How did you decide to create an adoption plan?
I struggled until very late in my pregnancy deciding between parenting and adoption. I had been working with another agency who treated me in a less-than-human manner. After meeting a family through that agency that left me feeling helpless, I decided to look for an alternative. I came across LifeLong Adoptions. The waiting families seemed more relatable and weren’t hiding behind glossy profile books. I decided to contact LifeLong to see if I would have better luck finding the perfect family. LifeLong did not put me through a long, invasive vetting process, did not demand an extended medical or social history, and wasn’t insistent on medical tests. They were simply there for me if I needed anything. Around my 30th week of pregnancy, I met what I felt could be the best family possible for my baby, and I stopped preparing to parent and focused on adoption. I couldn’t guarantee they’d provide a better life than I could, but something within my heart said adoption was the right decision.
What were your concerns going into the adoption process?
I had concerns about adoption being the right decision. Would people perceive this decision was because I didn’t want or love this baby? I didn’t want to hurt those around me who were attached to this baby and wanted me to parent. There was also a chance this baby would have a very rare eye disease and I was concerned whether a family would want a baby that could be blind. I was concerned that as my son got older he might think I gave him up because I felt he was defective and didn’t want him. My heart was settled when I learned there are families who feel their path in life is to adopt a child with disabilities.
What were you looking for in an adoptive family, and what made you choose the family you did?
I was looking for a family that shared my morals, interests, and personality, and I needed to find a family that was willing and prepared to possibly raise a baby with a rare eye disease. Most importantly I needed to find a family that was willing to do an open adoption. I selected the family I did because they shared my sense of humor, interests, and beliefs. They were more than prepared to handle a possibly visually impaired child. When open adoption came up, they offered me more than I could ever believe was possible. I couldn’t have asked for a better family for my baby.
How did your baby's adoptive family help you through the adoption process?
When I first got connected with the family I selected I had MANY questions. The adoptive family answered all of them from the heart and as honestly as possible. As our relationship grew, we all became more open and honest. They communicated with me daily and cared how I was doing. They were there for me during my 24 hours of labor. They took me to the hospital and even stayed the night in my room. When the contractions really started, they tried so hard to distract me from the pain. There was a moment where the baby was in distress and I was amazed how they handled it. When it came time to push they were there helping me and got to cut the cord. I was able to get the skin-to-skin time I needed to bond with my baby, and then they went with him to the nursery. While in the hospital they let me do the things people say birthmothers should avoid. I roomed in with my baby, changed him, cuddled him, and fed him. I needed these moments to bond with him as our time together was going to end shortly. The day of our discharge from the hospital was one of the hardest I’ve ever had. Seeing my baby go pitted me, but the family reassured me he was going to be okay.
What type of adoption did you choose?
I wanted an open adoption. I had heard horror stories about children coming from closed adoptions and didn’t want to put my baby through those experiences. With the chance this baby could have an eye disease, I felt I needed to be there for him and his family. I also wanted to be around him for the rest of his life. He needs to know I still love him and wasn’t giving up on him. I also wanted the people in my life that took care of me and my baby throughout my pregnancy to be in my baby’s life after the adoption.
Describe your thoughts and emotions before and after your baby's birth.
Before birth I thought about whether adoption was the right choice, whether I had picked the right family, how I was going to handle the birth, and letting go of my baby. These thoughts stirred up a lot of emotions in me and I spent many nights in tears of frustration and sadness. After birth was somewhat easier up until the morning we were discharged. I didn’t sleep the night before, I just laid there holding my baby knowing our hours together were coming to an end. I didn’t have thoughts of backing out of the adoption, but I did still wonder if I was making the right choice for him. I knew he’d be happy, safe, and well taken care of and this eased my mind. After our discharge I felt awful. My emotions were all over the place. I had to grieve that my baby was not with me, that I wouldn’t experience his firsts, and I wouldn’t be able to hold him anymore. Now that my baby is home with his adoptive family my emotions have calmed down. I do miss him still, wish I could get some cuddles, and cry when I feel lonely, but I just need to remember I will see him again.
What are you looking forward to now?
I’m looking forward to being a part of his adoptive family’s life. I can’t wait to see how things unfold for everyone. As far as myself personally I’ve decided to plan a couple trips and also focus on improving my life so I can start my own family soon. This baby has made me realize the things I want in my future.
What advice would you offer other women who are considering adoption?
Weigh your options and don’t let people push you one way or the other. If you feel you’re better off parenting and can find the right support to do so, then go that way. However, there is nothing wrong with adoption. If you feel your baby has a better chance at life with an adoptive family, then it’s important to invest yourself in that process. You need to consider the future of your baby. No one can say if an adoptive family will do a better job than you at providing a safe and loving home for your baby, but when you come across the right family you will know you’ve made the right choice for your baby.