The strange task of creating a photo album

We’ve started working on our photo album, also commonly known as an adoption profile that will be shown to potential birth moms, dads and families in hopes that one chooses us to raise the child they are carrying.

Wait…What?!! We are already doing that?!

Yes, we are currently working on getting our photo album done so hopefully by the time we are done with our home study and ready to be listed the agency can start showing it to curious birth families that are considering adoption for their baby. This task so far has proven to be something fun to do, but also a little strange because we are basically creating a catalog about our lives that someone we don’t know gets to glance at, study and see.

It is also difficult too because while there are tons of resources for ideas online, there really isn’t a cookie cutter way to do an adoption album because every family is unique. We know that our family is not the same as even friends we know have adopted, we are all individuals and that is what you want to show to birth families. You want to show them who you are and give them an idea of “if my baby ends up with this family, they will get to do ______ or go to ______”. This task has definitely proven to be something that is pushing us out of our comfort zones of what we want to show to a perfect stranger and it is one of those things that unless you are or have gone through the process of adoption through a private agency you would never even consider doing.

Because this is a private part of our adoption we won’t be posting it online, but here is a preview of the cover:

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Again, what we have so far is just part of the first draft. We want to show simplicity, yet a good picture of who we are as a couple, as a family and the community we are a part of. We want to show that we will love this child and are excited about bringing him or her into our world, into our daily lives and most importantly, into our family. Through this process of adoption we have learned so many lessons and there has been so much that we didn’t anticipate, but we are getting ready, we are preparing for the day when we get a call from the agency that a birth family liked our profile, or that there is a baby that was born that is ready to go home with us. We are just one step closer to the day that Baby G becomes a reality born from our heart into a member of our family.

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Bragging about my wife

This week, our social media was flooded by pictures of proud parents posting pictures of their children going back to school. While we are years away from that on our end, I do have to brag that a student went back to school this week as well…

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It might be a little hard to read but it says “1st day of graduate school!”. Yes, that is correct, my beautiful wife is now pursuing her Masters of Social Work. While she actually started with a couple summer classes in July, this week marked her official return to full time school. Danielle is part of the advanced standing program at NMSU, which means she will be getting her Masters in one year instead of two, while still juggling a job and an internship. I am not sure how she has so much energy and determination, but I am so proud of her!

Ever since she graduated with her Bachelor Degree, it has been her dream to go back to school and get her Masters but when we first got married we were not in the right place or time for that to happen. I know our child will be very proud of having such a hard working and smart Mom to look up to because Danielle herself was raised by a very strong Mom who always worked hard and put her children above everything else in life.

I am so proud of my love!

Luis

We’ve officially started our home study

A thing we have learned through out this adoption process is that when things are slow and silent, patience is the key to survival. Then when things are moving they are fast and they happen right away and there is no slowing down.

We won’t give too many details on exactly what happens during, but today officially marked the start of the home study process! Today we had our first home visit from our social worker who is conducting the study, which is huge. As we have said before, the home study is a 90 day process that is required for every adoption, after that we will be ready to be listed and have our album shown to birth mothers in hopes to picked by one to adopt their baby.

We’ll keep you posted as things progress, but this means we officially are taking the next huge step to meet Baby G!

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More on the home study

Smile-thumbs-up-clip-art-clipart-image-0Things are finally moving along, and a lot sooner than we expected too! Today we spoke with the social worker and we scheduled our home study, which will take place soon. There are some things we need to start working on before we get started, but we have all the confidence that we will get it all done and take care of.

For those of you who are not familiar with the adoption process, the home study is the first real step towards adoption, this is basically a study done on our home (that is where the name comes from), our lives, and basically how we would do as parents raising a child. This to many may sound intrusive or even unnecessary, but it is something all families adopting have to do as it is a requirement across the board for any type of adoption.

We’ll keep you posted as we actively get to the process, home studies typically are a 90 day process so we will be doing a lot through out the next few months but once that is completed we should be good to go for the agency to show our album to birth moms and be one step much closer to being parents!

 

Guerrero summer and upcoming things

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Hi everyone! We fully acknowledge that we have not been very good at keeping you posted on what has been going on in our journey this summer (so far, of course!). This is in part because things have been a little busy here at the home front, Danielle is full gear back in school pursuing her Masters in Social Work and I (Luis) have been very busy with work and being a full supporter of my wife and her education.

We have been meaning to update the blog for some time now but the lack of news and other things made it difficult to sit down and do it, but we have some great news moving forward with our adoption that we have been holding on to for a few days as we decided what to do exactly.

So early this week we got an email from our adoption agency asking for an update on how our fundraiser is going and letting us know they have been considering moving things a little bit faster and asked us if we would be interested in starting our home study early through a contracted Social Worker that they work with here in Las Cruces. They told us to discuss it and think about it as this would definitely save us time because then we could get listed sooner and they could start showing our album to birth mothers a lot sooner if we do it now as we are so close from being off the waiting list and becoming an active family. Doing this could potentially save us around 3 months as the home study is a 90 day process and they can’t start doing it until we have completely been taken off the waiting list, which is why they recommended we contacted this social worker that they have done a lot of work with and is based here locally (remember, our agency is in Albuquerque, which is about 3-4 hrs from here).

After talking about it we decided that yes, we would like to move forward with it so hopefully we can start working on our home study soon. This is a crucial part of the adoption process as it gives the agency, the state and birth mothers a bigger picture of who we are as individuals. Our agency works directly with birth mothers and some of them get to pick who they would want raising their child (in some cases they prefer the agency choose for them), so making sure we get all of our ducks in a row is very important.

The agency gave us the contact information for this social worker, although we will probably still hold off on calling her for a couple weeks as there are some things we need to prepare for around the house that we weren’t expecting to have to do for another 2 or 3 months at least, but we will soon!

We will keep you posted on how this goes soon, again sorry for the lack of posting and updating lately.

Love,

The Guerreros

Birthmoms and what they mean to us

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(In order to protect the privacy of these brave women, we are omitting names or even stories we have heard, as those are not ours to tell).

One of the things we loved the most about the training we attended was the panel towards the end where we were introduced to adopted parents, adoptees and birthmothers who had placed their children for adoption. We really enjoyed hearing all of the stories and experiences, but what we got the most out of was the stories we heard from the birth mothers and their experience.

Before going to this training, one¬†of the things that we had conversations about was the subject of open vs closed adoptions. We had talked with our friends that have adopted, and got a wide variety of feedback about their personal experiences. At first, the term “open adoption” seemed a bit daunting, and it was hard for us to visualize what that would look like. Based on our research, personal experience, and the guidance from others, we felt that a semi open adoption was something that we were interested in. Throughout the weekend, we felt our hearts be moved so deeply for the birthmoms that we met. We felt a confirmation in our hearts that having the option to contact the birth mom, and keep her or her family updated on the life of our child, is not only something that we are open to, but something that we are excited for. It is easy to get caught up in differences and worries. It is easy to worry about the things that make an open adoption sound scary. We have learned that although we may be very different in many ways, there is one thing that is the same. We both love this child. We both will make life changing sacrifices for this child. We both will see The Lord in new and amazing ways through the gift of adoption. We both are different pieces of the puzzle of who our child is, and we would not be complete without each other.

Birth mothers make a huge sacrifice when they decide to place their child for adoption, sometimes they decide on their own, sometimes the birth father or their parents are involved in their decision. Regardless of what moved them to make that decision, there is still grief, there is a loss and there is the need for healing. One of the things we loved the most about our agency is the fact that they continue to offer support and counseling to the birth families as well, as some agencies kind of just match and then it is the end of the story. They are often forgotten or just seen as a means to an end to a family who is adopting and then they are just left to deal with it on their own. We talked at length with the case worker during our consultation about the process of healing and what that looks like for them, which is why they encourage that even if a closed adoption is what the birth mom wants to still write letter and maybe send pictures to the agency as they have seen before that in some cases they will come or contact them just wanting to know how the child is doing and this also helps them heal and be reassured that they made the right choice.

We know nothing about our birth mother, if she will want an open or a closed adoption, if she will want to get pictures and letters or not. We don’t know what she likes, what her background is or anything. We don’t know if the birth father will be involved in the decision, or won’t care. There is so much we don’t know, but we are excited to get to that place, even if that is still a while away. Birth mothers are strong.

Adoption Training Recap

13265889_10101091827551121_5528441057411522763_nWe just got back from Albuquerque, where we got to attend a training with our adoption agency (find out more about them here) and we were very impressed with the agency we chose and very glad we chose who we did to go through for this adoption. There were so many things that we enjoyed about this training about the process, the agency itself and more.

So let’s start from the beginning: We first of all got to meet the staff and 3 other families that are in various stages of the adoption process and really clicked from the start with them, had some fun ice breakers and got to learn random facts about each other. Then we moved on to being introduced to the Director and her staff and loved getting to know them and hear their connection with adoption and why they do what they do. At that agency they do great work, not just placing children with loving families, but they minister to the birth parents and continue that relationship with them, adoptees and adoptive parents for years to come. We were very impressed by that and hearing some stories of the relationships they have built over the years.

After that we got into some of the more nitty gritty stuff and talked about the actual legal process and when to expect to pay adoption fees (which to us have always made sense as adoption is a complicated legal process and there are many pieces that need to come in place for this miracle to happen). It was re-assuring to know and understand more of when to expect certain things to come, when things were due and the process and procedures that occur with an adoption.

The next morning we got to hear from both of the Case Workers that work for the agency, one works primarily with the birth parents and the other with the adoptive families and conducts their home studies. Both sessions were very informative and full of stories and anecdotes of some of the things they have seen through out the years. We took a lot from the case worker who works with birth families as far as what they process is on the other end of the spectrum.

The last part was a mix of Q&A, as well as a panel made up of a combination of birth mothers, adoptees and adoptive parents and we loved every second of it, specially the part with the birth mothers (more on that in a later post). It was awesome to learn about their stories and experiences and what the process was from them. Overall this was a great weekend and a very refreshing weekend that confirmed to us why we picked the agency we picked and look forward to work with them as we proceed with adopting.

The next step for us will take place once we officially move off the waiting list (we are #2, and we met #1 and they were great people that we hope get bumped up soon!). We are guesstimating maybe another month and a half or so where we will go back to Albuquerque and visit the agency so we can do our orientation/pre-home study paperwork and go over paper work.

Family and friends, we thank you for all your support and prayers and we are excited that we are moving on with this process. This weekend was a very refreshing, encouraging and emotional weekend for us and very good in so many ways. We loved the staff and getting to know them and can’t wait to continue to be in contact with them during the adoption process.