What led you to adoption?
We were recently married and wanted to grow our family.
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
We were impressed by LifeLong Adoptions’ open support of the LGBT community and commitment to helping LGBT families start or continue a family through adoption. We also became acquainted with several other couples who had positive experiences with LifeLong Adoptions.
What were you most excited about?
We were excited to add a new member to our loving family. We were excited about the prospect of a raising a child together from the beginning of the child’s life.
What were you most nervous about?
We were nervous about almost every step of the process, especially about whether our profile would be selected by a birthmother and whether the birthmother would allow us to adopt her child. LifeLong was a such a help in guiding and supporting us through these stressful parts of the process. We were also somewhat nervous about how our two kids would react to the new baby. This fear was never realized. From the very beginning, Annika has been met with love by all members of our family.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Everyone was excited for us. It was not entirely unexpected as we had discussed adoption from the very beginning of our relationship.
What was it like meeting the birthmother for the first time?
It was incredible. She was just like we had imagined. We had been communicating with her closely for three months prior to our meeting. She was just as dynamic and engaging in person as she been through texts and phone calls, if not more so.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet her.
As our birthmother was induced, we flew out to Tennessee several days before the induction. We met her, became further acquainted with her, and even went to her final doctor’s appointment with her. We were right there when Annika was born. The days that followed Annika’s release from the hospital were tiring but beautiful. We were lucky enough to be surrounded by family. Drew’s mother, sister, nieces, and nephew joined us in Tennessee, and helped us take care of Annika.
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
It was incredible, surreal. Like a dream. We both cried. Annika was so beautiful, so perfect.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
It was very cordial with mutual respect. We stayed in close communication with her via texts and regular phone calls from the time we were connected with her (about the beginning of the 2nd trimester) until Annika’s birth. We have communicated with her biweekly since Annika’s birth. We anticipate it will lessen to yearly over time.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
Even if everything goes as planned, adoption is a long process with many components. It was challenging to keep focused and positive. Inevitably, there are fears that things would just not work for us one way or another. We looked to each other and our support network during those challenging times.
How did you keep your faith in the process through the struggles you encountered?
LifeLong Adoptions’ professionalism helped a lot. It made us feel like this organization knew what it was doing and that we would ultimately be successful. As mentioned above, we also looked to each other and to our support network (family, friends, etc.) a lot.
Adopting a baby can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
Truth be told, at times the wait is excruciating. It is extremely hard to have to tell family and friends month after month that you are still just waiting for the next step in the adoption process. Drew vividly remembers the monthly check-in calls from LifeLong Adoptions. They were kind and supportive and that was much appreciated. Still, the wait to be connected was hard. We basically just continued to walk through our lives during that time.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
We are not looking to adopt another child. With three children now, we consider our family complete. However, were we wanting another child, we would definitely use LifeLong Adoptions again.
Do you have any advice to share with other adoptive parents?
Keep your eye on the prize. It will happen if it is meant to happen, just take one step at a time. It is a tough process, but the payoff is unbelievable.