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This January brought us the best phone call ever: we got placed with our son!!!! The year started off poorly since there was a death in the family, not to mention that we were feeling dishearten by the lengthy adoption process. However, at the end of the month, our lives would change forever!!

With adoption, you typically have 2 scenarios: you are either matched with a birth mom who is in her 7th month of pregnancy, or a birth mom decides after delivery to make an adoption plan. You never really know which one will happen for you so you should be prepared for both. As would happen with us, we got an email for a potential match with a baby (our son!) who was born 4 days earlier! This had been our second potential match of a baby already born (the first being the day before this one). We had received several potential matches over the course of 8 months, but this was the first time for us in the span of 2 days that we got matches with babies already born! I have to say that this scenario is very exciting since you get to see pictures of the baby!! The flip side is everything happens in lightening speed and you just have to do things quickly. This is why it pays to think ahead! We were so happy that we bought all the items for the nursery ahead of time since we had 2 weeks to prepare for our baby!! Of course, most things could be assembled after we brought our son home, but we wanted to paint the nursery before he came.

Since we were out of state, things got a bit more complicated than matching in state. We couldn’t just go pick him up and bring him home since there are a lot of clearances  & protocols that must be followed before exiting the state your baby is born and entering your home state. So potentially, you could wait for over a month if either state bureaucracy lengthened the process. That could get very costly if you have to stay in a hotel for a month or so. Luckily, our son was born healthy, just slightly under weight, but he was discharged from the hospital in a few days. Our agency then placed him in foster care with a loving couple that was taking care of our son and a baby girl as well (the couple had also adopted years back from our agency). They were amazing and made waiting a lot easier since we knew he was loved!

The first thing on our mind was to meet our baby!! We got plane tickets for the following weekend and both sets of grandparents came to meet him as well. We were very fortunate to have close friends in the city where our son was staying and they graciously offered for us to stay at their house with the baby. That made a world of a difference since we felt at home and didn’t have to worry about anything, just take care of our precious little one! We then had to fly back home without our son since we didn’t know how long the clearances would take. That was very painful and tearful for the both of us but we had such wonderful foster parents which made it a lot easier to handle. However, as luck would have it, as soon as we flew back home we’d have to turn right back around to take possession of our son!

In order to start processing the interstate compact clearance, the state requires the hospital records of the baby’s birth be released to the agency. The city in which our baby was born is notorious in taking weeks to release the medical records, which meant we’d be waiting for awhile. Luckily our agency called numerous times to find out the status which helped to expedite the process. This part of the process took 2 weeks and once the records were released we flew in to take possession of our son and start the waiting game with the interstate compact clearances. The state we were adopting from has a very quick turn around for approvals, however, our home state was not known for it’s promptness. We, again, were able to expedite the process by contacting our governor’s office to see if they could help us bring our baby home soon. We could not leave the birth state of our son until the interstate was approved. Part of our family lives in that state so we took this opportunity to introduce our baby to his great grandparents, and numerous loving relatives. This was a wonderful bonding experience for our family, and our baby had his first of three welcome parties! After over a week, we finally got our clearances and were able to fly home. I have to say, that even though our state took awhile, they were actually quite thorough and made sure all the documents were in order.

Our total wait period from the time we got matched to our state clearances was a little over 3 weeks. So if you are adopting out of state and don’t have friends or family to stay with, be sure to budget a lengthy hotel stay if you want to be there the whole time or try to split up your time like we did. Be sure to enjoy this time, even though all you want to do is come home with your baby. The hardest part is getting matched, the clearances will take their course and it will get done. All you need to think about is the love you’ll be showering on your baby forever!!!

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Design for Adoption has been offline for a few months, but not with out good reason. Our family and close friends may already know, the news, but we finally have a moment to breath and share the news with everyone! A few months ago we were matched with a baby boy! We are super excited but tired at the same time. All I can say is that  parenthood thus  far has been amazing. The baby was already born before we were matched, so everything happened super fast. With a few trips out of state and a quick makeover of our study into a baby room, and a baby waiting to be welcomed into our family, we entered the world of parenthood. We never thought this day would come, but it is finally here and we are doing everything we can to cherish every moment with our little boy. For all of you out there waiting to adopt, we know the wait is painful, but hang in there, in the end all the pain will go away. Thanks to all our readers for your support along this incredible journey. We will continue updating our blog and sharing our adventures along with more information on our journey to parenthood, great product finds, and much more!

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.

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.

Adoption Heartache The Adoption Roller Coaster.

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.

Adoptive Families Article.

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.

Read The White House Presidential Proclamation on National Adoption Month 2011.

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.

After our heart break with not being matched with the twins, we decided to look through our parameters to see if there was anything we wanted to change to increase our options for adoption. One area that our adoption agency said would be worth considering was how stringent we wanted to be with Exposure During Pregnancy.

If you are going through a domestic adoption, a major factor you have to deal with is a birthmother’s exposure to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Our agency told us that 70% of the birthmothers they work with have some sort of exposure during their pregnancy. We’ve researched other agencies around the country and we’ve found this to be fairly common. This does not necessarily mean the birthmothers are taking hard drugs (cocaine, heroin, etc), however, it is common for them to be smoking tobacco or marijuana, and/or drinking alcohol. Typically once the birthmothers realize they are pregnant, which is around 12 weeks into the pregnancy since they typically aren’t tracking their cycles, they will stop doing any kind of drugs. However, a majority will not stop smoking since it is so addictive and a few will continue doing marijuana as well. Some birthmothers will stop binge drinking but will have a few beers or wine coolers a week throughout the pregnancy.

Our agency has found that children who have been exposed tend to do well; however, it depends on the severity of the exposure and you can never be sure whether the birthmother is upfront with her addiction problems. There are birthmothers who are not exposed to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, however, they are not the majority.

We’ve found the March of Dimes website to be a great resource to understand the health risks associated with exposure during pregnancy.

March of Dimes

Typically the lives of birthmothers aren’t perfect which is why they are considering to put their child up for adoption. They may have a few children already and cannot afford to keep another, they may be single mothers finding it hard to make ends meet or they may not find the time for prenatal care. These are the risks you have to understand and expect if you adopt. However, on the flip side, the birthmother could be a high school or college student who is healthy throughout the pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby and is giving their child up since they are not ready yet to be a parent. The agency will not force you into a situation you are not comfortable with, therefore, you must understand the risks and decide what is the best option for you.

People are naturally curious and like to ask questions. Therefore, since we understand that most people have never been exposed to the complexities of the adoption process, we have compiled a list of questions which we are frequently asked, along with our attempt at answering them based on our own research and experience.

How long does it take to adopt?

This is a very common question, yet the answer to this question is quite complicated. Depending on the type of adoption you select and how many specific requirements you indicate, will vary the time frame for a placement. This is the part of the process that can take the longest amount of time. Completing the paperwork, application, and home study can be done fairly quickly compared to the wait time for a match and placement. Our agency told us it could take 6-12 months for a newborn placement and if you opt for an international adoption, it could take 1-2 years.

Can you pick gender?

Yes, but it can lengthen your wait time and some birth mothers don’t like that since they feel as though either gender is a blessing. Additionally the agency does not perform ultrasounds to determine gender, therefore you may just have to wait until a baby of your preferred gender becomes available.

How old is the baby when you get placed?

If you choose private domestic adoption, in many cases you can pick up the newborn from the hospital (2-3 days old). If you choose foster to adopt, the children are typically toddler age or older. With international adoption, the babies can typically be 6 months or older.

Who chooses the adoptive parents?

In the old days, the adoption agency would match the adoptive parents and the baby based on the home study assessment and interview, however most private agencies today, provide semi-open or open adoption which gives the birth mother more rights and gives her the final decision in choosing the adoptive family. Typically a few (3 or 4) families are presented to the birth mother and the profile books for those families are shown to her. She will then make her decision based on these items and sometimes an initial meeting with the prospective parents. Before the mother is shown any potential parents, the adoptive parents have the option to show their profile book once they review the birth mother’s profile and medical history.

Can you choose where to adopt from?

Yes, you can adopt from any country that allows adoption and abides by the Hague Convention or from an orphanage recognized by the US. Otherwise our government is rightfully weary of child trafficking. In the US, you can adopt from any state, not just your home state. We decided to adopt out of state since the wait times in our state were much longer and we wanted to adopt from a state that terminated the birth mother’s rights very quickly, in order to lessen the risk of a disruption. You can also work with agencies that place children from multiple states, in which case your child could come from any number of states that the agency works with. The thing to keep in mind is that every state has different adoption laws and requirements and therefore you will need to comply with the laws of both the adoptive state and your home state, or whichever law is more strict.

When do you get matched with a child?

Typically the agency will match you when the birthmother is around 7 months pregnant. Once the baby is born, you can often go to the hospital to meet the child for the first time and bring them home. However, sometimes a birthmother will decide in the hospital after the birth to place her child up for adoption in which case, the adoptive parents must go immediately to the hospital to pick up their child. So it’s typically best to be somewhat prepared mentally/financially for the child to come home at any moment. Some people recommend not to put together a nursery though, since it could become a constant reminder of the wait and cause anxiety. You should though consider buying a few items like diapers, sheets, and non gender clothes to be ready for the call. Plus, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that your friends and family will definitely help you gather things if the baby comes as a surprise. Also, you can always buy items for your child once you get there. The only thing you will be required to have to leave the hospital is a car seat. Don’t buy formula though, since you may want wait and use the same formula the hospital was giving the baby.

What about your work?

Since adoption is unlike a typical pregnancy, with regards to timing, and the placement could basically happen at any moment, your office should be notified, so that they are aware that you may suddenly need to leave. They should be flexible with your schedule. It is also important to speak to your human resources department and notify them that you will need to add a baby to your healthcare plan as soon as the baby is under your custody. Also take inventory of your paid time off and sick time. If your office does not provide maternity or paternity leave and you are adopting out of state or international, you will need to take time off to wait for state or national clearances as well as travel time.

We have heard stories about families that have gone through one of the most difficult parts of the adoption journey, finding out that the birth parents want to keep the baby. When we decided to adopt, we knew this was a risk we would have to accept, therefore since this blog is about sharing our adoption journey, we will share not just the ups, but also the downs of our journey.

Last week we received a most unexpected call; there was a family looking for adoptive parents to adopt their baby twins and it just so happened that we were prime candidates for this adoption. Even though we did not specify that we wanted to adopt twins, we jumped at the opportunity, since we knew we eventually wanted to adopt two children. We were ecstatic at the thought of welcoming two identical little ones into our family. So we submitted our profile and home study and prayed for the best. The next day we found out the mother was interested in us and wanted to speak to us immediately. So the call was made and a couple of hours later, we received a call from the agency that we were officially matched! Our hearts were pounding with joy, we were going to be the parents of two little twins. WOW was all I could say. Our life would change so quickly.

So immediately we had to rethink, re-strategize, and prepare for twins. Oh and on top of everything else, the babies were due in less than three weeks! So we had to prepare quickly. Immediately we began prepping. We went to Babies-R-Us signed up for the registry and started to look for a bigger car…. and then it happened. While we were at the dealership test driving a car, we got a call from the agency, the mother wanted to speak to us again. Oh no, what could this be? Are the babies Ok, are they on the way? What was so urgent? So we rushed home and immediately set up the call. Turns out the mother wanted to ask us some more questions and find out more about us, because she was feeling really emotional about the babies. So once the call was over we talked to the social worker and we began to feel unsure about the whole thing. The social worker told us that she felt the phone call went really well. We answered her questions and maybe she just wanted to confirm that we would be loving parents for her children. Deep down inside though, we felt that she was having second thoughts, which made for a very sleepless night. The next morning, we got a call from the social worker to see how were doing and she told us that she was getting ready to call the mother and see how she felt after our long discussion the day before. Exactly one hour later, we received another call from the social worker. “Bad news I am afraid, after much thought the mother has decided to keep the babies and not give them up for adoption.” Oh boy, this was not the news we wanted to hear. I suddenly felt like my heart was just yanked out and pounded with a hammer. Even though we never had a chance to meet these little babies, I already felt like I started to grow a spot in my heart for them and now there was a huge empty hole left where the little spot was just pulled right out. In a way we have to feel happy that the children will stay with their mother, but knowing the circumstances which the mother described to us, I can’t help but feel sorry and and only hope that she has made the right decision in keeping them. Thinking about it now, it also feels as if she wasn’t adequately counseled by her social worker as to what to expect when making such an important decision. So what happens next, we asked ourselves? That is the big question, back to the wait list, back to the waiting room, back in line.

How we keep on moving forward, is yet to be seen? It will be difficult, but I guess we just have to accept it and move on, that is about all we can do and hope that the next match will end on a happier note for all involved.

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