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Our miracle happened at a time in my life when I thought things were pretty well settled for me. I was single, had a great job that I loved and life revolved around work, travel and friends. I had been told a year previously that the chances of my conceiving a child were nearly zero, and after an initial period of grieving, came to grips with the reality. Since I was older anyway, and single – I had realized that the opportunity to be a mother may not come along anyhow. So, the doctor just confirmed my suspicions. I filled my time with other pursuits, and determined to be the best Aunt in the world to my nieces and nephews. I reasoned that they were my opportunity to ‘parent’ or have influence and they had always been a priority in my life. This diagnosis just gave their role in my life new meaning, and I considered them a large part of my legacy to this world.
About this time, a friend of mine mentioned the idea of adoption to me. I rejected it immediately as being out of the realm of possibility for me. Adoption was expensive, and I had a modest income. I didn’t own my home at the time, and even if that was acceptable – there was no extra bedroom available for a little one. Since I was single – and needed to work for a living – I was fairly certain that no birth mother would select me. I had never considered single-working-mother a preferred parenting model. I was 40 years old – not exactly a vision of youth and energy. Plus my mother’s health was failing and she required care. So, life was full and adoption just didn’t seem likely for me.
Partly to quiet my friend’s urging, and partly to assuage my own nagging desires to be a mom, I decided to meet with the case worker and allow him to tell me that I just wasn’t a good candidate. Well, much to my surprise and stark fear – he didn’t tell me that. Instead, he listened patiently while I outlined all of the reasons that I wasn’t a good candidate and then quietly handed me an application packet. I couldn’t believe it. None of my concerns were concerns to him – or to the agency – and I found myself going through tons of paperwork and actually filling it out! I told myself that even if I filled out everything and submitted it all, no birth mother would select me anyway – so I didn’t need to deal with the possibility of a baby coming into my life. After all, the waiting list was huge and filled with eager young couples who were much more desirable options for a birth mother than a 40 year old single working woman. So, I turned in the required mountain of information confident that it was an exercise in futility.
Somewhere in the process, my feelings began to change and a sense of urgency overtook me. I began to feel that not only was this process not futile…but that I had a baby on the way soon. As much as I tried to fight the feelings coming over me, they simply grew stronger. I faced many emotional battles with myself, with friends who meant well but discouraged me from pursuing adoption with horror stories of birth parents changing their minds, and with church leaders who mistakenly believed that a single woman adopting was against my church’s policies and doctrines. One by one, each obstacle was torn down. I found myself fighting for a child I did not know yet, but who I knew within my very soul was mine. I insisted that the baby was coming quickly even though my agency and case worker assured me that there were no babies available at that time. I felt like it was me against the entire world fighting for my child, and for my right to be a mother to that child. Everything had changed. It really was a miracle.
My paperwork was submitted just five weeks before my son was placed in my arms. It was just two days before Christmas, and I received the greatest gift a human being can receive.
I can’t say that being a parent has been easy for me. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It is also the most amazing wonderful thing I’ve ever done. I laugh now to think how hard I fought against something that so completely encompasses my life now. I can’t imagine life without my son. I bless that sweet young birth mother who gave me my miracle. She gave me life when she chose to give life to him and then give him up. What an angelic sacrifice. What a miracle of love and selflessness. In spite of my own silly doubts and flawed logic, the miracle took over and I’m so grateful that it did.
To Be Continued….
Our family’s adoption story is somewhat unconventional, and still in the process. We started our family when we were both very young, my husband being 18 and I was 19. After 3 difficult pregnancies, we were told by my doctor that I shouldn’t have anymore children, so we decided that my husband should have the surgery necessary to make sure that we wouldn’t get pregnant again. It was a difficult decision, but we felt very strongly that this was the path we were supposed to take.
Despite knowing that this was the right decision, I always felt deep inside that we were missing someone. For years I tried to push this feeling aside, and tell myself no, you’re done having children. But every time I held a baby, something in me ached. I would tease my friends about having a baby in the house when my youngest was finally in school all day and I had some freedom again, all the time feeling like a fraud because I so desperately wanted another baby of my own. I tried to approach my husband about adoption in the past, partly in jest, but he always said no. He felt that it would always be someone else’s kid, and that he wouldn’t be able to discipline it like our own. No, I said. Once they place that baby in your arms you just know it’s yours. His reaction stunned me, since we have several nieces and nephews who are adopted.
All that changed this year. One day, after serious contemplation, I knew that I needed to tell my husband that it was time to start looking into adoption. I looked at my husband, and very calmly said, “Someone is missing.” They say timing is everything, and in our case this was absolutely true. My husband knew that what I was feeling wasn’t just the thoughts of a baby-hungry mommy. He knew, as well as I, that this was something that we needed to do. So, we contacted one of the social workers at a local agency, who also happened to live in our neighborhood, and started the process of adoption. We had him over to our house, told him our feelings, and started filling out the paperwork. We scheduled doctor’s appointments for physicals and got insurance verification from my husband’s work. We sent away for birth certificates and a copy of our marriage license, and wrote several drafts of autobiographies for birthparents. We attended a parenting class where 2 birthmothers gave their stories, and we called around the county trying to find somewhere to take Infant CPR.
We have been in the process for 4 months now, and the longer we wait, the more surreal it gets. Questions start to come up. Are we supposed to do this? Are we crazy? What effect will this have on our kids? Are they going to feel pushed out? Will we be able to bond with our baby? Oddly enough, the hardest part hasn’t been the waiting. It’s been the lack of support from people who I thought would be our strongest supporters. We’re very lucky that most of our family has been wonderful, and has encouraged us and even given us their baby furniture. But it’s the ones who don’t say anything, who look away when the subject is brought up and who won’t acknowledge the “crib” in the room, those are the ones that hurt the most. Those are the ones who make me doubt if what we’re doing is right. So when that happens, I think back on all of the experiences we’ve had so far, and something inside of me screams, YES! This baby is coming to your family, and he will be loved by all!
So we go forward. We accept the clothes from neighbors whose children are bigger, we move furniture around to make room for a crib, we talk to our children about what it will be like when we get to bring their brother home, and we focus on the joy of knowing that hopefully soon, our family will be complete. And we pray every day that our baby will be healthy, and that his birth mom will know how much we love and admire her for the sacrifice that she is making, in order to give us this wonderful gift. This adventure hasn’t been easy, but it has definitely been worth it. I haven’t had to deal with morning sickness or growing out of my clothes, but I have definitely gone through a different sort of labor. And just like pregnancy and delivery, the reward at the end of this “labor” is a beautiful baby. And we can hardly wait for that day to come.
From Russia with Love
Our adoption journey was filled with joys as well as heartache, but without doubt, we know that our Kaylee was definitely sent to our family as we believe it was all part of God’s plan for her as well as for us.
At the beginning of this journey, we had 3 biological sons aged from 7‑17. With the birth of our 3rd son, we decided to have my tubes tied as I was sure we were done having children. For about 5 years, that was true. But we still had a hole (mainly me) with not having had a girl to bond with. (I have since discovered that girls are MUCH harder than boys and full of drama and craziness!)
Friends of friends had just been through adoption from Russia and we watched it unfold with a strong feeling that this was an avenue we should pursue. After confirming the decision with our boys, we followed their lead, hooked up with their adoption agency and started looking for a child. We had thought to adopt a 4‑6 year old girl due to the age gaps in our boys, but in mid October, were drawn to a photo of a little girl ‑ Olga 2 1/2. Upon further checking, we found that she was available for adoption and we were linked with her file. We were so excited. We put her photo up all over the house and she became a part of our everyday conversations. The boys were thrilled to know that she would be their sister and even asked for a photo to carry in their wallets.
We then hooked up with the a local adoption center to go through our Homestudy and approvals. We were told that this usually took a month or two to get going and then we could attend the necessary interviews and classes. I looked at the paperwork, which was intense, but asked if they’d push us through if I finished everything in a week. Doubtful as they were, I was true to my word and we were interviewed and set up for the classes, which we did exceptionally quickly. And then our hearts were broken.....
Just before Christmas, we were called from the agency and told that Olga had been adopted by a Russian family. We had no recourse and somehow things had fallen through the cracks. We lost our little Olga. It truly was a sad time for us and gave me a better understanding of someone who miscarries. Our home was in mourning for a little girl that we had never met.
Only a short month away from having our INS clearance and ready for the adoption, we decided to finish the INS clearance and just go in a wait and see mode as it seemed horrible to be looking for a little girl to replace our Olga.
As our local agency was aware of the development, they called to let us know that they knew of another agency right in our state that had 2 ‘paper‑ready’ little girls who needed a family. Apprehensively, we agreed to view a video of the younger of the 2 girls. She was very blonde, had European heritage, 2 1/2 years old, and adorable. Our pain melted that very minute as we knew that our heartache was part of the plan to rush through our Homestudy and to be completely INS paper‑ ready for this quick adoption. We made our decision to go ahead with it just 3 days later, on Valentines Day. We would travel in just 3 weeks on March 6th.
Rushing all over the state to get papers apostilled at the State Capitol, rushing papers to the agency (which was hours away from our home), and doing all that we could, we were ready to go on our first of 2 trips to Russia to meet our daughter, Raimonda.
In Russia, we were to meet Raimonda at least 3 times, meet with the judge and have a court date set for the adoption procedure. We were told this court date could be 3‑6 months away. God was on our side again, as our court date was set for only TWO WEEKS LATER. We finished that trip, flew home to get a child’s room ready in just one week, see and love our boys, and then fly off again for another 12 hour flight to go and get our daughter. On March 29th at 2pm, just 5 1/2 short months from beginning our journey, we were officially named as Raimonda’s parents and she was given her new name of Kaylee Rai.
The boys welcomed their sister home with open arms and didn’t leave her alone for a minute. They even did a crash course of Russian to be able to communicate with her right from the start. The Russian was short lived as Kaylee just soaked in the language and learned very quickly how to live in her new surroundings. She was the center of attention (and still expects to be).
Kaylee is now a thriving 6th grader. She is very active and is a
gift to our family. Just to give us a sense of perfect compatibility
into our family, Kaylee has a single dimple on her right cheek and
green eyes just like me, she acts exactly like her middle brother, and
fits in in every way as a member of our family.
Worth the Wait
My husband and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary in May of 2010. For six years, we had been trying to conceive but were unable to. I had been on fertility t reatments and had surgery to try to correct the problem, but nothing seemed to work. Each month, I would hope and pray to get pregnant and each month I dragged myself through an emotional rollercoaster of high hopes followed by despair. Although I always longed for all of the blessings of motherhood, I realized that I had to accept that it may not be in my future to have children.
In January of 2009, my husband and I decided to look into adoption. After giving it thoughtful and prayerful consideration, we both received a strong impression that this was what we were supposed to do. It took us a few months to find an agency that we wanted to work with and decide whether we wanted to adopt internationally or within the States. We decided to go with our church's adoption agency, which only allows adoptions within the U.S. The paperwork was long and grueling, and there were several delays as well. However, with each delay I knew that there was a reason. I knew that there was a child that was supposed to be in our family and that he/she would come at the exact right time.
We finished our paperwork and became officially certified to adopt a child in July of 2010. We began advertising online, and we put some advertisements in OBGYN clinics of surrounding cities. We received several contacts from birthmothers replying to our advertisements, but none of them felt right. Even though I wanted to be a mom so badly, we both knew that we had not met the right birthmother yet.
On Saturday, August 21, 2010, we received a call from our caseworker at 4:30 in the morning telling us that a birthmother was going in to labor and she had chosen us as the birthparents. Even though we had not met this woman yet, everything felt right. We began driving to the hospital when we received a call that it was a false alarm. The doctors had sent her home. We found out that she had seen our advertisement in her OBGYN's office. At the time, she was in contact with another family, but it fell through. That family did not feel right about the placement, and that is when she chose us.
We decided to meet the birthmother for dinner on Monday night. We were both so nervous, and we discussed all of our questions and concerns during the drive there. As soon as we walked into the restaurant and embraced the birthmother, we received an overwhelming feeling of peace and love. All of our questions and concerns melted away within the first few moments of meeting her. I knew immediately that she was going to be the special person who would give us the greatest gift of parenthood. We sat and talked as though we were old friends, and at the end of our meeting, she told us that she would like us to be the parents of her daughter. People always talk about their never- ending love for their children, and I was surprised that I felt that love for this woman. She was and is a part of our family.
On Thursday, August 26th our beautiful daughter was born at 4:13 in the morning. My husband, the birthmother, her mother, the grandmothers, and I all stayed in the hospital room together and surrounded the baby with a room full of love. Our birthmother told us that initially she did not want to see the baby, but then she said that she wanted to see us together as a family. She said that it makes her happy to see the love that we have for our daughter. Although I am sure it must have been a painful and difficult experience, I know that she made the right decision. I know that this beautiful little girl was meant to be in our family. I also know that we gained a greater understanding of patience and charity through this process. I am glad that God made me wait for this experience, and I am glad that His hand was guiding all of the parties through it.
Our Little Angel
We can hardly believe that its been a year already as parents! It has been the most rewarding year of our lives. Here is our adoption journey…
After being married for 15 years, we decided we wanted to be parents. After 3 years of trying to conceive naturally, we decided not try all of the medical treatment options and pursue adoption!
We were very fortunate to know a couple that just adopted through A Act of Love, so we decided to use their agency. We remember getting the first package of paperwork in the mail and thinking wow, will this ever happen? will we ever be parents? so we began the paperwork in June 2008 and completed all of the requirements by December 2008.
On March 4, 2009, we were approved by A Act of Love Adoption. We were so happy to receive a little stork card in the mail telling us that we were approved! We placed the little stork card on our refrigerator to remind us that someday soon we were going to become parents! A few days went by and we started to receive birth situations. We read them over and over again and the stories were heartbreaking. We asked on many situations for our story to be shared with the birthmom. We felt blessed that we had so many opportunities to have our story read by potential birthmoms. It was very hard to get “the call” that were not the chosen adoptive family.
During the summer months, we tried to keep busy and still hope that someday soon we would become parents. On September 7, 2009, Labor Day weekend we went to the neighbors house to share our adoption journey and our case worker was trying to call us! We never dreamed we would be getting “the call” on a holiday weekend so we never took our cellular phones with us! When we got home we heard the call from our caseworker that one of our birthmoms had a baby girl on Saturday, September 5, 2009. She was two weeks early. We asked for the medical history and decided to have our file presented to the birthmom. On September 8, 2009, we got another call from our case worker telling us that we were the chosen family! We were so excited, emotional, scared and we just cried for joy! After returning to work from a holiday weekend, we were delighted to tell our employers that were going to be parents tomorrow and would be traveling to Philadelphia.
We spent many hours getting everything done at work. We got home and started to pack. We felt bad that we did not have a nursery done for the baby, but we knew we would get it done after we returned home. That night we received another call from our case worker telling us all of the details. We felt like we were dreaming! Our case worker wanted us to know that the birthmom named the baby girl. When my husband got home from buying a cam corder we discussed the name and could not believe that it was so close to the name we chose for a baby girl. We believe a little angel was being sent us. We packed and talked most of the night and set out to Philadelphia at 7 am. We first stopped at Target and went down the baby aisles. We loaded up two carts and hoped that we got everything we needed. We were then on our way to the hospital. We got alittle lost finding the hospital, but we were still on time. We got the last parking spot on the eighth floor and we walked into the hospital with an empty car seat, an outfit and a teddy bear. It was such an emotional time that we were just numb.
Walking into the hospital was like a fairy tale. A Act of Love sent us a wonderful social worker, she was an amazing, caring and compassionate person. She walked us through every step with ease, making the entire experience a fairy tale. We took the elevator to the maternity ward and walked through two double doors. We scrubbed down and walked past the nursery just wondering which one was our baby girl. The pediatric nurse who wheeled our baby girl into a room where we stood still and just started to cry. The nurse put her into my arms first and I just melted. I started to feed her and change her. Then my husband held her and fed her. Our social worker helped us as we were rookie parents. She was one of the most genuine, kindest people we have ever met. Her caring and supportive way she spoke with the birthmother was remarkable!
We hope and pray that after meeting us the birth mom can have the peace she deserves and the confidence that she selected the best adoptive parents to raise her baby. We promised her we will not let her down and that our baby girl (we have kept the name that her birthmom gave her) is the focus of all our attention and that she will probably never be alone again until she goes off to college! We will always remember that day we spent with our social worker and the birth mother.
The hospital staff was second to none. They spent approximately 4 hours of their precious time to make sure we were all prepared to leave the hospital and begin our life together! The doctor and nurse who spent all that time with us were beautiful caring people. They weren't just doing their job they truly cared for us and our little girl! The hospital experience was simply amazing and so much more than we expected.
The Marriott Residence Inn adopted us as their family and fell all over each other to accommodate our every need. The staff used to see us in the hallways and ask how's our little girl doing! They accommodated our extended stay and cleaned our room every day and were so friendly. We could go on for hours.
After two weeks in Philadelphia we received the approval to go home! When we got home, we were welcomed with close family. I never went back to work. I am a stay at home mom. I play all day long with our little girl to build her developmental and motor skills. I also joined the Moms Club to have a playgroup for our little girl. There are five girls around the same age as our little girl. We can hardly believe that we just celebrated our little girl’s first birthday. We are pleased to say we have had a very healthy and safe year. We feel so blessed and honored to have this beautiful little girl. She is our world and everyday we try to be the best parents that we can be. Our little girl is now an active toddler is saying Mamma - Dadda and Babba. She is also standing and trying to walk. She is a very happy baby. Being parents is one of the hardest and rewarding jobs we have ever done. We still tell our adoption story and meet families that have also have adopted all over the world. It is great to share stories.
In November 2010, we are going to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary with our beautiful little girl! We are forever grateful to Act of Love, all of the staff and our little girl’s birthmom who made this dream come true!
As I look down at the big brown eyes looking at me I can’t help but think what an incredible journey the past 3 months have been for me and my teenage son. It was always just the two of us, but we knew there was a void in our home that we needed to fill. We wanted one more person to add to our family to make it complete.
Being a single mom of a teenager, I have always wanted to have more children but have never had the opportunity to do so. So I began the journey of adoption. In early January, I made the decision to adopt. I spoke with several agencies and I completed the paperwork with an agency to begin the process of adoption. I waited, thinking that at anytime I would receive the call saying there was a baby for us, but that call never came.
In mid May I receive an email from a different agency asking if I was still interested in adopting. I called and spoke with the receptionist that took my information and said they would be in touch. Within two hours the call came that changed my life. They said they had a woman that was due very soon and she had not picked a family as of yet to raise her baby. They asked me to come in and review the information to see if it may be a good fit for my situation.
I was skeptical at first, but as I read the information about this woman I knew that her baby was the one that would complete our family. I can’t explain the excitement and the amount of fear that I felt all at the same time, but I soon calmed down and began buying diapers and formula.
That Sunday I caught a flight to Alabama to meet this woman that would give me the greatest gift of all. She and I met for dinner and she began to tell me about herself and her family. After two hours of laughing and tears I knew this was meant to be. She asked me if I would feel comfortable enough to go with her for the delivery which was two days away, I nervously accepted.
On Tuesday night, they induced her and she and I talked while waiting for the medicine to start working it’s magic. Throughout the night she and I shared stories about our lives and the experiences that we both had had that brought us to the point in our lives where we met. It was as though I had known this person for years.
The next day after several hours of delivery, my beautiful baby boy was born. We both cried as the tiny boy was placed into my arms. It was a feeling that I will never forget. I nervously held my son and thought of the ways that my life will forever be changed. It wasn’t just the change of being a new mom, but it was the fact that I had met such an incredible person as this woman. I had truly made a new friend.
The next couple of days we both held our son, we changed the diapers together and she reminded me how to hold him while I fed him. It was as though we were family and we were both so happy for each other. It was the most touching moment of my life.
After the hospital discharged both the birth mother and my son, we met at her work so she could take pictures. She is a photographer and she wanted to give us a gift by taking our first baby pictures. She carefully positioned him to have the most beautiful pictures in the world. She soon had me join him for his mom and son photos. That entire time I was amazed at the love this woman had for this little boy and the maturity that she showed throughout the entire process.
I eventually got the go ahead to leave Alabama and re turn home. When I arrived back in Salt Lake, I immediately felt the need to call my new friend to let her know that her son and I made it home safely. As the call ended, she said, “ it’s time for you and that little prince to move on with your life. I’m OK you don’t need to worry about me. Now go take care of your son.” With that, I knew that she felt good about her decision and she knew that I would care for this little boy with all of my heart and soul.
Every day when I look at this little prince, I know there is a wonderful woman out there that gave me the greatest gift of all. I tell my son how lucky he is to have a wonderful mother that gave birth to him and now a mommy that takes care of him.
(Note from editor – story has been slightly altered to remove personal identification of sender).
1986, at the young naive age of 16, I was pregnant. I went to get advice and counsel as to what I was to do. Trusting the "experts" to give me the best advice, I relinquished my son to strangers in a closed adoption. I was confident that I made the right choice... I loved my baby so I gave him away... I did not realize how twisted that really is, until reunion 19 years later.
Adoption didn't save me or my baby. Adoption just masked our issues and delayed our development that we needed to deal with. Reunion opened my eyes to the malpractice of adoption. I am glad to hear that we as a society have progressed to a healthier "open" adoption. But in all reality, it is still not the best advice for unwed mothers, teenager or otherwise. All that baby needs is his/her original mother's love.
I pray to bring awareness to many, the importance of mother/child bond that never severs no matter how hard we try to reprogram it. If couples with infertility problems would just accept the fact that they will not be able to replace a natural child of their own and use their energy and abundance of love and resources to LOVE ONE ANOTHER, ADOPT THE MOTHER.
To assist children in their highest good is to love their mother. Mentor and adopt their mother as your own daughter, because... don't fool yourself, upon reunion that is what it is going to be anyway and by the time the child is 18, there are too many hurt feelings and issues of the original mother being abandoned and being separated from her child.
Being separated from your mother even in an "open" adoption is just as painful... the rejection is just more in your face. Why can't we love the mother unconditionally, without judgment, without expectation and just mentor with her. Help her build the skills and heal past her own issues to be able to be in her child's life 100% not just occasional visits throughout the year.
Instead of "saving" one of God's children, let’s promote saving all of God's children... Yep, that drug addict mother is one of God's children too. Yes her child needs a safe haven while someone loves his/her mother and helps her get past her issues and mentor with her, helping her live a healthy life that involves being a healthy mother to her child. Instead of "saving" one, you have "saved" many, being someone special to a whole family. No, I was not a drug addict mother, I just throw out the worst case scenario.
We inherit our dysfunction, genetically, adopted or not. Being separated from our heritage just makes it that much harder to identify with who we are and how to deal with our inherited dysfunction.
I pray that "adoptive parents to be" can open their eyes as to who truly needs "adopted"... and I am not talking altering birth certificates that pretends you are someone you aren't and falsifies who you truly are. I am talking voluntarily "adopt" a mother in need and become that family's someone special, a neighborhood grandma that they will always be able to count on without judgment, someone that loves and believes in them to succeed... there are never enough grandma's helping watch out for all of God's children.
I understand the aspect from all sides of adoption... I am a two generation adoptee who repeated the cycle and became a "birth" mother. Come to find out, one of the side effects to being a "birth" mother, we have fertility problems. I yearned for a child that I could call my own for 8 years until I was successful with IVF. I have become a bonus parent and practice what I preach, by loving one another "adopting" the mother.
Love and Light.