Eric and Heather are an adoptive couple who are sharing their experiences in a series of guest posts about what it’s like to go through the adoption process with LDS Family Services. Eric and Heather hope that by sharing their experiences others will feel the same peace and support they have received and gain a better understanding of how the adoption process works.
It’s been over a year since last post and a lot has happened. The agency asked us to continue sharing our adoption journey in steps and for a couple of different reasons, we've had to wait a while to share our whole story. The following is our experiences and how we felt as we waited to meet our birth mom.
We were approved in April of 2011 and were so excited to finally be up online but we had no idea the roller coaster ride we were about to face. That same day we were approved, Eric and I went out to dinner to celebrate. I was so excited and we both couldn’t stop smiling and thinking about how we were one step closer to starting the family we had been dreaming about for years. While excited, I felt a bit nervous because I kept feeling like something was about to change very quickly. I told Eric about my feelings and while he was curious about those thoughts, he also knows me very well and knows that I tend to become anxious very easily.
When we got home, there was a message blinking on their answering machine. Before we listened to it, I said, “Eric, that’s Judy.” (Judy was our caseworker). He laughed and said, “Heather, we’re pretty awesome but not THAT awesome.” (This is totally Eric’s personality). Judy had asked us if we would be willing to bring over a couple of our paper profiles for two birth mothers who would be delivering in the next day or so. Of course we were so excited so we focused more on pulling all our stuff together instead of asking more questions. Somewhere throughout the process, we misunderstood how it all works. We had no idea how “up and down” things could be. We sure figured that out quickly, though.
We waited for a while to see if we would hear anything from these two birth moms and when nothing happened, I was so discouraged. I felt like we had just been shown to two birth mothers and they didn’t even like us. I immediately told Eric that something was wrong with our profile and that we had to change it up. Our amazing caseworker kind of laughed at us and told us that we’ll have lots of birth families look at us before we are chosen and not to fret about it. (Easier said than done, right?)Throughout the next few weeks I went and peeked at our profile and the statistics a lot. (Just for the record, I have a love/hate relationship with being able to see those stats). I noticed that our profile was no longer up but didn’t know why. I e-mailed Judy and she informed me of how the whole thing works. We learned that you can be put on hold by another case worker or a birth mother and she can keep it that way for up to three weeks. We learned there are “soft holds” and “firm holds.” Of course we got excited and then bummed when our profile was put back on. This happened a few times throughout the process. It was always discouraging when it would go back up.
A few weeks later, I had this distinct feeling to check our e-mail. I thought that was kind of interesting because I check my personal e-mail regularly and thought that we had forwarded our adoption e-mail to that one. I logged on to see that we had been e-mailed several days prior by a birth mom. I wanted to kick myself for not checking earlier because what kind of hopeful adoptive couple doesn’t e-mail a birth mother back right away?! To make a long story short, we e-mailed her several times, grew to absolutely love and adore her and then the e-mails stopped. I was heartbroken. It turns out that our caseworkers had been in touch and we finally heard from our caseworker that she had gone with another couple. Judy e-mailed us saying, “I got an e-mail from *** He told me that she has chosen another couple from out of state. Sorry about that. It is how these things are. The bright spot is that she has found the right family for the child she is carrying and some day, the same thing will happen for you.”
Obviously we had many mixed emotions. I am so grateful for Eric because he said, “I am sure that couple is ecstatic right now and I am so happy for them. One day, that will be us.” He has such an optimistic attitude and can be genuinely happy for someone else, even if we are a bit envious.
In June, we got an e-mail from another birth mom wanting to get to know us better. I was pretty excited to hear from her. She was a young, sweet teenage girl who had been with her boyfriend for a while and they had found out they were pregnant. She explained that they both knew that they couldn’t provide the home that this child needed and they felt really good about adoption and that both of their families were being very supportive. We exchanged a few e-mails and then we went several days without hearing from her.At this point, I was ready to just throw in the towel. Eric and I didn’t know much about the process and had never heard of anyone having these same experiences. (We now know differently and realize that ours were minimal compared to what so many others have endured).
The same week we stopped getting the e-mails, we got a phone call from our caseworker. She said that there was a birth mother who wanted to meet us. She told us a bit about her and her background and asked if we would be willing to meet that following day. We agreed but I was very hesitant and didn’t feel like it was going to go anywhere. This particular situation was definitely considered an “at risk adoption.” She wasn’t due for a few months but we were told that even if she chose us, we wouldn’t know if it was actually going to go through until the day of placement given the situation with the birth father. With every adoption, of course there are those risks and you won’t know until it’s finalized but this situation was very tricky and because of that, we are still not able to share all the details. Despite all of this, Eric felt really good about the whole thing. He told me he felt like this was it, which is so not like him. I’m usually the one who is super excited and he’s cautiously optimistic. We had had so many experiences feeling like we were getting closer, only to have it not work out, so I was scared and to be honest, a bit pessimistic. I was so very wrong. I had no idea that the next day would change my life forever.
Stay tuned to hear about us meeting our son’s birth mom for the first time, his birth story and placement and our open adoption.
If you'd like to hear more about each phase in the adoption process, click below to hear more about Eric and Heather's experiences.