Kelly and Neil came to Adoptions of Wisconsin in early 2017 with the hopes of adopting an infant - as many families do. As the couple progressed through the inactive list and began the home study to become an active family, a situation was presented to them. This situation involved a sibling group of two little boys, ages 2 1/2 years and 11 months. Kelly graciously reflects on her and Neil's adoption journey in a touching narrative below.
I keep wondering how it is possible to have a life so perfect, however one year ago I felt completely different.
My husband and I had waited and planned for the absolute perfect moment to start our family. We were married a few years, had traveled, completed graduate school, purchased a 3 bedroom home, and started a professional career that was conducive to having a family. I had spent years trying not to get pregnant, so I had never considered I might have troubles getting pregnant. After 6 months of “trying”, I began to realize it was not going to be so easy. I started to see specialist after specialist, I started a gluten-free/dairy-free diet, I lost 10% of my body weight, I took hormones and medication, yet my body still wasn’t working. I began to cry when people I knew would announce they were pregnant, family members kept asking “when we were going to start a family” and I felt hopeless. I spent most of 2016 in bed crying. My husband and my sisters would bring me food and try to comfort
me, but I felt hopeless.
We had always dreamed of growing our family through adoption, but the expense associated with adoption seemed overwhelming and for a young couple fresh out of graduate school it seemed improbable. My husband and I attended an infertility support group where a young woman shared she had completed 8 rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) over a 5 year period and still did not have a baby in her arms. As we drove home from that group I decided we needed to shift our focus. I started to read blogs about how to make adoption happen. However, it seemed like a stretch, it was nearly half of our combined annual income.
We decided we were going to do everything we could to make our dream of adoption and growing our family a reality. When it came down to coming up with the funds, we were overwhelmed by the love and support we received from family, friends and even strangers. We had paint nights, bake sales, garage sales, salon days, friends selling homemade goods, and friends’ crowdfunding. We began to live on a very strict budget, my husband drove Uber during Badger games, and we dog sat for 6 months straight. We had everything planned to a T and with this plan in place we were on track to have the funds for our adoption in one year.
Many people told me over the past five years that having a family is something you can’t really plan for and that there is nothing that will fully prepare you for that exact right time. Our adoption waiting period went quite a bit faster than we had planned. Within 6 months of being on the inactive list, we had moved up the queue, and we’re ready to go active! Once active we were under the impression that we would likely wait some more, meet a few expecting mothers and eventually someone would pick us to parent their child. We had names picked out and I dreamt of doctors visits with the expecting mother where we would see our baby together.
However, the day we finished our home study and were asked if we would consider a sibling set? We were unsure if this was something we could handle. We had no idea what a sibling set even meant. Our social worker explained the situation and what exactly a “sibling set adoption” entailed. Later that day she emailed pictures of the “sibling set” and asked if we would like to have a profile shown to the birth parents. This was not what we had planned for, but over the years we’ve learned you can't plan for everything. So we decided we might as well give it a shot and see if she liked us.
A week later we met a courageous young woman, who wanted the best life for her boys. At this same visit we met two little boys- ages 11 months and 2 ½ that have forever changed our lives. It was love at first sight. After that visit we left and drove home not knowing if she had liked us, but knowing we were fully in love with all three of them.
Adoption is hypothetical during the preparation process---we thought about how we would parent, but we didn’t have any really practical experience. But when you meet the birth mother---and in our case, the kids too---the thing is real. These kids would actually be our family. How will they adjust? How will we? Lots of potential issues that we had dismissed or delayed suddenly became real. The scenario we had been mentally preparing for---taking home one newborn baby---was instantly totally different. We were mainly worried that they would not attach to us.
About two weeks after our initial meeting we took two little boys home to our semi-toddler proofed house and started our journey as parents.It turned out that, at least in terms of attachment, we had nothing to worry about. The boys were attached to us almost from the moment we brought them home. Both of them love us like we’ve been their parents from the beginning, and we love them the same way.
We have now had the boys nearly four months. Our house has become a home and we cannot imagine our lives without them. We feel like we were always meant to be together and we were always meant to love these boys. Our hearts are so full, we are forever grateful for the amazing
young people that created these beautiful babies and made this selfless decision. Every day we look at these beautiful boys we are so grateful. We are grateful for the opportunity to love these boys and to grow our family. Unconditional love is powerful. Unconditional love is true. Unconditional love makes a family.