When a birth mother talks about finding “the couple” that she chooses to place her child with, there is often a familiar line of, “I just knew they were the ones,” or “I knew them instantly.”

I honestly wish this had been true with my search. I’m actually one of those lucky birth moms who got rejected by the first couple that I contacted. Crazy, right? It turned out that they were already in contact with another expectant mother at the time, and didn’t want to “play” both of us. It all ended well: she turned out to be their birth mom, and they have an awesome relationship.

I felt so overwhelmed when I began my search. I placed through LDS Family Services, and used their website called It’s About Love. Hundreds of potential adoptive families were listed, and I could search through them with as broad or narrow parameters as I pleased. Initially, I figured that of course my couple would come up within the first few listed, so I went as basic as possible. A couple who lived in Utah, wanted an open adoption, no preference on gender, and liked music.

Holy families, Batman. 300 popped up on my first search. 300 families who fit what I wanted in someone to raise my child. I almost quit right there.

I started at the top of the list and made through about 10 profiles when I started feeling lost. They all seemed wonderful, loving, and would obviously all be great parents. How on earth was I supposed to choose a family like this?

I narrowed my search 4 or 5 more times.

Married for at least 5 years.

Ages between 25 and 30.

No other children.

Own a dog.

Open to special needs. (For some reason, this option stuck out at me even though it did not pertain to my situation.)

Open to multiples. (Because hey, why not?)

No preference on gender.

Both parents have a college education.

Interested in music, outdoors, and literature.

Would like varying levels of openness.

Live in Utah.

Mother’s employment after placement: stay-at-home or part-time.

My search results slowly got smaller and smaller, and they significantly decreased when I chose “No other children.” I felt guilty for a few minutes, but realized that this was my child, and it was my choice. I could not feel guilty about what I wanted for him.

When my list got to 8 couples, I started reading profiles again. Suddenly, these couples came to life. I made it to couple number 5 and had to take a break. I was in tears. Their stories, their lives, their hearts . . . I could feel them. I felt like I was actually getting to know people who would become great friends, not just potential people to raise my baby.

Of the 5 profiles I read, 2 stood out among the rest. I took a deep breath, remembered my caseworker saying to NOT email anyone without telling her first, and drafted a new message (Sorry, Julie!).

The next morning, I had a response from the first couple I emailed. I hadn’t emailed the second couple yet. Theirs didn’t feel as pressing.

Dear Sterling,

Thank you for writing to us! You sound like a great young lady. We will definitely answer your questions if you still wish, but we need you to know something first. We have been in contact with an expectant mother for about 3 weeks now, and although we were overjoyed to receive your email, we do not feel it is fair to continue a relationship with two people at the same time. We are so sorry, and it honestly breaks my heart to tell you this. We prayed and feel it is best to send you our love and support, but let you know up front that we feel strongly about committing to the other expectant mother right now. She is a great girl, and we have truly come to love her. We wish you the very best, and we will keep you in our prayers.

Sincerely,

C & J

I was a little in shock when I read it. I had just been rejected.

My mom hugged me, told me that they were obviously not the right family, and to email the other couple (I kept all of these goings-on very open with my mom). I glared, then opened my computer and reached out with the email that would change my life.

My “second” couple, turned out to be “my” couple. Within a few days, we had emailed back and forth enough that I didn’t want to talk to anyone else.

It was so strange—we had SO much in common! D (the hopeful adoptive dad) had worked with my brother-in-law 10 years earlier, and had worked for Utah State University tech support when I worked for housing. We had briefly encountered each other a couple of times, but those meetings hadn’t been memorable until we looked back on everything.

They also weren’t from Utah—a glitch with their caseworker editing their profile when they moved to Florida had kept their profile active and listed as Utah residents. This turned out to be a very key mistake, and has changed our lives completely. They wouldn’t have even shown up in my original search had the mistake NOT been made.

We were all heavily involved in the music world, had nursing ties, my child’s birth father and adoptive father both had been raised in Wyoming and attended college in Utah with the same career goals, and we even had the same specific taste in children’s clothing.

We chose to meet the day after Thanksgiving, 2009. They were in Utah visiting family, though they later admitted that potentially meeting me had swayed their decision of whether or not to come visit that year. I was a nervous wreck, and so was my son’s birth father. We walked in and were directed to the table where our couple was already seated. They stood and embraced us, and there it was: “I knew them instantly.” It felt so natural and perfect talking with them that afternoon. All of my fears disappeared and though it took another month to decide for sure, I knew that they were the couple if I chose to place.

Our openness and relationship has grown and developed well past what I ever dreamed of for an open adoption. We understand each other, and I truly consider them some of my very best friends.

 My little boy was meant to be with them. If I couldn’t be his mother, it had to be them.

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