Self-Networking: One Adoptive Family’s Story on How They Worked to Make Their Adoption Happen
“God’s plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all your disappointments.” This is only one of the thousands of inspirational quotes pinned to my Pinterest board leading up to and during the adoption process. It may have seemed silly and obsessive from an outsider, but for me, it was another source of strength. Like many, the road leading up to adoption was long and strenuous.
Once my husband, Matt, and I came to the crossroads- medical intervention or adoption- adoption was our first and obvious choice. We had dreamed of adopting in the future anyway, but this quickly became the path that we were on. We were ecstatic, and slightly terrified of the unknown. After trying to conceive, with disappointment, it felt like we were actually on our way to building our family for the first time in quite a while. We just needed a plan of attack, and honestly, we didn’t know much about the adoption process. I researched adoption as much as possible- yes, another obsession.
With researching anything, the internet can only provide so much valid information, and what is and isn’t pertinent to you is always a little fuzzy. We also attended an adoption forum at a local hospital. LFCS was part of that panel. After considering our options, we decided that we were going to work towards an independent adoption. Matt and I were certain that we would be able to make enough connections on our own. As we became a little more comfortable with the idea, we began to let family and close friends know.
We were blessed that everyone was very supportive and offered to help in whatever way that they could. My brother and sister-in-law had adopted my two nephews, independently, two years previously, but Matt and I hadn’t discussed the process with them up until this point. We were also surprised to learn of friends that had family or other close friends who had been touched by adoption. Once our friends would obtain permission, I would reach out to these connections. At first, it was via email, because this is where my comfort level was. I was told, as I already knew from my research, that I first and foremost needed a home study. It seemed that no matter whom I talked to, I kept getting referred to LFCS for this.
While I was working up the nerve to make the call, I decided our initial “marketing strategy”. I wanted a way to present who Matt and I were to potential birth families. There isn’t a more efficient way to reach the masses than the internet. So, I created a simple website. On our site, Matt and I presented a letter to the birth family, descriptions of one another, personal likes, photos, and other information about our life as a couple. When creating the site, we created an email account just for our adoption journey. In order to drive people to our site, I created business cards to distribute. Before our home study, we only offered these to people that we would have face to face contact with.
We told anyone and everyone that would listen, of our desire to adopt. I have always been shy, by nature, but I wanted this more than anything. So, I continued to push forward. Matt had been wearing an orange LFCS bracelet which he was given at the hospital’s adoption forum. He found that this was a great way of striking up an adoption conversation just by people asking what the bracelet represented. Once again, this wasn’t necessarily in his comfort zone, but he was willing to do it.
Yes, with all of this leg work, there were a lot of people who said they couldn’t help, but I knew we would at least be in the back of their minds if they were to hear about something. Furthermore, even these people wished us the best of luck, and their encouragement was golden. More often than not, people were very receptive, and told us that they’d be praying and pass along the info to anyone they could.
We got our friends involved in other ways. Anyone that had an office break room would post cards on bulletin boards. A friend of ours that works in a bank, made a listing on the bank’s internet classifieds. This was really beneficial since it was shared with all regional branches. Many of her co-workers continue to check in to see how things are going.
During the home study process, we came to a crossroads on telling our story. The question was, “to post, or not to post, on social media?” This did take a lot of deliberation. Finally we decided to take time to very carefully word our post, and just go for it. We asked for people to spread the word and share our link. We didn’t speak of anything leading to our decision to adopt, and ended our post with “before you ask questions, people think about if it is beneficial to our process or just out of personal curiosity.” We felt like this gave us the power back to keep what we wanted to private. The feedback we received was amazing!
We were completely humbled by the outpouring of support and love, even from individuals that we didn’t expect. Furthermore, we had several people reach out with their own stories of being touched by adoption, infertility struggles, or desires to adopt. We continued to post updates now and again, such as when our home study was finalized, and asking for a link to be shared again.
Once our home study was finalized in June of 2014, we continued to move forward independently. After a couple months, we decided that the more help we could get, the better. So, we contacted our worker, and asked if we could enter the program. We did, and began to receive potential placements, while at the same time still marketing on our own. There was a comfort in knowing that it wasn’t all in our hands. Furthermore, we continued to receive support when we had questions about possible connections to birth families.
In February 2015, I received a life changing email. It was from a lady who had a daughter that was expecting to deliver in one month. She disclosed she had received my information from someone who knew me personally, which she had just met through her place of business. She was given the link to our website, and she and her daughter were very interested in learning more about us. She asked me to email or call.
Immediately, after calling Matt, I called our worker at LFCS. I had so many questions of what I could ask and what I should ask. I felt comfortable after that to call the next day.
I was still nervous in making the call, but the discussion that I had with my worker had comforted me tremendously. Knowledge truly is power. When she answered the phone, she began by saying, “It’s funny, my daughter met someone else that knows you, today…” At that point, I was in shock.
She and her daughter live 45 minutes from where I live. They met two people that I attended grade school with two hours from where I live now, who just happen to be working in different fields in their hometown. While I am one hundred percent certain that this was God’s plan, I do credit the self- marketing for getting us to this point so quickly.
We met with her and her daughter. There was an instant connection. The following weekend we met other family members. Then, I was invited to attend every appointment leading up to delivery. During this time, our birthmother received birthparent counseling through LFCS. This set our minds at ease to know her emotional needs were being addressed, and she was confident in her decision. On March 20, I was in the delivery room witnessing our daughter being born.
We are coming up on the year anniversary of our first meeting. We maintain a beautiful open relationship with our birthmother and birth grandmother. We have had several meetings, and are currently in more open of a situation than we initially discussed.
Matt and I are very grateful to LFCS for the role they played. We were confident entering into an independent adoption, but now realize how many questions we had. It was very comforting to know they were there for both advice and support along the way.
Our worker cheered us on throughout all the ups and down. She is such a blessing, and will always be a cherished part of our adoption story.
“God’s plans will always be greater and more beautiful than all your disappointments.” Today, my family’s story is a testimony to this.