Saturday, May 28, 2011

My choice, my fault?

Last night a few of the couples from our adoption class got together and were discussing everything and anything adoption related.  A lot of us talked about our fears now that adoption is becoming more real.  Fears about work and taking time off.  Fears about creating a healthy and strong attachment with our adopted babies.  Fears about what others will think, say and do if we adopt a trans racial child.  Fears of not being a good enough parent or not being up to the task of parenting.  The list goes on and on....

Anyone who adopts is making a conscious and deliberate choice to become a parent.  It was either, have no children, go the route of infertility treatments, or adopt.  Since we didn't see ourselves as the kind of people who didn't want to have children and infertility treatments didn't seem to be a good fit, we chose adoption.  Even though we are making a conscious choice to become parents through adoption, I sometimes worry if we are making the right choice.  What if I go through with it, am placed with a baby, and then think what was I thinking, I'm so not ready for this?!  What if I'm faced with a situation with our child one day that I can't handle or don't know how to handle?! I can't blame it on anyone else.  In some ways I can't really even complain to anyone else (without at least feeling a little guilty) because I technically did this to myself!  I chose this! 

A lot of couples choose to become pregnant (and actually have success in doing so) but once they are pregnant don't have the option of going back.  The deed is done.  This baby is going to come eventually whether they like it or not!  With adoption I find myself saying maybe it's too soon.  Maybe it's not the right time.  Maybe we need to wait before placing ourselves in the matchbook.  Because we are adopting I have the luxury of that choice.  However the freedom that comes from having a choice doesn't seem all that luxurious at times! 

I also wonder what it's going to be like when we get the call that a mom has picked us or even crazier get the call that a baby is waiting for us at the hospital.  Because we are adopting we have more choices to make.  Is this the birth mom for us?  Is this the baby for us?  The pregnancy worker will give us all the background information about the birth mom and the baby that she can provide, but then the choice is ours.  Do we meet?  Do we go to the hospital and claim a baby, that we just have met, as ours?  We may find ourselves saying no to a call about a baby or a match meeting. Am I going to feel guilty for saying no later?  Am I going to be turning down the one chance I have to become a parent because I didn't feel like the match was right?

So many choices to consider!

I wonder sometimes if this is how God feels about us.  God created us and loves us so much--but true loves comes with a choice. God in some ways, has to let go, so that we can make the choice for ourselves to love him in return.  I've made that choice. Many of my friends and family have made that choice as well.  How God's heart must ache when his children make the wrong choices. How God's heart must ache for those who have not chosen Him yet!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friends who can relate...

Tonight we met up with 3 other couples from our adoption class--what a blessing!  It was so nice to hear my fears being validated by others who are also going through the adoption process.  My worries are the same worries others are having!  My thoughts are the same thoughts of other future adoptive moms!  Now that we've finished our classes and home study interviews we are getting ready to enter into a undetermined time frame of waiting.  I think we all realized tonight how easy it is to let our fears, insecurities and anxiety creep in and take over now that we aren't reviewing and discussing adoption related stuff on a weekly basis.  And now I am even more aware how I specifically need to pray for myself and others who are embarking on this adoption journey.  Thanks for a wonderful evening guys--you know who you are! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our last case study interview!

We made it through our very last case study interview today!  Almost all of the questions were ones we had answered before (family history, our marriage, the adoption process, parenting, etc) but we answered them each separately, on our own first, one-on-one with our caseworker. Our caseworker said we matched up pretty evenly with our answers and if we didn't we would have been discussing it afterwards in more detail.  As soon as our caseworker left Ben and I immediately wanted to know what the other had said.  Even though Ben and I are complete opposites we have definitely taken time to get to know one another.  Including the good, the bad, and the ugly!  :) 

So a lot of you have asked what's next.  Our caseworker now has to compile all the information she's gathered from our interviews into a report and present it at a meeting where all of the other caseworkers and pregnancy workers will be present.  These meetings are only conducted once a month (on the third Thursday of the month) so we won't know that we have been stamped "certified to adopt" until after the meeting has been held.  Our caseworker also will be checking the references we listed on our application during this time as well.  In the meantime we need to start working on our match letter that potential birth parents will be looking at--a daunting feat to accomplish!

That's all for now everyone!  Hopefully you've been able to check out our fundraisers: Just Love Coffee & Change is Good.  We will be launching one more fundraiser soon!  (And here's a hint: You can wear it!)

Don't touch my baby!

One of the things that we've been learning about throughout this process is attachment.  Because our baby will not be coming from my womb we have to be intentional at creating a strong bond and attachment between us and the baby.  We've been told that because it is so important to create this bond that we need to be careful about how much our friends and family hold, touch and care for the baby.  We need to be the primary caretakers of our baby.  Our baby needs to understand that when they need something, we as it's parents, will provide it.  Although we will be both anxious and excited to show off our baby and have you ooh and aah over him or her--at first you might have to do so from a distance.  This may offend you or just weird you out, but please know it's not personal!  Help us help our baby as we transition into becoming parents!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Change is Good!

Help us raise money for our adoption!  Throw your spare change in a jar, and watch how quickly it adds up.  It's an easy way to come alongside our family and even your own kids can help!

Whether nickels, dimes, and pennies too,
Or the "change" that welcomes someone new
into our family, it's understood,
That either way, "Change is good!"

I found this fundraiser on another adoptive family's blog (Thanks Andy & Kiara at!)  These labels can be mailed anywhere, or if you live nearby, I can drop off a jar to you.  

Please leave a comment on our blog or e-mail me at if you'd like to participate in this fundraiser! 

 Feel free to use this idea for your own fundraiser, just credit the name back to, and the poem to Sarah T.  Thank you!


If you know me well you know that I am constantly thinking in the future tense.  As a teacher I plan at least one week ahead.  As a future mother I've already got the baby's room put together and ready to go (sort of...).  Because I'm constantly thinking this way it also makes me worry more!  I thought I'd post a list of current adoption related worries so that you'll know specifically how to pray for us (okay maybe just me since I don't think Ben knows how to worry!)  Although I don't let my worries overrun my heart, mind and soul (I have our God in Heaven to thank for that!) they can get a little overwhelming at times.  So here it goes...

As a teacher I will need to take a leave of absence from school when the baby comes.  I'm allowed 12 weeks through FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act), but only 6 week of those weeks am I allowed to use sick leave to cover my absence.  Since I haven't been working very long for the school district I'm employed by I only have about two weeks of sick leave saved up. So I'm looking at anywhere from 4-10 weeks of not being paid.  This freaks me out!  I know God will provide and we will make things work (somehow...) but oh my goodness!  Our adoption agency has told us that during the first 3 months it's imperative that we spend as much time with the baby as possible in order to create a strong bond and healthy attachment.  I want to do this, but we also have to eat and pay our bills.  Not to mention the fact that when we receive placement, the balance for our adoption is due (a boatload of mula!)

My leave of absence from work has also led me to worry about the timing of the baby's arrival.  The first quarter of Kindergarten is brutal--we are basically laying the groundwork for the rest of the year.  We barely touch on any of the academics because we are teaching kids to sit down, line up, play without hitting, etc.  It's exhausting!  If the baby comes during this time I will deal but it's hard to imagine creating substitute plans for teaching kids how to do things that seem like they should be innate in a school setting! 

Since infertility was the road that led us to adoption I don't have the privilege of already being a Mom and knowing how it works.  My first baby will be my adopted baby.  In a way this is good because I won't have any preconceived notions of how things are going to work--but on the flip side it's also bad for exactly the same reason.  I've found myself worrying that my baby won't attach to me as it's Mom--not because they are adopted but because I won't do things right that a Mom should do.  Our adoption caseworker offered some encouragement in this area the other day saying that parents who "do it right" (in regards to creating a healthy attachment with their baby) only actually do it right, 20% of the time.  Phew!  But yet, in the back of my mind, I still worry. 

Ben vs. Alisha
Ben and I have already talked about that if the baby comes in the middle of the school year he'll rearrange his schedule so he can be home while I finish out the year.  I am blessed to have a husband who's job has flexibility like this.  But in a way, his job makes me jealous.  I love teaching but I am going to want to be home with our baby!  I worry that the baby will attach better to Ben than me. Thus he or she will love Ben, more than me.  I know it sounds silly but the thought still crosses my mind.  Maybe there are some Dads out there that feel the same way when they go back to work and leave their wives at home with their children??

I don't want you to read this post and start thinking that I'm losing my mind and going crazy with worry.  Because I serve a God that is bigger than ALL my worries, I can lay these worries at His feet.  However in my case I have been (and probably will be) laying down my worries at His feet daily! 

Thanks for your support and prayers everyone!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Home Study #2

Sorry I've been out of the blogging loop for a week!  This is a crazy time of year--especially for me!  Only 9 days (and counting!) left of school!  Whoo-hoo!  And while on the topic of school I must say that I've really been cherishing my time with my students this last quarter.  Normally 4th quarter is the home stretch--and can't seem to go fast enough!  However it recently hit me that this is quite possibly the last group of students I will teach without having my own "students" waiting for me at home!  I love my job so much and although I look forward to becoming a Mom I don't think I'll ever be able to completely walk away from the classroom and profession I love so much!

Now on to the good stuff: we had our second interview (there are 4 total) today for our home study.  It's funny that's it's called a home study--they hardly look at your home!  Today I did show our caseworker around our home, but it was just to confirm how many bedrooms we have and whether we have carpet or tile throughout the house.  I did get to show off the baby's room though!

The focus of today's meeting was the results of our personality test.  When we were filling out our paperwork we filled out the "Taylor-Johnson temperament Analysis Profile".  Ben and I each had to take a test evaluating our own personalities as well as each other's.  There were four answers choices for each question but they told us we needed to stick to either "always" or "never" responses.  Too many "middle of the road" responses would mess up the test--talk about pressure!

It was interesting to review and discuss the results.  First off if you don't know Ben and I very well, we are complete polar opposites!  I'm an extrovert, he's an introvert (Yes, Ben the talker is an introvert--he actually has to force himself to talk--no wonder he comes home exhausted--ha ha!)  I have a more dominant personality (yes I'll admit it, I'm a control freak!), Ben is more laid back.  I'm more expressive (okay so some people think I'm just plain hyper) while Ben tends to be more reserved.  While Ben is more accepting of people and situations, I tend to be more critical.  Being married for almost 7 years Ben and I have discovered most of these differences about ourselves already but it was still helpful to talk about it with our caseworker. 

The test we took grouped our answers into several categories.  Each category (or trait) has two ends of the spectrum.  For example one of the traits was nervous, it's opposite being composed.  For each trait there is what is referred to as a normal range.  Any of our answers that ended up being outside of the "normal" range were things we discussed with our caseworker.  For example I scored above and beyond the normal range in the dominant category.  My desire to have control over situations can make me a little obsessive and forceful at times.  We discussed how I handle things that are outside of my control (and just so you know--nothing about adoption can really be controlled!!!)  and what I do to cope when things don't go as planned.  Ben scored outside of the normal ranges in the depressive category.  If you know my husband he is not a pessimistic or dejected person--but he can tend to be hard on himself at times and needs help looking at the good, not just the bad.  Although Ben and I (along with the rest of the world!) have our issues, it's so cool to see how God uses our differences to bring us closer together.  Where I am weak, Ben is strong and vice versa.  God sure knows what's he's doing in marriage!

A lot of our family and friends have commented on the amount of hoops and jumps we have to go through in order to become certified to adopt.  It is quite a process proving that we are ready to be parents--and good ones at that!  However I love the fact that our agency takes their job seriously--the life of a child is at stake!  Although at times the amount of things we have to do remind me how much easier it would be to have our own child, the reality is that's not going to happen anytime soon.  And I have a feeling God knows what he's up too.  If becoming a parent was easy for me I would take it for granted.  By adopting I'm learning to appreciate each and every phase of parenthood and will think twice before complaining!  (Feel free to hit me over the head if I do!)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

To be honest for the last 3 years I would have rather skipped church altogether on  Mother's Day.  Each year it was a painful reminder of what I wasn't: a Mom! 

Although I still am not a "mother" for the first time I feel like I'm on the path to becoming one!  In a way I'm an expectant mother this mother's day--just not in the traditional sense.  I don't have a baby bump.  I'm not exhausted.  I haven't had trouble sleeping.  I don't feel I nausea.  I still fit into my clothes.  But I will one day soon be a Mom! 

On another note....
I love that our church's honor Mother's on their special day, but I have trouble with the fact that so many women also feel excluded on this special day.  What about the woman who lost a child by way of miscarriage or stillbirth?  What about the woman who had an abortion?  What about the woman who placed her child for adoption?  Aren't these women still worth recognizing and honoring?  For some of them, it may have been their choice to not become a mother at one point in time in their life but it still doesn't make them less in God's eyes.  For others, the choice was made for them.

Just something to think about as you celebrate Mother's Day this weekend. Whether you are a mom, was once a mom, are going to be a mom, or want to be a mom I choose to honor and celebrate you!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

My plan? Or God's?

Today I got a letter from our adoption agency--okay it wasn't a letter but an advertisement.  Anyways I really like the verse they used:

"The heart of a man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Although I had planned on getting pregnant and having a baby God is leading my steps towards something else: adoption!

Although I always thought my child would look just like me, God is leading my steps towards realizing that it's okay if they don't!

Although I'd like our baby to come in quarters 2, 3 or 4 of Kindergarten (not the dreaded quarter 1!), God is leading my steps and helping me realize that His timing will be perfect!

Although I'm struggling with adopting a child who may have a different skin color of my own, God is leading my steps and helping me to see He doesn't see in color--so why should I?

I'm so glad I serve a God who is in control and knows what the future holds!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Our Last Class!

Wow...I can't believe 7 weeks of classes have come to an end!  Crazy!  I think in this class we were handed the most handouts.  There's so much to look through so I'm sure there will be future blog posts.

Tonight's class focused on some of the harder issues we must face in adoption: the effects of drugs and alcohol on babies and children.  A lot of birth mom's aren't in a good place and often struggle with mild to moderate drug and alcohol abuse.  In some cases the addiction can even be severe.  This will have an effect on the baby we adopt so we need to be prepared and informed.  On our "child desired" form we had to decide whether we would be open to adopting a child that could be exposed to drugs and alcohol.  We chose to mark the box for mild exposure which in most cases usually means that birth mom was using drugs and or alcohol while she was pregnant but once she actually found out she was pregnant, she stopped. 

The above information was only a small portion of tonight's class.  The rest of the time was devoted to special needs and transracial adoptions.  We had 2 adoptive families as speakers for this class and they had a wealth of knowledge to share with us. 

Although Ben and I don't feel called to adopt a child with special needs at this point in time, we also can't predict that our child will or will not have a disability of some kind.  This risk of having a child with a disability is the same whether we were to have our own child by birth or not--especially with Autism now being diagnosed in as many as 1 in 110 children!  It was good to hear some of the perspectives the Moms had to share tonight and to prepare ourselves for what could be reality one day. 

The issue that really hit home for me tonight was what was shared about transracial adoptions.  As noted in an earlier post I've been struggling with how I feel about adopting a child from another race.  The Mom who shared tonight was very open and honest about what she's experienced as a Mom of transracial kids. 

Obviously when you adopt outside of your own race you will stick out.  People will not immediately assume that you are your child's parent, simply for the fact that you don't look like one another.  Some people will stare.  Others will ask questions.  For the most part the Mom who shared tonight said that people, in their comments, are trying to show their support for your choice--although it doesn't always come out that way.  I've experienced this with my struggles with infertility.  People will ask me why I haven't had kids yet (a seemingly harmless question)--little do they know I've wanted kids for 3 years (and the way in which they ask their question reminds me of the fact that my arms are still empty!)

On the flip side some people will not support you in your decision and will even go out of their way to say comments that are mean and hurtful.  The reality is that non-caucasian infants are harder to place for adoption.  If someone of the child's own race isn't able or chooses not to adopt, then what option is really left?  These babies deserve a loving home just as much as a caucasian child does! 

The Moms gave us a hand out tonight when considering adopting transracially.  Some of the questions posed were:

Are we willing to learn more about our future child's culture?  Are we genuinely interested in understanding what our child's experience will be as an adult in our society?

At this point I see myself being willing to do anything for the benefit of my child.  I think we've proven that just by the fact that we are going through such a long and arduous process in order to become parents!

Do we have friends of our future child's race/culture?  Are we comfortable placing ourselves in environments that would make it possible for us to have more friends of that race/culture?

This question specifically was a hard one for me to swallow.  In no way do I consider myself a person who only associates and is friends with someone ONLY of my own race.  But on the flip side if I want my children to have friends of their own race (that is not my own) I will have to purposefully seek out these relationships.  What do I do (and I'm being VERY blunt here) walk up to someone who is Black or Hispanic and say can I be your friend based on the fact that your a different race than me?

Are you willing to move in order to live in a more diverse neighborhood?

This was another tough one.  Again I find myself agreeing to anything that would benefit my child--but moving is huge--especially in this housing market! 

This question applies to churches too.  I find myself asking, would our church accept our child if they were a different race than us?  I'm fairly certain I know the answer to this question--but I still wonder!  And because my husband is also employed by our church it makes it more complicated.

Adopting outside of our race will lead to lots of questions and lots of conversations--some of them with complete strangers!  It dawned on me that many of these conversations may lead me to an opportunity to share my faith in Christ with someone-pretty cool!  However should I adopt a child of another race based solely on this fact?!  Heck no!

If we end up getting matched and moving forward with adopting a child of a different race the reality is we will always have extra stuff on our plate to deal with.  The Moms shared tonight that the most important way of dealing with it is being open and  honest with your child.  Talk to them from day one about their adoption.  Role play with them what they should say when people ask them questions.  And be careful how you form your responses to others comments while in front of them.  They will be watching and listening early on!  A good rule of thumb that one of the Moms shared tonight was to think ahead of time about how much you want to share with others about your child--it should never be anything your children don't know about themselves already!

Some other thoughts that were shared tonight (that are quite random in nature and really don't fit anywhere else in this post!)

I will never be everything my child needs--if I go into adoption knowing this (and realizing it won't be perfect!) I will be better prepared to handle what comes our way.

In the world we live in people will never fully understand adoption unless they have experienced it first hand.  Although the world may not affirm our choice to adopt, the birth family will (or they wouldn't place their child in our arms in the first place) and  most importantly GOD affirms our choice as well!

Adoptive kids don't have the privilege of blending in.  I think everyone would agree, to some extent, that they want their child to fit in and be accepted--myself being one of these people.  However our adopted child, especially if they are from a different race than us, will stick out.  People will ask questions and make comments.  I can choose to prepare my child for this or choose to ignore it--but in my experience denial has never been a good road to walk down.

I loved the way one of the adoptive Moms described God's plan to her children.  She tells them that God has always wanted whats best for us--but he gives us a choice.  We can choose His best, or we can make a different choice.  Making a different choice is allowed--but it will often be much harder.  This applies to so much about life.  I wish some of my own family and friends would see and understand this about God!!!

That's it for now folks!