Sunday, September 15, 2013

(Preface to Ryker's Story)

We recently announced our happy news about a baby boy coming to our family in a couple of months!
Part of what makes us all the more grateful to be able to look forward to our future with a plan in view is having experienced the journey that got us to this point.  There are many chapters to our story, some awesome, some difficult, but overall it has been a growing experience for us and a spiritual one at that.

When I hear people light heartedly say, "maybe we'll just adopt, or, "you should just adopt" (as if it's so simple)I don't know whether to cringe, or laugh, or cry for them.  Yes, I do hear occasionally of those rare cases when adoption comes easily and goes smoothly, but in general ADOPTION IS HARD.  It is full of many ups and downs.


1-31-12  We began the mountain of paperwork and endless check list to become approved to adopt. 
Things like: medical reports, infertility reports, criminal background checks, interviews, home visits, reference letters from friends and bishop, completion of 10 hours of training, and the dreaded, forever long home study, etc. . .  To give you a true idea of the process, in a book I read, written by an adoptive mom, she wrote that at one point she had an eighty-two item to-do check list.

11-26-12  Finally, after 10 months, we completed the application process and had become APPROVED TO ADOPT!  Our profile went online and this is where the real roller coaster begins.  Basically, potential birth-parents look at profiles online, find a couple/ family who meets their expectations, and contacts them.  The birth mom chooses her ideal couple, and the couple has the choice to accept the match if it feels right to them.  Let me preface the next part of our journey by saying this is extremely difficult for the birth parents as well.  It is likely the hardest choice of their life: #1- to choose adoption for their baby, and #2- to pick what they feel will be the ideal family and future for their unborn baby. . . With each potential situation that fell through we didn't feel angry.  We respected their change of heart regardless of the reason. . . whether they chose to parent, or chose another wonderful family.  We felt humbled and grateful that they would consider our family, and we enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each girl. Our hearts ached for every single one of them and we honored each of them for their bravery. . .
However, with each failed placement it was a grief cycle:
 First of hope, excitement and anticipation, followed by nervousness, followed by fear, then sadness, confusion, and finally dread (dread of the silence, waiting, and wondering that we knew would follow until the next potential opportunity would arise, never knowing when, or if we would find a match.  Dreading how many more times we would have to go through the disappointment).

1-3-13-  POSSIBILITY #1-- HERE WE GO. . . We got a call from our case worker at LDSFS and were told there was a prospective birth mom who was considering placing her baby with us.  She lived within an hour away, and was due within the week.  We began communication with her by email.  We paced the floors for the weekend, and hardly slept a wink while waiting to hear her final decision.  A few days before the baby was born, she decided to parent the baby.  We had tried not to get our hopes up, but as with each possibility, it was always inevitable.

February and March-  We had several contacts, but none that amounted to anything.  These months were pretty quiet.

3-11-13-  We decided to list our profile with the attorney who does Marshallese adoptions.

4-16-13-  We were contacted by a girl from Florida who told us she was having twin boys, and early on in an email told us, "these babies are yours."  However, it felt like a scam from the beginning because her name kept changing and her story just didn't add up (which unfortunately scams are very common in adoption :o( When we mentioned having her meet with a caseworker from our agency in her area, she vanished.  We never heard from her again.

4-28-13-  Someone from Africa contacted us about adopting their 5 month old boy.  Yes, Africa.  Quickly it became a very odd, confusing web and was very evident this one was a scam.  Luckily, we figured it out before we got our hopes up at all. 

5-28-13-  A young lady from Maryland began to contact us who was due with a baby girl in 8 weeks.  We communicated with her for a couple of weeks and then got a call from her June 9th.  At the end of the conversation she told us she would like to place her baby with us!  She asked us to get online later that night so she could share ultrasound pictures with us!  Um, yes!!!
Then she disappeared and we never heard from her again.
(And no, we're not the only ones this happens to.  Failed adoption plans are common for what ever the reason.  I remember an adoptive mom once saying they would have 12 children if all of the adoption plans went forward each time they heard the words, "I want to place my baby with you."  -- they only have 3 children.)

6-3-18-  A dear friend (who happens to be a birth-mom that we met the first time we were adopting) contacted us through Facebook and told us she had a friend in Montana who was pregnant and was choosing adoption.  She wanted to show our adoption profile to her. Um, double yes!! (Of course, it wasn't anything to get our hopes up about just yet, but it was a start. . .)  (Story continued later on).

6-7-13-  A teenage girl called us out of the blue from California and told us she had found our profile online and felt we would be the perfect family for her 5-year-old brother.  She told us a really sad story of parents being in prison, parental rights being terminated, and an aunt who had custody but didn't want to parent.  All in all, it was a situation that was very complicated and would likely have to go through the State of California and rights would have to be terminated with the aunt. After talking with our caseworker, we referred her to her local LDSFS agency so they could point her in the right direction.  We were sad for this young girl and her darling brother.

6-17-13-  This next situation really rocked us to the core.  It was tough.
We got a call from the adoption attorney in Arizona about a Marshallese baby boy who was recently born 10 weeks premature.  He was in Arkansas and would likely be in the NICU there for about 3 months.  We basically had to decide by the next day.  We prayed like crazy, talked with family members and friends, and millions of questions arose which were unanswered by the time our deadline came.  We asked for more time to get some questions answered and were given 12 hours.  We prayed, and stewed, and struggled.  Bottom line, for some reason we did not feel at ease.  But we agonized at the thought of passing up a baby. Who in their right mind would do that? We questioned whether it was our own fear of the situation, or His will that made us feel uneasy.  We prayed that if this baby was meant to be ours, we would feel just one ounce of peace.  The peace and comfort DID NOT come.  The spirit whispered this baby was not ours . . . and it killed us.  
We tried our best to follow this advice. . .

We weren't so good at the "there is no need to worry" part.  We worried about what the future held.  What if there wasn't another baby in our future and we had gone through all of this for nothing?  Most of all we dreaded the silence that followed.  The "what ifs," the waiting, and wondering were hard . . . 

6-27-13-  10 DAYS LATER! We got the call from the attorney telling us we'd potentially been matched with some birth parents in Oklahoma and their baby boy due in November, which I shared the news about above!!

Well, normally we'd say "that is that!"  Yeah, finally a match!  
Not so fast. . .

The very same day (June 27), I saw a message on Facebook from our friend in Montana who had asked to show our adoption profile to her expectant friend nearly a month earlier.  Since so much time had gone by, we figured she just wasn't interested in us. Well, the message said that her friend wanted to get in contact with us.
So later that day, we began texting with the prospective birth-mom in Montana who was due in September.  The conversation started out well and she hinted that she would like to place her soon-to-be-born baby girl with us.  Then she just sort of disappeared mid-conversation.  We were left very confused for a couple reasons-- one, being that she suddenly vanished in the middle of our conversation and two, now we were unsure now which road we were supposed to take. . . should we accept the match with the Marshallese baby in Oklahoma, or wait and see what happens with "Montana"?

We were brought to our knees in prayer yet again, feeling very grateful and humble, yet weary by this point.  Typically when offered a match, it should feel like a bit of refuge from the stormy sea of adoption.  Finally, a feeling of relief that there is a plan ahead in our future . . .  but not for us quite yet.  We left this one totally in His hands.  We completely relinquished ourselves to His will.  We prayed that we would know what to do and asked that which ever situation we were to proceed with, would progress and move forward naturally.  Days went by, and we never heard from "Montana" again.  Meanwhile, things started to come together with the baby in Oklahoma and as I mentioned earlier, after much prayer and searching of our hearts, we accepted the match about 10 days later.  We know this baby boy is meant to be a part of our family and we can't wait to meet him and snuggle him.

Now here we are, counting down the days until November 23rd eager to meet our baby boy, thanking our Heavenly Father for answered prayers. . . knowing that sometimes our prayers are answered with "no,"  but also knowing they are always answered according to His perfect plan for each of us.

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