Pregnancy Expectations Before and After Adopting a Child

Are you pregnant right after adopting a new family member? Or is this your first pregnancy but you have always known you wanted to adopt in the future? Today’s episode is all about adopting and pregnancy and what expectant mothers need to know!

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Episode Transcript

Disclaimer 0:05
Welcome to Preggie Pals. My name is Emily Mason, and I'll be your host today. If you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at New mommy And subscribe to our weekly newsletter, which keeps you updated on all the episodes we release each week. Another great way to stay updated is to hit that subscribe button in your podcast app. And if you're looking for a way to get even more involved with our show, then check out our online community. It's called Mighty moms. That's where we chat more about the topics discussed here on our show. And it's also an easy way to learn about our recordings so you can join us live.

Um, is that a plus sign? Pink or blue hospital? Or homebirth? What type of food should I be eating? I think I just paid myself.

I'm pregnant. And I have to exercise what pregnancy glow. Wait, was that a contraction? Gotta make these pants

kinkle What do you mean, there's more than one. You've got the symptoms. And now you've got the support you need for a happy nine months. This is Peggy pals your pregnancy your way.

Now, let's meet today's panel of guests. Our guests today are Kelsey Peterson and Jennifer Parra. Kelsey, can you go ahead and tell us a little bit about yourself first?

Kelsey Peterson 1:36
Yeah, of course. So I've been happily married to my husband, TJ since 2016. We decided that we wanted to start a family right away. And we had absolutely no luck with that. I already knew that I had PCOS. And so we met with a fertility specialist. And after quite a bit of tests, they told us that it would be really difficult to get pregnant. I think we had like a 30% chance with IVF. After starting the process, we decided quickly that that just wasn't the route we wanted to go. So we were totally fine just being us in the dogs. In March of 2019. My sister called me and said, Hey, I have a coworker of the friend that's pregnant and the adoptive parents changed their minds. Do you want to adopt a baby? Immediately? I said yes. And I called TJ and I was so overjoyed. We met her a few days later, and she was due and only two weeks after what started to seem like the fastest home study ever. I got a call that she was being induced and actually only three days after a lot of rushing and complete miracle work from our social worker. Three days later, we met our daughter. She's now five and adopting her is the best thing that we have ever done.

Emily Mason 2:57
That's that's an amazing story. I remember when that when you and I were kind of in that same journey together and hearing your story just gives me goosebumps because I was so overjoyed for you.

Kelsey Peterson 3:08
Thank you. Yeah.

Disclaimer 3:09
Our second guest we have today is Jennifer. Jennifer, I know you have a large following on social media. Can you please tell us about yourself and your family?

Jennifer Parra 3:18
Yes. Hi, everyone. My name is Jennifer Parra. I've been married with to my husband Cesar for going on 2920 I'm sorry, about 22 years. I have four beautiful kids. I was pregnant with my oldest Gabby, who's 20 now and had a partial hysterectomy during her delivery. Then we welcome Jonathan through private domestic adoption. He's 13 right now. And we were foster parents to our final two Kota and Kaya. They came in as COVID was a toddler and Kaya was a newborn. They are siblings biologically, and we fostered them for about two and a half years before we were able to adopt them.

Emily Mason 4:20
I will also be sharing some of my own pregnancy and adoption experiences throughout this podcast. But let's first take a break and we will return and dive into today's topic.

Today we're discussing pregnancy expectations when it comes to adopting a child, whether you're pregnant now after adopting a child, or I've always dreamed of welcoming a child into your home by adoption. We're going to talk about experiencing pregnancy and birth and everything in between. So if you're interested, you've come to the right place. So I'll let both Have you kind of answered these questions as we go through them? Feel free to just jump in. But this is an easy question first, did you adopt before? Or after you got pregnant? And what was that experience like for you? Okay,

Jennifer Parra 5:16
this Jennifer, I could go first I adopted after pregnancy. In fact, it was like seven years after being pregnant, there was a big time to think about and really make sure we were ready and to proceed with adoption. And if that was the route we were gonna go. So especially with my daughter, you know, we wanted to really prepare her as well. And of course, we went this route, because I had a partial hysterectomy during labor with her. So for us, we had, we went through private domestic adoption, which is also called, like independent adoption, with my son, Jonathan is where you get matched with the birth mom. And that was a whole process as well, a lot of waiting and potential matches during that. And then we decide after we finalize his adoption, we became foster parents, and welcomed Kota and Kaya into our home. And it took about two and a half years before we were able to adopt them.

Emily Mason 6:26
Kelsey, you adopted that your daughter, but you've not ever had a pregnancy? Is that correct? Right.

Kelsey Peterson 6:37
So I have never been pregnant. We did try, you know, the very start of IVF, we tried some fertility meds, and I decided I don't like what this is doing to my body. I didn't like how I was reacting to it. And honestly, it made me a little crazy. So I decided, you know, I don't want to try to get pregnant. And then my daughter, so adopting her was a complete surprise, she definitely was not planned. She's the best surprise, you know, that we've ever had. And now after adopting her, she's five years old, we adopted her officially when she was nine months old. But we did have her since birth. And it was a private adoption. Now, my husband and I are totally happy with one child. And we have honestly no interest in trying to get pregnant again. We have thought about doing foster care in the future. When everything kind of comes down, we definitely feel like that is a good choice for us to help some families out on that

Emily Mason 7:51
route. Absolutely. It's very interesting, listening to how we all kind of have a different journey. I, we my husband and I adopted our daughter, before I got pregnant with our second daughter. So our daughter is seven, almost eight years old now. And we kind of had the same journey as Kelsey mentioned with some fertility issues. We had been married for almost five years, at the point where we kind of went into that adoption space. But we really looked at what are our options, we went to some fertility specialists. And I was really told, you know, we can't figure out what's wrong with you unexplained fertility. And we started down the path of IUI IVF. And then I didn't really like Kelsey said, like what it was doing to my body. And so I backed off, we went down the adoption route. We adopted our daughter when she was about a year and a half. But she came to live with us when she was 10 months old. And then when we moved back to Iowa, we went to another fertility specialist. And they essentially said, there's just a couple of vitamins that we need you to take and give this a shot and see if it works. And the very next round of my cycle, I got pregnant with our youngest and she is almost three now. So we have a pretty good age gap between our two. And I keep going back and forth. I've looked at the adoption process again, looked at the pregnancy process again. But also looked at how you know I'm very content with where we are right now. So it's interesting how everybody has a different, different story to tell. So, Kelsey, I know you touched on this, but when was that aha moment for you that you wanted to adopt? Besides like, was there ever that just did you get there first? Did your husband get there? First? What, what was that? Like? And how did you have that conversation?

Kelsey Peterson 10:27
So completely to be completely transparent, my husband, and I thought it was just going to be the two of us forever, you know, just testing the docs. We, you know, we looked up some prices online of, you know, signing up with different adoption agencies, you know, and we're looking at the prices, you know, just to sign up and, you know, upwards of what, 100 grand. And we thought, That's just crazy. Which, I mean, total respect for anybody who, who does that, but our financial situation would not have allowed that. So like I said, we thought it was just going to be us. And my sister called me. I want to say it was March 3, I think I can't remember exactly the date of 2019. I mean, it was out of the blue, hey, my coworker is looking for someone to adopt their child, the prospective parents that he she had chosen had changed and change their mind, do you want to adopt this baby? And immediately without thinking, I said, Yes, absolutely. And I was just completely giddy. I called my husband and told him and he was the same exact way. And we knew right then and there that she was our daughter. And so we had met with her birth mother, actually had a Perkins. And she liked us, she was friends with my sister, and she said, You know, I love your sister. So that means I'm gonna love you too. And next thing, you know, we get a call a day or two later, that she's being induced in three days. So a typical home study only takes well, not only it takes nine months, and ours literally took three days. At first, we thought that Emerson was gonna have to go home with our lawyer, because we didn't have more background checks back yet. So that's how much of a rush it was. Luckily, she came home with us from the hospital. But yeah, it was just a complete surprise. And honestly, it was kind of out of the out of the blue. We, you know, we thought we didn't later down the line that we would foster in hopes of reunification. But yeah, it was, it was just a complete surprise. And the best surprise ever, because she's an absolutely amazing human being.

Emily Mason 12:55
Absolutely. So Jennifer, this next questions for you, I know you had two different experiences in the adoption process. Can you kind of walk us through what private adoption looks like versus what foster care adoption looks like? And what what those two processes are like?

Jennifer Parra 13:20
Yeah, of course, for private domestic adoption. Obviously, there's more costs involved with that, you in both instances, you do go through home studies. But with the private domestic, you have more of like the independent home study, and it does take, like a few months. So it's like a series of interviews and everything. And at the same time, you're preparing at what's called like a birth parent letter. I know nowadays, everything is like a video, they do video it on video, but when we were doing it, it was like, almost like a story book of like our family. So kind of presenting, like, what our family looks like, what we do what we like to do as a family, and stuff like that with pictures of our family. And that would get presented to different birth moms. So during that time, you're waiting and we were told that our home study home study is only good for a year. So if it Yeah, and if it didn't, if it nothing happened in that year, the process would start all over again. So including the fees, so we were like okay, you know what, let's try it. Let's see what happens in the year. So during that year, we were it's just waiting, you're waiting for the phone to ring you're like what's going to happen? And we got a few phone calls of potential matches like we're going to present you your your letter to this mom and it's up to her. Some we've worked I was in, but at the end, it didn't work out. But we were already coming up to like the last month of the year. And we get a call and they said, there's a baby actually has already been born. And the birth parents would actually like to meet the both of you before making a decision. So yeah, we flew out to Minnesota, because we're in California, and we met the birth parents in the hospital. And we're matched right there. And it was like this. It was such a unique experience. But such a blessing. And we, we got to meet both the biological mom and dad and you do get, like a lot of the medical history, there's more elaborate paperwork that's more involved, I wanted to pay with the private domestic. And so that was that process. And it was, it was one it was, wow, it was, we are so honored that they chose us. So it was it was a great moment, for us a great memory. But in for foster care was completely different. Because when you go through foster care, you you are a foster parent, you get dual licensed for foster care and adoption, at least here in California. And what that means is if you're fostering and parental rights do get taken away, you are the first ones that get the choice of adopting your foster children. So because we're already licensed for adoption, so that that took a lot of classes. So when you go and become a foster parent, you do go through a lot of classes, so we went to three or four months of classes, and home study. And, and then you know, you open your home up and you foster care, and the priority is reunification. So, you know, you have to be on board with that. And my husband and I were okay with that. You know, we had Gaby and we had Jonathan. And if we were just, you know, opening our home, whether it was temporary forever, we were okay with that, you know, so, Kota came first. We were fostering him for about three weeks when we get a call and said he had a baby sister. And they would like to keep them together. So he came. So of course, we said yes. And she came over about three weeks later. And yeah, we foster them for two and a half years. And that is a process because it's fostering, you know, you have in you, but during this time, you're building trust with the child and vice versa, you're really getting to know each other. And yeah, then they parental rights were taken away. And then you get an adoption date. And you go in and you know, you get to legally adopt the child. And for fees, it's very minimal when you go through the foster care program. So we were we were really blessed, two completely different processes. The only similarities would be there is a home study. And there is a lot of waiting. A lot of waiting.

Kelsey Peterson 18:30
Yes. Did you let your between the two and I don't know, I have been just on the foster and adoption side with the state of Arkansas when we adopted our our daughter. But I know when we moved to Iowa, we had to go through the whole process of home studies again, even though we had been approved in Arkansas, we kept our home, you know, our home open? Is it the same going from a private adoption to the foster care where you have to go through that process again? Or did you? How does that work? Switching from one to another?

Jennifer Parra 19:17
Well, they didn't overlap. So yeah, there was like, to a year and a half before we started doing foster care. So our home study was already done. We would have had to renew it anyway. But the questions and the stuff we went through like the home study was pretty similar.

Kelsey Peterson 19:38
And I think when you when you do private, I'm not sure about foster but when you do the private adoption, your home study, you can renew it instead of have to completely redo everything. And I think that's definitely an easier process. Because we looked into doing that that's definitely an easier process than having to redo the whole entire homestead. Free. But you do. Yeah, you have to do some extra paperwork after that year is that

Emily Mason 20:06
interesting? It's all very interesting to learn about.

Um, so I guess to piggyback and Jennifer, you can feel this question and Kelsey, kind of chime in with your thoughts on maybe how Emerson would react. But how did you prepare to open your home to children? Foster Care, private adoption? How did after pregnancy? How did you prepare your children? Or how would you prepare your children for something like that?

Jennifer Parra 20:54
For me, there was already such a lot of time, like, it was, like I had mentioned, it was like, six, seven years already. And we really prepared her like we wanted to make sure Well, first off, because I was the one who started the idea of adoption, I was the one who felt like I really wanted to go forward with adoption. So I brought that idea up to my husband. And so once he got on board, it was very important for us to get Gabby on board. Because if you're going to adopt, you really want everybody to be on board with that. So we just prepared her, we explained what adoption was what it meant. We read a lot of books. And just really wanted her to know, you know, how what adoption was all about. And so she was very involved with the whole adoption process from the beginning, including, like even putting our birth mom letter together, she was very involved with that choosing. Choosing the pictures, she wanted to write her little blurb on it. And so she was very involved with that. And then when, and then she got to see what that was all about with Jonathan. And they're so close. And since she was so involved with that, she loved it and was like, okay, when we thought about doing it again, she was like, Yes, please. And we were like, well, both will keep thinking about it. And she was like, no, please do it again. You know, I let's, let's start it again. She was really on board. And yeah, so she's amazing, big sister. She's very close to all of them. But it was very important for us to get her prepared. And to know, you know, she had been just with mom and dad, and like, it was just her for so long, that we definitely wanted to prepare her that, you know, our attention, you know, might not always just be for her it was going to be split amongst all the siblings, but she was ready for it. And for us, it's just really important to try to prepare her for any expectations or what might come or you know, so she's not surprised too much of what can happen down the road. But she, I think involving her so much in the process really, really helped her and she felt like she was part of it. So that helped a lot.

Emily Mason 23:15
Yeah, absolutely. Kelsey, did you have any kind of ideas? Or have you guys thought about I know you're you've toyed with the idea of opening your home for foster care and reunification? What would that process look like for Emerson?

Kelsey Peterson 23:36
Well, to be honest, I think right now Emerson is truly enjoying being a single child. She's pretty spoiled. And she is very much obsessed with her dad. And once all of his attention when he's home from work. She I'm sure she would love a sibling, she you know, she's always looking out for new looking for new friends. And especially being a single child. You know, I've encouraged her. For example, we go to a playground. Oh, looks like there's some kids, why don't you go introduce yourself and ask if they'd like to play with you. And so now we'll take her to the park and she'll just automatically go up to kids. Ask, you know, say hi, my name is Emerson, would you like to play with me today? And of course, they always say yes. And they play with her and she just loves it. She also has seven cousins, all girls, that we are very, very close to literally about three blocks away. And so we're constantly with our family. So she does have other kids that she plays with really often. But I think at home I think she's happy being a spoiled single child for now.

Emily Mason 24:54
Absolutely. That's that's fair.

Kelsey Peterson 24:56
I get it.

Emily Mason 24:58
I'm pregnant. See, so my pregnancy was after I adopted or we adopted our daughter, and it was definitely a new venture for us. I never could picture myself pregnant. And so when I actually was pregnant, I was very leery because my body had never really cooperated prior to that pregnancy. And then with our oldest, I was very concerned of how she would react. So she was five, when we got pregnant with our youngest, and I knew that she kind of would have some hurdles to overcome with feeling, maybe that she wasn't getting all of our attention anymore. And she's now eight. And she still feels that way. At times, which I think is very typical for young kids to feel like, my younger brother or sister gets more attention for me. But she at the beginning was very much, I'm good. Just being an only child. I'm good, just not having anybody to share my time with. Part of that was because not only is she an only child here in our home, she doesn't have cousins, so she was the only granddaughter on my husband's side, the only grandkid on my parents, my parents side. And so she was spoiled all the way around from every person and got undivided attention from every person. Now, her and her her sister, their best friends, they do everything together, probably all the things they shouldn't do together, like climbing trees, and I'm panicking that somebody is going to fall out of a tree. But it's, it's great to see how that kind of wrapped back around. And she embraces her journey and she knows her journey. That was something we were very adamant about from the beginning is talking about the adoption process. I, my daughter was adopted from the foster care system, but I did know who her birth parents were. So I have kept up with pictures and things from their social medias. In case she ever asks those questions, I don't share with her unless she asks, but she does know that she's adopted. A lot of times we catch people off guard because they'll say, you know, hi her Hi, Bentley. How are you? You look more and more like your mom every time I see you. And the first thing out of her mouth is Yeah, but I'm adopted. So I don't look anything like my mom. And people kind of like, panic a little bit and like, oh my gosh, I'm like it's okay. Like that's just part of her story. And she likes to share that with people. Much too. Like Kelsey had said with Emerson, she tells you know, go introduce yourself to those kiddos and go play. We encouraged Bentley to do that. Before, you know she had a sister, and even now I encourage her to go do those things. But we had to help her with the conversations because the terminology and like, you know, I'm adopted, we've talked about we read books about adoption. She would go up to kids and say hi, I'm Bentley, and I'm adopted Can we play together? And so some of the things we had to talk through and I don't ever want to take that piece away from her because that is part of her story. But as she's gotten older, she's realized like, oh, like I don't have to tell people all of that like that doesn't really change the way people feel about me and people don't don't know that but I'm happy that she feels comfortable enough to insecure enough to be like I'm adopted, but this is my family like these are the people that chose me. And that's I think that's really an interesting perspective from all of you to of how different the journeys were but how we all kind of got to this place where our family seemed to be pretty complete right now. We've got more pregnancy and adoption questions to talk about. We'll be right back after this quick break

Welcome back to break Pals, we are continuing our topic of pregnancy and adoption, and all of the questions that you are dying to know. In our last segment, we talked about questions that your adoptive children may be asking about their biological parents. And I'm just curious to know how you guys respond to those questions. And what helpful tips do you have for our listeners? For me,

Jennifer Parra 30:26
I, you, my husband, and I were always open with our kids. And we told them about their adoption from the beginning. For us, it does kind of help that three of our kids are adopted. So they do have that story together in terms of, it's not just talking about talking to one child about adoption, but they have each other to talk about adoption as well, amongst themselves, but we opened it up with conversations, and you know, the books that you can you know, about adoption and how to talk to your child about adoption. We, for my son that we adopted through private adoption, I was able to have pictures for him. So we put together a book, like an adoption book for him. And so he has that he has the pictures, and that he can refer back to and talk about, you know, about being adopted with our other two, through foster care was a little bit different. They knew they were adopted, because we were fostering them for two and a half years. And they were already old enough by them. By the time we were able to finalize their adoption quota was almost six kya was like two and a half, three. So they're a little bit older, in understanding like going to court. And now this means you're being adopted, we did the whole tummy mom, like you grew up in another mom's tummy. And she was your tummy mom. And I'm your adoptive mom. And they're very open about talking about it, you know, there's no stigma in our house or anything, or make them feel any kind of way. It is just part of the story. And they talk about it openly with anyone who wants to ask, and sometimes they talk about it without even being asked, you know, and but they don't feel like there's any stigma or like it's a secret or anything, or any kind of way about it, you know, they're very positive about talking about their story.

Kelsey Peterson 32:25
Yeah, books are definitely a great, a great tool to use when they're young, to teach them about adoption. Our social worker actually gave us a book that I love, and I still read it to this day to me. And it's all about, I wished for you, I longed for you. And then you are here. And there's a few other books as well that we have read. Now that she's five, she started to really ask questions and try to understand, you know, where did I come from? Why did I not come out of your belly? You know, and she's asking all those questions. And you definitely have to think of a way to explain it to not have it too complicated, especially at five years old. So they understand. And also for us, it's, you know, we want to make sure that we are always telling the truth to her, you know, we don't want to hide any of the details. If she asks, you know, adoption can be beautiful, and it can be messy, right? And so she asked me all the time, Mommy, I didn't come out of your tummy. And I'll say No, honey, you didn't come out of my tummy. You came out of, and then I'll say her birth mother's name. I'll say you came out of her tummy. But I but you're my mommy. And so you know, it's definitely it's definitely something hard to explain to really get them to understand. But I think it's very important to talk to your kids as often as they want to talk about it.

Jennifer Parra 34:08
Yes, definitely. For my son too, because we're also a transracial adoptive family. So my son, he's African American, and you know, we're Filipino and Mexican. He already started noticing differences. Very early, like two and a half years old. You know, he noticed like our skin colors were different. And he would start to ask and question that too. So that, you know, helped us in terms of opening up dialogue about adoption and to talk to him about that as well because, you know, he was already questioning at such a young age.

Emily Mason 34:48
I think that's really interesting, how quickly they can pick up on those things. And then The same time how it doesn't. It never mattered to my to my oldest where she knew. And it was just kind of like two ships passing in the night like, doesn't it didn't faze her in the slightest. We've had that conversation about, you know, you grew up in another mom's tummy. And then you're here, we've really read a book. God brought me you to help explain some of those things as she was younger. It caught me a little off guard, I would say it was about a month ago, I want to say, We, on Saturdays and Sundays, we kind of just cuddle in bed together, and we talk and her dad's a really early riser. And her and I are not fans of being up before 8am on weekends. And so she just kind of comes in, we cuddle and we talk and she said, Mom, you know, I, I know that you're my mom. But how do I know what my other mom and dad looked like? And I said, I told her, I said, Well, I have pictures. And when you're ready, and you think you're ready to look at them. I'd be happy to share those with you. And she said, yeah, if you if you can, and they've been on my phone, she's a wizard on my phone. So I don't know how she's never seen. You know, I have just an album titled Bentley's birth family. And she looked at the pictures and she goes, Oh, those are my eyes, I can see that. Those are my eyes. And she kind of went through and she looked at the pictures, and his mouth looks like my mouth. And then she was done. She handed me the phone back. She goes, thanks. And I was just caught off guard with how do I respond to this moving forward. And also really, really, it kind of helped secure things, not that things hadn't ever been secure, but to realize that she just needs to see, but she's completely in 100% content right here where we're at. And that's, I think, always been my fear being an adoptive mom and a birth mom, that I never want it to feel that there's favoritism or that there's a biological connection versus a chosen connection and keeping everybody kind of on the same wavelength. And that helps solidify that more for me that, okay, we are, we are doing something right around here. And that's always reassuring. So moving into our next question, both pregnancy and adoption, can be tough mentally, physically and emotionally. What supports did you have, Jennifer? And what supports would you suggest for those who are pregnant and thinking about adoption or who have adopted and are thinking about becoming pregnant?

Jennifer Parra 38:26
I had a lot of family support with my pregnancy and even going through adoption. And I think that's important, especially with extended family if you go into in saying you're going through adoption, because unfortunately, there are some people are like, Why Why do you want to do and it's like you, at least you'll know, then you don't want their support, you only want to surround yourself with all those people that will support you. And in your choice of of adoption. So luckily, our immediate family like Mom, Dad, like the grandparents, and siblings, everyone was on board and super supportive of us. And you know, we were able to talk to some adoptees, which was great to just kind of get their take and kind of figure out, you know, how we can help our children that are adopted, and also talking to other adoptive parents or foster parents at the same time. And you can kind of like when you go through the foster care program, you guys take you you're in a class with a whole bunch of other foster parents. So that became a community in and of itself to kind of have that support of helping each other, which was huge, because we were all kind of going through the same thing. But definitely a big plus for us was that our family was just very, very supportive in our efforts to to adopt.

Emily Mason 39:58
Absolutely. Kelsey, do you have Have any other supports that you would suggest?

Kelsey Peterson 40:05
Oh, well, definitely, you know, family, of course for us, I was raised very tight knit, and my family, my parents and my sister and my brother, they were a huge support. I reached out, well, Emily, you are a support to me when I was going through that. So any friends, I had reached out to a domestic adoption support group. And there's some great communities there that you can reach out to. But you definitely need to find your person, right, you'd need someone that you can vent to someone that you can, you know, ask questions to someone that you can get advice, or just, Hey, let's go get a coffee, I need a minute. Right? You definitely need that person to just offer support while you're going through any process.

Emily Mason 41:02
Absolutely, I was, I did grow up small town, close knit close to all my cousins. And when we adopted our daughter, we were 12 and a half hours away from our family. And that was difficult, very difficult to try to navigate that world. By ourselves. And we did build a very strong community of I call them my you know, pseudo mom, pseudo dad, pseudo sisters, and cousins. And Bill, they really helped raise me while I was trying to figure out how to raise my child. Because I didn't know what I was doing. And I was jumping into parenthood with an almost toddler. And I was lost my background in early childhood education, I was like, this is not anything I don't know, I know how to teach ABCs I know how to teach math. I don't know how to potty train a kid, I don't know how to work on, you know, sleeping in their own crib, like I don't know how to do any of those things. So I definitely felt very alone during my first kind of bout with being a mom. And then, as my friends started becoming parents, I really got into being that postpartum doula. And seeing how my services could be that person that you could go grab a coffee with that person that you can vent to. And then it expanded from there to not just mothers who are pregnant and having babies but to adoptive families as well. Because postpartum isn't just a period that takes place after you have a baby. Physically, that postpartum period can happen after you adopt your baby as well or your child. And then as I moved into being a biological mom and having a baby, I got a lot of the same where, you know, you've done this before you've experienced this before. And those are the people I really had to start looking at as to like, do I want you in my corner anymore, because I haven't done this before. I haven't had a baby before. I've had a welcomed a 10 month old to my house. But I've not ever gone through the birthing process and the newborn process and all of these things that are now new for me. And that's when that realization hit again, that this every time is different for every person. So I won't ever be that person that says, You've done this before or you remember last time with your first pregnancy or you remember with your first child, I'm never going to be that person for somebody because every experience is different. And I never want people to feel like they don't have the abilities to voice their concerns frustrations, because they may not have experienced it the first time or they may not remember experiencing it because we're mentally and emotionally and physically exhausted no matter what we're doing, raising children and everybody deserves to have that person in your corner to advocate for you.

Kelsey Peterson 44:59
Yeah, Exactly you having a toddler? Right? Your oldest daughter, she was a toddler when he first had her. Having a toddler versus having a newborn is completely different worlds, right? Yes. It's, it's a completely different thing. Right? So you definitely, you were new at that, and you need to have someone there to support you throughout that whole entire process.

Emily Mason 45:24
Absolutely. So, we're gonna move into one of our final questions. And it's a big one. But let's talk about finances. How do you prepare financially to adopt? Either while you're pregnant or after pregnancy? Or just adopt in general? What what does that look like, financially? And how? Or can you ever be fully prepared for it?

Jennifer Parra 45:59
Yeah, I don't, I don't know. If you we did have for us, we did have savings. And our parents did help. And we did some fundraising. And I know you can get loans and stuff. But I don't know if it's, you can prepare as much as you can, I guess, even if you have a child. But it is it is costly. And, you know, for private adoption, for sure. And which is why we stayed. And that's why they say domestic adoption, which is within the United States, as opposed to International, which is so expensive. And yeah, it was, it was very expensive. But it was it for us, it was not all in one shot. So it wasn't like one payment, and it was like little payments throughout the whole process. So that kind of helped as well. And when you go through foster care, it's very minimal. And they even your child does come with, you know, insurance. But once you go through private adoption, and you adopt that child is yours, like, as if he was just born into your family. So like, you have to provide everything. So it's just like adding any other like, if you are going to have a child, it's just like that, like adding on to your family. With a new child, you know, how can you possibly know what can happen? You know, whether you're pregnant or adopted, what kind of financial issues might arise? You know, you can only hope and pray you saved enough. But yeah,

Emily Mason 47:44
I completely agree. And I've had, I've had this conversation with numerous friends, I kind of did everything a little bit earlier than everybody else in my friends circle. So getting married at 20. I'm having, you know, adopting our first kiddo at 25. I think the rest of my friends were closer to 30 when they were getting married, and now in their 30s having babies. And a lot of their responses were, you know, we want to be financially prepared. And I get that I totally do. But I don't know if we ever get to that point where we feel so financially prepared that we don't have to prepare, or that we will ever get to the point of being like, Yes, I have all the money that I need. So I think you won't ever have kids if you don't just do it at some point in time, because I still am like, man, we've been doing this kid thing for almost eight years, and I still am like, oof, how would we add another kid to to the roster here. But at the same time, I know we would I know we would be able to. And, and I joke with my cousin and her husband is a big financial money manager guy. And he brought like a whole spreadsheet to one Christmas of they were saving to have a baby and he had like boxes of diapers broken down and daycare and all of this all of the finances and he was showing it to me and I'm nodding my head as supportive as I could be in that moment because I just kind of wanted to laugh. And he was like, So what do you think? And I said, Well, I think it's a good try, like you come and tell me in a year how this is going. So Little next Christmas, they had a baby. It's November, December, they had their baby I think in October, and they come into Christmas. And I'm like, I'm excited to see this spreadsheet, how's that going? And he goes off. I tried, do you know things change and kids get sick. And then we're at, like, I estimated for the doctor, like two times a year. And I'm just like, I'm like, yeah, like, good, good try. But, um, I mean, I think it's good to plan, it's good to change your lifestyle. Some of like, maybe you can't go on four trips a year. And let's, you know, limit those to three and see if that saves you some money, and you aren't probably going to be able to go on four trips a year with a newborn. You could try but it was highly stressful for me. But those are some of the things I think you can you can start to think through. But I don't like you. So I don't think you're going to be fully 100% financially ready, because things come up. And they're not always things you think of.

Kelsey Peterson 51:09
Yeah, yeah, we were definitely the complete opposite of, of your cousin's husband. And me, it was such a surprise, we had nothing, right. We had, I don't know, maybe $3,000 in savings, the same amount in checking. I mean, it was just me and TJ, we were living our best life. We were going on vacations. And we had just bought a house. And so we when we were going through it. Originally, we thought the lawyer told us that it should be around $3,000, right, because we had our own birth mom. So we didn't have to go through an adoptive adoption agency. And it was so late in her pregnancy that we with with the state of Iowa laws, we really could not give her much as much money for pregnancy related expenses. And so her adoption was contested. And that's a whole nother story. So she ended up that she ended up, we ended up spending around $24,000, within nine months of surprise lawyer fees because of that. And so honestly, we've made it work. My husband is self employed. And so he worked extra hours. And you know, when we had to we would put bills on credit cards, and we would use our cash to pay the lawyers, you know, we did what we had to do. And I would 100% Do it again. But even if we had planned, you know, my daughter she she had an unexpected health concern, right. She was life flighted to the hospital. And turns out she's epileptic. And being self employed. Of course, we do not have the best health insurance, we had a high deductible plan. And between two months, because it went from November, through the beginning of January was all those expenses. Surprise, we had a $14,000 hospital bill that we had to figure out. So and those are things that you can plan for, of course you can save for but who, you know, who thinks that they need to save $14,000 for a hospital bill? Right, especially for a three year old. So, right, you know, it's kind of like juggling, you have just have to, you know, take what life throws at you.

Jennifer Parra 53:45
Yeah, yeah, we, we were given, like, a breakdown the agency gave us for when we adopted our son, and there was like this breakdown, okay, this, you know, it's been a few years because I don't really know the exact amount, but it was a couple 1000 for, you know, the lawyer's fees, and then we had the agency fee. And because my son was born in another state, we weren't prepared for that. Because in the state of Minnesota, you actually have to use an agency and lawyer in that state. So that was an added I want to say seven, eight grand on top, like they needed it. Right. Then when we flew into Minnesota, of course, there was a travel like, you know, quick tickets to fly over there. And then the hotel stays because we had to stay there. So, um, so that was just quickly added on. And thankfully, you know, our parents were able to help us out both sides. But yeah, you just, you just go with it, and then you figure it out and and I would do it again. Yeah,

Emily Mason 54:54
absolutely adapt and overcome. Exactly. So Yeah. In closing, what are tips that you have for moms who are pregnant now wanting to adopt or adoptive parents that are looking to get pregnant? Or just in general, to parents out there? What tips do you have for them?

Jennifer Parra 55:21
For they're looking into adoption definitely do a lot of research. There's a lot of great resources out there. Listen to other adoptees to get their take on their life as an adoptee. I think that's really important. There's a lot of books, there's sensory books, there's trauma related books, which have all helped, you know, us, my husband and I, when it came to adoption, and just giving, like, for, if you already have a child in your home, just make sure that you prepare them if you're going to go into adoption, I think that's important. So that they kind of know ahead of time, what kind of can be expected? So, but definitely do a lot of research. I think right now, especially now, there's so much information out there on adoption. Whereas when we first adopted there was hardly anything, I

Kelsey Peterson 56:29
would definitely say, be patient. Yeah. And, you know, adoption is hard, but it is beautiful. For the families that have adopted and are wanting to get pregnant. Good luck. And I really hope the best for anyone that wants a child one way or another, you do what you think is best for you. And adopting our daughter was the best thing that we've ever done. And I would do it again, probably maybe if the correct opportunity arises. But the adoption process, you know, it takes a lot of steps, but you just have to go through those steps. Be informed, like Jennifer said, you know, listen to adoptees see what they have to say any adoption comes with trauma. So you have to be willing to do what is best for that child. And seek out whatever resources you need to for that.

Jennifer Parra 57:36
Yeah, I think, for one thing that I, I love to stress is, if you're going into adoption, to make sure that you're really don't put any expectations on this child, like you're you're going to accept this child, no matter how they come. You know, you can't, like they say, you're going to provide a family for a child and not a child for a family, you know, like, don't make them have to fit in certain a certain way into your home or into your family. Like, it should definitely just be bringing that support to that child. Make sure that they are accepted and wanted however they come to you. I think that was really important.

Emily Mason 58:23
Agreed. Well, thank you so much to all of our guests who joined us for this episode today. Be sure to check out new mommy, where we will have all of our podcast episodes plus videos and more.

That wraps up our show for today. Thanks for listening. If you love Craigie pals as much as we do, please consider checking out the amazing businesses that sponsor our show week after week. And we'd also love for you to tell other pregnant mamas about this resource, which of course is absolutely free. And if you want to check out some of the other podcasts we produce, such as newbies, parents savers, the boob group and twin talks, then visit our website at New mommy Thanks for listening to preggy pals, your pregnancy your way. This has been a

Disclaimer 59:21
new mommy media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only stemless. An opinion opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of new mommy media, and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate. It is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating healthcare problem or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health Will your baby please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider

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