If adoption is a part of your life in any way: birth parent, adoptive parent, hopeful adoptive parent, adoption advocate or professional and would like your blog or website added to my list of links please email me your name and URL. adoptionfyi at gmail dot com

Monday, November 30, 2009

National Adoption Awareness Month

There are times when my experiences with adoption have been heart breaking. However, there are two reasons that I always am and always will be incredibly grateful for adoption. . .

I am enjoying my Thanksgiving visit with these two wonderful people and their equally adorable brother.

Thank you all for joining me for celebrating adoption with me this month. I look forward to continuing this celebration with all of you throughout the coming year.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Hopeful Adoptive Dad's Perspective on Waiting

I am so happy to introduce you all to my very favorite person in the world, my amazing husband Lincoln, who is my guest blogger today. He is here to give all of you a glimpse into the mind of a typically very internet shy creature, the hopeful adoptive dad.

Today was a great example of what we do while we are waiting to bring our next child. We enjoy ours. So, finding ourselves in Dallas we went to the DWA (Dallas World Aquarium).

Nothing like a family drive to start the day. It gives us time to chat and get on the same page.

Spending time with our extended family provides us with easy going chatter and a pleasant way to recharge.

On our path of adoption we sometimes think we see something bright and beautiful and...

and sometimes it IS.

While we enjoyed the day it always felt like something was watching us.

At an aquarium who would guess that it was a iridescent turkey. This guy wasn't going to let us out of his sight.

So, while our road of adoption has be bumpy it's days like these that remind us why we want to adopt in the first place.

Friday, November 27, 2009

How Can I Help a Foster Child?

Sorry you didn't hear from my yesterday. We actually had our Thanksgiving today, as we were traveling on Thursday. I didn't have internet access for pretty much the entire day. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. On Sunday I will be sharing with you a special post about two reasons that I am very thankful for adoption.

Today I would like to post about some things that you and I can do to make a world of difference in the life of one (or more) of our countries most vulnerable children.

There are many ways that you can help a foster child. . .

1. Of course the thing that these children need the very most is a permanent home and family or at least a more permanent home and family. I hope that all of us are periodically evaluating our family situations to determine if we are in a position to be a foster parent or to add to our family through the miracle of foster-adoption.

However, I realize that many of us are not currently in the position to do either of these things, but there are other things that we can do to help a foster child.

2. Become a Mentor for a foster child. Foster children with a mentor miss fewer days of school, are more likely to go to college, and are less likely to abuse alcohol or other substances. You can find out more about becoming a mentor at mentoring.org or about become a virtual mentor at vmentor.com.

3. Become a CASA. A Court Appointed Special Advocate is a volunteer, specially trained, and willing to engage themselves in the case of one abused or neglected child to make recommendations to the court to help ensure that the system does not fail to find a safe and loving home for this child. Learn more about becoming a CASA.

4. Become a respite care provider. Foster parents need a break just as much or even more than every other parent, and yet there are legal restrictions on who they can turn to help with their children. Become a respite provider to help current foster parents from getting burned out or frustrated, and helping children remain in a single foster home for a longer period of time. Call your state Department of Social and Human Services to find out about become a respite provider.

5. Volunteer at a local foster care agency. We all know about the overwhelming caseloads that most social workers face. Find a foster care agency in your area, call them, find out if they could use and extra pair of hands.

-- for more info

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Are You Ready to be a Christmas Present to Samuel?

I subscribe to Deborah Mumm's Adoption Highway e-mail newsletter. Today when I opened my email I had an email from her concerning a little boy who needs a family desperately. She had been contacted by Stephanie who is the adoptive mother of seven wonderful children, and getting ready to add 3 more. This is what Stephanie wrote and asked any who were willing to pass it along. I hope that someone is reading this who recognizes these few words about a sweet little boy are written about their child.

"Samuel needs a home & FAST"....

Hello all. This little one doesn't have much time left if something is not done. I'll cut to the chase. The agency I use has asked me to help them find a home for a little 6yo boy whose time is running short in life. See, Samuel also resides in the same area as one of our children (not saying whether it is present or future children as to not to disclose location). I will however, give you the location if you contact me privately as to what country it is. Samuel is a wonderful kid. Actually, so great in fact that we had truly considered adding him to our family first! He is well behaved, cute as can be, sweet personality. Growing pretty well.
Medically, Samuel does have a shunt. However, this does not slow him down nor cause him problems. I do know someone that can tell you more about a shunt as she has a son w/ one. She said many people are scared of them but really not necessary to be. Her son also gets along just fine. I have seen Samuel in action on video. I would not hesitate adding him to our family. He is said to be a little developmentally slow but this is very typical of a child in an institution. Remember, Nik came home to us at an 18 month level when he was 4yo. He was also considered slow and retarded. He caught up w/in the year and is now very gifted academically. So, you just never know. The fees for this little boy have been reduced lower than I have ever seen in a long time. VERY reasonable for an adoption as they are truly just concerned of his well being at this time. He is scheduled to be moved to an institution in mid-December if they don't have a family commit to him soon. This would truly be
tragic to waste his life. He has unlimited potential and just seems like such a sweetheart. This is very hard for me b/c I do feel connected to him and am not ready for him to be sent to an institution. I know his forever family has to be reading this.
If you can't be his family, at least spread the word about him to everyone you know. This institution has some very aggressive and very bad kids in it. He is suspected not to survive long there if he goes. Would be a tradgedy for sure. Please help to rescue Samuel and save his life. This is not just another orphan needing a home. Many will overlook Samuel b/c they consider him very special needs. I have adopted many children at this very age he is. They are great, adjust fairly easily. Help me get the word out about this wonderful little boy that needs a helping hand from across the ocean. I can not tell you what it would mean to me for us to be able to find him a home in less than two weeks. I know we can do it if we try. Spread the word on facebook , on your blogs, to your friends, whereever & whoever you can. It will make a difference and will indeed save a life. I know things would most likely be expedited in this adoption case. It would be a whirlwind for a family as the
y are really trying to get him out soon.
Write me privately at boydbunch@gmail.com for more details of fees and country location. I am not allowed to share the photos online in a public place. That would be something the agency would do. THere are some kids that just touch you. This one surely has. I've advocated in general in the past & on occassion some specific kids. Samuel is one special kid that truly deserves a shot at a real family. Please make this Holiday Miracle come true for him. Again, this is VERY hard for me as I know where he is. I know what is to come if things are not lined up before December 20th. Have anyone interested write me privately. Sorry I am not allowed to release but a certain amount of info. We must find him a home. Please help. It doesn't cost a dime to spread the word about an orphan in need of a family.
Btw, the fees associated w/ him are very minimal and extremely reasonable. Thanks for taking the time to read this and more than that, spread the word. We're running out of time. Samuel is running out of time. We can save his life this Christmas, we truly can if we work together.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Our New Physical Profile

I updated our physical profile this weekend. It isn't 100% done, I want to add two more pages, but this is what went to LDSFS this morning, as this is what I was able to get done. I like it quite a bit.

Click on each page to view it full size, down load it, print it, share it, love it. . . :)

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire

I am especially happy with what I decided to do for the last page. It is a word cloud of our Dear Birth Parent letter. Here it is big enough to see it.

Unlimited Free Image and File Hosting at MediaFire


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Lightening the mood

Link and I went out with some friends tonight for one of their birthday's to a Karaoke bar. It was HYSTERICAL! We had so much fun. We will be looking forward to doing this again soon.

I forgot my camera (for shame!) - but a friend took a few photos of us being silly on her iphone and emailed them to me (thanks S.!)

And the answer to your next question. . . Cher's "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)" with Lincoln sitting there on a bar stool while I sang to him/ for him/ about him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

What's Your Take?

Did you miss me yesterday? That's right, I didn't achieve my goal of blogging EVERY day this month. We didn't have internet service for much of the day yesterday. Such is life. . .

Image (of course) from the (amazing) Eric Carle Book Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

Link and I talked to an adoption facilitator today. It was an interesting conversation. Their average wait time is between 2 and 4 months. We don't pay them unless we are matched and if that match falls through they roll over our payment until we have a successful placement. Sounds good right? Well there is a problem. . .

I am bothered by the fact that their fee schedule is based upon race (highest fee for white babies, and decreasing as the combined skin color of the birth parents darkens.) I understand that this is a result of a very high demand for healthy white infants. That fact also bothers me, although I appreciat that most adoptive couples are white and many simply want a child who looks like they do. I don't want assume that people are racist because they want their child to look like they look, but as hard as I try, I just can't help but attribute at least some of that to racism. . . the best I can do is hope that it only accounts for a very small percentage of that gap in demand.

Link and I are open to all races.* We are all too aware of the potential (likely) difficulties that bi-racial families can face, and we feel that we are prepared to face those challenges. However, I can't fault someone for being honest enough to say, "no, we don't feel like we are capable of handling those issues in a constructive way."
(*except Native American, simply because neither of us is Native American and we can't afford the additional legal fees associated with a likely ICWA mess)

Would it bother us if we ended up paying a lot less money for a black or bi-racial child? I don't know. It would be nice to be able to afford to adopt again sooner because the first adoption wasn't so financially demanding. Would we feel bad if we adopted a white baby and then could not afford to adopt any more children because of the cost?*
* Not taking fee-free adoptions into account, but that is a topic for another time (another time in the near future.)

I know this can be a very emotional topic, so let's all mind our manners, but I would like to ask all of you what you think. . . (feel free to answer any of the following questions or just jump in with your own views.)

  • Should agencies and facilitators charge the same for the adoption of a black or bi-racial baby as they do for the adoption of a white baby?
  • What about the problem that many agencies with an equal fee schedule face of not being able to find adoptive families for some of their darker skinned babies?
  • How do you all feel about the unequal demand for white babies over all other races? Do you think it is fair, right, appropriate for white families to prefer to adopt white children?
  • What about the lack of Black, bi-racial, Hispanic, Native American, etc. families who want to adopt. . . is it simply a symptom of a social-economic divide or is it something else?
  • Do you think lower fees to adopt darker skinned children might attract more families of the same race?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Avoiding Scams

Lincoln and I do a lot of "finding." I have shared some of the things that we do with you, and will be sharing others.

We have been officially "waiting" for 10.5 months. In that time we have been matched 4 times, we have been the target of a scam at least 4 times (more actually, but some are so obvious that they don't warrant anything more than the click of my delete button in my email or the erase button on my phone. Those I don't count.) We have also been contacted by at least 5-6 other expectant parents who are considering adoption, but haven't made up their minds yet. We've talked on the phone to many expectant parents, we met one for lunch to answer questions about adoption. . . we haven't yet been successful, but it hasn't been for lack of activity.

If you are going to be proactive in finding, you are going to attract scammers. Why do people do this? Sometimes they are hoping to con you out of money. Some of them are simply looking for attention. All of them are sick. Here are the things that we have learned about weeding out scammers and dealing emotionally with the constant up and down.

A. The first thing we do is consult this very helpful article written by ABC Adoptions. If any of these things come up, we take additional measures to investigate the situation.

1. Usually the motivation for birthmother scams are to take your money. She needs money for rent, food, etc. Only give money to a birthmother-to-be through an attorney or qualified adoption professional. The amount limits and circumstances vary by state law. Do not give money directly to a birthmother.

2. If the birthmother is not available by phone and wants to call you because of an on going situation, beware! You should have a contact number and complete physical address that you can verify.

3. A birthmother may not even be pregnant or could be pregnant and has other plans for the baby, including keeping the baby or promising the baby to several waiting adoptive parents. Look for those signs.

4. The birthmother has at least one or more crisis in her life and you are part of the solution. This can include sad stories such as rape and incest. Be sensitive, but do not be drawn into the whole situation.

5. The birthmother offers a plan to bring the baby to you. Birthmothers usually want you to meet her and arrange to receive the baby at the hospital. This ploy is used to get a plane ticket which can be cashed in later. Do not give anyone a plane ticket. Many adopting parents have lost money by purchasing a plane ticket and never hearing from the, supposed, birthmother again

5. To have a match, you must meet face to face with the expectant mother. Big flag, the birthmother flakes out. She misses scheduled meetings with you or other professionals. Even with an unbelievable story she can be very convincing.

6. Proof or pregnancy or other documents are agreed upon, but never seem to arrive. She seems to always have a reason for not sending you identifying information or cannot believe that you have not received the information. A sudden miscarriage or hospitalization can happen when you request for too much information.

7. The birthmother does not want you to contact anyone else concerning her pregnancy. She does not feel comfortable meeting or talking with an attorney or other adoption professional. When pressed, she might accuse you of not trusting her and can even get angry.

8. The birthmother will not give you, but will get you the name of her doctor or clinic where she is receiving medical attention.

9. The birthmother will evade certain details regarding medical attention, signing parental rights, contacting social services or adoption professionals.

10. The birthmother changes her story about the pregnancy or her situation. If a birthmother is talking to several adoptive parents, her story can change because she cannot remember what she said to you.

11. Be careful if the birthmother is expecting twins. This is a popular situation with an adoption scam. In the natural course, ask for proof of pregnancy and how are you able to contact her doctor.

12. A favorite ploy is for someone to fix you up with a friend. That person might pose as an adoptive parent and not an adoption professional. Be careful that the friend is not the same person. If both have the same IP address watch out!

13. Fake birthmothers are very willing to match quickly and will say you are perfect, without knowing much about you. They are going to send you pictures and other thing, but never do.

14. They have always had complications with the pregnancy.....they usually claim when you cannot find them that they were at the emergency room.

15. The birthmother does not like or want to deal with an attorney or other adoption professional. She has had a bad experience with an attorney and does not want to work with them again.

16. The truth of the matter is that you need to get down to adoption business. Small talk is necessary, but keep it in prospective. The phone meetings are to establish if you are suited for a "match" and if yes, then both parties need to get the necessary paper work in order.

B. The next thing we always do is to do an internet search for their name and email address. We have discovered two very legitimate sounding contacts were scams this way.

C. We then search the Yahoo Group "Adoption Scams" for the potential birth parent's name and email address.

D. We also always ask them to look at our adoption blog. We keep detailed statistics on who visits our blog. We always ask them where they are from, and verify that someone from that city viewed our blog between our first and second conversations.

Some of the other "further actions" we have taken are:
  • had a background check run on a prospective b-parent (it was scary.)
  • hired an attorney in the expectant parent's state to determine if she was legitimate.
  • asked expectant parents to meet with a caseworker in their state to verify pregnancy and asked them to allow the case worker to talk with prospective birth mom's doctor. (She told us she was expecting twins, she wasn't.)
E. Above all, trust your instincts. If something sounds off to you, it probably is.

There are several other places that you can become educated about potential adoption scams and what to look for.
The EMOTIONAL ASPECT of vetting out the potential birth parents who contact you can really take a tole. It gets easier the more that you do it, that is because you get better at determining what sounds strange and what sounds real.

Link and I have come up with a good cop, bad cop routine that has helped us a lot. He assumes that anyone that contacts us is a scammer. I assume that anyone (within reason- anyone from South Africa is OUT) is a real expectant parent and we proceed from there. Lincoln checking me to make sure I do not get too emotional and I checking him to make sure he doesn't damage the potential relationship.

It is hard, and while it gets easier, my heart STILL leaps when I open my email box to find an email that could potentially be THAT email, or get a text message or a phone call. . . Even though none of them have ultimately been THE MESSAGE that will eventually lead us to our new family member, four of them have been close, and two of them have been very very close.

This has kept me from giving up, from just throwing in the towel and saying, "forget it, there are nothing but crazies out here." FAITH and TRUST IN GOD are the main weapons in combating adoption fatigue. You will still have doubt (I know I do) but "Perfect LOVE casteth out fear" (1 John 4:18) and the love Link and I have for our future children may not yet be perfect but it is fierce. It is certainly strong enough to look that fear in the face and say,


I would also like to add that hopeful adoptive parents are not the only ones who are at risk of being the victims of adoption scams. Potential birth parents are also face some risk of matching with unethical adoptive parents. That, however, is an entire different post. You can read more about the warning signs of that kind of adoption scam in the Adoption ABC article I mentioned above.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Triad Tangents - Book Review: Sam's SIster

We always talk about the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive parents, and adopted child. It forms a strong and powerful picture in our minds.

The reality, however, is that there are many many other people who have an interest in any adoption.

And this only shows the immediate families of each member of the triad, this does not include grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. There are so many people who's lives and hearts will be affected by an adoption. I hope that each of them recognizes it as the miracle that it is. However, it also means a loss for many of those loved ones. One group of people, in particular, that will forever be affected are the older or future children of the birth parents.

This is a book for those sweet little children to whom adoption must seem terribly confusing. As Rosa's Mommy helps her to understand her brother's adoption, she is less confused and discovers happiness in being Sam's Sister.


Sam's Sister

by Juliet C. Bond
Illustrated by Dawn. W. Majewski

This book is perfectly written and beautifully illustrated. Here is a brief synopsis of this heart breaking and heart warming book.

The story is told by Rosa

"When I was five, something very special happened. . ."

Rosa was worried about her Mommy, she was not acting like herself. Rosa asked her Mommy what is wrong, and her mommy told her what she had been so worried about. There was a new baby growing in her tummy. She explained to Rosa that they could not take care of this new baby, she told her about all of the things a new baby needs and how they could not get any of those things.

Rosa's Mommy told her about a family who want a baby to love.

"Will they take me too?" Rosa askes
"No way, Jose'" was Mommy's reply. She hugged her tight and reassured her.

"Do you love the baby in your tummy?"
"Yes, we will love him, too. He just won't live with us."

Rosa had a lot of questions to ask her Mommy as her tummy grew bigger. Her Mommy answered each question and helped her understand. She went with her mommy to meet the baby's new mommy and daddy. They gave her a blank coloring book so that she could color pictures and write stories for her little brother.

When it was time for the baby to come. Rosa stayed with her aunt and in the morning went to the hospital. The baby's name was Sam. Rosa was very excited to meet him and to help her Mommy choose a middle name for Sam.

Later Rosa went home with her Mommy and Sam went home with his new mommy and daddy. When they got home, Rosa and her Mommy read a letter Sam's new parents had written to them promising to take such good care of Sam.

Sometimes Rosa cried or had nightmares about missing Sam. Her Mommy was sad sometimes too, even though they knew that Sam's new mommy and daddy loved him very much. They talked to a counselor about their sad feelings.

Sam's new mommy and daddy also called them every week and sent pictures of him. He and Rosa had the same favorite song. Rosa and her Mommy went to visit Sam and she was happy that he laughed when she sang them their favorite song.

At the end of the book are the words, both in Spanish and English, to Rosa and Sam's favorite song.

I cried big alligator tears when I read this. Not only was Rosa's Mommy very brave, so was Rosa.

Juliet Bond is a counselor with a well respected adoption agency in Illinois. In her research, she found that as many as 60% of birth parents have a child they are parenting at the time of placement. She wanted to give those parents a tool to help their children deal with the grief and loss of having a sibling adopted. She wanted this book to provide comfort and peace to the birth families who are making such an important life decision.

Thank you Juliet for writing such a beautiful and powerful book.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Hi Friends, I am still trying to recover from this cold, which seems to be getting worse, not the other way around. I am told this may have something to do with my inability to rest and let my immune system have the extra energy it needs to work its magic. (lame)

So instead of my intended post, go ahead and enjoy the entertainment my adorable boy and sweet husband provided me with this evening as I "rested" on my couch.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Get Out There

I know it's not Friday, but I was busy spending quality time with my girlfriends yesterday. . . :)

All of us have our online profiles up with our agency or lawyer. Many of us also have blogs, websites, and/or facebook pages. A few of us also have an additional profile up on ParentProfiles.com.

Now think of all the zillions of websites out there, even just adoption related sites. (Google turns up 88,700,000 sites for the word "adoption".) These poor birth mothers are searching for the "perfect" family for their child in a digital haystack. Now of course most of us believe that God is directing their search, but we can help make that search for us a little easier by increasing the number of places that they can find us.

It is true that increasing our presence on the web can get expensive. There are a few places, however, that offer free or low priced profiles for hopeful adoptive parents. Here are a few that I think I will utilize, please tell us if you know of any others.

My Adoption Profile

Parent Gallery

these are not free but low cost

Potential Parents

Adoptions Open

Friday, November 13, 2009

Seek out Support

Tonight I spent the evening knitting, talking, and generally being uplifted by four of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure to know. I truly have incredible friends.

What does this have to do with adoption, you ask?

You may be able to get through the intense emotional roller coaster of adoption on your own, but you will come through it stronger, happier, and more grateful for the journey if you surround yourself with friends who cheer with you, mourn with you, pray for you, and give you the opportunity to do the same for them.

Adoption requires you to open up your heart. It isn't always easy, it leaves you vulnerable, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes. Practice on your friends. . . and the blessings that follow will astound you.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Book Review Repost

OK friends, I am super tired and don't have the brain power tonight for anything worth reading, so I'm reaching back a year into the archives and pulling out my very first adoption book review. It was a helpful book for me when we first embarked on our adoption journey. I would recommend it to anyone considering adoption.

The Adoption Decision - 15 Things You Want to Know Before Adopting
Laura Christianson

This book review will come with a disclaimer that this is the first adoption book I have read, so keep that in mind.

This is a Christian centered book. Christianson refers to it as a:
"how to for the heart"- a guide through the critical heart issues you'll encounter during the adoption process and after you bring home your child. (p. 10)
She starts out with a glossary of adoption terms, something I thought was a great idea, but would have liked to be more extensive.

The first chapter is a guide to communicating with the people around you (friends, family, obnoxious busy bodies) as you begin your adoption journey. She has some excellent suggestions on how to handle a variety of responses and questions that you are likely to field.

Next she deals with the emotions and reactions that both you and others will have once your child arrives home. This was one my my favorite chapters, as I find Chrsitanson's dry reactions to some astonishing comments about her children, very fitting.
I've been married to the same man for 25 years and I can attest that biologically unrelated people possess the capacity to bond.
The most valuable part of the book for me personally was chapter 4, A Labor of Love. I appreciated the Christianson's candor about the home study, about the personal questions you will be asked and expected to answer, and the emotions you will encounter as you qualify the special needs you may or may not be willing to accept in your child.

Other chapter's include dealing with the emotional aspects of infertility (and the insensitivity you may encounter,) a personal perspective on meeting birth parents, and overcoming the trauma of failed placements. She also covers international adoption, adopting children of a different ethnicity than your own, and gives a look into the lives and coping mechanisms of families whose children have severe developmental, emotional, or behavioral challenges.

Throughout the book Christianson gives examples of her topic from the Bible and reminds us of the continual support and love of our Father in Heaven. Some may find this aspect of the book distracting, but she effectively positions these portions of her book in such a way that, if desired, they can be skimmed over without missing any of the information in the chapter.

Again, this is the first adoption related book I have read, so my experience is very limited, however, I found this book useful, uplifting, and a welcome look into the more personal and emotional aspects of adoption that I have been concerned about.

Thank you Laura for a valuable book.

(this review was originally posted at fsawa.blogspot.com on August 29, 2008)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Word Bird Winner

I know you were all waiting with baited breath to hear WHO the winner of the WORD BIRD from Birth Mother Baskets is. . . oh, you mean you all have lives and haven't been sitting there hitting "refresh" every 20 seconds all day. Well, good that actually makes me feel better about not getting to it until tonight. (I was busy too today, doing very lame grown up things like buying life insurance and less lame grown up things like getting our family photos taken.)

This is the lovely winner of the adorable {word bird}. Layla, who blogs at The Grass is Greener and recently took a trip to Europe that has left me a little green with envy. (beautiful photography!)
A good friend of mine lost a child to still birth and wasn't able to get pregnant again. It caused a lot of heartach and pain for her. In the past year she has adopted a little boy and her life seems more complete. She is much happier and it is all thanks to a young birth mother.
Thanks for your comment, Layla!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

View From the Center

You all thought I wasn't going to post my promised fabulous post today, didn't you. Ah, well, I am getting in just under the wire!

It is my pleasure to introduce you to my dear friend Tabitha. Tabitha was in the room of new mothers the day I first (in a very messy and emotional manner) publicly faced the fact that I would never bare another child, and confessed my anxiety about our planned course of adoption. I didn't know Tabitha then, but I believe that angles arranged for the two of us to be there that day. She approached me after the new moms' group and offered her support, as a nurse who understood the medical trauma I had been through, as a friend, and as a woman who had been adopted as an infant.

Tabitha has been a source of constant support and encouragement to me through our adoption journey. I am so grateful for her friendship. I am honored that she has agreed to share her adoption story with us as part of our National Adoption Awareness Celebration.

Tabitha, her husband Thom, and their beautiful daughter.
My Adoption Story

After waiting for months and months (thirteen to be exact) my mother decided to call the case worker at Children’s Home Society, again. “Oh my goodness, didn’t my secretary call you?” was the response my mom got. “There is a baby girl for you.” They came to see me the next day. They say I didn’t cry; I just looked at them. My dad drove 20-miles an hour the whole way home.

One of my favorite parts of the story is when my folks were in a pre-adoption class with a dozen or so other prospective parents and the leader was asking the parents how they would “handle the problem" of telling their child they were adopted. Everyone went took a turn to discuss strategies. My folks were the last ones to answer the question. My dad, who apparently never spoke in class, answered this question with a simple question, "What problem?" My dad brags that they were the first from that group to have a child placed with them.

My parents told my adoption story with the same reverence that other parents tell birth stories. They created such an overwhelming sense of normalcy surrounding my adoption that I never even questioned that it could be different. Why would it? It is a part of who I am.

I was five-weeks old when I was placed because I was born with hip dysplasia, a condition which required me to be in a brace for my first three months. Because things were done differently back then, I was in the hospital for four weeks, and then one week with a foster parent before my mom made the check in phone call to the case worker.

They had to wait 6-months before the adoption was final. My mom says it was the most difficult time in her life. Mom says she was on pins and needles feeling like I could be snatched away at anytime, once the papers were signed and official, she said she could finally breathe again.

My favorite story growing up was, “The Chosen Baby” by Valentina Pavlovna Wasson, published in 1950. It is incredibly dated and over simplistic, but I loved it so much I later shamelessly plagiarized it for a high school literary project.

I never had that rebellious "I'm going to go find my REAL parents" fight with my folks because they WERE my real parents. Not to say that I didn't have some raging arguments with my parents, but I was so secure in my place in our family, the thought didn't occur to me. To this day, especially now that I have my own daughter, I truly don't feel like I am any less attached to my mom and dad than my daughter is attached to my husband and me.

A question that always comes up is if I have ever found my birth-parents. I have not. For the classic 1970's "closed" adoption I am fortunate to know a bit about my birth-parents. Birth mom was 19, birth dad was 17. I know a little medical history, ethnicity, and social interests. It isn’t much more than a 4-5 page questionnaire but it makes be believe that both my birth parents were involved in the adoption. I was raised with the knowledge that my birth parents wanted to do what they felt was best for me. I never felt “given away” or rejected. I know in my heart that theirs was the most thoughtful of decisions. They didn’t get to choose who would parent me, they put their faith in a system and it worked. My parents weren’t rich, in fact there were times we were quite poor when I was growing up. But that didn’t matter; I grew up with the right parents. And, the children who created me, lets face it, 17 & 19 really are still children, were able to grow up and live there own lives.

I am curious, especially for a more detailed medical history and to know if I might have any half-siblings out there (I am an only child), but I haven't actively sought them out. I would take that sort of relationship very seriously and once that door is opened it cannot be closed again. There are times, I feel like I have this nice little story in my head, a story I am happy and comfortable with, one from which no good would come if it were torn to shreds. There are times, I feel like I have so little time for my existing family that to embark on a search and possibly develop a new relationship would take more emotional fortitude than I can muster. I also know that no one has tried to seek me out either. I was born in the same city near where I was raised and where I currently live, so the search itself probably wouldn't be that hard. I may open that door someday, but not right now.

Right now, I am focusing on my family, living my life, knowing that adoption is part of who I am and who I will always be.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Adoption Bloggers

I have a cold. It's Monday, but there will be no Matching Monday until I get permission from WA state to continue doing it. (I am working on that.) I have a great post for tomorrow and another one lined up for Wed. In the mean time, check out some of the other adoption bloggers that I follow.

Enjoy - and leave me the URLs of other adoption blogs you think I should be following.

AND- Remember that tomorrow is the last day that you can enter to win an adorable WORD BIRD to support BIRTH MOTHER BASKETS.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


In my upstairs hallway there is a duffel bag. It’s a smallish duffel bag, well made, plum color with deep green accents. My parents gave it to me when I was a sophomore in high school. I’ve used it continually since then, it even went to the Philippines with me on my mission. You wouldn’t know it by looking at it that it’s nearly 15 years old, it is in very good condition. I guess that you might say I’m emotionally attached to this bag, as much as a person can be attached to a bag.

It comes into my view as I walk up my stairs to where our bedrooms are. Sometimes I avoid looking at it. Sometimes I stop and stare at it. Sometimes it grabs ahold my heart and squeezes it so terribly terribly hard. You see, that bag is packed for trip that it never took. It is filled with tiny pajamas, swaddling blankets, burp cloths and special glass bottles. I can’t see those little things, but I know they are there.

I can’t bring myself to unpack that bag or even move it. I haven’t opened it. I don’t want to touch it. My duffle bag has become a small, discrete coffin for the dreams of a child that will never come home. It is the only evidence of the heart break that we have suffered.

When will my very rational self take over, realize that a duffle bag does not belong in a hallway, that we will need to use that bag the next time we take a family trip? I don’t know. It feels like it never will. I wonder, will I just go buy another bag or will necessity force me toward the shaking and sobs and despair that my little coffin will unleash?

Really though, I’m not afraid of the tears. There have all ready been so many. I’m afraid of loosing the only thing I have left of him. A child that I lost, but who is not dead. A son who grew in my heart and then was ripped from it. A baby whom I will never raise, not here, not in the eternities.

And so, a smallish duffel bag remains sitting in my upstairs hallway.

(Please take this only as an expression of my personal loss, and do not derive from it any anger toward K.’s mother. K. is not my son, he is A.’s son, and he is not the child I grieve over. He is a miracle that we celebrate with her. He is the possibility and the child that she would have grieved had she been able complete the placement. We grieve the possibility and the child he could have been as part of our family, but isn’t.)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Parenthood Coach! YES!

Adoptive parents face an unusual situation. We can go from "no baby" to "baby" with one phone call. Our pregnancies can last 1 week, 9 months, 3 years - the real problem is that we JUST. DON'T. KNOW.

With this problem comes the question of when to purchase baby gear. Do you buy a crib and then face the potential of seeing it empty for two years, reminding your of the seeming interminable wait? Do you not buy anything and then have to rush in making some very important purchases? What if you are called at 3am and told to board a plane the next morning to pick up your baby on the other side of the country (or the world.)

Today I learned about an amazing company that solves this problem for you.

Welcome to Itsabelly Baby Planners!

What is a Baby Planner?

Just as you may be entirely capable of planning your own wedding, doing your taxes, cleaning your house, creating a physical fitness plan or painting your toenails, summoning assistance to prepare for a huge life transition can be tremendously helpful. Or maybe you're on bed rest, expecting multiples, going through an intense adoption process or surrogacy and just want expedient real-time information from someone who knows all the latest safety research about car seats or how to choose baby gear that fits your life style and budget. Itsabelly Baby Planners offers useful services to meet a wide range of needs, from freeing up extra time for enjoying the precious moments of your pregnancy to baby proofing your home to protect your little one from danger.

I talked to Windy Gossett, the It's a Belly baby consultant here in Seattle and asked her "if I got 'the call' tomorrow could you be there to help me prepare my nursery in one day?" She said "yes" and went on to tell me how this adoption friendly company even teaches parenting prep classes along with one of their partners, Open Adoption and and Family Services.

It's a Baby has consultants in Portland, Altlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, and Vancouver. They also do phone and email consultations to anywhere in the US and Canada.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Finding Friday

Several adoption bloggers in the adoption blogging world :) have begun featuring ways that families who are searching for the birth parents of their child can reach out and make their presence known. I love this idea and so, here I go *jumps on band wagon*!

I am passionate (OK- obsessed) with finding. I have spent A LOT of time doing this. Yes, I think it has been worth it, even though we have not yet been able to adopt. We were matched the first time after only 6 months, the average waiting time is 2-3 years. Yes, I have faith in finding.

One of my favorite ways that I have reached out to friends and family (and their friends and family) is through our facebook group page.

There are currently 324 wonderful people keeping their eyes, ears, and hearts open for the woman or couple who will eventually join our family as birth parents. They are thinking of our family when they hear of a woman facing a crisis pregnancy situation and passing our information along. They are praying for us and supporting us through this often difficult process.

I enjoy sharing the progress of our adoption efforts with our cheer leading team. I share links on touching adoption articles, songs, and situations. I am blessed to be able to help people better understand what adoption is all about.

Go ahead, set up a facebook fan or group page. Start building your own cheering team!

Other Finding Friday Bloggers with great ideas:
The Arizona Experiment
Families Supporting Adoption

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Cute Adoption Related Etsy Finds

Hallmark doesn't make adoption announcements. However, sarahandmargaret do! These beautiful announcements are environmentally friendly (they are serious, read all about it on their profile) and they donate 10% of their proceeds to one of their listed charities.

ALSO!!! They offer a 10% discount for adoptive couples (or those ordering for parties on their behalf.)

These beautiful necklace pendants capture many adoption sentiments for both domestic and international adoption. Seller DosBesitos makes these lovely pendants with maps of your child's country, mother-father-aunt-grandmother-grandfather-etc in various languages, and sweet adoption sentiments. The backs of them can be customized with a birth or gotcha date and a child's name.

Most of you know and love Mrs. R. and The R. House. The newest editions to her always amazing shop are these adorable onesies that will look adorable on your newest little family member. (Also be sure to check out her beautiful adoption related jewelry.)

Last, and also my personal favorite, are these Custom UnNaked Family. You send artist nakedpeggies a picture of your family and she creates an UnNaked family to match yours. (I LOVE THIS!)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

"Adopting Teenagers" - Adoptive Families - an amazing familiy

I just got my Adoptive Families Magazine. I really enjoy this magazine. I look forward to reading it every month.

There is always one or two articles that really stick out to me in each issue. I often highlight them here. This month there was one that really hit me, and I am very excited to share it with you.

"Adopting Teenagers" by Gretchan Thompson is on page 38 of the December 2009 issue.

This is "Team Thompson." They are a pretty amazing family. Gretchan tells you why in her blog description.

Normal is over-rated and not nearly as interesting or fun. The story of how a young, single White girl and two Black teenagers redefine the traditional family model and become the All-American Family.

Notice the words "young" and "girl" - she really wasn't kidding. Gretchan was 25 when she adopted her sons Mychael and Malcolm who were ages 11 and 15 at the time. She writes candidly about her fear, her insecurities, their battles, and most importantly about their joy and their triumphs.

She writes about things that we all take for grated as "normal" and how "un-normal" they become when you are the 25 year old mother of two teen-ages sons. Like. . . dating-
"It’s funny how your biggest priority prior to becoming an adoptive parent becomes your lowest concern once you’ve secured the position. And besides, sometimes it's just about doing the right thing--walking the walk you talk, practicing what you preach."
and what her sons call her. . . (yes, people actually ask them that.)
"Mom, they call me Mom just like I call my Mom...and sometimes when they're pissed at me, they probably call me other things, just like I did with my Mom when I was a young. We're just like every other family. I know that might seem difficult to grasp, but we really are just like everyone else."
And what really makes their story fun to read in addition to being really very interesting is Gretchan's great sense of humor.
"So, thanks, normal people, for forcing us to confront the obvious, find resolution and come out stronger and better in the end.
Oh, and normal people, we appreciate that not everyone can be as strong as us, but don't worry, we still accept you."
Gretchan is working on a book called A Real Family. I am looking forward to reading more about their amazing family. In the mean time be sure to read through Team Thompson's blog.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

How Can I Support Birth Mothers?

Birth mothers are the heros of adoption.

They are the ones that make adoption possible.

This month tell them how much their choices, actions, and sacrifices have meant and do mean to you. Tell them that you know they will never forget, and neither will you.

Gina, birth mother to her 9 year old "Butterfly" has provided us with the perfect way to do just that. Gina is the force behind

a charity that creates baskets that new birth mothers can carry with them as they leave the hospital- she does not want them to walk out with empty arms.

"The Birth Mother Baskets {bmb} actually started as a small service project for me to do for Christmas in 2002. I wanted to show support to other birth mothers and let them know it’s ok to talk about your placement, to be proud of your decision. I wanted something that the birth mothers could take home with them, after placement. I didn’t want them to go home with empty arms. That’s when I thought of a gift basket full of items, just for the birth mother, to show her she is not alone. I took ALL the resources I had at that time (which wasn’t much). I then called around to every local business that I thought might donate. My small goal of filling 20 baskets became 60 and I was thrilled with the response. I then distributed them to local hospitals and social services to give to each birth mother.

With such a great outpouring, by those around me, I was able to continue filling baskets for about four years! Some of these donations came from businesses, friends or speaking engagements that I have done here locally. In those four years, I have successfully filled over 300 baskets!!"

Gina has created these adorable word birds to help raise funds to fill these amazing baskets. At only $10, and with the proceeds going to such a great project, this is a great time to be thinking about Christmas presents (sisters, moms, grandmas, friends, who wouldn't love a little word bird?)

You can also donate cash directly to Birth Mother Baskets, or send Gina any of the supplies she lists on her website that she often uses to fill the baskets.

To kick off my month long blog-o-thon in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month

I am giving away one of these adorable word birds!

You want one don't you! (I know I do.)

So you can enter FOUR times.
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me how a birth mother has touched your life.
2. Tweet or Facebook about this contest (with a link back to this post)- then leave me a comment letting me know.
3. Blog about this contest and then leave a comment with a link to your blog.
4. Make a donation of any kind to Birth Mother Baskets and (you guessed it) leave me a comment (no need to tell me what kind of donation or how much, anything is great.)

Please be sure that you leave some way for me to contact you in case you win!

Entries will be open until midnight on Nov. 10th. I will announce a winner on Nov. 11th.

Also, be sure to visit Gina's blog. Her post, sharing with us her journal entry just FOUR DAYS after placement, is so beautiful and enlightening.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Matching Monday's: Washington Edition

Matching Monday: Washington's Edition is part of The R House's "Matching Monday" campaign. The three main goals of "Matching Monday" are (in Mrs. R's own words. . . )
  1. Give these children and all waiting children more positive exposure.
  2. Help change hearts and minds by allowing people to see who is really waiting for a family...break stereotypes.
  3. Help couples and children come together.

12 Years

Angelina is a bright, social and fun loving pre-teen who enjoys participating in youth activities through her church, which include singing in the choir and performing on a dance team. Angelina is a "girlie girl" who takes pride in her appearance and although she probably would not admit it, from time to time she also enjoys "little girl play."

10 Years

Andrew enjoys school and reports that his favorite classes are math, reading and art. He also enjoys swimming, skate boarding and anything Star Wars. This past summer, Andrew had the opportunity to go camping with his foster family and attend a overnight summer camp. After these experiences, Andrew discovered that he enjoyed anything outdoors.

Qavy and Karvy
10 Years

Ten year old identical twins Qavyier and Karvyier (know as Qavy & Karvy) want to be adopted together. Both boys have made tremendous growth and progress since they first entered care.

Qavy has discovered that he likes sports, especially basketball and swimming, and he is looking forward to participating in extra curricular activities at school. Bright and capable, school has become a much more positive experience for him

Karvy is and exceptional artist who has been enthused to be able to learn Japanese drawing techniques from his teacher. Like his brother, Karvy enjoys his relationships with the primary adults in his life and enjoys learning from their experiences. Karvy really enjoys most active, outdoor activities and is having a lot of fun participating in a local soccer program

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Adoption Awareness Month

This month I will be blogging every day in honor of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Topics will include:
  • How to make a difference in the life of a foster child.
  • Questions to ask before you consider adoption.
  • Ways that you can support birth parents and help them become the powerful advocates they have the opportunities to become.
  • A walk through the approval process.
  • A couple of adoption give-aways.
  • A special book review.
  • Any special requests??? email me at adoptionfyi@gmail.com
Near the end of the month I hope to face my own tears and broken heart as I share with you the story of our adoption journey to date, including our very recent second failed adoption.

Please join me in celebrating adoption this month.