Our Adoption Story
"Mooommmm. I've been asking for months! When are you going to post about my coming home story??" 

My 11 year old son, Morrison, knows there is a blog post about the day the banana truck exploded (aka the day we brought his sister, Mabel, home from NICU) and has been asking me for months for his coming home story to be told. 

Here you go, Mo, here's your story!

Why We Chose Adoption

Ryan and I got married in September, 2007. 

Two months later, my back went out. It was a non-impact injury -- meaning I didn't fall, I wasn't in a car wreck, there was no point of impact. I just woke up one day and couldn't stand up. 

I had a herniated disc. 

The next 3 years was full of bed rest, physical therapy, pain management, and surgeries. 

September, 2007 at our wedding in my parents' backyard

3 years later. My final back surgery, a spinal fusion.

Don't worry about me -- my story ends very well! It's been about 15 years since my last surgery and I am very strong and healthy. 

Shortly after my spinal fusion, we decided to start a family. 

There was no way I was healthy enough or strong enough to carry a pregnancy at the time. 

We decided to pursue adoption. 

The Adoption Timeline: How long is the wait?

I'm an open book when it comes to our adoption journey. I'm happy to answer any questions and often get referred to friends of friends that are gathering information about the process. One of the most common questions I get is how long is the wait?

It depends on so many factors. Are you going through the foster care system? Is is a private adoption? Are you using a lawyer or an agency? How quickly will you complete the paperwork and certifications? What age child are you open to adopt? 

This is our experience. 

We chose a private adoption through a local adoption agency. 

From orientation day to placement day was about 17 months.

  • The approval process took 3 months.  
    • We attended an orientation at the agency on April 15, 2011. 
    • We completed the application process on May 12, 2011. It is a lot, a lot, a lot of paperwork! 
    • We completed the home study on June 14, 2011.
    • We completed all trainings and were officially approved and waiting on July 15, 2011. 
  • We were "waiting and approved" for about 13 months. 
    • During those 13 months we were "matched" with potential birth moms 8 times. That means the birth mom had our information and we were a potential family for her to chose. We did know every time a birth mom had our information. It was very emotional and devastating every time when we weren't chosen. But now I know we were just waiting for Morrison and the timing was perfect! 
  • Mo was born on August 30, 2012 and came home to us on October 1, 2012. 
  • The adoption was finalized and legal on December, 14. 2012. 
Morrison is now 11 and the details are a little fuzzy. Thankfully, Facebook memories live on forever!

Birth to Placement Day

For our particular circumstances, we had to wait for 30 days for legal reasons before he could be placed with us. During that time, Morrison was placed in a transitional care home. Our agency has fantastic transitional care volunteers. 

 During the transitional time, there is a chance that the adoption will not go through. For that reason and everyone's protection, our agency does not allow adoptive parents to be at the birth when there is a transitional time period. 

Our transition care family was amazing. We did receive updates throughout the month they had Morrison. 

On September 30, 2012, the day before placement, I was in a wedding in South Carolina. The next morning, I took the earliest flight back to Texas and was terrified I wouldn't make it back for the most important day of my life, the day I became a mom! Thankfully, the plane was on time and I didn't miss anything!

Welcome Home Party vs Baby Shower for Adoption

We were open to adopting from new born up to toddler age. Therefore, we weren't able to prepare a nursery until we were officially matched since we didn't know what age we would be adopting. 

We were officially matched with Morrison about two weeks before he was born. He came home about 6 weeks after that. 

We had 6 weeks to prepare for a baby boy! 

Thankfully, we have a nephew that is 3 years older than Morrison and they gave us everything we needed and more in hand-me-downs! 

Since we didn't need anything, we opted to have a welcome home party instead of a baby shower. We asked for guests to donate diapers and formula to be donated to our adoption agency. We received 1,399 diapers and 169 oz of formula!

Private vs Open Adoption

After the timing of the adoption process, the next most common question is if we opted for a private or open adoption. 

We opted for an open adoption with our agency being the point of contact. All contact between us and the birth family goes through our agency. 

Per our agreement at the time of placement, we agreed to provide the birth mom with updates quarterly for the first year and then yearly for five years. At the end of 5 years, we would reassess. However, our agency does not have her current contact information. If and when she contacts our agency, the agency will connect her to us and we can make plans for future communication. If we wish to contact her, we give it to our agency and they have it available if and when she contacts the agency.

How We Talk to Our Son About His Adoption

A crazy, weird, fun, and serendipitous fact is that Morrison's birth mom and I have the same birthday! Every year on my birthday, Mo also gets a piece of cake with a candle. He makes a wish to send to his birth mom and blows out the candle. 

Because of that, his first memories of talking about his adoption involve cake! So he's always seen adoption as a positive thing. 

Mo has a bigger than life personality. He loves to be the center of attention. He loves that he has something unique that is just his. For example, when we drew our family tree, we added an extra branch for him and put his birth mom's name on it. He loves that his branch of the tree is different. An adopted child with a shyer and more reserved disposition might not celebrate that as naturally as Mo does. 

As part of the adoption process, Ryan and I created a photo book that told prospective birth moms about us. It highlights information about our families, how we met, and our values. Mo has a copy of this book and we read it to him when he was little. He still has it in is room and occasionally reads it.

Morrison is very open about his adoption. Every year during elementary school, he would ask his teacher if he could tell the class that he's adopted and ask the other kids if they have any questions. He enjoys talking about it and actually likes it when other kids ask him about it.

When prospective adoptive parents come to me to ask questions about our experience, I always offer for them to chat with Mo to share his perspective, as well.

We never had a "talk" with Mo to tell him he is adopted. He's just always known. 

What Not to Share Publicly About Adoption

While our family is very open about the process and what we share, Ryan and I do have one rule. 

We do not share anything with others that Morrison does not know yet. 

When people ask us a question about something Mo doesn't know yet, we just reply  that we don't know the answer or "that's a great question and while I do have some of those details, we haven't shared it with Morrison yet so we'll wait to let him share it when he's older." Everyone has always gladly respected this boundary.

With that said, we also follow Mo's lead. Since he loves talking about being adopted, we are able to talk about it openly. If he was not as open about that part of his life, we would respect that. For starters, this post (that he's been begging me to write for months!) probably wouldn't be written! 

He also proofread this before I published it to make sure he was comfortable with everything I am sharing. After he read it, he said "thanks, Mom! It's better than I expected!"

Formula for an Adopted Baby

There are lots of options for adopted babies: formula, donated breast milk,  and homemade formula. We opted for a homemade formula.

Morrison was born allergic to pretty much everything. He was violently allergic to dairy and soy. It's challenging to find a commercial formula that doesn't have dairy or soy. Before he came home, his amazing transition family tried a lot of different formulas trying to find anything he could keep down and not have horrible reflux after eating. When Morrison came home at 1 month old, he was on a prescription formula (that was 54% corn syrup) and took 4 medicines daily.

I knew what he was eating wasn't healthy so I started looking for a better option. 

I kept running across raw goat’s milk in my research and reading amazing testimonies. 

I wanted to try it, but was so nervous. So I went to a local homeopathic doctor. He answered all my questions and calmed all my fears. He gave me some names of some local farms. He said just buy a gallon, give him a bottle and see what happens. If it works, you will know within 10 minutes. If it doesn’t work, you will know within 10 minutes. So that’s what I did.
And it WORKED!!! He's now 11 years old, very healthy, and no food allergies.

Get the goat's milk formula recipe I used here

weston a price goats milk formula for reflux

11 Years Post Adoption

Morrison is now 11 years old and going into middle school next year! He's very social and outgoing. He is artistic, loves to cook, acts in a local children's theater, and is in a competitive bowling league. He is also  very tall -- which fits in nicely with our family since I'm 5'10" and Ryan is 6'2"! Mo and his sister, Mabel, are extremely close and get along great. We sure do love this guy! 

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