Hearts, Questions, & Adoption

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Isn’t that lil boy up there just presh? Oh wait, you can’t tell? Because he has a heart over his face? Well, you’ll have to take my word for it. He’s pretty stinkin’ cute and I can’t wait to share his handsome face with you. 

Over the past few weeks since we brought Jude home, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about adoption and why we put a heart over his face when we post pictures. And I get it! There are all these different rules and regulations for adoption and foster care. And every situation and every state is different. Not to mention there’s open adoption, closed, semi-open, domestic, and international. Then there’s adoption facilitated through an agency and then there’s independent adoptions. Some adoptions have legal risks, others do not. And I can’t even speak to foster care because it’s not the route we’ve taken for Jude. But it can be confusing when you see a family adopt and are unfamiliar with all the in’s and out’s of orphan prevention and care. 

So today I wanted to answer a few of the questions we’ve received, but before I do so I want to say this... we are SO so SO so SOOOO stinkin' thankful for all of the kind words and support y'all have given us during this process. From the Adoption Auction, to bringing Jude home and y'all putting up with my over-instagramming (#sorrynotsorry)... THANK YOU for celebrating with us. You people are our tribe - and we cannot imagine doing this WITHOUT YOU. So thank you!

Now onto your questions... 

Our most popular question first: What’s with the heart? 

The short and uncomplicated answer is this: We place a heart over Jude’s face to protect his online identity. Although yes, he is “officially” ours, our adoption isn’t finalized yet. The more complicated answer is this: Jude is a “legal risk” baby. Don’t freak out. This doesn’t mean he’s going to be taken away from us. It just means there are some loose ends that need to be tied up and it could take a bit of time. There are a billion reasons why a situation like this could occur, but I can't spell out those reasons online today, because… well he’s a legal risk baby so parts of his story need to be kept quiet until that risk is resolved. If you’re one of our friends and we see you on the regular, feel free to ask us more about legal risk in person! But let me assure you, Ben and I aren't losing sleep over this... so don't fret. We'll let you know when the coast is clear (aka... apologize in advance for our over-gramming again). 

What’s an open adoption? 

An open adoption is simply an adoption where the birth parent/s and adoptive parent/s know who each other are and have each other’s contact information. For us, this means we have contact with our son’s birth mother and we just simply ADORE her and think she’s one of the bravest people to have ever walked this earth. How an open adoption is played out is up to the adoptive parents and birth parent/s. Sometimes birth parents and adoptive parents see each other, others don’t. Some talk weekly, others talk monthly or yearly.  We are still in the process of working out what ours looks like, but for those of you who have asked, yes, we talk with Jude’s birth mother and we love her a lot. And for the record… we are 100% pro-open adoption if a birth mother is open to it.   

What’s his name and did you get to pick it?

That precious boy’s name is Jude Michael Salmon & yes, we chose his name. Jude is short for Judah, which means praise; we are praying his life will be one that always gives praise to His maker. Michael is his maternal grandfather's name, who is a pastor who has faithfully proclaimed Jesus for his entire adult life. And from his paternal side, Salmon is his father’s last name. An added plus is that his initials are JMS which are his paternal grandfather’s initials, who is one of the kindest, most patient and generous men I know. We wanted him to know from the beginning that he is so deeply loved and we wanted his familial heritage to be displayed in his name. 

What’s been the reaction to y’all adopting a child who doesn’t look like you?

I get it. I’m white. My husband is white. The twins are white. Jude is black, well technically he's more chocolate... but you get the idea. It can get tricky sometimes, but honestly, more than anything we are just overwhelmed with the loving support we have within our church and families. It’s easy to focus on the one dirty look or insensitive comment received, but it’s better to focus on the kind words of MANY. Plus we have had a lot of our black friends come along side of us and really help us out. We’re learning to ask better questions, to listen more, and how to graciously correct well intentioned people who say hurtful things. I’ll be writing more on this topic later, but for now the best way I can answer that question is just to say… We’re learning a lot, and I love having a family that looks a little more like heaven because Jude is in it. 

And this last one goes out to all the nosy folks in the grocery store/mall/gas station who don’t know me, read my blog, or know my name and YET they ask this ALL THE TIME: Are you done now that you have your boy? 

First off, can I just say this on behalf of all women who are growing their families through pregnancy, foster care, or adoption… Unless you’re a good friend, as in you drop by each other’s houses and sip coffee in sweats and talk about the intimacies of life on the regular, any question or comment regarding family planning is probably better left unsaid. Baby making and family growth can be a sensitive subject for some - ESPECIALLY if you just met them in the produce section and don’t know the person’s name. Lucky for the strangers at Target, I’m a pretty open book. So although I may or may not judge them in my head for their nosiness, I really don’t mind when they ask. I actually get a kick of saying a big ole “Nope, We sure aren’t!” and then watch their eyes buldge out of their heads and squirm their way out of this incredibly awkward conversation. It really is priceless. And since y'all aren't strangers, you're our people, I'll candidly answer your question about this any day! YES, we realize we have our hands full. But we love it, and until God gives us a peace about it, our home will always be open to the topic of adoption/foster care. There are just too many kiddos in the world who need a safe home for us to shut that door. 

I joke a lot about the nosy folks in grocery stores BC THEY ARE REAL and they’re the same ones who asked me incredibly weird and inappropriate questions about my pregnancy and the twins’ birth story (WHY MUST YOU KNOW WHETHER I HAD A C-SECTION OR DELIVERED THEM VAGINALLY... I think it's a great rule of thumb to never say the word vagina or any form of it in a conversation if you don't know the person's name... that's just my opinion though). Aside from that... the truth is, all joking aside, we welcome questions about our adoption! We love it when our friends and family take an interest in it and are curious! So keep 'em coming! There's no question off limits when asked respectfully.  So if anyone is thinking about adoption or has questions about it, you can leave them in the comment section and I'll reply back TODAY or feel free to shoot me a message HERE and I'll email you back within the week. We know it’s a foreign thing to some folks, and we’d love to share our story with you! Nothing is off limits... so ask away! 

Much Love,

Posted on April 28, 2016 and filed under Jude the Dude, Adoption.