Friday, November 01, 2013

Happy Adoption Awareness Month!

Today is the first day of November, which means that it is the first day of National Adoption Awareness Month.  I love that this is a thing.  I love that someone decided that Adoption was an important enough subject to warrant its own awareness month. And of course I am thrilled to do my part in raising awareness.

So for the next month my posts will be centered around adoption, which is appropriate, considering that we will be adopting this month.  If you stop by the blog you will either get to read an informative post about adoption, you will get to hear about some of my friends' adoption experiences, or you will get to see an update on our adoption.  Hopefully that is a win-win-win for you.

First, a disclaimer {that I will be posting with each post}: 
  • I am not an expert on adoption.  I am just a mama that has been through it.  I am doing my best to bring you informative and accurate information, but please understand that for the most part what I am sharing is based on MY EXPERIENCE NOT MY EXPERTISE.  
  • Adoption is not a cookie cutter experience.  Every single one is different.  Laws are governed by the State, so standards vary from state to state.  Different agencies have different requirements, so those will vary based on what agency you use.  
  • International adoption is a whole different monster that I am not familiar with, so I will mostly be addressing domestic adoption.  
  • And finally, I am an adoptive parent, so I am speaking to adoptive and potentially adoptive parents.  Every part of the adoption triad is important and adoption couldn't exist without each of the three branches, so please don't confuse my focus on the adoptive parents as implying that they are the most important branch. 
I thought I would start today by sharing with you our adoption timeline for our first adoption.  {Later this month maybe I will share the timeline for our current adoption.}  I thought this would be a good basic to start with, and hopefully encourage you that adoption doesn't have to be as hard as you think or maybe as hard as you have heard.

Penelope Susan
{born March 31, 2011}

June 2010
We decided it was time to get serious about our adoption and start the Home Study Process, but we needed $2,000 to do that.    

July 2010
I held a raffle on my blog to raise the funds for our Home Study.  We raised over $6,000 in one week.
We started our Home Study.
We got fingerprints taken.
We had physicals and TB tests.
We ordered DMV records.
We safe-guarded our home.
We met with our Social Worker for the first two times and had our Home Inspection.

August 2010
Our Home Study was approved by our CA agency and a copy was sent to our adoption agency in Utah.

September, October, November, & December 2010
Our lives became crazy hectic.  I was working A LOT on my growing business, Nathan went on a 10 day fishing trip to New Zealand with his dad, oh... and we decided to move 7/10 of a mile down the street the day after Christmas.  I needed to write our letter to the birthmom and make our family profile, and everything else got in the way.

January 2011
We started to settle into our new house and my business started to slow down and I FINALLY got our family profiles made.  All five copies.  {Most adoptive families at our agency make digital scrapbooks so that they can do it once and then just order multiple copies.  This paper-loving freak could not bring myself to make it digital, so I handmade all five copies.}
By the end of the month our file was complete and we were officially a waiting family.

February 2011
At the end of the month we were presented with our first potential match.  After 6 days of waiting and hoping we were told that she chose another family.

March 23, 2011
We were presented with our second potential match.  This one felt right.  We chose to be presented, and then prepared to wait another week for our answer.

March 24, 2011
We got a phone call telling us that we had been chosen by this birthmom and our baby would most likely be born the next week.

March 25, 2011
It was determined that our birthmom would be induced the following Friday, just one week later.  The agency wanted us in Utah on Thursday so that we could meet the birthmom before her induction.

March 30, 2011
As we packed to leave the next morning we got a phone call from our agency letting us know that our birthmom's water had broken and they were on their way to the hospital.

March 31, 2011
Our baby girl was born in Utah at 8:12am while we stood in line for security at Long Beach airport... in California.

April 1, 2011
We signed all the paperwork at the adoption agency, making our side official.
We then went to meet the birthmom for lunch.  It was a very casual atmosphere for one of the most important meetings of our lives.
After meeting us and sharing a picture of our baby with us, the birthmom signed the papers that would permanently relinquish her rights and make us Penelope's parents.
From that meeting we went straight to the hospital and met our baby girl.

April 7, 2011
We came home from Utah as a family of 4.

October 7, 2011
Penelope Susan officially became a Blakely.  Forever.

Feel free to ask any questions about our process.  I am pretty much an open book and I'm happy to elaborate on any of the details.


  1. Does the fact that you live in one State and adopt in another make it more difficult? And does it matter that your birth mom is not from Utah, it is just the fact that the baby is born in that State that allows for the 24 hour sign over rule (oppose to the 30-90 day rule in other States)? I was just noticing with your latest adoption that the birth mom is flying into Utah, is it hard to find a birth mom that is willing to do that? We live in Canada and have not started the adoption process yet because our lives/job are kind of up in the air at the moment, so I am not sure how it works for us regarding where baby is born and where birth mom is from yet.

    1. Living in another state from where you are adopting can make it a little more complicated simply because you have to travel. You also are not allowed to leave the state that the baby is born in until both that state and your home state have cleared your adoption through the courts, which takes about two weeks. So there is an added expense for sure. You also can be required to appear in court for the finalization {which for us was six months later}, which means another trip... more cost.

      It doesn't matter where the birthmom is from, what matters is where the baby is born. That is what determines that law. I don't know if it's hard to find birthmoms to travel, but that is a great question for my agency and I will have a Q & A post with them later this month so I will be sure to include it. Many of their birthmoms do travel, so I can't imagine it is too hard. The thing I like about it is that it allows the birthmom to leave it behind. My husband's mom died 17 years ago at our local hospital. Every time I drive by that hospital I think about that horrible day. It makes me feel better knowing that our daughter's birthmom doesn't have to drive by the hospital where she left Penelope and be reminded of that pain every day.

      All that said, from what I understand, Canadian adoption laws are VERY different from US adoption laws. You would have to ask a fellow Canadian that would be more familiar with your process, because unfortunately I don't know much about it.