At first we got some emails from potential birth parents, but mostly they were scammers looking for trouble and money. It wasn't too hard to spot them. Of those who seemed more legit we would never hear back from them after their initial contact. In May of 2009 our caseworker called us and told us she had a situation to present and were we interested. The details were that the birthmother was in prison, she was due to deliver in July and had no family that could take the baby until she finished her minimum 5 years. She had two older pre-teen children and she was 38 years old. She was in prison for having drugs in the house with her children. Our local LDSFS agency has a program where they go out to the prison to help expectant mothers decide what to do. She approached them about placing her baby boy through their program even though she wasn't of the LDS faith. Our caseworker told us that when she talked to her and heard what kind of family she wanted, she immediately thought of us.
What did we think? We thought about it and we let her know we were interested in having our profile shown to this mother, we'll call her Sally. Our caseworker took a stack of profiles in and gave them to her to look over. She ended up choosing us and said she wanted to meet us in about one month.
So, we started preparing for a baby to come to our home. I did a little shopping and picked out colors for the nursery.
The day we were supposed to meet her at the prison I got an early morning call from our caseworker that Sally had changed her mind and didn't want to meet us. She was confused and wanted to look at other non-denominational agencies. (The word on the street is that private agencies somehow "pay" birthmothers when they place and that she wanted money. I don't know how an agency would be able to pay someone in prison but I am sure they could find a way.) Our caseworker (who was no longer our caseworker because she was Sally's caseworker and couldn't represent us both) talked her into meeting us. I was sick inside and had a really bad feeling.
We showed up at the prison, got checked in, got treated rudely by some guards and waited. She walked into the room and sat down at the table with her prison liaison and we with the caseworkers. We asked her if we could buy her a soda and she accepted. She was pretty and large with child and clearly very nervous, as were we. We had a nice chat and got to know each other a little. She told us she had our profile in her "room" and looked at it often, imagining what we were like. It wasn't a long visit, maybe 30 minutes and at the end she basically told us she was going to place her baby with us. I don't remember everything that was said, but she acted very interested in us and very sincere the whole time. We felt sorry for her.
When we left we felt better than we had that morning but we were still nervous. We decided to stop all preparations, we wouldn't paint the nursery or buy anything else until he was born. He was due in about one month. We planned to name him Samuel. Zack was VERY excited to be getting a brother and had helped pick his name.
Our old caseworker assured us that she didn't have time to switch agencies at that point as it was very hard to even get a phone call out of the prison let alone arrange meetings with other agencies. I prayed that she would deliver early so that she wouldn't have time to switch. I also prayed that if this wasn't meant to be our baby, that it wouldn't work out but that I sure did hope he was meant to be ours and that it would work out. I left it completely up to Heavenly Father and was hope full.
She didn't deliver early. That month was so hard! I was on pins and needles waiting for the call that would come 12 hours after he was born. Prison rules say the mother can only stay in the hospital for 12 hours and then has to go back to the prison and only then can they call the adoptive parents. Then we would have to go out to the prison for her to sign the papers 24 hours after birth and THEN, we could go get the baby at the hospital.
One week before his due date, Steve called our old caseworker to see if she had heard anything. She told him she was just about to call him with the news. Sally had switched agencies. We would not be getting the baby, some other family would. I was helping at a funeral when Steve called to tell me. I went in a room and cried and then I had to go back and spend the rest of the day feeding grieving people, while I silently grieved for the baby we would not have. I had dreams for weeks that she still wanted us to be the parents and the new agency was trying to find us! We were all very sad and Zack cried when I told him.
I feel peace about it now, even though it still makes me sad to think of it. I still think of that little baby boy and wonder how he is. I hope he got a really great family that Heavenly Father picked out for him.
I really want to start documenting our adoption journey and since this is the only journaling I do, it will be done here on this blog. I hope it is not too boring, but if it is you are welcome not to read it!
Almost exactly three years ago in 2007, we came to the conclusion that getting pregnant again was not going to happen easily. We had both been through tests, tried Clomid for four months (what a hormonal disaster: hot flashes and a feeling of psychosis), had artificial insemination at least 4 times, maybe 6 and been to an infertility specialist. The specialist met with us briefly, did no exam or tests and told us our only chance would be In-Vitro. Oh, and it would cost $12,000. We were not exited at that prospect and I figured the hormones required with In-Vitro would kill us all.
I immediately started looking into adopting from China. I mentioned it to Steve and he was interested too. After all my research I learned that the process was taking about 4 years and that we were not eligible anyway because you had to have been off of any anti-depressants for at least 2 years before you could apply. I was still taking those meds for extreme PMS (which has since been cured believe it or not) so we knew we would have to look elsewhere. It was disappointing.
Next I researched all the private adoption agencies in our area and called the ones that came recommended by friends. I was uneasy. None of them felt right but I figured I needed to do more research. Steve suggested we check out LDS Family Services. We called at the first of November and were told there was an information meeting on the 9th of that month. We showed up on the 9th and were given all the details of how the program worked. We felt like we should sign up with them and were told that we would have to take a two day class and pay $1000 and give a letter from our Bishop before we could proceed. It turns out the classes were offered 3 times per year and they happened to be that night and the next day, and they had room for us. We wrote out a check, called our bishop and cleared our schedules.
The classes were very informational and a great start to our journey. They had panels with adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive parents. They had group sessions to talk about infertility and our grieving process. Steve and I both thought it was weird (not in a judgemental way) when the people in our groups cried when talking about their infertility. We just were not that devastated about it. We thought maybe it was because we had been blessed with having Zack, we really can't complain too much, even though we want more, we feel so lucky to have him!
With the classes completed, we began filling out form after form after form, telling everything about ourselves and our lives. Then we met with our case worker several times, she inspected our home and completed our home study. We choose pictures of ourselves and wrote a Dear Birth parent letter. The 1st of March 2008, our profile was published on LDSFS website for birth parents to view. We were ready and we waited.
One of the first things we learned in our adoption classes is that it's important to use proper adoption language which does not demean anyone in the adoption triad. Using the "negative" terms perpetuates the myth that adoption is second best. Using positive language shows that building a family through adoption is as valid as giving birth. (Nothing irks me more than when someone says: "her REAL mother...". What exactly is a REAL mother anyway?)
Negative Terms ***** Preferred Terms
Gave up her child for adoption ***** Placed her child for adoption Real parent/Natural parent ***** Birth parent/Biological parent Adoptive parent ***** Parent His adopted child ***** His child Illegitimate ***** Born to unmarried parents Adoptee ***** Child who was adopted To keep ***** To parent Adoptable child/Available child ***** Waiting child Foreign adoption ***** International adoption Track down parents ***** Search Unwanted child ***** Child placed for adoption Is adopted ***** Was adopted Birth Mother (before she has placed a baby) ***** Expectant Mother Reunion ***** Made contact with Give up/away the baby ***** Make an adoption plan or place the child
Did you know that November is national adoption awareness month? Well, it is. I am going to try and do a different post on adoption every day. Shoot for the stars right? (I'll be lucky if I get 4 posts, but I'm not going to let myself know I'm so pessimistic.)
As you may know, we have been trying to adopt for almost 3 years now, and during that time I have learned a lot about it, except for the part where you actually do it. I will try to share with you some of what I have learned in this months posts. Also stay tuned for some exciting news! I can't wait!
"Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves, without any insistence that they satisfy you". Dr. Wayne Dyer
Daisy - 15 months old
She loves the bath!
Daisy Yu Chen
Referral Picture - about 5 months old
Our Adoption Timeline
January 2010 - Cousin suggested China SN program, contacted Wasatch International, got info pack
May 2010 - Decided to start China SN adoption
July 2010 - Signed contracts with WIA (Wasatch)
August and September 2010 - Homestudy visits and education done
October 20, 2010 - Mailed I-800A October 27, 2010 - Received our referral October 28, 2010 - LOI sent November 2, 2010 - PA November 9, 2010 - Fingerprints done December 3, 2010 - I800A approval December 21, 2010 - Mailed Dossier Jan 10, 2011 - LID February 24, 2011 - LOA (45 days) March 3, 2011 - Sent I-800 March 21, 2011 - I-800 approval April 4, 2011 - NVC cabled April 20, 2011 - Article 5