Taking Our Time
After suffering a number of miscarriages, we started considering alternative paths to parenthood. While researching surrogacy, Julia came across a number of adoption websites and was intrigued. When she approached William with the idea, he was completely on board, and we really dove into our research.
We interviewed with a number of agencies before finding LifeLong. We felt as though a couple had been a good fit, but we did not want to rush our decision. After our initial meeting with LifeLong, we knew that the fit felt different than all the others. They had been more honest and realistic with us but also so welcoming.
We were equally nervous and excited to be starting the process. Our families were incredibly supportive of our journey and couldn’t wait for us to become parents. We read so many stories of families that had previously adopted and even found YouTube stories people shared. Hearing about other’s success made us hopeful for our own journey.
The first time LifeLong contacted us that our profile was chosen, we were overjoyed. We could not believe someone actually was considering us to parent their child! Our first opportunity ended almost as quickly as it started, but we were okay with that; we knew the process was working.
After a number of other short-lived opportunities, we were selected by an expectant mother who was in her third trimester. We spent time building a relationship and went to her home state to meet her in person. We were able to be there for the delivery of her daughter and spent the time in the hospital caring for her.
While in the hospital, the birthmother asked to spend some time with her daughter, and we said absolutely, allowing her time to hold her daughter and take some photos. When approved to discharge, the baby girl was discharged with us, and we went to our hotel to wait for our approval to head home.
The first time we had any concern that this adoption might not take place was when the birthmother did not show to sign her parental consents with the attorney. When she did not show up a second time, we knew we had reason to worry. We met with the attorney, and they shared with us that the birthmother just “wasn’t sure.” It seemed to us she was sure she did not want to move forward and was nervous to say so. We have always wanted adoption to be on the birthmother’s terms and at her comfort level, and pushing forward with an adoption when that wasn’t the case did not sit well with us; however, we knew that emotionally, we could not continue to care for a child who was not ours. That afternoon, the birthmother came to pick her daughter up, and we left the attorney’s office without a child.
We were crushed. It felt as though we had lost a family member. We had spent a full week caring for and loving on who we thought was our little girl. The entire experience had us reconsidering our commitment to adoption and whether or not we could continue forward, but we reminded ourselves of the stories we had read and knew this had happened to other people; it wasn’t just us. That gave us enough hope to push forward.
Not Just Another Call
One morning while at work, Julia received a call from LifeLong, and she knew it was another opportunity. She also knew we had been down this path before and wasn’t overly optimistic. This call was a bit different; the birthmother had delivered that morning and was asking that we travel to her state to adopt her child. Julia was a bit overwhelmed thinking how William was out of town for work; we’d been through so many disappointments prior, and there was no way we could just pick up and leave. But then she realized each one of these thoughts was an excuse. What if this was the opportunity meant for us? We could not allow the excuses to stop us.
Julia quickly called William, explained the situation, and asked how soon he could get home. We booked plane tickets for that afternoon and arrived in the birthmother’s state late that evening. Prior to leaving, we had a chance to speak with the birthmother, confirming that she did want us to travel to her. We made sure she was able to ask us any questions in order to feel more comfortable. She was calm and collected on the phone, very matter of fact that this was the choice she was making. She shared with us that she had found us on LifeLong’s website months before her delivery but only decided when she went into labor that she wanted to move forward with adoption. She had only first been in contact with LifeLong that same day and was thankful we were still available. Something about our call felt different from the other opportunities, and we were hopeful. It felt like fate that our other opportunities had not worked out.
We went straight from the airport to the hospital, checked in, and were brought to the birthmother’s room. We met both her and our son at the same time. We were bursting with emotion but also felt as though we were suffering from what we call adoption PTSD while remembering the last time we were at a hospital for an adoption. The hospital provided us our own room, and when we went to get settled, our son’s birthmother asked if we wanted him to come with us. We said, “Absolutely,” but only if that was what she wanted. She told us yes, she wanted him to be with us so we could start our parenthood journey.
Our son’s birthfather joined his birthmother at the hospital when it came time to sign parental consents, and we had the opportunity to meet him as well. He had a similar demeanor to her, calm and gentle, and shared with us that they had selected our profile together. He was drawn to our military background and felt as though we would provide a very stable household for their son. We felt incredibly honored they had put so much trust in us in regard to their son. When the attorneys let us know all parental consents were officially signed, we both burst into tears. We had come so close once before, but this time it was done; our son was ours.
While our time with our son’s birthmother was brief, we did discuss a semi-open adoption. We have stayed in contact through social media, and we are happy to provide milestone updates and photos when she requests them. We know what a monumental decision this was for her and the birthfather to make, and there are not enough words to express our gratitude.
Waiting for the Right One
Through our many opportunities and traumatic disruption, we thought each one of those opportunities was “our” opportunity, and when each one ultimately did not work out, we had to continue to remind ourselves that our baby was out there and would find us when the time was right. For each of the mothers we spoke with, we know we were in their life for a reason, even our disruption; we were there to provide that sweet baby girl a safe space for seven days while her mother decided what was best.
We are grateful for each one of the women who walked into our lives, even if it was for a short time, because each one of them ultimately led us to our son and our family of three.