Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Update & Changes

It has been a long time since we have updated everyone on our adoption journey. The truth is, we have been struggling with the way a few things were panning out with the agencies our consultant had us working with. We decided to take a step back for a few months and re-evaluate what we were doing. The good news is, we have a plan and are back on track and are moving forward. Before I fill you in on our next steps, I will rewind and let you know what’s been going on. 

The Recap:

For those who don’t remember, we have been working with an adoption consultant company on the East Coast. Consultants basically market you out to several different agencies instead of being tied down to one agency. We wish we knew a year ago what we know now and boy were we na├»ve when we started out.  Now that we are 9 months into this process, working with a consultant has had its good points and not so good points. Our consultant has been wonderful at answering millions of questions for us and is so extremely prompt with returning phone calls and emails. She has been a great resource through our mounds and mounds of paperwork and we appreciate her very much. She is also very patient, compassionate, understanding, and lets face it, she has listened to me cry on more than one occasion. What we didn’t anticipate is that the agencies our consultants work with are 95% located on the East Coast and that the new shift for open adoptions requires you to agree to visits with the Birth mom in her home state every year until the child is 18. While we want an open adoption for our little boy or girl and we want them to always know their birth mom, annual visits to the East Coast for a family of 4 for the next 18 years is simply something we cannot accommodate. Secondly, I would say about 90% of the birth moms are on or have taken drugs during their pregnancy. We knew good and well drug exposure would be a factor when we made the decision to adopt domestically, but we never anticipated that almost every situation presented to us would include drug exposure. These 2 factors alone left us in a place of complete frustration and an overwhelming feeling of helplessness.

When we made the decision to adopt, we had prayed for clear signs that this was the path we should take. The signs were not only clear, they were so clear that it freaked us out a little bit. We went from feeling complete confidence in our decision and feeling like this is 100% the journey we are supposed to be on to questioning if this isn’t actually what we are supposed to do after all. I felt hopeless again for the first time since our in-vitro failed. I was starting to absolutely panic. It’s amazing the place your mind can lead you when you lose faith in something. I will not lead you down the rabbit hole of my “what ifs” during that time. Thank goodness I married the most supportive man in the entire world that is constantly my voice of hope and reason during these times. Ryan is truly my pillar of strength and I can’t imagine going through this with anybody else. Ryan suggested we take a step back for awhile, clear our heads, and figure out our next steps. So simple, yet so wise. So, we did…

After a few months, the conversations began. “Do we sign on with an agency in Oregon?”, “How will we fill the void we feel?”, “Do we return the puzzle money to everyone and walk away from adoption…Jacob is totally enough”, “what in the world are we doing?”, “Will I ever have someone call me mom?”…we left no stone unturned and we talked and prayed about everything. I remember laying in bed one night and asking God to reassure us. I prayed that if we are supposed to adopt, to please let us know…give us a sign…sooner rather than later would be great….we are listening…please just give us a sign. The next morning, I woke up and went downstairs to make my coffee before work. I was rummaging through our junk drawer (yes, pick your mouths up off the floor, the Mikesh’s have a junk drawer) and I jammed my finger on something. As I moved the item I jammed my finger on, I realized it was a small flat wooden sign I purchased about 4 years ago and intended to send to someone I wanted to follow their heart and chase their dream. The little wooden sign reads “If You’re Looking For A Sign, This Is It.” Whoa!!!! What???? Okay God, I hear ya.  THEN, not 10 minutes later, I walked back upstairs, I looked at my cell phone and there was a text from my sister. It simply read, “I’ve never known you to be a quitter.” This followed a previous conversation about possibly walking away from adoption. 2 clear signs that I needed to see at that exact moment. I don’t even know that I even shared them with Ryan. It is possible that I’m reading too far into these very simple “signs,” but I’m choosing to believe they are intentional. It was that very day that we started researching adoption agencies in Oregon.

Fast Forward To What’s Going On Now:

We have signed on with an adoption agency in Oregon (Journeys of the Heart, located in Portland). It appears that the new “thing” with open adoptions nation wide is requiring the adoptive family to agree to annual visits with the birth mom until the child is 18. If the birth mom is from Oregon or Washington, this is totally doable and very much welcomed. The drug exposure rate with the birth moms this agency works with is 26%. That leaves 74% of the babies free of drug exposure and we can work with this number. We are probably a good month out from becoming a “waiting family” with their agency. We are currently signing multiple legal documents, getting home study items in line from our social worker to link to our new agency, gathering lots of random things like birth certificates and marriage license, and asking our amazing references to write yet ANOTHER letter on our behalf. We also have some profile items to update, so that birth moms can look at our family online. Since we never know what we are getting ourselves into because every single step of this is new to us, we are hoping for better luck with this agency. Time will tell, but until then we feel good about our decision and are ready to move forward. We will give this adventure in our lives one more year. If we don't have a baby in our arms, we will re-evaluate yet again. One thing is for sure though, we will wait as long as we need to for a healthy baby and great match for our family. 

We are looking forward to the day we become a family of 4. Until then, I promise to do a better job of updating our support system (all of you).