Waiting in our Hearts: Our open adoption search begins!

Waiting in Our Heart- Love Shutter2

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.

our nursery- Love Shutter3

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
Kendra and Chris- Love Shutter1

Dear Mom of a…

Dear Mom of an Adopted Child,
I met you in adoption education class. I met you at the agency. I met you at my son’s school. I met you online. I met you on purpose. I met you by accident.
It doesn’t matter. The thing is, I knew you right away. I recognize the fierce determination. The grit. The fight. Because everything about what you have was a decision, and nothing about what you have was easy. You are the kind of woman who Makes.Things.Happen. After all, you made this happen, this family you have.
Maybe you prayed for it. Maybe you had to convince a partner it was the right thing. Maybe you did it alone. Maybe people told you to just be happy with what you had before. Maybe someone told you it simply wasn’t in God’s plans for you to have a child, this child whose hair you now brush lightly from his face. Maybe someone warned you about what happened to their cousin’s neighbor’s friend. Maybe you ignored them.
Maybe you planned for it for years. Maybe an opportunity dropped into your lap. Maybe you depleted your life-savings for it. Maybe it was not your first choice. But maybe it was.
Regardless, I know you. And I see how you hold on so tight. Sometimes too tight. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it?
I know about all those books you read back then. The ones everyone reads about sleep patterns and cloth versus disposable, yes, but the extra ones, too. About dealing with attachment disorders, breast milk banks, babies born addicted to alcohol, cocaine, meth. About cognitive delays, language deficiencies. About counseling support services, tax and insurance issues, open adoption pros and cons, legal rights.
I know about the fingerprinting, the background checks, the credit reports, the interviews, the references. I know about the classes, so many classes. I know the frustration of the never-ending paperwork. The hours of going over finances, of having garage sales and bake sales and whatever-it-takes sales to raise money to afford it all.
I know how you never lost sight of what you wanted.
I know about the match call, the soaring of everything inside you to cloud-height, even higher. And then the tucking of that away because, well, these things fall through, you know.
Maybe you told your mother, a few close friends. Maybe you shouted it to the world. Maybe you allowed yourself to decorate a baby’s room, buy a car seat. Maybe you bought a soft blanket, just that one blanket, and held it to your cheek every night.
I know about your home visits. I know about your knuckles, cracked and bleeding, from cleaning every square inch of your home the night before. I know about you burning the coffee cake and trying to fix your mascara before the social worker rang the doorbell.
And I know about the followup visits, when you hadn’t slept in three weeks because the baby had colic. I know how you wanted so badly to show that you had it all together, even though you were back to working more-than-full-time, maybe without maternity leave, without the family and casseroles and welcome-home balloons and plants.
And I’ve seen you in foreign countries, strange lands, staying in dirty hotels, taking weeks away from work, struggling to understand what’s being promised and what’s not. Struggling to offer your love to a little one who is unsettled and afraid. Waiting, wishing, greeting, loving, flying, nesting, coming home.
I’ve seen you down the street at the hospital when a baby was born, trying to figure out where you belong in the scene that’s emerging. I’ve seen your face as you hear a nurse whisper to the birthmother that she doesn’t have to go through with this. I’ve seen you trying so hard to give this birthmother all of your respect and patience and compassion in those moments—while you bite your lip and close your eyes, not knowing if she will change her mind, if this has all been a dream coming to an abrupt end in a sterile environment. Not knowing if this is your time. Not knowing so much.
I’ve seen you look down into a newborn infant’s eyes, wondering if he’s really yours, wondering if you can quiet your mind and good sense long enough to give yourself over completely.
And then, to have the child in your arms, at home, that first night. His little fingers curled around yours. His warm heart beating against yours.
I know that bliss. The perfect, guarded, hopeful bliss.
I also know about you on adoption day. The nerves that morning, the judge, the formality, the relief, the joy. The letting out of a breath maybe you didn’t even know you were holding for months. Months.
I’ve seen you meet your child’s birthparents and grandparents weeks or years down the road. I’ve seen you share your child with strangers who have his nose, his smile … people who love him because he’s one of them. I’ve seen you hold him in the evenings after those visits, when he’s shaken and confused and really just wants a stuffed animal and to rest his head on your shoulder.
I’ve seen you worry when your child brings home a family tree project from school. Or a request to bring in photos of him and his dad, so that the class can compare traits that are passed down, like blue eyes or square chins. I know you worry, because you can protect your child from a lot of things — but you can’t protect him from being different in a world so intent on celebrating sameness.
I’ve seen you at the doctor’s office, filling out medical histories, leaving blanks, question marks, hoping the little blanks don’t turn into big problems later on.
I’ve seen you answer all of the tough questions, the questions that have to do with why, and love, and how much, and where, and who, and how come, mama? How come?
I’ve seen you wonder how you’ll react the first time you hear the dreaded, “You’re not my real mom.” And I’ve seen you smile softly in the face of that question, remaining calm and loving, until you lock yourself in the bathroom and muffle your soft cries with the sound of the shower.
I’ve seen you cringe just a little when someone says your child is lucky to have you. Because you know with all your being it is the other way around.
But most of all, I want you to know that I’ve seen you look into your child’s eyes. And while you will never see a reflection of your own eyes there, you see something that’s just as powerful: A reflection of your complete and unstoppable love for this person who grew in the midst of your tears and laughter, and who, if torn from you, would be like losing yourself.
-Kathy Lynn Harris

A friend of mine who has gone through open adoption sent me those words to my facebook page. I thought it was so beautiful and captures so much. It captures many things we have already gone through and so much we have yet to experience. It gives me a picture to hold onto of what life will be like on the other side of the waiting.

I have not posted much relating to our adoption on this blog. You could say we are still early in this process of navigating ourselves through this mapless journey. We are six months into the waiting to wait…6 months of gathering reports, getting physicals, taking tests, having background checks, having home inspections, thinking about our expectations, writing about our life story, reading about other people’s experiences, doing photo sessions, more reading, more writing, some crying, some impatience and anxiety, a lot of questions…6 months into the active waiting to wait and we are moments away from the “official waiting” when we get approval from our agency and go into what is called circulation. We now have a facebook page for our adoption, a letter to potential birth moms about us a couple (basically a brochure of how awesome we are), a website we will be featured on and a 1-800 # for birthmoms to contact us. As soon as we are “live” I will be posting all this wonderful information to this blog.

We can use all the support we can get. I hope you stick with us as everything unfolds!

Modern Vintage Circus Nursery

For the last 2 months of being MIA on this blog we have been consumed by all things relating to The Adoption. It has been stressful and scary at times in the process but more importantly very exciting and fun! I am so happy to say how accomplished I feel at the amount of progress we have made in two short months. We have completed all our paperwork and are half way through our home study! Next Saturday our home study will be complete and by the end of March we anticipate “going live” which is adoption speak for officially approved and out there in the world to adopt a baby.

You may have read my previous post on the adoption questionnaire we were each required to answer. It was interesting to read the differences between my husband and I in our responses. He was short and to the point, I was ummmm…the opposite. I was skeptical and frustrated if you couldn’t tell but that is all behind us and once I got past being overwhelmed I was able to enjoy the process.

I have been dying to post all the pictures of the nursery/kids guest room so far. I wanted to have a room all of my little nieces and nephews could stay in when they visit and have the necessary nursery things just in case the baby comes sooner rather than later (I just want to be prepared!)

My 18-month-old niece MacKenzie will be coming with my sister in April so she will get to be the first to break the room in, I’m very excited for their visit. The room isn’t quite done yet. I need to frame a couple of the prints and put cute children’s books on the shelves instead of the ugly baby tutorial books.

The room is intended to be gender neutral and we wanted color in the room without having to paint the walls. Maybe when we actually find out if we are getting a boy or girl we will paint the walls too.

Without further ado, here are the pics. Let me know what your favorite parts are! What else do you think it needs? Other than an actual baby to go in it, haha!

I found the twin beds and night stands at the Metrolina last month. The beds were $100 a piece and the pair of nighstands was $125. The night stands were upcycled from an old armoire and the skinny size is perfect for my small space and they have two drawers for storage. The turquise quilts and tangerine pillow covers are both from Home Goods. Think I spend about $70 total on the bedding
I found the twin beds and night stands at the Metrolina last month. The beds were $100 a piece and the pair of nightstands were $125. The night stands were upcycled from an old armoire and the skinny size is perfect for my small space and they have two drawers for storage. The turquoise quilts and tangerine pillow covers are both from Home Goods. Think I spend about $70 total on the bedding

Circus nursery

I ordered this velour changing pad cover on Amazon for $13. It's really soft and goes with the lamp perfectly!
I ordered this velour changing pad cover on Amazon for $13. It’s really soft and goes with the lamp perfectly!
The rods ($17), curtains ($20/panel), tangerine ottoman ($50) and rug ($69) are all from Target.
The rods ($17), curtains ($20/panel), tangerine ottoman ($50) and rug ($69) are all from Target.
I got the tangerine lamp bases and Ikat shades from Target, mix and match. The giraffe was a vintage find and I love his mid century modern look. He is porcelain so he will be put away when baby starts walking.
I got the tangerine lamp bases and Ikat shades from Target, mix and match. The giraffe was a vintage find and I love his mid century modern look. He is porcelain so he will be put away when baby starts walking.
So a lot of people have clown phobias and think they are creepy and in general I think they are creepy too but this a circus room and it needed a clown. I found him for $10
So a lot of people have clown phobias and think they are creepy and in general I think they are creepy too but this a circus room and it needed a clown. I found him for $10
Mirror mirror on the wall...you are the awesomest of them all! This is my very favorite thing in the whole room. I stumbled upon it while antiquing at Gibson Mill. It is an upcycled find for $75!
Mirror mirror on the wall…you are the awesomest of them all! This is my very favorite thing in the whole room. I stumbled upon it while antiquing at Gibson Mill. It is an upcycled find for $75!
I found this antique upcycled dresser at the Metrolina for $100. I think dedicated changing tables are dumb and ugly to be honest..so I just put the changing pad right on top of it you can easily secure to the dresser for safety.
I found this antique upcycled dresser at the Metrolina for $100. I think dedicated changing tables are dumb and ugly to be honest..so I just put the changing pad right on top of it you can easily secure to the dresser for safety.
I was so ecstatic when I found this lamp at Home Goods, it was only $25!!!
I was so ecstatic when I found this lamp at Home Goods, it was only $25!!!
I got the 4 piece crib bedding set on Amazon for $136. It included the fitted sheet, the dust ruffle, the comforter and bumpers which I have not attached since it's not recommended for infants (SIDS risk). The crib mattress we got at Target which is American made and green certified on sale for $60, extra firm. I did a lot of research on off gasing.
I got the 4 piece crib bedding set on Amazon for $136. It included the fitted sheet, the dust ruffle, the comforter and bumpers which I have not attached since it’s not recommended for infants (SIDS risk). The crib mattress we got at Target which is American made and green certified on sale for $60, extra firm. I did a lot of research on off gasing.
I got these two shelves at Home Goods for $29 a piece. They are actually different colors which I like.
I got these two shelves at Home Goods for $29 a piece. They are actually different colors which I like.
I wanted a crib that was pretty minimalist and I loved the grey color that went with all my antique furniture. The crib was $120 and the canopy was $20!!!! Most cribs I looked at started around $500 so I am very happy with both the look and the price.
I wanted a crib that was pretty minimalist and I loved the grey color that went with all my antique furniture. The crib was $120 and the canopy was $20!!!! Most cribs I looked at started around $500 so I am very happy with both the look and the price.
I loved this vintage find. I love the little boys polka dot pajamas and top hat. It's just the kind of whimsy I wanted in the room.
I loved this vintage find. I love the little boys polka dot pajamas and top hat. It’s just the kind of whimsy I wanted in the room.
This bag I ordered at the last 31 party I went to from the Spring 2013 line. It's $50 so it was one of the pricer things but I figure I will be using it every day and it is extremely functional with a zipper closure and lots of outside pockets for easy access.
This bag I ordered at the last 31 party I went to from the Spring 2013 line. It’s $50 so it was one of the pricer things but I figure I will be using it every day and it is extremely functional with a zipper closure and lots of outside pockets for easy access.
I have no idea what I will store in this tin, maybe little memorabilia but it was a $8 find so I don't really care what I use it for!
I have no idea what I will store in this tin, maybe little memorabilia but it was a $8 find so I don’t really care what I use it for!
I ordered this hippo chair on Amazon for $36! It was the very first thing I bought for the room. Chris and I are totally obsessed with hippos :)
I ordered this hippo chair on Amazon for $36! It was the very first thing I bought for the room. Chris and I are totally obsessed with hippos 🙂
I got this two sided hamper from a 31 party. The center divider is removable and completely folds up. This will be so nice to carry downstairs to the laundry room. It also matches my diaper bag
I got this two sided hamper from a 31 party. The center divider is removable and completely folds up. This will be so nice to carry downstairs to the laundry room. It also matches my diaper bag
Who doesn't love his classic children's books?
Who doesn’t love his classic children’s books?
Turquoise frame from Target and vintage finds. The carousel is musical and I had it from my childhood!
Turquoise frame from Target and vintage finds. The carousel is musical and I had it from my childhood!