With November being National Adoption Month, I thought I might share my family personal adoption story.
While my wife and I may be soulmates, have been together 38 years this month, and hope and pray we are together forever, our body chemistries were just not compatible. Sadly, after years of trying, and many embarrassing tests, there were no little biological babies in our future. So, we went to plan B.
We applied to adoption agencies and registered to be licensed foster parents in Wisconsin. We were soon ‘interviewed’ by a birth mother, and her mother, as she wished to place her child up for adoption; it was 10x more nerve-wracking than any interview. However, we were picked to be the lucky couple the very next day and several months later we brought home the cutest baby girl in the world! Those months were exciting, but scary. The birth mother can change her mind at any time until she actually signs off her parental rights, which did not take place until a month after our daughter was born. At the hospital, the birth mother wanted to spend time with her baby, which scared us to no end. Our fear was that she would fall in love with this child, and wish to keep her. Certainly this was her right, but we had already fallen in love with her, had her room decorated, and a name picked out.
Our second adoption started when the state needed an emergency placement for a girl who turned two the day after we took her home. At two months old, she was removed from her birth mother for neglect, passed around in the foster system, and the state feared her foster family was abusing her. She came to us confused and scared, as any two year old would be with an unstable beginning to her life. Being the foster parents, we had absolutely no say in any of the many court hearings that transpired over the next 18 months. Finally, her guardian ad litem told us that all options were exhausted, and we knew that if her birth family wanted to take her home, she would no longer be in our lives. However, a Christmas miracle happened, as all parties decided to relinquish their rights, and felt it best we raise this child. The day started with a terrible sense of dread, but turned out to be one filled with great joy and relief. My feeling is that these birth parents changed their minds due to the love and kindness my wife showed them. We welcomed visitation in our home, showed love and patience, while my wife would go downstairs and silently scream, swear, and break things to vent her angst and frustrations. This was a terribly scary and troubling time for our family, and we were fortunate it worked out for us.
Our final adoption went as smoothly as can be. When contacted by friends of our second daughter, and after meeting the birth family, they liked us, and picked us to raise their baby.
My goal is not to scare people away from adoption. We also had no experience dealing with placements that take place outside of the United States, where complications may occur on many different levels. My goal is to prepare you for what can be situations that are totally out of your control. They can be filled with fear, heartbreak, and loss. They can also be expensive.
But the rewards? Priceless. We simply cannot imagine a world without our kids, and now the cutest grandson in the world! Also, when your kid screws up, you can blame it on genetics. When they succeed, it is because of your awesome parenting skills.
Need information? Go to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/. This is a state agency that is in charge of adoptions. There are also attorneys that will specialize in adoption proceedings and numerous other non-profit agencies offering adoption services as well. Locally, contact Lutheran Social Services at 715-833-9466, or Catholic Charities at 715-832-6644.
The library can help. We have books on case studies, handbooks and manuals, intercountry adoptions, and parenting and psychological aspects. Plus many more!
Thank you for taking the time to read our story.