Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adoption Agency Rating

For 8 years now I have been around the ‘adoption world’. Actually before that due to my degree in Social Work. One of the top questions I get (besides how much does it cost to adopt) is how to find a good agency. We have worked with several agencies over the years and I am going to tell you that every single one that we worked with were good.

Were they perfect? No. And, I wouldn’t expect them to be. After all, they are human and humans make mistakes. I know I sure do.

Were there times when I got discouraged or upset? You bet. Adoption is not for the weak at heart. There is a lot of emotion involved in an adoption. As many will tell you- it is an emotional rollercoaster. There are many people involved in the process along the way. There are many steps- each one a hurdle- and often times a road block. Want to be parents often fall in love with a picture- or a ‘dream’ they have and they feel somehow connected or perhaps ownership to that child before the child is ‘legally’ theirs. While I will tell you that I have done that exact thing each time- and I am glad, I also had to be willing and be prepared for a broken heart- which often times happened.

We have lost referrals where the birth mom came back.

We have had children in our home that we loved with our entire hearts- only to have them move on.

We have found out things about the child once they came home that they agency was unaware of.

We have prayed and dreamed about a certain child -to have door after door closed.

I wouldn’t change that for anything. I wouldn’t even change the pain. For each child received our prayers, each child received our love- even if they won’t ever know it- and each child changed who I am today.

However, often times I have seen individual become bitter and down right nasty towards agencies because things didn’t go ’their way’. I am not saying that there are not unethical agencies out there- which is why I always encourage people to do their research and then research some more. And I am not saying that people are not entitled to their feelings of frustration and hurt. However, they also need to exercise forgiveness when those mistakes are made because none of us are perfect.

Want to be adoptive parents need to play an active and responsible role in their adoption process by making copies of everything and ’checking in’ on their agencies. And when I say ‘checking in’ I don't mean constantly emailing and calling or constantly doubting or accusing. We have tried our hardest to be respectful of our agencies time - because after all when they are constantly busy responding to senseless calls and emails then that is less time they have to work on your case or other cases as well. We have had wonderful working relationships with each one of our agencies- and many have turned into lifetime friendships and respect.

I have seen many families display a sense of entitlement towards their agencies- feeling that 'they paid them enough they ought to be doing their job’ the way the individual wants them to. From our first hand experience I know if you treat your agency with respect, thanking them, and supporting them that the relationship you have with your agency will end up being one of the greatest gifts you get through the adoption process. While yes you are paying an agency to do a job- they still deserve your respect and kindness.

The other day I had a friend ask me about an agency they were considering using. I found an agency rating website online and began reading what some people had written about their agencies. Actually 3 of the agencies we have worked with were on there and I was crushed with some of the negative responses they had received. These were people who have worked along side of us to bring our children home. People that I know put their heart and soul into their job- and do not just look at it as a paycheck- but deeply care about the children and the families adopting them. These are people who have cried with me, laughed with me, went above and beyond their job description for my family. People we consider our friends. Some of the comments were downright ugly and vindictive. Individuals listing complaint after complaint- name calling and pretty much tearing apart the agency and individuals working for the agency. Many of the comments I have a feeling were coming from the same person. It broke my heart and I simply do not understand. I do not understand why someone would be so nasty and tear apart someone’s character just because things didn’t go the way they had wanted on their adoption journey. I will tell you that none of our adoptions have gone exactly the way we thought they would either. But through the difficulties and through the good- we have learned things that can now hopefully help others along the way. We have walked away from one agency because we didn’t feel that they were the right agency for us and we were not confident that they were ethical. However, we didn’t feel that it was fair or right to publicly bad mouth them or tear them apart.

So my advice on finding a good agency is to do a lot of research but also be cautious of others opinions and remember you are only getting one side of the story. As with anything in life-we all have our differences in taste and opinions and a agency that might not be a good fit for one person may be a great fit for someone else. Also, some agencies may have an excellent program and good contacts in one country but not necessarily for all of the countries they work with.
Allow room for human error- from your agency and from you. Pray a lot and then let God lead you to your child. The journey may be full of bumps-but worth every single one of them.

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Friday, December 25, 2009

May HIS life- change yours.
Merry Christmas... be blessed.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

There's no place like home for the holidays

Do you ever feel like you are squeezing so much life into one day? That is how I have felt these past few weeks.

Last week we took a little road trip (14 hours) to Illinois and then onto Indiana to see our families and friends. We had some grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins who couldn't wait to meet Mr. Perfect (AKA Carson). We decided to nick name him Mr. Perfect because the child is an absolute dream. He has just adjusted in such an amazing way. It feels like he has been here forever and we are all absolutely crazy about him. His bonding has gone great and is a good, strong, authentic bond. He is such a happy little guy, has the most gentle spirit, is so sweet- and did I mention we are crazy about him? I seriously feel like I have to pinch myself to make sure this is for real. God really allowed me to be the mommyto 8 of the most amazing children I know.

So last Friday we squeezed ourselves and our luggage into the vehicle and made the trip through rain, sleet and snow. We absolutely treasured every single second we had being with family and friends. I got to see my best friends from Indiana, one of whom had adopted 2 precious children from Ethiopia since I had moved and I finally got to meet them.

(Pictured below is Miss Addalyn from Ethiopia with Mya and Aleigha. Next is me with my precious friends Heather (Addalyn's mommy) and Dana).

On my side of the family we had opted for no gifts this year (except for my mom and dad who cheated and gave us a really nice gift.) Instead we decided to just enjoy being with each other and then give to others. We chose to visit the nursing home, sing Christmas carols and hand out cookies to the residents. The kids really enjoyed it. Then we gave gifts to a family who had lost everything they had in a fire just a few days before.

(Pictured below Carson and Kaden walking with Grandpa and the kids handing out cookies at the nursing home.) .

On Todd's side of the family we enjoyed time with family and Santa's visit. The little kids really enjoyed it.
Aleigha also turned a big whopping 6 years old while we were gone. My sister made her a princess cake and it was neat to celebrate her birthday with all of her family around.

The kids also got to play in the snow which was a real treat since we don't get snow very often where we live. So between a little snow ball throwing, road tripping, seeing family and hugging on our new little guy I feel like I haven't had much time for blogging. Hope you all are having a wonderful holiday as well and hopefully soon I will be back into the swing of things.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I did a little photo shoot today with the boys. It was so cute because Carson noticed that in my room I have an individual picture of all of my kids- but his wasn't up on the wall yet. I just hadn't had the time to get his done yet but since he noticed we of course got that done right away! So, today I took some adorable pictures of him to hang on the wall (I cannot wait to show them to you all) and a few of Kaden and him together. They are just too cute for words.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Call it what you want-

Double the dancing...

Double the ride...
Double the trouble...
Double the cuteness...

But no matter how you look at it,
we know we are...


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Saturday, December 12, 2009


Of all the things I have to play, I'd choose my brother any day.

Have I mentioned that Kaden and Carson are inseparable?

Where you find one- you will always find the other.

Did I tell you that they finish each other sentences?

Did I mention that they look out for each other- and if one asks for a cookie- they ask for one for the other too.

Did I mention they are exactly the same size and that everywhere we go people ask if they are twins?

And did I tell you that their beds are right next to each other so at night they can fall asleep holding hands?

And just in case you couldn't tell...

I am crazy in love with them both.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I should be mad...

Because after all, we made a deal...

And HE broke his end of the bargain.

You see, we agreed not to spend ANY money on each other or on things that we didn't really, truly need.

But then again...

couldn't one consider chocolate a real need?

Especially when it comes in the form of a chocolate covered strawberry- that happen to be your very favorite treat in the world?

And especially given the fact that it was a 'just because I love you' kind of gift-and not even for a special occasion?

And especially when the giver is as handsome as this?

Well, maybe just this one time I can let it slide...

Thank you honey- I love you more than chocolate covered strawberries. :0)
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Monday, December 7, 2009

A good kind of busy


Thank you all so much for 'delurking'. It has been so fun to ‘meet’ so many of you and peek in on your blogs. I wish I had more time to read and get to know you all even more. I hope too that many of you were able to find each others blogs. I think one of the greatest blessings of adopting (besides the obvious- our awesome children) are the friendships we meet along the way. I just love being a part of this adoption/blogging world. I have to admit though I am pretty blown away by and a little embarrassed because all of your sweet comments. I totally didn’t expect or intend for that to happen. What a blessing to hear such kind words but as I have said many times in the past- if you see anything good here- it is all God.

Life at our house has been busy lately- but a really good kind of busy. Todd and I are enjoying every second of falling in love with Mr. Carson. I could stare into this big brown eyes forever. It’s been so neat to learn more and more about his little personality and see him becoming more comfortable in our home. What an amazing gift adoption is. The kids too are crazy about him- although I am feeling somewhat like a referee trying to make sure everyone gets a chance to sit next to him at the table or in the car. :0) To say he fits perfectly into our family doesn’t even begin to describe it. God is so good.

I will leave you with a sweet picture of Carson checking out the ornaments on our tree. There is nothing more I could ask for this Christmas. We are so very, very blessed.

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