Friday, December 18, 2015


It's true what they say.  Time Heals, and It Does Get Better.

A year ago yesterday a baby girl was born in a hospital in another state.  A year ago today we sat on pins and needles watching that little girl slip away from us.  A year ago tomorrow we returned home empty handed and broken worse than we had ever been in our lives.  We don't know that little girl anymore. 
There is still a portion of our house that looks like this and has sat frozen for the last year.

  Not because we want it to, but because we're not sure what we should do with this stuff, and we have luckily been otherwise busy.  It's a bit of a somber anniversary, I'm sure these dates will come and go with less significance in the future, but this week, at one year, it's a strong memory. It is amazing to look back and recognize how much has changed, how differently we feel, and how everything really did work out for the best.  People told us that a lot, and we weren't sure we would believe it, but we do now.  We still think all of that pain and anguish was unnecessary and pointless, but we are a lot wiser and more aware of the true blessing that Lincoln and his birth family are.

Our lives look a lot different now!!

We are getting ready to celebrate Lincoln's first Christmas.  We have enjoyed every minute with him and are thankful every day for the person that his birthmom is.  None of this would be possible with out her and her family's support.  We are planning to celebrate Christmas with her this weekend!
We still see, almost every day, families that are struggling to grow.  We see adoptions failing and hearts breaking.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often.  For those of you still waiting, don't lose hope, there is a very good chance that the right match is out there and you will be led down the path to them.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  May you have hope and prosperity in the new year!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Love You to the Moon and Back!

It is with great excitement, elation, gratefulness, and relief that we are able to finally announce the birth and adoption of our son Lincoln Xavier!  It has been a 2+ year journey and we have finally arrived at our goal: parenthood!  When we began this process we had no idea how it would turn out, where it would take us, or who we would meet, but we could not be happier at the turn of events that led us to our son.

Just the facts:
Lincoln was born 7.2.15 at 9:09 am at Community North Hospital here in Indy (Shout out to our wonderful nurses, Angela, Brittany, Neda, Casey and Nadine).  He was 8lbs, 8.6oz, 22 1/4 inches long.  We were able to be in the hospital from the day before he was born until the day we took him home.  We shared his care in the hospital with his birthmother and her family.  Papers were signed and he came home with us on the 4th of July!  It really was a beautiful experience.  He was welcomed with fireworks! Last 4th of July, we set off paper lanterns with our wish for a child written on them.  This year we set off lantern's thankful that our son was home!  On the legal front, we were not certain until this past week that his adoption would not be contested.

The background:
We were contacted by Lincoln's birthmother back in late March and began developing a relationship with her.   We decided it was best to keep our relationship private due to our close proximity.  This was also a new relationship and we wanted to guard our hearts and expectations after what we had already been through.  We continued to talk and we met several times to get to know each other better.  In early May we had our official "match" meeting where we both committed our intentions to each other and talked in more detail about what the hospital plan would be and what we imagined for the future in an open adoption.  We were able to accompany her to 2 doctor's appointments.  Her last doctor's appointment was 4 days past her due date.  We were able to see baby on ultrasound to check his estimated weight and mom's fluid levels.  We had no idea we would end up staying for the next 3 nights.  They decided to prep her for induction that afternoon!  We were going to have a baby!  It was a bit of a shock, we had to have our family bring us some overnight things, but it all worked out. 

Lincoln's Birth Family:
We have been blessed beyond measure with a young woman and her family who have been incredibly supportive of her adoption plan. She was steadfast in her decision, and never made us feel uneasy that she was going to change her mind.  Her family was with her in the hospital and we got to know them much better in those few intimate days in the hospital.  We truly hope that they came to see our love for Lincoln and for his birthmom.  We continue to develop our relationship and we look forward to more meetings and get-togethers with his birthfamily in the future.  It was really important to us to include her in Lincoln's first portraits.  She is a very important part of his life, and we want him to know that she has been involved in his life since the very beginning. 

Lincoln has been a really perfect baby so far! (knock on wood)  He has slept like a baby :)  He has gotten on a pretty regular 4 hour schedule for several weeks now.  He is growing and eating and playing.  He is starting to smile, and coo.  We are learning his cues and adjusting our sleep schedules to his needs.  

To those of you who followed our story, who shared our story, and who prayed and sent good vibes, we Thank You!  It really was networking and lots and lots of sharing that helped Lincoln and his birthmother to find us.  So what's next?  We have to wait for a court date for finalization.  Finalization is a formal legal process where we will stand before a judge and he or she will officially sign the paperwork and we will legally become his parents, and that is still several months away.  We have to finish our homestudy update, because it has to be current at the time of finalization. Home studies have to be updated annually.  After that, it should be lots and lots of love, hugs, learning, growing, and more sharing.  We are so happy that we can now share with you our amazing news! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two Years and Counting

Well, time has passed and life has most certainly moved on.  Our blog and adoption journey is officially 2 years old.  Once Spring began, we started getting a lot more potential contacts and connections with expectant mothers.  Our agency said they had been rather busy as well.  Finally people are coming out of hibernation I guess.  Since being so open about our hopes to adopt, it seems we have become a sounding board for a lot of families and potential situations.  Often we are the first contact and information women and families are getting about adoption.  We are on the front lines with our phone number and social media, so we try to be as open as we can, knowing full well, that we may never hear from these women again.   We have talked to local families trying to find some answers for their daughters, granddaughters, neighbors, and sisters.  We have spoken to people across the country.  We have spoken to people who were already involved with CPS, so we were not eligible for those situations.  We have spent many hours on the phone, or email, or facebook messages with mothers looking into adoption.  While it can be exhausting to try and navigate the very personal intricacies, we are glad to at least be showing up on people's radar and be a couple that these women want to talk to.  As of right now, most of these situations have not been the right fit for us, hopefully we have pointed people in the right direction, or maybe they decided to parent.  We are still hopeful that something will work out soon!

As for us, life continues to move forward, as is always the case.  We came back from Christmas break and threw ourselves back into our work, partly to keep busy, partly because we are just busy by nature, and partly (for me, Adrienne) to prove to myself that I could come back from such a devastating loss and not let it ruin my life or my goals for myself.  And right now, I am starting to see the fruits of that planning and investment.  I have become much more busy with First Steps clients and photography clients, booking well into the summer now :)  Will has been investing a TON of time with the soccer club and his team.  He is also working with $3Bill to develop a full stage production of their previous Fringe shows "School House Wrong."  Not to mention is day job. We are certainly busy, and it is helping to pass the time and not let us dwell on this long wait!

We have definitely been changed by our adoption experience as a whole, even as it is still unfolding.  We will not let our story be defined by what happened last year.  It is a thing that happened and it has become part of the fabric of who we are and what our story will be, but it is not the only thing.  We like that we have become much more educated on the good, bad and ugly sides of adoption, and we know we will always have more to learn.  But we are glad that we are in a position to potentially help others and educate them on the adoption process, how it works, what the basic laws are (as we have been told by professionals), and what pitfalls to avoid, and just general advice.  We certainly needed it ourselves from others at one time.  We are by no means experts, and we only know our story, but it is an avenue of life that neither of us anticipated traveling down just a few short years ago, so we are happy to share what we can and be a support to others.    I wanted to share a post that we received on Facebook to show how sharing our story seems to have impacted others.
I hope it's OK that we share this since it was posted on social media :)
We received many beautiful posts, but this one has stayed with me all these many months.  If you know Lorie, tell her thanks from both of us!  After all, our greatest goal is to be a positive influence in the life of a child (or children).  For now, we continue to wait and continue to work toward building a relationship with the right person who could make us parents!  

**If you are just now finding our blog for the first time, or coming here because of the story on WTHR, we hope that you will take the time to get to know us.  We hope you will read our blog from the beginning and go to our Facebook or Instagram pages.  Most importantly, if you or someone you know are considering adoption, we would hope you would visit our full profile online directed at potential birthmothers.  ( Even if you don't think we are the right fit, I can personally vouch for many other waiting families who would love to hear from you.**  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's Been One Month... by Adrienne

It's been a long time trying to figure out what exactly to say next.

We've wanted to share the exact details of how everything went down with our baby that didn't come home. We've wanted to put our agency, the birth mom and all sorts of other people on blast for letting this happen. We've started writing a lot of really sad and depressing posts, and a lot of angry posts. We've also started writing a lot of half developed thoughts. It's hard to know what to say when pretty much all words or thoughts or feelings are inadequate. It's hard to find any coherent thought patterns to write a complete narrative about what happened.

I think it's just time to express something. Time to get thoughts out in the open. I will start with the disclaimer that these are my thoughts, my experiences, my feelings, and my grieving process. If you have not been in this situation, I don't expect you to understand or empathize. I know that many people have experienced all sorts of terrible forms of loss and I do not mean in any way to diminish them. I am just trying to articulate a type of grief that I have not seen expressed very much. I hope to articulate the nuances of a failed adoption, at least as I felt it. First let me say that I have really come to appreciate people who just say “I'm sorry”, and “I don't know what to say.” Those are probably the only two honest things anyone can say. “It will get better”, “It wasn't meant to be”, and “this wasn't the baby for you”, “it will all make sense later”, or worst of all “God has a plan” are all pretty much the last things anyone wants to hear when something tragic happens to them. Not only is it not what people want to hear – I'll speak for myself, me, it's not what I wanted to hear- it's pretty much impossible to hear with any sort of perspective when you're in the middle of such grief.

I know it may seem crazy to be going on and on for a month now talking about grief, talking about still being sad and distressed over a child that “wasn't even ours”, but the truth of the matter is that she was ours. In our hearts and minds she was ours. This is a baby that we followed and experienced her growth and development for almost as long as her mother did. We found out about this situation and the existence of this life only about 2 months after her mom did. We nurtured this relationship just as any expectant parent would. We knew it wasn't the same, but we lived it every day. We don't expect to have biological children of our own and so we wanted to try to live as much of this process as we could without actually being pregnant. We have 3D and 4D ultrasound pictures and video. We even have an angel teddy bear with a recording of her heartbeat inside. You can imagine how fabulous it was to come home and remember we had that. We named this baby. The most beautiful perfect name there ever could be for another human being. We even lovingly incorporated the birth mom's name into her name. We loved this baby. We tried not to let ourselves get attached, but those babies have superpowers! We hoped for her, we dreamed for her, we imagined teaching her, we bought things for her. (Not just us, but our families, our friends, and even strangers.) What's weird is that now the baby that we named doesn't exist. When we refer to her by the name that we gave her, it's like a ghost. That person does not exist in the world. I mean she is still living, but she has been renamed, and her birth mother isn't just her biological mother, she is actually her mother, in every sense of the word. As far as that child will ever know, she is the only mother figure she ever had or will have.

As I see it, in the world of adoption there is an understanding that a child knows that he or she was born of one mother and raised by another. That child always knows (or at least would in open adoption) of this scenario of 2 families planning for her arrival. With what happened to us (and to so many other hopeful adoptive families) I am fairly certain that this baby will never know we existed. She will never know how her brief presence in our lives affected us. About the life that she had before she was born, the plans that we made for her, or that there even were any different plans. I mean, how would she? Who would ever tell a child that type of information. “Oh, by the way, you almost lived in a different house with different parents and a different name.” The identity that we had given her is gone. Also in the open adoption that we had planned, the birthmother would have received periodic updates and even visits if she wanted. The birth family would get to see how she was growing up and how her life was evolving. Throughout this process there is so much care to make sure that the expectant mother is comfortable, is counseled (allegedly) and that all of her wishes are followed, up until her time to sign any paperwork. And rightly so, for a woman to actually go through with placement is a gut wrenching experience. But there is no care given to the hopeful adoptive parents. What we want doesn't matter and we are not offered the same amount of care or closure. Right now, for me, I feel like what I imagine a birth mom in a closed adoption might experience. It's all backwards.(Yes I know it's different, I know she's not my blood, I know I never had any legal rights to this child, but I'm trying to draw a loose comparison.) I think I can somewhat understand what it must feel like for a birth mother to place her child with another family and hope that they do the best job any parent has ever done raising a child in the history of the world. I will have to live with the permanent loss of never knowing her future. How crazy is it that something that occupied so much of my time, thoughts, energy, and emotions, can just be gone in a blink of an eye. It's like a dream, a bad dream. I've woken up and it's as good as if it never happened.

What an odd type of death.

Now this is the part that will probably upset people, but I think I want to say it with the disclaimer again that this is my personal experience and revelations while working through my feelings. What an odd type of death, losing a child to a failed adoption. It's not like a miscarriage or a complication of labor. It's not like a death of a grandparent or parent or an aged friend or relative. It is not like something that can be rationalized by an act of nature or biology or old age. It's a loss of something that, first of all, you're not supposed to believe is yours to begin with, and second of all, it's a loss at the hands of someone else. It's not like death because this child is still alive. She is living a life completely devoid of us and we have no say in the matter. How quickly this baby's entire trajectory in life was altered by literally one single second. I often wonder if the butterfly had flapped it's wings somewhere in Asia just one second sooner or one second later, or one ounce harder if the entire Universe would have aligned things in our favor. Of course, that is something we will never know.

It's not an exact comparison, but this poem is the closest thing I have reference to for a situation like this. This poem kept coming to mind when I was reflecting on all of this. This poem was written about children with special needs, but it touches on a parents dreams for their children and what it's like when those dreams are not realized in the way you thought they would be. I think it can also apply to adoption in general and the way most people expect to start a family...

Welcome to Holland
...When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.”  ~ Emily Perl Kingsley

The other thing that has struck me in this whole process is how informal it is. We left the hospital with little more than a “see you later” which never actually came. We never got to say goodbye, we never got to ask why, we never got to do anything. We left one night, and were told that she wanted to “save us the trip back” to the hospital the next morning. And we were back home alone within a matter of hours. But there is no formal grieving process for a situation like this. Actual death can involve the ceremonial traditions of a funeral, a burial, a memorial, some type of closure. This woman just took her baby home and went on with life as usual as if nothing had happened, while we, meanwhile, had to force ourselves out of bed and to eat for the first few days. (I do think she thought long and hard about it.) We had to create our own type of “ceremony” by writing, talking, and sharing with friends and family. However, when it's not a standard event, it is much less understood or appreciated for the profound experience that it is. There is the old saying about how losing a child is not the natural order of things, how there is a name for a spouse who loses a spouse, and a name for a child who loses a parent, but there is no name for a parent who loses a child. What about an almost parent? There's definitely not a name for that person; for a person who on paper and in society never was a parent, but feels the loss just as profoundly. For all intents and purposes we appear to have not lost anything. Our house is just as empty as it ever was. And visibly, nothing has changed. We are right back where we started. Will and I have always said that our status quo is pretty comfortable, and not the worst place to be, but it is not where we want to be. We are in Holland. The fact of the matter is that we are not status quo anymore. We are changed, we are different. We have a hole. It's a little bigger now than the initial hole from not having children in general. Now we have a hole that was supposed to be filled with this particular person, this unique specific life that can not be replicated. That is a space that will never be filled, even by another child. When a child does come in to our lives, I expect that he or she will occupy their very own space in our hearts. I have no intention of trying to fill this hole. Hopefully the hole scars over and won't hurt as bad, but right now, it's raw. I am left to hope and wonder about this person, this child, this life, this “baby that never came home.” I hope the best for her, while fearing the worst. As I told this birth mom in a letter I wrote to her after we got home, it is now her responsibility to give the child she promised us, the life that we promised her.

For the record, she is 1 month old today (1/17/15), and if all of this had gone according to plan, and there were no other issues or unforeseen circumstances, she would have been ours today. The birth mother and father's rights would have been terminated and she would have been ours for all intents and purposes except for the formalities of a few more post placement visits.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Back Home And Grieving...

Today was supposed to be the day that our birth mom would sign relinquishment papers, and we would officially become the parents of a perfect little baby girl. After two days of caring for and watching over this baby who in our hearts was ours, we received a call yesterday morning shortly before 8am telling us that our birth mom had changed her mind and had decided to keep the baby and parent - our worst fears about this process realized. There is no recourse for us. The devastation, loss, anger, frustration, hopelessness, and sadness we are feeling right now is immeasurable. It is a suffering like we have never had to endure before, and we are now back at home and grieving – trying to figure out what to do next. We feel like we lost a baby. We feel like we have been had and cheated. We feel like we have been made fools of. We feel like we wasted other opportunities to become parents.  But most of all, we feel like we have wasted time, money, emotional investment, and compassion on this birth mom who revealed herself in just a few short days to be an entirely different person than the one who we got to know and cared for in the past five months.  We are beyond concerned for the life that has been chosen for this baby who we held, fed, nurtured, and loved in her first hours on Earth. When we finally feel up to the task, we will share the entire story of what has been some of the worst days we have ever had to face.  No doubt, what we have to say, will truly open your eyes about how the adoption process really can be, and often is like, for many many couples and individuals going through this.  Needless to say, there are no protections and not much beyond very basic and superficial support for the risks we assume.  Thank you all so much for the outpouring of love and excitement for us through this opportunity that we had to grow our family.  We wish we could have delivered you the good news you were hoping for.  We will update you all soon. 
~ Will & Adrienne        

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Now THE REAL Update: We're Expecting...To Adopt!

Like we said at the end of our previous post, we have more to tell you.  In fact, we have A LOT more to tell you.  We had these grand notions of keeping everyone up to date to the day through every little nuance of the adoption process, but as it turns out, almost all of the time, the information we are dealing with is so sensitive and uncertain that it takes awhile before everyone involved feels comfortable enough to share.  We are just now at a point where we can feel certain in sharing the story we are about to tell.  You should know, though, that this has been in development for over 2 months at this point.  We feel kind of strange having just posted a blog about all of the birthmom calls that didn't work out - the implication being that we were no further along than a year ago.  We were, in fact, much further along at the time we posted the last blog, but we felt it was important to tell you about all of the unexpected things we had to navigate on the path that has lead us to this moment:

We couldn't be any MORE EXCITED and HAPPY and THRILLED and SHOCKED and ELATED and GRATEFUL and HUMBLED and ANXIOUS and (still a little uncertain) BUT ULTIMATELY OVER-JOYED, to announce that WE.  ARE.  MATCHED!!!

So glad you're happy, Will and Adrienne - what the heck does that MEAN?  TO BE MATCHED?  Well, if adopting a baby is the wedding ceremony then being matched with the birthmom is the engagement.  A birthmom has chosen us to adopt her baby, and we have committed to adopt her baby.  We have agreed to exclusively work with one another to create an adoption plan.  After all the calls and posts and emails that resulted in nothing but disappointment, we have finally been chosen!   We are now working with a wonderful birthmom, and if all goes as planned, we will become parents in...wait for it...DECEMBER!  That's right, in 8 weeks!  So here's the story: 

In the previous blog, we mentioned that our agency, the IAC, had connected us with a birthmom in Ohio.  This Ohio connection came at such a strange busy time where we were navigating other very time sensitive contacts - something that hadn't happened all year.  We were having a very serious debate about whether or not we were going to pursue the Indiana opportunity independently without the IAC because they wouldn't work with this mom due to some things they found in her history.  It was completely insane.  We had absolutely nothing solid all year, AND NOW TWO?  REALLY?  We were in such a strange state of mind that we thought the IAC was offering us this connection to the expectant mother in Ohio as an unlikely consolation for not being willing to work with Indiana mom. (Unfortunately, the nature of the adoption process causes you to become somewhat of a skeptic about opportunities to adopt - scammers, calls and then nothing, other lawyers/agencies seemingly creating more efficient adoption opportunities for their clients, alleged expectant moms giving you too much information exactly how you want to hear it too soon, etc...).  It was unbelievable that in the middle of one very real, yet risky, opportunity to adopt, that a woman in Ohio just happened to see our profile online at that time, like it enough to request our letter, get it shipped overnight, and then be open to talking to us the same day she read our letter.  It seemed unlikely, but here's what happened:

In August, The IAC sent the Ohio woman several Dear Birthmother Letters, she chose 2 that she liked best.  In the same conversation we were having about whether or not it was a good idea to pursue an independent adoption with the Indiana mom, we told the IAC to let this new Ohio mom know that we were very interested in talking to her.  The IAC called the Ohio mom back to let her know, and by 4:30pm that day - the same day in the morning we were concerned we may lose our only real opportunity to adopt with the Indiana woman, we were talking with a new expectant mother who we would eventually come to match with.  We didn't know that at the time of course as she was still considering us and the other couple.  But, we felt good that we talked to her first and our conversation with her was really great. 

Luckily for us, the Ohio mom enjoyed her conversation with us so much that she simply told the IAC that putting her in touch with the other couple was unnecessary.  So now, we had a second prospective adoption opportunity on our hands.  And as you know from our last blog, a week later we would get a call from the Michigan mom who was due in a week.   Needless to say, having three choices nearly killed us:  a birthmom due in September, October, and December.  Ultimately, the correct adoption opportunity and choice rose to the surface.  While the Indiana and Michigan opportunities were tempting because they were happening sooner, there were major red flags and concerns and gaps of information that, in the end, were just too risky for us.  The contrast being that our Ohio mom called us regularly, gave us a lot of information, was really articulate about what she was looking for in an adoptive couple, very friendly, and easy to talk to.  The start to our relationship with her was the way we expected the open adoption process to go.  Over Labor Day weekend, she even sent us an ultrasound picture of the baby.

The day came that we had a major decision make.  It was Monday September 8th.  While we loved the way our Ohio mom was communicating with us, we did keep the door open on the other two opportunities for a week.  It was the week following Labor Day.  We scheduled a trip to Ohio on Sunday September 7th to meet our expectant mother, but in that same weekend we were also waiting to hear back from the Michigan mom who was due on September 11th - in JUST A FEW DAYS.  The Michigan mom told us she would call us by Sunday evening.  Meanwhile, we had a really lovely lunch with the Ohio mom where we finally had a chance to get a sense of one another in person.  It went very well.  So well that she called the agency later that afternoon to let them know that she was ready to match with us - which means we would get taken off the books and the online search as being an available couple.  Here's the rule we didn't realize - when an expectant mother says they are ready to match with a couple, you then only have 48 hours, as the couple, to say "Yes, we want to match too," or "No, we would like to stay available for another opportunity." 

Suddenly, the clock was ticking.  We had not heard from the Michigan mom since Friday, and she was supposed to be having a baby in the upcoming week!  We did not hear back from her Sunday evening like she had told us.  What do we do?  Do we match with the mom from Ohio or go with the baby who is allegedly supposed to be born in Michigan in three days?  So, it was Monday September 8th in the early afternoon, after repeated attempts to reach the Michigan mom and no response, we called the IAC to let them know that we wanted to match with our Ohio mom.  It made more sense.  It felt right.  She was the right fit for us.  Even if we had heard back from the mom in Michigan (which we eventually did, by the way), there were still too many unknown variables and concerns that we had about the situation to risk losing our opportunity with the mom in Ohio.  We knew selecting to match with our mom in Ohio was the right choice for us and what our Ohio mom had already decided was the right choice for her.

Over the next several weeks we exchanged a lot of phone calls and text messages, got to know more about each other, and began the formal process - ie paperwork and meetings with the agency, to make it official.  We have since made one other trip to Ohio where we got to be present for a 3D ultrasound, and we had lunch and hung out all day.  We feel good creating a strong relationship and bond so that this child will know how much they were planned for and how much we both prepared.

We feel pretty comfortable at this time to tell everyone the whole story now... and to share our excitement with everyone who cares to hear it!  (Actually Will wanted to tell people as soon as we matched, but Adrienne wanted to wait a little longer - like another month).  Nothing with adoption is ever 100% certain, and all of this could change at any minute - even after the baby is born - but we feel like we are in as confident a place to be in this process to share our news.  Here it is!:

We're Expecting Baby Girl Pfaffenberger 12/24/14!!! 

We have tried really hard to be cautious with this story and experience.  At this point we feel like it's ready to be shared for several reasons.  #1 We are just excited and want to enjoy it.  We want to have a little bit of what an expectant pregnant couple would have:  planning, wondering, hoping, and sharing this journey with others.  #2 We realize that anything could go wrong with this match at any time and that has made us fearful of having to take all of this back and worried what that would feel like - the less people we tell, the less we have to explain later.  However, any pregnancy is uncertain too.  We really want to share the truth about adoption and matching and potentially unmatching is part of that.  Hopefully we never have to share that, but it is a very real possibility.  We feel it's only fair to write the whole truth and not just the shiny happy parts.  But, right now, we feel like we're in a pretty good place.  The time is going quickly and it's getting harder and harder to avoid the topic or skirt around the subject when people ask!  Right now, we are matched, expecting to become parents of a baby girl in December, and we really couldn't be any happier!


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Even When It's Good, It Is Hard To Get Excited...

Since June, this adoption journey has taken us on some serious ups and downs.

Over the summer, we officially became desensitized and grew accustomed to the process of fielding one phone call from a potential birth mom never to hear from her again.  Our last one of these kind of calls was in June from an expectant mother in Michigan.  We really liked our conversation with her, thought it went really well, and then she just disappeared, which for us, had become par for the course up until that point. 

We then took a vacation (see last blog post), which was a welcome distraction and a nice get away for the two of us, but very soon we were back to the reality of nothing happening on the adoption front. 

In July, the only thing we had going was having to go through the process of renewing and re-upping the stuff that goes along with our home study (background checks, fingerprints, health check-ups, etc.) since we were approaching our 1 year anniversary of having it approved.  You have to renew your home study every year.  That's right, IT'S BEEN ONE YEAR NOW.  We were really hoping something would happen before we had to do this, but no such luck. 

So much wasn't happening with adoption over the summer that we started to wonder if we needed to go in a different direction.  We started researching Foster Care and other similar types of opportunities to become parents.  We went to hear the lawyer the IAC uses do a talk at the agency on a Saturday morning just so we could basically feel like we were doing something proactive.

We wondered if our Dear Birthmother letter wasn't good.  We wondered if we needed to do more traditional paid advertising.  We wondered what the IAC was doing to help.  We wondered if we should hire another lawyer or agency to also work on this for us.  We had a pretty detailed laundry list of concerns that we were going bring to the IAC for our annual home study renewal check-in meeting, and then the flood gates opened in August...

We aren't sure why, but things started happening after two things -
1.  Adrienne found an abandoned baby bird in our driveway and we took care of it in a box we put in a tree until it flew away. 

2. Will posted this picture of the nursery we've slowly been assembling asking if anyone knew a baby who would like to live this room.  This actually generated a lot of viral response we weren't expecting.   

We know that those things were probably coincidences, but if you think they had something to do with it, nurse a baby bird back to health and post a pic of your empty nursery on social media if things are going slow in your adoption process.  If you just do those two things then you'll get an overwhelming amount of response like we did in August...

August was nuts.  Will refers to it as the most stressful and rigorous month of work he has ever had - all of his jobs culminated into major projects all at once.  He had to go to a radio conference in Chicago, he was opening a new $3Bill Fringe Show, and he was running a major tournament event for his soccer club for the first time.  Why not add on to that an inordinate number of calls from expectant mothers?

We received a call from a woman in Nebraska.  Adrienne talked to her briefly and then nothing.  THEN, we received a Facebook message from an expectant mother in Indiana who was due in October - more on that in just a second.  THEN, we received a call from an expectant mother in Indiana who had JUST GIVEN BIRTH - more on that in just a second.  Our agency then connected us with an expectant mother in Ohio who had requested our letter.  And Finally, remember that call I wrote about just a few paragraphs ago that took place in June?  Well, that expectant mother from Michigan called us back too - about a week before she was due.

Here is the insane story about how all of this played out - adoption is not an easy road, friends:

The expectant mother from Indiana who was due in October was definitely pregnant (an important thing to know for sure before moving forward because sometimes they aren't!).  We even met her for dinner once, and she seemed very nice, but with a few eccentricities.  Upon receiving more information, the IAC determined that they would not work with this woman due to some things they had found in her history.   They would not work with her because we are doing an open adoption, and in an open adoption, to one extent or another, there will be some kind of relationship between the birth mom and the adoptive parents and the agency.  The IAC felt like these issues (based on history of dealing with them) would prevent this woman from maintaining a positive relationship with us and the agency...POTENTIALLY - no one really knows for sure if there would've been any issues at all.  So, this left us in the awkward position of having to decide whether or not we wanted to move forward on our own without the agency's support and just hire a lawyer at an additional expense to help us complete this adoption.  This was a very difficult decision for us because this was the first time that we thought that we had a real opportunity to match with an expectant mother.  Ultimately, no agency support and a lot of uncertainty about the situation lead us away from this opportunity, but it was so incredibly hard to even consider walking away from this chance.  We couldn't believe that our first real chance to become parents was a situation that our agency wouldn't support.  We spent several days sorting through the information, consulting with our families and agency representatives, and trying to find ways to make it work, but after many of hours of exhaustive practical and emotional analysis, we concluded that it just wasn't right for us.  And on top of that, we suddenly had a lot of other expectant mothers calling us simultaneously...

So then, there was the Indiana Birthmom who called us who had just given birth:  She was in the hospital with a new baby.  Her friend sent Will a Facebook message while he was on the air around 7:30am requesting the link to our adoption profile, and Will replied with the link.  This happens all of the time, so he thought nothing of it.  At 10am, Adrienne received an emotional phone call from this woman.  She had just given birth at 4am, she was considering adoption as an option but the baby came earlier than she expected it to and so she had not gotten far in the process.  After this conversation, we notified the IAC, and they simply told us to wait for more information.  From this point forward, we had a couple of more conversations with the friend who FB messaged Will, and she gave us updates as the day progressed.  By the end of the day, the woman was having meetings with the hospital counselors and by the next morning, she decided to parent.  But, it was a crazy 24 hours for us to think that we might have had to have prepared to have a baby in our house that fast.  Also, incredibly exciting and ultimately disappointing...  which, if we are being honest about the adoption process, is kind of how this always works.  Just when you think you can get excited, there is always something that will most likely disrupt that feeling... usually in a big way.

Speaking of ups and downs and things that happen more regularly in the adoption process than they should - let's talk about the expectant mother from Michigan.  She first called us in June and told us she was due on September 11th.  She and Adrienne had what seemed like a great conversation.  Then - she disappeared.  Usually this happens because once an expectant mother has a conversation with a real person on the other end, the prospect of adoption becomes suddenly very real for her and all of those emotions and considerations come pouring to the surface.  Many reconsider adoption at this point from what we understand.  In our case, we don't know for sure, but most of the time when this happens it means they have made a different choice. Well, she called us back for the second time about a week before she was due just a few weeks ago.  At this point, we had moved on in our minds, but again, the opportunity to adopt is something HAVE TO always consider - we never know how many chances we are going to get.  We felt like we weren't going to have any chances based on how the year up until this point had gone.  SO NOW, we were talking to the expectant mother in Indiana, had been connected to an expectant mother in Ohio, and now had a call from an expectant mother in Michigan due in a week.  

 We went from absolutely no prospects in May, June, and July to THREE VERY REAL prospects in 
August, and for the first week in September were having very elaborate conversations about what direction we needed to go in.  Who do we choose and how?!  HONESTLY, we wanted to say, "Give us all three!"  But you can't do that, and I'm sure all you parents are laughing at us right now saying, "How about you try one first before making such a bold claim?"

Well,  here's what happened... Without the agency's support, we had to move away from the Indiana birthmom - the IAC made sure she was supported by other organizations to assure she could pursue an adoption elsewhere.  AND THEN, the expectant mother in Michigan sounded like an amazing immediately gratifying opportunity and would have been much faster for us, but when we attempted to reach back out to her, she essentially became unavailable AGAIN.  Knowing she was due in a week or two did not seem to generate the same amount of urgency for her and as it did for us.  And keep in mind that we knew nothing about her - health, history, background, etc.  There IS A TON to establish with birthmoms and adoptive parents before the due date and we were hoping that we would get the responses we needed to trust and understand her and feel comfortable moving forward in this kind of relationship with her. Not to mention that the laws in Michigan would require us to stay there for 2-3 weeks awaiting clearance to cross state lines and come home, on very short notice.   Unfortunately, we never did get the conversation we needed to have with her so all of this excitement has still left us in the same position... Waiting.  It has definitely been a learning experience.

All the while, we haven't really felt comfortable talking about anything, which is why there have been a lack of posts. We've shared with our families, and gotten some advice throughout this process, but it's really hard to talk about something that is so uncertain.  It's also difficult to go through all of this in such secrecy or to celebrate any small victory like a regular pregnancy.  We don't want to talk about it and get people's hopes up, or worse yet, have to explain how or why things didn't work out.  It's not like being pregnant and having a pretty good idea of what's going to happen in 9 months.  Nothing is certain until all the papers are signed - which, by the way, is months after the baby is born and in your home.  So many hurdles left!  

Don't worry, there is still more to tell, but this post is super long.  We'll continue the updates very soon!