How it all began...

Finding Our Way to Angel

We knew early in our relationship that having children was a shared goal of ours. Unfortunately, Sara was diagnosed with PCOS, so we were aware that it may be difficult to have biological children. After many fertility appointments, we hit a crossroads: did we want to pursue fertility treatments or look into adoption? Sara’s side of the family has a strong history of adoption, so we felt drawn to that path. Sara worked in physical therapy and the topic of adoption came up with one of her patients. They had recently adopted through Angel Adoption and recommended them, so we started our research there. After speaking with the folks at Angel, we felt like they were the best fit for our adoption journey and dove right in!

A Disheartening End

Not long after joining Angel’s program, our profile was selected for the first time. The expectant mother was early in her pregnancy, still in her first trimester. We were so excited to be chosen so soon and could not wait to start getting to know her. We found out that she had previously placed a child for adoption, so after starting to get to know her, we were feeling pretty confident. We were very quick to hire legal services when she was ready, which was right at the start of her second trimester.

After the attorneys got involved, tiny red flags started popping up, but they were nothing that caused us to walk away from her entirely. It was a lie here, an additional ask for money there – all things that we knew were considered “normal” in adoption. While Angel and the attorneys continued to support us, everyone was advising us to proceed with caution.

As we learned more about this expectant mother’s story, we really felt for her. After investing six months of our emotions and financial support for her, we felt it was important to see this connection through. One week before we were set to travel for the birth of the baby, we got to the point where we were no longer able to provide her with financial assistance. We informed her and the attorney and she stopped responding to us. She informed the attorney that she was going to move in with the birthfather and was no longer pursuing adoption. Thus, our first opportunity with the expectant mother came to an abrupt end.

Stepping Away

After that disruption, we felt defeated. Emotionally, financially, and mentally. We needed a reset. We chose to put our time with Angel on hold and agreed to touch base with them in three months. At the three month mark, we knew we were not ready to jump back in yet. We were still reeling from the disruption. We felt like if we started again and got chosen for a quick connection, we would still have a sour taste in our mouths. We wanted to be in a better place before resuming our journey.

Three months turned into one year, which turned into two, and then three. Finally, in talking with family and friends, it became clear to us that we were ready to start again. We reached out to Angel, renewed our home study, updated our profile, and resumed the process with a fresh outlook.

Playing the Long Game

We started the waiting game again. Like when we first began, we didn’t have to wait long before our profile was selected. When we got the call about that opportunity, it was eerily similar to our first opportunity. The expectant mother was early in her first trimester and wanted to start texting with us that same day. We carefully proceeded, hearts guarded, but after we began communicating with her, we realized that was where the similarities stopped.

This was her first pregnancy. She was in a serious relationship with the expectant father, so we started a group chat between the four of us. She was younger than our first expectant mother, but she was mature beyond her years. She was very mindful of our emotions throughout the process. For example, she didn’t want us to start working with an attorney until she was fully in her second trimester. It was never her burden to bear, but we were grateful that she was so considerate of us and how we were feeling. Anytime she visited the doctor, she would share with us the updates and the ultrasounds with the attorney to share with us, which we loved and appreciated.

A Test Run and a Visit

As we became more comfortable with each other and as her due date neared, the expectant parents asked if we would be open to visiting them before the baby was due to arrive. We immediately said yes and started planning a weekend trip. We used this visit as a test run of the drive we would take when the expectant mother went into labor. It was roughly a ten-hour trip and we mapped out good stopping spots along the way. Once we got to her hometown, we checked out the hospital that she planned to deliver at and took note of what all was nearby.

Then it was finally time to actually meet these amazing people we had been communicating with. We were both incredibly nervous, Sara was practically shaking. We had made arrangements to meet at a restaurant. We got there early and it honestly felt like we were waiting for a first date. When the expectant mother and father walked in, they immediately gave us hugs. Right away, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted. The visit was wonderful. We couldn’t believe how easy it all felt.

The Sweetest Lincoln

After our weekend with the expectant parents, we felt comfortable enough to share the news with friends and family. We were cautiously optimistic, but feeling good! We discussed baby names with the expectant parents. We shared with them that we loved James for a middle name, but were torn between three first names. All of us ended up liking the same first name the most, Lincoln, and with that, this sweet baby boy, already loved by so many, had a name: Lincoln James.

As we neared the expectant mother’s induction date, we were preparing for our trip. The expectant mother didn’t want to see us during the birth, but she did want us to be at the hospital for it and we were determined to make that happen. The day before we were scheduled to leave, we received a call that the expectant mother was headed to the ER — she felt dizzy and her blood pressure was through the roof. We could have just waited to see what happened, but we were determined to honor her wishes and be there for her. We left our dinner dishes in the sink, food and all, hopped in the car, and took off.

About three hours into our drive, the expectant mother called and said they were sending her home until her induction date. We stopped at a hotel to rest for the night and picked up our drive the following morning. We arrived that afternoon and checked into a local hotel. That evening, the expectant mother headed to the hospital and we stayed at the hotel. She didn’t want to see us while she labored, so we respected her wishes and gave her the privacy and space she needed.

Instant Love

Two very long days later, we finally checked into the hospital and were given our own private room. We still did not go see the birthmother because she was now in active labor, but we reassured her via text that we were right down the hall and ready to support her however and whenever she wanted us to.

Around 10am that evening, we went to sleep for the night. About 45 minutes later, a nurse came in to tell us to get some sleep while we could, because they were prepping the expectant mother for a C-section that was scheduled at 3am. We were so excited and nervous, there was no way we were going to be able to fall back to sleep! We tried to at least get some rest while we waited.

At 3:25am, the nurse came in to get us and took us to a receiving room. This was it, we were finally going to meet our son! John had to run to the restroom and as coincidence would have it, that’s right when the nurse brought Lincoln in to meet Sara for the first time. He was so tiny and Sara couldn’t believe how much love she immediately felt for him. She was talking to him when John returned. John was able to cut the remainder of the umbilical cord that the birthfather had cut first and Sara was able to spend a full hour of skin-to-skin contact with Lincoln. The hospital staff took such great care of us and Lincoln’s birthmother. We were offered everything that a biological family would be, and they were wonderful in respecting the birthmother’s wishes of keeping us separate.

We were discharged from the hospital 36 hours after Lincoln’s birth and stayed in his birth state for 10 days while the ICPC paperwork cleared. We had agreed not to reach out to his birthmother until she contacted us. Five days after the birth, she reached out to us, and we shared some photos with her. We have stayed in contact with her ever since, and share email updates with her every three months. We love how much she loves Lincoln and are forever grateful she gave us the opportunity to be Lincoln’s parents.

Pushing Through

After our first disruption, followed by a three year pause, it was hard to imagine there was a baby out there that was meant for us. We now know it was truly meant to happen the way it did and that Lincoln was the baby for our family the entire time. We were so close to giving up, and we are so thankful that we pushed on just a little bit longer. Without that little push, we would not have the family that we have today.