My husband brought up adoption on our third date. He wanted to ask how I felt about it because, after his battle with cancer, he was unlikely able to have biological children. Adoption had a soft spot in my heart as I watched family members adopt. It was beautiful to see these family members become parents through the miracle of adoption. After we got married and began to consider adding to our family, we were not sure how our story would turn out; but now, fifteen years later, it is better than we could have ever dreamed.
Success, But First Some Failures
There was a small chance that my husband and I would be able to add to our family through in vitro fertilization (IVF). We felt like we were ready to have children and made the decision to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist. The IVF was scheduled even though there was just a slight chance it would result in a pregnancy, but we needed to know. Unfortunately, it did not turn out like we wanted it to. It was hard to work through that loss, but unlike many other couples, it did not take long for us to know that we would be unable to have biological children.
After taking some time to grieve, we made the choice to move forward with our plan of adoption. We researched different options, agencies, and the option of fostering to adopt. After taking classes and filling out forms to become licensed foster parents, we felt led to change course and start working with an agency. There were forms to be filled out, interviews to be done, and the home study to be completed. We wanted to get all these things done as soon as we could because we were ready to be parents. Once we were approved to adopt the agency told us that the wait until expectant parents contacted us could vary. There was some contact from a few expectant mothers, but nothing went beyond a few emails. Within a few months of being approved, we were contacted with an expectant mother who was considering adoption. We met with her and she was considering making an adoption plan with us. When the baby was born, she made the decision to parent. We had wanted this to work out because we felt ready to be parents, but we recognized that we were pursuing an adoption that was not right for her or us.
In our Christmas cards that year, we sent announcements that we were hoping to adopt. We knew that there was a better opportunity to adopt by telling those around us that we were interested. About a year after we were approved to adopt, we received a phone call from my aunt in a different state. She told us about a friend who had confided in her that her daughter was pregnant and considering adoption. My aunt told her friend that she had a niece who was hoping to adopt. She sent her our adoption blog and profile. This was an exciting phone call for us and helped give us hope that something good could be ahead. A few days later, I saw a life-changing email. This young woman told us that she was pregnant with a boy and said that she was making an adoption plan for him. She had read our profile and blog and felt like we would be great parents for her son. She ended the email, “Please let me know if you will consider adopting my son.”
This was exactly what we had been waiting for. And it felt so right. We flew to meet her and her family. It was a great visit and she immediately felt like family. After continuous contact and getting to know her better, the adoption plan was underway. Two months later, she called me and told me that she was being sent to the hospital and the baby was going to be born that day. My husband and I changed our airline tickets and got there as soon as we could. While we were flying, a beautiful baby boy was born and we received pictures of him when we landed. We drove to the hospital that night. That hospital room was a sacred space. This new mother and her new baby were a beautiful sight and then she placed the baby in my arms. It brought me to tears.
The next day we met the father of the baby. He was a little hesitant about the adoption plan. He had an opportunity to hold the baby and we had a good discussion with him. By building the relationship with him, the door was opened for him to be on board with the adoption plan. The placement was successful and we were able to fly home with this new baby. The adoption papers were signed, but the success that we have is in the relationships surrounding this baby–now young man. We continue to have a very open relationship with both of his birth parents and their families. It is a success because of the love we all have for him and for each other.
Foster Care and Adoption
Once our son was a little over a year old, we decided to start preparing to become approved for adoption again. We filled out more paperwork, did background checks, had interviews, and had a home study done. Over the next two years, there were a lot of ups and downs. We had contact with a few expectant parents with long lapses in between. We also experienced an adoption scam (an individual who lied about being pregnant or interested in adoption) that gave us hope and then took it away when we realized it was not real. We began considering foster care again and felt pushed toward it. There were more background checks, more paperwork, and another home study.
Within a day of getting licensed, we were called about a few children who needed a family and home. One of the calls was about a set of triplets who were being released from the hospital. Another call was about an almost one-year-old boy who was in a temporary foster home and needed a permanent placement. This little boy was going to be a big brother in the coming weeks and if we said yes to him, we would also need to be willing to bring the newborn home from the hospital. After taking time to think and pray about the decision, we felt right about the one-year-old and his baby brother. After a quick transition from his other foster home to ours, he had his first birthday. Within a couple of weeks, his baby brother was born and we went from a family of three to a family of five very quickly. Not only were we parents to three children three and under, but we were also navigating the foster care system. It was all new to us and dealing with visits with the biological parents and therapy appointments was overwhelming.
Our family was a permanent placement for these boys, but the goal with foster care is always reunification. This was a journey that we did not know what to expect and the state did not always have the answers to the questions that we asked. We endured court visits and caseworker visits. After 18 months, the state petitioned the court for the parental rights to be terminated. We did not view this as a success, but the fact that we could be parents for these boys when they needed it was a success. After termination and another 18 months of appeals, we were given the chance to adopt and the boys shared our last name. It was a long, hard road, but it was worth the heartache for us to become parents again.
Successes in adoption will look different for everyone. Some of our experiences during the adoption process were completely heartbreaking and depressing, but they turned into the most amazing experiences to become parents. We are thrilled to be parents to three amazing boys. They are each different and special in their own way. Because of adoption, we are parents. It is better than we could have ever imagined.