Before the Whitsel family ever considered adopting a child, they were a happy family of four with their two daughters Juliana and Ava. In the beginning of her marriage, Becky knew she wanted three children; however, her husband, Dan, was content with their family of four. Alas, she decided it was best to put her dreams of becoming a family of five on hold. Becky and Dan were proud parents of two happy and healthy teenage daughters and felt blessed every day.
It was during the 2015 Christmas season when Dan caught Becky by surprise. The family had just returned from a Christmas light show, and while they were preparing to go to sleep, her husband said “I think we should adopt” out of nowhere. “I was dumbfounded,” said Becky. Apparently, Dan was doing his taxes one night, and something inside him said that adopting a child was part of their future. The Whitsel family of four officially started their journey to becoming the Whitsel family of five.
After an adoption disruption* in 2017 the couple understandably felt discouraged. Becky found herself asking “Okay if [the baby] wasn’t meant for us, why did we have to go through this?” Like the saying goes, “everything happens for a reason.” The Whitsel’s would soon learn that reason.
On January 17, 2019, the Whitsel family received a call that a woman had just given birth to a healthy baby girl in Delaware County Pennsylvania. The woman chose Becky and Dan to parent the infant, whom the couple named Saylor Joy. Their prayers were answered.
Fast-forward to today, and their little girl is now one. Saylor has brought an endless amount of joy into the Whitsel household. Everyone who meets the toddler quickly falls in love with her infectious demeanor.
“She is the craziest, easiest baby ever. She’s always happy, even if something upsets her, she’ll bounce back quickly. She picks up things quickly and doesn’t miss a thing,” said Becky.
The Whitsels have nothing but the highest amount of respect and love for Saylor’s birth mother. When asked about Saylor’s birth mother, Becky gets emotional and speaks with tears of gratitude:
“Most of all I could never thank her [Saylor’s Birth Mom] enough. She could have chosen another family, but she chose not to do that. There’s nothing we can say to fully express how appreciative we all are.”
Becky and Dan continue to send Saylor’s birth mother pictures and updates of her developmental milestones. They understand how difficult it was for her to place Saylor for adoption, and the rough spot she was in at the time. As of now the Whitsels have yet to meet Saylor’s birth mother or to receive responses to their updates. Although the family has not heard from Saylor’s birth mother, they are always thinking about her.
Becky made Saylor a picture frame that holds two pictures. One of her birth mother who she lovingly calls “Mama T,” and the other one for her half-sisters. Every night before bedtime, Saylor points to that picture frame and blows kisses as Becky includes them in their prayers. They will never keep Mama T a secret from Saylor.
On October 16, 2018, Saylor’s adoption was finalized. After the court hearing, the Whitsel family threw a party in celebration. On the invitations for the special day, the Whitsel’s requested their family and friends bring something in lieu of gifts. Instead the Whitsels asked their guests to donate to Adoption From The Heart’s Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund. While they celebrated their daughter’s special day, it was important for the family to give back to the fund in honor of Mama T. Throughout the day the couple collected $480 to donate to the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund.
The Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund was created by AFTH to help those we service facing financial burdens. Receiving financial assistance to help afford the cost of necessities (i.e. rent, food, electric) during a time of need can have an incredible impact on those who are trying to create a better life for themselves.
We would like to thank the Whitsels for incorporating a way to give back to the Expecting and Birth Parent Support Fund on Saylor’s special day. The amount of care and kindness behind every monetary donation will not go unnoticed by all the expecting and birth parents who receive support from this fund.
*Disruption: a circumstance when the adoption process is stopped before the finalization date.