Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Easter, Ya'll

Yesterday was Easter and it just happened to be a beautiful day. So we celebrated with, what else, an Easter egg hunt!

Our daughter woke up to a message from E.B., who had apparently raided our fridge and hidden the eggs she dyed the day before. (What is the deal with the bunny hiding the eggs anyway?) She had just gotten the art easel for her birthday last week so the Bunny did well tying it all together.

Easter wouldn't be complete without an Easter basket! Our own little bunny loved hers. It was full of sweets, bubbles, chalk and dry erase pens for her easel. How did E.B. know we needed those? Oh, and a frisbee, which we soon played in the backyard along with the bubbles.

After the basket, we headed out front for our Easter egg hunt extravaganza.

And after all 12 eggs were found, we headed in for a simple breakfast of cereal, fruit ... and you guessed it, eggs! We spent the entire day together, drawing on the easel, playing outside (it was sunny and beautiful), and making dinner. We rounded up the evening around the TV to watch The Great British Baking Show, which we've grown to love. Only a few more episodes to go!

We hope next year the Easter egg hunt will be a little more grand with a little brother or sister ...

Friday, March 24, 2017

The First "No Judgement" Conversation

So what actually does happen when a birth mom reaches out to a couple looking to adopt? Well, the most important thing that happens is, you get to know each other. And that's a basic, because you are going to work together on an adoption plan for your baby. Sometimes that means staying connected on a regular basis throughout the course of your pregnancy. In the case of a baby who is already born, it means working together to decide what your requirements are, when you'd like them to meet the baby, and other details that you'll need to figure out.

Oftentimes that first meeting is over the phone. So while you're not picking up on physical cues, you are hearing tone of voice and getting a sense for whether you actually like this couple (or individual) and feel they would be a good fit as parents for your child. Sometimes the first meet and greet is actually over email or text. While that can sometimes seem impersonal, it's becoming more and more common as technology gets more accessible and sophisticated. And just like anything, it's all what you're comfortable with. Sometimes it takes a while to get to know people. If you want to text or email first to see if it seems like a fit, do so.

In addition to chemistry, it's important for prospective parents to get as much information from you as possible. Sharing information protects everyone and sets you and your child up for a successful adoption process. This isn't about judgement. It's about helping everyone make the best decision. During the first few conversations, you'll want to share some basic information. The prospective parents will ask you:

  • Name, address, age.
  • Whether you are married or single, and your current living arrangements Do you live with your parents, for example? If so, do we need to keep these conversations private, between us, or do you want your parents included in your decision?
  • Birth father, and whether you've talked about your adoption plan with him.
  • Due date and where you're receiving prenatal care.
  • What your preferences are with regard to adoption. Do you want a semi-open adoption, with occasional updates, for example? What do you envision?
  • Do you have any health problems that we should be aware of?
  • Have you smoked, drank or done drugs while pregnant?

The list could potentially go on, but you get the idea. Basically, you're helping the prospective parents understand your wishes for the adoption and giving them information to help provide your child with the best environment and opportunities. Remember to be honest. Just because you might have done drugs early in your pregnancy doesn't mean it's a deal-breaker. That just means the prospective parents need to educate themselves on any potential risks and what to do in the event that the baby has problems after delivery. There's no judgement. 

Finally, as prospective parents, it's important for us to know you too! We want to understand why you're making this beautiful choice, and to help you figure out the best way to make your adoption plan happen - your way.

If you're a birth mom and thinking about an adoption plan, email us: We'll answer your questions without judgement.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What Is Independent Adoption: The Process (Part II)

Image from

Even though adoptive parents don't go through the stages of pregnancy or labor and delivery, they do go through a long and committed process that some say compare. There are quite a few emotional ups and downs involved with the adoption process that, in my opinion, just makes you stronger and better able to handle the experience of raising a child.

Domestic, independent adoption is the route we took for our first adoption, and it's the one we've chosen for this one. We're looking forward to working with a birth mother or birth parents on an adoption plan.

If you're a birth parent and want to know more about the adoption process, I wrote some time ago about the adoption process in our state. What we experience together might not follow this path exactly, but either way, we'll work together to make it happen.

Six Ways to Beat the Winter Doldrums

This winter has been comparatively mild. Still, we've had our share of wet and mostly rainy days. But we look at winter days as an opportunity for family fun. Here's how we celebrate together.

We visit family. Our daughter loves her cousins. Here are two of them hammin' it up with her at a restaurant. She's in her element when she's with family.

We play games and do puzzles. We got a "level-difficult" puzzle from Aunt A for Christmas. Turns out it was nothing Dad and daughter couldn't beat. They knocked this one out in a weekend together.

We walk these bozos. No matter how cold or how wet, these two are always up for an outside adventure. Our neighborhood has lots of trails, walking paths and fields for sniffing, running and throwing balls.

We have pancakes for breakfast. After all, it was Fat Tuesday. 

We eat dinner together every night, and on the weekend eat all three meals together. Preparing healthy, fresh meals is one way we connect as a family. Okay, this is a picture from Food + Wine magazine, but it's what's on the menu for dinner tonight! A rainbow of colors and fresh ingredients keeps meal times interesting. 

Robert has a beautiful garden in the Spring, Summer and Fall. During Winter months, we buy lots of fresh flowers and sprinkle them throughout the kitchen and family room in vases. We couldn't resist these tulips.

Monday, March 6, 2017

What Is Independent Adoption - The Home Study (Part I)

There are so many different ways to adopt, from working through an adoption agency, to fost-to-adopt through social services, to independent (or private) adoption. You also have to consider whether you'd like adopt domestically (in our case, that means within the United States) or internationally. Our first adoption was a domestic private adoption, and we've chosen that path again.

Independent, or private adoption, means the adoptive parents work with an attorney to finalize an adoption. The process is complicated and involves a number of different people. The first step is always a home study. In the case of a private adoption, a home study is completed by an adoption agency, even if the adoptive parents will work with an attorney to finalize.

Independent adoption home study

A home study involves jumping through a lot of hoops (some fiery), but it's an important process because a family that has completed a home study has proven that they can provide a safe and loving home environment for a child or children.

During a home study, adoptive parents are required to complete clearance with the FBI to be sure they don't have a criminal record on file, and child abuse clearance through social services. Both can take a while to complete, as once you submit your request, it must go through the proper channels. The agency will also collect a pile of paperwork including things like driving records and medical exams. You must also complete adoption training. In our case, we had to take 19 hours of coursework on the various aspects of adoption. Topics included substance abuse in utero and considerations when adopting a transracial child.

Probably the most common assumption about a home study is that it involves someone coming to your home. And that's absolutely true! A social worker visits your home 2-3 times to counsel you, ask insightful questions, and to do an environment check of your home to be sure you have a separate room for each child and that you are safely considering all aspects of your home before bringing a child into your lives.

Once all your clearances, paperwork, and social worker visits are complete, the social worker writes up a report and sends it to the affiliated agency. The agency then validates all the information and notarizes it. A copy of the approved home study is then sent to the adoptive parents and their adoption attorney of choice.

Next steps

In our case, we reached out to our previous adoption attorney and told him we want to adopt again. He advised us get our home completed first. The next step is what we're doing now - reaching out to all our friends and family to try and connect with a birth mother who has decided on an adoption plan for her child. I'll explore that process in my next post.

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