Category: Adoption

The Day I Met Their Mother…

I had a whole lot of expectations and plans in place for this day. I was coordinating with Mike and photographers and preparing well in advance for the day we finally met our birthmom. None of that went according to my plan. Yes, she is the birthmom of our twins and Sage.

I know every story and relationship is different but for us we talk about our birthmom often, she has a name. Erika is not someone who we care to hide from the world or our family but there are parts of her life that we hope to protect. It isn’t always easy because people, even your closest friends can come to the conversation with their ideas about what kind of person she is. Truth be told, she is just like many people you know. She loves her children, she gave life to her children, and she respects our family.

Wednesday, March 1, following her routine weekly doctor visit, she called to say all was well and on schedule for her c-section March 16. The doctor viewed a healthy baby with an average heartbeat and sent her on her way. That night we went to bed no different than any other night.

The moment my eyes opened, I did my usual time and call check on my phone. Missed call x 2 texts from Erika. I knew right away something had happened. I opened my phone and called to Mike who was in the shower. “THE BABY IS HERE. SHE HAD THE BABY.” To which he answered with a lot of confusion and questions about the neighbors dog who had been missed the day before.

I exchanged a few texts with her and let her know I would be on my way ASAP. Mike was booked for a huge conference call in his office which meant I would be driving three hours to Winter Park alone while he booked a flight to meet me late that evening.

Dropped the kids at school, came home to pack an overnight bag, and left the house knowing we would be coming back home with our baby. I fielded several texts and pulled out of the driveway.

GPS gave me a 2 hour and 40 minute arrival time. I let Erika know exactly when I would get there and hoped she would be up to meeting me.

I pulled into the hospital parking lot and began to bathe in oils. I look a few sips of water, got my bearings, and walked up to the door. The woman at the front desk gave me directions to the NICU floor and L&D to which I had to make the choice where to go knowing our baby was in one place and Erika another.

After security clearance, I walked back to NICU where the nurses all gathered in anticipation. One asked for my phone and staged the other nurse to go ahead of us to hand the baby to me. That video is one I will always cherish.

I sat alone with this baby and text Erika that I had arrived and she responded that she would come down to meet me. I expected nurses to wheel her in but to my surprise she came walking down and pulled back the door with a smile on her face.

We hugged, I offered her the comfortable seat, and asked her if she would like to hold the baby. She held out her arms and I placed the tiny 7lbs parking lot babe in her arms. We took a few pictures, we talked about baby names, we discussed birth fathers and our other children. The excitement and intensity of our meeting was visabily exhausting and she asked to excuse herself to try and get some rest. Not knowing the next time I saw her we would be among attorneys and court reporters who would assist in our placement.

She text me from her room that the attorney would arrive shortly after 4. I waited outside her room until it was my turn to go. Everyone emerged from the room, Erika with tears eyes, and her hospital belongings as she was cleared for discharge.

In the hallway, we hugged one final time. She had no words. I had few, just a solemn reminder and promise that we loved her, and we would always do our best for these babies.

Several days have passed and we are able to chat about how things are going for us at home and her as she recovers physically and begins the long emotional road to healing. I know open adoption is often misunderstood and can sound really scary but the truth is that we all want the same thing in the end. Children who are happy, healthy, and loved beyond measure.

A few iPhone snaps from our day!


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Still with her…and her…

It is happening. The ONE thing consistent with the arrival of each and every single one of my children…is this question. “Are you ready?” Which is literally like asking someone if they won the lottery what they might do with all the money… the minute the buy the ticket and the night before it’s drawn.

I think so? No? I have ZERO baby things these days since we gave them all away when we foolishly thought God agreed with our “last baby” plan. My current newborn inventory includes ONE box of newborn diapers, ONE 3rd generation Boppy, and ONE pack and play for this little one to prayerfully sleep through the night in.

Each day I walk past my little neighborhood children’s boutique and say “TODAY I WILL BUY ALL THE THINGS” but I do not walk in. Each day I start to move things around and initiate nesting but I’m easily distracted by one of our four other children, business, chickens, dog, husband, or occasional sleep.

Now is about when you’re saying “This girl is nuts. They have no business having another baby!” Right? Or some form of opinion or expression that negates the work we are doing. Because this is work. Children are fun but the foster care and adoption world is an actual JOB that I believe Mike and I are here to do. Turns out, we do love it and we are the lucky ones if we stop to take it all in.

I was sad and my heartbroke thinking we could miss out on a huge blessing to our family, a baby that would share some blood and genetics with our twins even if they look nothing alike. I was comfortable with our little even numbered crew of four and I felt like we had a lot to share with the world about our journey to each of those babies.

But God. He takes us, breaks up, shapes us, and reminds us that HE writes the best stories and when we follow what he puts on our hearts… it might not be easy but it will be for glory.

We are standing with HER. Our birthmom for over 2 years, whom we will embrace in person for the first time. We are supporting HER and the life of the baby she chose to carry. We might not have a beautiful Pinterest nursery, or a name, or all the things people assume you will have ready for a baby…but MY HEART is ready. I’m ready to me her…them. I’m ready to swaddle…I’m ready to have sleepless newborn nights…I’m ready to watch my other children fall in love and fight over holding their little baby…I’m ready to tell you all that God makes no mistakes. This baby was wanted and this life is so worth it.

I’m also really ready to walk past all the strangers I see each morning when I walk the twins…with a new baby strapped to my chest…and see the puzzled look on their faces. Most already assume I am just the nanny…this will really throw them off.

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Love In An Open… Adoption

Within our adoption chat groups, a lot of families inquire about what an “open adoption” looks like. I think it is REALLY important for people who are looking or desiring¬† this to consider a lot of different possibilities. Mainly… the possibility that ANYTHING will be possible. More families and birthmoms are advocating for open adoption than ever before. The idea that adoption should be kept quiet or a secret is being challenged each day when making the decision to adopt or place for adoption.

Again, when we were in our first round of adoption, this is an area Mike and I were not on the same page about. He felt that it would be confusing or challenging for him to cater to the needs of our child while also allowing a birth parent to have a relationship with them. I could see many sides to this. There would certainly be no secret that our twins were not biological. Race is something we were prepared to take on but as we pushed ourselves further it became obvious that we needed to support our birthmom in hopes of sharing with our twins that THIS is what love looks like and THIS is how you treat people.

So, here we are. OPEN adoption. What that has really meant for us is far from a text book definition. It has meant that we are fully…and completely… open to what may or sadly may not happen. We may get calls, we may get letters, we may be asked to call, we may be asked to send letters. One day we may meet, we may never meet. You know how you have that friend who might randomly reach out and initiate a conversation and then suddenly it seems like their phone was sucked up into the Bermuda triangle? That is open adoption.

Not knowing when your phone might ring, not having expectations of that other person, protecting your family and child from hurt, all while keeping the bleak thin line of communication open the best way you know.

Updates may come few and far between. Loving someone enough to be there in support of them when they do call or reach out, with no expectations or no agenda. It may be just in that moment you are open to hear their needs or offer a familiar voice/text. Loving someone enough to support them without enabling or becoming a doormat. That is a fine line for me. I’ve been a doormat on a couple occasions. ¬†Adoption is one of the most unique experience I have ever been through in my entire life. Our journey now, looks nothing at all like it did the first time, even with the same woman. My giving and compassionate heart is being stretched and at the same time my boundaries are being tested.

The feelings we had of being chosen have not surfaced again. In this state, we have been called to choose. And now, every time the phone rings I have to make a choice. Be prepared for whatever is on the other line. The need. The want. The grief. The despair. The complete unknown. So, that is what an open adoption looks like. It feels a lot like when you leave your 3 year old in a room and for a while… all you hear is silence. The minute you take a look back into that room… your eyes are wide and although you were somewhat prepared for anything, the reality is there is a lot of mess you weren’t really ready for.

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