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Three years and counting: Detroit Lakes family opens up about adoption struggles

Kate and Jerrod Busker sit with their son, Peyton, and the family dog, Rudy, for a family photo

Three years. That's how long the Buskers have been waiting to adopt a second child.

The Detroit Lakes couple remembers it going much quicker when adopting their first child, Peyton--a matter of 10 days to get an agreement set between themselves and the birth mother.

"The first time around, I remember meeting our social worker on Halloween," Kate Busker said, "And Peyton was born that next October 16th."

Jerrod Busker snapped his fingers, "He was in our house. I mean it was super fast. So that was kind of a unique situation, but it turned out really well."

Then, when Peyton turned one, the Buskers began looking to adopt a second child, but the process didn't go as quickly as expected.

The Buskers say when Peyton was born, there were more agencies that were available for people to adopt, which have since closed, so Lutheran Social Services has become a bigger organization with more families looking to adopt. "So it's been a longer process this time," K. Busker said.

The (simplified) way it works is, people looking to adopt go through a background check, a home study and various education classes, which they have to re-up and pay every year to remain qualified to adopt, and then their profile gets placed in a book next to the rest of the families looking to adopt.

"With a profile book, you have four pages of pictures to stand out," K. Busker said. "A birth mom comes in and looks through many families that are in this book and chooses one. So when one family is chosen, they're out of the book, but another one comes in. So you're not just moving up on a list where you're next."

"You truly have to be chosen," J. Busker added.

Once a couple is chosen by the birth parents, they have what is called a "match meeting" where the two families get to know each other and decide if they will click. Legal documents follow, charting out how the adoption, and after the adoption, will go.

"I think in our case (with Peyton's adoption), we were pretty open," J. Busker said. "We told the birth mother that she could see him as much as she wants."

Jerrod added that the contract states she can legally see him three to four times a year, if she so chooses, "but she is welcome to see him whenever she wanted as long as we communicated it, and neither side had any issues at all about that."

However, with the second adoption taking longer and the Buskers waiting anxiously to adopt their second child--Peyton said he really wants a little sister; Rudy, the family dog, just wasn't cutting it as a sibling anymore--they decided to reach out through social media to get the word out about their adoption, knowing statistics show that almost half of the 60 children LSS places in Minnesota each year comes from outreach--using Facebook, social media, etc.

"Maybe it will just reach that one person that is meant to match with us," K. Busker said, adding, "It may not be us. We understand that, but if they (birth parents) are considering it (adoption), LSS is a great organization they can go through to help them find the right family for them.

Through LSS there are a number of social workers who work as both a counselor for the adoptive family, as well as a pregnancy counselor for women or parents who are considering adoption for their unborn child.

"They actually work both avenues, so they understand both sides of the story--and they help to match people as well," K. Busker said.

The LSS social workers help both the adoptive and birth parents with education and help both to understand what will happen during the adoption. They also help to connect people looking to adopt and looking to put their child up for adoption.

"There's web seminars for us currently in the process (of waiting to adopt) to stay educated. They'll do picnics. They do annual picnics here in town just to bring people together who are waiting, people that have adopted," K. Busker said.

And the events have been helpful in putting the Buskers in connection with other families who are looking to adopt, who have helped support them in their decision to pursue adoption.

The Buskers say they had tried in vitro fertilization, which didn't take, and they had considered foster care, but ultimately they decided adoption was right for them.

"A lot of people don't understand that there's two very different things between adoption and foster care--and a lot of people think there's so many kids out there. Foster care is one avenue of going to maybe foster to adopt," K. Busker said. "For us, it wasn't the right avenue because of going through miscarriages and loss already, we didn't want to take that chance of fostering and then that child leaving our home."

So they went through a private agency like LSS, and they would encourage anyone considering adoption for their unborn child to call the organization at (651)-646-7771, or if they are uncomfortable calling, they can look on the website, CHLSS.org, at the birth families and email a social worker who will give them information that way.

The Buskers know, just on the adoptive side, the decision can be difficult.

"It wasn't in our plans, you know, we never dreamed that we would have trouble conceiving..." K. Busker said.

"The decision to go down the adoption avenue was difficult," J. Busker added. "I wasn't sure if it was something that I wanted to do, but the longer we went without being able to have children...looking back, it's probably the best thing we decided to do."

Kate turns to Peyton and says, "You were in Maria's belly, but you were in Mommy and Daddy's heart" and Peyton nods. "We had to pray and pray for you, right?" And he nods again. "So we're going to pray and pray for a brother or sister."

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