What advice would you give other pregnant women who are considering adoption?
For other women looking at the option of placing their babies for adoption, I would greatly urge them to do a lot of soul-searching and explore all of their options before putting a line out there for potential adoptive parents. The adoptive parents are people too, and their hearts can be broken too. I personally waited until I was absolutely 100% committed and sure before seeking contact with an agency.
I would also remind expecting mothers to ask every question you want to ask, always, and be sure that you fully understand the answers you receive. If you're unsure of something, tell someone, ask questions, be informed, and if there are doubts, take time to look at them from every angle. Expectant mothers should also remember that when we're pregnant we're extremely hormonal and not in our normal state of mind. This must be taken into account because giving birth is a powerful experience and can easily overwhelm any woman. If you feel you can't go through with the adoption, then do not go forward with it. But if you're fully committed and know before the birth that you have found the perfect family and you're completely comfortable with this choice — you know deep down that this is the right choice for your situation — then be aware that once your hormones return to normal, it truly does get easier by the day. You will find peace within yourself. The sorrow will lift and you will know that everything is truly okay. At least, this has been my experience. I feel no regret in choosing adoption and I am at ease knowing the baby is forever safe and forever loved by not just one family, but two!
Why did you decide to pursue adoption?
We decided to place our baby for adoption due to our financial situation. We were already struggling to provide for our other two children and a third would have strained us too much to give all three children the things they need. We knew if we placed for adoption that the adoptive parent(s) would be more than financially capable of providing an excellent quality of life for the baby.
Was LifeLong Adoptions helpful in helping you make this decision?
LifeLong was the first agency I found when searching. I'm glad I decided to go with them. Never has anyone from LifeLong made me feel pressured or unsure of myself. I always felt comfortable and in control of my choices.
What were your concerns going into the adoption process?
My concerns going into the adoption were largely finding the perfect family for the baby, time concerns, and whether or not I'd have any type of medical assistance related to the pregnancy. I was unable to afford out-of-pocket medical care during the pregnancy and I was in need of OB/GYN services to ensure the health of the baby.
As far as finding the perfect family, we were open to different types of families and we wanted the opportunity to connect with gay couples and single mothers along with traditional couples, rather than looking at families in exclusively traditional marriages. In widening the search to include various types of families, we felt we had the best chance to place with the perfect family. We had never experienced the process of placing for adoption so we were totally clueless. Nicole at LifeLong did such a great job of informing us about the process and connecting us to the adoptive parents we wanted to meet. As I did not contact LifeLong until just a couple of months before my projected due date, I was fearful of not finding the right family in time or finding a family that would be accepting of my lack of prenatal care during the majority of the pregnancy. But Nicole put all those fears to rest and everything worked out perfectly.
What helped ease your concerns while going through the adoption process?
Nicole at lifeLong was incredibly helpful and supportive, as well as very friendly. Any question or concern I had was always answered with kindness and transparency. She always treated me with respect and patience. She did not rush me or try to push me into anything. It felt like I was talking to a friend. No question or concern I had was stupid to her or left unanswered. She was simply there when I needed her. Any anxieties on my part were always calmed after talking to her. Nicole was the only person from LifeLong that I spoke with and she was amazing. She was always there when I needed her. Everything about the process was handled professionally by LifeLong, which made me feel safe and secure. Even the packet they mailed was of high-quality design and material. Nothing felt "fly by night." Everything was very legitimate.
What were you looking for in an adoptive family?
We wanted a family that was fully capable of supporting and loving a child, and preferably a family that already had children. Stability and safety were of high importance. I really hoped to find either a long-standing married couple (gay or traditional) or a single female. LifeLong sent the profiles of every type of family we were open to. We contacted Nicole immediately after finding a wonderful candidate. The family we ultimately chose is a family consisting of a single female with two children, one of whom was also adopted. So she was already an experienced adoptive mother. They are a lovely family and the adoptive mother clicked with me right away. We had to look no further after connecting with her (she was the first and only potential adoptive parent we had contact with). I am so grateful to have met her. If it weren't for LifeLong, we may not have met her, and I sincerely cannot imagine placing with anyone else but her. She is more than we could have ever hoped for and we felt we truly did right by the baby when we placed with her.
How did your baby's adoptive family help you through the adoption process?
The adoptive family got me into a wonderful OB/GYN right away. Because I hadn't had prenatal care for most of the pregnancy, it had been difficult to find a doctor willing to see me that also accepted Medicaid. The family also helped us to maintain our own home as we were facing a difficult scenario regarding our rent and utilities. These things were not handled directly between us but through a third party so there wasn't any awkwardness or pressure. She also flew down the day I went into labor so that she would be united with the baby as soon as possible. The impending due date also did not present a problem for the adoptive parent as I was initially afraid might happen. We communicated daily and she was prepared to welcome a new baby into her family right away.
What type of adoption did you choose?
We ended up with an open adoption, which I am thankful for as I was entertaining a possible closed adoption before the baby was born. In hindsight, I would have personally been very unhappy with a closed adoption in the end. The adoptive mother has sent photos of the baby every week without even being asked or reminded to. She has continued to be friendly and open with us. We agreed to intermittent updates and photos, and she has been extremely accommodating to us, treating us like friends that will forever have a connection with her and the baby.
Describe your thoughts and emotions before and/or after your baby's birth.
After the delivery, I was extremely sad and emotional. It was the most difficult decision I've ever made. At the time, it was heartbreaking to endure. My hormones were in full “mommy mode” and I fell in absolute love with the baby as soon as he arrived. Despite the intense feelings I was having after giving birth, in my heart of hearts, I knew he belonged with the adoptive mother and that we simply couldn't give the baby everything he needed. We were ill-equipped both emotionally and financially to bring a new baby into our home. While these hurt feelings were strong, they did not persist. Within a couple of weeks, these hurt feelings had entirely subsided. For us, we know this was the far better situation for the baby and we have the utmost confidence in the adoptive mother. I have no worries or fears associated with the adoption. While I am deeply sorry that we could not keep him, I am at peace with the route we chose. Every single day I think of both of them, and it doesn't hurt or cause me any stress. I know he is in good hands, the absolute best hands in fact.
What are you looking forward to moving forward?
I look forward to every update and photo. It brings me such joy to see his little face and know that he is healthy and loved and safe. The adoptive mother intends to let him know about his biological parents and siblings and to keep things open. I look forward to being able to see him grow and maybe even one day getting to visit them. I look forward to him learning about us, his bio-family, and his ancestry.