Adopting

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by JustMe, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 21, 2007

    My husband and I will not be having biological children; this is a choice actually, and not because of our inability. However, for several years we have said that after we are settled for a couple of years (as in our careers, house, etc.) then we would love to consider adoption. Our house is still being built, I just finished my first year of teaching, and I'm still in school pursuing my master's degree...so we're not quite settled yet. However, I know it is a long process and so I don't imagine you can start too early. I will be finished with school when I am 26, and I see the ideal age for me to have a child as being 29 or 30 years old.

    My question, then, is does anyone have experience adopting? I really, really would like to hear about experiences from people I "know" - and I feel like I know many of you. I want to know how unrealistic I am if I say I'd like a Caucasian child without special needs. I don't have to have a newborn, but I would like have a child within the 0-2.5 years category. That sounds horrible to come right out and say, as though I'm shopping for the ideal child, but it is how I feel.

    Any advice is much appreciated. We have not made the decision to adopt at this point, but we are exploring.
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We adopted Brian from Korea at age 7 months. He arrived in January 1999.

    The process, though long, was incredibly easy for 2 teachers. It was lots of "homework"-- get a stack of paperwork, send it in, and get another stack a few weeks later. But there was nothing difficult there.

    The timeline was just about a year. We started the process in February 1998. He was born the following June. We received the placement (with his picture and bio) in August... we could have turned him down had there been something there that concerned us and we would have remained at the top of the list. Actually, he was ready to travel in November, but by that time the immigration quotas had filled up for the year, as we were warned they might. Hence the delay until January.

    To the best of my knowledge, Korea is just about the only country where the kids are delivered to your door; an escort brings them to the US and you meet them at the airport. Also, the kids there are well socialized. They live with foster families, not in institutions. So there isn't a high incidence of the developmental problems you sometimes hear of.

    If you are considering international adoption, I suggest you take a look at www.new-beginnings.org . Even if they're not licensed in your state, they can probably point you towards an international agency that is. There are some nations that can give you a Caucasian child; they'll have that info. They also publish the prices on their website... that's important. We had no surprises. The fees were due on a schedule- we get to point A, we owe $X, point B and we owe $Y. The bulk of the money was due around the time of Brian's arrival.

    Good luck. Please let me know if I can be of any further help.

    edited to add: I forgot all about the adoption annex (http://www.adoptionannex.org/) It opened up near here a few years ago. I never really checked into it, since we already had Brian, and I think Julia was here or on the way by that time. But it's supposed to be a clearinghouse for all things adoption-- the local paper had wonderful things to say about it at the time.


    Aside from deciding to marry, adopting Brian was the single best decision that Peter and I have ever made. I very firmly believe that the reason we spent 9 years married without kids is because HE hadn't been born yet, and that we were destined to be HIS parents. Not just the parents of some child, but HIS. Six months after he arrived, I was pregnant with Julia; three years later (at the age of 45!!) with Kira.

    Adopting Brian has enriched our lives in a billion ways too small to name. Please let me know if I can help add this joy to your life.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Oh, thank you so much for taking the time to share this information. I spent a few hours last night searching adoption websites, and now I will be sure check these you mentioned. I found Lifetime Adoption, which connects you with birth mothers here in the US who wish to give their child up for adoption, and that seems interesting.

    Well, again, I will certainly keep what you said in mind as my husband and I explore the possibilities. I sincerely thank you!
     
  5. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    I think you can get a white child from Russian or other parts of Eastern Europe. If you want a white child, I don't understand not having your own. You do take a risk with adoption as far as the prenatal environment the baby was exposed to. Many of the Eastern European moms drink too much alcohol.

    I was adopted back in 1957 before abortion was legal. I probably would not be here today if abortion had been legal at the time. My mother could not get pregnant. Truthfully, my mother regretted adopting my brother and me, we didn't turn out the way she had dreamed. Mine was also a cross-cultural adoption, which I do believe muddies the waters. That was my experience.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    With some of the former Soviet republics, you need to be aware: the old Russia was huge, with boarders in Asia and Europe. A number of people adopt from the Soviet republics and end up with a child who looks a lot like my Brian.

    And, Dove, there are parents all over the planet who are disappointed with the choices their kids have made, biological or adopted. For what it's worth, I'm pretty happy with how you turned out: you're caring, well educated, willing to help a friend and a million other things I could ennumerate if housework wasn't calling my name. I think your mom has it all wrong.
     
  7. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Gee, thanks Alice :eek:
     
  8. Edelweiss

    Edelweiss Rookie

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    I was adopted at 8 months, through a private adoption. I'm sorry I can't offer you any advice, but I'm thankful there are people like you and my parents who want to do for children what their biological parents are unable or unwilling to do.

    Personally, I would sooner adopt rather than have my own children, but my husband is the last of his bloodline, which means he's adamant about wanting his "own" children. (Which is a bit of a contention point in our house because I'm no less my mom's child than one she would have given birth to.) I completely understand the choice to adopt rather than procreate. It makes perfect sense to me to adopt a child who already needs a family rather than make a new child.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Another thing you want to think about is the type of adoption: open or closed.

    Open means the birth mom (and sometimes birth dad) stays in the child's life in some manner; that manner is decided upon by both families. Closed is where the child doesn't know the birth parents. Neither is right for everyone, but it's something you and your husband will want to discuss.
     
  10. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    QUOTE: "If you want a white child, I don't understand not having your own. "

    There are numerous reasons why one would choose adoption over creating their own. It is quite surprising that one would not realize that. Edelweiss, thank you for understanding. That is a major reason why we would prefer to adopt - though not the only one.

    For the record, I would actually prefer to adopt a child from within the United States. As far as pre-natal care, I suppose that is one reason being connected to the birthmother is appealing. It has is drawbacks though, including the risk of the mother changing her mind, and my emotional issues of knowing the mother personally, which could potentially make me feel "inferior".

    Thanks, everyone, for your input so far. Know that we would never "jump in" to adoption without seriously considering all aspects of the decision to insure we are more than confident it is the best choice for us. That is why I am starting my "research" now (altough I have "looked into" adoption for some time), when we don't expect to actually "enroll" in any program for two years or so.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Yes, Alice, that is an important question. "Selfishly" I would prefer a closed adoption. I noticed on some of the sites a couple options were "letters and pictures once a year", "annual visits", and "no contact". So much to consider.
     
  12. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    JustMe. I adopted my son David as an infant from here in the states. We had originally applied through the Children's Home Society here in Florida, but the wait was said to be several years. By chance, we found out that local attorneys did private adoptions and accepted applications. Our case is in no way typical, but we submitted an application to an attorney and heard from her within a WEEK! Our birthmom was only 5 months pregnant at the time we signed the adoption agreement. The waiting was unbeliveably hard. She could have changed her mind at any time (which is only right).

    David was born early by C-section. When our birthmom got out of the hospital after five days, she and her sister met us at the attorney's office...she insisted on meeting us and that was okay with us. She signed the adoption papers and we took our five-day-old son home. She did regret giving him up and within a few months hired an attorney because she wanted him back. There was nothing legally she could do, but my heart ached for her and I felt guilty for years (sometimes still do) for "taking" her baby away. She now is married and has four girls.

    BTW, I found out I was pregnant about the time we signed the adoption agreement...my sons are 6 months apart :) Unfortunately, my husband died before the adoption was finalized (and our birth son was born). I was 29 with two infants to raise alone. It was tough, let me tell you.

    Since our adoption was "open," we did have some contact with the birthmom over the years. My son is now a teenager and has visited his birthmom and his birth sisters in their home. David and his birthmom are not getting along right now and I feel bad for both of them. Adoption can be very difficult for everyone involved, but can be a positive experience in the long run. Just realize that many adopted kids will have to find a way to work through the issues of abandonment and trust.

    I am very glad I adopted my son, even though the road is difficult. Because of the pain of being placed for adoption (and probably some teenaged angst thrown in), my son says that adoption should not be legal. Some people believe that adoption causes a wound that never heals. We recently read "The Primal Wound" by Nancy Verrier...a controversial book, but informative...and better understand some of David's feelings. Perhaps it would have been easier for him if the adoption had been closed. Overall, I am happy we adopted. My son has had therapy to deal with his feelings of being abandoned and feeling like he wasn't "good enough" for his birth mom to keep him.

    Sometimes people ask me, "which one is yours." My answer, "They both are!"
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Yeah, it can be a bit overwhelming.

    The issues you bring up are some of the reasons we chose international. (There are others, if you care to PM me. I would hate for it to read as though my way were the "right way"-- it was, but just for us.)

    We celebrate Brian's "Gotcha Day" each January 12-- the day we got him and he joined our family.

    I send pictures and a letter to his foster mom in Korea once in a while (I used to aim for Mother's Day each year, but with 3 kids, I'm lucky to get around to my own mom on time.) I send it to our agency and ask them to pass it on. If Brian's birthmother has access to it, at least she'll know he's happy and healthy.
     
  14. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Brian had quite a reaction to his MMR vaccine; high fever for a few nights. When his sister Julia (who is NOT adopted) was due for hers, I asked the pediatrician to time it around February break; I reasoned that, as siblings, both would probably react the same way to the vaccine.

    The doctor just waited with a smile for me to remember that they share no blood; Brian is adopted.:rolleyes:
     
  15. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    Aliceacc. LOL! I do the same thing all the time. I just don't think of my adopted son as anything but my child.
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Cute story Alice! :)

    Frodolass, thank you for sharing your story. It was heartbreaking to read that your husband passed away just before you had your children. Some things you mentioned is what I would fear: a change of heart on the mother's part, and the child dealing with issues because of it. I suppose we all have issues to overcome.

    THANKS!
     
  17. Irish Pride

    Irish Pride Guest

    Jun 21, 2007

    :love:
    Welcome to the joy ride. I have adopted two children. My husband and I decide to adopt after fertility issues. We joined an adopting service. They said it would most likely be 1 1/2 years because we wanted an infant. However, we were called 4 days later. The woman said, " I have a healthy baby boy in California who was born today. Do you what him?" We had him in our arms in 36 hours. We had to stay in California for 3 weeks in a hotel until we had prmission to leave the state and custody was transferred to us. IT WAS CRAZY. While we were in CA, our friends registered for us and collected items we would need immediately. We came home to a series of showers and celebrations. Our little boy is now 4. When he was two, we decided to adopt again. We didn't join the same service because we didn't feel we could just fly off again for an unspecified time. We went through our lawyer and social worker. About three weeks later we were contacted by our lawyer telling us a birthmother had looked at our "lifebook" (profile). The little girl was 2 years old. Our lawyer emailed us her picture. We had orginally thought that we would only consider an infant but... One look at her and we fell in love. This little girl had loved and nutured but birthmom was very young and just couldn't do it handle it anymore. It was a heart wretching thing for her. Our boy and girl look like they are biological siblings. They are 6 months apart and a match made in heaven.

    Now with all that said...adoption is not for the weak. There is alot of stress hoping that no one changes their mind, getting to the adoption day and working with lawyers and social workers. Make sure you surround yourself with qualitiy, exceptional professional. We did have a problem with our second adoption because of a crazy distant relative was trying to interfer with the adopting. Our lawyer and others worked hard (and not too cheap) to keep our new family together. My husband and I supported each other all the way.
    We thank God that our bodies "failed" and our very special family was created. All babies find their forever families.
    Good Luck.
     
  18. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Oh, Frodolass, what a difficult loss you have lived through.

    My husband and I adopted both of our children. Both are Caucasian (one is part Japanese), born and adopted locally. One was a private adoption, one was an agency (Children's Home Society) adoption.

    The agency adoption was a longer wait, but a much easier process as I felt we had someone on our side. We agreed to a semi-open adoption, at the birth mother's request (letters and/or pictures in the future). There was never any contact asked for, however, so the 'open' part was not an issue. The agreement to even consider it sped up our wait by a year. As it was, it took several years from initial contact with the agency. The baby was 10 weeks when we got her.

    The private adoption brought us a newborn (5 days) baby boy.

    Adoption is an issue that never resolves and certainly affects the children and whole family. It becomes most apparent in teenage years. One of my children is interested in, but conflicted about, contact. The other doesn't seem to be.

    Death in a family brings up abandonment issues for adoptive children. The incidence of ADHD is also higher among adopted children, though no one can explain why.

    Feel free to PM me with any questions. Good luck.
     
  19. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Thanks for your heart touching and informative, insightful post. I'll have to read that book, I've always felt a sense of abandonment and disconnectedness my whole life. I did find my birthmom's family about 10 years ago, my birthmom had died at age 60 from cervical cancer, ironically 2 months after my Mom died from a brain aneurysm at age 62. I had a lot more in common with my birth family, but I don't feel a sense of belonging in either family
     
  20. mincc

    mincc Companion

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    Alice, that was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.

    Asl always, this forum has some of the biggest hearts I have ever seen....gives me faith in this crazy world.

    My neighbor adopted her son about 22 years ago. She only recently told me that. He is her and her husband's world and now he is leaving to attend school in another state. He does not want to meet his birth mother; she was very very young when she had him and made the process very hard for my neighbors (kept asking for more and more money), but they said they would do it over again in an instant. I told her when he leaves that I am here with tissues and chocolate. :love:

    As for me, I am not having children, which is a whole other thread, but I would absolutely adopt if I had made the other choice.
     
  21. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    It's not the right choice for everyone, and I can certainly respect that.

    And we didn't do it out of altruism; we weren't out to save the world. We wanted a child, the traditional method wasn't working, so we looked at alternatives. This is the one that made the most sense for us.
     
  22. DizneeTeachR

    DizneeTeachR Virtuoso

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    You have all wrote wonderful things. Frodolass as the others...you're story is so heartbreaking!!! I have family who have been adopted...one has met and stayed in touch with birthmom & the other no interest in it. It all depends on the person!!!


    From reading some of the replies it sounds like this is happening a lot!!! I've heard that a lot of people have/in process of adopting & found out they are pg...Do you think because the "stress" is off a little bit??
     
  23. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Honestly, I think that God (you can subsititute "the Cosmos" or "Destiny" if you prefer) wanted us to be the parents of THIS little boy. (OK, not so little anymore; he turned 9 on Monday.)

    Had we had biological kids before Brian, we probably wouldn't have looked into adoption. So we didn't.
     
  24. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I will worry about how I will deal with my child having another mother - I want to make sure I am confident I can handle those emotions. My mom was sometimes jealous of my stepmother, so I really can't imagine what feelings I would experience with adopting (besides joy, of course!). Have any of you all ever felt "jealous" of the birthmother? That may seem like a weird feeling, but it seems legitimate enough.

    I would be most concerned, however, about how my child would deal with the abandonment issues and the questions of wanting to connect with his/her birthmother or not. I guess I would have to look at it this way: The child is going to be adopted by some family, and s/he will experience those emotions no matter what, so what better parents to help with that than us!
     
  25. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For what it's worth, our agency required that we take a 2 day seminar that touched on some of these issues. It also covered the whole inter-racial family thing and a few others.
     
  26. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I imagine I would attend my share of seminars and workshops! It is probably a great idea to require them.

    Thanks!
     
  27. Edelweiss

    Edelweiss Rookie

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    I have to ring in once more. Regarding abandonment issues, I never had any. I believe that was, in large part if not completely, because my parents always made the fact of my adoption seem so beautiful. I was told from the time that I was very young that my biological mother simply couldn't care for me and that my parents wanted very much to provide that care for me.

    In kindergarten or first grade, my parents got a call from the school. We'd had "counseling" (a specials class, I don't know if they still do it in elementary schools - it was basically a tolerance, dispute resolution and coping skills class) that day and the counselor had posed the question, "What makes you special?" to the class. I raised my hand and answered that I was special because I was adopted and because two families wanted me rather than just one. Apparently, some of the other kids were very upset because they only had one family!
     
  28. frodolass

    frodolass Comrade

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    I'm so glad your family did such a great job! My son is dealing with issues of abandonment, unfortunately. We did all the "right" things to make him feel wanted. I think the fact that his birthmom came back into his life at a very difficult age (13) and the fact that she had 4 other children that she "wanted" and kept is what has sparked a lot these problems for my son. Sometimes I think it would have been better for him if he had never met her. It's so hard to know what the best thing for your child is. My advice to adopting parents is to think long and hard before allowing you child's birthparent back into the picture. In retrospect, it would have been better for David if he had been an adult and better able to deal with the stress of the reunion.
     
  29. GardenDove

    GardenDove Habitué

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    Good points. They don't need that in the teen years.
     
  30. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    There are just so many situations in life which can cause abandonment issues to surface - whenever a child feels like he is failing at something it can arise.
     
  31. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    I don't know a thing about adoption, but this thread had me curious. I admire your decision to adopt ! I hope to have 2 children ( ideally) of my own, but I've always really wanted to open my heart and home to a child that's already been born. There are soooo many wonderful children in the world already:love:
    Good luck in your journey!
     
  32. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    My mother was adopted by her father's sister and her husband (my Mamaw and Papaw) when she was 3 years old. She was brought to my Mamaw's door dirty and with a high fever. Mama always knew she was adopted (my Mamaw couldn't have natural children, so she was an only). Unfortunately, because it was an intrafamily adoption, she also knew who had given her up. My biological grandmother gave up 2 children (my mom and a younger brother), then kept the 3rd, a girl that she spoiled (literally) rotten. My mother has always had pretty severe abandonment issues because of the way she was adopted, and that her "mother" didn't want her but did want her sister. In addition, we always knew "mother" as we call her, but felt guilty knowing her because we loved Mamaw and Papaw so much! The people I consider my real grandparents are gone now, and Mama has a much better relationship with her mother. The abandonment issues have lessened. That's story #1.

    My husband adopted my daughter when she was 5 (she was 4 when we were married). The sperm donor, who had contributed only $32 and 1 bag of diapers up to that point gladly waived his parental rights. Every year while she was growing up, we celebrated Kati's adoption date a month after her birthday. She doesn't remember a time before her Daddy, but she knows there was one. She told a class (during show and tell) that she was special because her Daddy had specially chosen her, and that parents who didn't adopt their kids had to take what they got! According to my mother in law, Kati acted just like my husband when he was little! She looks a lot like me (only skinnier), and my husband has similar coloring, so there was never the issue of not fitting in. After surviving 5 miscarriages, we decided that Kati was the only child we were meant to have.

    One thing I did learn during the adoption process. In Louisiana, there is a list that you can sign your child up on so that their birth parents can contact them upon adulthood. The birthparents can also sign up so that the child can contact them.
     
  33. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    There is a TV show called Adoption Stories. I think it is on TLC or Discovery Health in the early morning (around 6 or 7). It is an interesting show.

    What I hope to do is have two biological children and also adopt at least one child. I am very open to adopting an older child, say 6-10 years old. Does anyone have any experience with that?

    I've found this thread to be very insightful and interesting.
     
  34. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    I was adopted (a "closed" adoption - they really didn't have anything else back then) when I was an infant. My parents were in their late 30's, and had been unable to conceive.

    When I was almost 4, Mom became pregnant - it was a HUGE surprise. They had already told me the story about when they went to get me and bring me home. I guess I thought that having a baby was sort of like going to the grocery store and picking out produce: "We'll take the third one in the second row, the one with blue eyes."

    Therefore, I couldn't understand why they had to wake me up in the middle of the night and get Uncle Bud to come stay with me while they went to get my little brother or sister: "Hey, what's the rush? There'll be plenty of babies there tomorrow!"

    THEN, Dad smuggled me up to the maternity floor to see my brother (it was a big no-no to have little kids up there back then). I took one look at his little red newborn face and said, "Hey! Why didn't you pick out a prettier one?"

    Seriously, after I finally found out what adoption was all about, I didn't feel any "different" from my brother. I actually became pretty upset when other kids would ask me "Do you know who your REAL parents are?" "Yeah, I LIVE with my real parents!" And to the people who got obnoxious in thinking that adoption was a stigma: "At least I know I was a wanted child. Do you?"

    I never felt any motivation to trace my birth mother, and the only regrets I have about not doing so is that I don't have a health profile for me or to pass on to my own kids.

    As far as adoption goes, I am wholeheartedly in favor of it. I know others have had problems, and I'm sorry that they have, but I feel incredibly blessed to have been adopted by my parents. There's a poem my Mom found, that says it all:


    The Adoption Creed
    Author: Fleur Conkling Heyliger


    Not flesh of my flesh,
    not bone of my bone,
    yet still very much
    my own.
    Never forget
    for one single minute
    that you grew not under my heart,
    but in it.​
     
  35. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Thank you for your story! :)
     
  36. AuburnTeach

    AuburnTeach Companion

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    Jun 22, 2007

    Close friends of mine adopted a little girl from Guatemala. One reason they chose Guatemala is that babies are put into foster homes rather than orphanages.

    I made adoption announcements for my friends to send when Zoe joined them in her forever home. I found the following quote to include in the announcement. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it.

    We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
    But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
    growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
    are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
    by God's very own hands.
    --- Kristi Larson
     
  37. OtterMom

    OtterMom Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2007

    A teacher friend of mine and her husband have adopted two adorable girls from India. I'm going to share that poem with her. It made me cry, too. :love:
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 22, 2007

    One of the guys I work with adopted his son from Guatemala as well (through New Beginnings-- he's the one who gave us the initial referral.)

    Tommy is now a sophomore in our school... to the best of my knowledge doing great.
     

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