My husband and I profiled for many babies and were not chosen over a period of 3 months. Michele called me one day and said “I think the problem is with your profile. I want you to redo it.” I did so immediately. Three weeks later we received a call about a child whom we were unsure we wanted to profile for. We did decide to go ahead and submit our profile to the birth mom with the thought that we could always change our minds if need be. Deep in my heart though I pushed for this baby because I knew she was ours. This all happened on a Monday. We picked our daughter up on Wednesday.

As time passed we considered adoption again, my husband is totally in love with our daughter, hoped to be matched with a baby boy this time around. We were in Buffalo on June 3 for a graduation. On the drive into Rochester we started talking about adopting another child and my husband asked me to send an email Monday morning to see what type of activity was going on with Adoption STAR. I did so first thing in the morning…at 10 a.m. At 2 p.m. the phone rang and I noticed on the caller ID that it was Adoption STAR.

I felt very important thinking STAR would call me back instead of emailing me. Sarah was on the other end and she said, “Hi JoAnne! We got a call from Rhiannon’s birth mom this morning. She just delivered a baby boy and would like to know if you would like to adopt him.” I’m serious…that is exactly how it happened!

All through the winter I kept praying for our birth mom. I had no idea why but she was on my mind constantly. We had never met or spoken. I’d wake up in the middle of the night praying for her. I’d also think about the baby boy we were considering adopting.

Our children are full biological siblings and as with all adoptive parents we think we are the luckiest people on the planet!

My Mom always says that things happen for a reason but I never quite believed that until April 16,2007. Just a day and a half earlier we had received a call from our Adoption STAR Family Advocate asking what we were doing that day, and if we could come and pick up our son! Joshua Tyler has completed our family and is the love of our lives! Thank you Adoption STAR for making our dreams come true!

The happiest day of our lives was the day our daughter came into our lives. We had been dealing with infertility for several years before we decided to adopt. It took a total of 9 years counting the many years of infertility that we waited to be parents. As our minister said, it was the longest labor he had ever heard of. It truly was a labor of love.

It was hard not to become discouraged at times, but I just couldn’t imagine a life without a child.

The day we were told we would be adopting was the same day I had gone to the agency to find out more about foreign adoption. It wasn’t what I really wanted to do, but I felt there was no other alternative. So when the call came in I didn’t believe it was actually going to really happen.

With infertility and adoption there can sometimes be a lot of heartache and disappointment. But when our little girl was placed in my arms I knew I had found my forever family. She was the most beautiful child I had ever seen and truly it was love at first sight.

None of this would have been possible if it had not been for Adoption STAR. Our daughter always has a smile on her face and a song in her heart.

Most of our extended family was in town to celebrate the 70th birthday of my father-in-law, and the 95th birthday of my Grandmother-in-law. David’s sister and her husband were at our house, since we had all taken off work (Monday) to spend some time together.

We got a call about a profiling opportunity around 9 am. There had been a baby boy born Sunday to a local birth mother…would we want to be profiled? Of course! So we treated it as we had other recent profilings and kept our cool.

I was in the kitchen (as usual) at about noon when Adoption STAR called again. Our family advocate asked if David was home as well, and my stomach did a flip-flop! She then told us that we had been chosen by the birth mom (BM). Here was my reaction: OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD, OHMYGOD! I started crying and David and his sister ran to me and started crying as well. They knew what was happening! We all hugged, said I love you about 100 times, and then I told our family advocate that I loved her, too! A few more crying jags, and I was ready to get the information. The BM was to sign the surrender that night and we could pick up our son tomorrow (Tuesday)!

David just sat in shock for about an hour, while his sister and I brought out the changing table, bassinette, and other baby items I had packed away a few months before. We proceeded to make phone calls to family and friends, but saved telling David’s parents until we saw them that night; they were coming over for pizza and wings. We wanted to surprise them, so we just put the car seat on the kitchen table where they could see it so they could figure it out for themselves. When they came over, we just kept smiling and didn’t say a word.

Mom looked at us and said, “What? Why are you looking at me like that?”

We both looked at the car seat, and click! She got it. She then collapsed on the floor and started crying, then laughing, etc. Then hugs and I love you’s all around.

We ordered pizza and wings for dinner, then played some Rock Band to burn off some nervous energy! Needless to say, we didn’t get much sleep that night.

The next day, our advocate said to plan on coming to the agency to pick up our son that morning, and that she would call with any changes in schedule. We got a call at 10 saying that he hadn’t been circumcised yet, and that we would have to wait until that was done so he could be released to the agency. We waited. We got another call around noon with the same news. We waited more. This was, by far, the LONGEST day of the entire adoption process! We got another call around 2, and told our advocate that we were just going to start heading out, since we had to go to the bank, etc. We had to get out of the house…we were going crazy with anticipation!

We made it to the agency around 3:30 and had about an hour’s worth of paperwork. Our son had finally arrived at the agency, so they set us up in the nursery for the big reveal! We finally got to meet our beautiful, 6 1/2 pound baby boy! It was the most wonderful moment of our lives! We were so, so happy and full of love…I can’t even describe what I was feeling. We teared up, but were just so happy that there wasn’t any crying. Our smiles were so huge!

Once I held little Nicholas in my arms, I knew my life was complete. The look on David’s face said that he felt the same. Oh happy day!!

We came home to a host of family and friends, and a house decorated with blue “It’s a Boy” ribbons, banners, and balloons. It meant so much to us to be able to share this wonderful day with our family.

After the family got a chance to meet him, David and I sat together and held him, just staring, at our beautiful baby. We are so thankful to Adoption STAR for helping us create our Forever Family!

I Felt Her Calling Me From China:

I couldn’t explain it more than that. People asked me “Why China? Why not a baby from around here?” I always answered, “Because my baby is Chinese”.

In our late 30’s, Eric and I were unsure about the size of our family. We had two biological kids, intense, intelligent, great kids, with fairly demanding needs for attention and support. However, we both felt the family seemed incomplete and we had a strong desire to share our many resources and advantages with another child. We began to try to become pregnant, but it did not feel like the “right thing”. After a while, recognizing my ambivalence, I gave away all of my maternity and infant things and assumed that I was not meant to have another child.

I was very surprised several weeks later, when I woke up one morning with the idea of adoption stuck in my head. I had not considered this consciously before, but it was probably something that was there always, deeply buried in a sea of everyday activity and it was only when I let go of my Preconceived Ideas, that I was able to hear my inner thoughts. I asked Eric what he thought and felt about adoption. Of course, being the very amazing man that he is, he was open to it. We agreed that I would do some research and read about it. I am fairly intense myself, and immediately read about 5 books in 4 days about adoption. Within a week I knew that my baby was in China. We selected Great Wall China Adoption as our international agency and Adoption STAR as our local, and applied right away to adopt in April 2006. The process of gathering our documents went smoothly and we logged in with China in August 2006. The wait at that time for a baby was about 6-12 months, but quickly and steadily grew to become 18 months.

During this time Eric and I longed for our child, to know who and where she was. We were on the non-special needs track, and waiting for an infant. As the wait began to get to 12 months and more, I began to feel that our child was not an infant, but rather an older child and possibly one with special needs. This was confusing to me because every time I looked at the listing of waiting children, I felt tremendous anxiety and so just gave up looking at them.

During the summer of 2007 I received Great Wall’s invitation to the fall East Meets West conference, which was to take place in Tampa, Florida. I felt it was important that our family go to it. I guess I needed to be connected in some tangible way. My mother joined us as she lives nearby in Florida. We had a wonderful time and learned so much. Plus we met a family who had just been matched with their daughter, who was older and was diagnosed with a special medical need, called Hydrocephalus. I was struck with their description and photos of her; especially the fact that she was thrilled that she was being adopted and could not wait to meet her family. She was absolutely stunning and displayed a smile so full of life. Despite never having known much about Hydrocephalus before, I was so assured by her new mom’s matter of fact discussion about the available treatments and normalcy of life. It sounded like a very manageable condition to me.

After that, my mind was open in a way it wasn’t before. Still at the conference, I went to a session on “waiting children” and I was struck again that the speakers both agreed that the most difficult part of dealing with their adoptive children wasn’t their special need, but their adjustment because they were older. They described tantrums that were reminiscent of those my biological children had and I thought to myself; that I could handle. I knew that I would easily and intuitively be able to work through any attachment, bonding and behavior issues that may come up.

Shortly after that we had to renew our paperwork because it was coming up on 18 months. Our Adoption STAR social worker did a home study update and I requested that she use language including both special and non-special needs children in her recommendation. Our previous home study had said birth-18 months, but I raised the question of extending the age range. I initially agreed to raise it to 2 years old, but after I got the final copy from Adoption STAR, I felt again a strong compulsion to raise it to 6 years old, and I trusted my instincts and called them immediately and asked them to change it. I picked up the revised copy later that day and felt such unexplainable relief. That was in early January 2008. Less than 3 weeks later, I found 3 ½ year old Megan Ling on the next Waiting Child list. I knew she was meant for me when I saw her, and she had the same special need diagnosis, Hydrocephalus, as the girl whose family I met in Tampa.

I immediately called Eric and told him about her, he was willing to trust my intuition again, and we applied to adopt her right away. Less than 5 months later, in May 2008, we met her in China and all my dreams about her were absolutely true. Although we were expecting and prepared to deal with her Hydrocephalus, amazingly, she was examined by a pediatric neurologist twice since coming home, and she demonstrates no symptoms of it whatsoever. This is an incredible and unexpected blessing.

Although very healthy physically and emotionally, Megan Ling did present with very significant learning needs and appeared to be functioning about two years below her age level. She had only developed minimal expressive language in China, even though she was almost four years old. She understood everything that was said to her, but simply could not form the sounds and motor movements to make words. She also did not seems to know any concepts such as number, color, shape, or what a book was all about, even in Chinese. She could, however, fold her clothes in perfect formation and make her bed without a wrinkle! She fell all the time when walking because she “slapped” her feet on the ground.

Upon arriving home, we immediately had her evaluated for all kinds of special education therapies and she has been receiving Speech, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Special Education Services (all free through the public school system) since September 2008. She is now in Kindergarten in a general education classroom with special education supports. She is learning to read and write and her language has exploded. She is still a little behind her age peers, but she is catching up more and more every day.

The most wonderful thing about adopting an older child to me, is watching her learn so rapidly. I am really amazed that we have been able to see her grow from an infant stage right through to the age she really is. It’s like I have had a child of all ages. I just responded to her as if she were born to me the day I received her into my life. Megan Ling is compassionate, loving, and affectionate and soaks up everything we offer to her, and gives it back ten-fold. It was truly an amazing blessing in our lives to adopt her.

One beautiful summer day, I received a phone call from my mother, telling me that my cousin was pregnant. My cousin is deaf and has other special needs. She did not want to be pregnant and did not feel she was ready to parent. My aunt was very upset and called my mother to ask if my husband and I wanted to adopt the baby.

I never knew I wanted a child so badly until that moment. I had a hysterectomy at a very young age due to endometriosis and was OK with not having children. Or so I thought.

That adoption fell through. My cousin changed her mind and I was happy for her, but heartbroken for myself.

My husband encouraged me to seek out other adoption plans. I started by looking in the phone book and called the few agencies listed there.

The only agency I even considered was Adoption STAR. I immediately felt comfortable talking with the receptionist. I was confident in her knowledge and it was very easy to talk with her. I know I was crying and she accepted all of my emotions and put me at ease.

So we started with plans for a domestic adoption. We finished the classes and made our scrapbook. I never said a word to anyone, but I kept thinking International Adoption was something I wanted to do, specifically China.

Finally, after many long months, I told my husband that I didn’t feel comfortable with the adoption plan we had made and I wanted to adopt from China. I wanted a girl.

So, we switched gears and Adoption STAR was there for us every step of the way. We had to convert our paperwork and generate a whole lot more.

After about a year of waiting, we went to China and met Janie. I knew immediately she was meant to be our daughter. I can’t explain it. I’m not an overly religious person, but I know that God, fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it, led us to her.

Nine months and a week after my desire to adopt was conceived on a beautiful summer day, Jian’Ai – the Chinese name for Janie – was born, half a world away.

We always wanted more than one child, but it wasn’t in the stars to have more than one biological child. We have a wonderful son named Andrew who always wanted a sibling. We had talked about adoption here and there but never too seriously. One day I opened the phone book and Adoption STAR was staring at me in big letters. I made a call and asked questions and by the time my husband got home from work it didn’t take much convincing. We started the application process and started to take the classes. Because of my chronic illnesses, it took a little longer for approval. One day we got the call that we were approved.

We were profiled two other times before we got the call that would change our lives forever. After seven years, I remember that day like it was yesterday. Adoption has been one of the most precious things we will ever experience. If my husband ever agreed I would do it again. Our Emily made our family complete. I have my precious beautiful girl.

Adoption STAR is a wondeRful agency and they really care about all of the clients like we are family. Our daughter was put in our arms on March 23, 2003 at two days old, a moment we’ll never forget.

It is hard to imagine that it will be 5 years ago is just a few short weeks that our family was complete. After many years of unsuccessful attempts to become parents Adoption STAR made our dreams a reality.

There are no words to explain the feeling you have when you hear you have been selected to be forever parents and you hold that little baby in your arms for the first time.

It is so hard to believe that so many years have gone by so quickly… we have enjoyed every single moment! Thank you Adoption STAR!

WHAT DOES ADOPTION MEAN TO OUR FAMILY?

Simply put, adoption has allowed us to complete the family we always dreamed of having.

Ours is a story of fate, love and destiny. Our first meeting took place when we were in second grade. We grew up exactly one block from each other; we went through all our years of school together; and our families were friendly. It wasn’t until some thirty years later though that we realized we were destined to be together and start our family.

From our first date, it was as if the story had been written – we were meant to be together forever. We spent so much time talking and getting to know each other on that first date that we forgot there were others around us; our second date was similar in that we were eating outdoors and didn’t even realize it was raining outside around us. It wasn’t long before we discovered that we liked exactly the same foods, that we both enjoyed traveling, and that we enjoyed watching the same old television shows and movies that other people were probably tired of seeing anymore. Our families were the backbone of each of our upbringing, with big family celebrations at every holiday and birthday. We each grew up with only one sibling; that sibling remains today (aside from each other) each of our best friends in life.

It was exactly one year and a day after our first date that we were married. We each asked only one thing from our wedding – we wanted to be surrounded by our families and our close friends. We started our family one year after getting married with the addition of a new puppy, Webster. In 2003 our family grew with the long awaited addition of our son, Seth Brandon, named in honor of one of our mother’s who had recently passed away. With his birth-name came the very big responsibility to live up to the strong family role model his grandmother had provided. To this day, some seven years later, he has been a source of so much love, pride and joy for us.

We knew we wanted more children in our family as we enjoyed our son and each and every new experience with him so much. Additionally, we wanted another child so that our son could grow up in exactly the same family as we had (i.e., with a sibling) as we both felt so lucky to have the families that we had grown up with. He also asked us repeatedly for a sibling – specifically a sister. He wanted so very much to be a big brother and share everything he had and had learned with a sibling. Unfortunately we were not able to provide that for him biologically, so after failed fertility attempts, we turned to adoption. We both entered adoption with various pre-conceived thoughts, but after taking the classes offered through Adoption STAR and exploring various on-line sites and resources, these were quickly changed. We quickly came to realize that adoption was the road we wanted to travel down. We all had so much love in our hearts to give to another child – we knew we were able to provide the same loving, nurturing family life to a child that we both grew up in and that we have provided to our son.

It was not an easy road as there were a lot of ups and downs emotionally. We knew we could provide such a loving home and life for a child, and we struggled with that fact and the wait time. We discussed the adoption frequently amongst ourselves and with our son, and we always had the attitude that when the right situation came up and the child who needed us the most became available, we would be selected. Our miracle took place on April 22, 2009 when Taylor Ruby was born and joined our family. From that day, we knew we had been blessed with the completed family that we so longed for. Our son immediately became the big brother he so desperately wanted to be. From their first meeting in the hospital, he became nurturing and protective over her in a way that it is hard to believe a child can be – every time she cries or fusses, he is quick to run over to her to see what he can do; sometimes it just takes putting her pacifier back in her mouth when it falls out, while other times he covers her in her blanket to make sure she is warm, and in many cases, he just sings to her, mostly songs that he makes up the words to. To make our story even more bittersweet, Taylor came home from the hospital on her Mommy’s birthday two days after she was born. What a precious present!

In summary, adoption completed our family and gave our entire family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles, the blessing of another life to take care of, watch grow, teach, and just plain love. We share the opinion that life is meant to be shared; there is always more love available in our hearts to share and the blessing that we received through a successful adoption has allowed us to live our dream of our perfect family.

The happiest day of our lives was the day we brought home our son Christian.

We had been dealing with infertility and deciding what avenue to take. We knew we were meant to be parents. We researched agencies over a period of time and Adoption STAR just seemed to jump out at us. Something inside (that little voice called intuition) said, “ this is the right fit.”

We were profiled several times and not chosen. Then were we chosen to adopt a baby nine months prior to Christian, but that did not come to pass. It was a very sad time and confusing, but with the help of our family and support of Adoption STAR we stayed determined that our baby was out there. Many prayers were said by family, friends, priests and us. Little did we know that God had a plan for us soon in the near future.

It was a cold Saturday on December 23rd, and I was at work at the hospital on my 3-11 shift tending to my patients when my husband walked into the unit. I was surprised to see him and thought something happened. Well, something did happen he said, “how would you like to pick up your son tomorrow.” I looked at him and asked him to repeat what he just said. He then went on to tell me that the agency called and asked him what we were doing on Christmas Eve. He went on to tell them our plans for the day and they responded how would you like to pick up your son tomorrow. We hugged and cried tears of joy. All the staff were also in tears and within seconds the whole hospital was aware of our wonderful news. They even called my manager to tell her and she promptly sent me home to prepare for the greatest Christmas present ever. Everything happened so fast, we did not even have the time to tell our families and decided to surprise them. So we Showed up for our Christmas Eve gathering and everyone was so surprised to see our little precious bundle of joy in his red velour sleeper and a hat that said, “Special Christmas delivery.” There were many tears of joy, and it was a very special Christmas.

Adoption is so special, and it touches the lives of many. About a year after I returned to work, a co-worker came up to me and told me her story. She said that our story touched her so much and was so special to her because she was able to see the other side. She then went on to tell me that when she was 16 she placed her child for adoption and it was the most difficult decision she had ever made. She also went on to tell me that in her mind over the years she would question her decision, but at the same time knew that at 16 she could not provide for that child the way she would want to. She told me she was so glad she was working the day my husband came in to tell me about Christian because it made her heart happy and at ease that she knew her choice was the right one many years ago. I felt really moved and honored that she had the courage to tell me her story and that our story touched her as well.