1. How did you know you were ready to adopt?
A: We tried for 7 years to start a family and get pregnant. This included multiple fertility treatments, including 4 unsuccessful IUI’s, 2 unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and 1 successful IVF which ended in a miscarriage at 12 weeks. We decided that we didn’t want to continue with any more fertility treatments. It was a very emotionally, mentally and physically draining process. But we knew we still wanted a family but that a biological child was not likely. We had also spent more than we had on the fertility procedures and wanted to see about trying an option that might be more likely to have a more successful result.
2. What steps did you take to find an Adoption Agency?
A: A few years into our fertility treatments, we briefly explored adoption and attended a religious-tilted adoption information session. It was a nightmare – we felt like the presenters were incredibly negative and it seemed like a hopeless path. When we left the information session, Kelly broke down in tears because it was such a depressing evening. Adoption didn’t seem to be an option at all at that point. We didn’t know where else to turn to learn about other adoption options, so we went back to our fertility treatments and hoped for the best.
Then a few years later, Kelly’s friend told her about another friend “E” who had adopted two children and had a wonderful, positive experience and was very open about the process. Kelly asked for E’s name and contact information and a few weeks later met and talked with her. E and her husband had adopted their two daughters through Adoption Makes Family. Kelly had heard so many “adoption horror stories” and was relieved to finally hear not one but two adoption stories that were wonderful and had happy endings. She told Bob all about it and they contacted Adoption Makes Family immediately to learn more.
3. What was important to you in an Adoption Agency?
A: Initially we were not sure what to expect or think was important in an adoption agency. After our earlier negative experience at the religious-tilted info session, we knew we wanted something more positive and hopeful and supportive, but were sort of scared off of the process. But we knew we wanted a family and after all the challenges we had experienced, we knew this was the direction we wanted to explore. So we were very impressed by Adoption Makes Family’s friendliness and willingness to answer our initial questions.
4. What would you tell future adoptive parents on how to prepare mentally, emotionally, and financially?
A: I think mentally and emotionally preparing for adoption is huge. You and your partner have to really be on the same page about adoption. I say all the time that adoption is not for the faint of heart or weak of spirit. Just about every aspect of the process is pretty much out of your control. That was super hard for me (Kelly) because I am a huge control freak and get really thrown off when things don’t go as planned. But I’m getting much better at dealing with that stuff because of adopting I think. Emotions are going to be all over the place – at least they were for me. You’ll be on the edge of your seat one minute and then the next second it’s hurry up and wait. You might wait years or you might wait months. You just have to give yourself over to knowing that Dr. Kirschner and the universe will make it all turn out great.
Financially – this is probably pretty specific to each family. I researched grants and loans and tax credits as soon as we started on the adoption path. I knew that it would not be cheap and that unforeseen expenses might come up. Other places to consider looking for financial assistance for adoption expenses would be family and friends, credit cards, doing a GoFundMe site or some other kind of fund raiser like design t-shirts, etc., look into loans from your 401K, etc. Talk to your accountant or a financial planner to see what other options you might be overlooking. I found a lot of great ideas that people posted on Pinterest also, so do some simple searches there and online for things like “how to fund adoption” etc.
5. What was the transition like when you brought home your son/daughter?
A: Our son was born in New Jersey. Kelly’s parents live in NJ not far from the hospital where he was born. We were very fortunate to be able to bring our son to Kelly’s parents’ house to wait out the revocation period and ICPC process. This allowed us to be in a comfortable, familiar home setting with our newborn son and not have spend money on a hotel room. Dr. Kirschner and Adoption Makes Family were just a phone call away whenever we had questions about how the process was going. Then when we finally got ICPC approval to bring our son home to Maryland, Dr. Kirschner showed up bright and early the next morning to greet us and our son with balloons and flowers. It was such a thoughtful gesture.
6. How long did it take to develop a bond with your son/daughter? What advice would you give adoptive parents in encouraging them with this?
A: We adopted our son when he was one day old so we were very fortunate to start the bonding process immediately. So I feel like I developed a strong bond with him right away.
7. Who had the biggest impact on your adoption journey?
A: Dr. Kirschner – He was friendly and open and honest about our options and clearly explained the different steps in the adoption process. He was there to talk to when we had questions and was there at every juncture during our ICPC and finalization process.
8. What are some of the things you did to help you through the waiting phase?
A: We actually didn’t wait very long. We finished our home study towards the end of April and got a call from Dr. Kirschner on September 13th about a baby about to be born. That baby is our son! But we still had time to fill while we waited those 4 or so months. We traveled to visit family and friends, we both worked fulltime so we threw ourselves into our jobs, we worked on home projects that we had been procrastinating on but that would also be good to complete before baby arrived (painting, some new windows, a new door, etc).
9. What do you wish you knew about adoption that you didn’t before that you want future adoptive parents to know?
A: This is a tough one – I (Kelly) in some ways feel like I got super prepared before we adopted our son. I read as many adoption blogs as I could find. I read books about the adoption triad and loss and watched documentaries about adoption. Plus I read lots of “how to prepare for baby” blog posts and searched related topics on Pinterest. But you can never be fully prepared, ya know? I wish I had known that even though I didn’t actually give birth, I didn’t have to prove everything all the time. Caring for a newborn (whether you actually give birth to one or adopt one when he’s one day old) is hard work. It’s amazing and wonderful and you fall in love immediately, but you’re also incredibly sleep deprived and second-guessing things (especially if it’s your first child like us). The first 6 months or however long it takes to get to the adoption finalization hearing is also tough because at least to me, it just didn’t feel FINAL until then. And it was also very nerve-wracking during the ICPC process because ours took longer than normal. But in the long run it’s all so amazing!
10. What were some of the biggest adjustments you had to make?
A: I think these would be the same with any adjustments you’d have to make with a newborn (lack of sleep, learning new skills to care for a baby, time management if you work outside the home also, etc). However, we only had a month to prepare so that’s something to keep in mind. You might not have a lot of time to prepare.
11. What led you to choose Adoption Makes Family?
A: Meeting and talking to Kelly’s friend’s friend E who had adopted her two daughters with Adoption makes Family initially led us to them. And then meeting Dr. Kirschner sealed the deal for us.
12. How was the home study experience for you at Adoption Makes Family?
A: This was our first home study, but process was super easy and went very smoothly for us with Adoption Makes Family. They gave us a very detailed checklist and were always very available if we had questions about a step or needed more information.
13. How Did Adoption Makes Family help you with the home study?
A: As I mention above, they gave us a very detailed checklist and were always very available if we had questions about a step or needed more information. I feel like the home study was very easy.