they can? Do you hope you can hire a professional childcare provider for a few days (seems like that would be stressful to your older child, plus some small towns might not offer that service reliably)? Do you leave your child at home with friends while grandma flies to your house as fast as she can to take over childcare responsibilities and then they both fly down to join you after placement?? What have others in this situation done? What would you recommend doing? If we get a match that has a bit of advance warning, I feel like we can work this out, no problem. It's the DROP EVERYTHING AND GET TO TEXAS AS FAST AS YOU CAN scenario that has me wondering if our child is one of the things we're supposed to "DROP." It would be nice to have a contingency plan in place just in case.
  13. I love it! You just never know what the sign will be, do you? Thank you for sharing that part of your story here. For some reason, that's always one of my favorite parts of "matching" stories--the 'how did you know they were the ones' part always warms my heart and puts a big smile on my face. I especially love stories like yours where it's some seemingly small detail that catches the eye. And you are absolutely right. Hearing those FP stories in our orientation DID open our hearts and give us deeper awareness and understanding. Any doubts we may have held about open adoption before orientation were completely washed away after hearing you all speak. It's amazing to think about how much this community teaches us about open adoption relationships that we can then share with others both within the Abrazo community, the wider adoption community and then the rest of society. Your influence reaches far!
  14. Yup, and your story also touched me and has stuck with me all these years too, Ellen! Now that I've been on the forum for awhile, I realize what a rockstar panel the Cootchie Cootchie Coo's got! I love following all of your continuing stories on the forum because I really feel such a connection to all of you after hearing your stories there. Thanks again to all of you who were brave enough and kind enough to speak with us that day. You changed our lives.
  15. Mari, I just wanted to write a note here to say that I spent the last two evenings staying up waaaaay too late reading this entire thread of yours. I know others have said it already, but you definitely have a gift for writing and especially for the cliff-hangers! I was one of the lucky people who attended the orientation that you and your daughter spoke at in 2009, so I even knew your story and I still couldn't stop reading! Thank you for sharing. I felt like I traveled right next to you, feeling your emotions as you recounted them in such clear and thoughtful detail. I also remember a bit from the orientation, especially how you encouraged all of us PIW's to "be ourselves" in our profiles instead of trying to "be perfect" or writing things that we think birthfamilies want to hear. That made a huge impression on me and I think made our final profile so much stronger. I was trying to remember what you said about how you and Lauranda eventually chose Sloane's adoptive family, about how you looked through the profiles together, and I remember feeling touched by what you said, but I can't remember the specifics of that part of your story. I am so glad you are such a strong presence on the forum. You voice adds such a layer of wisdom and perspective to the forum conversation and I am grateful for you. May you find healing soon for your current physical ailments. I'll add my prayers to the legion going up for you already. Carissa
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