Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Signs

Today's post is a "guest post" from Chris!  Enjoy...


Superstition -  a belief or way of behaving that is based on fear of the unknown and faith in magic or luck

Adoption is full of unknowns.  That must be why I find myself feeling superstitious so often.  Where there is uncertainty, humans often have a tendency towards superstition, and a belief that the things we see are good luck.

When you’re deciding which route is best for you to expand your family, you look for signs that you’re picking the right path.

Our church is named after one of the patron saints of adoption.

When you’re looking to match with a birth mother, you look for anything in the limited information you get about that person to take as a “sign”.  This continues when you’re matched.

We were both born in the same year as the birth mother.

Even after you meet the birth mother, you keep looking for signs that the mother will not change her mind and decide to parent the baby herself.

Her dog’s name is the same as one of my top 3 picks for the baby’s name.

Her dad has the same name (first and last) as a former U.S. Senator I’ve always admired.

The birth father told me I look just like an old friend of his, so much that he did a double take when he first saw me.

It’s easy to get sucked into superstition and believe that these things mean more than they do.  But I’m sure many adopting families felt good about their match and saw many positive “signs” before that match fell through, for whatever reason.
 
In truth, looking for these signs probably says more about the constant fear you live with before the adoption is finalized than anything else.  Because the fear is constant.  A few nights ago, Christy told me she thought the hardest part in adoption would be waiting to get matched.  But for us, it wasn’t.  I think she was right. The hardest part is hoping you’ll hold on after you’re matched.  Before you’re matched, you have less to lose.  After you’re matched, you’re eggs are pretty much in one basket.  Until that mother gives birth and signs the placement paperwork, all that time and money you’ve invested could be in vain.

The signs you see along the way can make you feel good, but we’ve decided that the best way to predict the future (and ease our fears) is to create the future.  So we’re in constant talks with the agency to find out how things are going.  We’re there to speak to our birth mother whenever she’d like and address whatever concerns she’s had.   We’ve visited her and tried to learn more about her life and to make her feel confident that we’ll give that baby the right home.  We’ve done our best to make sure she knows we care about her health, safety, and comfort as much as we do about our future little one.

Ask anyone who has gone through the adoption process and you’ll find out that most people’s paths had several unexpected twists and turns.  Everything can change in a heartbeat.  But I’m confident that with the hard work and united effort Christy and I have put forth, all signs point to a successful addition to our family.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Much Needed Pick-Me-Up

I read a lot of other adoption blogs.  It is a great comfort to see that others are on the same path as you, and to share in the milestones, happiness, and heartbreaks that every adoption seems to bring.  We’ve shared the joy of completing our home study, the pain of a failed match, and the anxiousness of waiting with other couples that make up our network.

So we had seen the ugliness people can show when they publicly or anonymously comment about adoption fundraising in a negative way.   Things along the lines of “I wish someone else would pay me for my kids” or “If you can’t afford to adopt a kid, you shouldn’t have one.”  These types of comments have stung many of the people we have met in our adoption journey, but we had been lucky.  Until just recently.

I am writing to let you know that we are really happy for your family and the baby you will be adopting… But I want you to be aware how you asking for money is offending some of us…  We are struggling to keep our bills paid and are asked to donate to you…

These are a few lines from a very hurtful email, sent from an anonymous/unknown email address, presumably by a family member. 

It seems there are two main things to address here.  The first is how hard it is for us to fundraise.  It is extremely hard for us to ask others for assistance.  If we could’ve written a check for $30,000.00, you never would’ve heard a word about fundraisers from us. 

Well before we started fundraising, we made significant changes to our family budget.  Steak hasn’t been on the menu for a long time.  Spaghetti is often on the menu.  I cut Chris’s hair.  All of the clothes we have for the baby have been donations/gifts or purchased at Goodwill or a consignment store.  All of them.  Her crib, changing table, and carseat were all bought used.  Many of Finnley’s Christmas presents came from Goodwill or a clearance aisle.  I didn’t go on a vacation this summer, in part to save money, and partly because adoptive mothers only get a small fraction of the maternity leave other mothers do (if we get any at all).  Chris and Finnley went to his parents’ cabin for a few days this summer as an inexpensive getaway.  We’ve been selling personal possessions on Craigslist for months, and others we put up as raffle prizes for our soup supper.   By far, our most common source of entertainment (movies, books, and music) is the public library.

I don’t mention these things to suggest we live some sort of miserable existence and that everyone should pity us.  I mention these things because we only felt comfortable asking others for help after trimming all of the excess we could from our own budget. We’re a happy family looking to add to our happiness through adoption and the high costs of adoption have led us to not only trim our budget, but ask for help.

There is no shame in asking for help when you need it.  There is shame, apparently, in throwing darts at those who are seeking help.  Otherwise, the emailer would’ve had the courage to include their name.

We’ve been stunned by the support we’ve received so far.  It has come in the form of words of encouragement, prayers, inquiries about our progress, and sometimes financial help.  We’ve been grateful for the support in every one of these forms.

The second part of the email to address is as follows. To the anonymous emailer, and anyone else who has felt this way:  If you can’t afford to help us financially, or simply don’t want to, we support your personal decision to not donate.  There is no shame in saying “I wish I could help, but I can’t at this time”.  This year, we’ve had to say that to some of the charitable organizations we’ve donated to in the past.  If you don’t want to donate, don’t.  If you don’t want to read our blog because we sometimes talk about our fundraising activities or if our posts make you uncomfortable, don’t read it.

We started this blog to share our adoption with those who are interested in following our journey.  Fundraising is a part of that journey for us.  As much as we wish we could afford to adopt without fundraising, like most couples, we simply can’t.  In addition to trimming our budget and fundraising, we have taken out loans to help us afford our adoption.  We have chosen to focus on the positive aspects of our adoption journey on this blog, but if you have questions about the less exciting and/or disheartening details related to the adoption process, please feel free to ask us (directly, not anonymously).  You might be surprised to learn that something you think we’ve done by choice is actually something we are required to do for our home study, our adoption agency, or our matching grant.  

And finally, to our anonymous emailer: if your family is struggling, we encourage you to ask for help.  If we knew you needed help, maybe we could assist you in some way.  Maybe you could use some of the furniture we’re moving out of the guest room to make it into a nursery.   Maybe you have a little girl who could use some of the clothes Finnley has grown out of.  But you’ll need the courage to put yourself out there and ask.  We know how hard that can be.

But, if you need help and you’re willing to ask, you’d be amazed at the aid your friends and family are willing to give.  We know that first hand.

The happy epilogue is that this weekend in our hometown, we went to church, and so many people came up to us and asked how the adoption was going.  Many told us they were praying for us and thinking of us.  When we got home Sunday, there was a card in the mail from a friend who is raising a family of her own and a donation.   

I’m so excited for you.  Hope this helps a little.  It won’t be long now…

After stewing over the anonymous, ill-conceived, and hurtful email for a few days, the note was a breath of fresh air.  It was the reminder we needed that for any one person who has attempted to trip us up on our adoption mission, there have been 100 others who have picked us up.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Happy 2015!

We're starting off the new year with a couple pictures from the 4D ultrasound we were able to schedule during our visit with our birth mother a couple weeks ago in Texas.  Baby Bonfig was camera shy!  Thankfully, we were able to hear her heartbeat and see her wiggling around.  We were also told that she has a lot of hair already!  This experience was an incredible blessing!

 Baby Girl is destined to be a gymnast! In this picture you can see her legs and feet above her head!