Thursday, January 31, 2008

Thank you... we mean it more than you know!

It has been less than 24 hours since announcing to all of you, our friends and family, the amazing news of our adoption process. We can not begin to thank all of you for your warm wishes, thoughts and prayers, suggestions and possible baby names to choose from. The emails, phone calls, text messages and MySpace comments truly bring a smile to our faces and tears to our eyes.Keep them coming! ;o) We're riding this high as long as it last... only because we know that there will be a point where it turns into a waiting game. tick-tock, tick-tock.
To further fill you all in our yesterday’s events, after signing the papers to make it official, Chris and I headed to our American Cancer Society office in Albany to talk with HR about benefits etc. Being greeted with so many smiles definitely put us to ease. I have to say, working for the ACS is truly a blessing. They care about their employees – they talk the talk and walk the walk. As we entered the conference room we quickly noticed on top of all the paper work a baby shirt that read "My Daddy works for the American Cancer Society". The thought of all of this becoming a reality, and not just a discussion, hit me hard. I broke down and Chris quickly followed. There are the moments that make what seems to be a dream very much real. Needless to say, Marilyn (our Benefits guru) walked us through the process giving us leads on where to find additional support. This is what solidifies ACS as one of the top employers in both NJ and NY (and soon to be the U.S.).
So, until we complete the home study process (more to come soon) we will take the caseworker, Mary’s, advice – we will take it slow, we won’t get our hopes up, but we will go get a car seat just in case the call comes in. ;o)

Again, thanks for the well wishes. We, without a doubt, have the best support system anyone could want.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Okay… here we go (deep breath).

As some of you know, we have been talking about starting a family for quite some time. After searching the internet for hours-upon-hours, visiting with adoption agencies, talking with birthmothers who made the decision of having adoptive parents raise their children, researching the option of surrogacy, talking with proud partners of adopted children… we finally came to the moment where we felt prepared to make the decision of which route our journey will take. As one could imagine, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions.

This past fall we traveled to Vermont to meet with one final agency. They hold a weekend retreat for prospective parents. It was truly one of the most humbling experiences as we listened to a birth mother share her adoption story. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room. It answered so many questions and left us feeling very confident with the agency.

Well, today, we traveled to the outskirts of Albany, NY to sit down with staff at one of their satellite offices. After asking the remaining questions we had, which probably made us look so inept in the caseworker supervisor’s eyes, we officially started the process to become adoptive dads. We initialed, and initialed and initialed the multi-page agreement, signed the check, shed some tears and realized that our life has officially changed forever.
Over the next 2-3 months, we will be preparing for our home study. The law of every State requires all prospective adoptive parents (no matter how they intend to adopt) to participate in a home study. It is a detailed written report of our family compiled and prepared by a social worker. The adoption home study requires us to gather different documents, answer several questions, and explore our reasons for adopting. We will also be asking some of you to provide letters for our file. Through a series of visits and interviews the social worker hopes to put together a complete picture of who we are and what life is like in our family. During this same time frame, we will be putting together a portfolio, like a photo album with our story, for perspective birthmothers. These books then get distributed to up to 45 different birthmothers throughout the process.
Once the home study and the portfolio are completed, we become “active” and that’s when the wait begins. It could be days, weeks, months or even years… anything can happen. So, with a car seat properly installed in the back seats of our vehicles, we will be waiting by the phone. We may be privy to an instant baby (just add water and walla!). This is when a birthmother delivers a baby and then decides at that moment that adoption is best for her and her baby. She could either ask for portfolios to help her make a decision on who she’d like to raise her child, or have the agency place the child with the family who has the most like qualities. Another opportunity that may present itself to us is we can have a mother choose us at some point during the pregnancy. We would then build a relationship with her and would likely be there at the delivery.
We look forward to what lays ahead of us, and we couldn’t wait to share the exciting news with all of you. We have started our adoption blog and we’d love for you all to subscribe so you can take this journey with us.
Ways you can help:
1) Keep us in your thoughts and prayers… it may be a bumpy ride.
2) Tell all of your friends about us, and our story. The more people that know we’re looking to adopt, the better our chances. Our family at Friends In Adoption informed us that a many of their placement are often through referrals. While you yourself may not know of a birthmother your friends may hear of someone they know.
3) Please look over your pictures and send any you might have of us so we might consider them for our portfolio.

All our love – Paul and Chris

Us, signing the contract with Friends In Adoption