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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Follow One Couple's Adoption Journey


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.

It’s been over a year since last post and a lot has happened.  The agency asked us to continue sharing our adoption journey in steps and for a couple of different reasons, we've had to wait a while to share our whole story. The following is our experiences and how we felt as we waited to meet our birth mom.
We were approved in April of 2011 and were so excited to finally be up online but we had no idea the roller coaster ride we were about to face.  That same day we were approved, Eric and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  I was so excited and we both couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about how we were one step closer to starting the family we had been dreaming about for years.  While excited, I felt a bit nervous because I kept feeling like something was about to change very quickly.  I told Eric about my feelings and while he was curious about those thoughts, he also knows me very well and knows that I tend to become anxious very easily. 
When we got home, there was a message blinking on their answering machine.  Before we listened to it, I said, “Eric, that’s Judy.” (Judy was our caseworker).  He laughed and said, “Heather, we’re pretty awesome but not THAT awesome.” (This is totally Eric’s personality).  Judy had asked us if we would be willing to bring over a couple of our paper profiles for two birth mothers who would be delivering in the next day or so.  Of course we were so excited so we focused more on pulling all our stuff together instead of asking more questions.  Somewhere throughout the process, we misunderstood how it all works.  We had no idea how “up and down” things could be.  We sure figured that out quickly, though. 
We waited for a while to see if we would hear anything from these two birth moms and when nothing happened, I was so discouraged.  I felt like we had just been shown to two birth mothers and they didn’t even like us.  I immediately told Eric that something was wrong with our profile and that we had to change it up.  Our amazing caseworker kind of laughed at us and told us that we’ll have lots of birth families look at us before we are chosen and not to fret about it.  (Easier said than done, right?)
Throughout the next few weeks I went and peeked at our profile and the statistics a lot.  (Just for the record, I have a love/hate relationship with being able to see those stats).  I noticed that our profile was no longer up but didn’t know why.  I e-mailed Judy and she informed me of how the whole thing works.  We learned that you can be put on hold by another case worker or a birth mother and she can keep it that way for up to three weeks.  We learned there are “soft holds” and “firm holds.” Of course we got excited and then bummed when our profile was put back on.  This happened a few times throughout the process.  It was always discouraging when it would go back up. 

A few weeks later, I had this distinct feeling to check our e-mail.  I thought that was kind of interesting because I check my personal e-mail regularly and thought that we had forwarded our adoption e-mail to that one.  I logged on to see that we had been e-mailed several days prior by a birth mom.  I wanted to kick myself for not checking earlier because what kind of hopeful adoptive couple doesn’t e-mail a birth mother back right away?! To make a long story short, we e-mailed her several times, grew to absolutely love and adore her and then the e-mails stopped.  I was heartbroken.  It turns out that our caseworkers had been in touch and we finally heard from our caseworker that she had gone with another couple.   Judy e-mailed us saying, “I got an e-mail from *** He told me that she has chosen another couple from out of state. Sorry about that. It is how these things are. The bright spot is that she has found the right family for the child she is carrying and some day, the same thing will happen for you.”

Obviously we had many mixed emotions.  I am so grateful for Eric because he said, “I am sure that couple is ecstatic right now and I am so happy for them.  One day, that will be us.”  He has such an optimistic attitude and can be genuinely happy for someone else, even if we are a bit envious.
In June, we got an e-mail from another birth mom wanting to get to know us better. I was pretty excited to hear from her.  She was a young, sweet teenage girl who had been with her boyfriend for a while and they had found out they were pregnant.  She explained that they both knew that they couldn’t provide the home that this child needed and they felt really good about adoption and that both of their families were being very supportive. We exchanged a few e-mails and then we went several days without hearing from her. 
At this point, I was ready to just throw in the towel.  Eric and I didn’t know much about the process and had never heard of anyone having these same experiences.  (We now know differently and realize that ours were minimal compared to what so many others have endured).

The same week we stopped getting the e-mails, we got a phone call from our caseworker.  She said that there was a birth mother who wanted to meet us.  She told us a bit about her and her background and asked if we would be willing to meet that following day.  We agreed but I was very hesitant and didn’t feel like it was going to go anywhere.  This particular situation was definitely considered an “at risk adoption.” She wasn’t due for a few months but we were told that even if she chose us, we wouldn’t know if it was actually going to go through until the day of placement given the situation with the birth father.  With every adoption, of course there are those risks and you won’t know until it’s finalized but this situation was very tricky and because of that, we are still not able to share all the details.   Despite all of this, Eric felt really good about the whole thing.  He told me he felt like this was it, which is so not like him.  I’m usually the one who is super excited and he’s cautiously optimistic.  We had had so many experiences feeling like we were getting closer, only to have it not work out, so I was scared and to be honest, a bit pessimistic.  I was so very wrong.  I had no idea that the next day would change my life forever.
Stay tuned to hear about us meeting our son’s birth mom for the first time, his birth story and placement and our open adoption.

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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Over the Moon...

Adopting children has become a very common practice among all kinds of families. And although the circumstances surrounding the adoption are different for every child, there is a striking similarity in the kinds of questions and issues adopted children face.  It is really, really important for families to keep the lines of communication open with their adopted children from a young age. Whether you are an aunt to adopted nieces and nephews, or even considering adoption yourself, children’s books can make the difficult questions easier to answer.  Here is a great book to add to your collection.

Over The Moon: An Adoption Tale By Karen Katz Accomplished children’s book author & illustrator Karen Katz incorporates her own experience in adoption a child from Guatemala. This story is a really nice addition for families who have gone through the international adoption process and for children who have lived in foster care before being adopted.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Journey Full of Love...

 My story through adoption starts off at birth, but it doesn’t end there. It’s been an interesting process for me to grow up as an adopted child and then become an adoptive mother.  As a child, adoption was always a part of my future plans. I knew I wanted to adopt some of my children but I assumed that it would happen later on in my life. I have always been so grateful for my life; the life that my birth mother so selflessly gave me; the life and the privileges that I was given when I was placed with my two amazing parents. I wanted to be able to share that kind of love and that amount of love with some of my future children as well.

 Hello, my name is Adrienne and I was adopted at birth. All of my three siblings were adopted at birth as well. We grew up always knowing our own adoption stories and I never understood why people considered adoption to be such a dramatic thing. I never understood why they had stories of adoptions in dramas on tv. It just didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me. It was a part of me, but it didn’t define who I was and it didn’t define my siblings either.  With that being said, I learned a whole new side to adoption when my husband and I started on our journey of bringing a new baby into our family.

 My husband Kyle and I have been married for a little over 12 years now. After many years of infertility, Kyle and I were blessed beyond measure to be able to adopt our son Hayden, who was born a little over 5 years ago. Wow, have my eyes been opened during our journey through his adoption. I have so much more gratitude for my birth mother after meeting Hayden’s birth mother and building a life long relationship with her. I have also learned and grown so much as an adoptive mother. My love and appreciation for my parents has grown immensely after going through the adoption process and really learning and knowing how much I was loved before I was ever even placed with my parents. Going through the adoption process IS emotionally draining and it CAN be very dramatic. But when you hold your child in your arms for the first time, it makes it all worth it. Adoption is a true miracle and I feel blessed to have been a part of it with Hayden. 


The very moment I saw and held Hayden for the first time!
We had a relatively smooth adoption process with Hayden. We met his birth mother through the L.D.S. Family Services website and our relationship blossomed from there. We lived in different states and only had a few months to get to know each other before Hayden was born. We only got the chance to meet face to face with her one time; a month before she went into labor.  That is where we instantly fell in love with her and grew close to her and her mother. She called us a little less than a month after our first/only meeting to tell us that she went into labor. We flew out on the very next flight to meet our newest little miracle. We spent the next two days visiting Hayden and his birth family in the hospital, until it was time for them to be discharged from the hospital. At that point, we went through one of the most spiritual and most heart wrenching experiences of our lives. His birth mother placed him into my arms, gave us all one last hug and then said her final good byes. There were no dry eyes for any of us.  I was literally sucking air.  I couldn’t breathe and I didn’t want to let go of her, but I knew I had to. That was such a hard part of her journey, I didn’t want to make it harder for her. There was a moment when she had left and I was standing at the front doors of the hospital, all by myself with Hayden in my arms, waiting for Kyle to pull the car around to pick us up. I have never felt so much love, joy, sorrow and grief all at the same time as I did at that very quiet moment just standing there holding, smiling at and loving my new little miracle. That was a dramatic experience that I will never forget. That was where my gratitude for his birth mother, my birth mother and my parents grew ten fold.
But, we were not even remotely prepared for the little scare that we had the very night that Hayden was placed with us. Late that night we got a phone call from our case worker telling us that Hayden’s birth mother said she wanted him back. But as you can see, she did follow through with her plan of adoption with us and we are all grateful, as is she, that Hayden is a part of our family.  We have been grateful for him and his miraculous adoption every single day since.  Through that experience I learned a great deal of love and compassion for his birth mother and for my very own birth mother. I had no idea what a true sacrifice of love adoption was until I experienced it first hand.  I started to understand that my life WAS a true miracle and blessing and I knew Hayden’s was as well. I couldn’t be more grateful for Hayden, if I tried!

The first day we took him “home” to our hotel room
Feeding Hayden for the first time in the hospital room with our birth family
We were approved as an adoptive couple again this past January. We were a little hesitant to start the process over because it was such an emotionally draining experience before. There is that word again, emotional. I knew our next experience was going to be harder, because I was aware of the possibility of loosing our next child... or possibly never even getting one. Kyle and I both felt that we had to mentally gear up to start over. Hayden was 4 1/2 when we got approved again and we knew that it was time to face adoption again so that he could have the joys, that only siblings can bring in life.

 We were shocked when we got a call from our case worker at the end of January telling us that there was a birth couple that was interested in us and wanted to get to know us better. We received our first email from the birthparents, introducing themselves and wanting to get to know more information about us. We emailed back and forth, building a relationship with them for a couple of weeks.  We all decided that it was time to meet face to face and drove the 5 hours that it took to meet them. That’s where we fell in love with this birth family. The birth father was not able to be there for the meeting, so we got to know the birth mother better at our meeting with her case worker. We felt like she got to know us really well that day as well. We all laughed, cried and spoke openly of our hopes for the future with this birth mother and her child. Later that night, the birth mother threw us a surprise baby shower with her family to celebrate “our new baby boy”. We were over the moon! It was official, we had fallen in love with this beautiful person, her family and we were so grateful to have them all in our lives.

We immediately called our parents and told them the wonderful news. We were warned by our case worker that this adoption might not actually come about because of the birth father and the fact that we hadn’t met him or talked to him. So we made sure to tell our families that we could all be cautiously optimistic about having a new baby boy in a few weeks!!!

We were so excited!  We got home and told Hayden the wonderful news that he was going to be an older brother.  He was so excited that he was going to be getting a little brother soon.  He would run out of the front door most days screaming, "I'm getting my baby soon"!!  We didn't tell him when it was going to happen, we just told him that it was going to happen.  It was important to me for him to be able to feel like he got to be a part of the joys of bringing a new family member into our home. He didn’t need to know who was placing with us or when they when the baby was coming, just that the baby was coming. But he could tell that we were preparing for our newest little miracle.  We bought a new bassinet, bottles, an Easter Basket... everything.

So we were trying to prepare for a new baby in our home without trying to be too excited about it actually happening. We were told to be cautiously excited about welcoming a new little spirit into our family. How do you prepare for a new little one without getting attached?  It's nearly impossible to do such a thing. I waited for a couple of weeks after the birth mother had picked us and then I started buying little outfits, toys, burp clothes, etc... It's hard to not picture what your life is going to be like in the next couple of weeks, especially with the possibility of a new little miracle being added to it.

The middle of March we started getting some scary news. We were learning that the birth father wasn't really on board with us as the adoptive parents (even though he had never met us) and that his mom was trying to stop the whole thing and have them keep the baby.  Thursday, March 15th is when I got THE call. The birth mom called and told me that she had gone into labor. She wanted to know if we would like to drive down (a 5 hour trip) and meet her in the hospital and also finally meet the birth father. Of course I had to say yes, it was coming straight from her and I told her good luck and that we loved her and would be thinking about her.We were packed and out of the house in less than two hours.  We even had our hotel room booked and ready for us when we got there. We had Hayden packed for the weekend with the grandparents, our own items packed, gifts for the birth parents, a pack and play, a car seat, and every possible baby item you could think of. We were going down and relying on faith that everything would work out for the best. It was really our only option. We were asked to be there by the birth mother and we were going to be there for her, to support her in her decision to place with us.  

We both slept horribly that night.  We didn't hear anything until around 12:00 on Friday afternoon. Her caseworker called us and told us that the birth mother was going to call us when she was ready for us to come over to the hospital and meet with the birth father. We tried to keep busy, but its hard to really do anything because you have to be available for each phone call and ready to drop whatever you are doing so you can head over to either the agency or hospital when you're asked to.  We got to know our hotel room and t.v. very well that weekend!

 Around 4:30 on Friday afternoon, the birthmother called us and wanted us to come over and meet the birthfather and talk with the two of them for a little bit. Well, we got there when his mother was just walking into their hospital room. We had put together a little goody bag for each of them and we hugged and said our first greetings and introduced ourselves. His mom literally acted as if we weren't even in the room. I have never been treated so rudely in my whole entire life. It was such an unwelcome situation that we didn't even get much of a chance to say anything to the birth father and felt like we had to leave 10 minutes after walking into the room.  We felt so bad because we really wanted to be there to support the birth mother like she had asked us to, but there was really nothing more that we could say or do. We were cordial and asked every possible question that we could think of to keep the conversation going, but no one else in the room was talking, and when you're being thrown invisible daggers by someone that you don't even know, you eventually just have to walk away.  That was rough. I have never let anyone have enough power over me that they actually made me cry in front of them.  She ALMOST made me cry, but I didn't give her that. The birth mother had asked us to be there and so we were there for her.

It all just seemed to go down hill from there. As we were leaving the hospital room, I told the birth parents to just keep in touch and that we'd be praying that everything runs smooth for her. I told them to let us know if we could do anything for either of them and told them that we loved them.

We didn't hear a thing all night on Friday night.  We sat around our hotel room and thought for sure that we'd get a call in the middle of the night that little man had been born.  We didn't hear a thing... not a thing. We didn’t hear a thing until Saturday afternoon, around 2:00.  We felt like we were going insane in our hotel room. We finally got a call from their caseworker that the baby had been born on Friday night and that the birth mother's parents thought that we had been informed. They were so extremely embarrassed that we didn't even know. The birth mother’s caseworker was going over to the hospital to talk to them because she didn't feel like the birth father was on the same page as the birth mother was about the adoption anymore.  We picked them up some flowers to send with her so that they would know that we were thinking of them. It was really all that we could do. All we could do was wait some more.  Wait and pray... horrible, horrible, anxiously, scared, terrified waiting.

We finally heard from her caseworker that night at 9:00, after she had met with both of them. She said that the birth mother still didn't know what to do and that they would give us an answer in the morning. We were asked to come down on Thursday night and literally saw them for 10 minutes on Friday night with the most excruciating treatment by his mother that either of us has ever experienced.  And now, we were asked to wait for their final decision... horrible, horrible, anxiously, terrified, heart-broken waiting.
Saturday night was not a fun night. We tried to sleep, but that's impossible when you're whole future rests in the arms of two teenagers who haven't figured theirs out yet. We didn't hear a thing until 10:45 Sunday morning. Of course you can guess the final ending to our story... she changed her mind and they decided to keep the baby and raise it together. Of course that is their right, he was never our child in the first place.  He would have only become our child at placement and as you can see, that never happened.  

The caseworker told us that the birthmother was going to call us and tell us herself. Believe me, that was not a phone call that I was looking forward to. She said she'd probably call in the next 10 minutes, but she didn't call for a while. Again, we were waiting for a very, very uncomfortable experience... horrible, horrible, anxiously, heart-broken, grieving waiting. She finally called one and half hours later, as we were headed out of town, on our way home. I didn't even know what to say.  What do you say in that situation? She seemed like she was still unsure of her decision but told me that the birth father didn't want to go through with the adoption. I know that having to call us must have been one of the most difficult things for her. I just thanked her for letting us know, because I know that must have been so hard for her to do and told her that we loved her and truly wished the best for her. What else could I say? It was the longest and hardest 5 minute phone conversation that I have ever had in all of my life and all I could do was say those things over and over again. I think she wanted me to tell her or reassure her that it was okay. It was not okay!  We truly do love her, we are obviously heart broken, but we still love her.  And we really do hope, for her and the child's sake, that things work out for them.  One of the hardest things about this whole situation is that you grow to love this girl, who is going to be such a big part of your life and your child's life and now she is just gone. Not only did we loose our planned future with our newest little bundle of joy, but we lost this special person whom we fell in love with too. It was definitely a double loss and it just plain sucked.  Adoption is amazing when it works, but when it fails it is one of the hardest and most painful things to go through. I was starting to see why tv dramas like to use adoption stories all the time!  We just lived through “an adoption tv drama” and it was something that I’d never wish to go through again.

The one thing that I am grateful for is that I didn't get to actually meet and hold that baby. I didn't have a chance to bond with him and then have him taken away from me. He was always just a possibility for me, and in the end, he never was. I am truly grateful for that.  We are grieving that loss, but we all have each other and we will make it through this together... stronger.

Hayden will be okay.  I made sure that we didn't tell him why and that nobody else told him why we were really heading out of town. That wouldn't be fair to do to him if the adoption wasn't a sure thing... and it obviously wasn't. We just told him we were going on a trip for a very important meeting and that he gets to have a sleepover with Grandma and Nana all weekend.  And all I said to him (before all of the horribleness went down) was that we didn't know when our baby was coming and that we might have to wait a long time for him. I'm so grateful I said that. In fact, I asked him why it's taking Heavenly Father so long to send us "his baby" (that's what Hayden calls him)? He told me that Heavenly Father and his baby are up in heaven, swimming through the clouds. I truly believe that our next little miracle is up in Heaven ("swimming through the clouds") with Heavenly Father, just watching excitedly and waiting to join our family.  Hayden is such a great example to me of true faith and belief in KNOWING without a doubt that “his baby” will be with us very soon. He prays for our baby every single night without fail.

I’m sad to say that this isn’t the end of our story either. We have now survived two more failed adoptions since then. Each experience completely different from the first, but all devastating in their own right.

 Our second failed adoption was much like the previous one, but we had the opportunity to get to know that birth mother even more. We went out to eat often and spoke often. She told us many times that she was sure she was going to place with us. She promised on several occasions that she would never do to us what the previous birth mother had. But we had learned that we couldn’t expect anything after that first experience. We really did adore this second birth mother so much, which made it that much more devastating when she changed her mind at the very last minute and decided that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to place with us or possibly wanted to place with a couple that would have a more open relationship with her. To this day, I don’t believe that she has placed her child for adoption. That loss was almost unbearable to go through. We spent several months talking, emailing, texting and going out to eat. Getting to know her and the birth father. And then days before she was scheduled to be induced, she changed her mind. We have had to move on, but it has been a very rough couple of months for us.

Luckily our last failed adoption experience was a short relationship (literally two weeks), where the birth couple never fully decided to ask us to be the adoptive parents, so when they changed their minds after the birth, it didn’t hurt as much. It was still rough; like we were living in the Twilight Zone, but we didn’t feel the loss of relationship with the birth parents as we did in the first two failed adoptions.

So... here we are. We’ve put away all of our baby things. We’ve closed the door to the nursery and we don’t plan to open it until our baby is with us and the papers have been signed. Kyle and I are planning for a new future. Where do we go from here? We are okay; we will heal from this. We have each other and our relationship is stronger than ever. We have definitely felt many major losses this year, but we will survive and eventually move on. We are ready to start over again. It might take us a while, but we will get there. We will be praying that a new relationship with a new birth family will be a good, strong relationship that will make it through the birth and hopefully throughout our lives. Just like our wonderful, amazing relationship with Hayden's birth mother. We truly thank the Lord everyday for Hayden and we are so grateful that she loved him so much that she wanted him to have the best life possible; a life full of love with two parents. We are blessed beyond measure to be those two parents for all of eternity. Adoption is truly a miracle and we are ready for our next little miracle... hopefully sooner rather than later. We can do this! We have THE MOST AMAZING son that anyone could ever ask for. How lucky are we? After having my moments to cry over these past couple of months, I just look at my two boys and know how blessed I am to have them in my heart and life AND eternity forever.  We will all survive this.

The best thing that Kyle and I can do now is to MOVE FORWARD. It has somehow become our life motto over this past year and we will continue on our journey through adoption, with faith that our newest family member is just around the corner. We are sad to go through this heartache over and over, but we are ready to start anew and we have faith that this WILL HAPPEN for us... eventually.

The things that I have learned throughout these processes this year have a lot to do with love and forgiveness. The things that we’ve gone through have been emotionally exhausting. We loved these girls so much and then lost them in our lives. But we will always love them. How can we not? We were hurt by their choices, but we have been able to move forward through saying goodbye and telling them that we will always love them and will always hope the best for them in their journey. Just being able to tell each one of them that was helpful in our healing process. This has definitely been a journey full of love and sometimes forgiveness... and of course, some drama!  Who knew? :) We are ready to start that journey over again.


I took this picture after we got the bad news of our second failed adoption. 

The sun always comes out after the storm... it was a good reminder to me that this heartache will eventually pass and I will have my new future with our newest little one in it. My family DOES have a bright future and I am sure going to enjoy every single minute that I can have with them. I AM BLESSED!



Monday, September 17, 2012

What's Mine Is Yours....

Katherine Nelson is an accomplished artist whose third CD, Born Brave, includes a wonderful song about motherhood.  She rights on her website...."This song was written for every woman who has the heart of a mother, both old and young, and especially to those who yearn for a family of their own."
What's Mine is Yours

Counting down days since nine months last summer
From the baby quilts to the sunshine light-switch cover
All the plans she made
Wall-papered dreams she made for him someday

Doctor hardly glanced her way shut off the monitor
As he walked out the door said “You’re young, there’ll be others”
No sirens or loud screams
No rushing or comforting
It was just over

On the longest road toward home
She parked in the church lot and cried
And said

What’s mine is yours
It’s always been
What slips through my hands has your fingerprints on it
I’m letting go
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open
What’s mine is yours

Teenage girl clinging to the gates of mercy
Holding the weight of the world and her newborn baby
Trying her best to be brave
Wrapped in hope giving him away to a longing family

When her courage met their eyes she saw
Somehow her baby was born to be in their arms
And cried


In this life we come and go and say goodbye
But there’s more than we can see with our own eyes
And when my faith’s a thread-bare blanket and I can’t take it anymore
I remember

What’s mine is yours

I’m letting go
Though heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open
What’s mine is yours

(Katherine Nelson, Deanna Harper)
If you'd like to hear a portion of this song, or download it, visit.......

Monday, September 10, 2012

Birthmother Quotes....

he is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood. ~desha wood

 a birthmother puts the needs of her child above the wants of her heart ~Skye Hardwick
my mother gave me softest hair and moonlit eyes and skin so smooth. she gave me life, her flesh and blood, a place to grow, and warmth and food. but when i came into the world, her life stared deep into her soul. she knew she could not give me all so she placed me to make me whole.  ~unknown

Monday, September 3, 2012

Two Mothers

We are excited to include on our Layton FSA blog a series of adoption quotes and poems as well as other words of wisdom regarding adoption.  We hope you enjoy these little treasures and be looking for them every Monday!

Once there were two women who never knew each other
One you may not remember, the other you call Mother

Two different lives shaped to make you one
One became your guiding star, the other became your sun

The first gave you life, and the second guided you on your way
The first gave you love, the second reminded you every day

One gave you a nationality, the other gave you a name
One gave you a talent, the other gave you aim

One gave you emotions, the other calmed your fears
One saw your first sweet smile, the other dried your tears

One made an adoption plan, that was all that she could do
The other prayed for a child, and God led her straight to you

Now, which of these two women, are you the product of?
Both, my darling, both! Just two different types of love.