Happy World Adoption Day

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Photo by Lauren Anzevino

Last year, Lumi was about 2 months old when #worldadoptionday had been pointed out to me. I was sleep deprived, trying to balance a bit of work since we had no idea 4 months earlier we would be getting a baby, George was back to his office by this time but boy was I smitten with our precious newborn. At the time I kept saying- I’m going to do a post to help other people navigate adoption! I just want to help anyone who thinks they can’t because you SO can. But I have started and stopped writing this post many times. I am someone who shares easily. #Sorrynotsorry if you get stuck in an elevator with me 😉 However, sharing this story that feels monumental to me- I get overwhelmed every time. Part of this comes from needing to keep a few things private out of respect for everyone involved and part of it is because this is a journey. It is hard to sum up a journey in one post. Please feel free to skip over this first part and see the resources I have posted at the bottom.

Why We Chose Adoption To Start Our Family

The short version {WARNING there is no short version I REALLY TRIED!} is I had actually talked to George about possibly adopting a child even before we were married. I always wanted a big family and had said to him on a few occasions let’s have two of our own and then when we are “seasoned” parents we can adopt two. His eyes would bug out simply for the fact that 4 kids in this day and age sounds absurd. I mean, he is not wrong {I come from a family of four kids and it. is. wild.} but of course I think he was getting more at the financial responsibility. Which I always reply, don’t worry I only raise children who get full scholarships 😉

After being married for a few years we decided it was time to start a family. I was 28 ish and healthy and had no reason to think I would have any issues. Oh, ignorance is bliss. It was taking a really long time. We were coming up on my 30th birthday when finally things synched up and I was pregnant. Sadly, at 5 weeks I miscarried. I won’t dwell on this much here but it sucked and opened up the door to us finding out conceiving was going to be an incredibly tough mountain to climb. The following year our part time job became trying to figure out what was wrong and how to fix it. Even with the help of science and the heaviest doses of fertility medication my body wasn’t responding properly. At this point I had 3 more chemical pregnancies and was a mess from the hefty rounds of IVF meds, I needed a break.

2017 had just started I was now 32, almost 22lbs heavier from the meds and definitely feeling depressed. I decided this was going to be the year to get back to feeling good and not worry about a baby. Even though it was something we wanted so badly, and everyone within breathing distance was getting pregnant I knew I had to get myself to a good place before I could go any further on this journey to motherhood.

I knew Mother’s Day that year was going to be hard. I decided to make a Pinterest board and I titled it Project Baby Pinero and all my pins were adoption related. It made me feel so good. Just having the board made me feel happy. I didn’t tell anyone I just wanted to know what I was talking about so I started pinning blog posts from people who had taken this path. I swear making that board let the universe know I was serious.

My sister was getting married at the end of October and as far as baby talk George and I had been discussing returning to IVF in the New Year. I knew I didn’t want to at all. I felt insane on the medication. And I also was given the prognosis that “it will be highly unlikely even with medical assistance for you to have a biological child” I was also told that over the phone. Real classy. But I digress.

2018 started and I flipped the script I told George I was going to start interviewing people who have adopted domestically, internationally, through foster care and those who have been adopted. We definitely didn’t see eye to eye in the beginning. It wasn’t that he wasn’t a fan of adoption it was more that he felt there was more we could do with IVF. He felt adoption was risky and not guaranteed and with me carrying our child at least we had the security of no one trying to take the baby away. All valid fears but I explained to him my favorite quote through the adoption community- it’s not IF but WHEN. It was like music to my ears. I just wanted to be a mom. I had no ego in this. The baby didn’t have to look like me or sound like me, it just needed to need a mom. He understood and he wanted the same, he just wanted to be a dad and just like that we were on the road to adoption.

Photography by Lauren Anzevino

How We Approached Adoption

I had already been moving and grooving behind the scenes so it was great to finally have George on board lol. I had been meeting with my list of people who had ties to adoption in some way or another. One person I had met with was a client and friend of my mom’s. She has two grown children who she adopted from birth. This process was so educational for me. I was able to ask everything and anything and also get a ton of people in our corner saying prayers for us.

After meeting with everyone we decided to do a private domestic adoption. Our main motivation for going this route was time. Going with an agency could take 1-2 years because you are on a list behind other parents in waiting. Private adoptions are known to be quicker because you are only marketing yourself. But the catch is marketing yourself via a website and word of mouth has it’s challenges. Even with it’s hurdles and risks we decided that was the way we wanted to go.

We started by getting a home study done. We went with A Loving Choice to do ours. At the same time we got a lawyer who specializes in family law. Our lawyer actually has experience in this area and guided us in creating a website to market ourselves that potential birth mothers could reach out to us on. It took about two months to get the site looking good filled with family pictures and anecdotes but we were ready to rock. We poured a lot of our budget into google ad words to get our site to show up when birth mothers were searching for help.

We had gotten a few bites but nothing that was right. The site went live in May 2018 and even though it had only been two months I was feeling kind of sad in July. We went on trip with some of my family and were up in the Adirondacks when my mom called hysterically crying. She was watching our dog- I imagined the worst. When she finally caught her breath she said call Andrea, she is trying to reach you. Andrea was my mom’s client and friend who I had met with back in January. I called her and she let me know her friend who is a midwife had a patient who needed a birth family and she needed to find someone ASAP, the baby was due in 5 weeks. AND IT’S A GIRL!

On July 18th we were matched and the following week we met Lumi’s birth mother in person. She is an amazing human being who was just in a tough situation. Forever she will be the person who made our dreams come true. Four weeks later Lumi was born. We were fortunate enough to be at the hospital {not in the room} and right after she was delivered we got our own suite where we could bond with her and basically do all things new parents would do. We stayed at the hospital for 2.5 days and upon discharge we signed a ton of paperwork between our lawyers. We had to wait another 8 days for the judge’s clearance of the ICPC to leave the state in which she was born because things rolled into Labor Day weekend. But alas we got the call everything was good to go and we could return to New Jersey!

So, even though we went the online marketing route- it was a personal connection that brought us to our angel. Plant seeds everywhere! You never know where magic can happen. But I have zero doubt that our faith, our voicing to the universe what we wanted and our patience brought us the girl of our dreams.

Photography by Christina Angeli Photography

Helpful Resources

I keep that adoption board current on my Pinterest! I wanted to share a few people who have put some really important things into words way better than I could:

While we were very fortunate to be able to have enough time to save and afford the adoption process, the average domestic adoption costs $42,000.00. That is a staggering number for anyone.

This post from a great site Mommin Takes a Villages lists 7 Adoption Grants for Anyone. Definitely check this out if you are overwhelmed by figuring out how to afford this.

The best How To Adopt A Child post I have found via Shelley Skuster. Her site has a TON of information on adoption, infertility and raising children with special needs.

If you’re looking into International Adoption, while I don’t have experience in this area I did appreciate this post from Simple Purposeful Living.

The Future

Adoption is a really beautiful thing, but it is not lost on me that our best day was Lumi’s birth mother’s worst day. We pray for her everyday and hope her life is filled with all good things.

We have done a lot of research on how we will discuss Lumi’s adoption with here and already read her books about adoption letting her know how special she truly is.

These are two of my favorite kids books about adoption

Wonderful You {especially sweet if you adopt a little girl}

We Belong Together

We were advised to make sure her circle includes a few friends who are also adopted and lucky for us we didn’t even have to force that. She has two really good friends who are also adopted.

Please, please, please if you are entertaining this path and need support or have questions don’t hesitate to reach out via email TiffanyPineroStyle@gmail.com.

Keep in touch on instagram @TiffanyPineroStyle  xo