Our precious baby Caleb is 18 days old today! He is getting bigger & sweeter every day! I want to continue to use this blog to educate & inform people about the wonderful gift of open adoption.
Since bringing home Caleb, I have had so many people email me or ask me how were we able to adopt two healthy newborns so quickly & since starting our journey with adoption, we have been asked a lot of other questions related to the adoption process. We are not experts at all, but since we have been through this process twice now, I thought I would share a little info about our journey. Here are some commonly asked questions & OUR answers.
1.The biggest & most asked question: How do you "find" babies to adopt?
Sometimes, I believe we didn't find them but they found us. I know God had a plan & His will was done with our sons. We have never used an adoption agency. Although, I am sure there are some great agencies out there, I beleve that there are a LOT of extra fees & huge expenses with a lot of agencies, making adoption seem impossible to many. When we first began the process, some agency packets listed fees around $30,000- $40,000. All I can say is WOW! We were also told that a lot of birth moms preferred a more personal experience & preferred to find a family for their child on their own & the trend for birthmoms was moving away from turning to agencies (think Juno :). We decided to try independent adoption first. We knew that we could hire professionals individually such as an attorney, social worker/counselor, etc & both us & the birthmom could get the same if not more personal one-on-one services. An adoptive mom once told me, when we were first thinking about adoption, to not be afraid to tell EVERYONE we knew about our desire to adopt & we took that to heart. With both of our adoptions, we hired an independent adoption social worker to complete our home studies & began spreading the word to EVERYONE we knew. Both times, we found a birthmom before our home studies were even completed. I do realize that we were blessed & this does NOT always happen for everyone. However, we do believe that God calls us to do our part & be proactive in the process. I compare it to finding a job. You can pray & ask God to help you find a job, but if you just sit home & don't make calls, fill out applications & actively seek a job it is probably going to take a LOT longer. God blesses those that help themselves. We are VERY proactive. With our first adoption, a neighbor of ours worked with someone who knew someone who was pregnant & thinking about adoption. She gave out our number, we met & the result was our precious Caden....8 LONG months later but so worth the wait! With our second adoption, first we set up this website (free through Blogger), we made adoption business cards with our contact info & website on them (free from VistaPrint) & left them in public places, passed them out to friends family, etc..., I also posted our website all over the internet on yahoo questions, pregnancy forums, craigslist, free classifieds, etc...& we started a FaceBook page & asked all our friends to join & ask their friends. I tracked our website & many days we would get 50-100 hits! We started our adoption blog on January 2, 2010 & we were contacted by the family of our 2nd birthmom on February 1, 2010. The birthmom was 8 months pregnant so WOW that was faster than we could have ever imagined! We also had the wonderful experience of being at the hospital when both of our sons were born & being able to bring them both directly home from the hospital.
2. How do you avoid adoption scams?
We joined the adoption yahoo group called: firstname.lastname@example.org
where adoptive families can post info about prospective situations & get feedback. I also say proceed with great caution...if you feel uncomfortable about a situation move on, never give money to anyone, & use professionals! When someone contacted us we would always talk about & pray about the situation, we would also research the email address on FB or MySpace & try to get as much info as possible so that we felt comfortable. In our case, both of our birthmoms were great respectable women who truly wanted a better life for their unborn child. We were able to meet both in person beforehand which helped us feel more comfortable. We selected attorneys who were members of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys http://www.adoptionattorneys.org/ & felt that both had experience & knowledge that helped us greatly. Through our attorneys, we also found WONDERFUL social workers who walked us through the process, helped calm our fears, counseled our birthmoms, held their hands & just went above & beyond! In both cases, our social workers went to our birthmom's homes & even came to the hospital. We & our birthmoms received wonderful one-on-one services that we feel very good about.
3. How much did you have to pay for your children?
Our children are priceless. We do not “pay” to adopt our children. The social workers & attorneys were compensated for their efforts. To that end yes we do have to pay for their services. However, I will say that a private independent adoption like the ones that we did were VERY affordable. We paid for legal fees, social worker expenses, etc & that was it. We were lucky that both of our birth moms (with the assistance of our above stated wonderful social workers) were able to apply & qualify for Medicaid & so all medical expenses were covered. Our health insurance began covering our children immediately after they were born. In 2008, when Caden was born there was an adoption tax credit of $10,000 & his adoption was less than that. In 2010, that credit was increased & Caleb's adoption will be less than the credit. This is money that you can get back or deduct on your income taxes for the year that the adoption is finalized. I have heard that this tax credit may not continue but I am hoping it will as I know it has helped us & many other families with these expenses!
Tax Topics - Topic 607 Adoption Credit
4. What a noble gesture! Your children are lucky to come into your home.
No. We are lucky to have our children come to us. We were not able to get pregnant & easily have children. Since we went through so much, we cherish these babies so much & feel so blessed to have them.
5. Where are the boy's real parents?
Right here. We ARE the boy's REAL parents. As for the birth parents, see below.
6. Why did the child’s birth parents give him away? How will you explain that to your child?
Our children’s story is just that. Their story. We want to be able to preserve their story for them to share if they feel like it when they are grown. In both cases our birthmoms were strong beautiful women who made a courageous choice to first give their unborn child life & second give them a life that they could not at the time. We continually pray for both of them & love them greatly for the gift that they gave us. We talk about adoption at a very early age. With Caden, our 19 month old, we watch shows about adoption, we read stories, we even look at photographs of his birth mom that I scrapbooked in his album. We talk about it in a very loving & positive way. We want both of our sons to be proud of their adoption & to know that they were loved by everyone involved.
7. Will you be in touch with the birth family?
Yes. That is the plan. We believe it is healthy for our children to grow up knowing their birth history and heritage. Webelieve in openness and honesty. We will honor & respect the level of contact that each women desires. However, we do have an open adoption with both in that both know our names, our contact info, we have met, we talk on the phone, text, email, send pictures, visit, etc...
8. Aren’t you scared the children’s birth family will come and take them back?
No. Once the papers are signed and we finalize the adoption, we are the legal and only parents for the child.
9. Is your family now complete or will you adopt again?
In the midst of sleep deprivation with our newborn & chasing a very busy toddler we have to laugh when asked this. Right now, we are content & blessed BUT....
we both agree that we would like to have at least one more. I am still holding out for a little girl although I am loving my sweet boys right now!
10. If we hear of someone who is pregnant & thinking about adoption do you still want me to pass on your info?
Right now, we have our hands full but we know several wonderful Christian families that are hoping to adopt & would love to be able to help them so please go ahead & we will connect them!
Now I will share some recent family pictures that we had taken by an amazing young photographer who is only 18!! We LOVE them!!