How it All Began...
How did you decide to adopt a baby?
We wanted to be parents and we had talked about it way before we were even married. Once we were married, we tried IVF and it actually "caught" once, but lost the baby at almost 11 weeks. After the pain lessened somewhat, we talked about our next steps. We both thought about pursuing adoption, and we both realized that to us, it did not matter whether or not our child would be biological. For us, at the end of the day, our child is our child and we would love her unconditionally.
Why did you choose to work with Angel Adoption?
When we were looking at agencies to work with, we really liked the atmosphere that Angel's website seemed to convey. It was personable, helpful, and allowed you to understand what they were about. When we interviewed with them, they looked at us as individuals and not as "people in wheelchairs." They did not place labels or preconceived notions about our abilities...especially our ability to parent. This was important to us because we did not want to have to prove ourselves over and over again that we can do anything that an able-bodied couple could do...we just do it differently. They realized that we would love our child regardless of how we maneuver throughout the day.
What were you most excited about?
We were most excited about being selected by a birthmother and holding our child for the first time. That feeling is indescribable.
What were you most nervous about?
With our physical disabilities, there are preconceived notions about what we can do and what we cannot. We tried to convey how independent and "normal" our lives are, but at the end of the day, an expectant mother needed to be comfortable with us to be able to select us as their child's adoptive parents. We were nervous that this decision would never happen.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Our friends and family were excited about the decision! Our parents love being grandparents, so the possibility of having another grandchild made them glow. Our siblings were also very excited, and they supported us in every decision we made concerning adoption. Our friends kept telling us how we would make great parents, and they could not wait to start spoiling our little one.
What was it like meeting your birthmother for the first time?
We did not meet our expectant mother until the day our daughter was born, but we had talked to her several times leading up to the birth. We formed a great relationship, so meeting her felt like getting together with a friend we do not see that often.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption? How did you make that decision?
We decided for the sake of our daughter to have an open adoption. Our daughter needs to be able to know who she is and where she came from. It was important to both us and her birthmother that our daughter have the ability to have a relationship with her birthmother so that our daughter understood where she came from, and how much she is loved by all three of us.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet her.
Our expectant mother was scheduled to have a C-section nine days after our daughter was actually born. We figured we had some time, so we had nothing packed. When I got the call that our expectant mother was in labor, I was at my friend's house and, quite honestly, in shock. I immediately called my husband and told him to start packing as I was on my way. We were no more than 20 minutes away from home when my phone flashed with the first picture of our daughter. My heart leaped into my throat and I had to pull over. I was so overcome with emotions. Once I gathered myself, I had to actually put the car on cruise control because I could not do the speed limit. All I wanted to do was see our beautiful little girl in person.
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
All I can say is that meeting our daughter was surreal. We got to the hospital about three and a half hours after she was born, so we were brought to our birthmother's room. The nurse went to get our daughter, and during the wait, we talked about how the birth went and how our birthmother was feeling. Finally, they wheeled our daughter into the room and there laid the most beautiful little girl I had ever seen. The nurse went to hand her to the birthmother, but she pointed at me and said, "You need to give her to her mom." That was the first time I was called mom...and that is an awesome feeling. They placed her in my arms and I could not stop looking at her.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
We have a great relationship with her! She is still considered our friend. We send pictures to her and still talk from time to time. We see her as a wonderful person who loves our daughter as much as we do.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
The wait was the hardest. You are so excited about becoming parents, but you need to wait for that one birthmother who decides you are the one. There is nothing more nerve-wracking than that.
Adoption can be a lengthy process — how did you get through it?
We tried to keep ourselves busy. We surrounded ourselves with friends and family and tried to go about our lives. We daydreamed from time to time and tried hard to stay as positive as possible.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
We would. It is a big decision with a ton of ups and downs, but at the end is a beautiful little one who looks into your eyes and lightens up your heart.
What advice do you have to share with other adoptive parents?
Listen to those who say it will happen. Have faith in yourself and in the process. Share your thoughts with others...and remember...the prize at the end is all worth it!