Member Spotlight: Multiples Adoption
Updated: Mar 31, 2021
When Jenny and Tyler Smith discovered they had the opportunity to adopt twins - they could not believe their luck.
The adoption agency called with the news that Jenny and Tyler's adoption was proceeding: When they heard the agency representative begin speaking in the plural, their minds raced.
Not only were the babies twins, the couple had the rare opportunity to adopt identical twin boys - and Jenny whispered to Tyler “...that’s Dashiell and Jasper...”.
They had had names picked out for over a decade, and they had always wanted boys.
Jenny and Tyler had officially begun their journey to parenthood back in 2015 with plans to have a mix of biological and adopted children. But, after a struggle with fertility treatments, they decided to focus fully on adoption in 2018.
They first followed the foster-to-adopt route but ultimately decided to pursue a private adoption through AdoptHelp.org. With the Covid pandemic looming, they amazingly completed their home inspections and certifications just weeks before the lockdown began; and their eight-page profile book was presented to expectant mothers in early April 2020.
Jenny and Tyler were prepared to wait at least nine months for an opportunity to adopt a child, but, in an unprecedented development, they were selected within just a few weeks.
The expectant family was based in Arizona. The boys were at 16 weeks and were due October 10. During what is usually an awkward introductory phone call, Jenny and the expectant mother made an instant connection - and talked for over three hours.
“It was clear from the beginning that we were a great fit for each other.”
It was at this time that Jenny and Tyler discovered WLAPOM and instantly signed up for multiple sessions of the Expectant Parents Meeting. They had a LOT of questions.
The expectant mother had a clear birth plan, and it was important for her that Jenny and Tyler were involved. They attended ultrasounds via Zoom, they spoke at least every week, and, while they were excited, they maintained focus on the expectant mother throughout the pregnancy.
Birth families are often the most misunderstood part of the adoption process; but they are a cornerstone of the adoption triad, which includes the adoptive parents, the adoptees, and the birth family. Jenny and Tyler were not going to be seen as "saviors" here (which has been common in the past), but as part of a healthy, open adoption story that the boys would be aware of.
When the birth mother experienced signs of early labor in August (at 27 weeks) Jenny and Tyler went immediately to Arizona. This was luckily a false alarm, but with the help of a friend who lent them a nearby apartment, the couple decided to stay locally in case anything else came up.
After five more weeks of waiting (in 100° heat and a pandemic), Jenny and Tyler were able to attend the full term birth in late September 2020 of Jasper & Dashiell, who were born big and healthy. Thanks to the birth plan they were able to have skin-to-skin time within 10 minutes of birth. Any fears or anxieties leading up to this moment dissolved quickly. They were simply in love.
After another two weeks in Arizona waiting for the ICPC to clear them to cross state lines, plus an agonizing drive back to Los Angeles (which is six hours without newborns), they finally made it home as a family. Here they discovered that their friends had snuck in and filled the fridge with supplies and decorated the house to help them celebrate this huge moment.
Today, approximately one out of every twenty-five U.S. families with children have an adopted child, and about half of these families have both biological and adopted children. Of these adoptions, about 40% are transracial, which was the case for Jenny, Tyler, Dashiell, and Jasper.
During their preparations, Jenny and Tyler received substantial training (including trauma training and 24 hours of education on transracial adoptions) - but in retrospect they feel there should have been more. Despite having a breadth of knowledge and new guidance from previous generations - the adoption community still needs to improve to better serve everyone in it. Jenny and Tyler themselves even noticed that there were still some unethical approaches to adoption and that guidelines changed from state-to-state, allowing for some unsettling loopholes.
Their advice for anyone looking to adopt is to find those ethical agencies that do not seek to exploit loopholes, to seek out best practices, and to be an advocate for the whole adoption process. And to always hope for a bit of good luck... .
If you are interested in finding out more about adoption or have questions, Jenny is more than happy to hear from other members of WLAPOM. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are her selected resources on the subject:
Kindred & Co. (Profile book)
AdoptHelp (adoption process)
The Family Network Inc. (home study)
- Twisted Sisterhood
- We Can Do This
- The Honestly Adoption Podcast
- The Adoptee Next Door with Angela Tucker
- Adoptees On