565 days after the babies joined our family they were officially adopted.
Introducing Vera and Grayson Migonis without lines over their eyes:
Playing in Gray’s crib the morning of the adoption.
All he wanted to do was get down and run!
The kids with my parents
AJ’s mom and step dad drove all the way out from New York to see the adoption!
With Judge Donahue sealing the deal… she even bought the babies stuffed animals!
Everyone who came to the courthouse with us!!!
Vera’s first pedicure by Elle and Mommy. 🙂
The girls outfits were what promoted the entire photo shoot color scheme. You can find them here.
Over the course of the adoption training and fostering the twins we’ve received a lot of questions about them and about adoption. I’ve answered some of them here in order to possibly help some of you who are interested in adoption.
Where were the babies from?
They were from Lowell, MA. We adopted and fostered through the state. All of our weekly visits with the birth parents were at the Lowell Department of Children and Family (DCF) Office. We have an open adoption which means the babies need to be able to see their birth parents, with us present, three times a year if the parents initiate it.
Where they born addicted to drugs?
No. One of the biggest issues their birth parents struggled with were drugs but from month five on of the pregnancy their birth mom had no drugs in her system.
How much did it cost?
Nothing. Private adoptions can cost around $30,000 per child but we did it through the state. We were paid a monthly stipend for fostering the twins (approximately $600 / month per child) and a clothing allowance and even now receive a stipend post adoption because they have special needs (it’s really only that they have delays which we expect are because they were born premature).
They were on Mass Health pre-adoption and we didn’t have to pay a dime for any medical expenses. Post adoption they will be on our insurance and have Mass Health as the supplemental policy.
The babies will also get free tuition to a state school should they choose to go there.
Was there any risk with the babies?
Yes. If you adopt through the state, and the children are not freed for adoption yet, the parents have an action plan they can complete (ex.: get therapy, secure a safe living environment, complete AA, go to drug rehab, etc.) and get the children back. When we took the twins in we were told they were a legal risk, meaning the parents could get them back if they completed their action plan, but it was highly unlikely.
This past February the parents’ attorney basically told them their was no chance they were get them back and the parents signed over any rights (even though the babies were in the state’s custody at this point this is an essential step because then the parents can’t appeal the decision).
Was there anyone who discouraged us?
Yes, although they were few and far between. We had to just explain that their concerns were completely valid (they were) but that we knew God was telling us to do this. People’s biggest concerns were that our children would get less attention and that the babies would have issues.
We have generally had an incredibly supportive community and family. Our parents and siblings embraced the babies instantly even though they were worried about us getting attached then losing them (remember the whole legal risk thing?).
How did we tell Drew and Elle?
We explained to them that we felt that God was telling us to take in kids that needed a good home because their parents couldn’t keep them safe the way they should be. We explained as best as we could about drugs and abuse but kept it to a kid appropriate level. We told them that it would be hard and things would change for our family but we knew that if Jesus was telling us to do this hard thing he’d give us the strength to do it.
How did we introduce the babies?
We introduced them initially with their birth names and then around their six month birthday made the switch to Vera and Grayson (the names we were going to change them to so that they wouldn’t be confused when we made the switch at two years old or whenever the adoption happened) when we were told that it really didn’t look like the parents could get them back. There were a few scares with the parents checking off a couple of things on their action plan so we were very cautious to tell people that they were our foster babies but still included that we hoped to adopt them.
What etiquette have I learned from fostering?
Don’t approach anyone in Target when they are with their four children and say “you and your husband really should take up another hobby like Monopoly” or don’t ask if all the children are theirs and then follow that up with “are you Catholic?”. Both actually happened to me. 😉 In all seriousness though, strangers were SO encouraging to us from the amazing workers at our Trader Joe’s to people around town.
What words of encouragement can you give to someone looking to adopt?
I can only comment on doing it through the state (internationally is completely different). We had a lot of people say to us “God is so good” when it looked like things would work out with the babies but it was really important for me to remember that even if the babies when back to their birth parents God would still be good. He adores the twins more than I can ever hope to. Our goal, even if we lost the babies, was to give them a great start and provide them a safe and loving home for as long as we had them. Would it be heart-breaking if we had lost them? Undoubtedly. But I would also be able to have hope in the fact that we did what we were supposed to and raised them for the time we had them.
It’s hard work, especially when it’s twins. Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page and communicate communicate. Don’t feel embarrassed at needing to ask for help, you are doing a great thing taking in kids and hopefully others are going to be very giving about their time so you can have a break.
Did I work from home while fostering?
Only blogging occasionally or doing one or two real estate transactions. If we had only taken in one child I could have done more but the twins pretty much kicked me in the pants. 😉
Feel free to ask any other questions in the comments or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.