Colleen & Oriana

Colleen and Oriana our adoption story

Finding Our Way to Motherhood

From the moment we met, we knew we wanted to have a family. On our second date, we were already naming our children, so it is safe to say motherhood was always in the forefront of our minds. Early on, we started fertility treatments and became pregnant; however, we lost our son. That was one of the hardest, most painful things we have been through. Navigating the loss of a child is something no one should ever have to experience.

We quickly knew we did not want to go that route again, so we looked into adoption. We had friends and family who were adopted, so adoption was always going to be involved in our family planning. Oriana spent time in foster care for around three years, and we always wanted to do whatever we could to prevent a child from ending up in the system. There was a website that listed LGBT-friendly companies, and LifeLong was listed. We fell in love with their acceptance and knowledge of the LGBT community.

We were selective with who we told about our adoption because we had just gone through a huge devastation with losing our son. Knowing that adoption is not guaranteed and there was the possibility our adoption journey would end without a child the way our pregnancy did scared us. Having to tell everyone another sad story was not something we wanted to go through again. We told our immediate family and a few friends, which allowed us to feel more comfortable and protected.

The Wait

Starting our journey, we felt apprehensive and scared. You just don’t know what you don’t know, and there were so many things to do to get started. Every step of the way, we had someone to help us. We probably emailed with hundreds of questions and never felt like a bother. We were always met with answers, support, and guidance.

As we waited for our first opportunity, we tried to stay busy and live life. When our first opportunity happened, we were excited and felt ready. After a few months of getting to know the expectant mother, we felt she did not want to place, and it did not end up working out. Going into this journey, we always said we needed to make sure we were making the best decision for ourselves but, more importantly, an expectant mother was making the best decision for herself. Of course we were sad that our first opportunity did not go the way we would have hoped, but we were thankful to have been chosen.

We soon received a call that we had been chosen again. Out of all the profiles she viewed, she chose us! We chatted via group chat with the expectant mother and her coordinator. From the first phone call, it felt perfect, and we got along great. She told us we seemed cool, which we had never been told before, so it made us feel very cool. The expectant mother seemed very certain with her choice, which made us feel very confident as well.

“Don't allow yourself to get so wrapped up in adoption that you forget to feed into the relationships that are important to you.”
-Colleen & Oriana
The Text

She was about five months pregnant when we started getting to know her, and our relationship would grow into a beautiful one over the next few months. One morning at 4 a.m., Colleen received a text that the expectant mother had just had the baby. Colleen woke up Oriana thinking it was just a dream, but it was not. She had gone into labor three weeks early and gave birth to a baby girl. We never imagined the significance of a single text and how that text would change our lives forever.

The initial plan was always to be in the room with her when she gave birth, but because she went early, that did not happen. She let us know she wanted to spend a few days with the baby before we came to the hospital. We respected that, but it did scare us a little. It was Christmas Eve, and we were getting settled into the hotel when we received a call from the social worker saying the birthmother had signed and we could come meet our daughter. Those were the words we had waited forever to hear, and it was even better than we had expected.

We rushed to the hospital, and the birthmother had a gift bag and some cookies for us. Inside the gift bag was an outfit for the baby along with a picture of her and her daughter. She wanted us and the baby to have something from her. We ran to the NICU so we could meet our daughter, and as we rounded the corner, we laid eyes on the tiniest, most beautiful baby girl we had ever seen. Oriana held her first, and we fell in love instantly. This beautiful baby girl was ours, and we named her Ruby.

We would spend the next ten days by Ruby’s side in the NICU to make sure she was taken care of. When it was time to go home, we packed up our things to finally bring Ruby home. We were so excited, and our hearts were filled with more love than we thought imaginable.

Unexpected Surprise

Ruby’s birthmother had talked to us about her child who was in foster care and how she would try to obtain custody of her again. Once she found out that would not be possible, she called us and asked if we would adopt Cassie, Ruby’s sister. We of course said yes right away because we wanted to keep the sisters together. She knew we would provide a loving, safe, and healthy home for her girls, and we were honored to be asked.

We have an open adoption with her and keep in touch. Our connection is warm, and we are so thankful to her for what she gave to us. Cassie and Ruby have an amazing relationship, but they are truly so different. Watching them grow and being their moms are the best gifts we could have ever received.

As wonderful as our adoption story was, there are a few things we learned that we wish we would have known while going through adoption. One of the most important things we learned was to take care of your relationships, whether that was our marriage, friendships, family, etc. Don’t allow yourself to get so wrapped up in adoption that you forget to feed into the relationships that are important to you.

The second thing is to not focus so much on adoption because no matter how much you stress out about when you will be picked, how many times you have been presented, and whether or not someone has chosen you, it won’t make things happen any differently. Everything is going to work out the way it is meant to happen. We truly believe we were meant to meet her and become mothers to Ruby and Cassie. Our hearts are forever filled, and we are a family because of the sacrifice she made.


Whether an LGBT couple, traditional parents or a single individual, we believe every child deserves a LifeLong family.
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