How it All Began...
Adoption Runs in the Family
We always knew we wanted a family and the sounds of children to fill our home. After trying to conceive unsuccessfully for over three years, we began to look at other options. We did not have a desire to pursue invasive fertility treatments and felt having a biological child was not a priority for us. Ginny’s parents had grown their family through adoption, so we knew this was always an option and one that was close to our own hearts.
We began researching whom to work with, and on the advice of a social worker who works with Ginny, we found Angel Adoption. We were drawn to the fact they are a smaller organization and had an amazing success rate. As we moved forward with signing on and completing our homestudy and profile, we were excited but nervous too. We initially felt prepared for this journey, but quickly realized to let go of any expectations, as there were too many possible scenarios. With the support of our family and close friends, we had people to lean on; and with adoption being such a huge part of Ginny’s family, we knew we would be successful in growing our family.
The Ride of a Lifetime
Over the course of our contract with Angel, at least eight different birthmothers were interested in connecting with us. Out of those, some responded when we reached out to them and some did not. Those who did respond, the contact ranged from days to months. We had one failed adoption. It seemed as if all the opportunities coming our way were just not a good match and didn't feel right. Reflecting back, it is now clear why those didn’t work out, but at the time, it was challenging to stay positive.
Within five months of the failed adoption, we received the call that would change the course of our lives forever. Ginny was out shopping and received a call that there was a birthmother and a birthfather who had chosen us, but they wanted a closed adoption and did not want to talk with us. She was well into the third trimester of her pregnancy, and once we decided to move forward with this opportunity, things moved pretty fast.
We briefly communicated with the birthfather via email. The birthmother was unsure if she wanted any contact with us as she was doing what was best for her heart, and we wanted to respect her wishes. They requested 24 hours alone with the baby before we stepped in, and we graciously accepted that. We came to learn that their family was supportive of their decision and was there with them throughout the whole process. The birthfather’s dad even reached out to the social worker to ensure his son had a voice. We were so blown away by their emotional maturity and respected this young couple for making such a life-altering decision. Both birthparents wanted their child to know they did this from a place of complete and total love. Through our brief conversations, we felt confident in this connection and knew in our hearts this was our baby.
Meeting Our Baby
As a part of the birth and adoption plan, the birthparents had scheduled an induction. As we were making our way there, we received word from the social worker that she went into labor on her own and that it was a boy!
When we arrived in town, we knew very little of what was happening, but checked into a hotel and waited patiently for more information. We received word from the social worker that we were allowed to come to the hospital and visit the following day., When we arrived at the hospital, we were greeted by the social worker, who notified us that the baby would be discharged today! We were in disbelief as we assumed we would be at the hospital for at least one day.
We were brought to a room to meet our baby boy, and as we laid our eyes on him, it was as if we were dreaming. As we held him, we were overcome with such intense emotions it’s hard to find words to describe such a moment. Our dreams had come true, and we were overwhelmed with love and gratitude. This was our son, Leo Alexander.
Both birthparents feared Leo would not know how much they loved him, and they wanted to ensure he knew that. They gifted him a stuffed bear, and we were able to get a picture of the three of us with the bear at the hospital. That was such a special moment and a photo we will treasure forever.
Reflections & Advice
Although it has only been a short time since Leo Alexander has entered our lives, we have had some time to reflect on our adoption journey and all the ways we were able to make it to this moment. Being able to lean on each other and our core group of friends was so crucial for us. Having a safe place to just vent or process what was going on was a lifesaver. We also stayed busy as we were both pursuing advanced degrees and were thankful that served as a distraction during the harder moments of this journey.
One thing we heard from our social worker was to “follow our hearts but lead with our heads”. That really hit home with us and helped us navigate this path. You may encounter uncomfortable circumstances and doubt yourself. If so, be head smart, and if something doesn't feel right, trust yourself.
We would love to adopt again and feel a bit more at ease knowing we have already taken the journey once before. We hope that during that time, the adoption community continues to grow and the focus will evolve to be on both the birthmother as well as the birthfather. If possible, we believe it to be important to include the birthfather in the process, and we hope to see more support for them as it is emotionally trying for them as well.