So this month has been a little crazy and busy as I alluded to in one of our earlier posts. Keeping busy and accomplishing goals has helped make the adoption wait go by smoother even though we still have difficult days to get through here and there.
We had an awesome support group earlier in the month. The topic was infertility and adoption and although we did talk a lot about that topic the group in general just had a lot of great topics to talk about. We met several new couples that have recently started the process or the wait too which was great. I think this was our third time going to this specific topic at support group and it has never been the same. Andy and I love the conversation and support that we get by going to these meetings and even when we are not sure about the topic we always find that we were happy to have gone.
We also replaced my old Saturn car this month. I have had it since college and it lasted me well over the years but it was finally time to move onto something better. We got the new VW Golf Sportwagon Diesel and I love it (so does Andy but it is my primary car)! We got the hand controls put on without too much issue although a few of the places I called were annoying about not answering my questions and just asking me a bunch of stuff instead. We bought this car specifically since I am not into SUVs or vans and with our hope to be adopting sooner than later we wanted a vehicle with more storage for my chair, a stroller, a car seat, and everything else we need. We will be going on a road trip this summer for my family reunion and we can’t wait to take the new car!
A had a girls night out at Eclipse for some delicious Tapas a week or so ago which was a blast and so much good food. They are all small plates at the restaurant so you can order multiple things (which is a good thing because you want to order everything off the menu). I stopped myself at 4 different plates and after stuffing myself and having some girl talk I was so happy to have the chance to hang out with the girls! We always have a blast together even if all we do is eat good food and talk. Now to figure out when to have the next one!
One of our things we wanted to work on this year was our health and while our diet is going well we decided to join a gym and get a trainer as well. Andy’s blood work a couple weeks ago showed that his levels are so much better in just the last 3 months and with adding in the gym they will hopefully be back to where they should be soon. I am already excited to be back in the pool swimming after almost a decade off, even if it is just swimming a few laps. My goal is to be able to swim a mile straight and build back up some of my strength (those nephews of ours are still growing and still insisting that they should be on my lap).
Another thing we ‘accomplished’ this month was finding a church. We have been talking about it for a while now and a couple weekends ago we had done our research and found a church to try. We love the church that we found and are excited to get up on Sunday mornings and go to service. Living in the south there are a lot of churches everywhere you turn however a majority of them are baptist or non-denominational and we were looking for a Lutheran church to attend. We both like the more traditional services and were lucky enough to find a church that holds both contemporary and traditional services.
Finally, Andy has had Lacrosse, Lacrosse, and more Lacrosse photos! He is staying so busy with his shooting schedule this spring that I am sure he is looking forward to the summer when things slow back down for him.
This past week we had our Adoption group meeting. The topic was trans-racial adoption and whether it is right for us. We had already decided that we are open to trans-racial adoption and have taken the course work required by the IAC but thought it would still be an informative meeting to go to. It was a good group session to discuss potential issues we might be faced with if we adopt trans-racially. We even got the chance to talk to someone who had adopted trans-racially through the IAC and get some information from their perspective. All-in-all it was great information and a great place to get some of our thoughts and feelings out among people that understand because they have had the same feelings.
It also was a good time to get into the office and talk in general about what is going on with us in our wait. We talked with some friends at the meeting and decided to go out to dinner/drinks this week for some adoption bonding time. There are a lot of great families that we have met through the process so far and we always wish we had more time to see them and hang out. So far it seems like it is going to be a great group there this week to share what has been happening for each of us and catch up on what we have been up to!
The other great part was we got to go in and meet with our counselor and talk about how we have been doing lately and get a little perspective on the coming months. Since we have already passed the 18 month mark of waiting with the IAC we now will get google ads done for us, get to start reviewing and potentially redo our letter, and get a little bit of money back to do our own advertising in any ways we wish. It is frustrating to still be waiting but we are excited for some new things to keep us busy the next couple months again.
She also calmed some of our fears or stress about the wait and reassured us on some things we have been struggling with lately. We know it will happen at some point and that it is just waiting for the right birth mother to find us but that can be hard to remember at times, especially around the holidays. As Andy keeps telling people all we want for Christmas is a baby. Earlier this year we had turned down a potential placement for some extenuating circumstances that we were just not prepared to take on at that time and now that we are still waiting it has us thinking about whether that was the right decision or not. Our counselor helped us remember that there were reasons why we choose to not proceed with that placement and adoption is stressful enough without choosing a situation that we are comfortable with.
So last Tuesday was our monthly group session at the agency. We love going to them not only for the topics but also the bonding with others in the same place as us mentally. This month’s group was bound to be a big one (not only attendance but also material/topic). The session was led by a local doctor on women smoking, drinking alcohol, or doing drugs during pregnancy. With adoption we cannot control what our child will be exposed to before placement. Although, we will hopefully know from the birth mother information on if she used any substances we might not. The main goal of this session in my mind was to find out what medical/mental issues we could potentially be faced with if the baby has been exposed before birth.
She talked primarily about the effects of alcohol and opiates in our session. These are the most common things they are seeing at the clinic in Georgia. Although there was no talk about specific issues and how to handle them discussed, it gave us some good resources to use should we need them. It also gave us an idea of whether we think we could handle that emotionally.
Another thing that was great to hear was how there are more studies being conducted lately on the difference the environment has on the child as they grow up. For instance, was the alcohol in utero a bigger factor vs. having an unstable home environment afterwards? A majority of studies typically follow children that not only were exposed to some form of substance in utero but the parents were also addicted to one or more substance which made the home life more unstable. These forms of studies don’t necessarily give us a good picture of what to expect since not all birth mothers that have used a substance during pregnancy did so chronically or to the severity that people in the studies have.
We are open to potential birth mothers that have used substances while pregnant and hope that if we need it our research will help us through any medical issues that might come up. I have included below a couple places to find/request more information if you are curious. There are also a lot of studies out there that you could google and read.
ENEC – Emory Neurodevelopmental Exposure Clinic firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Maternal Substance Abuse and Child Development – http://www.emory.edu/msacd/
National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) http://www.nofas.org
Well we had planned on going to the August group session with our agency. This month’s session was on dealing with infertility with adoption. We have gone to a session on it before but thought it was helpful to talk and also like to talk to other couples going through the adoption process. After missing the last several months of group we decided to go and just catch up with everyone.
In the end we ended up being the only couple that showed up for group this month. It was disappointing to not see other friends that we have met through the adoption process but it was great to have one of the counselors all to ourselves to talk for a little while. We did talk about infertility issues that we have had while dealing with the adoption and other topics in general that trigger emotions for us during the process of adoption.
It is always great to talk to someone that understands the different emotions we go through at different times. They can help us figure out how to talk through them and deal with them so that it doesn’t cause more stress in the adoption process than we already have. Plus it helps us remember that we aren’t the only ones with the same feelings even if it can feel like it at times.
We hope to be able to go to the September session since it is supposed to be a great session with a lot of people wanting to attend.
This month we had our group session on how to talk to our adopted child(ren) about their adoption and when they should know their whole story. It was really informative and helped to talk through how to handle questions and answers when the time is right.
Andy and I both fully believe in the open adoption aspect of our agency and have always felt that if we knew the answers, there was nothing that our child shouldn’t know about their past and where they come from. We want our child to be comfortable asking us any questions that they have about their adoption story.
It all starts with them knowing from the beginning that they were adopted. Since we are open to a trans-racial adoption there is a high probability that it will be outwardly noticeable that our child is not biologically related. Even in cases where it isn’t as evident, it is better for them to know sooner than later. With today’s technology it is easy for people to learn information and if they don’t hear it from their parent’s first an adopted child can feel betrayed.
A large portion of the group was spent in discussing the difficult topics about your child’s adoption. While we were talking about how to discuss some of those topics, we talked about what age a child should know their whole adoption story, the good and the bad. By the time a child is a preteen they are old enough to know all the details about their biological family, the reasons why they were adopted, biological medical history, etc.
I don’t necessarily look forward to some of the topics we might be faced with, but I know that it will be best for everyone involved if we are honest and open with any information we have. One side topic that was discussed was how to handle questions about their adoption at inconvenient times, and how that is not any different from biological kids asking questions at times when you wished they hadn’t. For instance, when children ask what sex is in the middle of the grocery store checkout (who doesn’t want to try and answer that at the time 😉 ).
Last week Andy and I were able to attend the group meeting for our adoption agency for the first time in a while. It was great to meet some new people and to discuss some more topics with everyone. The meeting was originally about the birth mothers emotions and experiences leading up to and during the adoption process.
It was great to talk about it from their perspective and to help understand what situations they might be coming from. It touches on some of the myths that people have about adoption and how that might affect the support that they receive from the people around them as they consider the idea of placing for adoption.
After hearing about the different emotions that they might be going through when they are considering or making an adoption plan it makes me realize that we should be thinking about that during contact. We hope to be there to support them through their decision no matter what that is. After having three contacts we have been sad when they didn’t work out but also glad that the birth mother made the right choice for her and her child at that time. Hopefully, we will soon find that birth mother that makes the decision to choose us to place with.
Once we had finished discussing that topic we were all talking about any thoughts or things that we have questions about and we found out that in the group that was there it was about 50/50 on those who have started a baby room and those that haven’t. It was cool to get their reasons on why they have or haven’t started the process of setting up a babies room. As we have posted earlier our baby room is probably 90% complete with us now working on just some decorative touches here and there and continuing to buy more things for the baby when we have the money or see something we like.
After missing last months meeting due to being out of town I am happy that we could attend the June meeting since we talked about how to talk to birth parents. I was definitely sad that we missed the discussion on birth fathers last month as we found out tonight that it was a very informative meeting with a panel of lawyers who deal with finalization and the different scenarios with birth fathers. We will have to try and get the handouts from that night at least and see if we can find some of the information.
I digress though as tonight was still a good meeting about talking to birth parents. We got to meet an adoptive dad and his birth mother. They talked to us about how the initial phone calls and matches went and some of their history about how they ended up where they were when they met each other. It is so great to hear these stories that even when they are not exactly like our own we can still relate to parts of it and know that they understand our story too.
We can only hope that our relationship turns out as well as the placements that the presenters were talking about. I am anxious to see what our birth parent relationship will be when we find our match and if it will be exactly like we are hoping or not. I know that the right match will be what works best for all included, but it is still nice to think about the ideal situations that are out there sometimes!
So we had our meeting tonight with Kristine (our counselor) at the IAC (Independent Adoption Center) to go over what to expect in the next phase of the adoption. We mainly talked about things going on right now and any questions or updates we might have.
We did discuss things that we should avoid talking about in the initial contact with a potential birthmother. Most of those things that we already knew about such as expenses, too much detail information, situation on why she is thinking of adoption, etc. while others like the birthfather were not things we would have thought about. It also gave us a chance to talk about how we have taken this next step so far and what we think are going to be the hard parts for us going forward.
Even though we are both really excited to start a family this part can be very nervous because you aren’t sure how long it will actually take and what to expect out of the contact that you do have with birthmothers. We are hoping that things go smoothly during the contact, not that there won’t be difficult things to talk about but that there won’t be paperwork issues, and that we have the chance to have a good relationship with the birth family that we get to meet.
In addition to the meeting we also had a group session tonight talking about how to talk to other children involved in adoption. At first I thought the session would be primarily around other children we have but after going we found out more information about not only other children we might have but also friend’s children, nieces/nephews, and birthmother’s other children.
It was a relatively fast meeting last night though and a small group together which can be nice. I still feel kind of odd like the other people there aren’t willing to share their feelings and experiences at time. I think that it is the best place to talk about the stuff going on and that if you can’t talk about it with other people going through the same process who will you talk about it with. Andy and I had no problems talking about our views though (I know shocking).
Before attending tonight’s meeting I wasn’t sure if this would be important for us to attend or not but I wanted to anyways because I like to listen and talk with other people going through adoption like us. Tonight was about adoption involving other children. Since we don’t have any other children yet we figured it wouldn’t matter for us. After getting there and catching up though we started talking about the topic and learned that it discusses not only any children we have but also previous children of the birth mother or other children related to us that will be interacting with our child.
We talked about how to prepare any children for the possible placement during the match period and how to handle any children that meet the new child before final placement has occurred. They mention how to make sure that they don’t become as attached by not referring to the new child as a brother/sister (could be cousin for us with my nephews) but explain it as you watching the child until the birth mother determines if she can be a parent.
If the birth mother is the one with other children it went over some questions and ways to talk to the child that was placed for adoption about why they were placed for adoption instead of kept like their biological brother/sister. Although these topics wouldn’t be happening for at least a few years down the road it is important to realize that it will be a conversation we will have to have regardless of why their birth mother didn’t raise them. I am hoping that when this time comes we can explain it and help them through their questions and concerns.
It can sometimes seem daunting to realize the questions and topics we will have to navigate that most parents don’t have to deal with.
Well after attending the meeting last night it is good to know that some of the same thoughts and feelings I have been having are shared by others. I go through each day for the most part and don’t think about all the things we have gone through in the last couple years. Then at the slightest phrase or sight I will get really frustrated with the curve balls that life has thrown our way.
Getting used to what those triggers are and trying to remind myself that I can’t change the situation since there is nothing I can do differently is something that will help it get easier over time and I know that.
Another lesson learned, is just how long some of the people we have been meeting have struggled with fertility before starting adoption. As it was, for us we had a set amount of time in mind before we would reevaluate the situation and that really helped because right before we decided to stop fertility treatments I was having a lot more stress each month with no results. Plus towards the end people knew we were trying and would ask how things were going which on one hand is sweet of them to ask but on the other it was getting harder and harder to talk about it, as it seemed like the chances of something working were getting smaller and smaller.
Now I know that I am never going to be fully over the feelings of being inadequate because I couldn’t get pregnant, but I know some of my triggers and that is the first step in learning to deal with it.