Our 2nd Chance to Love a Second

Follow us on our adoption journey for a sibling for Jayden!

Wendy’s Adoption Cups

National Adoption Awareness Month originally was started to draw attention to the more than 108,000 kids waiting in the foster system to be adopted.  You can read more about the history of the month-long celebration here.  The Dave Thomas Foundation (yeah, I’m talking about the Wendy’s Dave Thomas) is a non-profit that provides grants to raise awareness and bring attention to those children in foster care.

Wendy’s has released some unique cups in the past to raise awareness about adoption.  Currently, they’ve got some with kids’ drawings on them, which make them instantly cuter, in my humble opinion!  But, what’s even cooler, is that on their site, they have animated the drawings.  These drawings are from kids who were in foster care, but now have been adopted.  The drawings depict an experience with their new family.  Here’s Olivia’s:

Doug and I recently explored the possibility of a foster-to-adopt program.  I’ll give you all an update later this month on where we are in our process.

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A teacher’s Guide to Introducing Adoption in to the Classroom in 4 Easy Steps!

As a teacher who also happens to be a mom-by-adoption, I thought I might share a few posts this month relating to how to approach adoption within a classroom setting.  First up is this post from Adoptions From The Heart that deals with adoption in the classroom in general.  I also have some resources on great books to share and alternatives to assignments that might be challenging to some adoptees.

Love Builds Families

2 different kinds of strengthThe start of a new school year means many different things for families, like new classmates, new teachers, lunches, hectic schedules, homework assignments and school projects. With all of these changes, some adoptive parents can also experience a little concern when sending their child off to school. Sometimes children are given assignments that require personal information, such as family tree projects, tracing your family heritage, bringing in baby pictures, or timeline projects. For an adopted child, many of these common school assignments may cause them to feel left out and uncomfortable. Many adoptive parents have given their children the tools at home to answer difficult questions about adoption, but as teachers it is equally as important to educate the entire class on adoption.

Before you start: 

Before you start introducing adoption into the classroom, it is important that you, as a teacher, understand positive adoption language. As many of us know…

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“Transracial” as It Relates to Adoption

Image credit: http://mrg.bz/Vy5hZf

Image credit: http://mrg.bz/Vy5hZf

It seems that we have reached another time in our nation’s history where race and heightened tensions are at the top of headlines and conversations.  As I write that introductory sentence, I find myself saddened that it takes violent events and injustices to make the ongoing racial tensions that we experience in our country to remind those of us who have benefited from White Privilege that racism and marginalization of individuals of color continues to go on.  For them, they are all too aware of it every day; for me, it is easy to continue on with my life without it affecting my daily routine.

Almost nonchalantly thrown in amongst media reports of Baltimore riots, Caitlyn Jenner’s transgender identity, and the controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal’s NAACP resignation in Spokane, Washington, was the term “transracial” that many used.  The term was used to refer to Dolezal’s racial identity as black while being born white.

Except that transracial has a very sacred definition to members of the adoption community, particularly to those who are part of a transracial adoption.  In “An Open Letter: Why Co-opting ‘Transracial’ in the Case of Rachel Dolezal is Problematic,” the collective group of authors writes:

Transracial is a term that has long since been defined as the adoption of a child that is of a different race than the adoptive parents. The term most often refers to children of color adopted by white families in the Global North, and has been extensively examined and documented for more than 50 years by academics and members of the adoption triad: adoptees, birthparents, and adoptive parents.

Part of our intent when creating this blog at the beginning of our adoption process was not just to update others on where we are in the process.  It was also to provide a place to give others a chance to become more enlightened and educated about the world of adoption.  This is a perfect time to introduce the concept of the word, “transracial” to those that might not be aware of its definition.

If you are looking for a great starter list of children’s books that features transracial adoption, this mom (who also happens to be a mom by transracial adoption) has just added a list to her blog that is a great start!  Check it out!

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August Update

Image credit: http://mrg.bz/oCFEAV

Image credit: http://mrg.bz/oCFEAV

Time for an update on the adoption happenings…Not much new to report on the adoption front here.  We had one message that came to us through our Parent Profile on Adoption.com from someone with very broken English looking for someone to “accept a 6 year old blond girl, healthy, smart and cute, for adoption.”  As we feel it is important for J to remain the oldest child, I politely declined the woman’s request, whether it was a legitimate one or not.

We also received an email from our agency last week saying that they had a contact with an attorney/agency in Florida who was looking for adoptive families for very immediate and difficult to place situations, and were we interested in having our profile passed along.  Yes, we were, but the catch is that there would most likely be additional hefty agency fees for the Florida agency, in addition to birth mother living expenses to pay.  So we responded by saying that we were interested in learning more, but the costs would definitely be limiting factors for us.  She got back to us and said that the contact person was on vacation until this week, so I’ll send another email soon to see if she has heard anything further.

The first of August marked our 18 month wait mark.  Not a milestone we really wanted to reach.  But one that is bringing up the inevitable conversation among the two of us: “What next?”  We have so many unanswered questions, so many what-if’s, and so many doubts right now.

How much longer do we continue on this path we are on, waiting?  Do we switch to another agency and continue to wait for a newborn?  Do we explore a foster-to-adopt route?  Are we even meant to be parents to two?  If this adoption never happens, what do we do with the money that we have fundraised?  I frequently (as in daily) check out available situations through American Adoptions.  They post adoption situations that didn’t match with any of their waiting families.  I know that there are available situations out there and a few agencies that I have heard are matching families a bit faster than our agency.  But we just are financially not able to swing these situations and/or switch agencies right now.  I truly didn’t like fundraising when we did it at the beginning of our search, nor was it wildly successful (I don’t think we were good at it), so I’m not crazy about the idea.

We are truly at a loss right now for what to do.  Any ideas we haven’t thought of?  We’d like to hear them.  And we’d welcome your prayers for wisdom and clarity right now as we muddle through this.

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About Open Adoption

How could I possibly love

One of the things that I mentioned that I’d be doing as I tried to pick up communicating through this blog again was to feature our agency a bit and show some of what they do.  One of the things that they maintain is a blog through their website.  I like to occasionally stop by their blog to see what they’ve added because it has content that is from both an adoptive and birth parent perspective.

One of the posts that they did about a year ago was about open adoption.  It helps others to understand what open adoption can look like and why it is so beneficial to have and maintain and open relationship.  When we began our journey through adoption years ago, there were some who didn’t understand what open adoption was and especially had a difficult time understanding that it was actually a positive thing.

Adoption has changed so much over the last several decades.  Some might find it hard to believe that 99% of the adoptions that our agency handles are open adoptions.  If you aren’t familiar with the many ways in which open adoption can be defined, I’d encourage you to take a look at their post on open adoption.  It’s a quick read!

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Just Love Coffee

I wrote a few days ago to kick off a fundraiser that we were running.  If you missed it, go check out about our Giving Tree.  We are really excited about it!

https://justlovecoffee.com/content/JustLoveCoffee-Logo-NoTag.jpg

There are some small companies out there that do fundraising with a hometown, personal feel to them.  Just Love Coffee is one of them.  Aside from just really, really great tasting coffee, they do some great things.  They began when co-founder Rob Webb was researching Ethiopian coffee farmers at the same time that he and his wife were trying to fund their own adoption process.  They realized the need for families to find good ways to raise funds to pay for adoptions.  When he started Just Love, the majority of profits went to several beneficiaries, including adoptive families, local schools, and arts organizations.

Take a minute to check out their site.  They do some pretty great things!  And they make some awesome coffee, too.  If you are close to us, invite yourself over to try a cup!  Seriously!  And if you want to just get your hands on some coffee, either for yourself or for a holiday gift, please shop through our storefront, as a portion of the profits benefit our adoption expenses.

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Common Myths About Domestic Adoption

I posted this earlier this year, but for National Adoption Awareness Month, I though it was worthy of reposting.

Our 2nd Chance to Love a Second

Today’s a great day to post something new!  I’m at home with a sick boy who is watching lots of TV, but wants me to be by his side.  Here’s my view as I type:

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When I created this blog, it began as a way to let people know about our story and how things were going in our process.  But I’ve come to realize that it could also be a way to help others learn and dialogue about adoption and dispel some misconceptions about adoption.  Let me be clear on this:  We can only speak to our experience.  There are so many other adoption experiences out there.

I ran into an article a few months ago on myths associated with domestic adoption from Adoptive Families magazine, something to which we currently subscribe.  I thought it raised a few good points that I wanted to share.

  • Truth:  There are…

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Using Positive Language for Adoption Terms

 

adoption language

source: adoption.com/positive-vs-honest-adoption-language/

We consider ourselves rather fortunate.  We haven’t encountered too many instances where the language associated with our adoption was offensive.  However, when we were first entering this adoption journey, I became aware that there is a vocabulary that is unique to it.  And rest assured, if you find some of the language confusing, there are times when I still find myself being mindful of the words that I am choosing.

When we were waiting for the first time, I tried to raise adoption awareness in my school during November and passed along this language information.  Several teachers remarked how useful they found it, knowing that it is not unusual to have students who were adopted.

I truly believe, for the most part, that people do not mean to be offensive in their language choices.  The missteps originate in lack of knowledge.  So I hope you find this information helpful.  It helps me to revisit it every now and then, as well.  At the end of this post, I’ll share with you three things that I even find challenging about positive adoption language.

This chart is a great resource for comparing common adoptive language:

https://i1.wp.com/www.adoptionsofwisconsin.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/PositiveLanguage-300x257.jpg

source: Adoptive Families Magazine

If you’d like to see the full article from Adoptive Families Magazine or have a printable version of the chart above, here is a PDF version from them:

PositiveLanguage-1

So, I told you there were three things I still struggle with when considering positive adoption language.  Here they are:

  1. Was adopted vs. is adopted.  There are still times I have to self-correct when using this terminology related to our son.  The adoption was an event that happened in the past.  It is not a characteristic that defines him, like “he is energetic,” or “he is full of gratitude,” or “he is generous.”
  2. The use of the term “birthmother” when talking about our wait for a second child.  If and when we have a match, it won’t be with a birthmother.  It will be with an “expectant mother.”  The child she is expecting is still her child in every meaning of the word.  She can’t be a birthmother until the birth has occurred.  And as a side note, just to muddy the pot a bit more, there are many that even bristle at the term, “birthmother.”  Especially those that we call “birthmothers.”  I’ve seen the term “first mother.”  So I’m still struggling with this one, especially when I consider how all of the remarkable qualities of J’s birthmother have been boiled down to one word: birthmother.  It just seems inadequate.
  3. The overuse of the term, “adopt.”  I’m talking about all of the different things that you can “adopt.”  Nowadays, you can adopt a star.  You can adopt an animal at the zoo.  You can adopt a soldier.  You can adopt a highway.  All with a little donation of either time or money.  It certainly takes away from the life-changing process that happens when the adoption of a child takes place.  And if you don’t know how they are different and how the use of the word “adopt” can be problematic in those instances where the definition of the word in minimized, then I encourage you to continue to read up on adoption and continue to follow this blog.  They are nothing alike.

If you’d like to read more about adoptive language, Terra Cooper has some slick looking visuals that add to the discussion.  Also, Carolyn Berger has written an interesting article for American Fertility Association that explains why it is so important to get the adoptive language right.

 

 

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November is National Adoption Awareness Month

NAAM logo

Did you know that November is National Adoption Awareness Month?  I wasn’t aware that such a thing existed until we were trying to become adoptive parents for the first time.

To mark this month-long celebration, I plan to write 30 posts for the next 30 days on a variety of adoption-related topics.  I will share personal experiences and perspectives, along with facts and perspectives that I have found from other adoptive parents, birth mothers, and adoptees.  I welcome comments (respectful, of course!) and questions to create a dialogue!

To kick the month off, I’ll share with you a portion of this year’s presidential proclamation from President Obama, released on October 31, 2014, declaring November as National Adoption Month (The entire proclamation can be viewed here.):

“During National Adoption Month, we honor those who have opened their hearts and their homes, and we recommit to supporting all children still in need of a place to call their own.Over the past decade, more than 500,000 children have been adopted….By supporting policies that remove barriers to adoption, we give hope to children across America.  For all those who yearn for the comfort of family, we must continue our work to increase the opportunities for adoption and make sure all capable and loving caregivers have the ability to bring a child into their life, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation, or marital status.
 
Throughout November, we recognize the thousands of parents and kids who have expanded their families to welcome a new child or sibling, as well as the professionals who offer guidance, resources, and counseling every day.  Let us reaffirm our commitment to provide all children with every chance to reach their dreams and realize their highest aspirations.”

I invite you to follow our blog for the next 30 days as we work to raise awareness of adoption.  If you aren’t already following the blog, you can enter your email to the left to receive notifications of new posts.  I look forward to you joining us!

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Waiting.

Certainly the wait is not nearly as difficult now as the first time around.  With Jayden’s energy, we’ve got plenty to keep us distracted and occupied as we wait for a sibling for him.  But the wait has certainly given me plenty of time to think, which, if you know me well, I probably do a little too much of.

I came across this article a week or two ago which takes on the idea of wait time for hopeful adoptive parents.  Although the article is a year and a half old, it still is quite timely and pertinent.  It’s been over four and a half years since we began our journey down this road of adoption, and there have been a lot of changes in the adoption world since we started.  Based on my experiences over the last few weeks and what I read in the article, I’d be going crazy if this were our first time around.

If you think of domestic adoption as a “market,” which I don’t like to do, but it makes it easier to understand, the domestic adoption market has become “oversaturated” with hopeful adoptive parents.  Many foreign adoption doors have been closed to the U.S., leaving many adoptive parents looking domestically.  The economy is improving, allowing more adoptive parents to fund a domestic adoption.  Although this is not something listed anywhere I have read, I also wonder whether the June, 2013, DOMA ruling and its implications for legal recognition of same-sex couples and, I would assume, any of their adopted children have really opened up avenues for adoption within same-sex couples.

In short, the “competition” is intense.  (Again, I don’t like to use the word, “competition.”  It makes it seem like I see other hopeful adoptive parents as my enemy, which I do not.)  The fact of the matter is that potential adoptive parents really need to put work and effort into getting their name out.

Truly, one of the best ways to have a great match is through word-of-mouth (which just so happens to be how we were matched with Jayden’s birth family).  I mentioned earlier that part of the money that we raised through our yard sale fundraiser was going towards an online profile.  We have set that up through Parent Profiles.  I’m still considering editing our profile on there to shorten our letter to expectant mothers.  Our agency is also working with a marketing agency to put our profile live on their new site, which has been live for about six weeks now.  I also am considering creating a facebook page dedicated solely to our adoption “search” and will be attempting to create that (when I’m not getting my classroom ready!) in the next few weeks.

I’d love if any of you could help get word out, too.  Please share our story with anyone you think might be interested.  Keep your ears open for anyone who might be considering making an adoption plan for their unborn child.  And when I get that facebook page created, could you share it on your facebook page with your facebook friends?  And ask them to share with their friends?  Thank you!  🙂

 

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