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40 weeks and counting

24 Jul

Source: etsy.com via Katie on Pinterest

 

A typical pregnancy last 40 weeks – nine full months. A typical adoption lasts a lot longer.

Case in point, 40 weeks ago today we had the first of three meetings with a social worker required for our home study. We had been working on an adoption plan for a long time before we even got to that point.


Here’s a look our timeline to date:

Summer of 2010 – Attended three open houses for local agencies that provide home study services.

Fall of 2010 – Bought our first home and selected our home study agency. Put further progress on hold as we began home renovation projects

Spring 2011 – Decide to begin working on adoption in July despite on-going renovation efforts

August 2011 – Met with adoption attorney to learn more about independent / parent-placed adoptions, met with Datz Foundation and started paperwork

September 30, 2011 – Submitted application and first round of paperwork to Datz Foundation

October 13, 2011 – Realize application was lost in the mail

October 14, 2011 – Resubmitted application electronically

October 21, 2011 – First home study interview

November 1, 2011 – Second home study interview

November 15, 2011 – Third and final home study interview

(and between September 30 and November 15, we did a whole bunch of other required tasks like getting fingerprinted, lining up our letters of reference, getting our state background checks, submitting to a FBI clearance and getting medical exams.)

November 19, 2011 – Attended American Adoptions open house in Northern Virginia

November 28, 2011 – Applied to American Adoptions, and began APQ process

November 30, 2011 – Home study draft received, and changes submitted

December 4, 2011 – Completed home study arrives in the mail

December 5, 2011 – Launched our independent adoption profile website and ordered adoption business cards (actually 4 x 6 photo prints)

January 2012 – Completed our APQ and began the process of planning our family profile

April 16, 2012 – Family profile completed

May 2, 2012 – Signed activation contract with American Adoptions and paid the hefty $10,000 activation fee

June 4, 2012 – Profile live on site and being shown to birth moms

July 2012 – Working on adoption video profile

July 12, 2012 – While on the phone about something else, adoption specialist mentions that our profile has been shown 24 times

July 24, 2012 – Wrote this post


So there you have it. It’s been two years since the day we went to our first adoption open house, about a year since we started getting serious about it and 40 weeks since we became actively engaged in the process. In short, long enough to have given birth to two children if that was the route we had decided to take.

Adoption is not easy. It takes a long time. It’s emotional. There is more paperwork than you can imagine. It’s expensive.

And it’s going to be worth every minute, every paper cut, every dollar and every tear.

Oxygen Network Looks at Adoption from the Birth Mother’s POV

23 Jul

Starting tonight, July 23, the Oxygen network will begin airing a six-part series examining adoption in America from the birth mother’s point of view.  Each episode of the the docu-series, I’m Having Their Baby, follows the journey of two pregnant women in vastly different circumstances who have each decided to place their baby for adoption. Each week viewers will have an inside look at the emotional struggles involved and gain a greater understanding of why many women choose the path of adoption. Despite very real differences in their lives and circumstances, the women share the common bond of wanting a better life – both for themselves and for their unborn children.

Don’t get the Oxygen network? No problem. The first episode is already available on the website.


PS – This is our 100th blog post on Sweet Little Nest (go back to the beginning). Here are some fun facts about the blog:

Most Popular Post of All Time - Watch Me Grow Onesies

Biggest Source of ReferralsFacebook (have you Liked our Facebook page yet?)

Top Search Terms – After “Sweet Little Nest”, the most searched phrase that brings people to the blog is “Onesies with months on them”. The third most searched phrase actually does relate to adoption, though – “adoption business cards“.

Thanks for listening to us (mostly me) these last 100 posts. Hopefully the next 100 posts will bring news of our match!

 

Made to Feel Guilty About the Status of Our Fertility

13 Feb

Photo courtesy of VirtualErn
And in one moment…
courtesy of VirtualErn

The application for our placement agency includes a long section of essay questions and five of the 24 questions are about how we’ve managed to work through our infertility.

Which is hard for us to answer because, you know, that’s not our situation.

Quick review for the newcomers. I have an auto-immune condition in my retina. To protect my vision I take a mild form of chemotherapy that suppresses my immune system but causes miscarriages and birth defects. I will likely have to keep up this course of treatment for the next decade at which time I’ll be in my mid-40s. So … adoption it is.

The fact of the matter is that most people who adopt have tried without success to conceive. Sadly, infertility affects 7 million American women (about 12 percent of the female population of child-bearing age). A lot of the adoption blogs I read are actually about both adoption and infertility since they often go hand in hand.

But not always. Sometime single people adopt. Sometimes same sex couples adopt. Sometimes people with hereditary medical conditions adopt. It’s easy to forget that we’re not the lone fertile people in the world of adoption when you consider how much of the content is geared toward couples working through fertility issues. There are even agencies who won’t accept couples like us, agencies that only help people who have struggled with infertility.

I alternate between feeling sad / mad / excluded, and feeling guilty that I have to work at NOT getting pregnant.

Take those five essay questions about infertility. There’s not a question about your ability (or lack thereof) to conceive. There’s an assumption. What have you done to deal with your infertility? What has been the hardest thing to cope with? Have you had the opportunity to close the door on other attempts to become parents?

I didn’t even have the opportunity to open the door.

And that’s okay. But it would be nice if I didn’t feel like I constantly have to defend our decision. You know how people always tell you that most of the time when you think you’re being judged, it’s all in your head? Well, in this case, it’s really not.

It’s not just the agencies that make me feel bad; sometimes it’s the other hopeful adoptive parents. Please – please – know that most people I encounter are kind and nice and not at all judgey … but sometimes I read forum posts like this one that make me feel really bad. Thankfully most of the respondents jump to the defense of people like me / couples like us, but the point is made. Some people engaged in this process don’t think I should qualify to adopt a healthy infant and that breaks my heart a little bit. Thankfully it’s a minority of people who feel that way, but it’s not exactly isolated.

Here’s another post in which the question about fertility is posed and there’s a lot discussion on both sides, with most people saying everyone should be allowed to adopt without prejudice and some people saying things like, “I do kind of think that childless couples who are infertile should be considered first and foremost and their profiles should be shown first.” Another person says that she doesn’t understand why a Caucasian couple who is not infertile would want to adopt a Caucasian baby when the wait is so long and there are people who are infertile waiting for those children – but she doesn’t think there should be a law about it or anything. Well, that’s good. At least she doesn’t want to legislate us out of the system (although, in fairness, since we’re open to children of mixed race heritage maybe she’s not talking about us specifically).

At any rate, it’s not something I spend tons of time dwelling on – we’re happy to have found an agency that doesn’t require infertility and I know there’s a birth mom out there who won’t care either. It’s just that occasionally, like while filling out our essay questions, it crosses my mind and stirs up these icky feelings.

Do you think that couples who are infertile should be given priority over people who are choosing adoption for other reasons? Do you think it shouldn’t matter WHY people are adopting as long as they can provide a stable, loving home?

Adoption Bloggers: The Interview Project

25 Oct

I just signed up to participate in the 2011 Adoption Bloggers Interview Project.

There’s still time if you would like to sign up. Hurry and register by October 28 in order to be assigned a fellow blogger to interview. As of this yesterday afternoon there were about 80 writers signed up.

In a couple of days I will be paired with another adoption blogger and given two weeks to get to know their blog. Then we’ll exchange questions via e-mail and on November 17 we’ll post the interviews on our respective blogs.

I’m so excited to “meet” more adoption bloggers. There are so many excellent writers out there. I indicated that I was willing to be paired up with anyone, but I noted that I am an adult adoptee in case anyone has a special interest in that.

I learned about the project on another blog I recently started reading, Production, Not Reproduction. Blogger Heather S. is a mother of two through domestic infant adoption. I first learned of her blog (and her husband’s blog as it turns out), through Adoptive Families magazine’s list of best adoption blogs.

I still have so much catching up to do. I should probably take a week off work and read all the adoption blogs I can get my hands eyes on.

I Love Reading Other Blogs: Plug and Play Parenthood

19 Oct

You guys! I stumbled on a great adoption blog today: Plug and Play Parenthood. Head blogger Heather seems to be out to create the same type of blog as we are: one that covers the personal aspects of adoption and provides a road map for others.

Also, she’s a little bit awesome. So is her husband. Here’s proof:

  1. During their first home study interview, Kevin was asked how they cope with life’s stress and he said, “Alcohol.” Naturally he was joking and, after a delay that was a bit too long for Heather’s comfort, he explained that he was kidding and that they often use humor to work through stress. Come on – that’s a GREAT answer.
  2. During the home visit portion of the home study, their dog was in heat and wearing underpants. Heather and Kevin thought it would look less strange if they also put her in a t-shirt to balance out the underwear. Seriously. They tried to convince their social worker that the dog didn’t normally dress up in gear, but the social worker may not have believed them since she found a dog-sized hot dog costume in one of the closets she poked through.

The good news is that they were approved for adoption despite these crazy happenings and other funny moments (you’ll have to go read her blog to find out more). This lightens my load a lot. I don’t want to pretend to be something different than we are to impress our social worker and this gives me hope that it will be okay to crack a few jokes or have quirky mishaps along the way.

So, basically, I have couple crush on them now. Best part? They were matched a few weeks ago and are expecting to bring home their baby boy after his birth in December. I will be following along.

Welcome to Our Nest

1 Oct

I am a reader, an avid researcher, an endless Internet searcher, a blog enthusiast. I have consulted online sources for every project from planning our wedding to re-doing our master bathroom. When my husband and I decided to adopt, I immediately turned to my favorite research tool and spent hours with my trusty laptop.

I found some great blogs out there posted by people in the process of adopting, but most of them were very specific to that particular adoption, the sort of blog designed to update family and friends about their journey. I like that kind of blog a lot; I had a blog like that while planning our wedding. I tried to offer to tutorials and helpful hints, but it was mostly about my daily activities while preparing our almost totally DIY wedding (we hired only one vendor, the venue/caterer, for the entire shebang).

But the kind of blog I like most is one that relates general information about a subject with how-tos, personal stories and news related to the subject at hand.

While confined to bed with strep throat this summer, I became obsessed with Young House Love, a blog written by a couple in nearby Richmond, Va.

To say that Susan has become obsessed with John, Sherry and Baby Clara is an understatement

During my hours convalescing, I spent my time reading back posts on their blog and chronicling the couple as they bought their first house, spent four years renovating it, getting married in the backyard, having a baby, buying their second house, moving with an infant and beginning the process of renovating all over again.

One day, a few weeks later, it occurred to me that the world of adoption was missing that style of blog – one that offers information about adoption generally, using the specifics of a single adoption as the starting point. Over dinner, I proposed the idea to Don. As a co-owner and the current editor-in-chief of www.WeLoveDC.com, a hyperlocal blog about living the nation’s capital, he’s no stranger to the concept.

Thus, Sweet Little Nest was born. OK, there were about a million steps between that dinner and launch, but in about a month’s time we were ready for our first post.

So thanks for joining us as we embark on our path to create a family. We’ll try our best to offer you a practical road map, using our journey as the example. Naturally we know that every adoption story is unique so we’ll look for all sorts of ways to provide useful information for everyone considering adoption. And, since our goal here is not just to successfully adopt, but ultimately to become parents, we’ll cover topics relevant to that as well.

I hope this first post is evidence that we’re trying to do things a little differently around here. Most adoption blogs start with a post called something like “We’re Adopting”.  Our first post is more along the lines of “We’re Blogging.”

If you have any advice or questions, please let us know. You can e-mail us or post a comment on any post. Please note that because adoption is a very personal and sensitive subject and because we want to try to cut down on spam, we’re going to start out by moderating comments – but we really want to hear from you. I promise.