Out in the Open: Part 1
So either you figured out my earlier post or your completely confused.
If you are in the later group, I'll help you out...
Yes, we're Adopting!!!
Okay, technically, we're not exactly adopting just yet, but we have started the process as of last week and hopefully by the end of the year, we'll hear the pitter-patter of more little feet running around the Mabrey house.
I haven't known how to really begin with all of this, but here it goes....
First off, we've always wanted to adopt. Even before we were married, we would talk about one day eventually we wanted to adopt. We have both always said that we had felt a calling to adopt on day. In fact, (besides a few times when Olivia first got here and a few rough times during her first year when we declared she would be an only child) we have always thought in terms of "not if" we adopt, but rather "when" we adopt. Naturally, we just assumed we would have all the children we wanted by birth and would then adopt. It was something that we viewed as years away. Well, right now, we're feeling like we're done having children by birth.
Secondly, we really didn't know how to "announce" that we were adopting. We chose to tell only our parents and other than that, only three other people know (actually four, we told an old co-worker who now works at the Carter's store where we bought her little sister shirt. Awkward conversation during checkout....yes, please! Y'all know those awkward moments seem to attract to me). I didn't want to call everyone on the phone (like we did when we found out we were pregnant with Olivia) because it's not like we were pregnant and it just felt weird to me to call people to tell them we had decided to adopt. Honestly, I thought people would be disappointed when I called to tell them something and that something wasn't that we were pregnant. Not that our family won't be supportive, I just realize that it might be unexpected to some. Also, we were afraid that some might try to talk us out of it. It's not that we don't want to answer people questions or concerns, but it's a decision that we feel is best for our family. It was also one of those things that we wanted to find out more information before we officially decided. So, please don't get your feelings hurt if I didn't call anyone personally to tell you.
After Olivia's first birthday, we slowly began to talk about when exactly we were ready to add to our family. Towards the end of the year, we had both seemed to agree that time wise, it would be best for us to get pregnant sometime late Spring or early Summer. To be completely honest though, after we seemed to decide on when we wanted to have another baby, the fear began to rise in me about the actuality of being pregnant again and having another c-section. I kept it to myself and told myself I would be fine, but inside, I was really dreading it and it wasn't a conscious decision, but I realized was making sure it didn't happen (you catch my drift?).
At the beginning of January, I was having a conversation with Nicole about something and made the comment that "I just wanted to adopt a four year old." Nicole's response was she thought I should. I was kinda taken aback by it because, I had actually started to have thoughts of us adopting a child older than Olivia. When I questioned her response, she shot back that she thought we would be great adoptive parents for an older child. So, the wheels started turning.
I kept it to myself for a couple of days and then I kinda threw it out there to David. I'm sure he thought I was joking at first. After a few more days and a tearful conversation, I had convinced him that it was something I was really considering. I was ready to add to our family, but I realized that I was not ready to be pregnant again. To say he was thrown for a loop by my suggesting we adopt now is completely understandable. For the last few months, all we had talked about was getting pregnant again and now I was saying I did not want to be. It's my fault, that during all that baby talk, I had left out how I really felt about being pregnant again. In his true awesome fashion, he finally looked at me and said he had never cared how we got our family and if that's how I felt, he was in.
Here are a few of the major questions I think most will want to know answers to...
How are we going to go about it? We've decided to go about the adoption process by fostering to adopt through our local DFCS (Department of Family and Children Services). Besides the Pope's, we actually know several families who have gone this route and have had success with it (and got awesome children), so naturally, we've decided to go that route. Also, we already have a good understanding of how it works and what to expect, so we feel prepared to go through the process this way.
Naturally, the next conversation to come up was what age did we want to adopt? As you might have guessed from Olivia's new shirt, we've decided that we want to adopt a child that is four or under and here's the kicker....we've decided we want a sibling group. So, like her new shirt says, odds are Olivia will end up being a little sister for now.
Why that age and siblings? Well, because there are A LOT of them out there. Almost everyone who adopts wants a baby. Very few people want a child over a year old. Even less people want a sibling group. Also, after talking to a few people, we feel like four and under will hopefully come with a lot less baggage. Obviously, since they are up for adoption they have had a rough life, but most of us don't remember under the age four when we're adults. So, yes it is a bit of an odds thing. We figured our chances are a little better if we asked for children that people usually don't want.
What about Olivia? Promise, we still love her. Ha! Actually, we know Olivia is going to love it. Olivia always does awesome around other children. She actually behaves better around other children than she does at home alone. Also, when we started thinking about it, we thought it would actually be better to adopt other children now while she is so young, because she will grow up not knowing any difference. To her, they will have always been around and always been her siblings. As my Dad put it, "it's no different than bringing step children into the family." Which actually, I had never thought about before, but it's true. Obviously, there will be a big adjustment to our family with the addition of any child (birth or adopted), but it's nothing that we don't think we can't handle.
Do we have a specific sibling group we're looking for? Actually, we do. About a week ago, we were talking about it in the car and I said to David that when I see our family in the future, I see us having all boys and Olivia being our only little girl still. He looked at me and said that he couldn't believe it, but that he too envisions the same thing. To us, that was God speaking to us. So, we're pretty set on adopting a sibling group of all boys. Maybe it's because I have always been convinced that we would always have boys and I was in complete shock when we found out Olivia was a girl. We are for now though going to keep our options open and see what kind of calls we get, so for right now, we've put on our forms we're open to anything under four. Also, because Olivia's safety is still our number one priority, we have decided to not take on any child that could possibly be a danger to Olivia in any form. In other words, we do get the chance to be a little picky on who comes into our home. Most likely, our kids will come from a home where neglect and/or drugs were a constant presence. So, they will need stability and a family that will love them. Two things we can provide.
Right now, we are just asking for support and prayers from everyone. We know that whoever comes into our home, our family will love with loving arms. We have no clue how long this process will take. That is part of the reason why we struggled with when to tell everyone. We weren't sure if we should wait till we had our first orientation, when we get done with training or what, but we've been told several times that it will most likely happen faster than we think, so we wanted to go ahead and have everyone adjusted with it. The process could take a month or up to a year (we have no clue) we just didn't want to show up at Easter or something with a few extra kids and completely throw our family.
We have our orientation meeting this afternoon to turn in our first roung of paperwork, so hopefully, all will go well and we'll get to start our training this weekend! Yep, I said this weekend! Of course, I'll keep you updated as we progress.
Part 2 tomorrow...