How It All Began...
The Road to Parenthood
We wanted to be parents so badly, and when we could not conceive naturally, we turned to fertility treatments. When that did not work out, we were faced with a decision: egg donors or the adoption route. We ultimately decided adoption was the way we wanted to grow our family. Danelle had cousins who were adopted, so adoption was not a foreign thing in our family. Everyone encouraged us to pursue adoption!
Deciding on Angel Adoption was easy since Danelle had a coworker who had successfully placed with Angel. She had great things to say, and word of mouth made our decision easier. Once we started the process, however, we did not realize how much work it would take to be able to adopt. We had fun doing everything though, and of course, all the hard work was worth it in the end.
After we had successfully adopted with Angel Adoption, we knew we wanted to be parents again. Our dream was always to have two children, and we were hoping that was in the cards for us. We loved being parents and could not wait to start our journey again. Going into the second adoption, we felt more prepared. It was also easier because our days were filled with caring for our daughter instead of focusing on our wait. Our family and friends were all so excited we were going to adopt again!
We were chosen by an expectant mother pretty quickly after starting our first journey. The first time you are chosen makes everything so surreal. “This is really happening” and “We have no idea what we are doing” were the thoughts going through our minds. That opportunity did not work out, and of course, that was a huge letdown. We would find out throughout our adoption journey that there would be a lot of ups and downs, and the more you prepare for those, the easier the journey becomes. We would be chosen three more times, none of which would work out for us. It is devastating to go through these heartbreaking experiences and not know if any opportunity will work out. Are we doing too much? Are we not doing enough? What are we doing wrong? We received another call after four heartbreaks, and we hoped so badly this was the one! It had been almost 20 months and four failed opportunities, so we were defeated but so determined to stick with this process to find the baby who was meant for us.
Getting to know this expectant mother was easy, and communication was frequent. We lived close as well, so we were able to meet with her and go to all of her doctor appointments. Toward the end of her pregnancy, we were meeting with her weekly. Over the course of a few months, we became closer and enjoyed the time we spent together. She needed frequent communication, and we were okay providing whatever support she needed throughout her pregnancy.
The expectant mother was going to be induced, so we had gone to have lunch with her the day before. Much to our surprise, we received a call at 4:30 a.m. that she was in labor! It was time! There were a lot of emotions that flooded to the surface. Would she change her mind? We were excited and shocked this was happening but also so ready! We were able to be in the room with her and support her through her labor and delivery. Joey was able to cut the umbilical cord, which was such a special moment for him.
Laying eyes on baby Olivia was a moment we will never forget. The doctors told us Olivia had to go to the NICU. She would spend the next week there, and we were not able to have those sweet moments right away. The fear that consumes you when you have a child in the NICU is something we cannot describe. She fought her way through it, and Olivia is now a healthy, amazing little girl. Everything led us right to her, and what we did not realize at the time is that we were always on the road to Olivia; that is why things did not work out with the other mothers.
We have a semi-open adoption with Olivia’s birthmother, where we send pictures and letters throughout the year. Recently we lost contact with her, but the door is always open if she would want to communicate again and receive updates on how Olivia is doing.
Navigating our second adoption was so much different than our first. People always say every journey is so different, and that could not be more true. We found ourselves less desperate to be parents because we felt so blessed to have Olivia. The first time there was never an option of giving up, but navigating adoption for the second time, sometimes you wonder if it would be easier just to give up and be thankful for the child you were blessed with.
We received two opportunities before being chosen by our son’s birthmother. We were in the car, and Danelle told Joey if we did not receive an opportunity by the time we needed to renew our home study, we would give up. We are so glad we did not because the next day we received the call that would end up being for our baby boy! When we reached out to the expectant mother, things were so different with communication. She did not want to communicate a lot, and the communication we did get was sporadic. We were okay with this and respected that she wanted a more closed adoption. She wanted to know we were there but did not want to talk or engage much.
The call that the expectant mother was in labor shocked us since it was four to five weeks earlier than her anticipated due date. She did not receive much prenatal care, which we were told was pretty common. We were not prepared at all and did not even have a plan in place for Olivia. Danelle traveled to where the expectant mother was giving birth, and Joey made arrangements to get there the next day. It was scary and exciting all at the same time because, of course, you start having the same feelings of doubt but also joy!
She gave birth to a healthy, eight-pound boy, and he was perfect. The experience of getting to hold him right away and bond with him was something we did not get with our first child due to Olivia being in the NICU. We named our beautiful baby boy Jacob, and he is the sweetest baby. His birthmother did not want to see Jacob or meet us, so we stayed together in a room next to her and soaked up all the moments we could before getting discharged. We would not get to meet her until we went to court. We have a closed adoption but do have pictures we will be able to share with Jacob of his birthmother.
Trust the Process
Navigating adoption is not easy and takes a lot of patience and strength to get through it. So much is required of the potential adoptive parents, with so many emotions, so many unknowns, and so many decisions to be made quickly.
Adoption is a roller coaster ride, and you need to be prepared for that. Our best advice for others who are navigating adoption is to put yourself in the shoes of the expectant mother. Remember that whatever you are feeling or going through is much worse for the expectant mother. Expectant mothers are scared and some have bad environments or are young. Understanding their situation and being sensitive to them will take you a lot further in your journey.
Our first journey was over 24 months, and our second was only 13 months. Trust the process, and remember that everything will work out when it is supposed to. If you trust that things will work out and you stick it out, beautiful things will come. We stuck it out, and now we have a beautiful baby girl and a handsome baby boy! We are so thankful to their birthmothers for also trusting in the process and trusting we would love their children to the best of our ability. We are truly blessed.