A network of adoptive families, birth families, and adoption professionals which exists to improve the lives of children and others touched by adoption through support and education. UFA is actively engaged in community outreach and advocacy to raise awareness of adoption as a loving option.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Why Adoption?: "My Saddest Happiness"

Baby feet close up!
This was published on KSL.com and is written by Leanne Olsen.
It is shared with permission.

It was an ordinary day in August when my life changed forever. I found out I was pregnant.
It has been a long road from that day to where I am now, with lots of ups and downs in making my decision to give my daughter up for adoption.
At first, I was not connected to her at all. I thought I didn't care about her; I just wanted to get through this pregnancy and be done. I lost a lot of family connections as well as friends at that moment in my life.
I felt I had made the worst mistake ever and was now responsible for the life of someone else — well not just anyone else; this was my child, and her initial outcome in life now rested on my shoulders. I did not know what I was going to do or even where to start. I was lost.
But as things continued, my life changed. I moved to Utah and met amazing people and a bishop who changed my life forever. They showed me that even though I had messed up I still had a chance, and I could make it back to where I needed to be.
Even though I had great friends I still spent a lot of time alone. I had a lot of time to think about whether I wanted to keep this baby or think of a different option.

I am not happy to admit I did think about having an abortion, but I couldn't bring myself to do it and threw that option out the window. I had brought this on myself and was going to do the best thing for my daughter.
I knew I had to make this decision on my own since my daughter's father was never there and always seemed to make things complicated.
For most of my pregnancy I knew she was mine and I was going to keep her. I believed I could be the best thing for my daughter even if it meant doing it on my own.
Then, about six months in, I started thinking for my daughter instead of myself. I had to put myself completely out of the picture and began to think about her and what the best thing was for her.
This was the hardest decision I have ever had to make — to let complete strangers raise my daughter. I decided to give up being her mother and raising her so that she could have a better life with a better family structure. I knew I couldn't give her what every child should have.
I believe, with God's help, my daughter's family found me. I knew they were the ones before I had ever met them. I felt as though I had known them. To me, they were not complete strangers.
The night of the first day I had met them, I gave them the news that they had a baby girl on the way. They needed to get ready. If she is anything like me, they were going to have their hands full.

That night when I went home I felt a very calming peace come over me and had the best sleep I had gotten the entire eight months I was pregnant.
A month later I ended up in the hospital. A baby girl was on the way and there was nothing I could do. At this point, it all became real. She was coming whether I was ready or not.
I can't even begin to explain the connection that was made the first time I saw her. At that moment, my heart was broken. I knew I wanted her, but plans were already in motion.
When I saw the way her adoptive father looked at her I knew that was where she belonged, and no selfishness from me was going to keep them apart.
The adoption was finalized four days later. It has been the hardest eight months of my life. There has been a lot of heartache, insecurity and drama. But even through all of the heartache and hurt I have felt, I have always known she is special and has great potential. If I hadn't made that hard decision, she would not have all those opportunities to become great.
This is the saddest yet happiest experience I have had, and it has changed my life for the better. I have since graduated college and established new and lasting relationships. I know my daughter has been able to establish her own relationships that will also last forever.
Because of the decision I made, both my daughter and I have grown in ways I cannot even begin to describe. My daughter has made me a better person in so many ways. I now attend church regularly, my hate and anger that I used to once carry with me is gone, and now I feel love and compassion for those around me.
In the end, I know we will always have our connection that was made that day in the hospital.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Adoption Shop Talk: Dollface Photo




Each month we feature a business that creates and/or sells adoption merchandise.
Today we are talking

DollFace Photo
Brandy Dial shares a little bit about her family and how she decided photography was her passion.
~

That's me with the giant family. As the mother of 5 adopted children, I've got a soft spot for adoption. I've tried for years to promote the cause, so I present at high schools and junior high schools with birth parents to dispel adoption myths and get folks thinking about it. But I always felt like there was very little support for adoptive couples through the process.

In 2001, when our adoption journey began, we needed to submit a family photo with our profile to send to multiple agencies. I was always unhappy with the first set, proclaiming, "Who would want an ugly couple to adopt their baby?" Silly, right? And yet so profoundly important when you're immersed in the process. So we paid for multiple sessions every time we submitted adoption papers. On top of intense and mountainous paperwork and personal stress, we couldn't get an adoption-worthy picture taken! So by 2008, when we were submitting our paperwork for a fourth time, my husband bought me my first professional-grade camera. He submitted that if I thought I could do better, I should.

I educated myself and practiced for a couple of years. I started my company and continued my efforts in the schools. After being asked by an adoption agency to do a presentation on how to make profiles, blogs, personal photos, and pass-along cards more beautiful and effective, I thought, "Why don't I offer profile, placement, or birth photos to ease the stress on adoptive couples?" And so it began! I've done numerous profile pictures for incredible couples hoping to start a family through adoption and have had the pleasure of taking newborn, family, and finalization photos when their dreams came true!

It's not any sort of experience you can truly understand unless you've gone through it. I hope that the couples who are willing to adopt can have their loads lightened, even a little, by having photos they are confident to share. 

I can be contacted via facebook DollFace Photo, or http://dollfacephoto.com/
Here are a couple of examples of her work.  You can view more on her website.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"I Love You More Than Tongues Can Tell"

As we were getting ready for our UFA Conference I had an author contact me.  Her name is Anne T. Zwicker. She goes by Terry.  She loves adoption and was excited to learn about our conference.   She sent my family a copy of her book titled
"I Love You More
Than Tongues Can Tell".  
We love this book!!!   I had no idea upon reading the book that the story was the authors story of her adoption and how her family was built.   I love this story because it is different than most children's adoption books...this book takes you full circle!   The illustrations in this book are very special.  They are created by Terry's son Forrest S. Ashby. 

If you haven't had a chance to read this book or add it to your home library now is your chance to get one.   Terry has graciously donated 3 copies for us to give away to our United For Adoption readers and Facebook friends.   Please go to our Facebook page and look for the related post to enter to win.
You can purchase Terry's book by going here.
Terry has another book titled "Lettuce Left Root Beer Right".  It is a great story that helps children learn how to properly set a table.   It has been helping my kiddos ever since we read it!  While not adoption related it is alot of fun!   You can learn more about it here.
Both books are also available in E-Book format.
Thank you Terry for sharing your book with all of us!!!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Matching Mondays~ Utah's Heart Gallery

This week is filled with sweet and savory smells from the kitchen, families gathering and lots of memory making!   Please take a moment and look through Utah's Heart Gallery and see if one of the waiting children might find a place at your table, in your family and in your heart!
Thank you for taking time to come here
(or to The R House blog)
each Monday to view these beautiful and special children.   They have touched my heart over and over again and have changed the way I think about waiting children.  I hope it has touched you too!

Happy Thanksgiving! 
:) Brenda Horrocks
UFA Co-Chair and Founder of Matching Mondays.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Embracing Adoption and Openness ~ Britta's Story

Britta with Dawson at the hospital.
Today we have the privileged of hearing from Britta Nelson.   Her story is very touching and very unique.   We appreciate her sharing it with us!
It was eight years ago this October that I stood in my bathroom staring at a little plastic divining rod, which read “pregnant”.  I was shocked.  This was not the plan.  My boyfriend and I had just broken up, and I was plotting my escape from a small party resort town I’d gotten too caught up in.  Instinctively I dropped to my knees to plead to whatever God that would hear me. I remember what I said as if it were yesterday: “I will do whatever it takes to provide the most loving, stable and consistent circumstances for this baby”.   

I couldn’t have known then what a unique path “whatever it takes” would eventually take me down.  

I began to consider my options, consulting with pregnancy support groups, friends, family.  Abortion never crossed my mind; along with tenants from my religious background, I was 32 and healthy, had a job with health benefits, and figured I could at least get through 9 months of pregnancy. I quickly crossed off the idea of raising my son with his father.  He was 10 years older than me, and a solid, kind guy.  But after our break up our lives were going in different directions.  I considered the various aspects of being a single mom, but it just didn’t match my ambitions for my baby’s life. I wanted him to have a family, with a mom and a dad.

From the beginning, I felt reserved in my joy and excitement about having a baby. For some reason, I never could picture him with me. In fact, I had dreams that I would go to find him in the house and he would be gone. From my dreams to my intuition and finally to my heart, I knew – I would not be raising this boy. This broke my heart. While I loved being pregnant physically, this intuition made my pregnancy emotionally tumultuous.

By month three, I felt strongly that adoption was the best option for my son, but not everyone agreed. My parents felt that raising a baby would be good to ground me, to get my life on track, but I felt uncomfortable with that being a reason to have a baby. And then I ran into the unexpected – my son’s dad was absolutely opposed to the idea, and informed me he would single parent our son. I learned that he could indeed exercise his parental rights this way, and I was devastated; it felt like what I wanted for my baby was being disregarded. So I began to reconsider, to explore a 50-50 custody split with his father.  But this plan didn’t feel right either. From my perspective, raising a baby well requires a couple to be very hands-on, engaged and committed. It seems like work that involves trust, love and vulnerability…the stuff good marriages are made of. Without such a foundation and goal, the plans we were making felt fake, like we were not looking at the reality of our relationship and circumstances. They also would be logistically disruptive – definitely not the consistent, stable life I’d hoped for my son.

In the midst of this, my intuition began to speak again, telling me that a family would present itself – but in a unique way, and not on my timetable. I trusted this, and by eight months into the pregnancy, I reached a deep, serene peace about allowing his dad to take him. I didn’t know why, but after months of exploring ideas that never felt right, surprisingly, this one actually did.

One month later, Dawson Lars was born.  I loved childbirth.  It was the most powerful, womanly thing I’ve ever done to bring this beautiful little boy into the world. And in sharp contrast, the hardest thing I’ve ever done is walk away from him, trusting my heartfelt intuition by leaving Dawson with his father.

During Dawson’s first months, I saw him only a few times; I had moved to Utah to build a new life. I would ask mutual friends how his dad was doing in his new role. Unanimously, they said he was doing amazing, and that his family and the community were being totally supportive. This gave me some peace. When I did have visits, there was still a sense a family was coming and a nagging nudge that I shouldn’t get too connected, because it would thwart things.

At first I thought my intuition meant that his dad would meet and marry someone. What did happen none of us could have predicted.  9 months after Dawson was born, his father was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  We knew we had only a brief time to make important decisions about how to provide our son the best life possible. I asked his dad if his experiences single parenting had assured him this was still the best option for our boy; he admitted no, that he wanted a family for him. It was at this point that our hearts mutually opened to a new solution – we would ask his sister and her husband if they would adopt our son into their family. Dawson was  already in their home because his dad’s health was too compromised by cancer and radiation treatments to care for him, so when we asked, they didn’t even think twice.

It was 7 months later, when Dawson’s father died, that his sister’s family adopted Dawson permanently into their amazing family – one that is loving, stable and consistent, as well as full of relatives and friends, adventure and exploration. Dawson now has the mom and dad – and even sister – I had felt would come.

One of Dawson’s father’s last wishes was that we foster our relationships between his sister’s family – which now included Dawson – and me.  Although Dawson’s dad and I had our challenges, we respected and enjoyed one another. He liked who I was – my values and interests – and was clear about wanting me to be a part of our son’s life.

Dawson lives in California, far enough for me to heal and move forward, but close enough to allow me to be more connected than I ever anticipated I would be. I make annual visits to their home, where I tuck him in, tell him stories, dance and build train sets with him. Between visits we Skype, I follow him and his family on Facebook, and they share photos via text.

It hasn’t always been easy.  The first two years of visits to see Dawson were heart wrenching and awkward for me, despite all of our best efforts. But we have just continued to be open and united in our commitment to one another.

Britta and Dawson
And we are open with him too. At the advice of counselors his parents have worked with, since as early as Dawson could understand, they’ve talked openly about him coming from my tummy, and he knows his first daddy got sick and went to heaven. The relationship continues to evolve as he matures.  Prior to my most recent visit he’s known me as “Auntie B”. But he’s eight now and asking lots of questions, of me and of them. Following an outing together at the Santa Monica Pier, to my surprise, he asked, “Auntie B, are you my real, real mom? Did I come from your tummy?” I was touched by what our new candor created; he was more vulnerable, more engaged and loving than he’s been on prior visits. It is evident he knows that somehow this makes our relationship unique.

At the same time that I feel such gratitude and delight in my growing relationship with Dawson, I’m also deeply sensitive to his parent’s needs and concerns. I want to be sure they I want to fully support them in their roles as mom and dad. They are giving him the life I’d hoped he would have, and I am forever grateful. We are working without much of a roadmap or template, just a willingness to be open, patient and trusting. I hope that with the foundation of trust and communication we are building and the love we share for Dawson will get us through whatever his future brings.

For reasons I could never have predicted, my adoption story didn’t end at my delivery date.  Trusting my intuition to leave my son was the most difficult decision I’ve ever made. I waddled around our small Idaho town for nine months, facing some shocked looks and shaming statements from those surprised I’d gotten pregnant or choose to have my child adopted, and for years after having him, I felt deep pain and loss. But my heart, perhaps my mother’s intuition, knew that my son would be taken care of, that someone was waiting in the wings, and that I needed to trust the process.  I am so glad I did. I truly have no regrets.  Following my heart down unexpected paths brought my son to a family and me back to my son.

 Britta Nelson


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

2013 UFA Conference Thank You!!!

Our 1st Annual United For Adoption Conference was a success!
After weeks of worrying if anyone would register and come we ended up with over 170 registered.
We wanted to take a moment to recognize those individuals and businesses who donated time, talents and/or items to help promote the conference and/or donate to our silent auction.
Thank you so much for helping us make this a great conference!!

(I have added links to many of our donors and vendors.  If you are not linked please leave your link in a comment and I will be sure to get your name linked to your site.)

2013 Conference Donors
 Mechelle McDermott/Custom Imprint Marketing
Matt Warner
KSL.com
Arianne Brown/ KSL Contributor
Danielle Palmer/Crossroads Journal Reporter
Andy Bay/BYU Broadcasting
Big Tough Girls
Natalie Johnson
Rosemary Roe
The R House
Jennifer Holt
Tess Edgar
Anne T. Zwicker
Anonymous
Steve & Jessica Moon
Joseph & Patsy Smout
Jessica Gifford
MacArthur Heder & Metler Law
Sarah Essay/The Touch of Life Film
Rodizio Grill
Utah Symphony

We also want to thank our awesome Vendors for coming and taking a chance on us!
2013 Conference Vendors
Stephanie McCoy
Missy Sepos /doTerra
HeartGrown Design

We also want to give a HUGE THANK YOU  to our Keynote Amy Iverson and all of our Presenters!  
A summary of their sessions will be coming soon! 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Meet Brandon age 16...Great teen hoping for a family!

Meet Brandon age 16!
This guy has a big heart and a strong desire to make others happy! He is very respectful and gets along well with the adults that have positively impacted his life. He enjoys and does well at playing baseball, which has been one of his favorite activities since he was very young. He also does well in school and would like to be an attorney or physical therapist one day. Above all, he wants to be part of a family who will love him and care for him as much as he does them.

Brandon is currently in eleventh grade and benefits from counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

This young man has a lot of love to give. He is in need of a forever family who will provide him with the love, support, and consistency he needs. If your family is interested in Brandon, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption related costs.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.

 You can inquire about these children we feature by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Please share this post with your social media contacts...don't forget to use Pinterest.  :)
Go here for some ideas on how you can help children waiting to be adopted.

To learn how Matching Mondays got started you can go here.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Deciding to Place ~ Emily's Story.

Emily and her husband and 2 daughters on the left. 
The adoptive couple and Emily's Birth son on the right.
"When a Birth Parent decides to make an adoption plan they are in fact parenting their child.  It takes a great parent to put the needs of their child above their own desires."
~Brenda Horrocks

 
Today Emily shares her placement story with us.
 ~
 
So many thoughts in my head, no real way to get them out except this. I remember when I first found out I was pregnant. It was the middle of June. I told “SD” on Father’s Day 2007, “You’re going to be a Daddy.” A string of curse words and shock followed my short but meaningful statement. We both sat in silence for a long time. Then finally he told me that we would “have to get married now.” Being the young and inexperienced person I was, that seemed like a wonderful option at the time.

After all was decided, it was time to tell my parents. Oh crap…I didn’t want to do that. I love my parents very much and this would disappoint them. Maybe if I just had an abortion my parents wouldn’t have to know and I could tell “SD” that the test must have been wrong. This was such an easy out. No one would ever have to know, I wouldn’t have the added stress and responsibility, I wouldn’t have to go through 9 months of being pregnant, and I could just live my life as I wanted to in the first place. Yes this would be good. The only thing was, I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I have seen my sisters when they were pregnant. I have felt their babies move inside them and felt the love they had for their unborn children. I knew they were real inside there. I knew that they deserved to live just like anyone else did.

So now comes the real test. How do I tell my parents? I debated for a few days over how to do this. One morning my mom came in my room to wake me up. I just started bawling. I told her I was expecting a baby and that I was going to marry my boyfriend. She did her best to be supportive and loving, and she did very well. I could feel her pain and disappointment though. I knew that she was upset at me. I knew that I had just lost all faith she had in me. I was a terrible daughter. And what was even worse, is that I hadn’t even told my dad yet. My ex Air Force dad…would kill my boyfriend. I just knew he would. He would rip off his head and shove it down his throat. So luckily my mom showed mercy on me and told daddy while she was on a trip to Utah with him. That gave him lots of time to cool down.

As the wedding came closer, my anxiety got worse. I knew that it wasn’t right. Marrying this man would not make me happy. It had to stop. I had to break up with him. So I did. But now what? I could keep the baby for my own. I could share custody. I could go back to the abortion idea. I could give it up for adoption. None of these options sounded good. Single mom? I don’t think so, that is too expensive and my dating life would be non-existent. Shared custody? No. I wasn’t too fond of the guy and he was pretty much trash. I didn’t want to torture a poor helpless baby like that. Abortion? Never. I don’t think my heart could take knowing that I had a baby…and lost it that easy. Adoption? I’m thinking no…if I have a baby, I want to keep it. They can just get their own!

Well…then it was decided. I was lost. I had no options and was running against the clock. What to do now? My parents and I talked and thought it best for me to move in with my sister in Utah. A new environment may help change my lifestyle a bit. Maybe I’d get away from the bad influences I was around and hopefully change.

Still there was the problem of what to do now. My sister had been talking to me a little about adoption. It was out of the question, but I listened to be nice. Then one day she pointed me in the direction of their page on LDS services. They had been married for about 10 years and couldn’t have children. They had been trying the whole time. Finally after finding out about some problems with infertility they had given up hope of having their own, and prayed that someone else could give them a child. Weeks, months, and soon years had dragged on. So many people wanted babies, what were the chances of them, a middle class couple in grad school, to get a baby?

After looking at their page for hours on end…I started to cry. These seemed like wonderful people. Why couldn’t they have children? That night and many to follow I prayed about it. I couldn’t do it. This was my baby. I created this child. Giving it away would hurt so much. I don’t know how someone could ever do that. Then one night, after A LOT of contemplation, I decided to do it. This couple was to have my baby. I had no money, no job, no husband, and no college education. I hadn’t even finished high school. I couldn’t give this child the life it deserved.

I started talking the LDS services, trying to find out how everything worked and how to go about this if I picked a family, (which I already had.) Well, with all the advice and counsel they gave me, I didn’t listen very well. My sister was really good friends with this couple and so I called her and asked for the number to call to get to them. They had just barely finished reading scriptures, now was a perfect time. I didn’t really plan what to say, it wasn’t until I heard a voice on the other line that I realized it was my turn to talk. The first words out of my mouth were, “Um…God has told me that I am carrying your baby.” Well that’s a shocker of a first line to start out with! Following that comment came about 20 minutes of explanation and excitement. I can still hear to this day Adoptive mom’s giggle over the phone and how she mentioned that Adoptive dad had a look that she, “just couldn’t read.”

Well, I was only 3 months along at this point, so I wasn’t too nervous. It was only when I started to gain weight that it really sunk in I was pregnant. And it was only when we found out it was a boy, and that boy was moving in me, did I have second thoughts. This child was alive. He was my child. I couldn’t do this. But how do I tell AM and AD that I changed my mind? I couldn’t. I saw how happy they were. So months dragged on and the due date got closer. Appointments came and went, I called them after every one to tell them how things were going. Near the middle of January we were really feeling that the baby was going to come sooner. AM decided to move in with my sister and I until I had the baby.

AM living with me was in a word, wonderful. It was the best support I could have ever asked for. Any cravings I had, she would help find them for me. I always had someone to talk to and she was always there for me. Sometimes I would give her my car while I went to school so she could actually go places. Things were going really well. Then 10 days before the baby...

“Knock Knock Knock”  We answered the door. A short man who looked in his twenties stood there, papers in hand. He asked who "Birth mom" was. I said it was me and he told me that he was serving me papers. “SD” wanted the baby for him and his new wife. He was going to sue me. It was there my whole world crashed down. If we didn’t win I was back to square one. The idea of abortion was out this time because I was too far along. I was 9 months for heavens sake! I couldn’t let them have the baby. The most logical thing would be single motherhood, unless we could somehow try and still adopt. We went to a paternity lawyer who pointed out that some points were left out of his papers. A loophole! We quickly rushed to one of the best adoption lawyers in Utah. We went to his Salt Lake office and things got started. We could adopt him out anyway. Then “SD” contested the adoption. This would never end. I’ll just keep the baby. I’m going to have to anyway. I love him. I could do it right?

I decided to live at my uncles in for a while. “SD” now knew where I lived and I wouldn’t feel safe. He was trouble, and he had already caused me enough. At about noon my stomach started to hurt. At about 3 we realized it was contractions. I was in labor. When 7:00 hit, I was dying. AM and I hopped in my car with my sister and mom right behind us. Every contraction I had, I would painfully wave my arm out the window so she could time me.

We reached the hospital and right away I begged for an epidural. I was in SO much pain. It was like someone had gotten a sword, stabbed it in my uterus and twisted slowly. I was at 3 centimeters by then. After 30 minutes of IV sticking and epidural, I felt pretty good. My pain had gone away and I was just sitting there. Contractions felt more like little tingles. The scale was going pretty dang high for pain though. If I didn’t have the drugs I’d be screaming bloody murder. 6 centimeters…7…8…9…I’m bored. And finally at midnight, I hit 10 centimeters. At 12:23, a beautiful boy was born.

7 pounds, 8 ounces, and 20 inches of pure joy was finally here. AM held him while I took a long awaited nap. In the middle of the night I woke up. AM was sleeping on the chair and Baby must have been in the nursery. I carefully got out of bed and started my trek down the short hallway that never seemed longer. I hurt so badly. I asked for Baby and the lady helped push him into our room. I climbed in bed and she handed him to me. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give this baby to someone else. He was so cute. I sat and cried. I must have fell asleep with him in my arms. I woke up to AM holding him. AD was finally there too. They looked so happy. I had never seen 2 people feel so good about life. So much love and devotion was in their eyes. This moment, watching them finally have their baby they waited for 10 years for, made every bad day, every contraction, and every second of pain, worth it. I just made a couple happier than any other I’d ever seen.

Since court cases weren’t done yet I got 2 weeks-ish of breastfeeding, bonding and Baby love. My heart was breaking, but at the same time calm. This was so hard, yet felt so wonderful. I remember one night just watching AM sleep with Baby on her stomach. She loved him so much. She was going to be such a wonderful mother. Finally everything was over and it was time for AM and Baby to join AD in half way across the country. We dropped AM off at her sister’s house. We said our goodbyes, and I cried the whole way home. That was one of the hardest, yet easiest things I had ever done. I guess one can’t really understand, unless they have been there. It was hard cause I grew that baby for 9 months and really had a strong bond with him. It was easy because of the results. I wasn’t ready to be a mother, and I wasn’t forced to be.

Baby is now 5 years old He has taken his first steps, rode a bike, started school and became a handsome little boy. As time went on, things got easier, and honestly…they got better. I was able to go on with my life, and they were able to improve theirs.The adoptive parents and I keep in close contact and see each other often. I won’t lie, it’s hard sometimes having another kid out there in the world. Yet the joy they felt is unexplainable. They had been trying for 10 years to get a little boy. And now they had one. I can never know how happy they were, the joy to finally hold their little boy in their arms, to finally start their family. And if I could, I would do it all over again.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Surprise!


- Jessica Moon, Utah


Do you have a photo to share? Send it to us.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

"Why Aren't You a Foster Parent?" Series Part 2 of 3.

Today we have Laurieann Thorpe sharing
"Why Aren't You a Foster Parent?" Series
Part 2.
You can view Part 1 here.

Laurieann is on our UFA Blog Committee.
We share her bio below and you can also find out more about her by visiting her blog at openbookopenheart.com

On September 18th, I told you about how people love to tell me the reasons they could never be a foster parent.  Today, we're going to talk about reason #2.  You can read my answer to reason #1 here. We'll talk about reason #3 next time.

1 - “I could never give up a child I love – especially when it means giving them back to their no-good, dirty, rotten, stinking, biological parents.”

2 - “Children in foster care pose a threat to the children already in my home.”

3 - “People just do foster care for the money.”

Many foster parents agree to parent children in foster care on the condition that there will be no negative effect on their biological or previously adopted children.  I have no problem with that.  I'm in that boat myself.

The part that bothers me is the assumption that children in foster care are an obvious threat to your other children.  Children in care come from a different background than your children.  NOT better.  NOT worse.  Different. 

I have met thousands of children in foster care and when they get a quiet moment to speak their hearts, they wonder why everyone assumes they did something to land in state care?  They didn't.  Their parents did. 

The point is, those assumptions and expectations don't help anyone.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the children in your home already pose a threat to each other.  If you're parenting more than one child, you're a talented referee.  Why would you think that talent would go away with children in foster care? 

I do not mean to minimize the very legitimate concern of caring for all of the children in your home.  You should listen to your children and be sure they are on board before embarking on a foster care adventure.  You might be surprised how willing they are, how enjoyable the experience will be for them, and how much they will love and want to protect their new siblings. 

I also do not mean to minimize the effects of trauma and abuse and how that can translate into behavior for the children who have been through it. 

You should take a long look into your heart and be honest about what you can and can't handle and what will and won't work for your family and let that knowledge lead you when accepting placement of children in your home.  You do not have to say yes to every child a caseworker calls about.  Let your heart and brain agree before accepting a placement.  Assuming you can handle more than you can is a recipe for disaster both for you and for the child.

You will also have a network of support through ongoing training you are required to take to keep your license current, and the caseworkers, agencies, and volunteers in a child's case.  Take advantage of those resources.

You can love, manage, and referee every child in your home.  Don't be blind to your own limitations or the challenges of your children but don't let fear get in your way of loving a child who needs you either. 
~
Laurieann Thorpe loves other people’s children.  She has worked professionally in child welfare, overseeing education programs for children in foster care.  She and her husband David adopted their oldest son through a private agency when he was two days old.  Later, they became foster parents.  Some children have bounced into and out of their home.  Others have come to stay.  They will adopt a two-year-old little boy this year and anticipate his little sister will join their family any day. 
Laurieann is a passionate adoption and foster care advocate.  She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and has a unique perspective, having worked in child welfare for many years.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Matching Mondays ~ Darling Crystal is hoping for a family!

We held our 1st Annual United For Adoption Conference this past Saturday.  We had this darling girl's picture on display along with some other children who are living in Utah and waiting to be adopted.   Please take a moment and learn about her and see if she might be the daughter you have been waiting for!
Crystal age 18.
This teen with a big heart and sweet
disposition is Crystal. A favorite hobby for this lass is getting lost in an interesting
novel. Crystal adores animals and loves to be helpful. With a desire to learn, she is ready to try new things and develop new talents. Crystal dreams of being part of a family whom she can call her own.

Now attending the tenth grade, she benefits from an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and would thrive with academically supportive parents. Crystal participates in counseling, which will need to continue after placement.

This fun gal deserves a loving, stable, supportive home. If your family can provide this for Crystal, we urge you to inquire. Financial assistance may be available for adoption-related costs.

For Utah children, only home studied families from all states are encouraged to inquire.
 You can inquire about these children we feature by clicking on their names above to go to their profile page or you can contact The Utah Adoption Exchange by calling:  801.265.0444

Please share this post with your social media contacts...don't forget to use Pinterest.  :)
Go here for some ideas on how you can help children waiting to be adopted.


Friday, November 8, 2013

A Page-Turning Way To Celebrate Adoption

Celebrating National Adoption Month!


We love books at our house. One way we celebrate the different holidays is by filling a basket full of books themed for the season. This month, our basket is full of books about adoption and Thanksgiving. After all, the two topics go hand in hand!  What makes it extra fun this year is having girls old enough to read some of the bigger chapter books about adoption. The books are a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. It is great to see them scattered about after little hands have spent time enjoying them.
Brenda Horrocks ~ UFA Co-Chair


Do you have a great idea for celebrating Adoption Month in your home or community? 
Leave your comments below, or submit your own guest post.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Happy Goat Designs Giveaway Winner

Thank you for all who entered the
Happy Goat Designs Giveaway!!!
Our winner is
Amber from
Ala Carte Baby Blog.
Amber please email us at unitedforadoption at gmail.com.
Congratulations!!!

Adoption from a Siblings Point of View



Picture by: Named June (kameejune.com)
Today we get the opportunity to hear from teen
Brianna Crampton.  Brianna shares her experiences with adoption in her own words!
We love that Brianna is willing to share her story with all of us!
Happy National Adoption Month Brianna!!!  
Thanks for lending your voice to this special work!

The year I turned five, I asked my parents a significant question, “Why don’t I have any brothers or sisters?”  This was a simple, yet legitimate question.  It was then that my parents explained that due to my mother’s infertility, I would probably be an only child for a long time.
 I just kept crying, “I don’t understand. I don’t understand.” Some understandings are extremely difficult for a child to grasp. I did understand that I was lonely!  That emotion would soon change to elation.
                The December of my kindergarten year, my mom, who teaches high school, picked me up from school with some exciting news. “One of my students is pregnant, and she and her boyfriend want to meet you and daddy this evening.  They are thinking about adoption.” I was ecstatic.
                “They want to meet me?”  I questioned.
                “Absolutely. In fact, I talk about you and your dad all the time in my classes.”
                “Are they bringing the baby with them?”
                “Well, yes, but not in the way you’re thinking. The little one is still in its mommy’s tummy.”
                The first thing I did when we returned home from school was clean my room, because I wanted to impress our guests.
                The student and her boyfriend arrived a few minutes after seven, and I answered the door.
                “Are you Brianna?”
                I beamed and nodded without response.
                “Well, it is very nice to finally meet you.”
                The student had beautiful blue eyes that held a deep concern. I wanted to wrap my arms around her, but at that point, my parents welcomed our guests into the family room. I anxiously listened to their conversation, attempting to decipher their words…….”social worker,” “June,” “right choice,” “adoption.” I kept glancing at my parents, especially my mom. I whispered to her, ‘Why are you crying?”
                “Because I am so happy, little miss. You’re going to be a big sister.”
The student, Beth, had come to my Mom in December 2001 stating that the reason she had missed so many classes was that she was pregnant and was too worried to tell her parents.  Her father had been a Stake President for the LDS Church in Virginia before they moved to Utah, and she was worried about how he might react. My mom told Beth that she would give her the missing homework and class assignments so that she could catch up with the other students. Beth then came to her a few weeks later stating that she felt that she needed to place the baby for adoption since she was too young and still in school. She was by then registered with LDSFS in Pleasant Grove. At the time we lived in Orem, so we registered with LDSFS in Provo. After the two social workers had discussed the case, they informed us that since we lived so close and knew where each other lived, that this was too open and we would not be able to go through LDSFS for the adoption. They did however, say that they felt we were a good match and proposed the following – Mom and Dad would pay LDSFS $300 to complete the initial paperwork, and act as our agents, and we would pay for Beth's medical expenses etc. . They would also allow us to use the LDS Church’s adoption attorney who would charge us the same fees that he charged LDSFS. Several months later we all met at a restaurant to discuss things since we were only two months away from the birth. Our social worker told Beth at the restaurant she still needed to " officially" tell my Mom and Dad that she had chosen us to be the adoptive parents. When the social workers left the restaurant Beth gave Mom a big hug and asked her then. They both cried tears of joy and things were set in place. As the delivery date approached, Beth had asked for the last two weeks of privacy. Our family returned from a scheduled vacation to England to await the birth of my new baby sister. The next week passed and so did the delivery date. No word from the social workers and we were worried that she had changed her mind. The next Tuesday, we received a call from our social worker telling us that Beth had delivered a week late...the baby was born the night before... and placement was scheduled for the next evening at our home. At 8 pm on the Wednesday evening, Beth and her boyfriend arrived and after a few minutes of casual chatting mom asked dad and I to  go downstairs and let them have some time alone. When they were ready they would bring the baby down to us. Mom had purchased two identical yellow blankets and had previously given one to Beth. That evening, she transferred Bethany out of her yellow blanket and into ours. The couple must have spent at least 20 minutes crying in their car in our driveway before they drove away. It was heartbreaking yet we knew that this was supposed to be. Beth initially married then divorced the boyfriend. Today she is happily married in the temple and has two little girls of her own.
I actually have two adopted siblings, and both stories are quite similar. My second sister, Sadie, was adopted three years after Bethany.  Here is her story:
My Mom teaches Greek and Roman mythology ,  and each year she takes her students on an educational trip to Greece . In 2005, a parent of one her students, Janet Harmon, went on the trip to act as a chaperone. While talking with Janet on the last day of the trip, my mom told her the story of Bethany’s adoption, and how my parents really wanted more children. Upon hearing this, Janet spoke up, saying that she had a friend in her neighborhood named Jenn who was eight months pregnant.  Jenn had decided that her baby girl would be happier in a different home, so she was searching for a family to adopt her. The day after my parent’s return from Greece, Jenn called my mom and they chatted for about two hours. She expressed her desire to come and see our home and family. The next Saturday, she came to our house, and almost immediately knew that our home was where her child belonged. Two weeks later, Sadie was born in the American Fork hospital, and my parents brought her home. My parents went through all the necessary paperwork for everything, and she was finally ours. I was overjoyed at the arrival of my new baby sister, Sadie, and I was so grateful to Jenn for making the unselfish choice to put her up for adoption.
My sisters’ birth mothers are two women that I admire greatly. I will never fully understand their sacrifice, but they will always be my heroes. My sisters are now 11 and 8 years of age. They know how special and loved they are in our family. They each know their adoption story and how much joy they have brought to my mom, dad and me. 
                If you are reading this, and if you are pregnant and still in high school, I implore you to please consider placing your baby for adoption with a loving couple who are currently unable to have children of their own. You will bring so much joy to them, and make a family complete with your unselfish sacrifice. Your “mistake” can be a silver lining to a young couple who yearn for a child of their own. You may also bring great joy to a sibling who will no longer be an only child.

Brianna Alexis Crampton
Senior at Timpanogos High School

4 November 2013

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