Life in the Shoes of a Happy Adoptee

Posted by – February 7, 2012

 

I was pointed to Alexandria’s blog today by Mrs. R. over at the R House.

It has been a while since I have posted but, this post written by Alexandria is a great example of how to help your child grow up comfortably, happy and feeling the love as an adoptee.

A great read – thank you for sharing your perspective Alexandria.

Adoptees and a Lifetime of Awareness

Posted by – November 28, 2011

I don’t know much yet about the experience of adoptees but, I am trying to educate myself about them.

About a year and a half ago, I attended an adoption conference and was able to hear Troy Dunn, of “The Locator.” He spoke about his mother’s experience as an adoptee and her desire to reconnect with her biological family. She didn’t have much success but, out of her sharing these experiences with her son, his life’s work of re-uniting began. He shared with us how everyone born into and raised by their biological family has and knows their whole life story. They have pictures, dates, family members to connect with and commonalities within their families. Those that are adopted don’t necessarily have all of those things. When an adoptee knows nothing or very little about their biological family he calls it, “Not knowing Chapter One of their life story.” This can cause a lot of frustration for adoptees. Imagine not even knowing you were adopted until you are fifteen and then trying to put the pieces together of how it all happened. It doesn’t seem right. It isn’t right.

I think it is a blessing and a gift from birth parents and adoptive parents alike to be able to ensure that their child knows a good amount about their biological family and about how they joined their adoptive family. I am certainly no expert but, I think most adoptees would appreciate knowing their “Chapter One”. Thanks for the incite Troy.

Thanks Be Given on this Thanksgiving Day

Posted by – November 24, 2011

I am grateful for many things in my life. Most importantly my little family, Julia’s birth family, our big extended family and the opportunity we have now to save for our next adoption and other important dreams. We are very blessed.

I am also so grateful that the Lord has a will for each of us and that it is better than the will we have for ourselves. You see, my will years ago was to be able to become pregnant easily and have droves of children but, my Heavenly Father’s will for me was to go through infertility to stretch me and grow my relationship with Him and reliance upon Him. His will was also for me to be here and now, blessed to be a mother through adoption and to have the amazing responsibility of advocating for it and continuing the goodness of adoption in the lives of others. What a wonderful time it is to celebrate National Adoption Month! It is amazing that I celebrate and advocate for it in the month I focus most on my thankfulness for it!

Oh, and I am really grateful my first turkey came out right!

“It’s About Love”

Posted by – November 20, 2011

Sealed to Julia for time and all eternity.

I found this article written for the Church News of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This is the church I belong to (some know us as mormon).

I loved the article. I am so grateful that the leaders of our church value adoption so much that they provide the organization of LDS Family Services to assist birth parents, their families and member adoptive parents in the process. It is so important to the leaders of our church that they are working to ensure that these services are offered across the world. They are currently available in only a few countries, the USA being one of them.

Read the article to see how Julia’s grandparents feel about her and all of the blessings she brings to our family.

Click the YouTube video below to see many of the people touched by adoption through LDS Family Services.

Adoption Blogger Interview Project 2011

Posted by – November 17, 2011

Adoption Bloggers Interview Project 2011

I signed up to be part of the 2011 Adoption Bloggers Interview Project. Adoption bloggers, whether they be adoptive parents, birth parents or adoptees are randomly paired up to interview each other and post it on their blogs. For more information on the Project and to read other interviews click the button to the left.

Through this Project I was able to meet Taylor and learn about her family on their family adoption site at www.thehappiestsearch.blogspot.com and their family blog at www.spotthewonderblog.blogspot.com. It is so amazing to meet someone with similar circumstances to yours. In reading through Taylor’s blogs I have had so many of my feelings about adoption and infertility validated. What follows are my favorite quotes on Taylor’s blogs.

Writing about moving forward with their plans to adopt:

“The Lord needed me to give up my old dream. He took the thing that was the hardest and most dear to me. the thing that i wanted more than anything else and He asked me to sacrifice it. He needs me to know that i can give up my dream for His.”

“I will never again KNOW that a child belongs in my family, simply because I can feel him moving within my own pregnant body. I don’t know how on earth my children will make it into my arms; where they will come from, when they will arrive. I don’t know what they will look like, or how long it will take for them to get here. I have no concept of how they will defy all odds and make it into my family. This time around, I don’t have a pregnancy calender, reminding me daily of what is awaiting for my family ahead. Instead, we can only follow the spirit, and pray that he will guide us. And pray that we will KNOW.”

Writing about finding in adoption:

“The whole idea of someone wandering around with their heart on their sleeve, searching for these little spirits that are meant for their family, is just intoxicating.”

Writing about motherhood:

“Sometimes, it seems there are not really words to adequately describe the honor of being a mother. And because of my trials, I am reminded daily of how beautifully orchestrated my life really is.”

The Interview

What did you think about the paperwork process to become prospective adoptive parents?

Oh paperwork…. sigh. Before we will have finalized our adoption, we will have used three different agencies; each with their own pile of paperwork. You really have to lay everything out there; it can feel very vulnerable. But, I guess I figured I would jump through fire if it meant that I would find my baby. I was willing to do what it took!

I have signed, re-signed, dated, addressed, verified, copied, scanned, and printed, more paper than I ever thought could possibly be involved!! At the start, it was quite overwhelming… But, just like with most things with adoption, you grow accustomed to the ever growing piles, and just learn to plow through it. We are using two different agencies for post-placement, (plus our birthmom and birthdad) that we send reports to each month. Each package includes updated pictures, letters, doctor forms, etc. It seems like as soon as we have finished collecting all the stuff for one package, it’s time to send another!! Busy, busy.

During your wait to be Adoptive Parents what got you through all of the ups and downs?

I always knew that our next baby was out there. I knew that we were going to find our baby; but I had no idea how. That was very overwhelming. I loved talking to other families in the adoption world. I loved knowing that others have “been there, done that”, AND SURVIVED!!

How did you cope with failed placements?

There was lots and lots and lots of tears. And prayer. When my body physically hurt from pain, I would continue to pray and pray and pray, until I didn’t feel like I was going burst anymore. And then I’d get up and face the world! My husband and I rallied up our little family, and moved forward, with as much grace as we could possibly muster up. Our children were hurt and confused, which was more painful to us than the initial feelings of despair, anguish, and disappointingly enough, betrayal…. I really faced every stage of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. I think the best thing is to actually FEEL it. I never tried to act tougher than I was feeling. I would yell into my pillow, and just weep at night with my dear husband. We were very unprepared with the amount of heart break that would occur. The best thing for us was knowing that the Lord would never forsake us; we would feel whole again. He compensates for our losses.

What is one of your fond memories of the period of time between being chosen to be Grif’s parents and having him home with you?

Grif’s birthmother chose us to be his parents about 7 hours before his due date. True story. Once we got the call that we had been “chosen”, things seemed to be go-go-go. But, as we waited in that hospital room, waiting to meet our son the day he was born, time stood still. I remember so vividly when they rolled him into our room, my heart instantly said, “Oh there you are son… I’ve been waiting for…YOU…” Our hearts were already so intricately connected. My soul rejoiced. I had missed him, before I had ever met him. And here he was. Yes, I knew him after all; as if we had met before. Of course he was ours— his beautiful birthmothers, mine, my husbands, Gods. He was all of ours. And he was right where he was supposed to be. And then his birthmom, seeing him for the first time, reached into his bassinet, and immediately put him into my arms. And he was home.

How did Grif get his cute name? Was his birth mother involved in the naming?

All of our boys have one syllable, four letter names. We are pretty quirky. One day our oldest son told us that he has a baby “Grif” coming to our family. It sort of stuck :) We actually tried to name him something else once he was here, but our older sons refused to call him that, and only referred to him as “Grif”. His birthmom gave him his middle name.

How open is communication in Grif’s adoption?

We are very open! We chat (through facebook, email, letters, etc.) with his birthmom a few times a week. We don’t have her phone number, or her home address, but I’m hoping that things will evolve over to time to be that way. She lives across the country from us, so connecting online has been a huge blessing! We are very (VERY!!) happy with how our relationship has grown with her. It has come a long way… We hope for the same with his birth father, and his side of the family.

What is the best thing about adoption?

Oh boy. How do you answer such a loaded question? So many aspects. The best thing about adoption is all the love that is invested in one human; we all want what is best for this child!! The mother that walks away with a broken heart—she gave everything she could for that child. And the mother that gets to rock her sleeping child— she became everything she could for that child…

Adoption completes my soul.

What is the best thing about being a Mother to an adopted child?

When I look at each of my children, I think about the miracle each of them are. I simply CAN NOT believe they all made it into my family— each, defying all odds (literally) to get here. I do not parent or love any of my children in a different way, whether they have a genetic or adoption connection; they all have made me whole. So, the best thing about being a Mother, is that I get to be a part of their lives, each day. It is a joy and honor to see the Hand of the Lord in my life on a daily basis.

How and when will you tell Grif that he is adopted?

We tell him every day!! We celebrate adoption in our home. His birth family made a huge sacrifice for him to be in our family. We love his birth family. We know they love him.

Taylor and her family have suffered a great amount of loss through infertility and on their road to finding Grif. I am in awe of the strength of character she and her husband displayed during their trials and their unrestrained joy at the birth of their son, Grif.  I am so grateful to know her better.

Oh, and guess what? Grif is part Cherokee too!

An Unexpected Blessing

Posted by – November 14, 2011

National Adoption Month at the Library

As you know, a few days ago I placed posters in four of our local libraries about “National Adoption Month.” It took me two days to get to all of the libraries and as I was driving home from the last library I was thinking about whether all of the effort of making the posters and traveling to each library to deliver them would actually make a difference to anyone. I was not expecting much of anything in return but, did it on the hope that it would make a difference for someone.

When I got home I checked my email and found this from the first library I delivered the display to:

Elena,

Thanks so much for the beautiful display you created!  I’m sorry it was so crazy last night & we didn’t get more of a chance to chat.  I’m attaching a couple pictures of the display we’ve put up, although there are more adoption books we’ve put out that aren’t in the pictures.  My husband & I are actually waiting to be matched right now, so adoption is a cause dear to my heart!  :)

Heather

I wrote Heather back and happily shared about our adoption, offered to go to lunch with her and be a supportive friend whenever she needs it.

It was a tender mercy from God, letting me know that the efforts I made will make a difference.


Adoption Awareness: Local Celebrations

Posted by – November 13, 2011

Florida celebrates National Adoption Month

Across the country this month, states and local communities are hosting activities reaching out to those in the adoption community or prospective members of the adoption community. These activities promote adoption awareness, support and education.

If you live in the state of Florida you can find an activity in your community to attend at www.adoptflorida.org

This Friday is a celebration of adoption in Orlando at the Orange County Courthouse. There will be a guest speaker, refreshments, and 12 adoptions will be finalized. I am going to go represent and cheer those families on.

This month the state of Florida presents “30 Days of Amazing Children: Explore Adoption!” Click the link and click play to see some of the sweet children in need of a loving forever family. A new child is featured each day.

If you live in another state, google your state’s name and National Adoption Month to find adoption activities to participate in.

I hope you join in the fun!

Birthday Girl – Julia’s Story Part 5

Posted by – November 9, 2011

Mommy and Julia

 

Daddy and Julia

After cruising around Stillwater and having a bite to eat we headed to the hospital to see Kate. We got up to L&D and were surprised (read shocked, scared) to hear from one of the nurses that Kate was not there and she didn’t know when she would be there. PANIC! Fortunately, a nurse that knew our relationship to Kate was able to tell us what they had told Kate, that there was no room at the inn. They sent Kate home because there were too many women in active labor. They told us as soon as they could, they would call her in. We got back in the car and Kate called to tell us what had happened. We were relieved but, disappointed to have to wait. Over the next few days Kate kept trying to be admitted and there was still no room. We entertained ourselves by traveling to the cities Michael’s family was from, visiting relatives and picking up my Mom and Dad when they flew in. Finally, on Sunday evening (Nov 8th), Kate was admitted. They started the induction and her Aunt called us Monday morning at about 7:45 to say that Kate’s water had been broken and she was dilated to a 3. They said get ready, eat breakfast and then come to the hospital. We were ecstatic, cautious and emotional.

We went up to L&D and Kate’s Aunt came to talk with us in the waiting room. She told us that Kate was now dilated to 4 cm, had recently had an epidural and was now sleeping. She said she thought maybe baby girl would make her entrance around 3 p.m.

Imagine our surprise when 30 minutes later Kate’s Aunt came out again and told us they had checked her and she was 10 cm!! Whoa! That was fast. She also told us the doctor was on his way and Kate would like us to come back to see her. We went back to see her and visited for a few minutes. Our interactions with Kate and her family are so personal.

When the doctor got there we went back out to the waiting room to wait for our little angel to be born. While we were waiting we let our families know how things were moving along. Kate’s counselor arrived and just after that her Aunt came back out and told us Julia had been born! She was born at 11:43 a.m., was 20 1/4″ long and weighed 8 lb. 7 oz. She also said she had all ten fingers and all ten toes and was very healthy. About one hour after she was born the nurse brought us to our hospital room. Kate’s Aunt and a baby nurse brought Julia into our room in her hospital grade bassinet.

She was so beautiful to me. Beautiful hair, beautiful hands with long fingers and sweet full lips. I picked her up out of her bassinet and snuggled her to me. Oh, how I had waited and longed for this sweet moment! After I had my turn of snuggles and fed her, she fell asleep and then it was Michael’s turn. Is it even possible for me to express the joy we felt? We spent the rest of the day taking pictures of her, oohing and aahing over her sweet baby-ness and sharing our joy with our family.

Definitely, one of my most treasured memories in life.

Happy 2nd Birthday Julia girl!

Did I mention November 9th is my favorite day of National Adoption Month? Yeah, it is.

Adoption Awareness: At your Local Library

Posted by – November 4, 2011

What can you do to be a friend to adoption this month? Here is suggestion number one: Call your local library and request that they set up a display of positive adoption literature for National Adoption Month. Or do what I did and use the “Contact Us” button on the county wide library website and make the same request.

Four libraries in my county have responded, willing and eager to have a display. Here is the list of positive literature I have encouraged them to use:

I Wished for You: an Adoption Story (Mom’s Choice Award Recipient, Book of the Year Award, Creative Child Magazine)
Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale
The Adoption Sourcebook: A Complete Guide to the Complex Legal, Financial, and Emotional Maze of Adoption (Roxbury Park Books)
No Biking in the House Without a Helmet
Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families — and America (Non)
Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption
God Found Us You (HarperBlessings)
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born
The Whole Life Adoption Book: Realistic Advice for Building a Healthy Adoptive Family

Please contact your local library and join us in promoting adoption awareness.

National Adoption Month

Posted by – November 1, 2011

 

Today marks the first day of National Adoption Month.

The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care occurred in Massachusetts in 1976, when Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week. The idea grew in popularity and spread nationwide. In 1984, President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week, and in 1995, under President Clinton, the week was expanded to the entire month of November.

Every November, a Presidential Proclamation launches activities and celebrations to help build awareness of adoption throughout the nation. Thousands of community organizations arrange and host programs, events, and activities to share positive adoption stories, challenge the myths, and draw attention to the thousands of children in foster care who are waiting for permanent families.

The main focus of National Adoption Month is to help the public to know of the many children in foster care who are in need of families. This year’s theme is “Build Capacity to Make Lasting Change.” The focus is on helping organizations who place children from foster care for adoption to better recruit and retain families for them. This year, the focus will be on finding homes for pre-teen children, ages 8-11. This movement is close to my heart. Every child deserves a family. It is within our families that we are cared for, protected and taught to grow and succeed.

I write about and participate in National Adoption Month for other reasons as well. If I could re-title it, I would call it National Adoption Awareness Month. This month is a reminder to me each year of how important it is that the blessing of adoption is viewed in a favorable light.

Positive stories in adoption can overcome the negative discussions about adoption. They can also overcome cultural customs that discourage birth parents to place their children for adoption.

We had a birth mother contact us recently who told us she will not be telling her family that she is placing her child for adoption because they would discourage that. She has two other children and would never choose to have an abortion. She is left with the choice to separate herself from her family, when she needs them most, to hide her pregnancy and subsequent adoption from them. It is heart-breaking. Can you imagine making such a difficult decision and carrying it out without the support of your friends and family?

Adoption can go away if we don’t continue to speak positively about it. There is a silent majority of adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees with wonderful stories who have not shared them. I hope they will catch the spirit of National Adoption Month and keep the miracle that is adoption, alive.