Waiting in our Hearts: Our open adoption search begins!

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Dear Friends,

As many of you know Chris and I are growing our family through open adoption. We have finally completed our state approved home study and can now actively search for a birth mom in any US State.

Check out our online profile at http://www.iheartadoption.org/users/chrisandkendra.

Here’s a quick run down of what is going to happen next:
We are working with a nationwide nonprofit adoption agency specializing in open adoption, Independent Adoption Center. To learn more about the IAC, visit their website at http://www.adoptionhelp.org. Their toll free number 1.800.877.6736 is available to call 24 hours a day for expectant women in search of options and they can speak with an intake counselor who can answer their questions and provide free counseling. We also have an adoptive parent counselor who acts to facilitate our communication and meetings with a birth mom once a match is made. A birth mom may be in any term of her pregnancy when she makes her plan for adoption and when she matches with us. She may pick us for any number of reasons but it is by her choice, not the agency or anyone else who makes the match. It is then akin to dating and after getting to know each other we must both choose each other to finalize the adoption once the baby is born. There will be a period of time, varying by state, after the child is born and the paperwork is signed to wait. This is called the reclaim period. In North Carolina it is 7 days and in Florida it is 30 days for example. During this time the birth mom could reclaim the baby and void our match. If the baby is out of state we must wait in that state until this period has passed. Once that time is over we would be the legal parents of the child permanently.

The beautiful thing about open adoption is that we would make a plan with the birth mother, based on both of our wishes to continue a relationship with the birth mom. She may not wish to remain in contact but she has the options to receive letters, emails, phone calls and in person visits. All of which we are open to for the benefit of the child. There are no secrets in open adoption and our child will know they are loved by everyone and that every decision made was one made out of love. This is why we chose open adoption because it is the highest good for the birth mother, for us and most importantly our child.

We need your help to find women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to let them know about open adoption and to know about us.
You may not think you can be of any help, but a surprising number of adoptions take place through networking: about 50%!!! You may not think you know of anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, but it could be that a friend of a friend, someone through work or distant relative you may come in contact with someone who is considering adoption. Many women do not announce what they are going through but they need to know about their options. They need to have the information that there are people who will love their child like their own and provide what they are not able to in the present time.

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Help us spread the word. If you are inclined, here are 4 easy ways:

(1) Send Emails To Your Contact List
Tell everyone you know, in case they hear of someone considering adoption, that you know an awesome couple ready to adopt a baby. Email specifically people who may work with young women considering adoption for an unplanned pregnancy. Email generally everyone you know and ask them to do the same. At the bottom of this email I have provided some paragraphs you can copy and paste into an email to send to your contacts.

(2) “Like” our Facebook page and share the link on your facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/ChrisandKendraAdopt . Share this note. Encourage others to Share.

(3) Distribute our printed brochure and/or business cards
I have attached our PDF of our Dear Birth Mother Letter. You can print this and distribute (we had it professionally printed on glossy folding brochure paper) or Email me and I will get copies to you. Take them to places where young women might receive health care or health care education, to people who may work with young women considering adoption for an unplanned pregnancy. For instance,
– Your doctor, or doctors’ offices near you
– Hospitals and community health centers
– Your church, bible study, or friends churches. Churches have large outreach and support groups.
– College campuses, especially college health centers
– Pregnancy crisis centers and Planned Parenthood. Sometimes they will keep Birth Mother letters on hand.

(4) Pray and actively talk to others about open adoption
We believe in the power of prayer and the law of attraction. This process could take a few months or a few years. There is plenty of time to help spread the word and to support our intent with prayer or blessing. The more positivity we can surround ourselves with the better!

We are excited about open adoption because we can become parents together, and we can know the birthmom (dad, other family members) and form relationships that serve her, us, and most importantly our child.

We are endlessly grateful to you all. Whether or not you choose to act on this invitation we very much appreciate your support throughout this journey.

Thank you and warm wishes!

Chris and Kendra

=== PARAGRAPHS TO PASTE INTO AN EMAIL TO YOUR CONTACTS ===

Dear Family and Friends,
My friends Chris and Kendra are seeking to adopt a baby and have asked me for help networking. If you are inclined, take a moment to read their message below and then help spread it by passing it on to your network. Your help may bring them one step closer to the contact they need to realize their dream of starting a family.

** Message from Chris & Kendra **
We are creating our family through open adoption. This means a pregnant woman making an adoption plan will choose us to be the parents to her child and maintain a relationship after birth if she chooses. Check out our online profile at http://www.iheartadoption.org/users/chrisandkendra. We need you to get the word out to everyone you know because we want women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy to know about open adoption and to know about us.
You may be wondering why we asked our family and friends to forward this message to you. After all, you probably don’t think you know of anyone making an adoption plan. However, you would be surprised to learn how many adoptions come about from networking with family, friends, acquaintances, and even strangers. You might know a friend who knows a friend who knows someone who is looking to make an adoption plan. This is why we have asked all of our family and friends for help.
We would be so grateful if you could pass on our information. To learn more about our family, see our adoption profile http://www.iheartadoption.org/users/chrisandkendra.
You can email us at LarsenAdoption@gmail.com or call toll-free 1-800-951-2996. We are happy to answer questions and provide more information.

With much gratitude,

Kendra and Chris Larsen
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Chicken Soup and Stewing on Big Decisions

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(photo by pioneer woman)

Chicken soup is a very good thing. Soup is the only thing that sounds even remotely satisfying at the moment. It’s going on 9 days of this super nasty cold/flu that has me beyond annoyed for several reasons:

1. I had spent the previous 2 weeks back in California (having an amazing time with family and friends) and upon returning home I was to get right on decorating for Christmas, present shopping, baking holiday goodies, etc.

2. I was eager to get right back into my personal training program which I was making fabulous progress with prior to going out of town and getting whollopped by airplane germs. (I’ve lost a little over 10lbs and have had huge strength gains!)

3. There is a mountain of paperwork to be completed to move forward with our adoption plan. Tomorrow is the due date for our application to Independent Adoption Center in order to attend the mandatory weekend adoption “intensive” workshop this coming 14th and 15th.

For all these reasons sickness has had very poor timing. Of course is there ever a good time to be sick? Probably not. It just seems like this last week has gone by with me being an idle lump, accomplishing nothing but a longer list of things I could and should be doing.

Click on Pioneer Woman’s link above to her very simple and delicious recipe for chicken soup.

Today at least I feel human again, thanks to copious amounts of chicken soup, my new humidifier (fabulous little invention) and possibly the antibiotics I begrudgingly started taking yesterday.

With the fog clearing my brain I sat down to tackle some of this adoption paperwork, how bad could it be?

Chris, being the truly amazing husband he is, had already filled out all the basic information they required: address, social security, educational backgrounds, work history and financial status. I just had to fill in a few of the blanks and email it back to him. Done.

Then I delved into the Home Study questionnaire (which thank the Lord we have awhile to complete)….I would like to share these questions here on my blog and as you read them think about how you would answer these questions and the complexity of being honest while knowing a stranger will read your response thus deeming you worthy or unworthy of being a parent…..

1. How would you describe yourself? (personality, strengths and limitations)

2. Describe you spouse’s personality and strengths. What would you change?

3. If you have children, describe their personalities, likes and dislikes.

4. What do you feel are the strong points in your marriage/relationship?

5. What type of goals do you work toward in your marriage/relationship?

6. What are usually the areas of disagreement?

7. How do you handle problems and conflict?

8. Please give a brief statement describing your thoughts about religion and its place in your life.

9. If you are childless, what experiences have you had with children?

10. How do you (or how do you plan to) discipline your children? Give examples.

11. Define discipline.

12. Define misbehavior.

13. What is the difference between discipline and abuse.

14. What aspects of child rearing are important to you?

15. Do you and your spouse/partner agree on child rearing and discipline?

16. What do you expect from your children?

17. What goals do you wish your child to achieve?

18. Why are you applying for adoption?

19. Do both of you wish to adopt?

20. What have been your parents’ response to adoption and response of friends and relatives?

WHEW!!! That’s all. 20 questions. 20 questions that no parent who is bringing a child into the world is ever required to answer, even though, maybe they should, for their own self knowledge.  I’m not even sure how to even begin writing my answers. Yes I can describe myself, my strengths, my weaknesses and describe my relationship with my husband but it feels so weird writing all of it for the purposes of a stranger giving me permission to be parent.

Each of these questions will require a significant amount of time, self reflection, communication with my husband, and editing since I could probably write a novel for each.

This is the beginning and tomorrow is do or die, figuritively speaking. Once we sign that contract we are in this and committed to this path. We have weighed our options:

1. Live a childless life

2. Pursue IVF with the possiblity of health complications and no guarantee of conceiving

3. Adopt: Domestic- Open, Closed, or through Foster Care. International Adoption and infant or older child….

I’ve been stewing on these options for awhile. I’ve seriously considered them all and we have picked open adoption. I want it to feel natural, I want it to feel right but while I read and reread these questions it doesn’t feel natural. Only God knows and time will tell if it is the right decision. I hope he can help me write my answers.

What do you think about this Home Study Questionnaire?