Well, we’ve been to L.A. and as would be expected I am blogging way late about it (I still have intentions of blogging about Charley’s birthday and party from JULY!). If you’re new around here or need a refresher you can read the post I wrote about why we went to L.A. here.
We survived the flight to L.A., but I would like to say on record that flying on a plane for 3.5 hours with a 13 month old is maybe the most annoying thing you could possibly ever do. Crazy baby wants to do nothing in life right now but walk. Give her a giant warehouse and she would be happy just walking in circles for hours. She’s a real big fan. So, if you put her on a plane where she can’t even walk for a second (we tried and she was only keen on reaching for peoples’ cups, taking blankets off laps, staring and gawking in order to wake up the dreaming passenger, etc.) she’s going to be real confused and real annoyed and eventually real mad. There were definitely some things that helped like a borrowed DVD player, some stickers her cousin sent her for her birthday, books and food, but still … I’ve never checked the flight info for how much time was left so much in all my life!
And, if you’re wondering she did in fact take a nap. For like 21 minutes.
After all of our traveling (6 cities in 2-weeks!) we still said that the traveling was worth it. We love to travel so much and want our kids to be totally used to airplanes by the time they’re old enough to know what one is. It’s just part of the process.
We flew in on a Saturday and enjoyed a few days there hanging out with friends and doing the touristy thing – seeing a few famous people upon flying in, eating at In-N-Out Burger, traveling down Sunset Blvd, seeing the Hollywood sign, driving through Beverly Hills and shopping at Santa Monica Beach. It was all very fun and vacation-y.
Monday was our 5-hour meeting with the lawyer. A quick word on why we decided to work with a lawyer this go around …
Typically you have more protection when working with an agency. I didn’t think we’d ever contact a lawyer when adopting again! But, after hearing success stories from others who worked with him, doing a bit of research (and finding out that he facilitated the first adoption of the lady who runs the agency we used when we adopted Charley! (did you follow that?)) and the simple fact that his fees are quite low considering he works nationwide we knew we wanted to at least meet him (the agency we used when adopting Charley only works locally).
The thing we liked most about him and his team is that they have been doing this for over 20 years. They are seriously like a well-oiled machine and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything they haven’t seen. I felt like I was in good hands.
The only thing that we got hung up on was realizing we needed to figure out how much we were willing to budget to help a birthmom with living expenses. Birthmoms get nothing for placing their baby for adoption (otherwise it’s considered baby buying), but often they are in need of financial assistance due to different circumstances. Our first birthmom, for example, lost her job waitressing when she was 7.5 months pregnant. We paid about $2,000 worth of bills to help her stay safe and to keep her cell phone on so that we could communicate with her. All of the bills were handled through the agency and all the bills for our next adoption will be handled through the lawyer. And, everything is documented and will be presented in court when the adoption is finalized. Only bills that have to do with the actual pregnancy can be paid. Otherwise, like I mentioned earlier, it’s considered baby buying.
In Ohio there is a cap on how much you can help with birthmom living expenses ($3,000), in other states there is no cap. We didn’t feel comfortable saying we’d pay just anything. We are working hard to not accrue any debt with this adoption, just like we didn’t with our first. So, we spent a few weeks conversing with our lawyer here in town and praying over things and settled on our budget (we may end up spending less, but will definitely not spend more).
Then, last Friday Corey and I sat in front of the T.V., filled out the paperwork, wrote the check to secure his services and Monday our paperwork left for L.A.
Yesterday we received the call that our paperwork had arrived and our profile was officially in the “ready to adopt” file.
Eeeeek! I feel like I’m standing on the top of a giant cliff getting ready to jump into crystal clear water. It all looks good and feels exciting, but the “what ifs” are definitely present. The alternative? Back away and always wonder. No thank you. Let’s do this thing. Eeeeek!
With our first agency we created a profile book (as mentioned and shown here) and our birthmom chose us through that. With this lawyer he does things quite different (and I really like it). They have the assessment of the adoptive couple (or singlet) and the adoptive family gets to voice everything they would desire and be okay seeing in a birthmom. Then, when a birthmom contacts them they have the intial screening over the phone and then upon confirming that she is in fact serious they fly her to L.A. where they go through the same process with her that they did with the adoptive family. She is then granted full permission to express everything she’d love to find in the perfect adoptive family.
Then, the lawyer returns to his office, goes through the profiles and picks the best match for her. He calls the adoptive family, emails them the 9 pages of social and medical history, the budget and a picture of her and if the adoptive family feels good with all they see they fly out the FOLLOWING MORNING to meet her in L.A.. Yowza!
From there both parties decide if they want to move forward. He said most do since most of the “leg work” has taken place with both assessments.
From today on we have been told to keep our phones on us at all times early afternoon and on. This is going to be a real big problem for me because I rarely keep my phone on me. I may have to get a dorky phone clip to wear on my pants. ; )
The lawyer feels confident that we will have a baby in our home within 12-months. I know that requesting a Caucasian baby can make the wait longer, but we waited 2-months before being matched to our birthmom the first go-around so I’m not going to pretend I know anything about anything. Instead, I am trying very hard to begin to adjust my thinking on everything and treat our lives as if we’re pregnant.
It’s exciting and scary and adventurous and scary and scary. And, not just the adopting thing (although that is definitely an added component). It’s the adding another person to our team and our home and our forever lives. I mean that’s like a huge deal and one that we’re ready to embrace, but it’s still a big deal. I’m definitely processing and adjusting my brain and job and even making small adjustments to our home.
So, that’s it for now. I will of course keep you updated on things if and when updates come. Until then, do any of you all have any questions? It always amazes me just how little people know about adoption. And, I definitely don’t fault them – we knew absolutely NOTHING less than 2-years ago. So, if you do please feel free to ask. If the question is more personal I won’t approve your comment and instead just email you my reply. Otherwise, I’ll reply to questions here for others to read.
So, here’s where we’re at to date ..
And, as we wait to jot down any more significant dates we will continue to relish in what we’ve been given to date:
A whole lotta love.
p.s. cliff-jumping photo via Pinterest.