I mentioned last week that I had some meets to share regarding our Adoption journey, and I’m here today to spill the beans.
It isn’t really the kind of “beans” that I’d like to be spilling, but beans are beans, people. And beaners can’t be choosers.
Nevermind. Sometimes I get carried away with a common saying and just can’t disengage.
Studly and I took a huge first step a few weeks ago, and actually started contacting several organizations regarding adoption (organizations being an all-inclusive term to refer to facilitators, law centers, and agencies). Now, this may not seem like a big deal to you, but for us… it absolutely IS a big deal. It’s as though we’re finally putting our money where our mouth is.
To be clear, though… we’re not putting money anywhere just yet. (See? Another saying and now I’m just confusing people again. *smack! Get it together, Hope!)
We contacted several different organizations we had begun to identify by scouring website after website after website… I think you get the picture. Basically, thanks to the internets (thank you Al Gore!), there are a lot of resources on adoption.
Honestly, (and this may sound crazy, but its true) we were able to rule out a bunch rather quickly after only briefly visiting their website. For us, a cheaply created or poorly maintained website indicated come less-than-desirable qualities for an organization to which we’d be paying tens of thousands of dollars to help us grow our family. So if they can’t even build or maintain what I imagine to be the primary means of getting business in this day and age, then I’m not sure we are interested in digging any further.
Although we plan to do much more research before submitting any applications, we did find about 3 good organizations as our starting point.
After contacting them, we found that 1 was not licensed in our state even though their website initially said that they did (maybe this was more recent?), 1 sent us a good-sized packet of information through e-mail, and 1 shipped us an information kit through the mail.
Out of the 2 that actually sent us information, only 1 asked us our income right off the bat. This may not be a big deal, but it is a bit annoying. Quite a few agencies charge fees based on your income, and I find that to be a bunch of crap. Call me crazy, but that shouldn’t be an initial question. Should it be part of your home study and overall assessment as to whether or not you can provide for the child? 100%. Absolutely. No question. Should it be what you use to determine your fee schedule? Heck no! Mostly because you don’t know the entire situation just based off of a single number on a piece of paper. Sorry – already jumping up onto a soap box. *jumps down… *deep breaths…
Where was I?!
Oh right. The 1 that asked our income information right off of the bat was more local, and also happened to be the one that sent us some information through e-mail. I’m fine with the fact that it came through e-mail, but there’s something to be said about snail mail that just seems more personal. Regardless, the conversation I had with the local organization was pretty short and not very helpful. She kept making statements to indicate that all of our questions would be answered… and they’d be more than happy to talk with us… etc etc, but I was already asking questions and those weren’t actual answers. I did try to get down to the reasoning and just asked if they needed to set up some kind of meeting with me and Studly, thinking that maybe this was why she wasn’t being as helpful, and then the truth came out – “all we needed to do” to have this conversation was to submit our application.
I’m not going to pay to apply with you before I even have information regarding your organization, what it provides, it’s process and average timeline, etc. Who would do that? Well, there must be some people who would do it because it seemed to be their standing policy. Umm… no thanks.
As I’m sure you can already see from the story so far, it isn’t all that hard to weed out the non-contenders. And though the list of what’s acceptable would absolutely change from family to family, there’s already going to be something that is identified as a non-negotiable and you’ll find that these things can really help to thin the crowd of options pretty quickly.
So that brings me to the final organization that we contacted – the one that mailed us an information kit. One of the perks of this organization is that they are nationally licensed, meaning they can work with adoptions in any of the 50 states. And that translates to more placements each year – averaging around 300. I’m not sure if you’ve done any research on these numbers, but that’s a really high number of placements for one organization. We reviewed the information kit that they sent us, which included: a DVD, additional information on their organization, an example of the packet that’s given to potential birth mothers in the selection process, an application, a wall calendar, and a personal letter from the lady that I spoke with on the phone during my initial contact with them. It was full of helpful stuff.
During my initial phone conversation, and before we got the information packet, they also set us up with an appointment to video-chat with our adoption consultant. They were so well organized, very informative, and they took me seriously from the first moment we spoke – which was very nice.
One would think that having taken the step to contact an adoption organization to begin would indicate to them that we were serious about getting information. It’s pretty sad that only 1 of the many phone calls that I made left me with the impression that this was the case and I wasn’t just another blank face on the other end of the millionth phone call they’d had that day.
Anywho…. fast forward to Monday evening when we had our video-chat consultation.
It. Was. Sooo helpful.
We both felt pretty comfortable with her and she was very patient with our ridiculous amount of questions (correction: MY ridiculous amount of questions). Studly and I both answered some of her questions and after it was over (over an hour later), we both felt as though it really helped to answer our lingering questions and put things into perspective for us.
Surprisingly, we hadn’t had to submit any forms or pay a single penny to just have a full conversation with someone.
And I was starting to think that’d be difficult to find!
Between the information that we gathered from this consultation, and the research we have conducted over the past several months (though to be honest, adoption is something we’ve been familiar with for many years, due to my work in the pregnancy clinic a few years before we moved)… it all adds up to a long list of things to think through and consider.
We’re still digesting it all, really, and have already had at least 2 lengthy conversations about everything just since Monday’s meeting.
I have a lot to share with you, but this post is already getting a little long, so I’ll leave you with this for now.
Lessons learned so far in this stage:
- Each adoption organization is not created equally.
- Also, there is so much to think about and consider that a lot of the time… it feels more like a business deal than it does adopting a child. And that’s tough. So much of our heart and emotion is in this, but we haven’t even made it to the point, yet, where that really comes into play.
- You need money. No question. BUT there are a ton of resources (grants, low-interest and even interest free loans, tax credits, employer contributions, etc) to help you get all of that money together.
- There’s still a lot to do before we can submit an application anywhere.
That last bullet may be the hardest to swallow, but it’s really important. We’re not doing anyone any favors by “just” submitting the application.
The biggest lesson so far is this: You need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you’re ready.
But that’s definitely another post for another day.
I look forward to sharing more of this piece of our lives with y’all soon! And in the meantime, any other adoptive families out there with some pointers? We’ll take all the help we can get, for sure.
We’ve talked about adoption for years. It’s just been “the plan” for quite a while, now. But it’s always been an “in the not-too-distant-future” kind of plan.
Not “today” yet because:
- we are getting ready to move to another state
- we have a ton of debt to pay down
- we have to save up the money for the costs involved
- we can’t afford for me to stay home full-time
- and whatever else comes up that week
It’s not at all like we were putting it off. On the contrary, in fact. We have been ready for a really long time. Both of us. But I think if I’m completely honest, we’ve just been waiting for everything to align perfectly before “pulling the trigger”… and I think we are really realizing that this will probably never happen.
So we had a really good talk earlier this week and…
We are ready.
And this time, I don’t mean ready to just keep being ready. But we’re ready to start down this path. Ready to take our Baby Steps… steps toward bringing home our little one.
We are going to take our first step off of the path we are currently on and start really putting the work in to make this happen.
Currently, we are researching domestic adoption agencies (and actively looking for recommendations, if anyone has any!) and seeking out updated information on costs, especially since we’re still new to Texas. And we’re also hoping to start collecting information on any/all available tax breaks, grants, adoption loans, etc. and to see what we can qualify for with our combined income and whatnot. And we are counting people at these places, too. Which is a huge step forward for us.
It’s really exciting. I’m not sure why, but it feels so much more… real! Submitting requests for adoption information packets from various organizations is quite an awesome step for us. It doesn’t just feel like yet another thing sitting in our tomorrow basket, but it feels like we’re really on our way. We’ll actually be answering questions and filling out applications and… really, truly getting the ball rolling. Eek!
It will definitely take time – the average wait for domestic adoption within the US is around 2 years. And for those of you unaware, this is why I tend to look at little elephants as a kind of symbol for our little one, as the gestational period for an elephant is about 21 months.
So here we are ready and oh so eager to get this show on the road. It may not be how we always pictured things playing out, but that’s life, right? And if we always wait for things to be perfect before we do anything worth while, then we’ll never get there.
Please pray for us. Please check in with us (I will be MORE than thrilled to answer questions at any time, trust me). And if nothing else, stick around to see how everything plays out. I can’t wait to share this journey with you guys!
I know I’m a little late, here, because most people watch shows when they actually come on instead of waiting, but what can I say?! I’m a slacker.
When it came to the final season of Parenthood, I was a super slacker. But frankly, it was intentional.
I love this show.
Like… I LURVE it. For serious. And when I watch it, one episode never seems to be enough for me. So then I tend to “save up” and watch at least 2 at a time… especially when it got close to the finale.
It’s been one of the only Dramas that I have watched from start to finish and still wanted more. And even though there have been other Dramas that I’ve enjoyed, they don’t compare. It’s such a beautiful show. It was always so real, instead of just the typical hollywood, in your face, constant or overly-liberal… yada yada yada. It was just real! It showed multiple sides to real issues. It just met people where life actually happens, and not just where it gets people’s attention… and that alone is what then got people’s attention, I think.
Basically, if you haven’t seen the show, then you should absolutely watch it. And start from the beginning, because there is just so much that you do NOT want to miss.
And if you do follow the show and haven’t seen the final season and/or the show finale, then DO NOT KEEP READING!
The ending to this show was absolutely beautiful. It’s very rare that a show can wrap things up for its viewers, and then to do it well… that is practically unheard of. But this show? Oh. My word. It was so perfect.
I love that Sarah and Hank got married. It was perfect. And their wedding was SO very them and this family.
I loved and so appreciated the peaceful, yet respectable way that they showed Zeek’s passing.
I adore that they jumped forward for everyone, too, and gave us a glimpse into the future –
– Amber’s man with his own child (or their child together?) and still bringing little Zeek’s father back into the picture to show that he got his life together and spent time with little Zeek and was on good terms with Amber and her man…
– Crosby running the Luncheonette and having Amber working with him, then seeing him with his kids and a future-pregnant Jasmine in the studio together…
– The Bravermen 4 finding Adam’s perfect place as Headmaster of Chambers Academy when Julia finds her dream job with the non-profit and then Max getting his diploma…
– The Grahams… Joel and Julie not only being back together and adopting Victor’s half-sister, but then seen happily celebrating together at a future Christmas with even a 4th baby…
– Camille taking the trip and visiting the little french bed and breakfast that Zeek tried to surprise her with earlier in the season…
– And finally, the entire family playing baseball on the field where they sprinkled some of Zeek’s ashes together…
… All of this while you even listened to a much more melodic version of the Show’s own theme song playing over everything (originally Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”).
And I loved every minute of this show.
From the beginning, this show stole my heart with its realness and it’s fearlessness in the handling of very emotional and difficult topics –
– The struggle in pinpointing, diagnosing, and then learning to live with Max’s diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome…
– Crosby’s period of growing up, from finding out he had a son to suddenly trying to become a father and then a husband, which he wasn’t so natural with…
– Sarah’s journey in finding herself as her children grew and she learned that being a single mother wasn’t her only identity…
– How parenting styles differ from parents to their children and when parents become grandparents, they are sure that they know the best way to do everything and don’t keep that to themselves when watching how their kids fall into those new parenting roles…
– Kristina’s breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and remission and her meeting and watching others that weren’t so lucky…
– Adoption as a whole… thinking you are selected to adopt a baby and then having that plan shattered when the decision is reversed, the real difficulties of adopting an older child and not pretending it’s all easy to suddenly assume an older child as your own, especially when you have other children… and then the sudden possibility of adopting another child, because adoption isn’t something you just pick up and go with randomly like finding our your pregnant is…
– Amber going through the somewhat typical phases of not wanting to listen to a thing her mother or grandparents said, and then acting out and rebelling, and then reeling from those choices and finally discovering more of who she wants to be, and then falling into making some of the same mistakes that her mother made and almost hating herself for it before realizing she can still learn and grow…
– Joel and Julia’s marriage troubles… between whether or not to be a stay-at-home or working mother, to the stress that’s put on a marriage when both careers are going full force and entailing long hours, to moments of doubt in trusting each other and then ultimately to unfaithfulness…
– Camille and Zeek growing older and wanting different things.. Zeek wanting to just enjoy their life the way it is without the requirements of a job, and Camille’s desire to travel and see the world and downsize…
I know I’ve missed so, so many things with this list, but this show – it was just so full of REAL. Life isn’t scripted, and although this show obviously was, they did an amazing job of catching you off guard at times and choosing to be real and genuine when you thought for sure that you’d be able to predict a typical, hollywood style situational play out.
I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again – if you haven’t watched this show, then you should. Even though I’ve talked through much of it, it’s still something that you should absolutely see for yourself. It’s on Hulu, for sure, but I’m convinced it’s probably almost everywhere. But if you’re going to watch it, do so from the beginning, because it’s just so full of awesome.
I’ve gone on and on about this show, but it’s just really that awesome. And for once, a show was wrapped up in such an amazing way that you couldn’t possibly be unhappy with how it finished. That alone is a good reason to watch it, if you ask me.
Do you watch Parenthood? Did anyone else see the finale? What shows are y’all watching these days? Because I am now in the market for a new one to fill the void.
You don’t know me right now. In fact, there’s a chance that you may never know me. And that’s okay.
Right now you could be anywhere. You could be sitting in a restaurant laughing with friends or loved ones. You may be alone somewhere… by yourself. You may not be pregnant, yet, or even close to becoming pregnant.
But at some point in your future, your life will change dramatically. And it will happen very quickly.
The next thing you know, you’ll be part of a story that you never intended to be a part of.
And that story will lead you to me.
I can’t imagine what your life will be like during these hard times. I wouldn’t even begin to pretend that I am able to understand your life and your situation… but I can promise you that I will try my best to be understanding. I will not judge you. I will not hold any ill feelings toward you. Because through your great struggle, you will bring an end to mine.
You see, I’ve wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember. When other young girls thought of future careers, I never counted one out, but I always thought of the children that I would raise and the man who I would raise them with. I’m not one to obsess over the idea of motherhood, but it’d be a lie to say anything other than the truth – that it is never far from my mind.
I’ve watched many women go through situations similar to yours, though I know better than to say they were the same. And I’ve also known many women to go through situations similar to mine. There’s no normal way to be in either of our shoes. And yet we are both here.
Two women on opposite sides of a great struggle. Within those struggles we will one day become liked together… and we will be linked together for the rest of our lives.
I don’t know what that story will look like for us or how much a part of each others lives we will be from that day forward, but I will never be able to truly express to you how grateful I am for your journey.
You did not plan for this, and this decision will be one of the hardest decisions you will ever make in your life, but choosing to place your child with an adoptive family… with us… will be one of the happiest days of my life.
On the day that you become a mother, you will make the most selfless decision a person can make… and on that day, you will make me a mother.
Nothing will change your status as a mother when you make this decision – no one can take that from you. And you will do with that whatever you wish. But on the day that you make me a mother, you will be making my family whole. This is something that I will never be able to forget. Because with you… without this great struggle… we wouldn’t be just that – a family.
Until that day… the day that we both become mothers… I will pray for you.
The journey before this day is one that neither of us can imagine. It will be hard. It will be harder than hard. And there will be times where you want to make a different decision. Times where you will want this to end differently. Sooner. And on those days, I pray that you find an overwhelming and unexpected peace.
Today I thought of where you might be. And the truth is, based on typical timelines, you are probably far from the day when you will become pregnant. And even further from the day that you choose to give us the gift of parenting and raising your child…. and make them ours. But on this day, I pray that you feel joy. I hope that you are somewhere safe… and warm. And that you are happy. The strength that you will need to get through this great struggle will come from somewhere deep within you, and that strength will grow from days like today until the day that our lives become linked.
So right now, more than anything, I wish you nothing but happiness. Because one day… that is exactly what you will bring us.
I dream about you.
I dream about the day that we’ll finally meet you. I dream about your birth mother and the struggle that she’ll face when she first discovers that she’s pregnant. How she’ll consider several options and possibly change her mind quite a few times before she follows through on placing you with an adoptive family.
I’m sure that she’ll wonder if she’s doing the right thing… wonder if she will regret it… wonder if she’ll be able to follow through.
I imagine her emotional struggle as she gives birth. How the entire time she’s laboring and then pushing… she’ll be thinking about you and the decision she’s making. She may even, in that moment, think she should keep you with her and not place you with us. I can’t truly fathom those thoughts.
Having wanted you for so long, I can’t imagine being not he other side of the process. But I try. I just want to be sure that I don’t forget her through our journey to you. To becoming the family God has destined us to be. Because without her, we won’t have you. And for that, I am forever in her debt.
She will make the choice to put you above herself. She will acknowledge that, for whatever reason, she can’t give you the life that you deserve… and in her love, and in God’s grace, she will choose us to do just that.
I think about you and how it’s possible that even as I write this, you may not have even been conceived yet. Ad my mind wanders through various scenarios that could even bring that to fruition.
Sweet child, your conception may not be planned and the first moments of your tiny life, in the very moment when you become your very own string of DNA, just then you will become my daughter. I won’t know you yet, and I won’t know of your existence for quite a while longer, but it will be in that moment that the life that is planned for you will begin.
In the first realization of your existence, your birth mother may feel less than excited, but just wait… just hold on to the hope that you will be loved. You will be cherished. You will be covered in kisses and snuggled day after day. You may not feel it in those moments… in the moments when your birth mother feels doubt, or anger, or hurt, or hopelessness… but you are, sweet one!
As every finger and every eyelash and every flake of skin develops, you are wrapped in love. You are created in love by a God who has so much in store for you. And you are prayed for… longed for by parents who can’t wait to meet you.
To hold you.
To kiss your sweet face.
To smell your newborn smell.
And to watch the wonder in your eyes as you grow and experience this world and all that it offers.
Sweet love, you are cherished. You are perfect. You are an answer to prayer.
And all before you even came to be.
Always remember this, as it is sewn into the very fiber of your being: You ARE wanted.
♬ I’ve missed you, but I haven’t met you.
Oh but I want to… How I do. ♪♩
I love you so.
Studly and I finally had some much needed time out and about together. We’ve just had so many little things (and some not-so-little things, too) popping up lately that we haven’t made the time for each other that we really should have. But that all changed today.
It was nothing big, but it was just what we needed. Lunch and a few hours wandering through stores, picking things out, and trying things on… nothing more than just some good, quality time together. And it was glorious. But that’s not really the point of this post.
While we were at lunch, we talked. And that was probably the best part. We shared what’s been on our hearts and minds, lately, and talked about the future. Among other things, we discussed how things always seem to pop up and that waiting for the “right time,” something illusive and practically nonexistent, would mean never taking that step toward what we want. Toward a big reason for us moving here. Toward a dream that we’ve had for quite some time.
So although we aren’t diving in and actually doing anything right away, we’ve decided that we will finally start actively researching domestic adoption in Texas.
This makes it so much more real, ladies… SO REAL!!
We’ve got a lot to do regarding our financial situation, thanks to the things that have popped up recently that we weren’t prepared for, but frankly – we still don’t even know what the process or laws specific to Texas even look like. We even have to figure out if we’ll use an agency, and which one. We’ll have to make some difficult, serious, very honest decisions about what, if any, restrictions we will make on anything. And then we’ve still gotta save up enough money to be able to fund the whole thing. It’s quite the list. But today’s decision is really just to take that first step into making it all a reality. But that first step in not only a doozy… it’s also super meaningful.
We’re taking the first step towards finally becoming parents. To no longer just being Hope and Studly, but mommy and daddy. Finally.
They say the average wait time for domestic adoption is somewhere around 2 years… which, oddly enough, is about the same as the typical gestation of a baby elephant. So that has become our symbol. A symbol of our future. Of our family. Of our someday baby.
It’s kind’ve like a symbol of hope.
And hope can be trying, at times. Can’t it? There are days it seems so far away. Days when it seems pointless. Like you’re just wasting your energy and emotion on something that may never happen.
But our hope endures.
I’ll be sure to keep you guys posted on things as we work through them. There’s definitely a lot on that list, so… there won’t be a shortage of things to share. Just be patient with me as it’ll take some time. But feel free to check in with me! Ask questions and I’ll be more than happy to answer them, too… that’s a promise!
These days, I’m just trying to take things one step at a time… and as they say – the journey of thousand miles begins with a single step.