The following story was sent to Adoption Makes Family by an adoptive mother who wanted to share her journey.
When I heard people talking about adoption and referring to it as a “journey”, I never really understood why they said that. Frankly, I thought it sounded a bit melodramatic. However, as I look at my beautiful 10-week old son, Cameron, and reflect back on my experience with trying to have a baby, and finally choosing adoption, I realize how relevant that term really is to the experience.
When I met my husband in 2000 it was very obvious that kids were going to be a huge focal point of our lives. I am a teacher and my husband works for a childcare company. We even met while I was substitute teaching at a school and he was working in a program for emotionally disabled students. So it was no surprise to anyone that when we married in 2006 we wanted to try for a family right away.
After a year of trying to conceive, we realized that there was a problem and we consulted with a fertility specialist. For the next 5 years we attempted 4 cycles of IVF which resulted in 3 failed attempts and one miscarriage at 10 weeks. We hadn’t yet fully discussed adoption as an option for us because we were trying to get through the fertility treatments and take each event as it came. After the 4th IVF we realized that we were spinning wheels on the path we were currently on. We also realized that having a biological child was not the most important factor for us, but rather, having a child to love and welcome into our family was what we desired most. At this point we decided to research adoption and so the journey began.
I challenge anyone to type “adoption information” or “How to adopt a baby” into Google and see what comes up. The information overload is completely daunting. For someone with no experience in the process, it quickly felt to be an almost impossible task.
Through our research we quickly realized that domestic adoption was the best choice for us, but the next step was determining who we would use to facilitate this process. We went to seminars, visited and called multiple agencies, and even contacted a national organization based on their “short wait times”. Through all of this we never felt that we found the right agency that fit our needs. Then we contacted Adoption Makes Family. When we finally committed to an agency we started to feel that our dreams and goals of having a family were finally going to come true. However, choosing an agency was only the beginning of the journey.
Throughout the home study process, which took a few months, we had to fill out a lot of paperwork. But more so, we actually took a good look at our marriage and what made us unique as a couple and as individuals. The home study process allowed us to examine our marriage and encouraged us to communicate our feelings and expectations in a clear way to each other. This communication is vital in any marriage, and I think even more so if you are considering adoption. There are so many questions we had to consider as a couple (i.e. What races were we open to adopt? What if a birth mother used drugs? What if a birth mother wants to have additional contact after we take the baby home? Etc…). If we couldn’t communicate honestly than the journey would seem more like a struggle.
Finally, in October 2011, we were officially a “waiting family” and we were anxious for a birth mother to choose us. Three weeks later our dream came true. We were matched with a woman who was in her 5th month of an unplanned pregnancy. We followed her throughout her pregnancy and met with her several times. When it was time for her to give birth, we were both at the hospital. I even was witness to the delivery of her little girl during a Caesarean section. Sadly, after spending 5 days in the hospital with the baby, the birth mother chose to parent. Needless to say we were devastated. We felt every range of emotion from anger to despair to sadness and, strangely enough, even hope.
Adoption Makes Family counseled us through our loss and served as our own personal cheerleader through the weeks after the failed adoption. There were numerous therapy sessions being conducted in person and over the phone at 10PM. Without those sessions, we wouldn’t have been able to keep it all in perspective. We made the decision to keep pushing forward and continued to look for another birth mother. Two months later our beautiful son Cameron was born. On May 10, 2012, 7 months after we officially became a waiting family, we brought home our son.
I still remember our car ride home from the Agency with Cameron in the car. I sat in the back seat just staring at him as my husband drove so slow it took us twice as long to get home. I couldn’t believe I was finally a mother. He was finally my son. He was in my arms and in my home. After 6 years of trying to have a family it had finally happened. Each day brings new joys as I interact and love my son. Nothing makes me feel better than when he wakes up in the morning and gives me his gummy smile showing me he is so happy to see me. I could never imagine our lives without him and realize that all of the struggles were leading us to this most amazing gift. Although not born of my body he was certainly born of my heart.
I am sure life will offer us many more challenges as we raise our son and we are already fielding many questions about adoption (some of them a bit ridiculous). My favorite question in response to hearing Cameron is adopted was “Why didn’t you want a baby of your own?” I simply answered, “What do you mean? He is mine…” We truly feel that way with our whole hearts. Every day and every milestone is a gift to cherish with him, and we are so blessed to have been given the opportunity to share our hearts and lives with our amazing little boy.