Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Beginning of a Great Adventure: Our Journey into Open Adoption

Our family has always been an integral part of our store--from the early days when we would close the store for naptime to blog posts and facebook pics of our kids as they explore their world, test new toys, or help work our sidewalk sale. As babies, Abby, Riley, and Duncan were always with us while we worked, sometimes riding in a sling, sometimes sleeping in a stroller. Much of their growing up happened right here at Peapods.

Today, we are beginning a new journey as a family. We are hoping to adopt a baby through domestic open adoption. We truly enjoy being parents and we would love the opportunity to add one more child to our family. The best moments in our lives have been with our kids. It took us a while to realize it, but in our hearts we'd like to raise just one more baby.

What is Open Adoption? Basically, open adoption is an arrangement made between a birth mother (and often birth father, too) and the adopting parents in which everyone's identity is known, as opposed to a closed adoption in which the identity of the adopting parents and adoptee is kept secret from the birth parents and vice-versa. Usually, in an open adoption, birth parents and adoptive parents remain in contact, working together in the adopted child's best interests.

Our journey so far has taken us through pre-adoptive education, background checks and a home study at the Children's Home Society and Family Services here in St. Paul. (The staff there's been great!) We've been working since last September to get to the point where we are now, which is seeking a match with a potential birth mother.

It used to be that waiting families would rely upon an adoption agency to match them with a potential birth mother, but many matches today are made outside of an agency, which involves a certain amount of advertising and networking (as in the movie Juno, where a match was made through an ad in a local shopper).

So, we now have a website for our family. (Please visit if you're interested in learning more.) As strange experiences go, writing advertising text about your own family ranks right up there! In putting it together, we tried to be as forthcoming and honest about ourselves as we possibly could. The goal, after all, is to establish a supportive long-term relationship with birth parents who will likely play a very important role throughout our adopted child's life.

We're on a pretty steep learning curve here. This is completely uncharted territory for us. Ultimately, we hope to make a positive contribution that transcends our small family. We see this new journey as a way to not only grow our family but also to expand our horizons. If you have questions or comments, please send us an email. We look forward to sharing more as we progress.

Peace and best wishes,
Millie and Dan
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