How it All Began...
A New JourneyDayna & Brad
We had known in our hearts that we were destined to become parents. We struggled with infertility for many years before we came to the realization that we would not be able to have biological children. This was something that was not easy to accept or move past. Looking back, we are so thankful that we allowed ourselves the time and space to heal and come to terms with the reality of our situation. It was through that process that we were able to realize there was another plan for us.
As our hearts began to heal we began looking into alternative ways to grow our family. After much research, we came across an old friend who had adopted four children through Angel Adoption and had a wonderful experience each time. That was a huge factor in us choosing to work with Angel, knowing it was so highly recommended. We dove head first into our adoption journey, excited and determined to educate ourselves as much as possible and prepare for this next chapter in life.Leesa
When I learned I was pregnant, it came as a bit of a shock. I have two older children and was not prepared when I found myself in this situation. Unfortunately the situation with the baby’s father was not the best, and I knew in my heart that my baby’s well being was what truly mattered. My mom was adopted, so adoption has always been near to my heart.
Building a RelationshipDayna & Brad
We immediately got started on our paperwork, completing our profile and getting home study ready. We could have never imagined that we would get a call just six days after our profile went live on the Angel website! Dayna had a missed call, and when we called back we assumed it was regarding missing paperwork. Dayna nearly fainted when we heard there was an expectant mother who wanted to talk to us.
We learned this expectant mother, Leesa, was three months into her pregnancy, lived an hour away from us, and wanted to talk to us right away. Our first phone call lasted over three hours. We talked about anything and everything. The connection we had was immediate and strong. It was as if we had known each other for years. The next day we met for dinner and ended up closing the restaurant down, talking the evening away and beginning what ultimately has been a beautiful friendship.
We spent six months building our relationship and, over time, we became family. Leesa was so gracious and sweet, allowing us to come to doctor’s appointments with her and fully immerse ourselves in the process. From the start we remained open-minded and allowed Leesa to guide the relationship and level of communication that felt right for her. It is difficult to know what kind of placement is best until you meet an expecting mom. We knew that her involvement in our lives and the life of her child was important, not only for her, but for the baby as well. We remained and continue to be open and vulnerable with each other, honoring the emotional needs of all involved and really doing our best to keep a transparent and open dialogue.Leesa
I knew this journey would not be easy, but I wasn’t ready for the rollercoaster of emotions I experienced when choosing an adoptive family. When I reached out to Angel Adoption, they provided me with a group of family profiles to look over. The first family I chose didn’t work out, so I asked to look through more profiles. That’s when I came across Dayna and Brad’s profile. They caught my eye because they had a dog named Wrigley and I love the Chicago Cubs. Both of them looked genuine and their eyes looked so kind, particularly Dayna’s. I loved that they spoke of their large family and how close they all are. I knew I wanted to talk to them. I know it sounds silly to think that I noticed them because of their dog’s name, but to me it was a sign that ultimately led me to one of the greatest relationships in my life.
That first day we talked on the phone for hours. Dayna and I had so much in common and we bonded over our love of the same TV shows and sports teams. We talked as if we had known each other for years. I knew in that moment that Brad and Dayna would be the family I chose to adopt my child. When we met in person it was never awkward or uncomfortable. Everything fell into place with ease and helped me realize that everything does happen for a reason, and that is why my first match failed. I was so distraught about the previous opportunity not working out, but quickly saw that it was all meant to be. I believe it was God’s will that we met when we did. I loved that they had a big family dynamic and lots of family support.
It was important for me to spend the time leading up to my due date getting to know them better and create a bond. Communication was so important and remains that way to this day. Dayna and Brad have always given me the space to honor my feelings and talk about how hard it would be to place the child I was carrying. I felt supported emotionally and knew in my heart that my baby was to be their child. We all agreed that open communication and being honest about what we wanted and needed would be crucial in the success of not only this placement, but for our friendship. One thing that was so helpful in working with Dayna and Brad was the lack of pressure I felt from them. I knew they would still love me even if I ultimately chose to parent this baby.
The Day Charlotte was BornDayna & Brad
It was nearing Leesa’s due date when we found out she was scheduled to be induced. On the day of her induction we were all together at the hospital, awaiting the arrival of Charlotte (Charlie). Ultimately Leesa needed a C-section, and when that decision was made, things progressed fairly quickly. Leesa’s mother and Brad accompanied Leesa into the operating room. Dayna waited in the recovery room with Leesa’s 11-year-old daughter, Bella. One moment Brad was watching the nurse with Leesa and the next moment, Charlie had arrived. The nurses immediately handed her to Brad and he was overwhelmed with so many emotions. It was something he will never forget. The connection he felt to Charlie was incredibly powerful and something he can never begin to describe.
Brad took Charlie to see Leesa right away before texting Dayna a picture of Charlie to let her know she had arrived. Dayna and Bella hugged and cried as they received the news. While Leesa was in recovery, we were able to take Charlie back to our hospital room. Bella was with us and asked to hold her sister, and we happily encouraged her to bond. As Leesa was taken back to the room, she came in to see Bella holding Charlie and was immediately overtaken by her emotions. We can’t begin to understand or know the pain in her heart, knowing she was placing her child and trying to remain somewhat disconnected, allowing us to step into our new role as parents. We are so thankful for those few days in the hospital when we were all together and able to process the enormity of what was taking place.Leesa
When Charlie was born, I was not prepared for the overwhelming pain and emotions. Seeing my older daughter, Bella, hold Charlie was so heart-wrenching, but at the same time, I was happy for Dayna and Brad and knew my baby would have an amazing home to grow up in.
Placing Charlie for adoption was the single hardest thing I have ever done in my life. Watching her leave the hospital without me tore my heart out. I was surprised by how difficult it was and how much sadness followed her birth. I was 100% confident in my decision to place and that I had found the perfect adoptive parents. Knowing all of this, the emotions that followed surprised me and I found myself crying out in pain for my child. The grief and emptiness I felt were all consuming and I felt blindsided by my reaction. I still think of Charlie every single day and there are nights that I still long to hold her in my arms and call her mine. I wish there was more support for birthmothers after the placement of a child, but Dayna and Brad have been so gentle and supportive as I continue to process and heal.
Moving ForwardDayna & Brad
After the birth of Charlie, our relationship with Leesa continued to blossom and unfold. We talk often and see each other at least once a month. Charlie is now six months old and we continue to openly process and remain transparent in our relationship. Knowing there are so many people who love this child warms our hearts and gives us all a sense of peace.
We truly believe we hit the lottery when we were chosen by Leesa. When we began working with Angel we knew we wanted an open adoption, but were nervous and unsure about exactly what it would look like. When we met Leesa and grew to love her, our guarded hearts began to open and allow a beautiful friendship to develop. We know the odds of replicating this type of situation would be slim to none. We hope our story provides families with the courage to remain open-minded and trusting in their adoption journey.
If we could offer advice to other hopeful adoptive parents it would be to always be yourself. The only thing you have to allow expecting moms to learn about you is your profile, so remaining true to who you are is key. Let your words come from your heart, and never say you are going to do something if you don't plan on following through. Expectant mothers have emotions and needs that are so important to honor. We would not be parents if it weren’t for Leesa, and we will never take that for granted. Being open, vulnerable, and honest is something we will continue to be as Charlie grows up. We gained family when we met Leesa and we are incredibly grateful for her openness, honestly, and trust.Leesa
Dayna and Brad are my family. It has been six months since Charlie was born and I still hear from them at least four times a week. We also see each other monthly. I have the utmost respect, love, and admiration for both of them. They are amazing parents, and Charlie is such a happy baby. I especially love the bond that Dayna and I share. I am at complete ease with discussing anything with her without any judgement. We continue to be transparent about our feelings, processing together the many fears we have. Dayna fears the day will come that Charlie will tell her she isn't her real mom. I fear the day will come that Charlie resents me for my decision. Being able to talk openly about these things has been a true gift and a big reason I am able to move forward and trust that I made the right decision for my baby. I feel so grateful that I still get to see her and watch her grow.
Charlie will always be a huge part of my life. There is absolutely no distinction between my love for her and my love for my older children — I love them all equally. I will always see Charlie as my daughter, even though I am not her mom. It is my hope that she knows and understands that my decision was made from a place of deep love and care for her.