Matt and I are thrilled to introduce our son Oliver. Born on Thursday, February 7 and weighing 5 lbs., 4 oz., he is the answer to many prayers.
Our story is unique because we became a family through adoption. After ten years of marriage, Matt and I were diagnosed with unexplained infertility and faced a decision between extensive fertility treatments, surrogacy, and adoption.
Unfortunately there are many more people with infertility issues than most of us realize, and every family has a long and lonely road through the process. We prayed often for guidance in our decision and felt that adoption was the best path for our family.
We soon learned there are very few resources and advocates for adoptive parents-to-be. However, we were lucky to have friends to guide us and share their experience.
Adoptive parents are required to complete a home study, which includes a background check, fingerprints, and letters of recommendation, amongst other things. Once that is complete, parents submit applications and photo portfolios to many different agencies. It’s a lot more like applying for a job than adopting a baby. There isn’t a national registry of adoptive and birth parents like you might imagine. So, adoptive parents have many questions to ask an agency before working together, including the number of placements they make per year, the demographics of their birth parents, and the cost.
Once we selected the agencies we wanted to work with, we touched base regularly about possibilities. Some agencies told us every time they showed our portfolio and others only told us if the birth mom wanted to meet us. Regardless, the process is very difficult. We told ourselves we would never get wrapped up in a situation until the baby was in our arms. But, that is impossible. We couldn’t help but get our hopes up with every call and the possibilities seemed to vanish as quickly as they appeared. We continued to tell ourselves that our baby was out there somewhere; it just wasn’t our time yet.
One afternoon, my sister called to tell me about her friend, Jill, who is an adoption attorney. Jill was looking for families to present to a particular birth mom. We did not have a profile with Jill, but we’d been down that road before and just sent her a link to our online portfolio. Then, she called back! The birth mom wanted to meet us in two days.
This did not mean she wanted to match with us; and her due date was still a month away, so she had plenty of time to change her mind about placing the baby or to meet with other families. But, we knew this was the process of adoption, so we agreed to meet her.
I was in a business meeting the day of our scheduled appointment and my phone rang a dozen or more times. I was running a few minutes late to pick up Matt, so I assumed that’s why he kept calling. But, I was wrong! The birth mom’s water had broken and she wasn’t going to be able to meet us for dinner as planned. She asked us to come to the hospital instead!
Unable to reach me, Matt jumped in his car and went straight there. Although he had a two-hour drive, I think Matt beat the birth mom to the hospital. When I got home from work, Matt was already gone, but he hadn’t taken a single thing with him. He said he was in total shock and didn’t want to miss anything. Trying to be the responsible parent I was hoping to be, I grabbed an overnight bag and arranged for dog sitters. However, I couldn’t stop thinking about what I should wear! I was so nervous, and obviously not thinking clearly, so my dad drove me to the hospital. When we got there, Matt was in the lobby waiting for us. I still tease him that he forgot me.
We awkwardly went into the delivery room and met this beautiful young woman. We visited for an hour or so, each of us wondering what was going to happen. I felt a strong connection to her, like an instant click, but Matt and I left the room so she could make her decision.
I desperately hoped that she liked me as much as I liked her. My stomach was in knots and we needed to decompress. We left the hospital and ate dinner nearby. We talked about everything but the topic at hand. My dad, who tells notoriously long stories, provided a good distraction. But, all I could think about was what to name the baby if we were to become his parents. I must have checked my phone a million times to see if anyone was going to call us back.
Fortunately, the birth mom chose to place the baby with us. When we got the call, we went back to the hospital immediately and stayed up all night talking with the birth mom and her parents. We stepped out during delivery to allow her privacy. Several stressful hours later; a nurse came to tell us that a healthy baby boy was waiting to meet his parents.
He was perfect. More hair than most grown men and feet that were almost as long as his legs. He snuggled right into us. He had a wrinkly little forehead and looked just like an Oliver.
The hospital was very generous to let Matt and I stay in a mother-baby room with Oliver until he was dismissed. We were able to be his parents from the start, which was a wonderful experience for us.
Oliver’s birth mom gave us the most selfless gift a woman could give. She and her family very obviously loved him. They spent time with him in the hospital and have stayed in touch since. We are connected now in a way that only the most special circumstances allow – we all love this little boy.
The whole experience was surreal. I went to work one morning and came home three days later with a baby. It was just what we wanted, but we were completely unprepared.
We were very lucky that our family and friends jumped right in to help. They brought food, clothes and toiletries to the hospital. They stocked our house with baby essentials before we made it home. Both of our mothers were waiting at our house when we arrived home. And, three weeks later, friends are still stocking our fridge.
My job has been wonderfully understanding and accommodating, which has been a huge relief.
We have everything we ever wanted in Oliver, but we are honored to have so much support from those around us.
Oliver is an absolute dream come true for us and we have enjoyed every minute of being his parents. Even at 4 am.
p.s. A huge thank you to Cathy Mores for photographing Little Man’s first days. Cathy is as amazing as she is talented.