How it all began...
Planning for Adoption
We knew early in our relationship that we wanted to have children and assumed it would happen easily. After starting to try naturally and it not working, we sought medical intervention. We did end up pregnant but miscarried. After taking a break from family planning, we were offered the opportunity to try IVF, and when that was unsuccessful, we started thinking our family planning might need to take another path.
We started to casually research adoption but knew financially it might be some time before we were ready. Shannon found Angel’s website and saved the site for later. When we were finally ready to move forward, we contacted Angel right away and were ready to jump in!
Testing Our Patience
After starting our home study and getting our profile completed, we waited but didn’t wait long. Only four months in, we were chosen by an expectant mother who was pregnant with twins. We knew she was choosing between us and another family, and after talking to her for only one week, she chose the other family. We felt really set back, and even though we spoke with her very briefly, we had gotten our hopes up.
Under normal circumstances, Shannon is impatient and Justin is calm and collected, but through our next long wait, we were totally reversed. Shannon continued to think this process would work out, and Justin kept questioning if we needed to change or update anything. Were our preferences right? Should we change our profile? We knew our communication preference of semi-open or closed might be limiting, but we were fearful of an open adoption. As parents now, we know our fears were unfounded and that our child has space to love us and their birthmother, but at the time, it was difficult to imagine and work through.
Building Our Bond
After another full year of waiting, our profile was selected again. The expectant mother had been previously working with another family, and after they were made aware of some medical concerns, they walked away. The expectant mother was five months along when she chose us, and we didn’t have the same hesitations the first family had. From the very beginning, the expectant mother was confident in her adoption plan. She continued to reassure us she knew she couldn’t parent and that this was the best choice.
The expectant mother lived within one hour of us, and we were grateful to have a fantastic legal team that helped both us build a strong relationship. We started to get really comfortable with her, and she invited us to her remaining doctor’s appointments. Only one of us was able to go, so Shannon was able to attend the final three appointments with the expectant mother.
While we got to know her, she asked us early what name we were thinking of, and we’d always loved the name Tristan. From that day forward, she referred to her son as Tristan and used his name at the doctor’s appointments. It was also really important to her that her son have a true father in his life, and she asked a lot about Justin’s involvement with the other children in our lives. It was special to us to see how much she already loved and cared about our commitment to her child’s life and what type of parents we would be.
Worth the Wait
At one of the expectant mother’s last appointments, we were able to schedule her induction and left with the date in hand. We asked if she wanted us to be there, and she insisted that we had to be there!
The day we picked her up for her induction, it was the worst weather ever, and with ice storms and blizzard-like conditions, it took us double the time to get to the hospital. When we finally made it there, they started her medications that evening. It was slow moving until the following morning when her contractions really picked up and her epidural started working. From there, the baby arrived quickly! We both got to watch our son, Tristan, come into the world.
Tristan’s birthmother wanted to hold him first, and we both had a moment of panic but knew this was best for everyone. After she held him for just a couple of minutes, she handed him over to Shannon and said, “It’s time to go meet you mom.”
We stayed in the room together for the first hour and then went to our own room. We were required to stay at the hospital for a full week to monitor Tristan, and during that time, we continued to check on his birthmother and made sure she had everything she needed. On the last day, we all signed Tristan’s adoption paperwork and took a photo with his birthmother. It was an incredibly emotional day for everyone, and we could not imagine our journey having gone differently.
Our Completed Family
After having Tristan, we had talked about opening our home to foster care in the future, but around Tristan’s first birthday, we found out we were pregnant with our daughter, Kathryn! We were shocked and so thrilled to have a second child and have our kids so close in age.
Having our two kids, both through adoption and birth, has been nothing short of a blessing. We know our family story would not be complete without the immense decision that Tristan’s birthmother made, and we are grateful for her every day.