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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Our adoption journey, Part 4

to read previous entries click here - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Let the ride begin...buckle in..hold on....you are in for a ride you will never forget!!

Our attorney was a wonderful lady. Apparently we had two options - a Private Adoption or an Agency Adoption. We opted for the Agency Adoption. In an Agency Adoption you use the services of an Adoption Agency and the birthparents's rights are terminated 2 weeks after birth. In a Private Adoption you use the services of an Attorney and the birthparents' rights are terminated 3 months after the birth. (Please keep in mind that laws have changed since then and every state has different laws). In actuality we did a combination of the two because we used the services of an attorney and an agency. Our attorney put us in contact with an agency, gave us a mound of paperwork, a set of instructions and sent us on our way.

The first item on the "to do" list was to was to create a "Dear Birthmother Letter". This letter would be sent out to prospective birthmothers to peruse in their search for adoptive parents for their baby. In this letter your goal is to "sell" yourself as wonderful people, without being too pretentious or over bearing. What a challenge!! We agonized over this for days. What to say? How to say it? What pictures to use? Decisions...decisions.

We finally decided to just be ourselves. Keep it simple. Be real. We wrote from our hearts. Dave wrote about me and I wrote about him. What a wonderful exercise in strengthening your marriage. We included pictures of us, our house, and our pets. We wrote about our families, our hopes, our dreams. Our letter was concise, our pictures were "real", and hearts and souls were in the words. The writing of this letter provided us with another chink of cement for our marriage.

We took our letter to the local printers. Our agency and our attorney each wanted at least 25 letters on hand to send out. Mission accomplished...letters ready..on to the next step.

Our Homestudy. I think all parents-to-be should do a homestudy! We had forms upon forms to fill out. We were asked dozens of hypothetical questions, such as "what form of punishment will you enforce?" Now, we have all said "I will never spank/yell at my child". That is all good and well until you actually become parents and reality sets in. How do you honestly answer questions like this when you really have no idea?? Other questions delved into our childhoods....how our parents raised us, was our childhood happy? It took hours to fill out the paperwork. After the forms were filled out, we had to have a complete physical and our doctor had a form to fill out. Forms, forms, and more forms.

The next step was the dreaded home visit. Before this stress induced event could occur, we needed to clean and paint and clean and landscape and clean some more!! The visit was really not as painful as we thought it was going to be. Our social worker was an amazing woman. She really made the whole experience as painless as possible. Her report did amaze us though. She was in our house for approximately 30 minutes and briefly walked through it. Her report had minute details about our house...they must be trained to see everything without seeming to see anything.

During this homestudy process, our letters had been going out to prospective birthmothers.

Let's do a time frame here:

September 1994 - sign up with an attorney and an agency.
October 1994 - Dear Birthmother Letters complete, sent to attorney and agency.
November 1994 - Homestudy process started, Dear Birthmother Letters going out.

One letter is all it took....We've been chosen. November we get a phone call from our attorney. A Birthmother, K, has chosen us. She is due the end of January, she is expecting a boy, she lives in New Jersey. They give us her phone number.

Oh My God!! This is happening so fast!! Can it be true?? January...only 2 months away.....we call her.

K is a very sweet young girl. Her pregnancy is normal. We get along wonderfully on the phone. We agree to the adoption. We make plans....

Because we live across the country from her, and we are not wealthy by any means, we are unable to meet in person. That will have to wait until the baby's birth. We are okay with that....all of us would prefer to meet prior to his birth, but circumstances prevent it.

So, on we go with our planning and preparing....

Finish the homestudy - check.
Finish the nursery - check.
Tell all family and friends and anyone that will listen. check.
Get swamped with baby items at Christmas, including lots of boy clothes. check.
Keep in contact with K via the phone, establish a relationship. check.

All is going well. I speak with K on the phone almost weekly. She is feeling well, all is good. The birthfather has agreed to the adoption. Smooth sailing....almost too easy you might say?

I speak with K shortly after the New Year. She is due at the end of the month, but that day she is not feeling well. She is just tired she said, nothing to worry about. I hang up the phone and mention to Dave that K is not feeling well. I think she may be in labor. I don't know why I felt that - intuition maybe? Turns out I was right...

to be continued....

12 comments:

ChrisB said...

You adoption process seems to work very differently from here in the UK.
I did some adoption assessments back in the late 90's and as well as a series of interviews of prospective parents (each interview took more than 30mins) we also had to interview the people who provided them with a references.

Beccy said...

I have a friend hoping to adopt here in Ireland. She first applied five years ago and is still waiting for the go ahead (which should happen in the next few months). She is hoping to adopt from Russia and once approved that could take another year. After the heartache of not being able to have children herself it seems cruel to make her wait another six years before ful;filling her dream.

The process you went through was very quick, can't wait for part five.

Holly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AnGlOpHiLe FoOtBaLl FaNaTiC said...

That delete was me. Drat if I can ever remember to log in with the right account.

Wow that is VERY fast. Goodness! I've never heard of such a quick turn around.

Chrys said...

A quick and painless adoption process or so it seems! I am so excited and have so much anticipation to hear the rest of your story. I feel like I am about to deliver! Please come back and write quickly.

Rhonda said...

Best to you with this adoption - what a blessing and how very exciting!

Kaytabug said...

Oh WOW! The powers of intuition! If only we would listen to it more!

suchsimplepleasures said...

you're doing an amazing job with this story...gotta tell you!!
an amazing process the whole adoption road!
looking forward to the NEXT post!!! don't make us wait too long! i, for one, have no patience!!
xoxo

suchsimplepleasures said...

it doesn't look like i'll have time away...although i could use it. but, i'm hoping that my hubby will be kind enough to let me take my daughter to the craft shop, tomorrow. she is dying to make something...although, i'm really not sure what she is looking to make except...a big mess!!!
anyway...i really do love this story of your road to adoption...it's really interesting!!
xoxo

Debra w said...

I don't know if you read about my dearest friend's foster babies, but if you get a free moment, the story might interest you. Unfortunately, those babies BM is not willing to give up her rights, as of yet, but I pray that someday, they will have an ending as happy as yours.

Bless you for understanding that you were MEANT to be parents, regardless of whether or not those children came from your body. Such a wonderful story, Alison.

Hugs,
Debbie

Jo Beaufoix said...

Blimey. You must have been so scared.

Andrya said...

Alison,
I'm curios to read the letters you two wrote about each other. I'd love to see what you felt back then, and what made you so... marketable!!! lol xoxox I love you!

Oh yeah, and I'm kind of scared to read what went wrong with the little boy.