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Baby Step: Start-Up Advice for Newbies


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If you're new to Abrazo, this is a particularly great place to get basic questions answered by the "been there, know that" crowd... especially if you have a burning need-to-know something after hours, when the office is closed.  

Admissions questions of a specific nature, of course, are better saved for our Family Services Coordinator, but there's a wealth of wisdom and information to be found among our Forum folks.

So newbies, if you need to know how the Abrazo adoption program generally works, how the costs typically run, how to complete the admissions process, and other "how-tos" you've got a bunch of awesome new friends out here in Forumland, ready and willing to help, around the clock!   :)

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READ THE FORUM! Piece by piece, thread by thread. You'll come out feeling like you have an ounce of control in this adoption journey once you're armed with knowledge! This process has a way of leav

  • 1 month later...

Okay - I'd like to believe that this forum is doing a fabulous job at answering whatever questions newbies may have (funny saying "newbie" when it's been less than a year since I was in those "newbie" shoes and look at us now) - but surely there is someone out there who is wondering something and just hasn't posted it yet -

Just wanted to encourage you to post - surely someone has some question or concern or something they're wondering about and just haven't posted it yet.........

And if not....please feel free to just introduce yourself.....like Jill said..."Don't be shy"

-Lisa :D

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Guest michelleandjose

Hello: we want more information  about the process of (domestic adoption) and about the cost we live in florida our age my husband 31 I 25 married 5 years we do not have babys :( many thanks

att: michelle and jose gonzalez

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Welcome Michelle and Jose!!!! :D

I am Jennifer and my husband and I have adopted two children from Abrazo in the last 18 months.  Our son, Miller, is 16 months and our daughter, Delaney, is 7 weeks.  If there are any question I can answer please feel free to ask!

I am so happy you have found Abrazo, they are awesome!  Remember its not if...but when!  :D

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Welcome Michelle and Jose!

 My name is Jean and I am a 43 year old single mother to the most precious 7 month old boy you would ever want to meet.  I became a parent through the diligent, competant, professional work of Abrazo Adoption Associates.  The time frame was nothing short of amazing (4 months from the first phone call to bringing my 3 week old son home).  The cost was in line with most other agencies in Texas.  (I don't know if we can post about the money here)  And I cannot say enough good things about the agency, the miracle of adoption, and the wonderful adoption community that Abrazo has fostered here and at their various functions.  You say that you would like more information about the process of domestic adoption.  With Abrazo, there are basically three steps.  The first would be to call Abrazo and have them send you an inquiry packet.  After you have completed that, then you complete an application.  After that, you attend an awesome, information packed, fun filled orientation weekend.  At that point you would need to create a profile for birthmothers to use to get to know you, complete a homestudy, and a few other paperwork type things.  Then you sit back and let God and the Abrazo Angels do their work.  It really is a labor of love that is engineered completely by the All Mighty.  If you really are interested in learning more about domestic adoption through Abrazo, give Angela a call at 210- 348-5683 and get started!  Good luck to you and like Jennifer said, if you have any other questions, just post and someone/everyone will be happy to give you their experience and ideas on the subject!

Now, go make that call!!

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Michelle and Jose,

We, like some of the others, had contacted several agencies about adoption and also considered private adoption through an attorney.  We attended Abrazo's orientation weekend and learned TONS about adoption and specifically open adoption.  We attended the August 2001 orientation and we brought our son home in December of 2001.  Our experience has been great.  

Regards,

Jeannie

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  • 2 weeks later...

We mailed our inquiry yesterday, so with the holiday weekend, I'm hoping Abrazo has it in hand Tuesday.

I know we have to wait for them to approve us for the application process, but, as I'm hanging around here and reading books about adoption all the time, I wonder if there are things I can do or things I should get together to make the application process go faster?  This will be our first (and hopefully only) application, so I'm not sure what is involved.  I've already sent out a plea to our family for pictures.  As a childless couple, I find that we take pictures of things and of each other, but don't have many of us together, up-to-date ones anyway.

So, what else do I need to already be thinking about or gathering up?  I don't see any way to get everything done for the June orientation weekend, but I will still better if we complete this part of the process pretty quickly.  Obviously, we've waited a very long time for a child already, two more months is short in comparison.  But, if it happens sooner rather than later, I won't argue.  The grandmothers say they are quite ready.

Thanks for all the great discussions I've already read.  Looking forward to more,

Christina

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I'm so glad you sent your inquiry in to Abrazo. They are the best!!! We began our home study the month before we went to orientation that way all we had to do after it was our profile and doctor visits. As soon as you get all of that done, you get to start speaking to birthfamilies. We went to orientation last May and we spoke to our birthfamily in Aug.

By the way we sent in our inquiry about 2-3 weeks before orientation. Hopefully I'll see you in June, I along with my husband and daughter will get the chance to speak at that orientation. Now get busy taking pictures of you and your husband!!!!!!! :D

Best of Luck

Melissa Merritt

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Christina,

 I'm so glad you decided to send in your inquiry.  You will be amazed at how quickly you can get things together when you are motivated to do so.  I made a phone call to Abrazo in June of 2002, had my application in the end of July and brought my son home before my scheduled orientation weekend in October! (Nathan was born 9/9 and I brought him home 10/2 after learning about him 9/26)   Start taking pictures......even if they are "staged".  You can do lots of them in the same day if you go different places and change your clothes a lot.  Shhhhhhh, that's a secret!   ;)   Most childlesss couples face that--no pictures of them together.  Lots of their pets, each other alone--which you can use some of those.  Gather financial records so you are ready to whip out the application form. (tax return)  Check with your insurance carrier to make sure that your adopted child will be covered at birth and get documentation stating that.   Check into beginning your home study.  Get your finances in order so that you have access to the funds you will need on a moment's notice. (It happens that way sometimes) Start writing your Dear Birthmother letter--rough draft.  Ask people to write letters of reference for you.  Have your doctor write you a letter stating that you have a diagnois of infertility.  Make an appointment for your physicals.  Keep posting and reading on the forum!  It's not if it's when and it IS possible to be at the June orientation.  Abrazo really needs childless couples right now.  We're all pulling for you.

Jean

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Jean and Melissa,

Thanks for the information and the encouragement.

A few questions brought up by your responses:

Is the physical required for the app?  because it will be nearly impossible to get in to see our DR. in the next 2 weeks.  It's usually a month or longer for general physicals.  They might shove us in b/c of the nature of the need, I suppose.

How many letters of reference are typical?

What kind of questions should I prepare myself to answer?

Guess that's it for the moment.  I just don't want to be idle when I could be accomplishing something for our goals.

Thanks again,

Christina

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Hi Christina,

Let's see...hopefully I can answer some of these...I don't think the physical has to be done at the same time as the application but I could be wrong - I'm pretty sure we did our physicals after we attended Orientation (by the way, we sent in our inquiry July 5th 2002 and thought no way would we be able to go to the August Orientation (I thought we'd be in the October or December one...(ooh, I just realized that if we would have been at the December Orientation, we wouldn't have Kayleigh - my my how amazing divine intervention is...) and lo and behold - we were invited to the August Orientation and that was that.  Anyway, I think we did the physicals after Orientation but I may not be remembering correctly.  (We had a form from Abrazo that our doctor needed completed and a form from our homestudy person for the physical).

As for the letters of reference - at the time we did ours (which was almost a year ago) - Abrazo required 3 letters of recommendation.  Our homestudy person also required 2 or 3.

As for the types of questions - well, a lot will have to do with your thoughts on adoption and open adoption and how you've handled/coped with infertility, questions about your relationship with your spouse and vice versa, etc - lots of soul searching type questions - for me, I'd done so much of that kind of thinking already that the questions weren't difficult to answer - trying to fit my answers on those tiny spaces that are on Abrazo's application is another story (I pity the person who had to read my application - I was writing all over the place trying to fit everything in - I even used extra paper...but, I'm kinda wordy in case you didn't notice)  

I would also recommend that you go ahead and start trying to find someone to do your homestudy (not sure if you live nearby Abrazo or not - I think Abrazo may have someone who could do your homestudy (not sure if they still do or not), if that's the case - I'd definitely go with them.  If you're not near Abrazo or if Abrazo isn't doing homestudies any longer, I'd start trying to find someone who could - I called about 10 different agencies/people before I found 2 that were even doing homestudies outside of their own agency - then I narrowed it down to the person I ended up going with (if you need to find resources for finding someone, I believe there are posts here regarding homestudies - if not, check out www.resolve.org 's website - they have a link for Adoption then they have a thing called "Adoption Information Exchange" and it has lots of different resources there, including a list of people/agencies that do homestudies (at least I think that's not a Washington state specific thing - I think it's the main Resolve site...)

Something you could do while you wait for contact from Abrazo about whether your inquiry has been accepted or not is think of questions that you have and write them down so you can ask them when you speak to them (I had quite a few and they were so informative and answered each and every one).

Some other things would be to buy some books (can't remember if you already have books or not) - there are several books that Abrazo recommends (requires actually) that you read - I think those are in a post on here too somewhere but even if you don't end up working with Abrazo - I think these are really useful reading anyway - one is Dear Birthmother, The Spirit of Open Adoption, The Open Adoption Experience...I don't want to list too many because they may have changed their recommended reading but I liked the content of these books (if you have trouble finding them, http://www.tapestrybooks.com is a good source)  Also, if you haven't already subscribed to Adoptive Families magazine, that is a fabulous magazine!!!  (kinda pricey subscription but I think it's totally worth it! http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/

Another thing you could do is start looking for some type of adoptive support group...I found one in my area and they had regular meetings for waiting parents and we never attended the meetings...always meant to but had conflicts it seems like...anyway, this support group also has a thing for New Adoptive Parents and we're now going to those bi-weekly meetings and I really enjoy that so it's at least good to start looking for things and seeing what's available (because you won't have much time for web searching, etc once your precious bundle of joy arrives...at least I've found that I don't have as much time...)

And this doesn't have anything to do with adopting but I found flipping through the pages of my Baby Bargains book always kept me busy and excited (didn't like to do it while in the infertility treatment stage but once we started the adoption process, I felt so confident about the outcome and literally felt as though I was expecting and had no qualms about getting ready and figuring out what I needed and what I didn't need and how much it would cost, etc.  

Well, off the top of my head, that's what I can think of...keep posting and if I think of anything else, I'll post again - I'm sure others will have lots of good tips and info to share with you too (especially some of the new ones who've attended some of the more recent Orientations...)

Bye for now...

Lisa

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Guest Renmark

Hi Christina,

Welcome to the forum!  It's great that you are jumping right in here asking questions and posting.  You remind me a lot of Lisa Cornish.  Before we came to orientation (and since) she kept me a stitches with all of her posts.  Listen to her on all matters involving baby shopping.  She is the Queen and will without fail lead you to the best products for the lowest price possible.

If I remember correctly, your physical has to be within the last six months so, if you have had one recently your doctor can complete the form from that visit.  Check with Abrazo on that to be sure but that may be a way to shave off some time.

Before we found Abrazo, we dealt with a local agency.  The application process with that agency was, to say the least, horrible.  Total it was about 40 pages long and a complete nightmare.  When we got the application for Abrazo I was astounded that it was just 17 pages long.  I was so excited.  I just looked back over it and it was largely demographic and financial info.  There was also a section about your feelings and wishes for adoption.  It was no sweat so don't worry about it.

Like Jean and Lisa mentioned you will need to have three letters of reference from non family members.  So recruit 'em have them get to writin'.

Also, do go ahead and start the home study process.  If you live in Texas Abrazo will do it.  If you live outside of Texas, they have a list of social workers so call them and ask them for this or private message me and I'll give it to you if you don't want to wait over the long weekend.  This process can take a long time (couple of months) so you should really start this as soon as possible.  And forget what you think about the home study.  It is seriously no big deal.  We even enjoyed ours.

Lastly, let me tell you how great orientation is.  You will learn so much and feel so hopeful afterwards.  After years of infertility it is such a completely good feeling to have hope.  It will truly change your life and view about adoption.  Oh, and I almost forgot, it is fun!

Good luck!

Rena

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Thanks for all the great ideas Lisa and Rena.

I've already started jotting down ideas for our profile.  Things I want to say about Robert and about us.  It's kind of fun to put stuff down to paper somewhere other than the annual Valentine's and anniversary cards (Which reminds me, I've got 3 weeks to get a card! :) ).

Anymore great ideas out there?  I think if I stay busy, I won't over-analyze or obsess.

Off to read some more.  So far I've relied on the library because the local bookstores are depressingly thin in the area of adoption.  I figure I'll get a feel for which books I really like and then order them all from Amazon.  Tonight is The Open Adoption Experience.

Thanks again, all, for your assistance,

Christina

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Hi Christina,

Just wanted to welcome you to the Abrazo family.  You've already gotten tons of good advice and it sounds like you're off to a great start.  I can relate to keeping busy, because it does help pass the time.  Doing adoption and baby related things helped make me feel productive and made the prospect of being a parent feel REAL.  

You've chosen the right agency, now you just need to strap in for the ride.  Your dreams are about to come true.  Best wishes for a speedy placement and remember you've got your forum family to lean on to make the time fly!

Keep the faith,

        Jacob & Matthew's Mommy

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, All,

Our inquiry was accepted and our application arrived yesterday, so now comes the challenge of starting to lay ourselves open to scrutiny.  I certainly understand the need to ask all the questions that are asked.  It's just weird to think that if we were able to have children biologically, no one would ask us any of these things.  I guess, since we're asking for the privilege to raise another person's child as our own, we need to prove our willingness, ability, and suitability.  So, now we start to do that.

Today is also our 12th anniversary, and I told Robert that by this time next year, he could be a father!  That's pretty exciting.

Thanks for the welcome and answers I've received here.  Hope to join the ranks of the APs soon,

Christina

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Oh-hh Christina ... Congratulations and Good Luck to you and Robert.  You are now embarking on a very exciting journey.  Try to enjoy each part ... it all leads up to a wonderful beginning.   I hope next year you will be celebrating Mother's Day and Father's Day.   I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.  ;) PS-Happy Anniversary.

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Congratulations Christina!  Hurry and get the application in so you can be in the next orientation group!  I am so excited for you.  You will meet and make wonderful friends through this process that ends in a beginning as Karen said.  What a perfect day to begin, too, Father's Day.  A day to reflect on the reasons you wish to be parents and the ways in which you will handle the priviledge and challenges that come along with it.  It will be the most amazing experience of your life.  Keep us posted!

And congratulations on the 12 years, too.  That's wonderful!

Jean

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Hello Abrazo Family!

Congratulations to you, Christine, for 12 years of marriage!

Greetings also to any other fellow Junebuggies that may be monitoring!

Mike and I attended the June 6-7 orientation after submitting our inquiry form on June 2nd!  It has been quite the whirlwind!  We weren't able to gather everything for the application in time for the orientation, but Abrazo has been really great in allowing us to attend orientation then get the other items ready as we can.  :)

We have been so excited and so baby-minded since the orientation.  We have been reading our Baby Bargains book and actually ordered a crib this past weekend!  

My mother is coming into town soon to paint a mural in our baby room and we're working to continue getting the nursery set up in the meantime.  We've also just established contact with a homestudy lady.  Everything's going really quickly now and we haven't even had the chance to talk with any birthparents.  

My birthday is on Wednesday and it's funny how much my mind is on baby items instead of other items whenever someone (like my husband or his family) asks what I'd like for a present!  :p

I appreciate having this forum to share our excitement and we'd definitely appreciate to hear from any of you!

~Katy

Austin, TX

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Welcome Katy!

 "Nesting" is part of the process and also a whole lot of fun! :p   What will the mural be of?  How neat that grandma is adding her personal touch, too.  Hang on to your hat and enjoy the ride!

Jean

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Welcome Katy & Christina.....and congratulations!!!

Christina, just wanted to comment on what you said about how it feels to be under the microscope.  I had totally forgotten that part until you mentioned it.  I felt the same way - it does feel kinda strange when you're answering the questions and you feel like someone is totally judging your answers as to whether they're "right" or "wrong".  However, after going through it all now...I don't think that's actually what's going on.....think of it more like they're just trying to get to know you and your spouse and the environment your child will grow up in.  

You're totally right on though with the responsibility Abrazo has to the Abrazo babies and their birthfamilies to ensure that the parents of these children are going to provide a loving, stable, supportive, nurturing, etc family forever and ever and ever.  I'm even a birthparent and I know what's involved from a birth parent's perspective about wanting the very best parents for your child (and the definition of "very best" means different things to different people) and I still had to remind myself of this as we were completing all the questions, etc (like telling myself, "okay, put yourself in a birthparent's shoes").  And now I think of the enormous amount of responsibility that Abrazo has in selecting potential parents.....oh my gosh - it would scare me to death to know that I was responsible for making sure that a child was placed in a loving home with parents who are going to love and support this child unconditionally, forever...that's a huge responsibility...

Think of it more that way rather than an additional hoop you have to jump through as an adoptive parent.....I try to think of it as I would if I were choosing who would raise my child if something were to happen to myself & my husband.  And once you get through that part, you'll probably forget all about that part because you'll be focused on your big day - which overshadows absolutely everything you go through in order to get there - it makes everything else seem so trivial...the day you hold your baby/child for the first time....and you become their mother and then suddenly you feel so protective and you totally understand why you needed to demonstrate that you and your spouse are going to be great parents because you'll be holding the most precious life in the entire world and you wouldn't  want just anyone being responsible for that precious little one's life.

I hope you'll keep us posted on how things are going - (and you too Katy and all the other parents in waiting).  These are some of the most interesting and exciting posts to read because it's always so much fun to go back and read them again once y'all aren't parents in waiting anymore...to read what you did to prepare and what you're thinking about during the "wait" and all the anticipation and then BOOM!  Your day arrives and we're all so excited for you because we know exactly how you feel and it brings it all back for us and we get to relive it all over again.

Best wishes to you!!!

Lisa

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Lisa,

I just went to your website and over to Kayleigh's.  What a cute baby!  Thank you for all your postings and encouragement.  Everything you share is very helpful to this newbie!

~Katy

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Katy,

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much!!!  I'm so glad you've enjoyed my often rambling posts....(and I wonder sometimes how Kayleigh is so verbal.....I guess I'm like this in person too) and you've been able to sift through and pick up useful info.  In the beginning - it can all be so overwhelming and so uncertain (I mean, you know your dream will come true...but the not knowing "when" is the hard part) and just trying to know what to do to stay busy and focused and "ready" for everything......it's so exciting but also feel like you are in this huge ocean and you're a minnow trying to figure everything out and know what to do...(by the way, for me, as prepared as I thought I was...when I received the call about Kayleigh - I just lost all sense of being and knowledge and stayed that way up until a few days after placement - my brain just literally turned to mush - all I could think about was her and since we didn't have contact with her birthmother, she (Kayleigh's birthmother) was on my mind so much - worrying about her and wondering what she was feeling and going through - so, don't worry if you feel totally unprepared for your baby - I think that's totally normal and just go with your instincts and don't worry about everything else...listen to your heart, you'll do GREAT!!  (And please, please, please post updates.....even if you're only able to spare time for a 1 - 2 sentencer.....)

(And thank you so much for the Kayleigh compliments - she is our entire world...as if you couldn't tell - our sun rises and sets around her......we have never been happier than the day Kayleigh became a part of our family - it's just the most amazing thing ever.....she could have purple polka dots all over body and a green & pink striped tail and to us, she would be beautiful and perfect because she is our daughter and we love her very, very much!! )  Well, enough of my Kayleigh babble.

Best wishes to you and your family and please keep us updated!!

Lisa :D

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  • 4 weeks later...

IT'S in the mail.

We took almost a month to fill out our application and get our supporting documents together.  We didn't anticipate it taking as long but we helped move my parents in the interim, and really spent time and thought into answering those tough questions.  I'd say the hardest part is in deciding what medical problems and family history elements we are willing to accept.  I hated that, but know it's necessary.

Still, it's on its way.

Now we wait.  Again.  Picture me twiddling thumbs and sighing.

In the meantime, are there books that anyone was required to read?  I love to read, and have picked up a few at the library, but wouldn't mind getting started on a "reading list".  Want to use my "down" time wisely, you know.

Thanks to those of you who contribute regularly.  You often answer my questions before I know to ask them.

Christina

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Hi Christina,

and CONGRATULATIONS in advance!!!  Just sit back and enjoy the last of your day to day routine as you know it now because you're blessing is on the way!

You all sound so much like me and Travis agonizing over the application process.  And even though there are no wrong answers, there are so many things to consider when you envision your future little bundle of joy.  But I'm so happy that you're finally over that hump. YEAH!!

We adopted a little boy, Trenton, in December after only 3 weeks from sending in our pre-application.  And I tell you, Christina, we still can't figure out what we did to be so blessed!  Even now, I can't believe I'm a MOTHER to such a wonderful little boy.  And I know, I know that soon you'll be feeling the same elation and joy!!!

Please keep us posted on how things are going along the way to your big day when you get "the call".  We send you all our prayers!!!

Jacquee

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