Thursday, November 1, 2012

Our Adoption Journey - Part 2 - A Little Bit Broken

I decided it fitting to post Part 2 of our adoption journey today as it's the first day of November, National Adoption Awareness Month.
To read Part 1 of our Adoption journey, click HERE.
This section (part 2) was hard for me to write but I feel it is necessary.
It's part of our story and maybe we can encourage or help those who may go through failed adoptions or adoption scams.
Yes, I said adoption scams.
They do happen.  We learned that the hard way.


Summer 2009
After receiving that awful news, the idea of adoption gave me comfort.
But, with a little one in the hospital and another at home, we knew it would be a little while before we got the process started.
After four and a half months we were able to bring Jimmy home from the hospital and begin a somewhat normal lifestyle.  As normal as it could be when your baby, who is already hooked up to oxygen, also has to be fed through a tube.

But, he was a trooper.
He thrived.

Watch his first year video HERE.

About a year and a half later we started talking about adoption again.
I knew the process could take a long time (and I am always baby hungry) so I thought that maybe we should get started.
Dave, on the other hand, was a little more sane.
He thought that we should take our time.
So, we slowly started gathering information, we attended some adoption information meetings and we started raising funds for our adoption (via adoption yard sales, adoption fundraising programs, etc).

Late summer of 2011 - we really started filling out paperwork through LDS family Services.
We heard that adoptions could take years so, at this point, we both agreed to get our papers in quickly.

By November of 2011 we had all of our papers in, homestudy done, and we were just waiting to be approved.

December 2011 - We were approved and up online for expectant parents considering adoption to see.

getting the word out on our blog

I remember feeling so antsy as soon as our profile went up.
Are expectant mothers viewing our profile? Do they like us? What if they don't like us?  Are our pictures ok?  Do we look normal?  Do we look too young?  Do we seem friendly enough?  Are we going to be contacted soon or will we be waiting forever?

getting the word out on Facebook

Then it happened.

A few days after our profile went up (in December 2011) we were contacted.
She contacted us via Facebook.  We'll call her "S" here.
I immediately recognized her. We had gone to high school together.
S was very sweet and explained her situation...
(this is the condensed version)
She didn't live far from us and she was due May 2012.
She already had 3 children and was expecting her 4th but she and her husband were going though a divorce and they could not afford to have another baby so they had decided to place this baby for adoption.

We chatted back a forth fo a while on Facebook.
She was so nice.
I felt so sad for her, for her situation. She was so sweet and I felt that she didn't deserve everything she was going through.  My heart ached for her.
She told me how much pain she had been feeling... until she saw our profile.
She said she felt so good about us as the family for her baby and she wanted to meet us in person.
My heart was racing.  Was this really happening?  Was this woman carrying the baby that would soon join our family?

She said she hadn't yet met with a caseworker, but she had an appointment scheduled with an LDS Family Services caseworker the next week.
We messaged and texted back and forth a lot in the meantime.
She told us how much she liked us, how excited she was to get together and go over the details of the adoption in person, etc.
She told us about her ultrasound appointment and excitedly told us SHE WAS HAVING A GIRL!
I was ecstatic!
Meanwhile, Dave is always a little more practical than I am...
He said we needed to be careful.
That this might not work out.
That we should try not to get our hopes up.

The day of S' appointment with her caseworker came and I anxiously awaited her call.
She texted and told us that she had to cancel because of a family emergency but would reschedule as soon as she could.
Later she let us know that she met with a caseworker who suggested she look through more profiles, just to be sure that we were the family she wanted to place with.
She said she looked through TONS and she was sure we were the family.
Meanwhile, my caseworker asked us for S' name so she could search for her in the LDSFS system.
We gave her S' name and didn't expect what came next...

There was nobody with that name in the LDS Family Services system in Utah.
Nor was there anyone with that name working with LDSFS anywhere in the United States.

Our caseworker told us to keep in contact with her, just in case there was a mix-up in the system and she really is a legitimate expectant mother considering placing her baby, but to be careful, as this is looking a lot like a scam.
She then told us to ask S for her caseworker's name so she could contact her/him (if they exist).

We texted S and asked her if she could give us her caseworker's name
And we never heard back.

About a month went by and in January 2012 I decided to write S a message on Facebook.
At this point we were almost positive that she was scamming us but I really wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.
She wrote back saying that she had been having a hard time with everything but she still wanted to place with us....

"We would still like to meet up and talk with you and still place our baby with you. We have continued to look at profiles and still nothing has caught our eye. I'm sorry you havent heard back from me. and my lds counselor said herself or you conusleor could meet with us if that would make you guys more comfortable smile"

Because of the sketchiness of the situation our caseworker told us that she wanted to be there for the first meeting.  We wrote S back and let her know that we would still LOVE to meet with her and our casework would love to be there too, if that was alright.

We didn't hear back for several months.

Meanwhile we talked with a couple other birthmothers who were looking into our family.
One of them stopped contact with us after a few weeks.
The other had a baby boy that was several months old that she looking to place with a loving family.
She was sure about our family and we were thrilled to start the process with her and her son.
We got emotionally involved and were thrilled to add another baby boy to our family.
Then, before we could start the process with her, it ended abruptly.
In short, we were devastated and extremely discouraged.

Another "expectant" young lady contacted us later via Facebook.
We'll call her "W" here.
We got to know W (or who we thought was her). 
We really liked her. And apparently, she really liked us.
She said she wanted to place her baby girl with us.
She shared ultrasound pictures and details about her life.
She said she didn't want to go through an agency.
We were excited but a little nervous because of everything we had already been through.
We kept writing back and forth.
She lived in another state so we asked if we could video chat with her.  She said she didn't have a computer so that wouldn't be possible... so we kept writing via Facebook.
W started complaining about her living situation and how she had to live in a hotel because she didn't have any money.
She asked how we were going to pay her hospital bills and we told her that, especially if we weren't going through an agency, we would be working very closely with an adoption lawyer and we would work out the payments that way.
She seemed to understand.
Our communication continued.  W was a sweet girl who seemed sure she wanted to place with us.
We were a little excited but still apprehensive.
Then she got "sick".
The placement ended up not working out and she ended up losing the baby.
We felt so sad.  Not just for us, but for her. If all of this was legitimate, she was going through a lot, that poor girl.
Later on I decided to do some searching.  All of this just seemed a little bit crazy.
I ended up finding a Facebook page that was created to help raise awareness about adoption scams.
I found 2 other families who were in contact with the same girl.
I guess she also told them that she would place with them.
Then, according to them, she got sick and lost the baby. Same story.

Months after we had heard from her last, S sent me an urgent message.  I needed to contact her immediately.
She was in the hospital.
They were trying to stop her contractions because her baby wasn't supposed to come for several more weeks.
She said she talked to a social worker at the hospital and told her that she was placing her baby for adoption and we were the family she was going to.
She said to be ready... because the baby might be coming soon.

We were so confused.  We had been so sure that she was scamming us.
We let our caseworker know and she immediately did some digging for us.
She told us to ask for the social worker's name that S was talking to at the hospital.
S gave us the name and our caseworker called the hospital and asked for that social worker.
They said there wasn't a social worker with that name at that hospital.... or in the state of Utah.
To make a long story short...
Our caseworker called S and set up a meeting.
She had been lying all along an had never met with our agency, which is why we could never get her caseworker's name.
She never showed up to the meeting.
She was scamming us all along.
We messaged her and told her that we needed to move on. We wished her luck with everything.  And stopped all communication with her.

That was that.

2 real birth mothers.
2 fake ones.
And a whole lotta heart ache.

I still have an extremely hard time understanding why someone would do this to people.
Adoptive couples put themselves in a very vulnerable place and they take advantage of that.
So sad.

I felt a little bit broken.
I wasn't sure I could handle this kind of pain any longer.

We went on a little trip with Davey's work to Costa Rica.
It couldn't have come at a better time.
It was wonderful to get away from all of this.
It was the trip of our lives, we had an amazing time.

On our last day there I checked my e-mail.
My heart stopped.
There was an e-mail from an expectant mother.
She was interested in getting to know us.

I read the e-mail out loud to Davey.
He seemed really optimistic about this one, which was saying something.

My eyes welled up with tears, I looked at my sweetie and said,

"Are we ready for this?"


Stay tuned for Part 3 - Meeting our birthmother!

Linked up - The Anderson Crew


Lacey Jay said...

This post had me crying! I had no idea you guys had been through all this. We've been through some of this, nothing to that extent but I know how hard and heartbreaking it can be! You guys are amazing to have pushed through it all. And now to have your beautiful baby girl:).... So happy for you!

Madelyn said...

What a roller coaster ride! I'm so glad things worked out and you have your beautiful baby girl. I look up to you guys so much.

-Danica- said...

Wow I never knew all that was going on. It's frustrating that even with a situation so full of emotion and heartache, there are still people who take advantage of others. I'm so glad reading this though that there is a happy ending :) I can't wait for part 3!!

Emily Kate said...

Hanging on every word.. As a foster momma and having bio children of my own and many friends who adopt/foster I loooove this! Thanks for sharing lady!

Brett and Lex said...

Wow! Makes me sick that there are adoption scams - like it isn't already a fragile, emotional process. I think adoption is beautiful and I love that you feel Nora is just as much your baby as your boys!

Curious if they know what caused your PE? I found out during my pregnancy that I have a blood clotting disorder and I ended up giving myself injections throughout my pregnancy and will have to do so with all future pregnancies.

Dana @ SweetThings said...

WOW!!! What a horrible experience with these scammers. Pure evilness! I'm hoping that part 3 is full of great news. You deserve it. I

Amie and Jesse said...

this post had me in tears! I can't believe that people would do that?! im so sorry your family had to go thru so much heartache. but im so glad you have a beautiful baby girl to call your own. your Family deserves the best!

Brinn said...

thank you for sharing. It's a terrible place to be in, hoping, waiting, vulnerable, anxious, scared. So happy you got your beautiful happy ending.

Amy said...

Part 3 ?? Soon??

I know you had a happy ending!

Randy and Brigitte said...

Thank you for posting this. We are just beginning to start the adoption process and with LDSFS stepping out on full service, this is good info for 1st timers. Thank you! And I can't wait for part 3!