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Adoption Has Three Trimesters Too

NOV 14, 2017



National Adoption Month is this month, and I have been thinking a lot about adoption and how it has changed my life.

First, I am so thankful for adoption. This seems fairly obvious because adoption brought us our oldest son and the privilege of becoming parents for the first time. I could not imagine life without him in it, and I am thankful every day for his birth mom who made the toughest decision of her life and chose us to be his parents.

Second, adopting our son opened my eyes in so many ways to the situations and environments that children are brought into. National Adoption Month is a time to shine light on the needs for permanent families for children in foster care.

For me, it is also a month to shine a light on those families who are thinking about adopting or in the process of adopting a child from any background (foster, international, domestic).

We went through an agency that worked exclusively with domestic infant adoption, so much of what I write about and have experiences with is from that perspective. However, from speaking to other people who adopted in different ways, I’ve found there are a lot of similarities when it comes to the paperwork and emotional aspects.

I like to break the adoption process down by trimesters because I feel like most everyone has an understanding of pregnancy, but fewer people have an understanding of adoption. I also think people assume adoption is easy because there is an obvious need for adoptive parents.

Let me assure you, it is not easy, and that is by design although it is very hard to understand the design while you are going through the mountain of paperwork. The point of the paperwork is so a child does not end up in a home with people who have less than loving intentions. Still, even the tremendous amount of paperwork fails a child sometimes.

Bottom line, the paperwork and process can suck and adoptive parents shouldn’t be ashamed to say that. Just like a pregnant woman shouldn’t be ashamed to complain about her sore back or exhaustion. I’ve complained about both. #sorrynotsorry

So, if you are considering adoption, know people who are thinking about adopting, or are in the process of adopting a child, here are a few things to consider:

1. The adoption process and paperwork are incredibly daunting and difficult.

Just like the first trimester of a pregnancy, the paperwork process is new and will be very overwhelming. The adoptive parents may not be creating a human life, but they are building the foundation that will eventually lead to a child. Both situations take an incredible amount of care and energy.

2. Waiting is the hardest part.

The adoptive parents have completed the paperwork. They are feeling pretty good and are anxiously awaiting the call that will change their lives forever. This is when pregnant women want to nest, and just like them, adoptive parents want to nest too. They want to ready their home for a child. But when will the child come? The dream of adopting a child is closer than ever before, but no one really knows how close. The couple feels like if they buy too many things in preparation for a child, it could for some reason jinx the entire process. The waiting and wondering is intense.

3. Just because they have been matched, it doesn’t mean that everything is final.

The legal system needs to run its course. This means that a few things need to happen: The birth parents do not change their mind, birth parent parental rights are terminated, and the legal adoption is finalized. This is like the third trimester of a pregnancy because the couple starts to feel the pressure and anxiety over welcoming and/or meeting their child for the first time — except this trimester for adoptive parents is way longer than three months.

Adoptive parents are also running every single what-if scenario over and over in their heads. The hope is that the child who has been growing in their hearts for so many months is legally theirs and the weight of paperwork and the legal system will be lifted. That’s the hope, but adoptive parents can also experience loss. Birth parents can change their minds, and the window for which they can cancel the adoption is different in each state.

My advice, and I am quoting my husband: “Stay cautiously optimistic.” Don’t let the process take the joy out of what you are doing. You are building a beautiful family.

Central Michigan Life

FEB 13, 2017

Alumna publishes book promoting unconditional love

By Madison Hren

Jessica Simon got the idea for her book “Guess What? I Still Love You” after finding herself repeating the phrase to her children after they misbehaved.

The book contains illustrations of children getting into trouble. Under each illustration is a short rhyme about the misbehavior, followed by the phrase “Guess what? I still love you.”

Simon graduated from Central Michigan University in 2007 with a Bachelors of Science in journalism. She now lives in Milwaukee with her husband and three children all under the age of three years old.

“They are relieved to hear (I still love them),” Simon said. “Of course I still love them. Even though their actions may have been bad, they are not bad kids and that no matter what, I still love them.”

Having three young children is a recipe for mischievousness, she said. Simon recalled the time her oldest son flushed a plastic teddy bear down their toilet. The bear got stuck and Simon’s husband had to remove the toilet from the floor to remove it. She said it’s also common for her kids to sneak away with crayons to color the walls and countertops.

Simon said she has always had the desire to write. She started writing the book in small bursts by putting notes into her phone as the rhymes popped into her head or when the kids did things she wanted to remember.

“When I started to put all the phrases on paper, it all came together after a few rounds of edits,” Simon said.

She then found an illustrator online who understood the vision of playful children-like drawings. Simon purchased the rights to the images so she could publish them.

“Once the creative was nailed down, I was able to focus on finding a publisher,” Simon said. “I self-publish, so I had to do a lot of research to find a publisher that I connected with and that offered the things I felt were important for my book.”

The reception to “Guess What? I Still Love You” has been fantastic, Simon said. She used social media and her website to promote the book, and has also had the help of other CMU alumnus, friends and family to help get the word out. She has done book signings and readings at local libraries and elementary schools. The book is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s websites, which Simon says allows it to have a global reach.

Simon said she believes the book has a mass appeal is because it’s funny to parents and grandparents, and it also reinforces to kids that they are loved no matter what.

“I will absolutely give my book to my kids,” Simon said. “I have already set aside books for them so when they grow up they will have a copy to read to their children. We also have the book in our own collection and read it to them before bed.”

Link to article HERE

Andersons Angels

JAN 18, 2017

A very sweet review about Guess What? I Still Love You. by Andersons Angels!

Full blog post HERE

Andersons Angels is a blog geared towards parents and children.


I love the idea behind this book and personally feel this book should be in every home with children. It helps not only remind us as parents that hey they are kids just being kids but it also lets the children know that when they mess up we still love them
— Andersons Angels

Simply Real Moms

DEC 15, 2016

Wonderful of Simply Real Moms to write a blog post and review of Guess What? I Still Love You. 

Full blog post HERE

Simply Real Moms is an online magazine dedicated to providing current, relevant advice for today’s parents.

Guess What? I Still Love You. sweetly explains to our children that we will always love them, no matter what. Whether they’re throwing a fit, won’t eat their dinner, or coloring on the walls, that love is still there, and it always will be.
— Simply Real Moms, Online Magazine

Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood

JAN 2, 2017

Check out the newest review and giveaway of Guess What? I Still Love You. by Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood!

Full blog post HERE

I especially love how the book repeats that no matter how crazy our children make us feel at times, we still love them. It’s such a positive message that is perfect to boost a child’s esteem and make them smile while cuddling and reading.
— Mrs. Weber's Neighborhood, Blog

The Daily News

DEC 22, 2016

KHS grad writes children’s book about struggles of raising toddlers

MILWAUKEE — Just in time for the holidays, the new children’s book, “Guess What? I Still Love You,” is out as a gift for young children and expectant parents.

The book highlights the struggles of raising toddlers, and provides humor to parents while reinforcing to the child that they are always loved.

A 2003 graduate of Kingsford High School, author Jessica Simon had the idea for the book after repeating the phrase, “Guess what? I still love you” after her toddler sons would misbehave.

Some of the topics covered in the book include, “When it’s time for you to sit and eat, and everything I made lands at your feet.Guess what? I still love you.”“When it’s time for you to nap in bed, and you whine and want to play instead.Guess what? I still love you.”“Whether you grew in my belly or in my heart, you were my child from the very start.Guess what? I really love you.”

“As parents of young children know, toddlers can sometimes (always) be crazy. Sometimes they misbehave and have to go to timeout. Sometimes they resist going to bed at night or for a nap. Sometimes they color on the walls or throw food on the floor. Sometimes they break things or scream and yell and bawl. And eventually they grow a bit older and don’t want to cuddle anymore. Through everything, their parents love them,” Simon said talking about her book.

The book is available for purchase nationwide at lulu.com. It will also be available globally on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com after the New Year.

The KHS graduate currently lives in the Milwaukee suburbs with her husband and three children. All three children are under the age of three. She was inspired to write “Guess What? I Still Love You.” because of the way her family was formed, through adoption and biological births.

Simon added that she’s become an expert in the management of temper tantrums and food battles.

Link to article HERE