Vision Statement: Strengthening Eternal Families by Promoting and Defending Adoption and
Increasing our Involvement in the Community

Friday, December 14, 2012

Childless at Christmas: A Survival Guide

By Brenda Horrocks from today's Deseret News

Erma Bombeck stated: "There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake on Christmas morning and not be a child."

For a couple battling infertility, the statement could read: "There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake on Christmas morning to a house empty of children." I know this is true for me, because I have lived it. When you are a couple with empty aching arms, Christmastime can be brutal.

For those who are hurting and hoping, they are not alone. According to RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association, 7.3 million Americans deal with infertility. I am one of them. My husband and I have been married for 18 years and I have never become pregnant.

Here are some ideas to help your holiday season be merry rather than miserable.

Create a list of things you enjoy doing together. Pick one item each week and have it be your special holiday of the week. Take time to focus on one another and enjoy things you cannot do with children — like late night movies, fancy restaurants, an overnighter at a favorite hotel, sleeping in followed by a late morning breakfast. Remember, even though you don’t have children, you are still a family. In a RESOLVE fact sheet series about coping with the holidays, founder Barbara Eck Menning says, “You're as entitled as anyone else to have a tree in your home, even if there are only two presents under it. How about throwing yourself into the search for, or the production of, a special present for your partner? It's a way of saying, 'Baby or no baby, we love each other and we’re a family in our own right.'”

Sometimes you have to protect yourself when you are in a great deal of pain. If family gatherings are too much right now, then excuse yourself from the event and make other plans together or with other couples who are dealing with the same challenges. Those who love you will understand and be supportive.

Seek out and serve children. For some couples, being around children brings hope. If this is how you feel then find ways to be around children. Offer to babysit for parents who need to do some gift shopping. Ask to hold a family member’s baby. Children in foster care are always in need of clothing items — coats, boots and gloves — and love new toys. Hospitals greatly appreciate clothing gifts for premature babies in their NICU. There are children hoping to be adopted from foster care who would love to have something special at Christmastime. Take toys and clothing items to a local homeless shelter. With so many children in need, there are many ways to nurture children and many children who need that nurturing.

Remember to take care of your mental and physical health. Holidays are stressful for everyone, but when you have the added challenges of infertility the stress is compounded. Helen Adrienne, a psychotherapist, suggests couples seek out a yoga class or get a massage to help with the stress. She also states,Whether on your own or with professional help, if you successfully decide and declare your decisions about the holidays, you set yourselves up to minimize the impact of family/holiday stress on your bodies. And beyond the logistics of who and what, there exists a further opportunity to nurture the marriage. Now is the time to explore techniques of mind/body relaxation that you can enjoy together. Besides being on the same page, feeling loved and understood is palliative and has a positive impact as a stress reducer.” Go to her article titled "Dealing with the stress of the holidays" to learn more.

Seek out others who understand. Whether in person or online, being connected to couples who are going through or have gone through what you are, can really be a lifeline. Connecting online was a big key for me. I found commonality and developed special friendships. Here are a few of my favorite blogs/sites which tackle the infertility topic — The R House, LDS Infertility, Beyond the Rain. I share pieces of my infertility journey on my blog Another Small Adventure and my most tender writings on my other blog I AM.

When you are dealing with infertility, it is hard sometimes to not feel “left out.” While attending a church activity for children in our neighborhood, a leader read a book titled “The Crippled Lamb” by Max Lucado. By the time she was done I was in a mess of tears and had to escape to the restroom. The story is about a little lamb named Joshua who has a crippled leg. Joshua feels left out because he can’t be like the other lambs in the field. He develops a special friendship with a cow named, Abigail. Abigail helps him see that “God has a special place for those who feel left out.” I have come to know this for myself. I hope this special time of year brings you great peace and hope and the knowledge of your “special place”.

Brenda Horrocks is the Mother of 4 children who came to her family through adoption. Brenda promotes Waiting Children, Foster Care and Adoption through public speaking, education and blogging. Contact her at smalladventuresfamily@gmail.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

"This Family Celebrates Adoption" Signs

Alison Lowe, a former Families Supporting Adoption National Board Member, made the following sign:


If you would like to purchase one, contact Alison via Facebook or contact Angie Rhodes at fsablog@gmail.com.  Signs are $10 for one or $20 for 3.

Monday, November 12, 2012

We See The Moon


We See The Moon
By Carrie A. Kitze
We See the Moon is an adoption story for older children starting to ask some of the more complex issues surrounding their adoption. Although the book is about a child adopted from China, it is appropriate for every type of adoption. In a series of questions, including those that adoptive children are often afraid to ask, a child receives answers that are both difficult and reassuring to hear.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Follow One Couple's Adoption Journey


Eric & Heather
Eric and Heather are an adoptive couple who are sharing their experiences in a series of guest posts about what it’s like to go through the adoption process with LDS Family Services. Eric and Heather hope that by sharing their experiences others will feel the same peace and support they have received and gain a better understanding of how the adoption process works.

*Please note that for the privacy of our son’s family, we have changed their names for this blog post.  We have also had to leave out a lot of details about his birth, specifically his birth father because our situation was considered an “at risk placement.” We have some very precious pictures we would have loved to post with with our son and his birth mom but that are not appropriate to share at this time. 
Picking up from our last post, Eric called me one day at work and said he had received a phone call from Judy stating that a birth mother, Kate, wanted to meet with us two days later.  He did his best to tell me all the details but I could tell he was struggling to remember it all.  In his defense, there was a lot to remember.  As stated before it was considered an at risk placement so there was a lot to consider and a lot to think about.  After hanging up with him, I thought it would be best to call Judy and get the details myself.  Judy reassured me that this was totally normal because when I called she said, “This is why I always try to call the wife first but you didn’t answer….men don’t seem to remember the details or ask questions.” 
We were excited but I was worried because, I had my hopes up a few times before and then felt great disappointment and sadness.  I wasn’t sure what this meeting would bring.  Eric was surprisingly optimistic.  He felt like this was it.  I was shocked because while he is a very optimistic person, he is not one to jump to conclusions.  He doesn’t get his hopes up before getting all the details but he told me that he felt like this really could be our baby. 
We made arrangements to meet at another agency two days later.  We met with Kate’s caseworker, Sara before meeting Kate.  She told us some more details that made us a bit more confused and by then our heads were spinning.  We weren’t sure how these “face to face” meetings were really supposed to go but they told us that if it wasn’t flowing or they seemed awkward, they would step in and and start asking questions. 
When we walked into the room, I honestly couldn’t believe the overwhelming feeling of peace that I felt.  Eric and I both felt as though all of our fears and worries immediately went away.  We sat down and just started talking with her as though we had known her for years.  I couldn’t believe it. We introduced ourselves and then immediately she said something about Eric reminding her of her brother and then we all started joking from then on.  We laughed about how Eric and I met and about 30 or so minutes after that, we started talking about the baby she was carrying. She never once said that she wanted to place her baby with us (which was very different from what her case worker had mentioned to us) or anything of the sort.  In fact, the meeting ended with her simply asking if she could have our e-mail address and we were content with that.  In that brief 90 minutes or so of talking with her, we had grown to love and adore her and we wanted what was absolutely best for her and the baby she was carrying.  
It was only three days later that we received an e-mail from her but it felt like an eternity.  I had begun to have doubts that she had decided to place her baby with us even though when Eric and I prayed about it, we felt strongly that things were going to work out.  

I was actually holding our friends newly adopted son and while I was so excited for them, I couldn't help feel a little envious and just hoping that our day would be coming soon. Eric turned to me and said, “can I hold him?”  I thought that was a bit odd because while Eric loves kids, he isn’t one to take a newborn out of my arms very often.  I looked at him kind of strangely and he handed me his phone and said, you’re going to want to read this.  I looked at him confused and nervous.  I said, “Am I going to cry?”  He kind of snickered and said, “Probably.  You always cry.”  Eric had read a few sentences to know enough of what was going on to pass this sweet little boy off to another friend so that he could see me reading this e-mail from Kate and I immediately got to my knees and started crying.  Moments before reading this e-mail, we were all talking about how we wish we could just see a blue print of Heavenly Father’s time line and then I am sobbing tears of joy while feeling the Saviors love so strongly and these friends, having been through the same thing, knew exactly how it felt.  It was so incredible. It was so amazing to see the joy in Eric’s face and to be able to share that with another couple who have felt that same kind of joy too.  I can’t even describe how sacred and tender that moment was for us. 
After making sure we told everyone we could at that extremely late hour, we continued celebrating by running around in the pouring rain, feeling as though we were kids without a care in the world, we came home absolutely soaking wet but happier than we had ever been.  That was one day Eric and I will remember and cherish for the rest of our lives. 


We are excited to share how blessed we were to get to know Kate over the next few months, Parker’s birth and placement and what how our open adoption works now in our next post.  
If you'd like to hear more about each phase in the adoption process, click below to hear more about Eric and Heather's experiences.

http://www.laytonfsa.blogspot.com/p/follow-one-couples-adoptive-journey.html

  

Monday, October 29, 2012

When Love Takes You In....

 
When Love Takes You In
 
When Love Takes You In  (click here to see a video and hear this amazing song!)
by Steven Curtis Chapman

I know you’ve heard the stories
But they all sound too good to be true
You’ve heard about a place called home
But there doesn’t seem to be one for you
So one more night you cry yourself to sleep
And drift off to a distant dream
Where love takes you in and everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in
And somewhere while you’re sleeping
Someone else is dreaming too
Counting down the days until
They hold you close and say I love you
And like the rain that falls into the sea
In a moment what has been is lost in what will be
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
And this love will never let you go
There is nothing that could ever cause this love to lose its hold
When love takes you in everything changes
A miracle starts with the beat of a heart
When love takes you home and says you belong here
The loneliness ends and a new life begins
When love takes you in it takes you in for good
When love takes you in

**********************************************************************************
Chapman is a vocal advocate for adoption, along with his wife Mary Beth. Together, they have started a charity organization called Show Hope (formerly called Shaohannah's Hope), that mobilizes individuals and communities to care for orphans through its international orphan care work as well as adoption aid grants to help put more orphans from overseas and the U.S. in loving, forever families.  After having three children biologically, the Chapmans adopted three beautiful children from overseas.  Also click below to learn more about Show Hope.



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Halloween Bash Pictures

Thanks to everyone who came to the Halloween Bash last Saturday!  We hope everyone had a great time and hopefully got to know some more people in our group.
 
We got to see lots of fun costumes and enjoy some great chili and tasty treats.


 We had an awesome mummy wrapping contest.  Some families got way more into it than others.  It was hilarious to watch!








 There was an awesome candy corn rely for the kids.
 They also played a freeze dance game where they got some spooky prizes thanks to the Jensen family.




 
Thanks again to everyone who came!  We hope you had a great time! 
 
Don't forget that November is Adoption Awareness Month and there is an awesome celebration at Boondock on Saturday November 3rd and a 5k fun walk on Saturday November 10th.  All the details are on the side of the blog. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

 
Alan & Danielle


When Preslie was one year old we felt very strongly we were supposed to adopt again. We had just finished paying off the money we had owed for Preslie’s adoption and were a bit hesitant to jump back into debt at the time. But we continued feeling strongly and met with LDS Family Services to start the process again. We felt discouraged as we overheard that many of the caseworkers felt that we already had a baby, why were we already trying to adopt another one. Luckily for us we had an amazing caseworker that didn’t agree. She felt that you just do what you feel prompted to do even if it doesn’t make sense, that’s exactly what we did. After four months we were approved and three months later a birthmother and birthfather started emailing us.

Our caseworker was amazing throughout this time and helped us with knowing how to respond to some of their questions. It was exciting but stressful as we didn’t want to scare them off. We basically got to be very good friends with them through email and they would make comments about their baby fitting in well with our family. But they never officially chose us or put us on firm hold. They actually rarely spoke about the baby and most of our letters back and forth were just getting to know each other. We weren’t sure what was going on and neither was our caseworker. She said she had never had this happen before. That left us feeling very unsure. Again we tried hard to be faithful and move forward with what we felt good about. We weren’t even sure what they were having and when the baby was even due. One day at a time was all we could focus on. We continued this relationship with them for about three months, then their emails started coming less often and we were scared.

Then the emails stopped completely and we tried to prepare ourselves for what we felt was coming. We heard that she had the baby. For about a week we cried and felt horrible about how it was ending and wondered if we had said or done something wrong. No one knew and even our caseworker couldn’t get answers about the situation for us.

About two weeks after hearing that she had the baby and still not hearing anything from them we had to assume that they had decided to keep the baby. Alan and I decided we should write them a letter wishing them good luck and telling them that we loved them and weren’t angry with them. That was a very, very hard letter to write. It was like closing the door permanently on the situation. We sent the letter and heard nothing back.

A few days later they emailed us back thanking us for the letter and told us they had had the baby and it was a girl and all was well. Then they told us taking care of the baby was harder than they thought it was going to be and they had decided they wanted us to adopt her if we still wanted to. Of course we did, we couldn’t have been more thrilled but also felt a deep sadness for them and what they were experiencing.

We were to drive down to Southern Utah and adopt the baby in two days, two days. Man we had a lot to prepare. We were so nervous as we still had never met the birthparents and worried that they wouldn’t like us. Instead of meeting and then adopting their baby later we were to meet them and adopt their baby in that same instant. It was stressful. Before we left Alan and I made sure to take time to pray and get an answer as to if this baby was supposed to be in our eternal family. We didn’t want a baby, we wanted our baby. We felt strongly that she was meant to be in our family and so we wasted no time in getting ready.

We again brought my mom and our two daughters and headed down there. It proved to be a good choice again that they could be there with us and stay with grandma when it was time to do other things.

When the birthparents walked into the room the spirit we felt was indescribable. We felt such a deep connection to them both. We hit it off and all went better than could have been expected. Finally it was time to do the official “placement” of the baby. What a moment. How was it possible to feel such happiness and such sorrow at the same time? While we were elated, we felt such sadness for them. As parents we could understand how deeply that would hurt. When the time came for me to take the baby from the birth mom we just held each other and cried for a long time. I truly loved that young woman both from us getting to know them so well over those months and for being so courageous and strong in that one life-changing moment. Taking the baby from her was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.

We still have a wonderful relationship with them and cherish that. Because our first adoption was a pretty-closed adoption (although we do exchange letters and pictures through the agency) we were pretty scared to have such an open adoption initially. Like everyone else we had heard the horror stories about some of those birthparents and didn’t want any part of it. To be honest, I’m so grateful for our relationship with them and I wish at times that Preslie could have that too. We value it and truly love them like family. I think it works because they never assume to be the parents and act more like family friends. They don’t tread Adalynn any different than the rest of our girls and for that we are grateful. I also think it works because at all times we have kept the focus on “What’s best for Adalynn?” As long as everyone involved stays focused on what is best for the child there is little time for being selfish and causing problems.

We are so grateful for and proud of our family. Adoption is a blessing sent as part of Heavenly Father’s plan for eternal families to be created. We feel so grateful that our family has been touched by adoption and hope someday it can be again.

If you want to know more about our family, check us out on alananddanielle.blogspot.com.

We are always happy to talk openly about our experiences with adoption and welcome any questions anyone may have. You can email us at ajohandfamily@clear.net

Love,

Alan and Danielle

 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Marty & Brigette's Story

All in the lord's time:
Marty & Brigette’s Story of Infertility and Adoption

Marty and I had “that” conversation early in our dating relationship.  The one where I told him that I had PCOS and that having children may be difficult.  I knew right away that he was a special person when he reassured me that the Lord would take care of us and that he wanted to be there through the thick and thin of it all even if that meant going through the major trial of infertility.  He definitely kept that promise!
                Marty and I were married three years when we started trying to conceive.  In preparation, we set on a journey to better our health.  I worked very hard for months and lost sixty pounds, knowing that losing weight would help tame my PCOS.  My best friend and I worked out every morning and cheered each other on through the grueling workouts!  My friend was also preparing for another pregnancy and wanted to get her weight down because she has complications with her pregnancies and carrying her little ones to full term. 
                We let our doctor know our desire and he told us to try for three months and if nothing happened to come see him.  We did not get pregnant. (side note: My dear friend got pregnant their first month trying.  I am here to tell you that you can be so genuinely excited for someone else and still hurt inside all at the same time! I also know that each person will be called to bare different trials.  This friend has had to endure so much during her pregnancies to get her babies here and also lost her sweet daughter who came too early and lived for only seven precious hours.  We all need to be more gentle with others and realize that each of our trials are meant to refine us in specific ways and it does not help us to dwell on other’s blessings relative to our own discouragements.  The Lord wishes to bless us and does not intend for us to always suffer.)  Sure enough, we found ourselves in his office getting lab work done while we pursued a more aggressive approach in getting pregnant.  Our lab work showed that I still suffered from PCOS, which they had diagnosed in college, and Marty actually had two factors of concern as well.  The doctor thought we would be perfect candidates for Artificial Insemination (AI).   After a series of shots of Progesterone and Clomid for me, we diligently followed the doctor’s orders and showed up for our first AI with a lot of hope but a lot of anxiety too.  The procedure was not that horrible but the waiting was!  And then our worst fears were confirmed when I started my cycle and it was evident that I was definitely not pregnant.  The doctor then decided to take me into surgery so that he could diagnose better what else I might be dealing with and remove any endometriosis and cysts on my ovaries.  He thought we would have the best chance with AI if everything was “clear” and ready for conception. 
                We continued to do AI’s for the next six months straight and we honestly felt like we lived at our doctor’s office.  Lucky for us, we adored our doctor and he took such great care of us which was such a blessing.  Our life was consumed by shots, medicine, ultrasounds, procedures and waiting.  Oh, the waiting was horrible.  We were always hopeful, always praying for that miracle, and then always full of disappointment when each AI failed and we found ourselves still not pregnant.  We were worn out, and knew that with each AI, our odds continued to diminish.   It was {TIME} to take a break.  A long break.  (sidenote:  This was a huge low for us.  We felt defeated, forsaken, and completely exhausted both mentally and emotionally. I remember crying as Marty held me wondering if that void I felt in my heart would ever go away.  I remember sitting next to him and literally feeling like there was something physically missing.  I remember hitting an all time low and dealing with thoughts that I may never have the blessing of motherhood.  Bitterness would sometimes seep in but mostly despair.  We didn’t know why our righteous desire was not being fulfilled.  We found ourselves surrounded by amazing couples having children.  We found ourselves surrounded by people who weren’t planning on getting pregnant but did and were frustrated with the timing. That made us angry.  Oh, if only that could have been us.  So, at this point in our journey,…we were done!  Done with being let down over and over again.
A little over a year later we approached an infertility specialist recommended to us by a dear friend who had very successful outcomes with In-Vitro.  While this was super expensive, we decided that we had to try everything if we wanted to get our family here.  We eventually rented out our home and stayed in my parents home so we could put away every dime for the expensive procedure.  After consultations, lab work, prescription regiments, we found ourselves four weeks away from paying for the procedure and starting the process of In Vitro.  Our life’s savings would rest on this ONE procedure and we were hopeful, but anxious nonetheless.  We had so much confidence in our doctor and felt very lucky to have been working with him. 
                Then,… we went to the temple.  Marty and I were invited by some friends to go the temple and have dinner with them.  We were excited to see our new friends and be in the temple and feel the spirit.  After our service in the temple, Marty and I sat side by side and offered up independent prayers.  I remember feeling very peaceful and happy to be there.  While praying, I felt strongly that I needed to call upon the Lord for help with our In-Vitro.  At that moment, I had the distinct impression that we were to cancel our In-Vitro immediately.  I was remarkably overwhelmed and didn’t understand.  Again, the impression came that we most definitely should NOT do In-Vitro.  Instead, the word adoption kept replaying in my mind. I began to cry, feeling so uncertain!   Marty and I had never really talked about adoption before that.  We felt pretty confident that we would do In-Vitro and obtain our family through medical intervention.  I started to question the Lord in my prayer and He reassured me several times that it would be okay and that we were to adopt.  This kind of thing has NEVER happened to me before!  I have never had an answer to a prayer come so directly and with so much clarity.  I was inundated with so many different emotions.  I turned to Marty who just sat there smiling at me so I asked him what he was thinking.  He let me know that he had some thoughts but he felt strongly that I needed to share with him what I had felt and learned so that I would know that it came from the Lord and not him.  I started to cry immediately and mumbled the word adoption.  Marty is a very sensitive person and this moment was no exception.   He just wept and we both knew that our Heavenly Father was so mindful of us, and had let us know what was in store for us!  Independent of one another, Marty and I had the same impressions in our prayers that day.  It was {TIME} to change our plans and follow the Lord’s plan.  We canceled our In-Vitro that very next day and called LDS Family Services.
                  It took us about a year to move through the process of getting approved for adoption which we felt very comfortable with.  There were a few hurdles and delays and yet we felt that the Lord was leading us along at the pace we needed to be going.  We were so thrilled and so excited about adoption.  It felt like home to us; like we should have always been doing it. At the same time, we did realize some of the fears we would have to deal with as well.  Would we ever be chosen to parent another’s child?  Would we be able to bond with that child?  How do we hand over all of our control and exercise complete faith in the adoption process?  How will it feel to wait,…indefinitely?  Although these anxieties surfaced on occasion, for the most part we felt complete faith and I in particular didn’t find myself trying to control every aspect of this process like I had with the infertility treatments and procedures.  This was a {TIME} where Marty and I felt so confident that we were doing exactly what the Lord wanted us to be doing.  
                We were approved for adoption in March of 2007.  Now, it was {TIME} to wait and be patient.  Little did we know, what was in store for us.  In May, Marty was hired by CES to be a seminary teacher.  In hind sight, we would learn that this timing and where he was placed was a critical part of the Lord’s plan for our family.  Marty was one of twenty-seven who was hired that year when initially they had over a thousand applicants to the program.   It is very typical for new hires to be placed out of state, so we were very surprised to find ourselves in a teaching position in our hometown. 
                In June, Marty was scheduled to attend training for all CES teachers in his area.  Many of his colleagues were aware of our hope to adopt because he was a new hire and they allow new hires to introduce themselves at length.  Marty was not afraid to let people know we were hoping to start our family through adoption, and this might have been one of the most important things for us in the end.   One of his colleagues approached him (he actually taught Marty seminary in high school) and asked how adoption was going.  Marty responded with a positive attitude and just said we were basically waiting at that point.  His colleague then asked if we would ever be interested in twins.  Marty was shocked and immediately said yes.  His friend went on to share the story of his neighbor who was set to adopt twins and he and his wife got pregnant.  Not only that, they had found another couple for the birth family and they got pregnant too!  The birthmother was nearing 34 weeks and the family was trying to locate a family to adopt her twins.  Marty immediately called me on the phone.  It was definitely {TIME} to get excited! 
                Marty and I talked for just a few moments and new immediately that we wanted to meet with the family mediator.  Marty’s friend made some phone calls and we were set to meet with the birth father’s sister who stood as a mediator for the family.  Previously, she and her husband had offered to find a couple for the birthparents as they were overwhelmed by the idea and at the time had no plan for placement although they ultimately knew they would at birth.  Really, their plan was to turn the twins over to the state at birth.  This sweet sister graciously asked if she could interview couples and at least determine the type of home they would be placed in.  We set up our appointment to meet with her for that very next day. 
                We were in shock at this point!  Could we really be adopting twins?  We knew we still had to meet with the mediator and go through an interview but we felt so much joy and hope!   We were also VERY nervous!   The mediator picked a local restaurant for us to meet.  Marty and I arrived early and it felt like eternity before they arrived.  We felt so much excitement but were overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy and fear.  Would we be what they were looking for?  Would we say the right things?  How in a short interview can you possibly portray who you truly are and what’s in your heart?  They had never seen us and had never read anything we had written or published by way of a profile.  This was a blind interview, and we were so nervous!   It was definitely {TIME} to pray so that we could calm ourselves enough to speak without sounding crazy!  So we offered a little prayer and then they arrived.
                We introduced ourselves to the mediator and her husband and exchanged handshakes.  We were instantly comforted by their smiles and friendliness.  This didn’t feel so bad.  We were directed to a table and the waiter brought us all waters and gave us menus.  We felt so distracted by this waiter, which we think is funny in the end because we weren’t really there to eat.  Who could eat at a time like this?  We eventually did order salads or something but the rest of our time was spent answering questions. 
                We were asked about our families and our education.  We were asked about our professions and when they heard that we were both teachers, a huge relief came over their faces.  We soon found out that the most important thing they would desire for these twins was an education, something that many in their family were not afforded.  They asked us little questions that seemed less weighty.  We were having a wonderful time talking and getting along almost perfectly.  It seemed so easy with them.  We spent some time asking about the birth parents.  We learned that the birth parents were married and had a seven and four year old and were not planning on having any more children.  They were also quite destitute and couldn’t carry the financial responsibility of more children.  Once they knew they were expecting twins, they felt very strongly that they needed to place the twins.  Their wish was that their identity and our identity be kept completely private and that we never meet.  These were there exact wishes and this would be a very closed adoption.  We shared that we were willing to accommodate the birth family’s wishes fully.  We also learned that the twins were a boy and girl. 
The mediator then let us know that other couples were being considered and she wanted to know what we believed we could offer the twins.  At that time, Marty shared something so sincerely that touched all of our hearts. He told them that while we are both teachers, they would surely know that we would never have all the riches in the world, but if they were looking for a couple who would give them unconditional love for always, then we were that couple.  The spirit was strong, the room seemed to just fade away, and tears streamed down from all our eyes as we all shared in that moment.  We gathered ourselves and asked what else they needed from us.  They said they wanted to take a few minutes and left us at the table to go talk things over.  Marty and I held hands and didn’t speak a word.  I think we were both silently praying that what we felt was real, that the mediator would know too, and that this would become our blessing! 
                They returned after a short time with tear streaked faces and let us know that they wanted us to parent these little twins!  We were so overjoyed!  We immediately embraced each other and let them know how grateful we truly felt!  We shared more tears and hugs and left there feeling so amazing.  We walked out of the restaurant and wondered if this was really happening?  It was {TIME} to call the family!  We spent hours on the phone with family and dear friends letting them know our good news!  We felt completely engulfed in love and gratitude!   
                That very next day, our caseworker came into our home to complete our home study once again.  We had been living in my parent’s home for over a year to save up for adoption (In-Vitro originally) and had been renting out our home to come up with the savings.  When Marty was hired in the area, we knew we were meant to move back into our home so we set up a home study since we were previously approved in my parent’s home.  We couldn’t believe the {TIMING} Two days prior, we learned about the twins and now here we were getting our home study done to secure everything so all would be ready to complete the adoption.  We told our caseworker our good news and she was elated!  This adoption was designated, found through a third-party friend, and she couldn’t be happier for us.  She asked a lot of questions and gave us some needed input.  At that time, we planned to privately close the adoption because it was third-party.  We were a little anxious about this because we weren’t sure how much it would cost having to potentially cover the birth mother’s medical expenses if Medicaid was not approved for her.  We finished up our home study and promised our caseworker that we would be in contact with her when things developed.   In the meantime, she had made a connection with our agencies director to ask more questions regarding our adoption, which later became a huge blessing.
                With our home study complete, we were moving forward with calling attorneys and getting all of our ducks in a row.  It was then that we received a call from our caseworker.  She had spoke with the director and he let her know that if our birth family consented to having LDS Family Services complete the adoption and assign a separate caseworker for them, that  they would be taken care of fully if Medicaid did not come through.  We would then only pay out the normal fees through our agency.  This was an enormous relief since we weren’t sure we could cover everything especially with a C-section and twins.  We called the mediator and explained the opportunity and she was overjoyed and felt that it was an answer to their prayers.  She told me that she was going in with the birth mother to a doctor’s appointment and she would call us with an update that day.
While we anxiously waited for the update, my sister and I spent the day making lists of all the things we would need to get ready for the babies.   It was pure excitement for all of us. The phone rang at about 4:30 (about the time Marty was getting off work) and I answered it knowing it was the mediator. We exchanged hellos and then she excitedly told me that the babies were here!  What?  Already?   Her words exactly were,….”You are now parents!”  The birth mother had gone in for her regular check-up and they were concerned about baby B’s heart rate.  It was too low, for too long and the baby wouldn’t respond to change in position or other treatments. They decided to deliver the twins by C-section immediately.  Both of them were taken to the NICU where they were monitored and taken care of.  They were healthy, strong, and adorable!
After getting all the details, I called Marty and with pure joy shared the news with him.   We were so anxious to get to the babies.   The birthparents wanted us to come quickly to the hospital.  Their desire was for us to hold the babies first and bond with them immediately.  We made it there in record time, not hitting one red light (miracle) and walked into the hospital with so much excitement and nervousness.  The birth parents’ case worker greeted us in the lobby along with the mediator and they checked us in at the appropriate station.  Every precaution had been taken so that we would not cross paths with the birth family, per their wishes, and we were not to know their names.  Like we said, this was a very closed adoption from the very beginning.  We made our way into a small room where we put gowns on and scrubbed every inch of our hands and arms.  It was surreal!  We hesitantly entered the NICU and followed the nurse to the twins. Could this really be happening? Then we saw them for the first time. She was beautiful with dark, long hair with her sweet little fingers in her mouth. Her eyelashes went on for days! He was so amazingly cute and so little. He was so quiet and sweet,…we already could tell. We just lovingly stared at them, cried, and gently rubbed their sweet little hands. Here were two babies and we were going to be their parents. It was a miracle. 


 
We eventually had to leave, which was very hard to do.  We had set up a schedule with the caseworkers dictating that we would come back in the evenings to see the twins while the birth family would spend time with the twins during the day until the birthmother was released after recovering from the C-Section.  We also found out that relinquishment would occur the next day at about 4:30 and we would then meet with our caseworker to sign papers as well back at the agency. 
Marty and I drove to his work that night, where he left his car, and then we drove home separately from there.  It was then that my fears and mortal self overtook me.  I started to question if I could handle this?  Were these little ones ours and could we take care of their needs whatever they were.  They were healthy, but they were nearly six weeks premature and we didn’t know everything they might face.  This was happening so fast and I was starting to question things.  I needed to pray earnestly to know for sure.  And so I did, and without any question at all, when I was done I knew undeniably that these babies were ours!  Little did I know that Marty was praying for me on his little drive home too.  He knew that I would have fears and he wanted to enlist the Lord’s help in letting me know what I needed confirmed in my mind and heart.  We went to bed that night filled to the brim with excitement. 
We anxiously waited for 5:00pm to roll around that next day.  We went to the agency and met with our caseworker who proceeded to go over the necessary items and paperwork to complete the adoption.  On record, we named our little guy, Ethan and we named our little girl, Nyah.  We were surprised to find out that our adoption was considered “AT-RISK” because the twins were Native American descendants.   Their birth father was ¼ Cherokee.  We also learned that we would need to obtain approval from three separate Cherokee tribes in order to finalize in the courts down the road.  We asked a few questions and our minds were put to ease.  Our agency would do everything in their power to help us obtain consent but we should in the meantime find any bloodlines in our families if there were any.  And then we signed.  It was amazing and official.  We were parents and this {TIME} we were rejoicing!
We returned to the hospital that evening and found an outfit and stuffed baby giraffes for both Ethan & Nyah. These were gifts given to them by their birth family.   We felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude for our birth family.  It was hard not to be able to personally share those feelings with them.  We felt so much gratitude for a loving Heavenly Father who loved us and gave us more than we had ever hoped for.  We never dreamt we would have the blessing of beautiful twins to call our own.  What a privilege it has been from the very beginning to be their parents! With the paperwork signed Marty felt like it was time to call in the reinforcements and with the help of a close friend and family member, they placed gentle fingers upon their heads and gave our twins each their very first blessing.
We also realized very quickly that this joyous time for us may very well be the worst time of our birthparents lives.  We couldn’t even imagine what they were enduring.  It broke our hearts and we knew we needed to offer a prayer of gratitude and even more so a prayer for our birth family.  We knew the Savior could wrap his arms around them even if we couldn’t.
Two weeks in the NICU, lots of adventures in becoming new parents, and pure joy followed that miracle week. We literally learned about the twins on a Monday and by that Friday we were parents! It was a whirlwind of pure joy in those next coming months! We maintained contact with the mediator and sent updates to the birth family by way of letters and pictures without any identifying information per their request. Life kept moving forward and we considered ourselves the happiest parents alive! We had home visits with our caseworker and anticipated the day we would be able to finalize our adoption in court.  


   Initially, we were told that the tribes had approximately 9 months to approve our adoption at which point the statute of limitations would be expired.  We hired a lawyer when the twins turned 9 months and proceeded with the process to finalize. (a typical adoption is finalized in the courts 6 months after placement)
We received a letter in the mail from our lawyer informing us of our finalization date to be held on Apr. 28 th.  We were so excited ...assuming that we had the go ahead from the agency's lawyer in the matter of the tribes.  We decided to double check with the agency and make sure.  Good thing we did!  Even though we had heard from ONE tribe at that point, we still needed the two remaining tribes to send word. AND,...we were told that the 9 month time-frame did NOT apply and the tribes had unlimited time to respond. This was terrifying because we didn't know if the tribes would take a few months or years to respond.  We were so anxious to take Ethan and Nyah to the temple and bless them. At that point, we knew that we wouldn't be able to enter into the courts for finalization on Apr. 28 th

Marty and I decided it was time to ask our Heavenly Father for some help!  We invited our families and closest friends to fast with us.  Even our little nephews and nieces took part in the family fast.  Sunday, April 20 we held our fast and within 5 days we received word from our director that the two remaining tribes had BOTH sent consent.  Can you believe it!?  Two tribes, independent of one another, sent word within days of our fast!  We can't even tell you how blessed and humbled we felt!  The LORD heard our prayers and blessed our family with the most precious gift!   Our agency and lawyers worked all weekend to get everything in order so that we could keep our original finalization date! We called all of our family and close friends to share our news and invite them to the proceedings! One week later we were sealed to the twins in the temple and they were blessed that following Sunday. 


  
 The twins are now five years old and we are grateful for our journey in becoming parents now more than ever. They bring us so much joy and we feel humbled and blessed everyday having the privilege of being their parents. We are grateful for our infertility and for every unanswered prayer associated with that time in our life. Indeed the Lord had a more magnificent plan for us, one that we could have never dreamt of. It was in all His wisdom and in His timing that we would have our Ethan and Nyah, our most precious treasures! 

 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born...

 
 

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born is an enormously popular adoption story about a little girl eager to hear about the earliest days of her life. The adoptive parents provide reassurance to their daughter by sharing heartwarming details of the love they felt from the time they came together in the hospital and their first night home.
 
This would be wonderful book to add to your collection of adoption books!