Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone...

Cane Column Christmas
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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oh My, Oh My...Life is Busy

I have failed to post in so long that I promise to make no promises about future blog posts...I hope to be more regular about posting, but please don't expect too much. I am, of course, a procrastinator...the first step is admitting there's a problem, right?!

Anyway...Life has not slowed down. I was blogging about the steps of pursuing adoption and I am caught in the middle of our current adoption process. We are through the beginning of the process and are now in the waiting...We had the physicals, filled out mounds of papers, went to a class, had background checks, approved the draft of our home study, approved the biography that will be shown to perspective birth parents, and now...we wait. We are currently in our second month of waiting...What are we waiting for? We are waiting to be selected by a birth family. How does this process work? Here it is...

Our agency put together a lovely biography with information and photographs we provided. It truly is lovely. It describes each of us, our relationship with each other, our families, Jayce, our friends, our jobs and education, our upbringing, our parenting styles, our relationship with Jayce's birth mom...basically anything that tells about who we are. We were very pleased with the way this turned out. With our agency, the selection process goes like this. Birth moms/parents contact the agency and are counseled and asked a series of questions. I don't have many details about the intake of birth families, but I know there is some screening and Q&A. At some point the agency compares the birth family's list of adoptive family traits to the adoptive families that are waiting. Then, they select about 3 family's biographies to send to the birth family. From those three biographies, the birth family either chooses to meet with/talk on the phone with one or all of them or asks for another set of biographies. The process goes on until the birth family has decided on an adoptive family to meet or talk with. The agency makes contact with the selected family and preparations begin for the meeting or phone call. The relationship begins and either succeeds or fails. Once committed to a match, the families begin to share information and/or visit with each other. They make a plan about what happens at the hospital, future meetings, and the sharing of information.

It is my understanding that when a birth family selects you, you still have the ability at any point in time to say no to the family that has selected you. It is all sort of precarious with no one being "required" to commit 100% to anything. There is a risk from the birth family side that the adoptive family they have chosen won't follow through or be supportive. They also must be scared of being rejected by the adoptive family. I cannot imagine the fear they must wrestle when selecting a family to raise their child. I don't know the courage that must be required to decide to trust your baby to the care of a family that you've only recently met. The risk the adoptive family faces is also difficult. They often wonder if the family they have become so attached to will ultimately make the decision to place their baby after he/she is born. There is no avoiding this risk...I think it is a recurring thought in the back of each adoptive family's mind until finalization day arrives.

My husband and I have the utmost respect for Jayce's tummy mommy. We love her as part of our family. We stand in awe of her selflessness. We jump at the chance to spend time with her and her family. We thank God every night for her and we remind Jayce that she loves him, too.

So...as we wait for our next miracle, pray with us. Pray for our next baby, his/her birth family, our adoption agency and the wonderful ladies who work day in and day out to protect, educate, and make families happen. Pray also for the other adoptive couples who are waiting with us and the birth families that will make a very difficult decision in the coming days. Pray that God's love would shine through us as we wait for our match!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What to do AFTER Choosing Adoption...

Sorry to have taken so long to enter the next step...Life happened and here it is a month later!

So you've decided adoption is the way for you to build your family, now what?! Hopefully, you've done your research and talked with your close family to discuss how adoption will be accepted and how it will change your family composition (See Step 1...If you need help with research, please ask. I'm happy to recommend some other info sources.). I recommend that you now begin the networking/agency finding process. TALK ABOUT ADOPTION! You don't have to rent a billboard to display your picture and phone number, but, as you start/join conversations about adoption, you will be surprised how quickly word will spread. And that is truly important! Here is what I know, but my knowledge is limited...so do your research and decide on WHAT TYPE OF ADOPTION YOU WILL PURSUE AND WHAT AGENCY, IF ANY, YOU WILL USE. We'll call this Step 2.


Domestic adoption simply means adopting a child(ren) living in the United States.

Obviously...adopting a child(ren) living outside of the United States.

This option is for those who are interested in adopting a child(ren) who are currently in the U.S. foster care system.

Each type of adoption comes with it's own set of hurdles, costs, advantages, disadvantages, rules, time lines, etc. PLEASE educate yourselves...and PRAY.

Our adoption was domestic and private...Let me explain.

There are different types of domestic adoption. Those types are really defined by how you come to be placed with your child. There are private adoptions...those that require lawyers and a home study. There are agency adoptions...those that use an agency to facilitate the adoptive placement. There are also foster to adopt situations...those that use the foster care system to facilitate placement of children. Each of those types of adoption comes with it's own set of hurdles, costs, advantages, disadvantages, rules, time lines, etc. PLEASE educate yourselves...and PRAY.

There are a whole lot of adoption agencies out there...be picky! More likely than not, you will have to deal with an agency, at the very least for your home study. (Home study - the document that officially confirms you are fit to parent a child(ren) through adoption.) You should work with an agency that you feel very comfortable with and one that has plenty of experience, especially in the type of adoption you are pursuing. The home study has to be prepared by an accredited agency/agent and most agencies provide this service a la carte in case you are matched privately or are pursuing an international adoption. The agency you select should provide you with all the information you need and be willing to answer questions at any time. If you know people who have adopted or placed a child(ren) for adoption, ask them about the agency they used and what their experience was like. DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHOP...This is a critical step in the process. Your agency will become your lifeline to your child(ren) and his/her birth family. Something we realized after we selected our agency was that it really is important to select an agency that will care for your child's birth family. Often, birth families feel forgotten/neglected and it is important to us (will be to you eventually) that doesn't happen to our birth family. The opportunity for counseling is critical on both sides of adoption. You are going to need people who have been there in the trenches and are willing to help you along.

When we started looking for an agency to use, we got online and requested info packets from a few agencies. That information is going to be overwhelming! Pace yourself and maybe mull over each packet separately for a week or a few days. Don't look at them all at once and think that you'll be able to make a decision. Give it some time and PRAY!

Our home study agency for our son's adoption was Adoption Support Center in Indianapolis. We are adopting through their agency this time. They are incredible ladies who work very hard to serve both sides of the adoption equation. We love them and would highly recommend them. However, just because they were a good fit for us doesn't mean they will be a good fit for you. At the beginning of our adoption journey, we also worked with Christian World Adoption. They are an agency that specializes in international adoption. I think they would have been a good fit for us, if we had decided to adopt internationally, but God had a different plan for us. ASC and CWA are both online and both offer information packets via their websites. ASC specializes in domestic infant adoptions, but they also provide home studies for those seeking to adopt privately or internationally.Those are two agencies that we have experienced and would feel comfortable recommending to you for further investigation.

In your decision making, please make prayer a priority. Pray for your child(ren), their birth families, the agency, your family and friends, clarity and peace...God will provide you with the children He has planned for you as you walk in His obedience.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Interested in Adoption?

I had a few questions to respond to that were sparked by my last post. So, I thought I would address them in a new post. I'm just going to outline the adoption process for those of you who are not familiar with it.

STEP ONE(maybe the most difficult step of all)

Deciding on Adoption as the best way to build your family. This is a must...Adoption should not be viewed as a second best option or a "have to" situation. Although I understand the sadness and grief that goes along with the battle of infertility(been there, done that, refused the t-shirt), I am not in a "have to" situation. No one ever told us we couldn't have babies biologically. Our road would have probably been a difficult one, especially since we would have been going against God's call on our life. I'm not saying that if you are unable to conceive without medical intervention, you are being called to adopt. God may need you to go down that road of treatment so that you can be a light to someone else or so that He can teach you some valuable lessons of love and patience. I'm simply saying that, if you are considering adoption as a way to build your family, please be sure you don't have any feelings of it being the second best option. If you have those feelings, work through them before you begin the journey of adoption.

As part of the decision making process, I would recommend reading about it. I almost never recommend reading, but you need to educate yourself on the ins and outs of adoption. You need to be prepared for comments and questions that will come your way. You need to be educated on the types of adoption...the cost...the process...open adoption versus closed adoption...the effects of adoption on your family (immediate and extended). When we were beginning our journey, we read the book Raising Adopted Children. We have recommended it to friends who recently adopted and we all believe it is worth the read. We also subscribe to a magazine called Adoptive Families. We find the articles to be worthwhile and insightful. When I say I almost never recommend reading, it is because I worry that too much reading can lead to unnecessary fear. I know people who read those "What to Expect" books and think that everything in there is probably going to happen to them and their babies. That is a totally incorrect assumption and leads to a lot of undue stress and fear. So, if you intend to read the book I have recommended or subscribe to the magazine, please use them as an educational tool instead of fear inducing documents!

I would also recommend that you and your spouse openly talk about this method of family building. It is important that you are both on the same page and your children (if you already have some) are with you on this, as well. You don't need to be sitting at an agency and realize that your husband is just along for the ride. This an expensive and emotional road that you don't want to be on alone or with an uncooperative sidekick! It will also be important to discuss adoption with your extended family. Grandmas, Grandpas, Aunts, and Uncles will have questions and fears just like you. Be prepared to field questions and calm concerns or even admit that you have some of the same concerns. Remember that they may be new to this adventure as well. They want to be excited for you and will need some direction from you as you travel the road.

Most importantly, PRAY! God will lead you to your child. He will direct your path if you will seek Him out above all else. He wants to give you the desires of your heart (a heart transformed by Him). As you pray, allow yourself to be open to His plan and direction. Pray for wisdom, direction, courage and peace. Pray for the birth family of your child(ren) and pray for clarity as you seek His path!

Oh...I only got through step one...

Friday, July 16, 2010

One Step Closer

Completed the home visit portion of our home study today...finally ready to wait! I find this preparation to be ridiculous this time around. I'm not discounting the need to check out potential families and homes...it is quite necessary to be sure that the agencies are dealing with couples/families that are of sound mind and "stable." I just think there should be some kind of clause that lets you opt out of portions of the process if you've already done this before (especially recently, Jenny & Dave). I realize there are cases (though few and far between yet, highly publicised) that warrant the repetitive nature of this process. Though I find it ridiculous, my house was still FAR cleaner today at 10:30 a.m. than it ever actually is, even when we're having company! I'm laughing because we even knew what to expect this time around and we still did the EXTREME cleaning. Poor Jason was so worried about making sure we had two smoke detectors...This was a comment made by the woman who did our first home study. Jason wanted to rectify the situation (three years later) so he went to get a second detector and battery for the one we already had. I say had because, when he went to replace the battery, he discovered that the original smoke detector did not work! Back to Menards he went! We now have two working smoke detectors and the social worker didn't even ask if we had one...poor buddy! So, note to all parents...do you have at least one smoke detector and does it work?

I think we passed the test...She asked a lot of questions about Jayce. That must be the biggest update of our home study. He truly has brought so much joy to our lives and we were thrilled to share with the social worker that Jayce has already named his baby sister (he insists it will be a girl) FooFoo. I tried to tell him last night about the names we have picked for a baby. I showed him how to spell the girl's name we have chosen (assuming our b-mom doesn't have something else in mind) and he told me that it was wrong and asked me how to spell FooFoo...of course, I showed him! Some things are just not worth fighting over. I guess she'll always be FooFoo to him. ...assuming it is a she.

The social worker told us that it shouldn't take long for her to complete our home study since she has most everything caught up. We still have to go have our physicals...yes we have to get a note from our doctor saying we are healthy enough to add another baby to our family...he couldn't see us until the 27th so we'll at least have to wait until then to become "active." The average placement with our agency is about 3 to 6 months. So, we wait...

Hopefully someone will choose us. This brings me to another topic I will have to blog about later...being chosen. For now, I will say this. It saddens me that any woman/family comes to a place where they feel unable to care for or provide what their child needs. I cannot understand the heartache they must feel or the pain/anguish/sadness this decision brings into their life. We can only offer a safe home full of love for their child. I imagine that is only partly comforting, but I pray that our b-parents can know that their child will be shown that is ok to love their first family. We hold a very high amount of respect for Jayce's tummy mommy and her decision for Jayce. We love her beyond what we could have imagined in the beginning and we know Jayce loves her. Jason asked him the other night about A. Jayce said, "Yeah...I know who A is. She loves me!"


Friday, July 9, 2010


It is late...I'm working on a post regarding today's adoption home study, but I want to be sure I say what needs to be said and I'm really tired. So, I'm sitting on it for now. We are excited about our next adoption and I look forward to sharing the journey with you...assuming anyone is reading. I will say this for now...the class was informative (even for someone who has already been through the process before) and interesting. We were able to share our first experience, meet up with some great friends, and make a couple of new ones. Exciting days ahead! I'll post more tomorrow...I gotta sleep!

Home Study Class

We attended our home study class on July 9. This is a step in the process that we did not experience when we adopted Jayce. I was assuming that it would be a rather boring day covering everything we've already been through and I really just wanted to get it over with. While we did hear a lot of things we already knew or had experienced, I found this class to be interesting and needed. We could have really used this last time. In this class, the agency tries to prepare you for every aspect of your looming adoption. They tell you what to expect...anyone who has ever parented (in any way) knows that you cannot depend on what you expect to be what actually happens...regarding almost every aspect of adoption.
Our class was made up of eight families (including us). Three of us had previously adopted, two families had biological children and the rest were/are preparing to be first time parents. What an incredible experience to actually be able to share our experience (in pieces) to people who were interested because it was applicable and offered hope...or assurance that what they were/are feeling is ok, real, valid, shared, and understood. I'm finding, as we share with those who are "in the process," I have a huge need to help adoptive families feel validated. Let me just say this and see how it pans out...
NOTE: I am speaking on behalf of myself here and assuming that what I'm about to say could be said by quite a few adoptive families, but certainly not ALL adoptive families...It is tiring, annoying, sometimes hurtful to hear people say things like:
...you will have the baby you are meant to raise
...this will happen in God's time
...at least you don't have to be pregnant and all that goes along with that
...you know, when you complete this, you're gonna get pregnant
...so, you can't have your own children?
In response to these things, I would say:
...You are 100% right, but you don't have to remind me
...You are 100% right, but every once in a while I wish He'd hurry up...and you don't have to remind me
...You are 100% right, but every once in a while I wonder what it would be like -- I wish that you would cherish every minute that you are...and you don't have to remind me
...So far, you are 100% wrong and I don't really care if I ever have a biological child
...My son is my own!
Please understand that the comments above are things I've thought and never really said aloud, except to my closest friends, but I think they are important for people to understand. While most people are trying to be helpful when they say things like this, the biggest help you can give is to listen and pray.
Sorry...I'm supposed to be writing about the class...sidetracked much? So, the class was informative. We discussed the rights of birthmoms, birthdads, and adoptive parents. We discussed what to expect at the hospital and making a hospital plan with our birthmoms. We talked a lot about legal risk. We also talked a lot about open adoption. My favorite thing to talk about when I talk about adoption is the way our view of open adoption changed over the course of our experience. Most couples are really scared to consider open adoption (fyi...there are many kinds of open adoption, but I'll talk about that some other day). We wanted no part of it when we started our journey, but we can't imagine it any other way now. We feel that it is a privilege to be able to put our son in contact with his birthmom any time he asks...assuming she's willing and able to get together. We are glad to know about her and her interests and abilities. We see her in him a lot and we feel great that we can recognize that and help Jayce identify with her in some way. We value her as a person...we love her as a part of our family...we respect her for her selfless decision...we are grateful to her for helping us create our family as it is today. The adoption process has taken us on a journey that we never expected and we have learned how to love far beyond what we ever thought possible. I hope we communicated that to the waiting first time families...