Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Please vote for Amy!!!


(sorry the link button didn't work from my mobile device)

Amy has adopted three beautiful children from Ghana and after a significant weight loss, she has been chosen as one of the finalists on the macy's million dollar makeover. I hope you consider voting for her and spreading the word about this. It would be wonderful to see international adoption on national tv.

<3 jenni

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Week in Review

I have never linked my blog to others, but as I was blog hopping, I came across a neat idea. And the fact that there is a giveaway, it's the perfect time to try "linking".

Filled With Praise is a blog by Amy, an adoptive mother and she has encouraged other blogs to link with hers to write about our "week in review". So here is ours:


My high point of this week has been the progress made on our adoption journey. I have managed to cross off many things on our to do list, which will bring us closer to our child(ren). I don't do well with waiting, but if given a list of things to do WHILE waiting, I am on a mission!


My low point of the week was the cold weather. After having beautiful spring days last weekend, we are experiencing cold weather, a dusting of snow and wind... So we didn't get as much as in this picture, and it did melt right away, but it might as well had been this much after a few sunny days. Spring break next week should fix that though:)


I learned that adoption is contagious, but better feeling than the flu! When people find out we are adopting, the questions will begin to flow and I can see the thought "if they can do it, why couldn't we" form in their minds. And the truth is, if our family on an average income, a busy life and all that comes with that can adopt, I don't see why more people couldn't? Sure, the process is demanding, but for us it is NOTHING compared to what our child is going through. The uncertainty of their future, grieving the loss of a parent, longing for a permanent home... SO what if I have to run around for a few pieces of paper? Or work a little harder to afford a particular fee? We are so blessed, yet many of us consider ourselves "broke" or struggling. I try to keep things in perspective ALL the time...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why Ghana?

 Children from Ghana  www.ghanaweb.com

Our adoption journey has already had many twists and turns. We didn't have a country or agency in mind when we started to gather information on adoption. We decided that all those details would fall into place and it was up to us to open as many doors as possible and see most of them close in the process. We e-mailed and called many agencies, inquired about children on waiting children lists and spoke with fellow adoptive parents about their experiences and advice. We considered Ethiopia, Taiwan, Latvia, Haiti and Colombia. We inquired about children with special needs. We inquired about summer hosting programs. We listened to webinars and sent pre-applications. But as it came time to make a commitment to an agency or a program, we felt it wasn't time. During this time, there was no mention of Ghana, no thoughts if this program would be a good fit for us and no information on any waiting children in Ghana.

As multiple opened doors began to close, I had a wonderful phone conversation with a family friend who eased my frustrations and gave me the confidence to continue. Because we felt strongly about adopting a waiting child, she encouraged us to find an agency with a good waiting children program or find our child(ren) first before making a commitment to an agency. And before long, I was having a phone conversation about Ghana, an orphanage and children waiting for adoption. Our parameters were a great fit for Ghana and the process of adoption there seemed a better fit for us than any other country we had learned about. And then Eric reminded me of a friend from our past who was from...Ghana! And then I found out that the non profit organization we would be involved with is located in our home state! Many other details seemed to fall in place and I knew that this opened door was the right one for us.

So GHANA it is!!!

<3 jenni

A small announcement...

Since I am adding a bunch of blogs that I like to stalk...I mean read, I can now officially announce that we are adopting from....


We have sent our service contract and agency fees which makes it official in my mind;)

I will add to this post later why we chose Ghana and more details.

<3 jenni

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Things are moving fast...

In the last week, our adoption journey is picking up momentum and it seems that things are moving fast. Each step we complete is one closer to our ultimate goal: having our child(ren) join our family. I have a to-do list that is a mile long, but I was also comforted by the fact that one document can take 45 days to complete. That means I would have 6 weeks to get all the items crossed off my list. Then, I get an e-mail from my agency and it states:"we should have this document by next Monday". What??? That's less than a week. Well, that really got me moving today and 4 items were crossed off the list.

The ladies at my Dr office were so excited to fill out some forms for me. They wanted to make sure they were signed and stamped correctly so we would not have to repeat it. Adoption can bring a smile to so many people's faces (well, except for the people described in my previous post, LOL!!!)

So if I fail to return phone calls, e-mails or texts, I am busy filling out papers and running all over the place begging for signatures;)

<3 jenni

Monday, March 14, 2011

wow....just wow

I am not sure how to explain the last few days. as we are sharing the news with friends and family, the response has been anywhere from supportive to lukewarm to just plain hurtful. Years earlier,when we announced our pregnancies to the same people, the response was of overwhelming support. Of course I was subjected to the mandatory advice on breastfeeding, best baby products, pacifier use, sleeping arrangements, diaper rash creams etc. but not one person questioned our "state of mind" or ability to parent in general.

Adoption OTOH, brings out the funniest, dumbest, scariest and even most racist comments that people will come up with and feel necessary to share with us. These people seem to know the one person who experienced the most horrible adoption and thus no one should consider adopting the 140+ million orphans in the world. I am so glad for the excited, happy, supportive people in our lives, but even one "zinger" cuts this Momma's heart deeply at this point. It is always presented in the form of "concern" for our existing children, or us as parents. A baby adoption might be more comfortable for OTHER people, but we feel strongly about our ability to parent a toddler and a school aged child from a hard place. We are continually reading, learning from others in our position and we know that we may need additional resources to parent.

I have figured out that for some people adoption makes them think about the "hard stuff" of adoption like why children become orphans in the first place and it is easier just not think about it. For others, they need to deal with their feelings on racism, or if I as a white mother know how to parent an African child. How dare I ruin their blissful ignorance by doing something out of the box that they would not consider for themselves?

I have yet to find the perfect answer for all these comments (and I should say they a few compared to the outpouring of love) but I will try to find ways to be graceful and wipe the stunned look off my face:)

<3 jenni

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Will you adopt a baby?

I have been asked this question sooo many times. People imagine a small baby dropped off at the steps of an orphanage in a Moses basket with a note from a desperate mother who can no longer take care of their child. Maybe that happens at times, but I dont think this will be a part of our adoption story.

When we first started to discuss adoption, we both realized that we didn't necessarily want to adopt an infant. After two kids, we had the infant "experience" and we knew there were so many children over the age of 2 that need a home. We feel equipped as parents to handle all that comes with adopting a toddler or school aged child. At the same time we feel that we want to maintain birth order in our family, so we are requesting a match with a child or siblings up to age 5. Or maybe 6.

Ghana is not known for infant adoptions. Last year only 3 children under the age of 1 were adopted internationally.

So while we LOVE little babies, there is really little chance we will be adopting a baby.

<3 jenni

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How long is the adoption process???

Simply put, longer than I want to wait, LOL!!! Some countries are of course faster than others, but they may make changes in the middle of the process that will prolong the wait. All I know is that the process is unpredictable, full of bumps and detours. While I am expecting delays, I am not sure how my personality will deal with them:)

I have a general idea for our chosen country and I know what steps we must take to complete an adoption. That's why this blog was created, to go through the process step by step with others. From the frustrations to the joys, I want to record my experiences during this journey. I dont't want to put an arbitrary number to haunt me, so I will just say less than 2 years is my hope for this process.

<3 jenni

Where are you adopting from?

In 2007, UNICEF estimated that there are 163 million orphaned children all over the world. This means that these children have lost at least one parent and 19 million have lost both parents. There are 150,000 children in the foster care system in United States that are in need of a family. Clearly, there is a need here and internationally.

Each country and government has specific requirements on who is eligible to adopt a child from that country. These requirements can include age, years of marriage, number of children in family and even what gender these children are. Also, some countries have medical condition and asset requirements that will disqualify some families from adopting.

Since we are not particularly young:) and we have been married long enough, most countries consider us qualified. But because we have a boy and a girl, we were ineligible to adopt in certain areas. We also cannot stay in a foreign country for several months, so we had to find a country that would allow us to travel shorter duration even if it meant 2-3 trips.

After considering all the factors, we are adopting from an African nation. Since we are at the early stages, you can e-mail me for the name of the country as we do not want to jeopardize anything during our process. We are learning about the beautiful people, vibrant culture and the rich history of this country and the more we learn, the more excited we become. We also know of the devastating poverty that causes so many tragedies to occur in this country, including millions of orphans and very few orphanages to help them.

I feel that we could adopt from a number of countries, but this feels right.

<3 jenni

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why are you adopting?

We feel blessed to have a son and a daughter. Our life is full of joy and happiness as we parent these kids each day. We are busy with work, school, hobbies, doctor visits, play dates, birthday parties and homework as is every family with school aged children, I'm sure.With that being said, in my mind I always wanted to have a large family, just as I grew up in one. I imagined at least 4 children and I always imagined that some of them would be adopted. I am not sure where the thought of adoption came from, but it has been there as long as I have had any dreams of a family.

After having our two children, we knew we could no longer have biological children. It wasn't a big deal really, since I never thought of adoption as a "plan b" or a secondary option. I know many couples who have found adoption after fertility issues, but for us, this wasn't the case. And while it was an option I thought we would look into "some day", the process is intimidating, costly and scary (if you want to know the truth). So it was in the backs of our minds for a while, but we did nothing to pursue it.

And the last fall, it seemed that everyone everywhere was adopting. Not really, but my ears perked up whenever I heard of adoption, read blogs or adoption articles and spoke with adoptive families. The intimidation and scariness began to fade away and we finally began to have serious discussions about adoption. We listened to a few different webinars, learned about the current adoption tax credit and decided that we would start our adoption journey.

So our main reason to adopt is to grow our family. There are other reasons that I might get into later, but we have a loving home with plenty of room for more and there are children waiting for a mommy and daddy. Sounds simplistic (and it is), but that is our starting point.

<3 jenni

First post

I have hesitated starting a blog, because I wasn't sure that I wanted my life "out there" especially when we are in the process of adoption. But the more I have thought about it, this is the best way to keep our family and friends informed of our adoption process, find others who are adopting and create a life book for our adopted children of their family's journey to find them.

We have now shared this news with some family and friends and I anticipate sharing the news with everyone soon. So far all the people we have told have been happy for us and supportive of our decision. There have also been many questions about our adoption: why are you adopting? Where are you adopting from? How long will this take? How can you afford this? Will you adopt a baby? Do you know who your child is? Do you get to pick a child or will you be matched? Which agency are you using? And on and on and on...

I welcome all the questions and I will attempt to answer all of them. But also please understand that certain aspects of the adoption process are private and sensitive. The fact that a child becomes an orphan is painful and those details will be our child's to share when he or she is old enough to share them. While it's ok to be curious about this, it isn't something we want to publish until this child can comprehend and process on their own.

In the next few posts I will answer some of the more common adoption questions so you can learn more about why we are adopting and where we are in the process.

<3 jenni