Letter to our future Child (Chapter 3)

Letter to our future Child (Chapter 3)

Your mother is out with friends, and I am hanging out for the night. I am writing you this letter from your room. Every now and then I come in here to sit, to think, and to enjoy your room. It already has everything you can imagine in here. Etta, lays in here on the floor, she loves this room. She is at my feet.

Your mother and I have started going to church each Sunday, and have been praying that you find your way into our lives soon. Everyone cannot wait to meet you, people from church, our families and friends, literally everyone. She and I are exhausted waiting for you. The rollercoaster of emotions that we have gone through so far have been taking their toll on us. Your mother and I love each other so much, but we both have something missing in our lives, and that is you. It is getting harder and harder to hide the frustration, the pain, and the waiting as each day passes.

We are desperately trying to stay busy as we wait for your entrance into the world. We have trips planned and events to go to, but we are running out of things to distract us. Nothing really keeps us from thinking about you these days. We used to be able to “chalk it up to the wait” and do things without thoughts of you creeping in, but as each day goes by, your presence is longed for more and more.

Mother’s day was awful this year. It hurts us deeply each Mother’s and Father’s day that comes and goes when we aren’t parents. We understand you have a schedule, a plan, we just wish we knew what it was. The unknown has been hardest to deal with. We held a few babies the past few weekends, and that helps reassure us we’re why we are looking for you.

Your room is ready, our hearts are open, our hands outreached. We are here.

We do not know you, but we are already in love with you.

 

Momma Drama…

This is Andy writing because I have to get something off my chest. Many of you know me, and I am a pretty emotional guy. I love everyone, talk to anyone, and support anything that they do, I let people in.

This past month, almost to the day, has been a whirl-wind of emotions. On Jan 9th, we received an email from a expecting mom that wanted to talk to us about adopting her child when it arrives. I was the lead on this communication, as I am more social and talkative than Stephanie is online, but also more available. Stephanie has been busy with work, I am more or less waiting for my photography shooting season to start.

Right away we felt comfortable with this young lady, and talking came easy. We chatted over FB Messenger and once a week or so would even Skype. We talked about all sorts of things, from work, to travel, and of course about the baby coming.

The stories she would tell were very high drama, and Stephanie and I had questions about it all. Nothing was a complete deal breaker really, but just head scratching…as in she’s too young to have really gone through that much. I wont get into detail on those.

As the month went on we talked and talked, and last week, Stephanie and I decided that we should start thinking about getting her to talk to our agency and get proof of pregnancy (something that the agency will want first anyways). We talked to her about it, and she said she was having printer issues. Everyone has printer issues, but why do you need a printer? A picture or an official email would have worked. (it never came)

There were a lot inconsistencies and this was kind of the final one for us. Things just didn’t add up and the timeline seemed to be shifting or changing about certain events she talked about. Also, there were several high drama things that she was talking about that just seemed like it was too much.

Stephanie and I knew from the start of our journey that a financial or emotional scammer was possible, and we were educated on spotting them and dealing with them. We treated this as suspect from day one, to protect ourselves really, but of course we always hoped this was real. It was not.

On Wednesday, I noticed that she had un-friended me on FB. Interesting, we had not had a bad conversation yet so it was out of the blue. But then it got interesting. I was contacted by a member of an adoption forum that was “friends” with the expecting mom and noticed that we were talking to her on FB as well.

She went on to tell me that our expectant mom was in fact not expecting at all and that she and her husband had been in contact with her as well. They started hearing the inconsistencies and rather than seeing how it unfolded they started doing an investigation into her. She found out that everything we (and they) were told was a complete lie. She had multiple facebook pages and had weaved an impressive lie to try and scam unsuspecting waiting adoptive parents.

I just really wanted to get all this drama off my chest. While we knew it might turn out this way, it was very hard for me to deal with right away because I really let this person into our lives. We included her. We worried and thought about her.

I am glad that both Stephanie and I talked our way through this like it was a dream, because it ended up that way. She and I knew that the expectant mom might be playing with us, and for that I am glad that we could detach from it. I am thankful that the IAC trained us to see these things for what they are, a possibility.

People are mean, vengeful, and sick. I feel bad for her, she is missing something deep, and needs help. She never asked us for anything, not once, but apparently has with others. We are one of at least three couples she has been doing this to. One of the other couples is where we got the real scoop. That waiting mom was just like me, hopeful, and is also hoping for a child someday, and thankfully did some hard research and uncovered the truth.

The truth about lies.

Adoption as portrayed in the media.

Good day everyone, Andy here, with a new topic for discussion. The topic is Adoption portrayed in the media. I am a TV junkie, and I watch all sorts of shows, and easily get hooked to them. For years I watched 2 ½ Men very randomly. (Lets face it, it WAS Charlie Sheens’ show). But this discussion is about the NEW version.   More on that later, but first, the best show dealing with adoption….

A show that does an amazing job tackling the adoption process is Mom. Bravo to this show for doing it right. The story of the show is three generations of Mothers under one roof. The show started out with a Mother (Allison Janey) , her daughter (Anna Faris) and Faris’ two kids. But, when her teen daughters’ teen pregnancy was written into the show, it took on an entirely more important role in my viewing process.

I desperately wanted to see how this was going to play out, and if they would be true to the process as Stephanie and I have become experts in the Adoption process, and its ups and downs. They spent perhaps ½ of the first season going through her pregnancy and ended with the adoption. But what made this show so special? They took us almost step-by-step through the process.

Violet (the pregnant teen) knew she could not be a viable parent to her incoming child, she was not in school, was living at home, and had nothing to herself. She did the research on adoption on her own, before even telling her mother and grandmother she wanted to place the child for adoption. I loved this. It showed her exactly as I imagine adoption…a brutally hard decision to make, with a laundry list of unknown questions left unanswered, research, paperwork and lots of second guessing yourself.

As episodes progressed, she was showed getting morning sickness, stress, pressure to keep the child from her mother and grandmother, then defending her decision to adopt her child to someone else. She continued to research. We got to see her emotional range…and her life as she chose and its outcome.

The writing on this show, for this storyline at least, is amazing work. This show did not go from pregnancy, to birth to completely forgetting about it in two episodes. Sometimes shows don’t focus on pregnancies, so kids grow up over 5 episodes. This was not the case. She had doctors’ visits, then a decision, then a meeting, then placement.

Meeting the adoptive parents was realistic, and definitely thought of while being written by the show creators. She chose a family, a man and a woman, met and loved them. She promised them her baby (presumed paperwork) but when it came down to it, Violet couldn’t go through with it, and took her baby home. She did this in front of the couple, and it was hard to watch as a waiting father. But it was real. This is a reality that I never see on TV, or at least I don’t really recall it happening. Later, when the child is home with the three women, stress is high, nothing has changed, and Violet realizes she made a huge mistake.

We are treated as viewers (interested more than most people of course) to the internal and environmental struggles that mothers’ face doing what is best for themselves and their children.

After wrestling with her emotions and what is right and wrong for her, she calls the family she basically bailed on, to let them know she wants to go through with the adoption. The couple comes over, they all talk, and after some talking the child goes home with the couple. The writers even took time to explain why the couple was adopting. Something they could have glazed over without a second question.

The show’s adoption is also an open adoption, the type of adoption we are currently waiting for. Violet has since seen the child once (that I am aware of, I might have missed an episode) and she showed all of the classic signs of a woman who chose adoption for her child. It was raw emotion, nothing was missed. She was all of the things counselors tell you about: scared, upset, mad, hopeful, frustrated. All of it.

The show has gone on in Season 2 with different plots, and is still good, but with the focus is less on adoption now as Violet is trying to make something of herself to justify why she gave her baby up for adoption.

Other shows like How I Met Your Mother addressed adoption (awesome) but did so very, very little. Barney’s brother (played by Wayne Brady) comes out to Barney that he is Gay. He was only an occasional guest on the show, so after his character married his boyfriend, they decided to adopt. Why do I mention this? I mention it because its one of my favorite shows of all time, and it is adoption related, even if it was very little of the entire story.

Another Show, 2 ½ Men, has recently been addressing adoption. Walden (Ashton Kutcher) and Alan (John Cryer) are still living together this season, and Waldon is convinced that he won’t find a woman to love him. Yeah sure. But we wont dwell on that. He comes up with a plan to fake a gay marriage to Alan so that he (they) can adopt a child. This is a much more dangerous portrayal of adoption, and it points out some serious issues in the process. Their entire adoption is based on lies. Sure they went and got legally married, and sure they went through the paperwork to adopt….but it is all just awful.

They are faking a marriage to get a child because they know that an affluent same sex couple would make adoption easy. As a couple adopting, this really bothers me. While I know it is not common, and realistically its probably much harder to pull off (trust me, between all of the paperwork, physicals and insurances). I think they just made the process work for the show, even if it wasn’t politically correct.

However, I missed an episode last week, because this week they were fostering a child. I don’t know how that came about….but well, they were TWO men…now they have their ½. He is a 4 or 5-year-old African American boy. Of course they had to have a boy to make the title make sense again, and the race is not important, it could have been any child. I like that they did chose an African American boy though. I think it is important for multiracial families to exist on tv….because they exist in real life more and more. (the family in MOM was white, as is Violet).

So there it is, some insight on some tv shows that are doing adoption perfectly, some barely addressing it, but doing so none the less, and one doing it absolutely wrong. No wonder 2 ½ Men is ending this season.

 

 

 

 

So what is it like to be a man during/in the adoption process?

In two words…shockingly difficult.

 The beginning…

Our adoption story started when I was 36 years old. That was the age that the adoption paper work began. However, for me, I wanted to be a dad in my late 20s, early 30s. I was ready. Maybe not professionally, or financially, but I wanted children long ago, only Stephanie was missing. Maybe it was babysitting neighborhood kids, maybe it was having so many cousins, I can’t put my finger on the moment it happened, but I have known I wanted to be a dad for a long time.

I realize growing up in Michigan, and then moving to Georgia during prime marriage/kid years and starting over took some wind out of that sail. But it was that move that set me on the path I needed to be on. It set me on a career path that would define me. It sent me down the path that lead me to marrying Stephanie, and ultimately where we are today. It was the right path.

Sure when I met Stephanie I immediately had questions about our ability to have children together, but we were told we had a good chance. We tried and tried. Nothing. This is where things got really tough…even for me, the man. Over there, she was now struggling on the fertility drugs, the testing, and the ups and downs of hormones coursing through her body. She had it rough, but it bothered us both a lot.

Because of the hormones she was hair-triggered sometimes, stressed beyond my calming etc., and I could do nothing to settle her nerves. Damn drugs. I struggled silently with ups and downs of her moods, and her false positives when she took pregnancy tests. We had a bunch of those, and I found out years later during the adoption process, she stopped telling me because she knew it killed us both a little each time. Knowing what I know now, I wish she would have just told me, it was only fair we face the negatives together.

Line in the sand…

We drew a line in the sand during all of the trying, for a place to just say enough is enough, and move on to something different. As the months drew on from fertility drugs, we began to talk more about adoption, and started researching agencies and collecting information. We reached the line.

It was really hard to “give up” on trying to have children of our own flesh and blood…but we’d talked about that possibility for a long time and there was nothing we could really do about it now.

I suppose I had a hard time mentally giving up the idea. I am the only son of my father, he too the only son. Without a blood son, my family name would end. But that is just emotions talking…and it’s stupid. Any son I have will have my name, blood or not. It became less and less important.

 Wheels start turning…

We jumped into open adoption and hit the ground running. You can read about all of that in past posts. Adoption was a simple choice; there are kids out there that need homes and moms sometimes want to know where and who their birth children are in the future…of course, why not? It was a simple choice and we’ve learned so much along the way.

The paperwork is crazy. The hoops are insane. Adoption is hard. But it’s not as hard as the fertility drugs where. Papers get turned in, and you get in “line” and you wait. Ahh the wait. For some people, it’s a month, for some year after year of nothing. In open adoption, we just don’t know when the checkered flag will wave. We are currently at 19 months.

To tell you that waiting 19 months for ANYTHING is easy, I’d be lying. I am a terrible waiter. I want, I want, I want…and I want it now. After all, most of our checks have been cashed; only after we match will we write even more checks. What does the wait feel like? You know those claws at the carnival where you try to get the amazing prize out of a glass box, and you get candy instead… well at least there is candy in that box.

So what does a man’s mind go through during adoption? Where do I start? Of course I think; when will this happen? Why has it NOT happened yet? What is wrong with us? Is it me that is holding us back? Is she really ok? How is she handling this? Did she just yell at me because I am an ass, or because she’s upset it has been 19 months?

Those questions can drive a man or anyone insane. I think about adoption daily. I think about being a dad pretty much everyday. Over the last two years, I started to shoot a lot of youth sports with kids, and I absolutely love it. It’s my calling. What is better than using photography with kids AND sports. It’s a win-win-win deal for me. Watching kids play basketball or Lacrosse competitively hits me in the heart every time I get to do it. I don’t know if it’s watching the kids, or watching the parents watch the kids that get me, but I am a softy…I have sobbed on the sidelines. I have the images of those exact moments etched in my brain, and my hard drive.

Right in the chest…

Facebook is amazing. It is also soul crushing. On one hand, Facebook is how you are reading this. It is how we spread the word fast, and easy, and keep people informed. But it is soul crushing. Everyday I read about friends and family having babies. Being in photographer groups that are full of baby pictures does not help either. It is not so hard to deal with now, but in the beginning it was brutal.

How brutal? In the time that we have been working on adoption, some friends and family have had SEVERAL children. Soul crushing. It is just THAT hard for me. Honestly, I love all of you parents out there, because that is what I want to be. I envy you, I am jealous of you. I wont say I don’t throw my phone down, and walk away from your post about your second or third, I do, but I am happy for you, and it is my WANT to feel that way more than anything in the world.

I am interested in seeing how I am as a dad. I have always wondered how I would stack up. Will I be the best dad ever? No, clearly not. I don’t have the attention span or patience for that, but I will be the best dad I am capable of. I learned parenthood from my parents, and they raised me pretty well. Combined with Stephanie and her mad skills, our children will have a great home to grow up in.

So I sit here typing, pouring out my soul, letting you in, because it is easy, I love to talk. People tell me I could/should write a book about the adoption process…but it would not be that interesting. It would have 18 chapters of waiting. It is brutal.

Thanks to all who support us, it helps immensely.

-Andy

An Open Letter To An Apprehensive Pre-Adoptive Father (and then my views)

Hi everyone, Andy here. It has been awhile since I have posted on here, and I wanted to share with you some feelings I had about a blerb I read. you can read the story by following the link below. But I wanted to take a few moments walk through this story and share my feelings.

First of all, while struggling with the reality that Stephanie and I would not have a biological child, I went through a phase. That phase was realizing that my “genes” would not continue that my biological family would no longer grow. It was hard for me for three reasons.

I lost my Grandfather early on during our (continuing) adoption journey. Then we lost his brother this year. There are precious few Hinzes’ left. The other factor is that my father is struggling with a form of Dimensia. I am one of two Hinze boys left. A hard pill to swallow just being 38 years old.  But this story isn’t just about me, it is about Stephanie and I, and a new generation of Hinzes.

I no longer wonder why we can’t do this biologically, and I no longer worry about another “blood” Hinze. I realized through it all, that no matter how it happens, I have always just wanted to be a dad. It was that simple. I realize this when I am with our friends’ kids. I treat them as if they are our own. We recently went to the outlet mall nearby with a couple that we’ve known a long time, and their two girls, during that trip, we took the girls to the playground while mom and dad shopped alone. I think we had more fun than the parents did.

I was never aprehensive about adoption, in fact while we were in the process of fertility drugs, Stephanie and I discussed at length adoption, and researched our options. Once we decided to stop fertility, and move towards adoption, we just had to sign up, the research was done. We were always aware of adoption growing up. We both have friends that have adopted, or been adopted and we feel like its the right choice for people to consider.

The writer mentions emotional attachment, or detachment is a real thing. Sure we’ll worry about that at the time of placement, but I feel at this point there is no way that we wouldn’t immediately feel attached to our new child. He or she will also have her biological family to get to know and will learn more about himself/herself through that relationship as it grows along side ours.

So I am going to worry less, and love more. We have a love that we share with eachother and it is ready to be shared with a child.

http://www.confessionsofaparent.com/an-open-letter-to-an-apprehensive-pre-adoptive-father/

In the Moment: A Pre-Adoptive Dad’s Thoughts on Gratitude

Andy again! This article has to do with a Pre-adoptive dad’s points of view through the process of waiting. I TOTALLY agree with his view. Becoming a father is something that I always wanted. I knew long ago that it was a goal of mine. Stephanie and I talked very early on in dating that we wanted children. After struggling, we continued with a “whatever it takes” attitude.

Looking back on a year of waiting, the road has been long (or it feels that way) and at times, stressful, frustating, and even maddening. But it is our journey, not the other couple here or there, it is ours to travel. It is not the same journey, and you have to sit back and follow the road wherever it goes, and however long it is. Certainly going on the Last Minute List (explained in an earlier blog) could help us reach our goal sooner. We’ll still have to wait and see.

One thing I realized during the adoption process is just how complex it is. There are so many moving parts, and it would be difficult for people who are unorganized to stay on track. Stephanie is the organizer. She is on top of things in a frightening way. Spreadsheets! Lots of them. I love her for that. We found that doing all of the paperwork REALLY puts you out there for the world to see! From what races we are willing to adopt (all of them!), our financials, our bloodwork, and even our fingerprints….and not just local Police…we sent them to the FBI as well. That seems a bit weird, can they not just call eachother and ask for them? We answered questions about birthmother drug useage, and mental issues as well. It was an application to adopt a human. It is weird.

Another aspect of “putting ourselves out there”, is social media. I cannot imagine how much harder it was to spread the word 20 years go, when I can reach the world in 3 seconds on Facebook, Twitter, and WordPress etc. I am sort of a social media junkie, so this was right up my alley. I am constantly itching to find a way to “advertise” our adoption plan further and further into peoples’ hands.

During the wait, I think often about who our Birthmom will be and what will she think of us. That question will be answered later on. I think about our struggles, and our decision to move into Adoption, and what our birthmoms process for doing so will be, and how has she/will she deal with her struggles to make a decision to give her child up for adoption. I think about her support system, and hope that she has one, because going through pregnancy and adoption alone would be very hard, and i hope that they support HER decisions. I cannot wait to meet her.

Article: http://openadoptionbloggers.com/2013/11/28/in-the-moment-a-pre-adoptive-dads-thoughts-on-gratitude/