Thursday, November 8, 2012

No filter- on my thoughts, that is.

We're still here. Waiting. Most days are good, but some days we get punched in the gut. Today was one of those days. Before you read this, please know that Kenny just said, "Remember, everyone can read this," and I said, "I know." :) It's a roller-coaster, and tonight I'm at the bottom.

I woke up in a great mood, because we had a 2-hour delay due to fog. I decided to check my facebook page. I noticed that my supportive mother, we call her Moj, decided to share my link for the White House's declaration of November as National Adoption Month. So I clicked on her page to see if anyone else had anything to say about it. That's where I went wrong. Someone posted something I never thought I'd have to address when discussing adoption- a protest about tax money and abortion and Planned Parenthood. I immediately texted Moj and asked her to remove his comment. This person's anger was at the Presidential election, I assume, and dollars being spent to fund Planned Parenthood, etc., and I'm sure not directed at adoption, because it involves saving a child from a disadvantaged home or a situation the birthmom knows will not be best for her baby. My question was why? Why did this person who knows neither me nor Kenny feel it was acceptable to take our positivity in sharing information and turn it into an opportunity to spread his message? The answer is that he didn't know how far-reaching this adoption thing is, and he might not understand adoption from the perspective of hopeful adoptive parents. We get e mail forwards sent in jest and in thoughts of making us laugh, and we see shared pictures on facebook about people living off the government and not contributing to society. The senders and posters do not think about adoption when they hit 'share' or 'forward.' I wouldn't expect them to- they are meant to be funny, and sometimes they are.

Let me explain when I say adoption is far-reaching. We see people taking government assistance frequently here, just as many of you do. Recently though, we see it from a different eye than most. The difference is we now see those young girls who get assistance from the government, prenatal care at Planned Parenthood, and food at the food pantry as potential birthmothers. The girl in the check-out line buying smokes (Yes, sometimes they do still smoke while pregnant) and texting on her new cell phone could be a birthmom someday. She could be our birthmom. We have to stay positive or we will drown in the negativity. I can't be negative about parents who are terrible at their number one job- being a parent- because I can't feel that anger and sadness at work- their child will walk in and I will force myself to be one of the nice adults who helps them until they go home. Oh, and those kids get assistance, free health screenings, and some of them (as absolutely sad as it may be) might even get reproductive health screenings at Planned Parenthood. It is a cycle, and I understand why many people are frustrated with abuse of government assistance and the economy right now. But our future baby's mother might be one of those girls receiving aid. I'm not saying I don't have negative thoughts about parents I see who are making poor choices, because I do. I'm not asking anyone to stop forwarding or sharing his or her feelings on social media. But what I am asking is that they might take a minute to think that somewhere out there is a girl who will be unbelievably important to us one day soon. She might be smoking a cigarette and making an appointment with Planned Parenthood on her iphone while standing in line at the food pantry, but she will give us what we can't do on our own, and I am willing to look past her dependencies on the government and continue to be positive and hopeful. Call me a liberal, and maybe one day soon you'll be calling me a liberal mother. Couples going through adoption do not need to hear about what's wrong with poor people today; we need to hear that you just know someday maybe a poor, dependent-on-the-government-girl who got herself into something she's not ready for will choose us. Being hopeful and positive can go a long way.

To those of you who always ask how we are and share our posts with your friends, thank you very much. We had some hope over the summer of a match, but she hasn't contacted us in a while. It was hope though, and it was nice. If you want some business cards or more information about our agency to share in your towns, please let me know. Thank you for letting me vent through writing, and I hope if nothing else, reading my words above made you think for just one moment from the perspective of adoptive hopefuls.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Vielen Danke!

Some people gush on Facebook about how great their family and friends are, and I'll hit "like" and move on, thinking it's nice they can share their feelings like that publicly. Yesterday and this past weekend, I had one of those experiences where everyone came out of the woodwork to say or do kind things for Kenny and me. On Friday, I had a friend ask how the adoption process was going and if we were finished with everything. I told her we are just waiting around, and it could be a very long time before we hear anything from anyone. Instead of saying how exciting it must be for us, she said, "That sucks!" I was so thankful she said that, and I told her that. True, sometimes I think about how we could be called any minute by a prospective birth mother and our lives would change, but that thought only lasts a few seconds, because odds are it's going to be a while. But most of the time when I think about it, there is that feeling in the pit of my stomach that it does suck. There's an end in sight; we just don't know when it is. I guess that's better than nothing. It was so nice to hear a friend be honest and unfiltered.

Then on Saturday at the Mosey Down Main Street, some friends and I were standing around and up rolled a baby in a stroller. She was cute enough and her parents were ignoring her, which didn't bother me because I know they probably needed a break, but still she was a baby and needed some attention. My friends and I gave her some attention, and one friend must have seen a look on my face and said to me, "It'll happen for you guys." It was so unexpected, and I loved it, and it was a dude who said it, not a sensitive girlfriend of mine! A dude!

Yesterday, my sister-in-law texted me and asked if I'd ever watched "Birth Moms" on TLC. I hadn't, so I turned it on. It was such a good idea for her to let me know about it, and we texted each other throughout the show about what we saw and heard- and some of it was amazing! I have much to learn about how the other half of this equation might possibly live. I think we need to watch it some more; it can only help us be ready for the possible scenarios that might happen. It was nice of Missy to let me to know and to think the same way I was thinking. If you want to learn more about adoption from the birth mother's perspective, this show will open your eyes!

I saw a blog post yesterday where an adoptive mother shared a link to this company that shares the profits of fair trade and organic coffees with adoptive parents to help with their adoptions. The owners of this company are also adoptive parents and the whole experience changed their lives. Their story is very cool and inspiring. I went to the web site to check it out, and although we had some second thoughts about fund raising, this felt as if there was no pressure placed on any of our friends or family. It's coffee, and it's affordable, and if a small part of the cost goes to us everyone wins, because they'll have a nice buzz in the morning. I signed us up and created our storefront, and you all have already bought some coffee! I can't believe it! We are already thankful for those of you have supported us with your thoughts and words, but to see that some of you have already purchased coffee from our store is amazing! Dana Hershey, my teaching mentor and friend, shared our link on her Facebook page, and although it only took her a few seconds, it meant so much. Maybe someone she knows is a coffee fiend and might buy some...thank you, Dana! My mom has already bought some coffee, although she absolutely didn't have to because she helps us all time...thank you, Moj! People have "liked" our link, which means they are supportive of it! Thank you!

Kenny made some cool business cards for us, and when they get here, my sister Emily is going to go with me and stick them up on boards everywhere. Rural King, right next to the hunting dogs for sale, I think. Thanks in advance, Emily.

So we're feeling thankful for everyone and the support we're receiving. It is exciting to know that we will have a baby someday, but it's also exciting to know that our friends and family know us well enough to say and do little things that they probably think aren't a big deal. But they are.

In the mean time, if you need a coffee buzz and you can wait for delivery, please visit our storefront and the company's website. Feel free to pass on the link to those you know who would appreciate some quality java. Thanks for keeping up with us,
B and K

Just Love Coffee Storefront
Our adoption profile page

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Since we're in the waiting phase, I thought I'd update by sharing two blogs that I follow, focusing on open adoption. They are from both sides of the spectrum, one, an adoptive mom writing to her son about each day of his life, and the other, a birth mom who is completely forthcoming- which I love. I know that things aren't going to be easy or comfortable, so reading her blog helps me understand what I can't imagine.

Thanks to those of you who ask Kenny and me so often how things are going or what's new with the adoption. I hope we can stay as positive and hopeful as we are right now. Many of you make it a point to ask us, and although sometimes I want to run away from that question, it means the world to both of us that friends and family remember that we deal with this daily, and take time out to acknowledge it. We recently met another couple in Lafayette who are adopting through IAC, and it was great to speak without a filter over some pints and tasty food. We had so many of the same thoughts and did not feel one bit guilty speaking them out loud. They have been waiting much longer than we have, yet they are still lively with talk of the future.

If you have time, take a peek at these blogs to get a picture of how an open adoption could work for us someday, although I think each one is unique.

The Thompson Baby
Chronicles of Munchkin Land

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Hurry up and wait

It's been a while since we've posted anything about the adoption process, and there's good news. We are almost finished with the work of getting out there and being approved to go forward. Our home study was approved, our Dear Birth Mother letter is close to being approved, and our website is ready to go except for some pictures we need to add. Everything is coming together nicely, and now I need to brainstorm ways to network within our circles and outside of them. (Kenny has done all the design work for letter and websites, so my job is to network!) The agency we are working with does plenty of outreach for us, but it can't hurt for us to make our presence known around town. We'll make business cards to pin up around Purdue, and I'll have to make some phone calls to hospitals and OBGYN's to see if they are open to keeping our information on hand in case they come across a girl who is scared and wants to know her options. We will have what look like press kits ready to go, with our Dear Birth mother letter, a cover letter, and a brochure from the agency explaining what open adoption is and how the potential birth mother can contact our counselor. During the networking process, I will be open to any of your suggestions and would be extremely grateful if any of you would like a "press kit" to disperse or have more ideas of places to take them. I am thinking about the high schools around here, and I will send one to our high school in Monticello, but I think it could be potentially more awkward if a former student were to consider placing with us. I'm sure if it happened I'd change my mind, but for now, it's weird. Here are some places I'm imagining taking some cards or making phones calls to:
social workers at local hospitals
counselors or residence assistants at dorms of Purdue
Planned Parenthood, although our agency networks with them already
Crisis pregnancy centers- I think there are a couple around here
bars (this is a joke right now, but I bet I'll change my mind later!)
high school counselors
Ivy Tech

Now is where we need your help. I worry about random phone calls to our 1-800 number in the middle of the night from girls who aren't pregnant, although we send them directly to the agency and they weed out anyone who is part of a scam. So some of the above choices make me nervous. Can any of you suggest network options, or do you know or work for anyone who could pass on our information? There is a chain-like e mail we were given, but I usually delete forwards the minute I see FWD at the top of the e mail. On the other hand, it could travel quickly and end up in the right hands. Please feel free to comment or send me a note if you have ideas or know of someone who knows a person who knows a person who knows a person...
Our hope is that the right birth mother is out there somewhere deciding to make a choice that's best for her baby, but I just can't imagine Kenny and I sitting around waiting for that to fall in our laps. The wait could be very long for us and I'm starting to get sad and anxious just thinking about it. We know lots of smart, creative, and thoughtful people, so I'm hoping you all are reading this!
Thanks for taking an interest in the process and keeping up with us.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

It's been a few weeks since our last update, but sure enough, we are moving right along.  About 99.9%  100% of our paperwork is done, and we should soon be ready for our home study.

Our good friend Dave Mason took some photos of us downtown one evening, and we're really happy with them. We need to pick one really good one that will be on the cover of our letter. One of our favorites is over there on the right.

Here is the text of our Dear Birthmother letter:

Dear Birthmother,

We are grateful and thankful for your courage and selflessness in considering an adoption plan for your baby, and want to help fulfill your desire to find a caring family for your child. Knowing you want your baby to be cared for and given every opportunity for a bright future, we will raise him or her in an open and loving home where you will always be welcome as an important part of our lives. We will honor you and your wishes, and we look forward to getting to know you. With friends who have welcomed children through adoption, we know we will love your baby from the moment we meet. We will raise him or her with hugs, kisses and fun, with the knowledge that your love made it possible.

About Us
We met as neighbors ten years ago and have truly loved and respected each other since that day. Married for six years, our appreciation for time spent together will carry over easily in the love and care for a child. When Kenny isn’t playing in his band or listening to music, he is doing outdoor activities and getting the house ready for a family. Becky enjoys reading, shopping, and making jewelry, but is most comfortable in the company of family and friends at home.

Becky’s job as a teacher enables her to have holidays and summers free to spend happily with a child. She also has some insight and experience in getting through the difficult adolescent years and helping him or her with late-night homework sessions. Kenny works for a family-friendly graphic design firm where he enjoys holidays and a flexible schedule to care for stuffy noses and forgotten homework or lunches. Although we work during the day, we will devote each evening and weekend to family activities and opportunities to share. We even have a babysitter-in-waiting who’s ecstatic about caring for a little one, not to mention grandparents who can’t wait to snuggle and read with their new grandbaby.

Our Home and Parenting
We live in a quiet, safe neighborhood where our child will ride a bike in the cul-de-sac, explore nature or play in the park, and walk the dog on the trail. Our fenced-in backyard is perfect for a game of kick ball or a swing set. Living in Lafayette, Indiana, we are close to Purdue University and Prophetstown State Park, where we can visit with farm animals and walk through the prairie. Our home is shared with Ranger the Lab and Fingers the cat, who already enjoy inquisitive children.  We can already picture a little one joining in on walks, reading books, and hiking trails around town, as well as many shopping trips.

Our travels take us only an hour away to the baby’s grandparents’ houses, both on and near lakes, so summers will be spent swimming, tubing, and being Grandpa’s fishing buddy or Grandma’s shopping partner. Holidays are a very important part of our time together with family, so the baby will travel to the grandparents’ houses for Christmas dinners and traditions, like watching the lighting of the Christmas Tree on Monument Circle in Indianapolis, or watching “A Christmas Story” multiple times on Christmas Eve.

Hopefully the good times will outweigh the bad, but understand that we will be there for the difficult times that lie ahead with sleepless nights, adolescence, losing games and teen relationships. With an appreciation for education, we will prioritize college and furthering his or her options for the future. Most importantly, we want our son or daughter to appreciate life and nature, family and friends, and we hope to teach these through vacations with family to the mountains of Tennessee, or a backyard cookout, sitting by the fire.

Friends and Family
Our families are very excited and hopeful about us becoming parents, and our niece and nephew are looking forward to becoming cousins and playmates, teaching the baby everything they know. We have a tight-knit group of friends whose support is amazing, and our siblings are ready to be aunts and uncles, excited about what our future holds together as a family.

About Kenny, by Becky
Kenny is the most patient and giving person I know, and I can envision him embracing the role of a father. When I met him, I felt this sense of calm and warmth that I know will be felt by our child. Changing diapers, playing every chance he gets, coaching a sport, or teaching the child to play guitar or creating a hands-on art project are all activities he will happily engage in. Kenny possesses a peaceful understanding of the world around him, seeing the big picture and careful to see the good in people and situations, which he will surely pass on readily. He will be there to hold the child’s hand when they stumble, and will applaud every success. He will be an extraordinary father.

About Becky, by Kenny
Becky is my best friend, and we both knew we'd be together from the day we met. That simple fact is what makes our relationship so perfect and so effortless. Becky has a huge heart - I see it daily in her playfulness and smile and I witness it through her kind, caring nature and hilarious sense of humor. Over the last 10 years, Becky has helped me reach lifelong goals that I could never do alone. Without her love and support I wouldn't be who I am today, and I know that she will always be there for us. She's going to be a great mom. Becky has learned so much about what it takes to be a great mom from being a middle school teacher and an aunt to our nephew and niece. Becky is a wonderful wife and a wonderful person, and I know she is going to be an amazing mom.

We are excited about being parents and hope we can share the joys with you, because you made this courageous decision. We hope you wish to contact us and can’t wait to hear from you and get to know you. Thank you so much for your strength, and we truly hope we can welcome you and your baby into our lives and learn about your hopes and dreams for the future.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

TB Free!

Kenny and I are healthy enough to adopt a baby! Lots of people we talk to comment about how strange and unfair it is that we have to get physicals, background checks, blood work, TB tests, driving records, and fingerprints in order to adopt. I'll be honest and say that it upset us, too, in the beginning. We were complaining about it one day, when one of our friends said it probably would be worse if the agency we went through didn't require all those checks, and he was right. As a result, we've had some great visits with our doctor, who is going through the same thing herself. It's nice that we can sit down and talk about the process with her, and not feel as if we have to mask any of our cynical or frustrating comments. It's difficult still to think about people who have babies really easily and those who aren't in the ideal situation to have babies, reproducing like rabbits, but we are slowly getting better at it. I still don't like hearing about students who are newly pregnant and don't seem to learn from others' mistakes, but if these pregnancies didn't happen then we wouldn't be talking about adopting, I guess. It's been a little hard going back to school and having parents at Open House ask me how many kids I have, but then I just joke and say I couldn't go home to a 13 year-old after spending the day with 100 of them, and they go back to their own concerns. I don't think I'm a worse teacher for not having my own child, but I'm sure some things will change once I do.

We head to a weekend workshop on Friday, and we passed all of our tests, so that means we're of sound mind and body to start this process. Lots of you have asked what is next, so here's some of what we'll learn this weekend:

How to write our Dear Birthmother/Birthparents Letter, which will be the focus of the brochure that we will share with others, and what the agency will take to their outreach locations.
Letter to our Personal Network, which tells us how to inform family and friends of our plans (too late for that).
Outreach Planning Guide- teaches us how to network
Adoption laws for most states
What to Do When a Birthmother Calls- this is our favorite. She could call us directly, and we have to be ready with an intelligent, calm response.
This is in addition to the paperwork we have completed over the last month. We wrote our autobiographies, answered questions about our views of parenting and discipline, and gotten guarantees from our bosses that we will probably be employed in the years to come. It was hard not to sound too teacher-y when I wrote about discipline, but By God, it's all about structure and consistency! Ha- I guess I learned something from Mrs. Holcomb after all!   

We'd like to thank everyone who has shown an interest in what we are doing. Don't be afraid to ask- we enjoy talking about it. We aren't really sure what happens next, but we will update soon. In the meantime, the fast-paced world of the Roosevelt Middle School 7th grade Volleyball B Team is in my future, and Kenny is working on music and artistic projects, so I'm sure we'll have little time to think about a baby. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Redman Recruit

Here we go.

After five years of trying to have our own little blond or bald baby, we've decided to just be parents. Not biological parents, but just parents. We made the decision to adopt a newborn domestically. There have been some pretty sad realizations for us, but this is not the place to talk about sad- we are very happy and excited about our choice and our future. The little kids we have in our lives right now make us laugh so hard sometimes, that we are confident that we can get past not having our own baby and find, easily, reasons to love the one we are matched with.

We knew nothing about adoption, but knew that if we wanted a baby this was the way forward for us. We learned of a few different types of adoption that existed, and one of those types is called open adoption. Open adoption is defined from as: "the birthparents and adoptive parents meeting one another, sharing full identifying information, and having direct access to ongoing contact over the years."

On the surface, this scared the hell out of us! Right away, we both envisioned uncomfortable holidays where we brought some strange dysfunction to the table. Or worse yet, I think there was an image of us having to explain to our child who this lady was who kept showing up and asking for pictures. Fortunately, we went to an information session with the Independent Adoption Center in Indianapolis, where we learned that open adoption is almost the opposite of what we envisioned. Without getting too wordy, open adoption is where the birthmother chooses who will parent her child; we meet and set up parameters for the future and continue communicating after the baby is born. We go to wherever she lives, which could be in any state, and await the birth of our child, and if all goes as planned, we can bring our baby home upon the birthmother's discharge from the hospital. We correspond with the birthmother through pictures, letters, phone calls, e mails, etc., and some visits throughout our child's life, and eventually, in some cases, the birthmother becomes a part of the family. In other situations, the birthmother may be in and out of contact, but we just have to remember that she chose us to parent her child so that she could better herself and her situation, and to better his life. A birthmother may stay in contact for the first few years, and then her life may take her somewhere else.

There are many benefits of being able to know the birthmother, for us as parents, but more importantly, for our child. Our child will always know who his mother is and that she didn't give him up; she gave him a chance at a better future than she could give him. There are advantages to his health as well. If there is a biological history of a health issue, we will know that and can possibly prevent it, or at least be ready for it.

For the parents, open adoption holds a better chance that the birthmother won't be involved in heavy drug abuse or other dangerous situations. If she chooses open adoption, that means she wants to be involved in her child's life, not just cut all ties because she is embarrassed or ashamed of her own situation. We learned at our session that this is what sets apart open adoption from what some people assume adoption to be like. Another important aspect about the benefits of open adoption is that the birthmother is less likely to change her mind upon seeing her baby. She knows who is going to parent her child, and we were told that she will come to really like us and we her. She will be sad when she sees her baby, but after that passes, she should remember that we are going to give him a better life. It's going to be a very heavy time, and who knows how we will all handle it, but we are so comfortable with the choice of open adoption after hearing about the success rate of it. So, that's what we have chosen, and would like to continue to share with you through this blog. If you want to learn more about the agency we've chosen or open adoption itself, please visit their web site:

Our next step is to go to the IAC's weekend intensive program, where we will learn more about the process and begin to set up our web site and letter to prospective birthmothers. Essentially, we will be learning how to market ourselves as parents. We will have to write about each other, our marriage, and why we would be good parents. This could be very hilarious.

Thanks again for being a part of our recruiting process! Commence the comments!