How it all began...
Finding Our Home
We started our adoption research while living on the East Coast and also discussing where we wanted to raise our family. We chose to relocate to the Midwest and, once settled, started looking at adoption providers. We found that staying in state wasn’t much of an option, so we started looking at national options. We found Angel and were really comfortable with their process.
We started our home study and profile at the same time and were really hopeful we’d be chosen quickly.
A Devastating End
After seven months of waiting, we were selected for the first time. We were actually headed out for a weekend getaway to celebrate our one-year anniversary when we saw that Angel was calling. We both panicked, and we almost forgot how to answer the phone! After finding out the details of the opportunity, we said yes. It was an expectant mother who had faced tragedy after tragedy, and our hearts went out to her. She was still early in her pregnancy, but we were ready to wait alongside her.
We texted with her throughout the weekend, and on Monday, she told her coordinator she officially wanted to move forward with us. We started hiring attorneys in our state and hers, and things started to feel more real.
About two months after we initially connected with the expectant mother, we had planned a gender reveal. The expectant mother had emailed the gender to Matthew’s sister, and she worked with a bakery to have one cupcake filled with blue or pink. With our closest friends and family, we got together for the gender reveal party, and it was Joe’s grandma who got the lucky cupcake. It was a girl! We were elated and could not wait to welcome a baby girl into our lives.
Sadly, just two days after our gender reveal party, Angel called to share the horrific news with us that the expectant mother had gone into early labor and delivered a stillborn baby. We went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Our hearts were crushed, not only for ourselves but for the birthmother and what she was facing. It was unfathomable.
The Ups and Downs
While only two days removed from the tragic news, Angel called us yet again and told us we’d been selected by a new expectant mother. Talk about a rollercoaster of emotions. This expectant mother was younger, had two children already, and was adopted herself. She also identified as part of the LGBTQ community and felt very comfortable working with us. Our initial communication started off strong, and for two days, we talked nonstop. And then all communication stopped.
About two weeks later, Angel reached out. We expected them to say she was going in a different direction, but it was the opposite. She had reached back out and apologized for her lack of communication; life had just gotten busy. After reconnecting with her, we found frequent communication and then silence was a regular cycle for her. The lack of knowing what was going on and what to expect really took a lot of trust and faith from us.
Not long after, we had hired attorney services for her and were paying her living expenses on a monthly basis. She was living in a hotel with her children and the birthfather and meeting with the social worker on a regular basis. It was difficult to get medical records from the expectant mother, and when we did finally receive them, everything had a different due date. All we knew was that she was due sometime over the summer. The inconsistency definitely tested out trust, but we knew something was better than nothing.
In the early spring, the expectant mother texted us that she believed she was in labor and was heading to the hospital. She asked if we could get to her ASAP, but before we traveled, we checked in with the social worker. She couldn’t tell us what to do, but based on the ultrasound photos we had, we didn’t think it was possible she was in labor. We ultimately decided not to fly to her, and later that day, she was sent home from the hospital and told nothing was happening yet.
Only weeks after that, we were headed to the expectant mother’s city for a softball tournament for Joe, and we had planned to meet up with her. We were really excited to meet in person since we’d only texted with her up until that point. Just thirty minutes before we were supposed to meet her, she texted us telling us there was a family emergency and she wouldn’t be able to make it.
An Impossible Situation
Just weeks after the expectant mother canceled on us, she was in need of additional financial assistance. We had been helping her quite a bit with the assistance of our social worker and were comfortable providing more help. During this time, the social worker was out of the office and couldn’t assist the expectant mother. When she returned, we all found out the expectant mother had left a negative public review of the social worker, and from a legal standpoint, they were no longer able to work with her. It was at this time that we also chose to walk away from the expectant mother; it would have been incredibly difficult to find another social worker in her state that would be willing to work with her, and it put us in an impossible situation.
A Turn for the Best
About one month after the disruption, we received a text from the expectant mother asking if we were still open to adopting her baby because she had moved to a new state and she still wanted to place with us. Since she was in a new state, we felt the freedom to hire new attorney services without the negative history following us.
With Angel’s help, we hired a new attorney, and from day one, everything was so smooth! She was able to start receiving financial assistance again, and she released what medical records she had.
We only had weeks before she was due at this point, and she still had to find a doctor in her new state. Matt coincidentally had a business trip planned in the city the expectant mother was living in, and Joe drove out so we’d have a car. We were able to go to her first and only OB appointment with her because her induction was scheduled just two days later.
Meeting her at the doctor’s appointment for the first time was such a breath of fresh air for us! We had been speaking with this young woman for months, and after so much uncertainty, seeing her in person and speaking with her calmed so many of our fears.
The following evening we took her and the expectant father to dinner, and it felt so great to spend time with both of them. We all got along so well, and we finally felt like everything was falling into place.
The Day Is Finally Here!
The next day, we met her at the hospital early in the morning for her induction. They told us to come back much later in the evening, and instead of her driving herself, we offered to pick her up. We picked her up that night and then spent the night in the hospital together. She didn’t want to be in her room alone, so we all hung out together watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, chatting, and resting when we could.
Early the next morning, the doctors officially induced her, and that was when the expectant father came to the hospital. While she labored, we spent the day with her two children in our own hospital room. We watched their favorite shows, had pizza and popcorn, and just loved on our future child’s siblings. Just after lunch that day, the nurse came in and asked if we were ready to meet our daughter! We were definitely ready!
A Surreal Feeling
Meeting our daughter, Michaela, was a dream come true. We never thought we would get to this point. Emotions were high in the room with Michaela’s birthmother still there, and we were trying hard to be respectful of how she was feeling. She ended up discharging the same day since they didn’t have alternative childcare options, and we stayed in the hospital with Michaela for one more day.
While waiting in Michaela’s birth state for our clearances to leave, Joe’s mom flew out to meet her granddaughter, and she got to join us to celebrate one of Michaela’s biological brother’s birthdays. We all went to dinner together, and it was so special to see Joe’s mom meet Michaela’s birthparents.
A Grateful Journey
Since Michaela’s adoption, we have maintained contact with her birthparents through a private social media account. We’ve loved sharing both the big and small moments with them.
Our journey to Michaela took a lot of patience and trust from us, which wasn’t always easy, but leaning on the professionals throughout the process helped immensely. We know that without the struggles, we wouldn’t have our perfect baby girl, so for each tough day that it took to get here, we are forever grateful.