How did you decide to adopt a baby?
Five years after enduring the loss of our daughter, Leah, at the age of two, we felt ready to explore options on growing our family. A couple of years ago, on her birthday, we started talking more seriously about adoption. That same evening, we sat down to do research and finalized our decision to pursue adoption.
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
While searching for the perfect agency to work with, we came across LifeLong Adoptions. After reviewing the website, we immediately felt a connection, and by the end of our first call with them, we knew we had found the right place.
What were your feelings as you began your adoption journey?
We were feeling unsure and a bit overwhelmed. There was so much we had to learn and at times it felt daunting. Being able to talk to staff and get support and information from them was extremely helpful. There were a few things, including the idea of an open adoption, that felt scary to us. They walked us through the whole process and made us feel more at ease with opening up our preferences.
What was it like meeting the birthmother for the first time?
We had been waiting about seven months before we got the call from LifeLong that an expectant mother wanted to talk with us. We were so surprised and excited not only to get that call but to learn that she was pregnant with twins! We called her and we spoke for over three hours. We instantly hit it off and spent that time talking about everything and anything. Eventually, we were able to meet face to face and had dinner along with her parents. We were so excited to finally meet and spent hours talking. It felt natural and easy. We learned that she was having twin boys and talked together about what to name them.
Describe receiving the call that your babies were being born and traveling to meet them.
We were so excited to travel and spend time with the birthmother and her family. We must have been a sight to see, traveling with all this baby gear for two without any child in sight. Everyone we met along our travels there was so excited for us when they learned why we were going. We even got a free upgrade for our car rental. It felt like we were being cheered on as we made our way to meet our children. We arrived three days before her scheduled C-section and we are so happy we had those extra days to connect and bond. We met all of her family and friends and we even went out to see live music with them all the night before she gave birth. The entire experience was surreal and amazing.
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
We had the honor of picking her up to take her to the hospital for her scheduled C-section. Her parents joined us and her mom stayed with her in the operating room during the birth. Her wishes were for us to be able to have skin-to-skin contact with the boys right away, so as soon as they were born we rushed in to meet them. We had read so many books about adoption, some stating that we shouldn't feel bad if we didn't bond right away. That couldn't be any further from what we experienced. The second we walked in to meet them, we started crying. The boys were holding hands, so beautiful and so tiny. Meeting Jacob and Aaron for the first time was one of the happiest moments of our lives. The hospital staff was so supportive and gave us connecting rooms so we could all spend those three days together. So many beautiful memories were made.
What is your relationship like with your baby’s birthmother?
We have a close relationship with her and her entire family. We were lucky enough to go visit them all and create a bond even before the babies were born. So when we did arrive for the birth there wasn't any awkwardness. We actually decided to go visit her a month before the boys were born. We stayed a week and spent time with her and her family. We learned she was going to be going back to school and was super excited to be moving on in life, planning to travel and do things she never thought possible. She told us how confident and happy she was in her decision and how excited she was to see what kind of people her sons will turn out to be. We continue to text all the time, not only with her, but with her mom. We have an online photo album that they have access to at all times. It has short videos and lots of pictures of the boys so they can stay connected and see each milestone.
How did your friends and family react to your adoption?
Our friends have been so amazed by this process and are now are thinking about adoption themselves!. They see how happy we are and they are amazed at how much joy this has brought to our lives. Francesca’s family was and continues to be very supportive. We feel so grateful for all those who have been by our side through it all.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
We might do it again in four years or so. The love and connection we have with Jacob and Aaron are indescribable. After losing our daughter, we didn’t know if we could ever possibly love another child as much, but they proved us wrong. We have learned that our love is so unlimited and we feel so incredibly blessed.
What advice do you have to share with other adoptive parents?
Be patient and keep your heart open. Don’t think too far ahead and let go of the what ifs. The things we thought about and worried about never even happened. Remember to be kind to yourself, not comparing yourself to other adoptive families. It will all happen the way it is meant to happen. We believe not having so many expectations of how things “should” look has helped us appreciate our experience that much more.Photos by Ripptowne Photography ripptowne.com