Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In which I discuss our family planning

*I added a few additional thoughts at the bottom of this post based on a couple of comments. 

It's happening again...I am finding myself inexplicably drawn to our adoption agency's website to look at couples who are on there currently hoping to adopt. I wonder about them - how long they have been waiting, whether they have been contacted by any birthmoms - and I feel for them. This happened to me the last time too - I looked through every profile of every couple (all 900+ of them) when we were just getting started with our first adoption forms in September 2010.   I was just so amazed by all of the incredible couples out there whose only (or at least best) hope for having children is through adoption. 

Paul and I are starting up the process again in earnest. Well, maybe more in earnest after we get back from Christmas and our temple sealing with Clara.  To be honest, I meant to start filling out paperwork and getting my physical and fingerprints done in November before I went back to work, but I just didn't feel the same urgency that I felt last time and I had other things keeping me busy and focused, so I let my personal deadlines slip past.  But lately I have had that feeling again - the one where I feel like it would be best not to sit on this but instead to start pushing us along toward approval again, even though it is intimidating and frustrating and it means stepping from the comfortable security of knowing that Paul and I ARE parents to a perfect little girl back into the realm of doubt that we will ever be chosen again and worry about experiencing one of the adoption horror stories that are unfortunately reality and a likely possibility for couples who hope to adopt like we do. 

I know that it may seem soon to be starting the process again to a lot of people, but I would love for Clara to have a brother or sister who is fairly close to her in age. It took us 6 months last time just to get through all of the paperwork, fingerprinting, physicals, required education, interviews, home studies, and CPR training in order to get approved and have our profile up for birthmoms to even begin looking at us and we have to go through that entire process again now (for the most part - we don't have to get referral letters from friends this time as our agency can use the ones we obtained the first time around which will hopefully shave off about a month from the time-frame - thanks again to those of you who wrote those letters for us!). Our goal is to hopefully have our profile go live the day after Clara's 1st birthday in May, which is the earliest that our agency will allow it to go up again.

When I start thinking about adopting again, I hear my caseworker's voice repeating the words she said to us in our first meeting: "It takes 2 years on average for most couples to have a baby placed with them once their profile is up.  Anywhere from 1 to 3 years is normal." And I get a little choked up with gratitude at how Heavenly Father guided Kayli and Clara to us just nine months after I first knew that it was time for Paul and I to start the adoption process immediately instead of waiting a little longer like we had planned. I cherish these days as Clara's mommy and what it is like with just our little family of three. I am thankful that I was able to be there at Clara's birth - that doesn't happen for a lot of adoptive couples - and that I was able to stay at home with her through her first 6 1/2 months of life. I keep calling her my baby, but she is starting to feel not so baby-ish anymore with her purposeful babbles, her love of standing and walking with mom or dad's help, and her beautiful and ridiculously-long-for-a-7-month-old hair. Thank goodness she doesn't have any teeth yet so she can still give us her wild and gummy grins!

But this weekend I printed off the stack paperwork that needs to be completed for another adoption and yesterday I started redrafting our birthparent letter and thinking about what it will be like having a new little spirit and body in our home and what stage Clara might be at when a brother or sister joins us a year or two or maybe three (please don't let it take that long!) down the road. Ideally, factoring in the size of family that I would like to have and our ages, I would love to have Clara and her next sibling be somewhere between 18 months to 2 1/2 years apart.  If it happens that this time around that we are chosen as quickly as we were with Clara (which was already a HUGE miracle since very few adoptions happen that quickly) then the kids would still be at least 14-15 months apart, which isn't so bad even if it might be difficult at first.  A big part of the reason why I am back at work instead of staying home with Clara full-time right now is because adoptions are very expensive and so our dual incomes are making it possible for us to save for another baby.

I wonder what this next baby (babies? you never know) will be like. Will it be a he or a she? How will we decide on a name? I wonder about our next birthmom. We were skyping with Kayli the other evening and she was musing about the next birthmom too and saying that she wonders if they will be able to develop a relationship, sort of like sisters. I hope so. Will she be early in her pregnancy when she contacts us or will the baby already be born? Will we go through the heartbreak of failed placements like so many other adoptive couples we know? How many birthmoms will contact us before we are contacted by The One? Will she find us through a friend? Through our agency? Through a pass-along card? Will the birthfather want to be involved? What state will she be from? How old will our birthmom be? Will the baby be bald or have hair like Clara? Will the birthmom's family be as supportive and strong and incredible as Kayli's family, who we love like they are our own? What will placement be like? What time of the year will it be?

Anyway, we are aware that there are a lot of people out there who love us and offered hundreds of prayers for us when we were in the process of adopting Clara. She has been our greatest blessing and it feels selfish and almost too much to hope for another little one. Yet still I dream about holding another wee helpless bundle close and looking into his or her eyes, and I have an image of our little Clara with even longer hair bending over and softly kissing the new and perfect cheek of her baby brother or baby sister.

We will continue to post updates every now and then about how we are progressing through the requirements to be approved, and everyone will certainly know when our profile goes live and we start sending out pass-along cards again and asking everybody we know to keeps their ears open for word of someone who might not know what to do about the little life she is carrying within her. In the meantime, if anyone hears of a potential birthmother, still feel free to let her know about us because you never know what might happen and at the very least, we would love for her to be able to talk with Kayli (who is the most incredible adoption advocate ever and totally able to understand what other birthmoms are going through having been there herself) or we could direct her to other friends of ours who are still waiting and hoping for their turn to be parents.

*I should admit to possessing some amount of conflict/guilt/uncertainty about starting this process up again when I personally know a number of couples who still have not had a successful placement yet and many of them were approved even before Paul and I started the process back in 2010.  I don't know exactly how I feel about all of that and I certainly won't say that it will happen for them when it is meant to happen for them because every adoptive couple out there knows that and it is one of those phrases that we sort of hate hearing over and over because we already say that to ourselves endlessly and it starts to feel rancid if you hear it too much.  I pray for these couples.  I post links to their adoption blogs on the "adoption" page of this blog which you can click to at the top of the screen.  I do not feel like being placed with a child is a competition whereby our reentering the field of available couples is a signal that I am ready to battle some other husband and wife who are desperately waiting for their first little one.  But that doesn't mean I don't feel a little chagrined to be charging back into this craziness with high hopes for ourselves when I know what others have gone and are still going through.

Also, my dear friend Rachel who got me through so many of my adoption woes early on (which are embarassingly trite compared to what she and her husband went through with 8 failed placement/birthmom contacts) mentioned that this post gave her anxiety about starting over again and potentially going through all of that so soon after a successful placement.  There is definitely anxiety on our part too, but I think that it is fairly low compared to a lot of other couples because so far we haven't been burned (at least not very badly) by scammers or birthmoms who (understandably) change their minds.  If we had gone through the torment that so many couples go through just to find their first child, I might be more hesistant or even resistant to the idea of picking this all up again so soon.   


  1. Amy, that's so exciting! I hope this next adoption goes smoothly for you! scobili

  2. This post gave me anxiety!!! When you started asking all of those questions, I started to have a panic attack. Adoption is so beautiful, but it is also so hard. Is it bad that I dread the time we'll have the start the process over again? I obviously don't dread the end result, but I dread the waiting and the heartbreak.

    Clara is so cute, and I love the relationship you have with Kayli. You guys are awesome!

  3. AWWWW... this is awesome Amy! It has been so much fun watching your family these past months. Hope all goes well and you are able to add to your family soon. P.S. thanks for the Christmas card! You guys made the wall of fame in our kitchen :)

  4. This is SO EXCITING! I'm thrilled to meet your next birth mom and baby! Clara will be so happy to have a little buddy! Oh! It's all so EXCITING!!! I'll start working on my letter to her:)

  5. Yay, this is exciting news! We will be praying for you guys!

  6. I love you guys so much! I am so happy for you and we will be praying with you throughout this process.

    - Dorothy

  7. Amy, I just read the additions to your post, and I hope my first comment didn't seem insensitive or self-centered. I just wanted you to know that I am here for you as you go through all of this uncertainty again. I think it is awesome that you have started all of this again. It shows that you love motherhood, and it shows that you are doing everything in your power to build your family in the Lord's time. You are opening the door for Him to bring your next baby to your family whenever the time is right. Clara is meant to be in your family, and that's why it happened in the timeframe that it did! I have no doubt the same will be true of your second child. I admire your faith, and I will be praying for you guys!

  8. We are so excited for you! Let us know if we can help at all. Whenever you're ready our blog is waiting for a new button and I'm waiting for more cards to pass out. :-) You are amazing parents, and I'm excited to see the new miracles that will unfold as your family grows.

  9. Rachel - I didn't think your first comment was insensitive at all! I actually had meant to include a lot of what I added but forgot to do so. Your comment just helped me remember that I wanted to add those thoughts to the post. :)

  10. My little brother and I are 16 months apart. We went to school together, shared the same friends, attended mutual and seminary together, I wrote him his entire mission, he was home by the time I went through the temple for my own endowment, and then a couple years later we each met the spouse of our dreams and got married within 11 months of each other (me first, of course :). We've been extremely close to each other our entire lives and have been blessed to share so many milestones with each other! Clara will LOVE the closeness she will share with her sibling! Your little family will be in our thoughts and prayers as Clara's sibling prepares to find your family.


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