Our Journey to Parenthood
Adoption was something Ashley had thought about all her life and knew it would be a part of how we grew our family one day. Ashley had some health issues, which were thankfully maintainable with medications, but we were told it would be too high of a risk to have biological children. With that news came some heartbreak, but we did not want that to stop us from having a family. John suggested adoption, and right away we knew it was meant to be.
We started looking into companies and came across one that at the time we felt might be a good fit but never moved forward. When the pandemic happened, we started looking again and came across LifeLong and loved that they worked with everyone as so many companies were not inclusive.
Waiting for Our Turn
As we started the adoption process, we realized there were so many things to do to prepare for this. We were excited and nervous to embark on the unknown. Most of the time when you are on a journey, you know how it will end, but with adoption, there are just so many unknowns. Will this work out? Will an expectant mother choose us? With the unknowns and uncertainty come worry, but we were ready and excited to be on the path to our child.
As our journey began, we were presented with a lot of opportunities, which made us so happy that we made the right decision with our preferences and the company. We were given a suggestion to make a profile video to increase our chances of being chosen. However, soon after that, we were chosen by an expectant mother due in a few months. Unfortunately, a week before she was due, communication stopped.
Second Time’s a Charm
About 6 months after having our profile live after our failed opportunity, we were chosen again. This expectant mother was due in three weeks! We were so excited and could not believe this might be happening—and so quickly! We text with her every day and got to know each other pretty well.
We were on our way to meet Ashley’s parents’, to pick up our dogs, after being on vacation when we received a text that the birthmother had gone into labor and the baby had been born. There was so much to do, and we were caught off guard because this was only ten days after we started talking with the expectant mother. We immediately looked up flights and were on a plane as soon as possible. It took about thirteen hours with layovers, which felt like forever!
On the way to the hospital, the nurse FaceTimed us so we could see our son. We remember thinking not all babies are cute but this baby was so handsome. The nurse told us this was special for her to be a part of because she adopted her oldest daughter. This felt very full circle for her, and we appreciated her sharing in the excitement with us.
The birthmother originally said she did not want to see the baby after the birth, but once he was born, she changed her mind. We respected the change of heart because we wanted her to feel as comfortable with her decision as she possibly could. She had James brought to her room and told him she loved him very much and that he was going to go a family that would raise him right and love him unconditionally. At that moment, we could truly witness how much love goes into the decision to place, and we were so thankful for that.
What Is Meant to Be Will Be
Laying eyes on the most beautiful baby boy and getting to hold him for the first time was something we will never forget. Ashley wept tears of joy and John remembers feeling this overwhelming sense of protection and love toward their little bundle of joy. We were so in love from the moment we FaceTimed, and even more so after holding James. We prayed that everything would continue to work out over the next few days.
The birthmother and birthfather bought the cutest stuffed bunny for baby James and a “Congratulations on your baby boy” card for both of us. Even though everything happened quickly, we truly felt connected with his birth parents throughout the process. We listened to each other and truly came to care about each other. When we were getting to know each other, the birthmother had mentioned that there was this building she thought was super unique Pyramid at the local Bass Pro store and she mentioned wanting to go there one day. On our way home, we detoured to this building and took photos of baby James with the building in the background. She was so amazed we remembered and will cherish that memory forever.
There were some other really meaningful moments together. We named are son James because it’s Johns middle name. And when we first met the birthmother, she mentioned she loved that we chose the name and that it just showed they made the right choice in choosing us because both her dad and grandpa were also named James. We all got goosebumps. Everything truly was connected and meant to be from the start, and it still feels that way now.
Our Family Is Complete
Looking back on our journey, we realize why it did not work out with our first opportunity, because that led us to James. Not only did we gain a beautiful baby boy but we also gained a birthmother who is truly a gift. We still text often with the birthmother and birthfather and cherish our relationship with them. We have a semi-open adoption, which we love, but we did tell our son’s birthmother that if she ever wanted visits or to change anything, the door is open.
Our advice to other families navigating adoption would be to stay busy! Try not to interrupt life too much just because you are on your adoption journey. When life stops, it can make the waiting harder. Be open to what you are willing to accept and open to different situations. At the end of the day, be true to who you are as well. Don’t be afraid to let imperfections show as sometimes it’s the imperfect moments or imperfections that allow an expectant mother to feel connected to you.
This process is long, so prepare yourself for that, but know that everything works out the way it is meant to. We are forever grateful for the sacrifices that were made by our son’s amazing birthmother and birthfather. We found the baby boy who completes our family, and we will be forever thankful.