“Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does.
So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's
when you find out who you are." - Joss Whedon

Monday, July 20, 2009

Adoption Voices

Do you all know about Adoption Voices? If not you need to check it out. It is a social networking site just for those of us whose lives have been touched by adoption. Think of it like facebook just for the adoption community.

Click on the icon above to visit and explore.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Book Review: A Love Like No Other

A Love Like No Other
by Pamela Kruger (Editor), Jill Smolowe (Editor)

For those of us waiting, wishing, longing, there is something soothing and reassuring about hearing and reading the experiences of families whose wait is over. We long to hear that the miracle that we continually hope and pray for will come to pass. It strengthens our faith, reassures us that the Lord is listening, and lengthens our patience.

For those of you who have all ready welcomed miracle children into your families, you may enjoy rejoicing with others who understand the road you have traveled. You may also find comfort in the acknowledgment that despite the difficulty we go through in building a family through adoption, that road does not end with a placement and finalization. Nor is the continuing road always smooth and easily traversed. In addition to the usual ups and downs of parenting, those of us who are called to adoption will have an extra dimension to our family that we are responsible to help our children navigate. The authors of these essays share their children’s reaction to being adopted and how they, as parents, responded to those reactions.

A Love Like No Other: Stories from Adoptive Parents
is a deep well of experiences that we can dip into when our own faith is diminished. It may serve well as a periodic “pick-you-up,” reading one essay at a time or you may read it as I did, obsessively over the course of two days, giving me a much needed infusion of hope and resolve.

Now, be forewarned, you may not only need a box of tissues, but you may also need an open mind. These essays are written by parents who adopted domestically and internationally, families who were joined by newborns and families who brought school age children and teens into their families, parents who honor their children’s native heritage and those who hardly acknowledge it. You may not agree with their decisions, with their philosophy, or even their way of life, but one thing is beyond discussion, these parent love their children with a fierce and binding love.

Each of us will react to each of these essays differently. We will each relate to the essayists in our own way. For me the experience of Amy Rackear in her essay “The Second Time Around” hit close to home and, although our situations are not entirely similar, her words and her story resonated with me, giving me the resolve to move forward during a difficult time in our own adoption journey.

The experiences recorded in this book are as diverse as the children we adopt. Somewhere within the pages of this book you are likely to find a family who has walked the road you are now facing, or has walked the road with you. Regardless, each of the stories will teach you something and increase your love for adoption.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Adoption Mini-Conference, Saturday, May 16th at 9:45 am at LDSFS in Renton

Here is the schedule of events for Adoption Education:

09:45-10:00 Welcome and Snack
10:00-10:30 Adoptive Couple Panel
10:30-11:00 Teen Adoptee and her parents (Melissa)
11:00-11:30 Nickie Wood, LDS Family Services
11:30-12:00 State of Washington, Kim Johnson, Foster Care Licenser
12:00-12:30 Birth Parent Panel
12:30-01:00 Lunch

All current LDS Family Services applicants are expected to attend. Anyone interested in learning more about adoption is welcome. Due to the limitations of the location, childcare is not provided.


Remembering Birthmother's Day

This was a great article about how Birthmother's Day came to be and how it help Birthmothers heal and support one another.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Great Resource

In doing some research, I came across a wonderful resource.

The Washington State Adoption Council’s
Adoption Information Exchange

Click on the title to download this valuable packet of information.

Here is the table of contents to give you an idea of what information it contains:

Section 1 Domestic Adoption Agencies. . . . . . . Page 3-4

Section 2 International Adoption Resources . . . Page 5-7
Support Groups
Community Resources

Section 3 Special Needs/ Foster Adoption . . . . . Page 8-11
Community Organizations
DSHS and Private Agencies
Support Groups

Section 4 Adoption Attorneys . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 12-13

Section 5 Pre- and Post-Placement Providers. . . Page14-15

Section 6 General Community Resources . . . . . . Page 16-18
Support Groups

Section 7 Counselors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 19-20

Section 8 Search and Reunion Resources . . . . . . .Page 21

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Keeping Busy While you Wait

This is a fun article on some things to do to keep you busy and your mind occupied while you are waiting for your new little one to arrive.
Surviving the Wait: Keeping Busy While Waiting to be Matched with Your Child
From Adoption Under One Roof

Monday, April 20, 2009

Help with Funding your Adoption

This is a group that raises money to help families bring their children home.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Spring Fling 2009

We had a lot of fun chatting and getting to know one another better! Thanks to everyone who contributed and everyone who came, and everyone who took home food!!!

See you all at the summer BBQ!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bring on the Spring Fling

It's almost time! It's almost here! Aren't you excited???? We are!!! We can't wait to see and meet everyone this Saturday.

Remember to RSVP to Kim with the number of happy faces we will see from your family.


Here is a map to the venue. You can click on the "pin" and then click on "get directions" to lay down a digital bread crumb trail right from your house! (note that the address on the flier is slightly off, it's 19909 SE Wax Rd.)

View Larger Map

Friday, March 20, 2009

Foster Adoption in WA

Lincoln and I have been inspired by the Upton-Rowleys and their beautiful family that was partially created through adopting through the foster care system. (You guys didn't know we've been watching you, did you? You know, we are in your stake!)

I have been doing research on adopting through the Washington foster care system and thought I would share what I have learned here.

DSHS- Childrens' Administration has an organization within it called the Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS). They have 44 offices throughout the state.


They have an informative and resourceful website about adoption.

They start by offering a list of questions to ask yourself in order to better understand what kind of adoption through the foster system is right for you.

Then they outline the legal differences between a foster parent and an adoptive parent.

Foster Parents:

  • Provide daily care and nurturing of children in foster care.
  • Advocate for children in their schools and communities.
  • Inform the children's caseworkers about adjustments to the home, school, and community, as well as any problems that may arise, including any serious illnesses, accidents, or serious occurrences involving the foster children or their own families.
  • Make efforts as team members with children's caseworkers towards reunifying children with their birth families.
  • Provide a positive role model to birth families, and
  • Help children learn life skills.

Adoptive Parents:

  • Provide permanent homes and a lifelong commitment to children into adulthood and beyond.
  • Provide for the short-term and long-term needs of children.
  • Provide for children's emotional, mental, physical, social, educational, and cultural needs, according to each child's developmental age and growth.
  • May become certified as a foster family and accept children who are not legally free for adoption, but whose permanency plan is adoption.
That last one there really caught my attention, as I recently become aware of the differnce between foster to adopt (working towards adoptiong a child you are a foster parent too) and foster adoption (adopting a child out of the foster care system.)

Next, they have a section dedicated to helping you answer some of the questions that you adopted children my have, especially if they came to your family as older children.
A particularly delightful aspect of this site are the pdf downloads available to create a "lifestory book" for or with your child. It helps them to celebrate and comemorate their entire lives, including the time before they came into your family.

Next on the list is a site dedicated to the adoption laws in our state. They have a "cliff notes" verstion of WA state adoption laws.

An imortant item to notice is that you do not have to be a foster parent to adopt through the foster system, (however, it is my understanding that you may have better post-adoption resources available to the child if you choose to become a foster parent.)

The next resource talks about cost. It is well known that the cost of adopting through the foster system is significantly less than private or agency adoption. The only expenses that you are responsible for (and which may even be reimbursed under some circumstances) are attorney fees and home study fees (if someone other than DSHS does your home study.)

They also talk about the Adoption Subsidy available for special needs children. What I found particularly interesting here, is what the definition of a special needs child is.

To be considered a child with "special needs" each of the following statements must be true:

  1. One or more of the following factors or conditions must exist:
    • The child is of an minority ethnic background.
    • The child is six years of age or older at the time of application for adoption support.
    • The child is a member of a sibling group of three or more or of a sibling group in which one or more siblings meet the definition of special needs.
    • The child is diagnosed with a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive or emotional disability.
    • The child is at risk for a diagnosis of a physical, mental, developmental, cognitive, or emotional disability due to prenatal exposure to toxins, a history of serious abuse or neglect, or genetic history.
  2. The state has determined that the child cannot or should not be returned to parent's home; and
  3. A reasonable but unsuccessful effort was made to place the child for adoption without adoption support. (Other unique conditions may exist in which a child would qualify. Almost every child in the state's Foster Care program qualifies for Adoption Support).
Did you catch that last line there "Almost every child in the state's Foster Care program qualifies for Adoption Support" which means they are eligible for medical and dental care through Medicaid.

If the cost of adoption or the continuing cost of caring for a child are concerns for you, then adoption through the foster system is something you should carefully consider.

Next they go through the steps that you will need to go through in order to adopt through the foster care system.

1. Contact your local DSHS office. You can find the listings here. They will answer questions for you and send you an information packet. You will also need to complete 30 hours of adoption/foster training before you are assigned a social worker.

2. Get a Home Study done. (this is a topic in an of itself, but you can read what they have to say about it here.)

3. "Select a Child" - you may all ready have a child in mind, or a social worker may contact you about a child they think would be a good fit in your home.

4. Visitation and Placement Process- The visitation process can take as little as two weeks or several months. Visits begin with a few hours at a place the child feels safe and progressively get longer leading eventually to staying over night and finally moving into their new home.

5. Post Placement- you will continue to work with your social worker to help arrange for any help that your child may need and the social worker will visit your home periodically until finalization.

6. Finalization- Again, this is a whole topic unto itself. You may read how DSHS outlines the process here.

The last page on the Children's Administration website is a list of resources. I would encourage everyone to take a look at it. It includes information on everything from a scholarship available to adopted children, to answering post adoption questions, to tips on taking advantage of adoption tax credits.


As you pray about your adoption and consider your resources and finding techniques, be sure to include foster care in your options. Perhaps that is where your child is waiting for you.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mariners Game

Hello Everyone!!

We just wanted to let you know that the Seattle Mariners are holding a special night to celebrate adoption! We hope to set up a table in order to share with others more about FSA and LDSFS! If you would be interested in volunteering at this booth, please send me an email.

The Mariners are also looking at providing scholarships for those who would like to attend but would not due to cost. Please contact me also if you are interested in a scholarship.

We are so excited about this event!

I will be posting more info sometime this week, as the Mariners just finished all specific details earlier today. We will update you with the latest once we receive the news!


Galen & Kimberly Mecham

Here is a letter that came to us from the Mariners:

Hello Friends

As the son of an adoptee, I personally know a little of the pain and joy of adoption from my own mother's life experience, so it pleases me to be the first to let you know that May 1st 2009 will be the first of what I hope, is many "We Are Family" nights here at Safeco Field. This will be an evening when we will be able to recognize and honor foster families, adoption and adoptee's, birth families and the professionals who work so hard to ensure that all kids in the Northwest can have a positive future surrounded by a family that loves and respects them.

As it stands now, the basics are these: Tickets will be priced at $11, to allow more family's and co-workers an opportunity for an affordable evening out.

When your families, co-workers and guests arrive at the game, they will be able to check in at a table we have set up, where they may claim a special promotional "thank you," gift from the Mariners with We Are Family discreetly displayed on it.

Before the game we will tell a few stories of adoption or foster family's success and inspiration, and someone will be chosen to throw out the first pitch.

At the beginning of the 4th inning, any group that has sold 40 tickets or more will have their name up on the scoreboard for recognition.

We think this night is going to be a very special event for everyone involved.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Let's Get Together!!!

We are planning a Spring Fling in late April! The date will be posted for you this week. We will also be sending out a newsletter on Tuesday! So keep an eye open for it in the mail.

Galen and I have also been in touch with the Portland and Spokane FSA Co-Chairs and have been filled with lots of sweet ideas. We would love to celebrate those involved in the adoption triad and thus we are looking to do some special projects. We will need volunteers--and these projects can be done at your house and sent to the LDSFS office. Curious to what these projects are? Keep a look out for your FSA newsletter!

So many ideas keep rushing to our minds and we are excited to see them come to pass. We look forward to working beside you as our FSA family in promoting and celebrating Adoption! We are so grateful for you! We hope to see you at our upcoming events!

Have a great night everybody!

Go Adoption!

-Galen & Kimberly Mecham

Friday, February 27, 2009

Great Blogs

I'm not sure if you have come upon this blog, but I think it's great. These sweet adoptive parents shares their ups and downs with their readers, and it's truly inspirational!

Here is the blogspot link:


*Here's another one I just came across as well...




Hi all,

I know that a few of you are on facebook- and probably there are
others that are that I don't know about. I've created a closed
private group for us so that we have a nice place to share photos,
stories, and resources.

If you are all ready on facebook and want to join the group (it's a
private group, you won't be able to find it through a search) either
friend me and include a message that you want to be added to the group.

"Megan Penny Wright" (in Seattle)

or send me a message on fb letting me know you want to be added

I hope this will help us all get to know one another a little bit better.

If you aren't on facebook, it is a powerful tool for networking and
finding. It's free and I highly recommend that you join. Joining is
pretty self explanatory, but if you need help I would be happy to
provide personal "technical support" :)

See you there


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

2009 Calendar

Hi Everyone!!!

This is Kim & Galen, your new FSA Co-Chairs! We just returned from the LDSFS Board Meeting! It was a great experience to sit on the board and listen to all that LDSFS has to offer. Everyone showed lots of excitement for their responsibilities, including us. We look forward to serving with you on the board as your new FSA Co-Chairs!!!

At the moment, we are currently in the process of calling all of you so we can get to know you better. We want to find out what we as an FSA board can do for you. We would like to be able to understand where each of you are coming from, and what you envision your pre or post adoption experience to be like. We want to able to provide what you and your family need. We would like to encourage the sense of community many of you have desired to have among each other, but haven't been able to form. FSA should be a rock for each of you as you go about your adoption journey.

We come from a very strong FSA (in California) where we could confide in the members of the FSA and get support. Our previous FSA had activities all the time, and the couples became like family. There are times when it's hard to communicate to others what you are feeling as an adoptive applicant, birth parent, or as an adoptive parent. This is where FSA can help. We have either been there, are going through it, or have been touched by it. I am hoping we can get to know each other better this year!! I hope we can become an FSA family, have fun activities, and become good friends.

Some highlights that we hope to pursue this year are:

Major Activities

Spring Fling - Activity possibly mingled with Education late March/ Early April
Summer BBQ- Location TBD (One will be held here and in Alaska)
Regional FSA Conference- Sometime in August
National Adoption Month Activity- Either dinner or a temple trip in November
Christmas/ Winter Party- December or January

We will be having monthly adoption education classes once a month on a Saturday morning.
(****Many of you have desired to have adoption education, since the state of WA does not require any. It's hard to know what to expect when you haven't had any education on the topic, having only a homestudy. We are all in this together. Adoption today is changing so much, so let's come and learn together!)

Blog/FSA WA Yahoo Group
We also are going to be adding contributors to our FSA blog. The current contributor is doing a wonderful job, and will continue in her position as the head of the blog. However, we would love to get a few other people to contribute as well.

***We also want to encourage you to post on the FSA WA Yahoo Group. This can be a great way to get your questions answered, to share your excitement, or other feelings with others who know what you're going through. LDSFS case workers, directors, or anyone else working at the agency will not be allowed to join. They will not see or hear of anything that is being posted. It was touched upon tonight. We reiterated the importance of families being able to chat soely with other members of FSA. The LDSFS respect that and will not be included in the group.

A Facebook group is also being created. We will keep you posted on how to join!

Play Groups/ Bi Monthly Activities

We would like to start up play groups in the Spring. We would also like to have bi-monthly pizza nights as well. We were thinking of having them regionally. For example, those who live in the Olympia area can get together and have play groups and their pizza night the same days or nights families are getting together in the Seattle or Bellingham areas. This way people don't have to drive so far to go meet their new best FSA friends! :-)

(Please email me and let me know what you think of this idea! If any of you would like to coordinate any of these activities in your area, we would be more than willing to put you on the committee for your area!)


We are looking for people to give 5th Sunday presentations in their ward and stakes. (Or any ward or stake, including the Deaf and Spanish wards!) Regional Reps with LDSFS are also an asset in getting the word out for these 5th Sunday presentations. We can give presentations at schools, businesses, or anywhere else that would welcome them.

We can set up an LDSFS booth at farmers markets and provide interested people information on adoption. Our last FSA did this. We can set up a little booth, table, and chairs......and there you go.

We can wear our FSA shirts and bracelets. Or we can be a testimony bearer of the blessing of adoption in our lives.

OK well that is not a comprehensive list but I think it should suffice for the moment. If any of you would like to participate on the board, or be in charge of a single task or event, please email us! We would love to work beside you, our inspiration!


Kim & Galen

P.S. In order to execute these events we will need lots of help from you. If you could contribute in any way- we would be more than grateful. This is going to be great!!!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Feb 2009 Ensign Article


There is a lovely article on page 37 of this month's Ensign about adoption. It is the account of two birth parents, a birth mother and a birth father (not associated with one another) how they came to make their decisions, how the gospel helped them to heal, and how they are doing now. It is always instructive and touching to me to hear the stories of these wonderful parents.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

A note from Larissa

I am really excited to tell you guys that we now have new FSA Chapter Co-Chairs and Casey and I are off the hook!!!

I asked Nickie a while back to keep her eyes open for another couple who would be willing to be the leaders of our chapter and she found the perfect one. Kim and Galen recently moved to Washington from California where they were very involved in their local chapter. They came over tonight and we were able to visit and I am really happy they are here!!

I plan to remain very involved with FSA and have enjoyed my time as a co-chair. But, at the same time I think it is perfect timing to pass the torch. As some of you know, I went back to work part-time and am really enjoying it, but it is a big adjustment as far as my level of open time.

So .... thank you very much for all of your love, help and support during our time as co-chairs. I am looking forward to attending all of 2009's events without being the one in the lead! Being involved in FSA here has greatly increase my understanding and love of adoption and I would highly recommend becoming involved with FSA no matter your stage of adoption involvement. I know there will be many great opportunities for our chapter under the direction of the Mecham Family and can't wait for you to meet them as well.

Warmly, Larissa

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Money Issue

Adoption is expensive, there is no doubt about it. However, there is always a way if your family has the desire to bring a child into your home.

There was an interesting segment on The Today Show recently about this very thing. It also tells the uplifting and inspiring story of three adoptive families and their success and joy in growing their families through adoption.

Click here to view the segment.

Monday, January 5, 2009

A note from National FSA

Dear FSA Members,

As we strive to help couples learn ways to make an adoption more likely, we have decided to create a success blog. We would like to post “finding” success stories to motivate and guide couples who want to adopt.

If your “promoting” or “finding” efforts led to an adoption and you are willing to share what you did, please send us an email (cutefamilyof5@gmail.com) with the following information:

* Your first names
* Family picture or picture of your child (This is optional. Our blog will not be added to a search engine and it will not be private, so it is up to you to decide if you want to add a family photo.)
* Date of approval for adoption.
* Date of placement
* What you did to promote your family for adoption.
* What you did that led to a connection with your child’s birth mother.
* How you feel about your experience with “finding”.
o If you used an adoption Web site to make the connection to your birth mom, please share the Web site name.
o If you used printed material (pass-along cards, letters, etc.), please consider emailing those to us as well. We are always looking for examples to share with couples. We would like to add more ideas and examples to the familiessupportingadoption.org Web site.

Please limit your information to two short paragraphs. We welcome links to your family blog and Web sites so that couples can email you if they have questions or want to read your whole story.

We are hoping to get the word out about the blog through other FSA blogs and FSA Web sites and networking tools. Our intended audience for this blog is all FSA members who are trying to adopt.

There is nothing like a positive adoption story to give hope to those who are trying to build their family. We have seen many wonderful ideas come from FSA couples. We hope you will take the time to share your success with others!

Brad and Brenda Horrocks
FSA Co-Vice Chairs
FSA National Board