Tenley's Vacation to Disney

Tenley was a very lucky toddler when she and her family traveled to Disney for a vacation this past December. She went with her parents, Cassandra and Kyle, and her older brother, Gavin.

 

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The family of four visited Disney, LegoLand and Kennedy Space Center over the 12 days they spent in Florida. Tenley and Gavin even got to enjoy an evening at the Very Merry Christmas Party!

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Tenley's favorite part of vacation was being able to dance and sing with her brother, Gavin. She was excited to see the parades and to try all the special treats at the Very Merry Christmas Party. Her favorites were the chocolate milk and the sugar cookies! Tenley also enjoyed meeting all the Disney characters - especially the ones from Doc McStuffins!

 

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Last but certainly not least, Tenley learned what and Icee is and fell in love with the banana flavor from Goofy's Candy Shop. Gavin and Tenley had a fantastic vacation in Disney, and we're very grateful to their parents for sharing their lives with us after adoption. Thank you, Cassandra and Kyle!

Then and Now: Addison and Ashlyn

Adoption is a very central part of many families lives, and children who have been adopted often have questions about themselves. Curiosity and wonder are common feelings, along with uncertainty and confusion. Adoption professionals have come to many conclusions about the "right time" to tell your child that he or she is adopted. While you can find many answers online from professionals or nameless sources, it can be nice to hear from a family who has experienced and embraced that very challenge.

Curt and Paula adopted their oldest daughter Addison in 2007 and then adopted their younger daughter Ashlyn in 2011 through Adoptions of Wisconsin. AOW reached out to the family to ask about their experiences with speaking to their girls about adoption and the challenges they have faced beyond finalization.

Q: At what age did you begin to tell your children about adoption?

A: Like birthday’s they have been celebrated since the very first adoption or “gotcha” day.  It has been part of their lives’ since before they understood the concept.  We’ve read books about it together and retold the stories about the day they each moved in or the day we met them.

Q: As your children have grown, what questions have they asked you about adoption?

A: It began with general questions pertaining to the concept of what adoption is:

  • I was in someone else’s belly?
  • How old was I when you adopted/met me?

Eventually moving to their respective birth mothers names and other, more detailed, information:

  • What was my birth mom’s name?
  • What was the adoption hearing about?

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in speaking with your children about adoption? Most satisfying aspect?

A: Challenge: One daughter, in the middle of a fit and looking to hurt feelings shot out the words: “I’m going to go live with (her birth mother’s name)”

The most satisfying thing has been the girls discussing adoption and birth mother’s names with each other and conversing about adoption not as “the exception” but as the matter-of-fact way we live. For a short time there was a doll named after a birth mom.

Additionally, we have found friends and neighbors that have had adoption touch their lives in some fashion.  Our children having exposure to the adoption community and seeing well-adjusted families where both children and parents have been adopted.

Q: What advice would you give other adoptive parents regarding how to talk to their children about adoption?

A: Don’t hide adoption from your child or wait to discuss it, talk about it now. Make sure the discussion is always framed in love and understanding not in the heat of an argument or any kind of fear.  Make adoption not a concept of you “saving them” from their birth parents, if you frame the birth parents as flawed that has the potential of planting seeds of self-worth issues in your child.

You are not required to tell the whole world your children are adopted, your close friends and family will know, others may know over time.  Don’t shrink from it when asked but don’t advertise it if it makes you uncomfortable. You have bright energetic child, adoption does not define the child or your family, it is just one of the many life-circumstances that has brought that child into your world.

Ashlyn (left) and Addison (right) in the summer of 2016.

Ashlyn (left) and Addison (right) in the summer of 2016.

Thank you to Curt and Paula for being willing to share your stories and feelings with us. Thank you for keeping in contact with us as your lives have progressed beyond our agency!

"We Keep Coming Back to Wisconsin"

The majority of the waiting families that Adoptions of Wisconsin works with reside in the state of Wisconsin, but one family in our active outreach program lives in Washington D.C. Scott and Patrick have expressed high motivation and intention throughout the adoption process, and feel a very strong connection to our state. Many members of their families reside here and they are often traveling to and from their home to visit and are always cheering on the Green Bay Packers. Patrick and Scott have been a pleasure to work with as they are always timely, responsive and optimistic when communicating with us about the adoption process. Scott and Patrick have been kind enough to write up a blog post for us about why they continue to pursue adoption through our agency and we are excited to share their story.

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"We keep coming back to Wisconsin:

When we first decided to adopt, our adoption attorney suggested we interview a few agencies, and choose an agency we "connected" with.  After speaking with four different agencies in a week, there was no question Adoptions of Wisconsin was our first choice.  With a large family in Wisconsin, who we visit often, we've always felt a strong connection to the state and feel aligned with the personalities and values of the people who live there.  In our initial conversations with Hollie, Claire, and Megan, we immediately felt like part of the AOW family.  They were so kind, informative, and responsive to our questions and concerns.  And that same kindness has been shown to us throughout our time with their agency.

We keep coming back to Wisconsin:

Shortly after we were in the "active" pool of adoptive parents with AOW, we received news of a match from another agency that put us over the moon.  We called the ladies of AOW to let them know our good news, and while on the phone, we asked several questions of them, and hung up with more knowledge, and well wishes.  We almost felt guilty to be placed via another agency.  Adoptions of Wisconsin had been our choice from the beginning, but we could not pass up this opportunity to start our family.  During the process with the other agency, Megan would check with us periodically to make sure all was going well.  We know this was out of pure goodness, and we appreciated their concern.  Ironically, we felt AOW communicated with us more during this match period, than the other agency did.

We keep coming back to Wisconsin:

About a month before our son was to be born, the birth took place.  The birth mother decided due to the complicated birth, she would raise the child herself.  Our hearts were broken.  We grieved...but we knew what we had to do.  We called Adoptions of Wisconsin a few days later, and spoke with Megan.  We told her what had happened, and I am not sure who felt worse, her or us.  This again goes to show you the depth of the goodness that these ladies, and Adoptions of Wisconsin has for families like us, and birth mothers in need.  We received more words of encouragement, more counseling, and more support from AOW, than we did from the other agency.

We keep coming back to Wisconsin:

After grieving the "almost" adoption, we decided to focus on what is important to us, one more time.  Our family.  Our family is in Wisconsin, therefore, to us, it makes perfect sense to adopt from this state, despite being a 14 hour car ride away, we keep coming back to Wisconsin.  Just like the team at AOW, our family gives us the support, guidance, and love we need to live our lives, and raise our family.  We will always come back to Wisconsin, and we hope that soon, we will have a son or daughter through Adoptions of Wisconsin, to give us one more great reason to keep coming back to Wisconsin."

- Patrick and Scott, AOW Waiting Family

 

A huge thank you to Patrick and Scott who took the time to write this thoughtful post. We are excited for them to continue their adoption journey and hope that they are visiting often with the holidays quickly approaching!

 

 

Too Cute Tuesday: Eli's Life After Finalization

This week's Too Cute Tuesday baby couldn't possibly get any cuter! Eli is a few short weeks away from his first birthday and his parents have many wonderful experiences to share from his first year of life.

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Elijah was born on October 4, 2016 and was surrounded with love immediately upon his arrival. Eli's birth mother shared an open relationship with his adoptive parents, who met with her in person prior to Eli's birth. On March 10, 2017, Eli's adoption was finalized.

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Eli's parents have been enjoying every second of life after finalization with their almost one-year-old. Here's what Elijah's parents had to say about their life as a family of three-

"Life after finalization has been an amazing adventure watching Eli grow and discover new things.  We can’t believe how fast this past year has gone by.  Thinking back to this time last year, we had just met Eli’s birth mother and were getting to know her while anxiously waiting and preparing for his arrival.  Fast forward to now, in a few short weeks we will be celebrating his big 1st birthday already.  We have been beyond blessed to share in many of his firsts together.  From first giggles, to crawling, to walking along the furniture and the first time he said Mama and Dada.  He is even getting brave and standing by himself.  It won’t be long before he takes his first steps.

Eli has been hard at work growing the 8 teeth he currently has and more to come.  He loves to eat and just learned to drink from a straw.  He likes to listen for and watch cars, trucks and motorcycles drive by and planes up in the sky.  He loves to climb/crawl on, over and under his toys.  The newest was a big cardboard box with windows and doors cut out to climb through.  His favorite stuffed animal is Mr. Hedgehog and loves story time with Dad, especially his favorite book, The Pout Pout Fish in the Big Big Dark.  He went to his first county fair this past weekend and enjoyed seeing all the animals.  Next month, he will have his first plane ride to South Carolina to visit his Great Grandparents and other extended family who can’t wait to meet him.

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Eli has brought so much joy to our lives and to our family and friends as well.  He has so much personality already and loves to smile and giggle.  We can’t wait to see the person he becomes and are honored to be his parents."

Too Cute Tuesday: Leo's First Summer

This summer has been busy for AOW and it's been that way for baby Leo, too! As August winds down, we want to share a little about Leo's first summer with his moms for our Too Cute Tuesday feature.

Leo was born on February 5, 2017 and spent some time in NICU at the hospital after delivery. His adoptive moms were at his side since birth, even staying in an unfamiliar city hours away from home to be with him. Over the months, Leo has gained strength, developed age appropriately and has met every milestone. Leo and his family completed the six months of post placement visits with AOW and his adoption was finalized on July 14, 2017.

Leo has been keeping his moms busy over the past few months of his first summer. He visited the family lake house and spent time there hiking, swimming, boating and fishing. He has had several "firsts" throughout the summer, and his adoptive moms can not believe how fast the time is going! Leo experienced his first parade, ate his first avocado and enjoyed being in a swing for the first time. He even had his first plane ride to the northeast this past July! He flew with his moms to meet over fifty of his extended family members in one whirlwind week. Some of his favorite things to do are giggling, eating peas, hearing his moms sing "Wheels on the Bus", reading books, playing outside and watching his three cats play.

Leo's moms are so excited for his future. When we asked for an update on Leo, they said, "He's growing so fast, rolling over and even sitting on his own! He is an exceptionally happy little guy who is always smiling, hardly ever complains and loves interacting with people. We couldn't be happier and are so grateful to his birth mom for bringing us together."

Throwback Thursday: Blake's Second Birthday!

Happy Belated Birthday to Blake, who turned two on August 15th!

 

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Blake was born on August 15, 2015 and her adoption was finalized on March 15, 2016. Blake and her dads celebrated her second birthday with friends and family. Blake enjoyed a decorative pink cake that ended up squished between her fingers and all over her dress rather than in her tummy! Blake's dads report that she is quite the talker, and is growing up to be very independent. Blake continues to thrive in her forever home with her adoptive parents.

Too Cute Tuesday: Post Placement Visits

Adoptions of Wisconsin knows that our visitors love seeing photos of our cute newborns that are in post placement, and we love to show them off! "Too Cute Tuesday" is our newest blog inspiration that we would love to continue weekly.

Featured on today's "Too Cute Tuesday" is one of the newest bundles of joy, baby Kai!

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Kai was born on July 19 and has been home with his adoptive parents since his discharge from the hospital. The family is adjusting well to becoming a family of three, and are settling into a normal routine. Kai is being showered with love and has been embraced by all family members and friends.

AOW Social Worker, Claire, is performing the monthly post placement visits with Kai and his family. Many people wonder, what does a post placement visit look like? In the state of Wisconsin, 6 months of post placement visits are required prior to the finalization of the adoption. More often than not, these visits will take place in the comfort of the adoptive parent's home, but the AOW Family Room is also an option with comfortable couches and fun toys for siblings. A post placement visit typically lasts about 1 hour, during which the family updates the agency about the health of the baby, any milestones he or she has reached and the general adjustment of the adoptive parents to their new situation. AOW provides counseling and support to our adoptive parents during these first months, and offers suggestions for any hesitant moments. Post placement may seem like just another adoption requirement, but it can also be a time to reflect, adjust and receive support from an agency that is invested in your journey.

The First Month: Love Makes a Family

It has been a wonderful roller coaster of emotions for Heather and Steve over the past month. Early in June they received the phone call that changed their lives – they had been chosen. Not only were they selected by a birth mother to be the adoptive parents of the baby, but they soon found out that he had already been born! They only had a few days to prepare a nursery, inform their families and buy lots of diapers and formula.

Love makes a family

Love makes a family

One month later, Heather and Steve have been busy adapting to parenthood. They have spent countless hours fine-tuning their parenting skills and sharing in the joy of having a son. Ben celebrated his first holiday with his parents – the Fourth of July! He loved his festive stroller decorations for the parade, and was mesmerized by the pretty lights that lit his stroller at night.  The family of three is excited to begin creating more new traditions as a family.

Heather and Steve are thrilled to have become parents to their adorable baby boy in such a whirlwind experience. No adoption journey is ever without surprises and AOW is glad to have been able to provide support for both the adoptive parents and the birth mother in this situation. As Ben continues to grow and new parenting challenges arise for Heather and Steve, they will be surrounded by love and advice from friends and family. AOW is looking forward to completing our monthly visits with Heather, Steve and Ben during the six-month post placement period.

All the potential to be the next great astronaut!

All the potential to be the next great astronaut!

Ben's stroller got festive for the 4th of July parade

Ben's stroller got festive for the 4th of July parade

A mischievous grin!

A mischievous grin!

Heather with Ben

Heather with Ben

He loved seeing the pretty lights!

He loved seeing the pretty lights!

Steve with Ben outside of AOW's office

Steve with Ben outside of AOW's office