Today, our family consists of three adopted children, each with their own unique adoption story and relationship with their birth families. We went through two painful failed adoption placements before we met our son’s birth mother. That cold January day that he was born was one of the most amazingly joyful and humbling days of our lives. I can’t describe the feeling of watching his birth mother hand over the child that just she gave birth to and place him in my husband’s arms. Trying to understand the extent of her loss and grief, while rejoicing in the fact that we had just been entrusted with the most precious gift we could ever receive brought a flood of emotions. She and her extended family have become family to us, celebrating birthdays and holidays together, even vacationing with them. When people first hear this, they find it very strange, and we would have too at the beginning. We never planned or expected this type of relationship, but it has become the most natural and rewarding thing for both them and us. We love that our son has the opportunity to have this type of relationship with his birth family and see that adoption is truly formed out of love.
Having such a wonderful experience with our son, we were ready to adopt again. We knew the process might take years and so we started our home study right away. Unexpectedly, just 13 months after our son was born, we welcomed our daughter into our family. We had received a phone call three weeks prior, explaining her situation and asking if we were ready to accept another placement, to which we excitedly answered, “Yes!” After she was born, she had a two week stay in the NICU, which was a new and scary experience for us. We never met her birth mother, but we remain open if she would choose to pursue a relationship with us.
Our hearts were full. We had received two beautiful blessings and were soaking up life together as a family of four. Having two children so close together was a lot of work and a lot of wiping—counters, noses, bottoms—but to this day they share such a special bond from being so close and they have brought so much life and joy to our family.
Two and a half years later, we were ready to add to our family again. We began working with Gifts Of Grace, which was more local for us than our previous agency. We were shown to potential birth families time and time again and continued to get the same response: not chosen. Our home study expired after year of waiting and we began to wonder if we should keep trying. Maybe our family was already complete? But we continued to feel called and knew that in the right timing, God would provide the child that was meant to be a part of our family.
The call came when we were out of state attending a farm meeting. A baby boy had just been born unexpectedly and his birth mother had chosen us, “How quickly could we get to the hospital?” They call it a “stork drop”…one call that changes your life forever. We changed flights, packed our bags, and headed home as soon as we could. We were able to meet his birth mother at the hospital and spend some time with her. He was born two months prematurely, and so we again had an extended stay in the NICU. Although a different situation, we had more of an idea of what to expect this time. It was a difficult season of having our family spread out— our other two children staying with family, my husband continuing to work and travel back-and-forth to the hospital, and I chose to stay full time at the hospital to bond and care for our son. We were finally released to go home and begin life as a family of five.
Our two older children, who are now 4 and 5, are absolutely thrilled about having a new baby brother. My daughter thinks that he’s her real life baby doll. We talk very openly with our kids about their adoption stories and their birth families. We share their stories in terms that they’re able to comprehend now at a preschool level, but will continue to provide them details as they are developmentally ready. Although adoption is born out of loss, struggle, heartache, and waiting (so much waiting!), we have seen time and time again the blessing and healing that can come from our children’s stories. They have brought joy, purpose, and love beyond measure not just to us, but to our extended family and friends who have shared this journey with us. It’s been a hard road, but we would do it all again because…it is worth it. Every time. In hindsight, we can see how God‘s hand was in every heartache we experienced, every “no” we were told, and each period of silence in the waiting. And today I sit here in my living room cluttered with toys, feeding our newborn and thanking God for adoption and the journey that has led us here. - Erin, adoptive mother of three