We've been asked about how we made some choices through our experiences in adoption. I thought it would be appropriate to answer them here.
What made us choose adoption?
After being married for 13 months, we decided it was time to start our family. 6 months later, I had an appointment with my "female doctor" and talked to her about our hope of having a baby. She told me not to worry, because on average it takes couples 18 months to conceive. I took her advice and chose not to worry about it for the next year.
Month 19 into our failed attempts, I had an emotional breakdown. I knew at this point that getting children into our family was going to be difficult, and it was really hard to accept. Nobody I knew had fertility problems. I felt so alone, so isolated, and so discouraged.
We went through a few fertility tests and discussed options with multiple doctors. (Which, in itself is invasive and horrifying on so many levels.) When we were faced with all of our options, we concluded that if we were going to spend thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars, we wanted results. Doctors could not promise results, just possibilities.
"Results" we could get through adoption. And we proceeded with the process.
How did we decide which agency to use?
Not knowing where else to turn, we talked to our Bishop (LDS/Mormon), who gave us the direction to go through LDS Family Services. It was safe. It was familiar, being connected with our faith. It was comfortable...well, as comfortable as you get in a situation like this.
The paperwork and process was extensive and shocking. We felt so violated and mistrusted. Background checks, intrusive home studies, several interviews about us and our childhood... It was exhausting and frustrating. It was terrifying.
Once the paperwork was done, the real waiting game began.
(I'd like to note that during this "wait" - that is when my heart changed. I experienced extreme grief and sadness. But, I also discovered reasons for being happy and excited for the new adventures through adoption. This waiting period changed me in profound ways...though it took time.)
We waited with LDS Family Services for 4 years when we got an interesting phone call. A birthparent caseworker contacted us and asked us to house a birthmother who had chosen to place with another family. Having waited for so long, it wasn't easy to answer, and we asked to have a few days to think about it. Every reason we came up with to say "no" sounded so selfish, and we made the decision to have her in our home.
It was so hard to have a birthmother live with us. She had something we wanted desperately, but had committed to giving to someone else. She taught us something no one else could have: how incredibly special and unique every birthmother is. She opened our hearts and our minds to the possibility of having Open Adoption relationships with our children's birthmothers. I owe her so much for this lesson!
When did we know it was time to change agencies?
After we'd had the birthmother in our home, we discussed what other options we had. We knew at this point that our baby was going to come from whichever agency his/her birthmother felt comfortable. We felt strongly that it was time to move out of our comfort zone (LDSFS)...and search elsewhere for our baby. We looked into several agencies, we even talked about Foster Adopt programs. We never felt satisfied with the answers and places we looked.
3 months following the departure of the birthmother from our home, we received a phone call from Heart & Soul Adoptions. We talked at great length about their agency, and most importantly about the baby they felt was ours. The situation was (from our perspective) rocky and challenging, at best. The possibility of it working in a way that we could keep her, wasn't terribly high at that point. Crazy as it sounds, it just felt right. We knew that this little girl was meant for us. It was nothing short of amazing.
30 days later...we met our first little princess, Marquessa, for the first time. And 30 days after we had her home, we were excited to find out that we were going to be able to finalize!
She joined our family 7 1/2 years after we were married, approximately 6 years after beginning our attempts for "homemade" babies, and nearly 4 1/2 years after going through the paperwork and processes necessary for adoption.
2 years later - we went through Heart & Soul to adopt again, because we knew that's where our baby was coming from. We'd only had our paperwork in for 5 days before we were told Marquessa would have a little sister.
Now...we feel very strongly to have our paperwork through LDSFS once again. Our profile should go "live" very soon. When faced with the process again, I came to the conclusion that I wasn't going to get frustrated...because if I were a birthmom, I'd want to make sure that I was placing my baby somewhere safe and loving. Whoever said "attitude is everything" wasn't kidding. It has been so much easier to go through the process this time.
Sometimes the decisions we make are for our benefit. Other times, it is for the benefit of others. But every decision we make affects someone, in some way. Hopefully the decisions we make affect us, and those around us, in positive and inspiring ways.
Thanks to all those who lift and inspire me and give me reasons to become a better person...