After waiting two years, our miracle started because of people we did not know, yet were so close to us. These helpful people were our fellow church members, who mentioned adoption needs from an agency they used in Florida to our pastor. Our pastor, who knew we had been waiting, emailed us a social worker’s name and email address. On a whim, we emailed inquiring about possibilities. This random act of outreach made our blessing come true: we matched with a birthmother who wanted a same-sex couple. After many phone conversations, emails, and signatures to the agency, we were on a plane to Florida.
On September 29, we met the Florida social worker for the first time at a restaurant near the agency. After some conversation, we met our birthmother and had a two-hour lunch. We learned a lot about her and her family. From our first conversation, we knew this was the match we had waited so long for.
She asked us to be with her at her C-section that was scheduled for the next morning. She did not want to go through this alone. We were thrilled and excited to be blessed with the gift of being part of the birth plan.
We picked her up at her house to bring her to the hospital the next morning. Throughout the many hours of prep before the C-section, we had deep conversations about our hopes and dreams for the baby boy about to enter the world. The hospital would only give out two bands for people to pick up the baby from the nursery and our birthmother insisted that they go to us, as the adoptive parents. She was so selfless about the process and wanted us to have the full experience of the birth of our child.
I remember scrubbing up and waiting for the C-section to happen; I felt sure the process was hours long, but in reality it was 20 minutes. The doctors came and handed me the baby boy we would call Jack and all I could do was stare. Love at first sight. The quality time in the hospital room together with our little baby on his birth date filled us with joy. We were able to hold him, attempt to feed him, and love him for some time. Afterward, my wife and I continued to sit at the nursery window staring at him for what seemed like forever. When we visited Jack’s birthmother to say goodbye for the day, she asked how he was and what he looked like.
Our time at the hospital lasted longer than we expected because our son struggled to learn how to suck and eat. Through this, we learned that from challenge comes beauty and the beauty of being in NICU for 12 days meant we were able to create an even closer relationship with the birthmother. At this time our birthmother was not sure what level of openness she would be comfortable with, but continually asked us to tell Jack about her. She went far beyond our expectations and created a family history photo album with a personal note that Jack will always cherish.
Since we were still in Florida when Jack was 22 days old, we met his birthmother again to say goodbye. Not a forever goodbye, but a “till next time.” The pictures and memories we all have of this goodbye are filled with love, sadness, joy, grief and dreams. On our wedding anniversary, October 23rd, we were on a plane back to Minnesota with our son, Jack.
Over the next several months, we grew as a family, learned how to be parents, made mistakes, and watched our son grow and accomplish each of the first year’s milestones. He was and is loved by all of his extended family. We kept in contact with Jack’s birthmother through text and photos each month.
Because we are a same-sex couple, we needed to be present in the court room for finalization in Florida. So, with an 11 month old, we were on a plane to Florida for three days. On August 6, we took a deep breath and were officially given parental rights through finalization. The beauty of being in Florida was we were able to spend the next afternoon with our son’s birthmother, pool side. It was amazing to watch our son listen to his birthmother’s voice again. You could see the recognition in his eyes as he listened. And it was wonderful to watch her hold her son and see how beautifully he is growing.
When you start an open adoption you don’t always know where it will end up or how open it will be. Two ways we knew we could always keep our birthmother’s family in our son’s life was to include a middle name from our birthmother’s family and keep her in our prayers. Each night of Jack’s life we have said our prayers which include his birthmother. “I see the moon, the moon sees me. God bless the moon, God bless Birthmother Sari.” He will always know that her love for him is as strong as our love for him. Even though we are states away from each other, we have been lucky to continue our open relationship with his birthmother.
About the Author: Dayle is an adoptive mother.