A Grateful Journey: The Cobblestone Path to Motherhood

 “I am a mom to two wonderful daughters.  My oldest is almost 4 and my youngest just turned 3 months old.”

Six years ago, I never imagined writing these words down.  Today, I look into my daughters’ eyes with awe and eternal gratitude that they are now the center of my world.

Beginnings – Cobbling the Path
Pathways SepiaThe Spring of 2012 marked the beginning of a journey down a new and uncharted path to become a mom.  The path to parenthood  already proving to be much more difficult than originally anticipated for my husband and me, I apprehensively asked a colleague who recently adopted her daughter about her experience.

Looking back, that initial conversation now represents the first stone in what has evolved into a beautiful, albeit rocky at times, cobblestone path that brought us to our daughters.

I remember describing our adoption journey in the early days as turning over a new stone, only to discover several more layers of complexity beneath the surface.  Like countless additional pebbles of information and steps underneath to reach each of the critical milestones.  Each stone revealed another set of considerations we needed to make before truly beginning the process, and it seemed like each subsequent decision or action was revealed in the form of a choose your own adventure experience.

Domestic or international?  Open or closed?  Agency or private?  Infant or older child?  Gender?  Twins? Budget?  The list goes on…

In the beginning, my husband and I really knew nothing about adoption and we definitely didn’t know how to think or talk about it.  Over the course of the initial 12 months trying to navigate a seemingly confusing process, I remember a set of common themes:

  • It was overwhelming, confusing and emotionally taxing at times.  But we forged ahead and found both solace and motivation in the opportunity to actively do something every day to get us closer to parenthood.
  • It was a refreshing change from the anxiety filled days, weeks and months of the previous year.  Shifting focus from medical intervention to adoption as a path to parenthood offered a new perspective.
  • It was liberating to tell friends, family and co-workers about our ambitions to become parents through adoption.
  • It was fun to apply what I’d learned through years in the Marketing field to storytelling that was deeply personal. 
  • It was uplifting to receive support from near and far, from strangers to acquaintances to close friends and family.
  • Most of all, it was both surprising and inspiring to find a vast support community of adoptive parents, attorneys, social workers, medical professionals, consultants, birth mothers, adoptees, volunteers and many others who were more than happy to provide their guidance, experience and expertise along the way.

Across all of our discussions and interactions, we heard a common theme – adoption is complex.  We also learned that every adoption is unique, unpredictable, and should be entered into without judgment and with eyes wide open.  We have experienced firsthand that the decision for birth parents to place their children for adoption is rooted in love, a selfless, difficult and brave kind of love.

Looking Back – Gratitude for the Unsung Heroes
Early on in our adoption journey, I had a strong sense of commitment to open adoption and an even stronger desire to meet the prospective birth mothers of my future children.  I recall explaining to friends and family that I wanted to be able to tell my children one day that we were chosen to be their adoptive parents.  Nothing directly influenced this commitment.  It was just a gut feeling.

To this day, I am so thankful I followed my gut. 

In December of 2013, my husband and I met our oldest daughter’s birthparents right after she was born.  In August of 2017, my husband and I met our youngest daughter’s birthparents right before she was born.  While these two couples live 1200+ miles apart and may likely never meet, they have so much in common.  They chose us to parent their daughters.  They exuded courage by opening their lives and hearts to us and provided us with a deeper understanding of adoption from their perspectives.  They provided us the opportunity to raise two girls, born to different parents in different states, as sisters in our family.  And three months in, the sisterly love is STRONG!

Both times, we never knew what to expect.  We never had a plan.  We walked into each opportunity they offered us and embraced every moment with gratitude and respect. And in both experiences, we learned more than we could ever imagine.  Both couples expressed deep love for their daughters.  Both couples shared their reasons for choosing adoption and for choosing us.  They were honest, open, accepting and vulnerable, all at the same time.  Most importantly, they made us feel comfortable and confident in their decisions.  Both couples introduced us to extended family. Both couples revealed how difficult this decision was for them and how much they love, and will always love, their baby girls.  Both couples opened our eyes immensely to a part of the adoption process that’s often not discussed.  And they served as foundational influencers of my passion for this path to parenthood.

Looking Forward & Giving Back
While these are both incredibly happy stories for us, adoption is a bittersweet experience for all involved.  The openness of our daughters’ birth parents provided a glimpse into a decision-making process that is likely one of the hardest they will ever have to make.  They demonstrated heartbreaking courage and exhibited the bravest and most selfless kinds of love in their decision to place their baby girls with us for adoption.  And we are honored to this day to have been chosen.

Unfortunately, birth parents are often the unsung heroes of many adoption stories.  Not ours.  Their stories serve as the cornerstones of our family building journey.  We are forever grateful for their decisions and trust in us to nurture, love and raise their daughters.

This inaugural post represents an extension of my cobblestone path.  It’s now my turn to share what I’ve learned, seen, and experienced with others considering a similar adoption journey. While I won’t promise to have a map, I am committed to helping others cultivate the exploration of potential paths.

How Can I Help?
Considering adoption?  Looking for resources to help you uncover your path?  Send me a note and I’d be happy to share considerations, questions, and lessons that helped us find ours.

Gratitude & Timing
This post is dedicated to the birth mothers and birth fathers who made me a mom.  In a season of gratitude and a month dedicated to adoption (November is National Adoption month), I am forever thankful for the selfless and brave decisions of both of my daughters’ birthparents to choose us to be their adoptive parents.