Finding Our Way
Having children was always part of our plan, but what path we would take to have them was what we were unsure of. We started with fertility treatments, and after two years of no success, we started discussing adoption. Within a few months of our initial adoption conversations, we decided it was time to jump in and find the right partnership for our journey.
We started by speaking with a couple local adoption referrals, and nothing felt like the right fit. We decided to start branching out to more national options and found LifeLong. After doing our homework, we knew they were the best choice for us.
We were both nervous and excited starting the process. Initially, our friends and family had some questions and concerns about the process, but as we were able to educate them and walk them through with us, we had their full support and they couldn’t wait to welcome a baby into our lives with us.
Guarded Yet Ready
Shortly after completing our profile, we were selected by an expectant mother and communicated with her only a handful of times before she stopped responding to us and LifeLong. We went into the opportunity with so much hope, and it was tough not moving forward. We weren’t sure if we would be “good enough” for someone, and we wanted our hearts to stay protected.
A couple months after our first opportunity, we were presented with a second opportunity. While still guarded, we were excited for another chance at adoption. After speaking with the expectant mother, it felt natural, and the more we continued to communicate, the more our relationship clicked.
We were able to travel for a day visit with the expectant mother and take her to a doctor’s appointment. We had originally been told she was four to five months along only to be shocked with the news at the doctor that she was actually due in six weeks! We also found out at that same appointment that she would be having a baby girl. Our hearts were bursting while our minds were dealing with information overload.
We spent the next handful of weeks preparing our home and hearts for a daughter. We had packed both our bags and the car so as soon as we got the call, we could leave. About one week before delivery, we were able to attend the expectant mother’s last doctor’s appointment with her. We’ll never forget the day the expectant mother called us letting us know she was in labor. We had just picked up lunch and were at Heather’s parent’s house when Audra’s phone rang. Audra spoke with the expectant mother and found out her water had broken while swimming with her family and she was headed to the hospital. Without any need for words, Heather immediately knew what was happening by Audra’s facial expressions alone.
A Thirty-Day Stay
We were able to get to the hospital only a few short hours after the original call and, at the expectant mother’s request, supported her through her labor. We met her mom and other children at the hospital and we welcomed them with open arms, as they were her family and soon to be ours in a way.
Around 1 a.m., we were all woken up and found out it was time to start pushing. Heather was up at the expectant mother’s head and Audra, a bit more nervous, was seated nearby. The moment our daughter, Olivia, was born, all feelings of fear and nervousness went away and were replaced with joy and an overwhelming sense of love. Heather was asked to cut the umbilical cord, and we are forever grateful that Olivia’s birthmother trusted us enough to be by her side for Olivia’s birth.
About six hours after Olivia’s birth, we were made aware of some medical concerns and transferred to the local children’s hospital, where Olivia spent two weeks. We were both able to spend the entire two weeks at the hospital with her, and our family was able to come visit as well. The days were definitely not easy, but we knew Olivia was a fighter and getting stronger every day.
Upon discharge from the children’s hospital, we still had to wait for our clearances to return home. We decided to drive a bit farther south to get closer to home and found an incredibly generous Airbnb host who was wonderful with our open-ended departure. While waiting for our clearances, Olivia had another medical scare and was rushed to a local hospital, where she spent five additional days. We were finally discharged for a second time but had to continue to wait for our clearances. In total, we spent one full month in Olivia’s birth state. We had been emotionally and physically ready for a stay, but nothing had prepared us for thirty days.
Thankfully, we were close enough to home that our families were able to come visit us over state lines and bring us comfort items from home.
Hopeful for the Future
We had originally planned for a semi-open adoption with Olivia’s birthmother, but at her request, it has remained mainly closed. We have had on-and-off-again contact when she reaches out, but it has been pretty minimal.
We had hoped, for both Olivia and her biological siblings, that we would be able to maintain more contact than we’ve had, but we also understand the emotional trauma adoption can bring to a birthmother and will always respect the space she has asked for. Our hearts are open to a relationship in the future if the time is right.
There were times during our journey when we could have been upset, especially in those difficult times with Olivia’s medical complications, but we knew we had to continue to embrace both our daughter and her birthmother. It wasn’t easy coming into the adoption process knowing we had to protect ourselves while also being willing to remain open-minded. Our adoption journey was tough at times, but we knew we would make it through and it would all be worth it in the end.
Adopting Olivia was the most incredible journey we’ve ever been on, and we would not change one single thing about our path to her if it meant adopting her.