Our story began about a year and a half after we were married. After trying and trying and trying we could not get pregnant. Both my wife and I were tested and ultimately it came to a diagnosis of "unexplained infertility". We then attempted the in-vitro route a couple of times without success. We were so sad and depressed and wondered why God would not grant us the one wish we wanted.
We decided it was time to give adoption a try.
We were given the name of an adoption agency through a couple at our church. We went through the normal process of meeting with the counselor, doing the background checks and home study and then we waited and waited. One night at a get together with people from our church we talked to the couple who had given us the name of the adoption agency. We asked them "how’d you handle this waiting, and hearing nothing?" They said "God works in mysterious ways; you never know when it might happen".
We no more than left and went back home, checked the answering machine once we arrived. On there was a message from our adoption counselor saying there was a chance we might be considered to adopt a little boy who was born the day before in a little town about 100 miles south of our home town. She said there was no guarantee, but stop at Walmart and buy a car seat, buy some clothes and pray the entire way down!” Needless to say we prayed and prayed and prayed during the trip.
My wife’s grandma and oldest sister met us at the hospital, hoping that they would be able to meet our possible new addition.
Meeting the birthmom felt like a job interview. We knew we were being watched closely and she was listening for all the right answers. Little did we know, the birthmom had chosen another couple the day before, but they backed out when they heard the birthmom had used drugs while she was pregnant. She told us after she met with us that she knew we were the ones to offer her child the best home, even considering the parents she had approved the day before.
The agreement was to make the exchange off of hospital grounds, so we met her, her step mom and the local Catholic priest at the church. Needless to say it was a very bittersweet moment, as we saw the gut wrenching emotions of a mother placing her child for adoption. She knew, however, that she didn't have the parenting skills needed to raise this child. As a matter of fact, she already had another child that had been taken away and was being raised by its birthdad's parents.
We decided to have an open adoption but only heard from her once in a little over a year.
A few months later we received a phone call from our adoption counselor; the birthmom was pregnant again and wanted us to raise this new baby as well! We were overjoyed! It didn't come without suspense and high emotions though. The birthmom wasn’t sure who the father was - potentially could have been two different men. One man was willing to give up his parental rights, the other wanted to raise the baby as his, if it were proven that he was the father.
In order for us to proceed with the adoption, my wife and I had to pay for the paternity test. The day we were suppose to get the results, we played that all too familiar waiting game. I was late getting home and when I did, the attorney said she had the results. I did not like the tone I heard in her voice on the answering machine. However when I called, she told me "we got the news we were waiting for"! We were then able to proceed with the adoption.
One funny part to our second adoption was that we had invited our niece down to our house the night we got the phone call and we were watching "Finding Nemo". Now I kid my son that he's lucky we didn't name him Nemo, Marlin or Dory (all characters of the movie).
Our oldest two boys, although they have the same birth mom, have different birth dads. Later we found out that my wife went to high school with BOTH birth dads. What a small world!
A year or so later we wanted to adopt again. We went through a failed adoption of a child with Down Syndrome, as well as, a couple of visits with other birthmoms that didn't work out. We then received a call about a baby in Omaha. We were told he had hydrocephalus (water on the brain). Much like the child with Downs, we still wanted to adopt. We thought God would not give us more than we could handle. After a day of being with and holding the baby, I had to come back home to go to work. My wife and her mother stayed in Omaha for another day to prepare to bring the baby home. The day we were preparing to bring him home a neurologist came in and asked my wife, "you do know that this baby has no brain at all, don't you?" He will never walk, talk or do anything but lay there." This is not what we had been told by our adoption counselor. We decided to walk away from the adoption. We felt that we weren't given the entire background of the situation.
About six months before this my mother had passed away. One of her last trips out of the house was during a rain storm, and at the end of the storm a rainbow came out and she said, "Good things happen after you see a rainbow." On our way home from Omaha, my wife and I were both crying. All of the sudden I looked off to the east and saw a rainbow. I said "thanks Mom"; there is something good that WILL come out of this.
Our next step was to try a program called foster to adopt through the state. It was a commitment of ten weeks consisting of three hour trainings every Thursday night. They gave you all the ins and outs and every story you could imagine about foster care. We got certified and had a placement right away; two brothers ages 2 and 3. It looked like it was going to be a good fit. I came home from work the next day and did not see the boys. I proceeded to ask my wife where they were. She said "I could feel myself getting too attached, and I know there is a good chance they are going back to their birthmom (which is the ultimate goal of foster care)". She had called the social worker earlier that morning and they picked them up. I told my wife, "you knew going into this that there was a chance that any of our placements will go back to their birth parents". She indicated she just needed some time.
We had more calls from the state, but they were for placements of older kids (around 15 and 16). We wanted placements younger than our two adopted boys who were 5 and 3. We then waited and waited and no more calls for placement came. After about 3 months, I asked my wife if she wanted me to take down the crib. She sadly said yes.
Only two weeks later we got a call. The social worker told my wife that a newborn needed to go into foster care and wanted to know if we were interested. She called me on my way home and I asked "can I have the drive home to think about it?" She said no, they were calling back in five minutes and if she didn't give them an answer they were going to the next foster family on the list. I said yes, and she said "good, I knew you would say yes, so I told them already!". She was on her way to a town approximately 25 miles away to pick up the baby. When she arrived, there in the room was a birthmom, the social worker and a deputy sheriff. We later found out this was the 3rd child for this 19 year old mother, who herself had grown up in foster care. She had her first two babies while in foster care and those two ended up being placed in another foster home two years before.
We went into this foster care placement, hoping for adoption, but knowing that he could go back to his birthmother. After she missed many visits with the baby, a judge terminated her parental rights and we were free to adopt the little guy. He is bi-racial and we lived n a small Iowa town. The state was worried he was going to be a bi-racial child in a town with no other bi-racial children. Little did they know there were two bi-racial kids who lived next door! I talked about my mother earlier. It ends up as part of this small world we live in that this little bi-racial boy’s great aunt, was my mom's best friend! We named him Dane, after my mom's favorite cousin.
An interesting story is that the two birthmom's gave the boys names that begin with the letter "J"; Jayce, Jayden and Jamisyn. We renamed them with the letter "D"; Drew, Dylan and Dane. As a side note the State of Iowa asked us to adopt Dane's older brother and sister (they were 4 & 2 at the time) but that would have given us five kids under the age of seven. We didn't feel that we could do justice to raise that many kids so young.
Open adoption has worked well for us. Our oldest two boys' birthmom comes to our house once a year and has a healthy relationship with Drew and Dylan. We have not heard from Dane's birthmom since his last court date more than three years ago.