- What led you to adoption?
We spent 5 years trying to have a baby, but struggled with fertility issues and unsuccessful pregnancies. We thought about adoption, but struggled with the idea of having no genetic link to our child. We considered fertility treatments and researched their success rates. After all that, we realized that we just wanted to be parents.
- How did you hear about ANLC’s Pro Bono Services?
Wonderful Betsy (ANLC Adoption Consultant)! We came to ANLC and were working with Betsy trying to find a way to pay for the adoption. We are both teachers and chose this profession so we could spend more time with our future family. We bought a house, again for our family, and found ourselves unable to qualify for a loan. Betsy worked with us with ideas for funding and we were working on fundraising activities. Then Betsy mentioned that ANLC was offering this Pro Bono opportunity and encouraged us to enter.
- Did you have any fears about the adoption process?
Yes! Our number 1 fear was worrying that no matter how good a parent we might be, our child would have identity problems. Adoption is loss. How would our child react to this loss and how would we deal with his loss?Another fear was what would happen with the birth mother? Would the child want to be with her instead of with us?We researched to alleviate our fears and learned that open adoption is healthier for the child, so we decided we wanted an open adoption to help with the issues that frightened us.
- Describe learning that you had been chosen by your Birth Mother
Everything happened so fast! The previous summer we had been fundraising and feeling like it would never happen. It was all just talk, if’s and when’s. Suddenly it was real. There was a real woman with a real baby who had picked us! She was real! It was the first piece of real evidence that we would get a child.
- Describe the wait
We were introduced to Walter's birth mother on April 7, and Walter was born July 21. Part of our Birth Mother’s choosing us was dependent on meeting us before the baby was born, so we flew to Louisiana to meet her and the bond was instantaneous! We went to dinner and our Birth Mother and Preslie had massages together. This bonding opened our relationship and allowed for full contact. When we returned home we sent her photos of our house and garden. We talked on the phone and the relationship grew.
- Hospital Experience
Our Birth Mother’s first two babies were born two weeks early, so we went to Louisiana 2 weeks before his due date. Unfortunately (or not) he ended up being late. It was a perfect time to spend with her. We were anxious, but spent time together. Then when he was born, she called from the hospital. In the original agreement, we were planning to wait in the waiting room, but once we got there, she asked us to come into the room and we were able to be there for Walter’s birth. Preslie held her hand as she pushed, Mike cut the cord and as we gave him his first bath, his Birth Mother watched and smiled.
- What is your relationship with Walter’s Birth Mother now?
Now we speak several times a week on the phone. She is getting married in June and we will be there for it. We plan to get together once a year so Walter can know his Birth Mother and his three brothers.
- How has your life changed?
Last summer we were having yard sales and fundraisers but realized that we were nowhere close to being financially able to adopt. We were depressed and really at our lowest point; we thought it would never happen. This summer our world has changed. We are so happy.
- Has adopting outside your race been an issue?
We chose to adopt a full African American baby when we learned that some of them don’t get matched. We realized that there are women out there who would need us as much as we needed them.A note from Preslie:My relationship with Walter's birth mother is AMAZING and that has made the whole process so much easier. I encourage Adopting Parents to consider full open adoption for their baby’s well-being. My fears are gone knowing that Walter will know his birth mother and know that he is loved by her. I am not afraid of the number of people who love my baby.