Monday, April 29, 2013

Oh, The Choices You Make!

So far our wait to adopt a newborn is considered an average amount of time. During the last year and a half, we have heard all kind of opinions of what kind of child we should adopt. Like we should give up on trying to adopt a newborn and just adopt an older child or adopt through foster care.  We should get a baby from "insert country here" or an African American baby like the celebrities. Or why don't you just use a surrogate. I believe these comments are intended to be good natured or helpful, but sometimes I find myself getting annoyed at them. I appreciate the interest in our adoption and welcome questions, but I feel like maybe people don't think that we have considered all of our options. Believe me when I say we have weighed the pros and cons and made an informed decision based on extensive adoption education that we've received and what's best for our family.

Making the decision to adopt is not something that you go into willy nilly. Adopting through our agency has required us to be background checked, fingerprinted, medically cleared and drug tested. We have been asked in depth questions about our marital relationship, our families, how we view ourselves and our beliefs. Our home has been inspected twice! We were given mounds and mounds of paperwork that included pages and pages of child and birth parent preferences.  We were assigned books to read about adoption and attended numerous adoption education classes.  We have considered every aspect of raising an adopted child without actually being parents yet. It takes about three months to meet the requirements to be approved as an adoptive parent.

Every adoptive parent makes choices that best fit their family.  Ideally, we'd like to adopt a white newborn from the United States that is relatively healthy at birth. Our most concrete criteria on an expectant mother is that she has not drank alcohol during her pregnancy. We are cool with an open adoption. We were recently matched with a expectant mom and the child would have been biracial, (Caucasian and African American). We felt the situation was a fit with us. The match ultimately failed, but it did make us realize that our preferences are more of a guideline than set in stone. Life sometimes surprises you and presents something so absolutely perfect, something that you didn't know you were looking for. So if you know of someone interested in making an adoption plan, let us know and we'll definitely consider it. Click here for our profile information.

Sometimes I do get defensive when people question why we want a certain type of child. I wonder if the question is merely curiosity or if you feel we should be doing something different. It's easy to say what you would do when you are not in the situation. It's far different when you are in the thick of it. So, keep your questions coming and I'll keep answering them the best I can.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Not To Do After You've Been Matched

Right after we had been matched and told everyone, I saw blog post by America Adopts "What Not To Do After You’ve Been Matched With A Prospective Birthmother." Boy, do I wish I had seen that post earlier. It probably would not have changed how I handled things, but now I understand. His post was written from experience. You know what they say, hindsight is 20/20. I still get people coming up to me asking if I am getting excited about the baby and I have to tell them there is no baby. It sucks.

I emailed Lawrence at America Adopts, told him I loved his site and asked if I could repost his list with my thoughts.  He agreed, but told me he got a lot of feedback from his post and plans to do a re-write.  I hear ya about feedback, to each their own and this advice might not be right for everyone.  Follow your heart, but at the same protect it a little.

Here's his list with my commentary in red:

Don’t tell everyone you know When you’re trying to find a match, everyone tells you to scream the news from the rooftops and let everyone know you’re looking to adopt. The thinking being, one person will tell another who will in turn tell another until eventually one of those people will lead you to the adoption situation you’ve been waiting for. But after you’ve found a match, the process is completely the opposite. Knowing that the prospective birthmother can change her mind at any time leading up to the placement, you’re better off keeping the news to yourself. If you really want to share the news — and let’s face it, who doesn’t — tell a few discreet well-placed people but only after they’ve vowed not to tell anyone else.

We told everyone we knew and then some. I posted it on my blog for goodness sake. I was excited and I wanted to be like any other awaiting mom. The high was high, but the low was the lowest. Having to tell people that it didn't work out felt like a death. Next time we won't announce it. Maybe we'll tell immediate family and a few close friends, but I just can't bear having to tell another disappointment. I'd rather just show up with our baby one day.

Don’t finalize a baby name After you’ve found a match, it’s tempting to turn to names for the new baby, especially if you know the gender. Who doesn’t have a list of favorite baby names? But don’t play the name game just yet. For one thing, you’ll want to get the prospective birthmother’s input. Otherwise, she’ll feel left out. Often, the way it works is the adoptive parents will come up with the child’s first name, and the birthparents will supply the middle one. The other danger about jumping in too quickly is that if the adoption falls apart, you won’t be mourning just the loss of your baby. You’ll also be mourning the loss of that baby’s name. That’s because once you associate a name with one child, you won’t want to use it for another one.

We didn't finalize a name, but we picked out a couple and started trying them out.  We were definitely leaning towards one and now it doesn't feel right to use that name for another child. That was this little girl's name. Totally agree with this one.

Don’t paint the nursery There’s a lot of debate over this one. Some people see painting the nursery as a positive step, a chance to relax and be proactive while you wait for the placement to happen. Others, however, are more superstitious and argue that painting the nursery before the adoption is finalized could jinx your chances of becoming a parent. So what’s the big deal? Will a few coats of paint really change anything? They won’t. And yet, if things don’t go according to plan, that nursery could become yet another reminder of what happened, or in this case, didn’t happen to your adoption plan.

We don't have a nursery set-up, we plan to have the baby in our room for a little bit.  Some people set-up up a nursery and paint for a baby when they start the adoption journey. It helps them get ready. I totally get that. But I can't imagine if I set-up a room specifically for the baby we were matched with, it would have made things harder for us.  Sometimes the wait to adopt is long and for me, having a room ready is a constant reminder of what's missing in life.  Hey, if you want a nursery, go for it!

Don’t go on a shopping spree Once you’re a parent, you’ll need to buy a lot of things for your child: diapers, wipes, formula, clothes, bedding, furniture, toys. So why not start early? After all, you’ve got all this time on your hands. Again, there’s no problem, just don’t get too carried away. There’s nothing wrong with researching car seats, baby formula and bassinets. Just leave the major shopping spree for another time.

We didn't go on a shopping spree, but we did register.  I moved all of our stuff over to an Amazon wish list after the matched failed. I hated calling Babies R Us to cancel our registry.  P.S. Babies R Us should really let you cancel a registry online and not make you call.  It's most likely not happy circumstance and having to call to cancel is really not fun.  For the few things we did buy, I just put those in box for another day.

Don’t ignore the prospective birthmother’s needs I left this point for last, but it’s probably the most important one of all. After you find a match, don’t take it, or the prospective birthmother, for granted. As you’re waiting for the placement date, make sure you keep busy and stay positive. And that you tend to the prospective birthmother’s needs. She’ll be going through a difficult time. See that she feels good about her decision and that she gets all the information and support she needs.

I thought we did a good job staying in touch with our birthmother's needs. We texted often and included her in naming conversations. We tried not to be too overbearing or promise anything we didn't feel comfortable with. Honestly though,  I would have done anything for her. After all she was the mother of our child. I was looking forward to a lifelong friendship with her. In the end, I felt like she didn't respect our needs.  When things started to go awry, she stopped communication with us. I felt like she wasn't being honest with us. I have a lot of compassion for her and the situation. I can only imagine what's she was going through, but us not knowing what was going on was hard for me. I expected more. Her mother finally texted us to say the father was going to parent. Yes, a text. Live and learn.
Head on over to America Adopts, there is a wealth of information to help you on your adoption journey.  Thanks for letting me share your list!

If you know of anyone that wants to make an adoption plan for their newborn, please do not hesitate to contact us or share our profile information.  If you'd like more information about what are our adoption preferences, please email me. Thank you for thinking of us.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


2013 has not turned out to be our year so far. First, our adoption match failed. Then on April 5th, Marlon's dad passed away after a long battle with Parkinson's.  It wasn't unexpected, but losing someone you love is never easy.  I am relieved that his struggle is over and know he is smiling down on us from heaven. But he is terribly missed and I am sad that he'll never meet our child.  We'll be sure to tell them all about him.  My father-in-law loved to tell stories, he had an off-beat sense of humor and would get to laughing sometimes.  He liked a good scotch, westerns and reading. Motorcycles and sailing were entertaining for him before Parkinson's took its hold.  He was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and son.

My hubby is doing OK, the best one can do after losing their father.  We went down south for the memorial service and spent time with family.  Marlon's brother Joe and sister-in-law, Stella came back to New York with us. They live on the west coast; so since they were here, they might as well stay for awhile.  It was good for the brothers to spend time together, to talk and remember their dad.  A week later, we had a toast to him with a good scotch. Marlon had posted on Facebook for everyone to raise a glass to his dad at the same time as we did. It was a nice tribute. Our friends were all posting their drink pictures in honor of his dad. It was really touching and I felt like it was a good send off.  We finished the bottle of scotch at the bar and the bartender gave us the bottle as a memento.  He would have loved that.

Now we are now settling in to the new normal without his dad. That is so sad to think about.  We'll keep his memory close to our hearts.  For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity. ~William Penn 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Keepin' Busy

Thank you for all for your love and support. Your calls, texts and messages have meant a lot to us and have kept our spirits up during this disappointing time. I think we are finally feeling better and we are going to dive into launching phase 2 to find our baby.

We haven't done much networking other than this blog to find our child.  Let's call it what it is, advertising. The idea does make me cringe a little. We had planned to start in the new year, but we began talking to the expectant mother in January and didn't think about it again. Now, it's time for us to do a little more leg work on this adoption. We got so close and frankly, we are tired of waiting.  Besides, it is a good distraction from feeling sorry for ourselves.

In the next month or so, we'll be rolling out our new personal profile website for pregnant women looking for adoptive parents. Wordpress is kicking my butt, but I am catching on quickly with some help from a friend.  We are designing touch cards to leave every where from doctor's offices to coffee shops. We're even getting a toll-free number and our own domain name! We're going try our hand at advertising on sites like Craigslist and Adoptimist and maybe some college newspapers.  We are also planning a fundraising/networking event in NYC on May 17th from 6-9 pm.  SAVE THE DATE, it involves cocktails!

You might be wondering how you could help. Our match before was made through a friend of the family. It didn't work out, but it was worth it. We learned a lot and will probably do things a little differently next time. If you hear of anyone that wants to make an adoption plan for their newborn, please do not hesitate to speak up on our behalf. If you'd like more information about our adoption preferences, please email me.

Coming to your mailboxes one day soon, will be a letter from us and touch cards for you to hand out as well. If you want cards to hand out and you don't think I have your address, email me. Give these to your health care professionals, your hairdresser and waitresses when you pay the check. Post these on community boards, really give these out any where you think people will see it. Word of mouth is a powerful tool.  Share our story, whether it is re-posting my blog, our personal website or telling someone about us in the grocery store.

Finally, we'd love to see our NYC/tri-state area friends at our fundraising event on May 17th. More details on that to come soon.

If you have any other ideas for networking, you guessed it, email me!  Thanks to B, a father in one of my adoption forums on Facebook, for giving so many stellar networking ideas. Really dude, you rock!

I am done stuffing my face with saltines and my peanut butter and honey concoction. I literally had to dust myself off. Our game face is on and we are ready for anything that comes our way.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Fools

Marlon and I had a nice anniversary getaway weekend in the Berkshires, MA.  Even though our adoption was falling apart, we tried to stay in the moment, relax and have fun. We sure did need it.

We always go somewhere for our anniversary to celebrate. Most of the time we take a week of vacation, but since we are adopting we have to save our vacation time. So, a weekend has to do. Anyway, Marlon picked the Berkshires because it was close enough for a weekend trip and he wanted to see the Istvan Banyai show at the Norman Rockwell museum. So, I reserved a car and a B&B and we were off to celebrate 19 years!

The Norman Rockwell museum was so interesting. His paintings really told a story of a moment in time. The museum had his original works, as well as, a display of all of his Saturday Evening Post covers. It was amazing to see time past through his covers. I was even fascinated by the mailing labels on the covers and how addresses evolved over the years.

OK, I am getting to the April Fools part. So, Mr. Rockwell did a couple of April Fools covers for the Saturday Evening Post. I just loved the one from 1943 of a couple playing checkers. We stood there picking out everything that was "off" with the cover. It was like one of those "what's wrong with this picture" that are in magazines. The detail that went into this painting was just amazing. I also love his sense of humor.  If you interested, click here for the answers to the April Fools cover.

So no jokes here, just sharing Mr. Rockwell's work.

On a side note, I did play a great April Fools joke on my co-workers a couple of years ago. It still makes me laugh. I am executive assistant and act as the office manager for my department. Everyone comes to me for anything that comes up and I've been known to put up a sign or two.  On April 1st, I put an official looking sign on our copier that said the copier was now activated with voice command. (I got this idea online somewhere.) I sit within earshot of the copier, but you can't see me because of my cubicle wall. My first victim was up and I hear, COPY, COPY until they realized they had been pranked. I am in my cube laughing hysterically with tears streaming. I was thoroughly entertained all day.

Happy April Fools!