Monday, December 5, 2011

I hate 'Adoption Update' for a title but that's what this is ;-)

Warning.... this is one of 'those' posts. Maybe long overdue, maybe entirely too long, but therapeutic all the same... probably more for me than for you ;-) Thanks for sticking with me, if you do!

This is a hard post to write. It's full of emotion; some good and some (ok, a lot) well, not so good. It's also full of lots of explanation... sorry, Mom! :-) I have spent the past few months contemplating this post; how do I write all of this? I don't want sympathy... but isn't that ultimately what this form of expression gets you? Really, it's not my intention.

About 4 months ago we started our home study update.... it's one of those milestones in adoption that you NEVER EVER want to reach. Well, we did; partly because it's been a year since our home study was completed and partly because we moved. We are SO incredibly blessed that our first social worker, Kim (the one who's home study brought Hannah home ;-)) was able to do this home study, too!! (And truthfully... Kim's home studies tend to lead to us bringing home a baby.)

Right, Kim?!?! ;-)

Kim knows me well. She started out 3 years ago as our social worker... the person you're initially most intimidated by as your adoption process begins.... and she's now a friend. She's a confidante and she's also an adoptive mom of THREE, herself. Her advice and experience combined with how well she knows me make what she said to me a couple months ago resonate so deeply...

"You will get to a point where you'll write about this past year; the good and all of the bad. You need to. That's how you heal."

She's right.

I've done a lot of learning and breaking and healing in this past year... and this is the final phase in that process.

For those of you who've been around for a while, you read this post back in April. We were coming out of a pretty tough 5 months; the toughest... so I thought. Here's a 'quick' timeline...

* September 2010~ Completed home study for adoption #2 & signed up with a small, local agency

* October 2010~ First heard from 'A' about her plans to place her twins for adoption and we started getting to know each other

* November 2010~ Started our Facebook page, blog, and pass-along cards as a way to get the word out about our desire to adopt

* December 2010~ 'A' placed her beautiful baby girl and boy with a family where they would be the first kids

* December 25, 2010~ First heard from 'M' about HER plans to place her twin boys for adoption; due April 16th. She found us through Facebook.

* January 16, 2011~ "It might be my belly... but they're YOUR babies." ~ 'M'

* February 4, 2011~ Agency calls; we've been chosen by a young mom to adopt her baby girl who is due in 2 weeks.... through gut- wrenching prayer, we said no to this baby-girl; we already loved those boys and 'M' so much!

* February 15, 2011~ 'M' calls; she's having second thoughts.

* March 8, 2011~ 2 healthy baby boys are born 5 weeks early... we get a play by play of their delivery and they go home a week later... with their parents. Not us.

If you had asked me in April (which some of you did) if we could go through any more heartbreak, we would have said...'absolutely not.' We were so sure... too sure, that all of that pain had led us to that point because we we close to bringing our baby home.

And this is where we'll pick up... (Are you staying with me?!? ;-))

* July 2011~ Joey gets a new job and we move... it's a good move and a huge blessing  :-)

* July 2011~ Start and complete our home study update for our new state

(I never lost contact with "M"... we texted and emailed on a regular basis from before the boys were born, through their hospital stay, during their first weeks home, up until they turned 6 months old...)

* July 2011~ 'L first contacts us through Facebook about adopting her baby girl, due in November

* August, 2011~ "Would you and Joey consider taking the boys on a temporary basis with the ultimate goal being a permanent adoption?' ~ 'M'


Adoption never left 'M's mind... I think it haunted her. She was a good mom... a really good mom. But like any other mom, she started to feel like she was coming undone. She turned to me for advice and we debated and cried and hashed emotions out together for a couple weeks and she and 'C' decided that their original plan for the boys was more manageable for them... 'manageble' being a very loosely-used word here.

How can placing your child in someone else's arms ever be 'manageable'?

We immediately lined up attorneys, started making travel plans, mom bought her plane ticket to meet us, and we continued making plans with 'M'... the past 7 months were beginning to come together and make sense.

These boys WERE supposed to be ours!

What happened next happened suddenly. I don't know that I understand it all even now, but all of a sudden, we were no longer talking about adoption but were negotiating guardianship. In the state they live in, they had a 45 revocation period... 45 days to change their mind and take the boys back. We knew this and it was the law so we were ok with that. We planned to spend some time in their state, easing the transition for these babies and their parents and then would bring them home and begin the 45 days, giving 'M' and 'C' a chance to 'feel' and experience their new reality.

But something changed... I don't know if it was fear or doubt or a nasty combination of both but 'M' was no longer talking about adoption; it eventually felt like we were negotiating over a car or a house... not babies.

Can you take them home for 30 days and just keep them as our friends so we can get used to not having them around? Can you take guardianship for 60 days and then start the adoption process?

Panic set in for us; do they just need a break? Do they really intend on placing these boys with us? How would it affect Hannah if we brought these boys home and then lost them? How would that affect the boys? And our bank account.

We went back and forth for so long.... we tried. Really tried to make something work. They DID want the boys to be with us. I think the reality was too tough.... and I get that. But... we had to say no. With the only absolutes in mind (Hannah, our family, our whole adoption process and the hurt we'd already experienced), we had to protect it all.

And it was excruciating.

I haven't heard from 'M' since then. I guess I don't really blame her... we were the one's who said no. At the same time, I'm hurt. Maybe I don't have the right to be hurt but it's there. I know she was hurting and desperate and afraid.... so was I. I know they wanted to protect themselves and their future.... so did we. I know they love those boys more than anything in this world.... so do we. I grew to care so much about her...


I don't know where the boys are; if they're with 'M' or someone else. I don't know how 'M' is doing... but I think about her every day. Not many people can love your babies like you do... but I loved those boys, too. So much.

We 'moved on' isn't an appropriate phrase; I don't know that I've 'moved on' yet... does a mom who miscarries move on? Does a mom who loses a child move on?

No. They keep going.

So we kept going...

* August 2011~ 'LC' contacted us about adopting her twin girls; due in January.
(Are you noticing a trend? Me, too...) She chose us.

* September 4, 2011~ 'D' called us from the hospital; she's a friend of 'M' and just had a baby-girl... would we come get her?

(We called 'LC' and told her right away about this baby... she was thrilled for us and would consider still placing her twin girls with us; she liked the thought of 'triplets', in a way :-))

I finally felt like clarity had come and I was seeing the purpose of our relationship with 'M'... she DID lead us to our baby!

In a matter of mere hours all of Hannah's baby clothes were washed, the crib was set up, our new infant car seat was in the car, mom bought a plane ticket to meet us, and our bags were packed. Our attorney tried endlessly to talk to a rep from the hospital so we knew what the babies health was like, what the state laws were, and if we could take the baby from the hospital even though it was a Holiday weekend. We couldn't contact an attorney in her state... simply couldn't. Our attorney told us that we could go and work things out when we got there but without knowing details from someone in authority, we were also risking a lot.

Remember this post?

We should have gone anyway.

What we didn't know was that a local agency caught wind of this birth and one of their social workers was encouraging 'D' to pick one of their families. She was using the fact that we weren't 'there yet' (she's 13 hours away) to persuade 'D' to pick another family who could be there within the hour. 'D' panicked... and she picked another family.

About 2 hours after that family left the hospital with 'HKS' (the name we had picked for her, with 'D's help), an attorney called us back and offered to represent 'D'in her state.... but it was too late.

We should have gone.

The truth? I don't know why we didn't. I guess in hindsight, she just wasn't our baby... our's is still out there... but I don't know why we didn't go.

Just keep going...

* October 2011~ 'LC' met with our attorney in her state about us adopting her twin girls... she chose us.

* October 2011~ We signed up with a small local, Christian agency and have continued praying that the word about our desire to adopt would continue to spread

* November 2011~ 'L' had a healthy baby girl and placed her with a family who lived closer to her so she could see her baby... and I'm glad she'll be able to!

* November 2011~ I was perusing Facebook and came across 'LC's page... her public page. Her public page that mentioned her miscarriage of twin girls only 2 months before.

2 months; about 5 days after she chose us, and 2 months BEFORE she met with our attorney.

We've dealt with scammers... they're not worth a post or my time. But 'LC'... she started out honest and ended up a lie. 'Hurt' took on a whole new meaning but the thing is, this hurt turned into anger. I cared about her, too and I just don't know why she lied....

All of that, my friends, brings us to today. In 14 months we have had the privilege of praying for and knowing all of these amazing moms! We've seen pictures of some of the most beautiful babies we've ever seen. We've prayed for every single one of them every single day. While we consider it an honor, we're also tired and more anxious than ever to finally bring home our baby. He/she/they are eagerly awaited... can you tell?!

I realize that I haven't mentioned all of the amazing, positive, happy, answer-to-prayer moments we've had this year... and there have been MANY (a happier post is coming :-)); but this post is about our adoption process....

and it has been a process. A long one, if you haven't noticed ;-)

Have you ever gotten to a moment in time when you think, "I just can't handle much more, Lord. I'm stretched and bruised and exhausted and I just can't handle any more... please don't give me any more"

I've been there, too. I lived there for quite a while.

I'm finally writing this post because I'm not there anymore; Funny how the therapy I find in writing always comes after the dark.

I've learned so much in this past year; Relying on God is not easy... I don't think it's ever easy. Sometimes 'things' and people have the ability to block out the blessings and the good in your life... but they're always there and you can choose which one you block out. I've met some amazing women; birthmoms, expectant birthmoms, and other adoptive families... and they all have become to special to me. I also have had the privilege of watching many other families grow this year; through adoption and biologically.... and as deeply as I desire to have our next family member in my arms, nothing can take away from the joy I find in watching other families grow. I also learned that Facebook works... I've met some of the most incredible women and people (many of YOU) through our page and I'm so thankful for the relationships and support we've received from it!

And even though our journey isn't over yet, here's the biggest lesson I've learned;

God's plan for your life always trumps your plan for your life. Every. Time.

Here's what I DO know; there is a woman out there who has chosen life for her baby and one day (hopefully soon), she will choose us, too! Our baby is on his/her/their way and I am choosing to spend from now until then praying for our baby's First Mama.... and enjoying being my First Baby's mama :-)

My First Baby can do a mean split and can officially leave the house without a diaper... we've had a busy and fun few months; stay tuned for THAT update and some hilarious new quotes from our little comedian ;-)


  1. This is a beautiful post. I pray for you guys often. Your story is inspiring and I have faith in a happy ending to your adoption process.

  2. Every time I read one of your posts I am inspired!!! LIke Sarah I pray for you often. God has a plan and though it is not alway in Neon lights he will show it to us in due time.

  3. I can't wait to read the post about baby #2, or 3 or 4 when he/she/they enter your family! It will be such an awesome entry about God's timing and perfect plan! Praying for you!

  4. I am so glad that I have gotten to know you through all of this process too.

    You are amazing and I continue to pray for Baby Smith 2 too. :)

  5. WOW! I stumbled upon your page on facebook and am truly amazed and inspired by everything your family has been through. For different reasons, I have been in that place where you just don't think you can handle anymore. But eventually everything makes sense and you realize how strong your faith in God is/was......I will continue to pray for Baby Smith 2 and everyone he/she/they will affect in so many different and life changing ways - ANGELIC to say the least! I'm thrilled to become apart of your journey through this blog! Merry Christmas!


We love to hear your thoughts, but if you leave one please own it and leave a name with your comment :-)