Thursday, February 16, 2017

Our adoption process - info and advice

I have been getting asked at least once or twice a week about our adoption journey and the route that we took and if I have any advice. I thought it would be a good idea to write it all out here so everyone can find it easily. I by no means am an expert but I educated myself pretty well I think and I followed my gut and we ended up having a really amazing experience.  I hope that other hopeful adoptive parents can at least find something useful in our journey.

Timeline
April 2016 - Started seriously talking about adoption. I felt a desperate tug in my heart to adopt and I couldn't ignore it anymore. Started listening to podcasts and found other adoptive parents to talk to.
 May 2016 - Sent in our homestudy application.
 June 2016 - Homestudy is in full swing. Started working on profile book.
 July 2016 - signed with Christian Adoption Consultants.
 August 2016 - Homestudy is complete! Officially a waiting family with four different agencies.   
September 13, 2016 - WE ARE MATCHED!!! WOOHOO!!!!
 October 2016 - Fly to Florida to meet the expectant mother. 
 November/December 2016 - Waited......and tried not to have anxiety attacks.
 January 12, 2017 - Our son Charlie was born!!

Podcasts
My biggest piece of advice. PODCASTS!!!!! I started off by listening to podcasts while I was driving for work. Lots and lots and LOTS of podcasts. Just THINKING about starting the adoption process is so completely overwhelming but starting with podcasts educated me SO much on so many adoption related topics. The best podcast out there is Creating a Family (link below). Dawn Davenport interviews 2-3 professionals from all different triads in each episode and she really asks good questions. There are episodes that cover things like where to start, the difference between agencies, attorneys, consultants and facilitators, what to expect with the homestudy, what expectant moms are looking for, profile books, etc. Another good podcast is the Infant Adoption Guide (link below), and Fund Your Adoption with Jeremy Resmer.  I listened to all of these podcasts on the podcast app on my iphone. But here are the links:
 Creating a Family Podcast https://creatingafamily.org/category/radio-show/
 Infant Adoption Guide Podcast http://infantadoptionguide.com/infant-adoption-guide-podcast/
 Fund Your Adoption with Jeremy Resmer http://fundyouradoption.tv/author/jeremyresmer1/ or Fund Your Adoption with Jeremy Resmer by Jeremy Resmer https://itun.es/us/50Cj4.c

Consultants
We worked with Christian Adoption Consultants. In brief, consultants guide hopeful adoptive parents through the whole process and to different agencies who will waive their sign-on fees for the consultant's clients. So we were able to sign up with multiple agencies with little to no initial fees.  We decided to go the consultant route for a few reasons.
 1. The first and biggest reason is because we wanted to match quicker than the average 1-2 years.
 2. The second biggest reason was because I felt like it was so difficult to find an agency that I could trust ethically because they can say anything they want to me and the expectant moms but really just be in it for the money. CAC has worked with the particular agencies/attorneys they are partenered with for years and they are particular about finding GOOD agencies/attorneys that are ethical and take good care of the birthmothers (which also in turn lowers the chance of a failed match).
 3. We didn't want to be locked in with one agency, because if down the road we weren't happy with how things were going we wanted to have flexibility to go elsewhere without losing a huge amount of money.
 4. CAC only works in states that have laws that limit the chance of a failed placement for the adoptive family. For instance in Florida there is no revocation period where the birth parents can change their mind after signing (vs Wisconsin where the birth parents can change their mind for 30 days after placement). Not all consultants work this way but CAC did and I found a lot of comfort in that.
 5. My gut just kept leading me to CAC and I couldn't fight it.  Our experience with CAC, particularly Susan VanSyckle was excellent. Communication was fast and easy and our questions were always answered really thoroughly. We ended up signing up with 4 agencies and were matched in 3 weeks with the second expectant mother to see our book. 

Home Study
We found a local adoption agency that did our homestudy and the CAC agencies all accepted it. It took us about 3.5 months for our homestudy to be completed and sent off to the agencies. We signed with CAC about a month before our homestudy was complete. You can read more about our homestudy here and here 

Profile book
I used mixbook for our profile book and I had to order about 20 copies to send to the agencies. They also gave me a PDF version when I explained it was for an adoption. You can see my profile book here

Cost
Private adoption isn't cheap. I think the average from what I saw during my research and experience was between $30-$45k. I did a rough breakdown of the fees here. We fundraised quite a bit. Our most successful fundraiser was a puzzle fundraiser and I also did an auction on instagram where I found etsy shops that were willing to donate handmade items. I also made jewelry and sold it on etsy.

 I hope some of this info was helpful!! Like I said before, I'm not an expert but I am happy to share my own experience. Adoption is hard and it's time consuming and it's scary as heck, but it's SO WORTH IT. If you are thinking about adoption, don't let the process scare you. Just take one step at a time and don't give up!    

Monday, January 23, 2017

The birth and adoption story of baby Charlie

I've been really excited to write down and share the birth and adoption story of our new baby son. It's long, I apologize, but it was such a beautiful experience and I just can't leave out good details!   We have a son. A perfectly healthy and beautiful son with a head full of shiny brown hair and sparkling gray/blue eyes. He is sound asleep on me right now, all wrapped up in a baby wrap pressed up against my chest, making cute little noises with each breath. My heart melts a little more each time I feel his little lungs rise with air. My nose is constantly pressed up against his head so I can smell him and kiss him. I can't believe I'm his mom and Wes is his dad. We are literally overwhelmed with so many emotions and so much awe.  

We got to Florida monday the 9th in the afternoon and took birthmom to dinner. {We are staying pretty private about the birth family to respect them and also to respect Charlie's history. It's knowledge for him to cherish, and not for everyone to know all about). I spent most of the day Tuesday and Wednesday with birthmom. We had such a special time and really bonded even more. The love and respect that I have for her is indescribable. She is my hero. I only hope that one day I can be as selfless as she is. 
The hands of two mothers: Birthmom and me
The days before our son's birth were unforgettable. The emotions that we were feeling were all over the place. Mostly excitement, a lot of disbelief, on and off worry. It was so hard to sleep. We were nervous for birthmom because we knew she was nervous. I wished that I could go thru the csection for her, I didn't want her to go thru any pain. Thursday the 12th was the big day. We met everyone at the hospital at 9am and got registered and went up to the pre-op/recovery room where she got ready. I actually went in with her, but Wes stayed in the waiting area. Her mom was there with her too, and we sat on the bed and watched the baby kick around in her belly. This was actually the first time I got to see and feel him kick. They hooked her up to the monitor and we could hear his heart beating. I was fighting back tears the whole time. Birthmom was doing so great and was really ready. I knew she was scared, but she was ready and she was so upbeat. I was amazed by her strength. Nurses came in and asked who was going to do the first feeding after he was born, and birthmom said she wanted me and Wes to do it. I started crying. I gave the nurse my cell phone to get pictures and they wheeled birthmom out for the csection. I went out to the waiting room to sit with Wes.
In the waiting room waiting for baby to be born

We got a text from the nurse that read "we are about to meet your son", followed by a picture of him about 20 minutes later. I can't even describe our emotions. We hurried back into the recovery room knowing that we would meet him there and give him his first bottle. Walking down the hall I started crying uncontrollably from the anticipation. I remember all of this so clearly. His birth grandmother was holding him in the room smiling at us. I was crying so hard I could barely see. She handed him to me and I cradled him in my arms and Wes was over my shoulder holding me. He was smiling in awe, and I was just weeping uncontrollably. I don't know when I stopped crying, but we held him for a long time. I had to ask someone to wipe my eyes for me with kleenex because I couldn't see from all the tears. I'm not sure if it was the birth grandmother or the nurse who dabbed my eyes but I was so thankful someone did.
Our son Charles "Charlie" Thomas Sorrill was born January 12th, 2017 at 12:24pm weighing 7lbs 1oz and 19-3/4" long. Wes and I took turns holding him. Watching Wes hold him and smile with love and pride was better than I imagined it would be. I had waited for so long to see him hold our child and I felt like my heart was going to explode. My favorite moment was when I wrapped my arms around Wes and Charlie and I whispered "we are a family of three now", and Wes started sobbing too. I had my face buried between his chest and the baby and I could feel his cries. It was so beautiful. 
We are a family of three now
We got to feed him which was really fun! We had no idea what we were doing and burping him was hard because we just aren't used to handling tiny floppy newborns. We stayed in that room with him for a few hours. Birthmom got wheeled back in and was really tired from the anesthesia. We eventually got moved up to a post partum room where we all stayed together. I was nervous about what it would be like to be in the small room with birthmom, trying to hold the baby but also be sensitive to her, but it was actually a really special and beautiful time. She said she really wanted us to enjoy our time with him and get used to feeding him and changing him, so we did, and she seemed to be doing really well! She held him and we all marveled at how cute he was. We watched the nurse give him his first bath and then we left the hospital around 10:30pm to sleep at a hotel. Birthmom took care of him all night which I think she really liked having that time with him.  

We got back to the hospital the next morning and to our surprise birthmom was up and walking around and doing so great! She said that her doctor had already seen her and said she could be discharged that afternoon, and the pediatrician said the baby was doing excellent and could also be discharged. And to our even greater surprise the social worker said she was coming with the papers in just a few hours. We spent a really nice morning and afternoon together, and then when the social workers got there we headed downstairs to wait. We didn't think she would change her mind, but it's crazy how much fear creeps in in these moments. When we saw the social worker get off the elevator with a smile on her face I burst into tears again and I felt an indescribable amount of relief. This was really going to happen. 
Birthmom left the hospital while we were signing the papers so she could avoid the difficult goodbyes. We knew this was a really difficult time and we were just so amazed by how brave and strong she was. After papers were signed, I waited for Wes to go get the car seat and I stood in the hospital lobby sending out our baby announcement on my phone with tears streaming down my face. I just remember walking back to the room to get him and the nurses were congratulating us and I couldn't stop crying again. We strapped him in and were escorted out. Putting him in our car and driving off with him was such a surreal feeling. It was a feeling of redemption like I couldn't believe. Years of pain and tears from infertility and feeling like we would never have a child to call ours, the strenuous adoption journey that led us here, all of it was over. All of the pain was gone. This was it. He was ours and we were his parents. We are so unbelievably in love with him. I still can't believe it. God is so good. This was better than any pregnancy or birth story or adoption story I could have dreamed up myself. 

Thank you all so much for being part of this journey with us, for all of your prayers, support, donations, companionship...everything. I couldn't have survived this without all of you. The prayers were felt, and I mean I REALLY felt them. So thank you all so much.     

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

9 more days....

 

 

9 more days!!!!

Well the countdown is on, thats for sure!! Our baby boy will be here in nine days, on January 12th!! In 9 days, we will (Lord willing) be parents, meeting and holding our baby for the first time ever. We have painfully waited for this day for 2.5 years, but I have been dreaming of this day since I was a little girl. Enduring infertility was the hardest thing I've ever been through, but THIS, this is unlike anything I ever thought possible. The joy and happiness that we feel as we prepare to meet our son is unreal. 

Psalm 113:9 "He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children"

Psalm 30:11 "You have turned my wailing into dancing, you have removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy"

These days leading up to baby's birth have been ones I want to remember and cherish forever. The range of emotions is unlike anything I've ever experienced before. Everyday I feel differently, from extreme excitement, to worry and anxiety, to feeling like this is too surreal to actually be happening, to LOVE (which leads to lots of tears), and back to excitement. Last week I felt like I was in la la land because this all just feels so unreal. Wes on the other hand, he is so emotionally steady and it blows my mind that he is able to go about life in a normal fashion. He is excited, but it doesn't effect his every waking minute like it does me. This week I feel so much excitement and happiness. We are blessed beyond measure to have such a special relationship with this expectant mom. She has been talking with us frequently and sharing her excitement with us. Hearing her talk about how ready she is to have the baby and how excited she is to be the one making us parents for the first time brings me to tears. I'm in AWE OF HER. Absolute awe. 

Our Plans

We leave THIS SUNDAY, in 5 days!!! We decided to drive so we can cut down on travel expenses and avoid flu exposure on the airplane. The drive from Chicago to where we will be in Florida is about 20 hours. We hope to get there monday afternoon so we can take our expectant mom out for dinner. On Tuesday I am taking her dress shopping, and then I am going to take some maternity photos for her so that she can have something special to remember this time being pregnant with baby boy. I saw one of my other adoptive mom friends do this and I thought it was so incredible. I really want her to feel beautiful and special and I just want her to know that we acknowledge this special role that she will always have in baby boys life. She is so loved! We both are really excited for this day together. The baby will come on Thursday and everything else will be played by ear. Once papers are signed and we are discharged from the hospital we are lucky enough to have friends of my brother's to stay with. They were so kind to open up their home to us for as long as we need to wait. We expect that we can submit paperwork for ICPC (interstate compact for the protection of children) on Tuesday the 17th, and it usually takes 5-10 business days to get approval so we could be waiting around for a little while. We are SO thankful that we have a place to stay with really wonderful people.   We have NO IDEA what to expect this experience to be like. We have been told that at the hospital we will not be getting a separate room to stay with the baby, and we will be treated like any other hospital guest and will only be allowed to visit the baby during visiting hours. We are slightly disappointed by this because we were really excited to start bonding with the baby right away, but we will go with the flow. Emotions are going to be really high and we are as prepared as we can be for the emotions that birthmom will be feeling. The best day of our lives is going to be the hardest day of her life. We have never had to navigate a situation like this before and we are nervous, and armed with a lot of love and compassion.   

PLEASE PRAY!!!

Please pray with us and for us and everyone involved. Please pray for us to have safe travels, and for the birthmom and baby to have a healthy delivery and recovery. Please pray for birthmom that she be COVERED in peace and feel so much love throughout all of this. That she is able to make the decision that is best for her and the baby, and that whatever decision she makes that we can do our best to love her.   

Our puzzle

We finally finished putting the puzzle together and we are so excited about it. It turned out so beautiful and will look amazing hanging on the nursery wall. This puzzle would never have been possible without all of you who so generously donated. We can't thank you enough and we will remember forever the love and support that were shown to us. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Adoption fundraiser
Adoption fundraiser

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Adoption Auction!

 
 
It's finally here!!!! The long awaited Instagram adoption auction that I have been working on tirelessly for the last 6 weeks. The auction is being held on Instagram at @babysorrilladoptionauction and I ended up with a total of 131 items! My hopes were to get 100 items and then I was totally blown away by the generosity of people who wanted to donate and help us! Almost all of the items are handmade by special people who care about adoption and sell their items on Etsy. Please check the auction out and bid, bid, bid to help us reach our fundraising goal to bring our baby home in January!!!
 
@babysorrilladoptionauction on instagram. Here are some sneak peeks to get you excited!
 
 

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Meeting our expectant mom

I've been taking a while to write this post because I've just been mulling over all of the feelings and keeping them close to my heart. If you missed the story about our being matched with an expectant mother who is pregnant with a baby boy click here.  
We found out about "K" choosing us to be the parents to her baby boy on September 13th and the agency case worker said that K was very anxious to meet us. We were able to fly out to meet her just 3 weeks later on October 3rd. To our surprise, K re-scheduled her doctor appointment so that we could go to it with her. We were SO excited. We met for lunch and it was just a really wonderful time getting to know each other. We all cried a little bit and talked about how incredible this all was and how it felt so meant to be. K was amazing. The flood of love that we both instantly felt for her was really unexpected and profound. We told her how much we wanted to have a relationship with her and how we hoped so much that we could become close and stay close even after the baby is here. We really wanted her to know that we care about HER and not just getting her baby. I used to be so scared of feeling like we were "sharing" someone's baby, but after getting to know her it's like...how could it possibly be any other way? We WANT her to be part of this with us. We WANT her to know that she can always be there for him and love him as much as she wants. She loves this baby so much already and it was so clear how much she cared about him. We feel so honored that she would want us to parent him and our hearts have nothing but gratitude and love for her. After all, it is because of her that we are going to become parents.   At the doctor appointment we were so excited to find out that they were going to do an ultrasound for us and we would get to be there. I've never seen an ultrasound done on a baby before (only my ovaries lol) so it was really mind blowingly cool!! We saw and heard the heartbeat and we saw that he was definitely a boy! It all went really fast and we didn't really get to have a "moment" like I had hoped, but it was still an incredible experience. We got some pictures that are really difficult to read but we don't even care that we don't know what they are pictures of. We love them. We love this baby. We love this mom. We are overflowing with love.
  So now we are just waiting and trying to build our relationship with K as we wait. She is about 29 weeks pregnant now so we still have quite a few weeks left. This waiting has been much more difficult than I expected it to be. When we are busy the time passes by quicker, but on days when we aren't out doing things I can feel anxiety and fear creep in. We fully realize that she can change her mind and parent this baby herself and she has the right to do that. But as time goes on I'm feeling attachment and love for this baby creeping up more than I expected. I'm NOT going to think about how much my heart will hurt if this falls through. I know that God has His hand in this and I'm trying to trust Him more than ever.   
  So in the mean time we are getting ready!! Two of my best friends threw us the most amazing baby shower ever last weekend. It was seriously a dream come true to have a baby shower. For ME! How is this possible? I still can't believe it, that I, Charlotte, am going to be a mother! We are so thankful for everyone who came to celebrate with us and for everything that we got. I think we are totally ready for baby now!    Please continue to pray for us and for K and baby boy. Specifically, pray that we feel peace and can keep trusting and loving to the fullest. For K that she continues to have a healthy pregnancy with as few discomforts as possible and that she continues to feel flooded with peace and love. And for baby boy that he continues to grow strong and healthy.  
 
   

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Baby Sorrill has been FOUND!!!!

Baby Sorrill has been FOUND!!!!
Adoption match
WE ARE MATCHED!!!!! We got the call first thing Tuesday morning (September 13th) that an expectant mother who had seen our profile book the day before had selected us to be the parents to her baby BOY!!! And he is due January 16th!! Be still my heart, we are going to have a SON!!! We are both in shock and over the moon excited! When the girl at the agency was telling me about how excited this expectant mother was about us I just kept saying "what? What? US??? Are you SERIOUS??" Lol she probably thought I was crazy, and deaf. 
Not the best picture, but who has time for pictures at a time like this!

We can't believe that this happened so fast. We matched in just THREE SHORT WEEKS!!! Guys, this is unheard of! I didn't think we would wait very long, but I am in total shock that it happened so fast! All I can say is that God is SO GOOD!! Having four months to prepare for baby boy is really perfect for us with Wes having to schedule residency interviews in the next few months. I don't think the timing could be any better and I really feel like God had our backs on this one.

So I want to just marvel at the timing for a minute longer. April was the month when we were really hardcore talking about adoption and if it was the right thing to do. My heart was being pulled SO HARD to adopt. I felt so strongly that we had to adopt and I remember feeling desperate. And it was urgent! We couldn't wait, we had to start now! April is the month that our baby boy was conceived. Right as our baby was being created I felt God telling us that now was the time. Fast forward 4ish months to when we went active with our agencies...and three short weeks later our baby has found us, and we have found him. 

I still can't believe it....   We have gotten a lot of questions the last few days. So here are some answers!  

Where will the baby be born? Baby will be born in Florida!     

Will we meet the expectant mother? Yes!! We are hoping to have a conference call with her and her agency case worker soon. She also asked if we could come out to Florida to meet her in a month or two so she can get to know us better!  

What information do we have on the birth family? This information is really private. It's hard to not spill all the details to everyone, especially for me as an over-sharer, but we are respecting the future privacy of our child. This is HIS story and HIS story alone to tell. We do not want people knowing about his first family and all the gossip about whatever and whoever before he even knows this information himself. When he grows up, if he wants to tell people about his birth family he can. But for now, all that's important is that a strong, courageous, and incredibly loving and selfless woman is making the hard choice that she wants her son to have a better life than what she can give him, and she wants US to give him that life.   

What's next? Now we have to prepare and nest! We also have a lot of fundraising left to do. The majority of our adoption fee was due up front but we still have a large amount to raise before placement, and we will be staying in Florida for about 2 weeks after the birth so we will have a lot of travel expenses as well. If any of you feel in your heart that you want to help us, whether monetary or in prayer, we would be forever grateful!!  

How can we pray? PLEASE pray for the precious mother carrying baby boy. Pray that she feels overwhelmed with peace in her decision with us. Pray that baby boy continues to grow and thrive and is healthy. And please pray for us as we prepare to become parents!!   

Thank you all so much for following along on this exciting journey to parenthood with us! Stay tuned for more details as things happen!!

Our cats are confused and think that they are our babies lol
 

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I always wondered what this would be like

 

Adoption Process
We have finally entered the waiting phase of the adoption process. The phase where our book is actually being shown to expectant mothers and we are waiting to hear if they picked us or not. And I mean like right now, this afternoon/evening. A pregnant mother took our book home today and could be looking at it this very minute as I type this. I always wondered what this would feel like. And I think it's different than I expected, at least so far. I expected to be over the top with anxiety and nerves. I'm definitely anxious, but I feel calm and peaceful. I feel EXCITED!! I think I just really know that this is where God lead us and I know that he has OUR baby lined up for us, and we just have to patiently wait.  So what do we do while we wait? We go for tandem bike rides of course!!
 
In the meantime...we got another situation emailed to us today and they need to know right away if we want to show our book, but we have to wait until we hear back from this mom who has our book right now. I'm more anxious about not hearing back in time and missing this other situation. I really don't want to miss our baby. And every time I see an email from our consultant I literally get so excited I have to pull my car over to read about it. This excitement guys, it's insane! I'm not looking forward to the feeling of rejection, and we very well could get rejected a lot of times before we get our match. We know it's nothing personal, but it's still not a nice feeling, especially when we are being so vulnerable in putting ourselves out there.  

Fundraising Update

Our puzzle fundraiser is so close to being done!! We only need 43 more pieces to be sponsored!! I am so grateful and thankful for everyone that has helped us!! Fundraising is HARD. It's not our thing. We (especially Wes) hate having to admit that we need help with this. But with Wes still being in medical school and me being the only one supporting us right now, it's just not possible for this to happen on our own. It's been humbling and it's really been an amazing blessing to see so many people pool together to help us. I've cried so many heartfelt tears of gratitude over the help we have received so far! I never realized how precious and meaningful this puzzle would be, and how much I would cherish it. So if anyone else is willing to help us sponsor our last 43 pieces (of a 252 piece puzzle) we would be forever grateful! If you can't help monetarily then please share this with someone who might be interested, and most of all, PLEASE PRAY FOR US AND OUR BABY!! And most of all, thank you for all of your continued prayers, support and encouragement!

To sponsor a piece: Click on my YouCaring or Paypal link to the right of my blog. $25 sponsors 1 puzzle piece. I will put the names of people down for any donations we get! If you would like to send a check then email me and I will send you our address

 

Puzzle fundraiser