Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ethical adoptions

You may have noticed some of the recent news stories about adoption. There have been some recent cases of international adoptions in which the adoptive parents found out their children were likely kidnapped from their birth families. And while from what I've read it appears the adoptive parents have done the right thing (reach out to the birthfamilies) and were told lies about the circumstances around how their child became eligible for adoption (i.e., these were not greedy parents looking to steal a baby but people who thought these children were orphans in need). But in the past week several friends who know we are adopting but are not "in the adoption world" have forwarded these articles to me along with some note saying how great we are for pursuing domestic adoption and are not complicit in these tragedies.

I don't know how to respond to these types of comments. Because, honestly, I see a lot of unethical practices in domestic adoption and so while I think domestic was a better option for us, I don't see it as unambiguously more ethical than international. I mean, there are agencies that fly pregnant women to "adoption friendly" states so that the adoption will be ruled by that state's laws. I can't see how a woman who is confused, scared, and unsure of what to do is going to make a well thought out decision when she is separated from everything she knows. There are agencies that promise the world to women who make adoption plans, but when they start to give indications they might want to parent all those supports are whisked away. There are moments when I start to do something and then hold back because it starts to feel like marketing or engaging in a financial transaction.

The truth is, domestic or international, there are large sums of money being traded around. And agencies and people who see adoption as a business model. And once you do that, it is too easy to forget that there is a child in the middle of all of this. So even though I hope that adoption will soon bless my life in countless ways, I also kinda hope for a world in which pregnant women did not look at their future-- and the future of the child they are carrying-- and see so few prospects that adoption seems like the best option.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Failed, part 2

I think one of the hardest parts of a failed match is calling back all the family members we had told about the match. We only told immediate family, but for me that is a lot of people! I guess I could have my mom spread the word, but everyone will want to call me anyway.

And to answer a question, yes, we are still good with our main agency. This agency was not the one we officially signed up with. I spoke with the caseworker from our agency today and explained all the details and she thought we made a good decision. We are back on the waiting list with them. And we know all the details about payment expectations for our agency and feel comfortable with that. So it is just waiting again.

It was a good decision for us to leave most of our purchases on our first shopping trip at my ILs house. We put the few things we have at our house in a closet we don't ever go in, so hopefully our life will get back to normal soon.

One funny thing is that we seem to have established a pattern of collecting toys for kids who never get them. Last year we planned to go to a friend's one year birthday party, but there was an emergency and we didn't get a chance to see him again for quite a while and he had outgrown the toy. Now, we bought small presents for the birthmother and her older son in anticipation of meeting them. So now we have two unused gifts hanging around. I guess eventually have a chance to use them.


Well, I called the agency today with the intention of starting the backing away we decided on after much discussion. But before I could say anything, the caseworker said the reason she hasn't been returning my phone calls is that the birthmother is not returning hers. Basically, something happened in the birthmother's life last week and since then she has been noncommittal about meeting us in person or otherwise moving forward with the adoption. The caseworker is getting the vibe that this change last week is making her rethink the adoption.

So we are not pursuing this any further. And we are not sure if we will pursue anything further with this agency at all. We made it clear that we do not feel comfortable taking on all of the financial risk, so if they have a baby who is already born or decide to change their payment structure so that we would not be that at risk, we would like to be shown to other situations they may have. But otherwise we have found a line we don't want to cross again.

Back to square one for us. Well, not quite square one since we did learn something from this experience. But back to the waiting game. How do we feel? Extremely disappointed. But overall, we feel OK and that this is the right decision. I reserve the right to be a sobbing mess once the due date rolls around. But I think we will be OK.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Forward or backward?

We are thinking of backing away from our match. With the failed attempt at an in-person meeting last weekend, the inability to find a time to meet this weekend, and something that happened last week, we are beginning to lose confidence that the birthmother is committed to the adoption plan. We are wondering if the thing that happened last week is making her rethink the decision. Which of course she is completely entitled to do. But if these are the signs we are getting, we feel we should move on now before we get further entangled in this.

And our caseworker is not making us more confident that things will go OK for us. With the exception of a one line email on Monday morning saying she will me by the end of the day, we have not heard from her since Friday night when our meeting was cancelled. Although I despise the idea that we are "paying clients", if you expect me to write you a very large check and hope for the best, I expect you to return my phone calls in a timely manner.

Added to this is how we feel emotionally with the risk. As I said a few days ago, we have been praying for our path to become clear and are not sure what message we have been getting. On Sunday the gospel reading was about Peter walking on water but then doubting and starting to drown and the message we both got was to not be discouraged and have faith. And while I was willing to follow that message, I still felt very uneasy about it. But in the past two days as I've been thinking about backing away, I feel at peace about it. Hugely, hugely disappointed and I'm sure much crying will take place on the due date (I even have this adorable pumpkin hat all picked out for an October newborn). And I become ill at the thought of going through another holiday season without a baby. But still not second guessing that's what we should do. We are still trying to get some questions answered, so stay tuned.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Change of plans

So this weekend did not exactly turn out the way we had intended. About one third of the way into our 10 hour drive, the caseworker called and said the birthmother has to cancel because she has to work all day today. And on Sunday, so we have to reschedule for next weekend. We turned our car back around and headed home.

We are not sure what to make of this in light of what we've already been thinking about. The caseworker didn't ask us for the money anyway (if she did, we would have said see-ya!). But then this doesn't exactly instill confidence that everything will work either. As we were driving home, I was thinking about how I had been praying for our path to become clear and I thought, "God, if you are trying to send us a message, you are going to have to be a little more clear."

The change in plans did have an upside. We had time to spend in a city that was on the route that we wanted to visit but never had the chance before. And we've been wanting to go to the Longest Yard Sale for several years but something always kept us from going. Today we finally went and picked up this sweet little chair:

Friday, August 5, 2011

Big weekend

We are getting ready to leave to meet the birthmother in person for the first time (she lives in another state). What do you wear that says nurturing, dedicated, wholesome, intelligent mother who feels comfortable in different cultural contexts and is financially secure but not in a showy or stuffy way?

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Our match came about by us hearing about an agency that is not an agency with which we were officially signed up. But they were looking for parents for this situation and we were open to the details. It all happened pretty quickly and so while I did talk with the agency about their placement fee, we did not talk about the payment structure. The fee is actually on the low end of agencies. Now they sent us their policy and they want half now and half one month before expected birth (about one month from now). This seems not standard practice as most agencies I have seen allow half to not be paid until placement.

So now we don't know what to do. We don't feel comfortable with this payment structure. But they are expecting us to show up with a signed, notarized contract and large check on Saturday when we get to meet the birthmother in person. There is a process to apply some funds to another adoption, but it is not much. We are not sure what to do. Part of what is making us uncomfortable are some of the responses we've gotten from the agency in response to our concerns that seem completely incompatible with what we've learned elsewhere. They have never had a birthmother decide to parent. Really? That is a little too confident given how risky adoption is. They have never heard of an agency that waits until placement for the remainder of the fee. I can point to at least 3 that wait even until finalization. Please pray that our path becomes clear.

Monday, August 1, 2011


OK, by request, here are some photos from our shopping trip. We actually left most of it at my ILs for now since we are still trying to maintain some sanity in case the worst happens. As we get closer and certainly after our in-person visit with the birthmother this weekend, we will start bringing everything to our house. But right now we only brought home the car seat and a piece of the bedding so we can coordinate the nursery.

I talked to my mom last night and apparently she did some shopping of her own and some clothing is on its way. The one awkward part of the weekend is that we did run into someone we know at BRU. Since we are not telling people about our match, we were like, "umm, funny running into you here." But they do know we are adopting in general, so they might just think we are preparing in advance.

Here is the carseat. I love it and the matching stroller:

And here is the bedding we chose.

Here is something I started working on a few weeks ago. I started thinking maybe we would use it, maybe I would eventually give it to one of siblings who are pregnant. But now it is going to our little son!

And after our match I did go a little crazy at my favorite online yarn shop. This is only the first shipment.

And, finally, one of the completed projects was organizing my jewelry to complete our bedroom redo. I bought frames and created a way to hang my jewelry.

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