Tuesday, December 29, 2015

TPR day

       In the early hours of this morning, Baby Girl turned 2 days old. With this came the 48 hour minimum that allowed Anne to sign her TPR papers. The 48 hour mark would have been at just after 4:00 a.m., and Anne's appointment was scheduled for 10 a.m.. Here's how everything happened.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Friday, December 25, 2015

Research: Is it a good idea for the biomom to hold the baby?

     As I mentioned in my last update, we now have more information about Anne's birth plan. The basis of a birth plan is for the biomom to have an idea of how she wants everything to look at the hospital. Who will be in the delivery room? Who will be in the waiting room to come in after the baby is born? Will the baby be taken out of the room or stay in? Will the biomom see the baby? Hold the baby?

Merry Christmas, updates, and more waiting

       Well, this is certainly a different Christmas than we have ever had before! Last week, Anne's body was indicating that she would probably go into labor soon-- she even went to the hospital at one point. Since she has decided as part of her birth plan that she would like for me to be in the delivery room with her (more on that later), I obviously want to make sure I am around when she goes into labor! We loaded up and headed to Anne's city so that we would be close by when the time comes for baby  girl to be born.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Waiting and waiting

             Nothing new to share! Anne has been consulting with a high-risk OB specialist, and this doctor doesn't think an early induction is necessary. She would still like to schedule an induction, just for the convenience of us having a date on the calendar to be there. Ben is out of the picture (a long, sad story, but probably for the best), and Anne does not want to be in the delivery room alone. She knows that the likelihood that I would be able to be in the delivery room with her without an induction date to work with is slim, so she is really trying to talk her doctors into giving her a date. She goes back early next week (she'll be almost 38 weeks at that point), so hopefully they will either set a date or let her know that she is showing signs that she will be going into labor soon. We've chatted a bit this week and she has actually felt pretty good, so I am very thankful for that.
           

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The logistics of it all

         Obviously, Monday has come and gone. And unfortunately, I have no significant update to share. Induction was not discussed any further, so as far as I know, that is no longer an active consideration. Even though forcing a baby to be born before her (or his) due date is less than ideal, having an induction date on the calendar to work with would have made our lives much easier. Without that, the logistics of this last month become very complicated.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Update & prayer request

         These past few weeks have been filled with waiting, but that may be drawing to a close. Anne met with a specialist today to talk about setting an induction date. She has remained ill for her entire pregnancy, and things with her health are getting to the point that it would be safer for Baby Girl to be born early and have the risks associated with a 5 week (or less) prematurity than to have the risks of remaining in such a sick body for much longer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Unexpected expenses

   The reality of adoption is that it is unpredictable. Every situation is different. Every agency handles expenses differently. So, this post may not ever be helpful to anyone, but here is what is going on with us right now.

Monday, November 9, 2015

How big of a part of my identity will this become?

     I've spent the better part of about 3 hours today reading through another adoptive family's blog and Facebook page out of sheer fascination by their story. Going through this process-- this strange, amazing, surreal process-- is somehow eased by reading the stories of others who have walked the same path before you. I know that is why this blog has gotten somewhat popular. It isn't because our story is particularly captivating in the big scheme of things. It isn't because I am an amazingly talented writer. It isn't because I have any clue what I am doing here! It is because this can feel like a lonely path. It is because when you keep getting invitations to baby showers and see baby bump pictures everywhere, it helps to know that there really are other people who are growing their family through adoption. The happy stories give you hope. The sad stories give you a reality check. The ongoing stories give you a feeling of companionship, which is wildly bizarre given that you will likely never be "companions" with that other family in real life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Visit with Anne

      Last week we traveled to meet Anne and Ben, and it was a wonderful experience. Since we had previous phone conversations, we knew that we were comfortable talking to each other and had some foundation for what to talk about. There was some nervousness, which is understandable since there isn't any set social protocol for meeting the woman who is planning to entrust you with her child.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Preparing to meet Anne

      Tomorrow we will be traveling across several states to spend a couple of days with Anne (and hopefully Ben, but that is still up in the air). Today, our case worker called to give us a head's up about what to expect and what some of the rules are. Before I summarize what she said, though, I want to point out that the format of how this is happening with us is very unique compared to the usual agency/lawyer policies. So, here are how meetings usually go:

Monday, October 12, 2015

2nd Conversation with Anne

        One thing that our caseworker had told us in the very beginning was to not read too much into a skipped phone call or missed doctor's appointment. After all, if this is a woman whose life is in such turmoil that she feels like she is unable to parent, how reasonable is it to expect that she will always be available to answer her phone at a set day and time? But, nonetheless, when Anne's social worker was not able to get in touch with her for our phone call Friday, there was a part of me that began to worry. Did I say something wrong last time? Did I word something poorly in the card that I sent her? Has she changed her mind? Did something happen to the baby? It was ridiculous, and just as our caseworker had said, it meant nothing. Anne was very sick that morning (she's had the same bad luck as I did when it comes to being one of the few who has morning sickness their entire pregnancy!) and hadn't thought about calling to cancel, and when she was finally able to fall back to sleep she didn't wake up when her phone rang in the other room. The point in opening this post with that story is to verify that sometimes a missed phone call is nothing more than a missed phone call. I think that we all hear so many stories of disrupted adoptions that it is easy to get worried over nothing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

1st conversation with Anne

     Wednesday was one of the most nerve wracking days of this whole process: we had our first phone call with Anne. I guess that I can't say "we"-- hubby was supposed to be available for the call, but he got called into a last minute emergency surgery that was a life or death situation for one of his patients. That isn't exactly the type of thing that he is able to just opt out of, so it ended up being just me talking to Anne. She was very understanding, and said that it had actually worked out well that she and I got a chance to talk one-on-one and it helped her to be a bit less nervous.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

First Case Worker Phone Call

     We had our first phone call with our caseworker this morning. The way that the agency we have matched through works is that we as the PAPs have a caseworker that is separate from Anne's caseworker. I talked to Anne's caseworker the day that we found out that we matched (she is the one who called me), and I have been emailing with her back and forth. So, today was the first real conversation we had with our caseworker. The phone call ended up being just over an hour, and focused on 4 main topics.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Prayer Requests


       I know that several of our friends and family members have been keeping up with our adoption journey through this blog, and many have made the comment "We're praying for you." With that in mind, I wanted to share some of the specific prayer requests that we have both for Anne and baby girl. We so appreciate everyone's prayers, and know that God's hand has been in every step of this process.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WE MATCHED!

I write this post with a happy heart... we found out this afternoon that we matched! Here is a recap of what has been going on this past week and the timeline of our match:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

An update lacking in updates

       The past couple of months have been very quiet in terms of our adoption journey. We have submitted three applications (but one didn't end up being seen, more on that later), but haven't matched. We are just patiently waiting to see how things will end up! The reason we have only submitted three applications is that we have run into a big challenge with the cases we have been made aware of through the agencies and lawyers who we are working with: we have a biological child, and the expectant mom is wanting a childless family. Well over half of the cases that we would have had the opportunity to submit for (I would probably estimate about 75%) desire a childless couple, or a couple whose other children were adopted. Here is a summary of our experiences with the three situations.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Research: Decision making styles that could lead to a disrupted match

(I just found this in my draft folder-- not sure why it never published!)       
   One of the things that we really admire about our agency is that they will not match until halfway through the second trimester (or, more preferably, not until the third trimester) to make sure that the Emom has really had time to process her decision and is certain (as much as is possible to be certain) that she is comfortable with the plan she is making. Today, I received an email from an adoption listserve about a lawyer trying to find a match for a young woman who is due early March. This is the first week of July. It would be physically impossible for her to have known about her pregnancy for more than a few days. It took me awhile to put my finger on why this made me so deeply uncomfortable, but then it hit me. My research (including my dissertation) focuses largely on the decision to abort when faced with an unintended pregnancy. One of the areas that I have paid specific attention to is the women who come to regret this decision. An article that I have referenced frequently in both my writings and my lectures is one that I will admit is quite dated (nearly 30 years old), but has valuable information about the features of decision making that lead to abortion regret. After going back over this, I realized that many of the situations that I have looked at and said "I'm not comfortable with that" have features that are mentioned in this article. Now, of course the decision to abort and the decision to place for adoption are completely separate. But, wouldn't it make sense that the same type of decision making that could lead to someone regretting an abortion could also lead to someone changing their mind about the decision to place for adoption (or, worse, regret the adoption)? With that in mind, I am going to review the 4 decision making styles that can lead to regret.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Methods of matching (and allowing for "It just doesn't feel right")

       Something interesting happened this week involving an adoption situation that, on paper, seemed like it would be a good match for us (and us for them). I excitedly told my husband about the email, and we decided to take the morning to think about it and discuss it in a couple of hours. His response wasn't at all what I was expecting: "Something about this just doesn't feel right." That is the type of thing that I would say-- that intangible "I just have a feeling" thing is my line, not my logical, objective, "let's stick with facts" husband's.  With this being such a huge, life changing decision, I respected his discomfort and that was that. Later that day we had a longer conversation, and he was able to put his finger on a couple of the things about the situation that were leading to his discomfort. He had picked up on something that made him question the bioparents' actual desire to place in the interest of the themselves and the child versus feeling like they had to, and had a strong conviction that they would either change their minds or intensely regret their decision. (Update: That was a good call on his part, as we learned last week they did end up changing their minds)
        But, it did get me thinking about one of the ways that we chose our agency: how do they go about matching? There are four primary methods that agencies/lawyers/facilitators will use to match. Two of those methods allow for you to take the liberty to say "It just doesn't feel right, I think I will pass," and the other two do not.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Birthmother expenses state by state


      As a follow up my post earlier this week about choosing an ethical agency, I am going to write about another issue that I have been researching: Is it unethical to pay birthmother expenses*? Obviously we will assume the responsibility of medical bills that aren't covered by her insurance or medicaid, but what about those who are asking for help with living expenses such as rent, phone bills, groceries, maternity clothing, or gas money? What about those who are asking for a specific amount of money without giving specifics about what that money is needed for? Is that getting too close to baby buying? Is it coercive because now she feels indebted to the PAPs?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Choosing an ethical agency


      In the next few weeks, it's likely that I won't have very many updates on our adoption process. We are just waiting for a match, so nothing is really changing anywhere. So I wanted to go back and talk about something from the very beginning: how we chose our agency, and what made us comfortable with their ethics.
        Since deciding that we would begin the adoption process, I have actively sought out what many potential adoptive parents (PAPs) actively hide from: stories of bio-moms who regret the adoption (or the way the process unfolded), and reflections by adoptees who do not feel like their adoption was some amazing, beautiful, "best-life-you-could-possibly-have" situation. The first few weeks after our decision to move forward with adoption, I didn't want to go anywhere near any adoption story that wasn't totally positive. But after that initial period of trying to surround myself with blind optimism, I realize that "ignorance is bliss" isn't the perspective I want to take when living out a situation that will affect so many lives. When my husband found out I was reading these things, his first reaction was "WHY?! Why would you do this to yourself?!" To me, the answer had become simple: by knowing about situations that have gone wrong, we are better equipped to do everything in our power to help our situation be healthy. Without reading some of the heartbreaking accounts of bio-moms, it would have been easy for me to put my head in the sand and pretend that the practices of coercing and manipulating expectant mothers considering adoption was dead. I'd be able to have blind faith that any adoption agency, facilitator, or lawyer that claimed to be faith-based and included a few scriptures on their website would actually operate with Christian principles. It would be fine for me to just sit here in my privilege of "We are a happy couple, we are financially secure, we have a wonderful life," waiting and praying for someone not in a position of privilege to choose us as adoptive parents. But I can't do that. I want to make sure that we are not supporting any agency that would be coercive or manipulative towards pregnant women in difficult situations. If I use an organization that takes advantage of these women in such a way, am I any better than people who partake in baby-buying facilitated by trafficking? 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Recognizing my privelege: Adoption teminology and the idea of "God's will"

      This is a post about what I have learned about the language of adoption. In reading adoption message boards written by bioparents, adoptive parents, and adopted children, it becomes obvious that word choice is incredibly important. Different people will have different terms that they prefer, so I wanted to do a collection of some of these and discuss how we have come to choose what language we most prefer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The adoption profile book


    During this period of waiting for the court system to get around to looking at our paperwork, I have been fine-tuning our adoption book. Now, obviously I am not really in a position to give advice on this, seeing as no expectant mothers have looked at our book or chosen us yet, so I can't tell you about how effective our decisions were. (Update: The second person who saw our book chose us!)  But, I am going to walk you through my thought process as I put together our book, and link to some of the websites that I found helpful.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another step forward

          While on vacation last week, we received an email from our agency that said we are good to go and are now eligible to be presented to expectant moms!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What's in the homestudy report?


     Yesterday we got a copy of our agency's homestudy report in the mail. I'm not entirely sure what this means (that the court has approved the homestudy, or if it is just a copy for our records that has no significance in terms of where we are in the court process-- I've emailed our social worker to ask about that), but I thought I would do a quick post about what information is included in the homestudy report. I have shared what our first and second homestudy visits were like, and what can cause the denial of a homestudy approval.  So, if you are still preparing for your homestudy, those posts might be a good place to start. If you are like us and your homestudy is done and you are sitting and wondering "how are they going summarize everything they have just learned about us?" then keep reading!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day

     (Just a warning, this post is nothing more than my rambling thoughts)
     This is my second mother's day as a mom. My little guy is napping, my husband is planting some new succulents in our backyard that I picked out a couple of weeks ago (I'd rather have flowers in the ground where I can enjoy them long-term than ones that will be pretty on my table for a few days), and I have had a few moments of quiet to reflect on what mother's day will probably be like in the future.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Research: Are adopted children really at a higher risk for needing therapy and attempting suicide?


    I will return to the blog with something that is both controversial and hard to talk about-- welcome back, right? Between having 6 different family members visit over the past month, a mysterious stomach virus, food poisoning striking our house, and planning a trip back to the midwest to see family, I have been a bit preoccupied! There are no new updates with our homestudy-- the paperwork is on someone's desk in some family court legal office somewhere awaiting approval. So, onto the research!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Research: Adoptees discuss challenges, advantages, and disadvantages of open adoption

      The article I read this morning was fairly recent (2012) and taken from a small sample who gave in-depth interviews. It was titled "Growing Up in Open Adoption: Young Adults' Perspectives." There were only 11 participants, so the information can't be used to establish any type of trend, but they did give interesting details in recounting their experiences. The adoptees were ages 18-23 at the time of this interview, and had all been in an open-adoption situation. These participants all had very different experiences with their adoptions: some exchanged mail once a year, some had face-to-face visits, some of these visits were frequent and ongoing while some had only happened once during childhood, and some talked on the phone while others used social media. This article referred to the biomom as "birth mother," so that is the language that I will use in summarizing the article.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Small, semi-significant update

    My fingerprint fiasco is finally resolved! The online system shows my official fingerprint clearance, so now I just have to wait for the card and paperwork to come in the mail (hopefully Monday update: they were delivered late in the afternoon on Wednesday). Then, I get that to our social worker, she adds it to our homestudy packet, and everything goes to the court system.
  Our state currently has a 6-8 week processing wait time for family court matters, so we should be officially approved to have our profile shown to expectant moms by mid-May to early June.

Friday, April 3, 2015

7 reasons people fail their homestudy


    The homestudy posts (Part 1 and Part 2) have definitely been the most popular articles on the blog, so I thought I would add one more: What can cause you to fail a homestudy (sometimes worded as "being denied" a homestudy approval)? Here is a quick checklist of questions to ask yourself:
  1. Are my partner and I physically and mentally healthy enough to raise a child?
  2. Are we financially stable?
  3. Do we have a safe and sanitary home, with a bedroom that could be used for a child?
  4. Are our records clear from any major (or recent) legal issues? 
  5. Have we been honest on all of our paperwork?
  6. Are we willing to cooperate with any suggestions that our social worker may make? 
  7. Are we both committed to adoption, and have we coped with the grief of not being able to have biological children (if that is the situation that has led to adoption)? 
  Most likely, your homestudy will be approved if you can answer "yes" to all of these questions. Read on for more details about these considerations.

Monday, March 30, 2015

What is the purpose of fingerprint clearance?


     Yes, I am still trying to get my fingerprint fiasco resolved. I went down to the state public safety office on Friday and had one of their technicians do my prints to make sure they were done correctly (at their suggestion). But, in the midst of this something interesting has happened: I got in touch with our social worker to give her an update on the continued delay, and her response was "Well, if they come back unclear a third time, you just fill out a form that allows them to use a clean name-based background check as a substitute for a fingerprint scan." Here is why I find this interesting: if that is equivalent, why did I need a fingerprint scan in the first place? What is the purpose of fingerprinting if the name-based paperwork has already come back showing that I have no criminal record?
   That frustration combined with slightly suspicious questions from people who know what we are going through ("Is there a possibility that they keep needing to rerun your prints because something is showing up?") made me think that it might be a good idea to do some research for a post on the purpose of fingerprinting and what will cause you to be denied/fail a fingerprint scan.

Monday, March 23, 2015

First emotional thing/All the what ifs

      Even though we are still in the middle of my fingerprint fiasco and haven't even been approved by the state yet, I had my first emotional "thing" related to the adoption over the weekend. It wasn't a big deal, not even something that made me emotional to the point of tears or a feeling that I would label as true sadness, just lots of "what ifs" that lingered around me for a couple of days and would invade my quiet moments.

Friday, March 20, 2015

These *&$ fingerprints!

  I called the DPS office today to see if they had my fingerprints, because if not I was just going to drive over there. They got them. And they need to be redone. Again. Apparently, some people have fingers that are really difficult to print due to shallow ridges and other things that I tuned out in my frustration.
   I said "Okay, well I'll head over now." Nope. They have to mail me another reprint letter, and I can't go to the actual DPS office to get reprinted until I actually have the letter in my hand to show them. It wasn't being mailed out until this afternoon (I called around 1:00), so I probably won't have it until Tuesday or Wednesday. This week marks 2 months waiting for fingerprints.

Research: Open adoption relationships, considering sexual orientation

         I found an interesting article to read this morning looking at open adoption dynamics, and comparing how gender and sexual orientation could possibly  influence those dynamics by including same-sex couples in the study. This was a qualitative study with a pretty small sample, which included 15 heterosexual couples, 15 gay couples, and 15 lesbian couples. The researchers were trying to answer 4 questions, during two separate interviews (one while waiting for palcement, and one 3-4 months after adoption):
  1. Does sexual orientation and gender influence the initial motivation for open adoption?
    • I'm not going to talk about this one, because there isn't any practical application for any of us who are going through this process. You know why you are motivated to pursue an open adoption. 
  2. Are there any patterns of change to the open adoption relationship or development of the relationship that are different based on gender and sexual orientation? 
  3. Do the challenges in developing a relationship with the birth-parents (that is the term they used, so that is the term I will use in this summary, even though it isn't my personal language of preference) differ based on gender and sexual orientation?
  4. In what ways do adoptive parents expand their idea of family to include the birth parents, and is this influenced by gender and sexual orientation. 
       Here is what they found:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

More fingerprint frustrations

      If you would have told me that one day I would be frustrated almost to tears trying to get a legal fingerprint clearance, I would have thought you were crazy. My fingerprint fiasco continues, and I have learned something: no one, not NO ONE, in my state actually knows the details of when, where, and how I can get this taken care of. Let me explain:

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Adoption loans



     A couple of weeks ago I did a post on the various adoption grants that are available, and promised a follow-up regarding loans. Here is that follow-up!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The 2015 adoption tax credit


  I promise that I will do a post on adoption loans (update: here it is!), as I had said I was working on in this post on adoption grants. Things have been a bit busy around here with my husband spending a couple months working in the trauma unit and me still teaching 4 classes online. But, something came across my radar this week from the Adoptive Families site that I wanted to do a quick post about: the government increased the adoption tax credit! Before you get too excited, they only increased it by $200-- but every little bit helps, right? I figured that I would do a brief overview of the tax credit for those who are in the "how the heck are we going to afford this?" stage, like we are.

Side note: TurboTax software has all of the prompts needed for using the Adoption Tax Credit! So, if you like to do your own taxes, download the Deluxe package from Amazon here http://amzn.to/1KZYHvA and you will be able to put in all of your adoption info, relatively headache free! I was pleasantly surprised!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Research: Satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the amount of contact

       The article I read today is another one about teenagers. I know that it may seem odd that I am reading so many things about adolescents rather than younger children, since we will be adopting a newborn, but I think that there are a few reasons that I have been drawn to these articles. First, teenagers are able to better articulate complex feelings than children. Second, knowing whether there is happiness, contentment, and satisfaction with the relationship over a decade down the road can be a great motivation to work through some of the challenges and discomforts that may arise during the first few years of the open adoption when we are still working on forming a functional relationship with the bio family. Finally, my area of focus/specialty academically and professionally is adolescent development. I am interested in and drawn to this research-- it's just what makes me tick. So, without further rambling, this morning's article was taken from a 2006 edition of Child Welfare and titled "Adolescents' feelings about openness in adoption: Implications for adoption agencies."

          For this article, 152 adolescents who had an open adoption situation were interviewed. They were adopted as infants (the adoption was finalized before the first birthday) by a married couple, and were not in a transracial, international, or special needs adoption situation.
        The format of the study was to look at 2 groups, each broken down into 2 subgroups. Group 1 was those who had contact. They were then divided into those who were satisfied with that contact and those who were not. Group 2 was those who had no contact. Just like with group 1, they were then separated into those who were satisfied without having contact and those who were not.
   
Happy with contact  

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Research: Curiosity and contact with the bio family

         The article I read today was titled "Contact in adoption: The experience of adoptive families in the USA," written in 2003.  This article was a summary of several research projects that used the MTARP dataset. The MTARP (Minnesota/Texas Adoption Research Project) was a large, multi-year (longitudinal) study that focused on openness and contact in adoptions. It was a unique data collection, because it surveyed adopted children, adoptive parents, biomoms, and agency caseworkers. All adoption situations involved a child who was adopted before his or her first birthday from a private agency, and any situation that involved a transracial, international, or special needs adoption was excluded from the study. Several different studies have been conducted using this dataset, thus the availability of a summary article.


The adoptive parent's role in communicating about the adoption

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Research: Is it healthy for children to talk about their adoption?

       I've fallen a bit behind on my article reading, but hopefully can start getting back on track! Today's article was taken from the journal Adoption & Fostering  and is titled "The experience of adoption: The association between communicative openness and self-esteem in adoption."
        This study was done in the UK, so there are some cultural differences to consider, but the results are interesting. There were 2 groups of 11 year old, adopted children studied: the first group were adopted within the UK as babies, and the second group were adopted from Romania when they were 2 months- 3.5 years old. In total, there were 180 children in this study. Their parents were also interviewed for part of the study.
       (As a side note, this article refers to adoptive parents as "substitute" parents in several places. I found that word choice to be pretty offensive as a future adoptive parent.)
        This article opened with the idea that adoptive parenting includes a unique challenge: helping your child understand their origins and make sense of their beginnings. It is a challenge that must be faced, as the majority of adoptees will be curious about their origins. So, the study explored some of the factors that are related to ease or difficultly for children in discussing their adoption, to what degree openness talking about the adoption is related to family structure or feelings of difference (i.e., "I feel different than the rest of the members of my family), and if talking about adoption is related to self-esteem.
     
        Here is what they found:

Monday, March 2, 2015

Adoption grants


    For most of us, coming up with the $20,000-$60,000 needed for adoption isn't a small feat. Thankfully, there are grants and loans specifically intended to help pay for an adoption. BUT, there are many things that can limit eligibility for this money. Many of them are from faith-based organizations, so if you do not identify as Christian and are not actively attending a church where your pastor could write you a letter of recommendation advocating that you receive funding, you will automatically need to check some of these off of your list. Others are intended for those who do not already have children in the home. And, most of them are based off of financial need. So, if you are a Christian who is childless and you have exhausted all of your financial resources on fertility treatment (or otherwise would have a hard time financing the adoption fees) you are in a great position to receive funding. Otherwise it may be more difficult to find money that you are eligible to receive.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

So, how much does this cost?

      With the goal of this blog being to help recount our experiences with adoption from the beginning, I guess I have skipped a huge issue: how much money is actually going to be involved here? This is a hard question because it is so incredibly variable. But, I will try to give an idea of some of the things I have found and how we are planning. It is important to note that this is our experience researching agencies. If you are doing a private adoption and just working with a lawyer rather than an agency, this will be VERY different. Also, adoption through foster care has pretty minimal costs, usually less than $3,000.

Updates and lack thereof

        Today is 3 weeks since our final homestudy visit, and 5 weeks since we submitted our background checks and fingerprint cards. As a recap, here are the approximate wait times we were given: First, it would take 4-6 weeks for our background checks and fingerprint cards to be processed (which must happen before our homestudy approval can be submitted to the court system for official legal approval), then it would be 6-8 weeks for court processing and approval. So, we were hoping that we would be officially approved to adopt and could start having our profile shown 10-14 weeks from February 9th (since the 7th, when we had our final homestudy visit and social worker approval, was a Saturday).
     Well, there has been a bit of a glitch in the first part of this waiting period-- the fingerprint cards.

Friday, February 13, 2015

About the Title-- "Confused Stork"

          Some people would love to "see their stork" but he refuses to show up, while others experience him barging in, uninvited. This was the idea behind the title of the blog-- the stork is confused about who actually wants to see him, and that combination is usually where adoption begins. However, someone pointed out to me today that the title of the blog "When the Stork Gets Confused" could be interpreted in a hurtful way to someone coming from another point in the adoption triad. The concern was basically that I was implying that the wrong person became pregnant with my child, and after reading the message I have to admit that I can totally, 100% understand how it could be interpreted that way. I honestly had not considered it from that perspective, and I am deeply sorry if anyone else has seen this and thought that I was suggesting any such thing. The title was simply an attempt to be witty (apparently not a great attempt, at that!) based on a couple of different jokes that have been made by people close to me (neither in the spirit of criticizing first-parents/bioparents). Here's a quick explanation for the title of the blog, and a sincere apology to anyone who may have stopped by (or seen a link somewhere else) and interpreted it as anything critical, hurtful, or offensive.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Revocation periods


   For a couple of days I have been researching about the thing that makes many potential adoptive parents nervous: the revocation period. This is basically the time frame in which the biomom has the opportunity to change her mind about the adoption plan and regain custody of the child, even if she has already signed the adoption paperwork and the baby is already living with the adoptive parents. The other period that is often-nerve wracking is the waiting period before the biomom can sign. While some states allow the biomom to sign as soon after the birth as she would like (or even before the birth, in a few cases), others impose a waiting period of 2-5 days. Since our agency does quite a few interstate adoptions, and we have said that we are open to stork-drop situations, our social worker said it would be a good idea to become familiar with the different states' policies to know if there are any states we aren't comfortable working with. So, I've decided to share my research here, hoping it can save someone else some time!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Research: Are visits with the biomom good for teenagers?

          This is day 2 of my whole "be productive and read research while we wait" endeavor. The article I read today was from a 2008 issue of Adoption Quarterly entitled "Many faces of openness in adoption: Perspectives of adopted adolescents and their parents." This study only included 52 adolescents, so it isn't huge, but it did have interesting results.


 What is the biomom's role in their lives?

Monday, February 9, 2015

Research: How do adoptive parents feel about openness?

So, in the several weeks that we will be waiting for all of our homestudy paperwork to be processed, I've decided to do something productive: read research articles! I know, it sounds super exciting, right? I'm a bit of a nerd and I enjoy reading research, and I thankfully have access to research journals through my job. Yes, there are books on adoption, but very few incorporate recent empirical research. So, for those who don't think that reading an article a day sounds quite as exciting as I do (or don't have access to the articles), I am going to summarize them as I come across ones that have interesting information. So here we go!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Homestudy Part 2

       
   The past 2 weeks have been filled with getting the various paperwork we needed for our second homestudy: doing our taxes for this year, collecting employment statements from work, and the oh-so-obnoxious process of having our doctors do health verification forms. Here's a tip: there is a good chance that your health insurance will not cover some of the labwork if your doctor indicates that they are for legal purposes and not out of a health concern (such as drug screenings and HIV/STI testing). Ours sure didn't! So, unless you want to be surprised with a pretty significant bill (a few hundred dollars, in our case), you would probably be better off getting your own tests done (you can get a voluntary drug screening, and of course HIV testing is readily accessible) rather than going to your doctor and them insisting on ordering those labs (CYA, you know) and then the lab going "Oh, sorry, we don't process insurance if this is for legal rather than medical purposes, because they won't take it, anyway." By the time I found that out, we were running out of time and I just had to fork over the money and do it, or take the chance of having to reschedule our second homestudy. And with my husband unavailable every weekend for the next 4-6 weeks or so, that just wasn't a great option for us. Hindsight is 20/20.
               Anyway, this is a post about what to expect during part 2 of the homestudy.


Confirmation of materials:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Homestudy Part 1

 
     On Saturday, we had our first official step in the adoption process: the first homestudy meeting! I had mentioned in my last post that, for us, it worked out well to pick our agency before we did our homestudy. One thing I failed to say, though, is that you probably won't actually be able to apply to your agency until your homestudy is done. Every state is different, but just to give you an idea, our state requires that a social worker spend a minimum of 4 hours in your home (with everyone present who lives there), spread out over 2 different meetings.
      Several times last week, I was online searching different variations of the question "What to expect during your first homestudy meeting." I wasn't able to find very much! That is part of why I am doing this blog-- there isn't much information out there on what to expect in the very beginning stages of adoption. So, this post will be about what to expect during your first homestudy meeting, and how you can prepare for it.

Scheduling your homestudy

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Very first steps

     I would consider us having been "in the process of starting the process" for just over one month now. As I mentioned in my introductory post, we had our first meeting with our social worker yesterday. I am going to use this post to recount the steps that have led up to that. We are doing a domestic adoption of a newborn not through the foster care system, so if you are considering international adoption or foster-to-adopt, this process will likely be a bit different.

Step 1: What type of adoption do we want? 

Why I am writing

Greetings!

My husband and I are just beginning the adoption process. I wanted to document things as they unfold for those who are trying to figure out what to expect. There are several resources out there for the big things: meeting the bio parents (if that will happen), legalization of the adoption, bonding with the baby, and discussing adoption with the child when s/he is older, to name a few. But there are very few people who talk about what to expect at the very beginning: getting started, picking an agency, that first meeting with a social worker, thinking about a homestudy, getting your mountain of paperwork in order, and those types of things. I'm the type of person who likes to know what to expect when I am going into a situation, so I want to try to remedy this! So, the goal of this blog is to document our experiences from the very beginning. We had our first meeting with our social worker yesterday (in our state, that is considered the first part of your home study), and I plan to write as everything unfolds. This will also be a place where I share updates with our friends and family.

Hopefully someone will find this to be at least somewhat helpful!

-Jess