How it all began...

International vs. Domestic Adoption

We had talked about pursuing adoption to grow our family long before we were even married. Eventually, when the time felt right, we dove into the process. We started by looking into international adoption, specifically adopting a child from China. We chose an adoption agency and posted about our international adoption journey on Facebook. Having seen the post, one of our friends reached out to us and asked if we’d ever considered domestic adoption, a process that he and his wife had recently gone through.

We hadn’t seriously considered domestic adoption before, but it piqued our interest, so we started researching it. We couldn’t find a local agency that felt like a good fit, so we branched out and found Angel Adoption. After meeting with them and speaking with every referral on their list, we decided to shift our journey from international to domestic adoption and signed on with Angel.

Chosen so Quickly

Only months after completing our adoptive family profile and our home study, we were on vacation when we received a call from Angel. Our profile had been selected for the first time. We were blown away with how quickly it had all happened! We started speaking with the expectant mother and continued to do so on and off for two months. The attorney that we hired was absolutely wonderful in validating our fears, providing us with guidance and advice, and being a sounding board throughout the entire process.

As we got further into the process with this expectant mother, we started to feel uncomfortable with some of her requests, so after much deliberation we chose to walk away from our connection with her. We would never have predicted that it would be two full years before we were chosen again.

Unexpected Heartbreak

After two years of waiting and keeping ourselves distracted, we had a handful of adoption opportunities that didn’t pan out. We were starting to ask ourselves, “What’s next?” “Do we give up?” “Is this really meant for us?” Just as we were seriously considering giving up on the process, we received a call from Angel that an expectant mother had selected our profile, and she was due in just a few days!

We immediately started texting back and forth with her and had a great conversation; it felt like the perfect fit. We flew to Colorado and got there just in time to meet the baby. The birthmother chose not to meet us, but we had an opportunity to meet the birthfather and everything seemed like it was working out. We bonded with the sweetest baby boy in the hospital and when we were discharged, we headed to a nearby friend’s house to wait for the ICPC paperwork to be processed.

Just as we were settling in, our attorney called and told us the heartbreaking news that the birthparents had chosen to parent. We made the painful drive back to the attorney’s office and handed over the baby. It was awful. We were utterly devastated and shocked to our core. We returned home, our arms empty and hearts heavy.

Is This Really It?

As we grieved the loss of what we had thought was our son, we stood at a crossroads, unsure which way to go next. Our home study was about to expire, our contract with Angel was nearing its end, and we were feeling defeated. We debated, but ultimately our social worker convinced us to update our home study and fingerprints, just in case.

We completed all of the pieces to keep our home study up to date and headed to Hawaii for a wedding and some time away. Two days after the wedding, Kristopher received a call from an Illinois number. Being from Illinois himself, he was used to spam calls and ignored the call. When the same number called Antonia’s phone immediately afterward, she knew she had to answer — it was Angel! They told us that a baby boy had been born two days prior and we were chosen for the opportunity! We had one hour to decide if we wanted to move forward, but we didn’t need the full hour and immediately said yes!

It was a Friday, and Angel informed us there would be little movement with the case over the weekend, so we had some time to make our necessary travel arrangements. We were originally supposed to leave Hawaii over a week later, so we moved our departure flight up to that upcoming Wednesday and changed our destination to Illinois, where the birthmother was. Getting through those few extra days proved to be far too difficult. We were barely able to focus on anything else. After two sleepless nights, we knew we wouldn’t be able to rest until we were at the hospital. So we rescheduled our flights once again and left Hawaii on Sunday, a full week before we were originally supposed to.

Kristopher’s mom was still living in Illinois, which meant we had the perfect place to stay while we waited for our ICPC paperwork to clear. Before leaving Hawaii, we reached out to her and filled her in on the situation. She was thrilled and did a massive shopping trip for us getting all of the essential baby supplies while we were on a red eye to Illinois. When we landed, we headed straight to the hospital and met our son, Jack, for the very first time. He had arrived three weeks early and was in NICU, but he was the most precious baby we’d ever seen. His birthmother and birthfather chose not to meet him or us, and the birthmother had already been discharged from the hospital by the time we arrived. Jack was discharged from the hospital the next day, which also happened to be the day our home study would have expired if not for the serendipitous encouragement of our social worker. We brought Jack to Kristopher’s mom’s home, which was the same house Kristopher had come home to as a newborn.

Worth the Wait

Those first days with Jack were tough, not because he was a difficult baby, but emotionally. We were terrified to bond with him after having been hurt so deeply in the past, so we couldn’t help but guard our hearts. We went through the parenting motions until three days later. We got the call that the paperwork was signed and Jack was officially ours! We both burst into tears knowing that our long, emotional journey had all been worth it.

Everyone’s adoption journey is different, and ours is no exception. After working with multiple expectant mothers, many of whom we spoke with intimately and built relationships with, we ultimately ended up connecting with a birthmother who requested a closed adoption. The only contact we have is through a private Instagram account where we upload pictures of Jack every so often for his birthparents to see. Nevertheless, we are grateful from the bottom of our hearts for the selfless decision she and her partner made that day and that we have the opportunity to love Jack and share him with the world. We know he was the baby meant for us. We wouldn’t change a thing about the long wait or the heartache if it meant that Jack wouldn’t be our son.