My journey to becoming a mother was not as smooth as I had planned when I was growing up. I expected to get married and give birth to four children and live happily ever after. After I graduated from college, my sister set me up with a wonderful man. Within the first few dates, he told me about the cancer that he battled, but it left him with some battle wounds including the inability to have biological children. And although this came as a surprise and not exactly part of the plan that I had so meticulously planned out, I was falling in love with him. I knew that even though things were different than I had envisioned, it could still turn into something beautiful. Once we were married and ready to add to our family, we went through many ups and downs with adoption and foster care and adopted three sons. Adoption gave us more than we could even imagine prior to getting married. I am grateful that my plans and dreams did not turn out as I dreamed of–they turned out better.
Becoming a Mother
Adoption gave me the opportunity to become a mother. I am a mom to three sons. The adoptions were made possible through a private agency with a birth mother who chose us and through foster care over the course of three years before the adoptions were finalized. First, becoming a mother was an incredible experience. The day before my son was born, I resigned from my job. I got the phone call the next day that he was going to be born. My husband and I jumped on an airplane to meet him. When we brought him home a couple of weeks later, our families and friends surrounded us and supported us. We felt like we were now in the club called Parenthood. We were thrilled to finally be a part of the club. My whole life changed overnight. I became a full-time mother. This baby was completely dependent on me. I had prepared to breastfeed him and this became a great bonding experience for the both of us.
Foster Care and Foster-to-Adopt
Adopting from foster care was a completely different experience, but it brought us the children that became a part of our family. We were licensed foster parents for six years. There were about 11 children that came into our home throughout those years. Most were for a short amount of time, but we wanted each of those children to feel love and care from us. It also gave us the reward of helping others and our community. There was something special about each baby or child. Two of the children that came into our home and family were there on a permanent basis. We agreed on their case because we had the hope of eventually adopting them. There were ups and downs throughout the few years, but after more than three years, we were given the opportunity to adopt them. They had been a part of our family for those three years and our oldest was the big brother. We were grateful to finally be able to adopt them and have them share our name.
Open Adoption Relationships
One of the greatest things that adoption has given me is the relationships that we have with our son’s birth family. When we first started down the road of adoption, we did not know much about open adoption. As we talked to other adoptive families and read their stories, we recognized what a blessing open adoption could be for us, our child, and his birth parents. Once we were approved for adoption, we made sure that the expectant parents who looked at our profile or contacted us knew we wanted an open adoption. When our son’s birth mother contacted us, we immediately felt so drawn to her. We visited her after a month of emails, texts, and phone calls. The moment we first saw her was a feeling of family reunion. She quickly became part of our family. We met her family and they welcomed us in as well. We continue to have a beautiful relationship with her after 11 years. We have celebrated her as she got married and gave birth to four more children. Watching her and our son’s relationship grow as he is growing up is so wonderful. Our relationship is close and we not only enjoy talking about our son, but also about motherhood, marriage, and life.
Initially, we did not have much of a vision of a relationship with the birth father of our child. When our son’s birth father was told about the adoption plan, he was unsure if he would be on board. My husband and I first met him at the hospital the day after the baby was born. We sat in a hospital room while he held his son and got to know him. The conversation turned to adoption and he shared his thoughts about it. Even though the decision ward hard, our relationship with him quickly became one of mutual respect and love. When we met his mother, she was coming to the hospital thinking that she would be saying hello and goodbye to her first grandson. It was a very emotional time. We talked to her about open adoption and she was surprised by our willingness to have them be a part of our lives. She sends him birthday and Christmas presents. He was the ring bearer in his birth father’s wedding as well as his birth aunt’s wedding. It seems like a family reunion when we go to visit. It is a blessing to have so many people that love and support our son.
Once we started down the road to adoption, we gained a community of other adoptive and hoping-to-adopt families. When we announced that we were hoping to adopt, many family members and friends reached out to us about their experiences with adoption. There were a few adoption conventions that we went to that helped us network and feel a part of the community. We were learning from others and piecing together what we wanted our adoption to look like. We gained lifelong friends through these experiences. After we adopted our son, those friends and community members celebrated with us and when they adopted we celebrated with them. It was great to be a part of a community to whom we could turn to with our struggles as well as with our successes. As the years have gone by and we were licensed foster parents, we have been able to be a support to new families hoping to adopt and newly licensed foster parents. One of my friends came to me when they found out they were unable to have biological children. I was happy that I could help her. We became even better friends because of our common struggles. I brought her dinner when she got her first foster care placement. Another friend confided in me about their foster care woes. I received a phone call from a caseworker about a baby who needed to be placed in a home permanently. I knew that it was not the right situation for us, but I shared with the caseworker my friend’s name. She and her husband opened their home to this baby and they were eventually able to adopt him. Being a part of the adoption community has been fulfilling and a great blessing in my life.
Adoption Gave Me…
Through adoption, I became a mother to three sons. Adoption gave me the opportunity to become a mother. It is one of the best names that I can call myself. Being a mother is hard, but one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. It is better than I could ever have imagined. Adoption also gave me wonderful relationships with my son’s birth family and being a part of an adoption community has helped me through the ups and downs.