Friday, March 2, 2012

On Tuesday, Dakota will be 2 months old, and he’ll have been with us for 7 weeks.  Two weeks ago today, the adoption was finalized.  That sounds like a long time, like I should be settled into fatherhood by now.  Somehow, it all still doesn’t seem real, though.  In the back of my head, there’s this thought that I’m going to wake up one morning and find out that we’ve just been babysitting someone else’s kid for a couple of months, that he’s not really ours.  I assume part of that is how quickly everything happened.  We met Dakota a couple of days after turning in our birthmother letter, and took him home four days after that.  I’ve never heard of an adoption moving that fast.
He is ours, though.  I really am a daddy now.  I think that is the most exciting sentence I can possibly write.  That little boy sleeping in Danielle’s arms is my son!  How cool is that?  He is now a part of my life forever.  I get to hold him and see him smile when I come home from work.  I get to watch him grow, watch him learn to crawl, walk, talk, and all of that stuff.  When he starts teething and is in too much pain to sleep, Danielle and I will lose sleep with him.  I wonder constantly what he will be like.  What will his personality be like in a year, when he starts talking to us?  As he grows up, what kind of things will interest him?  Will he enjoy fishing with his dad?  Will he be a musician?  Will he be a good student?  He’s a little bundle full of potential.
He’s already got so much personality.  He smiles constantly.  He even laughs in his sleep.  He grows so fast.  It is amazing to go back and look at the pictures Danielle took of him the first week he was with us; he was so small and skinny.  He’s so strong, too.  He’s been holding his head up since we got him.  He likes to stand up.  He doesn’t have the balance to stand on his own, but he definitely has the strength.  He even (accidentally) sat up on his own the other day.  He was laying in my arms, starting to squirm because he was hungry, and suddenly, he was sitting up.
I’m very proud of my son, and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled this much in my entire life.  This entire process has been such a blessing.  We’ve been incredibly humbled by all of our friends and family that have generously supported us in so many ways.  Whether it’s been financial support for the adoption, showering Dakota with gifts, bringing us meals while we learned to live with a baby, or just words of encouragement, everything you have done for us has touched us deeply.
In her last post, Danielle talked about Dakota’s birthparents.  We’ve spent some time both with the birthparents, and with the birthfather’s parents.  They are all truly wonderful people.  They chose us to raise Dakota because they thought it was the most loving thing they could do for him.  When we were first considering an open adoption, the idea scared me.  I mean, you never know what the birthparents will be like, and the prospect of blindly agreeing to include them in your life and the life of your child is daunting.  The time we’ve spent with them has really put us at ease.  As Dakota grows up, it will be important for him to know where he came from, to know that his birth family loved him, and that they still do love him.  And it will be important for them to know that he is doing well. 
Who knows what lays ahead for us?  All I know is that I am excited to see what the future holds for Dakota.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Well... that was fast.

Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s almost all I can say… But… I promised you a story so here it is!
On the night of Thursday, January the 12th, Jeremiah and I were getting home late from dinner with some friends. Just when we reached the door Jeremiah said “Oh.. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th.” I replied “Well then… tomorrow is going to be a lucky day for us!” And this is where our story begins.
Friday started like any other day. Jeremiah got up and went to work. I got up and headed to the gym. I was going to my Friday morning Zumba class. J When the class was over I grabbed my purse and headed to the car. I happened to glance at my phone and noticed I had 3 missed phone calls and 2 voicemails. That seemed odd for it being fairly early on a Friday morning. I got to the car and listened to the messages. The first message was from Mark Iverson. (Our adoption Lawyer) He said something like “Hi Danielle, this is Mark. Could you give me a call as soon as possible? It’s about a potential baby.”. I felt my heart racing a little bit… but the message was so vague I didn’t really know what to make of it.  Jeremiah had left the second message. He said that he was leaving work and that we needed to go to Mark’s office and meet with him. I called Jeremiah right away. He was already in his car driving home. He was going to pick me up and then we were going to head down to Mark’s office. Jeremiah knew a little bit more than I had gotten from Mark’s message. Apparently there was a couple at his office and they had a baby with them. So that’s basically all we knew.
I got home and showered super fast and we headed down to Mark’s office. On the way to the office we were talking and just wondering out loud if the baby had a name. We realized that we had never really talked about baby names before. Since we didn’t know the gender of the baby we started talking about names we liked for either gender. We came up with several that we both agreed we liked. I guess since we knew we couldn’t have children of our own the thought of talking about baby names never really occurred to either of us.
We pulled up to Mark’s office and got inside and quickly and calmly as we could. We met Mark inside. He brought us into his office. There wasn’t anyone else in there but I saw a baby carrier in the corner with a diaper bag. There wasn’t anything that indicated the gender of the baby.  He let us know that the couple was down stairs at the cafĂ© getting some lunch and that he would go get them. He told us that they had come into his office that morning looking for a family to place their baby with and that they had chosen our profile out of the 4 others they had seen and wanted to meet us in person.  He told us the baby was a week old but still didn’t mention the gender. I was getting pretty anxious to know at this point. Mark went downstairs to get the couple so we could meet them. Jeremiah and I sat nervously in his office for several minutes waiting for them to get back upstairs. I can’t even tell you how many thoughts went through my head that day. They might have sounded somewhat like this. “Oh my goodness! Are we going to be bringing a baby home today? Are we even ready for this? Of course we’re ready for this! Why would we have started this process if we weren’t ready… we’re definitely ready. Oh man what if it’s a boy! I don’t know what I’ll do with a boy. Hmm.. I wonder what color we should paint the bedroom? Oh man! If this really happens Deb is going to flip! But wait… we don’t know anything yet so I shouldn’t be getting so excited… But I can’t help it!! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!!!”  Yeah…. That’s pretty much exactly what was going through my head.
So finally Mark gets back up stairs and introduces us to the birth parents and the baby… and FINALLY we find out it’s a boy! J Dakota Mikeal was an absolutely gorgeous baby! Mark let us visit and get to know each other for  10-15 minutes by ourselves. We got to hear their story and also share a little more about ourselves with them. They were pretty young. 21 and 20. They had been married for a year and hadn’t planned on having children so soon.  They weren’t financially stable. The birth mother had only finished a year of college and the birth dad was working nights. You could see their love for baby Dakota. It was very apparently. Both parents were healthy and had kept Dakota very healthy through the pregnancy. They were making a very selfless decision based on love for their baby and their desire to see him have a bright future.
In reading our birthmother letter there were several things that stood out to them that made them chose us. One being that we are both musical and so is the Birth father. He plays any instrument that has strings basically. The other thing was that I’m a photographer and the Birth mother is going to school so she can open a photography studio. They were really excited that we had those things in common.
Mark excused us from the room for a while so he could chat with them a little more to see how they were feeling about us… I guess the feelings were positive because we all started signing paper work. We wouldn’t be bring Dakota home that day. The birth parents wanted to get the chance to spend a little more time with him and say goodbye. The court date was set for Tuesday (just 4 days later) and we would bring Dakota home with us then. We both were happy with that… since that at least gave us 4 days to mentally and physically prepare to have a baby in our home. There had never been a thought in our heads that this would happen so soon and so fast. We had always imagined getting matched up with a young girl in high school or a similar situation like that and have at least a few months to prepare before the delivery. So this totally caught us off guard. Especially since we had just finished our birth mother letter 3 days before Mark called us.
Dakota had his one week old appointment to go to that same day and Mark asked if we’d like to go along with them.  Of course we did! He had grown and inch and had gained a few ounces. He was very healthy! We both got to hold him while we were at the appointment. That was a pretty crazy experience. I was looking down at this perfect tiny baby boy and thinking that he would be my son in just a few days. It didn’t seem real!  We left the appointment and started visiting our closest family members and friends to let them know the good news.  Everyone was as shocked as we were. It just seemed too good to be true which is what I asked Jeremiah that night when we got home. Was this all too good to be true? Can it really have been that easy for us?
Saturday morning we got up and started shopping. I had a baby room to make! We got paint and went by Babies R Us and picked up a few things we thought we might need. We got home around noon and I had just finished cleaning everything out of my office (which would soon be the babies room) when we got a phone call from Mark. My stomach started feeling sick even before I knew what he was going to say. He told me that the birth parents had called him and were considering some other options where they would be able to keep custody of Dakota. They hadn’t made their mind up completely but would call him Monday morning with their final answer. He told me that if they took the time to call him and let him know they were considering other options… then the chance of them going through with the adoption was very small. He said 95% of the couples who call him with second thoughts end up keeping their baby. Needless to say me and Jeremiah were very sad and disappointed but at the same time I couldn’t help feeling happy for them. I had seen how much they loved Dakota and knew this was not an easy decision for them. If they had found an option for them that would allow them to keep him… how could I be upset about it? Here’s what the thoughts in my head might have sounded like after that phone call. “I knew it was too good to be true. We had to experience the heartache of a failed adoption attempt at some point. I guess it’s good that it was only 1 day that we got our hopes up instead of 3 or more months of anticipation only to have the birth parents chance their mind. He was such a cute baby! I guess this teal blue color could work for a boy or a girl… I might as well keep painting because they really haven’t given a final answer yet and it would be really nice to finally get rid of these horrid pink and green stripes!” And that’s what I did. Jeremiah had school to work on so James came over and helped me pull the nails out of the wall, patch the holes and prime the room. It was really nice having James there to talk to. I kept my mind off of everything and just painted.
Around 3:30 my phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number but I answered. It was the birth father! He told me that he had tried to call Mark but since he didn’t answer he thought he’d just call me in person. They had left Dakota at his parents house and went for a drive to clear their heads and to talk about everything. They had decided to go through with the adoption. They had gotten a lot of negative responses from some of their family members that made them second guess the choice they were making… but he said they just had to go with what their heart was telling them to do. Their heart said that we were good people and they knew we would take care of Dakota and offer him more than they could. Heavens to Betsy!! What a rollercoaster of emotions we had gone through in those 24 hours. I’m not sure I’ve ever experience so many emotions in such a short period of time.
That weekend was a blur. Tuesday seemed so close... but it took forever to finally get here! The court date was set for Tuesday since Monday was a holiday and the court house was closed. We got there and met Mark and the birth parents. We would be waiting out in the hallway while the actual court appointment took place. The birth fathers mom was there and waited out in the hallway with us. She was a very nice lady. With tears in her eyes she told us that she had prayed and prayed that Dakota would end up with a Christian family and one that would teach him about God’s love and was so happy when Dakota’s parents had shared our birth mother letter with her. She knew we were the answer to her prayers.
I cried a lot that day. Up until that point I hadn’t. I think I had been so overwhelmed that I didn’t know how to respond to all the emotions I was feeling and going through. They all hit me there in the court house hallway.  Jeremiah and I were going to be parents!  I was going to be a momma! We were going to be bringing Dakota home in just a few hours to meet his new family. It was such a humbling moment for me.

Typically after the birth parents are done with their court appointment they would come and hand the baby to the adoptive parents and go their separate ways. That just felt cold and formal. We decided to go to coffee with them afterwards so we could visit more and make the switch as comfortable as we could. We had a pleasant visit with them and after an hour or so they said their goodbyes to Dakota. I cried again. Such a bitter sweet moment. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness at the fact that we were bringing home our son… but so sad for the pain I could see in his birthparents eyes.
We have agreed on an open adoption. What the agreements states is that the birthparents will have 2 supervised visits a year with Dakota and that we’ll send letters and pictures twice a year as well. If we decide that we are comfortable with making further arrangements for visits then we can do that. At this point… I feel very comfortable with having an open relationship with Dakota’s birth parents. They are very nice people and I think it will be important for Dakota to know them and know that he was loved very much by them. However if the situations ever change we will always put Dakota’s best interests first.
So we’ve had Dakota for a week and a day!  I have loved every minute of it! Even getting up in the wee small hours of the morning to feed and change him has been exciting for me. He is the sweetest baby I’ve ever know. He is so calm and loves to cuddle! He smiles in his sleep all the time and even giggles some times. It melts my heart every time! His daddy loves him so much too! He is so proud to have a son! Its crazy to think that only 8 days ago I was finding it hard to imagine my life with Dakota in it… but really it only took one day for me to find it hard to imagine my life without him.
The adoption isn’t final yet. We have to have Ruth Moe come back to our home to do a post placement inspection and then after that’s been done and everything checks out okay… Dakota Mikeal will be Dakota Mikeal DuPey!
Thank you everyone who prayed for us and sent us encouraging messages. Those meant a lot to both of us!
I would like to send a special thank you to our church family at Northside Church of Christ! They helped us start our adoption fund and so many of our friends and family there donated to help us raise the money it would take for this adoption. I have to admit that most of the time I felt guilty for receiving help… And maybe it’s because we were receiving money for something we didn’t have yet. I’m not sure why I felt that way… but now every time I look down at Dakota and think about everything that our friends and family at Northside have done I am only filled with humility and gratefulness. I don’t think we can thank any of you enough for what you have done for us! But we will try! J
This won’t be the last blog you get from us!  J We named our site “TheDuPeyFamily” for a reason. We want to continue writing blog posts every once in a while so you all can know how Dakota is doing!
I love you all!! I am the happiest momma on the face of the planet right now!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


I think we’re done with our birth-mother letter! I say “I think” because we have yet to get the final “Okay” from our Attorney. But I feel really good about it.

The holidays were crazy and we didn’t get started on writing it until last week. We looked up all kinds of websites that might offer us advice on how to go about writing a letter to an expectant mother who’s considering adoption.  There were plenty of lists of do’s and don’ts out there which made me a little stressed out about the whole thing.  I couldn’t let that take control though… so I just started writing and tried my best to just be myself and let who I am shine through. I sent what I had to Jeremiah last week and then he added his parts as well. We sent the rough draft to Mark expecting him to reply with some advice on what needed to be changed or edited. He wrote back and said it was perfect and that we shouldn’t change anything! That was great news! He only suggested that we add some pictures of us with children which I did right away. I added some pop and color and I think it turned out pretty good. :D

Try to put yourself in the shoes of a woman who’s considering adoption while you’re reading this. Let us know what your thoughts are! 

You can view the letter here: Letter to Expectant Mother

As always… thank you for following our blog! Feel free to share this letter with anyone you know! We appreciate you keeping us in your thoughts! 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Heavens to Betsy!! I can’t believe that it’s December already.  That means it’s been 6 months since I’ve had an entry for our blog. FAIL! I’ll try to be better about updating it in the future!

There’s a few things I need to catch you up on! In my last entry I talked about our vacation to California that we were about to take. I mentioned that I would be writing my biography while we were down there. Although I did start writing it I didn’t get anywhere close to finishing it during the 6 days we were away. It actually took a second vacation for me to complete my biography.  Jeremiah and I, Jeremiah’s parents, (Phil & Deb) and Dave & Keri all went on a family vacation to Victoria Canada in September. I had put off finishing my biography long enough and I was determined to finish it while we were there. So I did! Writing my life story proved to be harder than I thought it would be. There were a lot of issues that had to be addressed and they weren’t pleasant for me to think or write about.  However I feel like the timing couldn’t have been better for me. I was ready to face these things. I have spent so many years convincing myself that my childhood was wonderful and my family was perfect. To come to the conclusion that neither of those things are true was very hard for me. If someone had tried to tell me otherwise a year ago I would have become very defensive and argumentative.  Jeremiah has been very patient and helpful in working through this with me. Being on the outside and looking into my family he was able to see the dysfunction very clearly but I was blind to it.

I wonder sometimes what my life would look like if any of the crazy events from my past had never happened or if I had realized any sooner how dysfunctional things really were. I find it hard to believe I would have ended up where I am today. So is there anything I would change if I could? Absolutely not.  All of the things I’ve been through have brought me here to this very moment in my life and I can’t fathom my life without Jeremiah, my incredible sisters or the community of family and friends that surround me right now. I am so grateful for what I’ve been through because it’s made me a stronger person and it’s brought me closer to the people who mean the most to me.

We met with our Adoption Attorney, Mark Iverson, on Tuesday this week. It was a short and sweet meeting but we know what our next steps are at this point.
1.     We need to write a “Birthmother Letter”.
It is basically what it sounds like. A letter from us to the potential birthmother of the baby we would be adopting. We’ll post it on here when we’re finished with it. Hopefully in the next week!
2.     We need to spread the word to everyone we know that we are looking to adopt!
We have been recommended as adoptive parents by Ruth Moe and have been given the green light to advertise!  So if you know of anyone or have a friend who knows of someone who is considering adoption as an option for them please let us know. They can either contact us or Mark Iverson.
Here’s some contact information for him.
Email:  Phone: (509)462-3678
Thank you all for thinking of us! We are so excited to open our home to a baby that needs one!

In other news… After we came back from our vacation to California in June I became a full time photographer.  This was very exciting for me! I have had a very busy and successful first year with my photography business. I now have a facebook page and update it quite often with photos from my most recent photo shoots.  You can check it out at

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

And now, to advertise...

So, good news!  It turns out that neither Danielle or I are wanted by the FBI or any police force in Washington State!  I’m sure everyone is completely surprised by this fact.
            Last night, we met with our social worker.  She had a few final questions for us, and, with the information provided by our references, she will be sending her report, recommending us as adoptive parents to the lawyer we have chosen to hire.  What a process it’s been so far!  The FBI and state background checks were just the start.  We both filled out very extensive biographies, had physicals, disclosed all our financial information, and had questionnaires filled out by four references (1 relative, 3 non-related).  Now on to the next steps…
            So, what’s next?  To put it slightly roughly, we get to start advertising.  We’ll be compiling a portfolio, which we can distribute through any means possible, which will be used to introduce our family to birthparents.  We can advertise in newspapers (like in Juno), through some doctor’s offices and medical clinics, and different routes like that.  Our lawyer will keep a copy of the portfolio to give to any birthmothers he is in contact with.  My mother, who works for a school district, will bring a copy to the high school councilors.  And, as it turns out, one of our most important resources is you, all of our friends and family.  If anyone out there knows a girl who is pregnant, and who is considering giving their child up for adoption, please feel free to contact us.  We realize, of course, that this is not a decision that is to be taken lightly for the mother, and we definitely don’t want anyone to pressure a girl to give a child up for adoption if that girl isn’t absolutely sure it is the right decision.
            We have been so blessed by all of you, and we thank you for your continued support.  I don’t think I can truly express the emotions - joy, excitement, even a slight bit of fear - at taking this next step.  I am happy to have so many to share this journey with.  Hopefully, as things start to become more of a reality, I will be a little better at keeping you all updated.

Monday, August 1, 2011

little stories

            I’ve been listening to a radio program lately called The Moth.  It’s an hour long program of storytellers, some comedians or other stage professionals, some just random people off the street, but everyone has to tell a true story about their life.  Basically, the premise is that a good storyteller draws listeners like moths to a porch light.  It’s actually very interesting.  There are stories that run the entire emotional gamut.  Some are hilarious, some inspiring, some sad.  One story is from a journalist who is an ex-cocaine addict.  His story is about how he took his twin girls, when they were infants, to a drug house in the middle of winter, and because it wasn’t cool to bring babies with him to buy his drugs; he left them in the car while he went in.  He, of course, gets high inside and loses track of time.  The story revolves around his walk back to the car, realizing how long his girls have been out there in the cold, and the likelihood that he’s allowed them to freeze to death.  Fortunately, the story has a happy ending.  If I hadn’t been sitting at my desk at work when I listened to this one, I may have teared up.  Other stories include a somnambulist (someone who walks in his sleep) who actually jumped out of a second story hotel window (which was closed) in his sleep, and an undercover cop with a hilarious arrest story with too many coincidences involved to try to describe here.  The point is, everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone has something to say that is worth listening to.
            A couple of weeks ago, I finished my biographical information for our adoption home study.  Danielle included one of the questions (out of 15) from this in a previous post.  If you read that, you can understand how in depth this biography was.    Writing my biography was kind of tough.  It’s hard to know what to put in there.  This isn’t like writing a story for The Moth.  There’s no point, really, in talking about my bachelor party, where a group of us went backpacking, and spent a large portion of our time trying to ward off a bull moose that was unhappy with the fact that we were camping in his territory.  There isn’t a place in this biography to tell stories about me and my friends in high school discovering why it is a bad idea to poke a dead, bloated skunk with a sharp stick, sneaking into the woods on the campus of the mental hospital to track mule deer, or the time a late night game of tag ended with a police chase (it’s a long story, but let me just say, we didn’t do anything wrong).  It’s weird to see your life summarized and distilled down to a couple of pages.  If I didn’t know any better, it would make me think I’d had a boring life.  But, I do know better.  I’ve had a great life, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.  It’s these little stories that make life so great.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I ♥ sunshine!

Well since my last post May has come and gone. I can’t believe it. My.. how time flies!
I’ll start by letting you know how our first visit with Ruth Moe went. Ruth is that woman who is conducting our home study. She was very nice and we found it very easy to talk with her. She has adopted in the past herself and was very encouraging to Jeremiah and I and had wonderful things to say about her experience.  Basically the first meeting was what I had expected it to be. Ruth went over all the paper work with us and explained the different things we’d need to do before she can approve us for adopting. We both had to get our finger prints taken and sent to the FBI for a background check. May was a VERY busy month for the two of us so we weren’t able to get down to the Court house until this past Thursday to get that step done. I’m gonna be honest… getting my finger prints taken WAS everything I thought it would be. SO exciting! ;) I felt like I was in a movie!
From what we heard from Ruth it sounds like the results of our background check from the FBI may be back as fast as 3 weeks… or as long as 14 weeks. Apparently they don’t keep that very consistent.  But that’s fine. We have quite a bit more to get done in the mean time. Jeremiah and I both have to have physicals and we need to complete our biographical information. There are a lot of questions and I have a feeling it will take me a while to finish it. There are 16 “questions” (more like categories) in all that we need to answer in depth.  Here’s an example of one.
# 4: Give a history of yourself from birth to present. Include information about your parents – their occupations, nature of their marriage, quality of your childhood relationships with them, present relationship with them, and present locations of them. Discuss your siblings, their birthdates, how you relate to them and where they currently are. What was your childhood like – school and social activities, activities with family and friends etc. what was your school experience and what has been the nature of your work experience? What was your religious upbringing?
That is just ONE of the categories. When I’m done writing about all of that… I’ll have a small book. And there are 15 more sections almost as long as this one. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I’m actually excited about doing this. I think it’ll be a great challenge. And I don’t mean a challenge in a bad way. I think everyone should sit down and write a small biography about themselves at some point in their lives. It’s a good exercise and it makes you look back at your life with a different perspective. Jeremiah and I are going to be taking a Vacation in a week from tomorrow to go down to California for a week. It’s been a long winter and we’re both excited to be somewhere warm to recover from the cold. I think the plane ride down there and back will be the perfect time to work on our biographies. We’ll be stuck in small uncomfortable seats for several hours with nothing better to do than look at the airplane’s magazines repeatedly or try unsuccessfully to get some shut eye. So why not do something useful? We can be writing our biographies and dreaming about the day when we’ll finally have a little family all the while our heads will literally be in the clouds thousands of miles above the ground. Brilliant! ;)
I just mentioned our vacation above. I am very excited about it! We’re going to Disney Land! Seriously… getting my fingerprints taken AND going to Disney Land all in the same month! I must be in heaven! For our vacation this summer we decided we definitely needed to go somewhere warm. This past winter (and spring so far) was way too cold and miserable. Can I get an “Amen”?! We’ve really been enjoying taking trips over to the Oregon coast for our vacations but we both felt like that just wouldn’t cut it this time. We need to get sunburns… and FAST! (Just kidding Jeremiah) I promised Jeremiah that I would wear sunscreen everyday we’re down there and I intend to keep that promise. Skin cancer isn’t too appealing anymore. When I was younger… sure. I mean who didn’t want skin cancer? But Jeremiah has shown me the light. SPF 50 here I come! ;)
My Birthday was May 8th. I’m still 22… however my body is now 26. My sister Lacey is an amazing photographer and for my birthday present she said she’d take some fun pictures of me. My very own photo shoot! I’m very excited. Lacey is a genius in her work and I know she’ll take some amazing pictures. I’ll be leaving my house in about an hour and a half to go on this adventure. I had better go and pretty myself up. Maybe I’ll share a few when I have them. ;) I can’t wait until she can take our family pictures!!
Thanks for following our blog!
Love you all!