Ethical Adoption

Head over to read my latest blog:

Excerpt: “What you should be more concerned with is not the adoption price, but how you will tell your adopted child their story. Most adoptions are semi-open or fully open now. Did the adoption feel right? Like something you can tell your child about without feeling icky? Was there any shady practice going on at the agency you knew about but chose to ignore? Are you going to keep that information from your child? Were there disparaging remarks made about your child’s birth mother? Did you feel she was pushed to do this against her will? Coerced into it somehow? Would that be something she may bring up when it’s 10 years from now and your child hears that she didn’t actually want to do it? How will that make your child view you as being part of that? These are important things to consider. Adoption is not a single event that occurs and then is over—it’s a lifetime situation.” Copyright 2019, Elevati, LLC

Why is Adoption so Special?

Here’s a (long) but one of my favorite articles I’ve done for

Adoption is special. Having a natural family is special too. When a family is created, it’s inherently special and a unique experience for the individuals involved, no matter the means. Adoption is not better or worse than having a natural family; it is just different. What I love about adoption and what makes it different are three things: the community, the humility it brings, and the transformations it cultivates… Read more here:



Copyright 2019 Elevati, LLC

Our Disrupted Adoption

So, that happened. Kind of doesn’t seem real. We knew statistically it was likely to have an adoption that didn’t go through, especially after Joe’s adoption was so smooth. So here we are. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, but we are okay. We will be ok. The hope for another adoption is fueling us.

To be honest, this was a high risk from the start. Knowing that, it’s possible I am not devastated right now because I didn’t fully emotionally attach. I felt it would be healthier for me to not attach and be pleasantly surprised than to be attached and then devastated. I know many people don’t operate like that in adoption and tell you to go all in with the emotions and faith and everything. This time; however, the wait from match to adoption (or disruption) was much more bearable for me than last time. This time I didn’t panic or get overly anxious. Like a 6 in nerves instead of a 9. I am not someone who’s ever a 2 anyway. Just wanted to pat myself on the back though for waiting better than I waited last time.

We found out we were chosen while on a boat in the middle of Smith Mountain Lake. We met the expectant mom once at the agency, once where she lived 1.5 hours away, and once at Cox Farms. Over Thanksgiving her family tried to convince her to choose parenting, and as we heard she was 50/50 on adoption. Then the birth father apparently returned to offer some kind of support and that pretty much completed the decision. We truly hope she will have a good life and wish her the best. This is her daughter; she just wasn’t ours.

This baby, who is half black, half Hispanic, and already has a half sister, opened us to the potential of becoming a transracial adoptive family. We had discussions with our families about this aspect and tried to educate ourselves more on what that means. I read articles, talked and connected on IG and FB with other transracial adoptive families, and listened to the agency’s education.

I’m thankful for our agency, especially the director. Catholic Charities in Fairfax- can’t recommend enough. We may stay with them for the next try or go through another agency which we’ve been on the waitlist for awhile now. Many people call this a “failed match,” but those in the adoption community have now started saying “disruption” or some other term because we never want to say it’s a “failure” to have a mother choose to parent her own child.

Now for my 2 practical pieces of advice for those pursuing adoption and for all agencies that this experience taught me:

  1. As I’ve said before, it doesn’t matter how sure the expectant mom says she is or the agency says she is. Up until papers are signed after birth, she can change her mind. Don’t go around announcing “our daughter is due on xyz date!!” because it’s silly and you look silly. We got a card from the expectant mom where she called us “new parents” and said “our daughter” and I knew even that did not mean there was certainty. There is never certainty. Guard your heart and don’t claim a child still in utero as your own. Just don’t. What happens then, is if you do say your daughter is due, and then expectant mom changes her mind, what everyone not in the adoption world hears is “the birth mom took the child she promised back.” It demonizes the expectant mom and gives a negative picture of the agency, when in fact, they did nothing wrong.
  2. If you want a closed adoption in today’s world, (which we don’t) um, good freaking luck. I’ve told you all before about how wonderful open adoption is so I won’t go into the million reasons why that is. What I mean is, I don’t see how it is even possible to have a closed adoption in today’s technologically connected world. You don’t exchange last names with the expectant mom until you sign the contact agreement form (in an open adoption) but let me tell you- people can find things out anyway. This could be emails that were supposed to be copy and pasted but instead got forwarded, and so the expectant mom or hopeful adoptive parents’ last name was seen on an email address. Just a simple mistake. No big deal to us, but closed- would be a problem. Also, if you type our first names and “adoption” into Google, a link comes up to an article I wrote for which has my last name. Again, good luck with a closed adoption. It’s kind of funny, actually. Just thought I’d throw that info out there, guys! Everything is connected these days.

I would not say all is lost with this disrupted adoption. I mean we’d like that 8K back, but hey, that’s on the low end for what it could’ve been at other agencies. We had a journey, an experience, and I’m not sure why, but we’re moving forward and we’re ok. All adoption journeys are roller coasters. In ones that go through, you have bumps, go up a big hill, and feel the rush going down the big hill. In a disrupted adoption, you have the bumps, the uphill climb, and then just continue on flat. Straight. Anticlimactic. Alright, I can’t think of any metaphors or other ways to say it. I’m tired. Good night.

In a pool for a 2nd adoption

Hi Friends & Fam. Just an update to say we are officially in an adoption pool again for our 2nd adoption. You may remember the drill, like last time, it could be a month, it could be 3 years- we don’t know. Prayers are appreciated for finding Joe a sibling and having another healthy open adoption. Now as for how we got here specifically…

You might remember we are still on a wait list to get into a pool for an agency out west. We are continuing with that as well, but are officially (as of today) in the Catholic Charities pool again locally. We had done our 2nd home study with them and that was completed earlier this summer. We didn’t enter their pool because they do not allow for gender specificity. The agency out west does. We love our boy and would love to experience raising a girl as well.

One day I was deep in thought and praying about a baby and right then I got a phone call from Catholic Charities. They said they now have a need for more families in their pool (the past year or so they have not because adoption rates have been low in the area) and she called us saying she would be sending an email out to families later and thought we may be interested since we are so “into” adoption. We were very excited to get the call and it felt like a sign from above. We then had to wrestle with the decision; however, because they don’t allow gender preference. We had lots of talks and ultimately decided that we couldn’t ignore the sign. It also may mean if we were to adopt another boy that we might try for a 3rd adoption to have a girl. I never imagined having 3 children, so this is odd to think about. Also, another factor is I’d say in general your chances of adoption probably go down the more children you have. Some expectant moms are interested in families who have no children. Some are interested in giving their child a sibling. I just feel like if they see a family with a bunch of kids though that they may not be inclined to pick you because, well, you already have a bunch of kids. Another factor is 3 adoptions is insanely expensive.

A word on gender preference: Most agencies don’t allow for it because A. Ultrasounds can be wrong about gender (not common but possible) B. Adoptive families wait longer because they will not be matched with an expectant mom who chooses to not know the sex before birth. They will only be matched with those who know and therefore those who match late in pregnancy C. Some people have super sensitive feelings on choosing the sex for personal or moral reasons. Here’s what I have to say on that: First, we would never lie to a birth mom. One agency I spoke with said they allow for gender preference and don’t necessarily tell the birth mom about it (um, that feels icky to me). Second, we are not choosing a gender because we feel like entitled, spoiled people. We feel like if we are spending between 20-40k to an agency and have the option to choose, then why not? This isn’t some minor thing. This is affecting the rest of our lives. Third, we would never put burden on an expectant mom. The burden is on us. If we choose gender preference, we increase our wait time potentially. It’s not as if we’d meet with an expectant mom for months and develop a relationship and then say “Oh, you found out the gender and it’s not a girl, so bye good luck.” We would never do that. We simply would only meet with expectant moms who know the gender. AND if they were wrong on ultrasound we would not decline the adoption at the hospital either. We aren’t horrible jerks. Fourth, the moral argument is strange to me. I have heard many times, “If you were growing your family naturally you wouldn’t get to choose the sex.” Yes. I know. And you just said it all. You said “if.” “If we were.” We’re not. We aren’t doing this the “normal” way. We aren’t on that path. So why are you comparing our journeys that look nothing alike? It’s apples and oranges. And let’s be real here- there are many families I know who “tried for a girl” and ended up with 3 boys, or vice versa. Were you morally angry with them for trying? No? Then don’t be angry with us trying. I don’t get it.

So, our spot in the Catholic Charities pool was being held for us for 2 weeks. In that time we had to do some more paperwork, make our profile book to be shown to future expectant moms, and do our infant CPR/AED certification. After our time discussing gender, we had like zero time to get all this done. I spent 7 hours one day on our profile book and sent that off to print. We signed up and did our CPR certification at the last minute. I sent everything to the agency and we’re officially in the pool- as not gender specific. We will still be going into the other agency out west’s pool at some point hopefully, which is gender specific. Being in 2 pools will at least increase our chances. We will have to see what happens. We could never match. We could match at one agency and then miss out on a potential adoption at the other while waiting. We could have failed matches. Or it could all work out splendidly like it did with Joe!?

Thanks for reading my stream of consciousness blog post!

Half Brother

You might’ve heard- Joseph now has a half brother! He is already 3 months old. We met him a few weeks ago. This is birthmom and (different father than Joe) her boyfriend’s baby. Some may disagree, but to me he looks JUST LIKE Joe when Joe was a newborn. Joe was pretty taken with him. He asked birthmom to hold the baby like ten times. Here are a few pictures below! 36748409_10104536464361007_1942439310833745920_n36818935_10155375996711109_8906219569975132160_n36884087_10104534947066677_2501494325918040064_n