Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Adoption Orientation

I'm going to re-post some of what I already wrote partly because there are a few more readers now and so I can keep it in chronological order.

Toward the end of 2008 David and I really began to get serious about adoption. There was never a shining moment when we decided it was what we wanted to do. It was gradual. The more months that went by with negative pregnancy tests, the more we talked about it. We must have started talking about it by October 2008 because I remember discussing it with my parents when they came to visit at the end of October. At that point we were trying to figure out where to start. We knew of a couple from the chapel on base who adopted through a particular agency so I looked into their program. David was really interested in international adoption but I was more interested in domestic adoption. I don't know how we came to the conclusion of going domestic, but somehow we did and decided to go with the agency our friends used. I guess I just wanted to go with an organization that was well established and that I felt I could trust.

We contacted the agency by an email that was listed on their website in December. We had a very brief interest form to fill out and were put on the waiting list for classes. The first step with them was to attend 6 information sessions. We found out in January that the classes were going to start the last week of February. We were a little impatient to start the classes since our first contact was in December and the classes didn't start until the end of February. But looking back it really wasn't a long wait. It feels much longer to be waiting for a baby than to have been waiting for classes to start!

Our first class was an orientation. We were given a folder with several forms to fill out over the next few weeks. We also had to gather all bank statements, proof and copies of insurance benefits, tax forms, pay stubs, copies of pet licenses, copies of our marriage license, and copies of our birth certificates. We each had to write an autobiography. We were given a page with specific questions to answer in our autobiographies. We also had to get fingerprinted. (For those of you in Tucson, if you ever need to get fingerprinted, I highly recommend going to the sherrif's office off Benson highway--it is computerized so no ink! I've had fingerprinting done before with ink and the no-ink method is definitely the way to go!) During the first class we also went over the adoption fees and tax credit laws.

All the paperwork we had to submit was so we could be certified through the courts and basically approved to adopt. The two social workers leading the class told us that if we were able to pass through their process that we would be able to pass through the courts. They also said they only had one couple they weren't able to get approved and it was because of some things they found on the couple's myspace page that weren't appropriate.

I think there were about 10 couples in the first class. We were of course sizing everyone up in the class! It was a good feeling to be in company with others who have experienced the same frustrations with infertility that I had. The agency requires that couples have an infertility issue in order to go through their adoption program, so I knew everyone there was in a similar boat.

We were most interested to find out that first class about what we could expect for timing--we wanted to know when we were going to get our baby! Our classes would be the next 5 weeks, then a joint interview, two individual interviews, and then waiting to be approved through the courts. Once on the "waiting families" list, the average wait time was less than 10 months. However, they'd had couples adopt in as little as 2 weeks or take as long as 2 years. They explained the longer wait times usually corresponded to the couples either having more restrictions on race or wanting a "closed" adoption. The agency encourages open adoptions, where there contact between the birthfamily and adoptive family occurs after the adoption. Studies have shown it is better for adopted children to have contact with their birthfamilies throughout their childhood. We learned more about open adoption as we attended the other classes.

It felt good to get the process started after that first class. It was also nice to be able to put a timeframe on when we thought we might get a baby. I told myself it would take about a year. David told himself it would take about 10 months. I of course was more conservative so as not to get my hopes up! I really dislike the thought of having my hopes crushed. I figured there could be plenty of opportunities for that to happen during the process so I was trying to minimize them as much as possible. It's good though that David and I have different perspectives on timing because it helps balance each other out.

Stay tuned to find out how our second class went!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our Infertility Story

I was inspired by Leatrice's blog the other day where she wrote how she wants to be open and honest about parenting. I have read many blogs of women who are/were pregnant, have kids, or are struggling with infertility, but I have not read anyone who is writing about adoption as they are going through it. I haven't looked, so now that I think of it I will probably search after I am finished writing and find someone else who is doing it. In the meantime, I decided I have an opportunity to give others an insight into what the whole process is really like.

I started to write EVERYTHING in this blog but then realized it was too much to read at one time, so I'm going to start with infertility.

The first time we tried to get pregnant was in 2005. After only six months of trying we decided I'd just go back on birth control and we'd wait a while longer--at least until after I was out of nursing school. We were both wishy-washy after I graduated in May 2007 about when we wanted to try again, but finally in January 08 we decided it was time. By July, nothing was happening, and when I mean nothing that includes nothing happening in my body. I wasn't ovulating, and having no montly visitor. So I went to the GYN and told her we were trying to get pregnant. Even though we'd only been trying for 7 months she referred me to a reproductive endocrinologist. Most healthy women don't get referred until after they've been trying to get pregnant for a year. In my case, there was no point in waiting the extra 5 months if my body wasn't doing anything.

The reproductive endocrinologist at that time decided to give me some hormones to try to start my cycle, which worked and then he prescribed the fertility drug, clomid. Clomid is a fertility pill that helps with ovulation, which I wasn't doing on my own. We tried clomid for about 5 cycles, with one round of intra-uterine insemination. Nothing. I also had a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy done in Feb 09which showed I had PCOS--polycystic ovarian syndrome. That means I have a bunch of cysts on my ovaries that keep me from ovulating. The doctor removed the cysts during the surgery, but they can come back in time.

I was hoping I might find out I was pregnant a few days ago. Turns out, I wasn't. This was my last month I was going to mentally try, if that makes sense. Even though I am excited about adoption I have also been hoping I could still get pregnant and we could have one "homemade" child and one or two adopted children. This was the last month I wanted to keep track of anything. So I was super-duper sad on Wednesday and had a really hard time getting through the workday. Thursday was about the same, and on Friday I went from being sad to grumpy. These emotions are the reason I don't want to keep track of things anymore. I imagine I will still have some disappointment each month but I'm going to work on it.

That's the infertility side of it. We talked about adoption early on in the marriage as something of an option that we thought would be "nice". I don't remember when I first thought about adoption, but it was sometime growing up. I just always thought it would be a great thing to do. Funny how adoption was always something I thought I'd want to do in addition to having my own children, but now it will become our primary means of having children!

Just as David and I were reaching a year of trying to get pregnant, we started talking about adoption. I wasn't interested in continuing to go to the doctor appointments every week or every other week. I also wasn't interested in spending a large chunk of money on in vitro, even though the nurse practitioner said my chances were really good that I'd be able to get pregnant that route. We felt strongly that God was calling us to adopt. Our reasons were not just because we couldn't get pregnant but because we wanted to take in a baby whose mother wasn't able to care for him/her as well as she wanted to. For us, I'd say adoption is 50% wanting to start our family and 50% wanting to take in a child and give him/her the opportunities in life he/she might not otherwise have.

In later posts I will write about the adoption process...stay tuned for more!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


Most people are too hard on themselves and not on others. Sometimes I think I am the opposite. I am not hard enough on myself and too hard on others. I wrote a post a couple weeks back about how I am quick to look at the sin in other people's lives, especially my husband's. I can pretty easily look over my own sin, though. It's because I know I am forgiven. I know that God's grace is abundant, hence the name of my blog.

Katie made such a good point the other day on my blog about how hard it is to know when and how to confront the sin you see in others. I've thought about that often over the last couple weeks and am realizing it must start in me with forgiveness.

One of the hardest things for me is to believe that what the Bible says is true, and that what is says happened, and that it came from God. In this case, my experience tells me it is true. It is unrealistic to think that I could just pass over the sin I see in my own life and around me and pretend it's not there. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, they could no longer pretend sin did not exist once they ate from the tree. Because of this I have the ability to see sin in me and in others. So the only thing to do with that is to learn to be forgiving.

In adoption news, we are now in the "Waiting Families" book and are waiting to be picked. It could be two weeks or it could be two years. David and I are confident that the baby that comes home with us will be the one God designed for us. I am willing to wait as long as it takes. Knowing that it is not a matter of "if" anymore but a matter of "when" is comforting. Of course the unknown can be frustrating if I think about it too much but most things in life are!