Saturday, February 27, 2010

We're not in a 1980's after-school special anymore, folks!

You know the type. A fifteen year old boy is doing something wholesome like playing tiddlywinks in the attic when he stumbles upon a tattered birth certificate with his birthday... but someone else's name! His life is turned upside down as he sets out on his quest for The Truth.

From everything I have read, it seems that domestic infant adoption has radically changed over the past 30 years. Most adoptions prior to the 80s were "closed." An adoptive family brought a new baby home and there was no contact with the birth family, either before or after the birth. This was standard. Some families (like the one in our after-school special) waited until their children were older to tell them that they were adopted.

Although there may still be adoptions like this happening, it is no longer the norm. Most domestic infant adoptions today are considered somewhere along the "open" spectrum. This could mean anything from sending the birth family pictures and updates twice a year to spending Christmases together! Each situation is unique because it depends on so many variables. It's up to the birth family and adoptive family to decide what works for them.

Adoption will be a part of our child's life story! We want our child to know everything about how he or she came to be a part of our family. If the stars align and our adoption goes the way we hope, we would love for our child to grow up knowing his or her birth family. A person can never have too many people that love them. =)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Public Service Announcement

If somebody looks tired, don't mention it. Don't say, "Becky, do you need some caffeine?" or "Long day, Becky?"

Because Becky might think that she looks just fine until she hears this.

(By the way, I blame the Olympics!! I just get sucked in and can't go to bed.)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Parent Panel

Last week, Jonathan and I attended a “Parent Panel” at our agency. Going into it, all we knew was that adoptive parents were going to share their experiences with us. The meeting began at 7:00 pm on a work night and was held in our agency’s downtown office, which is always tricky. Come home early, exercise the dog, fix something to eat, shovel it in as we’re driving, navigate unfamiliar downtownishness, etc, etc. It was a group training and I must admit that I fully expected to sit in the back and zone out if I needed to. Yes, sometimes I do that.

But WOW. It was amazing. I can’t describe the feeling that I left with, so I shouldn’t even try. But I will anyway. “Intimate” is the word that comes to mind, and I know that sounds weird. For an hour and forty-five minutes, we got to re-live the most intense experiences of these people’s lives with them and intimate is exactly what it was.

It turned out that the panel consisted of one adoptive parent and one birth parent. The adoptive parent has two children and went through three adoptions, one of which "failed." (After developing an adoption plan and choosing a family for her baby, the birth mom decided to parent after the baby was born) Her stories were emotional- exciting, nerve-wracking, heart-breaking... everything you can think of. It was especially powerful for us because we could imagine ourselves in those situations. However, it was meeting the girl that is a birth mom that was invaluable. As she spoke, the intimidation factor of "The Birth Parent" melted away. She is an ambitious, smart, and funny girl. She plays rugby in college. She has boy trouble. She brought pictures of her daughter and spoke proudly of all the things the baby is doing at only 2 months old.

Over here on the "prospective adoptive parent" side of things, it's easy to feel like birth parents are these mystical beings that hold your fate in their hands. (One day, a Birth Parent will find you and your life will be magically transformed!) It was great to talk and laugh with this girl, find out about her future plans, and get to know her a little bit--even if it was just for a couple of hours. I know every person is different, every situation is different, everyone has different feelings, etc, etc. This girl doesn't represent every birth mom in the world. But it sure was nice to meet her. =)

Creepy Man Babies

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bear rug

Becky, can we get one of these? It would look great in our living room.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh boy

Driving through our neighborhood this morning, I saw a teenage girl walking to school. She had her backpack and fashionable coat, but no hat or gloves. Before I could stop them, the words "Where is your hat, young lady?!" popped into my head.

*sigh* I guess I'm officially a grown-up now, huh?

Monday, February 15, 2010

We Need Your Help!

Yesterday, one of our favorite people in the world became our favorite PHOTOGRAPHER in the world! Our good friend Kelsey and baby-friend Drew sacrificed their Valentine's Day to the Adopt-a-Baby-K cause. Kelsey brought us (and her amazing photography skills) to the Arboretum where the goal was to take one good picture of Jonathan and I together.

That "one good picture" will go on the front page of our "Dear Birthparent" letter. This one page (front and back) letter uses words and pictures to describe our life together. Women considering adoption for their baby will see our letter (and those of 50 other families) when they visit our agency. From these one page letters, they choose a few families that they would like to talk to and/or meet.

SO. The picture we choose to put front and center needs to be fairly large and close-uppish (agency requirements.) It also needs to make us look loving and not psychotic (our requirements.) Kelsey worked her magic and took several pictures that fit those criteria! Now here's the tough part. We can't decide which one to use! PLEASE vote in the poll on the top, right hand side of the blog and tell us which one you like the most. Remember- the woman who's looking at these will be seeing 50 or so other very similar letters. We obviously want to stand out somehow.

Number 1:

Number 2:

Number 3

Number 4:

Number 5:

THANK YOU very, very much for helping us decide!

Friday, February 12, 2010

I bought what?

Our agency strongly suggested that we have some baby basics on hand. Bottles, formula, diapers, wipes, a place for the baby to sleep, etc. So today, I bought these:

DIAPERS! For a BABY! Honestly, it felt really weird. I felt kind of like a fraud. I know that nobody in Maple Grove Target could care less if I'm buying diapers! Or even notice that I'm buying diapers. Of course I know that.

Nonetheless, it felt like I was playing grown-up and somebody was going to call me out on it at any moment! Ha.

The other thing I realized is that I know NOTHING about baby products! Time to start researching, I suppose...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Lists are my friend

I like lists. I like crossing things off of lists. It's very satisfying. That's why I was thrilled when our agency gave us an outline of what needs to be done to begin the adoption process.

*The things in bold are steps we have already completed*

1. Orientation (see if you are interested in this agency)

2. Intake Meeting (are you SURE you're interested? Okay, here's a ream of paper to fill out)

3. Adoption Study (make sure you are relatively sane and law-abiding)

  • 1st Home Study Meeting (at the agency's office)
  • 2nd Home Study Meeting (at the agency's office)
  • 3rd Home Study Meeting (at our home)

4. Training

  • Adoptive and Birth Parent Panel
  • Developing a Birth Parent Letter (a 2 page description of our life together; pics and text)
  • Working with Birth Parents (will attend on Feb 15)
  • Networking (will attend on Feb 27)

5. In "The Book." (Our birth parent letter joins those of fifty other waiting families in a binder kept in our agency's office)

Once we have completed the last step and are in "The Book," our information is available to all birthparents who visit the agency. That's when the waiting technically begins.

Do you see how many things are in bold already?! It makes me happy to see so many things checked off the list. The saying "Hurry up and wait" comes to mind... =)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Decisions, decisions!

When we made the decision to adopt, we felt like that was the Big Decision. We are going to adopt! Decision made. Done. Whew. Now everything just falls into place, right?

Not exactly. Turns out, there are about 130 million different ways to adopt. International? Domestic? Foster-to-adopt through your state agency? Pick one.

Domestic? Okay. Do you want to work with an attorney? An agency? A facilitator? Pick one.

Agency? All right, which one? Large? Small? Nationwide? Local? Affiliated with a certain faith? Pick one!

Do you want open adoption? Closed adoption? Do you feel prepared to parent a child with special needs? How do you feel about twins? How much time will you take off when the baby is born?

AGHHHH!!! For an easygoing Midwestern couple that can't even decide where to eat on a Friday night, this is a lot of decision making!

But, we did it. We're doing it. And we feel really good about our choices. At some point, it all just started to make sense and one direction felt more right than the others. Thank goodness. Now I can return the mountain of adoption books I borrowed from the library. Maybe.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Take Two

I'm considering changing the name of the blog to "Here we go (again!)" Hee hee. But seriously. Here we go again.

As you all know, Jonathan and I have gotten the adoption ball rolling. Here are some little factoids:

1. We chose to go the "domestic infant adoption" route. A pregnant woman will find us (either through our agency or by hearing about us from someone who knows that we're adopting. That's you guys!) She (or they, depending if there is a father involved) will choose us to be her baby's family. In most scenerios, adoptive parents bring their new baby home from the hospital at the age of 2 days old!

2. We are working with an agency called Adoption Minnesota (also called Wellspring Adoption Agency).

3. We have no idea when we will be parents. Because we are being selected by an expectant mom or couple... there is no order, list, time frame, rhyme, or reason. It's just a matter of waiting until the right woman finds us. It could be one day (!!) or five years. Both of those are very rare but it could happen.

So- all in all, we're back at it! We hope this blog can be one way we can keep everybody that we love up to date.

Also, I want to apologize for the fact that the last post before our 16-month hiatus was about diarrhea.