Friday, January 11, 2008

Our Chosen Road

As many of you know Karsten and I were High School sweethearts. After dating for 18 months, and Karsten serving on his mission we were married almost 10 years ago.

10 years isn't that crazy!! We have perfected the art of keeping score, and I think I am ahead. Really it's been good, we have helped each other grow, (even when it hurt). We have had the fortune of achieving many goals and accomplishments.
However, over the last few years the goal of expanding our family has not been as easy to achieve as we had planned. This last year we went through the process of learning that we have less than a 3% chance of having biological children. This was hard to hear and brought about a lot of new feelings. Although this has not been easy, together we were able to deal with this. When you learn something like this, there is a grieving and realization processes. It was grieving the dreams of what will never be, and the realization of new dreams for our family, it just isn't going to be the way we thought.

After much fasting and prayer, we both knew that adoption was the road we would take to find our family. What a wonderful and amazing road this has been. I wish I had the time to share with you everything that I have learned. We have received the witness that adoption is an important part of our Heavenly Father's plan
and we are so grateful to be a part of it. It has been an amazing spiritual journey.

We contacted an agency and went through the home study processes. We attended classes, met many other families involved in adoption.  We had friends that had recently been through adoption and some that were in the middle, so we thought we knew a lot. But like most things in life, you can look at a path and see what it is, but not until you walk through it do you really know what it's about. 

 One surprising thing is how much adoption has changed even in just the last five years. Now the majority of adoptions are open, meaning you have the identification of the birth parents and they have your identification. The birth parents select the adoptive parents and generally there is exchange of letters, pictures, throughout the child's life. (Can you just imagine all the pictures I will get to share!!) However, the openness and communication between adoptive and birthparents is established by both parties and it often changes after time.

This is really exciting to us, because it takes the mystery and question out of the adoption process. The birthparents know how the child is growing and how the family is, no wondering or worrying. The adoptive parents are able to express their love and appreciation to the birth parents, they are able to share the milestones and joys as the child grows. The child doesn't create a fantasy about their family of origin. They know who their birth parents are and as questions come up, because the communication is established the child is given correct information. Another great benefit to open adoption is, as the child grows you have an accurate and up to date health history.

Open adoption doesn't not change the legality of adoption. The child will be ours, our responsibility, all the good and the bad is ours to deal with. There is risk of a failed adoption, and if that were to happen it would happen before the adoption became legal. That is were the agency plays a big part, their job is to minimize a failed adoption. Our agency offers counseling for the birth parent with support groups and classes. There are several birthmother panels, so we have had the opportunity to meet and talk to different birthparents.

We learned a little about who birth parents are and the processes they go through when placing their child with a family. Because they are picking the home for the child, they are not giving up, or giving away; they are placing the baby. They do not make this decision lightly, there is a lot of work and hard choices to make. Birthparents have to decide what is best for the child, it isn't a lack of love or because they don't want to be bothered. I mean can you imagine dealing with all the "blessings" of pregnancy such as morning sickness, hormones swollen feet and at the same time trying to find a family for the child. Plus try and live a somewhat normal life.  
When I think about birthparents and what they are able to do I am in awe. My hope is to one day have the unconditional love and willingness to sacrifice what I want most for what is best for someone else.

We plan on being very open with our children about how they joined our family. From the beginning they are going to grow up knowing they have parents and birth parents, that they have extra family that is there to love and support them. A genetic link doesn't give you that emotional attachment to a child or the child to the parent; it is the work and sacrifice, the late nights with earaches, teaching them how to write their name, all the things parents do for their children. Our children will know that even though they might not have come to our family like their friends or cousins, the only difference is the road we took to find them. In every way they will be a part of our lives and our family.

This is a great road that we have chosen and I know we could not be more excited to welcome a child to our home. We are so excited to have the opportunity to be a mommy and a daddy. I can't wait to walk in on Karsten sleeping on the couch with the baby sleeping on his chest. I can't wait to watch him dance with our little girl, or teaching our son how to tie knots and shoot a basket. I can't wait to read to them every night, to share some of my favorite stories and to help them discover their own desires and talents.
I can't wait to cut my little girls hair, (and no there will not be any perms in their hair.) How much fun it is going to be to do sugar cookies for all the holidays?

We don't have a preference of race or sex. Now with this crazy Internet thing, anyone living in the US can pick us from our profile that is on (check out our profile) There is not time frame given, some people wait 3 months and some wait 3 years to be picked. We have had a lot of practice with waiting. So we'll just keep waiting, and in the mean time we are trying to get the money together to pay for the adoption, and we'll gather the baby necessity's so when it happens we are as ready as we can be. Maybe that means we should sleep now.

So there you have it, now you know the road we are on. So if this didn't answer all your questions just let us know, we are more than happy to share what we have learned.

Sorry I have not quite figured out the picture thing on the blogger, so I couldn't get all my captions to work.
1:  Us going to my Prom
2:  Our Wedding Day
3: Me winning and Karsten trying to keep up
4: Karsten at New Fork
5: Me at the Bountiful Temple
6: Us and our friend Naomi at the adoption conference this summer
7: Karsten on his 50 mile backpack trip with the varsity scouts
8: Aleena who was adopted by Nate and Naomi this last year
9:  Me and my new nephew Luke
10: Nate, Naomi and Aleena, after the adoption was final and they were sealed
11: Ryan, Tonya, Jessica, Tyler and Cooper after their adoption was final and they were sealed.

1 comment:

Vanessa Shannon said...

Wow..Kim! Looks like I have been under a rock lately! Im sad and excited for you all at the same time. I wish you guys the best of luck expanding your family. I know everything will work out for you soon. I LOVE BLOGGING! Here is my blog too to you soon. Are you still doing hair? I need a color.....