How it All Began...
How did you decide to adopt a baby?
Because of Heather’s medical history, we knew that having children naturally was most likely not a possibility. Although she survived childhood cancer, her reproductive system had been compromised due to the harsh treatments. After exploring all of our options, it was clear that adoption was how we wanted to grow our family. We had many discussions about it and we both felt that DNA was not a necessity — love made up a family.
Why did you choose to work with Angel Adoption?
We researched different adoption agencies and services. We watched webcasts for a few larger agencies, but we found Angel Adoption was just an hour drive from our home. After our meeting and tour of Angel, we felt very comfortable with our decision. This small, personal company made us feel like we were never going to be lost in the shuffle.
What were you most excited about?
Of course we couldn’t wait to be parents! The little things and experiences we couldn’t wait to share with a little one. Trips to the aquarium, parks, zoos, backyard adventures, as well as the day-to-day activities.
What were you most nervous about?
I think the unknown of the entire situation was difficult. Having absolutely no control over any situation thrown your way, and having to keep your emotions in check. I remember the pit in my stomach when we were told a birthmother was interested in talking with us. Would she like us? What if I say something that will upset her? Once the first conversation happened, the others just seemed to flow. The funny thing was she was worried about the same things.
How did your friends and family react to your decision to adopt?
Some couples decide to keep quiet about how they are adopting due to the emotional ups and downs. We decided to be open about the whole process from day one. Although this was not the easiest thing to do, and sometimes we questioned this decision. Ultimately we always had their support. Before signing on with Angel Adoption, we had a family party and announced our adoption plan. Our family was over the moon and so excited! We found that many people did not understand the process and we were able to dissolve myths and educate. Because of this, our family knew how to best support us through the disappointments as well as the joyful celebrations.
Describe receiving the call that your baby was being born and traveling to meet him.
We had received the connection call before emotions hit their max; we had learned to be cautious. So many other calls had ended in false hope. This was our eighth birthmother. What made this call different was that he was already born. There was no time to worry or weeks of wondering what the outcome would be. He was born and waiting for us. We quickly got everything in order and we were packed in an hour. Heather had made lists and we were prepared (as well as we could be). As we made the day-long drive to the East coast, we spent that time communicating with the birthmother as well as talking through different possibilities. That call and journey felt different — it felt like this was it!
What was it like meeting your birthmother for the first time?
We met our son’s birthmother just 24 hours after we knew he was born. The nerves and every emotion you could feel raced through our bodies during the 13-hour drive to the hospital. It was such an honor that she had chosen us to raise her son. As soon as we met and hugged, calmness happened. The joy in her eyes and her smile melted our hearts. It’s hard to know what to say in a moment like that. We thanked her as tears filled our eyes, we couldn’t believe this was happening. We talked briefly, and as we parted she hugged me and said, “He is waiting for you.” These are words we will never forget.
Did you choose an open or closed adoption? How did you make that decision?
We were hoping for a level of openness between his birthmother and us. We always wanted to let her into our lives. Feeling that this will give our child a full sense of self as he gets older. Originally his birthmother wanted a closed adoption, but after texting back and forth, she asked to meet us. We have remained in contact, exchanged photos, and formed a special friendship we all cherish.
What is your relationship like with the birthmother?
Our relationship with her after meeting face to face in the hospital has been through text. We talk about once a month and share pictures. We send Breckin’s monthly photos and she will send a photo of her family and his older brother. We share stories about both of our lives now, as well as what led us to adoption. His birthmother feels like it was all meant to be and is so at peace with her decision. The strength of choosing adoption binds us in a way we can’t understand. We feel connected. We have even texted at the same time thinking of one another. The bond is real.
What were the biggest challenges of the adoption process?
The first challenge for us was the financial challenge. We had support in fundraising as well as making it work with our own savings. This took a lot of drive, and it was hard. We thought that was difficult until we experienced our first failed connection. Over a year and a half span, we were connected with seven birthmothers and eight babies (one set of twins). We were at the hospital twice, when the babies were just 24 hours old, both mothers made the brave decision to parent. Nothing prepares you to make a long trip home with empty car seats and a finished nursery. Each challenge prepared us for what was coming next. It would have been so easy to give up. We would have saved ourselves a lot of hurt and a lot of money, but we were determined, and we would not quit. When we got the call that baby number nine was born, everything fell into place beautifully. Every tear and every pain suddenly became worth it. Fearful the mother would change her mind like the others, we were surprised when we arrived at the hospital because she had already signed and made her decision.
Adoption can be a lengthy process — how did you get through it?
We found little ways to enjoy life. Taking special day trips just the two of us, knowing that we would have a family soon. Maybe it was right in our community, a hike or movie night. We kept busy in ways that made us happy and united. Heather also collected board books for the baby. She would pick one up on a trip or at special times of year and write in them hopes and dreams. Family members also would write in them. On hard days she read them and the messages of love were encouraging.
Would you adopt again? Why or why not?
If you were to ask us this question during the process, I think the answer would be “NO, ARE YOU CRAZY?!” Once our son was placed in our arms, the journey became worth it and our lives have never been more full of joy. Adopting a child has changed our lives and we would love to experience more joy in coming years.
What advice do you have to share with other adoptive parents?
Adoption is a wonderful way to experience more love than you can ever imagine, but you should also know that this process is hard. No really, it’s HARD. The unexpected will happen; you will question your limits and breaking points. You will cry both tears of sadness and joy. Your heart will break and then be overflowing. Each part of the process gets harder as you continue your journey. Take it one day at a time and find joy in that journey.