How did you decide to adopt a baby?
We decided to adopt a baby once we tried artificial insemination for over a year and never got pregnant. The decision to forgo IVF and go straight to adoption was so easy and natural for us. We probably would've gone with adoption earlier if we had known it was financially possible and we'd actually get a baby so quickly. We just never thought it was possible for an average-income, same-sex couple to get a baby through adoption. We hope others that are worried about the process will read this and know it's possible for them too!
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
We knew that most agencies are against same-sex couples and probably wouldn't work with us, so we were shocked and excited to see a company that advertised and sought out gay families. We actually thought it was too good to be true at first, so once our information packet arrived and we had our phone call with Mark, we requested to meet another LifeLong couple to discuss their experience. Meeting with them is what solidified the decision for us. They put our minds at ease and they had such an amazing experience adopting through LifeLong, we knew we were on board as well.
What were you most excited about?
We were most excited about working with a company that is committed to helping couples like us adopt, and also about how committed they are to helping birth families. Of course we were most excited to have our sweet baby in our arms.
What were you most nervous about?
We were nervous about how long we'd have to wait. The contract was for two years, so we stressed that our baby wouldn't make it to us in that time. The home study was also a HUGE worry. We thought we'd get a super grumpy, scary social worker like in the movies, but we ended up with the sweetest person whom we still keep in touch with. Don't be worried about the home study, it's not scary, we promise. We were also nervous about the final cost of adoption, the what ifs about where our baby would come from, and if we'd have a good relationship with our birthmother.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
Our first connection went on for a few months before it fizzled out completely. We were so scared to have a failed connection and what that would do to us, but we survived and are thankful for it in the end. It did hurt, but Nicole called us shortly thereafter with a new connection, and our baby was born 14 days after that! Our new expectant mother was just one state away AND in the same town as family we could stay with! We couldn't believe it happened that way, and immediately felt peace with this connection as opposed to the previous one. Trust your gut instinct and don't let your heart do all the thinking and talking. Really listen to what's going on and also know that you never know what is going to happen until it does.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet her.
We got a text from the birthfather near midnight that they were being admitted. We drove through the early morning and arrived at the hospital right as the sun was rising. We met the birth parents for the first time in a dark delivery room where they were resting. We hung out and talked the rest of that time until Grey made her entrance.
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
We got to be right by our birthmother's side as she gave birth to our beautiful daughter! Grey made a grand entrance too—her shoulders were stuck and she had her cord wrapped around her neck! It was terrifying for a moment when we saw the doctors get very serious and our baby didn't breathe at first. She was stubborn enough not to take her first breath for longer than we liked, but she finally did and it was amazing! We just stared and cried as she finally cried herself and turned a beautiful pink color. I can't say enough how amazing that was. There was a lot of emotion in the room and naturally we were very, very nervous and scared that her birth parents would become attached and change their minds. It was a rough 48 hours holding onto that concern and worry, but we lived in the tiny hospital room with them for those 48 hours and cried, laughed, and took turns holding Grey.
I would say to other adoptive parents please don't be nervous to let the birthmother hold the baby and give the baby love as well as let her see you do the same. We think it was very helpful for ours to see how motherly we were to this brand new baby that we didn't birth, but who we loved from the moment she entered the world.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption?
We chose an open adoption. We wanted a good, open relationship with her first parents and wanted to get to know as much about them as possible so we can always share with her these things about them, especially things that she does that remind us of them.
What is your relationship like with your birthmother?
It is great! We text and email with our birthmother and father weekly and will visit four times a year. In the beginning it felt strained a little, trying to get to know them and not being sure if they'd like us, etc., but it all felt easier and more natural once our adoption was finalized and we didn't have any more worries. Now when we visit it feels like we are spending time with cousins — it's fun and easy. We love the rapport we have with them. We know not everyone is blessed with this nice of a relationship, so it's not something we take for granted. We are thankful for every single moment we get to spend with them and hope our great relationship continues throughout the future for all of us, but especially for Grey.
Adopting a baby can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
Our best advice to get through the waiting process is to join online community groups. While our friends and family were supportive and understanding, we found those who have gone through the adoption process or are actually waiting were important to our coping process. Those were the people who really could understand it on the deepest level and could offer real support because they had survived it or were living it right along with us. Those who had gone through the process kept telling us, "It's worth the wait," and "Your baby will come to you," and it's SO true. The baby that is meant for YOU will come to you in time. It may take three months or two years but he or she WILL come.
Do you have any other advice to share with other adoptive parents?
One piece of advice we firmly believe helped Grey come to us is to be more open about race and gender. We already were open to either gender, we just wanted a healthy baby. As far as race goes, we live in a small, conservative town, and we were worried about our baby getting picked on. After a year of having just Caucasian/Asian as our race preference, we felt we should change the race to "no preference." We got over the what ifs and worries and knew that by changing this, God would give us whatever we were supposed to have and our child would be happy and loved no matter what anyone else thought. Very soon after, we got our sweet baby, and she's the most perfect thing ever. Keep your heart open for anything and the right one will come to you...don't worry about society or anyone else.
Would you adopt again?
We would if we wanted another child! We are happy as a little family of three. If we did adopt again, we'd definitely use LifeLong.