I’m so excited that I get to sit down and update all of our friends and family on our latest adoption news. June and July have been very busy for John and I with family birthdays, work and planning our adoption yard sale.
This weekend we hosted an adoption fundraiser yard sale and asked our community to donate goods to be sold. We were overwhelmed with the response we got!
So many of our friends and family donated to our efforts. There was such a wide range of yard sale items that it took us nearly 3 hours to set up everything that had been donated- just to give you an idea of how many wonderful goods we received.
To date, this has been our most successful fundraiser. We collected a little over $1,400 which put us SO close to finalizing our agencies fees.
We have raised nearly $20,000 in a few short months which brings us 5k shy of completing our savings for our agency fees. With the addition of legal fees + the remaining 5,000 for our agency, we have a total of about $10,000-15,000 more to go. What an accomplishment, made possible by everyone who donated their efforts, money and goods.
John and I are so grateful for the continued support, donations and prayers given to us from our community, friends and family!
Open adoption is an adoptive family and birth family keeping in contact for the benefit of a child. Contact in an open adoption can mean different things to different families as contact can range from letters and emails, to phone calls or regular visitation. It all rests on the adults to create a plan that fits everyone’s needs and expectations.
Most people’s knowledge of adoption is based on what they know or have heard about state run adoptions or foster to adopt situations. In many of these cases, the child is being removed from the parent for the best interest of the child. When this happens, the parental rights are not always completely severed. The goal of the state is always to try to eventually have the child placed back with their birth parent, extended family, or someone in their community. For these reasons, we are not pursuing a state run adoption or foster to adopt situation. We are instead going to go through an agency adoption with adoption attorneys and everything else that this entails. This will give us much greater protections moving forward because the birth parents will be selecting us and signing a termination of parental rights. This is an irrevocable court order. This of course also means that agency adoptions can be much more expensive than state adoptions, but as adoptive parents we receive greater legal protection and rights.
I’ll admit, when we first entered our hats into the adoption ring, we had such restricted views on open/closed adoption. Our views were mirrored by fears we had absorbed through media and the limited stories we had heard from within our community. Myths about open adoptions rang loudly in our ears.
“The birth mom will try to take the baby back if you let her see the baby.”
“The child will be confused on who his mother is if you let the birth mom be in his life.”
“The birth mom won’t want to give up the child. Will she be involved the child’s whole life?”
Initially, we thought there was NO WAY we would entertain an open adoption. We wanted to adopt our child and have it live in our world, solely. The more we read and spoke with our agency, the more we realized how unrealistic our views were. How selfish they were. Our thoughts slowly shifted with every conversation. How cool would it be for our child to be loved and celebrated by so many people.
The more we researched and began to understand the adoption process, an open adoption made more sense to us. John and I discussed at length what we wanted for our future children. The one thing we kept landing back on, above all else, is for them to be happy. We want them to have a rock solid knowledge of who they are and where they come from. We want our child to know their own story.
Since beginning this journey we have had an opportunity to meet many people that have been touched by adoption and read many more stories from people who have been adopted. One common thread that has run throughout many of these stories is that often times the adopted child grows up with uncertainty in their lives. They have questions about their birth parents. They often feel rejected or abandoned by their birth parents. Many become fixated on trying to find their birth parents as they get older. We do not want our child to have any of these feelings of uncertainty. They deserve to know their own story.
A thought that constantly shifts through our mind is what would we tell our child when they come to us with questions about why they were adopted. I think of this daily. How can I make my child know whole heartedly that they were given up for adoption because of love. I want to be able to share with my child that their birth parents gave them up out of love and selflessness to give them a better life. And better yet, I want them to hear it from their birth parents.
What are your thoughts? We’d love to hear them in the comments!
Everyone that knows us knows that we Ashtons are always on the move. We thrive on busy schedules, deadlines and constant commotion. So it should be of no surprise to anyone that we completed our entire application process and home study within a month. Now that the insane deadlines have come and gone, we can finally sit down and share the process with you!
On April 10th, John and I met with Adoption Bridges of Kentuckiana. This meeting was a meet and greet with the agency and a chance for us to ask any questions about the agency or adoption in general. We left with a huge folder filled with files, paperwork to be completed and information to guide us through the beginning of our adoption. When I say huge, I mean overwhelmingly huge. We sat there that night staring at this pile of paperwork and decided it was probably like a band-aid. We just needed to rip it off quickly and get to work.
The following week we turned in our paperwork (you read that right… We slaved for hours every single night and day to complete all the required paperwork) This included, financial statements, medical records, physicals for us and our furbabies, background checks; on the city, county, state and federal level, agency contracts, numerous documentation to prove our identities, character references, CPR and First Aid certification and MORE. After they processed our application and we were accepted into the agency, they scheduled our home studies.
May 3rd was our first home study, followed by our final visit on May 10th. This process was generally pretty easy. Our social worker interviewed John and I together and separately and answered any questions we had thus far. On her second visit, she inspected our home to make sure it was safe for an incoming child.
So whats next?
On May 31st, John and I are attending a fostering class to be certified as foster parents. We have already begun the pre-work for the class. We have to complete 24 hours of foster training to earn our certification. This certification will allow us to take the baby home from the hospital and act as its “foster parents” until we are able to finalize the adoption, which could take up to several months. We are looking forward to this class for numerous reasons. One is to get more information on the process of bringing our future baby home. Another is to meet a network of prospective adoptive parents like us.
On the agenda of things to do in addition to the class are putting together an adoption book for birth mothers to view when deciding to choose their adoptive family and hours of reading. We will be collecting pictures of family, friends and us to place in our adoption book. If you have any pictures of us or any ideas of what to include, we’d love to hear your input!
We are nearing the end of our approval process, and soon we will be advanced to a wait list where we will be waiting eagerly to hear from a birth mother. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers!
What led us to choose adoption? When did you decide to adopt? Why now? Can you not have biological children?
These are a few questions we are posed with regularly and honestly, love to answer! A lot of people were shocked when we announced to our close friends and family that we were interested in adoption. Truth is, John and I had not openly discussed kids with our friends and family in great detail. Not because we didn’t want children of our own or didn’t see our family growing, but because John and I from the earliest stage in our relationship had always known that we would grow our family through adoption. We decided this very early on in our courtship and put the plan aside while we worked on other things to strengthen our family in order to prepare our lives for the very hard task of adopting. In the 2 years we have been married, we have done A LOT…
We moved into our dream house and set forth to make it a perfect home. The day we looked at our home to purchase, we declared the sweetest, littlest room upstairs our “nursery” room. This was the room we would bring our Baby Ashton home to one day. Over the last 2 years we have tirelessly improved our home to make it ours. The only thing missing is the pitter-patter of feet and baby cries (lets hope not too much of the latter).
We also opened up our first business, Body and Brow Boutique. This was a huge and scary decision but we knew it ultimately would provide us with more income and time to flourish as a family. In 2 weeks, we will celebrate our business’ 1 year anniversary! John also started with a new company in order to have more flexibility and be closer to home. We have finally settled down from our career changes, and feel ready to move on with our plans to grow our family!
So, Why adoption?
We always answer “why not?” John and I feel blessed to have the patience and open hearts to except a child into our hearts and family. When discussing plans to grow our family, both of us never felt the necessity of a biological child. We just wanted a healthy baby . We also see the need of adoption within our community. Our hopes are to provide a child with a unique, cultured home.
Another key factor in our decision to adopt was John’s deployment to Bosnia. Many of you might not know that John served in the Army National Guard. He was deployed to Bosnia on a peace keeping mission in the early 2000’s. While there, John was moved by the number of children he saw residing in orphanages and growing up without families. He recalls a memory while on a particular mission to Sarajevo where he saw 13 five story buildings of orphanages on a hillside. This image has stayed with John over the years and he has often mentioned that he wishes there was something more he could have done. So naturally, John feels called to adopt.
As for me, I don’t have one defining moment that made me want to adopt. Although I can say, my whole life I have always envisioned my future family as an eclectic blend. My parents were wonderful about educating me about other cultures and people. They showed me the importance of inclusiveness and acceptance and because of this, I have always felt the call to adopt.
Does this mean you don’t want biological children?
I hear this a lot, and I feel it’s the nice way of saying “So you can’t have kids or what?” I don’t really feel the need to address this, but since I hear this question in various forms more often than not. I thought “Hey, why not. The people want to know!” To my knowledge, John and I are able to have biological children. We haven’t tried to date, because like I have mentioned before, adoption had always been our plan. This doesn’t mean that one day we might decide to conceive a child. But for now, we are focused on adoption and the great joy our newest family member will bring us.
I also want to make a side note about this topic. Whether growing a family by biologically conceiving or adopting, the child is indeed, our child. Our whole heart and soul. Blood doesn’t make a family, love does.
We are so excited to share this journey with all of our friends and families. Make sure to subscribe to our blog in order to get the most recent updates!