Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Mom, I Really Want a Baby Brother"...

"Mom I really want a baby brother, why doesn't god hear my prayers?" He does honey but everything happens when it's supposed to happen.

I never in a million years thought we would be presented with an opportunity to adopt again. So in October of 2014 we went to Disney and had the best vacation. A few weeks go by after we get home and I'm sitting at my dining room table going over my birthday party invitation list. My husband was throwing me a "surprise" party for my 40th in February. And he kept asking for a list. That's when I came across Lisa's name. She's a friend through the internet that I have known for 15 years but never met. We were in a infertility group together. She now has 7 adopted children through the foster care system.

Anyway, I come across her name and I say hey Lisa do you think you and Dan would like to come to my 40th birthday party in February and she says "maybe this does give me enough time to find a babysitter". But then she says "well unfortunately I just had an argument with my friend who usually babysits". I said "oh what did you argue about?" She said "oh she told me she was pregnant and giving the baby up for adoption and we had an argument".

Immediately my mind starts wandering and I say "oh really and who is adopting the baby?" She said she didn't know. So of course I ask her if I could look the girl up and what her name was and was she on Facebook and was it OK if I messaged her. She told me her name and said "sure go ahead". (This was a Sunday night).

On Monday I went to work like nothing happened.  Lisa messaged me and said  "hey did you hear anything?"  I said "no".  Lisa said "well maybe I should text her". I said "sure go ahead". Next thing I know Lisa gives me the expectant moms cell phone number.

I immediately text her and we start texting back-and-forth for several weeks. Just basic conversation what's your favorite movie? Your favorite food? What do you like to do with your free time? She had a four-year-old daughter at the time so we talked about her; really nothing to do with the baby in her belly and her current situation.  I just really wanted to get to know her. We decided that we would meet at our mutual friend Lisa's house on Thanksgiving weekend. It couldn't have gone any better. We became instant friends it was such a nice weekend that we discussed the idea of her coming to my house for Christmas. Which meant that her and her daughter would come and stay with Jeff and I for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meet both of our families and wake up here Christmas morning. We couldn't be more excited to welcome them into our home and into our hearts after all she was going to make my son a big brother.

Jeff and I went shopping and purchased a stack of presents for her daughter. We wanted her to feel like Santa came here for her as well. Christmas morning was perfect all I could think was next Christmas we will all be doing this together again only with the new addition. Open adoption is just a natural thing for me.

I'll call this expectant mom "L". Not only did Jeff and I invite her into our home and into our hearts but we retained a lawyer. We retained a lawyer for her. We became certified to adopt again and as a matter of fact we became certified on my exact birthday. I thought my gosh this couldn't be any more meant to be. We gave her money for a car. We bought her maternity clothes and food and helped her with her rent for three months.

My job gave me a huge baby shower as a sendoff because I was quitting. I was going to be a stay-at-home mom again. We weren't looking to adopt. We were happy with just having our son but this fell in our laps and we were over the moon.

L reassured me over and over and over again that she is absolutely not changing her mind and that we had nothing to worry about and that we should go ahead and we should register and we should set up his room and we should pick out his name and that we were bringing a baby home from that hospital. I never doubted it. I 100% in my mind was bringing home a baby. My son was finally going to be a big brother. We were going to be a family of four.

L had a scheduled C-section on February 24, 2015. Jeff, myself and Lisa were all there waiting for the baby to arrive. I'm standing in the hallway with my phone on video waiting for the doctor and the nurse to come out of that surgery room pushing a bassinet. When we adopted our son, we adopted through an agency so we never had the experience of the hospital. I was nervous, scared, anxious and excited. I couldn't wait to see his face and to see what he looked like.

And then it happens the doors open and out he came. I caught on video saying "Jeff here he is, here he is, can you believe it! Can you believe it??" I follow the nurses and the doctors through the hallway into the nursery.  I see him get weighed. I see them clean him up and then I'm the first one to hold him and it was all surreal. All of our family and friends were texting and calling and I was facetiming with our son and showed him video of the baby and pictures of the baby and saying here is your little brother. But something just didn't feel right. I couldn't describe it. 

L moved herself onto a different floor as not to hear babies crying, which I understood. Jeff and I took turns running up and down between floors to spend time with L and with the baby. After we left the hospital that night L had texted me and said that she wanted to see him the next day. I encouraged her and told her she should see him and that she should hold him. It was natural and I would never take that away. I asked her what she would like for breakfast, she said she was in the mood for strawberries pineapple and a latte from Starbucks. So Jeff and I ran around that morning and made sure she got what she wanted.

When I walked into her room she was getting ready to go downstairs to see him. The look on her face told me she wasn't thrilled to see me at that moment. But I ignored it. The nurse never came to take her so I got a wheelchair and I took her downstairs myself.  I wheeled her to the nursery and I saw her face when she first saw his face. I left and gave her the time she needed and deserved. I was so nervous I texted my friend Josette for her reassurance. After about 40 minutes I knocked on the door of the nursery and I asked if it was OK that I came in. L said yes and I went and sat next to her. She was still holding the baby and my stomach was in knots. I felt something was off but kept ignoring it. The baby received a hearing test while in her arms. The whole time we were talking having regular conversation and then she starts telling me how we shouldn't let our son run our household and criticizing our parenting. It was all very bizarre.

Jeff had to run to Walmart to get a car seat because we had borrowed a pink one from a friend just to take the baby home from the Hospital. But he didn't want to take him home in a pink car seat; so he went to Walmart and purchased a new car seat.  She began saying "I don't know why he wouldn't purchase a car seat/stroller combo - is he cheap??" That's when I knew something was definitely wrong. She never spoke to me like this. And she was still holding the baby. 😒

That night we went back to our hotel room. I didn't feel good. I had a headache and a sore throat. So I fell asleep. The next morning my phone was going off at 6am. It's Lisa!  She was frantic telling me to call her ASAP. So I call and she's crying saying our worst nightmare has come true. I'm said Lisa what are you talking about??? At this point Jeff is awake and asking me what's going on. She said "L is keeping the baby, L is keeping the baby". I screamed "whatttttttt?? No f--king wayyyyyy, there must be a mistake". But I knew, I knew from the moment I walked into her room when she was getting ready to see him. I knew by the way she started talking to me. I hung up with Lisa and called L. No answer. I texted her, no answer. I texted her mom, no answer. I called her lawyer that WE hired and she confirmed it was true. I dropped the phone and fell into the bed and cried my eyes out with Jeff. I cried and cried like someone died. I cried for my son who I had to tell was NOT going to be a big brother anymore. How do I do that?? How do we go on from here?? I cried because I felt like a damn fool. Everyone had doubts but me.

To be continued...

Written By Dina

Join us at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Mother and Child (2009) - Movie Review By Chemene

I used to write synopses for scripts years ago when I worked at Paramount!  I have seen thousands of movies!  I even saw this movie years ago when it came out!  But when your life overlaps with the subject matter and topic of the film, it changes how you feel and the perspective changes drastically!!

This movie was not very popular when it came out in 2009.  The topic of adoption isn't a huge box office draw. The studio even spent the movie to get some great stars to headline.
Kerry Washington

Samuel L. Jackson
Annette Bening

Naomi Watts
I wanted to delve into the subject matter on this film but unlike my last review, I can't and won't do any spoilers! 

This is what I will say:  the beginning is confusing at first and doesn't put the characters in a good light.  But once you see how the story unfolds then you can understand why it had to be so harsh.  Yes it's a Hollywood film so the content is more dramatic than it needs to be and from an adoptive parent stand point there are many things they got wrong.  But it is amazing!  It pulled hard at my heart strings!

It is a MUST see for adoptees, adoptive parents and more importantly Birthmothers.

After seeing many TV show and other films get it really wrong - this one got it closer than all so far!!

Here is the trailer for you to watch - super big spoilers!!



Written By Chemene
Group Co-Leader
Adoptive Mom

Join us at our next meeting!  Check out our website for details!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Meeting Our Son's Birthmother

September 2009
After a year and half of waiting doing private adoption, I had had enough with scammer after scammer and needed to change gears. These were scammers that weren't pregnant women, not even people out for just money.  I remember a guy from upstate NY that would call every day and ask me hundreds of questions!! This went on for months and in the end he was just a single guy that was lonely and just wanted to talk!  And let's not forget Tamma Taylor from Chicago!  The 39 year old alcoholic that pretended to be a 19 year old basketball player from the University of Chicago.

Anyway ... I was disheartened by this process and my attitude was poor to say the least. Our last hope was to try the agency route.  On September 10, 2009 we were officially "on the list". So for the first time in years I "put my feet up" and waited my turn! 

November 2009
I knew this process would probably take about 2 years and that set my mind at ease.  Not sure why but it did.  I knew the phone wasn't going  ring anymore with scammers keeping me up all night and I guess that's why I felt different.  At 7:45am on November 3rd the phone rang!  I looked at the caller ID and it said catholic something. At first I thought prank call or old scammer and then I thought crap my check bounced at the agency so I'll call them back!! LOL I laid my head back down and then I slowly began to realize what might be happening. I called back immediately and I spoke to my social worker who then told me that they would like to show our profile along with 2 other families.  It seems we met the requirements that the expectant mother, J, was asking for! 
To this day I am so sorry I never asked what requirements we met.  It would have been so nice to know what she connected with! I jumped at the chance and said absolutely!!  And that was it!  Now we wait... As Andrea wrote in her blog about getting over the first profile showing - she had to wait 3 weeks.  I only had to wait 2 days.  What a torturing 48 hours.  Will she like us?  Do we look like we are fun?  Look like we are healthy?  Look like we could parent? Ohhh the thoughts that go through your head.

In the afternoon of November 5th the phone rang!!  I took a deep breath realizing it may not be "the" call; they could be just needing some more info. But I was wrong it was the moment! The social worker said "I have wonderful news, you were chosen!"  The call lasted a couple of minutes but in my excited shaking fog i heard  her say that the expectant mother would like to meet us! WHAT? Meet?  Ahhhhhhhh

The meeting was scheduled for November 18th!!  I can't tell you how absolutely terrified I was. And as I tell my story 6 years later, I realize how selfish I was worrying about my wardrobe choice and not thinking of what she was going through.  But as I always say this process isn't easy and you have to learn as you go. 

I woke the morning of the 18th wondering what we would talk about.  What would she look like?  How tall was she?  What does she like to do?  And I'm sorry to say I really wanted to find out more about the birth father.  But I knew it was her story to tell and if she didn't want to share it then I would be ok with that choice.

We arrived in the city at 1:30pm and we didn't want to go in empty handed so we went across the street and bought the expectant mother flowers.  Not sure if this was good or bad; all we wanted was for her to know we respected what she was considering and that was all.  At 2pm we arrived and were escorted to a conference room - we were first to arrive.  You could hear a pin drop in this room! Strange since we were in the city and you can always hear some kind of car or siren!  I think God wanted me to think more and he knows I need quiet.

At 2:05pm the door opened and I knew this was it!  I couldn't be shy like my husband; I couldn't clam up; I couldn't waste this moment!  Something deep down told me that this was the only chance I would have to know her. She never mentioned an open relationship and never talked about pictures each year.  I wanted to respect her wishes and at the time had no idea what it meant to have an open adoption.  I was still new at all this. 

A young woman about my height came in first and then I saw I could only assume her mom and dad followed.  They looked so like my own family. I could tell by the look of her mom that she was either British or Irish!  I was right!  I was so excited but the nerves were getting to me.  We all sat down with two social workers present. How uncomfortable but understandable. It went quiet immediately and that's when I thought - do it!!  So I started the conversation and it came natural.  They were an amazing family and they started to warm up to us a well.  We had a great time and after about an hour and a half we were told by one social worker that was all the time we had. 

How do I say good bye? This was it? No more?  Can't we do dinner or something? I began to tear up a bit but I tried to hold it in until I looked at her mom.  She was tearing up too.  I went to J and said good bye and reached in hoping for a hug. She reached in too and I didn't want to let go.  I held on like maybe she wouldn't leave. But the family left and that was it.  No more info. No more contact. No more time spent.

I went home and wrote as much as I could down about the hour and a half we had.  I'm sure there is a frightening sense of walking into a room and having to make a decision for a child's future this way.  Wish it could have all been different but this is how it happened and I am so grateful for the time we had.

January 2015
For the last few years I have sent J pictures of my boy and a long letter telling her what he has been up to.  Each year the amount of pictures increased and the letter got so long it's like I'm writing a book.  He is an amazing boy and I want her to know all about him and how much he means to us.  But after 5.5 years I wanted to try and see if we could make a change. I reached out to the agency to see if she wanted to try and make a step towards open adoption.  After waiting two month for a response, the agency informed me she wasn't interested.

I'll be honest I thought it was a long shot but I didn't realize how much it would hurt. I ran to my group immediately and cried. I cried a lot. But as a support group of friends always do - they make u feel better. She may not be ready now but one day she might. It is her journey - it is my sons journey and what ever they need I will support. If my son comes to me one day and says "mom I want to meet J"... Well that's actually my next blog!!

Written By Chemene
Group Co-Leader
Adoptive Mom

Join us at our next meeting!  Check out our website for details!

Friday, August 21, 2015

TIme To Adopt Again (Part II)

So last I wrote I left you with a cliff hanger.  P, the expectant mother we were working with, had the baby, we missed the birth, and we got a text from P that she had a surprise for us. Twins?  Red head?  A boy?  Assuming it was a boy (she knew she was having a girl), at 8am after driving 12 hours we start talking boys names.  We were all prepared with a girls name and some pink clothes.  Let's just say the conversation was based on delirium after being in the car so long!  It was entertaining to say the least! 

We get to the hospital, go into P's room and there she is holding this beautiful, perfect baby boy.  She hands him right to us.  It was such a beautiful moment.  This was also so different for us than our first experience.  We didn't spend time with K with the baby.  This time around, We didn't know how to act.  I didn't want to seem to excited out of respect for P, but was nervous to not show to much joy, I wanted to be real.  That whole duel emotions of adoption is tough.  You feel this overwhelming feeling of grief and sadness for this beautiful woman that is making a choice to place, that you know is ripping her heart out.  At the same time, you are looking at this beautiful baby that didn't ask for any of this, that is just waiting to be loved and cuddled.  You feel the Mommy inside you yearning, but pull back because you are not this child's Mommy yet.  And the truth is you don't know if you will or won't be.  The last thing we wanted to do was make P feel that she had to place now if she were to change her mind.

I think that was the biggest difference for me for the second adoption.  I educated myself so much more after our oldest adoption.  I had a relationship with his first mama and her family.  I believe I said to P multiple times that if she were to change her mind and wanted to parent that she needed to just say so, because we would understand.  The desperation was gone.  I felt for her as a mother even though I didn't give birth to D, I understood.  I didn't understand before our first adoption. You think you do, but you really have no idea until you are a mom. 

Anyway, I digress, baby J stays at the hospital another day with P.  We stay and go throughout that time.  When it's time for them both to be released we all leave together and we drive her home.  That was really hard to watch her say goodbye.  Although instead I used my Kindergarten teacher in me and gave her something meaningful to say instead (she stated no goodbyes), toot-a-loo kangaroo.  That was the hardest drive away ever!  Again that duel emotions of adoption kicking in. 

So through this whole process this time around, P and I discussed an open adoption similar to what we have with our oldest's first family, open communication, pictures and visits when can.  That's exactly what we wanted and she was thrilled with that.  So it was only natural that the day before we were leaving we picked up P and her oldest daughter (17 at the time) and brought them to lunch so they could see baby J.

And so began our 2nd open adoption.  Our journey continues as we are just returning home from a visit.  I will share with you in future blogs as our journey continues.

Written By Josette
Adoptive mom of 2
Group Co-Leader
Special Ed Teacher

Join us at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Afraid of Rejection

Have you ever read a romance novel? I mean the real cheesy ones cranked out almost daily by Harlequin and publishers like that? If you have then you've noticed how they all have a specific formula. The two main characters can't stand each other for one reason or another. They go through whatever story is created for them by the writer and as they fall for each other their relationship gets worse because one or both of them is afraid to tell the other how they really feel. They are afraid of getting hurt. I've read several of these books in between what I like to call "smart" books as a way of cleansing my palate before I go on to another "smart" book because I know how it will go, there is a certain rhythm to it that makes it easy and I can follow it mindlessly. I've found myself many times getting upset with the characters though. I guess those times I'm really reading the story not just skimming through. I get upset with them because they waste so much time protecting themselves and their hearts. I want to tell them that the only way they can be happy is to open themselves up to what they are feeling and allow others into their hearts. I want to tell them that, yes, sometimes you will get hurt but sometimes, everything will work out right and you will be happy. The funny thing is, I know this and yet have found myself repeating that behavior anyway. In this post, I'm going to tell you all about how I did exactly that.

My last post was a response to Rick's post entitled "When Open Really Means Closed". Rick got several responses on that post and not all of them were kind, so I wrote my last post trying to say that even though I had a basically closed adoption, (I knew who my father was but there was no communication or contact and I lived with my mother) I'm fine and am mentally balanced. What I was trying to say is that everyone is different and not everyone has to have the same experience meaning not everyone HAS to have an open adoption to be ok. I kind of fell short of my goal. Insinuation and subtlety are not my strong suit so I got my own less than glowing response.

I got a message from my Uncle, (it seems so strange to call someone my uncle when I don't even know what he looks like) because his wife saw my post. I don't know when, but at some point we became facebook friends. He said I had a "distorted, one-sided picture of the events". He went on to tell me some things I already knew, clarify some things I suspected, and flesh out some details that I only knew part of the story on. We exchanged a couple emails and I got a little better picture of the man my father was. (I'm going to call him my father and the man who raised me my dad, to me it's more personal than the clinical biological father and adoptive father.) He didn’t sugar coat his faults or the mistakes he made, nor did he sugar coat the mistakes my mother made or how they hurt each other and subsequently me. Although, on first reading, the email had a reprimand kind of feel to it, it was actually refreshing to get a perspective that wasn’t designed to be gentle. My mom has always been so careful to not be negative that sometimes it has been hard to get a clear picture of them and the struggles they had.

Then I contacted my father's wife and we exchanged a couple more messages and she clarified some more about him and told me what she remembered from the week I spent with them.  It seems, from my perspective, as I said in my post, I thought I was a little too hard on him, but from their perspective, I wasn't "particularly friendly and angry". Now that I look back on it and try to see it from their perspective, I can see how they would think that. I remember some of the conversations we had and my responses and think "Wow, that's exactly the teenage attitude that drives me crazy". I know where it came from and why I was doing it, I just didn't realize at the time that people saw me as angry. It was a defense mechanism, I was trying to be cautious and maybe a little aloof so I couldn't be hurt but on the outside it didn't look like that at all. Silly as it may sound, I thought  was doing a good job of being cool and aloof.

I said in my last post that "he let me leave after telling me repeatedly how much he loved me and never contacted me again." That has always bothered me, I couldn’t understand how someone could love like that and just walk away. It seemed like as good a time as any, so I asked my Uncle if he had any idea why, and for good measure and for another perspective, I asked my father’s wife the same question. I got two completely different answers. They both made me come to the same conclusion and they both made me think of those cheesy romance novels I mentioned in the beginning of this post.

My Uncle, very eloquently said, I would have to look inward for the answer and while doing that, I should ask myself why I never contacted him. My father’s wife said that he wanted me to make the decision on whether I wanted to have a relationship or was I just curious about him.

So in the end, what it came down to was, fear. Before I was old enough to understand the love it took to let a child go, I thought I was rejected. That’s when mom and her gentleness really came in handy.  She assured me repeatedly that that was not the case. When I was old enough to understand, I wanted proof that the love was still there so I waited for him to contact me. I didn’t want to call him and hear that somehow I had fallen short of his expectations and I was actually rejected for real this time. (I guess the little girl is still buried in here somewhere)  All the while he was waiting for me to decide that I actually wanted him in my life, that he was more than just a curiosity, and I left him hanging.

We both went on with our lives, we had good lives and good relationships with our families, it’s just sad that we both denied each other a relationship because we didn’t talk rather than because we decided together that we wanted it that way. His wife says he was fine with whatever decision I made but I have a feeling, based on the things they both told me, that he was just as afraid of the rejection as I was.
Written By Bonnie
Group Member
Retail Store Owner
Future Mom

Join us at our next adoption meeting! Check out our website for details!

Monday, August 17, 2015

What to Expect When You're Two Dads Expecting

I always tell my clients, “No matter how short it is, any wait feels too long when you want to start a family.” I know because I’ve been there. For the record, my husband and I were “in the books” for seven months awaiting our first adoption in 2011. For our second, in 2014, we waited six months.

As a same-sex couple, we encountered two remarkably different questions as we told people we were waiting to adopt the first time. “Will you wait longer because you’re gay?” And, conversely, “Will it be quicker because she’ll always be Mommy?” They were each hurtful: The former was an unnecessary warning that some people don’t like gay people; the latter was a slur against the potential birthmother of our child, assuming the most selfless act – placing your child in a loving, stable, home – could have the tinge of vanity and selfishness. In the end, our children's birthmothers chose us not because we were gay, but because they each "had a feeling." They responded to us because we presented our authentic selves--two people in love who were ready to do everything possible to keep a child happy and healthy.

During our wait for our first son to arrive, we attended a monthly pre-adoptive support group. We were the only gay couple in a revolving cast of pairs and singles coming in and out as they were matched. Their stories were invaluable and gave us great perspective on our good fortune. Because we were LGBT, we approached this journey at the very start. We did not face miscarriage and infertility, nor the exhaustion of medical treatments and insurance negotiations. One might think there was a sense of competition—some sort of baby musical chairs—but we wanted them to find their family just as much as we wanted to have ours.

The group leader told us what I tell my clients now: “Buy the car seat. If you’re doing this, it’s going to happen.” If you get an emergency placement, you can’t say, “Let me do a little research and head to Target.” And indeed, when we were matched the first time, it did come as a shock. I was in a meeting at the big law firm where I worked at the time. My husband had called twice, then finally sent me an email with just the subject “WE GOT PICKED!!!!!!!!”. I read the email, showed it to my friend sitting next to me at the table, and ran out to call my husband.

In the joy that followed, I can’t say the worry and uncertainty of that seven months evaporated, but that time now meant something. It was the time required for our son to come to us, and it was worth it.

Written By Brian Esser
Adoptive Dad!!!
Group Member
Adoption Attorney

Join us at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Too Old to Adopt?

My husband and I got married when I was 39 and he was 38 - a little later than most. We knew it would be tough having a baby at our age, so I started trying to get pregnant right away. When that didn’t work we started infertility treatments.  During our last year of that, when I was 43, we decided to start the adoption process. We looked into US adoption, both independent and agency and figured at our age, independent might be better for us.

During the 2 years of advertising we spoke with a few expectant moms, who when we told them our age, finished the conversation quickly, but most were OK with it. We ended up adopting 2 baby girls nine days apart (see my Virtual Twins blog about that) when I was 45. M’s birthmom was only a few years younger than me and her birthfather was 5 years older so our age wasn’t an issue. And C’s birthparents never asked our ages. It seemed that what was more important to them was that we had stable careers and could provide a secure environment for their babies.

I’ve read a few articles about “older” moms who say that they don’t feel like they have the energy that a younger mom might. I haven’t felt that way yet, but I do feel out of place sometimes when I go to the girls’ nursery school and I’m the oldest mom there. I hope that someday when they start to notice this, that it doesn’t cause them too much embarrassment. I hear that at some point all kids are embarrassed by their parents, so I guess this will be our “thing” to cause embarrassment.

When the girls were around one and a half, we started thinking about adopting again. Before we got married we always wanted 3-4 kids since I was one of 3, and Joe was one of 7. And we also wanted to give M and C another sibling to grow up with. We asked our lawyer if she thought we were too old to adopt again and she assured us no – that there were plenty of other people our age adopting, so we got recertified and started advertising again.

We received fewer calls this time around. Not sure if it was because we already had two children, our age, or because there were fewer expectant moms out there, but after 14 months of advertising with no success, we decided that we were going to stop and not get recertified. Many of our friends from our adoption group had 1 or 2 children, so we thought we should just count ourselves lucky to have our two girls and move one. The week before our certification ran out, I was just about to do my last week of advertising, when I got a call from S’s birthmom. We couldn’t believe it – we were ready to give up when out of the blue we got a call. We drove to the birthparent’s hometown to meet them for lunch. We were so nervous, but things went well and they chose us! They didn’t ask us our age at all- I guess that wasn’t that important to them. S was born about 6 weeks later. She is 2 and a half now and I still can’t believe how lucky we are to have her.

Sometimes I worry about the future – I’m 51 and my husband is 50 and we have 2 and 5 year olds. Are we being fair to them? By the time they’re our age, we probably won’t be here for them anymore. We should be at their weddings, but will we be there for our grandchildren? Would they be better off with younger parents? These are the things I think about in the rare quiet-time that I have. But then I realize that having kids at a younger age doesn’t guarantee that you’ll always be there for them. Sadly, some of my friends who are my age have already lost one or both of their parents. Joe and I are pretty healthy (knock wood) and so are our families so we’re hoping to be around a long time! And no matter what happens, the girls will always have each other. 

Written By Allison 
Adoptive Mom
Group Member 
Electrical Engineer

Join us at our next meeting!  Check out our website for details!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Getting Through The First Profile Opportunity...

The wait. What can you say... It's the wait.  Everyone dreads it. There's nothing to do. No more paperwork. No more classes. When will the first call come?

First month goes by - no big deal.  Life goes on.  I can do this.

Second month - that little devil starts whispering in my ear - little doubts at first - but no - it's only month 2. Shut up Skippy (my little devil's name).

Third month - Skippy starts doing this little dance. What can I do to ignore him? Keep busy. Tons of stuff to do: Read blogs, Plan events, Kick Skippy in the shins!

Fourth month starts and Skippy is doing jumping jacks to get my attention most days. What's wrong with our grid? Nothing!  What's wrong with our profile? Nothing!  What's wrong with our agency? Nothing!  This takes time. Breathe. Meditate. Relax. (Gee, does this sound similar to my mantra during fertility treatments?)  Does anybody know how to hogtie an imaginary friend?

Then the first call comes!  Keep calm!  You are an intelligent woman. Ask intelligent questions. (I actually had created a form to complete for an opportunity call.  Of course, my office was packed up and I didn't have it handy for the call!)  Don't over react. Don't get too excited.  Don't start daydreaming yet.  This is just the first call.  A flurry of phone calls ensues - first to my husband, next to the lawyer, next to our friend the neonatal nurse.  Repeat all the details what seems like 100 times.  (It seemed like SO many details when I was scribbling them down, but really, so little information to make this decision.)  Ask each: Do we want to be shown?  We say "Yes - we want to be shown."

Now another wait and it's different - short and INTENSE.  Wait a week to see if she says yes to us - to see if this baby was meant for us or another family.  A week?  A WEEK!?!?!  Try to convince myself that this will be easier and shorter than the dreaded Two Week Wait (TWW) after an IVF.  Yeah, right - cause you handled those so well.

Skippy is screaming in my ear - all the negative things you could POSSIBLY come up with.  All the derogatory self-doubt comes to light.  Who would pick us?  We're normal everyday people.  We both work - who wants to give a baby to a working mom?  I'm 42 - who wants to give a baby to an "old lady".  I feel like the kid who never gets picked for a team in school - and she hasn't even said no yet!  WHY DID WE START THIS?

Then the opposite worries kick in.  She's due in 5 weeks.  What if she says yes?  I can't be ready in 5 weeks!  Millions of things to buy, room to get ready, prepare for a maternity leave in 5 weeks - you're kidding right?  We have stuff planned for the summer - mini-trips, weddings, events - do we cancel?  No - she hasn't said yes yet.  Life-Decisions are on hold for a week.

Ok - found a way to distract myself - I'm picturing all the ways I can maim an imaginary friend.

The week goes by in similar stages to the entire wait - first calm down from the excitement the day, next day is a little stressed - but manageable, more stressed the following day and so on building towards the 1 week mark.  Again, trying to keep myself busy and distracted is the challenge.  I create a "Yes list."  This is the list that must be acted upon if and only if we get a yes.  Allow myself to look at it once a day.  Add to it if something pops into my head.  At least creating the list feels productive, but the list is the BIG bullets - devil will of course be in the details.  Timing happens to be that I started a new workout regimen the day I got the call.  So at least I'm not tossing and turning at night - too tired and sore.

As the week goes by Skippy has found a new talent.  Out of the blue he pushes this button and I start shaking with anxiety - stomach fills with acid - I struggle not to tear up and my mind start racing.  "Will she JUST MAKE UP HER MIND!  Why don't they call me?  It's a no, that's why they haven't called... or maybe she can't decide... maybe we're still in the running... maybe, maybe, maybe..."  Then I wonder about her.  If I'm this tied up inside - what is she going through.  How can she make up her mind with so little information - how do ANY of them ever make this decision?   

Alright - make it to the 1 week point...  No call.  Of course...  Call and track down my "family advocate" at the agency: We don't have a decision from her yet.  She's supposed to meet with her social worker soon.  Deep breathe.  It's not a no.  Not a yes yet either.  And it's a Friday.  She doubts we'll have an answer today.  Give it a few more days.  The feel of my destiny being completely out of my control threatens to overwhelm me.  Visions of getting sucked down into a whirlpool hit.  I so want to shout and cry and be the 'needy' client.   

So now I have to make it through another weekend with Skippy up my rear?  It's actually not really bad timing.  Family event for most of Saturday - ok - busy that day.  Have a once every six months work project that HAS to be done Sunday - about 10 hours in front of the computer - ok - busy that day.  Buckle down.

I could go on and about the ups and downs.  It turned out to be just shy of 3 weeks for her to make the decision (So WORSE than the TWW!!!).  By the end of the second week, I got Skippy under control.  Gagged, Handcuffed, Hogtied, Thrown in a Closet to wither and die.  A few days prior to the "official" word, we were told that she's leaning towards a different couple.  So by the time the "No" call came, we had pretty much moved on.  All things considered, from what I've heard and read, I think I handled this well, but I'm sure Skippy will escape the next time the phone rings.

Written By Andrea
Future Mom
Group Member

Join us at our next meeting!  Check out our website for details.

Friday, August 7, 2015

"How I Was Adopted" - Book Review

Today I read the book "How I Was Adopted" by Joanna Cole.

As I have stated before in my blogs, I am a firm believer that each child learns on a different level.  I highly recommend you read  a book before introducing it to your child.

This book is about Samantha, an adoptee.  She tells her story of how she learned she was adopted.  I love how on some pages she engages the reader and asks questions like do you know how old you were when you were adopted?  It talks to adoptees.

This book is a story more like my sons where it talks about the adoptive parents going to a counselor to help them adopt.  We went through an agency so it talks to me more and I can explain his better to my son. 

It is wonderful how happy and exciting it makes adoption.  It needs to be happy!  The only negative I can say is in the beginning of the book, the adoptive parents explain to Samantha how babies are born.  The author talks about the uterus in a woman and how it squeezes and squeezes in order for the baby to come out in the world.  This not a bad thing to talk about, it is natural and beautiful, but parents will need to be aware that this is mentioned and if their child doesn't know this information that they will need to be ready for some interesting questions! 

Great book from an adoptee perspective!

For a sneak peek at the book, please check out this video of the book being read!

Written By Chemene
Adoptive Mom
Support Group Co-Leader

Join us at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Mothering in Midlife? You’re Not Alone

As a 51-year-old mom of a six-year-old some days, especially when I’m looking around the playground, I feel as if I’m the only older mom out there. Well I’m happy to report that I’m in very good company, according to the book The Zen Of Midlife Mothering.
This book is a wonderful collection of diverse stories on the joys, fears, and triumphs of mothering (and fathering) in your forties and beyond. The contributing authors of varying ages offer up a vast array of parenting journeys and honest experiences that include adoption, infertility, and giving birth. This really is a must-read for any parent of any age. After all if we’re lucky we’ll all be mid-life moms and dads one day.
I am truly honored to be a part of this anthology. (Psst! You can find me on page 31.) You can order the book here:

Written By Barbara Herel
Freelance writer for Adoptive Families magazine,, and Long Island Adoption Support Group. She blogs about her open adoption at at Improv Mom.

Join us at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!!

Monday, August 3, 2015

When I Felt I Became a "Real" Mom

Here is a fun video from Lori Holden the author of "The Open-Hearted Way to an Open Adoption".

For those who have read our blogs lately, I want to make sure everyone is entitled to an opinion and no one opinion is correct!  We all have different journeys and as a group leader I need to open to all stories and all journeys!

Hope this video brightens up your day since many of us can relate!


My Own Adoption...

All the recent talk about open versus closed adoptions got me to thinking again about my own adoption and how things have changed over the years.

I was, what would have been called an accident that resulted in the fabled shotgun wedding in the very late 1960s. I can't remember not knowing that, I mean I can't remember when I found out, it just seems like I always knew but not in a way like it was a bad thing, I just knew like I knew the sun would come up every day and my mom would always love me.

I do remember the day I found out I was adopted which in a way is kind of strange since I always knew. My parents were divorced when I was two years old, my mother remarried when I was three and my stepfather adopted me right away. I was even at the adoption proceeding. I don't actually remember the adoption but I do remember driving there and my parents coaching me that the judge was going to ask me some questions like did I like my new daddy and that sort of thing.

Jump forward two years, I'm five and asking questions. I remembered a man in my life that was no longer there but not who he was. I don't know why, but I asked my Aunt who he was (probably because she happened to be close to me at that moment). She told me he was my "real daddy". Now before you all freak out, this was the mid 1970s and that's just how people talked. I remember going and questioning my Mom about this new development and even now I can remember the look on her face. She was angry with her sister for telling me something she really had no place telling me about, she was afraid of how I would react, and she was dreading having a conversation I think she had hoped to put off for a while.

So we sat down and she told me the whole thing. How she had gotten pregnant while they were still in high school and since they were already engaged they just got married sooner than they planned. How neither of them was really ready to be a parent and even though they tried, they couldn't make it work. When my mom remarried my "real father" suggested to my stepfather that he should adopt me and that's exactly what he did. He wanted to erase any hint of my "real father" so he even had my birth certificate remade with his name as the father. There were a few pictures Mom had saved for me of him and his family and we looked at them that day too.

After that there wasn't much talk of him. Every once in a while he would come up in conversation and oddly enough, even though I never saw him and had no contact at all, he was always referred  to as my "real father".  My stepfather was Dad or my Dad in conversation and only referred to as stepfather when clarifying my history.

I don't know when it changed but eventually "real father" completely disappeared.  It changed to biological father for a while. I would like to say it changed when I grew up and realized how much I was hurting him but I can't. I think it changed because the terminology changed and you just didn't say it like that anymore. (By the way, he and I did talk about that years later when he was dieing and he assured me he knew I didn't say it in a negative way)

When I was 18 I searched out my biological fathers family. I was curious about his sisters and brothers (really had no interest in him). I found them, we talked a little but I think too much time had gone by, I had no tie to them anymore. There was nothing but curiosity about what kind of people they where. One of the siblings told him I called and he took it on himself to call me. Fast forward through an odd conversation, I go to see him at his home in Michigan.  I spent a week with him and his family feeling like a fifth wheel in the worst way. It's not really necessary to go into the entire trip but suffice it to say, we did not connect. I went home and told my parents all about my trip. My father was waiting so nervously, fearing that I was going to drop a bombshell like "he's great, I'm going to go live with him now" or something like that. I found out that night that he had lived in fear my whole life that he would raise me and love me and I would forget all about him. I assured him that that was not going to happen and "biological father" was changed to his first name that day. I sometimes think I was a little too hard on him that week but then I remember how he let me leave after telling me repeatedly how much he loved me and never contacted me again.

Fast forward 27 years and for some reason I thought of him again. I don't know what pushed me but I just had to find him. After a little work I found his obituary.  A little more work and I found his wife on facebook. We talked a little about my half brother and half sister and what happened to their father and that was the end of it, we went on with our separate lives.

I "lost" my whole life with my "father" and I don't care. The adoption was firmly closed and I am fine. I am mentally balanced and have no regrets. In my house an open adoption would have been a very bad thing. My father hated my "father" and it would have been too much confusion for my family. Maybe I'm a bad person for feeling this way but for me and my life, the adoption that we had was the best for all of us. I had a great life with two parents who love me and that's the most important part of the whole thing isn't it? To raise a happy, healthy, well balanced adult.

Written By Bonnie
Future Mom
Retail Business Owner

Join is at our next meeting! Check out our website for details!