How it all began...
Love for Adoption
We always wanted to start a family, but we knew we would need to look at options to start one. Joseph is a family medicine doctor and delivered a child whose mother wanted to place for adoption. That really made him start looking into adoption more and the foster care system. Joseph soon realized how many children needed good homes. Francesco had cousins who were adopted, so he had a love for adoption early on.
As a gay couple living in South Carolina, we wanted to find a company that would treat us like any other couple. There were many companies that did not advertise they were LGBT friendly. We knew we needed to look at nationwide companies to find what we were looking for. Once we found Angel Adoption, we finally felt like we connected with a company, and everything was falling into place. We were ready to go so much that our wedding registry was a baby fund for our adoption. Our dreams of being parents were getting closer.
In the beginning, we were pretty nervous and overwhelmed because there was so much to do with our profile and home study. Figuring out how to show we were a loving couple was important to us. We wanted the expectant mother to understand who we were and feel connected to us. We were happy with the way our profile turned out, but we were still a little nervous.
When you are ready to embark on your adoption journey, so many thoughts cross your mind, especially whether or not someone will choose you. Once we started talking with expectant mothers, we felt lucky! We were chosen pretty quickly. The first two moms who chose us were early on in their pregnancies and ended up deciding not to place. When those opportunities did not work out, we were apprehensive to tell many people about future opportunities. We did not want to make family and friends go through every single up and down with us.
Meeting the One
A few months after starting our journey, we were chosen by Aspen’s birthmom. She was easy to talk to, and she was further along in her pregnancy than the other women we had talked to. We loved getting to know her and felt a connection with her right away.
We were in constant contact with her, and we planned to be there three days before her due date. We got an Airbnb, and we stayed there over the next few days. On her due date, we went to her appointment with her, and the doctor asked if she wanted to be induced because they could do it that night. She loved hearing that because she was ready to no longer be pregnant.
A Baby Girl Is Born
We received a call that she was ready to push, so we left our Airbnb right away. We knew how quickly things could go once she was induced, so we had rented a house only five minutes from the hospital. Aspen’s birthmom labored for twenty-four hours, and she was amazing. Prior to her due date, we had agreed on a birth plan for the hospital, and they were wonderful with us. It was a great experience, and we were thankful for all the hospital staff.
We were lucky to be in the room when Aspen was born. Since Joseph is a doctor, he was explaining everything to the expectant mother so she was comfortable. During the delivery, Francesco was able to cut the cord, and he loved doing that. Joe got the first skin to skin, which was what the birthmother wanted. Aspen was eight pounds when she was born, which was a surprise because it was predicted that she would only be around five or six pounds. We were so thankful for the experience, but our time at the hospital was an emotional time. It is safe to say we cried for the first 24 hours.
We could not stop looking at her, because she was truly the most beautiful thing we had ever laid our eyes on. We also needed to make sure she was really there and safe. You dream of something for so long, and once it is reality, it’s hard to look away. The number of emotions you feel is hard to describe. How do we love someone so much when we have only known her for a day?
Family of Three
We walked into our room at the hospital as a family of three. Shortly after that, we went to talk with the birthmother. We told her how much she had changed our lives and thanked her. We knew she liked crystals, and as we were walking together, she looked at a rose quartz crystal. We bought that for her as a gift as a small token of our gratitude.
She was happy to no longer be pregnant, and she texted to check in a few times after we left the hospital. She asked for pictures, which we happily provided her, but we anticipated that this was the start of the relationship changing. We knew communication would be different after placement, and we missed talking to her.
The Hard Parts
Adoption is beautiful, but even with the most amazing of things, there are hard times. One of the hardest things for us as doctors was the lack of medical information. We know all the risks, and going into things blindly was hard. However, we trusted that everything would be okay, and we are glad we were able to get past wanting to know medical information.
The best advice we have for other adoptive parents is to just keep your mind open and be adaptable. Going with the flow will be imperative when navigating adoption, and if things don’t work out, don’t let that stop you from moving forward. Always be welcoming to the expectant mother. All the expectant mothers we talked to mentioned how we were warm and how much they appreciated that. Always remember to foster the relationship with any expectant mother because they will be in your lives forever. Support your expectant mother the way you would your child.
We are so thankful for Aspen, her birthmother, and the experience with Angel Adoption. Remember that everything will work out the way it is supposed to, so stay hopeful. We have a semi-open adoption with Aspen’s birthmother, and as time goes on, we’re figuring out what that will look like. In the meantime, we are loving every second of being parents.