Today I’m honoured to present this guest post from fellow blogger and adoptive mom, Lindsay Lyall I know you will love hearing her story!
An Adoption Story
My husband, Chris, and I have planned to adopt our children since before we were married. We were high school sweethearts who drifted apart during our early college years before reuniting one summer break. We had been dating in high school when my parents adopted my sibling. It was an open adoption and my family was present for the birth. I was fifteen years old and it changed my life forever. From that day forward, I knew I wanted to adopt as many children as I could. Thankfully, my husband remembered when that little one joined our family and had no objections when I told him adoption would be a non-negotiable part of my future. We have been married now for five and a half years and we adopted our baby girl six months ago.
When Chris and I began to seriously discuss adoption, we agreed that we wanted to adopt where there was a great “need.” If you have ever researched adoption, you know that the “need” is devastating around the world. All children deserve loving parents and millions do not have them. Our options were also narrowed by strict country age requirements and other specifications for adoptive couples. We decided on Ethiopia as this country had a truly horrific orphan situation. According to Unicef, a little over half of the Ethiopian population in 2012 was under age 18. In contrast, about 24% of the US population and 20% of the Canadian population was under 18. Ethiopia and the surrounding countries had (and still have) babies raising babies. These children had responsibilities that no child should have to bear. An entire generation was wiped out by HIV/AIDS and we felt strongly that we needed to start our adoption there. Unfortunately, the Ethiopian adoption politics became a bit unstable right as we were starting our process and we were discouraged from applying to this program. Most of the surrounding countries had shaky or nonexistent adoption programs as well. We had to pause for a few weeks and prayerfully consider what to do next.
After discussing the situation with other adoptive parents and trusted friends, we were introduced to Christian Adoption Consultants and began looking into their domestic adoption program. We were familiar with the open, domestic process because that’s what my parents had done, but the idea was still a little unsettling. Despite our hesitations, we ultimately decided to pursue that route. We began our paperwork last year in early November. By January, we were home study ready and we were on waiting lists with multiple agencies a couple weeks later. I was totally unprepared for the emotional ups and downs that came with the many birth mother situations we received in the next few weeks. We had been open to a variety of special needs and drug use situations, but with each individual case, we would have to research and pray and consider our resources all over again. Could we handle a newborn withdrawing from that quantity of heroin exposure? Could we handle possible Down Syndrome? What about annual visits with a birth mom in prison? (Please recognize that we specifically signed up for these kinds of needs and that not every adoptive family encounters birth mother situations this extreme). Every “no” from us or from a birth mother was emotionally charged and exhausting.
One afternoon in March, I opened my email inbox to find the fourth birth mother situation we had received in 48 hours. It had been a very difficult couple of days as we had considered each situation. I read this email and immediately called Chris. For the first time, we were both in agreement and filled with peace about this mom and her baby. We were matched less than a week later and had the opportunity to fly and meet our birth mom the following month. We maintained weekly contact with her over the phone until our daughter was born.
The morning she called to tell us she was in labor, we left work, threw our packed bags in the car, and started the grueling ten-hour journey to the hospital. We made one stop and that was only because we ran out of gas. We finally arrived a few hours after her birth. While in the hospital, we recognized our birth mother’s deep desire to spend as much time as possible with the baby. At first, this was terrifying! In that particular state, the birth mother has until hospital discharge to change her mind and decide to parent. We realized after talking to her that she knew her time was short and she just wanted to have as many hours as possible to make memories and say goodbye. We decided to make ourselves scarce for her sake and I am so grateful that we did. She needed that time more than we did. I will never understand what she must have felt, but I know that she loved her daughter and she truly wanted to provide for her in the only way she knew how.
Open adoption is a life-long journey. We have been baffled by this unique relationship from the very beginning and we are still figuring it out as we go. We send pictures and updates every couple weeks and check on her to make sure she sounds well. She checks in with us every now and then just to make sure everyone is healthy. We constantly walk a balance between sharing enough and not sharing too much. I know this will continue to present a new set of challenges and joys as our daughter grows, but we have no regrets. Our birth mother is a precious part of our family’s story and we thank God daily for her and her decisions to give our daughter life and a place in our family.
Guest Blogger Bio:
Lindsay is a wife, mother and Physician Assistant. She loves Jesus and people and is a huge proponent of adoption. Whether your goal is to get out of debt, provide for your family’s future, add to your family through adoption, or find the means to stay at home with your babies, Lindsay wants to help you find the financial resources to get there.
Her site: http://www.lindsaylyall.com/
Christian Adoption Consultants: http://www.christianadoptionconsultants.com/