National Adoption Awareness Month: one family’s story

I vividly remember asking so many questions to God… Why me?, What is your plan for our family? What did I do to deserve this? If only I knew then what I know now

Fast forward almost nine years, and all my questions have been answered. I have two amazing children through adoption and my life is complete. Adoption is a roller coaster journey, full of exciting times, and some very low times. It is a long process, starting with meetings, and creating a portfolio, to “promote” your family, more meetings, then waiting, waiting, and more waiting.

Here is our storyMy husband Scott and I chose to use the Lutheran Social Services as our adoption agency. Through LSS, your portfolio is put into a book with all the other waiting families, and Birthmothers (and sometimes birthfathers also) choose two or three families to interview in person. From there they choose which family will adopt their child (this is the dreaded waiting period referenced above). We were called and interviewed by a mother with a ten-month-old daughter in foster care first. We made the two-hour trip to St. Paul two times, and finally got the call that she had chosen my husband and myself. Tears flowed, and we were overjoyed! Our dreams shattered when a day before we were to go get our “daughter,” we got the call that the mother had changed her mind. This was like a death to me. I had never met “my daughter,” but I felt empty inside, and again started questioning God.

Months passed again, until I was reunited with a friend from my past, and I told her about our adoption plans. This was God’s first answer to me. She had a very young niece that was four months along and had explored the thought of adopting out her child. My husband and I met with her and it was amazing how it just felt “right.” In the months before my daughters birth I grew to LOVE her birthmother. She became a part of our family, and still is to this day. I can’t imagine the pain that she went through to make our dreams come true. I never questioned her intentions, and knew that she would make her child part of our family. I feel I will be forever in debt to her, for giving us the greatest gift ever.

Several years later, in the process of trying to adopt a second child, we were introduced to a wonderful woman through our daughter’s birth grandmother. This was the same situation, in meeting the birthmother, birthfather, and birth grandmother, it just felt “right.” However this time around we had only two weeks to prepare for the birth of our son. We prepared our then 4-year-old daughter as best we could, and got his room ready.

In an adoption the birth parents have 10 business days to “reclaim” their child, after they are discharged from the hospital. We got the dreaded phone call five days into our 10 day waiting period from our social worker, saying birth mom had called to see what she needed to do to take her son back. More questions were asked of God, “why and how can I go through this again?” Fortunately, we made it through the 10 days and celebrated when the time period was up and we got the “all clear” call from our social worker.

Our daughter is now almost 9 years old, and our son is 4 years old. Both have known since they were old enough to understand that they were adopted. Their birth parents are a part of their lives, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I believe with all of my heart that birthparents are the most courageous, and selfless people in the world. I wouldn’t be a mom if it weren’t for the two brave women that gave birth to my children and made them mine. I struggle trying to find ways to thank them for the greatest gift ever.

November is National Adoption month. I wanted to tell my story, for all the people waiting to adopt a child. It does happen, with patience. I know all to well how hard it is to wait for the one thing you want most in life. But more importantly I wanted to tell my story for any women out there that may be expecting and not knowing what to do. Adoption is a beautiful thing, both of my children are PROUD to be adopted. They are PROUD of their birthparents, and know why they made the decision to adopt them out. They know that I am their “mom” and my husband is their “dad”, but understand that I did not give birth to them.

Thank You to all the birthparents that may read this. Without your love, selflessness, and strength their would be so many families that couldn’t be complete.

“Not flesh of my flesh”

Not flesh of my flesh

Nor bone of my bone,

But still miraculously my own.

Never forget for a single minute,

You didn’t grow under my heart,

But in it.

Author: Fleur Conkling Heyliger

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