Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Remembering a Past General Conference: The Story Continues...

Jared and I knew going into the adoption process that we wanted to have an "open" adoption. It has been shown in most cases to be healthier for the child, the birth parents and even the adoptive parents. An open adoption can take on many different forms. It would be considered an open adoption if the the birth parents and the adoptive parents never met but had information about each other on paper. Open just means the information is relatively accessible. Then there is the other end of the spectrum where the birth parents are heavily involved in the child's life visiting regularly etc...
Jared and I hadn't decided on the level of openness we were going to have yet because we believe it heavily depends on the wishes of the birth parents and the stage of development the child is at. Openness at its best is fluid and flexible changing and growing with the child and family.
So we started the openness by corresponding through email with Momma A. We emailed for about a month. Momma A had a lot of questions for us and I really appreciated the depth and concern that was expressed through them. At first she wanted to know things like why we wanted to adopt, what we would prefer about a boy and what we would prefer about a girl. Then later there were questions such as did we believe in miracles, when did we know the church was true etc... I really did like answering these questions a lot more than the ones on the profile.
Then the three of us decided to begin talking on the phone and exchanged phone numbers through our social worker. We really got to know Momma A very well and even though there are a lot of differences between her and me, we are very much a like too in so many ways that it would makes us laugh but also confirmed to us that Heavenly Father has many small tender mercies to give to us to let us know He loves us.
After a month of phone calls and texts, Momma A said that she had known for a long time that she was going to choose us to be the adoptive parents for her baby. She wanted us to pray and fast about it and make sure that this was truly the Lord's plan for us too. (See isn't she awesome?!) We did fast and knew in a quiet but solid concrete way that this was the right path for us.
Momma A was due in about a month with a little girl (we didn't know the sex of the baby until this point) so we arranged to meet in person before the birth. It was General Conference weekend (a world-wide meeting that our church holds twice a year) in April. Everything seemed so surreal that weekend, great and wonderful but surreal. I mean you are about to meet the person who in soooo many ways is going to change your life forever through a huge sacrifice on her part...and I'm just not sure our mortal bodies can handle those kind of emotions and thoughts, so to be able to cope and function things almost seemed like they were happening to someone else while I was experiencing them.
It was a great weekend where we had the sacred experience of feeling the baby, where the three of us decided on the baby's name: Aurora May and we decided that Momma A and I were going to be "sister mothers." I would do the daily, everyday mothering and Momma A would mother from a distance with occasional visits, phone calls, emails etc...
We took some nice pictures of the weekend but since we are keeping Momma A's identity confidential to help ensure her and Aurora's safety...here is one cropped pic from that weekend.

I can't believe that now that the next General Conference is this weekend and I now have my daughter with me and that it has only been 6 months since we first met Momma A in person. We feel like we have known her forever! When we started the adoption process we were expecting the blessing and love involved in having a child (although we underestimated how powerful that love would be) but we did not expect the great blessing and love that Momma A has brought into our lives. Now I definitely would not want to have my family in any other way except through adoption because of the rare opportunity to feel love so purely for a child but another person, my sister mother. This opportunity does not come along just any old day.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Adoption Story Cont...

So we thought we were basically done with everything we needed to do and we were just going to play the waiting game...with LDS Family Services the birthparents choose the adoptive parents and on average it takes about a year from starting the process to placement.

We began getting ready for the baby slowly by painting the baby's room green, setting up the crib and unpacking all the baby stuff I had collected over the years.

Stuffed animal friends awaiting the new baby.

My sister-in-law, Jessie and my niece Sabra gave us some very cute girl furniture for the baby's room. Up to this point I did not have a prefrence for either a boy or a girl...then I wanted to have a girl just a little more than a boy because this stuff was so cute! :)

Another sister-in-law, Tiffany sent us the onesie on the left and a card congratulating us on our "paper pregnancy." Our friend Rozalyn gave us the other two onesies at that time too. It was really nice to have these concrete evidences that we were really "expecting a baby."
...But it wasn't our lot just to wait and nest. It so happens that we chose to adopt during a time when the agency was switching to a new website. The website is great, you should really check it out.
We were told in late Sept 2008 that we had to make another profile and it wasn't compatible with our first one, so we would have to start almost from scratch on it. This really shouldn't of been a big deal. The profiles contain a letter you write to the birthparents, pictures, and a questionnaire you answer about yourself such as what is your favorite book, movie, food etc...

But it was a big deal. It's hard to make these profiles even though they seem simple and easy because there is so much riding on the profile, it's emotionally draining. So I did what I do best when the going gets tough: I withdraw, I avoid, I evade. So in other words we didn't make the new profile. Our first profile was up and running although we weren't sure for how long; we took our chances and just went with that.

Then in January 2009, (that's right 3 months later...some of you thought I was joking when I say I am an expert escape artist when I want to be) I got the distinct impression that if we didn't complete the new online profile the baby that Heavenly Father had planned for us would not be coming to our home. We finished the profile by the end of January. Three weeks later Momma A contacted us for the first time through the secure email that you set up with the agency.

Momma A has her own history and story of events that led her to us that is just as guided by God as ours was. We both have so many moments that happened through out the process that we know was not coincidence but divine guidance and assurance that this was the right path and choice for us. How grateful we are that He is in the details of our lives!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Our Adoption Story: The Beginning

I have been meaning to blog about our adoption story for a long time but kept putting it off knowing it would be a long post. But also knowing that many of you haven't heard it or all of it yet. So I have decided to begin because the beginning is a very good place to start.
Jared and I had discussed adoption for years but never felt like the time was right. Then in December 2007 we attended a meeting at our church (Stake Conference) when one of the speakers was from LDS Family Services. When we came home we both disclosed to each other that during the meeting we felt that it was time to begin the adoption process, that Heavenly Father had a special baby in mind for us.

In January we received the first paperwork and asked 4 dear families to be our references. Thank you the Birds, the Carltons, the Christensens and the Dubravacs ! We love you!

The Birds

The Carltons

The Christensens

The DuBravacs

Sorry, I have individual pics of the kids and parents and I considered photoshopping them together to make a family pic :)

Then in February we met with the LDS Family Services social worker over the Indiana and Kentucky area, Dave Pitcher, who does soooo much for the members of those states. We did one interview at this point and were given the second round of paperwork.

We knew that it took a lot of paperwork to be able to adopt but we still felt a little overwhelmed with Jared finishing his thesis and I just starting to get into the thick of things in my Master's program. It takes us all spring to finish the paperwork.
The paperwork involves financial statements, background checks, questionnaires about how you were raised and parented and how you plan to raise and parent your children and lots of releases of information and consents.

Then in the summer we have more interviews and our home study. The home study is where the social worker, Dave, comes to our home and makes sure it is a safe place for a child. Dave reassured us that it wasn't a big deal and it wasn't but we still stressed out over it. So we turned everything in all the paperwork, passed the home study, created our online profile and a hard copy for the binders and we were at the waiting stage of the process by early September 2008.

Here is our picture collage we created for the binders. Sorry it doesn't turn out so well on blogger. We used similar pictures on the online profile.