Monday, April 11, 2016

Adoption Story: Sheldon and Katie

Sheldon and Katie were an incredible joy to work with. I've especially loved watching the beautiful way they have loved their birth mother and developed a relationship with her. Today Katie shares how sweet Grace came to their family and the openness and love they have for her birth mother.

It took three years of an infertility journey to prepare both of our hearts for adoption. Katie always had adoption on her heart from a young age. It took four failed IUIs and a failed IVF to finally get Sheldon on board the adoption train, knowing that adoption was our only ticket to parenthood. When we finally were homestudy ready in May, we tried matching with an expectant mom through an online website, which would have saved us thousands of dollars. However, after several situations that didn’t work out (and what we believe to have been scammers), we knew we needed to use any agency to help match us, and then help us navigate our adoption. A friend who used Christian Adoption Consultants before, recommended us to them, which is how we met Susan.  In late August, we were active with CAC. We received five no’s between September and January, before we were matched with our expectant mom in the beginning on February.  

For some, the concept of an open adoption can be very intimidating, confusing, anxiety producing and may cause worry about what the future looks like for your child. The threat of you not being enough for them always—because their birth family will be in their life, may be present. However for us, when we began our adoption journey last May, we knew we wanted to have an open relationship with our future adopted child’s birth mother and family. It was important to us for them to know that we valued them, desired a relationship and love them unconditionally for their selfless gift; we felt we could do that continuously throughout our child’s life by maintaining a relationship with them. We were matched with you young woman who desired an open relationship with us as well.  

Upon our match, we had the unique opportunity to meet with our birth mom about two weeks prior to our baby, Grace Riayn, arriving. We flew from Pennsylvania to Florida to avoid the awkwardness that could have been present by meeting on delivery day. While we visited with our expectant mom, we decided to have a photographer capture the three of us together before Gracie’s arrival. We feel blessed to have had this opportunity and that our daughter’s expectant mom wanted was excited about the photographs too. 

Our unconditional love for Gracie’s biological family has had a profound impact on her birth mom. We knew all along that she was making different choices than we would. We did not shame her birth mom for her choices that could have impacted the immediate comfort and future of our daughter.  Early on, we made the choice to love her unconditionally. We knew that by judging her, by shaming her, would not be productive for our desired life-long relationship nor would it help in Gracie’s birth mom’s recovery and coping with the circumstances surrounding the adoption.  

Our message to other adoptive parents is this: live with hope and don’t be scared of the unknown.  There were a lot of things that could have turned us off from this adoption if we lived our life out of fear but we trusted God’s plan for Gracie and for us. We are so glad we did—she is perfect for our family and has made the pain of infertility completely disappear.  

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