How it All Began...
How did you decide to adopt a baby?
TJ and I are so lucky because we have always been on the same page about how to grow our family. When we started dating, the topic of a future family came up, and we both shared that we were planning on adopting. We both have friends and family members who were adopted or who have adopted in the past. It’s always been ingrained in us as the way we would have kids.
Why did you choose to work with Angel Adoption?
Some of our close friends from church actually adopted their son through Angel Adoption. When the time came for us to start our adoption journey, we asked them what they specifically liked about Angel. TJ and I agreed that Angel would be a great fit for us!
What were you most excited about?
There is so much excitement at the start of an adoption journey. There is absolutely no way to know where it will take you. We loved to dream about how our family would look. Would we adopt a boy? A girl? Twins? We loved putting together our parent profile. It was so much fun to think about who may feel connected to our pictures, our story, and our hearts.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Everyone was extremely supportive! We are so blessed to have so many adoption advocates in our lives. Our journey was filled with many ups and downs. We are still in awe of how well our family and friends supported us through our journey.
What was it like meeting your son’s birthmother for the first time?
We met Kendrick’s birthmom, Maryellen, when she was four months pregnant. She only lives about an hour and a half away. We met for Mexican food and hit it off right away. Adoption holds so many emotions on both ends. Conversation flowed and we were both able to share our hopes and dreams for our families. Through the next five months, we got together every two to three weeks. We were able to attend doctor’s appointments and do a birthday dinner with Maryellen.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption? How did you make that decision?
We chose an open adoption! Kendrick’s birthmom wanted an open adoption as well. The way we see it, the more people loving on our son, the better. He can grow up knowing where he came from and how his much his birthmom loves him. We addressed the type of adoption right away at that first dinner. Kendrick’s birthmom asked us what we wanted and we were nervous to say that we were hoping for an open adoption. We had no idea where her head was at! We were so relieved when she said that’s what she wanted too!
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet him.
I (Pauline) was actually at a birthing class at the hospital with Maryellen when she went into labor. I called TJ at work and he stopped at home to pack a bag and some snacks. Labor took a while, so we stayed overnight at the hospital. The staff was extremely welcoming to us and made us feel very comfortable!
Describe the experience of finally meeting your baby.
It was incredible! I was able to be in the delivery room. TJ came in just minutes after he was born to cut the cord. We loved that we had an established relationship with Maryellen. It was truly like our baby was born into one big family.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
It’s great! We don’t take for granted how well we get along. We believe that our connection was a gift from God. We still get together about every two to three weeks. We take turns driving out to each other or we meet halfway. It’s so nice to be close in proximity. We grab lunch or walk around the baby section at Target!
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
Definitely the heartbreaks. Maryellen was the fifth expectant other to choose us. That means that we established relationships and grew attached to four other women. Although we are more detached now from the pain of those failed connections, we still often think of and pray for those women.
Adopting a baby can be a lengthy process — how did you get through the wait?
We stayed busy! I had quit my job to focus on our adoption process, but I ended up going back to work because our process took much longer than we thought it would. We spent as much time as possible with family and friends, seeing movies, and taking trips. We took a two-week trip to Europe a few months before our baby was born. I was tempted not to go, in case he came early, but I am so glad that we went. We made sure to always have phone service and would have booked a flight home right away if anything happened.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
Definitely! If and when we choose to have more kids, we will adopt. Before that happens, we need a good nap to recover from our adoption journey and newborn life.
What advice do you have to share with other adoptive parents?
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but a birthmom is not a birthmom until the baby is born and the legal period passes. Until then, she is a prospective birthmom and you are the prospective adoptive parents. It’s hard to balance opening yourself up emotionally and being excited about a baby on the way with protecting your heart at the same time. Enjoy the process, find yourself a good support system, and stay busy!