All in This Together
For the last few years, we’ve been battling infertility. We had planned on becoming foster parents when we were older, but we wanted to grow as a family with a newborn and gain some parenting experience before we decided to walk that path. When we couldn’t conceive a biological child, we looked into adoption. Adoption was always something that spoke to us and was a comfortable natural next step to build our family. Our friends and family were extremely supportive of our choice. At one point, adoption was an unfulfilled dream for them as well, so they were overjoyed for us when we made the decision to adopt.
At the beginning of our journey, we were nervous about the process as it can be so complex. Along with the paperwork, it’s also necessary to balance all the delicate emotions. You are receiving such incredible joy at the expense of another's loss. You have to be mindful of the expectant mother’s feelings and give her space to think through her choices. But at the same time, you want to try to connect with her as much as you can. We just took it day by day and tried to look at this situation from every angle.
First Comes Disappointment
Our first couple of connections didn’t work out. One of the expectant mothers we connected with was not mentally fit enough to make a decision in time for us to take custody of the child. In the end, it turned out to be a loss for both sides. We both lost the child to the system due to the red tape. Nevertheless, we were happy we fought for the expectant mother and the child and defended their rights when they were unable to defend themselves. That experience also opened up our eyes and hearts to other hopeful adoptive parents. We made peace with the fact that this child was not meant to be ours. This child had another purpose and was meant to bless another wonderful couple through the foster system or inspire the birth mother to receive the help she needed so she could regain custody.
After that, we had a couple of other connections that did not work out. The birthmothers simply stopped communicating. It was particularly difficult for us because we didn’t have the closure like the other connection. Did we say something wrong to offend her, or did she no longer like us? After that, we decided to always keep this in our minds: “It’s not your child until it really is your child.” We tried to maintain distance over time to be close enough to bond but not too emotionally involved as to be shattered when it didn’t work out. After all, the expectant mother is in an incredibly emotional state, and you have to trust she will make the best decision for herself and her child.
Through these experiences, we realized our feelings don’t really matter in this situation. It’s really the child and the expectant mother who truly matter. The job of hopeful adoptive parents is to be available for the expectant mother and to allow her to make an informed decision about the future of her child while accepting this decision with love and grace. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
The Twist of a Lifetime
One day we received a phone call about a child from special circumstances, a baby already born. We had decided to submit our situation and originally heard we were not chosen by the expectant mother. Then we were in for the twist of a lifetime! We received the call out of the blue the following day that something had happened and the birth mother had chosen us now! We had to come to her state as quickly as possible. We ran over to our families’ homes to say goodbye and tell them the great news. At this time, there was some uncertainty on the gender of the child. We were with family when we got the call with the gender of the child. When we found out it was a girl, all the women stood up and celebrated. It was as if we had a gender reveal party on the spot.
Soon after that, we jumped in our car and started on our 23-hour drive to see our baby girl. We decided to drive instead of fly to cut down on the possible contaminants from the airplane as our baby girl, Isabella, was in the NICU.
After a few days, we met the birthmother after she signed over custody. She gave us gifts for Isabella, and we took a lot of pictures to have as family mementos for her. The birthfather came over to meet us as well. We talked about the interesting twist in this story and laughed at how perfect it had ended up.The birthmother actually said, “Honestly, I didn’t read through a ton of your profile beforehand as we were rushed to choose a family. But having met you and talked to you, I can’t imagine a more amazing family to care for my child.”
We were amazed. Oftentimes you wonder why those previous connections failed or you were not chosen. To have her be so amazing and honest with us about her previous decision was heartwarming. Both of them would’ve been great parents to Isabella; we can feel how hard it was for them to give us Isabella and will forever be grateful to them. It was a beautiful experience to meet them both, particularly because now we have something to show Isabella of her parents. We believe both of them as well as us were just happy the Universe brought us together and showed us our plans don’t mean anything when something was meant to be. It felt as if two pieces of a puzzle finally fit together.
Even though Isabella hasn’t been out of the NICU long, she’s been thriving at home with us. We are so happy to finally be able to enjoy her. We want to adopt more children into our family in the future so she will have siblings to share experiences with.
To adoptive parents who are starting their journeys, we want you to know, “It’s not if but when.” Your time will come, your baby will come, and your expectant mother will come. You will meet the one who is supposed to be a member of your family; you just have to trust the process and the Universe to bring you together. Sometimes hopeful adoptive parents have struggled for so long that it is easy to look forward to every presented situation and throw your heart and soul into it, almost thinking it should be your “turn.” We all need to remember we are in this together and have all walked different difficult journeys; the life of the child is the most important thing. Try to celebrate the life of the child and the amazing experiences they will have with their chosen family. After all, we are all in this together.