First: this is the story about our match that fell through this Spring! This story is not about Teddy, our five-month old son, just in case anyone read the headline and worried that something happened with our little guy.
I’ve been a little quiet on the infertility and adoption journey over the last year or two- one of the reasons for that is simply being a lot busier than I used to be. Motherhood will do that!
But another reason is the increasing awareness of how I talk about our kids’ stories will affect how they learn to tell it themselves- wanting to be careful that we’re not sharing details about their lives that they may not necessarily want everyone to know. Or details that their birth mamas prefer to keep private.
Because my kids’ stories are not MY stories.
I love telling my side of things, I love telling of the road we’ve walked from when we first start trying for a family in 2015 to Felix being born in 2019, and now Teddy in 2022.
But I always want to make sure I’m doing so with care and consideration for how my kids, as well as their birth families, will feel one day if they look back and read these words, knowing the world has these details available before my kids were able to comprehend them.
This extends to how much we’ve shared about the fall-through, too- because even though this little one didn’t come home with us, even though their mama’s story and ours ended when she decided not to place for adoption, she deserves dignity and compassion and empathy. No matter how disappointed we may have been.
So, with all that out of the way, here’s our story.
We got the call the afternoon of March 2nd- Matt had picked up his phone in the kitchen, and I saw him walk into our living room with a shocked expression on his face as he quickly put the phone on speaker. It was our agency, calling to tell us that we’d been matched!
This was the call we’d been hoping for since becoming an active, waiting family (called “going live”) in August 2021- we’d just recently listed with this particular agency and our profile had only been live on their list for a a few weeks, so we were a bit surprised to be matched quite so soon!
Our agency informed us we’d been chosen by an expectant mama (we’ll call her Mama H)and that baby (let’s call them Baby H) was due in about three weeks.
Cue: all the excitement, and also a bit of scrambling because we had an upcoming 8-day launch (always a chaotic week) of our signature course planned, and registration was due to close (always an insane 24 hours) on the day Baby H was due.
So we VERY quickly moved things around- we moved the launch up by a week so that instead of opening in 14 days, we were now due to open in 7 days (all my course creator friends can imagine how stressful that was!). I had two shoots in Europe that now needed to be rescheduled, and we needed to very quickly clear our calendars for April to make way for maternity leave.
Anyone who’s walked the road to adoption can tell you- the paperwork never ends! Once we were matched, there were a few visits needed for renewing clearances and getting forms notarized. Felix was determined to do his part :).
I didn’t acknowledge it at the time because I think I was in survival mode, and because I didn’t want to be any less than extremely grateful… but trying to adjust our launch to meet our financial goals + new timeline, while reeling from the joyful expectation of another Baby Spring joining our family, all the while processing the information we’d been given by our agency about this particular situation…it was a lot to carry. Any one of those things (launching, expecting a baby, learning/researching expectations for a future relationship with Baby H’s birth family) would have been a lot on their own, and we were doing it all at the same time. Over a period of three weeks.
So all of that to say, it was a crazy few weeks around here. Lots of reaching out to friends to ask for prayer, lots of worship music on Alexa to calm my frenetic heart.
Then we got another call on March 15th, the day before we closed cart for my course- there’d been a mistake somewhere along the way, and Baby H was actually not due until early May. We were frankly a bit stumped on how to move forward, since we’d cleared the calendar and rescheduled sessions, but we did our best to manage our disappointment and get the calendar reassembled, and then proceeded to clear schedules again for May/early June in light of the new due date.
We started working on a gender neutral nursery, pulling baby clothes out of storage, making our home ready for Baby Spring.
It’s hard to explain what it feels like, being matched- it’s far from certain, and this child is not your child. This mama is not a birth mother- she’s just an expectant parent, who’s considering adoption.
Trying to plan for the future while keeping your hopes low… well, I’ve never had a pregnancy, but I would imagine it’s probably how someone feels during their first trimester after having experienced a miscarriage.
As March moved into April, we received a few updates on Mama H’s health and anticipated arrival date, since there was the potential of an early delivery. As we got into mid-April, we had a feeling it wasn’t going to be much longer given what we knew about the birth plan, so we started making arrangements to head down to Florida, where Baby H was due to be delivered, so that we could be there as soon as we were given permission to head to the hospital.
We knew that meeting Baby Spring #2 was going to look totally different from when we met our son Felix (his story here), so our hands were wide open for whatever the Lord wanted to do. We had no expectations, but wanted to be ready for whatever came our way.
We traveled down to Orlando, where we’d wait for the call from our agency- we weren’t sure whether we’d get a call 1) once Mama H had been admitted, 2) once Baby H was here, or 3) once Baby H was ready for discharge and we were allowed to go the hospital. Not wanting to risk it being situation #3 and us being 850 miles away in Virginia, we decided to fly down before receiving a call, knowing it was a risk, but taking it anyways.
We filled time with multiple trips to Disney Springs (SO much to do there!), lots of walks outside, and plenty of cars- I tell ya, the $29 we spent on a box of nine toy cars from the Pixar movie at the Disney Store was worth its weight in gold. Felix played with them for WEEKS. Still does, actually!
After three nights in a hotel with no news, I started stressing that we’d jumped the gun, so we called a friend in Georgia to ask if we could come stay the weekend to get a break from hotel views (and charges). Halfway through the drive, we got a call from our agency- Baby H was here, they’d been born within the last hour! That was all the information the agency had at the moment, and they promised to call back the following day once they’d had a chance to speak with Mama H.
So we kept driving to Atlanta, I texted our family and a few friends to let them know the most recent development, and we settled in for what we hoped would be our last couple of nights as a family of three.
We spent the next morning walking through the local town square, found a cute little coffee shop and craft fair, and, of course, I checked my phone obsessively to see if anything new came in.
We put Felix down for his afternoon nap, and that’s when the next call from our agency came in.
Our social worker sounds…weary. She said she didn’t have the news we were hoping for- Mama H would not be placing Baby H for adoption.
I felt like my whole body had frozen, like my chest was hollow. Matt and I just looked at each other, trying to process what our social worker had just said.
We had always known this was a possibility. But there’s a difference between the hypothetical and the actual. And this was the latter.
There were no further details available. We didn’t know gender or name or the health of Mama & Baby H.
it was over, just like that.
And boy, was that hard.
Taking two days to drive home with an empty car seat was painful.
Having to call our parents and tell them the news, and that we didn’t have any further details or closure to offer, that sucked.
Feeling like “what was the point?” of the major stress and cost of moving the launch, it was so discouraging.
But one of the biggest lessons adoption has taught me is that this is *so much less* about us than it is about caring well for an expectant mama and a child she may or may not choose to place for adoption.
We hope the fall-through means Baby & Mama H will be able to enjoy closeness & unbrokenness in a way they couldn’t have if she’d chosen adoption. We hope the best for this mother, for this precious new child.
But more than anything, we have hope and confidence that the Lord works all things together for the good of those who love him. Even though our hearts were broken, we had faith that good could and *would* somehow come from the situation.
Our sadness and pain isn’t wasted- it never is.
And as it turned out, the goodness that we trusted would come from the pain?
It came a little sooner than we were expecting.
Teddy’s adoption story is coming next week ❤️