Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chances of Conception Increase with Involvement in an Infertility Support Group

There seems to be an increase in the number of public figures who are acknowledging their own personal experience with infertility (Courtney Cox-Arquette, Nicole Kidman, Giuliana Rancic, etc.).  Infertility cannot be exclusively connected to one set of factors such as socio-economic status, race, BMI, etc. and the reality is, there are couples all around us every day who are quietly dealing with the pain associated with this issue.  This morning, on NBC's The Today Show, a FOX news anchor-Alisyn Camerota shared openly and honestly about her raw emotions from her journey through infertility and how she benefited from making connections with other women having similar experiences.

The Harvard Medical School has done a study indicating that a woman's chances of conceiving improve by more than 50% with involvement in an infertility support group.  This is certainly encouraging news and provides hope to many women who may feel very hopeless.  Some churches offer faith-based, peer-led support groups through women's ministries and your physician may be aware of support networks in your area.  Resolve, The National Infertility Association, offers a wide range of information and links to find a support group , connect with an online forum & even provides directions for how to go about starting a support group in your area.     

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Children's Adoption Book: My Family is Forever (Nancy Carlson)

If you're anything like me, finding a new book that I love brings about the same kind of excitement as one might expect from a toddler on a treasure hunt!  I especially enjoy finding a well-written book for children relating to adoption.  I find that there are often valuable truths and insights for adults found in the same pages that were intended for younger audiences.

One of my latest finds is My Family is Forever by Nancy Carlson.  The story launches from an opening statement, "Some families look alike, and some don't".  It is written from the perspective of a young Asian girl who was adopted as a baby by Caucasian parents and tells their adoption story.  She contrasts her experience with her friend, Jeffrey, who was born into his family and is similar in appearance to his family members while she doesn't share the same similaries in appearance.  However, she recognizes talents and skills that she shares with each of her parents.  The story is written in a way to relate to either domestic or international adoption and never specifies which applies to her adoption experience.

The book introduces very basic adoption concepts such as an adoptive family's desire to parent a child, the involvement of an adoption counselor in the process, the family's excitement to hear that they were going to adopt a child, the permanency of an adoption placement, the child's curiosity about her birth parents, recognizing that children will inherit traits from both the birth parents & adoptive parents and, ultimately, what it means to be a family. 

The illustrations are bright and colorful, text is not too long, and the story is appropriate for children from pre-school through the 1st or 2nd grade.  In my opinion, this is one of those books that shouldn't be confined to the library of an adoptive family only but would be a great addition to any family's reading selections. 

The resounding theme of the story is that the most important factor binding families together is love. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Do You Ever Find Yourself "Totalizing"?

I recently came across an interesting concept that immediately made me think of adoption. The author pointed out how people make generalizations and put others into categories in the way they label them. She calls this act of stereotyping, “totalizing” and explains that this is “thinking and acting as if a single aspect of a person is the totality of that person”. For example, when someone says “my disabled uncle” they are drawing attention to and focusing on that one aspect of who their uncle is, instead of simply saying “my uncle” and allowing a person to get to know the many different aspects of who their uncle is.

This idea of totalizing really caught my attention and made me think about how many times I have said or heard someone say, their “adopted daughter” or “biological son”. I don’t think other people mean to, and I know I certainly don’t mean to, make being adopted or biological the sum of a person’s identity.

Totalizing can come out in other ways as well. I am reminded of when my cousin told me she wished our grandparents would not call her their Chinese granddaughter, but just their granddaughter. She wanted to be known for all of who she was, not just that she was originally from China. Someday, when my husband and I adopt, I want our children to see themselves as our children not our “adopted children”. Yes, the fact that they were adopted will be part of their story, but it will be just that, a part, and not the whole of their identity. What about you, have you ever caught yourself “totalizing” someone with one single word?

~Post contributed by Rachel Curley, FLS Adoption Caseworker

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

One Tiny Miracle - Liam's Adoption Story

In almost 10 years of working in the field of adoption, I have heard many adoption stories that could be described as a "whirlwind" but none that has taken place quite like this!  Adoptive parents, Bill & Tami, worked with Family Life Services to complete their home study - the first step of the adoption journey - and within 3 days of the home study's completion had learned of their son's birth, met his birth mother, were selected to become adoptive parents, and brought their new baby home from the hospital!  Tami agreed to share the amazing details of their story with our readers to bring HOPE to those waiting for a miracle of their own.

We are the proud new parents of a baby boy that we adopted here in our home town on Monday, January 17th at 4pm, he was two days old - it all has happened so quickly and in an amazingly miraculous way. We certainly know the Lord had a big part in bringing us our son. Here's our story...After a long infertility journey for the last few years, our prayers led us to adoption. We had been working with Family Life Services since November on our home study. Very "ironically", Deanne contacted us on Friday, January 14th, to let us know that our home study was complete, so we were officially able to start working with our agency to adopt a baby to complete our family - and never in a million years did we think our child would be in our arms this quickly...NEVER. Talk about a miracle in the making!

Our son, Liam, is a healthy bouncing beautiful boy brought into this world by a wonderful birth mother whom we are forever thankful for. How we were connected with her is a miracle in itself. Liam was born on Saturday, January 15th, at 7pm. He was a big boy at 9 lb 1 oz, 20.75 inches long, and beautiful! He came into the world 4 hours before his baby boy first COUSIN, Mitchell, who was born in the same hospital. Although, we did not know he was OUR son at the time he was born. On an average, January, Sunday morning, we were thrilled to go meet our new nephew at the hospital that morning.  About 6 hours later, we learned from a physician who was a family friend (who was on call in Labor & Delivery, who knew that Bill & I were hoping to adopt a child) that there was a baby born 3 doors down from Bill's sister, to a birth mother that had no previous adoption plan and wanted to place her child with an adoptive family immediately. Our friend, who was a physician, immediately thought of us and contacted our family.

If our nephew had not decided he wanted to come into this world on Saturday, January 15th, and our family friend was not on call - and God had not put this plan in place, we would not have our son. We were so overwhelmed and ecstatic that this had all fallen into place. And with God's grace, we brought our son home on Tuesday, January 18th, with NO preparation of course...but happier than ever! 10 days later, after our final court date, we had officially adopted our son!

Miracles do happen - if anyone believes - we sure do.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Perfect Love

Today is Valentine's Day and, although I'm very thankful to have the opportunity to celebrate love with my husband & family, I can't help but think about the perfect love and care of my heavenly Father. Matthew 6:25-30

I recently had the opportunity to listen in on a conversation between a birth mother and the adoptive family whom she chose to parent her daughter.  The conversation began with the usual updates, but quickly turned to things of the Lord as each expressed how God had been moving and working in their lives over the past couple of years to strengthen their faith.  This was the first opportunity either had really told the other how they felt God's direction in the adoption process and beyond. 

It was amazing to see how the Lord has been working simultaneously, in two families, in two separate states, to reveal many of the same things to each family about His purpose, His plan, and His power!  The conversation gave me chills and I was, once again, reminded of how the Lord loves us and how he cares about every detail of our lives.  There was example after example shared about how God had revealed something through a minute detail or a significant undertaking to these individuals along the journey to adoption.

I wonder how many things we miss in our daily lives around us when we're not looking for His hand in it all? 

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Journey of Adoption Included On A Top 50 Blog List

We were so excited to receive an email from Ken Martin at to let us know that they've included The Journey of Adoption on their list of Top 50 Adoption Blogs as a resource!  There are many other blogs listed that are worth checking out and they are categorized to help you find one that could benefit you. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just Add 1 Social Worker, 1 Protein Shake, and a Conversation with God

Some days I feel so very inadequate for my job, the challenges that arise daily, and the position in which God has placed me.  This is one of those days that I drove to work drinking my protein shake and talking to the Lord as is my normal morning routine (if you ever pass me in the morning, you can sometimes even find me talking out loud to Him!).  The conversation, on my end, went something like this:

"Really, Lord, what can I do or say to ease the anxiety of waiting for prospective adoptive families or soften the grief of a birth parent's heart who is wrestling with an adoption decision?  Are you sure that this is where you want me? I feel like I have nothing to offer that can make these life situations any easier.  What can I say or do to show people that I care, but can't take this burden from them?" 

And then we met for devotions.  Translation:  And then God gave me His side of our conversation.

Our guest this morning was Rhonda, a volunteer from our local pregnancy center (Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center - Lynchburg, Virginia) who shared very timely insights from God's word for all of us who are "in the trenches" on a daily basis.  She confirmed for me that there is nothing I can say to impact the futures of the folks with whom I work - unless I give them Jesus.

I realize that each day I make mistakes, stumble, may not say the right thing and may not always be perceived in the way that I have intended.  But, if I start the day with the Lord, He can take my weakness - and use me - if I allow myself to become His vessel.

My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Celebrating Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year will be begin on February 3, 2011 and will mark the year of the rabbit.  This is, traditionally, the most significant holiday celebrated in China and is a wonderful opportunity for adoptive families with Chinese children to incorporate aspects of this celebration into your own family traditions.  For families who have adopted from another country, parents can encourage positive cultural identity by finding ways to learn about and celebrate your child's country of origin, as a family.

Adoptive families choose to celebrate in a variety of ways from enjoying Chinese cuisine to attending a local festival or party to taking some time at home to create Chinese New Year Crafts at home.

There's a unique opportunity for families within driving distance to Roanoke, Virginia to attend a Chinese New Year celebration at the Taubman Museum of Art with free admission from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 5th.  You can find more details on the Local Colors website!

Looking ahead, the Local Colors Family Festival will be on Saturday, May 21st from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Elmwood Park in Downtown Roanoke, Virginia.  China will be the featured country and it is always a cultural experience with something for the whole family.    
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