Friday, August 2, 2013

Adoption Scammer Spam -- a new one!

Yes, I realize it's been a year since I posted.  Not much to report.  But then this gem arrived in my email box the other day:

Greetings
Saw your profile that you are looking to adopt. Have you adopted already? If not, then I am pleased to introduce to you our adoption agency / shelter home for kids: NSK GLOBAL MOTHERLESS SHELTER (www.nskglobalshelter.com).
Do you feel like your agency is holding you back? Do you want something out of your adoption that your agency wouldn't allow or maybe you have been waiting for long? Then we can help you.
Adopting with us allows you to enjoy:
  • Private Independent (Open / Closed) International Adoptions
  • Low fees
  • Faster adoption
  • Easy placement as we are a shelter home too
  • The Pleasure of By-passing the adoption agency / attorney (You dont need them). We provide these services and this saves you huge fees from Adoption agencies and attorneys and time too.
  • Pleasure of not having to travel...baby is brought into your country after adoption
  • Adoption in a non Hague convention country
  • Our help with citizenship procedure

So if you want to make your adoption dreams a reality, please contact us

Dr Eric Kruger (PhD)
Social worker & adoption specialist
NSK GLOBAL MOTHERLESS SHELTER

----

There are so many things wrong with this.  First, what they are basically describing is child trafficking.  Bypassing an agency or attorney, and those pesky Hague conventions (against child trafficking) is a huge, scary red flag.  Oh, and that you don't have to travel to meet and adopt the child and they'll fly the child to you, like UPS or something?  Trafficking.

If you go to their web site (which I don't recommend unless you want to feel really icky) you'll see photos of the people who work there.  But wait, they just don't look right.  So, if you do a reverse image search courtesy of Google Images, you'll find that person #3 is really a realtor in New Jersey with a totally different name.  Poor Realtor Dude has been face-jacked!  Right.

I had to share this a little more publicly because this kind if ickiness just needs to be shared.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Why are we here? Because we're waiting...

In high school English class, with Mrs. Votto, we read a play called "Waiting for Godot".  I will likely disappoint Mrs. Votto by saying that I remember very little about the play, beyond that there was very little going on, two guys were sitting on a bench I think, waiting for Godot.  I remember a bit of dialog, "Why are we here?" "Because we're waiting." "Waiting for what?" "Godot." "Oh."  As teenagers, this drove us nuts because the play was SO boring to us, because very little happened, they were just there, waiting.  Now, I can look on Wikipedia and see what I was supposed to remember, and this sums it up:

Waiting for Godot  is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters, Vladimir andEstragon, wait endlessly and in vain for the arrival of someone named Godot.

Sometimes, in this adoption journey, I feel like we're waiting for Godot, we're waiting for something that may never happen.  Rationally, I know that is not true, but we all know how often emotions cloud what makes sense.  Jason and I keep reminding ourselves that it took us much longer than "typical" to find each other, we were both too busy going to graduate school, traveling, and living truly unique and fortunate lives.  And then we met and great things happened.  Somewhere out there is a woman (and her partner?) who we don't know yet but who will someday be a very special part of our lives forever.  That kind of thing, I believe takes some doing, so whatever God/The Universe/the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or whoever has planned for us, well, it just takes some time to develop.  As a wise woman once told me, our baby isn't ready yet.  And when s/he is, her/his birth/first mother will find us and great things will happen.

How do I know this?  Because of an plane ride and work.

A long, long time ago, in a time called The 90's, I took a trip to see a friend in New England. I'd never been there, I thought, why not?  I had frequent flier miles to use, so why not.  On a leg from Detroit to Boston, I sat next to a woman and her elementary aged daughter, and we started talking.  She worked at Harvard Graduate School of Education.  I was a teacher.  We had much in common.  She encouraged me to apply to HGSE, I thought that there is NO WAY in heck I'm getting into Harvard. I had bad grades in undergrad, but I did do very well with my teaching credential coursework, but I thought, there is no way.  Well, I kept it in the back of my mind.  I came home and thought, well, if I don't apply, I'll never know.  If they say no, I'm out $60 for the application.  If they say yes, well, heck, that's not going to happen, so why worry. They said yes.  I went to Harvard.  All because of a conversation on a plane.  You never know where a life changing event is going to come from so be open and accepting, is what I learned.

After I was done with snow, I found a job on the west coast.  In that job, I had/have a friend/colleague, who, taking pity on me having moved 3000 miles and essentially knowing no one, introduced me to many of her friends.  One set of those friends said, hey, we have a son you should meet.  I thought, well, why not, worst case, if he is a jerk, I can call his mother to come pick me up.  Win/win.  Fast forward, we'll be celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary this week.  You never know when a life changing person is going to come into your life so be open and accepting.


This week, we'll mark 2 and a half years of waiting, which for some is a very long time, but if you ask someone waiting to adopt from China for example, we're just getting started.  So, it's all relative.  The adoption wait isn't like a video game, you can't press a button to make it go faster.  There is no magic solution, there is no short cut.  It's kinda like Hawaiian time, it takes as long as it takes, as my mother and auntie will likely agree.  And there is nothing wrong with that, it's actually a philosophy we could all learn from, to allow things to take time and not insist on immediate results.  Because you never know when a life changing event or life changing person is going to enter your life, and great things will happen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A trip to Santa Cruz!


Recently, we went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is a lovely beachfront amusement park and boardwalk.  There is a cool old building, called The Casino, which now houses an arcade in what used to be called Neptune's Plunge, which was a huge swimming pool fed by the ocean.  Upstairs, where there used to be an under the table casino (in the 1920's or so) are huge, gorgeous event spaces for weddings, meetings, etc.  I love old buildings and this one didn't disappoint.

Walking down the beach to the pier, we met some of my favorite sea creatures.  One of these days, I'm going to bring one home and keep him in my bathtub.  I love sea lions!




We spent some time both at the beach, and also touring around the college that is there, UC Santa Cruz.  It is a unique college campus, filled with lots of redwood trees, and they have the best mascot ever: the banan slug.  I see now why this town has such a laid back feel, I look forward to going there again soon.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Adoption Q & A

I did a little poll on Facebook of all of the folks who liked our adoption page, and though there were few responses, they were all in the far end of the spectrum: we have no idea what adoption currently involves.  So, that got me thinking.  Why not do a Q&A about open adoption and adoption in general.


I should say that like pretty much anything, there are many, many opinions and beliefs about the myriad aspects of adoption.  Depending on someone's level of involvement and their experiences (positive, neutral or negative) they will likely have feelings, and often very strong feelings on the topic.  I respect people's feelings but I will likely not address all aspects, controversies or elements to everyone's satisfaction.  If anything I say seems biased against a point of view, it is not intentional, I am just writing from the place I know.  And that's why this is posted on a blog and not the New York Times.  So, my bias might show, but I hope not too much.


For those who are new to adoption, I'll share some basics to help decipher the whole process. 

What is Open Adoption?  Is this co-parenting?

First off: open adoption. What is it? Open adoption means the child's birthmother or both birth parents choose the adoptive parents for their child. Open adoption means our child will know his/her birth parents and hopefully have a relationship with them throughout his/her life. Sometimes this isn't possible, but it is our ideal. Open adoption is not co-parenting, it is a fully legal adoption, with all of the rights of a naturally born child. Our agency leads the field of open adoption, they have a great page with a heap of info: http://www.adoptionhelp.org/open-adoption.


What are the different kinds of adoption in the United States?

In the US, for children born in the US, there is open, semi-open and closed adoption.  Open adoption is described in the previous question.  Semi-open adoption means a few different scenarios, but mostly it means that the birthmother picks the family for her child, and they might or might not meet before or at the birth, and contact happens through letters and photos to the agency and then the agency forwards it to the birthfamily.  The birthmother can send letters to her child via the agency as well.  A closed adoption means the birthmother never meets the adoptive family and does not want to have contact at all.


There is also foster adoption, and that can be open, semi-open or closed, too.  International adoption is mostly a closed adoption, but I know very little about these two types.



How does the process of an open adoption work?


This is the beefy part of the story, so get comfortable. Definitions to follow.

1) An adoptive family picks their agency/attorney/facilitator.
2) The adoptive family goes through the process of having a home study done.
3) The adoptive family creates a profile book/Dear Birthmother letter and web site.
4) Once all of these are complete, the adoptive family "goes live" and is visible to the world, in the case of our agency, our letter is sent out in response to inquiries, our web site was visible, etc.  For us, this happened in January 2010.
5) The wait.  The adoptive family waits for a birthmother to pick us.  There is no set time for the wait.  It can be a few weeks to several years.  Right now, we're in our third year of waiting, about 29 months now.  We're about to be in the top 10% of wait times for our agency.  Yippee.  See my post here about the stages of coping with the wait.
6) An expectant woman considering adoption finds us somehow, either through the agency, our web site, through a friend, her doctor, who knows.  And she decides she likes us.  So, she does an incredibly gutsy thing and calls or emails us.
7) We flip out with glee because it's so exciting to hear from this woman.  We email or call back and forth and get to know each other.
8) She calls the agency and they ask her some basic questions and send her some paperwork, like proof of pregnancy and other forms for her doctor to complete.
9) She gets the paperwork filled out, sends it to the agency, they confirm everything.
10) If everything is ok and all parties are in agreement, we have a meeting with the expectant mother, us and a counselor at our agency, either on the phone or in person.  This is called a match meeting.
11) We're matched which means that we aren't talking to other expectant mothers and she isn't talking to other families.  It is not a legally binding relationship, anyone can back out at any time for any reason.
12) Fast forward to her due date. Let's pretend this imaginary baby shows up on his due date.  And this is the part I know less about, so let's say she delivers, all is fine, and she is still committed to an adoption plan.  Typically, no less than 48 hours post delivery can she sign relinquishment documents, which means she relinquishes her rights to custody of the child.  In some states there is then a revocation period where she can change her mind, it's 7, 10 or 14 days I've heard.  
13) Assuming she signs relinquishments, the adoptive family would take custody of the child.
14) 7-14 days later, the adoptive family's attorney files the ICPC paperwork, which basically means they can take the child out of the state and head home.  This isn't a set time as this is paperwork that needs to be filed with the county where the child was born.  Also during this time, the adoptive family should be visiting the birthmother and spending time with her, as much as she feels comfortable.  
15) During the time until finalization, we have to have several visits with a social worker from our agency so they can check up to make sure the child is being cared for.
15) 6 months or so after birth, the adoptive family's attorney files the finalization paperwork in their home county.  The child is then legally adopted and has all of the rights of their natural born child.  


What are those terms again?


agency/attorney/facilitator: various kids of adoption professionals, all function slightly differently
homestudy: paperwork to show the state that we're financially and mentally ready to parent a child
relinquishments: legal paperwork where the birth mother legally gives up her right to parent the child. The child is then in the legal custody of the agency and in the care of the adoptive parents.  




Why did we choose adoption? Why Open Adoption?  Have you looked into foster care?  What about international adoption?


Long story short, domestic infant open adoption is the way we have chosen to grow our family.  The type of adoption people choose, as well as their agency/attorney/facilitator choice is very personal, unique and individual to the couple.  We are very pleased with our choice of open adoption and with our agency, the Independent Adoption Center.  Foster and international adoption are not our choices, but they are wonderful options.


We chose open adoption because we feel it is the most ethical choice, it allows the birthmother to retain control and to be able to make the best choice for her baby.  It is also the best for the child as it allows him (or her) to know where he comes from, to have connections where in a close adoption, he might have questions.  


I'll update this post as more questions come to mind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Are they kidding?

We got this gem recently:

hello,im Rev.Sister Mark Julie from the saint mary seminary parish.we have an 8 month 1 week pregnant lady of 21 year old here in our parish ready to give her baby out for adoption.so please if your interested to have the lady deliver the baby to your home then you can contact us with this address XXXXXX@XXXXXX GOD BLESS YOU


Well, that is some service, she delivers... then she delivers the baby to our home?  This is another one of those that I was tempted to email with the contents of something from my spam folder.  But that would require more time than I cared to spend.  Interestingly, our site didn't have any hits from Cameroon, only Brazil.  Spammers are a jet setting bunch, after all.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A banner project!


Ages ago, I got a wonderful gift certificate at Spoonflower.  I took forever to decide and then I found this banner pattern. She's expanded her line and has created some adorable fabric!  Anyway, I made one banner a year or more ago, and I wanted to make another.  So in November I bought another yard and I finally got around to making the banner.  So it starts out as one big piece of fabric.  Then I cut it into strips and iron it to heavy duty fusable web.  The backing fabric (blue and white stripe) is visible there near the top on top of the quilt.









Then, I cut them all apart.




















Then I trimmed them.  And now I am in the process of sewing ribbon along the top so to string them up.  I'll post more progress pics as I make, well, progress.

Spoonflower has been a great source for fun projects to sew together.  I'm a big fan of supporting folks who don't have fat contracts with fabric designers, and I often see some very creative designs.  It's a great site and worth checking out.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

When I wasn't looking...

While I was neglecting this blog, it seems Google went and updated the interface and took away some things and put some other things over there, over here, and elsewhere.  Sigh.  My apologies to people using the web rings, that got hidden.  But now it should be visible again.  I'll try to post on this more frequently, I have a sewing project in progress, plus some baking projects, and of course, the adoption journey continues.  More soon!