This has been a rough week for our family. For a multitude of reasons but mostly work related. It is finals week and I just began another course so I’m juggling four online classes at once and not really doing well with any of them. Looking forward to next quarter with 2 easy classes. :) Hopefully!
What we know:
1. We adore our potential birth couple.
2. We saw pictures of them this week and found ourselves imagining what the baby would look like.
3. Potential Birth Mom (PBM) B is due on May 4th.
4. She told the director of the agency that she would make a decision on who to place the baby with in the next 2-5 weeks. Yes, you read that right….2-5 WEEKS…someone get me some anti-anxiety meds asap! :)
5. We are the only family they have interviewed and the only one they have requested to have contact with so far.
6. As of today they have not asked for an additional phone call.
7. We have faith that things will work out the way they are supposed to.
What we DON’T know:
1. We don’t know when we will know if we are the “chosen” couple.
2. As with all situations, you cannot be sure that placement will happen, although in this case, they seem pretty sure.
3. As PBD did most of the talking, we want to know more about how PBM feels. She wrote the questions, but is shy by nature, and let PBD take over the conversation.
4. We don’t know why, if we are the only couple in the running, that they won’t make a decision for weeks. This is a bit scary as we ponder the reasons for the delay though the agency does not see any cause for concern at this time.
5. We also don’t know how many opportunities we might be missing out on while waiting for their decision. (I do believe that decision will come and that they will choose us, so this isn’t that big of a deal for me).
For the time being, we are A.M.U.P.O. (Almost Matched Until Proven Otherwise), and as the parent of one preemie – I’m going to get things ready now. Just in case. This little boy is already further along gestationally than S. PBM will be 34 weeks on Tuesday.
Pardon me while I nest… :)
More when we know more.
We had contacted them months ago, but they were another one that required quite a bit of money upfront - so I told them that if our "low cost" options didn't pan out, then we would be calling them.
So when we received an email about a potential situation, we were more than surprised.
We were told that a birth couple had looked through all of the profiles at their agency and didn't feel like any of those families were a good fit, so they wanted more profiles to look at.
Enter our (cute) family. :)
I updated our profile a bit, but due to my trial of Adobe expiring, I could no longer print it as a pdf. The document was too large to email so I ended up working for HOURS on converting the files to a manageable size so that we could email the profile off for the birthmom to look at.
It took 5 hours and I was a nervous wreck while it was happening. I was SOOOOO convinced that she wasn't going to choose us because I couldn't get the freaking file small enough.
I finally emailed it off around 12:30. I heard it was going out to the birth family IMMEDIATELY, so I set about keeping my self busy so I didn't lose my effing mind.
I didn't hear anything. I didn't hear anything, but then...
At 3:30 pm EST I got an email from the agency with the Subject line: AGENCY AGREEMENT FOR B* SITUATION!
Our contact called us a few minutes late and said that we were the first profile that this birth family liked so they (the agency) wanted to us to fill out paperwork. (This situation comes in under our budget too!!)
I, being the overzealous and prone to misinterpretation type, took this to mean that we were matched and having a baby the first week in May. A BOY!!!
We joyfully called the family and told them. So excited. Even went out with my mommy friends Friday night (to a FUN Irish Pub) and told them all about this baby.
But on Saturday, I reviewed the documents that the agency sent over, got them all squared away and faxed them over. It was through conversations with the director of the agency, that I realized that this WASN'T a done deal yet. (Not that it would really be a done deal until we are home with the baby, but you know what I mean).
Strangely I wasn't worried. See, we subscribe to the whole "our child will find us" which is what we firmly believe. IF things didn't work out (be assured I would cry for days) but it simply meant he wasn't supposed to be ours.
Oh, and did I mention that these potential parents were atheists? Ironic since God was/is CLEARLY a part of this. More on that later.
Sunday rolled around and my phone rang at 12:00. Turns out that B and A wanted to talk to us. IN A FEW HOURS!! Honestly, I was freaked out a bit. We met with S's birthmom a few times before she gave birth to S, but there were always one or two people from the agency with us. This was going to be a phone call. JUST US!!! Terrified doesn't even begin to explain how we both felt as I am sure they were just as nervous.
We shouldn't have been nervous. They were sweet, incredibly intelligent, funny and articulate people. They are young, 19 and 20, but M and I are so impressed with how thorough and thoughtful they are being about this process. We were supposed to talk for 30 minutes.
We talked for 1.5 hours.
Their hearts are in the right place. They want to do what's best for their son and they know that they cannot provide the opportunities for him (or for themselves) if they choose to keep him. As I mentioned before, it turns out that they are NOT atheists at all. They simply don't want religion shoved down their kid's throat. We are a household of faithful people, but we also believe that our children have the right to choose what they want to believe in.
Birthdad is very similar to M when he was 19. Into music, guitars, he and M discussed amps and some strange type of tuning that B and I had NO CLUE what they were talking about. I could see them becoming nerdy music guitar friends...
We discussed discipline, drinking, college funds, how physical fit we are (they wanted active, non overweight parents - thankful I've dropped a chunk of weight in the last year!!). Their questions were thoughtful and showed maturity FAR beyond their years.
When we hung up, I knew he was ours.
But he isn't. Not yet anyway...
They loved us. We loved them. Time will tell, but if you are of the praying, finger crossing, happy thoughts to the universe type, we'd sure appreciate whatever you can throw our way and toward the lives of this sweet young couple with a hard decision to make.
Their decision to place their child for adoption is not in question, they just want to make sure that their son is in the best hands.
I'm praying those hands are ours...
We have been around enough to know that things in this business can change at the drop of a hat. So we are cautiously optimistic, hopeful and excited, and hope to know more (and share it with you) soon.
We (meaning my mom) paid quite a hefty chunk of change for S’s adoption. The total was somewhere right around $28,000 – exactly the same as the annual salary for my first teaching job.
As we are in a better place financially than 2 years ago (likely because of my mom’s generosity with S’s adoption) we were determined to pay for this adoption on our own.
I became OBSESSED with finding “cheaper” ways to adopt. Obsessed. (Different agencies are color coded to help you follow the story).
We looked at the same agency that brought S into our lives – but their fees had taken them up over 30K, and that was just too crazy expensive AND the wait was longer 1.5 years because we were gender specific.
So we found an agency in Jacksonville, FL. Their fees seemed reasonable, but if you have been reading the blog for a while, you will know this relationship soured back in October. Read this and this for more information. Side note: Up to this point I have not named this agency, but after FOUR requests for our $500 application fee to be returned and no response – I just sent them one final request AND THEY RESPONDED!! I’ll admit that I sent an ugly message followed by an apology message, but finally have it in writing that they will return our money! So excited!
So after that debacle, we decided to get our homestudy done by Angela Quick. She’s the social worker who conducted S’s homestudy and since S, has received her adoption agency license as well. We have LOVED working with Angela again. As a fledgling agency, it really has been great to assist them in sharing the ins and outs of the “economical adoption” search. Had we been able to locate and match with a birthmom through Angela, we would have. Their agency business plan does everything BUT birthmom recruiting, etc. so we were left to search some more.
Many agencies require a hefty amount of money paid up front, but I was on a quest to find an agency that had minimal upfront costs so that we could have quite a few “pans” in the fire. This is because we are gender and race specific, there are limited number of situations available. Signing with an agency with our specifications would mean that our profile would not be shown to a potential birthmother who didn’t know the gender of the child she was carrying. So the number of potential birthmothers looking at our profile was smaller which increases the wait time exponentially.
We came across a Christian agency in AL that we loved. I talked with them extensively in November, but until our homestudy was complete – we couldn’t move forward with them. I spent an enormous amount of time working on their application (which needed 10 Christian doctrine questions answered – AMEN for friends in the seminary!) but didn’t send it until we were offically homestudy ready. Not only did this agency have a lot of fantastic benefits to guard our hearts (such as you didn’t meet your child until they were “free and clear” to be taken home), but their total adoption costs were around 20K, which seemed more reasonable and doable in our financial situation.
Then the call came. Apparently they had suspended their Caucasian infant program for out of state famiies. No one told us and this information was nowhere to be found on their website.
Honestly, I was beyond disappointed.
So I emailed the director and what transpired next was miraculous.
We spoke for 45 minutes on the phone and he explained the reasons for the suspension of the program. Essentially, they had so many families in the mix, that the newer families were often chosen first (even though the birthmothers pick) so some families had been waiting a long time (2+ years). Instead of adding additional families, they suspended the program in hopes of reducing the number of families waiting an extended period of time. He owned their mistake and decided that he would make an exception for our family and invited us to join their program. However, they were now quoting a 2-5 year wait!!
We received an email from our social worker at the agency letting us know that there was a mandatory training in AL in May and that they wouldn’t be able to show our profile until we attended. (This info is NOWHERE in the literature either. We assumed that we were good to go after the conversation with the director).
Immediately following, we received a message that stated, “Ignore my previous message about the training and please don’t make any travel plans yet. You haven’t been officially accepted as one of our families yet. I still need to conduct a 2 HOUR phone interview with you prior to being accepted.” This info was also NOWHERE in the literature.
What we think happened was that the director agreed to make an exception, but the social worker isn’t necessarily happy about the extra work taking us on as a family. Not exactly sure where we stand at this point, but have our phone interview scheduled for the end of March.
We were very excited to hear about a local maternity home that also had an adoption component. We went up to visit them and receive our training to be listed as one of their families, but due to some questionable (possibly legal…not sure) tactics, we decided to not pursue this option. The red flags: 1. They only use one lawyer and you can not use outside counsel. 2. The birthmother expenses are a standard fee regardless of the situation. (There is a cap of birthmother expenses here in FL that is 5K. Anything higher, I believe, needs court approval). At this place there was a 10K birthmother fee (which may or may not be in the form of a “donation” to their non-profit). But in one instance, we were told that they used these donated funds to purchase a car for birthmother after she placed her child. While this may be legal, we didn’t feel it was ethical and would hate to have our adoption overturned or jeopardized because of this practice. 3. We didn’t feel that their birthmoms were adequately screened resulting in several failed placements.
I contacted a referral service, who offered us a 47K situation and told me that we couldn’t get a healthy Caucasian child for the 20K that we planned. In fact, she said “I can get you a drug exposed baby for 23K, but if you want a healthy one – it will be a minimum of 30K.” I think because we didn’t have enough money, she didn’t want to work with us, and I never heard from her again.
After hearing about the previous interaction of the referral service, a family friend referred us to a local adoption attorney who was outraged at the comments made by the referral service. She and I talked extensively, and we decided to have her show our profile for a minamal fee ($200) should any situatiosn come across her desk. This money would be rolled over into our finalization costs should we use her to finalize. She sounds fantastic, although I still haven’t received our contract that was supposed to be mailed a few weeks ago. Makes me a little concerned for her attention to detail, but maybe that contract isn’t really a big deal so there is no rush. She’s still showing our profile in the meantime.
From our new new lawyer friend, we were referred to a consultant in CO. She charges 2,500 up front, but seemed to have a good reputation. I told her our budget (around 20-25K at this point) and she said that we were better off working with someone else because she didn’t have access to situations that inexpensive. I HATE that this is about MONEY!!
Through various websites and forums I heard about this guy, Dave, who was doing adoption outreach for an agency in UT. It sounded great. I sent off all of our info, arranged to have profile books mailed, and waited for additional info. Since he said that fees ranged from 22-35K, I figured we would hope for a situation on the low end. What I didn’t ask to see were the specific financials. (ALWAYS ASK). Even if we could have located a birthmother through Dave, which was probably likely) the fees for their program (FEES ONLY) were 38K. I sent him a message apologizing because it really was my bad for not asking specifically, and he is holding our profile books in UT until we decide where to send them. No sense in having them mail them all the way back here to send them someplace else. Which leads me to the next agency…
We found another agency in UT that had a situation with a baby boy due Apr. 2nd. (I know soon, eh?) So I contacted them and turns out that they lost contact with that b-mom. But there is a great lead on a b-mom due May 24th. This agency seems to have access to a higher percentage of Caucasian kids (probably because they are in UTAH!). Their fees are reasonable (agency fees are around 18K) but they want 8K up front. OUCH! So we may use them, but still deciding on if we want to put that much money down and be stuck with them.
So currently, we are working with a consultant in Michigan who costs 100 to begin and if you get a match through her, you only pay 1000. This is VERY reasonable in this crazy world. We’ll see if anything comes of it. More soon. We had a couple leads on a few babies already and have only been active for 3 days.
So I can’t believe you’ve read all of this! Sorry for the novel, but this update has been coming for a long time. I’m hoping and praying that our son finds us and that we are patient enough to wait for him. More soon.
So I’ve been sewing. Yes, you read that right. Sewing. Like with a machine and all.
Didn’t know I could sew? Well, due to the love and patience of my grandmothers and mother, I can. I learned fairly young and I H.A.T.E.D. it. In fact, at 15, my grandma and I set about to make a stuffed animal cat while I was in Oregon visiting. It was a short visit, and a complicated project and honestly, it took almost 20 years to start sewing again. I hated that stupid cat! (I still have it somewhere I think!)
But as we wait for the next member of our family, I felt the need to make something.
To construct something.
To cultivate something.
(For S’s wait, it was butterflies – the living kind, but that is a story all of its own…)
So enter in my a cheapo Walfart sewing machine and I began making baby items for our son.
My intent was to save money. Why pay for silly burp cloths when the fabric and some of my time is cheaper? (Between all the start up supplies and my sewing machine, I’m pretty sure these are the world’s most expensive burp cloths!)
I wanted to make a pouch baby sling but I didn’t want to pay for one. I didn’t use one with S, but now with a newborn and a toddler, I need one so I can have my hands for S. I found a pattern online. Even though I read the directions a million times, I still cut my material wrong and had 4 one yard pieces instead of 2 two yard pieces. Math (and apparently reading comprehension) are still not my strong suit.
But the sling is awesome. The catch? Apparently I measured my body wrong and the sling is a few inches too short. So if anyone is interested in a sling for a smaller figured, shorter mom…I’m selling it for the cost of the material. ($10).
You see, I am a “path of least resistance” kind of girl. I don’t like hard work and will strive to find the most efficient and least effort required to complete a task. This, coupled with my neurotic need for straight lines, is not really good for sewing. So I have learned.
My first bib. Complete disaster. (I can’t believe I am posting this! Embarrassing!)
New bib on the new fantastic-computerized-got-a-great-deal-on-amazon sewing machine (that even embroiders!) much better.
More pictures to come. Next up, another attempt at baby shoes and a dress for S.