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Published Tuesday June 30th, 2009 at 7:04am

Original Article by Amanda W

Cindie Vertefeuille is an adoptive mother.

Tell us what you'd like us to know about YOU as a person.
There is no other person on the face of this earth that loves their children as much as me.

I am a very logical thinker and so adoption made so much sense to me.

Do you mind sharing how you became an adoptive parent?

Child #1
Onebit of advice I got when I started wanting to adopt was the very bestand I still give it often. It was to tell everyone that you want toadopt. You never know where the connection for your child will comefrom.
So, we started praying. One day we got a call from a youthpastor that we know and he had an 18 year old young lady in his churchyouth group that was pregnant and wanted to relinquish her baby foradoption. We said a loud yes, and a few months later, had the mostbeautiful baby girl that was ever born! The adoption was a semi-openadoption setting. It has been a wonderful experience. She is 24 now andwe are so very close.

Adoption #2
After our daughter wasabout 15 mos. old, we decided that we would start praying for anotherchild. We wanted to space them out perfectly, so we thought 3 yrs.apart would be fine and that would give the Lord a whole year and ahalf to answer our prayer!
So, we quietly started praying foranother child to adopt and told no one that we were. This was also thetime that my husband was publishing his first book and was under adeadline. The personal computer was a very new thing in 1987, and wehad just spent our entire savings on our first computer - one that hecould format his book on. One week after we started this daily prayer,AND the MOMENT we walked in the door from purchasing our computer - ourphone rang. It was the attorney that had helped us with our firstadoption. He lived 1,800 miles away now, so we had no idea why he wouldbe calling us, presumably out of the blue.
The first words out ofhis mouth were, "you wouldn't happen to want to adopt another babywould you?" With interest, I said something to the effect of him havingbeen hiding in our house somewhere while we were praying. I also askedhim why he didn't call two hours ago when we had money! He quickly toldus not to worry about that part, it would work its way out.
He toldus that he had been trying to find a family for a 23 year old verypregnant young woman. He had shown her 10 resumes and she read them alland asked him if he had ANYONE else. He pulled our old letter out thatwe had written to the first birthmother, and when she read it, she saidthat she wanted to meet us, that we were the right ones.
She calledus the next day and we talked for over an hour. I loved her instantlyand she said she would let us know in a few days what her decision was.She called in a few days and said "Congratulations!" Of course, Iscreamed and cried and thought we had another three or four weeks. Mylittle man decided to come into the world two weeks ahead of time.Altogether, it was one month after we started praying for anotherchild, that our baby boy was placed in our arms.
The money part is astory in itself. Suffice it to say, God provided every penny of all ofthe adoption expenses. Keep in mind, neither my husband nor myself haveany rich uncles or grandparents. It all came right in the nick of timein many different ways!
Another miracle.... and I am still CRAZY about this 22 year old son.

Adoption #3 & 4
Wewere very happy and satisfied with our little family of 3 children andtwo parents and were not looking to have any more additions. We werethankful for what God had given us.
One day we got a phone call fromsomeone who had just spent the week helping at a camp for fosterchildren, and she asked us to keep our ears to the ground in case weheard about anyone interested in adopting 2 little girls whose parentshad just had their rights terminated. We said we would and afterwards,just looked at each other and both agreed that we had a feeling that wewere supposed to adopt them! A few months later we had two more girls,at 7 and 9 years old.
This has been a heartbreaking experience. Theyare 18 and 20 now and have ripped our hearts out of our chests. Icertainly HOPE the story is not over.

If you could give a message to anyone (or multiple people) what would it be?
Regardingadopting babies and the whole what and how do I tell them question,which was never really a question AT ALL, for me... here is how I seeand have experienced it.

First of all, when you treat adoptionlike it was your second choice, the children feel it. Fortunately, forme, I did not give a rip HOW my children came to me, so that wasn't anissue. My approach was: BALANCE.

**First of all, it is part oftheir history & make-up, just as their brown eyes and short toesare. If you continually dodge and duck questions about it, they willstart feeling like they should be ashamed of WHO they are! Thisincludes questions from other people.

My children have heard me have this line of questioning with sincere, yet ignorant of what they were saying, people:

Interested Yet Ingnorant Person: "Now, you have some adopted children and some of your own don't you?"
Me, the Adoptive and Birthmother: (in a kind and understanding voice with no snottiness) "Why no, they are ALL my own!"
Interested Yet Ingnorant Person: "Well, YOU know what I mean...."
Me, the Adoptive and Birthmother: (in a still kind, but correctingvoice) "I understand what you want to ask me, but I forgot which onesare adopted and which I gave birth to...sorry!"

You see,people who have not experienced adoption as I have, do not understandthe passion with which I parent ALL of my children. Just because achild did not come out of MY body, does not mean they are not asvaluable to me as the ones that did!

**Another VERYimportant thing I think that many adoptive parents do that ispotentially (yet unintentionally) harmful to the adopted children is tomake a big deal of it. They continually remind the 'adopted one' howSPECIAL they are! Just STOP it! Children don't want to be singled outfor anything. Just treat them like any and all of your children.
I guess I'm not too big on "gotcha days" because of this reason.Everyone has a birthday - celebrate it! But the Gotcha Day singles outand points directly to their 'different-ness' (I just made that wordup!)

**This one should probably be at the top of my list:
DONOT allow yourself to be or feel threatened by birthmothers or thequestions the children may have. If you avoid the questions and skirtthe issues, they will sense it and become more intrigued by this'mystery'. It can also make them feel ashamed and guilty of their birthcircumstances.

I have always answered questions as they cameup...honestly and without negative emotion. As a result, my childrenhave not expressed a burning desire to meet their birthmothers. I havealways told them that when they are mature enough and ready, I willhelp them find their birthmothers. I am the one who is asking them nowand then if they think they are ready to meet them! I would LOVE tomake the introductions! But since I never covered any facts or madethem feel 'different' for being adopted, they have become very securein who they are. I am certain that they will want to meet theirbirthmothers sometime in the future. The birthmothers have told me thatthey would LOVE to meet them, but only when the child is ready.

**Regarding adopting older children:
I am VERY mixed about this. Without going into my story of adopting mygirls at 7 and 9 years old, I must is NOT for the faint ofheart. .....and it is NOT the same as adopting a newborn. There isbaggage that does not show up for many many years. If I knew then whatI know now.... I'm not 100% positive I would do it again. It has beenheartbreaking on so many levels.... even to the detriment of myoriginal family. But then, I cannot help but think, 'What would havehappened to my girls if we had not adopted them?' I can't answer thatand I don't have do-overs. But I can be the warning flag that helpspeople through the times they will go through.

6. Do you agree with opening up unconditional, uncensored access to birth records? Why or why not?
Yes,I think anyone and everyone has the right to know their 'roots' - Ihave been with friends who searched and searched and finally foundtheir birthparents and developed a healthy and loving relationship withthem. I have been with friends who have found the child that theyrelinquished for adoption so many years ago and have found a completionto the circle that they have desired for so long. It is very healthyfor people to see outcomes of adoption decisions. Not all are pleasant,but at least you know the truth! Everyone needs that last piece of thepuzzle.... everyone.

Have you been united with any of the members of your Triad? If yes, what was the experience like?
Yes, I have a curious mind and could not bear to NOT know my children's birthparents.
#1- It was a semi-open adoption in 1985 and both parties chose to quitour contact after a year of letters and pictures, we agreed on that inour original contract. I knew everything about her, because I had'inside information' but she did not know identifying information aboutus. Since this was our first, we were nervous and did not know what toexpect, that is the way we chose.
I found myself looking for herall of the time. When I was in the town she had grown up in, I wouldlook her name up in the phone book and thought of calling, but neverreally felt like it was the right time. When the internet got reallygood, I joined 'classmates' and looked for her there. Shortly after shejoined that website, I found her! I contacted her personally throughemail and asked her if she was interested in knowing about herbirthdaughter. Of course she said yes, and it was so wonderful to beable to provide her with assurance that her child was safe, happy andhealthy.
Last year, I took a trip to where she lives and met her,her mother and her grandmother for the first time. My daughter, at 22,did not feel like she was ready yet, but did write her a beautiful cardthanking her for the choice she made. We will probably make a trip tosee her together in the next year or so.

#2 - She handed herson to me in the hospital and it was a beautiful and tearful time. So,I kept in contact with her over the years (he is now 22) - She and Iget together for dinner or lunch occasionally when she is in town andmy husband and I attended her second wedding last year and reallyenjoyed getting to know her three children. She is a beautiful personand I hope someday my son will want to meet her. He is still not'there' yet, and at times, boys aren't as curious as girls anyway.

#3& 4 - Adopted sibling sisters from the county foster system, mygirls were not lovingly given up. They were taken over and over againfrom drug abuse and neglect. My "uniting" with these birthparents was abit more acerbic. The parents were reputed as being manipulative andemotional. Which, indeed they were. About a year after we finalized theadoption, we found out the the father was in the hospital with heartproblems. So we figured he was a captive audience. We knew the motherwould be there, because they were still married! We paid him a visit inthe hospital just so we could connect with the people who hadessentially traded their children for drugs (they lost four!) They wereboth tearful, yet glad to meet us and know that their girls had afamily. They asked to see them and we told them that THEY (the parents)had made the choice and that they could see them when and if the girlswanted to AFTER they grew up. We did not feel it would be healthy ATALL. It was a good choice.
The older one reunited with herbirthmother (at 18) for a short time (the father passed away from drugabuse) and the mother tried to get her to get money for her.... it wasweird. So, she no longer has contact with her.

Have you ever been made to feel shameful or to blame? What made you feel this way?
Theshame and blame for an adoptive parent comes when your older adoptedchildren are lying about you, the mother, and getting people to feelsorry for them.

Thank you to Cindie for sharing her story!Cindie will be in contact with me to discuss other issues so you'llhear from her again in the future.