Adoption is a beautiful thing. It provides the opportunity for families to grow and parents, who would otherwise not be, to raise children and love them. Adoption is not for everyone but I am happy to say that it is for me and my husband!
First and foremost, we chose to adopt because we wanted to grow our family, we suffer from Infertility and this was the option that worked the best for us.
Why did we choose adoption? After going through fertility treatments, shelling out boatloads of money and it still being unsuccessful we decided to go with adoption. With IVF we would be paying out about the same amount of money as we would for adoption but for something that might not even work. I think we were a little bitter from our First Pregnancy being Ectopic and then another year of treatment to no avail. We wanted to spend our money on something that would guarantee us a baby in the end. Maybe that sounds awful to you, but for us it worked and made sense. It was a decision we were comfortable with and had support from our family about. We chose adoption so that we could be parents and grow our family, we were ready and felt that God was calling us to grow our family this way.
Our first step (once choosing an agency) was to tell our families. Then our agency emailed us a document for us to fill out, basically an application/profile. This puppy was nearly 20 pages long! It had 3 sections: 1. one section for me to fill out about my childhood, hopes, and dreams. 2. one section for Thomas to fill out about his childhood, hopes, and dreams. 3. one section for us to fill out together about our relationship, struggles with conceiving, our professions, and our hopes and dreams of becoming a family. We completed our application/profile and paid the application fee in January 2012.
Our second step was to complete a Home Study. Since we lived on the opposite side of the state our agency referred us to a local Social Worker. We started our Home Study in February 2012. The Home Study is a process where we had to get our finger prints done, have our taxes and financials looked over, interview with the Social Worker, get extensive background checks on us, and a tour of our home to ensure its child-safe. In addition our Social Worker had to contact our 6 references by phone or in person and he also had to call our current and previous employers. Talk about crazy! Why don't they have to do this for all soon to be parents?? All in all our Home Study completed in the beginning of April 2012.
Once our Home Study was complete we needed to send it off to our agency. Then we were put on the wait list to attend their Seminar and could begin working on our 24 page portfolio. The portfolio is basically an information packet (full of pictures) about us, that the agency then gives to potential birthmom's to help them in selecting a couple/family to place their child with. We had About Me pages (for both of us), About Us pages (how we met, got engaged, got married), Meet our Family pages (for both sides), See our Home pages (with intro's to our animals - major selling point!!), Why we were adopting and our parenting style, and our Letter to the Birthmom.
In March 2012, I had my second miscarriage and my mom died.
We got the call on May 16, 2012 that we could attend the Seminar on June 15-17, 2012!! Oh happy day. That meant that we had to really put our nose to the grindstone to complete our portfolio. This was a super intense portfolio - probably one of the most important assignments we have EVER done! Luckily we had it complete by the time we attended the Seminar!
At the Seminar, in June 2012, we learned in more detail about our agency and how it works, learned in depth about the adoption process and how to make it successful, and we got to hear from both Adoptive Parents and Birthmom's about their experiences with the agency and any tips they have for us (we also got to ask them questions - like why did you choose that family for your baby?). It was super informative and we had a great time meeting other Potential Adoptive couples and creating a better personal connection with our agency.
On June 17, 2012 we turned in 8 copies of our Portfolio to our agency and made our first of two payment installments to be in the "Waiting Pool" as well as a few other payments for various things with the agency (ex. Birth Mom Fund, and a clerical fee).
We made our second payment for the "Waiting Pool" in July 2012 and were officially put into the "Waiting Pool" for our Portfolio to go out to potential birthmom's. YAYA!!
[this was a super exciting time but it was so gut wrenching at the same time. We were just left waiting for a birthmom to choose us! We were left wondering how many times have our books been shown? Did they like us? Should we have put more pictures in? Put in more information about us? Would we ever get chosen? Basically it was like those two weeks between when you ovulate and when you can pee on a stick for a positive - just A LOT longer!!]
In August 2012, we still hadn't been chosen.
In September 2012, I got a call from the agency that a birthmom had potentially picked us! I got details about her and was encouraged to give her a call. She was a young mom who already had two sons and was due with a baby in Early March (perfect I thought - I always loved having my bday in March and would love to have a baby before my birthday! What a great present) I couldn't hold my excitement so I sent Thomas barrage of calls/texts/emails that I had some GREAT NEWS!!! We were both so excited! And when I got home there were flowers on the table for me! That man knows my love language! I waited a few days and then called the birthmom. We had a great convo that lasted nearly an hour. I felt so good about it. We then set up a time to have our "official" meeting to decide if we all wanted to go through with this decision. A few weeks later we were on the road to meet her. We got her a gift; a journal, card and toys for her two boys. We had a somewhat successful meeting (she was on her iPhone a lot) and the conversation was more driven by her friend (who came for support) than her. Still we continued to connect via text messaging and she said she really liked us!
In October 2012 we found out that she was having a.....GIRL!! Oh I was so excited. I kept thinking of bows, headbands, dresses, tea parties, fairies, etc. I came home that night to tell Thomas and he was blown away. This is getting real people!
Then the lines of communication went black. I didn't hear from her in almost 4 weeks!! Finally she texted and let me know that she didn't think she could give up the baby anymore. She thought she could but when she found out she was having a girl she just couldn't part with it. Insert Dagger Into Heart (now it felt like we had lost 3 babies). They told us that this could happen. That the mom's might back out. We shouldn't have been surprised or shocked for that matter. When we reflected on our meeting with her all the signs were there. She didn't really want to give up her baby. But I kept hope and wouldn't believe that this was true until after the baby was born and we didn't get called to go get her. We informed our agency of her change of mind and got our Portfolio back out there. Then I got a random text from her around Christmas, saying "Happy Holidays", all that did was give me more reason that she might change her mind, again to our favor.
At the end of January the agency contacted me to let me know there was another potential birthmom who was interested in us. She already had a son and was due with a baby girl in May! She said that she would let us know how to proceed but would probably want to set up a meeting with her in March. Oh my heavens! This time I waited until I got home to tell Thomas the news. We were not overly excited because of how we got burned with the first mom. But we kept praying that this might be the one.
Towards the end of February the agency called me up and set up a meeting time with the birthmom and birthdad for March 16 (the day before my birthday!). We were encouraged to meet with as many family members as we could to help "sell ourselves" and to get to know them better. Things were looking up! I was given the cell number to text the birthmom and to call her to figure out where to meet.
March came and our "first baby" was born, I'm assuming since we had no further contact with the birthmom, and we did not get a call to go pick her up. So we focused on the "new baby" and continued occasional texting with the new birthmom. We headed over to meet up on March 15 and then met with them on March 16. We had a wonderful lunch getting to know the birthmom, birthdad, birthdad's mom, and their son (who BTW is ADORABLE!!). They had lots of questions for us and were pretty engaged in the conversation (much better than the first time). We felt good about it. I am pretty sure they felt good about it.
We continued to text and call. We set up another meeting for April 24th and this time I also got to go to a doctor's appointment!! We left on the 23rd after work and stayed at my Aunt's house. (We are so fortunate to have family that lives in the area so we could stay with them rather than getting a hotel for all of our visits). The doctor appointment was very exciting, there was no ultrasound but I did get to hear the baby's heartbeat. It was so sweet. The birthmom introduced me to the nurses and her doctor saying that I was going to be the adoptive mom - that made it so much more real and that this was going to go through. After the appointment we went out to eat with both the birthmom and birthdad and just have some more get to know you time. It was nice and we were able to talk to them and start a relationship.
Texting continued through the end of April and beginning of May. Then before we knew it, it was May 20th and time for us to travel for the birth of our daughter. She was being delivered via c-section around 12:30 on the 21st of May.
I had a rocking migraine on the way to Spokane and we were both a mess of emotions. We stopped at Safeway on the way into town to get a few things before heading to my aunt's house. We talked about what we might be expecting to happen for the next couple of days and the logistics of how we were going to spend as much time with the baby as possible. Still in the back of our minds we were scared to death, not of becoming parents but that the birthmom would change her mind. I think this is the greatest fear of any adoptive parents. Our last night of sleep as a family of two was anything but restful - though I am sure that is fairly normal. We woke in the morning and were ready to go but had no where to go at such an early hour. We tried to pass the time watching TV, reading magazines and trying to read some blogs.
Finally we decided to head out. We left most of our stuff at the house except the car seat, diaper bag and a change of clothes. We stopped at McDonald's on the way, the drive through had about 10 cars in it so we decided to go inside (we had time to kill). It must have been our server/clerks first day because we had to repeat our order about 15 times "2 hashbrowns and 2 sausage muffins", he kept trying to sell us 1 egg mcmuffin and an orange juice!!!! what the hell?? Finally after about 15 minutes of waiting inside we got our food and ran out to the car. As we were about to pull into the parking garage at the hospital Macklemore "Can't Hold Us" was playing on the radio. We arrived at the hospital about 15 minutes before the birthmom. This was perfect for a couple of reasons - it showed that we are prompt (yeah right!) and it gave us a chance to talk to the nurses station about what was going to happen. We were able to ask them about where we might be able to stay since the baby is/will be ours, she said most likely I would be able to stay in the room with the birthmom if that was ok with her.
Once the birthmom arrived with her son, the birthfather and his mom, we all got to sit in the waiting room while she got checked in and talk a bit. Then they called her back to get her prepped for her C-section and we just waited with the birthgrandma and brother. We were waiting for about 10 minutes when a nurse came in and told Thomas and I that we were able to get our OWN room in the hospital!! So they showed us the way to room 2020 and we waited in there about
We got some much needed bonding time with our girl, a visit from the social worker, lots of visits from our nurse, as well as visits from big brother, birthgrandma, birthdad and then finally the birthmom was ready to see her, so we wheeled her over to her room (about 15 rooms and a corner away). I was so overcome with emotion. I felt so much for this birthmom as she looked at her baby and I still cannot fathom what she was feeling (or still is feeling). Her selflessness, kindness, courage, strength and love to give us the greatest gift we would ever receive. The birthdad performed his paternity test swab and then we swabbed our daughter and sent the test out to get the results. We talked about names, the birthmom brought in 3 pages of name ideas. We were able to quickly all decide and agree on Faith for the middle name. I think the name speaks for itself - it is Faith that brought our daughter to us. But then we were at a crossroads for the first name. We were wavering between two and decided to sleep on it. Thomas left to go to grab the rest of our stuff at my aunts house and to let her know that we got to stay in our own room at the hospital with our baby in the room with us and then he stopped and got us all Frosty's at Wendy's. I don't think that relaxing is necessarily the right word but I think we enjoyed having this time together.
After our first night with our baby, I couldn't put her in the bassinet - I had been waiting too long to have her in my arms - so she slept in my arms in the hospital bed. We had some more bonding time, visits with the birth family choosing her name Ellie, and then Thomas and I honored the birthmom with some alone time with our baby as we left the hospital for some lunch and to pick up a few extra things for the babe. One of the most nerve wracking times of my life but we knew it was much needed time for the two of them together. We arrived back and were able to schedule a time for newborn pictures with the hospital photographer and more bonding time.
We stayed in the hospital for 3 nights and then when the birthmom was discharged we all got to leave. I was so overwhelmed again with emotion and gratitude for this birthmom and couldn't imagine how hard it must have been for her to leave the hospital without the baby. We had to stick around Spokane until the paternity test results came back. Which they did later that day "Happy Dance"!!! we were cleared to go home. My aunt was the first person in our family to see Ellie in person (we had facetimed with Thomas' parents several times before) she came out to the car when we pulled into the drive and once again I was filled with emotions seeing my aunts face see my baby. All I could think of was how much I missed my mom and how much she would have loved my little girl and I was so grateful that it was her sister who saw Ellie first. We had a small gathering of sorts with my cousins for dinner that night and they were all so kind to take turns holding Ellie, while also giving us our space.
We left early the next morning to make our 6 hour road trip home. Ellie did great, we made our pit stop in Ellensburg and she made it almost all the way to our destination before she started crying loudly for a diaper change and bottle. We got to experience our very first back of the car diaper change that day. Then we drove her around town just a little bit to show her where we met and were back on the road home. When we arrived home we took Ellie on a tour of the farm to meet all our animals and to see her room and meet the puppies.
Our second adoption began in September 2015 with contacting our agency and filling out the required paperwork and completing a few more steps that is required for each adoption. Then in October we met with our Agency, paid the necessary fees, and handed over 5 portfolios.
In the beginning of December, we received a phone call to let us know that a birthmom was interested and that we should set up a time to meet with her. We decided on January 1st and made the 5 hour trip over the night before. We met with the birthmom and everything went smoothly. We continued contact and made an additional trip over in March.