How it all began...
Finding Our Way
After struggling with infertility and choosing to not move forward with IVF, we started considering adoption. We initially started with international adoption due to a fear of domestic adoption. Admittedly, we watched far too much television. After starting our international adoption journey, we found it wasn’t the best fit for us. After more education, we warmed to the idea of domestic adoption and started with a local agency.
We completed our home study with the local agency, and each opportunity we were presented with was outside our budget. Each opportunity was more than double what we had anticipated, and we knew we needed to look at other options. We found Angel online and felt an immediate connection. Their intake process was seamless, and they were so welcoming. We were excited to get started in a program that seemed like a great fit for us.
Since we had started and completed our home study about six months before we joined Angel’s program, our home study needed updating about one and a half years into our time with Angel. After zero opportunities, we decided not to update our home study. We were both emotionally drained and had lost hope in the process. When we told our adoptive parent coordinator we were essentially ending our adoption journey, they reassured us that six months in the adoption world is a lifetime. We spoke with a friend who is a social worker, and they told us something similar. With the convincing of Angel and our friend, we chose to renew our home study for another year and to see what could happen in the next six months.
A Life-Changing Call
Just days after choosing to renew our home study, Angel contacted us with our first and only opportunity. A young expectant mother had chosen our profile and was interested in getting to know us. We could not believe what was happening and how just days before we were ready to give up. We started texting the expectant mother and had a bond almost immediately. We found ourselves texting regularly and knew we only had six weeks before she was due, so we wanted to make the most of our conversations.
Only two weeks after being initially chosen and four weeks before the expectant mother’s due date, we received a call in the middle of the night that would change our lives: The expectant mother was in labor. We started searching for flights and hotels immediately only to find out there was a conference in her city at the time and the first flight we could get was in two days. While we struggled with flights, Louis’s company was great at helping us find a hotel room.
As we scrambled to find accommodations and pack, the expectant mother continued to keep us updated on her labor and delivery and finally with a photo of our daughter. She was beautiful and perfect and ours, but she was also across the country. We could not wait to get to her.
A Dream Come True
Two days later, when we finally arrived in our daughter’s birth state, we landed in the evening and headed straight to the hospital the next morning. Our daughter’s birthmother signed the consent paperwork, and we then met our daughter’s birthmother for the first time. We hadn’t spoken with her on the phone or video chatted with her, so we weren’t sure what to expect. Walking into her room for the first time was comfortable, and we saw how beautiful she was. After brief introductions, she walked us to the NICU to meet our daughter.
Amy had dreamed of the name Flannery for a child since the first time she read Flannery O’Connor. When the first picture was sent to us, Amy immediately knew this was her Flannery. Seeing a picture of our daughter and meeting her in person were completely different experiences. Flannery, our daughter, was a dream. It was overwhelming and beautiful all at the same time.
Flannery was spending time in the NICU due to feeding complications, and we were able to spend each day with her. Flannery spent ten days in the NICU, and after advocating for her to be discharged, we were released. We did not find the nursing staff particularly friendly or helpful, but there were a handful of incredible nurses who helped us along the way. Amy’s experience working in hospitals was incredibly beneficial as well. In hindsight, we now realize the hospital Flannery was born at was not as adoption friendly as others, but we got through it as a family.
Never an Easy Choice
The day we arrived at the hospital, Flannery’s birthmother was discharged. We did not have the opportunity to see her again before we left, but we spoke often during the first couple years of Flannery’s life. We know choosing adoption for Flannery was not an easy choice. Her birthmother had other children, and she understood what it meant to be a mother.
Our communication with Flannery’s birthmother slowed over time, which we anticipated happening. We haven’t heard from her in a number of years but are open if she reaches out to us again. We speak highly of Flannery’s birthmother often and are always open to answering questions when she has them. We are grateful for the tough decision that her birthmother made and for choosing and trusting us to raise Flannery.
A Beautiful Story
Navigating the adoption process was not easy. It was emotionally difficult and expensive, and it took patience. Our social worker for our home study and Angel were our rocks through the process and incredibly helpful. We found ourselves unprepared to bring a baby home, and our family was wonderful at helping set up Flannery’s nursery while we were gone. Staying organized helped us quite a bit with the paperwork aspect of the process, and our support system was huge. We could never have imagined what a perfect little girl we would be blessed with, and it was only made possible through adoption.