Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Adoption Resources

So maybe you are saying to yourself.........Self, I'm thinking about adopting.

Well, I'm glad you are thinking about adopting. In the world there are an estimated 147 million orphans who are without one or both parents. Those children range in age from infant to teenager and they are as close as in your own neighborhood to as far away as the other side of the world.

So while your mind is probably spinning with a million questions about adoption, here are some websites to help point you on your way to great information to consider.

  • Creating a Family is an excellent website created by Dawn Davenport who is an infertility and adoption advocate. She has compiled lots of information to help guide you on your family building journey as well as useful podcasts with experts in infertility and adoption issues.
  • Stirrup Queens is another excellent website and has a compilation of blogs written by authors experiencing infertility and other issues. If you are thinking of adopting after experiencing infertility I suggest you check out Mel's site to connect with others in the same boat or who have gone before you. There is also a mega list here of blogs from parents who are in the process of adoption or have already completed their adoptions.
  • An invaluable website and resource for those who have adopted, adoptees, as well as those looking for info on adopting. Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform discusses adoption ethics in order to create transparency and foster respect for all persons in the adoption triad.
  • Looking for an adoption agency? Make an informed choice talking to people at This Yahoo Group will allow you to private message others in the adoption process or who have completed adoptions and will give you agency specific and country specific information for international and domestic adoptions.
  • An adoption agency review website. Take all these reviews with a grain of salt. Sometimes a lot of times, agencies can get on there and write their own reviews about themselves under false names. Better reviews can be found at the Yahoo Group at the link above but you can also check this out for more information.
  • There have been changes within the adoption tax refund credit. Current and updated information about the Adoption Tax Credit can be found here:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

New Week, New Family! Meet the Sharpe Family!

Meet Dan and Katherine Sharpe who are an adorable and faith filled couple who are waiting on a son or a daughter to add to their family through adoption.

Dan and Katherine have just renewed their homestudy, which means that they have been waiting for over a year to be selected and matched with an expectant mother who would like to make a domestic adoption plan. Waiting is always hard, but Dan and Katherine have been faithful and are prepared to welcome a little boy or girl into their home in His time.

To learn more about Dan and Katherine, check out their cute little video below or their blog over at Waiting For Baby.

We'd love to help the Sharpe Family move a little closer to meeting their child by sharing their story and asking our readers to donate $1 this week, or more, to their adoption fund.

The current running total raise for the Sharpes is $107.31

If you are an expectant mother and would like additional information about the Sharpe Family or to view their personal profile, please contact Kristie Hall via Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota at tel:320 251-7700

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Adoption Through Two Generations

This might look like any other family picture to you, grandparents glowing while their child and spouse hold the newest member of their family. And that’s what it is, in essence. My parent’s coming to visit my husband and I right after we got home with our son, Isaac.  However, to me, this picture is so much more.  It’s the happy ending that a mother promised her daughter would come.  

It was the answer to prayers that had been said.  It is the proof that all the tears and longings that those two women had for a family had been worth it.  It shows me how beautiful and wonderful adoption truly is.  

Because, in this picture, there isn't just one adoptive mother, but two.

My parents had been married 17 years when they adopted me.  They had been working with the state (who did all the adoptions at that time), but were actually matched with my birthmother through my Mom’s OB/GYN.  I was born on Saturday, and they got the call to ‘get ready’.  My Mom, Dad, and Grandma went on a shopping spree to prepare for me on Sunday, and my parents brought me home Monday (my Grandma’s birthday!). 

I know my adoption story.  Always have.  My parents started using ‘positive adoption language’ when I was very young, but to them, they were just doing the right thing.  They had no desire to hide anything, just to let me know how loved I was, by everyone involved.  Because I was born in the early 1980’s, it was a closed adoption, and since it was private, my parents got very little information from my birthmothers lawyer.  They knew basic info, height, complexion, age, hair color, eye color, where her family originated from, but nothing much more.   

As I grew older, they shared a bit more ‘age appropriate’ stuff with me, like the fact that my birthfather had been married, but had an affair that I was a product of.  That I have a half brother or sister very close in age, because both his wife and my birthmom were pregnant at the same time.  That the adoption plan my birthmom had made caused quite the conflict in her families relationships.  After that info, there wasn’t much more that they had, and with my records sealed, I would have to wait until I was 18 to try to get more info. 

As we were going through fertility treatments, I asked my Mom how she survived everything.  She had been diagnosed with endometriosis, and wasn’t ever given any treatment options.   I wondered how she made it through all of her friends getting pregnant, the baby shower invites, the newborns in church.  She shared stories, some that made me laugh, and some that made me realize, she knew the exact pain and hurt that I did.  We talked about her never being able to get pregnant, whereas I could get pregnant, but never could maintain the pregnancy.  We decided they each have their own type of pain and sadness.  

It was nice to know, that when I was sad, or depressed, or angry, that I had someone who had been there before that I could talk to.  Friends are great, but nothing beats a Mom who will listen to you, and TRULY understand what you are talking about.

When Travis and I began down the adoption path, we of course bounced a lot of things off my parents.  They had been here before, though we quickly realized our paths were quite different.  Many things have changed in the adoption world, and differences were a surprise to my parents.  As we went through our 8hr+ home study interviews and questioners, my Mom dug out their 2 page report that their social worker had written saying they were fit to have a child in their home.  As we agonized over our profile book, my Mom wondered how much my birthmother knew about them before she placed me with them.  When we were nervously driving the 8 hours to go meet our son’s birthparents, she told us she would never have had enough courage to do that.  While we were holding our son minutes after he was born, she wondered if she would have had the strength to do that, knowing that the placement might not happen. 

For us, each of those steps was just one more thing we had to do to bring Isaac home.  We really had no choice in most of them, because many agencies have similar requirements.  Just like, 29 years ago, my parents did what they had to do to bring me home, and just like 7years later, they did anything to bring my little brother home.  

Adoption isn’t easy, but you just do whatever you have to.  And the reward is worth it.   

I remember in the days after we got Isaac home, when it was just my Mom with us, she stood in my bathroom with me as I was holding Isaac and put her arms around both of us and cried.  After so many years of sad tears, from both of us, these were tears of joy.  

In that moment, she embraced her life, and how it had been blessed by adoption.  Through two generations.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tips When Doing an Adoptive Parent Profile

The adoption profile is the first thing your potential birth mother will see when trying to choose the parents she wants for her baby. It can get overwhelming pretty quickly! Here are some tips to help you through that I learned from our adoption agency.

* Most adoptive families want to fit their entire life story in a profile. Big mistake. Birth moms are going through many of these profiles and most do not take the time to read about your childhood dog that died 25 years ago. Keep your profile short. Give a few sentences on you, your spouse, a very small paragraph of any children and/or pets, tell the short story of how you fell in love and how many years you've been married. Don't over do it otherwise most birth moms will just overlook your profile in search of a shorter one.

* Try to finish the nursery before you send your profile out that way you have pictures of what it will look like included in your profile.

* When doing your Dear Birth mom letter try not to be overly emotional. I know this can be difficult, but it's necessary. Just give the basics and again, keep it short.

* Always try to add lots pictures throughout your profile book and maybe add small captions to a few. 

* If you are like me and not good with scrap booking try Scrapbook Max. It's easy to use and I completed our 11 page profile in about 45 minutes using this. Get as creative as you can. If you aren't creative then find a friend who is and try to work on it together.

* We asked 4 people we were close to to write a small paragraph about me and my husband. It was just a way for the birth mom to see the different people who would be included in their child's life and it also gave her a perspective of us from another persons views. Just remember, keep it short.

* (This is totally my opinion, but I think you should go with whatever works best for you and your schedule) I can't begin to stress the importance of doing your own profile. Getting help from a friend is one thing, but to have a company do it is another thing entirely. I know that we don't all have time to fit everything we'd like to do in one day, but this profile should be made with love from you to your birth mom. It's a very special thing and letting a stranger do it for you is like saying your heart really isn't in it as much as it should be.

* Include a picture of your home. Let her see, through pictures, as much as she can about the life her child will have with you.

* Be willing to travel to meet her if she wants and make sure you include that in your Dear Birth mom letter.

* Include the phone number of your adoption agency at the end of your profile :)

* If you are making about 150-200 profiles then have a party at your house! Invite friends and relatives to help you put all the pages together, bind them, and make sure everything is as it should be because trying to do this on your own will just stress you out. Have fun with this journey as much as you can.

I hope these little tips help make it easier as you tackle the difficulty of completing a profile for your future birth mom! Good luck on your adoption journey :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Two Mothers?

Today we are featuring a guest post by Monika from Monika's Musings, a blog which discusses the adoption triad from a birth mother's point of view. The original post can be found here along with other posts that shine an all important light on this side of the adoption triad. 

A member of one of the birthmom support groups on Facebook of which I’m a part posted a question the other day that inspired me to do some thinking.  The birthmom referenced relinquished two daughters to adoption and she was uncertain how to refer to her daughters’ parents in their presence.  The example she used was a possible visit scenario where she might be having an interaction with her daughter and one of her daughter’s parents wanted her daughter.  She was asking how she would reference her daughter’s parents to her daughter in that situation.
The birthmoms, including me, that answered the post were all in agreement.  We would call our child’s parents by “Mom” and “Dad,” or by whatever our child calls them.  In other words, I call T & C “Mommy” and “Daddy” to her when I’m in her presence because that’s what she calls them.  When I’m not talking to Mack about her parents, I address them by their first names because though they are parents, they’re not my parents.  However I got the feeling by this specific birthmom’s question that though she knew that her children should be calling someone other than her by the term “mom,” she had some emotional difficulty with that thought.  I don’t blame her.  That’s one of the toughest things that we have to swallow as birthmoms.  It’s hard to hear the child you carried and nurtured for nine months call someone else “mom.”
Along this same line, however, the fact that she’s no longer legally a mom doesn’t take away her biological motherhood, and the fact that she can love her daughters like the mother that she is.  This is a difficult concept for a lot of people to grasp whether they’re directly involved in adoption or not.  When I heard James Gritter speak in Portland he briefly touched on this subject.  His essential thought was that he preferred saying of his children, “I’m their father” instead of “They’re my kids.”  While I don’t mind saying of Mack that she’s my daughter, Jim is right to discourage the feelings of possession when talking about the kids we parent in one way or another.  His point is that kids aren’t possessions, and I agree.  They’re not things.  We do not purchase them, and a parent’s job is to raise those children to independent adulthood as independent beings, not as possessions.  I think when we encourage the feelings of possessiveness in ourselves or in each other, that “possession” can cause jealousy and hard feelings that are so abhorrent especially in open adoption situations.
When I refer to Mack as my daughter and myself as her mother, that doesn’t detract from T being Mack’s mother as well.  I also know that just because I’m Mack’s mother doesn’t mean I have the same authority in her life as T has in her life.  It’s okay for us to both be “mother” since we’re both clear about the roles we have and had in our daughter’s life.  As an example, I have a couple of friends whose kids call me “auntie.”  There’s no biological or adoptive relationship there other than the fact that their mothers and I are close enough emotionally to feel like sisters.  However, my being called a familial term does not take away from the child’s aunts that have that biological or legal relationship, nor does their relationship with that same child take away from my role in that child’s life.  Let’s put it another way.  Imagine a set of parents has two children.  It doesn’t matter whether those children are biologically related or not.  Don’t both of those children call their parents “Mom” and “Dad?”  One of those children calling his or her mom, “Mom” doesn’t take away from the fact that this same person is also “Mom” to that other child.
Additionally the birthmom that posed the question also referred to her daughters as “birth daughters.”  I don’t call Mack my “birth daughter.”  I call her my daughter.  In the same way that me calling myself Mack’s mother doesn’t take away from T’s role as her mom, my referring to Mack as my daughter instead of my “birth daughter” doesn’t mean that she’s any less her parent’s daughter.  She doesn’t need an additional qualifier.  I relinquished my rights to her, but that doesn’t mean she was only my daughter until I relinquished my rights to her.
So to the birthmom that asked that question: You are your daughter’s mom.  She is your daughter, not your “birth daughter.”  She will grow up knowing who you are and your role in her life just as she will grow up knowing her mom and her mom’s role in her life.  One does not detract from the other.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Kindness Snowball

I am guessing that you have probably seen the movie, Pay it Forward? It's one of my favorite movies. Mostly because of Kevin Spacey (love me some Spacey). But also because of the message. One person helping another who helps another etc etc until we all feel all mushy inside from all the helping and the kind and the smoosh.

Peace. Love. Happiness.

It all sounded great when I was watching that movie. I'd love to do more. Be more. Be better than I am. It's something to strive for, to try and connect with others on a deeper level. To give back not because you are getting something in return, but because you need to. It's a calling.

When we were in the process of adopting our first time, I was contacted out of the blue by a friend who had read our story. At the time, I was blogging about our journey through infertility as well as domestic adoption. She had read about all our ups and downs, which I had put bravely out on the page as a release.

She had read it all and, being a parent through domestic adoption herself, sat down and began writing us checks. Although she didn't know us at all and we've never met in person, this lady began writing checks to our family's adoption fund to help bring our daughter home.

Not only that, but we also began getting check in her mother's name, which meant she had shared our story and her mother had begun helping us fund raise as well. From across the miles, two women in Florida now began contributing to our adoption fund. From Florida a few hundred dollars turned into a few thousand dollars donated by this family we had never met.

When it came time for our daughter to arrive, we were surprised to find things bought off of our baby registry and delivered to our house. A stroller frame. A luxury diaper bag. All things we were not expecting in the least and most certainly not from a family we had never met!

A large part of our daughter's story was that this family helped us bring her home. Not because they knew us but because we had never met at all. They knew what it was like to sit and wait and be completely helpless during the grey period between when the hope of a child enters your heart until the time they are placed in your arms. We were exhausted and completely overwhelmed financially, emotionally, spiritually, and this family took it upon themselves to make themselves a blessing to us.

Their kindness snowballed after that. I remembered that family when I began working on our first ever Run for Congo Women here in our home city in 2011. Together with other runners and volunteers, we raised over 6K for Congo by putting on a 5K. During that time I thought of our friends in Florida who had helped us bring our daughter home and I thought the kindness they showed to us I MUST keep it going. I felt driven to bless others the way we had been blessed, and raising the 6K was just one way we could.

So we went on and sponsored a woman through Women for Women International for a year. And this was ANOTHER way we felt we could extend the kindness and blessings shown to us...................

We helped kids at a local school raise over $500 to donate to a homeless family for Christmas so they could have essentials and gifts under a tree.................

I began working with my friend Beth in creating a Give1Save1 site for domestic families to raise money for their own adoptions.....................

We pulled together a truck full of donations when a tornado hit our friends' hometown of Henryville, Indiana so that families could have the essential they needed when their homes were destroyed............

We began sponsoring a child through Tunaimi, a 1 year old, who was abandoned due to her family being unable to feed her due to extreme poverty. Our family began helping to make sure she was fed and taken care of on the other side of the world in Goma, DRC.................

When my husband was given a choice to take a bonus at his job, or to donate the money to a charity of his choice, for his 10 year anniversary at his company we decided to donate it to Tunaimi to pay for the tuition for children to attend school in eastern Congo...............

These are just a few things that we have been working on paying this kindness forward. This family in Florida, who we have never even met, has pushed us into new territory to actively seek out new ways to be present and willing to help others in their needs as well.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Featured Family of the Week: The Hahn Family!

Meet our new featured family of the week, the Hahn Family!

Luke and Angie are from Iowa and have always felt lead to adoption. Luke and Angie have been married 8 years and have been through a lot in just that short time. After Luke was involved in an auto accident, they decided with each other that they would choose adoption to create their family. Little did they know that God had another idea in store! They were soon blessed with a beautiful son and daughter but they never forgot their promise to continue to pursue adoption.

This cute little family of four is now waiting to be matched with an expectant mother who chooses their profile. They have been waiting for a match almost for one year to be selected and they are ready and prepared to welcome a new son or daughter into their home.

Check out their video below and learn more about their lovely family.....

This week we can support the Hahn Family in two ways. First, prayer for them as they wait to be selected by an expectant mother and for God to give them strength and wisdom in that process. Second, consider donating just $1 this week to help the Hahn Family with the expenses that come with adoption which will also help ease their wait.

Let's help the Hahn's get a little bit closer to completing their adoption dreams. :)

If you are an expectant mother interested in contacting the Hahn Family, you can do so through their adoption agency, Abba Adoption at 866-721-1551

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Raising Funds to Create Your Family Pt.2

The other month, we took some time to highlight ways those who are pursing a domestic adoption (or ANY adoption) can raise funds needed to pay for adoption expenses.

This month we are highlighting 5 new ways you can raise the funds needed to help create your family.

First up is one I just found out about called the Sparrow Fund. The sparrow fund is a non profit that is committed to encouraging and supporting families in the adoption process. The sparrow fund has an application for grants for families who need medical reviews for children given for referrals. In order to best prepare parents for receiving their child, the Sparrow Fund wants to provide grants for families for comprehensive medical reviews which can often be costly because they aren't provided under insurance.

Sonscope is a smaller, less likely known grant for those who are pursing adoption. A few friends of mine who have adopted internationally have received a grant through this organization. Sonscope is unique in that they are one of the only places you might find that do not require that you have completed a homestudy before you apply. That means those who are trying to pull together the funds for their homestudy can go ahead and apply to help cover that cost. Sonscope is a branch of the Abba Fund.

The Abba Fund is a Christian organization that offers financial solutions for families to make it possible for adoption to happen. You must already have your homestudy completed to apply with the Abba Fund. The Abba Fund offers opportunities to receive interest free loans to help with adoption costs.

Just Love Coffee was started by a family who has adopted themselves. Together this family of coffee roasters has created an online business of helping families with their adoption costs. Just Love lets families set up an online storefront in which buyers can purchase gourmet coffees, mugs, and t shirts and a percent of the proceeds goes towards your adoption fund. To find out more click here.

Something "out of the box" we did when we were fundraising both our adoptions was flower sales. Through their website, Flower Power Fundraising, you can set up an online flower sales for in season plants that come straight to the buyers door. 50% of the proceeds from each sale goes toward your adoption fund. Instead of your friends and family going to Lowes or Home Depot for their flowers in the spring, they can buy straight from Flower Power and create their garden while helping create your family.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Give 1 Domestic Adoption Blog Hop

Okay, to be honest we stole this cute idea from our friends over on our Give1 Caribbean page. We do not have a family to feature this week so we will be posting as usual and sending out applications to those that contact us! Please let us know if we can assist you with raising funds for your domestic adoption! So far we have raised over $1700 for just TWO FAMILIES!!!!

Just what is the Give1Save1 Domestic blog hop?  It's a simple way to share your personal blog with others, check out other blogs and simply connect with families who are going through a similar process as you.  At the end of the week we will have a collection of blogs to read through.  The more involvement we have and word spreads, the more blogs will be added. It will be so much fun to read some new blogs and encourage new adoption friends throughout their journey to their precious little ones!

So here are the simple rules:


  • You must have a blog about domestic adoption to participate in this blog hop.
  • Enter your blog address below in the space provided as well as the blog name.
  • The blog hop will go on for one week so you are able to add your blog address until next Monday (Aug. 13th). After that, readers will still be able to find your blog address here on this post, but no more submissions will be allowed after the 13th.
  • Spread the word! Create a post on your blog about the blog hop so your readers can find a great collection of adoption blogs and be sure to include the link to this specific post.
  • Check out the other blogs listed. Click around and leave comments for people who have linked up their blogs. You can let them know you found them through the blog hop. If it's successful, we can do more blog hops in the future.

Our hopes are that this fun little blog hop will further connect our domestic adoption community. I'd also love to read about each of your families and what your adoption process has been like. Hopefully many families participating in the hop will be represented by Give1Save1 in the weeks and months to come.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What is Open Adoption: One Birthmom's Perspective

Our submission today is by Monika, who blogs at Monika's Musings. Monika became a birthmom at 34 years old.  She currently lives near Tacoma, WA, with Nick, her partner and daughter’s birthdad.  They enjoy an open adoption with their daughter and her parents, who live near Portland, OR. Monika will be blogging on occasion at Give1 to help give a valuable birth parent perspective for our domestic page. 

What Is Open Adoption?

I’m unsure how much education those of you who are reading this have had on adoption.  Education requirements about the types of adoption seem to vary from state to state and even agency to agency.  I know a lot of birth mothers were sold open adoption as a fix for the grief inherent in adoption, but most of the adoptive parents I know, including my daughter’s parents, educated themselves in addition to the classes required by their agencies.  It is my hope that this article will help to eliminate any possible confusion you might have.

Those of us living in open adoptions have a hard time defining exactly what an open adoption can be.  The simplest way to define open adoption is that the biological parent(s) and the adoptive parent(s) have a relationship after the birth and relinquishment of the child, for the benefit of that child.  This relationship can entail letters, phone calls, emails, visits, or a combination of those.  People entering into an agreement to continue the relationship do not have to commit to all forms of contact.  There is flexibility depending on the comfort levels of the people involved.  In my own adoption situation, we committed to update letters sent through the agency 4 times a year and visits at a neutral location a few times a year.  We communicate more than that now and most adoption situations that have started with less openness have become more open as the relationship evolves.

Some pros in open adoption include:

The “birth mom” is not scary because she is known.  People tend to have fears in adoption because nothing but basic information is known about the child’s family of origin.  There are fears that the child’s birth mom will come and steal the child, which are proven unfounded if an actual relationship exists.

The adoptive parents having access to more than the child’s history of diseases means that the parents have a greater knowledge and greater ability to predict what behaviors the child might develop.  A parent raising a biological child is able to predict possible behaviors because they know their child’s biological family.  Adoptive parents don’t have the capability of prediction or behavioral recognition without consistent contact with the child’s birth family.  My daughter’s mother has said on many occasions that both she and my daughter’s father love having a relationship with their daughter’s birthfather and me because they can see where their daughter gets her “quirks.”

Because the child knows both sets of his parents, he or she doesn’t feel like it’s a betrayal of his parents when he or she develops natural curiosity about his or her roots.  The inherent curiosity about more than just his or her biological history of disease has been reflected in many adoptees, whether from open or closed adoption situations.

There are no “cons” in open adoption, per se.  Since the entire idea behind open adoption is to benefit the adopted child, which it does, it’s hard to see negatives in the situation.  However there have been some arguments against open adoption.

I heard a story of a hopeful adoptive parent that told a birth mother panel she was attending that she wanted a closed adoption so she wouldn’t have to “deal” with the birth family.  Unfortunately what this hopeful parent was denying is the fact that she’ll always have to deal with the birth family in the form of that child whether the adoptive family has any direct contact with the birth family or not.  Biology cannot be erased by a legal transfer of parenting duties from the birth family to the adoptive family.

It can be hard to trust, which is essential to the building of any relationship, most especially an open adoption relationship.  A mother who is considering adoption experiences the difficulty of trust.  She has to pick a set of parents to whom she will entrust her child.  That is a great sacrifice and requires a large amount of trust that the parents she’s chosen will treat her child better than she feels she can treat him or her.  A mother relinquishing to adoption can easily understand the fear of building a relationship with someone you barely know as we do that when we entrust you with our children to raise as your own.  An adoptive parent has to trust that not only will the new birth parent not destroy the relationship we’ve created but we will continue to verify that same relationship with our words and actions.  When a birth parent relinquishes and has chosen the person or people she feels will do the best job raising her baby, she doesn’t want to break up that relationship.  I know that we’ve all heard the nightmare stories of birth parents working to destroy a family.  However, all of the birth mothers I know would never even think of taking their child from his or her parents.  It doesn’t make sense to us.  We relinquish for the benefit of our children, not for our benefit.  We choose our child’s parents because they can provide things that are important to us for our child to have.  When our child gets those things, we’re not going to try to take those things away.

There is an argument that a child growing up in an open adoption won’t know his or her parents.  My daughter knows who her parents are.  She calls them Mom and Dad, and she calls her birth father and I by our first names.  She knows that Mom & Dad provide her food, comfort, a place to sleep, and lots of love.  She knows that her birth parents are people that love her and visit occasionally.  When she gets older she will know that she came from us.  But that won’t change her love for her parents, nor will it cause her confusion.  I’ve never heard it said that more information about anything causes confusion, and an open adoption situation gives the child and his or her parents more information.

There are more arguments against an open adoption which I hope to address at a later date.  But I also hope that this might give you a different point of view on the possibility of having an open adoption when you adopt.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How a Closed Adoption is Opening My Eyes

When I started on the path to adoption, I did not know if I wanted an open, semi-open, or closed adoption.*  My gut was telling me that I wanted a closed adoption because of all the horror stories that were being disseminated by those with zero knowledge of adoption.  Specifically, the stories concerning an open adoption included the birthparents either (a) coming to my house to take my child in the night; (b) coming my house at least once a week confusing my child; (c) convincing my child to go live with them; or (d) guilting me into giving them their every desire because of the gift they gave me.  My rationale/logical mind knew that all of the above was crazy, but my stressed-out/confused/anxious/paranoid self believed it all.  The bad stuff is easier to believe than the good sometimes, especially when it comes to adoption.

Well, as it turned out, the decision was not mine to make.  The birthmother wanted the adoption closed.

I had limited knowledge of our birthmother, her circumstances, or her appearance.  One thing I did know, however, is that we lived in the same city.

I received the call that she was going to deliver, so my husband and I rushed to the hospital.  I knew her mother would be there, and maybe some friends, but I had no idea who they were.  Every person that walked by was scrutinized… “Is that her mom?”  “Is that her friend?”  “Is that the birthfather?”  (By the way, the scrutinization of every almost ever person never goes away when you live in the same town as the birthparents.)

For months after her birth, I stared at my daughter wondering where her long eyelashes came from, her fair hair and skin, her grin, her eye color, her appetite and her height.  When you have an open adoption, you have the answer to most of those questions; but in a closed adoption, you have very few answers, if any.

Speaking of answers, that is what my daughter is going to be wanting in a few years.  “Who is my birthmother?”  “Who is my birthfather?”  “Why am I tall?”  “Why did they place me for adoption?” “Why? Why? Why?”  I may have a few answers and educated guesses – but the people with the true answers will be virtually unavailable.

The situation I thought I wanted is starting to seem the most precarious.  I would love to be able to tell our birthmom how beautiful our daughter is, how smart, funny, and talented she is.  I’d love to see their resemblance, and have my daughter see it, too.  I’d love to know if they have the same laugh, sense of humor, taste in food.  I’d love to be able to get the answers to the questions that are going to be inevitable.  I’d love… I’d love… I’d love…  But you know the thing I would love the most?  To be able to thank her for the most loving and selfless thing a woman could ever do.  To thank her for making my life complete and my heart smile.  And to thank her for making me a mom.

I hope someday to be able to do just that – to thank her.  There is a possibility that we will get to meet our birthmom someday, but that’s another post for another day!

<3 Samantha

*Please note that the use of “I” in this post is for ease of writing only… my husband had a 50% say in what happened throughout our adoption process!