My Adoption Story
Dina and Rich
We started our quest to become parents with the help of fertility treatments but after a relatively short time, we realized that we were really motivated to become parents – biological parenthood was not our top priority. After a short, unhappy stint with another agency we came to Open Arms. Through our previous ordeal we sought council from Abby Ruder who runs an adoption information and support practice. She helped guide us through the process and gave us an extensive list of questions and criteria in which to choose an agency – she also suggested we contact Open Arms. The criteria listed items that we never dreamed were important in choosing an agency including the number of birth mothers they counsel annually and the number that actually make an adoption plan. When she mentioned this criteria we responded that it would be great if the number were high – would show they knew what they were doing. Abby taught us that this number should ideally be low because a low percentage indicates the quality of counseling and other services the birth families receive is high and does not indicate that there is any coercion on the part of the agency. At Abby’s suggestion we contacted Open Arms as well as a bunch of other agencies. Open Arms came out on top in all areas of our “checklist”.
Meredith welcomed us, calmed our fears (we had many after our harrowing experience previously) and set us to work on our homestudy and profile. Shlomit guided us through our profile process – I am amazed we made it through! Though I am a consummate scrapbooker, we did not have many pictures of us at all after our wedding. We bought a new camera and got to work. I ended up getting my print shop at work involved – they produced a great profile for us and were part of the crew that celebrated Miriam’s addition to our family
The most valuable experience for us was the workshops – the chance to interact with other adoptive families in our “cohort” proved to be invaluable! Many of these families have become an incredible support to us! It is great to have people who really understand your joy of finally becoming parents! Our initial day-long session with 20 other adoptive families and the subsequent “booster” workshops were instrumental in not only teaching us about the various adoption-related subjects but also confirming our choice to build our family through adoption with Open Arms. These workshops made us feel as though the waiting period for Miriam was part of our adoption journey.
It was not always easy but our social worker and the other people from Open Arms were there to support us through the process. Our waiting period included a couple of “near misses” that were incredibly painful – we never thought it would happen. Then…one morning…I came back from the gym at 8 in the morning to hear a message on my phone from Erica, our social worker – “Dina. A baby was born in New Jersey. Do you want to meet her?” That is how our lives changed forever with the addition of Miriam. Miriam is the JOY of our lives – our little miracle. Miriam is celebrated by our families, synagogue community and friends continually as the gift that she is.