Always on Our Hearts and Minds
We both knew from the very beginning of our relationship that we wanted a family, which would include adopting. We of course had plans to have biological children as well, but after 3 rounds of IVF, we made the decision to let that dream go. Our last treatment was in 2017, and we decided to dedicate our time and efforts into researching our options for adoption. Not only did we want to make an informed decision but we wanted to give ourselves the space to process and mourn the loss of our dreams to have and carry our own biological children.
We took our time researching different agencies to work with, held a few interviews, and finally made our decision to sign on with LifeLong Adoptions after we saw how up front and honest the staff was and how helpful they were in answering all of our questions. As we began the process to be homestudy ready, we were truly taken back by the number of hoops we had to jump through in order to be considered “qualified” to be adoptive parents. As someone who works closely with and is a mandated reporter for DCFS, it felt invasive, and it was one of the more challenging parts of our adoption journey.
As we completed all the tasks to go live on LifeLong Adoptions’ website, we were cautiously hopeful. We were taking all the right steps with our adoption journey, but we didn't necessarily want to think about it every single day. We wanted to put ourselves out there and then just continue to live our lives and focus on the present moment. We felt dwelling on it day in and day out would ultimately take a toll on our emotional wellbeing, so we moved forward knowing if it was meant to happen, it would, and if it wasn’t meant to be, we could at least walk away knowing we tried everything.
The Call That Changed Everything
We received a call from LifeLong staff letting us know there was a birthmother who had loved our profile and wanted to talk to us. We were so excited but still trying to remain cautious and not let ourselves get our hopes up too much. The birthmother wanted to communicate via text only, and we had little information about her from the start. She was around six months along when we began speaking. Through our text conversations, she didn’t ask us a ton of questions but did express she would like a semi-open adoption, which we of course were more than okay with. We spoke through brief texts here and there, so we honestly assumed this wasn't going to work out. We felt a sense of unease when she kept missing her appointment with the social worker to confirm and get a proof of pregnancy. When she did go and we received that proof of pregnancy, we were relieved to know that regardless of our fears, things were still progressing with this birthmother. She requested that we both be at the hospital and in the room for the birth of her child, and we happily agreed.
Around three weeks prior to her giving birth, we received word from the birthmother that she was going into labor, and she went to the hospital only to have staff send her home to rest. We knew the time was getting close after that. Once again, we felt so many doubts creeping in when the birthmother went completely silent for the next week. When we did hear from her, we felt relieved to know she was okay and still pregnant. Not too long after, we received another message from her saying she was at the hospital again and thought she was possibly in labor. After that message, she went silent again, so we patiently waited to get word from someone that we should head to the hospital. When we couldn't reach her, we made calls to the social worker as well as our attorneys. A few days later, we found out she had in fact had her baby. When her mom had found out what she was doing, she became busy trying to find a family they knew to care for the child. Our hearts were crushed, and we sat and cried. Although we understood her position, we felt a deep sadness for the loss of this opportunity.
In a fog of sadness and disbelief, we answered the phone late one morning to have the social worker tell us the birthmother had requested that we come to the hospital right away; she wanted us to be the adoptive parents to her child. We could not believe the turn of events. Before we knew it, we were on our way to the hospital to meet our child for the first time. When we arrived, we met the birthmother and her mother, who was with her. After a brief interaction, we were taken to see our daughter, Rosara. She was perfect, and we were so in love. We were overwhelmed and elated yet still guarding our hearts as we knew our baby girl had been exposed to drugs and was having a hard time maintaining her weight. We remained focused on our Rosara and ensured she felt and knew just how loved she was.
A New Life and New Normal
We haven’t been home long, but our world has been flipped upside down in the most beautiful ways. Having a baby to raise and love has been the best gift we have ever received. Although the circumstances of her birth were not ideal, we can reflect back and know every challenge was well worth it. Becoming parents has been our greatest honor, and we look forward to watching Rosara grow and thrive.
It can be easy to get stuck in fear and worry when working with birthmothers, but our advice would be to be empathetic to their situation. Know that even if the birthmom does change her mind, you were there to help her in a time of need. Having compassion for their choices and their life path can make a true difference when connecting with a birthmother. Being able to put ourselves in her shoes truly gave us peace in times of uncertainty, knowing she was doing the very best she could and was facing a truly difficult decision.