In an effort to describe the lengthy adoption process. We have created this diagram to explain what our current process for adoption looks like. This diagram only illustrates one form of adoption and may only be applicable to families seeking to adopt an infant through a private adoption agency. If you are adopting internationally or from the foster care system this chart would look completely different.
This Holiday Season give a gift to someone that will double your good will. If you buy one or both of our books between now and November 30th, you can use the Promo Code BIGTEN when you check out and you will receive $10 off your order of one of our books or a 20% discount off your order of two or more books. What better way to give this holiday season! You can share a one of a kind art book with someone you love, while knowing that a portion of the sales will be donated to help us bring a child into our family. Its a win win situation.
As we began our journey we knew there could be bumps along the road, but we never anticipated as many bumps as we have encountered thus far. We have officially been active on the adoption wait list since May and within that time we’ve been presented with three potential matches that have all been unsuccessful, primarily due to the birth mothers selecting to parent. Not to say that we are not happy that the babies can stay with their mother, but the experience of going through one potential match, can really be an emotional drain, not to mention multiplying that by three. The first potential match that was presented to us was disappointing since the birth mother picked a family that already had a child. We felt that this was unfair since one would think that the agency would present parents with similar situations and that the birth mother would then give preference to a couple with no children. That is not quite how it works, I guess. However, in the end it turned out for the better that we were not selected, since she decided to keep the baby. Our second match was absolutely heart breaking. This time the birthmother selected us and not only was she very close to her due date, she was also expecting twins. We were extremely excited and started running around trying to get things ready for twins, which we were not totally not expecting. Then a couple of weeks before they were born she changed her mind and decided to keep the babies. This was an extremely traumatic experience, since we thought this match was the one and we opened our hearts to adopt twins. We have a blog post about the emotions we went through that you can read about.
After the second one, we did not see a potential match for months so we decided to open up our parameters a bit, which quickly opened up a third potential match. We were excited about this birth mother because she seemed like a good person trying to do the best for her child. For one week we waited anxiously to find out if she had selected us. We thought she was taking her time in her selection; however, our agency never told us what was actually going on. The birth mother wasn’t returning their phone calls because she was unsure about adoption. She saw the family profiles the agency presented her and it freaked her out; probably seeing the profiles made it seem more real to her and she realized she wasn’t ready. The social worker told us that her case is on hold and the last we heard the agency said that she was not ready to give her child up and will most likely keep him.
With three out of three potential matches resulting in parents choosing to parent, I decided to do some research. I found an article in Adoptive Families Magazine, which provides a summary of the Adoption Factbook V published by the National Council For Adoption. The article highlights the fact that the number of successful adoptions in the US has declined steadily since 1992 when 26,672 adoptions were identified to 18,078 in 2007 when the last study was published. The article lists the reasons for this to be related to the increase in the social acceptance of single motherhood and a higher number of unmarried mothers in their 20’s rather than their teens.
When we set out on this adoption, we were hopeful that the adoption would go quickly and smoothly, but now we find ourselves at a point where we are feeling unsure about the whole process and are starting to doubt domestic adoption. We are having such a hard time with this process and it feels as though none of our friends and family can relate to the emotions we are going through and we are finding it difficult to find comfort in their advice. We’ve had to cope with our infertility for several years and it still hurts to see all our friends having kids while we cannot and our adoption efforts have been unsuccessful thus far. We feel helpless at times and we are exhausted by the emotional roller coaster. We are finding it difficult to feel enthusiastic about another match, but we are trying hard to keep our spirits high and our thoughts positive. Even though it is difficult to keep finding the strength to move forward, when every potential match is wearing us down, we must remind ourselves that one day there will be a baby out there that will need us to be there for him/her. When that time comes we will be ready to welcome him/her into our hearts.
Dear Family and Friends,
November is National Adoption Month, a month dedicated to celebrating adoption and raising awareness of adoption issues. designforadoption would like to recognize all the families that have opened their hearts and homes to care for a child and welcome them into their family. To those that are still in the long tedious process of adoption, we are there with you. Although at times we feel like giving up and moving on, lets all hang in there and come together to help make sure that a child in need of a home has a loving family to come home to.
If you have any adoption stories you would love to share with us this month, please do so, those of us waiting could all use a few words of encouragement.
Last week we attended the opening of our second gallery exhibit this month, at the AIA Center for Architecture. Much to our surprise 4 out of the 5 pieces submitted sold within the first hour of the show! We are extremely excited about the positive response. The week before, we also attended the opening of the exhibit at City Hall entitled “Following the Line”. One of our paintings was selected for this exhibit which is being held throughout the corridors of the Philadelphia City Hall. Proceeds from the sales of all our work, will be going towards our adoption fundraising efforts. Thanks to everyone for the positive feedback and continued support.
As architects we often find ourselves trapped in a world where the dollar sign rules everything we do and because of that we find ourselves designing only for people that can afford an architect. It is particularly promising therefore, to find an architecture firm who’s main mission is to help those in true dire need. For this reason, I found much inspiration in the work of TYIN tegnestue Architects, a Norwegian firm run by two students, Andreas G. Gjertsen and Yashar Hanstad.
TYIN has been working primarily in poor and underdeveloped areas of countries like Thailand, Burma, Haiti, and Uganda. Their strategy is to work with the local communities to build structures that fulfill a need within that community while promoting the development of skills, and utilizing local materials collected from the site or nearby areas. Among their many projects, they have created a series of structures for orphanages in Thailand. The Soe Ker Tie House project is a series of small shelters used as dormitories for an orphanage in Noh Bo. The small shelters basically house one sleeping unit, which is shared by the children and are clustered in an manner that creates shared outdoor spaces promoting a sense of community within the orphanage.
TYIN has also worked for another orphanage located north of Noh Bo. They have worked with the owner of the Safe Haven Orphanage to create a bath house and a library for the children. Utilizing local materials and innovative methods to address waste, TYIN has created a bathing facility that brings hygiene to the forefront as a means to fight disease and a library that helps to reinforce the importance of education and good ethics.
In my search for ways in which design can make a difference in people’s lives, the work of TYIN serves as a reminder that design should be for everyone. As designers, we have a talent that can be used for good and we should all reach out and make a difference in the world.
As the waiting game continues, we decided we might as well keep slowly accumulating the items for our nursery, so that we do not have to buy everything all at once. Therefore, the next item on our list became a mattress. As part of our post placement study, once we are matched with a child, the social worker must visit our home to see that the baby has a proper place to sleep. So we decided to do a little research before jumping in and buying a mattress. We spoke to some friends that recently had babies to see what they would recommend. Some of the recommendations we received were as follows:
1. Buy something that is not too heavy, so that it is light enough to lift each time you have to change the sheets after there is an accident.
2. Buy something that is easy to clean, again because of the accidents.
3. Buy an organic mattress. Since infants spend most of their time sleeping, it’s worthwhile to consider investing in an organic mattress to ensure there are no issues of toxic off-gassing and if possible also try and get a mattress that is breathable, to ensure the baby gets a good air flow in their sleeping area.
Finally after doing a lot of online research and several trips to the store, we discovered the Nook Sleep Systems Pebble Mattress to be a pretty cool mattress option. Nook Sleep Systems is dedicated to innovation. They look at the entirety of the mattress to develop a cohesive holistic design. They have taken the time to make sure that their mattress is well designed, breathable, non-toxic and completely organic. The internal core of the mattress is made of natural latex which is an open celled material that maximizes air flow through the core (for breathability which will allow more oxygen to the baby, meaning a better night of sleep) and the natural latex is hypoallergenic, anti-microbial and anti-mites (no nasty bed bugs!). The inner core is wrapped with organic wool which is a natural fire barrier as opposed to the harsh chemicals used in standard mattresses. The surface is made up of eucalyptus fibers and cotton to help remove moisture and promote breathability, and the best part is that no vinyl mattress pads are required since liquids will bead on the surface of the mattress, and they come in cool bright colors as well! Nook Sleep System products are Made in North America (this time it’s for real, on manufacturer’s website!) and they even offer twin size mattresses. Hopefully, they’ll expand their line to include double, queen and king size for us adults to enjoy as well.
We are members of Zulily (an online designer discount store) and they had the Pebble Mattress on sale for half the price so we jumped to make the purchase. It’s quite an expensive mattress so if you are looking at purchasing it, we strongly recommend to see if you can find a great deal online.