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Why I Decided to Adopt

I have always wanted to be a mother. It has been my main goal in life since I was a toddler! I met my Mr. Wonderful and he had never felt an urge to parent. He told me he didn't want babies — ever! I was crazy in love and so young. I told him I was willing to make that sacrifice for him. In all honesty, I was certain he'd change his mind. We got married and years started going by. He didn't change his mind about babies, but started to open up to the idea of older child adoption. He liked the idea of parenting a child who was already here, needing a home, stability and love. I realized I just wanted to be a mother. How I got there didn't matter to me. We decided to pursue adoption in December of 2008 and started the process in May 2009. Our daughter came to us as a straight interstate adoptive placement from the foster care system in May 2010 at age nine. The adoption was finalized six months later. Being her mother is what I was meant to do!

The Biggest Challenge of the Adoption Process

1. In our area, prospective parents are on their own to find a child to adopt from the foster care system. We spent hours every day searching photo listings, making contact with case workers and sending out our home study. There are thousands of children waiting for homes, but workers are so overloaded most inquiries go unanswered. We inquired on over 200 children in five months and rarely got any sort of response.

2. The ICPC process was long and stressful! It went smoothly with the sending state, but our state really dropped the ball. The sending state said to expect four weeks. It took 12 weeks. It was six months from match to getting her home. I was so anxious during that time that I ground a hole in my tooth in my sleep!

3. We do not have therapists or other professionals who get attachment and trauma in our area — not even at agencies focused on foster care or adoption. We are on our own and making it work, but some professional support from people who get it would be nice.

When and How Our Daughter Learned She Was Adopted

She came to us at age nine after bouncing around foster care for five years and her skin is a different color than ours, so this question isn't really applicable for us. :-) She found out she was moving to another state to be adopted about two weeks before we arrived. She met us on Monday and we left with her that Friday. We were allowed no contact before meeting her (other than sending her a photobook and letter that was given to her when she was told of the adoption). We told her from the beginning of the placement that we were committed to her 100 percent. She had to live with us for 6 months before the adoption could be finalized, but we made it clear that was just paperwork. She was our daughter in our hearts from day one and the judge was just a formality. We talk and read a lot about adoption, foster care and different kinds of families. We also talk about her first (biological) family often. We tell her it's okay to have feelings for them and what she's missed out on and still love us.

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