What led you to adoption?
We decided to adopt a baby because of our passionate desire to become parents. After trying for several years to get pregnant and with no luck in IVF, we knew that we were supposed to adopt.
Why did you choose to work with LifeLong Adoptions?
We chose LifeLong because of the people that work there and their success stories. After initially making contact, we knew that the staff would be there to help guide us along the way and be there emotionally through all of it. We felt very warm and welcomed by every person we met along the way. I still keep in touch with Nicole, sending her updates and pictures along the way, because not only did she take this journey with us, but she is one of the few people who can truly understand the highs and lows that adoption brings. After the first month with LifeLong, the email came to let us know how many people viewed our profile online or was sent a copy, and that was a very reassuring thing to see.
What were you most excited about?
We were most excited about meeting our baby! After years of waiting, when we got the phone call that we had a birthmom who wanted to make contact, we literally sat down and cried tears of joy!
What were you most nervous about?
We were most nervous about the legal process of adopting. This was our first adoption and we really didn’t know what to expect, especially when it came to making everything legal so that there were no issues when it came time to bring our baby home. We were also nervous about actually bringing our baby home! As first-time parents, we couldn’t wait to have her in our arms, but being a parent can be scary!
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Our friends and families were the only reason we got through the entire journey. It’s a long road right from the start with home studies, applications, profiles, waiting for the phone call, and then waiting for the baby to be born. Our support group could not have been more excited to help us and to meet our daughter. They wrote all the letters and recommendations that they could to help us out along the way. No one sees our baby as adopted — she’s just our daughter.
What was it like meeting your birthmother for the first time?
Meeting our birthmom for the first time was completely overwhelming in the best way. We actually did not meet until three days after our daughter was born. Our birthmom was recovering from her C-section and had not had any contact with the baby, nor did she want any, but she wanted to officially meet us. So, one at a time, we made our way to her room and met her and her husband. We hugged for a long time and then watched a little TV together, like old friends just enjoying each other’s company without needing to talk. We still text back and forth. We consider our birthmom one of our best friends and our guardian angel.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption? How did you make that decision?
We wanted our birthmother to have the choice in what she felt was best for her. Our birthmom chose a semi-open adoption, which we agreed to wholeheartedly. She knows our first names and the general area we live in, she has pictures of us, and I talk about my family and fun occasions with her. We are still taking things one step at a time. If she ever decides she would like pictures of the baby or contact, I know we all will do what is best and make a choice together.
Describe receiving the call that your a birthmother was interested in contacting you and what happened after.
I can still remember the day we got the phone call notifying us we had a birthmom who wanted to talk with us. We had not been with LifeLong very long, so it was definitely a shock that things were happening so quickly. I immediately called my husband at work and I could hear the joy and disbelief in his voice. Afterwards, I called my mom and we cried together, we couldn’t believe that things were finally working out for us. Getting things ready for our daughter to arrive was a whirlwind. We had about three months until she arrived, but we never had so much fun getting her nursery set up and our families each threw us a baby shower! Planning to travel was very stressful, there is a lot to pack and to get ready, time off work, hotel rooms, and an uncertain return date. But the light at the end of the tunnel was so bright that we just took it one day at a time and before we knew it, we were off to Alabama to bring our little girl home.
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
Meeting our daughter for the first time was a dream come true. The hospital staff were so nice and generous, they set us up in our own room and took my camera so they could take pictures as we walked in and saw her for the first time. She was in our arms about thirty minutes after she was born! This time, there were no tears, everything just seemed so right and so perfect that the moment is forever etched into our memories. I got to hold her first and tell her that I was her mommy! We will never forget that feeling of such appreciation and overwhelming love. There was no need to worry about creating a bond; it was there the minute we saw her.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
Our relationship with our birthmom is still wonderful! We check in with each other about once a month through text message or when we have something funny or big to share with each other. We consider her to be an awesome friend and we have such deep respect and admiration for her. We love her even more every time we look at our daughter. We hope to continue our relationship for a long time, and hopefully when our daughter wants to know her, we can all be there for her together.
Adoption can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
We got through the wait of adoption by prayer. I can’t say it any other way, accept every night to keep asking and praying that God would get us through this. We have to say our family and friends were a huge support with keeping us busy and occupied, keeping us having fun so that we weren’t constantly thinking about the wait. I also lost both my grandparents shortly before working with LifeLong, and I know they had a hand in helping us start our family too.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
We would absolutely adopt again! In fact, it is on our near future list. Our daughter is currently 13 months old and we are thinking of starting the process again this fall or winter. Although it is a long and emotional road, the reward is too big to pass up.
What advice would you like to share with other hopeful adoptive parents?
I know you will probably roll your eyes when I say to just keep your faith and hope. I know I did the same thing when others told me that. I wanted it to be my turn right now. But after getting our daughter, we know that she was meant to be ours and we just had to wait for her to come along. We believe she was picked for us, just as much as we were picked for her.
Also, try to find a support group. We wish we would have connected with other people who were going through the adoption process. Sometimes it can be hard to talk to others who quite literally have no idea what you are going through or how you are feeling. Find someone who does understand, maybe who has already been through it. The perfect baby is out there waiting for each and every one of us; we just need to be patient enough to wait for him or her. And once the wait is over, it won’t feel like it has been that long anyway.
We hope that our journey and story can help renew the hope in anyone out there still waiting or encourage the people who are thinking about adoption to take the leap. Yes, it is hard, yes it takes courage, yes, it is a long wait, but the experience is breathtaking. We wish we could go back in time and adopt sooner. I was scared and worried that I might not feel the same as a mom or people might look at my daughter differently, and I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s amazing what a small world it is, when we tell people she is adopted, the number of people that tell us that they adopted or know someone who has is extraordinary. Our daughter is loved by so many people and we are honored that we get the chance to be her parents.