Monday, November 19, 2012

Live Chat

Mark your calenders! Tomorrow at 9pm EST we are having a live chat designed for those of you considering adoption and or are in the process of adopting to get answers from adoptive parents who have been there done that! Chat will take place on our Facebook page! I look forward to chatting with you all! :)

Also, if you aren't a part of adoption-share...what are you waiting for? 4 new adoption situations posted on www.adoption-share.com

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Your Questions Answered

I'm sorry for taking so long in writing this post. Rea had surgery earlier this week then our water heater busted and now I'm nursing two sick babies. Both are down for a nap and we are finally back home, so I figured no better time than now to answer your questions. :)

How are you doing with your adoption blues? In your former blog, you posted about bonding and attachment issues you were having with your son?
Rea and I are doing really well. After his adoption finalized, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my soldiers. I no longer feared that Rea would be taken from me and I allowed myself to love him with all my heart. He is very much a mama's boy!

I can't remember if you've written about this or not, but how did you pay off your first adoption (the one that cost about $30,000)? Or did you have the money saved up? Ours is going to cost about the same and I'm thinking of fundraising to help with the cost.
We took out a loan ($20,000) for our daughter's adoption. My husband commissioned as an officer a few months before she was born and there was a bank giving low interest loans to new officers. The other $10,000 we paid along the way (some our money and some with the help of our parents).

We received $6,000 in 2011 from our failed adoption in 2010. In 2011, G's company gave us a $5,000 adoption credit and now we are waiting for the $13,000 the IRS owes us. In the end, her adoption cost us $6,000.

I would definitely fundraiser and ask for donations...you'll be surprised by the generosity of your friend's and family!

Hi. I was wondering how yours and junos relationship is going. Hopefully she was able to get out of her grandmas house. How frequently do you send updates to your daughters birth parents. Thanks!
Juno is doing well! She moved out of her grandma's home and is now living in her own apartment with her boyfriend. I took her out to dinner a few weeks ago, and I was able to see her new apartment and buy her some necessities. I've taken on the roll of big sister and it works for us.

Rea's birth dad is also doing well. We see him quarterly with his mom and we've grown to love them very much! Elle adores Rea's bio grandma and will happily sit in her lap for most of our visit. We feel so blessed that they love both our babies equally.

The last time I spoke to Elle's birth mom was last Christmas. I sent her an update and never heard back from her.

When will baby #3 be arriving? :)
We are not in any way expanding our family any time!! I would love another baby in the DISTANT future.

What was the hardest adjustment in becoming a new mom?
The hardest adjustment for me was accepting the fact that I will never be the only "mom" in my child's life. I really struggled with this after my son was born. Our daughter's adoption was so different than our sons. After she was born, we saw her birth parents briefly and then we never saw them again. Our son's birth mother is a part of our family, so we have a lot of contact with her. No one ever talks about this. You go from yearning to be a mom and then you adopt and everyone paints such a pretty picture but it's not all rainbows and unicorns. It's been 8 months and I'm confident in my role as his mommy and instead of looking at in a negative way, I see how blessed our son is to have so many people (his birth family) who love him as much as we do.

I also struggled with guilt after becoming his mom. I watched our son's birth mom mother him for 4 days and then I watched her sign her rights away. I really struggled with my emotions after that. I felt guilty for adopting her baby but I've come to terms with the fact that if it wasn't me, someone else would have adopted him. There was no way she could parent him on her own without any help from her family. I wanted to bear her pain and it wasn't mine to bear. Her decision put her in the situation she was in.

We are considering IVF and Adoption. Why did you choose adoption or did you pursue IVF?
We didn't pursue IVF because it wasn't the path God wanted us to take. I prayed and prayed until I found peace in a decision one way or another. I never felt peace about pursuing IVF. The hardest part for me was all the embryos that are left over. You can't freeze them forever, my husband wasn't a fan of donating them to another couple and I would never discard them so IVF just didn't seem like the right path for us. I have always felt that if God wanted us to have a biological child, one of our 4 pregnancies would have turned into a healthy baby.

I never regret our decision because if it wasn't for adoption, we wouldn't have the two most amazing babies on earth. I have learned that there are IVF clinics that fertilize a smaller amount of eggs which leave you with less embryos in the end. When the time is right for our family, I may look into that option.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Q and A

Do you have a question that you would like for me to answer? It can be about adoption, being a mom of two, life after infertility treatments, being an Army wife, adoption-share...anything really! :)

 Leave me a comment...I will keep your comments anonymous by not publishing your comment.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Save the Adoption Tax Credit


The current adoption tax credit will sunset December 31, 2012. If Congress does not take action, the credit will revert back to $6,000 and apply only to the limited number of special needs adoptions that have adoption expenses. No credit will remain for most adoptions. Please help by contacting your State Representatives.

It takes just a few minutes to send an email or make a phone call (the site/link below will tell you what to say!). This tax credit made it possible for us to afford the option of adoption and to be able to welcome our daughter and son into our hearts and home without an insurmountable financial burden. There are more people out there desperate to be parents, babies and children needing homes, and this tax credit supports them all becoming families. Please, contact your State Rep.

Here is the link: http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/advocate/

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Do I get Paid?

I received an email asking me if I get paid for what I write about Adoption-Share? The answer is NO!! I am not compensated for what I post on this blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I met Thea (the founder of Adoption-Share) when I was at my lowest point in life. It was Christmas when I met her. She was working as a social worker with an adoption agency in Georgia, and she had emailed me to tell me about a case. In the end, we didn't pursue the case because of financial reasons. We would have lost too much money had the adoption fell through. When I called Thea to tell her we were not going to pursue the case, I instantly fell in love with her big heart. She listened to me go on and on for over an hour. I was upset. I wanted to pursue the case; I just didn't want to risk so much money because we had lost quite a bit with our failed adoption in August. I needed someone to talk to and she was my sounding board that day.

In May of 2011, Thea contacted me again out of the blue to tell me about Adoption-Share. I'd already started networking with various lawyers, so I didn't use Adoption-Share to match us and our son was found through lawyers we had used trying to find our daughter. But I loved the concept. I loved everything about what she was doing and the reasons behind it. She wanted to make a change in the adoption world and who better to do it than a social worker who has seen it all!

Why am I doing this then? I'm doing this because I know that desire that is deep in your heart when you want to be a parent. I know what it feels like to cry yourself to sleep because your arms are aching to hold I child. I know what it feels like to see beautiful children dressed in their Halloween costumes and want to run and hide because the pain is overwhelming.

God has blessed me with two beautiful children and I vowed that I would always give Him Glory for the blessings He gave me, and I would use the knowledge I learned along the way to help others. I'm not a professional by any means but I learned a lot through the two years we were in the adoption world. I started attending RESOLVE for the same reason. I want to give others hope and share my knowledge.

In short, this is my life's passion. I want to help others achiever their dreams of becoming a parent because there is nothing sweeter than being a mommy or daddy!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Agency vs Private vs Facilitator

I've been asked the difference in cost between an working with an agency or going through a lawyer and doing a private adoption. Most agencies charge a flat rate and if an adoption falls through, your fees usually roll over to another match. Not all agencies work this way but a lot that I have come in contact with do. From what I have seen, cost is usually between ($20-$30,000). There are some non-profit, Christian agencies that charge a percentage off of your prior years tax return. Our daughter's adoption was a combination of 3 agencies and 1 lawyer and our adoption with travel cost us around $30,000.

Lawyers are a little different because if an adoption falls through, your fees usually don't roll over.  We used a private lawyer with our son and his adoption from start to finish cost us $7,000 (this included a lot of counseling and some birth mother expenses). Our lawyer required a retainer of $4,500 and charged $250 an hour. We were extremely blessed with our son's birth mom. She rarely called our lawyer and most things she needed, she spoke to me directly because every time she called him, we would get billed.

I truly believe you get what you pay for. If you require a lot of hand holding. I would recommend going with an agency because our attorney didn't hold our hands at all. We did everything on our own and really had no support from him. We were lucky to find an amazing social worker who was our support person and she charged $90 an hour and was worth every penny.

My friend used an adoption facilitator and her adoption cost her right around $8,500 (this didn't include travel). I think This Article explains how facilitators work accurately.

U.S. Newborn Adoption - Average Wait Time

Average time from preparation of portfolio to match with
birthmother (includes time spent in false starts):
Less than 3 months....................34%
4 to 6 months............................19%
7 to 12 months...........................20%
13 to 24 months.........................17%
Longer than 24 months...............10%

Time between birth and legal finalization:
Less than 6 months....................54%
7 to 12 months...........................38%
Longer than 12 months..................8%

•35% of respondents experienced at least one false start.
•15% were matched after the child had already been born.

U.S. Newborn Adoption - Average Cost

Homestudy fee
Agency: $1,912
Attorney: $1,640

Agency application & program fee
Agency: $14,161
Attorney: $6,413

Attorney fees
Agency: $3,548
Attorney: $10,261

Document preparation & authentication
Agency: $1,114
Attorney: $640

Advertising/networking
Agency: $2,017
Attorney: $3,259

Birth family counseling
Agency: $1,085
Attorney: $483

Birthmother expenses
Agency: $3,076
Attorney: $5,246

Travel expenses
Agency: $2,198
Attorney: $1,895

All other expenses
Agency: $4,682
Attorney: $1,628

TOTAL
Agency: $33,793
Attorney: $31,465

•35% of respondents experienced at least one false start. The majority (71%) of false starts cost less than $5,000.

*Source

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Leave it to the Professionals

Here is the second part of This Post.

We began the adoption process in November of 2009 and by August 2010, we had our hearts broken. After our failed adoption in August, we decided to leave our agency. Since my husband was away training in the Army, we couldn't sign up with another agency until he came back. To not waste time, I began networking on my own towards an identified adoption. An identified adoption (also known as a designated adoption) is an adoption in which the prospective adoptive family locates the birth mother through sources other than their agency. You may find a birth family through word of mouth, advertising, an out-of-state agency, or an out-of-state attorney or facilitator. I was overwhelmed because it became a full time job. I can't tell you how many arguments my husband and I got into over my networking. Had I know about Adoption-Share when I decided to network on my own, we would have signed up with them along with our local agency and not have networked on our own. If we try and adopt again, I will not network on my own again. We will sign up with adoption-share and our agency who finalized our son's adoption because I love them and it's local.

When you network on your own, you are putting yourself in a vulnerable situation. I truly believe some things need to be left to the professionals. When using adoption share, you are networking with various lawyers and agencies around the United States who know what they are doing. They screen expectant mothers and make sure they are not scammers.

When I was networking on my own, I met a woman on my former blog who was lonely. She pretended to have a friend who worked at a crisis pregnancy center. She went as far as asking for 10 copies of our adoption profile and would update me when her friend would give our profile out. We were matched twice through her friend but both situations ended tragically, a stillbirth and twins aborted at 26 weeks. I didn't know she was a scammer until after my daughter was born when her family member filled me in. I'm really not sure what to believe in regards to this situation because it was creepy. When the little boy was stillborn, she called me herself and someone from the "hospital" called me to notify me. For all I know, she could have had someone pretend they were from the hospital.

In April of 2011, I decided I no longer want to network through friends and family. I decided to start networking with lawyers and agencies in Arizona and Florida. I gave up on trying to network on my own because it wasn't getting me anywhere and the heartache wasn't worth it. I found both of our babies through the lawyers I had contacted. Our daughter's lawyer was a scum bag. To protect my daughter's privacy, I will not disclose what he did or how he practiced but he was extremely unethical and only God knows how he is still in practice. I would have thought he would be disbarred by now, but no such luck. Our son's lawyer was not only reputable and well known in the community, but he was ethical and had a heart for adoption because he himself was an adoptive father.

Sounds time consuming and overwhelming doesn't it? It was! But the good news is, adoption-share does the work for you and they also screen to make sure the professionals working with them are legitimate! Adoption-Share is like the FB of adoption. It's full of adoption entities who are looking for adoptive parents who want to adopt. Membership is also very reasonable: $14.99 per month or save with an annual membership of $120.00 per year. Why is membership so reasonable? Because adoption-share eliminated the middle man and connects you virtually with adoption professionals.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Annual Report

Click Here to read the 2012 Annual Report from Adoption-Share. Also, don't miss the video on the 2nd page!

Adoption Laws by State

About once a week, I'm asked what my secret is in regards to being able to adopt two beautiful babies in 7 months. There is no secret...after a year of heartache, I decided to advocate for my family by networking on my own. I loved the adoption laws in my state but wanted to target another state and ultimately decided on Florida because of a few reputable lawyers I knew by name and because Florida adoption laws are favorable to adoptive parents.

I was doing some research online and found this document. I decided right away that I would not consider any state that TPR wasn't irrevocable after signing because I knew my heart couldn't handle bringing a baby home and then having to give said baby back. I also didn't want to wait more than 72  hours (3 days) for TPR to be signed because I didn't want to bond with a baby and be sent home broken hearted.

Last but not least, I wouldn't consider a state without putative father registry. I didn't feel it would be ethical on my part to bring home a child without given his father a chance to fight for him.

Here are the states I considered:
Arizona-our home state/adopted our son locally
Florida-adopted our daughter from Florida
Idaho
Illinois
Kansas
Michigan
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Ohio-only through an agency not private
Oklahoma
Oregon
Wyoming

If you don't care about the putative father registry, here are other adoption friendly states:
District of Columbia-private adoptions not agency
Hawaii
Kansas
Mississippi
Nevada
New Jersey-through agency adoptions not private
South Carolina
Utah
Washington
West Virginia

Here are few other states that are adoption friendly if you don't mind a little bit of a wait:
Arkansas: TPR any time/irrevocable 10 days after signing (if 10th day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then next business day)
California: TPR after discharge/irrevocable only if birthmother signs waiver of right to revoke consent
Delaware:TPR any time after birth/irrevocable 14 days after signing
Georgia: TPR 24 hours after birth/irrevocable 10 days after signing (if 10th day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then next business day)
Louisiana: TPR can be signed 5 days after birth
Minnesota: TPR can be signed 72 hours after birth/irrevocable 10 days after signing
North Carolina: TPR any time after birth/irrevocable after 7 days and no putative father registry
Tennessee: TPR 3 days after birth/irrevocable 10 days after signing (if 10th day falls on a weekend or legal holiday, then next business day)




Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Update

I'm sure you all are wondering what the GAP family has been up to, so here is a quick update:

*G and I celebrated 7 years on July 3rd! It's crazy to think our marriage was built on a 3 month courtship!
*We celebrated Elle's first birthday in July...she started walking a few days before her 1st birthday! She now has 8 teeth and has been eating everything in sight.
*Rea turned 6 months in August and he is trying desperately to crawl. He now has 2 teeth and has been chewing everything in sight.
*G was promoted to 1st Lieutenant in June.
*I have decided to go back to teaching. I'm subbing for the same district I attended from K-12th grade. I also reinstated my teaching degree and I couldn't be happier!
*We are moving out of state and we couldn't be more excited!

That's about it...life has never been more fun with our two babes!

I'm Back!!

I was shopping a few weeks ago and I ran into our former RESOLVE leader. She immediately recognized me, and I was surprised because the last time I attended a meeting was about a year and a half ago. I stopped going shortly after our failed adoption. She of course wanted to know who Elle was and before I knew it, I had shared our entire journey with her. She couldn't believe how blessed I have been in the last year and a half. It's not everyday that someone is blessed to adopt two babies in 18 months. She invited me back because she said my story would inspire others who are looking to adopt or who are in the process. I thought about it and decided she was right and I said yes. Our leader also wants me to speak at the conference in November and asked me to consider blogging publicly again.

To be honest with you all, the thought of blogging publicly again scared me because I loved my old blog, Her Womb, Our Hearts and it makes me sad that I had to make my blog private. I'm not going to make the same mistakes on this blog. I will not post hundreds of photos of my children on this blog nor will I write about them in detail. The purpose of this blog is not to talk about my family (I will but not in such an intimate level as I had with my former blog). The purpose of this blog is to offer support to those who are trying to adopt or who have adopted.

I want to apologize to those who had been following my blog when I suddenly closed my blog. Long story short, my daughter's photos were stolen and plastered all over FB. Thankfully I caught it in time and only a handful of photos were stolen and posted. I thank you for your continued support and I'm sorry for my absence. I wish I could have given you all notice but it wasn't possible. Please forgive me.

Stay tuned...I'm back and better than ever! If you could do me a favor, please let your readers know that I'm blogging again and share my new site with them. Thanks so much!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Part 2: Military Couple Fights to Adopt During Deployment

After four years of infertility, Jessica and Greg from Arizona were shocked when a social worker put their adoption plans on hold because Greg was deployed for 10 months. All the paperwork and home study and hard work…

Jessica said, “We fought tooth and nail to become certified. Our social worker demanded we see a counselor and psychologist who both told her that they saw no reason why we could not pursue adoption. Here I was a new Army wife with a husband that was about to leave for 10 months. Would we end up in divorce, like she said, because military divorce rates are the highest?”

After basic training, Greg went to Officer Candidate School. He left for basic training in June and wasn’t set to come home until April. Greg was still in basic training when Jessica got a call of a newborn girl becoming available to them for via adoption.

“The day I was suppose to leave for Greg’s graduation was the day she was born. I hadn’t seen my husband for 10 weeks and I felt torn. Deep down, I had this bad feeling that something was going to go wrong and all I wanted was to see Greg.”

That adoption did fail for many reasons, and the couple moved onto private adoption with an expensive attorney who accepted the military family’s new circumstances. “We began working with him in the beginning of April and we were matched by the end of May. I do not recommend networking on your own… it is a roller coaster ride. Friends and family would tell us about every possible adoption situation, there were nine possible matches, but none came to fruition.”

The couple began working with yet another adoption agency because the attorney moved too slowly. “Through our  journey, I learned that there are a lot of agencies and lawyers who view expectant couples and prospective adoptive couples as dollar signs and nothing else. Adoption should be about the unborn child and finding him or her loving parents not how much money will be made once the baby is born,” said Jessica.

They began the private adoption process in November of 2009. We were certified on July 14, 2010 and baby Elle was born July 12, 2011…exactly one year later. “My husband and I were in complete awe when we saw our daughter for the first time. I will never forget seeing her for the first time and thinking she was the most beautiful, tiny baby.”

“We knew at that moment that every tear and all the heartache we endured didn’t matter anymore. She was our heart’s cry and because of her, we were parents.”

The brave couple, photographed on right with Elle, is now expecting baby number two via private adoption, and Jessica writes about her journey on her own blog.

I want to thank Thea Ramirez of Adoption Share for introducing me to Jessica and also for helping other families find their child through private adoption.

By Nicole Dorsey

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Part 1: Military Mom Faces Infertility and then Adoption

Our story made it in Parents Magazine!!

I asked you, The Adoption Diaries readers, for a feel-good adoption story if you’ve been considering adoption. I wanted to know how long it took — once you knew you were not going to get pregnant — to consider adoption after grieving.
Jessica’s story below is amazing! Stay tuned for Friday when she gives us Part 2!
Jessica, 28, and her husband Greg, 34, live in Phoenix, Ariz. “It took us four years and four  months to decide to adopt. After my fourth and last miscarriage in February of 2009, I was ready to pursue adoption, but my husband was not. He was not sure he could love a child who was not biologically his,” said Jessica.
“In November of 2009, after five rounds of Clomid, I finally broke down and told my husband I couldn’t take it anymore. I missed the girl he married… I felt like a robot trying to get pregnant month after month, year after year. I could tell Greg was torn. He really wanted a biological child, but he also couldn’t stand seeing me in pain. I’m very blessed to have a husband who loves me dearly.”
Greg was always very supportive  and even Jessica’s parents and in-laws were there to nurture and support the couple. “I knew deep in my heart that God’s plan wasn’t for me to conceive. I knew that I was going to be a mother and I knew my husband was going to be a father, but I knew I wasn’t going to get pregnant.”
Jessica said, “I spent many years as a nanny and many of the families I nannied for had adopted children in their families. I never put the two together but I think God was preparing my heart for adoption long before I even knew my husband.”
They began the adoption process in November of 2009 and began a home study with social workers immediately.
“And then my husband received long-awaited word that he was accepted into the army! We were never sure if he would be accepted because he injured his knee a few years back. It took many months for us to know if he would be accepted and by or not.”
By March, Greg was officially property of the United States Government and all adoption paperwork was put on hold! “Our social worker explained that the high rate of divorce during deployments was astronomical, and she thought the process would not be fair to an adoptee. We were crushed,” said Jessica. But the couple refused to give up on domestic adoption. They started looking for a more supportive agency.
Stay tuned on Friday for the happy ending!
By Nicole Dorsey

Monday, November 28, 2011

IS EXPECTING AGAIN!!!

I know, it's crazy isn't it? I can't believe it myself I was not going to put it on here but wanted to make it official............ I mean who would have guessed that I'm expecting!!................... yup it's official.................. we are expecting Christmas in just over 6 weeks!!!! Re-post if you have any sense of humor!

I don't know about you all, but I have a witty sense of humor! With that being said, I do not find the above post to be funny. Even though I didn't give birth to my daughter, I feel that my husband and I "beat infertility!" I have no desire to get pregnant because I'm at complete peace with what my body can't do because my God can and did better than my body. With this being said, it doesn't mean that the post above never upset me. I will never forget when my friend's teenage sister posted the above status and the way it made my heart feel for the quick second that I thought she was expecting another baby.

Give or take a few...it is estimated that one in six couples are affected by some degree of infertility. If I did my math correct, if you have around 200 friends, you have 33 friends who suffer from some degree of infertility. So the next time you think you are being funny or posting a harmless joke, please stop and think about the friends you might be hurting. The friends who are longing to become parents who have a hard enough time with pregnancy announcements (add the Holiday season to the pain of wanting a child) don't need to be "punched in the gut" with jokes about EXPECTING!

The next time you see the above status, instead of re-posting it, please share a link to my blog post instead! You never know whose heart(s) you will be sparing this holiday season.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Through the Holidays

I just want to reach out to my readers before Thanksgiving. I know first hand that Thanksgiving is the kick-off to a very difficult holiday season. Before Elle was born, I would start freaking out around September. We started the adoption process in November of 09', so that holiday season was tolerable because we had so much hope. The following holiday season after our failed adoption was awful. We decided to go up North and get away from the holiday hoopla and all I did was cry. I was so heartbroken and scared that I would never have a baby. I was thankful that I was able to grieve alone with my husband.

I wish I had the words that would make the holiday season easier on you, but I don't. What I can offer you is my own personal advice. Please be kind to yourself. Don't feel you have to attend a family function if you know it will be hard on you. It really is okay to say no. I avoided Christmas last year because it broke my heart and I spent most of Thanksgiving crying my eyes out (which is why I avoided Christmas). I didn't buy a single gift for anyone, and I didn't decorate my home like I usually do. It was my way of coping. Those who loved me understood and those who didn't understand, didn't really love me. Your friends and family who are near and dear to you will understand that you are struggling and will forgive/excuse you for "being a scrooge."

My husband and I started our own family tradition last year (I didn't realize we were starting a new tradition at the time) by avoiding everyone and going up North. What was suppose to be a day trip turned into a two night/three day trip. I really needed to get away from everyone. We ended up coming home on Christmas Eve. This year, we will be taking our miracle to play in the snow.

Please know that you are not alone. The holidays are so hard. If you need to talk or vent, feel free to email me even if it is on Christmas day (I truly mean this!). My heart is with all of you who are waiting.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Networking

I've received a few emails asking me questions in regards to networking. We decided to adopt in November of 2009 and by March 2010, I was anxious to be a mom. With one failed adoption under our belt and countless false hopes, my arms were beyond aching.

We chose to sign up with a local agency in our home state but they were unfortunately experiencing slow times, and we were advised to network with friends and family. Our friends and family already knew our desire to adopt, so I decided to seek adoption attorneys.

I started calling attorney's offices and asked them if they would keep our profile on hand. A few required a large fee (we chose not to give them our profile) but most said they would keep our profile on hand for free. I think I sent our profile to 5-6 lawyers in our home state and to 2 attorneys in Florida. It took 2 months to get matched with the lawyer in Florida and 6 months to get a call from a local attorney in our home state.

We lost $3,125 going outside of our agency but it was worth every penny! It is hard to guess where your baby will come from and had we not gone outside of our agency and home state, we would not be parents to the most beautiful baby girl.

Here is our time line after our failed adoption:
-In December 2010, we learned of a baby girl due to be born in February through our agency in Arizona but did not get chosen.
-In December, we learned of a baby boy due to be born in April through an agency in Georgia (we declined due to a lot of nonrefundable money needed upfront).
-In January 2011, we learned of a baby boy due to be born in March (poor guy was stillborn).
In February, we learned about twins due to be born in June (they were aborted right around 25-26 weeks).
-In March, we learned of an 11.5 months baby girl and her unborn sibling.
-In March, we were "matched" briefly with a baby due to be born in October (mom has decided to parent).
-In April, we learned of a baby girl due in June through my blog who turned out to be a scammer.
-In May, we were learned of a baby boy due to be born in June through a lawyer in Florida but we did not get chosen.
-In May, we were matched with Elle from a lawyer in Florida.
-In July, we received a call from an expectant mother due in 4 weeks. She found our profile from our website (we made large bumper stickers).
-In August/September were briefly matched with a baby due in January, but we ended up backing out.
-A week ago (October 18th), we were matched with an expectant mother who is due with a baby boy in February 2012. One of the lawyers we networked with back in April, led us to our current match.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Problem with Averages

Circulating frequently within the adoption community is the notion that the average parent waits x amount of months; the average adoptive parent will experience x amount of failed adoptions; the average adoptive parent will work with x amount of agencies...the list goes on and on. To find the average of something, one must take the sum of several quantities together and then divide this number by the total number of quantities. Averages are helpful in finding a "dependable predictable" in a world of total unprediction. If my car can get anywhere between 20-30 mpg in a given tank of gas, this 10 point variable means more to me in what I can predict from it if I find that on average my car gets 25 mpg. Averages are also helpful in not only identifying a possible prediction, but further stratagizing ways to prevent or achieve it. For example if I know that the car I am driving on average gets 25 mpg and I am going on a long distance trip in which I want to minimize a costly fuel expense, then my knowledge of an average may lead me to take a different car that gets better gas mileage.

So indisputably averages can be very helpful in bringing some security to a world of unpredictable variables. Where averages become problematic however, is when they are applied to human relationships. Undoubtedly, nothing seems to be as scary as a new relationship, be that romantic, friendship, colleague, or even, yes even a woman you have been matched with to adopt a child. The minute a new relationship begins, almost immediately we begin to factor the risks, looking instantly to any averages we can get our hands on to make us feel safe. We buy books, promote authors to the best sellers list by researching the precious number (average) that will normalize our experience and give us some number to hedge our bets around.

Here in lies the problem...averages can provide a sense of false security. If our experience in a given situation differs greatly from an average, we are lead to be mistrusting. If we enter into unpredictable waters, we use an average to try and calculate our emotional risk, thereby engaging in science rather then a human relationship. This is most greatly seen in the adoption world in which the frequent message is, "the average adoptive parent will have x failed adoptions". If you have subscribed to this message, then you are interpreting every action or word from the birthparent you have been matched with into two categories: "she's going to change her mind" or "she's going to go through with her adoption plan". Allowing for a negative possibility will create an option for a negative possibility, which will generate an undue amount of time and energy to be generated towards a negative possibility.

The solution? Ignore the average. Work with the only information you have. If she says she wants you to parent her child, then this is the truth to operate under. Yes, there are scammers. Yes, she can still change her mind. Yes, you may be crushed emotionally and financially. Your call however, is not to one baby....it is to his or her mother as well. A birthparent is not some obstacle or barrier to your dreams, she is the vehicle for you to get to them. Whether or not that vehicle gets you directly to them, or drives you in a different direction that leads you to something greater, your reality is not controlled or confined by a mathematical equation. Life is short, loving and being fully present in a situation regardless of the outcome will make you a far richer person.

Be present, be bold, love always. "Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3: 5-6

Your friends at Adoption-Share
www.adoption-share.com

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Filters

I've received a few emails asking how we were matched again so quickly? My simple answer is God and my more complicated answer is, filters.

When you decide to adopt a baby, you are given a receptivity form (that is what our home agency calls it). We filled out a 2 page form asking us to check: will accept, will not accept, will consider. My husband and I were more concerned about having a healthy baby than the race or sex of our child. We were open to mild drug exposure in the womb and smoking. We were not open to birth defects, mental health issues or the consumption of alcohol. We were also open when it came to have an open adoption.

This is where I feel God comes in. We filled out our forms and debated back and forth on some of the questions (we even went back later and changed some of our answers)...and guess what? God blessed us with a little girl who fit under the "will not accept" criteria. We knew this before she was born but we loved her and didn't care. We now realize how silly those forms really are because God is the one who chooses your child.

I'm not saying those filters are not important because I do think they are very important for some couples but I will say this, "try not to seek the 'perfect child'." I see so many people trying to adopt what they think is perfect, and I laugh because the child you adopt is perfect because it is your child. In the end, we were blessed with the most perfect little girl, and I am not saying this just because I'm her mother! She is perfect, beautiful and smart!

Back to baby #2. We were one of the few couples willing to have an open adoption with our agency in Florida and one of the main reasons we were presented to the expectant mother. Our agency called us when our daughter was 3 weeks old because they knew we were a family willing to have an open adoption because we had one with our daughter's birth parents.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Giving Up

When our adoption fell through in August of 2010, I almost gave up! My heart was broken very badly because of how our adoption fell through (our agency felt a military family wasn't fit to adopt). I remember standing in the shower and crying. I remember being so angry with God and telling him that I didn't want to believe in Him anymore because He showed me what it was like to love a child and then he took her away from me. I remember telling Him that I would never be able to love another child. I don't remember much after that because I was numb. I do remember getting out of the shower and my mom taking me to the airport. I was taking the first flight out to Fort Sill, Oklahoma where my husband was graduating from basic training. I was missing his graduation for the birth of our "daughter."

I have gone back and looked at my old blog posts following our failed adoption and it is hard to read my words. I can't believe my life was filled with so much sorrow. I don't even recognize that girl anymore and it is hard to remember my life so dark. You see, I'm your "glass is half full" kind of girl. My dad raised me to make "lemonade out of lemons." Infertility and an arduous adoption journey took that girl.

Please, if you want to become a mother or a father or parents...please don't give up on your hopes and dreams! I almost did and I'm so thankful I didn't. God has a plan and it is so much more beautiful than our own. He also has a sense of humor. We spent 6 years of marriage begging and pleading with God to bless us with a child and now, He is going to bless us with TWO 6.5 months apart.

I don't understand why things happen they way they do but our failed adoption led us to our home agency. Our home agency led us to a lawyer who matched us with our daughter's birth parents. Our lawyer led us to another agency in Florida (our daughter's birth mom fired him). Our agency in Florida, the one finalizing our daughter's adoption, is the same agency who matched us with baby #2. Did I lose you? We went on one long wild goose chase!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Hindsight is 20/20

We've all heard that old saying, "hindsight is 20/20." Looking back at our 1.5 year adoption journey, I can't believe how true that saying is.

We started our adoption journey in November of 2009 and after 8 long months, we finally became certified in July of 2010. It took exactly 1 year until our daughter was born (she was born July 12, 2011). I know that doesn't seem like a long time but it felt like forever.

I wish I could go back and tell myself to calm down, relax and trust in the Lord. I remember feeling so jealous when my friends were getting matched before me. Now I look into my daughter's face and I'm captivated by her beautiful eyes and lovable smile, and I now understand why our wait was longer than our friend's wait. We were waiting for our daughter. There babies happened to be conceived and born before our little girl was born.

We are expecting baby #2 and I feel so differently about this match. I know deep in my heart that if this baby is meant to be our son or daughter, he or she will be. I know that because of our daughter. We endured 1 failed adoption and had 9 possible adoption situations presented to us. I felt like I was chasing a rainbow with no pot of gold...each possible situation would fill my heart with hope and then leave me flat on my face.

The problem is, when you are waiting, it is hard to remain hopeful. As time goes on, you feel like you will never become parents. I remember spending most of Christmas in tears last year because all I could think about was the fact that I wasn't a mom yet after 5.5 years of marriage.

I promise you this, once your child is placed in your arms,  you will forget your "labor pains." I went through 4 failed pregnancies and a failed adoption and none of that matters anymore when I hold my baby girl. I'm sad for what I lost, but I understand that what I lost is what brings me to what I have now, a beautiful little girl.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Interview with Thea Ramirez

Nicole Dorsey interviewed Thea Ramirez and the article was published in Parents Magazine. Nicole has been assisting Parents Magazine to expand their adoption coverage by including informative pieces for her Adoption Diaries segment. Since Thea is the founder of adoption-share, I thought I would share the article with you all because not only is it a great article, but it also gives you a better understanding of how adoption-share came to be! You can find the article Here or read it below:

I talked to Thea Ramirez, a 27-year-old social worker about her experiences with private adoption agencies, and she has much helpful info to pass along to adoptive parents.

Thea says: “In the fall of 2010, I started to become frustrated with my long-term job at a private adoption agency in Georgia, where I worked as Director. I would call an adoptive parent who had contacted the agency expressing an interest in being notified should an adoption situation arise.

I would call, the waiting parent would answer (immediately) and we’d plow through the entire back story surrounding the woman, the newborn (i.e., how old she was, family ties, birth costs), the paperwork, procedures, etc.

At this point, I’d often hear a sigh and tears would ensue. Adoptive parents would tell me they could not pursue being matched with a birth mother because they’d already paid one agency $10,000 and the money would be non-refundable. The stories are endless…

I used to feel great about what I did. But enter the beeper, Internet, Wi-Fi, cell phone, (not necessarily in that order but you get my drift).

Technology is changing the way parents engage in the adoption process. There are dozens of online groups, social networking sites, and most recently mediocre websites which are cutting out the adoption agency entirely. Sadly, with this trend, licensed adoption agencies are losing their voice, and their trustworthiness.

It’s all too easy to get bad information or worse, spend lots of money on sites that can not make good on their promises. It is imperative for anyone considering adoption to receive counseling to ensure adoption is the right decision on both sides — from the mother placing her child for adoption to all adoptive parents.

Technology is not a solid replacement for a veteran agency who looks out for you 24/7. Internet sites should only be used as a complement to a trusted adoption agency.

In the spring of 2011, I launched Adoption-Share, a vehicle in which home study approved adoptive parents (parents who have met the legal requirements of their state) can immediately network with licensed agencies that have newborn adoption situations.

Adoption agencies are still vital. Agencies remain the necessary voice of reason with years of experience, while adoptive parents and those considering adoption can and should utilize technology to make smarter decisions.

This message needs to be shouted from the rooftops in order to steer adoptive parents into legitimate sites and help them avoid the ones that aren’t.

Thanks for listening.”

-Thea Ramirez

Monday, September 12, 2011

Women Center

I briefly volunteered at a women's center while I was trying to conceive a baby. Trying to conceive a baby and helping vulnerable women and teen girls do not go hand in hand. It was too much for my infertile heart, so I did the best thing I could, I quit.

Here is a description of what they do:

Hope Women’s Center has served the vulnerable women and teen girls in (insert city-deleted for privacy purposes) and the surrounding communities for over 25 years. Thousands of women, teens and their families have been touched by this dynamic ministry. We are an outreach ministry of Jesus Christ through His Church.

In the last 2 years we have provided service and care in over 6,000 client visits for education classes, crisis mentoring, free pregnancy tests, material help for food, clothing and baby items, housing referrals, medical referrals and for women fleeing domestic violence.

When I volunteered at the center, parenting was the only option given to the girls who came in. I prefer parenting over abortion 100% but we need to be realistic. Just because there are women who want to give their unborn child life, doesn't mean they are ready to parent a child.

I called the center a few weeks ago and spoke to the education director. I have a meeting set up for tomorrow, so I can see the changes that have been done in the last 5 years and to discuss me teaching a class twice a month on adoption. I'm hoping to find birth moms and adoptees in our area who would be willing to speak to the women as well.

I think this is a start to something wonderful. I hope to get a solid program together and help other centers (across the country) implement this class. Adoption, if done ethically, can be a wonderful option for women who want to give their unborn child life but do not have the means or are not ready to parent.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Unanswered Prayers

I have been trying to come up with a "first post" for this blog, and I couldn't think of one until tonight. As I was uploading photos of my daughter onto our computer, I realized if it wasn't for my bodies inabilities, Elle would most likely not be our kiddo. I quickly thanked God for unanswered prayers and somewhere in all of that, I thought of what I wanted to blog about.

I want to go back to the day I realized that I would most likely not have a biological child with my husband... It was October of 2009. I will never forget this day because we were driving home from Colorado and the odometer in our car reminded me of what we didn't have, a baby.

When you decide to adopt, your dream of having a child who is genetically linked to you dies. For many, this is very devastating. This never bothered me. When we decided to adopt, I was relieved. I was sick and tired of trying to force my body to ovulate, so I could try and get pregnant again. At this point in my life, I was over being pregnant. I had gotten pregnant 4 times and my body killed all 4 of my babies...I was relieved that there wasn't going to be a 5th baby in heaven. I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't sad because I was. I was sad that I couldn't give my husband what he wanted. I was sad that I couldn't make the man I love a father. I didn't think it was fair for him to have a lemon as a wife. Fast forward to today, he will tell you that he is very thankful "for his lemon (no, he doesn't call me that)!"

When we announced we were adopting, we received mixed responses:
*There were those who were elated
*There were those who said, "what took you so long?"
*There were those who said, "can you really love a child that isn't yours?"
*There were those who said, "what if you don't love the baby you bring home?"

I want to stop there. Two grown adults falling in love and getting married is something people can accept and not think twice about, but people struggle with two grown adults loving a child who isn't biologically theirs...that doesn't make sense to me! I know I'm no picnic in the park and yet, my husband is head over heels in love with me, and I love him just the same. We also annoy each other a lot of the times, lol. If we can fall in love, surely we can love a beautiful, innocent child.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What's This Blog About?

My dream has come true...I've landed my first "job" in the adoption world.  On August 25th, I became the Director in Communication/Outreach for Adoption-Share. Here's  glimpse of what I will be doing and what this blog is about:

I will be spreading the word and serving the adoption community as a landing page of advice, opinion, and research. I will be doing this by blogging for Adoption-Share.

I'm so excited about where Adoption-Share is heading. Here is what Thea (founder of Adoption-Share) wrote to me when describing the job to me: "Since we last spoke, Adoption-Share has made some adjustments in business structure. We are still an LLC, but I am considering opening up a non-profit as a component of the business and calling it the "Share Life Project" or "Share Life Campaign"...it's a spin off of Adoption-Share but I also like the thought that adoption is essentially sharing life, a message crisis pregnancy centers need to start embracing. A portion of each paid membership will go towards funding a crisis pregnancy center."

As you all know, I'm pro-life. I took a stance on abortion when I was 6 years old. I will never forget the day my parent's came home and shared the devastating news with us, my little brother growing inside my mom's belly was a vegetable and would most likely not live outside of the womb. My mom wanted an abortion and my dad challenged her. He begged her to spare the baby's life and promised to raise the child without her if she chose to leave. I took my dad's side and my mom agreed to keep the baby. My little brother was born a few months later, HEALTHY!! The tests all show that he had minimal chances of survival and yet, here he is, a miracle! 12 years later, I wrote my senior research paper on abortion and shared that story with my classmates.

Back to adoption-share. When I read "Share Life Project" or "Share Life Campaign," I knew I wanted to join the adoption-share team and work towards this amazing goal!! I feel so blessed to be a part of something so amazing! So there you have it friends...my newest adventure in adoption.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Twitter

I did something I said I would never do; I joined twitter! Feel free to follow me; you can also see my tweets on the left side of my blog.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who Am I?

I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I have a passion for God, adoption, life and blogging, so I'm very excited to be here and to get this blog started.

I'm sure you are all wondering, who I am? I am:

*A Christian
*I'm the mother to the most beautiful baby girl through the blessing of domestic infant adoption, my sweet Elle is 7 weeks
*I'm inn my late twenties
*I've been married to the love of my life for 6  years
*I'm a proud Army wife
*Lover of all things cold
*Lover of fall and winter
*Lover of water

Debuting: Adoption-Share

A wise man once said, “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  This wise adage truly reflects the same path sought by many adoptive parents wanting to expand their families.  A report conducted by the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) found that out of 10,000 married women who were interviewed, over 25% stated that they had considered adoption, while only 4% took concrete steps to adopt a child.  Further research conducted by the NSFG concluded that of this 4%, only 1.3% ever completed an adoption.  (http://www.childwelfare.gov/)

Although the research conducted by the NSFG is over a decade old in its analysis, the sad truth remains that while many people consider adopting a child, only a small number actually do.  Today, this “small” number resonates to the tune of over 20,000 domestic adoptions having taken place in 2009 and over 12,000 international adoptions having been accomplished in the same year. (http://adoption.state.gov/news/total_chart.html)

In light of the existing research and renewed interest in tracking trends within the private adoption community, one might ask the question, “why?”  Well, google the word “adoption” for starters.  There are millions of sites, chat groups, blogs, forums, agencies, and even attorneys out there promoting adoption, but few if any have the time to sit down with a person wanting to adopt, walking them through the steps and warning them about the hazards along the way.  The “maps” available for people to navigate themselves through the process, seem to contradict each other with no clear indication of where to start or a direction to head in.  Lastly, talk show hosts, made for TV movies, and irresponsible journalism are a further deterrence to folks who invest their time, energy, and resources in hopes that their efforts might result in the uniting of a son or daughter to their family.  By combining all of these ingredients, parents seeking to adopt end up with a whole lot of noise but no clear message.

Having worked for an adoption agency, we at Adoption-Share are not only aware of how narrow in fact the adoption road is but furthermore we understand the why factor and have a solution to help those wanting to expand their family through adoption achieve their dream.

Adoption-Share is a state of the art website tailored to meet your needs as a person desiring to adopt a child.  Our site is: http://www.adoption-share.com/.  We guarantee the number of people who accomplish an adoption will dramatically increase as currently there is no other site out there like it!

Best wishes!