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Adoption Thread

ImperfectGirl

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Can we talk about adoption?? More specifically can we use this thread to talk about the process (if anyone is currently adopting), ask questions and share experiences?
 

ImperfectGirl

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I'll go first! My DH and I recently found out that we are infertile. I started a thread about it a while ago and while we don't have 100% the answers yet, we do know that there is no chance we will be able to conceive without Assisted Reproduction. We discussed it and for various reasons, we don't want to go that route. We've always planned on having 3 kids and known that we would adopt as we both have adopted siblings. Although the infertility pill was hard to swallow, we are quite happy with the decision and excited at the prospect of expanding our family. :praise:

In beginning our research, we've been surprised with the number of options, avenues, and the cost :-o We do know that we want to undergo a domestic newborn adoption so we are gathering information from various agencies to find out who we feel comfortable working with. We hope to make a committment in January.

Anyone else out there currently in this process? Or have you been there, done that, and have words of wisdom to share?
 

Miss Sparkly

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I love the idea of the thread! We're never having our own children. I don't like babies and neither does DH; but, we've seriously considered adopting an older child. I'm still too young for consideration (24) as an adoptive parent, but I'd love to hear other peoples stories.
 

Kaleigh

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I love the idea of an adoption thread...

My SIL and BIL tried for years to concieve, they did IVF, twice...

They decided to adopt. They went through an Agency in MA, open adoption...

A young couple who were in college chose them.

It was a long process...

They were present for the birth and stayed in a hotel near by waiting for papers to be signed... It was a roller coaster..

BUT all worked out, my nephew is now 7 and is a huge blessing to our family..

I thank god every day that this couple decided to give him to my SIL and BIL...

It's a wondeful gift... :halo:
 

Steel

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Imperfect Girl: I remember your thread and I am sorry.

DH and I are not in that boat yet, but you never know, do you? We have also seriously discussed adoption and fostering and so I will be very interested to hear from any European PS'ers (if any have gone that route - or know about it).

Something I am really innocent about is the cost factor? Why/How is it so expensive?
 

Bella_mezzo

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:wavey: Imperfect! Great thread idea! I remember your thread about fertility issues and I am sorry that that door is closed right now!

DH and I are in the process of adopting. We decided to go the international route and are adopting an infant, toddler, or sibling group under 4 from Ethiopia. We're a few months into the process and are almost done with our homestudy and paperwork.

For domestic infant adoption it matters which state you are in. We are in NY and it can be very difficult to adopt from out of state, other states work much better together.

Yes, the cost is :-o (for Steal and others who are wondering it ranges from about $24k-$40k+ depending on the situation. For domestic US adoption a huge chunk of the fee goes to the placement agency for "finding" the baby. Also, money goes towards the birth mother's medical and living expenses, legal fees, etc. In international adoption there are more legal fees, less fees to the agency, and money that goes to the in-country orphanage and humanitarian aid).

Basically there are three parts to the adoption process--1. The homestudy (where a social services agency licensed by your state approves you as a fit parent) 2. Placement (where you find a situation that has a baby who needs parents and you are chosen to be those parents) 3. the legal process of adoption.

#2 is the step with the most variables, you can find situations through AAAA Attorneys, placement agencies, placement facilitators, and just putting the word out among friends, family, pediatricians, high school and college teachers--The Pennysaver a la Juno :wink2: --it can take time to find the right situation for your family, or it could happen right away. I have one friend who got a call that went something like, come to the hospital right now at 3am b/c a birth family just chose you and they are in labor now!

Imperfect do you and your husband have a preference regarding race, level of prenatal healthcare, etc? That can impact how you put the word out to find a situation where a baby needs you as its parents.

Congrats on starting this journey to build your family!!!! It is a crazy frustrating process, but it has a way of working out in the perfect way for your family in the end (at least that's why I keep telling myself right now! It definitely takes a lot of faith!).
 

ImperfectGirl

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Yay! I"m so glad others want to talk about adoption! :appl: :appl:

Sparkly - I did notice many agencies have age restrictions but most I've found in my state (TX) just require you to be 21. That's awesome that you want to adopt an older child because many that I've come across (DH & myself inlcuded) want to adopt an infant and I know that there are many older children in need of good homes as well.

Kaleigh - How awesome for your SIL & BIL. That is one of the main reasons we don't want to try IVF. We would have to pay for it out of pocket and there really are no guarantees. We would just hate to spend $25K for a few rounds and still end up where we are today.

Steel - Thanks. Like Bella mentioned, here in the US, the costs can be pretty high. Agencies we've spoken with range from $15-30K and that usually doesn't inlcude any medical expenses for the birthmother if she in uninsured or under insured. Most other fees, (matching, legal, and homestudy fees) seem to be included in their fee. I have no clue what it's like in Europe and I'll be interested to hear about the process and cost in your neck of the woods.

Bella - I had no idea you were adopting! Congratulations to you and your DH!! I remember you on the TTC thread but it's just been to difficult to venture over there lately. Are you no longer TTC? What made you choose your agency?

The process seems to be pretty easy in Texas for adoptive families. There are tons of agencies and we've been looking at a few in other states as well. We are hoping to adopt an African American or Biracial infant as we are both AA. We've come to realize that AA children are often labeled 'hard to place' so we're more than happy to open our home. Many of the agencies we've spoken to say that the fact that we want an AA child will greatly shorten our wait time and most will have placement between 6-12 months.

My supervisor's wife is an adoption attorney and she has been such a great resource. We've been able to ask her all kinds of questions and hope to have her finalize our adoption for us.
 

Bella_mezzo

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:appl: :appl: :appl: :appl: Congrats Imperfect! It sounds like you have a great system set up to help you through this process!

After a year of actively TTC without getting pregnant we decided to pursue adoption. We're still TTC in that we're not doing anything to prevent pregnancy, but we've always hoped to build our family through birth and adoption, so we'll see what happens first... :bigsmile:

We thought about foster care adoption, domestic infant adoption, and then international adoption. After considering each, international adoption seemed to be the best fit for our family, but if another scenario presents itself we are definitely open to considering it:)

We chose our placement agency based on extensive research (online and through checking references-particularly examining ethics, in-country work, process, wait times...) and then through the level of comfort we felt interacting with staff. We narrowed it down to three we really liked:
Agency 1. You had to married for 2 years and we've only been married for 1
Agency 2. We loved and is now our agency
Agency 3. Although it was very well-regarded, I had several interactions with the agency where I felt pressured and almost like they were trying to sell me a used car--NOT a vibe you want when you are talking about babies, and families, and the sensitive and painful issues that lead a family to place their child for adoption.
 

somethingshiny

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When we were considering adoption, we were looking into Catholic Charities Adoption. The fee is on a sliding scale and they encourage open and semi-open adoptions. I know 2 families who have gone this route and both had wonderful experiences. They are throughout the US, maybe you could look into it.

Best of luck starting your family!
 

Logan Sapphire

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Congrats on the decision to adopt! Our family has also been blessed by the miracle of adoption- we adopted our first child from Korea last year. Obviously there are a ton of factors that go into how long and difficult the process is; our own adoption took 14 months from start to bringing her home. For a Korean adoption, you then have to wait at least 6 months to finalize the adoption, so she was officially ours pretty much 6 months later (our homestudy agency and attorney were on top of things, and the courts moved surprisingly fast), which meant the whole shebang took 20 months. I was also adopted from Korea, along with my twin sister, and I have a cousin who was adopted from Brazil, so adoption is near and dear to my heart.
 

pennquaker09

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I'm also glad we're talking about adoption also.

We decided that instead of expanding through surrogacy that we would try adoption. Surrogacy is great, but I feel like adoption is important. Because we're a gay couple, the only option is domestic and thankfully New Jersey is great state to live in regards to adoption.

We actually started the process last year. There are home studies and extensive background checks and interviews that were required, and we were approved in January. Our agency specializes in trans-racial adoptions, so a lot of the emphasis was on parenting a child of color and things of that nature. Even though I'm biracial, they sort of treated us like a Caucasian couple, because from a purely physical perspective, I don't look biracial.

They don't have a waiting list, they match according to personality. We were contacted this summer with the possibility of adopting a baby boy, but the birth mother chose another couple. Major disappointment. I think I've finally just started to get over it, and I know that everything will happen at the right time.

I will say that having done surrogacy for the twins, that adoption is much friendlier on the wallet/pocket book.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Ah, adoption is near and dear to my heart as well! We had two birth children and adopted our third child from China. She is 15 now. All I can tell you is that God has various ways of bringing children to their parents and I honestly can say that adoption is equally a miracle as childbirth is! Our love for our youngest daughter is not one iota smaller than our love for our other children! I would have adopted again in a minute, but my hubby thought we were a little old to keep on going! Lol!

Things I will tell you are that it is almost always best to adopt children as young as possible. I am sorry but I know too many cases of older child adoptions that were heartbreaking. There is just so much emotional damage that can be done by years of neglect, abuse, or lack of stimulation. I'd say it would be best in the case of experienced parents whose older children are almost out of the home. I consulted with a family of a child from another country a couple of weeks ago (I am an educational specialist/special ed.) and that child is severely delayed and has major issues even though he was adopted at age 2 and has been here a few years. I also had a friend who adopted some older children with attachment disorder and I can't even begin to tell you the horrible situation that occurred with that. So any of you considering older child adoptions needs to understand that the younger the child is, the more YOU have the chance to shape his or her environment to give him the best possible chance in life, because you can't change the genes. In any event, educate yourselves well and understand the risks you are willing to take. Love sadly does not heal all wounded children.

No one has mentioned the adoption tax credit..it is still in effect, I hope? It came about a year or so after we adopted, but we were thankful for those who would have that huge financial help! It was a $10,000 tax credit the last time I checked.

ImperfectGirl and Bella, I am thrilled for both of you and look forward to hearing more about your adoption journeys!
 

Logan Sapphire

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diamondseeker2006 said:
No one has mentioned the adoption tax credit..it is still in effect, I hope? It came about a year or so after we adopted, but we were thankful for those who would have that huge financial help! It was a $10,000 tax credit the last time I checked.
Diamondseeker, as of last year, the tax credit was still in effect. I heard it was sunsetting, but don't know anything more on it. For international adoptions, you can only claim it the year you finalize the adoption. From my understanding, most countries finalize in-country so the minute your child steps in the US, they're a citizen. Korea is different in that you have to wait at least 6 months once back in the US to finalize. We brought DD home on April 9, 2009 and her adoption was finalized on Dec 29, 2009. We totally snuck in there at the last min, which meant we could claim the tax credit for 2009. God bless that judge who was working hard btwn Christmas and New Year's!!!
 

Bella_mezzo

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The 2011 tax credit is the best one yet:) It's $13,721 or something like that, is refundable, is PER CHILD, and can be used for previous years adoptions if there are still qualifying expenses to be refunded. As of right now the credit goes down to $5000 for 2012 and $0 for 2013. Needless to say we are hoping for MANY reasons to be done with court in Ethiopia by the end of 2011!!! We are grateful for the credit, especially the 2011 credit will make adoption much for financially feasible for us (especially if we're matched with a sibling group:)

Diamond-Congrats on your daughter! It sounds like your family is wonderful and your daughter has been such a blessing!

I'm so sorry that you have several friends who are having serious attachment issues with their children. It's so scary and sad. I have a friend who is also dealing with it (not RAD, but severe attachment issues). I hear what you are saying about the possible advantages of adopting young children, and certainly respect your opinion, but I will say that there are many toddler and older child adoptions that can go quite well, and many infant adoptions that can still have serious attachment issues. Adoption, as with all parenting, has a lot of unknowns. Each child is definitely shaped by their circumstances and environment, but there is also a strong element of their individual personality/nature. Attachment for an older child who has already experienced a loving family relationship may actually be easier than attachment for an infant who has been institutionalized for their short life. Attachment for an older child who has a naturally more loving/easy going personality may be easier than attachment for an infant with a high-needs/more agitated personality. of course vice versa is also true, and there is definitely an advantage to being able to shape your child's environment for as much of their life as possible.

I know there are a lot of opinions on this, as well as myriad attachment specialists, books, etc. There are so many toddlers, preschoolers, and older kids who would be wonderful children for certain adoptive families it's important to know the challenges and the potential rewards of older child adoption;)) I definitely agree that prospective parents should go into adoption with eyes wide open and understand what they may encounter and what situations they are most comfortable with.
 

diamondseeker2006

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Logan...whew! That was wonderful timing to say the least!

Bella...let me say that there are most certainly older child adoptions that work! There are variables from country to country that make some less risky than others based on the care the children get as well as the reasons the children are given up in the first place. One of my closest friends adopted a 4 year old girl from China and that has worked out as well as any I have seen. The girl is probably smaller than she would have been on an American diet, and she has some learning difficulties. But she is a loving and kind child and loved extremely by her family. The percentage of eastern European/Russian adoptions with problems has been much greater, in my experience. I have only heard good things thus far from Ethiopian adoptions. You are absolutely right that SO much depends on the care they receive before coming to their new family. We were incredibly blessed with our daughter, and I am thankful for that every single day.

Oh, and WOW for that tax credit in 2011! Let's just hope it is renewed for future years!
 

dreamer_dachsie

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Bella Have you seen this blog? It is awesome. This caucasian couple from Kansas ended up adopting triplet boys from Ethiopia in 2006 and she has blogged about their whole experience. I read the first few years when I was TTC the first time around, and she is still keeping up the blog! You could be in for a worlds of cute-crazy if you end up with triplets like her :bigsmile: I think she is also a member of some online communities for people adopting from Ethipia, so enjoy! I know I did... EDIT I just recalled I can't link blogs. Google "Ethiopian tripletland" and you will find it!
 

somethingshiny

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Older children can definitely be great adoptees. One of my cousins was adopted at 4 yrs old. He had a really rough time prior to then. He has had his share of trouble but overall, he's a good guy. I think you really have to know all the issues at hand with an older child, but it can be wonderful.
 

Bella_mezzo

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Diamond and SS-Yep, I totally agree with you both!:)

DD-I wanted to adopt my whole life, but I came across Ethiopian tripletland about 3 years ago and that's when I started really thinking about adopting from Ethiopia. The family is in DC now for the husband's job (yeah, I turned into a total blog stalker :bigsmile: ) There's a HUGE adoption blog community and it's really cool to be able to follow families journeys. There are also incredible videos on youtube of families on the day they meet their children. It's gotten to the point now that anytime I sniff, sigh, or cough while on the computer DH is like "what adoption video or blog are you look at now that's making you cry:rolleyes: ;)) :cheeky: )

We started a blog too to keep our friends and family up to date on where we are in the adoption process, and eventually to spread the word about our fundraising needs. We're also trying to raise awareness for some of the awesome charities and NGOs that are doing work to help alleviate the issues that often lead to families having to put their children up for adoption--lack of clean water, lack of work, lack of shelter, lack of food, lack of medical care, political instability...
 

ImperfectGirl

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I did know about the $13K+ tax credit for 2011 but didn't know it was going down in 2012 and then down to nothing in 2013! That's sad because it was really going to make adoption more affordable for our family. I believe in the USA the adoption has to be finalized first though. Is that correct? I've also read that finalization can't not occur sooner than 6 months after placement. Is that correct?

I have 3 coworkers who have adopted. One adopted twins at age 2 and they have RAD. One was a grandchild adoption when the girl was 5. She has RAD. The other adopted 2 sisters at ages 2 & 6 mos and they are fine and developing normally. It is a bit scary and extremely important to go into the decision well informed and educated. We are doing that now.

Logan & Diamondseeker - thanks so much for sharing your experiences! I too believe that families can be created in ways other that by birth and am so excited. Please chime in anytime!

Penn- Congrats! I'm sure it was difficult when the bmom chose another family. I imagine I would be devestated as well but I'm trying to prepare myself for that as it's a real possibility as well as a bmom choosing to parent after the baby is born. I'll be looking forward to hearing about your journey!

Bella- thanks for sharing about how you chose your agency. We are narrowed down to 2 and I think I'm just being a committment phobe. It's alot of trust (and money) to place in others.
 

Bella_mezzo

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IP-RAD is super scary to me, although some families are able to parent children with RAD and other severe attachment issues, if I am totally honest I am up for a lot, but I'm not sure how I would handle that. RAD scares the sh!t out of me!

Yeah, the credit tends to get extended at the 11th hour, so I am hoping there's some middle ground at the end of 2011...

As for finalization, as Logan mentioned, it depends on how the adoption is done in a country. E.g. in Ethiopia once you pass court there it counts for tax purposes in the US. In Korea it doesn't count until re-adoption in the US. I'm not sure when it happens for domestic adoptions...

Penn-I forgot to mention before, but I can only imagine how painful it must have been to have a birth mother change her mind. I hope that your third child finds its way to your family soon!
 

AGBF

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There was no tax credit when we adopted. (Our daughter is now 18.) We adopted internationally, from Colombia. We never got to meet our daughter's birthmother. She relinquished her baby and 30 days after she signed the document, when it was final, we were notified by the orphanage that that baby would be ours and were sent a photograph of her. Otherwise we would have gotten the next female baby who was legally relinquished.

The interesting thing is that I, voluntarily, translated a card from English into Spanish and asked the orphanage to try to find her and give it to her (the birth mother) along with a gift (a good Cross pen). The birth mother, who was 17, was a student and hoping to go on to study.

Recently, through the Internet and Facebook, my daughter found her birth mother! It has really been very sweet and moving since her birth mother seems to be a truly lovely, kind woman who cares about my daughter!

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

MustangGal

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If you're considering adoption you should also check if your comapny offers adoption assistance. Mine does (6K per child), but I doubt most employees even know it's out there for them. You would also be eligible to take FMLA leave to bond with the adopted child.
 

Bella_mezzo

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Mustang, I am so jealous! My compnay offer $0 in adoption assistance, and 0 days of paid leave while on FMLA. You can use vacation, but not sick time?!?!? it makes no sense!
 

Trekkie

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AGBF said:
There was no tax credit when we adopted. (Our daughter is now 18.) We adopted internationally, from Colombia. We never got to meet our daughter's birthmother. She relinquished her baby and 30 days after she signed the document, when it was final, we were notified by the orphanage that that baby would be ours and were sent a photograph of her. Otherwise we would have gotten the next female baby who was legally relinquished.

The interesting thing is that I, voluntarily, translated a card from English into Spanish and asked the orphanage to try to find her and give it to her (the birth mother) along with a gift (a good Cross pen). The birth mother, who was 17, was a student and hoping to go on to study.

Recently, through the Internet and Facebook, my daughter found her birth mother! It has really been very sweet and moving since her birth mother seems to be a truly lovely, kind woman who cares about my daughter!

Deb/AGBF
:read:
Congratulations on your daughter finding her birth mother! And what appropriate timing too, seeing as this is around the same age as her birth mother had her.

What a heart warming story. I would love to hear more if you'd like to share.
 

Logan Sapphire

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Bella_mezzo said:
Mustang, I am so jealous! My compnay offer $0 in adoption assistance, and 0 days of paid leave while on FMLA. You can use vacation, but not sick time?!?!? it makes no sense!
I work for the federal government and our benefits stink too, at least in this area. We also get no paid leave while on FMLA, $0 in adoption assistance, and couldn't technically use sick leave either, except for when Casey had a dr's appt or if we were meeting with the adoption agency. Fortunately, my supervisor didn't care so I used a combo of sick and annual leave during my 3 month maternity leave. My DH also works for the feds, and he didn't even invoke FMLA when he stayed home with her for his 3 months. Personally, I think not being able to use sick leave for bonding is discrimination against adoptive families.

AGBF- wow, that's great your daughter was able to find her birth mom!!! I'm searching right now for my family, but I don't think I'll find them. That's ok. It wasn't meant to be. We send updates to my daughter's file yearly in case her birth parents are ever interested, but so far they haven't looked. I do hope she can find them someday, if she wants, but again, if not, that's ok.
 

waterlilly

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Neato thread.

My husband and I have discussed adopting, I don't think I'll ever want to be preggers, so that might be the only way we have kids if we do.

I was adopted as an infant and recently began reading some books on the subject. I have never wanted to find my birth parents and can't speak highly enough of my adoptive parents and the life they gave me. I am very grateful to have been adopted, I had a wonderful childhood.

A book that really struck me was "The Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier. My brother was adopted too (different birth parents) and I identified with some of the things talked about in this book deeply - and saw a lot of things that described my brother as well.

I felt like it gave me a clearer view of adoption - even though I was adopted, this was eye opening. I felt like on some level I knew about some of the things she describes, but was just never able to put a voice to it or clearly articulate it. I really enjoyed it and recommend it to anyone considering adoption...
 

AGBF

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Trekkie said:
Congratulations on your daughter finding her birth mother! And what appropriate timing too, seeing as this is around the same age as her birth mother had her.

What a heart warming story. I would love to hear more if you'd like to share.
Thanks for the invitation, Trekkie. This is very much a work in progress, especially since my daughter is very volatile. (When she became around 12 years old she changed dramatically. I think a genetic mental illness, possibly bi-polar disorder, emerged. A child who had had the ability to concentrate and who had never had problems with anger suddenly became depressed; prone to angry outbursts; and unable to focus on her homework or playing a musical instrument.)

Right now my daughter has been exchanging e-mails with her birth mother. She has also written one long letter to her in English on paper and sent it through the mails along with a heart necklace that her grandmother (my mother) gave her. Her birth mother called her cell phone and both my daugher and I got to speak to her in Spanish. My daughter freaked out and felt she couldn't speak (which is untrue) and I took the phone. Her birth mother thanked me again (as she had by e-mail) for the pen I had given her back when she was was a girl. The birth mother constantly says that Whitney is beautiful, sweet, an angel and praises my husband and me for raising her.

I think that Whitney's birth mother knows that we value her and we know that she values us. Whitney feels that everyone cares about her. Her birth mother has invited her-and us-to go to Colombia.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
 

Trekkie

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AGBF said:
Trekkie said:
Congratulations on your daughter finding her birth mother! And what appropriate timing too, seeing as this is around the same age as her birth mother had her.

What a heart warming story. I would love to hear more if you'd like to share.
Thanks for the invitation, Trekkie. This is very much a work in progress, especially since my daughter is very volatile. (When she became around 12 years old she changed dramatically. I think a genetic mental illness, possibly bi-polar disorder, emerged. A child who had had the ability to concentrate and who had never had problems with anger suddenly became depressed; prone to angry outbursts; and unable to focus on her homework or playing a musical instrument.)

Right now my daughter has been exchanging e-mails with her birth mother. She has also written one long letter to her in English on paper and sent it through the mails along with a heart necklace that her grandmother (my mother) gave her. Her birth mother called her cell phone and both my daugher and I got to speak to her in Spanish. My daughter freaked out and felt she couldn't speak (which is untrue) and I took the phone. Her birth mother thanked me again (as she had by e-mail) for the pen I had given her back when she was was a girl. The birth mother constantly says that Whitney is beautiful, sweet, an angel and praises my husband and me for raising her.

I think that Whitney's birth mother knows that we value her and we know that she values us. Whitney feels that everyone cares about her. Her birth mother has invited her-and us-to go to Colombia.

Deb/AGBF
:read:
Thank you for sharing your story, AGBF. It's amazing. :)
 

diamondseeker2006

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Wow, Deb, that is indeed amazing! That is not something I'll ever encounter, though, because almost all the birthparents in China are unknown since it is technically illegal to give up your child. Such irony. But in a way, it just makes it easier to know that that door is closed. Anna is 15 and has never given much thought to her birthparents at all. I, however, do think of her birthmother especially near Anna's birthday and wish she could know how beautiful and precious and dearly loved her child is.

Our adoption was considered final in China so we didn't have to do anything when we arrived back in the US. Of course, that was right before the tax credit so we didn't have any timing issues for that anyway!
 
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