Paving My Own Path
Years before I actually started my adoption journey, I knew I wanted to adopt. I found myself focused so much on the “right timing,” only to realize that the timing would never feel perfect and I just needed to jump in.
I first started my research with international adoption. After finding few agencies and countries willing to work with a single parent and little response, I shifted my research to domestic adoption. I initially found an agency local to me I was interested in working with, but they were not accepting single parents, so I decided to expand my search. I found LifeLong and instantly felt at ease with the education they provided on their website and the diversity of their program.
I was equally terrified and excited to be officially starting the adoption process. I knew this was the path for me, but starting it made it real. As I started to share with friends and family my plans to adopt, everyone was excited for me as well. My parents could not wait to welcome a grandchild into their lives, but admittedly, they had reservations about some of the preferences I was open to. I was confident in the choices I was making and did not let their hesitations sway my decisions, but it was stressful at the beginning.
A Spotty Connection
While connecting with my daughter’s birthmother, my profile was chosen twice, but neither opportunity led to a connection. When LifeLong reached out to me that my profile was chosen a third time and I was actually going to get to speak with this expectant mother, I was nervous. I wanted to make sure to say and do everything right. From our first conversation, it was obvious our relationship would not be an intimate one. Our communication was spotty; we would speak for a couple days, and then I wouldn’t hear from her for an extended period of time. LifeLong reassured me this was normal in the adoption process, but it did not make it any less stressful. Each time there was a delay in responses, I immediately thought the expectant mother was choosing to parent.
For a number of weeks, I attempted to hire attorney services for the expectant mother, and as she got closer to her due date and still wasn’t responding to the attorney, I continued to get more anxious. About four weeks before her due date, she started responding regularly to not only me and LifeLong but also the attorney. We were able to start making travel plans and birth plans, which felt great!
A Life-Changing Moment
During the weeks leading up to the expectant mother’s due date, she continued to feel as though she were in labor, and each time, the hospital would send her home. I felt as though I was on pins and needles, waiting for the right time to travel. Early one morning, the expectant mother called me and said she was headed to the hospital, and there seemed to be an understanding between us that this time she would not be sent home. I packed my car, and my mom and I started our six-hour drive to the expectant mother’s state. I knew I would likely miss the birth, but I could not wait to get there and meet my daughter.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was brought to my own room, but it was then two long hours before I was able to meet my daughter. I was worried that something was wrong and that’s why there was a delay. As it turned out, the hospital hadn’t worked with an adoption in quite some time, so there was a bit of a miscommunication. When the nurse brought my daughter, Ellie, in to meet me for the first time, I was in complete shock. Until that moment, I had doubted the adoption process and was still unsure that this would work out, but she was a perfect, sleeping bundle of love.
Less than twelve hours after delivering Ellie, her birthmother chose to discharge from the hospital to care for the rest of her family. When she came to say goodbye to me and Ellie, it was clear how difficult this moment was for her. I was so grateful for her love for Ellie and that she had chosen me to be her mom; it was beautiful to share that love with another mom.
Ellie’s birthmother and I had agreed to an open adoption, but since her adoption, the majority of our communication has been through email. I love being able to share updates and milestones with her and recognize that adoption is a partnership of shared love for one child. One day Ellie will know how much her birthmother loves her, and I do hope we can have visits in the future or at least video calls.
I remained in Ellie’s birth state for six days pending our approval to go home. Ellie’s birthmother was required to go to court to sign her parental consents, and my mom attended as well to help watch her other children. We both knew she did not have a large support system, and having her kids in court was not allowed. While my mom was at the courthouse, Ellie and I waited at our rental to hear word that everything was officially signed.
Coming into the adoption process, I was not blind to the fact that I was doing this as a single person. Planning financially for the process on one income was not easy, and had I gone through multiple disruptions, I’m not positive I would have been able to continue through the process. I am thankful Ellie’s birthmother was the only one I worked with but know this could have looked differently. The process was worth all the work and expenses involved.
I cannot imagine my life without Ellie and am forever grateful to her birthmother. Through all of our conversations, I tried to capture every detail, every smile, and every personal moment she shared with me, knowing Ellie will one day have questions; I want to be able to share with her as much as I can. Ellie has been everything I wanted and more, and without the love of her birthmother, I would not be the mom I am today.