I’ve touched very briefly on this subject before, but I wanted to go into it a bit more in detail. When we first started with our adoption we started out with the intent on self-matching, meaning we were going to advertise ourselves, do our own marketing, and finalize the adoption with an lawyer instead of using an agency to do it all for us. The main reason we started off that way is because of the cost. We could save roughly $20,000 by not using an agency. I researched a lot into the options and the pro’s and con’s of each of them so we felt this was our best bet to start out with.
We started off by sharing our hope to adopt via social media and created a Facebook page specifically for our adoption highlights and updates. We then started a profile on Adoptomist.com which is a place where you put up a profile where expectant moms can view them to try and decide if a family is a good fit for her and the child. Within a few short hours we started having some contact with expectant families which was very exciting.
We had a few contacts that really seemed legitimate, others were full of red flags from the get-go. The first red flag that we always had was the grammar and word usage. A lot of scammers are from other countries so if there was a huge amount of language barriers, I was always on high alert. The other red flag we came a crossed a few times was the children were older and the mom had some huge story about why she couldn’t parent. They usually go into detail about their situation like “my baby is 4 months old and I just found out I have cancer. They’ve only given me 3 months to live. I need to find a family asap so I can focus on my medical problems.” We received a lot of sob stories like that. This may be a real case, but all of ours were not. Another HUGE red flag is the mention of money. Any time money is mentioned you should proceed with caution, extreme caution! Most of the scams that we were presented with we knew right away, but one caught us off guard.
We had a friend who seen a woman in a facebook group she is apart of, share that she was pregnant and looking to place her baby for adoption. My friend knew we were hoping to adopt so she provided her our contact information and we started Facebook chatting. The woman was from our same state, she seemed somewhat stable, and had other children who were older. She let us know that her and her husband were not in the best place in their lives and they couldn’t raise another child. We spoke with for a few weeks and there were very few red flags. Her communication was hit and miss. She would chat and respond frequently and then she’d stop. I never pressured her to reply and let her lead the conversation. One day, after not hearing from her for a bit, she reached out to me saying she would probably not be able to reply much for a bit because she didn’t have money to pay her phone bill. She never straight up asked for my help paying her bill, but that was the first red flag. I felt like she was fishing for financial help.
We became friends on Facebook and some of the things I seen on her profile page started confirming she was probably not really expecting. She kept updating her status asking for help with bills, moving expenses, etc. The more I read the more I knew she was scamming us. A few days after she mentioned her phone being turned off, she deleted me from Facebook. That was my answer. She was trying to scam be for money. That one hurt a bit because it was the first one we thought could lead to us starting our family.
These scammers pray on the vulnerable and they do it for many reasons. Some are emotional scammers. They don't ask for money, all they want is the thrill of knowing they played with someones emotions. Others do it for the money. That is why I strongly advise talking to an adoption social worker or attorney before beginning talks with a expectant mom. The more knowledge you have before diving in the better you'll be prepared on how to handle the tough situations.
After dealing with that, I had a strong desire to start researching agencies. I looked into a few and called to have a consult to see if they were the best fit for us. The one we ended up choosing seemed right. They provided counseling to the expectant mothers before they even began searching for families. They felt it was important to make sure the mother was confident in her decision before exposing her and the hopeful adoptive parents to the emotions that come with the decision. That was a really important piece of the puzzle for us which ultimately led us to choose that agency and being matched with our birth mom.
Being in the adoption process is so hard. It’s draining mentally, emotionally, and in most cases financially. When things don’t go as planned it’s even harder because you’re already so invested and tired from the process. Looking back now, I’m able to see that things didn’t work out because they were supposed to work out a different way. I’m glad I listened to my gut and didn’t invest any more time in the scams and moved forward with our agency. Having the extra help and expertise was worth the extra money to get our son. Everything worked out like it should have and for that I’m so grateful!
This weekend Rhett, myself, and my mom all drove down to Vegas to have lunch with our birth mom and it got me thinking about a few things that I wanted to share. When we first decided to move forward with adoption the number one thing that really was hard for was the thought of a relationship with a stranger. I never doubted whether I could love a child, but I really doubted whether I could love their birth family.
I am not an easy egg to crack. I don’t like meeting new people and I don’t often come off as the friendliest person. This is something I really try hard to overcome, but it has been a struggle for a long time. I guess I have a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing and being judged for it. I don’t like the idea of being hurt so I would rather stay to myself and not let it happen. Phew, that was kind of hard to write out (writing is therapeutic!) Moral of this paragraph is that I was really scared that I wouldn’t be able to open up with our birth mom and bond with her. I feel like we have bonded, but I am still holding back from her.
She wants to be friends on Facebook, but I haven’t allowed that yet. I’m just not ready for that amount of sharing. We have set up a private facebook group where I am the moderator and have to approve most everything that happens within the group but becoming “friends” is still hard for me to grasp. On our way to meet up with her in Vegas we stopped in to the adoption agency we used and met with some of the women who helped Rhett find is way to us. It was so special to talk to them and bring up a few of the issues I have been facing with the openness of our adoption. They both assured me that what we are doing is perfect, that boundaries have to be set early, and we should never do anything we don’t feel comfortable with. Getting that validation from them felt really good and sparked confidence in my decisions.
I may not be an open book with our birth mom, but we are bonded more than I ever thought possible and it’s all because of one feisty little boy. We will forever have an unspoken bond that revolves around him. We both love him dearly and to think about not loving the person who gave him life is a really hard pill to swallow. We are bonded in a stronger way that I ever expected.
Just to be clear we are still completely following through with the promise that we made for our post placement plan. We agreed to 1 update every 3 months and 2 visits per year. We will never back out from that promise unless given a legitimate reason to. If we every feel something is not in Rhett’s best interest we will reevaluate and come up with a better solution. At this point in time we are doing what we feel is best for all of us involved, most importantly Rhett. He deserves to know the woman who chose life for him and who loves him tremendously. I would never want to hold any love back from him.
If you are debating on whether adoption is the right choice for you and are questioning the emotional side of it, please know that it is hard but so worth it. I promise that the right direction will be laid for you and the adoption journey you are dealt. No 2 adoptions are the same, no 2 birth parents are the same, and no 2 adoptive parents are the same. You will figure out what works best for you and your child while the relationship transforms. Please don’t let this fear hold you back from becoming a parent through adoption. It is so, so worth it!
I have touched briefly on our post placement relationship with Rhetts birth mom. I haven’t spoke too much about it because it’s still a very new, unknown territory. We have an open adoption with her and send her updates regularly, but we are just about to do our first visit since his birth. Mainly just because we both work full time and can’t afford to take time off work. We’ve told a few people about our upcoming visit and a few of those people have cringed and made us feel bad for going.
Here’s the thing that most people do not understand. We have researched the benefits of open adoption. We have researched the cons of open adoption. We are also parents. We will do what we feel is best for our child and we don’t need anyone’s approval for it. In fact, the more I think about it the more I get offended that people question that.
Open adoption is a new concept for a lot of people, especially older folk. They think adoption is a closed subject that no body needs to know about, not even the child. This is in most cases harmful. The child grows up, hears they’re adopted from a loose lipped cousin, and ends up resenting the parents for lying to them. The only time studies have shown that a closed adoption is beneficial is if there has been some form of abuse (substance, sexual, battery, etc.) If we ever feel that updates and visitation is not in Rhetts best interest we can and will stop them.
Rhett’s birthmom made the decision to place Rhett from a place of love. She knew that her life was not at a place where she could parent him the way he deserved. She is not a bad person, far from it. In a world where abortion is so freely talked about, she could have done that and been done. She chose life and in turn blessed ours immensely. She sought regular prenatal visits, ate what she knew to be healthy, and stayed free of drugs and alcohol. How could we deny her the chance to know and love the person she loved from the moment she found out about him?
Our relationship with Birth mom is very new. We are not at a comfortable place yet, but I have faith we will get there. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that our first visit goes well!
While making the decision how to move forward with starting our family I was lead to adoption a few times before we actually started the adoption process. I kept backing out and not bringing it up to Nate because I had one huge worry... would we love this baby if it was not genetically tied to us? This worry was all in God’s timing. I had to work out the fear before moving forward. For those still in the wait, undecided on how to move forward, know this. The love of a child does not come solely on genetics. It comes from nurturing, love, and fate. I promise you that when you hold that baby in your arms you will feel love, you will have to desire to nurture him, and you will know fate brought you together.
When I held Rhett for the first time my heart was at complete peace for the first time in years. I knew without a doubt that he was mine, not genetically but spiritually. I was meant to love him. And boy do I love him. I love waking up to his cries every morning. I love watching his hands clasp his bottle that he so impatiently waited for. I love hearing him call me mama and his daddy dada. I love his dark brown eyes (that look nothing like mine) light up when he sees me. Most of all, I love how much he loves me. He loves me because I’m there. I nurture his every need and want. He loves me in all my imperfect glory. He’s loved me through learning everything about being a mom and he’s loved me through my bad days.
I know sometimes it feels like your heart will never heal. Like you’ll never know what it’s like to love so deeply it hurts, but I promise you will. Open your heart and let god (or whatever higher power you believe in) guide you to make the best decision. You’re worthy of love, you have a nurturing soul, and fate will find its way to you.
Hi my name is Whitney and I'm a mom to 2 adorable boys and the wife to a sports loving, handsome man. I'm outnumbered but wouldn't have it any other way. I'm navigating motherhood one fart joke at a time. Welcome to my crazy life!