Friends in Adoption Night Out

Since we haven’t had a chance to make any of the support groups this summer, we really missed seeing some of our friends. Support groups are a great time for us to talk about things going on in our adoption wait that will understand exactly what we are going through. Friday night Andy and I met with a couple of our friends we have met in our adoption journey. They are also waiting to adopt and hoping to create their own families with our agency as well.

It was a low key evening where we had dinner and hung out talking for a few hours but it was a great end to the week. Also, we talked about how we want to try and get together more often with other people/couples that are working with the agency. Right now we are planning a girls night to paint and have some wine and a picnic in a park for everyone to hang out and socialize.

Another thing we talked about is how we can’t wait until we all have adopted and we can include our future kids in our outings. We hope to have a big support group of people to have around us that:

  • understand some of the difficulties that we might come across as adoptive parents
  • we can explore different cultures with (since we are open to trans-racial adoption)
  • so our children know others that have been adopted too.

It was a great night and looking forward to others like it soon!

Advertisements

Babysitting for Friends

Today Andy and I babysat for friends of ours while they did some work around their house. We had a lot of fun watching Kailyn and taking her to the pool in the afternoon. Definitely can’t wait to have our own kids to take to the pool and splash around with! Below are just a couple of pictures from our day!

Stephanie and Kailyn splashing!

Stephanie and Kailyn splashing!

Relaxing after some pool time

Relaxing after some pool time

Andy getting up close with Kailyn

Andy getting up close with Kailyn

Andy and Kailyn swimming around

Andy and Kailyn swimming around

Kailyn loves her giraffe Sophia

Kailyn loves her giraffe Sophia

Kailyn and our dog Etta - look at that tongue

Kailyn and our dog Etta – look at that tongue

Questions on Adoption

We had asked our friends and family to ask any questions that they might have on adoption so that we could put together a blog with the answers. Here are the questions we got and our answers. Hope that it is informative and that it helps you to know a little more about adoption!

How did you choose the adoption organization you are working with?

When we decided to not continue fertility treatments any longer we knew that our next step was going to include adoption. We had talked about it from the beginning of our relationship knowing that with my medical issues I might not be able to get pregnant. After stopping the fertility treatments we started requesting information from different agencies (domestic and international) and talking to friends/family that had adopted in the past or where in the process of adopting. Our big issue was making sure we found an agency that was comfortable and experience working with someone who has a disability. We also knew after reviewing information from the different agencies that domestic adoption was what we wanted to pursue instead of international just because of some of the restrictions we found (long wait times in country and that those with short wait times did not do infant adoption) at the places we had contacted. After we had that narrowed down we did more research and went to a orientation session with our agency. After that short session Andy and I knew that it was the agency for us. Even if there might be faster/cheaper/better agencies out there we felt at ease as soon as we were there talking to everyone. There wasn’t any one thing that made us choose the Independent Adoption Center but everything that we heard while there that morning. The fees were average for what we had found at most agencies and so were the wait times. They also offered long term support for everyone involved. If you are thinking about adoption I recommend getting as much information as you can about as many agencies as you can and then eliminate those that don’t have what you are looking for in your adoption and go with your gut from the others that are left (there are so many agencies and they are all the right choice for someone).

Can you go through more than one organization at the same time? Or do all organizations work together?

You could technically work with multiple agencies at a time but you would have to pay the fees for multiple agencies at a time so it would just be too expensive unless you have the money to throw at it. Which if you have more money to throw at your adoption there are agencies that have higher fees and shorter wait times that you could work with instead. I do believe that if an agency has a child that comes in that doesn’t match any of the waiting families that they have they will either refer them to another agency or try and find a family that does match but at most of the bigger agencies that isn’t usually a problem.

What does open adoption mean? or How is open adoption different?

Open adoption is when there is contact between the birth family and the adoptive family after placement of the child. There are varying degrees though within open adoption. If all contact goes through an agency or intermediary then it is a semi-open adoption whereas if contact exists between the birth family and adoptive family then it is a fully open adoption. Our agency does fully open adoptions and we have the opportunity to meet in person, over the phone, send letters, emails, pictures, etc. directly from us to our birth family. How much contact that exists is unique to each adoption though and is decided on between the adoptive family and birth parents at the match meeting. Most people are familiar with the traditional closed adoption where the birth parents and adoptive parents have no way of contacting each other.

Why choose an open adoption?

To start with there are not many adoption agencies that do fully closed adoptions only at this point and if you are wanting a closed adoption you might need to wait longer to find a match because most birth families want an open adoption. This however, did not take part in our decision to choose open adoption. When we started researching adoption we found that we liked open adoption because it adds more clarity for everyone involved in the process. It is better for all three parties of the adoption triad (birth family, adopting family, and child). The birth family doesn’t have to worry and wonder what happened to the child they placed as they know how the child is doing and that they are being loved for and cared for which can make it easier for them to cope with the loss. The adoptive family knows more information about their child’s medical/cultural history by having contact with the birth family that will help teach their child about where they come from. Finally, the child will be curious as they grow up about where they come from and who their birth parents were and with an open adoption you can have some if not all of those answers.

What is a match meeting?

This is usually done before placement (unless child has already been born when matched) and is the time when everyone decides what expectations there are with the adoption match/placement. There is the hospital agreement that goes into information such as when will the adoptive family be contacted about the birth mother going into labor, whether they are allowed in the room, if the birth mother wants to see the baby at the hospital, are photos allowed, etc. Then you have the match agreement that goes into information on what type and how much contact there will be after placement. Visits, phone calls, video chats, letters, emails, and pictures are all decided on how many and how frequently they will happen if they are to happen at all. It is up to the adoptive and birth families to decide what is going in this agreement. Depending on the state you live in this is a legally binding agreement (it is in the state of Georgia) and if it is in the document we have to allow at least that much contact between the birth family and us but the birth family does not need to use the contact if they choose not to in the future.

Do you get to decide on gender/race/age/etc.?

Our agency does not allow gender selection because a majority of their placements are newborns and the gender is not 100% guaranteed even if they have had an ultrasound. There are other things that we do get to decide if we are open to or not though, i.e. race, age, mental disabilities, physical disabilities, multiple births, birth mother expenses, drug/alcohol use, etc. This information is used to match with potential birth mothers that have requested profiles from the agency. Also, if gender selection is important to you there are agencies that allow you to do this that you could choose to work with instead.

Is there an average time frame to get a child or is it case by case?

Each agency has different average wait times. Most are fairly consistent with each other and those that offer an average wait time much shorter probably have higher fees and those with much longer wait times lower fees. Our agency has an average wait time currently of 15 months (which we have just passed this month). With open adoption the wait time is different for every adoptive family because the birth parents choose the adoptive parents rather than the child going to the longest waiting family that matches their profile.

Article from a Birth Mom to the Adoptive Parents She Didn’t Choose

I saw this article posted on several sites over the last week or so and finally read it. It was AMAZING to read! We have already talked to several potential birth mothers and some have chosen to parent while others have chosen other couples. Neither scenario is easy to deal with, and it makes you wonder when they choose another family what you could have done/said differently to be chosen. You know in your head that you are who you are and there will be some birth family out there that will love us and choose us to be their child’s adoptive parents, but in your heart you just feel like you could have done something different to have a different result.

This article is from a birth mother who placed a child for adoption and had chosen one family over another that she had talked to. It kind of goes into her struggle during the process of deeming one family as the right one to be chosen, while the other family is not chosen.

As a potential adoptive parent you can sometimes forget all the things that the expecting parents/birth families might be going through other than the biggest piece: of deciding to place their child for adoption in the first place. Birth moms could be faced with family that is not supportive of her choice, she could have a hard time finding and selecting the right family because there are so many choices, trying to figure out how to handle the situation with her other children (if she has them), she could be having a difficult pregnancy, and on and on can be things she is dealing with.

As a potential adoptive parent I haven’t had to face the same challenges as a birth mom in making these decisions, just like she hasn’t had to go through what we have gone through on our adoption journey. It is good to keep it in perspective and when we are matched with a birth mother try and help be her support system if she wants/needs it from us.

The article is here if you want to read it.

Denver Seckinger (Andy’s mom) Family Reunion

Andy’s mom’s side of the family decided to have a family reunion for the first time in a long time. It was a great time getting everyone together (aside from a couple of cousins who couldn’t make it and were missed). It was also the first time Stephanie got to meet some of Andy’s cousins and families.

We started with a couple days in Denver on our own to explore and see as many sites as possible. On Thursday we went to the Forney Transportation Museum, walked around downtown Denver, and Buffalo Bills grave site on top of Lookout Mountain. After all of that excitement we then met Stephanie’s old coworker (Michelle) for dinner and one of her old college buddies (Anni) for drinks to round out the day!

Transportation Museum in Denver

Transportation Museum in Denver

One of the capital buildings in downtown Denver

One of the capital buildings in downtown Denver

On our next day there we took the time to drive down to Colorado Springs and visit the Olympic training center (that Stephanie trained at back in 2004) and also the Garden of the Gods. It was great for Stephanie to be able to show Andy around some of her favorite spots while living there for a summer and also the center where she was fortunate to live.

Inside Olympic Training Center

Inside Olympic Training Center

Stephanie in front of the rings at the Olympic Training Center

Stephanie in front of the rings at the Olympic Training Center

Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods

Andy and Stephanie at Garden of the Gods

Andy and Stephanie at Garden of the Gods

On our last full day in Denver it was time for the reunion itself. To start we had lunch with the family when the ‘parents’ surprised all the cousins, their spouses, and their children with a birthday party celebrating all the birthdays at once with gifts, balloons, and cupcakes. After that Andy and Stephanie spent all afternoon in the pool swimming with the kids and talking about how we all can’t wait for the next one. Finally, that night we had a great cookout with some good food at Andy’s cousin Mike’s house with the kids all running around blowing bubbles, making bracelets, swinging, and playing games.

Stephanie and Mary Kate hanging out blowing bubles

Stephanie and Mary Kate hanging out blowing bubbles

Mary Kate eating a popsicle before dinner

Mary Kate eating a popsicle before dinner

Immediate family on Andy's side

Immediate family on Andy’s side

We can’t wait for the next family reunion and have already started talking about it and want to look into some ideas we had to get everyone together again soon!

Stephanie’s 33rd Birthday

So this year for my birthday Andy got me a couple of great experiences!

To start with Andy took me to KR SteakBar for dinner with a bunch of our friends (Andrea, Erin, Matt, Courtney, Kelly, Josh, and Shawn). The food was wonderful and so good that I didn’t want to stop eating. It was also great to hang out with some friends that we haven’t had the time to see much lately.

After we finished dinner we headed over to Barcelona Wine Bar for drinks and dessert. We lost a couple people who had to go home after a long week already but we gained our friend Sam too. The dessert was delicious and so good but way to filling. The crepes could have easily served 4 people and still had difficulty eating and yet we all ordered out own and ended up with lots leftover.

The last of my gift from Andy will have another post coming soon with new couple pictures done by his friend and photographer Sparkles! That is going to be this coming Friday and I can’t wait to take them and see how they turn out.

In addition to that I got some great other gifts from family like the wind chime below, new glass for the patio table (still needs to be done), a giant stock pot, minion magnets, and gift cards for bed bath and beyond. I love my family and all the great gifts that they gave me this year to celebrate my birthday. Looking forward to future birthdays!

windchime

Fourth of July 2014

Well we had a great but fast fourth of July holiday this weekend. We started the weekend with me getting in really late from a work trip on Thursday evening. There were crazy storms all up and down the eastern seaboard (except for Atlanta) and I was of course trying to leave New York La Guardia airport. After a couple of times trying to board and push back from the gate and get on the runway we finally got off the ground 4.5 hours late and got home safe in Atlanta without any other issues.

Then we woke up on Friday and spent lunch and the afternoon with my mom, sister (Jennifer), and nephews (Matt and Jacob). We then met up with my dad and brother-in-law Kyle to go to the newest Transformers movie together. The movie was great although it was quite long it was still a great movie and everyone seemed to enjoy it. By the time the movie was over we got to my parents house for a late dinner of pulled pork sandwiches (which were delicious). On our way home we got stopped at a road block going to our house where the cops were checking for drunk drivers and coming off of the lake.

Saturday was another fun filled day though with lots of family time together. We tried to go out boating but ended up having issues with it being so windy to get my parent’s boat out and instead went to the pool in their neighborhood instead. After spending time there with the family (all the extended family in the area on my side) we then went back to our neighborhood and to our pool to meet up a couple neighbors and visit with them. Finally, it was back to my parents house that night to celebrate my nephew (Matt’s) birthday.

It was a very busy time and we had a lot of fun with our family and relaxation for the weekend! Below are a couple pictures from our time together, although we didn’t get a lot of everyone together.

Matt riding in the car with us on Friday Jacob riding in the car with us on Friday Dessert for the boating trip Stephanie and Matt hanging out on the boatOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA