Thursday, May 29, 2008

Words for Her

Well, as many of you know, I've been working diligently on our "Dear Birthparent" letter. This is (in my opinion) on of the greatest challenges of domestic infant adoption. What do you say to the {future} woman who is going to give you the greatest gift you've ever received? It's like a resume for your do you put THAT on paper?! But...after several attempts and some re-wording here and there I've got at least the basic plan for what I want to say. I'm still going to work on this a little and 'pretty it up' so to speak, but this is the gist of our letter. To any of you who have done this before, I would LOVE some genuine and honest feedback, both on what you think works well and what you think I can do better. I have read so many tips from different sources, but in the end I jut took a stab in the dark and wrote from my heart. I really want honest, constructive, and critical opinions because (of course!!) I want this letter to be the best it can possibly be. THANK YOU to everyone out there who is reading along with me and sending the wonderful advice, support and are all a Godsend to me!!

And without further ado...the letter of a lifetime:


We are Michael and Melanie and we are grateful to you for reading our letter. We know considering adoption for your baby must be very difficult for you and we are thankful for the courage and strength you are putting forth as you make the best possible plan for your baby and his or her future. We want you to know we respect you and your decision to make an adoption plan for your child, and we will do everything we can to put your mind at ease if you should choose us to be adoptive parents for your baby.

Our Story:

We have wanted to be parents for as long as we can both remember. Now that we have chosen adoption as our method for creating the family we have so longed for, we are very excited; we can’t wait to become parents!! We are eager to experience all the joys of watching little ones grow up into strong, happy, healthy, and confident adults. We believe in honesty, respect, loyalty, kindness, and strong family ties. These are all values we hope to instill in the child we adopt. We believe children are a blessing and we think they should be nurtured and loved, with strong role models and positive reinforcement as they learn and grow. We want the child we adopt to know who they are as a whole person, and we plan on sharing their own, unique adoption story with them from the get go. We will be open and honest with our future child about his or her adoption story from the very beginning. We are excited about the rewards of open adoption and we want to work with you to make an adoption arrangement that will put your mind at ease about the safety and care of your baby. We know that not all aspects of parenting will be easy, but we are confident we will be excellent parents. We plan to always be open and honest with the child we adopt, with you, and with each other so that the child’s need’s can come first.

We have been married since 1996 and we have a strong, loving relationship. We are best friends first and we work together to take care of the day-to-day occurrences in life, as well as the bigger life-changing events. We are a fun loving couple with zest and exuberance for life. We enjoy spending quiet evenings at home together, as well as being out and about, experiencing all life has to offer. We have two dogs, Ditto and Dinah whom we love very much. We consider them members of our family and they are an important part of our daily lives. Michael and I have many different interests and we tend to complement each other very well. Even though we sometimes approach situations differently, we work very well together and we end up with the best of both worlds. We support each other through thick and thin. Though we are blessed with a wonderful marriage, a comforting home and excellent relationships with our friends and family, we were extremely saddened when we found out getting pregnant was not going to be easy for us. We’ve been through many years of infertility treatments and hoping for that special little miracle to happen in our lives. Even though infertility has been very difficult for us, we have remained strong together.

A Little More About Melanie:

I am a creative, caring person and I love babies, children, and dogs. I’m a photographer and a gardener. I often spend time outside, either in my garden or taking nature photographs. I’m currently in school for elementary education and I’m excited about becoming a teacher and continuing to have the kind of flexible schedule that will work very well with a young family. From a very early age I have loved kids and babies. I’ve always thought of myself as a mom first and foremost, and I can’t wait until that dream becomes reality. I’m very close to my family, and my two sisters are my best friends. I also have a strong bond with both my nephew, Nick and my niece, Ava. I’ve been lucky to develop very strong connections with each of them from the time they were babies. They bring me a lot of joy. I currently divide my time between school, substitute teaching, and caring for my niece, and another baby girl, Rebecca. I am a very happy, positive, and outgoing person. I cherish the relationships in my life more than anything.

A Little More About Michael:

I am a very technical guy and I love computers and science fiction. I am fun-loving and humorous, always trying to find ways to make people laugh. I work as a “Software Librarian” in the electronic banking industry. At work I am known for making co-workers laugh and for bringing a great sense of humor to my office. I am pretty skilled with computers and it makes me happy that I can help people when they have technical problems or computer issues. I also love watching movies and I am an avid reader, with a special love of graphic novels. Amongst our family and friends, I’m sort of like the “class clown,” always making jokes and keeping people entertained with my stories and interesting ideas. Melanie says I am often the life of the party, with weird and wacky information that I find in all sorts of bizarre places. When I’m around I like to make sure people are amused or laughing. Though I do have a knack for humor, Melanie also says I am a very comforting presence for her. She likes that she can rely on me through the good times and bad, and she says I make her feel safe.

After a lot of soul searching, Michael and I have decided what we want most is to have a family and experience all the joys and wonders of parenting side by side. We have many hopes and dreams for our future and we look forward to sharing our lives with the little boy or girl we will be blessed with. We are excited about days to come when we can nurture and support our future little ones as they grow into happy, healthy, well-adjusted adults. We want to help our future children be strong and successful. We want the child we adopt to have an ongoing relationship with you and your family as he or she grows. If you decide we are the right adoptive parents for your baby, we will welcome you, as well as your baby into our home and our hearts forever.

With all our love,

Michael and Melanie

Monday, May 26, 2008

It Made Me Cry

Today we worked on our "acceptability checklist" for the adoption paperwork. We've both been putting this part off, but we had today off and it was time. This is the list of doom. Basically there is a line for just about every birth defect, disorder, abnormality, or problem you can think of. There is a section for the unborn babies in question, as well as one for the birth parents and family. Next to each line we have to check "yes," "no," or, "consult." I know it's important for us to seriously consider what we can and can't handle as parents, but how can you really know that for sure?

If I were pregnant--and believe me I've thought about what that would be like--we would never have a choice about many of these things. They would just happen. I'm sure we would be shocked, sad, scared, whatever...but then...ultimately we would figure out how to deal with whatever the hardship was and we would just do what we had to do. Having to check yes or no is heart wrenching. Luckily there is that third option of "consult" but even still this is one of the hardest tasks I've ever had to complete.

What we both want is what every expecting parent wants--a healthy baby. Of course we don't WANT a child with down syndrome, or HIV, or any of the other myriad of problems on the list. But no one wants that for their children! And yet plenty of people have it! And what if we say no and limit our chances? Does that thought alone make us bad people...selfish people? On the other hand, what if we say yes to...say...a drug addicted baby, but for the wrong reasons? What then? What if, because we want so much to be parents, and we want to be good people, we end up with a situation we were never prepared for, and one we aren't equipped to handle?

I read an article in our adoption binder called, "The Child We Might Have Been Too Blind to See," and that's when the tears came. It's this sweet story about baby Melissa. She was born at only 2 pounds, with undeveloped lungs, and many other issues. They didn't think she would live more than a few weeks, much less ever walk or talk. The story ends with baby Melissa performing a solo in her kindergarten play. Yes she has issues and yes her life will be challenging...but with the love of the parents who adopted her, she has come farther than anyone ever thought possible.

How do we balance between a story like that and our own desire for a healthy (not perfect, just healthy) baby? How do we answer honestly and be true to ourselves, yet avoid closing too many doors to our hope of a successful adoption? My heart feels heavy today, and I guess I'm sad a little bit in general. I'm happy we're getting all our requirements done, and moving forward, but I still feel sad.

I think we'll be making an appointment with Elly and Amanda for next week sometime, to review our birthparent letter, album, and remaining paperwork. One day at a time...

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Regarding adoption, when do you do all the baby STUFF? When do you buy the crib, and get the room ready, and start buying clothes? When do you actually move from wondering if you ever will be a mom to actually getting ready to be one? I care for my niece and my friend's little girl here in my home three days a week, so I have baby stuff here already. But I don't have MY baby stuff, if that makes any sense. I don't have a room ready in other words.

This is yet another aspect of this whole adoption thing that is rough for me. The unknowns and not being able to plan things out so that we don't have to be even more stressed when the time actually comes. I guess I just assumed we would wait until we got "the call" before making any big purchases, having a shower, etc. I've been reading/hearing so many stories lately where matches happen very quickly though and it's making me think...maybe we SHOULD get more prepared sooner rather than later? We're not even technically in "the pool" yet, so there's certainly no rush right at the moment, but I'm still wondering. How do you know when to do all that stuff? The other extreme is that we could have to wait years for our match, and I certainly don't want an empty baby crib sitting around the house for years.

Just wondering about all this stuff...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I read a wonderful and uplifting success in progress story on Glenna's blog earlier today. Her post was so well written, I could almost feel her joy bursting through my computer! I am so thrilled for them and how quickly their adoption process is moving along. Just knowing there are others out there whose dreams of parenthood are coming true makes me feel happy inside.

This has made me think...we really are going to be parents someday, and hopefully someday sooner rather than later! We'll be getting into "the pool" probably within the next month or so. In my head I am preparing myself for the possibility of having to wait years for a match with our birth family. What if we don't have to wait years though? That is a thrilling and terrifying thought all at once! I've been longing to be "mommy" for so very long now, and yet, somehow, I still can't quite imagine that actually happening. I know that when/how this story--our story unfolds is anybody's guess. Even so, I have faith that what should happen will happen, and at the exact time that's right for us too. I don't know... I guess it's just that all the blogs I've been reading lately have given me a lot of food for thought. It's just interesting to me how all our stories are similar but different. I wonder what it will be like for me to look back at all this five or ten years from now?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Well, it's Done!

And yes it's now 4:36 a.m. For some reason I've been having a little trouble sleeping lately so I figured I might as well use the time to be productive! In this case the dog needed out, which usually means a quick trip to the door and back to bed, but I can't fall back asleep at the moment.

But...drum roll please...I finished our adoption album! I had been planning to finish the project later today when my sister comes over, but now I'm a couple steps ahead of the game. My next task is to make a rough copy of the file (it's a digital album) so I can be sure spacing, wording, etc are all good prior to the final printing. Whether or not to "go digital" was a big choice for this. I've only done a couple of other digital scrapbooks, in a sea of traditional ones, so it was a little weird for me. There is some tactile sense missing with digital albums, but the process is so much easier, which won me over in the end. Digital albums are also so much quicker because you avoid the whole process of printing photos first. So anyway...for better or worse...that's what I have. I do like the album, it looks pretty sweet. I'm using the new "Story Book Creator Plus" software from Creative Memories, so there's a lot more variety and many more design options than in some other online photo books I've seen.

We'll see! The most important thing is that it's done and I do think it's a fairly good representation of us as a couple. I hope it gets us where we're going!! For now I'm off to give sleep one more chance.

Friday, May 16, 2008


We went to get fingerprinted during lunch time today. We were nervous because we had to go to a somewhat seedy area of town for this procedure, and it seemed even more weird when the road we had to turn on led into an apartment complex. I asked the woman at the gate if we were at the right place and she said, yes, fingerprints are done in the guest house. Weird! So anyway we found everything okay, and once we got there the people were very friendly and efficient. Now we've got one more to-do checked off our list. I'm still plugging away on our album, should have it done in another week or so if all goes well.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ten Pages Down!

Today was the big day for starting our adoption photo album! So far I've completed ten pages and I feel pretty happy about them. I have a few more general pages of us, plus a friends and family section to do and I'll be done! After that I have to finish our "dear birthparent" letter (a daunting task,) we have to get fingerprinted, and then we should be able to jump into the pool! :)

It feels good to be getting these things checked off our list. I had anticipated the album being harder than it has been so far. I'm trying my best to keep it simple and to remember that it's only meant to provide a glimpse into our lives, rather than tell the whole story.

We're moving along...

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Cutest Boy I Ever Saw...

Wow...what fun it is to look back at my husband as a little boy! Hie eyes, eyebrows, and expressions are still the same some 30 years later! Strange to look as such a young face and still realize you know it so well. I'm making good progress on the childhood photos. I've gotten them all scanned in and I'll start working on our book during the next couple of days.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Childhood Remembered

I've spent several hours tonight scanning in old photos from my childhood. I'll use most of them for our adoption album. Elly said we should include at least a couple of pages of our childhood. I remember these puppies...not well enough to know whose they actually were or anything...but it's still a profound memory for me. Notice the one girl in the picture without a puppy--she looks mad! I'm on the far right and my older sister is on the far left. Even back then I was a dog lover, good times!

Comforting Connections

I've recently had the happy accident of connecting with several other people who write adoption blogs, something I find very comforting. Tracey found my blog, and she and I have been corresponding quite a bit. This seems to have come at precisely the right time for me. Now that I'm mostly done with school for the summer, I can focus on getting our adoption letter and album completed...a process that is sure to warrant the advice and support of others who are doing the same. Funny how life seems to fall into place sometimes.

Today I feel happy and peaceful.