Friday, December 27, 2013


The Call came before 8 a.m. on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013.  We were told that we had been chosen by a beautiful, strong, courageous, and brave birthmother to be adoptive parents to a baby girl due in March.  From now on, for privacy sake, I will refer to the birthmother as G.

We had our first Facetime conversation with G. on Sunday, Decenber 22nd.  She is lovely!  She is beautiful both inside and out.  G seems very sweet, smart, and has a strong head on her shoulders.  The conversation went very smoothly and we are now communicating daily via e-mail and texts.  G has a six year old daughter.  She has shown us pictures of the absolutely gorgeous girl.

We are definitely planning on an open adoption with our daughter knowing the courageous sacrifice G will have made when placing her for adoption.  We want our daughter to know her sister and other family.  This is going to be a lifelong relationship we have with them.  I'm grateful that we feel so comfortable and open communicating with each other.  I have checked with G, and she has assured me that she's comfortable with me blogging, documenting, and sharing this journey.

We made the announcement of our expected bundle of joy to family and friends via Facebook on Christmas Day.  It was our most sincere wish that this was the last Christmas without a child in our home.  Our wish has been granted.  Already I am thinking about how we may have to decorate differently next year with a nine month old crawling about.  One year my mom actually had to put the Christmas tree in the playpen to keep my extremely active and mischievous little sister from pulling the tree down on top of herself or ruining all of the ornaments.

Mike and I spent a lovely Christmas together, just the two of us.  We Facetimed with my family in California and Mike's family in Michigan.  Mike's mom mentioned that they might come and spend next Christmas with us.

How do you say, "thank you" to someone for the greatest gift of all, that of parenthood?  Adoption, no matter how smooth the relationship between birth and adoptive parents, comes with joys an challenges, rewards, and sacrifices.  Our joy will come from G's sacrifice.  Losing Russell is a grief that I will carry with me each and every day of my life.  I will NEVER claim to know and understand all of G's feelings throughout this process.  I do pray that our experience with grief and loss with allow us to more closely be able to comprehend and relate to some of G's possible feelings with placing her baby for adoption.

Russell's first birthday is March 27th, 2014.  I know that it will be an extremely difficult day for me.  The last time I saw him he was not yet 3 weeks old and I was strapping him in to a car seat and seeing him carried out our front door by a case worker on his way to live with his father.

Our daughter is due on March 19th.  G is certain that the baby will come early, and upon further conversation, she told us that she guesses March 12th.  March 12th, 2014 will be the tenth anniversary of the first date for me and Mike.  Wouldn't that be incredible if the tenth anniversary of our first date is commemorated by the arrival of our daughter?  This would also mean that the stinging pain of Rusell's first birthday will be experienced while holding my newborn daughter.

Right now I'm feeling very nesty.  The nursery has what it needs in terms of crib, changing table, and dresser.  I am someone who is so impatient when it comes to things like this.  Once I have a goal in mind, I want it done and settled.  We just have some further arranging and organization to do.  I picture wooden letters with her name hung above the crib.  Mike assembled a toy shelf/organizer last night.  We'll probably keep it in the kitchen or livingroom, but it's one step closer to having things settled.

Mike's mom sent us a cute outfit for her.  I'm just absolutely thrilled that there is now a tangible reason to be the recipient of baby clothes.  Most of the few clothes that I have are boys things.  I'm not at all worried about clothes for her.  I have plenty of gender neutral sleepers for her for the beginning.  Then, we can hopefully get some hand-me-downs and buy some clothes once we know her size and such.  I picture some cute bows and headbands for her.  We'll see if she'll keep them on.  ;)

Last night Mike and I went to the Blossoms of Light at the Denver Botanic Gardens.  I'd wanted to go ever since we moved to Colorado four years ago.  We almost went last year when Mike's parents were visiting from Michigan, but the one night it worked out with our schedule, it was way too cold and none of us wanted to go out.  The lights were beautiful!  I'll share some photos, but I doubt any of them will do the sights any justice.

We have been put on hold with the second adoption agency we've been working with, and anytime after this adoption is finalized we can reactivate our profile and be put back on the books for a second adoption if we choose.

I came across this article about positive adoption language.  I ask that our family and friends please read this.  One way you can support us, G, and our daughter is by using positive adoption language.

We thank everyone for the incredibly overwhelming prayers, love, and support that are coming our way.  This has definitely been a roller coaster journey of many years.  It is so reassuring knowing that we are surrounded by such loving family and friends.  Thank you!  We are thrilled about this life altering event in our life.  I firmly believe that the birth and placement of our daughter will not be the end of our Journey to Adoption, but actually, just the beginning!!!!!!  :)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We love Thanksgiving.  Our dining room table belonged to Mike's grandparents.  Mike's parents brought it to us from Michigan when they visited last Christmas.  Our tablecloth was a gift Mike's mother brought back from a trip to Ecuador while visiting Mike's sister, Tammy.

The buffet all set.

Kristin is a wonderful cook!  Here are a few shots of the culinary delicacies.

The bird

The spread

Mike and I ready to dig into the delicious food.  We feel there is someone missing from this photo.  Kristin's aunt and uncle as well as another cousin will be moving from California to Colorado in the new year.  We look forward to hosting them for Thanksgiving next year.  We are thankful for the blessings in our life, but we pray there will be a baby at next year's Thanksgiving table.

Kristin is a fourth generation pie baker.  She, her mother, and sister, are all well known for their delicious pies!
 pumpkin pie!!!!!!!!

Mike then set up Kristin's Happy Spot in front of the fire.

Kristin made this pillow her freshman year of college to place against the wall to study.  It has a few holes in it and needs to be replaced after twenty-one years.

Games after dessert are a Thanksgiving tradition.

Tonight it was Carcassonne, one of Mike's favorite games.

We enjoy the holidays and spending time together.  We feel blessed to have each other and our marriage.  We anxiously await the time when we can share this time and traditions with a child.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Failed Adoptions

I came across this article on Facebook and found it quite intriguing.  It is a birth mother's perspective and guidance to informing adoptive parents if they've changed their mind about the adoption plan or the adoptive parents.

As an adoptive mom who has suffered a failed adoption, I can't begin to pretend to understand the emotions and journey of a birthmother.  I can respect and understand if she changes her mind about adoption or the adoptive parents.  I'm not at all pretending that this would be easy for any of the parties involved.

We can not pretend that even in the smoothest of adoption journeys it is easy and without its challenges for all involved.  Even if for the most rational reasons, adoption comes with both joy and sorrow and rewards and challenges.

One thing that I have recently come to recognize is that losing baby Russell is a grief that I will carry with me each and every day of my life!  I do not wish a failed adoption upon anyone.  I do not happily accept the situation of losing our son, but I have found a sense of peace and normalcy in my continued grief.

We have received notification that with one agency we've had 33 of our brochures go out in these past 3 months.  We've been shown to a number of other birth mothers through the second agency.  I have completely mixed feelings about this.  These are wonderfully positive signs that we are being shown and seen.  That is awesome!  On the other hand, these have resulted in not one e-mail or phone call or match.  I've become cautiously optimistic with each potential birth mother.  It's still impossible not to feel the sting of rejection when we're not chosen.

I met my wonderful husband, Mike nine years ago.  I told him of my inability to have children after we had been dating only a week and a half.  Adoption was brought up as an option for the future.  Never did I imagine that nine years later we would still not be parents and have suffered a horribly devastating failed adoption.

People continue to encourage patience and that the right child is out there.  This has been a huge challenge for me.  My family and friends who know me well know that I am not a patient person!  I can be patient with others, but not with situations out of my control.  I set my mind upon a goal and work like crazy to attain that goal.  I feel so helpless and out of control in this situation as we've done everything possible that we can do at this point in time.  It is so difficult to maintain faith when faced with disappointment after disappointment.

It has been said that we'll forget about this loss and the waiting period once we have our baby in our arms.  I unarguably will NEVER forget the grief of losing Russell or the more than two and a half years of waiting.  I can say that I will carry this grief always, but it is true that time heals. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Cradle

My incredible friend, Michelle, is an adoptive mom of two boys.  She is a friend from church and actually connected me with Adoption Choices of Colorado, with which we've resumed our adoption profile.  She had a cradle she used with her two boys that she generously wanted to pass along to us.  She brought it over to the house the other day and it is beautiful!  Thank you, Michelle!

I await the day when it will not be empty, but filled with my beautiful child!  It is taking conscious effort to look at the cradle and the rest of the nursery without being sad about their emptiness, but with the hope and promise of what is to come.  Some days are easier than others to keep the faith.  In speaking with Michelle, we hoped that putting the cradle in the nursery will help bring some positive energy to this adoption journey.

I'm beginning work on two letters that are just for my emotional processing, and will not be mailed.  The first letter is to Russell's birthmother.  I would not wish a failed adoption upon anyone.  It has been the most devastating and heartbreaking event of my life!  I have come to recognize some of the positives of this situation though. 

Things I was already aware of but have been reminded of are:
1.  I have an incredible husband and marriage.
2.  I am surrounded by loving and supportive family and friends.

The thing that I've learned and that I want to include in my letter to Russell's birthmother is:
I now am aware of the grief and loss that most birthmothers must experience.  I will be an adoptive mom with this rare insight and understanding.  I hope this is a help in our relationship with a birthmother through open adoption and will aid in the sharing of our child's birth and adoption story.

The second letter that I would like to write is one to our future child.  One in which I share the hope and promise of his coming.

One really difficult pill to swallow is that a couple we met in November 2010 when we went to L.A. for our intensive weekend with Independent Adoption Center, now has a son they adopted in 2011, and is on the list awaiting a second child.  I DO NOT begrudge them their happiness one bit!  It's just difficult to see how this can be a smooth and quick process for some and a difficult and long journey for others like us.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

What Do They Look Like?

Russell turns four months old today!  Little D. (the baby we fostered three years ago) is 3 and 1/2 years old.  The last time we saw Russell he was two and a half weeks old.  The last time we saw Little D. he was seven months old.  We've had no contact with their families, and no updates or pictures.  I, of course, have pictures of Russell and Little D. during the time they were with us. 

Today my thoughts are with what they may look like now.  It has been three years since we've seen Little D., and I'm certain Russell has grown a lot in these three and a half months.  This is not at all the first time these thoughts have come to mind.  I'm sure it will not be the last.  I'm confident that these thoughts will cross my mind each and every day for the rest of my life!  Not only do I grieve not being mother to these two boys, I grieve not witnessing them growing up.  Yet, I know that seeing current photos would be a painful process for me as well.

 I also wonder what our future child will look like.  Will it be a boy or a girl?  From now on I will be using the pronoun "he."  This does not mean that I will only accept a son.  What color hair and eyes will he have?  What physical attributes of each birth parent will the child have?  I'm sure this is something all parents, both biological and adoptive, wonder.  We wish to maintain an open relationship with our child's birthparents.  Our child will know who they are and know of the sacrifice and love with which he or she was placed with us.  What physical characteristics of our child will be a daily reminder of the connection he has with his parents?

I'm not at all concerned that we will parent a child or children who may not look at all like us.  Carrying and giving birth to the child will forever connect our birthmother to the child.  I also know that giving birth is not what makes a person a parent.  Me being a mother will not at all be threatened by the child not physically looking like me or Mike.

I find it interesting what physical and personality traits I have in common with each of my parents.  My sister, Holly, has completely different traits in common with our parents than I do.  I have my Dad's face, but am built like my Mom.  Holly is the reverse.  I have my Dad's hands and my Mom's feet.  Holly has my Mom's hands and my Dad's feet.  My Dad and I have mutual interest in music and gardening.  My Mom and I both love tea, books, and history.  Holly has very different things in common with our parents.

Just as I wonder but don't care what our child will look like, I wonder what his interests will be.  Mike looks forward to sharing his interests in science, games, bowling, and more.  I look forward to sharing my interests in gardening, cooking, music, and more.  What interests and talents will he have?  We  will make it a point to support and encourage our child's interests and talents, no matter what they are.  It's just exciting to wonder what they will be. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Denver Botanic Gardens and Backyard Garden

One of My (Kristin's) favorite places to go is Denver Botanic Gardens.  I enjoy walking around and enjoying the scenery.  My favorite parts are the Monet Garden and Japanese Garden.  Yesterday Mike was busy at work planning for this next school year, so I trekked on down to the gardens.  It was a warm day, but well worth it!  I even sat down and enjoyed an Arnold Palmer to cool off while soaking in the Monet Garden.

Trips to the Denver Botanic Gardens and puttering around my vegetable garden give me something tangible to see and do during a time in the adoption process when I feel everything is out of my hands and control. 

Here are a few photos I took of yesterday's visit to Denver Botanic Gardens.

Do any of you know what this is?

I've been busy in my own backyard vegetable garden as well.  Sunday I made zucchini bread from zucchini grown in my garden from seed.

Here are a few photos taken today while exploring the verdant surroundings of my backyard vegetable garden, all grown from seed.


 zucchini gone wild

 Roma tomatoes


 lettuce surrounded by cucumber and zucchini

I am someone who has her mind set on a goal and is not very patient with the journey to attaining that goal.  This has proved to be a difficult part in the adoption process.  It has been difficult waiting for more than two years with no visible paperwork to fill out or anything else that's a tangible step towards becoming parents.  I have always been one who wants everything settled right away.  I feel so helpless and out of control with losing Russell and during this waiting period when nothing is in our control.  There's no particular form to fill out, room to be cleaned, or shopping to be done that can bring back Russell or bring about our match with a birthmother take place any sooner.

Pouring myself into the garden gives me something visible and tactile to see and feel growing.  My first year gardening in Colorado has definitely been an educational experience, but it's an activity in which I'm seeing product and positive results right now.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Adoptive Breastfeeding

I (Kristin) am exploring the possibility of breastfeeding our adopted child.  I spoke with a lactation consultant today.  She referred me to the following website:

The site mentions taking a hormone called Domoperidone.  I do not wish to do this, mostly due to the huge cost without knowing if this will work.

Do I have any followers of this blog who have any experience with this?  I'd greatly appreciate some guidance and advice.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Blessed, while all the while missing someone

Mike and I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend time with his family recently.  Mike's older sister, Tammy, her husband, and their three children live in Quito, Ecuador.  Unfortunately, it isn't often that we get to see them.  Whenever we get the whole family together, Mike's Aunt Janet takes some family photos.  As the photos were taken, I couldn't help but feel blessed.  Blessed to have an amazing husband and marriage.  Blessed to have married into such a wonderful family with beautiful, kind, smart, and funny nieces and nephews.

Kristin and Mike

Mike and Kristin with their nieces and nephews: L-R: Jacob, Anne, Grace, Sara, Luke, Emma, Mike, and Kristin

Mike's parents and their 6 grandchildren, L-R: Emma, Anne, Jacob, Sara, Luke, Jack, Grace, and Peggy

The whole family!  :)

I was overwhelmed by a mixture of emotions during this photo session.  I have been wonderfully welcomed into an amazing family.  At the same time, it was with a heavy heart that these photos were taken.  I imagined Russell being in these photos with us.  I am missing him terribly.  I truly believed that the previous set of family photos was the last without our child being pictured.  I love the photo of the two of us, but feel like someone is missing.  I'm anxious to have a child to complete our family photo.

Friday, July 5, 2013


Mike and I had a lovely Fourth of July.  I spent most of the day baking.  We enjoyed spending time together.  We even took a walk down to the park behind our house to check out all of the food booths and festivities.

I decided I wanted to make cupcakes for the Fourth of July.  Coming from California, the altitude of Colorado has created quite a wrinkle in my baking.  My sister-in-law Tammy and brother-in-law Geoff live at high elevation in Quito, Ecuador.  I've gotten some high elevation baking tips from them.  One of the biggest ones is to halve the baking soda and/or baking powder.  This tip has worked for some of my regular recipes.  I've still been stuggling with others.  I have never been a huge cake or cupcake fan, so I don't have a stand-by recipe to make the cupcakes.

For Christmas this past year, my mother gave me two wonderful books to help with my Colorado baking.  These have turned out to be great resources!

I ended up finding my cupcake recipe online though.  I found it at:

Baking has definitely become a therapeutic passing on my time during this time of grief and waiting.

cupcakes ready to be put in the oven

cupcakes after baking

I ended up dividing the frosting in thirds and using red and blue food coloring ot make my cupcakes red, white, and blue themed for Fourth of July.

frosted cupcakes

Mike and I had one friend over for the holiday.  Before cupcakes we grilled some steak and corn on the cob for a delicious dinner.

Our house backs up to a park.  This is where I've enjoyed morning runs.  This spring they also extended the path to go around two ponds.  They have started to do pedal boat rentals.  There's also an ampitheatre where they're giving free concerts throughout the summer.  

The city fireworks are set off from the park right behind our house.  We did not know this when we purchased the house.  It wasn't until the closing of the sale in May 2012 that we were told of this by the previous owners.  From our back patio, we have an awesome view of the Fourth of July fireworks. 

Here are some of my favorite fireworks shot from last night's show:

All in all, it was a wonderful holiday spent with my love!

HOW DO WE WAIT?: July 3, 2013

After more than two years on the adoption list and a failed adoption, how does one wait and spend her time?  I took the opportunity of moving to Colorado to quit my full-time Montessori teaching career to focus on my music career, the adoption process, and to prepare to be a stay-at-home mom.

The most frustrating thing is that Mike and I have done all that we can and all that is within our control to become parents.  It is so difficult feeling helpless and out of control.  I am a very Type A person and have always been very hard working and determined to accomplish my goals.  We spent a lot of time creating our adoption profile and brochure.  It was difficult to find the balance between being true to ourselves and basically "selling" ourselves to birthmothers.  We have no control over what birthmothers will find in our profile that will make them not choose us, and what our eventual birthmother will find in our profile that will make her choose us to parent her child.

I have been spending my time with my music.  I feel so happy pursuing my passion.  I find making music so very healing.  I had my violin lesson today, and next week am going to record some songs to send people considering hiring me as a soloist.

I have also been spending my time tending to my vegetable garden and cooking.


 garlic braid with garlic grown in my garden

I have been trying to cook a lot of things to freeze.  I want to have things prepared for the time when we have a newborn and the time to cook will be hard to come by.  Today I spent about four hours prepping and cooking a double batch of bolognese meat sauce.  I am taking half of it and will freeze it in a baggie to use for a lasagne.  The other half I'm going to freeze in single serving containers to grab and pour over pasta.  I enjoy cooking and want to have plenty of things available to eat. 

bolognese sauce

I find gardening and cooking so therapeutic.  I am excited about my first year gardening in Colorado.  I love vegetables and fruit and am happy to be able to use product that I myself grew.  I grew up cooking with my mom and have fond memories of the time we spent bonding while cooking and baking.  I got the bolognese sauce recipe from my mom.  I look forward to spending time cooking and baking with my future son or daughter.
Today my young next door neighbor asked me, 
"Are you going to have a baby?"
 Both his mother and I answered,
And I do hope that it will be soon.  I am happy to have such an amazing partner and husband in Mike.  We are enjoying our summer together.  We've gone to see Shakespeare plays and last weekend went on a beautiful long drive.  My parents come soon for a visit and then Mike and I are going to spend time visiting with his family.  I am happy and fulfilled in my marriage.  There is just still no denying that there is a hole in my life by not being a mother.  Here's to hoping that Christmas 2012 was the last Christmas we spent without a child.


It's been almost one month since Russell left us.  So how do you move on from something like what we experienced?  At this time, I'm not yet sure.  Things I do know are:
1.  I have an amazing husband to whom I'm holding tight and enjoying our time together.
2.  I have loving and supportive parents (both by blood and marriage), family, and friends.
3.  I am grateful for my church family, and feel blessed by the moms group and their support.
4.  I will NEVER forget Russell.  There is a part of my heart that will always belong to him.

I have been spending a lot of time watching bad t.v. and it's been hard waking up in the morning.  I have been trying to get back into my routine of going on morning runs, playing the violin, composing, and housework.  I have found solace in working on my seedlings that are not yet ready to be planted outside.  This afternoon I'm going to do some spring cleanup and weeding of our back yard.  I bought blackberry and raspberry bushes that I'm going to plant and I have some bulbs that need to be moved.  I am back into my teaching routine and enjoy my time working with my voice and piano students.  I have been doing some writing, trying to write this experience before I forget some of the details.  I will ALWAYS love and miss Russell, but I want to write some of the details and emotions while they're still fresh.  I am hoping to get back into some more composing as well.  I am now at the point where I feel well enough to get back into doing things that I'm feeling overwhelmed by all that I need and want to do.

As I write, Mother's Day is tomorrow.  I have no idea how I'm going to emotionally handle that.  It's going to be a  drastically different day than I imagined after Russell was born.  I have decided against going to church that morning.  Mike and I are planning on doing some yard work and then something else.  We don't yet know what that will be.  It's supposed to be a gorgeous day, so I'd like to do something outside.

Mike and I have decided to make our adoption profile through Independent Adoption Center active again.  It took two years to get the match that brought us Russell.  We've been at the point where we've been grieving and not ready for a baby right this second.  Yet, we (especially I), feel the ticking clock.  I just turned 39 last week and have been ready for motherhood for many, many years.  I desperately want to be sure to live life with my husband to the fullest, but there is a hole in my life that can only be filled with a child.  The longer we keep our adoption profile on hold, the less we're seen, and the longer we go without the possibility of being matched.  Mike and I have agreed that we are going to be especially careful of the circumstances before we match with birthparents.  Being back on the books, if we receive a communication before we're ready, we can always say, "no."  I spoke with our counselor yesterday and she said that she was going to reactivate our account.   

Here is the link to the Independent Adoption Center's website:

Here is the link to our profile:
It may not yet be up and running again, but please take note of it.

Please help spread the word.  Thank you!

GRIEF: April 28, 2013

I've been weary of making this so public, but I think that people have the right to know what is going on in our life and our journey. 

On March 27th, Mike and I took a two hour drive up to the mountains to Granby, Colorado to a timeshare.  It was Mike's spring break and we wanted for him to have time at home to decompress, but we also wanted to get away for a couple of days.

We checked into the timeshare condo around 4:30 p.m.  At 5:30 p.m., my mobile rang.  It was the adoption agency telling us that a baby boy had been born that morning and we were to make our way to the hospital to meet him and the birthmother.

We repacked the car after only being in the condo for an hour.  We then drove and made our way to the hospital to meet the baby.

We decided to name the baby Russell Alan Vredevoogd.  We were thrilled.  We knew that we would love our child, but never imagined how quickly and how deeply.  We brought him home on March 29th, 2013.

Russell on the car ride home from the hospital

Me (Kristin) getting to know her son

Russell sleeping in what we call the "touchdown" position

We spent two and a half weeks with this beautiful baby boy.  We had professional newborn photos taken, we were purchasing baby items, setting up the nursery, and receiving baby gifts.  We took walks in the park behind our house.

The morning of April 15th we were called and told that his birthfather had decided to parent.  A social worker came that night to pick Russell up and take him to his birthfather.

We are more deeply hurt than ever before in our lives!  We are heartbroken and grieving this loss.  Yesterday, April 27th, Russell turned one month old.  We are faced with constant reminders of this beautiful baby as we washed his clothes and bottles, look through the professional photographs, and see the many baby items around the house.  Today while in public at Costco, I started tearing up as I saw a baby in the same car seat we have and used for Russell.

After waiting for two years, we were parents.  We are now faced with the decision of when to be put back on the adoption books.  We need and want time to grieve, but I also feel the clock of parenthood and a successful adoption ticking.

We thought our prayers of a baby had been answered.  What is God's plan and purpose in this?  We may never know.  I am angry, hurt, heartbroken, confused, and devastated all at the same time.  We are grieving desperately.  I know we are not the only ones to experience this situation.  I feel blessed by the love, prayers, and support of family and friends during this difficult time.

TWO YEAR WAIT: March 18 , 2013

I've been communicating via e-mail with a birthmother this past week.  She sent me a message through our online profile.  I was hesitant to say anything about it, but have decided to share.  I'm not going to give any details, of course.  Communication has gone very smoothly and we seem to have clicked.  She's only 6 weeks along and isn't due until January 2013, so there's still quite a journey ahead.

Like I said, I was hesitant to share through this blog and Facebook, but I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful and amazing support, encouragement, and prayers I've received from all of you.  It's taken a lot to show my vulnerability with this, but I've found a tremendous source of support through you.

I'm at the point where I'm trying to stay positive while not getting my hopes up.  After a year of feeling a bit lost, I feel like things are finally starting to fall into place.  Mike and I close on the purchase of a home later this month.  I complete my Masters in Music Education in August, and now this.

Please keep the health and safety of the birthmother and baby in your prayers.  Please pray that God will continue to guide and support us through this journey of adoption.  Even if this isn't the connection that makes us parents, I hope for the best for this mother and baby and feel appeased that after a year of waiting, there seems to be some visible signs of progress.

Words can not express how grateful I am for all of the messages of support and prayers I know are being said.  This has been quite a roller coaster of a process and I feel so blessed to have your support and understanding.

Thank You!


I've been communicating via e-mail with a birthmother this past week.  She sent me a message through our online profile.  I was hesitant to say anything about it, but have decided to share.  I'm not going to give any details, of course.  Communication has gone very smoothly and we seem to have clicked.  She's only 6 weeks along and isn't due until January 2013, so there's still quite a journey ahead.

Like I said, I was hesitant to share through this blog and Facebook, but I have been overwhelmed by the wonderful and amazing support, encouragement, and prayers I've received from all of you.  It's taken a lot to show my vulnerability with this, but I've found a tremendous source of support through you.

I'm at the point where I'm trying to stay positive while not getting my hopes up.  After a year of feeling a bit lost, I feel like things are finally starting to fall into place.  Mike and I close on the purchase of a home later this month.  I complete my Masters in Music Education in August, and now this.

Please keep the health and safety of the birthmother and baby in your prayers.  Please pray that God will continue to guide and support us through this journey of adoption.  Even if this isn't the connection that makes us parents, I hope for the best for this mother and baby and feel appeased that after a year of waiting, there seems to be some visible signs of progress.

Words can not express how grateful I am for all of the messages of support and prayers I know are being said.  This has been quite a roller coaster of a process and I feel so blessed to have your support and understanding.

Thank You!


I just got off the phone with our adoption counselor in CA. Now that we've been waiting for more than a year, we are able to be put on a last minute list for Texas. This means that a birthmother could be in the hospital without prior arrangements for placing her child up for adoption. She for some reason will have chosen adoption and connect with the social workers at the hospital. Then she'll be given our information to possibly choose us. Then I'll have to jump in my car and drive to Texas and depending upon the time of day, Mike's teaching schedule, etc. he'll jump on a plane and join me when he can.

Technically, the concept behind this is that couples waiting more than a year have a short notice placement within a six hour drive. Colorado is a bit of a stretch, but we were told that the agency in CA put another CO couple on the Texas list, so we're good. Because it's out of state for us, we may have to be in Texas for a couple weeks as the necessary paperwork comes through for us to bring the baby back to Colorado.

Our counselor told me that there are only 4 other couples on this short notice list in Texas. This sounds promising that we're in a small pool of people to be chosen from. I was e-mailed the form that Mike and I will sign, scan, and e-mail to our counselor tonight.

This is good timing for this. I've been feeling pretty discouraged about this happening for us. The fact that we'll be one of 5 couples on this list is pretty encouraging. So, our baby could be coming to us from Texas. Who knows?

So, what does one pack for a Throw the Suitcase in the Car, you May be Getting a Baby trip? I'm going to pack a few layering clothes for me and Mike as well as toiletries. I'm going to get a few newborn diapers, wipes, and a couple gender neutral outfits to pack for the baby. I know we'll be able to get things while there too. Any other suggestions?

THE NEW YEAR: January 13, 2012

OK, it's been a while since I've blogged. I was a bit busy in December finishing up a course. Too, my stupid appendix decided to become gangrenous, requiring me to have an emergency appendectomy on December 15th.

Just before Christmas we were told that our adoption agency in Colorado was closing. This threw us for a huge loop and we were unsure what to do. Two of the social workers from the original Colorado agency were moving to a new agency with the new year. We decided to follow. It all happened so quickly and we had to have our file moved over without knowing too much about the new agency, etc. We still were maintaining our work with the Independent Adoption Center, the out of state agency which matches us with the birthmother and places the child with us. Two of my concerns with this were 1) Are we going to get slammed by tons of new fees moving to another agency? 2) How is this going to affect our homestudy which expires in January?

For our homestudy update, we had to have our physicals with our doctors before getting the new medical forms from the new agency. I then had to take them in to be filled out and signed by our doctors. I did this a week ago. I just spent about half an hour on the phone with someone at the doctors office to try to track down the forms.

I was just told by one of the social workers that followed from the original Colorado agency to the new one that the way this agency works, we have to pay these additional fees before the homestudy. This is exactly what I was worried about! She did tell me that the original Colorado agency is looking to give clients a refund, so that should help. My parents have been helping us with adoption costs so we don't deplete our house fund. Now we have to ask for help with these unexpected fees. Then there are the hospital bills we're getting for my surgery. And, this is the time I decided to stop working full time and go back to school, not bringing in a big income.

The fact that our homestudy is expiring is hard for me. They need to be updated once a year. Our profile didn't become active until March of 2010, but the fact that the homestudy has to be updated just reinforces that time we've been waiting. Plus, this will be the second update we've had to do because our original homestudy was done in January 2010 to become foster parents.

I've moved beyond grieving the loss of being unable to be pregnant, give birth, nurse, etc., and have begun to be quite angry and bitter. There are many women getting pregnant without wanting. Here we are, wanting to be parents, and it's taking all of this crazy paperwork and cost. I'd love to have more than one child. Two concerns have crossed my mind. I am now 37. If it's taking this long, will we be able to go through this process again for a second child? Secondly, we can't afford to adopt a second child.

In hindsight, Mike was smart to dismiss the idea of egg donation and IVF. We could have been in the position of going through all that physical, emotional, and financial strain without it working. I have to trust that adoption is the right path for us. Yet, it's hard to continue to have that faith, strength, and courage. I continue to pray for God's guidance and support throughout this process. I'm grateful for my loving and supportive husband.

Why is adoption so expensive? Why does it take so long? When will this happen for us? Why hasn't it happened yet? I have to have faith that this will happen for us; when and how it's right for us and for the baby. It takes a great deal of determination to face each day with that faith and optimism. Sometimes I feel so completely discouraged and emotionally drained.


Our adoption profile has been up around seven months. This has been quite a roller-coaster of emotions! As a college friend of mine had a baby today, I felt it was time to remind people of our wait and hopes of beginning our journey of parenthood.

If you know me, you know that I am a very accommodating, unassertive person. Being kind but standing up for myself and expressing my needs and feelings is something I put effort into each and every day. I can't help but feeling that with the adoption process, we are in a position of selling ourselves. Who knows what a birth-mother will or will not like about us, and what will make her choose to or not to pick us as adoptive parents of her baby. We want to be truthful about who we are. Yes, Mike and I both have positive attributes as well as faults.

I daily grapple with the fact that there are people having children who do not want children or should not have children. Why is it that here I am, someone who desperately wants to be a mother but is unable to by natural means? When speaking to family and friends, I sometimes receive responses of platitudes such as, "It takes a special person to adopt," or "You will end up with the child you're meant to have." Yes, I believe we will end up with the child we are meant to have, but this does not make the waiting any easier.

I read a blog post by my cousin a week or so ago in which she discussed the reasoning for and struggles with the decision she and her husband made to not have children. She talked about the fact that this is not a popular choice, it is hard to find people who can relate. I feel similarly about my infertility and decision to pursue adoption. Unlike my cousin, I don't feel like I'm judged by others for my infertility like she is for her decision to not have children. I receive plenty of support and sympathy from family and friends for my infertility and choice to adopt. Despite that, there are only a handful of people in my family and social circles who can truly relate.

One of the biggest things I am grappling with in terms of my infertility is the grief that I will not experience pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. True, these things are not the sole experiences and activities that make a woman a mother or parent. It is a grief that runs deep and presents itself each and every day.

FEMALE GUILT: July 25, 20111

The case worker came today to do the home inspection of our new place. We should be back up and running in about a week or so. Then who knows when we'll be chosen and by whom. Somewhere out there is a woman with whom we are perfectly matched to raise her baby. I'm definitely ready for her to find us!

So the past few weeks I've been suffering from the guilty feeling of wanting to be a mom. I had put "just a mom," but those are the incorrect choice of words. As women in this time, society expects us to be superheroes, doing everything. I've been worried I'll be thought of as dependent, weak, and unintelligent by wanting to be a stay-at-home mom. Being a mother is work too! Then I have to remind myself that there have been many independent, strong, and intelligent women who stayed at home with their babies. My mother is a perfect example of that!

I told Mike I was worried I was not bringing in more money. He and I agreed that we want to have me home raising our child. Yes, that means that less income will be coming in, but so be it. He reminded me that no one can expect me to be a graduate student, homemaker, wage earner, and mother. The only person who expects me to juggle so many things, is me. The only person who expects to be perfect at each thing she does, is me. For some mothers, they need to work outside of the home. Each parent, child, and family need different things. I am in NO way criticizing mothers who work outside of the home.

For me, I can't imagine working full time while trying to take care of the house and children too. People keep telling me I need to let things around the house go, but doing that is not at all easy for me. I'm a very ordered person and one of my faults is working so hard around the house and not letting myself relax enough. I remember how overwhelmed I always felt while working full time and trying to take care and the things around the house I took care of. After six years of marriage, Mike and I have made shifts of course in our responsibilities and division of household chores, but I never want to be in that position again! I can't imagine also throwing a child into the mix. If anyone can do it all, I'd love for you to tell me how!

Now, I just woke up from a nap (which I RARELY take) and am feeling guilty about all the other things I could have been doing while sleeping. I expect myself to be able to each day: exercise, keep my house in perfect order, cook, practice music, compose, read, do homework, get out of the house for some activity, do a crafty activity, and more. No one can physically do everything every day. Why do I expect myself to?

I guess the desire in me to be a mom is so great that I'm just so anxious to move onto that phase of life and have motherhood be my priority. That desire made the last couple of years teaching in the classroom so difficult. I loved the children I taught and believed in what I was doing. It's just that I wanted to be a mom so badly teaching was no longer where my heart and passion were.

Full time moms sometimes receive criticism that their life revolves around this baby and they lose themselves. I don't want to lose myself, and I need some time to have the other things I love in my life, but I'll be a better mom for that. I'm still planning on singing in choir and doing music. Those things are my emotional grounding and sanity, that's for sure! I can't imagine my life without music. Mike and I are going to work of schedules so he'll be home for me to sing and he can get out of the house outside of work to bowl. Those things are just too important to each of us not to do.I'm just ready for my time to revolve around a baby and for that to be what I do with my time.

I have to remind myself that it doesn't matter to anyone but me, Mike and that baby whether or not I'm a mom who works outside of the home or a stay-at-home mom. I shouldn't worry that people think less of me because I want to stay at home with my baby when he or she comes. The whole point is that now mothers have a choice. I choose that this is what I want in my life and I'm so extremely anxious for it to fall into place!

THE WAITING: July 15, 2011

Wow, this waiting is the hardest part! I've heard that said by others, true. Great news is that Mike got a job teaching high school science in Aurora, Colorado. This has meant a move for us. This also means that our profile is put on hold until we can get our new home inspection. We have an appointment for July 26th, so just a couple of weeks and then we should be back up and running. I wonder what makes some birthmothers who see our profile not want us, and what will make one particular birthmother decide we're the ones she wants to parent her baby. What is it about us that doesn't appeal to some, and what is it about us that will appeal to that one?

I've heard that the waiting period is the hardest. Our profile went up at the end of March. So, honestly, four months is not that long. They say the average wait time is 12 months. I've also heard that the waiting seems to take forever and go by so slowly. Then, all of sudden, you're chosen and things go very quickly.

Great news! My sister Holly is due with her third child July 25th, but it seems like she might go any day now. My sister-in-law Lisa is due in August. So fun to think of being an auntie to two more!

Well, back to homework and unpacking. Thank you everyone for your support through this process.

WE'RE UP AND RUNNING: March 21, 2011

After months of going back and forth with our letter and photos, we're now up and running on the agency's website.  We also have adoption brochures that will be sent out to potential birthmoms who fit our profile.  I kept feeling frustrated and anxious that it wasn't happening fast enough.  But now we're set and the waiting game continues.  I'd appreciate you all sharing the link to our profile.  You never know who knows who and how we will make a connection with a birthmom.

Check out our profile and please share it with others!

UPDATES: November 25, 2010

Wow, it seems like a long time has passed since I last wrote.

My Mom gave me a wonderful book, Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption by Scott Simon.  It is Simon's account of how he and his wife adopted two girls from China.  It includes stories from other adoptive parents and children as well.

We met with the caseworker from our Colorado agency to do the homestudy update.  That's all done and we're waiting for our criminal background clearance to take place before that's all accepted.

We're dealing with a lot of looming paperwork.  That's been difficult.  I'm of the personality that I have a goal and I just want it all done.  Having something hanging over my head is difficult.  But, we're slowly but surely getting it done.

This past weekend Mike and I went to a weekend intensive workshop at the California agency.  It was good to spend some time with my family during our trip.

The first day of the workshop was difficult.  Mike had flown into San Diego the night before and neither one of us slept well.  We then got up early and headed out from my parents' house to go to the agency in LA.  It was a long day and we addressed many things that we'd already dealt with doing our foster parent training.

The second day of the workshop was so much better!  We had a same sex couple who just adopted a baby girl who was ten weeks old come and speak to us about their experience.  Then there was a woman who is a birthmother who placed her child for adoption about 8 years ago.  It was really nice to hear stories from both perspectives.

We were given by the California agency two books to read.  One is Secret Thoughts of an Adoptive Mother by Jana Wolff.  I finished reading it this morning.  It is about a caucasian, Jewish couple who adopted an African-Mexican-American baby boy.  It was a wonderful book that I highly recommend.  There are comments from readers who are adoptive parents, biological parents, birthparents, and psychologists.  I think it was raw, honest, and supportive of adoption without dismissing the challenges faced by adoption or transracial adoption.  The second book that we were given to read is Children of Open Adoption by Kathleen Silber and Patricia Martinez Dorner.  I will start reading that perhaps tomorrow.

This has been a difficult time.  I am feeling overwhelmed.  I went from not working at all to beginning a Masters of Music Education program through Boston University online, giving private voice and piano lessons, teaching those at a music lesson studio, involved in two choirs, teaching a vocal workshop, filling out adoption paperwork, and of course housework (which I'm never good at letting go).  I've come to the conclusion though that I'm glad that I'm really busy rather than having a lot of time on my hands.  I think I'd go crazy with the anticipation and anxiety of waiting for a child if I didn't have things to keep me busy.

It's tough too seeing so many family and friends expecting babies.  I'm so happy for them and do not want to deprive them of this amazing, incredible, and joyful time and experience. Yet when you are experiencing infertility and so desperately want to be a mother, it's difficult to see.  When we were doing our foster parent training, we took a newborn care class at the hospital.  It was so difficult to be in that room filled with women 8 or 9 months pregnant and think of all the things we'll miss out on by not having a child through natural means: pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, etc.

The next step is to finish that lingering paperwork.  I went into the doctor yesterday to have her fill out the medical evaluation I needed.  Mike and I are going to work on our dear birthparent letter this weekend as I've heard it can take a few months going back and forth with revisions.  I'm starting to collect pictures of us as a couple, with family and friends, and with children (especially our awesome nieces and nephew).  If any of you have any pictures like that that you think I might not have copies of, please feel free to e-mail them to me.

I'm including in this post two pictures.  One is of my family during this last weekend.  The other is of me and Mike with two of our nieces.  These will definitely go in our profile.

 L - R: Riley, Mike, Hope, and Kristin

 L - R: Mike, Kristin, Janet, David, Hope, Holly, John, and Riley

HOME STUDY AND TRIP TO CA: October 28, 2010

Yay!  We've trudged on through a lot of the paperwork we need for the CO agency and written a few checks.  Saturday the social worker is coming over for our home visit and to begin the update to our home study.

We have our trip to CA for the intensive weekend with the out of state agency scheduled.

I feel like we're making progress.  Slowly, but still making progress.


Well, today I took a huge envelope to the post office to mail to the Colorado agency.  It's taken a few weeks, hasn't it?  It turns out that I was e-mailed probably every form there could ever exist to fill out.  No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed.  Mike sat down with me and took stock of what we had and what we had to do.  It turns out that we had more of the paperwork done than they initially need, so that's great.

Yesterday we figured that Mike and I would go to the sheriff's office to get our fingerprints taken.  We get there and are going through the security and are told they are only open for fingerprints from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  I went and did my grocery shopping and Mike went to work.  I then went later in the day and Mike caught the bus from work and got there just before they closed.

I'm so glad I don't work full time.  How can one do this with a regular work day?  It is time consuming and overwhelming.  But, I know that all the emotional roller coaster, financial cost, and time will be well worth it in the end when we have our beautiful baby.

PAPERWORK: October 2, 2010

And so the endless paperwork begins.  Our printer's getting a workout printing out many, many, many forms we need to fill out, have signed, etc. for the Colorado agency.  I'm glad I'm not working full time.  This is a process that requires a lot of time with phone calls, e-mails, and paperwork.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The preliminary application and payment have been sent in to the Colorado agency.  They're sending us the next paperwork.  We're getting the next set of paperwork from the out of state agency to register for the intensive weekend where they'll help us with the Dear Birthparents letter and our online profile for parents to view.  Our caseworker with Boulder County who did our homestudy before fostering Little D is going to forward it to both agencies.

I finally feel like we've have some visible progress being made.  I'm so glad that I'm busy.  I'm on the sub list at two Montessori schools, am giving piano and voice lessons both at the music studio and at home, am teaching a vocal workshop with elementary children, and am taking violin lessons.  I'm also doing some composing.  To top it all off, I'm waiting to hear if I've been accepted into an online Masters in Music Education program.  If I wasn't busy, I think I'd go insane with the waiting that we're going to have to do.  We've been told that the process will take around a year. 

THE NEXT STEP: September 23, 2010

Today Mike and I had a phone conference with a woman at the agency in California.  It's one larger agency with locations in California, Texas, Georgia, and more states.  The reason we've thought to go with them is that they work in highly populated states, hopefully increasing the potential birthparents to choose us as adoptive parents.  The next step with them is to go out to one of their locations for an intensive weekend of training, information, etc.  It will help us learn about writing our birthparent letter, making our online profile, and more.  We're thinking of going to the LA location and maybe fit in a visit with my family at the same time.  We're thinking of trying to make the weekend in November that they are hosting.

While working on scheduling that, this weekend we're getting our preliminary application ready to send in to the Colorado agency.  We're going to have our Boulder county forwarded to them.

It's all overwhelming.  Yet, I feel like we're getting our minds wrapped around the complex process and making visible progress.  Mike and I feel comfortable with the direction we're taking.  Baby steps, baby steps.  This is a process with many stages of pushing and waiting.  It's a roller coaster process, but I am confident that it will result in us creating a family and beginning the scary and joyful adventure of parenthood.

PROGRESS!: September 17, 2010

Found out yesterday that the Colorado agency will accept our home-study and possibly the training through Boulder County.  This means that we will have to pay about half the cost and do an "update" rather than a whole new home study.  And, we might not have to go through the Education and pay that fee because we did the training for the foster, fost-adopt program before caring for Little D.

The next step is to fill out the preliminary application with the Colorado agency and pay that fee.

We have a conference call with the agency in California.  They will be our placement agency, circulating our profile book and matching us with birthparents. 

This process is definitely going to be a test of my patience.  I am of the personality type who when I have a goal or direction, I want to be there now.  I want it settled right away.  I want to already be where I envision.  Mike has wonderfully reminded me many times that there will always be a next phase in life.  There will always be something more to accomplish, something more to attain.  Remember to enjoy the process and be happy with where you are.

So much of this  process is going to involve waiting on other things or other people.  I have to work on letting go.  I have to become more comfortable with knowing there are parts of this process that is out of our control.

LAWYERS REDEEMED: September 14, 2010

After yesterday's frustration with the rude lawyer, another lawyer called me today to return my phone call.  He was very nice.  He told me, "That's a good question.  Unfortunately I don't know the answer to that.  Let me give you the number of a someone who might."  OK, so my question didn't get answered.  Atleast the guy was honest and listened.  Yay!

ARG!!!: September 13, 2010

OK, so I have a gripe!  We found out that the placement adoption agency that works out of state will accept our Boulder county home study we used for the foster care system.  I tried calling the agency here in Colorado to try to see if they will accept it until it expires in a few months and then do an update.  That way we'll only have to spend the money on one home study before we get a baby.  I didn't get an answer at the Colorado agency.

Mike had suggested I call some adoption attorneys here to see if maybe we don't even need the Colorado agency but they can tell us what the process would be and refer us to the right places.

The lawyer I spoke to was so curt and rude.  "Do you have the baby?  Have you met the baby?  Is this baby perhaps from India?"

"I'm just trying to figure out the system.  Do we need the agency here?  Can you help me with what would be required?"

"You're like 20 steps ahead of where you need to be.  I can't help you."

"Thank you so much for your time," I said quite sarcastically.

ARG!!!!!!  I thoroughly admit that I don't know how it all works.  That's why I'm calling!!!!!!!  I'm trying to figure out the process.  I'm looking for someone to tell me what needs to be done.  Again, this just reminds me of how insecure and uncomfortable I get when encountering a system where I don't know how it works.  It makes me feel so stupid.  I'm hoping that the Colorado agency can give me more answers tomorrow.

Meanwhile I've heard from a friend in CA who's a high school teacher that she has 4 students who are pregnant.  I'LL TAKE ONE!

Hopefully one step closer!

The Beginning: Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mike and Kristin Vredevoogd
(on our honeymoon, August 2005, Lake Michigan in the background)

After being married five years, Mike and I are looking to create a family through the process of adoption.  What an exciting and scary adventure.  This blog is a sharing of our experience and our journey to creating our family.

After fostering a baby boy, Little D. for four months, we were devastated to lose him when he was reunited with his father.  We agreed that the foster system is wonderful, with the best of intentions.  It works well for people who are looking to do a good thing by loving and caring for children on a temporary basis.  We feel blessed that we were able to do that for Little D.  You can't help but get attached and love that child, to be badly hurt when they leave you.  Mike and I agreed that despite the positives of the foster care system, it is not the path for us, a couple who want to create a family and have a child of our own, making us his/her forever family.

In my adoption reading, really the first step is looking into agencies.  All the books tell you to trust your gut instincts.  Two weeks ago we met with three different adoption agencies.  I expected to go into these meetings with a clear-cut, straight-forward, instant feeling of which way to go.  I immediately felt overwhelmed by all the different ways we can go: domestic, international, newborn, waiting child, etc.  I am someone who feels very uncomfortable not knowing how a process works.  When I encounter that, I feel insecure and stupid.

After a busy couple of weeks and some time to digest all of the different options and information we've received, Mike and I today decided upon which agency we think we want to go with.  We're wanting to do domestic infant adoption, but opening ourselves up to using two different agencies to do an adoption possibly out of state.  We will use one agency here in Colorado to do the home study, post-placement visits, etc.  We will then use another agency that works in a number of other states to open ourselves up to the potential of more birth-parents.  We do have questions to ask and more information to obtain this week before proceeding, but we feel good about the journey we're beginning.

I feel grateful and blessed to know the love and support of our family and friends.  We've decided to swallow our pride and accept financial help from my parents.  It's difficult to wrap my head and heart around the fact that there are people having children in the wrong phase of life; they're too young or do not have the means to care for a child.  Yet, I've always known that I want to be a mother and have had to grapple with the fact that I'm unable to have a child of my own through natural means.  Yet, here we have to go through this incredible emotional roller coaster and very big expense in order to become parents.