Note: this post is a little long and I apologize for the general wordiness of it. 🙂 Adoption is a complicated process and there are so many thoughts swirling around in my head. Sometimes writing them down helps me organize those thoughts, and after the great response to our infertility story, I’m hoping that this update will continue to support others who are on the adoption journey (or even those simply contemplating it).
I am so blessed. As I sit here on my couch, drinking my coffee, my little dog is cuddled up next to me. My husband is working downstairs. We have a beautiful Christmas tree filled with ornaments we’ve picked up from all over the world. Our house is warm and we have good food to eat. Our marriage is happy and we have family and friends that are simply amazing. Life is good.
While I’m so thankful for what we do have, I’m sad that we still are waiting for a child to join our family and experience all of these wonderful things.
Photo above of us was taken by our friends Doug & Jackie at Doug Treiber Photography in Colorado. 🙂
As I shared at the beginning of the year, Ben and I are trying to adopt a child. We desperately want to become a family of three and have been trying to start our family since Christmas of 2009. It took three years and six miscarriages, until Christmas of 2012, for us both to be on board with the idea of adoption. Now we’re here, and we are just about to enter our fifth year of trying to start a family. After a year on the adoption path, I thought I’d fill you all in on what that year has been like.
At the beginning of the year, after deciding to adopt, we went into heavy research mode. We looked at how much adoptions cost; turns out the national average is around $30,000. Different agencies. Types of adoption (international, domestic infant, foster-to-adopt, special needs adoption), and even surrogacy. We looked at how long it would take. Even if everything went well, it would still take several months for us to finish up our home study, plus the additional time to actually find an expectant mother who would choose us to raise her child! We assumed we were looking at a minimum of six months, but realistically 1-2 years.
So ultimately, we decided we’d use an adoption agency for our home study and attempt to find a match ourselves. This is called an “independent adoption” for an infant. There are some pros and cons to this. The biggest pro is the financial side of things. It is likely that our independent adoption will range from $7,000-$11,000. Most agency infant adoptions start at $15,000 and can go up to $40,000. The other reason this appealed to us is because we wouldn’t be presented to expectant parents along with 20+ other couples.
Photo above by my sweet friend Tamara of Poppy Photography in British Columbia
With that said, there are some downsides to this approach. How successful you are really depends on how well you and your network can share your story. In our case, I have a background in marketing, knew how to build a basic website, and how to run a Facebook page so it wasn’t terribly difficult. We were incredibly fortunate that our story really resonated with our family, friends, and even complete strangers because it was shared quite a bit. One of the most negative aspects of independent adoption is that it opens you up a lot more to potential scams. We knew this and were watching for financial scams, but were actually victims of an emotional scam. To be honest, I didn’t even know anything like this existed. Basically, we were contacted by a woman with a newborn baby. She said she lived 25 minutes away from us and wanted to place her child with us. We spent hours and hours chatting, Skyping, and messaging. Two separate times we thought we were going to get to meet our “son”, and one of them was supposed to be an overnight visit. We washed baby clothes, prepared the nursery, and basically did everything that parents do before they plan to bring home their children. Only… both times, she never showed up. Then she basically stopped communicating. A month or so later, I was on an adoption scam board and her name popped up. Turns out that she did this to several couples, and since she never once asked for money, quite a few of us were “emotionally scammed” by her.
I can’t even imagine what kind of sick things must go on in someone’s mind for them to play with hopeful adoptive parents like that. Most of us have already been dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss, and then to struggle through an adoption scam where we think our dreams of parenthood will finally come… only to have her exposed as a complete liar who wanted to hurt us… well, that’s disheartening.
However, there have been some amazing things that have happened because we were so open with our story. We were contacted by a couple of (real) expectant mothers. For a handful of reasons, those matches did not work out but it was encouragement that we were doing something right. In fact, we are currently talking with a very sweet expectant mama who lives about an hour from us. We’ve developed a great relationship with her and for this we are very grateful. There are some unknown variables in this situation but we are hoping and praying that we are able to adopt her child though we won’t know for sure until much closer to delivery. With that said, even if this match doesn’t work, we’re thankful she’s been brought into our lives and don’t see her friendship going anywhere.
So there are a couple fun things I’d like to share before I finish this post.
The first is that I am floored by the amount of support we’ve received from everyone, even complete strangers, for simply sharing our story. At this point we’ve received hundreds of private messages and even more comments on our Facebook page from people who are praying for us, encouraging us, giving advice that helped them on their adoption journey, and offering to put us in contact with family/friends of theirs that have adopted. If there was ever any doubt that people can be so amazingly GOOD… well, I would say it’s so completely true. For these complete strangers to take the time to encourage us is an amazing blessing. It reinforces the fact that I shared our story for two purposes: to hopefully lead us to our future child AND to encourage others who are feeling very alone as they battle with their own infertility or pregnancy loss story. It was hard for me to share such personal details but I have never, even once, regretted it. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The second thing I’d like to share is that we’ve had some fun experiences this past year. Our story has been picked up quite a bit – two front page news articles in regional newspapers. We were asked to screen test for an adoption documentary series as they look for a couple pursuing open adoption for their pilot show. (We won’t know the results of this until later in January). And we’ve made some fantastic friends, met some amazing people, and been introduced to some sweet adoptive families. So this journey towards our adoption has been very bittersweet. Mostly sweet, only a little bit bitter.
We are hoping and praying that 2014 is the year we meet our future child. A few days ago I watched an adoption video and there was a line that really resonated with me. It said something along the lines of, “We waited for years to meet our son. But it wasn’t wasted time… we were that much closer to him than we were when we started”. Thanks for your support this past year; you’ve made this time of waiting so much sweeter. Have a great weekend, everyone!