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Adoption is…

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Open Adoption, Closed Heart

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“If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” ~Mary Engelbreit

In my previous post “Open Adoption 101”, I said I would talk about my feelings on  the concept of open adoption and how they’ve evolved, and I also planned to elaborate more on the benefits of open adoption for the child. Well I think I’m just going to discuss my perspective today, and leave the benefits and create a third installment on open adoption.  This topic is pretty vast, and a very important part of open adoption, and can’t be smooshed into one little rambling blog entry.  Well it probably can be, but not by me.

But before I do, I just have to say that I have read and heard so often from others about how much your opinions and outlooks will change as you make your way through the process.  I totally understood how that could be, as I think this happens with any life altering undertaking, but I certainly didn’t count on any momentous changes before we even sent in our application.  But I was wrong, and open adoption was my first serious change of heart.

Before we had the official “we-can’t-get-pregnant-so-now-what” conversation, I had casually researched adoption.  I say casually because it wasn’t really a confident, “okay, I want to know what my options are”  kind of research. When I first started looking into it, I was still slightly in denial about our infertility, and on some level felt that if I really researched adoption, it would somehow jinx us completely and whatever remote hope we had of a bio child would be extinguished.  So first I searched surrogacy, and then when I got a bit braver, I searched  “adoption in (my city)”, just to see how much info was out there.  I would click on the odd link, but just skim the pages, not really reading any of the info.  I was “grazing” if you will.  Eventually though, the reality set in that a bio child was not in the cards for us, and it was time to get serious about taking another route to parenthood.  So M and I had the conversation and my real research began.

Now I wouldn’t say that my grazing research afforded me any sort of in depth knowledge on adoption, but I thought I had a pretty good handle overall, on how adoption worked.  So when I started actively reading, and came across open adoption, I was quite shocked that a) I’d never heard about it before and b) that people actually did this.   I mean I’d heard of people having relationships with their birth families.  But the stories I knew of were children who’d been raised in their birth family, but just adopted by another family member.  (One form of what is known as kinship adoption.)  Or adoptees who located their birth parents and reunited with them.  The only degree of openness I was familiar with besides those,  was semi-open adoptions; instances where there were exchanges of pictures, letters, cards, and perhaps gifts (totally fine by me).  But I wasn’t aware of face-to-face interactions and ongoing relationships at all.

I like to think of  myself as a very open minded person, so my instantaneous rejection of this idea, caught me off guard.  As soon as I knew what it was, just the word open adoption caused a knee-jerk reaction of “Nope!”  After learning about it, I remember coming across an adoption agency that said they only did these kind of adoptions.   They wouldn’t even consider any potential parents who weren’t willing to accept an open adoption plan, because they approached all of their adoptions this way until the birth mother requested otherwise. And that actually had me thinking, “Oh my God, if they’re all like this, maybe we can’t adopt either.”

If you’ve read my entries about infertility “Rant”, you’ll have a pretty clear idea of just how badly I have always wanted to be a parent.  So my thinking that open adoption could actually be a roadblock to that, tells you just how much I rejected the idea.  Now to put it in perspective, I didn’t carry this opinion around with me for months on end.  Mainly because a large part of what was bothering me wasn’t just the idea itself.  It was also the fact that I couldn’t even bring myself to even say that I didn’t necessarily agree with it, but I could be accepting of it.  That really bothered me.  A LOT.   I could accept that I wasn’t wholly on board with the idea, but totally rejecting it went against my belief in being open minded, and I hated being challenged on that level.

So what made all the difference?  What flipped the proverbial switch?  Well, basically more research.  But this time, I did more than read the experts take on things.  I looked for accounts of personal experiences from parents (both birth and adoptive), in books, blogs, and chat boards.  I just couldn’t get past my hesitation, and I needed to know how other people did.  Surely I couldn’t be the only person that felt this way?

No, I wasn’t.  Many personal accounts from adoptive parents I came across reflected feelings and thoughts similar to, and in some instances, the same as mine.   And throughout these stories ran common threads of discomfort and anxiety.

  • Because my child knows his birth parents, will that somehow influence her to go back to live with them when they get older?
  • Won’t it make it harder for the child to bond and accept his adoptive parents?
  • If the birth parents don’t agree with my methods of parenting and discipline, are they going to interfere?
  • If my child suffered from mental, physical or sexual abuse at the hands of their birth parents, how can I be expected to have an amicable relationship with them?
  • Can I really face the birth parents knowing that I am potentially a painful reminder that they are no longer the parents to this child?
  • What if the birth parents don’t like me, or think I’m not good enough to parent their child?
  • What if my child likes his birth parents better?

When I looked into how birth parents feel about open adoption, I had to take into consideration, that most accounts I was reading were from birth parents who’d chosen an adoption plan for their child via private adoption.  Again, public adoption isn’t usually a voluntary scenario, so there wasn’t as much on the birth parent’s side of testimony.  In that respect, I had to rely mainly on the adoptive parents who were in those relationships.  However, what I did from the birth parent’s experience, was that they feared judgement, and rejection for their decision or bad parenting choices, from the birth parents as well as their child.  But most importantly, was that they often echoed the exact same fears and anxieties as adoptive parents, just from the opposite side of the fence.

This put me at ease a great deal because many of these same birth parents and adoptive parents, overcame their fears and were now involved in positive and/or successful open adoptions.  That’s not to say all fears and awkwardness will suddenly disappear, and even if you the adoptive parent, embrace the idea wholeheartedly, that doesn’t mean the birth parents will.  However, those who took the leap had no regrets whatsoever.  Even when it wasn’t idyllic.

The second discovery that helped me turn the panic switch off was in some ways, and even easier solution-it isn’t about you.  It’s about the child and meeting their needs.  When I put it into that perspective, somehow it became more palatable.  (Notice I said palatable, not gratifying.)   But continuing to read, with a different mindset, made all the difference.  Suddenly the information was reinforcing all the positive outlook I was gaining instead of compounding the negative one I used to have.  That said, I’m not completely blinded by my new take on things; I know it won’t be all unicorns, rainbows, and warm fuzzy feelings.  But ensuring that I’m meeting my child’s needs,  is my number one objective and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to do that.  I want to give them everything they need, and hopefully a little bit of things they don’t really need, but would be damn cool to have.

It’s funny how your perspective can do a complete 180.  At the outset, I kept thinking to myself, open adoption was the worst case scenario.  Hopefully we would luck out and be involved in a semi-open adoption where we could avoid the face-to-face contact.  Now I find myself desperately hoping that the child we adopt will still have full contact with their parents, or at least some part of their bio family, because that  would be the best case scenario.

Hello Class…. Welcome to Open Adoption 101

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Once I had my preliminary research on public and private adoption, the next thing I started looking into was open adoption.  Open adoption was probably the first thing and only thing that I objected to when I first read about it.  It made me squeamish, it felt awkward, and impossible.  The more I read about it though, the more I gradually came around.  I’m going to explain in my next entry how that came to be, but today’s blog is another lesson in adoption.  I’m going to explain open adoption and the other degrees of openness that adoption can sometimes include.  So get your pens and notepads ready.  Let’s begin….

In both private and public adoption, there are various degrees of openness between the adopted child, birth parents and adoptive parents.  Adoption is no longer kept in the shadows.  It isn’t something families refuse to speak of because it’s some shameful dark secret.   Things have changed since the days when unplanned pregnancies resulted in a woman leaving town to “stay with family”, while her secret was taken care of, and she was sent back home and told that it was best for everyone involved if she just forgot it ever happened.  Yes, it’s come a long way since then, thank goodness.

Today, many adopted children not only know who either or both of their birth parents are, but they also have open relationships with them where there are varying degrees of contact and information exchanged.   Some even have the same knowledge of, and relationships with, siblings and their extended family as well.  Like me, this may come as a shock to some of you as you hear this for the first time.  That seems to be a common reaction.  If that’s your reaction, I hope that once I explain how it works and the reasoning behind it, you become more open to it as I did.

So what is openness in adoption?  Openness is the amount of contact and information that the birth parents, adopted child, and adoptive parents have within their relationship.  As I mentioned, the degree of openness can vary depending on circumstances.  Back in the earlier days of adoption when it was taboo, all adoptions were closed.  This meant that children were given no information about their birth parents, nor were the adoptive parents.  That is if the adoptive children had knowledge of their adoption at all.  (Everything that’s wrong with that, is material for another class on it’s own.)  Gradually, over time, some openness was allowed with some agencies, but still with limitations.  No identifying details were shared,  just very basic personal characteristics and medical/hereditary information.  Today, this still happens, but very rarely.

Semi-Open Adoptions

From here out, I’m going to use just the birth parent for explanation purposes, but this relationship can encompass just the birth mother, the birth father and/or extended family as aforementioned.  A semi-open adoption is when the birth parents have interactions with the adoptive parents and child, that entails non-identifying interactions.   The identity of all parties is usually not shared, and contact is, most often in the form of letters, cards, and sometimes emails.  Contact is usually mediated with the help of an adoption worker, or attorney, depending on whether it’s a private or public adoption.

Open Adoptions

In open adoption, both the birth parents and adoptive parents as well as the child, have a completely open relationship in the sense that identities are known on all sides.   Contact varies from adoption to adoption, but it can be anything from letters, phonecalls or photos, to face-to-face visits.  These visits can be once a year, or frequent and regular get-togethers.  They may include casual meet ups at home, the park, or family gatherings for holidays and special occasions.

How the degrees of openness are defined and executed are the same whether you go through the private or public adoption process.  What does differ between the two adoption options, is how the degree of openness is set.  There are no stats out there to say which adoption method offers more openness over the other, because it’s the circumstances which dictate what degree of openness occurs.

In private adoption, the adoption is birth parent driven.  The birth parents choose to place their child for adoption, and in most cases choose the adoptive parents for their child.  The decision is theirs as to where on the openness spectrum they choose to place their relationship with their child and the adoptive parents.

In public adoption, the adoption is most often due to severance of parental rights.   There are a number of reasons children are placed for adoption with child protective services; abuse, neglect, inability to parent, a death in the family, and sometimes (though not as often), parents willingly relinquish their rights.  In this method, usually the courts dictate what level of parental contact there will be.  The degree to which it is exercised within the legal boundaries can still be the choice of both sets of parents, but it is not entirely in the hands of the birth parents as it is with private adoption.

Both methods can still impose a closed adoption option.  In both private and public adoption, the birth parents may find it too painful to remain in contact, and opt for a closed adoption.  But in public adoption, sometimes, regardless of the birth parent’s wishes, the court deems a closed adoption the best option for the safety and well being of the child.

So now you know the definitions, but how does this all work?  How can you adopt a child, and as their parent, potentially share their life with their birth parents?  Why would you want to?  Ask a lot of adoptive parents, and they will tell you they had the same reaction that I did when they first learned about open adoption.  They didn’t want to even entertain the thought.  It made them uncomfortable.  Would they be co-parenting this child?  How could they face their child’s birth parents and share their child’s life without feeling guilty for taking them away from them?  Alternatively, how can they have a relationship with the person who may not have taken proper care of their child, or worse?  What if the birth parents didn’t like them or their parenting methods?  Or worse, what if their child liked their birth parents better?  So many questions, and the answer doesn’t address any of them.  The answer is that it isn’t about the birth parents or the adoptive parents.  It’s completely about the child, and their well being.

The reason closed adoptions are no longer the only way is because a child needs to know where they come from, no matter how or when their journey into adoption begins.  Even a child adopted from birth recognizes when they are taken away from their birth mother.  They have spent nine months surrounded by her body, her smell, and her voice, and then suddenly removed and placed in the arms of strangers they have no connection to.  Children adopted at an older age will already have memories of their birth parents.  They may not all be good memories, but they are the child’s history, nonetheless.  The clarity of older an adoptee’s memories will vary depending on their age when they leave their birth family, but they will be there, regardless.  But those memories are finite.  They will stop before their memories with their birth family begin.  There is a huge gap, that no amount of love, care and nurturing can fill.

An adoptee’s need for their history is as personal as their adoption story is.  I’m not going to pretend to know the desire behind the need to know who your parents are.  I’m not an adoptee, so I can’t even begin to speak with an authentic voice, and wouldn’t deign to try.  However, I do have personal experience witnessing someone who doesn’t have their complete history, and the anguish it caused them for many, many years, and still does on some level.  I have seen the pain of just not knowing where you came from.  Of having a part of you missing.

I don’t expect my words to sway you if you’re not at the point of accepting open adoption as a viable option for you and your future family.  But I do hope that I might sway you toward keeping an open mind and doing your due diligence and learning more about the benefits of open adoption.  I know personally, I want my children to look back on a life that was the best I could give;  I want them to have laughter, infinite unconditional love, and a safe place to fall.  The one thing I can’t give them is their life, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give them a relationship with the person who did.

Book Critic Extraordinaire

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Book critic.  That’s the hat I’m wearing for this entry today!  Okay, well you can drop the extraordinaire bit.  Probably a little much since this is my first critique.  I just liked the sound of it, and I thought it made for a more intriguing title.

Okay, so what am I critiquing you ask?  Well, recently when I was doing my daily perusal of an adoption site, I found a post which was in search of bloggers willing to review a book for their readers. I’m an avid reader (especially now with all this pre-adoptive reading), and I’d never done this, but thought, what the hell?!  It’ll be fun, and hopefully what I have to say will be a useful source of info for some of the people reading my blog.  Plus, I get the bonus of access to what sounded like a very hands on and practical book.  So I emailed the author, and here I am.

So without further ado, here it is….

The Adoptive & Foster Parent Guide: How to Heal Your Child’s Trauma and Loss

by Carol Lozier

Being my husband and I are just entering this process, I am voraciously reading anything and everything (books, websites, chat boards, blogs…), I can on adoption. I’ve read a good variety of books so far, but the common theme with the latest onslaught has been attachment, and helping to heal your adopted child.  Carol’s book covers these issues and a whole lot more.

The first thing that set this book apart for me was the format.  To use Carol’s words, “This book’s format is in a magazine style for overwhelmed and busy parents.”  Well I don’t fall into the “overwhelmed and busy parent” category just yet, so I read this book cover to cover.   But the magazine formatting allows those whose reading time availability may fluctuate from a little to a lot.  I already found the format helpful in being able to quickly locate and re-read particular areas of interest.  I was able to put my highlighter and pen away for this book.

The next thing that stood out for me was the way the book is written.  Many of the books I’ve read thus far have been very textbook an clinical in their approach.  Often those who share knowledge that is common to them, forget that it’s not common to their audience. Carol, despite being a clinical social worker, has broken the information down into practical advice, parenting techniques and exercises that are easy to understand and incorporate.

In other books, I have found myself continuously having to return to previous explanations of exercises when they were revisited.  The context of some exercises was not easily relatable to their purpose, and therefore hadn’t stuck in my brain.  That is not the case with this book.  The exercises are simple and practical.  I could actually envision myself going through them as a future parent, and having my child be receptive to them.  They made sense, and I could see how they could easily become ongoing and usable tools.

The other thing I liked, was the story telling aspect of the book.  It is used heavily, and I think that’s extremely beneficial.  When trying to retain information, I think it is always much easier if you can have a story related to the information imparted.  It’s one thing to read a textbook definition, but completely a different learning experience when you hear that information shared via stories and people you can personally relate to, or at least understand and empathize with.  I know during my search for information, the static information I was finding on adoption wasn’t enough.  I went in search of chat boards and blogs to get first hand accounts of life experiences.  Real life stories are peppered throughout this book, and I think they definitely add merit to Carol’s teachings.

Last but not least, was the three part, building structure of the book.  I thought this was really well laid out.  It takes you from start to finish, building on your parenting skills as you learn and grow.  There are three distinct sections: your child’s history (understanding behaviours), resolution (helping your child heal), and education (becoming an advocate for your child).  Again, this progression of learning, just made sense, and puts each part of the structure in perspective.

Now as for the content, well, I could go on and on about things I enjoyed, but I want you to read the book (as I’m sure Carol does too), so I’ll give you some of the highlights:

  • “Is This Normal or Is It Foster or Adoption Related?”  Being a first time parent, I’m sure I will encounter scenarios where I’m asking if this is normal behaviour for a child.  But being a first time parent of an adopted child, throws another curveball.  I’ve seen this question posted on so many chat boards, but had yet to see it covered in any previous adoption books I’ve read.  Temper tantrums are prime examples of where this question comes into play.  Carol explains how to differentiate between developmental and trauma related behavior.
  • I enjoyed the segment on helping your child write a letter to their birthmom.  I had seen this in other books, but it stopped after explaining the purpose and giving a standard template.  They tend to follow the format of the child writes the letter, and parent and child discuss. Carol’s explains the purpose, gives the parent multiple approaches, and gives a very good suggestion for getting the parent directly involved from start to finish, which I thought was wonderful.  She focuses on this healing the child’s lost connection to their birthmom, but I think it also would help with letting the child know that you accept their birthmother, and accept that they miss her, which is so vitally important.
  • Another great segment was the one on triangulation. I had read about it in many books, but it was sort of breezed over.  This gives an in-depth explanation, that included info I hadn’t read before.  (ie an outside party (teacher, grandparent), being part of the triangle.)

Other read worthy topics covered:

  • The letter to family and friends explaining what is supportive vs. hurtful to the adoptive family.
  • Segment on recreating your child’s trauma, to help them re-visit and heal their painful past.
  • The list of questions to ask when “interviewing” your child’s therapist.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to those entering, or already in the world of  adoption.  So many of the books I’ve read tend to use shock value to get their point across about the challenges of adoptive parenting.  Carol’s book is honest and doesn’t sugar coat anything, but she reveals the difficulties from a place of compassion.  She teaches pre-adoptive and adoptive parents to approach their child’s pain from that place in order to start the healing process.  She enables them to be very hands on and not shut the door to therapy when you leave the therapist’s office.  I know I will definitely buy a copy of this book that I can go back and reference as I parent my child.  It will no doubt be a bumpy road, but learning Carol’s approach of empathy and humanity makes me feel more well equipped to handle the challenges that will inevitably come our way.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of Carol’s book, you can do so at:


Forever Families

Barnes and Noble

Amazon for Kindle Users


Carol Lozier, MSW, LSCW
, is a clinical social worker in a private practice is Louiseville, Kentucky.  She has spent over 20 years counseling children and families, specializing in adoption and foster care issues.  She is passionate about helping children heal from past trauma and loss.  She has written several articles and authors a blog, which offers practical strategies, guidance, and support for families.  She is a contributing author to the book, The Foster Parenting Toolbox (EMK Press 2002).

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Every Once In a While The Universe Gets It Right

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At the outset of this journey, like anyone, I was online searching for info on adoption; pretty much any info I could devour.  Being this is a life altering decision, not only for M and I, but also for our future child or children, I was (and still am), info hungry.  In my ravenous searching, I was finding a lot of information, but not a lot with Canadian content.  I found the foremost Canadian adoption info sites, but they were just that.  Info sites.  I had read all the facts and figures, and was now looking for more on the personal side of adoption.  I didn’t want the perfect family stories, or the full on horror stories, which were easy to find.  I wanted the stories in between.  The little-bit-of-everything, personal stories.  The true face of adoption.  I came across a few different websites, and was really excited to discover they had chat boards.  Then I was not so excited when I found that the boards were not only limited, but virtually inactive.  But then I came across another website that not only had great information, but also had a fairly active board.  Of course I registered.

Now what does all this have to do with the universe you might ask?  I’m getting to that; don’t rush me.  This pre-amble will get you to the point, don’t worry.  Geez, I would have thought by now you’d have figured out the word rush ceases to exist in the world of my blogosphere. 🙂  Anyhow, back to the pre-amble….

As I said, I had registered for an account so that I could lurk and hopefully get some insight into some personal stories about the trials and tribulations of adoption, from a Canadian perspective.  For a little while, all I did was lurk.  We were only in the starting phase of our journey, so I felt kind of funny posting amidst all these people whose process was well underway, or already complete.  Only M and I knew we were adopting at that point, and I wanted to tell somebody, even if it was under the guise of a pseudonym.  Plus I had a lot of questions.  So I broke my silence and made my first post.  At that point we were still weighing our options of public vs. private adoption.  So I posted asking about people’s wait times with either type.

I received a lot of responses, but one stood out from all the rest.  She shared her personal perspective in two lines.  The rest of her reply was info on both the public and private scene in Ottawa.  (Turned out we were in the same city.)  I responded to everyone and posed a follow-up question.  That same person answered again, and after some back and forth, sent me a private message.  We went from private messages, to emails, to agreeing to meet for coffee in the span of a week after that initial post.

It took us a while to coordinate schedules, but we finally agreed to meet on a Sunday night at a Starbucks half way between her house and mine.  When we first saw eachother, there were friendly hellos exchanged, and then that initial first meeting awkwardness as she ordered her coffee, while I waited on her, anxiously sipping mine.  (I totally understood what online daters felt like!)  We made our way to a table on the patio, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that “newness” melted away within five minutes.  It’s so funny, because I don’t even remember any sort of casual conversation at the outset.  We immediately launched into adoption talk and didn’t stray from it the whole evening.  I say the whole evening because we met at 7pm, closed down the Starbucks (actually got kicked off the patio as they locked up the tables for the night), pretended like we were going to leave, and meandered toward our cars.  But we kept talking, and decided to head over to a park bench (where she endured an initial spray from the automatic sprinklers), and talked until 11, 11:30, or maybe midnight.  I can’t honestly recall.

What I do recall, was feeling so appreciative that she was willing to be completely open with me about her experiences.  I loved hearing her adoption story of how she and her husband found, fell in love with, fought for, and finally brought their beautiful son home.  I was so grateful to have met someone who immediately made me feel like I could ask anything at all, and was more than willing to share the good, the bad, and the ugly, in an entirely open and honest dialogue.  By the time we managed to peel ourselves off that bench (which may not have happened before dawn if it weren’t for husbands, and the threat of work in the morning), I felt as if I’d known her far beyond a few hours, and a handful of email exchanges.

I think she felt so familiar because I saw a lot of her in me and vice versa, but also because I saw the adoptive mom I hope to one day be.  A mom who did whatever she had to do to find her way to her child.  A mom who may not have liked everything she endured during those first days, but fought through it and came out the other side with a fiercer love for that child than she ever imagined.  If I can be half the mom she is, my child will be pretty damn lucky.

So getting back to that whole universe bit…  As I’ve said before, the universe definitely has thrown a lot of not so nice things my way.  But every once in a while, it either musters up some guilt for the cruelty dished out, or maybe it just decides to take the day off.  (More likely the latter.)  Whatever the case, every once in a while, I catch a break.  Sometimes it’s just a short reprieve, and other times, it’s a “How did I get so lucky?!” kinda moment.  And she too, is more likely the latter.

Thanks E.

Coming Out

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Not really sure how to start this blog other than to say M and I have decided to adopt!  Yay!  This is our official coming out party!  Our adoption cotillion if you will.  Well, mine I guess, being as I’m the blogger.  M is just the date I’ve dragged along to the dance.   Anyhow, both of us been waiting a long time to start our family, and I am so happy to be finally moving in a direction that will hopefully make children a reality for us.

We have decided to adopt domestically, and to pursue a public adoption as opposed to private.  For those of you not familiar with the ins and outs of adoption, I’ll explain the different options that are available.

 

    • International Adoption–  This would be adopting outside of Canada, or within Quebec.  (Yes, in Quebec, they deem an interprovincial adoption “international”.  This is done through an adoption agency, or with the aid of a licensee. Age ranges for these types of adoption can be anywhere from babies to teens, and the cost can run on average, anywhere from $30000-$50000 dollars.  (Not sure, but I would think Quebec would be less than this; more likely around the cost of a private domestic adoption.)
    • Private Domestic Adoption–  This is adopting within Canada through an agency or licensee.  Inter-provincial adoptions can and do occur, however, the most common is usually within your province of residence.  Couples/Individuals seeking newborns usually pursue this option, as it centres mostly around mothers who are pregnant and looking to place their child.  In most cases, the mother picks the adoptive family she wants for her child with the help of the agency or licensee.  Costs for this can range on average, anywhere from $10000-$20000.
    • Public Domestic Adoption–  This is again, adopting within Canada, but in this instance, it is done through a public agency, which in Ontario, is the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).  Age ranges for this type of adoption are anywhere from toddlers up to age 18.  Newborns or children under the age of one are extremely rare.  There is no cost to adopting publically, other than the minimal cost of fingerprints and police background checks which must be submitted with the adoptive couples/individual’s application.

Initially we were unsure of which route we would go, and but were thinking we’d be pursuing a private domestic adoption.  M had a preference of a baby for our first child, so we figured we would be going that route.  However, we weren’t committing ourselves to anything until we’d looked into both sides.  So at the beginning of this month we attended an info session on public adoption at the Children’s Aid office.

In our discussion on the way home that night, M said after going to the info session, he was more comfortable with the thought of an older child, and didn’t necessarily feel drawn to the idea of a baby any longer. He said that the babies in private adoption will be adopted without a doubt because it seems everyone wants a baby when they adopt. (Currently, there are 100-150 couples/individuals waiting to adopt, for every 1 baby that is born. That’s a whole lot of competition!)   But these kids were already waiting for parents.  He thought that going this route “just felt right”.

Hearing that from him just sealed the deal for me and I was completely on board.  I was so excited he felt this way! This was music to my ears, because during my research of public adoption, I had signed up for access to the Adopt Ontario website, where you can view profiles of children in the care of CAS who are waiting to be adopted. I didn’t have my heart set on any child in particular, but there was just something about seeing those kids and knowing they were already out there, that had started to turn my heart away from private adoption.

The music wasn’t over yet. He added he’d even be willing to accept two siblings!  So it was decided then and there, that we would be going home, and starting work on our CAS adoptive parent application.

It’s quite surreal to be talking about all this, and be talking about it in the present, “We’re going to adopt”, instead of the “We’re looking into adoption”, context.  It still doesn’t feel real.  At times it feels silly to be excited because we haven’t even submitted the application yet, so it doesn’t feel like we’ve officially started anything, but I guess it’s just the excitement of a new plan, after our initial plan to have biological children was quashed by infertility.  For a long time, there wasn’t too much positivity going on, and it’s just nice to finally be in a place again where we can think about children and not have it sting so badly.

So this blog is my official launch into the big bad world of parenthood through adoption.   The wholeprocess of adoption is terribly overwhelming with everything you have to consider personally, as well as through the application process.  But at the moment, the anticipation is outweighing that for the most part.  (I’m sure that will not be the case, very soon.)  We know that we have a long road ahead, but we really hope that with some of the positives we have going from an application standpoint (more on that later), we won’t see our already 10 year wait being extended by much longer.

I’m excited to share our process with people; especially friends and family.  Some of you have been with me on the infertility roller coaster since day one, and some of you are just finding out about all this now.  Wherever you fall between those two, I hope you will check in from time to time and see where we are, and ask questions, as well as offer your insight and encouragement.  We don’t know anyone who has adopted, so this will be a learning curve for us as well as some of you.  Right now, all I know is the theoretical side, and I’m ready and willing to get to the practical side of it!

As for those of you who don’t know us and stumbled upon this while researching your own adoption, I hope this gives you some useful information that will help you in your journey.  I’m sure I will more than cover anything you want to know (and probably some stuff you didn’t), with all my excited babbling, but if there’s anything you’re curious about that I haven’t covered, please don’t hesitate to ask.

So that’s it.  First blog entry of many, complete. 🙂