Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A meeting.

We had a meeting yesterday at a new adoption agency that we are considering using for our second (and perhaps subsequent adoptions). They are located in Harlem and have a good reputation from what I knew so I wanted us to check it out for ourselves.

We went to an information session on their Domestic "Healthy Infant" Adoption Program specifically for African-American infants. It was actually kind of funny because once we walked into the meeting we found out that although the meeting was for AA/Latino/a infants it was also meant to be for AA/Latino/a potential adoptive parents! Oopsie. Well, no harm no foul. I spoke with the social workers who were there and they reassured us it was OK that we were there although we were um... white. LOL

They were specifically seeking out minority a-parents because their pool of waiting families right now is "unbalanced" and they want to give expectant mothers a variety of types of families to choose from. I liked this. They were not just taking in any prospective a-parents who walked through the door and could pay. They were thinking about the moms. Whoa. So if we do choose to go through this program we would wait a few months before submitting our application because they are asking CA couples/singles to wait until the summer to submit. This is also fine since we did not plan to actually begin the process again until the fall when KJ is about 18 months old.

Other things they said that I liked: (paraphrased, of course!)

"If you are looking for a specific type of child and have a lot of requirements, then this is probably not the agency for you."

"We are not in the business of finding babies for families, but finding homes for babies that need them after their birth parents have explored all of their other options and still want to make an adoption plan."

"We counsel expectant mothers (fathers too, if involved) on all of their available options, not just adoption. We help them find available resources in their area so that they can parent if they choose to."

They actually call their counseling for e-moms "Options Counseling." Another WHOA.

These were all wonderful things to hear and made me feel like maybe this is the agency we want to go with. We, of course, did not make any decisions then and there but will pray and talk more about it. The fees are much more reasonable than our previous agency. I just have to mention that. I feel that it would be bad stewardship to not consider this in our decision. So this will have to factor in as well.

Last but not least - this agency also has a special needs program. Gulp and sigh. My heart is there but are we ready? I don't know. I asked about the program afterwards and am doing more research on-line. My heart is much more open and ready for this than Kevin's. He feels that he does not have the patience he might need to deal with a child with special needs. Now, that said, he is not completely closed off to the idea either. I told him yesterday that I pray daily for his heart to open a bit more. He said "it's not my heart that needs prayer, it's my patience." So will you pray with us about this? I really want to explore this as one of our options.

Here is a list of situations they ask you to consider if you are going to enter into the ASAP (Special Needs) program:

  • Severe medical problems, such as: medically fragile, more severe cerebral palsy, shortened life span and multiple handicaps.

  • Extreme prematurity (26 weeks and under). Birth weight under 2 lbs. 8 oz.(Significantly increased risk for physical and neurological issues.)

  • Likely moderate cognitive disabilities- not Down syndrome

  • Down syndrome

  • Down syndrome with cardiac or other significant medical involvement

  • Brain anomolies- outcome uncertain

  • Anticipated severe to profound cognitive disabilities

  • Potential for serious and lifelong alcohol-related disabilities due to significant prenatal exposure to alcohol

  • Significant heavy use of drugs by birth mother- Child at risk for behavior, attention, learning and other challenges. (In these circumstances, alcohol use cannot be ruled out.)

  • Infant currently exhibiting atypical neurological development (e.g. hypertonicity, tremors, fisting) etiology is unknown. May significantly increase risk for neurological and behavorial issues as the child matures.

  • Child at risk for mental illness- one birth parent with psychiatric disorder

  • Child at risk for mental illness- both birth parents with psychiatric disorder

Now we would not have to be open to all of these situations, but would need to open to at least some of them. I will be praying specifically over each of these and asking the Lord to guide us in this decision. If it is not for us right now I have to be OK with it because I want to be ready, but we have to be honest, and we just might not be ready.


Kyle and Crystal said...

I love your heart Andi! So excited you checked them out and reported back for us (I was super curious!). Everything you said about them makes me love them more than I already did from reading their website!! Its so nice to know that the women will be given many options and assistance with whatever they need REGARDLESS if they parent or not. That was one of the things that I LOVED about Project Cuddle - they had the best interest of the women in mind! Prayers for you in all your decisions! Its so hard to know what to do. We have been discussing special needs and I have been doing lots of research. Thanks again for sharing!

lol too funny you were the only whities :)

Andi-bo-bandi said...

Thanks for your prayers, Crystal. It is SO appreciated!

Oh, and Spence-Chapin works with families ALL OVER the country for their ASAP (special needs) program! Just something to keep in mind... ;)

Matt and Becca said...

That sounds amazing! I'd love to hear about your experience with this agency, if you do go with them. I'm impressed with them already.

Andi-bo-bandi said...

No worries. I'll be filling everyone in as we go! =)

Mommie of 2 said...

I LOVELOVELOVE all your pics :)