What led you to adoption?
I’ve always wanted to adopt since I was a little girl. I found out about eight years ago that my chances to conceive may be very unlikely. I had been researching adoption on my own when my dad mentioned I should look into adopting. At this point, I knew my thoughts about adopting where leading me in the right direction.
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
I had been researching different agencies for a couple of years, and none of them seemed right. I would request informational packets, but never could bring myself to complete one. Then one day I was searching the internet for an adoption agency that specialized in single-parent adoption and I came across LifeLong Adoptions. I completed the application — the first application I completed since I started researching agencies. The percentage of successful adoptions with LifeLong was very appealing to me. My mom was skeptical at first, but after she called and spoke with them herself, my mom gave me the green light. And my mom is a very hard sell.
What were your feelings as you began your adoption journey?
I was nervous, scared, and excited all at the same time. I tried to soak up all the knowledge I could about the adoption process as I began. I asked questions and tried to connect with people who had knowledge of single-parent adoption.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Everyone was very excited! The support, advice, and baby items started rolling in immediately. My parents are the best grandparents I could ever ask for. They’ve been my biggest supporters throughout this process.
If applicable, what was it like meeting your baby’s birthmother for the first time?
I didn’t meet nor speak with my son's birthmother until I arrived at the hospital ten days after his birth. She walked right by me, and for some reason, I just knew she was my son’s birthmother. We had one brief conversation and, although short, that conversation was an affirmation that we both had made the right decision to love Ashton unconditionally.
Did you choose an open, semi-open, or closed adoption? How did you come to that decision?
We chose a semi-open adoption at the birthmother’s request.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet him or her for the first time?
The day before I went to the hospital I was at work. LifeLong and the adoption process was weighing heavily on my mind because I had been through three failed attempts, with one of the attempts a disruption. Talking with LifeLong two weeks earlier, I decided to take a break. At the time I thought about calling them to discuss being presented again, they called me to discuss a birthmother's decision to choose me to parent her son. After discussing the situation with my parents, I decided to move forward with this placement. I immediately booked a flight to fly out to South Carolina the next morning.
Describe the experience of meeting your baby.
It was nothing short of amazing. When I walked into the NICU and saw Ashton for the first time, it was love at first sight. My heart melted, and I fell in love that exact moment.
What is your relationship like with your baby’s birthmother?
I send her photos every couple months, but I haven't received any feedback from her for a few months now.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
The three failed matches at the time were the biggest challenges for me. I was developing a relationship with expectant mothers, which essentially bonded me to the unborn baby.
Adopting a baby can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
My wait actually wasn’t long — I adopted in four months. However, as I was going through the process, each day of waiting seemed like a year. During the wait, I continued my day-to-day life and stayed busy.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
I am definitely planning on adopting again. I want Ashton to have a sibling.
What advice would you share with other adoptive parents?
Be patient through this process. There will be days when you feel like you should be doing something or someone should be reaching out to you. Stay busy with work, family, and making plans for your little one's arrival. You could be like me, get a call and a few hours later you're on a plane! So make sure you're prepared for your baby's arrival in advance of a placement. Also, make sure your employer understands your situation. Their understanding will help with spare-of-the-moment departure from work. With that in mind, you will need to be prepared to be off work for a few weeks; especially if you have to deal with ICPC. Keep in contact with the expectant mother as much as possible, but don't be alarmed if she isn't quick to respond. An expectant mother's emotions are all over the place and they could still be processing what's about to take place.