Posts Tagged ‘our story’

Our story — part 3

April 24, 2012

At the end of the last post, we had just returned home from our nine week trip to Burkina Faso.

We returned home on the last Sunday in March.  We were due to return to work on Wednesday of that week.

Early that week, we received an e-mail from the adoption worker about two babies to consider, one about a month old, and the other due at something like the end of May.  We replied, and said that we were open to both.  She got back to us and said they would be doing interviews early in April.  Later on, we found out the interview would be on the Monday before Good Friday and Easter, which was in mid-April that year.

The interview went well, and they told us they would let us know by Thursday how things went.  We felt relaxed about the interview.  We went through Tuesday, not really thinking much of it.  On Wednesday, I had a work thing in London to go to.  My cell phone rang, and it was one of Sandra’s cousin looking for a guarantor for a passport.  I turned it off and went back into the conference.  At the break, I went out and saw that there was a message.  I called and checked, and the worker had called and left a message.  While she was waiting for me to call, she had called Sandra and let her know that we had been picked.  When I called back, she told me to call Sandra.  We talked and were shocked, stunned, etc.  I went back into the meeting and sat down.  Needless to say, I was sitting there, head spinning, thinking about what was going on.  I figured the best thing was to tell my boss that I was going to head back early, and why.  She was quite glad for me as well, and said to go ahead.

I spent the next hour and half driving back home on autopilot.  I was driving safely, but not really thinking about what was happening.

When I got to Sandra’s work, we talked briefly.  Everyone was quite excited for us, as they were aware of the journey we had been through.

Pretty much right away, we started making arrangements for parental leave.  Fortunately, adoptive parents are allowed to take up to 37 weeks of parental leave, between the parents.   I ended up taking five weeks, and Sandra took the rest.  That allowed me to take July and part of August off.

We had to wait through the long weekend to meet Tate.  We went to meet him on a Wednesday morning, and we had him a few times, before he came for an overnight visit the next week.  He came home on Thursday.  Within a month, we went from coming home from Africa to having a child in our home.  Talk about perfect timing.  If we had done what we did, when we did, things probably would have worked out differently.  God definitely had his hands working in our plans in all that we went through.

Before we became parents, and were in the process of becoming adoptive parents, we had the opportunity to go to Burkina Faso four times, once for nine weeks.  I had the opportunity to go to California for a week, and bring Sandra out for a week before we made our extended trip.

When we started pursuing adoption, we were thinking of a totally closed adoption, with no further contact with the family of origin.  As we went through our journey, we became more comfortable with the concept of an open adoption.  By the time we were presented with the opportunity for Tate, it was presented as foster to adopt, with a strong likelihood that it would be low risk of him returning to his birth mother, based upon the circumstances.

By the time Reid joined our family, we were completely comfortable with foster to adopt.  Reid was apprehended into care in the hospital, and came to our home when he was a day old. For a time, a social worker took him to access visits.  Over time, we would drop him off for visits.  As time went by, the visits switched to a supervised centre.  We did the pick up and drop off, and met with his birth mother.  By the time she waived her parental rights, we met with her and agreed to meetings twice a year, and to exchange pictures and letters on a more frequent basis.  So far, this has worked well.  In fact, after the visit this fall, we dropped his birth mother and boyfriend off at the main transit terminal in our city.

Both of our children have extremely different stories.  So far, I have written mostly about our experience with Reid’s adoption becoming finalized.  In the future, I will write more about Tate’s experience.

There is a limit to what I can tell.  Ultimately, these are their stories to tell.  I am writing about the experience as an adoptive parent.


Our story — part 2

April 23, 2012

Here’s a link back to part 1 of our story.

After telling some of the story of our trips to Burkina Faso, there is a bit of a jump back in time to pick up the adoption story.

Early in 2004, some friends from church suggested that we consider pursuing adoption through our local Children’s Aid Society (CAS), or Family & Children’s Services (F&CS).  Both names are used in Ontario, and have different names across Canada and the US.

After we were in contact with them, we found out that we were able to take the home study we had prepared for the private agency, and have F&CS update it for their needs.  As part of the process, we took classes that explained the foster system, and how it worked.  They also had separate classes for families interested in pursuing adoption, or foster to adopt.  The classes are over about 9 weeks, and are required for anyone wanting to foster or adopt.

It took us about a year to get through the classes, as they are held starting in January, April, and September, around the trips to Africa.

By the end of 2004, we were approved for adoption by the local F&CS.

We met with the worker specializing in infant and toddler adoptions.  We completed a lengthy profile of the risks we would be willing to consider in a child we would adopt.

We were asked to consider a couple of different situations.

In about May of 2005, we had been asked to consider an opportunity for an older child.  I was more open to that possibility than Sandra was.  It took a couple of weeks to find out that we had not been picked.  After not hearing anything, it was a tough time for a while.

In the meantime, we decided that we would like to go to Burkina Faso for a longer period to get more of a sense of how things are and to make more of an impact.  In the meantime, the organization our church partnered with had some leadership changes.  It was a bit of a process, but we were approved by the beginning of November, 2005.

In the meantime, things had been quiet on the adoption front.  We had some contact with the adoption worker, but not much.  We told her that we were planning on going to Burkina Faso, and asked about keeping in touch while we were away.  We were able to access e-mail at internet cafes about once a week.

Around Christmas 2005 and January 2006, we were preparing to get ready to go for a 9 week trip to volunteer at an orphanage in Burkina Faso, in western Africa.

Before we left, I said to the worker, more jokingly than anything, that it would be nice if they had a baby waiting for us when we got back.  She kind of laughed, and I’m sure she wasn’t really what to say.

We went on our trip, and had a good time.

Who would have imagined that we would meet a black redneck from Arkansas in Africa?  Who would have imagined someone who lives in the small obscure place near where my father was born would be Africa?

By the time it was time to come home, it was time.  There was one young lady who was very adept at making sure her own wants were taken care of.  She almost got sent home in February, and would have come home at the same time as us if there was room on the flight out.

We returned home on the last Sunday in March.  We were due to return to work on Wednesday of that week.

Things are about to change.  Stay tuned for the next installment.

Our story — part 1

April 19, 2012

In a post at the end of December, I mentioned that our journey had been going on for about six years.

As I think about it, the story actually goes back to Christmas of 2002.  Actually, the spring of 2002.

Sandra had back surgery in the fall of 2001, and we decided that going through a pregnancy would not be good for her back.  To make a long story short, we decided to consider adoption.

We got in contact with Jewels for Jesus, a private agency in Mississauga, to start the process.  We got an information package, including an application.  We filled out our application and sent it in.

We then found out we would need a home study.   We had to contact a social worker, and arrange to have a home study completed.  It took about four months to get that process completed.  The home study process is quite invasive.  We were asked questions that were very personal and intensive.  I would say it is comparable to having a colonoscopy. If prospective parents went through this process, there would quite likely be fewer children in difficult situations.

After our home study was complete, we went in for an interview, and completed our profile.  In the meantime, we got connected with a local lawyer who is also a licensee with the province to arrange private adoptions.  We met with him and gave him a copy of our profile as well.

An additional step has been added since then in the Province of Ontario, attending the Parents Resource for Information, Development and Education (PRIDE) training course.  This seems to be a more formal, standardized course across agencies, both public and private.

This was happening in the fall of 2002, up to Christmas.  In the meantime, a group from our church was preparing to go on a mission trip in February of 2003.  It was getting close to the time to go.  There was an information meeting between Christmas and New Years for the group getting ready to go.   As I think back, I can’t exactly recall the specifics of what led us to go.  All that I remember is after a Sunday service, that I felt a strong calling by God that we should go to the information meeting.  We went to the meeting, got some information about the cost and details, and found out a commitment was necessary by late in January.

We hesitated for a couple of weeks, as Sandra worked on getting our profile together.  As the deadline was approaching, I went to church and Sandra stayed at home to work on the profile.  We needed to make a decision by mid-week.

The message was quite powerful, and left the impression that something was coming soon.  That afternoon, I was running an errand to a local store.  It’s funny, now, 9 years later, as I think about it, I still get kind of emotional.

As I was driving along, listening to a worship song on a CD, God spoke to me, “You have so much, how can you not go?”  That settled it for me.  I had got a copy of the tape (wow, flashback, remember those?), and wanted Sandra to listen to it on her and come to her own conclusion.  Monday night was busy, and Tuesday night was the kids’ program at our church.  I was helping out there.  About 7:20, I was speaking to Sandra, and we agreed that we should go.  We weren’t sure exactly how we would afford the cost, but we went ahead.

This trip was quite an experience.  I would recommend to anyone that has the opportunity to go on a mission trip to take advantage of the opportunity.  A trip could be to a different county, a different city, or even a different neighbourhood.  It will open your eyes to how truly blessed you are.

We made return trips to Burkina Faso in February of 2004 and November of 2004.  In November, we took our nephew with us.  At the time, he was 12.  We figured at that point, it might be our last trip to Africa.

Next, I’ll tell more about how we moved through our adoption story.

Our story – introduction

April 18, 2012

In a post at the end of December, I mentioned that our journey had been going on for about six years.

As I think about it, the story actually goes back to Christmas of 2002.  Actually, the spring of 2002.

I wrote a draft of this post around the beginning of January, and put it on the shelf.  I looked at it a couple of times, and tried to decide the best way to tell the story.  When I wrote it out, it was over 2,000 words.  I thought that would be too much to read in one sitting, so I debated about how to break it up into smaller chunks, and chunks that would make sense.

I will post our story in three parts.  Stay tuned.

After all have been posted, click here for part 1, here for part 2, and here for part 3.

Teaser – our story coming soon

April 17, 2012

A while back, I promised to tell the story of our story.  Coming soon.  I’m still trying to figure out if it’s best to tell it all at once, or in installments.

Coming soon.

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