Our First AdoptionMy wife and I got married in 1996. About eight years later, we wondered why she had never gotten pregnant.We went to a gynecologist and found out it was impossible for us to conceive naturally. Undaunted, we went down the uncertain road of IVF procedures. Anyone who has been down this road knows how emotional the trip can be—with extremely happy highs and tearful lows, not to mention the agony of giving your wife shots a few times a day.
Feeling frustrated amid our third IVF attempt, we attended a local adoption information meeting. My wife felt we were meant to adopt; I wasn’t so sure. Call me crazy, but as we left that meeting, I saw a rainbow in my rearview mirror. That was my sign, and so our adoption journey began.
We researched adoption programs and agencies. We went to meetings, paid the fees, got our physicals, and completed the paperwork. We were ready to start our family! We finally received a phone call. We met a quiet, pretty young lady. The meeting went smoothly. We really liked the expectant mom but felt like we had botched the interview.
A few days later, we received a second phone call saying that the expectant mom wanted to meet us again. That meeting went fine, and we laughed and cried together. Her reason for getting together was to establish ground rules for an open adoption.
The expectant mom wanted us to send her photos frequently. She was a sweet Christian young lady, and she needed to be sure that she was making the right decision. If all it took to realize our dream was to e-mail some pictures, it was an easy decision for us.
Some people ask us why we said yes to an open adoption. We say, "Why not?" Try to put yourself in the shoes of the birthmother. To say this is a "life-altering" decision is an understatement. As I see it, adoption is an act of love and selflessness for these women. They love their children more than they love themselves. That’s what great mothers do. If we were to ruin that equation by being selfish as adoptive parents, what message would that send to our kids?
Have I told you how wonderful our two daughters are? We adopted our second child through open adoption in 2010 from another special young lady. All that waiting. All those tears. It all was worth it. Our daughters are awesome! Each day we tell them how much we love them and thank God for his gifts.
The More Love, the Better
Our relationship with each birthfamily is unique. One family calls and visits more often. The other e-mails and sends gifts in the mail. These families have embraced us as parents. They do not intrude. They do not preach to us about how to raise our kids. They simply are happy to be included in the process. One of the grandmothers caught us off guard when she said, "You are like family to us now." Wow! The more love the better!We are not sure what the future holds. It comes on so fast and can change in many ways. We do hope to stay in touch with our birthfamilies. We want to share birthdays and milestones with them. My personal hope is that, as we get older / they get older, our girls will know and be close to each birthmom. They can be a source of "family", moms and siblings, after we are gone. The more love the better!We will always be indebted to our two birthmothers for entrusting their children to us. And we thank God for our wonderful journey, and we will be sure that our daughters know that He brought us all together.
Our journey continues to evolve. We feel like we expanded our family twofold, and the girls are the benefactors. Can you imagine growing up with four grandmothers? What could be better to a child at Christmas?
Andy McCleafA full version of this article is to be printed in an upcoming periodical in 4/2012