One family's infant adoption story full of openness and love
On the evening of Thanksgiving Day 2015 this family received a call from one of our clinicians, Twelve weeks after, Elliot was born. They decided to share their story with us.
Adoption was always something we were interested in doing. We even discussed it on our first date. We both grew up with friends and family who had adopted or were adoptees and those experiences had shown us that although it contains struggles of its own, adoption can be a beautiful thing. Originally our hope was to have three biological children and adopt the fourth as a way to finish the growth of our family. But after three years of trying to get pregnant with no success, we realized adoption wasn’t the way we were supposed to finish our family, but how we would start it.
Our start in the process was bumpy. There were many times where we felt discouraged and questioned if we were doing what we were supposed to as a family, but we pressed on. And on the evening of Thanksgiving in 2015 we received an unexpected phone call from our clinician with Boys & Girls Aid. While our family was dishing up dinner we snuck into another room while they started eating and called her back. My husband Matt listened to her say we have been chosen by a birthmother. He chuckled with joy as he told her, “you’re going to have to tell Keri yourself, because she won’t believe me.”
One week later, we met our son’s birthmother for the first time. We had never seen anyone go through the infant adoption process before, so we had no idea what to do or what to expect. I just remember on the car ride to the restaurant I felt so much dread. Not because I didn’t want to meet her, but because it seemed awkward and I didn’t know what to say.
When they came in we had the honor of meeting her, her two children and her mom. Our clinicians helped break the ice and bring up important conversation points regarding the adoption. And although we felt at first like it could be an odd first date, by the end of it Matt was playing football in the parking lot with her son, and the rest of us were talking and hugging goodbye. We lived two hours apart but were able to see each other two more times before the birth.
Open adoption was something we were hesitant of at first. It seemed foreign and we had never seen it modeled before. We could understand the benefits, but it didn’t seem tangible. Once we were matched and had met Elliot’s birth mother, we couldn’t imagine her not being a part of his life in some way. Meeting her and seeing the deep love she had for him helped us understand that open adoption can be healing for us all. His birth family is now an extension of our own and we are glad they get to watch him grow.
Twelve weeks after we received the call on Thanksgiving Day, Elliot was born. His birth mother had invited us to be with her during delivery and I will forever be grateful to her for allowing us to be so involved and witness our son take his first breath. Our clinicians were with us during the whole hospital stay and played an integral part. His birth mother’s clinician made sure she was advocated for and cared for. And our clinician guided us on what was to happen next and spent time with us, giving encouragement and snuggling Elliot.
The next day, after Elliot got to meet his siblings, we gave hugs goodbye to his birth family. And the day after that, we were discharged from the hospital and made the drive home as a family of three. Since his birth we have been able to have quite a few visits with his birth family, hanging out, playing at the park and celebrating birthdays together. There are so many emotions that come with adopting, and two years later we are still processing many of them. But we wouldn’t change a thing. We can’t imagine life without Elliot. He is our joy and we are forever changed by adoption.
Elliot is a fun loving two-year-old. He has a zeal for life and loves to help us with whatever we are doing. He will follow me with the dust buster while I vacuum, or hand me dishes while unloading the dishwasher. He doesn’t care what it is as long as he can be a part of it. Along with learning new words each day and putting together sentences, he is full of growls, grunts and high fives. Our favorite activities are walks to the park, searching for worms in the yard and reading books.
Adopting through Boys & Girls Aid helped our experience be an enjoyable one. We appreciated how in the training the teachers didn’t sugar coat the process. Nothing is guaranteed, and no two adoptions are the same. They were frank and honest and helped us understand different scenarios we could encounter. I would say if there is something B&G Aid does really well in the infant adoption realm it is that each side of the triad is well cared for. When we started our home study, we were given a clinician who was (and is) not only competent in each legal detail of adoption, but she was (and is) so caring. We felt seen and heard and any concerns we had were quickly addressed. What I really love is that our son’s birth mother was also given a clinician. She was in her corner, advocated for her and was there for her whenever she needed her. When the time came for the birth, both of our clinicians were with us at the hospital, making sure every detail was taken care of and helped all of us connect in an otherwise awkward situation.
Here are some recent pictures of Elliot