First off, I have really enjoyed writing this series and answering all of the questions that have come my way about adoption and the process we followed! It has been so heartwarming and we have loved being able to give back in anyway we can for people who are considering the adoption process. I remember how overwhelming and daunting everything seemed when we first headed down the adoption road. Being able to help anyone that is going through this process has always been something my husband and I have felt strongly about doing in our future and it’s been wonderful to know that even if it’s a few people this has reached, that’s great!
Back to our story! When I last left you in Part 3, we had just been contacted through a mutual friend about the potential of another adoption! The fact that we were already part-way through the home study process was unknown to everyone, so it was definitely a sign from above that things were possibly going our way again. We were introduced to the birth mom through email, and we quickly hit it off and decided to mutually move forward. We got to know each other over the month of June, 2012 and the birth mom was due in September, 2012. And she was having a girl! Considering we had just started the process to adopt again in April, it would be 5 months from beginning to end if things worked out, which was daunting, but so exciting!
This adoption was going to be taking place in Wisconsin and we were only a couple hours away, which meant that I was able to be a part of the whole pregnancy right off the bat. The birth mom was 100% on-board with me attending any of the doctor appointments that she had and she wanted to have me involved in everything as much as I could be. I was so excited to be able to experience not only the things we got to experience with Noah after he was born, but also a lot of the pregnancy with this baby, as well!
Because this adoption situation fell into our lap through a mutual friend, our adoption agency, American Adoptions, wasn’t really needed at this point. We were able to go through a private lawyer and the local agency who did our home study was able to do the necessary work on the birth mom’s side, as well as ours. It was a much more streamlined process this time around and we never had to go through a “wait” to be matched with a birth mom since ours was already identified. We were unbelievably lucky.
I was able to travel to the birth mom’s town and went to a few of her doctor’s appointments and it was so great to get to know her before the birth. We clicked right away and she was so outgoing and easy to talk to about everything that was going on. More than once, she said that she felt like this was meant to be and she was so excited that the baby was going to have a big brother close to her age with a family who was obviously excited for her to arrive! She said that she was putting herself in the mindset of being our surrogate and was really excited that her baby was going to be given a life that she really deserved. The birth mom already was parenting 3 children and it was an unexpected pregnancy with a man she was no longer with and knew that it wouldn’t be a good situation to bring a 4th child into the family. We were so struck by her selflessness and feeling so strongly about knowing what she needed to do to offer the best future for her baby!
Soon, it was decided that I would be there in the room with her for the birth and I can’t even tell you how excited I was! Her doctor was so supportive of the entire process and was on-board with the decision as soon as she knew. While we were close for Noah’s birth and I was holding him within minutes of him being born, I was so thankful and happy that I would get the chance to witness the birth of my daughter and be there in the room when she took her first breath! I couldn’t have asked for a better situation with the birth mom.
However, there were some challenges that accompanied this adoption. Wisconsin, unfortunately, has unfriendly laws for adoptive parents and legally, the birth parent rights wouldn’t be able to be signed over until 6 months after birth. The birth mom was adamant that this wasn’t a concern for her and once she made her decision, it was going to stick. But the birth dad showed back up in the picture about a month before the birth and started making things a little sticky for all involved. In the end, they all ended up being empty threats, but it did cause a lot of anxiety for the first couple months after the baby was born. Overall, I continued to believe that God put us together so quickly for a reason and wasn’t going to do anything that would take our baby girl away from us. We had so many signs during this pregnancy and right after the birth that only could have come from God and through those signs, we remained faithful that everything was going to turn out exactly as it was meant to be.
Soon, September arrived and despite this being the birth mom’s 4th child, this little girl was being stubborn, stubborn, stubborn! It was finally decided that the birth mom would be induced on September 8th, so we traveled down the night before and helped get the birth mom all situated in the hospital the night before and than went and got a good night’s sleep, ourselves. She started the induction process early on the morning of the 8th, and we headed over around 11am to spend the day with her and support the process. Things moved a little slow at first and the birth mom was a trooper with all of the waiting! But around 3:30 in the afternoon, things started flying and before we knew it, we had a little girl being born! Stella Irene was born at 4:06 p.m., September 8th, 2012, and being there for the birth was the absolute most awe-inspiring, intense, joy-filled experience I’ve ever been a part of! I was able to cut the cord and be there from the first second of her life and it is something I will never, ever, ever forget. I’m so blessed and lucky that the birth mom let me experience this with her and that I was able to talk her through the birth and pain. Her and I made quite a team that day!
September 8th also had special significance to me, as a dear friend of mine had passed away on that date two years before. To me, it was yet another sign from God that this was truly meant to be and our family of 4 was complete. What was a painful day two short years prior, was now a day filled with joy, hope, and love! Stella was every bit a part of us as a biological child would have been and I felt such intense and profound love for her from the second she entered the world! I was ecstatic!
Photo Credit: Andrea Larson Photography
We were finally able to finalize the adoption in April, 2013 at the courthouse in Madison, WI. We were able to finalize where we lived, rather than having to travel back to where Stella was born, which was great. Both of the birth parents were also able to sign their birth rights away in October after she was born, so while we had to wait the 6 months to finalize, the rights were able to be signed over earlier, which was a big relief after the issues we had briefly experienced with the birth father.
We continue to keep in contact with Stella’s birth mom on a regular basis. Since we got to know each other before Stella was born, we had already exchanged emails and phone numbers. I’ll email her pictures and text her messages when something is going on and she does the same with us. We love that she sends us pictures of her and her kids so Stella can have solid things to hold onto in the future and know more of what has happened. Since we live only a couple hours away from each other, we’ve even been able to meet up a few times since Stella was born and do lunch. It’s nice to get pictures of all of us together and hopefully this will continue as Stella grows.
Noah took to being a big brother right away! He was a little unsure of what we were doing in the hospital with this little baby, but once we got home, he was as sweet as could be with her! He loved to help me get her bottles ready and he was always in her face getting her toys and telling her he loved her. It was so sweet and filled me with love every time I saw them together!
We are now parenting a 5-year-old little boy who is full of energy! He has a crazy love for all things Legos, transformers, and Disney. He loves cuddling with his Mom and rough-housing with Dad and is a BOY in every sense of the word! He helps to put his little sister to sleep most nights and has grown so much over the last year through being in PreSchool. This fall he will be starting Kindergarten and we can’t even believe over 5 years has passed since he blessed our family with his arrival.
Stella will be 3 this September and is full of spunk, attitude, and sass! She loves dancing, playing with her stuffed animals, and dressing as a princess or in her many tutu’s. She is a girly girl who won’t take any nonsense from anyone, especially her big brother! She absolutely can’t wait to start school like her big brother and is already counting super high and reciting her ABC’s with ease. She’s a smart cookie!
I am so incredibly blessed. I’m lucky to be able to have the life I have and count my blessings everyday! This family that we have wasn’t created through the means we thought it would be when we were first married almost 13 years ago, but it is one that I would never trade for the world. These two children are exactly the ones that God meant for us to have and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t thank him over and over for letting me be their Mom!
Photo Credit: Twig and Olive Photography
Adoption is a wonderful way to create the family you want. I couldn’t have asked for better situations than we had and both birth mothers were absolutely amazing in their unselfish decisions and how they allowed us to be a part of the experience right away. I love that adoption is getting a more positive light through the years and we are raising our little munchkins to know where they came from and how thankful we are that they are with us. We talk to them often about their birth moms and where they were born as much as we can and have committed to continue to do so as they grow.
Thank you for coming along on this domestic adoption journey with me! It’s been amazing and has been so much fun reliving the experiences of adopting both of our children.