How it all began...
Loss Leads to Hope
I always knew I would be a mom someday. It was the one thing I wanted more than anything. After the loss of two pregnancies and my relationship, I was unsure how I would fulfill my dreams of motherhood. I worked through my grief and came to the conclusion that I would not wait for someone else to make my dreams come true. I began exploring my options of becoming a mother on my own. Ultimately, my heart led me to adoption.
My mother was my biggest cheerleader. She helped me research adoption agencies and even tried submitting an application to Angel for me. She encouraged me to fight against all the odds. It was difficult to find an agency that would accept single parents. It’s a huge emotional and financial investment for one person, but I knew I had to do it.
I spoke with single parent referrals from Angel, who had nothing but great things to say. I did all my research on the process and leaned heavily on my home study social worker throughout my journey. When Angel called to accept me into their program, I cried tears of joy and hope. I knew God had put me on this path for a reason.
Love Is Patient
My journey to Lincoln was long and hard. It came with many challenges. Learning how to remain patient and hopeful felt impossible at times. When I found myself losing faith, my support system was there to carry me through. They never let me give up, and I was reminded that God wouldn’t put me through tough times without a reason. In the end, I couldn’t imagine being anyone else’s mom.
After several failed opportunities, Lincoln’s birthparents came into my life. I got the call from Angel on a Saturday morning. We lived in the same state, and the expectant mother was due in about a month. She had not had any prenatal care, so there were a lot of unknowns. The one thing I knew was that I would give it my all.
False Alarm or the Real Deal?
We connected with legal services as soon as possible. We communicated over the phone sporadically. They had so much on their own plate; it was hard for them to keep in constant contact with me. When I offered to visit them, they were so grateful! The day before I planned to drive out, the expectant mother started having Braxton Hicks contractions.
Her Braxton Hicks contractions continued during our lunch together. I didn’t know what to do besides try to stay calm and carry on with normal conversation. It was incredible to meet in person. It really solidified our relationship and commitment to each other. They were such a lovely young couple. I couldn’t imagine everything they were going through.
Something my social worker had told me after my prior disruptions was to remember to meet the expectant parents where they were in life, not where I was. Our walks in life were extremely different, and if they were not so different, then we never would have met. This piece of advice stuck with me and brought me a lot of clarity.
I returned home around 11 p.m. from lunch with Lincoln’s birthparents. Little did we know that she would go into labor the same night around 4 a.m. I jumped in my car and drove straight back. When I arrived, she was still in labor. It had stalled and was taking longer than expected. They invited me to their room, and I stayed with her the entire time.
After receiving pitocin, labor and delivery went quickly. I watched Lincoln be born and couldn’t believe how I fell in love with him immediately. His birthfather cut the umbilical cord, and I gave him his first bottle. The hospital was incredibly supportive of everyone in the adoption plan. One of the nurses had her mother-in-law bring baby clothes for Lincoln. Eventually I went to Walmart to gather some necessities, and the birthparents spent some time alone with him.
One of the most meaningful moments was when the birthparents told me they knew Lincoln was meant to be with me. Since Lincoln’s birth, we have kept in touch around holidays and his birthday. The door is always open to communicate and meet in person, but that ball is in their court. To respect them and their own grief, I always ask before sending pictures of Lincoln. When they see pictures, they respond with things like “He’s living his best life!” and “We love you both!” I hope to honor our relationship for years to come.
Give Yourself Grace
As a single parent, my adoption journey differed from a two-parent family. I leaned on my personal support system and my adoption professionals a lot more. I would not have been as strong as I needed to be without them. Don’t be afraid to ask your professionals for what you need. For me, I needed monthly calls with my Angel coordinator. It helped me feel like I wasn’t falling through the cracks.
For the majority of my adoption journey, I put a lot of things on hold. It felt crucial to save my finances and be prepared. Toward the end, I finally had some trips planned and had to cancel them all because Lincoln was born. Obviously I have no regrets! But make the plans and take the trips while you can.
Lastly, give yourself grace. With adoption, your life changes overnight. It’s completely normal to experience some symptoms of depression as a new parent. Most parents, biological and adoptive, go through a transition phase. When my home study social worker mentioned this to me, I didn’t want to believe it at first. Normalize talking about your guilt and fear with someone you trust.
Loving your child comes instantly, but forming the kind of bond you had only dreamed of can take some time. I cannot imagine my life without Lincoln, and I thank God every day for his selfless birthparents.