Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #12 – The Final Profile

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #12 – The Final Profile

After the debacle with Joe and Patricia, I think the birthparent department at Spence-Chapin may have lost faith that they would ever come through and find a family for me. It wasn’t their fault – but that kind of thing should not have happened. If adoption is going to work, all sides need to be forthcoming about all the details. Evasiveness only delays the problem – because the secrets will be revealed, and if they’re your secrets and you’re not the one to reveal them, they will bite you on the ass.

So you can imagine Mary’s upbeat nature at our next scheduled meeting. She was bouncing on her heels with excitement. “I have it,” she said. “This is the one – I just know it.” A new family had just received approval to enter the adoption process – they were so new that the agency hadn’t even had a chance to redact their profile of identifying information so I could see it. Mary sat at her desk and read it to me.

Their names were Kathy and Bruce, and they’d been married 15 years. They had a biological daughter – hmmm… It turns out, they’d had a baby girl who was born with a heart defect and lived less than a week. Understandably distraught, they decided to try to get pregnant again as soon as possible, or they feared they’d never try again. So they got pregnant – and their second daughter was born, also with a heart issue, but she was strong enough to pull through. However, she was the only bio child they would have.

So they already had a little girl, 10 years old at the time they were wading into adoption. That had been one of my four criteria: a family who already had a child. Sure, I would have preferred if their existing child had been closer in age to my son, but it was way more important to me that they already were parents. And I loved that they’d taken their time deciding about the adoption. I could also see immediately – after having waded through the 11 previous profiles – the fact that infertility was not a factor would be quite significant.

They were Catholic, and active in their church – things that wouldn’t impress me all that much now, but at the time, these were exactly the characteristics I was looking for in a family for my son, because they were familiar to me. They felt like home to me. That was what my childhood experience had been, so it felt right. Although I wasn’t able to read through their profile, I was able to look at the photos they’d included. One still stands out – a picture of Bruce taking their daughter, Jill, trick-or-treating. That single photo made me so happy.

When Corina and I were growing up, our parents were OLD. It was like a double-generation gap, because they were almost 20 years older than the parents of most of our peers. Kathy and Bruce were about the same age my parents had been when they’d had Corina and me, but they seemed years younger.

Kathy and Jill were horsewomen. They routinely visited a stable close to where they lived and each had a horse they rode regularly. They also volunteered there, mucking the stalls and feeding and brushing the horses. If I’m not mistaken, there was mention that they did not have any household pets – but they were open to getting a dog later, when their new child was older. Still, to this day, I’ve never ridden a horse in my life. Yes, I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona – what was once the Wild West – and I live here again now. Still, I didn’t relate much to the horses. The promise of a dog, though – that was another plus. Mine had always been a dog family.

I was in. I wanted to meet these people.

Suddenly, Mary got up and walked out of her office – I don’t remember the reason. And she left Kathy and Bruce’s unredacted profile sitting right there on her desk. I could have so easily gone over and read it – learned their last name and where they lived. But, remember: I was a good girl, always behaving myself. I’m not sure why I didn’t – but I did not look at those pages. I let that most amazing opportunity slip past me. I’ve never known whether Mary did it on purpose, but I’ve always suspected that, even if it was unconscious, she did. (Some things are just meant to be, though. More on that in an upcoming post.)

I arranged a phone call with Kathy – and she was every bit as delightful as I’d hoped she would be. The question about my parents – inevitable, it seems – came up again. This time, though, instead of telling me that I had to tell them, Kathy said something to the effect of, “Well, you know your parents better than anyone. If you don’t think they’ll take the news well, not telling them is your decision. Maybe someday you’ll want to tell them, but if that day never comes, that’s OK, too.” Wow, respect for my decisions – that was new, and welcome.

Yeah – these were good people. Tony and I decided to meet them, and things moved forward from there.

You know, Kathy follows this blog and reads these posts. I’ll have to check with her to see if I remembered the details of hers and Bruce’s profile correctly – or if the lens of memory has colored it in any way. Regardless of the accuracy of my memory, I’ll be forever grateful for the folks on the other end of Profile #12.

As an aside, I didn’t realize until recently how fortunate Kathy and Bruce were: a recent review of the Spence-Chapin website indicates that there’s typically a one- to two-year wait for a couple to adopt a child, and the majority of their babies are placed by black and Hispanic women. I don’t know if those statistics were the same 23 years ago. But Kathy and Bruce entered the process, and within six months were able to adopt a healthy – no drug or alcohol issues – white infant at birth. The likelihood of that occurring today is unbelievably rare.

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #10

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #10

After turning down Cold Fish Lady and her husband, as I’ve come to think of them, as  adoptive parents for my son, I was as resolute as ever to find the right parents for him. Shortly thereafter a new profile appeared – and it was like a miracle, a beacon of light at the end of a long, dark tunnel. These seemed like my people. The husband, Joe, was friendly. His wife, Patricia, strongly resembled my own mother, right down to her dark hair and olive complexion. As I’ve said before – we had no idea that Eric would be blond.

He was a professor and she worked part-time, in my mind, the best of both worlds. She got out of the house to spend time with other adults but would be available to raise a newborn. They were Catholic, had been married for nearly 10 years, and lived in Nyack, an idyllic place to raise a little boy. They did not have any other children yet, which was a demerit, but everything else about them looked good, so I was willing to give them a chance.

We had a first phone call, this time from the privacy of my apartment, and it went fairly well. Up till the part about my parents. Again with the strong urging of, “They deserve to know.” But nothing had changed since the last time I’d had this conversation, and I remained steadfast in my determination not to tell them. We got past that, though, and ended the conversation on an up note. I told Mary I thought I might like to meet them. She was beside herself, her fingers probably still secretly crossed behind her back. She told me to make the arrangements – whatever time was good for me to meet them would work for her. She’d change her schedule, if need be, to make it work.

So I called them back. That’s when they told me something odd. They would not be available for any phone calls or meetings for the next two weeks. WTF? Any adoptive family who was this close to getting a baby would be available from the moon, if need be. What did they mean that they wouldn’t be available for two weeks? I tried, politely, to get some further explanation, and I was shut down cold. “We won’t be available. Period.”

So, of course, I called Mary. “Hmmm. That’s very strange.” She validated my feelings of concern and promised to look into it – which meant consulting their caseworker. As with all reputable agency adoptions, Tony and I had a social worker assigned to us, and Joe and Patricia had one assigned to them. It took a bit of prodding and prying, but eventually the couple revealed to their caseworker that Joe would be undergoing elective surgery to correct a heart valve issue. It was not in any way life-threatening – more of a precautionary procedure – but he would be in recovery and they’d be unable to travel or talk with a prospective birthmother for about 10 days.

Here’s the thing: when they filled out the paperwork to apply as prospective parents through Spence-Chapin, they were required to disclose a full health history. But they had neglected to mention this little heart issue – which is probably why they were unwilling to explain their two-week unavailability to me. Upon hearing this, the immediate response from a colleague at Lehman Brothers was, “Of course not. They were afraid you’d turn them down if you knew.” Turning them down because of the husband’s health had never even entered my mind. I just wasn’t thinking in those terms. It was their lack of transparency that concerned me, not Joe’s potential heart issues.

After the dust settled, Mary asked me what I wanted to do. I told her that if Joe and Patricia were willing to talk to me, to explain why they’d opted to be so cagey, and to apologize, I might be able to set it all aside and continue the process with them. She was relieved, and agreed to put it to them, via their caseworker. A phone call was arranged, and I tried to be polite, diplomatic even. I think my goal was just to listen. All I remember from that phone call was a single sentence: “We don’t owe you anything.”

It took every ounce of control I could muster not to slam the phone down on that woman. I don’t remember how we ended the conversation, but I know I asked her how she could say such a thing when the whole reason we were even talking was because I was considering entrusting her with the most important thing in the world, my son. The least I felt she owed me was the truth.

In hindsight, I can only imagine what it must have felt like to be in her shoes. I absolutely hate being wrong. Worse still is when I am wrong, it’s put in my face, and my nose is rubbed in it. This couple behaved badly when it came to honesty about something really important, so it should shock no one that I decided not to go with them. But they must have been hurting a great deal.

I later learned that just months earlier, Joe and Patricia had formed a bond with a pregnant woman who had promised to place her child with them. Now, nothing is firm until the papers are signed. In an honorable adoption situation, the pregnant woman has every right to change her mind and decide to keep her baby, right up to the moment she puts her pen to that paper. In some states, she has days – even weeks – to reconsider. Is that hard on the prospective adoptive parents? Of course – which is why Sharon Kaplan Roszia counsels them to consider adoption an extension of the infertility process, not a silver bullet. But it’s the right way to do things – to be sure the birthmother is sure. So even though they knew it was possible that their prospective birthmother could change her mind, Joe and Patricia were hopeful. They had connected with her, bought her maternity clothes, begun to love her and her child. No doubt, they were utterly devastated when she gave birth and snuck out of the hospital without even telling them she had changed her mind.

I can also imagine things from this mother’s point of view, though. She knew that she couldn’t surrender her baby – and more than that, she knew how much telling Joe and Patricia would hurt them. Was her behavior cowardly? Maybe. But it was all she could do, and I would never tell her she was wrong to do it that way. Nevertheless, Joe and Patricia were shattered. And they hadn’t completely healed from that experience when they dove back into the adoption pool and met me. So I can cut them a little slack now, too.

Adoption is many things – and one of them is messy. There’s no neat, clean way to break up one family in an effort to form another, even when the birthmother is fully on board. There’s loss and there’s gain – and in the middle is a child. When that child is blessed, as mine is, he knows he’s truly loved by both sets of parents.

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #8

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profile #8

Finally, after turning down at least the first half-dozen profiles of prospective adoptive parents I had been shown, I received a profile from Mary of a couple who seemed kind of interesting. He was a child psychologist and she was a teacher’s aide at a Montessori school. The fact that both of their careers revolved around children appeared to be a plus. When we read through their profile, though, there was a very brief mention that the husband had started down the seminary path toward becoming a priest, but abruptly changed his mind and left the seminary.

That intrigued me, because my father had been a Catholic priest who left the priesthood to marry my mom. Unimaginably scandalous, as far as his family was concerned. His oldest brother was a priest and his oldest sister was in the convent. To have a third child who had chosen the Church over marriage must have been an absolute coup in the Catholic one-upmanship game. His leaving must have destroyed his parents’ pride of ownership. Then there was my mom’s family. My mother was first generation Mexican-American, and all of her siblings had married other Latinos – the vast majority of them also Mexican. So not only was my mom marrying a white man, but she was marrying a priest – they never saw him as gone from the priesthood and continued to refer to him as El Sacerdote (The Priest) for the rest of his life.

So when this man mentioned his brief dalliance with the priesthood as a toss-off comment, I wanted to know more about that. I asked my social worker if it would be possible to get more information from them about this, and other aspects of their profile that struck me as a bit sketchy. Had it been permissible, I think Mary would have driven to their home to get the details herself if it meant that I was finally settling on a family. Within a few days, she called to tell me that the couple had expanded their profile and invited me for an unscheduled visit to the agency to review it.

The husband had apparently thought better about a life of celibacy and decided to skip the priesthood in favor of dating and the possibility of marriage. Who could argue with that? Satisfied by that explanation and the other additional information, I agreed to a phone call with the couple. This was the first time we’d made it this far into the process, and I was quite nervous about the call. We did it from Mary’s office, and I honestly don’t remember if Tony was there or not. I rather suspect not – but my memory about that detail is foggy. Mary left me alone in her office for some privacy, and I had a 10- or 15-minute chat with the woman.

At one point, she asked me how my parents had taken the news about the baby and the adoption, and I told her the truth: I had not told them – nor did I have any plans to tell them. That did not go over well with the woman. “What do you mean you’re not going to tell them? They are the grandparents – they deserve to know. You have to tell them!” Um, no, I didn’t. They were conservative Catholics – it wasn’t the pregnancy that would freak them out; it was the sex I’d had to have to get pregnant that would have been the bigger problem.

In spite of this blip, the woman and I made it through the rest of the conversation before hanging up. Mary waited, probably pacing the hallway like an expectant father. Her face fell when I shook my head no. It wasn’t the pestering me about telling my folks about the baby – although that didn’t help. I’ve never been able to put my finger on the specifics of it, but the woman was cold. Not maternal at all. So much so that it was difficult to believe that she worked with children. She was just so distant and ridiculously difficult to talk with. So I told Mary I would pass.

By this time, she was starting to become agitated with every profile I would turn down. “I think you should have one more phone call with them,” she suggested. “Maybe you caught them at a bad time.”

“No, Mary,” I said with the patience of a mother explaining something simple to a child. “I didn’t like her. She was cold and distant and not at all maternal. Another phone call is not going to fix that.”

Mary was nothing if not persistent – she kept trying for another week or more to coax me into giving this family another call “just to see.” I insisted that I wasn’t interested. Finally, she let it go, and we moved on to the next couple of profiles.

Strangely, I was traveling to a seminar with Judy Greene, the birthparent coordinator, not long before I left the NYC area to move back to Phoenix – so Eric was almost 5 at the time – and Judy told me that this couple I had rejected had never been chosen by any birthmother. It wasn’t just me: there was something about them that rubbed me – and apparently everyone else – the wrong way. Eventually they removed themselves from consideration as parents through Spence-Chapin. I’ve no idea whether they pursued a private adoption, whether they stayed married and childless, or if they might have gone their separate ways. I couldn’t exactly put it into words then, and I still can’t do much better today. All I knew was that they weren’t the right parents for my son.

So we plodded on. Stick around for a day or two to hear about the couple behind Profile #10!

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles #1 – #6

Prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles #1 – #6

In a post a couple days ago, I described a bit about the process involved in choosing the family who adopted and raised my son. That’s been a wonderful update in the process from the standard just 25 to 30 years ago (not all that long before my adoption), when agency “experts” would decide for a pregnant woman which family would adopt her child.

I have done no research to back this up – not to mention that data related to adoption statistics is extremely difficult to come by and, to my mind, therefore suspect – but I was told that the average woman choosing a semi-open adoption (fully open adoptions were not facilitated through my agency at this time) selected a family from the first three or four profiles they saw.

I thought that was outrageous. What if I didn’t like any of the first three or four families? It wasn’t my deliberate plan to reject those profiles out of hand, as they were shown to me, but that’s what happened. None of them jumped out as the perfect family for my son. You may quarrel with my reasons for rejecting them – and maybe I was searching for something close to perfection – but I just knew they weren’t right.

Here’s a rundown of the first six profiles shown to me. A profile included a “Dear Birthparents” letter, as well as a dossier or résumé, of sorts, with details about the prospective parents, as well as a photo album. Please understand, it’s been more than 22 years, and I still remember all of these details. I didn’t take photocopies of these families’ profiles or write notes. These are the things that stood out in my mind so strongly that I still remember them to this day. Does that mean there’s a chance I’ve erred in my recollections? Of course – but the gist is accurate, especially in terms of my reasons for rejecting them as parents for my son.


Nothing wrong - nothing special

This seemed to be a nice enough couple, but they were both fair-haired (I had no idea that my son would be blond) and had something of a milquetoast feel to them. The quote I remember from their profile was, “We don’t let adoption rule our lives.” I didn’t really know what that meant at the time, but I understand it now. As I’ve mentioned in a prior post, it used to be that I didn’t know someone for five minutes before they knew I was a birthmother. That is no longer really the case. Until I decided to create this blog, adoption had sort of seeped into the background of my life. It’s much more front and center as I write about it daily for the moment (just ask my husband), but I do understand the sentiment of not eating, breathing, and sleeping adoption. Still, this couple seemed quiet and uninteresting to me.


No Mark Twain

This was a friendly couple who, in my opinion, were trying too hard. The only thing I really recall was a sentence that went something like, “When Jim tells a story, the children in our family (presumably nieces and nephews) are glued to their seats!” Really? Yuck. So I said no. And then, a month or so later, I was presented with a “new” profile, except that it was Jim and Linda again. How did I know? How many people write “When Jim tells a story, the children in our family are glued to their seats!” in their profiles? So I insisted to Mary, my social worker, that I’d already seen that profile, and she insisted I had not. She patiently explained that the agency took care to be sure there were no duplications. But I was adamant that I had seen that profile previously. Only because I insisted, she researched it and found out that the couple had different last names – not that odd, as my husband and I have different names – but for a reason never explained to me, they’d moved the profile from the husband’s surname to the wife’s surname. I remember thinking they were just trying to sneak it past me the second time, as if I wouldn’t notice. Nevertheless, there were apologies, and we moved on.


Perfect on paper

There were three parts to a profile and these folks focused on the photo album. This was long before scrapbooking became a national phenomenon, but this woman was just ahead of that curve. The album was stunning. And the dossier was incredible. The couple was mixed – the man was Jewish and the woman was Catholic. They were world travelers and had all kinds of amazing plans for any child who would join their family, in terms of the things he would do and places he would go. They already had plans to build an elaborate indoor playground inside their enormous townhouse. On paper, they were perfect. But there wasn’t a word anywhere in their profile about their personal values. I had to infer, by their omission, that the core elements of interpersonal relationships – communication, honesty, personal growth, joy – were not high on their priority list. As a result, this profile that was so gorgeous on the outside felt empty and soulless to me. Interestingly, I learned a year or so later that a very beautiful model had chosen this couple as the parents for their child. It was probably a perfect fit.


Perfect on paper

So the point of a profile is for the prospective adoptive family to introduce themselves to prospective birthmoms. I can’t even imagine where you would start to write one. The goal has to be to simultaneously stand out and be yourself. I’m sure some families turn to their social workers for counseling and ideas about what to put into the profile. Remember, this was YEARS before Google and YouTube. Yesterday, I came across this blog post with a list of 25 answers to the question “What do [prospective] birthmothers look for in adoptive parents?” I didn’t read it because I didn’t have 37 extra hours – and my guess is that the answers are as varied as the women who wrote them. What I was looking for was radically different from what that model wanted, so how would our respective answers help the other’s choice of parents? Which brings me to Profile 4. The only thing I remember about it was that the pictures were placed on colored construction paper and the descriptions written in magic marker. I felt as if that family had completely missed the boat and was gearing their profile at the baby, not at me. But perhaps a much younger prospective birthmom would have found them delightful.


Perfect on paper

Seafoam green. That’s it – the problem and the entirety of what I remember about this family. They were looking to adopt their second child (Check! I wanted a couple who already had a baby!), so the nursery was already complete. The thing is, this nursery was seafoam green, from ceiling to floor. The ceiling, the carpet, the crib, the window shades – the entire fucking room was one horrible shade of green. I mean, as a kid, seafoam green was one of my favorite crayon colors. And it might have worked in an nursery, if it had been broken up with some white, or off white – or ANY other color. I don’t know why – but that was all I needed to know they weren’t the right family for my son.


Perfect on paper

Most profiles included some photos of the home, so you could get a sense of the house where your child might grow up, along with photos of the family. Some included just the couple; others included photos of extended family, particularly if the child would have lots of first cousins near his age. This profile was notable because there wasn’t a single photo that included people. Not one. They had photos of every room in the house – basement and attic included. And then, on the vary last page, was a handwritten note – an apology – that they had forgotten to take a picture of the downstairs bathroom. To this day, I remember thinking, “Well, I trust you would have cleaned it for the photo shoot. It’s probably a very nice restroom. Next!”


FULL DISCLOSURE: This is not necessarily the exact order in which I saw the profiles – just the order in which I remember them. There were a total of 12, and I remember details about nine of them. I’ve covered six of those nine in this post. The other three stories are significant enough that they warrant their own posts. So, tune in soon for Profile 8. (We’ll just call Profile 7 one of the ones I forgot.)

So Much More Than Simple Luck

So Much More Than Simple Luck

Through the years, people have told me that I am lucky to have found such a great family for my son – a term that used to grate on me. It wasn’t luck – it was persistence and determination.

You know the saying, “You can’t be a little bit pregnant”? Well, that’s not exactly true – at least the way the Spence-Chapin agency handled things when I was pregnant. As I’ve written previously, I knew from the earliest days that I would place my son for adoption – and I never really wavered in that decision. Had his birthfather wanted to get married, I’d have changed my mind in a heartbeat – but that was not to be. So I got started with adoption counseling earlier than most birthmothers.

The process, as it unfolded for me, was an initial phone call with the head of the birthparent department. Next came an introductory phone call with the social worker assigned to us, as birthparents. Then the first face-to-face meeting. Somewhere in one of the very early meetings, we were shown the profile of a prospective adoptive family. This included a “Dear Birthparents” letter. I was impressed with any family who had the forethought (or perhaps a nudge from their social worker) to write “Birthparents” instead of “Birthmother,” because it meant they understood that sometimes, as was my situation, the birthfather is involved. The profile also included a dossier or résumé, of sorts, with details about the prospective parents, as well as a photo album.

The couple in this “sample” profile looked older than us (I was 27 and Tony was 25) but still young. They looked happy. And, boy, were they white! I think if I were choosing a family today, I might aim for more diversity – but at the time, I went with what I knew. (Although my mom was Mexican – making me half – I always identified as Caucasian. And Tony was a WASP, through and through.) My requirements were simple (or so I thought): I wanted a traditionally married Catholic couple who already had at least one child (I did not want my son to be the Guinea pig) and lived in a suburb somewhere in the Tri-State Area (so he’d be close to New York City but still grow up with a yard). Check, check, check, and check. That first couple met every one of my criteria. I was eager to meet them.

Not. So. Fast.

You see, I wasn’t pregnant enough yet. At that time, Spence-Chapin had a rule that a woman had to be at least halfway through her pregnancy before she could start officially considering profiles of prospective parents. The one we saw was just “to give us an idea” about what a profile looked like. So it might have made more sense for them to show me the profile of gay couple or a single ethnic woman if they didn’t want me to actually consider them as parents for my son.

I’m not sure how long I had to wait before I could begin “officially” reviewing profiles, but it was probably close to a month. And by the time I was able to start the process, that perfect family I’d liked so much was gone. Some other prospective birthmother had swooped them up – and who could blame her? I was crushed. But some things are not meant to be – and other things are. We’ll talk about adoption synchronicities in another post.

Interestingly, I later learned that the gal who’d chosen my first-choice family was quite young, perhaps an addict, and quite a storyteller. She’d told the couple whatever they wanted to hear, in terms of her personal history, her health, and the baby’s health. She came down with diabetic preeclampsia, and the baby was born in distress and would likely have health issues, going forward. I was sad to hear this couple had had to go through that – and wondered how this gal’s behavior wasn’t spotted before it got that far. But what it meant to me, personally, was that I had to start from scratch to find a family for my son. That was a long road.

I remember hearing that the average birthmother saw two or three profiles before choosing a family for her child. But what if I don’t like any of those families?! I remember asking, horrified at the thought. This was the most important decision I would ever make in my life, and they wanted me to choose from the first two or three families the birthparent team pre-selected for me, without ever having met or spoken to me!? Yes, Mary was good at her job, but was she really equipped to describe for these strangers exactly what I wanted in a family for my son? It is a point of pride for me that as a result of mine and other birthmoms’ input via the Birthparent Advisory Board, every prospective birthmom (or birth-couple) considering adoption through Spence-Chapin now gets to see a summary of ALL of the waiting couples, singles, and families who might become adoptive parents to their babies.

By the time I’d seen six or seven profiles and rejected all of them for various reasons (more on that in a future post!), the agency started to doubt my sincerity about the placement. I suppose it did seem odd – Tony and I had been “together” for five years at this point. I had a stable job WITH health insurance. There were none of the big red flags that indicated a “crisis” pregnancy. Except that I was determined to place my baby for adoption, and they weren’t taking me seriously. It was only when I threatened to leave and head over to Catholic Charities, a Spence-Chapin competitor, that they reconsidered and grudgingly allowed me to see a couple more profiles.

As an aside, Kathy told me something she’d never shared with me when we were visiting with Eric’s family last month. She said that she and Bruce experienced something similar on the adoptive parent side, because the agency was concerned that Bruce wasn’t properly committed to the adoption. It wasn’t until they mentioned that perhaps they’d use Gladney (another well-known NYC agency) instead that they, too, were taken seriously.

It’s funny, because in my head, I can see Mary hesitantly handing me a red folder and me having to pry it from her hands. I know, of course, that it wasn’t like that – but that’s how I’ve doctored the story in my memory. They were so reluctant to allow me more than one profile at a time. Maybe this couple will be to your liking? I can hear an imaginary Mary saying.

There may have been luck involved – I’ve come to think of it more like divine providence. The coincidences in our adoption are so voluminous and unlikely that it feels there had to be some sort of divine guidance at play. Going forward, I’ll review some of the profiles I rejected and my reasons for doing so. I bless each of those couples and thank them for having been part of my process. More than anything, though, I’m grateful for the couple who belonged to Profile #12.