Monday, November 18, 2013

Open Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2013

Heather at Open Adoption Bloggers has once again put together a fabulous blogger interview.  Read all of the details about this project and see others who have participated here.  This is a great way to find some new blogs and possibly make some new friends!  This was my third time participating.  I am a bit disappointed that I don't have my blog up to date, but really enjoyed meeting my new partner.  I was paired with Amy from Jim and Amy Hope To Adopt.  They are a waiting couple who has suffered from some pain with a recent failed match (scam).  It brought back a lot of memories to that difficult time of waiting and the thoughts of when is OUR baby going to come along.  I am looking forward to following their journey and celebrating with them when they get a sweet little one in their arms.

This year the pairings were split into three groups. I was in the second group.  You can find a list of all other interviews in my group here. 

And now.... introducing>>>>>>>  AMY!

1. You have been waiting longer than expected and through a couple of difficult adoption situations. Can you summarize for us where you are at on your journey?
     Yes, here is our timeline for our adoption journey so far:
Summer 2008                    Attended information session for our agency (in California)
October 2008                     Attended Weekend Intensive and began paperwork for home study
January 2009                      Completed paperwork, Dear Birthmother Letter and website
February 2009                   Went “live” with our agency
March 2009                         First contact via email, no response ever received back
Found out I was pregnant
May 2009                             Miscarried baby (found out day after Mother’s Day)
*** June 2009 to August 2011- Two home study updates, two letter redesigns and lots of contacts, but no match!
August 2011                       Matched with expectant mom who was a friend of a friend of a friend
                                                Unmatched two days later
March 2012                         Third home study update- still lots of contacts, but no match!
November 2012                Jim is offered transfer with his job to Terre Haute, Indiana. He accepts!
February 2013                   Go on “hold” with our agency during the move
March 2013                         Close on our home
April 2013                            Begin home study for Indiana (same agency but new state)
May/June 2013                                Work on paperwork, redesign letter, update websites
July 2013                              Go “live” with our agency in Indiana
August 2013                       Two contacts in one week! One never calls back. The other, L, I talk with multiple times a week for the next month!
September 2013               Match with L, begin planning for baby girl in December
October 2013                     Find out that L is a fraud and has been scamming us
Wow! That’s a lot when I put it all down on paper! So now we are back “live” with our agency, prayerfully and hopefully waiting for our match and happily ever after
2. Adoption is such a long and lonely road. How do you and Jim keep each other's spirit up and support each other during the wait? Do you have others to lean on with adoption experience? 
     Our biggest source of strength and hope has been our faith in God.   That’s how we have made it through the tough times. That’s why we haven’t given up despite a longer than normal wait. We truly believe that God has a plan for our lives and that it is not only a good plan, but it is the best plan for us!
     We also have amazing family and friends. They celebrate with us. They cry with us. They encourage us. They love us. We are so very thankful to have them in our lives.
3. What do you think will be the biggest change in your life once you have settled into parenthood?
     Lack of sleep!!!! Haha Ok, although less sleep will be a change, I think the biggest adjustment will be how we spend our time.   Jim and I have been a family of two for almost nineteen years! We have our routines and hobbies. We can be out of the house in ten minutes if we want to go see a movie. Packing for a trip is not a complicated process. All of that will change when we become a family of three!!! There will be less time for hobbies or watching TV. Our routines will be thrown aside to take care our baby’s needs. Getting out of the house or packing for a trip will require a lot of planning and patience. And…we can’t wait for that to happen!!!   We will gladly give up sleep, arrive late to family gatherings and have more nights in at home because the joys of parenthood far outweigh any sacrifices we might need to make.
4. You say that you are open to adoption of a child of a different race; how do you plan to incorporate their heritage and culture into your lifestyle?
    I’m sure this isn’t a complete list, but here are our top three priorities right now:
1) Make sure there are important people in our lives that look like our child.
           Some may disagree with us, but we think this is vitally important. How we look is part of our identity.   We have a very diverse family and are members of a multi-cultural church. We have friends from many different backgrounds. We are very committed to having an open relationship with our child’s birth parents. All of this will help our child to always have positive role models from his/her race.
2) Celebrate our child’s birth heritage/culture.
         There are so many fun ways to do this- books, food, music, holidays, festivals, language studies, trips- the possibilities are endless! We already have a growing collection of multi-cultural picture books and both Jim and I enjoy learning about cultures different from our own.  
3) Be ready to answer the tough questions.
         Not that we will have all the answers!   But we always want the lines of communication to be open. We need to be willing to answer the tough questions and to seek out information when we don’t have the answer.
5. How and when do you plan on sharing your adoption story with your child?
We plan to share our child’s adoption story from birth! Obviously, newborns don’t understand language, but we want adoption to be talked about right from the beginning. My friend has a tradition of sharing a retelling of her kids’ birth stories with them each year on their birthdays. They love hearing all the details (in age appropriate terms of course) of how they came to join their family and the feelings of anticipation, excitement and love surrounding their arrivals. I love this idea! I also plan to put together a picture book with our child’s own unique adoption/birth story.   As our child grows, more details will be added. And of course we want our child to always be comfortable asking us (or birth parents) any questions that come up.
6. What is the best way to describe your feelings about your infertility?
 I am at peace with it. I have been pregnant once (soon after starting the adoption process), but lost the baby to miscarriage. I believe it can happen again, but I am ok if it doesn’t. Not that I don’t ever have a bad day, but I really am content with however God chooses to add to our family. Jim and I talked about adoption even before we were married. We have never considered it to be a “second best” option or plan B. Adoption has always been something we wanted to do.
7. How did you view open adoption when you first began considering adoption as a way to build your family? I know at first I was not familiar with exactly what open adoption was. I still find that when I share information about our relationship with our daughter's birth family some people don't understand why we would want to be in contact with them. What kind of reaction do you get when you share your adoption plans with others ?
Jim and I had never heard of open adoption when we first started the process. At first, it did sound a little scary. But the more we read and talked, the more it made sense as the best option for everyone involved. We hope that our child’s birth parents will want to be involved and build a relationship with us.
     Most of our family and friends have been very supportive- especially once we explain what open adoption really is all about! That it is not shared parenting, but it is shared loved and respect!
8. I know you watch the children of friends and family often and enjoy that time with these little ones. What about the baby showers and cute pregnancy announcements that are around. Is this something that is difficult for you?
My reaction to baby showers and pregnancy announcements varies a lot depending on where I am emotionally at the time. Sometimes it doesn’t faze me at all. Other times, I need to excuse myself to have a good cry. It’s never a matter of not being happy for the expectant mom…it is sometimes a matter of me questioning why our baby isn’t home with us yet.   I have attended most baby showers that I have been invited to. If it’s a close friend or family member, I attend whether I am having a good day or not. If it’s not someone close to me, I have learned to give myself permission not to go and to just send a gift instead.
9. What are your biggest fears in the adoption process? Pre and post baby fears
My biggest pre baby fear- Not being chosen!
My biggest post baby fear- Like most moms- what if I mess up and don’t know what to do?
10. In regards to your recent failed match, how has it changed your opinion (if at all) about the match/placement process moving forward? I have heard about adoption scams and am just blown away by how someone could be so heartless.
I think is has made us wiser and more cautious. I don’t want it to make us jaded and we have fought really hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. We have forgiven L. We pray for her and hope that she will turn her life around and make good choices in the future. It’s not easy. There are still feelings of betrayal and anger that we have had to deal with. We also had to make adjustments to our profile while we recover from the financial loss of the scam. Most importantly we had to take time to grieve. Even though there was no baby (she had lied about being pregnant and had falsified proof of pregnancy), in our hearts our little girl was on her way to us. So in that sense the baby was very real to us.
     Moving forward, we want to keep our hearts open.   We still believe that there is a baby for us… that our arms will one day be filled…that our “happily ever after” will come. So we continue to hope, to pray and to trust!
11. I know I spent a lot of time trying to learn as much as I could during our waiting process. I know you have mentioned doing some reading as well. What do you feel you are doing to prepare yourself for becoming an adoptive family? Books, websites, blogs, magazines, other adoptive families, conventions, small groups, etc? 
     We have read several books about adoption, raising adopted kids and parenting in general (some assigned by our agency and others that we found on our own). I am part of an online adoption support group/forum that includes both adoptive parents and families hoping to adopt. We also have friends who have adopted through private adoption and foster care.   We will continue to seek out resources about adoption as needed.   Learning is a life-long process.
 Please be sure to check out Jim and Amy's blog and leave them some love.  They are more than ready to welcome a little one home and I pray it happens soon for them!  They are settled in to their beautiful new home and waiting with open arms.  You can also read my answers over there too! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

I'll be back....

...real soon!  I've missed you little bloggy blog.  Life is so good.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

15 minutes left

The night is almost done and I can't find the phone number anywhere.  I 've looked through my box and a few other places and I can picture her writing on the piece of paper. 

I have also been stressed about trying to pick up a bit for our final post placement visit in the morning. 

Maybe it's meant to be.  But I just wanted to tell them I loved them, even if it wasn't even her cell number anymore.

I thank you to those who commented or sent me a FB message.  Like one of you mentioned, it is hard when no one remembers.  I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, one person would have. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Night Before

I didn't think it was going to be hard for me tonight.  I thought if it was, it would be tomorrow.  Tonight is just the night before.  Tonight isn't the day.

I had to run to the city with Marla tonight for a few things and was on the way home.  She was fussing a little in the car because she was ready for her bottle.  I decided to turn on some music and sing to help calm her down.  I turned it to a song I used to sing daily that helped me get through the wait.  Marla quieted down and it hit me that as I was trying to make it home before Matt had to leave for work.  He was leaving for work.

He was leaving for work last year.  The night before.  We took a picture of the three of us before he left.  It would be our last night together as a family of three.  Tomorrow we were going to be a family of four.  I remember that picture so clearly.  We were standing in the kitchen.  B was squeezed in the middle of us.  We took the picture ourselves and have such big smiles on our faces.  I look terrible! I had already showered, had no make up on was so tired!  But the picture captured a moment and I love that memory.

I told Matt good bye and would stop and see him on the way to the hospital in the morning for a few minutes if he wasn't on a call.  I wished he was going with but knew he was going to meet us there later in the day.

Tomorrow I will wake up and daycare kids will arrive.  B will play with his buddies and enjoy the summer day.  Grandparents won't call with birthday greetings and there will be no special party this weekend.

I hope that baby girl is loved and happy.  I hope she is well taken care of and smiles at her big brother.  I wonder how many teeth she has and if she is walking.  I hope her mommy is happy and so happy to be celebrating her baby girl's birthday.  I hope she is well taken care of and is doing the best she can.

I think I will dig out her number, even though I didn't have a response from the message I sent in December, and send her a text message.

Happy 1st Birthday Little Dolly.  We love you, miss you, and are always praying for you.

** When I write here, I feel like it is a collection of raw thoughts.  I don't often go back and re read entries.  I type it as I think it and move forward.  Tonight I did go back and read my account of the day.  You can read it here.  It brought some more tears to my eyes at some of the things I said and a few things I had forgotten.  Something I never wanted to do.

Edit***As soon as I hit publish and looked at this post, I wanted to add in one last thought.  I do not for any second wish that things would have turned out different.  I love Miss Marla with all of my heart.  She is more than you could ask for, happier than we could have dreamed, and absolutely perfect.  My sadness just comes from the most heartbreaking experience I have ever been through and I want nothing more than to know that she is okay. Remember exactly where I was last year, where I stood for a picture, what I was doing, what time I went to bed..... all of that hurts.  I wish I could move directly to June 5th. I want nothing but the best for J, baby J, and her big brother A.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Post Placement visit #1

I believe in honesty here on my blog.  I have been inspired, encouraged, brought to tears and reassured from many of the blogs I have spent hours reading over the years. 

As Matt was leaving for work tonight, all of us happened to be in B's room as he was telling him goodnight.  As I looked around at his messy 8-year-old-can't-keep-it-clean-longer-than-a-day-room, I told him that R was going to be here tomorrow when he gets home from school. 

He casually asked what for and I said, "remember...she is coming to make sure that we are providing a good home for Mar".  

Then I remembered that she was just here in early October doing our homestudy renewal visit.  She sat on this same couch I am now typing on and asked us about why we had certain things selected/ not selected on our profile sheet. 

Specifically, she asked about race.  

It doesn't matter to her what we select, but she did say she had a emom she was working with and the way our profile stands, we would not be shown.

She did specify anymore and we didn't ask.  We said we would look it over and discuss any changes we wanted to make.  We had already been talking about race/ some of the drug use questions and so that was not a problem for us to update our sheet.

Here is the honesty part.   It was me that did not have full African American selected on our profile.  I had half, I had mixed with anything, but I didn't select full.

I was scared. 

I get really nervous when I don't know exactly what to do. 

Before we got into the adoption world, I would have selected AA with no fear.  After all of my blog reading, forums, books, etc.... I got scared. 

Things like ashy skin, haircare, bathing, braids, parts, co-wash, no poo, styling day...all of this was so intimidating to me!  I didn't know how to do it!

After Matt and I talked, I realized that I knew it didn't matter what our baby looked like, but that it was okay for me to not know how to do all of those things. It was okay for me to have to learn them.  So, we opened up our profile- all the way!

As far as hair- I don't know how to do a white girls hair so I would have to learn that too.  When I would have daycare girls here- I wasn't ever one to brush/ braid/ play with their hair.  I didn't know how to do that!  So, learning how to do a baby with black hair was going to be okay.  I could figure it out.

Skin- I don't know why but the term "ashy skin" sounds so intimidating to me!  I read on one post that the commenter said that "ashy skin is a sign on neglect".  I don't know if that is true or not, but it scared the daylights out of me!  What if I didn't do something right and she got the dreaded ashy skin?!?!

I am still scared of the fact that I don't know how to do all of these things perfectly, but I suppose I didn't do everything perfect with my own biological son either.  And he has turned out pretty good.

I'm still learning- with both of them.  He is a boy, just turned 8.  I haven't done that before.  She is a girl, just turned 11 weeks.  I haven't done that yet either.  I love them both like crazy.  I'm still scared but they are my favorite boy and favorite girl.

In case you are wondering- her hair and skin are both absolutely beautiful!  I've done good.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Don't Hate Me....

I know. I'm bad. I stink.  I left you hangin..........

I said I wouldn't do it again and leave our story unwritten. 

One day turned into a few.

A few turned into a week.

A week turned into a few.

Then we were one month past her birthday and I still hadn't posted.

Today she is two months old.

And I haven't told you how she is, how we are, or how incredibly blessed we are:

Everything is better than we prayed for.  Everything seems too good to be true.  Everything is what we thought we could only dream about.  Marla and her birth mom..."MeMar" are ahhhhmazing. 

I hate that I have missed so much.  I know I already can't remember it all.  It just keeps coming over and over ....good, better, best! 

Life has been crazy, as usual.  Back to work quickly after ICPC and home for a week.  Wrestling season for B and the holidays.  A wonderful flow of family and friends coming to visit.  Our taxes looming over me like a black cloud that need to get done.  Like tomorrow.  Laundry to fold.  Extra room to clean out.  Photos to organize.  Photos to print.  Projects with the daycare kids.  Dog hair to vacuum.  And the worst....dinner to cook.

I promise.  I pinky swear.  I will fill you in with some of our story.  I love sharing it!!!

But, here are three pics to get you by. 

Our first "official" family picture.  TPR were signed a few hours before this and we took our "kids" (still feels strange to say kidS) to see Santa at the museum.

   Thanks for those of you who stuck around!  Please leave a quick comment to tell me you if you are still here!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beautiful day

I don't have time for a full post but know there are many of you (by many, I mean 4) who are waiting for news.

We had an absolutely fantastic day meeting that sweet baby at the hospital.  Our talks with A and her family made it even better.  I can't wait to share more, but we got home late.  We stopped to develop some pics and shared with the grandparents.  I'm still not packed and ready to leave the house tomorrow for our ICPC stay.

We are leaving the hospital with her tomorrow and I can't believe this is my last night before life gets crazy again with a newborn!

More pics and details coming soon!  :)  And, tomorrow afternoon we are planning to announce it to our friends

Thanks again for your prayers, messages, and support!