Monday, January 27, 2014

Part II: Dear Birthmother Letter, Approval, Waiting, Cool Stuff for Us, Scammers, and Statistics!

Now that you've read about what it was like getting our Dear Birthmother Letter produced, approved, and posted live so that we could officially become available to be selected as adoptive parents through the IAC, let's talk about what that means and what has happened with all of that and us since November.

We have been live for two, almost three, months now.  This means our iheartadoption website/profile is available to be found by potential birthmothers considering adoption and the IAC has a stack of our Dear Birthmother Letter brochures to send out to any mother they do an intake on who matches our adoptive profile.  And that's it.   This is what they call "The Baby Wait."

We wait.  And while we wait, we pretend like our lives are exactly the same and try not to dwell on how much we really want something to happen.  We stay busy.  For example, Adrienne decided that it was time to take her photography business out of our house and into it's own commercial space.  In November, we found the perfect place in Avon, signed a lease, renovated the entire space in two weeks by ourselves, and revealed the Adrienne Nicole Photography Studio to our families on Thanksgiving Day.  She was unofficially taking photos at her studio in December and just this past weekend had her official grand opening to the public!  She had two newspaper articles about it and is picking up clients left and right.  For me, it was business as usual - we did all the Smiley Morning Show holiday stuff, Three Dollar Bill Comedy produced another sell out Christmas Show for The IndyFringe Theatre, I finalized plans for USA of Indiana's winter soccer training for our travel teams, and made 2014 plans / continued producing The Will Show Podcast / Radio Show.  We realized that this adoption thing is going to unfold at its own pace and as much control as we would love to have over the developments, until something happens or there is a break-through of some sort, we just have to keep moving forward with all of our regular ambitions.  In fact, we are happy to be busy with all of these things that we love because otherwise we'd be going crazy about there not being many developments on the baby front.  We are the type of people who like to go make thin
gs happen, but with adoption, it seems like it pretty much just has to happen to you.  We accept that it'll happen when it is supposed to.            

That's not to say nothing has happened!  A couple of things have happened. Since going live at the beginning of November, we have had 2 or 3 phone calls to our adoption line, been "selected as a favorite family" on our website two times, and have exchanged emails with one scammer lady in Ohio.  All of these leads have essentially amounted to nothing beyond fueling our hope for a short amount of time.  It at least confirms the fact that we are findable as a couple looking to adopt.  To be fair, we were told that this is how it works - a lot of leads, not a lot of developments.  So, we've rolled with those punches, and it really hasn't bothered us that much.

I had the forethought to grab a screen shot during an actual phone call.  
Adrienne took the calls on our adoption line.  One was inquiring on behalf of a friend or an acquaintance whom we never heard from again.  One was an actual expectant mother who left us a message and never called us back after our attempts to reach her.  And, I think one was just a no message hang up.  We did find out that our 1-800 number must have been associated with some herbal pill company before it went out of business because we have received a couple of calls from people "lookin' for their pills!"

From Adrienne: The first time the phone rang, and really every time, I stare at the phone, take  inventory of if I have a pen and paper available and if I'm even in a position to speak and give enough time to the phone conversation.  It never fails that it rings when I am in the bathroom or have my hands full coming in from the car.  I let the first few calls go to voicemail because my heart was beating so fast, I had no clue what to say.  Luckily they were wrong numbers or telemarketers.  I've since been able to answer the phone and say, "I'm sorry you've got the wrong number, we don't sell vitamins."  ha!  and at least practice how I will answer.  It is definitely nerve-wracking!

As far as being selected as a "favorite family," we have no idea what the implications are for that exactly.  It just means we were starred or liked or bookmarked by someone who read our iheartadoption profile online.  It could be a real potential birth mom OR it could be a crazy scammer lady like the one we dealt with for one day right before the new year.

So, here is that story:  We received this email in our iheartadoption inbox from this lady, we'll call her "N" from Ohio (as much as we want to call her out, she's obviously going through something to make her want to act like this.  Also future potential birth mothers or expectant mothers need not worry).  Her note seemed a little odd because it was about two sentences long and offered way too much detail about the pregnancy up front - as if to answer the questions we would have asked next before we asked them.  We kind of thought it was fishy, but we entertained the communication as if it were real.  We constructed these emails back and forth to establish a rapport and get some more information.  We gathered enough info to google her and found out her approximate age and a link to her facebook page.  After seeing some strange stuff on her FB and discovering that she was older, we definitely became suspicious, but we continued the email conversation to the point where we asked if the IAC could contact her.  She actually said yes!  It wasn't five minutes later that we received a phone call from the IAC telling us that this lady was a habitual scammer who had done this to other couples on the iheartadoption site.  She apparently does it for the attention or fun or something.  I guess she was so good at saying the right things, that in October, she even got so far as to send a fake ultra-sound picture to the IAC as proof of pregnancy for intake.  Obviously, she was quickly discovered to be mentally ill, but because she really isn't breaking any laws, this woman is still out there.  For us, we decided that it was good practice in constructing casual inviting emails to establish rapport and an important reminder about how careful you need to be when developing these new relationships.

I guess the last part to talk about are our statistics!  That's right!  The IAC sends out stats every month about how many of your Dear Birthmother Letters they've sent out and how many matches they have made within the agency.  Well, in November, our first month of being live, the IAC sent out... DRUM ROLL PLEASE...  0, yes ZERO, of our letters!  Lol!   So, not great.  All that means is that there were no potential birthmothers within the IAC database who matched our adoptive profile.  Maybe December will be better...  we still haven't seen those stats.  I guess it takes a full month later to get them.

Oh, one last funny thing!  At Thanksgiving, we finally got around to sending thank you notes to everyone who helped us raise our adoption funds in the Spring and Summer of last year through our garage sales and fundraisers and donations.  We are happy to say that we made our last payment to our agency in November and have enough left in the adoption account to cover the next payment we have to make when we match with a birthmother in the future.  So, sorry for the delay in your note, but we couldn't think of a better time than over Thanksgiving to let you all know how very thankful and appreciative we are of you and your support.  We couldn't have gotten this far without many friends and family and acquaintances and kind strangers who have helped.  This journey is far from over, but we've come a long way, and it certainly would not have been possible without all of you.

AND... if you know someone who is pregnant and considering adoption, send them our way this year!  You'll get a bigger card for that. 

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