How it All Began...
Creating Our Family
Before we were married, we both had always wanted to adopt, which only made our relationship as a couple stronger. Having spent time working in the foster system and with health concerns on both sides of our families, we made the decision to not have biological children. We felt adoption was our best hope of having a family.
We had spent a lot of time researching various state-based and national adoption agencies. We eventually decided to partner with Angel because of their national reach. With a specific gender preference, we knew there was a chance we would be able to adopt quicker with Angel’s wider net. We couldn’t wait to share our love. At first, when we put up our profile, we were nervous. Just like any adoptive parent, we wondered whether or not we would make a connection with an expectant mother.
When we made our first and only connection after only a few short months online, we felt our hearts skip a beat.
A Work in Progress
At first, our communication with the expectant mother was sporadic. We communicated with her by text and occasionally by email for photos. Her responses were always shorter than we’d hoped, but we kept in mind that she might be thinking through the tough choices ahead of her. We tried to walk the difficult line of not seeming pushy or overbearing while also being interested and encouraging. Needless to say, it was stressful on both parties. Over text, it was impossible for either side to communicate feelings or to gauge reactions.
Eventually, after receiving feedback from her social worker after a concerning visit, we realized just how much of a communication gap we had. We called her and communicated openly and honestly with her. We wanted to do that from the beginning, but over text, it was simply impossible.
Over the course of a few difficult phone conversations, we bonded with her. Just like any relationship, we started to really understand one another and where each of us was coming from. Through that mutual understanding, we started navigating our relationship a lot more smoothly.
Being in the Room
Her due date was originally around Christmas, but she had a scare around Thanksgiving that led to an induction date being set. We began counting down the days until we could drive down for the big day. We were so excited the big day was coming sooner than expected.
The night before the induction date, we met her, her mother, and her sister face to face. It was nerve wracking and awkward at first, but we soon entered into a flow of easy conversation and laughs.
At the hospital over the next day and a half, she labored while the rest of us played the long waiting game in the lobby waiting area. It gave us the perfect opportunity to hang out and get to know her family, who had become an extension of our family. We spent most of the time with her sister telling us family stories. When it was time to begin pushing, Caitlin was given the okay to come into the room. She never thought she would be there with everyone when our baby was being born, get to cut the umbilical cord, or be the first to hold him. There are no words to describe the experience. It was a huge shock with a lot of happy tears.
We spent the following days in the adjacent hospital rooms. We welcomed all her family and friends to spend as much time as they wanted talking with us and enjoying their needed baby snuggles. Knowing our son was coming home with us, we wanted his birthmom and her family to get as much time as they needed while we were in the same location.
Building a Relationship
When we took our son home, we knew we had also gained a permanent relationship with his birthmother and her family. Through openly communicating and growing closer all throughout the process, we knew we wanted to be there for her and to support her. After the birth, we took our son to visit her in the facility she was staying at. Meeting her support system was an amazing experience for all of us. We could feel the love surrounding her, and we could also feel all the love for our son.
At some point, our choice of an open adoption was simply a natural progression of our relationship. We send three to five snapshots to her on a weekly basis, send a text to her and her family once a week, and share our lives together on Facebook. We enjoy keeping our communication as open as she wants it.
Family Begins With Honesty
If there was one lesson we learned throughout this whole process, it is that family begins with honesty. It doesn’t matter how quirky you are or your family is. Someone out there will appreciate you and your family. Our son’s birthmother told us almost immediately that the reason she felt a connection to our profile was because we had a quirky photo of our wedding on the cover (one of Caitlin holding Brock up like in Titanic). She felt she could see some of her personality in us, and she connected with us. So embrace what makes you and your family unique.
Above all else, be honest throughout the process. Adoption is hard. There are a lot of emotional hurdles along the way no matter what your journey looks like. When we had communication issues in the beginning of our relationship, we all felt we could talk to one another no matter how difficult the conversation was. That has helped to cement our entire relationship. We are looking forward to growing our family in the next few years. This adoption process solidified our faith in our ability to work through difficult emotional hurdles and come out on the other side. Through the ups and downs, our family has grown and is closer than ever. We can’t wait to start the next chapter.