Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I am mainly doing a new post because "baby girl is turning 6" is a year and a half old. Time to write about something new.

I have been following a friends blog who is in the process of adopting.  She recently has experienced two failed adoptions.  It reminded me of when we were going through this process and how absolutely devastating it is to have situations not work out and sometimes not just once but multiple times.  Time does heal the wounds especially when One has three little miracles to help with the healing.  However, telling someone this while they are going through it, does not help.  I have found myself with nothing to say because I know that no words will take the pain away.  I am constantly reminded that life isn't fair so when life hands you something good, hold on to it with all your might and never take it for granted.

My children, though a handful for sure are my biggest joy.  They make me smile every day ( some days more than others)

I love Addie for her ultimate girliness.  She is everything girl!  She is in to pageants, cheerleading, dance gymnastics, clothes, makeup, purses, shoes...... She is a smart girl and when she is not being sassy she is very sweet!
Trey is my nerd and I mean that as a compliment.  He loves numbers and letters and reads extremely well for a 4 year old.  He asks me all sorts of questions that I don't know how to answer.  I run to the computer and google it so I will still be the smart mom!  He is shy but getting better in social situations.  He loves stop signs and wants to be a crossing guard when he grows up.  He also likes basketball and singing.  (especially show tunes)Peyton is my goofball!  He is adorable and so full of life.  He is soooo mischievous.  He has the cutest smile and contagious laugh. He speaks his own language and growls. He is very social.  He loves trains and trucks and hates Halloween stuff.  Which is so not right since he was born just 2 days shy of Halloween. 

Anyway, I love my kids and I am extremely grateful for them.  Even though the road to adoption can be a rough and painful process I am glad I did it and didn't give up when things got rough.. Oh so much I would have missed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

baby girl is turning 6

Addison Belle I can't believe it has been 6 years since we adopted Addie. It seems like just yesterday that we were leaving for Alabama to get our precious bundle. Even though she is not a baby anymore, she will always be my baby girl. Here is a list of reasons we love Addie
Ever since we brought her home she has been a little snuggle bug.

She has a big beautiful smile. She is a happy girl and very social.

She loves to dress up and pose for the camera. She has won four baby contests.

She is a wonderful big sister.

She is doing great in school. She loves her teacher and all of the students and she is reading really well.

she is an awesome gymnast

and a beautiful dancer

We sure love this girl. She makes us smile all of the time. We are so grateful for adoption and that we were lucky enough to have Addie for our daughter.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


above: Lola, baby Trey and Addie
below: Addie,baby peyton, Lola, and Trey
This is a picture of Lola with my three kids. We have had the privilege of going to Lola's house three times. Once for each kid.
Lola volunteers her time and love to babies until their new adoptive parents can get them.

We chose to wait until birth mothers' rights were terminated before picking up our children. Lola was the primary care taker for the first two weeks of Addie and Peyton's life and for weeks 4-6 in Trey's. They couldn't have been in better hands. Lola sent us pictures and updates almost daily during those two weeks.

We all love Lola! We can't thank her enough for all she had done for our family and many many other families. There is a special place in heaven for her for sure. (her husband is pretty awesome too.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

A breeze before the storm

Adoption # 3: What a breeze.....sort of The breeze: Our third adoption was very smooth. We had no issues! Other than some people thought we were crazy because Trey had just turned one. Everything just fell into place. We did all of the paperwork, home study etc... and then waited.
About 2 months later we received a call. Peyton was born healthy. His situation was fairly solid. There was little chance the birth mother would reconsider. We waited our 2 weeks. LB, the foster mom, sent us pictures and information during that time.( Above: the first picture we received of him.)
We flew to Alabama with my awesome mother-in -law. We asked her to come with us because we needed help! The thought of traveling with three kids for the first time was pretty scary. We were so happy we asked her. She was a life saver. I was so motion sick on the plane ride home that P(mother-in- law)held Peyton the entire time. They bonded. Peyton still quite likes his Grandma.
THE STORM: We had to hire an attorney after arriving home. This is necessary so we can finalize the adoption at 6 months.
We were very disappointed to find out that our previous attorney who was so awesome had switched jobs and no longer could do adoptions. We found someone else. We met with him. I didn't feel that we clicked. My instinct was we should go with someone else but naturally I ignored my instinct.
An attorney who knows his job will collect what he needs to finalize from the adoption agency. He will then do all the necessary work and call around 6 months to get a court date. The process is and should be fairly simple by this point.
Well.. Our attorney didn't do anything. He was impossible to contact. When Peyton was 8 months old and we still had not been able to reach our attorney. I did something I should have done along time ago. I gave him the boot.(no, we didn't pay him a dime)
I heard from a friend that Larry Jenkins was excellent. I called him and asked him to represent us. I could tell from our very first conversation that he was the man for the job.
After he took over, we found out that our previous attorney really didn't do anything. Our birth father still had rights because he never sent the birth father petition. (stays in a registry for 30 days during which time the birth father can come forward and claim his parental rights.) It should have been done months ago.
Jenkins and staff did what they needed to do and in October we were able to finalize. Peyton was nearly a year old.
My advice is: Find and adoption specialist such as Jenkins to represent you, even if it costs a little more. It is worth it!!!

Peyton is one year old. He brings us so much joy! He has the cutest smile and fun personality. We love him!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Baby Girl

On a rainy day in April, my friend Jeri and I were driving to another friends wedding. Jeri asked me how the adoption process was going. I told her although we had just done our home study three weeks ago, I really felt we would be getting a baby soon. The next day, I received a phone call from the agency. They told us that a baby girl entered the world the night before. We were told she was our baby if we chose to accept. Landan and I were thrilled. We immediately told the agency "yes!" First Bump: The agency called the next day. I had been pacing the floor for hours. They told me that the birth mother and birth father did sign. However, the birth father had a really difficult time signing. With Alabama law They still had some time to reconsider.
Second Bump: One of the worst days in my life was 5 days after Addison was born. The agency called and informed me that test results showed that the birth mother was possibly HIV+ and that meant there could be a chance that Addie was as well. They told me it would take one week to know for sure. the agency did not want us to even consider taking the baby if she was HIV+. I felt in my heart that Addie was my baby and I really was devastated.
The Good News! One week later, we found out that not only was Addie fine, but so was the birth mother. She just had an infection that raised her white blood cell count.

Alabama Our first trip to Alabama was horrible. Although, humorous in retrospect. We had planned on staying with Landan's brother who lived in Alabama. He decided to move back to Utah the day before we left for Alabama. He hadn't sold his house yet so he suggested we still stay in his house. We thought that would be great! What we didn't know is that he had packed up everything. We had no furniture, phone, tv etc.. and our cell phones did not get reception in Alabama. We didn't have ICPC yet so we were required by law to stay in the state of Alabama until approval. I begged Landan to let us stay in a hotel but being the cheapo he is, he absolutely refused. So there we were, first time parents in awkward living conditions, in a state we were unfamiliar with, and no access to our little world. We did find apay phone once or twice. After 6 horrible days, we came home.
I actually cried tears of joy when we stepped off the airplane is Salt Lake City.

Addie continues to bring us much joy. She needs a lot of attention and sometimes drives us crazy. However, we love her. She is our baby girl!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The second time: So painful, So precious

Our Handsome Trey!

The best christmas gifts!

Isn't he precious!!

Trey in the NICU HE was so tiny. This is what premie clothes looked like on him
My first time holding Trey

Trey's NICU nurse
First christmas

If ever Our patience was tried, it would be with adoption #2.

When Addie was not quite 2, we decided to adopt again. At first, we were going through LDS Family services because we like the thought of only paying 5,000 versus 15,000-20,000 through other agencies. However, I never really had the best feeling about going through them. LDS Family services is great for some people but for others they may wait for years and still have no success.
After going through LDS for a year, we received a random phone call from an awesome agency here in Utah who was looking for a family for a baby due in a few weeks. We submitted our profile and the birth mother selected us. We spoke with her on the phone. She said she was 100% certain she was giving up this baby. She wanted to meet us and requested we be there for the birth. We purchased our airplane tickets( the birth mother was from Alabama) and never heard from the birth mother again. She disappeared. The only thing we heard afterwards is that her doctor told her she would go to hell if she placed her baby for adoption. We had lost over 1,000 dollars and we were crushed. I had already bought little matching Easter dresses for Addie and the baby. The baby's dress is still hanging in my closet.

A few weeks later we received a phone call from the agency saying a birth mother in Louisiana was having a nervous breakdown and was placing her 3 month old baby girl for adoption. Once again we were selected by the birth mother and spoke to her on the phone. She said we needed to fly out that night and pick up the baby. The agency told us to hold on until they could get an attorney to relinquish her rights before we purchased our tickets. Meanwhile, the birth father heard of her plans and came and took custody of the baby.

A few days later A Angel Adoptions in Alabama contacted us and said that a birth mother had just delivered a baby girl. She had signed the papers but was really wishy- washy. The night before her rights would have been permanently terminated, she and her sister picked up the baby from the foster mom's house and said that her family convinced her to keep the baby.

About a week later another mother decided to place her baby girl for adoption. We heard her story. She had a Masters degree in social work but was on crack. This made me uncomfortable and so we didn't pursue this situation.

The Utah agency contacted us again, and said they had a birth mother in Florida having a boy. She wanted to have her baby in Utah. We paid to fly her out here. She never got on the Plane. We later heard she was scamming agencies.

We were contacted by another Utah agency about a birth mother from New York who was not satisfied with any of the families she had to pick from. They asked us to submit our profile and see if she liked us. She turned us down.

I called my sister- in -law on the phone. I told her I was done. I was giving up. I couldn't take any more fall-throughs. I had been on an emotional roller coaster for a long time and it was time to get off. At that moment I noticed my call waiting. I answered the phone. It was the Alabama agency. They informed me there was a four week old boy that was born prematurely. He had been in the NICU for four weeks and was being released. The birth mother had signed 30 days ago. Her time was already up and this baby was ours if we wanted him. I said "yes" and then panicked. I, by that time, was so used to things going wrong that I was afraid to get my hopes up. It took me about a day to realize that this situation was a good one.

We first met our Baby boy, Trey DeGraffenried Huff on our 8th anniversary. Which made it our second baby to get on a special day . We picked up Addie on Mother's day. Trey was born a little over three pounds. When we got him at 6 weeks old He was barely five pounds. He was so tiny and so precious. I fell in love with him instantly! After everything we went through it was all worth it when we met our baby boy.

He continues to bless us with his sweet spirit. Although he is very temper tantrumy two year old, there is something so precious about him. I can't imagine not having him in my family. I am so glad things worked out the way they did.

The interesting thing is, almost all of our fall -throughs were girls and we now have two beautiful boys. I wouldn't trade them for the world but I still get a little teary eyed when I see the Easter dress hanging in my closet.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

My Story

The story of Landan and Stephanie from then to now

All three of my babies are from Alabama. We went through an agency called A Angel Adoptions.

We decided to adopt about 6 years ago. After seeking fertility treatments and being told they found no great reason why we couldn't conceive, we decide to do the intrauterine inseminations. We did one that was unsuccessful and we were getting ready for the second try when Hubby and I decided this way wasn't for us.

Next step adoption
It didn't take us long to decide to adopt. The process for us was deciding the how, when and who's about adoption. I am hoping this blog will help people who are deciding to adopt know what resources are available and what to expect. We had help from a friend SP,who ran an agency for a while. She told us good agencies to work with, about the adoption laws, and how they vary from state to state and walked us through the process. She was wonderful and we are so grateful we had her as a support. She was the one who told us about A Angel Adoptions.

The homestudy BCI's and other intimidating stuff
This is the hard part. For anyone who has adopted before you know how overwhelming this process can be, especially the first time. We lucked out with social workers. B, Our first one was fabulous. she made us feel so comfortable. She didn't try to intimidate, or scare us. She was a real sweetheart.
After our first adoption she moved and we called a new social worker, CLC when trying to adopt our second. She was a bit tougher on us, but kind. Because she is a black woman she had a different perspective than our first social worker. She wanted to make sure we were aware of all the potential problems in having a transracial family. She did a wonderful job for us and I respect her and think of her as both a friend and teacher.
The homestudy is basically a three hour meeting where the social worker asks questions about your life (present and past) and then a quick look around your home to make sure it is a safe environment for a child.
The BCI is a background screening to make sure you are not a criminal. Also required is a physical from doctor or nurse practitioner and lots of paperwork each agency has their own paper work they require.
Then We have the letters of recommendation from friends and family and finally a profile. The profile is a assortment of pictures of you with your friends and family and a letter to the birth mother.

Our Agency

A Angel Adoptions in my opinion is an A+ agency. They are the kindest people and they really know their job. what I loved about Suzanne (owner)is she did not sugar coat anything. She told us upfront the statistics and what to expect. I think they are reasonably priced. One of the best priced agencies I have found.

Another bonus is this agency has volunteer foster moms who take the babies into their homes and care for them until the birth mothers rights have been terminated(14 Days after signing in Alabama) We have been fortunate enough to have the same foster mom for all three kids. L is the most fantastic person. We love her ! We still keep in contact with her.

The good news

For us, Our first baby came quickly. Three weeks after doing our homestudy, we received a call from the agency saying there was a baby girl waiting for us! That made the whole process worth it! through our agency the average wait for a baby is 2-6 months.

A Angel Adoptions contact information


phone #: 205-621-0316

Director: Suzanne Peden

Another good agency

No Greater Gift adoptions


phone: 801-796-1063

This blog is set up for those who have adopted to tell their stories and share their resources to those who would like to adopt.