Saturday, March 8, 2014

Of Careers, Homes, and Adoptions

This is a post that I have been holding in for ages and ages and ages.  We have had some major stressors on our plate for quite a while now.  Here is the short version:

We had another adoption fall apart (not Rose's - nobody freak out).  Paul accepted a new job.  We are going to sell our house and move in the next month or two.

The Adoption Situation:

Not Rose's, so no need to worry there.  But there was a big part of Rose's story - a possible quasi-twin brother due March 30th in Florida - that I haven't talked about on here before that we were waiting to see what happened and it just finalized itself.  WAY back in August, we were contacted by an expectant mom who was only 10 weeks along.  LONG story short, two weeks later she told us that she had chosen us to be the parents to the baby she was carrying.  She started a blog and posted about us, using pictures we exchanged in emails and texts.  Here is an excerpt from one of her posts:

Seeing the baby through ultrasound was an emotional crash I was not expecting, therefore, I was completely unprepared for the feelings that came rushing in. I decided on a whim to keep the baby. I just love him too much and could not imagine going any further with this adoption process. I decided to put my blog back on private because I didn't want to announce this news to the world without knowing for SURE. 
I've spent the past couple weeks on my knees praying and praying. I have never received confirmation on keeping the baby which became very heartbreaking and frustrating for me. I even got in contact with the birth father to try and work things out for the sake of keeping the baby but I soon realized what a huge mistake it would be to bring him back into my life. Confirmation came soon after praying about adoption and practically begging Heavenly Father to let me know what was right. I want to keep this baby and I probably would if I loved him any less. I want him to have better than what I can provide. Please do not misunderstand what I'm saying, I'm not trying to imply that mothers who do decide to keep their babies don't love their children and I do not, in any way, think of myself as some selfless hero just because I am choosing adoption (I just wanted to make that clear because apparently I have been giving the wrong impression when it comes to expressing my thoughts and feelings. Please understand that whatever I share through my blog is based solely on my own experience).
I feel so incredibly blessed for the Nash family. Amy and Paul are just so amazing and I couldn't imagine any other couple adopting my baby. It just feels so natural, like all of this was meant to be.

I feel this need to validate that I am not crazy (believe me, when you go through failed adoption after failed adoption you start to feel really crazy and wonder what instincts/promptings/feelings you can trust about people and your own intuition and even the Spirit) and I feel like being able to see how she communicated not only with us but with others (she would post links to her blog on her Facebook account every time she posted) explains some of this. 

Anyway, we texted, emailed, skyped, sent packages, etc.  Things got really stressful for her when supposed birthfather issues cropped up (although I'm not entirely sure how much of everything was accurate there based on emails exchanged with the birthfather and his eventual cooperation with the adoption attorney we hired in Florida to facilitate the adoption).  We cheered for her, ached for her, prayed for her.

When she chose us, our profile was pulled from the LDS Family Services website.  But a week later I called our caseworker and told him I wanted it back up.  The wait was too long.  We had already been through multiple failed adoptions where we communicated and built a relationship for 4-5+ months before the expectant mom changed her mind and we were looking at 7 months before the baby was due with this one and I couldn't stomach the thought of missing out on potential opportunities when this one might not work out.  He agreed and our profile was live again in mid-September.  Thank goodness for that inspiration or Tabby (Rose's birthmom) wouldn't have found us.   

The baby was scheduled for a c-section.  We had bought our plane tickets to fly across the country already.  Both this expectant mom and Tabby knew about each other and that the babies would be only 2 months apart and both were really excited about that and expressed how amazing it would be for them to having siblings so close together.  This expectant mom joined a Facebook adoption support group that I am a part of and posted often, including this post that I screen grabbed on my phone the night the baby was born:

The weird thing is that when she posted the above sounding all excited and super gung-ho about the adoption (I mean, knowing it would be the hardest thing she would ever go through and all that but as gung-ho as any reasonable birthmom who has made an adoption plan might seem to be) she had already texted me telling me maybe it was best for us to wait and NOT come out (less than 8 hours before our flight was supposed to leave had we changed our tickets to get there the next day) and when she had already told the caseworker that she was thinking about not going through with the adoption.  I mean, I get it.  She changed her mind.  It happened.  That is totally understandable and her choice and everything.  But it still hurts and it doesn't feel right.  It feels awful. 

It is so hard to know how to explain what I am feeling.  Before I even throw out words, I have to say that what I am feeling is NOT about her.  The anger I feel isn't directed at her.  She had every right - EVERY right - to choose to parent the baby boy she created and I don't begrudge her that choice.  But I do feel anger.  Anger about the situation.  About the futility and unfairness and lack of control or power or efficacy any of us (not just me and Paul but any couple dealing with infertility but particularly adoption) have.  Anger about being chosen FIVE times in a row and spending literally hundreds of hours emailing and texting and supporting and praying and agonizing over the confused and conflicted young women who had told us using every word of surety and promise and conviction that they were going to be the ones to go through with it and place a baby with our family (again, not blaming them, not really.  I'm so, so, so sorry if it sounds like it.  In ways, I am grateful and even honored to have been able to have helped so many women going through the hardest times of their lives in such a unique way.  I'm not even being sarcastic, although I may be gritting my teeth a little bit because it somehow feels like I am flagellating myself by saying that.) 

Adoption really isn't so unlike pregnancy in a lot of ways because during these years there has been weight gain, sleepless nights, sickness, stress, etc. that all correlated with each adoption scenario we were dealing with.  Not to mention thousands of dollars spent covering adoption expenses for the failed adoptions (thank goodness Paul found a tax exemption for failed adoptions that has allowed us to recoup at least some of those costs this year). 

Ugh.  Anyway, I feel like I have only written a quarter of what was in my head when I started out writing this and I feel like I have already written four times more than what I should have written.  And maybe I shouldn't have written anything. 

We are so unbelievably thankful and blessed to have our two girls.  We don't mean to sound ungrateful for the adoption that DID just happen for us with Rose by complaining about this adoption that just DIDN'T happen for us with this baby boy.  We had been asked prior to ever being in a situation where two birthmoms had chosen us at the same time what we would do if that happened and we never had an answer.  A part of me (a HUGE part) felt extremely guilty about saying yes to both Tabby and the other expectant mom because I thought about all the couples still waiting for a baby and I felt like it was insanely selfish of us to try for two babies at once.  In our defense, I will say that we always tried to be prayerful about the decisions we made with how to proceed.  So we are a little sad right now.  But we will be okay and having Baby Rose in our home fills us with so much joy (and keeps us so busy!) that we know the dark little cloud this most recent (and possibly last ever) adoption failure has brought. 

As for future family planning - we just don't know what we will do.  Maybe we will be done with our two girls.  Maybe in a few years we will be healed from the past couple brutal years of failed adoptions and want to try again.  In all honesty, we would love to have a boy - Paul especially.  But we also feel very complete with Clara and Rose and are so grateful that they will have each other (how does anyone get through life without a sister?!).  Maybe we will look into private adoption agencies (that isn't the same thing as a closed adoption - we love our open adoptions) or maybe we will look at international adoption (something that I have ALWAYS been interested in).  Who knows. 

The Job Situation:

So way back in October (on my birthday actually, over lunch at Gott's, the best burger place in the Bay Area) Paul and I had a conversation about his career.  Like, how long he should stay at his current firm, what kind of experience he was getting versus what he wanted to get, and where did he ultimately want to end up.  We have had this conversation every now and then over the past couple of years (doesn't everybody?) but this time felt different.  Lots of lawyers make a move between their 3rd and 5th year and Paul was getting calls from recruiters multiple times a day.  A couple days later he happened to take one of the calls (usually he would just brush them off because seriously, recruiters can be incessant) and connected with somebody who specialized in placing associates with commercial real estate practices (Paul's specialty).  Long story short, he interviewed with a couple of firms in Palo Alto around November/December but the positions weren't what he was looking for.  Then in late January a position opened up at a firm in San Francisco that is THE real estate firm in California.  Like, the top firm in that practice for 10 years running.  It isn't the hugest firm in the nation (fine by us) but they do just what Paul wants to do and are really well respected and basically it was too perfect.  It was a firm Paul had always thought in the back of his mind that would like to end up at. 

He applied and that very day got a call back that they liked his resume and were interested in interviewing him.  He liked the people he met in his first round of interviews and felt like it went really well and the follow-up emails seemed promising.  Not long after that they called to say that they were interested in doing a second round of interviews and set up a schedule for Paul to meet with 14 of their attorneys in the SF office.  That's a lot of manpower to dedicate to a potential candidate so it really felt like Paul had a good shot at this job.  Then just a couple of days before his second round interviews (on Valentine's Day to be precise), the HR person who had arranged everything called to let Paul know that there was an attorney already with the firm who was in another office who had filled the position so Paul's interviews had been cancelled.  We were bummed.  We had already started brainstorming and making plans since the new job would involve a longer commute and/or moving, among other factors.  And we felt like Paul had been doing the job search process since October and it was so slow and a little discouraging.  The news put a little damper on our Valentine's Day to tell the truth, even though they told Paul that he had been really highly thought of and they would keep him in mind for future positions if any opened up.

But not even a week later, Paul got a call from his recruiter to say that one of the associates at the firm had given her notice and they wanted to know if Paul could still go in for the full round of interviews.  The interviews must have gone well because Paul got the offer a few days later.  He is excited about the new opportunity and what it will mean for his career and he starts the new job at the beginning of April.  Which means....

The Housing Situation:

We are going to be putting our house up for sale and moving.  The commute into SF from where we currently live is less than ideal.  It will be around 1 1/2 hours each way most days, maybe more if there is bad traffic.  And that just isn't sustainable for us.  So we are thinking that we will move to the East Bay - maybe around Walnut Creek where there is a BART station (Bay Area Rapid Transit) which would take him to work and drop him off right in front of his office and be a 35 minute commute where he never has to deal with traffic or driving himself (although he will have to deal with some of the crazies who ride BART and any possible strikes, which seem to happen too frequently).  We might consider other areas too though like Dublin or Concord, which also have BART stations although the ride would be a little bit longer. 

In the meantime, we have met with a realtor about getting our house ready to sell.  It will be sad to leave behind this great place after all the work we put into it and all the memories we have here.  It will be even harder to leave behind the friends we have made and the ward that we are a part of because they have been such a support and such a big part of our lives.  It's not like we are moving forever away - Dublin is about 35-40 minutes away and Walnut Creek is about an hour and fifteen minutes or so - but still...

Soooooo, I think that pretty much brings everybody up to speed on all the craziness that we have been dealing with for a while now.  It has been nuts.  We feel like we have been spinning like tops and are probably going to keep spinning while Paul is transitioning jobs and we are figuring out our housing situation.  We are thinking that we might just rent for a while since we don't know the area in the East Bay as well and we don't know that we want to commit to a house until we get a feel for where the best place will be for us.  But we are excited for what the future holds!


  1. So many things to say! But I'll keep it brief:
    1) my heart breaks for you guys again. I cannot even begin to understand what the emotional roller coaster is like. But I do want to thank you for being so open and sharing your journeys. It's a very vulnerable position to put yourself in but you are undoubtedly helping others who are going through similar experiences. Also, you are unbelievable gracious and kind about it, despite your worries that you're sounding rude. You are such a sweet person! No one would blame you for just posting "BLEEPING BLEEPEDLY BLEEP BLEEP" but you stay classy.
    2) congratulations to Paul!!! San Francisco is such an electrifying place to work, it's one of my favorite cities in the world. Will he be in the Financial District?
    3) despite all the crazies I've blogged about, I highly, highly recommend finding a house that allows for a BART commute. The Bay Bridge is a nightmare
    4) can I also give a shout out to the East Bay? I love it. Please don't hesitate to hit me up with questions about cities, etc. I've got friends who live in Pleasant Hill, Orinda, Berkeley, Oakland, El Cerrito (of course) and Albany. Lots of neighborhood recommendations and opinions. Also, a lot of my clients split their time working in San Ramon and San Francisco so I have some insight into what those commutes are like, too.

  2. So many changes and such big news! What an incredibly strange and amazing (and frustrating) journey life is. I'm glad you share slices with us because we're all out here cheering for you guys!!

  3. Wow, so much news in this post! Sad and happy and bittersweet - you guys must be feeling pretty overwhelmed right now. I'm so sorry this adoption didn't work but grateful you have Rose. I'm excited that Paul got his dream job and will get to practice the kind of law he wants. And I hope everything goes smoothly with your move. Good luck with everything!

  4. I'm sure one day I'll feel more altruistic and be glad Paul found this great job. But right now I'm just super bummed you guys are leaving. :( I'm glad you won't be too far away and hope we'll still get together (I know we want to).

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. I am SO sorry about the failed adoption. You guys have been through so much--it's hard to fathom. I'm thinking of you!

    My dad is also a commercial real estate lawyer. And our good friends live near Walnut Creek, I think. They live in Lafayette. I'm pretty sure that when we went to visit them, we drove to Walnut Creek for brunch one day. I wonder if they know of any good rentals available...let me know if you want me to ask them.

  7. 1.) Adoption

    I have to say "thank you," to you Amy for sharing your story and your feelings and of course for always doing your best to be fair. I have arranged to do a one-on-one intensive study with a professor solely about adoption for my graduate degree next quarter, which I feel is the first concrete, tangible step in the beginning of this journey for me. Your perspective and Rachel's perspective and stories have been coaching me and preparing me for what I'm going to go through at some point. I'm thrilled to have the joys to look forward to, but it is tales like these that remind me to take a deep breath. It is reasonable and it happens and I have no doubt it's awful. I hope I can handle it. I am forever grateful for your openness and willingness to share your story!

    2.) JOB

    CONGRATS on the new job! That is phenomenal!

    3.) All of those places are great areas! I have clients (did their engagement, wedding, anniversary, maternity, birth [ c section, was in the operating room!], new born, family photos, and they have bounced around from everywhere from Pleasanton to Oakland to San Ramon to Dublin. They've always lived in nice places and safe neighborhoods that I always felt comfortable going to. They always rent and scope out the neighborhoods. They liked Oakland a lot- there's a ton to do there, and it's super close to the city, but it was pricey, and the neighbors weren't as friendly as they would have liked. They are back over in Pleasanton now and they love it! I'm sure you'll find a place you love too!

  8. PS: My brother and a friend worked in Walnut Creek for years- great shopping, great reputation too!

  9. I have been praying for you two for a long time. I have a daughter who has also adopted two children. They are 13 & 10 now. They have three failed adoptions. One going from Ohio to Iowa, taking care of the baby for 5 days, then was told by the birth mother that she was looking at a place that would give her free this and free that, so they were uneasy. The next morning, she and the birth father met my daughter and her husband at the airport. They flew to Ohio to sign the papers because she wanted to make it easier for my daughter and her husband. My daughter and her husband sat in the cold car (it was February) for three hours. In Ohio you can't be in the same building. When they called my daughter and her husband up the girl and her boyfriend had left with the baby and were on a plane to Iowa. She came because she had never been on a plane before and thought it would be fun. Our whole family was crushed. I pray a lot not couple has to go through this it is just awful. Anyway I was thrilled beyond words when I saw you had your Julia Rose.

  10. I'm SO unbelievably sorry about your failed match/placement Amy. My heart just aches for you. We used the same agency as you did when we adopted our daughter and we also went through a similar lengthy match. It was so difficult going through such a lengthy match with no assurance of an ending and still is one of my main complaints about the agency we used. Our daughters birthmom found our profile when she was 16 weeks along and some 300 emails later (hundreds of hours spent emailing back and forth) she did place with our family. But it was very touch and go when she was born and we could have very easily been in the same situation you are in now. I just don't understand why LDSFS doesn't wait to match families until expectant parents are into their third trimester. I guess I "get" it to some degree why they would allow it, but you wouldn't believe the amount of emails we received from individuals who were 10 weeks along, just found out they were pregnant and were needing guidance and counseling. Involving hopeful adoptive parents at that early point in a pregnancy is just ridiculous. Looking back it was just so stressful to be matched for that length of time, and nothing happened for us or our child's birthmom that couldn't have been ironed out in the third trimester. Again, I'm sorry that your hurting and hope for healing and closure.

  11. Hi there! I've been reading your blog for awhile. I am too an adoptive mom! I completely understand your frustration with failed placements. We do had one and found out from Facebook that the expectant mom had changed her mind. Does LDS have a limit on # of children you can adopt? Our agency is 2 so we would have to find a private agency to go with if we choice to have more than 2 children.


Your turn...