Friday, October 30, 2015

Books of the Week!!

Weekly Books on Adoption!

Please make sure you always read these books before introducing them to your child!

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Our Families Photo Blog - 10/30/15

Parenting Fun!!

Here is a private look at our families and our adventures together!!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Adoption Summit Experience - November 2015

As an adoptive parent, I know what it is like to feel challenged by the unique and complicated demands of life as an adoptive family. As an adoption coach, I know how other families struggle to locate resources that understand adoption and are attuned to the needs of child and parents--both adoptive and birth parents. Living as an adoptive family has often felt like a trek up the steep slopes of Mt. Everest. I suspect other adoptive families experience similar moments of overwhelm and confusion.

Imagine finding and talking with a knowledgeable guide who’s also walked that path and survived. Imagine feeling heard, understood and supported, with empathy not judgment. Imagine being able to know what will best serve your child, yourself, your partner, and, your child’s birthparents. How might that kind of unified resource help your family? Imagine no more.
On Nov. 10-12, 2015 and Nov. 17, 2015 a collaboration of adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professional join together to present “The Adoption Summit Experience.” This free, on-line summit is unique as the three individual perspectives join forces to become one voice—a voice that speaks with respect and compassion for all individuals involved in an option.

"Our goal is to create an opportunity for anyone, anywhere who is interested in adoption to lean in and listen to conversations from different perspectives," says Parsons, creator of the event. "Every presenter volunteers their time and energy to make adoption better in some way. These are people who have transformed their relinquishment and adoption challenges into action for positive change. This event is a first of its kind.”

Summit presenters will address adoption from all “sides” and will share the insights and learnings that we have acquired along the way.  We want to take our hard-won wisdom and infuse it with purpose to create a more collaborative and mutually supportive understanding of adoption. All presenters are directly living adoption either as first parents, adoptees or adoptive parents.
As listeners hear the “other” viewpoints, we hope to awaken empathy and understanding of how we are inextricably and permanently interconnected. Instead of compartmentalizing adoption into adoptee issues, birth parent issues and adoptive parent issues, we accept this interconnectivity as the reality of adoption. By understanding the needs of each part of the adoption triad, we can work together to make adoption better for all involved.
Are you in an open adoption, trying to determine how to make it work? Do you wish you knew how to enjoy and balance your happiness against a backdrop of the grief and loss of your child’s birth parents? Do you wonder how to handle your own triggers? Do you ever wish you could chat with several birth mothers to ask them questions to help you relate better with “your” birth mother/s? Then this summit is for you!
Are you struggling to handle the challenges of adoption and yearn to speak with parents who have “survived” similar events and whose family remained firmly attached and thrived? Do you wish you knew alternative parenting strategies—ones tested by other adoptive families? Then this summit is for you!
Are you looking for guidance on good resources? How do you evaluate which therapists, coaches, social workers, etc. understand adoption and are properly prepared to guide you? Do you know which books truly serve your family and which perpetuate outdated social myths? Then this summit is for you!
Imagine learning from adult adoptees what worked, didn’t work or what they wished their parents had done for them. How might that knowledge help you be a better parent to your child?
Have you ever wished you could talk honestly about your family struggles with no fear of judgment? Imagine confiding in peers who understand the joy, frustration, fear and commitment that adoptees face? Then this summit is for you
Watch this welcome video from Adoption Summit sponsor and adult adoptee, LeAnne Parsons as she invites you to “Come Climb with Us” at the free, on-line adoption summit. All who are interested in adoption are welcome and urged to participate. Register today:
Gayle’s presentation at the summit will focus on books as an ideal resource for introducing and sustaining healthy adoption conversations both within and beyond the family. It will include three bibliographies: one for children, one for parents and one of books written by adult adoptees.

Gayle H. Swift is the co-founder of GIFT Family Services which provides adoption support before, during and after adoption, an adoption coach, adoptive parent, former foster parent and co-author of the multi-award-winning, "ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book." She blogs regularly at “Growing Intentional Families together” She also writes an Adoption-attuned blog titled, “Writing to Connect” which reviews books through a High AQ lens. While some are specifically about adoption, most are not. She strives to help parents notice teachable moments in whatever books they share with their children.  

Our Families photo Blog - 10/29/15

Learning is fun!

Here is a private look at our families and our adventures together!!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Our Families Photo Blog - 10/28/15

Look forward to having to next years trip!

Here is a private look at our families and our adventures together!!

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

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Our Families Photo Blog - 10/27/15

Summer Adventures are over!

Here is a private look at our families and our adventures together!!

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Our Families Photo Blog - 10/26/15


Here is a private look at our families and our adventures together!!

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

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How Do You Help a Child That Doesn't Know They Need Help?

It has been a couple of weeks since I wrote something and tonight I sit here and I am not sure where to start... do I talk about the things that I am learning each day about adoption... I meet one new person each day that is trying to adopt and I find it to be a wonderful feeling knowing in some way I am helping someone on the other end of the phone learn how to transition into the adoption journey; to teach them resources to make them feel empowered not scared; that they feel safe and not alone.

Nope I will talk about that another time... do I talk about the ongoing learning experience with a child with special needs... learning how to deal with IEPs and meds or no meds; learning how to tell the difference between "he is only 5" vs. " he has developmental delays".


I got a text from my girlfriend the other day saying that it was wear orange to school day and she didn't have anything orange!  First of all, I am sure that I have a note somewhere that told me to have to dress my son in orange that day but of course I am very unorganized since my second child was born and getting only about 2 hours of sleep on average is killing my memory!  So I thanked her for letting me know and went on a rampage through the house for orange!  Thank goodness he owned something!  I always try to be supportive even if it's just wearing clothes to show your respect for a cause!

The thing is I wasn't paying attention enough to realize this orange day was for anti-bullying awareness.  I actually cried when i found out!  I wanted to put on orange myself but who the heck is going to see a stay at home mom during the day!  My son L is the sweetest and most polite little man I have ever met.  I can't take credit for all of that - I may have taught him to say please and thank you but it is up to him to do it on his own.  L is a loving boy but he is very naive!  Too naive!  He does have developmental delays but typical children of his age don't know this.  He acts like a 5 year old some of the time, but there are many moments when he is in a group that the excitement can not be controlled.  They seem annoyed by him and try and run away from him.  It's hard to watch. 

Anyway ... having typical friends and special needs friends is something that helps me learn about our society.  Many children are not taught how to deal with a child that is "different". They are not around them enough to be bothered.  So sometimes this leads to bullying.  In our situation L has been bullied many times over the last few years but for now he has no idea that it's happening.  But one day he will understand and that will be a major time to teach him.  When a child tries to hurt him, he thinks they are being cops and he is the robber and he has to go to jail.  Or a child will try and step on his foot to deliberately stop him from moving and L will laugh his head off thinking the child stepping on him is just being silly.  How do you explain bullying to a child with special needs?  How to you stop another child from bullying?  I can't be there all the time to help him...

Education!  That is one way of helping society learn how to deal.  Well that's my opinion anyway.

My mom told me years ago that she was a bully.  My little 5'2" mom was a bully.  She explained to me she realized it came from insecurity.  She, being the worrier that she is, decided that 50 years after she did the bullying she would email the people she hurt as a child and make sure she apologized! Ha Just imagine the person who bullied you as a kid came to you and said "sorry".  I would be floored! 

I was bullied up until I was in 7th grade.  I wasn't adopted, I wasn't a special needs child, I didn't have a pimple on my nose or wear weird clothes! I was blonde haired blue eyed little girl with a name Chemene!  That's all the kids needed!  I hated going to school and being "called out" as they said in the 80's.  I would always worry about who was going to be at the front of the school waiting for me!  I got lucky and my running abilities in track saved me.  Once the bullies learned I was able to win medals for the school they left me alone.

Funny enough I see some of those bullies on social media and I always wonder if they know they were bullies or whether or not they even care that they hurt someone like me.

I guess the point of my rambling here is anyone can be bullied and my son right now is a big target.  You can't teach someone to NOT be naive, you have to wait til they grow.  But how long can I protect him?  I guess we will see...I will protect him any way I can cause he is my baby! 

How do you teach about bullying? 

Written by Chemene
Adoptive Mom!

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book of the Week - "Adoption is for Always"

Please consider reviewing any children's book prior to reading to your child.  Each book means something different to every family!

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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Monday, October 19, 2015

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Thursday, October 15, 2015

To Decorate or NOT To Decorate??

After years of fertility treatments, hopes raised and crushed, we’re firmly on the path towards adoption: research done, picked our agency, homestudy complete, picked our attorney, and even picked our pediatrician.  What we haven’t picked is the color of the nursery – and I’m not talking pink or blue, yellow or green.

Actually, we haven’t bought a thing for the baby we hope to bring home.  Nothing.  Nada.  I could blame superstition.  My family is Jewish and we don’t believe in having things in the house prior to when a baby is born.  But, that’s not the reason.  Mike (DH) and I have discussed this and came to the decision, that no matter how long our wait, having the baby’s room decorated and ready would be added stress to an already stressful situation. 

The room is cleaned out, practically empty.  I actually like stopping in there – which I don’t do often.  It gives me a sense that things will change and move forward.  It’s like a blank canvas – with the promise of something good to come.  It’s pleasant to anticipate getting to make that room into our baby’s room and watch it evolve and change over time – becoming more and more specific to the gender and personality of the child. 

If the room was decorated, crib and all, I think I would feel stuck in the wait – nothing changing – frozen in time – and I don’t need that reminder down the hall. 

I do dream about what I’d like to room to turn into when the right situation comes our way.  We have a registry set up - with essentials picked out.  Yes, I know what car seat I want, which bouncer seat, and a crib picked out.  We have a list of starter clothing, bedding, bathing necessities, etc.  But our plan is, when the time comes, to enjoy the ride – enjoy every second with our new family member.  If the sheets don’t match the curtains for a month or two – I will happily not give a darn.

Written by Andrea
Group Member
Future mom

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Waiting to Adopt While Single, Black and 50'ish

UPDATE: A couple of months after this blog was originally written, Lynn adopted a beautiful little girl and is now a mom!

Original blog written May 2015
There are messages all over the place that parenting is reserved for YOUNG MARRIED COUPLES.  Many adoption agencies have this NOTION about who qualifies to adopt.  Reason why as a Single, Black Woman who is 50’ish, decided to stay clear away from Agency Adoption because these words kept coming up; MARRIED COUPLES ONLY; AGE RESTRICTED; guessing, all others need not apply.  Well, anyone who knows me well knows that I don’t respond very well to being RESTRICTED.  I asked myself, am I legally restricted, morally, ethically or socially restricted?  So, I was more than prepared to wage a SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT to break these BARRIERS into the Adoption world.  However, ADVOCACY aside, at the end of the day, all I wanted was to bring my forever child home, so I decided to find the BEST MEANS to do that. 

So, why did I mention that I am also BLACK? And does RACE matter?  Well, NO, it SHOULD NOT.  But, while I believe that the label “Black” and/or “African-American” are important and valid cultural identity markers, these labels are also “social constructs” that create ASSUMPTIONS, as with gender, age, marital status, etc, etc, labels come with assumptions that lends to ARBITRARY RESTRICTIONS whereby people are pigeonholed into where they should fit and what should come with those fittings.  And, being one to not always buy into “SOCIETAL EXPECTATIONS”, being a person of “sufficient maturity” to recall the social justice movements of the 70s and the  “Burger King” commercial jingle of the 80’s, “have it your way”, I was determined by my own stubborn nature to live my life my way AND “by any (legal and ethical) means necessary”!!  So, flash forward to 2015 and notions are still “out there” that Black people do not adopt, or at least if they do adopt, it’s a necessary situation, results from a family dysfunction or a family disruption; likely a kinship adoption; never independent, not privately, always somehow in the family or through “THE SYSTEM”.  And where do all these notions come from?  Well, at this point in my life……”Ain’t nobody got time for that”!!  But, what jumps out at me every time I visit an Adoption websites, is that Single Black people like myself, are rarely, if at all ever visible on these sites. Well, not a bad thing if you want to GET NOTICED!!     

Well, in spite of all my aversions to THE SYSTEM, my journey to adoption first began with the DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES (DSS), not because I felt that was the only place to begin as a “person of color”, but because the FOSTER CARE SYSTEM is very wide open to placing babies and children with parents of all age groups, any marital status, and just about anyone who qualifies may end up with a permanent situation which could potentially lead to a successful adoption.  Also, I began there because a large number of children in the Foster Care System are children of color and in need of permanent homes and I would have gladly opened my heart and my home to any child or sibling groups needing a temporary and/or a permanent placement.   However, I soon discovered that this was not the road for me and the very thought of working with THE SYSTEM was scaring the H… out of me. 

So, way before my journey to Independent Domestic Adoption began, I found myself at the Nassau DSS scared, alone and full of self doubt. And, no wonder, the system began its own investigation into motives and my intentions as if I myself had venture into THE SYSTEM…...worst experience EVER!!  This left me questioning my ability to parent ….what was I thinking!!!   All the while, months were passing by and I could not for one SINGLE moment stop thinking that there was a child out there, yet to be born, yet unknown to me, with whom I was already in love with and wanted so much to know….Crazy Stupid for some, but for me a valid reason and, perhaps the only SANE reason to move forward…..So, “where do I begin to tell my adoption story….My starting point began on a cold November evening in 2011, sitting in a MAPP class all wrapped up in a thick bulky sweater (room was ice cold!!) and all wrapped up in my self doubt.  The very first thing I heard at the very first session was, “the Foster Care System is NOT AN ADOPTION AGENCY”….”you are here (if you should accept this mission) to form a PARTNERSHIP with a child caseworker and the birth family for REUNIFICATION”; words that scared me from the very start, especially not being able to image at that point how I could love and parent a child for any length of time and end up having to return that child to a potentially bad situation and possibly unsafe circumstance…it was too heart-wrenching for me to imagine!! 

Now, it is no cliché that “all roads on the journey to adoption will lead to the child that will be your own”.  I was supposed to be there in that MAPP class hearing these words. And, I would come to understand later why I was there at that moment… that very moment when I received my Foster Parent Certificate and was ready to all but give up on my dream of adopting, I was handed a flyer by one of the ladies leading the class.  She wanted to share an invitation to attend an APC (Adoptive Parent Committee) meeting for anyone considering Private Adoption; perhaps, one last sign that the Foster Care System was not the way for me to begin my journey to adopt.  Well, I did attend that APC meeting (the only one in my MAPP class) and it was at that very first meeting that I met many wonderful people at all stages of the Adoption process, they were single, married, heterosexual and same-sex couples, of all ages and all persuasions and yes, there was even a place at the table for me, Single, Black, and 50’ish.  The atmosphere was welcoming and the message was comforting…..YES YOU WILL ADOPT!!!

It was also at that same APC meeting that I met my attorney Jeanine Castagna, talking about the Red Flags in Adoption, a whole new world for me of ADOPTION ADVERTISING.  Jeanine gave me assurance that I will adopt and to put the whole Foster System nightmare behind me and not give up on my dream.  I attended an APC conference in 2012 where I met many more people on their journey to adopting privately and independently, domestically and internationally, as married and as singles, as inter-racial couples and/or as same-sex couples.  It was there that I meet my Social Worker, Ellen Hackett-Murphy and began to feel more comfortable with the Home Study process and telling my story, without judgment!  It was there at that APC conference where I met new friends, a Black married couple who were determined to adopt “in just a few month” they gave me hope that I could do the same!!! So, the adoption social movement had already begun and was gaining ground…..YES, BLACK PEOPLE DOADOPT PRIVATELY! 

What also encouraged me was attending an APC SINGLE’S SESSION where I met other single women and their friends and family who came out to support them on their journey.  An Adoption Therapist who led the session had adopted her daughter as a single “unattached” woman.  Everyone was at different stages of the process but most in the room had already adopted….they were there to SUPPORT….I was getting even more HOPEFUL!!  What most inspired me was the grace of one woman who would become a very dear friend and avid support person.  She had recently become widowed just after starting the adoption process with her husband; lots of tears in the room and an understanding that we are all connected in our humanity by loss and grief and that in life there will be moments of deep pain, moments of frustration and moments of anger when you just want to scream, and there will be people who will surround you and be there to understand; just because they get it!!  It was there that I first met Chemene and Josette and Pam; they were there to support their friend Adele.  In my estimation, the three function as “Adoption Support Supper Heroes”, there to INSPIRE, there to lend SUPPORT to anyone who has faith enough and courage enough and guts enough to become parents by whatever means necessary, there to let you know that you are never alone on this journey!! 

OK, so I am STILL WAITING and waiting and waiting and what a wait it has been!!  I started advertising in October of 2013; one year, six months and a couple of weeks now….30 birthmother contacts, ups and downs, encouragements and discouragements, but in the words of the great poet laureate Maya Angelou, “Wouldn’t take nothing from my journey now” …….now as I wait with more purpose and determination…now as I wait learning new life lessons and understanding the value of building solid relationships with expectant mothers (even when they change their mind)….just because they may be an essential link to my child’s HISTORY.  Now, waiting and knowing that it does not matter that I am single and 50’ish, at least not to the expected moms who have never once asked my age or questioned my intentions and have decided to call.  And perhaps, I will find a life partner one day who will be a wonderful husband and father for my child….but, even if that never happens, my child will have me, a strong and empowered single woman prepared to contribute value and substance to my child’s “BIOGRAPHY” which will be interwoven with his/her very own personal story.  My child will have the grace and wisdom of my MOTHER, who at 80’ish now has nine grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and will gladly welcome more while she is still doing well and have energy to love them all.  So, with each day while I wait, there are those things that drive me on this ADOPTION JOURNEY…the fact that I am determined, the fact that I am healthy, fit and YOUNG AT HEART, and the fact that I am supported by Adoption Super Heroes, all points me to this one fact, “YES I WILL ADOPT… and the CHILD, yet to be found, with whom I am already madly in LOVE, will soon become my very own forever Child, BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY!!!!     

Written by Lynn
Group Member 
Adoptive Mom

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Your child's heritage - Important or not?


I have always been very interested in my heritage, even as a little girl.  Not everyone is though!  I know some of my family members care but really it wouldn't bother them to skip having the information of their ancestors.  For me it means a lot, maybe cause I have a very curious personality!  Ok - I'm nosy! 

My mom was born and raised in Liverpool and my biological father's family came from England as well.  I kinda say that I am so British that I am Welsh.  The British family lineage goes back so far that my relatives are from Wales.  Basically I look at it like if I were to say I am sooooo American that I am American Indian.  Ok that may be not exactly right but I hope you get the idea.

I traveled a lot as a child and I spent many months growing up with my cousins in Liverpool.  I thought I was cool being from England.  I loved being there but I missed out on having the daily closeness with them.  It was hard in the 70's and 80's and even the 90's to contact family overseas.  The phone would ring at my house and I would pick it up and there would be a pause - a long pause with static - then a beep - and some more static - and then some echo of my Nana saying "hello"!  It felt like it took 5 minutes just to start the conversation.  If I spoke words at the same time as she did then it would cancel out everything and it would go silent.  It was terrible! It wasn't til about 10 years ago that we could make calls that were clear and didn't echo!

Just yesterday I was lucky enough to go to the NYC and visit with my 1st cousin, E, and her daughter, F. They decided to make a quick trip to see NYC for F's birthday.  I took L with me so they could see one of my sons. (The little one would have been too hard to watch there for the day).  As we walked around and saw some sites and took pictures together, we chatted about our lives and caught up on what we missed.  I have to say it is funny how I hadn't seen E in almost 2 decades but we didn't skip a beat when we saw each other.  It was like we never missed a day...

When L and I arrived that morning had to walk a bit to get from the train station to the meeting point where my cousins were.  In the 10 minute walk, I explained again who we were meeting and why they were here.  I think in his 5 year old brain all he heard was the word FAMILY.  That is all he needed to know I guess.  When E came towards us, I told him that your cousin sweetheart and he ran over and gave her a hug.  He began to tell her all the details of the train ride and didn't stop talking for the next few hours!  He was excited to know he had more family.

He would walk hand and hand with them throughout the day.  It was beautiful to see.  I could have walked away and he would have felt safe because all he needed to know was mommy said it was family and family means safe.

So where am I going with this story... As I watched the days events unfold and watched my son feel loved from people he had never met before, I started to think of the future.  How wonderful would it be to travel to the country of his origin?  It would be expensive but who cares!  He may not have contact with his birth family but that shouldn't stop him from learning his heritage.  How important it is to feel you fit in?  How would that help him understand more of what his ancestors did or how they grew up?  His country of origin is not common and it would be so interesting to see.  He was not born in this foreign country, he was born in the USA.  But with his skin color versus mine, he has already started asking questions about why we are different.  It would be amazing to help him fill in gaps where he needs.  Now of course, it would be up to him if he wants to go.  I always have felt this is his journey now and I am here for the ride.  What he wants to know and he wants to learn is up to him. 

What do you think? Would you take your child to England or Ireland or Greece or Russia or Guatemala to visit?  How important is heritage to you? Let me know!  I personally think it would a great cultural learning experience to travel anywhere!

Written By Chemene
Group Co-Leader
Adoptive mom

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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Forever Friends Through Adoption

I feel so lucky!

Being part of our adoption group, my boys, adopted boys, get to grow up with other children that are also adopted. As their friends, some their best friends and their "family", some of them they've known since birth. They, without thinking, have conversations about their birthmothers, their siblings, visits and adoption in general. They will never feel like they are "the only one". For this I feel we are lucky.

With that being said, this past weekend we had a spontaneous kids get together with our original 3 families that adopted within our post group. The three oldest boys (one from each family) are "best buds". We took them and our younger kids to the movies to see Hotel Transylvania 2.  (I'll let you know my thoughts on the movie a little further down). But in the meantime my favorite part was listening to the three boys, who are sitting next to each other, laughing so hard and talking about the movie as it was going on. It was such a beautiful sound! Once again, so lucky!

Now for a quick movie review. If you have seen the first Hotel Transylvania, the humor was very similar, lots of silly adult humor that the kids don't necessarily get, but is used to keep the adults interested. But lots of humor for the kids to get as well, potty humor, not my favorite for my six-year-old but nonetheless still cute. He's still throwing out "grandma's boobies" since we've seen it. I guess not the worst thing in the world.

Spoiler alert!!  The theme and the moral is about transracial marriage and acceptance. I was thrilled for this message since my family is a transracial family, my one son is biracial and the other son is black and my husband and I are both Caucasian. It has a really great message and I used it as a teachable moment for my oldest guy when we got home.

I would recommend the movie. Even my almost 3 year old liked it!

Check out the trailer here!

Written by Josette
Adoptive mom

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Is she thinking of him today?

The cold weather is upon us... we have officially turned off the A/C and are contemplating putting on the heat.  We try so hard not too for we know that means shorts and tank top time is over.  Another year to wait for the beach!

But it's during these times that we spend more time with family and friends and share moments that will last a lifetime.  We go pumpkin picking and apple picking with others. We start to think about the gifts we are going to buy one another.  We think of our budgets and the money we never seem to have in the bank for the holidays, but always seem to figure it out in the end. We set up breakfasts with friends and their children to create special moments.  The kids may not realize what we are doing but they will one day.

I sit here and think of all that I am grateful for and all the special moments that I am going to witness over just the next few months.  For us we celebrate Christmas and just the thought of waking up (exhausted) seeing my kids faces when they know Santa has come, already makes me smile.  Knowing the Halloween party for the group is coming up for kids is exciting knowing that so many families will meet and create new bonds.

But the one thing I think of right now is the moments that are being created over the next few months will be something L's birth mother will be anxiously awaiting to hear about in January.  We send pictures and letters to J each year.   I get very excited when I take his picture at Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year's (which is his birthday),  knowing that a simple click of the camera will make someone very happy.  That this one moment and blink of our eye, will be forever put on her nightstand. 

Many people might hear what I do on a daily basis and think that I think of adoption all the time.  I actually don't.  I probably think about it when I am at a meeting or if L brings it up.  But explaining to a new member how the adoption process works is kind of second nature now and it really doesn't seem like I'm speaking of adoption - I feel like I am speaking of creating a family.   But I will be honest, when September and October hits I think about it all the time. Preparing my letter to J in my head.  Going through all the details of what L did this year that I can't wait to write down.  The trips, the milestones, the silly things 5 years olds say, the books he likes, anything at all.  I know she wants as much as I can provide.  I spend hours typing up paragraph upon paragraph for her to read. 

Over the last couple years I decided to best way for me to remember so many details is to write each section by the month.  I go through thousands and thousands of pictures for her and make sure she gets enough to make her feel like she was there!  As I write the details I tear up every time.  Is she sitting at home waiting for this?  Is she looking at the moon knowing that we are staring at the same one?  Does she secretly hope that one day we bump into each other?  What goes through her mind?  What is she thinking when she sees his beautiful face?  Does it give her any comfort knowing he is loved more than the world?  That he is safe and warm?  I want to be a fly on the wall so bad.  

I hope one day I can ask her what she was feeling around this time while I sit and think of her... Is she thinking of us tonight while I write this blog?  One day I know I will find out... but until then ... I enjoy creating moments!

Written by

Group Co-Leader
Adoptive mom

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

Sunday, October 4, 2015

He is...

He is not my blood!

That statement has a lot of subtext for most.  If he is not my blood, is he not mine?  If he is not my DNA, is he therefore less important to me?   Blood relations link a certain responsibility, whether you are ready for it or even whether you even want it.  Everyone says, “Blood is thicker than water."  You can love another person, but never like you can love your own creation - your own blood.

I think I got caught in this trap for a short while.  It is a thing that most people never even think about because their children are their blood.  When you contemplate it, the whole thing is ridiculous.  You love your spouse with all your heart.  You vow to honor, cherish, love, and protect until, "Death do you part."  If you can love another person that deeply, some would say unconditionally, why would a child be any different?  I understood this intellectually, logically, but not sure I truly understood it emotionally until we received the call that we had been chosen by 2 amazing people to adopt their blood.

I remember the day and everything about that moment.  I was sitting in a chair at the dining room table working from home, listening to music (and I will never forget the song) when my wife conferenced me into the call and our social worker, Tammy, gave us the news.  My eyes welled up and my heart raced.  And I still had no idea of how I would be changed.

On Monday, November 11th, 2013 our son was born.  We were in the room and witnessed his birth.

That day changed all of our lives and I will write extensively about how amazing the birthparents both are and how open adoption has been such an amazing part of this journey, but those will be for a later time.

I think back to that day and my eyes water and my heart aches in my chest.  I chose to be his father just as I chose to be my wife’s husband.  This was not something society placed upon me.  This was not something my family placed upon me.  This was a choice that I made with my eyes wide open.
But here I must be honest, I made that choice before he was born.  After holding him in my arms for that first time, I no longer had a choice.  I did not want him to be my son or decide that he would be my son.  He just is.  There is no easy way to describe it.  When something is so obvious, so simple, so true.  It does not need to be anything, do anything, represent anything.  There is no verb as strong as "is”.  It is a statement of being, of truth.  I know so few truths, and I know none as true as, “he is my son.”

He is the first truly unconditional love I have ever known.  We all like to believe that our love for our spouse is unconditional, but we also all know (except for honeymooners maybe) that this is not true.

 We can betray each other, hurt each other, do unspeakable things that can lead to our marriage ending.  None of us wants that and we hope it never happens, but we know that it is a possibility.

 With him, there are NO conditions.  He can ignore me, tell me to go away, he can disavow himself of me and I will still love him. I don’t know how not to.

I never thought I would be able to love this way, to be this vulnerable.

Blood is greater than water, but love is greater than blood.

He is my redemption.

He is my compassion.

He is my love.


Written by Noah
Group Member
Adoptive Parent
Future father of two!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Meds or No Meds??

How do you decide its time to give a child medication for a disorder or behavioral issues or ADD/ADHD or ODD? 

For us it took time to decide.  These decisions don't come lightly.

Over the last few years L, my son, has been through a lot for a little boy.  Having his first "seizure" at the age of 14 months old and then having one every 6 weeks after, that was hard on his body.  With such a rare disorder stemming from migraines, we never could tell the effects it had on his body.  But each time he would have an episode it was a crap shoot on what repercussions would come from it!

Making sure he had the tools to get stronger through each day was what we focused on for a few years. PT/OT/VISION/SPEECH therapies were provided while he was at a special school but over time his behavior started to change. It could have been from frustration or just his nature, it didn't matter we needed to pay attention. The problem was his academics were falling far behind and that may have contributed to the frustration as well.

So I started to look into neurologists.  Many families feel they should go to a psychologist for help when considering medications but for now I wanted to make sure we had this type of professional watch over him since he had seizures in the past.  I was lucky to find a doctor that knew of L's disorder and could guide us safely through the decision.

I made sure I went to others as well who went through medications - support groups help a lot with that. I went to a DAN doctor (as they used to be called) or a doctor who specializes in autism and uses different types of methods to help children without medications. I gathered my info like I usually do and let it fester in my head for awhile - in the meantime we tried behavioral therapy on L and it seemed to help but only a bit.

In the end my husband and I with the guidance of the neuro doctor, started L on medication.  It was the worst feeling in the world knowing you were giving your little one a medication that required you to show your ID to pick it up.  Where the doctor can't call the prescription in, he has to mail it cause it's a controlled substance.  Just hearing those words make you sick to your stomach.  But you keep your head up and you realize that without this help your child will progressively get worse. 

The very first time we gave L his medication (in pill form), I stood in the kitchen with the bottle with my hand shaking from nerves. When I started to turn the top off I began to cry.  I didn't want to do this. I was scared for him.  What if there were adverse reactions?  What if something happens and I can't get the doctor?  I took a deep breath and placed the pill in his mouth and he swallowed like a champ. Nothing happened ... No reactions.  We ended up trying 5 different more over the next few months.  None helped enough to calm him down or allow him to focus or help him realize that running away was a bad thing.

Then finally one day we switched gears and tried a new medication on "another" list!!  I gave him one pill and he went to bed.  When he woke the next day, he was calm and his speech was clear and he sat and ate his breakfast without getting up!!  Who was this child?  It was amazing.  He was able to walk outside and not want to run!  He stayed more focused in school! He could sit longer! Now I'm not saying this is a "miracle" drug but it sure helped my son.

We are doing everything we can to help my son.  We don't make decisions quickly. We research and interview before jumping into anything.  Smart and safe! He's my baby.

I don't feel medication is best for all children and I would never tell someone just try it.  I feel it is a family decision and must be taken seriously.  Just like vaccines it is a choice for your family. For us it is working for our child and it will be adjusted and changed I'm sure many more times over the years. But for now one step at a time.

If your considering this route for your child, do your research!  

Written by 

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