Friday, December 18, 2015


It's true what they say.  Time Heals, and It Does Get Better.

A year ago yesterday a baby girl was born in a hospital in another state.  A year ago today we sat on pins and needles watching that little girl slip away from us.  A year ago tomorrow we returned home empty handed and broken worse than we had ever been in our lives.  We don't know that little girl anymore. 
There is still a portion of our house that looks like this and has sat frozen for the last year.

  Not because we want it to, but because we're not sure what we should do with this stuff, and we have luckily been otherwise busy.  It's a bit of a somber anniversary, I'm sure these dates will come and go with less significance in the future, but this week, at one year, it's a strong memory. It is amazing to look back and recognize how much has changed, how differently we feel, and how everything really did work out for the best.  People told us that a lot, and we weren't sure we would believe it, but we do now.  We still think all of that pain and anguish was unnecessary and pointless, but we are a lot wiser and more aware of the true blessing that Lincoln and his birth family are.

Our lives look a lot different now!!

We are getting ready to celebrate Lincoln's first Christmas.  We have enjoyed every minute with him and are thankful every day for the person that his birthmom is.  None of this would be possible with out her and her family's support.  We are planning to celebrate Christmas with her this weekend!
We still see, almost every day, families that are struggling to grow.  We see adoptions failing and hearts breaking.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often.  For those of you still waiting, don't lose hope, there is a very good chance that the right match is out there and you will be led down the path to them.

Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.  May you have hope and prosperity in the new year!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Love You to the Moon and Back!

It is with great excitement, elation, gratefulness, and relief that we are able to finally announce the birth and adoption of our son Lincoln Xavier!  It has been a 2+ year journey and we have finally arrived at our goal: parenthood!  When we began this process we had no idea how it would turn out, where it would take us, or who we would meet, but we could not be happier at the turn of events that led us to our son.

Just the facts:
Lincoln was born 7.2.15 at 9:09 am at Community North Hospital here in Indy (Shout out to our wonderful nurses, Angela, Brittany, Neda, Casey and Nadine).  He was 8lbs, 8.6oz, 22 1/4 inches long.  We were able to be in the hospital from the day before he was born until the day we took him home.  We shared his care in the hospital with his birthmother and her family.  Papers were signed and he came home with us on the 4th of July!  It really was a beautiful experience.  He was welcomed with fireworks! Last 4th of July, we set off paper lanterns with our wish for a child written on them.  This year we set off lantern's thankful that our son was home!  On the legal front, we were not certain until this past week that his adoption would not be contested.

The background:
We were contacted by Lincoln's birthmother back in late March and began developing a relationship with her.   We decided it was best to keep our relationship private due to our close proximity.  This was also a new relationship and we wanted to guard our hearts and expectations after what we had already been through.  We continued to talk and we met several times to get to know each other better.  In early May we had our official "match" meeting where we both committed our intentions to each other and talked in more detail about what the hospital plan would be and what we imagined for the future in an open adoption.  We were able to accompany her to 2 doctor's appointments.  Her last doctor's appointment was 4 days past her due date.  We were able to see baby on ultrasound to check his estimated weight and mom's fluid levels.  We had no idea we would end up staying for the next 3 nights.  They decided to prep her for induction that afternoon!  We were going to have a baby!  It was a bit of a shock, we had to have our family bring us some overnight things, but it all worked out. 

Lincoln's Birth Family:
We have been blessed beyond measure with a young woman and her family who have been incredibly supportive of her adoption plan. She was steadfast in her decision, and never made us feel uneasy that she was going to change her mind.  Her family was with her in the hospital and we got to know them much better in those few intimate days in the hospital.  We truly hope that they came to see our love for Lincoln and for his birthmom.  We continue to develop our relationship and we look forward to more meetings and get-togethers with his birthfamily in the future.  It was really important to us to include her in Lincoln's first portraits.  She is a very important part of his life, and we want him to know that she has been involved in his life since the very beginning. 

Lincoln has been a really perfect baby so far! (knock on wood)  He has slept like a baby :)  He has gotten on a pretty regular 4 hour schedule for several weeks now.  He is growing and eating and playing.  He is starting to smile, and coo.  We are learning his cues and adjusting our sleep schedules to his needs.  

To those of you who followed our story, who shared our story, and who prayed and sent good vibes, we Thank You!  It really was networking and lots and lots of sharing that helped Lincoln and his birthmother to find us.  So what's next?  We have to wait for a court date for finalization.  Finalization is a formal legal process where we will stand before a judge and he or she will officially sign the paperwork and we will legally become his parents, and that is still several months away.  We have to finish our homestudy update, because it has to be current at the time of finalization. Home studies have to be updated annually.  After that, it should be lots and lots of love, hugs, learning, growing, and more sharing.  We are so happy that we can now share with you our amazing news! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Two Years and Counting

Well, time has passed and life has most certainly moved on.  Our blog and adoption journey is officially 2 years old.  Once Spring began, we started getting a lot more potential contacts and connections with expectant mothers.  Our agency said they had been rather busy as well.  Finally people are coming out of hibernation I guess.  Since being so open about our hopes to adopt, it seems we have become a sounding board for a lot of families and potential situations.  Often we are the first contact and information women and families are getting about adoption.  We are on the front lines with our phone number and social media, so we try to be as open as we can, knowing full well, that we may never hear from these women again.   We have talked to local families trying to find some answers for their daughters, granddaughters, neighbors, and sisters.  We have spoken to people across the country.  We have spoken to people who were already involved with CPS, so we were not eligible for those situations.  We have spent many hours on the phone, or email, or facebook messages with mothers looking into adoption.  While it can be exhausting to try and navigate the very personal intricacies, we are glad to at least be showing up on people's radar and be a couple that these women want to talk to.  As of right now, most of these situations have not been the right fit for us, hopefully we have pointed people in the right direction, or maybe they decided to parent.  We are still hopeful that something will work out soon!

As for us, life continues to move forward, as is always the case.  We came back from Christmas break and threw ourselves back into our work, partly to keep busy, partly because we are just busy by nature, and partly (for me, Adrienne) to prove to myself that I could come back from such a devastating loss and not let it ruin my life or my goals for myself.  And right now, I am starting to see the fruits of that planning and investment.  I have become much more busy with First Steps clients and photography clients, booking well into the summer now :)  Will has been investing a TON of time with the soccer club and his team.  He is also working with $3Bill to develop a full stage production of their previous Fringe shows "School House Wrong."  Not to mention is day job. We are certainly busy, and it is helping to pass the time and not let us dwell on this long wait!

We have definitely been changed by our adoption experience as a whole, even as it is still unfolding.  We will not let our story be defined by what happened last year.  It is a thing that happened and it has become part of the fabric of who we are and what our story will be, but it is not the only thing.  We like that we have become much more educated on the good, bad and ugly sides of adoption, and we know we will always have more to learn.  But we are glad that we are in a position to potentially help others and educate them on the adoption process, how it works, what the basic laws are (as we have been told by professionals), and what pitfalls to avoid, and just general advice.  We certainly needed it ourselves from others at one time.  We are by no means experts, and we only know our story, but it is an avenue of life that neither of us anticipated traveling down just a few short years ago, so we are happy to share what we can and be a support to others.    I wanted to share a post that we received on Facebook to show how sharing our story seems to have impacted others.
I hope it's OK that we share this since it was posted on social media :)
We received many beautiful posts, but this one has stayed with me all these many months.  If you know Lorie, tell her thanks from both of us!  After all, our greatest goal is to be a positive influence in the life of a child (or children).  For now, we continue to wait and continue to work toward building a relationship with the right person who could make us parents!  

**If you are just now finding our blog for the first time, or coming here because of the story on WTHR, we hope that you will take the time to get to know us.  We hope you will read our blog from the beginning and go to our Facebook or Instagram pages.  Most importantly, if you or someone you know are considering adoption, we would hope you would visit our full profile online directed at potential birthmothers.  ( Even if you don't think we are the right fit, I can personally vouch for many other waiting families who would love to hear from you.**  

Saturday, January 17, 2015

It's Been One Month... by Adrienne

It's been a long time trying to figure out what exactly to say next.

We've wanted to share the exact details of how everything went down with our baby that didn't come home. We've wanted to put our agency, the birth mom and all sorts of other people on blast for letting this happen. We've started writing a lot of really sad and depressing posts, and a lot of angry posts. We've also started writing a lot of half developed thoughts. It's hard to know what to say when pretty much all words or thoughts or feelings are inadequate. It's hard to find any coherent thought patterns to write a complete narrative about what happened.

I think it's just time to express something. Time to get thoughts out in the open. I will start with the disclaimer that these are my thoughts, my experiences, my feelings, and my grieving process. If you have not been in this situation, I don't expect you to understand or empathize. I know that many people have experienced all sorts of terrible forms of loss and I do not mean in any way to diminish them. I am just trying to articulate a type of grief that I have not seen expressed very much. I hope to articulate the nuances of a failed adoption, at least as I felt it. First let me say that I have really come to appreciate people who just say “I'm sorry”, and “I don't know what to say.” Those are probably the only two honest things anyone can say. “It will get better”, “It wasn't meant to be”, and “this wasn't the baby for you”, “it will all make sense later”, or worst of all “God has a plan” are all pretty much the last things anyone wants to hear when something tragic happens to them. Not only is it not what people want to hear – I'll speak for myself, me, it's not what I wanted to hear- it's pretty much impossible to hear with any sort of perspective when you're in the middle of such grief.

I know it may seem crazy to be going on and on for a month now talking about grief, talking about still being sad and distressed over a child that “wasn't even ours”, but the truth of the matter is that she was ours. In our hearts and minds she was ours. This is a baby that we followed and experienced her growth and development for almost as long as her mother did. We found out about this situation and the existence of this life only about 2 months after her mom did. We nurtured this relationship just as any expectant parent would. We knew it wasn't the same, but we lived it every day. We don't expect to have biological children of our own and so we wanted to try to live as much of this process as we could without actually being pregnant. We have 3D and 4D ultrasound pictures and video. We even have an angel teddy bear with a recording of her heartbeat inside. You can imagine how fabulous it was to come home and remember we had that. We named this baby. The most beautiful perfect name there ever could be for another human being. We even lovingly incorporated the birth mom's name into her name. We loved this baby. We tried not to let ourselves get attached, but those babies have superpowers! We hoped for her, we dreamed for her, we imagined teaching her, we bought things for her. (Not just us, but our families, our friends, and even strangers.) What's weird is that now the baby that we named doesn't exist. When we refer to her by the name that we gave her, it's like a ghost. That person does not exist in the world. I mean she is still living, but she has been renamed, and her birth mother isn't just her biological mother, she is actually her mother, in every sense of the word. As far as that child will ever know, she is the only mother figure she ever had or will have.

As I see it, in the world of adoption there is an understanding that a child knows that he or she was born of one mother and raised by another. That child always knows (or at least would in open adoption) of this scenario of 2 families planning for her arrival. With what happened to us (and to so many other hopeful adoptive families) I am fairly certain that this baby will never know we existed. She will never know how her brief presence in our lives affected us. About the life that she had before she was born, the plans that we made for her, or that there even were any different plans. I mean, how would she? Who would ever tell a child that type of information. “Oh, by the way, you almost lived in a different house with different parents and a different name.” The identity that we had given her is gone. Also in the open adoption that we had planned, the birthmother would have received periodic updates and even visits if she wanted. The birth family would get to see how she was growing up and how her life was evolving. Throughout this process there is so much care to make sure that the expectant mother is comfortable, is counseled (allegedly) and that all of her wishes are followed, up until her time to sign any paperwork. And rightly so, for a woman to actually go through with placement is a gut wrenching experience. But there is no care given to the hopeful adoptive parents. What we want doesn't matter and we are not offered the same amount of care or closure. Right now, for me, I feel like what I imagine a birth mom in a closed adoption might experience. It's all backwards.(Yes I know it's different, I know she's not my blood, I know I never had any legal rights to this child, but I'm trying to draw a loose comparison.) I think I can somewhat understand what it must feel like for a birth mother to place her child with another family and hope that they do the best job any parent has ever done raising a child in the history of the world. I will have to live with the permanent loss of never knowing her future. How crazy is it that something that occupied so much of my time, thoughts, energy, and emotions, can just be gone in a blink of an eye. It's like a dream, a bad dream. I've woken up and it's as good as if it never happened.

What an odd type of death.

Now this is the part that will probably upset people, but I think I want to say it with the disclaimer again that this is my personal experience and revelations while working through my feelings. What an odd type of death, losing a child to a failed adoption. It's not like a miscarriage or a complication of labor. It's not like a death of a grandparent or parent or an aged friend or relative. It is not like something that can be rationalized by an act of nature or biology or old age. It's a loss of something that, first of all, you're not supposed to believe is yours to begin with, and second of all, it's a loss at the hands of someone else. It's not like death because this child is still alive. She is living a life completely devoid of us and we have no say in the matter. How quickly this baby's entire trajectory in life was altered by literally one single second. I often wonder if the butterfly had flapped it's wings somewhere in Asia just one second sooner or one second later, or one ounce harder if the entire Universe would have aligned things in our favor. Of course, that is something we will never know.

It's not an exact comparison, but this poem is the closest thing I have reference to for a situation like this. This poem kept coming to mind when I was reflecting on all of this. This poem was written about children with special needs, but it touches on a parents dreams for their children and what it's like when those dreams are not realized in the way you thought they would be. I think it can also apply to adoption in general and the way most people expect to start a family...

Welcome to Holland
...When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.”  ~ Emily Perl Kingsley

The other thing that has struck me in this whole process is how informal it is. We left the hospital with little more than a “see you later” which never actually came. We never got to say goodbye, we never got to ask why, we never got to do anything. We left one night, and were told that she wanted to “save us the trip back” to the hospital the next morning. And we were back home alone within a matter of hours. But there is no formal grieving process for a situation like this. Actual death can involve the ceremonial traditions of a funeral, a burial, a memorial, some type of closure. This woman just took her baby home and went on with life as usual as if nothing had happened, while we, meanwhile, had to force ourselves out of bed and to eat for the first few days. (I do think she thought long and hard about it.) We had to create our own type of “ceremony” by writing, talking, and sharing with friends and family. However, when it's not a standard event, it is much less understood or appreciated for the profound experience that it is. There is the old saying about how losing a child is not the natural order of things, how there is a name for a spouse who loses a spouse, and a name for a child who loses a parent, but there is no name for a parent who loses a child. What about an almost parent? There's definitely not a name for that person; for a person who on paper and in society never was a parent, but feels the loss just as profoundly. For all intents and purposes we appear to have not lost anything. Our house is just as empty as it ever was. And visibly, nothing has changed. We are right back where we started. Will and I have always said that our status quo is pretty comfortable, and not the worst place to be, but it is not where we want to be. We are in Holland. The fact of the matter is that we are not status quo anymore. We are changed, we are different. We have a hole. It's a little bigger now than the initial hole from not having children in general. Now we have a hole that was supposed to be filled with this particular person, this unique specific life that can not be replicated. That is a space that will never be filled, even by another child. When a child does come in to our lives, I expect that he or she will occupy their very own space in our hearts. I have no intention of trying to fill this hole. Hopefully the hole scars over and won't hurt as bad, but right now, it's raw. I am left to hope and wonder about this person, this child, this life, this “baby that never came home.” I hope the best for her, while fearing the worst. As I told this birth mom in a letter I wrote to her after we got home, it is now her responsibility to give the child she promised us, the life that we promised her.

For the record, she is 1 month old today (1/17/15), and if all of this had gone according to plan, and there were no other issues or unforeseen circumstances, she would have been ours today. The birth mother and father's rights would have been terminated and she would have been ours for all intents and purposes except for the formalities of a few more post placement visits.