Our Happily Ever Alter • Part One
How does the story go? First comes love then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. For us life had a little different plan. We are Jennifer, Patrick, Presley and Addie and we became a family through adoption. In March 2009, I was taking a nap on our couch and when I woke up Patrick was sitting next to me with paperwork all around him. He looked at me and said, “It’s done.” That was the day that started everything. He had finished all of our adoption paperwork and we were now officially on that journey. Our hearts had already made the decision to try and adopt, but our minds got in the way for awhile. I think everyone who starts this journey has doubt and worry, but on that Sunday afternoon, we finally decided that it was time and we were going to do this.
Believe it or not, 10 weeks after we filled out all that paperwork we were holding our baby girl in our arms. Only five weeks after we started the process, Claire, our social worker, called an told us there was a prospective birth mother who was due with a baby girl and she wanted to meet us. A week later we were sitting in a room at Adoptions of Wisconsin meeting the birth parents There were nerves, don’t get me wrong, but when I looked at them I just knew it was going to be OK. We hit it off right away but decided to meet again in a more natural setting. So we met at the zoo and talked about all sorts of things. How Patrick and I met, what college was like for us, how we were raised, how we planned to raise our kids. As we continued to talk, it became rather clear that we were meant to meet each other and we were a good match. Over the next few weeks, Becca, Presley’s birth mom, and I emailed and talked about how things were going to go at the hospital. We continued to get together in order to get to know each other better. I remember one meeting Becca asked us for our last name. For whatever reason, it was one of those moments that made me truly realize that this person was choosing us to be the parents of the baby girl she was bringing into this world , even though we are getting to know each other, we are still strangers and I didn’t ever want her to think of us as strangers. So the simple, “I don’t even know your last name yet” was a moment I’ll never forget.
When Becca’s water broke she called us and said she was at the hospital and everything was going well and that Presley would be here soon. There are no words to describe our emotions when we arrived at the hospital. We walked into the room and saw Becca holding Presley on the bed. She looked at us, smiled and handed her to us. Presley was absolutely beautiful and we had never felt so lucky and grateful. I remember Claire telling us that the hospital time would be hard, but that it would be beautiful at the same time. She was right. The morning we were all discharged was not easy. We knew it wasn’t goodbye, but feeling so much happiness and joy as new parents and also having your heart break for someone you love is a lot to take in. Becca reassured us she was making the right decision for Presley but knowing that didn’t take away the profound loss and grief she was going to have to go through. Our hearts broke for her. We all surrounded together around Presley, hugged and cried. But of all the words we could use to describe that moment, beautiful is definitely the one we would choose.
In the first couple of years after Presley was born we had 2-3 visits in person. They were perfect and nothing too overwhelming for Becca or for us. It was always amazing to see Becca and I know she appreciated our openness for her to see us. And by us, I mean all of us. Becca grew to love Patrick and I just as much as she loves Presley. She loves our whole family. After those first couple of years, we mutually decided to continue to email twice a year. It’s what felt right for Becca and what felt right for our family. It’s been amazing to continue our relationship with Becca even if it’s only through email. We love hearing about what is going on in her life and to hear of all of her accomplishments.
Presley is now a smart, kind, loving, full of life six year old who is very aware of her adoption and what it means. She is proud of it. This was always our goal as parents. When she gets older, we know she will understand and be so thankful for Becca’s decision. Her adoption doesn’t define her, just like it doesn’t define our family. It’s something about us and just the way we built our family. We are forever thankful for the gift of our girls.
Adoption is a choice. Your adoption story is yours and your child’s. The adoption journey you start on is going to be different than anyone else’s; but it’s your journey. It will not be easy but it will be worth it. Trust yourselves, your social worker, and most of all your birth parents.
Our road to our youngest was very different, so please fell free to read Part Two of our journey.