This is one of my favorite stories that I know of adoption. Perhaps it is because I knew Chris in my high school days or maybe because it's just so beautiful. They did a great job of writing their story out. Thank you Chris and Stephanie for joining us.
Hello, we are Chris and Stephanie; we have two wonderful boys, Matthew, who is nine, and Jackson, six. We are pleased to have the opportunity to share our adoption story. .
When we were first married, we didn’t try to work on a family, but at the same time, weren’t trying not to start a family. After about five years, and a few times of thinking it might happen, we decided to see some doctors and find out if there was a reason it wasn’t happening. As it turns out, the problem lay in both of us, so long story short, natural pregnancy was not in our cards. We started down the fertility road, but quickly decided that wasn’t the way for us. It wasn’t that we had an ethical problem with it, we just didn’t feel we needed to go down that road.
Naturally, our thoughts turned to adoption, but it seemed rather daunting at the time, and we put it on the back burner for a while. Three years later we started the process again, full of plans and ready to start our family. Initially, we thought to pursue an inter-country adoption, feeling the odds of success were greatest. Shortly after we began though, we realized that we wanted an infant, and would need to do a domestic adoption.
We had some unfortunate failures along the way, ones that were very emotionally painful at the time. At one point we were there for the delivery of a child. When we returned to the hospital the next day, they told us we were no longer welcome. As I reflect back on it now, I still wonder what God was trying to teach us through that. But if that mom needed support, and God thought we were up to the task, I’m glad we could be there.
Our boys were adopted through different agencies. And the experiences couldn’t have been more different. One adoption was very emotional and more relational, both with the agency and with the birth family, and the other was rather business like and structured. Both have their merits.
We met Matthew’s birth mother for an interview about one month before he was born. We had a nice time with her and her family, and left wondering what would happen and how she thought it went. We found out two days later when our social worker called and said she had chosen us! Just a few weeks later, Matthew was born. We arrived at the hospital about 45 minutes after he was born. Stephanie and Matthew had to stay in that state until after the hearing two weeks later. There was some concern at the hearing as his biological father, who had never responded to the adoption agent when contacted regarding the adoption plan, came to the hearing to protest. Our agent asked the judge to stop the hearing so she could explain the process to him, and he agreed that the plan was for the best. Her ability to communicate to him, and her emotional investment in the adoption plan, I feel were very key in helping overcome this hurdle. We couldn’t be at the hearing, so we had no idea this was all happening. I still remember standing in a little bookstore at the time, wondering if this was going to work out or not.
Jackson’s biological mom picked us just a couple weeks before he was born. We were at church on a Sunday morning when my phone rang, I realized it was a call from Florida and knew that it was time to go! The call came at 11:45 am, and 12 hours later, the three of us were in a hotel room in Daytona Beach. Talk about a whirlwind trip. We had the opportunity to meet with his biological mom at the hospital for a while, and then she met with the agency again. After that she checked out of the hospital, and we had another little boy! We spent a week in Florida; some of Stephanie’s family came down to stay with us as it was Christmastime. What a great time, going from cold Illinois to sunny Florida and getting the greatest Christmas present you could ask for. Going to Sea World on Christmas Eve when it’s 85 degrees is kind of a bonus as well. The agency also took us out to dinner with three other families that had just been placed that week. How fun it was to share that special time with other families that knew exactly what we were feeling.
Both of our adoptions are semi-open, but that means different things to different people. We send regular updates to one of the agencies; the other agency just asked that we send updates for the first year. In both cases, though, the birth moms can request them if they like. We were in regular communication with Matthew’s mom for the first few years, and made some visits out to see her and her family. She came to visit us in our home after Matthew’s adoption, too. We felt it was important that she be able to picture where he was. We still have some occasional contact with her, but seldom.
We talk to the boys about their adoptions openly. Sometimes they ask many questions, and sometimes they just want to know what’s for snack. They are brothers through and through, going from being best buddies to enemies and back at light speed. Being different races doesn’t enter their thoughts very often, and to date, we haven’t seen it be a problem anywhere else. Will that change? I don’t know, but I trust that our family, put together by the hand of God with the same love and planning as if they had been born to us biologically, is exactly right, and can overcome anything by His strength.
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