Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Birth Mother's Thoughts

We are trying to think of way to not only encourage other families to adopt, but also give a positive voice to adoption. In this post we are trying to improve this journey for everyone involved by opening our eyes to what birth parents go through who choose to place there child for adoption.

We wanted to give a birth mother an opportunity to give us insight as to what they feel and experience during the process. Below is a snipit of Abbie's story.

"Adoption has so, so much potential. In my case, I grew up in an extremely abusive household. I've been beaten, battered, physically, emotionally and mentally tortured, my entire life from people who were "family". I have racist, prejudiced "family" who no matter where I've been or what I've done, they have bent over backwards to have a controlling interest and damming attitude, as no matter how great or how amazing, it was horrible and had to go. To find myself engaged, I was thrilled. To find myself pregnant with twins, I was horrified.

So was my fiancee. He ran.

When your not an abortion advocate, (i am pro-life but respect folks choices in life to leave it at that) You have to think the options are adoption or keeping the baby. My girls deserved better. My girls did not deserve to grow up where I had, even though I could provide for them. No, adoption seemed like such a great choice. Especially open adoption. So I walked in the door. Little did I know, my adoption, although not even started yet, was already horribly messy.

At 4.5 months I was completely turned away altogether by the only agency in my small town.
Because I hadnt given birth before.......I was turned away and told to come back at 6 months along, when I've accepted the idea that i'm really pregnant. I was measuring 34 weeks for a singleton with twins at the time.

At 6.5 months along, I wasn't allowed to look at certain profiles, because of the possibility of pre-term labor, which my agency defined as a "special need" Their reasoning? If I selected a multiple accepting family, but not a multiple accepting with special need family, I could severely detriment their mental state, and possibly inhibit their chance of a successful adoption because they were working with me at the time. Never was it mentioned that I could have to choose another family because the family I selected wasn't able to handle preemies, just what their concerns for the adoptive families were.......

This left me with 2 choices for in-state (the less horrifying of the court dates choice)
One was a family whose religion was LDS. I don't know enough about the religion nor could I find out enough information to see what their beliefs were, which scared me even more.

If you walk into my agency right now and you are 8 weeks pregnant but you have given birth before, whether you placed or not, my agency will bend over backwards for you. They will leave you alone in the confrence room with every profile in the building while they work on housing, and assistance for you. If you are white, it happens much much faster. If you have placed a child before, they will get you lunch and go pack you up out of whatever situation you were in to help you better yourself. You, have known and accepted the reality of pregnancy and giving birth.

However, if you've never given birth before, you may not walk in the building until you are 6.5 months along.

If you are carrying multiples you may only see profiles of special needs and multiple accepting families, unless there is a racial consideration, thereby limiting your profile choices to next to nil. You cannot contact a birthfamily nor will they be contacted on your behalf until you have come to 6 counseling sessions (to see if your serious about considering placement). So that narrows it down for most moms, looking at profiles at 7 months along. Depending on family interest, and some other factors, it may take a few weeks to get together to see if its a great match. IF, the match seems good at 7.5 months then you are a lucky one who gets about 2 months before birth to really get to know your chosen family.

But what about the ones who don't? What about friends like mine who chose their family 2 days before the birth for an "open adoption". They are giving their babies basically to strangers! In an effort to promote open adoptions nationwide, Im (gulp) suggesting a revolution.

Lets encourage adoptive families and most agencies to completely change their ways of thinking. This isn't clinical. It shouldn't be treated as a whose better situation. Adoption is an extremely hard but severely love driven choice, that isn't to be taken lightly, nor made quickly. A rushed decision doesn't lead to the best for any child, or any adoptive family either. Think about how much the adoptive family is missing without really knowing the woman who gave birth to their child. Remove the visiting and sharing pics, etc. for a minute. If you are adopting, think of what would happen if you go into a hospital and pick up a baby that they say is yours and you just walk away. Yes, you would have a baby. But that is all you would have. You dont know if everyone on both sides of his genetic heritage had environmentally induced
asthma from birth and they were on this or that medicine to survive. You dont know that when he is 4 and decides that peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwiches are the best things ever, that you dont need to throw up, he gets that from his birthmother.

Adoptive parents, just picture this. What would happen, if you KNEW who was giving birth to your child. What if whatever experience or events led you to choosing adoption, could be vicariously lived through one incredible woman who not only wants to share this with you, but has decided the best option for her child was to entrust you with his or her care? What if ( this is an example done by a friend) you, and she both kept a journal. You could be writing all sorts of things about what you do, your likes and dislikes, your plans for the future with your children, your feelings during this time, and then while she was reading that, and knowing that you were so breathlessly waiting for the chance to offer her child everything you had, she was filling you in on the details. Who has what diseases. That she recommends the baby get allergy tests at birth because both her and her brother spent time in the NICU with severe breathing problems before someone realized they were environmentally asthmatic, allergic to pollen and grass, and she would like the baby to not have to go through that, as well as you have the knowledge on whats ahead, to help you be better parents to this precious child. What if you decided to meet Tuesdays and Thursdays to talk about where life is taking you, what you both desire as far as communication after the birth. Do you want to be super close? If so, what does she want? The more time you have to talk about this before the birth, the better, more keepable plan you can have. This benefits all by making sure the plan is clear and concise to the best of your abilities. Doing so makes birthing a baby intended for adoption that much easier. That less of a stress on your birthmother. This just gives you that much more of an amazing chance, at an amazing relationship, with tons of love and support surrounding your adoption .

This is why im advocating that any birth mother should be able to talk with anyone at an adoption agency at any time. Im also advocating that adoptive families should open their eyes to the amazing possibilities of this experience. I believe, if you are brave enough, to accept talking to someone who may be interested in placing with you, from a very early start in the pregnancy, you will receive a reward, one day, when your child comes to you and thanks you, for being brave, keeping the lines of communication open, and completely understands the choice of placing him or her for adoption, and knows that all the people involved, put it all on the line, out of love, for them. "

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Orphans Deserve Better

I know this post is late, but I know that people still don't know about this movie. So, I am going to post it here too!

There is a movie that was released last week that is called Orphan. It is about a 9 year-old girl that is adopted into a family. After the transition into her new family she begins to terrorize everyone she knows, including her new family. The preview alone is enough to make anyone that has considered adoption, but is "riding the fence" run in the other direction. I realize that people that are considering adoption won't actually go see this movie, because it is a horror film. What gets me is that trailer and preview. So many people have seen it.

Someone asked me last week why it was so upsetting since it was fictional and a horror film and not reality. This is why...most people that talk to me about adoption and fostering have fears about how the transition will go. Usually the conversation moves to the age of the children they would be open to and a fear of what trauma they might have experienced. Then it moves to the thought that we don't want to expose our children to something harmful. This is why Orphan is so upsetting. It is focusing on something that actually could happen, but is not common. It is stereotyping children that need a family as one that is to be afraid of. It pushes all of us to fear and not to seeking what Christ is asking us to do in caring for the fatherless.
Please help us by signing this petition and asking Warner Bros. to donate some of their profits from the movie to help orphans around the world.
A local news station called our agency last week and said they were doing a story to counter the release of this movie. They interviewed the director of the agency and our family. Please let me preface this by telling you that this was done last minute and evidently I didn't have time to remove the gum from my mouth! So embarrassing! Anyway, at least they gave the adoption community an opportunity to speak up about this film! Just wish I could have been a better spokesperson...SORRY! I am linking the story below because I can't figure out how to link it to this post!

News Story on Orphan

KOKH FOX 25 :: Top Stories

Shared via AddThis

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Adoption Task Force

Whoa! I am so excited about this group and what they are doing!

On Friday, the committee had their monthly meeting and I sat in on it. I wasn't really invited, but was told it was open so I went to see what they do. It was so cool!

This is a group of people who are working together to improve adoption in the state of Oklahoma. They are not just working on domestic adoption, but international and DHS adoption as well! The two men leading the meeting were Representative Jason Nelson and Senator Steve Russell. I am not sure how this committee was put together, but they did a wonderful job opening the doors to so many different people in different areas to create a wonderful balance. There were 3 judges, several different agencies represented, the Oklahoma Adoption Coalition, a public defender and that's just what I could see from the name tags I could read!

I was so proud of myself for keeping quiet and just listening. Blake will be the first to tell you that I am not a good listener, so this took a lot of work for me to just sit there and take it all in. In all honesty though, I was just shocked at all they are wanting to do with this committee! It makes me so proud of our state that we have this group of people working to better adoption for everyone involved. The group broke out into subcommittees to look at different areas to be addressed: courts, adoption related expenses, and children's rights.

So I just had to let you know what we are doing to continue to support changes in law and find resources to encourage those that are thinking about adoption. If you haven't yet contacted these two politicians about our desires to amend current laws in OK with Cooper's Law please take the chance to do so today. If you click on their names above it is linked to their contact information. I am hoping that with my presence at these meetings I could draw more attention to this amendment. Please also pray for everything that we are following what God is calling us to do in Oklahoma to care for His children and families.

If you would like to know more about Cooper's Law, go here or email us ( and we'll send you the full text amendment. Some of you asked about a form letter so that you could have friends easily send out an email, but after researching it we decided that they are not very effective. My email was not lengthy but let them know why I supported Cooper's Law and how much I appreciate their attention and concern for adoption in Oklahoma. Thanks again for your constant support!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Private Adoption - Option Number 3

So there really is a third option. You can privately adopt a child, without going through an agency and without going through DHS (to some extent). Here is how it works. Find someone willing to place their child up for adoption. That is the trick! Seriously - I know it sounds weird, and I am sure to you sounds a little ridiculous! But it has happened to me TWICE. We told people that we were considering adopting a child. And TWO times we were contacted by families about adopting their children. If you have read my story - you remember that my husband and I were going to adopt a little girl from Texas. Literally - a lady from our church had an old friend from highschool, who had a thirteen year old daughter who was pregnant! And that was it! Obviously you still have to do a homestudy and background check (DHS) but you can literally pay for an attorney for the birthparents (if they request one) and then hire your own attorney to finalize the adoption. You don't HAVE to use an adoption agency and you don't HAVE to go through DHS foster care or waiting child.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER. Be very careful of whom you hire. Many attorney's will be willing to do your adoption. But you want to be careful that you know the right questions to ask. You understand the billing arrangements. You know what you will be paying for. You have a good working relationship with an attorney you trust. In my book - ask someone you know who has adopted and ask for their attorney. Chances are - you will have a similar experience . (A post coming soon on how to pick an attorney and questions to ask!)
Obviously - our practice The Patterson Law Firm does these types of adoptions. We have clients who have "found" children (for lack of a better word) and we have assisted them in terminating the parents rights and in adopting their children. There are draw backs to private adoptions. We do not provide services for the birthparents, we do not provide follow up with you or counseling for your family. We simply do the legal work. For some - this is the best option, as they avoid the expense of an agency. And I assure you that if you are strapped for cash - this is likely the only option.
To each their own. Not everything works for everyone! So read all three options and choose the best option for your family!