Thank you guys so much for stopping by the blog today to read about our adoption FAQ’s. Adoption is a huge part of our story and the reason we are able to call ourselves a family of three. We are so thankful for the opportunity to adopt & we can’t express how it has changed us. Adoption is near and dear to our hearts so we want to try to help others by sharing our journey to parenthood through adoption. I want to always preface our shares of our adoption journey that every adoption journey looks different & we are only sharing from our perspective, our journey, & what we have experienced so far. We will continue to share about our adoption through the good & the bad & things will change through each season of our life I’m sure. Here are some questions you guys asked us on our Instagram the other night that we wanted to answer for you…
How does open adoption work in Michigan? What is your open adoption like?
From our knowledge open adoption is a choice & agreement made between the adopting family and birth parents. In our situation and our state it’s not legally bound, but it’s a relationship that you choose to have between birth parents and us. I remember when we were in the hospital having a conversation with Cope’s birth mom & we had talked about just navigating each part of the journey together and knowing things would fluctuate with each season. Fun fact: Both us & Cope’s birth mom went into the adoption process saying that we didn’t want an open adoption, but here we are, open & so thankful!
Does Cope’s birth dad have a role in his life?
Cope has met his birth dad a few times & he is an amazing, smart, & driven man. He is not local to us, but he knows our door is always open to him & he is always welcome to come visit us.
Do you have a relationship with Cope’s extended birth family?
He does get to see them!! We don’t share these meetings, but they are some of the most amazing people we have ever met & we feel very blessed to have them in our lives through Cope’s amazing birth mom.
Why did you choose open adoption when you initially thought you wanted closed?
This is a great question. I truly can’t tell you an exact reason other than the second Cope’s birth mom asked us to be Cope’s parents that we instantly felt a love & bond for her that we had never experienced before. It’s a unique relationship & closeness I can’t describe, but if you know, you know! I know that every adoption and parties of the adoption are different, but with ours I can not imagine a world without that connection that we have with Cope’s birth mom.
I also truly think that being invited to be a part of the hospital experience bonded us even further than I can ever imagine. It was such a gift that she gave to us to be able to experience Cope’s birth and to be a part of all of his first big moments. Again, I’m not sure the exact moment or situation, but our hearts were changed & open adoption is nothing like I thought it would be.
How did you & Jose decide boundaries on open adoption?
Adoption is one of those things that you can’t make full decisions on until you are in each unique experience. When we started the adoption process we had said that we wanted it to be closed, but after we met with birth mom our hearts started to change. When we were in the hospital we had many talks with birth mom about visits/seeing Cope/being a part of our lives & we all agreed to navigate it as we went. It hasn’t been perfect because we are all human and we had never navigated something as complicated as adoption. The one thing I would say that is needed as in every relationship, is communication. I am so thankful that Cope’s birth mom has been really open with her feelings with us & her honesty has been a gift. It’s not always easy to hear, but in the end the openness and honesty has helped us learn how she feels & how we can navigate things better.
Jose & I have ultimately said the same thing about our relationship in that we would be open and honest with each other about our comfortableness as we navigate adoption relationships & we truly have never run into a moment where things felt too “open”. Honestly we don’t see her enough & that’s on our busy schedules.
Is Cope’s adoption finalized?
YES. On March 18th 2019 birth mom terminated her rights to parent Cope & on August, 16th 2019 he officially became a Galvan. He was born on February 6th & he came home with us from the hospital. You can read more of his story [HERE].
Do you have friends who have adopted? Or a support group to talk to?
Yes we do! I highly recommend looking into local facebook groups and the adoption agency can provide counselors as well. It is a great resource to learn from other going through the same thing you are, or others a little further ahead of the journey, to see how to tackle certain aspects of the adoption process.
How will you explain to Cope that he is adopted?
We have always talked to Cope since he was born about how he came into our lives. We plan to continue to talk to him naturally about how he came into the world & will forever talk about his amazing birth parents.
Is there anything you would recommend not saying to someone who has adopted children?
There are a lot of things that opened our eyes up during this process. One of phrase that we learned to be offensive to the birth mom was the phrase, “the birth mom, putting the baby up for adoption.” The preferred verbiage is, “the birth mom creating an adoption plan.” The first is very transactional, unemotional, and really downplays the significance and selflessness of the birth mom, choosing to follow the adoption journey.
Another one that come to mind is, “I know you have an adopted son, do you plan on having any children of your own?” I promise you, that Cope is very much ours, and further more I can say that he is our gift from God. Yes he did not come from us, but from the very moment we decided to try, God planned on him being our son.
Jose and I are not offended if the above are mentioned, we too probably said or thought the same-thing in the past. It is just learning and feeling the love we have for Cope’s birth mom, and Cope, and hope we can share with others how to better think of adoption.
Tips for getting started with the adoption process?
If you don’t know where to start, it is our belief that you need to find an agency. There are ways to adopt “privately” or without using an agency, but knowing everything that the agency did for both, birth parents and adopting parents, we highly recommend them to ensure you have everything correctly filed and documented to prevent any loop-hole disruptions down the road. If you find that your areas has multiple agencies, I would recommend to go to each of their introduction class to see what agency you feel is right for you. Agencies do differ from cost, resources, and adoption application process.
Was there anything the hospital staff did that was particularly helpful for you & Jose when Cope was born?
Oh my yes!! We were so blessed to first be invited into the hospital experience with birth mom & her family. That time is her time & yet she invited us into those private and intimate moments. I will forever be grateful for that.
Our hospital stay was such a gift. The first night was rough because birth mom was induced and it wasn’t progressing super fast so we were on the labor and delivery floor for the night. We didn’t have a place to stay & we wanted to stay at the hospital so we slept int he waiting room on some hard plastic chairs. I partially bathed in the bathroom sink the next morning, but no complaints because we were again… thrilled to be there! I remember not even feeling tired after no sleep.
That day is the day that she gave birth to Cope & after that we were moved to the maternity floor where we were actually given our own room! It was such a gift. During the day we would hang out in birth mom’s room & at night Copey, Jose, & I would go to our own little room & sleep.
Long story short: I think the greatest thing the hospital staff did in my opinion was to treat our situation with respect. By that I mean they treated birth mom kindly and like the strong beautiful woman she is who made a very selfless decision. Many of the nurses and doctors were kind to address us all by name & relation to baby & they took the time to know our names & honor birth mom’s wishes of who played each role in the hospital. Above all, it was so amazing to see the nurses taking care of birth mom & seeing their love for her and her decision that she was making. The nurses didn’t have to take the time to treat us as part of the hospital stay, but they did & I’m so thankful for that.
Will you share Cope’s birth parents?
As of right now, No we will not. Cope’s birth mom would like to stay anonymous, and we completely respect that. If she were to ever change her mind, we would absolutely love to share her and how amazing and accomplished she is, already, as a smart and driven young women. Cope’s birth mom has mentioned maybe working together on a blog post to discuss both side of the process, but the emotions are still so new and raw, we both are not quite ready for that.
Do you want to adopt again?
How much did it cost?
Every adoption is very different. Our adoption agency has a rough set price that they had for every adoption. We did go through an agency even though the birth mom found us outside the agency. She was already signed to the agency so we just stepped in and started the process. The good thing about the cost was that it wasn’t all due at one time. It was spread out over the entire process.
Over the entire process from start to finish Cope’s adoption cost roughly around $24,000 in total. We were so scared of the prices, but thanks to you guys we raised a lot of money through selling shirts in our shop & it’s because of you we hit our goal!!
Adoption during a home reno, or is waiting until the projects are done our only option?
Great question! You all know, we seem to always be in a state of construction and renovating, and we clearly proceeded, so that is a long way of saying “yes” you can adopt while doing a home renovation. I would take an honest assessment from a safety perspective, before considering moving forward, but the representative from the agency that did our home study, shared that as long as we have a safety plant for having a home with an infant inside, we most likely will pass the home study. I think the representative would let you know if there were any drastic concerns that could impact the home study.
What are you most apprehensive about when starting your journey?
I had a lot of fears before starting the adoption process & I scared a lot of the fears I had [HERE] & why I shouldn’t have worried about them.
How do you continue to navigate your own grief since losing babies along the way?
This is a good question because I’m still processing a lot of this since losing our 10th baby only a few months ago. It’s hard to feel intense joy & yet mourn so much loss at the same time. I really feel a peace that I will find a balance of the two, but I’m not quite there yet. Where I am at: I’m at a place of trying to find health with my body and mind at the same time now that the plan is for me to not get pregnant. It’s an interesting journey, but will be sure to update you along that journey.
What was the hardest part of your adoption?
This is a two part. The first, is the guilt we have. Our greatest joy, was her greatest grief. We were told about this, but when you stand and witness this beautiful birth mother, laboring the birth of this beautiful gift from God, it twists your heart in a way I cannot come close to explaining. Inside overjoyed and thankful to this moment, while also grieving with her, wishing her pain away or even casted onto me. There is so much emotional turmoil, it is something you can only pray that God heals everyone in the right way.
The second hardest part of our adoption was the “legal risk” period. In nearly all cases, after the child is born, the birth mom can sign the document to terminate her parental rights after 72 hours (post-birth). Once that document is signed, in the state of Michigan, it takes 5 working days to be processed and signed by the court. Once signed by the court, rights are terminated, and it becomes very difficult for the birth mom to change her mind. Likewise, during this “legal risk” time, at any moment the birth mom can change her mind, and arrange for the child to be removed from the adopting parents, this is called a disruption. In some cases that timeline can be extended, if the birth father contests the adoption, or in our case the birth mother doesn’t sign the termination of rights during her time in the hospital. Cope’s birth mom decided to wait to sign, for personal reasons, nearly a month after birth. Once she signed, it followed the five day process described above, and rights were terminated. We think of that being one of the hardest parts of the adoption, because during that extended legal risk period, Cope could have been removed from our home, and to think how fast we attached to him after seconds of being in the world, let alone a month.
I hope this adoption FAQ was helpful and informative. We will do more of these in the future! Thank you for stopping by today! xx