How it all began...
A Long Road
We married very young and always knew we wanted to have a family. We originally started with fertility treatments, but unfortunately it just was not working for us. After a decade of trying, we decided adoption was our path. We were not unfamiliar with adoption as Christine and her siblings were adopted by their stepfather when they were just toddlers. We had friends who had grown their family through adoption, and they pointed us to Angel. They raved about the company; we researched it online, and they gave us the sense of ease we needed to move forward.
We were very optimistic but went in realizing we might not get chosen. Really, there was no way we could prepare for any of it. We of course protected ourselves by not setting up a nursery even though we were given the most beautiful crib. Our friends and family were extremely supportive and excited. They helped by not pushing for information and updates and just being there when we needed them. We took a trip to New Orleans and randomly met a couple who was actually there to get away after a few adoption opportunities not working out. To this day, we are still in contact, and that family now has three adopted children.
We were excited and had faith in the process, but we still questioned it all. What is wrong with us? Should we be doing something else, tell more people?
Waiting for This Moment
The wait was extremely difficult. Watching other families go live and then to connection was hard to see. We had to stop looking at the website as it was only making the wait worse. We were close to reaching the end of our contract without having had a single opportunity. Our coordinator reached out to us about two weeks before our contract was going to expire and mentioned we should set up a time to talk.
Then, while sitting in her cubicle at work, Christine got a call from Angel Adoptions. She assumed they were calling to discuss the end of the contract, so Christine closed her eyes and answered. The person on the other end of that call asked if she was sitting down. To her absolute shock, it was a call about an immediate opportunity, and we needed to get to another state quickly.
Christine had to find a spot away from coworkers to take it all in; she didn’t even think to conference in Mark and just took down the information on tons of Post-It notes. Christine called Mark to give him the news, and he was in disbelief. He repeatedly asked if Christine was joking! From that point, things moved quickly.
We made sure to keep our employers and doctor in the loop and were upfront about our adoption journey. We then found out our annual physicals had expired. On the drive to the doctor, we called the kennel, which was also aware of our journey. We booked a one-way flight, knowing we would be a mess and could not handle the six-and-half-hour drive.
The Stars Aligned
With this being a last-minute opportunity, we had not yet met or even spoken to the birthmother. She had asked Angel Adoption to choose a family for her. When we walked into the hospital room, our focus was solely on her. Not two minutes into us talking, the attorney knew we were all going to be okay; we didn’t even notice the attorney leave the room. We were maybe five minutes into this conversation with the birthmother, and she said “I know you! I looked at your profile over and over. I just couldn’t choose but had been looking at your profile for so long.” She looked at Mark and said, “You like mac n cheese!” Even with her not making the decision to choose us initially, somehow the stars aligned and we were all meant to be together.
About 25 minutes after we got to know each other, Christine asked if she could hold the baby. The birthmother said, “Of course! He’s your son!” Even in that moment, we focused our attention on her, looking into her eyes, making sure she was okay, and it was the best experience. We had no idea what the process was going to look like after this moment. The hospital then gave us our own room, and we just held him, looked at each other, and sobbed. We barely slept and just kept holding him. We did not want to let him go and couldn’t believe this was all real.
Staying in Touch
This was the second placement for our son’s birthmother with Angel Adoptions. It was heartwrenching to watch her say goodbye, but her confidence in her decision was beyond heartwarming. We have an open adoption and stay in touch with Austin’s birthmother and family. In the beginning, it was mainly through text and social media. It is great to have them involved, and they are so supportive. They always share the most positive comments on what a great job we are doing.
As Austin got a little bit older, he had questions and the desire to look like us; he was even angry with us. This past summer we traveled to see our in-laws. Austin, seeing what state we entered, said “Wait, wasn’t I born here? Doesn’t my birthmother live here?” The wheels started turning, and he asked if we could visit her. We of course said yes. We let him know we would see if she was available but she might be busy with such short notice. She agreed to meet! Naturally we had our anxiety about it all, but we do not regret one moment of it.
As soon as we saw each other, Austin’s birthmother walked right up to Christine and hugged her first. Then Austin hugged his birthmother for the first time. At this point, we were all crying but not from sadness. We all realized how much everyone needed this moment, especially Austin. We let Austin and his birthmother have their time; he was a six-year-old with lots of questions. She gave him peace, answered the why’s, and shared she was so happy she chose us for him; now he no longer worries about the differences. It gave him a sense of himself. He found out he had siblings and was so excited to learn about them. He even FaceTimes with them too!
This was a long and difficult process. When we look back on it, we would have loved for this process to be shorter, but we were meant to wait. Although it was a struggle waiting to get Austin, the wait was worth it. Austin was meant for us, and we do not regret any of it.