How it all began...
New Family Path
Like a lot of families, we knew we wanted to start trying for a family as soon as we got married. What we did not expect was to navigate infertility. After an unsuccessful round of IVF, we started to explore and talk about adoption. Adoption has been something that's been close to both of our hearts as both of our families have been blessed by adoption.
After we started talking about pursuing adoption, we started talking to our family members about it as well. They were incredibly supportive and on board with us, which made the decision much easier. We were all in; we knew this was how we were going to grow our family. The next step was to find the right company to navigate the journey with us.
We did a lot of research and a lot of googling; Angel Adoption was always at the top of the search list and that stood out to us. We spoke with friends and family members who had previously adopted and asked about their experience and what they looked for while choosing an adoption company to partner with. It was important to us that we had resources available to us during our journey and equally as important that the birth family had resources too. After speaking with staff at Angel Adoption, we felt very positive and supported in the process and knew they would help us bring a baby home.
A Slow Start
At the start of our journey, we had a lot of things to complete, which can be overwhelming. There were also a lot of emotions, at different times, during the journey too. We were excited and petrified all at the same time. We quickly learned how much we didn’t know and how much we needed to support each other and needed the support of our friends and family.
Something we quickly learned is no two journeys are alike. Our journey was not easy, and we encountered a few bumps along the way. Through our almost 2.5-year journey with Angel, we were presented with five situations and formally said yes to four expectant mothers. We learned a lot about ourselves and the adoption journey through each one of these matches and relationships.
The first match taught us it’s okay to be guarded and cautiously optimistic. While we did walk away from that match, it was what we needed to do at the time. The second match taught us to lean into each other and our support system. Through the disruption we experienced, we saw we weren’t in this journey alone. Our family and friends were there with us every step of the way. Meeting the birth mother and her children really showed us that an open adoption can work. We are so thankful for our match and time with her and think of her and her family often. The third taught us to remain strong and stay rooted in our faith. When she miscarried, she was more worried about us and how we felt than her own self. We still are in communication with her today and remain friends.
Each one of these women have impacted us and our journey in their own individual, positive way. We are truly thankful for all of them. We would not change anything about our journey, because we learned so much.
The wait between opportunities can be difficult; it’s hard to turn off the thoughts and worry of when or if this will work out for you. When will we become parents, and will the next opportunity be the one? Lucky for us, the next call we would receive would be the one that would change our lives forever.
It was a Wednesday, and Heather was in a meeting when she saw Angel’s name come across her phone. She quickly ended the meeting and answered the phone. Our Adoptive Parent Coordinator explained she had an immediate situation. A baby boy had already been born, and she wanted to know if we wanted to proceed. The rest is a blur. She called Ian and explained the situation, and he came home from work immediately. This call felt different; our hearts were telling us, “This is it.” Without hesitation, we called back and said we’d like to proceed. The next day, our Adoptive Parent Coordinator called and said the birthmother picked us and we needed to proceed quickly. Before we knew it, we were on the phone with the birthmother’s attorney and booking our flights to fly out and meet him.
Our brother-in-law picked us up 8 hours later at 2:30 a.m. to bring us to the airport; we were nervous wrecks. We were going back to the same place we had our disruption the year prior, and there was a lot of emotion around that. Once we landed, it felt like time was dragging by so slowly. All we wanted to do was get there and be with him, make sure he was ok. We met the social workers in the lobby of the hospital and took the elevator ride up to the NICU together.
Meeting Our Son
Time stood still. The moment we saw him, every tear we had cried was worth it, every second of our journey was worth it; he was worth it! We looked at this tiny miracle laying in the incubator, and our hearts just grew. We never knew we could experience love like this.
We were able to do skin to skin the same day, and there are no words to describe that feeling. In the incubator, he was so tense; as soon as we held him, he relaxed. He curved his little body onto our chests and was instantly calm; tears rolling down both of our faces we knew we were right where we were meant to be and he knew he was home.
We are so in love with our son and so thankful for him. This all was possible because of his wonderful birthmother. She gave us the greatest gift in the world and no words will ever express the gratitude and admiration we have for her. Unfortunately, we do not have a relationship with her; but we look forward to the day she is ready and reaches out.
Overcoming the Doubts
The wait and the ups and downs of the journey can be so difficult. Comparing our journey with others was one of the things we wish we had not done. We found ourselves questioning why some people got picked right away, but here we were two years in and still hadn’t been successful. Was there something wrong with us? The comparison made it really easy to spiral and get upset. In the moments that we found ourselves starting to lose faith, we had to reroot ourselves and remind ourselves why we set out on this journey in the first place.
The adoption process can be lengthy and quite emotional; once we found the joy in our wait, we embraced it. We took time for ourselves as a couple, enjoying dates, vacations, and time with our friends and family. Heather journaled throughout the process and found friendships in online groups. It was amazing to connect with other hopeful adoptive parents to see we were not alone.
Through every failed match and disruption, we grieved but then reflected on the positive. How lucky were we that these expectant mothers thought that highly of us that they would want to consider us to parent their child?
It’s important to support one another and find joy in your journey. Lean into your support people and your partner; you’d be surprised to know they are experiencing the same feelings as you are. We would do this journey again, a million times, to be CJ’s parents. The wait is so hard, but the growth you experience during it is amazing. Celebrate it. Give yourself grace, and know that the second that baby is in your arms, it is all worth it!