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! 

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